“No. That won’t do, Kanesha. This isn’t a tournament.”
I watched as Thea “patched up,” as she put it, Kanesha’s hand-to-hand. Kanesha didn’t question why I wasn’t joining them right at that moment.
I’d asked Thea to come up with a plan. Four of her “sisters” was probably enough, given they were all as good as she was. At least as good, some of them better. But right now, her plan involved helping Kanesha not be a liability.
I still didn’t like the idea of having her with us, but I liked the idea of pushing her out the door far, far less. Thea had disagreed with the idea of just ignoring them.
They were nuts enough to hurt her anyway. That made me feel better, a little, but not better enough. I wanted to…
I wanted to take them down so far they’d never bother me or anyone again, but that wasn’t the answer. I couldn’t kill all of them, I couldn’t get them locked up. The police would never believe half of this. Or they’d try to put me into witness protection.
Like that would matter. But it would make it hard for Thea to find me again, I thought, and probably not slow them down much. They’d found me once already.
Or maybe I already was in some kind of supernatural witness protection and it hadn’t worked.
Rather than watch, I stepped out into the street, moving far enough away from the entrance not to act as a signpost as I loitered, watching the people move around.
They were afraid enough of Thea, I thought, to want to detach me from her. Now they’d be afraid of me. That was a starting point.
A starting point for negotiations. I was pretty sure I couldn’t simply convince them – ivory cane had tried and they knew him. I couldn’t prove them wrong.
I could make myself too expensive to go after, but there might be no such thing if they really thought…
…and abruptly Mr. Otter was next to me.
“Got any bright ideas?”
He hrmed. “They’re pretty set on it, aren’t they.”
I nodded. For once, I felt relaxed with the man. Or maybe it was just that he, at least, beat the cultists. He wasn’t trying to kill me. “I don’t think I can just talk them out of it, and if they really believe I’m going to destroy the world, they’ll use all of their resources. I would.”
“Faking your death’s an option,” he pointed out.
“I…somehow don’t think they’d fall for it.” It was an option, though. Heck, maybe it was the best option.
“Possibly not. But beating on them until they listen might take a while. You don’t have a hammer.”
I laughed at the image. “Honestly, I’d rather they just listened. I’m not going to destroy the world.”
“Are you sure of that?”