I was tempted to ask Kanesha and Thea their opinions on gods. I didn’t. Ivory cane…next time I bumped into him I had to get a name…clearly had his.
I didn’t really have mine. Yet. It was something I needed to work on, this understanding of gods. Or dismissing them. I wasn’t sure which. Or maybe it was both. So, rather than going straight back from the waterfront, I lingered.
Putting everything together in my mind. The prophecy put everyone in a Catch-22 situation. Nobody knew what to do. I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised some people had overreacted.
And I couldn’t and wouldn’t kill all of them. That wasn’t a solution, no matter how much it looked like one.
Turn them into allies? I’d never be able to trust them. So, it boiled down to what Ivory Cane suggested. Convince them to step back and see what happened.
Convince them I had no intention of letting the world be destroyed. But I knew, or thought I knew, what they would say. That I should prove it by removing myself from the board. Which I couldn’t risk.
And then, maybe the entire thing was wrong and I wasn’t going to do anything. I was, after all, just a kid.
With no memories and entirely too many fighting skills. And magic. There was no forgetting the magic. The water, I knew, had its water-ness, it’s water self, the river flowing through the city and out into the Chesapeake Bay. It was a nice day. Some people were sailing, little boats out on the water. A small flotilla of them. I bet none of them had a problem more pressing than what flavor of ice cream to buy when they got back to shore.
I checked my wallet at that thought and found it ruefully empty. No ice cream for me, not now. I thought we had some in the freezer anyway. Ordinary store bought ice cream, but in DC summers you didn’t really care as long as it was cold.
Except I wasn’t as warm as I might have been. I felt threatened again. He’d dropped me off here. Dumped me in a populated place, although nobody here was looking at a girl who stood by the pier. They were mostly more interested in the guy playing acoustic guitar. He was good enough that I regretted my empty wallet again.
I could get more money out of Thea, but she wasn’t here.
Mr. Otter was. He winked at me as he dropped something in the busker’s guitar case, as if he was doing it entirely on my behalf.
As if he’d read my mind or just knew what I wanted to do.
Was he my father? Or maybe my crazy uncle? Or maybe…grandfather. He was something to me, I was sure of that, painfully so.
And now he was wandering over to join me. “Still got the horn?”
I nodded. “Safe and sound. You aren’t getting it.”
He laughed a bit. “I think it’s a side issue right now.”
“No. You left it there for me to find because you were hoping I’d remember something.”
He looked out across the water. “No. I left it there for you to find because I was afraid you’d forgotten so much you wouldn’t defend yourself when the time came.”
“I don’t know that I can. Forget how to fight, that is.”
“I wanted to be sure.”