When he stopped, “It’s a wardstone. It’s meant to protect him from mental influence and deceit. So that he can identify the next demon he meets.”
“That seems reasonable enough, but it’s scaring his mother.”
“She has no reason to love me,” he admitted, regarding me thoughtfully. “Neither do you.”
“But my goal is for Derek to be able to look after himself so I’m not eternally chasing around after him.”
He laughed again. “Consider it practice for your own children.”
I hadn’t thought that much about having children, although I was sure it would happen at some point. “He should be your responsibility, not mine, but…”
“I am respecting his mother’s wishes, whilst helping as I can. By all means, get a witch to check the stone.”
“His mother is a witch,” I pointed out.
“She wasn’t much of one when I knew her.” A pause. “But I suppose that was a while ago.”
Efreets lived a bit longer than humans. I wondered how old he was. I was glad I’d done more research on his kind, tried to develop more of an understanding.
They were mortal, after all.
The report of the shot sounded a moment later. I reacted, hitting the deck and pulling the efreet with me. Kanesha, I trusted to get down herself. She did.
“Tell me that was a firework,” he said, softly.
“It wasn’t.” I picked myself up. “Stay down. See if you can’t come up with a decent spell.” I didn’t care if I got shot, not really. But I stayed in a crouch, moving behind a car as I tried to locate the sniper. I wasn’t sure which of us they had aimed at, or even whether it hadn’t been aimed at us at all. It didn’t matter.
People who took pot shots in public places deserved to go down, but whoever it was appeared to have run.
“Stay with him. I’m going to go track down the sniper.”
Kanesha nodded. “Actually, we’ll go somewhere really public. There’s a cafe that should still be open.”
“Good idea.” I looked around. Then I looked at the dog. He was pointing his nose upwards.
Rooftops. Great. I wasn’t really that good at freerunning, but I had to find this guy.
Even if he was just mundane, I still had to find him.