I looked over at Daniel. “Do you know what’s going on out there? We have a plan, but all we know is that everybody is outside in the park. We were basically going to take out the leaders and go on from there, but we didn’t include dragons in the plan.”
Not giving Daniel a chance to reply, Haley asked, “And why aren’t they coming to investigate all the noise?”
Cassie looked toward the hole in the wall, into the shop, and (I’m assuming) out of the shop’s front. “She’s right. They’re not.”
Daniel closed his eyes. “Give me a second. I’ll find out.”
“I’m surprised you don’t already know.” I glanced toward the hole myself. With the Rocket suit’s sonar, it was obvious Amy and Izzy had trashed the place.
Dresses and clothes racks covered the floor. I wasn’t at the right angle to look out the front, but given the holes I was already seeing in the walls from the angle I had, I didn’t doubt that Cassie had a great view. The front had to have a huge hole too.
I also didn’t doubt that their insurance agent would be feeling distinctly unhappy. Chunks of rock didn’t improve most clothes.
“It’s hard to read anybody out there.” Daniel opened his eyes. “It doesn’t help that they’re near the limit of my range.”
Izzy frowned, turning her head toward the shop and then she turned back to the rest of us. “They’re talking, but they’re making no sense at all.”
“Right,” Daniel said. “They’re high, and more than halfway to sleep.”
Samita put her hand to her chin. “That sounds like the result of some kind of a faerie draught. I don’t remember what kind, but it seems like something I read about.”
“Wait,” Amy said. “You don’t know anything about it? Are you sure you’re really Samita?”
Samita’s lip curled. “I haven’t studied everything, and I certainly haven’t spent very much time learning about faerie foods, and their effects on humanity—“
She sounded like she could have gone on for a while, but Sean interrupted. “So what are we going to do now? Are we going in or not? We weren’t planning on a dragon.”
And he had a point. Taking on something that obviously gave Amy pause probably wasn’t smart at all. I got the impression that she wasn’t intimidated by much when she was transformed.
Plus, if we did, we’d have to corral more than five hundred drunk people. The wiser option had to be keeping our heads down and waiting for Lee and all the other teachers—provided he brought them.
As little as Lee paid attention to it himself, he’d always told his students, “Fights are more trouble than they’re worth for you people. Don’t escalate the situation and fewer people will get hurt, including you.”
Footsteps echoed in the hall behind us. I turned. Everyone of us turned finding a man there. Middle aged, he wore a black, pinstriped suit. He could have fit into any boardroom or political gathering and no one would have given him a second look.
Well, at least he would have fit in in Europe or its former colonies. Over six feet tall, the man had dark, brown hair, and pale skin. Though it wasn’t obvious, muscles filled out the suit.
Oh and one other thing—Amy’s spell that gave us the ability to see through illusion added one more detail… The shadowy form of a black scaled dragon existed in the same place as he stood, extending past the walls and down the hall.
“Shit,” Vaughn said, showing that I wasn’t the only one who saw it.
When the man spoke, I recognized the voice. It was the one that had spoken to Daniel in both versions of how he’d come to be searching for us—the one where he was alone in the hall as well as in the throne room.
“Well met,” said the man, his voice as deep as I remembered.
“Don’t meet his eyes,” Samita whispered.
“Seriously, don’t,” Amy said.
“Wisely said.” The man stopped a few feet short of us. “Weaker minds have been known to be overpowered by my kind. Yours are doing remarkably well, and it’s not all because of the Bloodmaiden’s spell.”
He turned his face toward her. “How the Bloodlords have fallen, eh? Denying the true shape of their power and hiding it behind a facade. Only a few generations ago and you’d have been allowed to stay in your home.”
Amy laughed. “What are you trying to do, recruit me? You’re slighting my family, and praising our past with the same breath. You don’t have anything I want, monster.”
“No? I’ve fought with and against your family. I’ve seen more generations than you know, and I know this. In the end, you always go back. The pull of the throne is too strong.”