“I’ll cut right to the chase,” Moon-Singer said, stepping in front of me and brandishing his sword. “Are you Ghost?”
“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” she replied, leaning on her black cane.
“Answer me, or I’ll cut you down!” Moon-Singer demanded, stepping toward her.
The sluagh sighed. “I am she,” She said somewhat diffidently, “if you must know. Therians are such boorish creatures. Killing my poor little babies…” she bit her lip, seemingly upset, and glanced out a crack in the boarded windows.
“If your pets had not attacked us, we would not have been called upon to kill them in self-defense,” Healing-Tears replied. “Perhaps you should have taught them to be more restrained.”
“You were trespassing,” she said angrily, jabbing her staff toward Healing-Tears. “Don’t get self-righteous with me. But then, you Therians–you can’t help yourselves when it comes to that. Everything is about how righteous it is or isn’t. You’re so focused on justice you forget about living.”
“Spare us another exile lecture about how insufferable we are,” Blue-Flame retorted.
Ghost stood up straight and gave a Blue-Flame a look that would haunt my nightmares. “I’m waiting for a good reason why I shouldn’t kill all of you for trespassing.”
Moon-Singer scoffed. “Did you kill Silver-Dancer?” He asked, ignoring her.
“Ha! I’d love to take the credit for that,” she said a little wistfully. “Why do you think such a thing?”
I didn’t kill him,” Ghost continued. “Nor did any of Dreadnaught’s other contacts, as far as I know. I’m surprised you don’t know,” she continued. “We always assumed it was Pig-Sticker.”
Moon-Singer inhaled sharply as she mentioned the name. “What made you assume that?”
“Urban-Burrow–the elfdan he sought when he died–had dealings with him before Silver-Dancer attacked,” Ghost replied hoarsely. “I always thought they were fools for making deals with Vandals, but they did. And of course they wanted us to help them when the Heroes’ children came chasing after them for it.”
“But if Pig-Sticker was there, why would they need you?” Black-Wind asked.
“I’ve told you everything I know,” Ghost replied. “As you can see, it amounts to very little. Now I suggest you leave, before the annoyance of answering your questions outweighs the annoyance of having to kill you.”
Healing-Tears looked at Moon-Singer, who paused before cautiously lowering his sword. “Fair enough,” he said. “We got what we came for.” Moon-Singer glanced at the rest of us before cautiously backing up toward the door and opening it behind him; the rest of us followed after him, with Blue-Flame taking the rear.
As we turned around to watch Blue-Flame leave the trailer, there was a horrible, hoarse noise, something between a bark and a cough. Blue-Flame struggled to run through the open door as a dark, smoky cloud surrounded him. It was a moment before I realized that the barking was coming from Blue-Flame, who was struggling like mad against a black cloud that billowed through the door. The cloud was filled with the same stench of death and decay and faery magic that reeked from Ghost.
Healing-Tears’s body melted into the form of a towering grizzly, and he pulled Blue-Flame from the cloud between his claws. A loud screeching sounded from the cloud, and it hovered there for a moment before it fell back into the trailer and the door slammed behind it.
“What was that?!” I said, shivering despite myself.
“Ghost,” Healing-Tears replied. He looked toward Blue-Flame. “You should not have used the word exile in front of a faery. That was foolish.”
“Hmph,” Blue-Flame grunted. “Let’s just get out of here.”