Likely whatever had just happened had distracted Surtur, and we moved into the tent warily.
I was not sure my glamors would fool him. He knew how I moved too well, and he would pick up on my efforts to change it.
It did not for a moment. “Not now,” he said to me.
“Why? Too busy trying to keep us all from getting eaten?”
His eyebrows elevated upwards.
“I’m working on it. But you know the rules.”
“Somebody has to die.” He kept his gaze on me. “I won’t kill you. You can’t kill me.” He glanced between the others. “Maybe we could…”
“Somebody important. Somebody who matters.” I kept my eyes on him. “And my family lost enough last time this happened.”
“I’m not falling on my sword. We are winning.”
“That,” I pointed upwards, even if there was canvas in the way. “Does not look like winning to me.”
“Then I will have to do what I don’t want to do.”
I kept my gaze on him, even, my hand on my blade. “If you think you can.”
“You are outnumbered. I will spare your friends.”
It had come to this, then.
“I won’t leave her,” Mike said. He wasn’t drawing a blade of his own, not yet. But there was a strength in his voice.
“Who even are you?”
“Her foster father.”
The look on Surtur’s face showed he’d misjudged something. That he felt he’d made a grave error. Then he drew his sword and rushed…
…who was ready for it and darted so lightly to the side it seemed he was made of smoke.
The guards were frozen, the two in the tent. Any outside were not coming in.
Afraid to intervene, I supposed.
Thruor was less so, her blade meeting his. “I think not.”
“Somebody who matters.”
“He doesn’t count.”
Because, I realized, he’d died once already. And it was my responsibility.
Surtur laughed. “Smart, smart woman.” He lifted his sword.
Thruor struck. But although she drew blood, she did no real damage, and he brought his blade down.
Disarming her. She rolled to the side to recover her sword.
“So?” he inquired of me. “Have them leave.”
“They won’t. They’re my friends, not my minions.”
It was a stalemate. He was not attacking.
Neither was I.
The guards had moved, and there was no way Mike or Thruor was sneaking up on him.
Where, in all of this, was my father?