The encounter was enough to get me to leave the area. Lingering after being seen by one of her stable.
So, how much of the collecting was being done by her personally. Most of it, I figured, with the Senators. The other girls were there to make things look good.
Or to make money. Money might work where sex wouldn’t. Thinking about it, it was probably about money and secrets. Which was this town.
Money and secrets.
Maybe I’d been too quick to throw Larry’s card away. Because maybe a few secrets would be helpful right now.
Of course, I had a feeling I hadn’t entirely seen the last of him. People like that tended to be persistent.
I brushed back my hair and quickened my pace away, alert to any fiery presence. Fortunately, when I felt one, it was only the fyrhund. Invisible, he padded next to me. I reached down to ruffle fur, felt heat.
Maybe he’d sensed my need for company. Maybe he had some agenda of his own. Maybe he had some idea what to do about Surtur. I’d take any suggestions I could find.
As if in answer to that, he flicked his tail and started to pad off, then glanced over his shoulder.
Well, maybe he did have an idea. Or at least an idea for how to cheer up a distinctly down and frustrated goddess. Dogs were generally good at that, after all.
He turned down a side street and I followed. Then he was pawing at the door to some kind of store. I let him in and stepped inside.
The place was open, despite the fairly late hour. It smelled of incense. A magic store?
Then my vision seemed to clear a little. “Hello, Skuld.”
The young woman shrugged. “Maybe.”
She wasn’t going to confirm or deny my guess, and I knew there were far more norns than…and a shudder went through me. Something I almost knew in that moment.
“I suppose it doesn’t matter that much.” I scritched the dog behind the ears. “I want the prophecy.”
“If we gave it to you now, it would cause the very thing you fear.”
I nodded. “Alright then. Any tips on how to get Surtur off my case before he has anyone else killed?”
“You know how it will end.”
I nodded, again. “I’d rather it didn’t. I wish I could think of another way.”
“But not out of sympathy for him.”
I laughed a bit. “No, not remotely. I don’t want to risk ending up with his job.”
“Perhaps you could get somebody else to do it.”
“I thought of that.” Then I thought about my rival for his affections. Maybe…but no. It didn’t feel right.
There was only one answer that really felt right, but…it wasn’t the answer I wanted.