I wrapped the horn carefully and hid it in my underwear drawer. It wasn’t anything magical after all, and I’d get into a ton of trouble if anyone found out I’d stolen it. Mr. Otter had tricked me.
Or maybe just annoyed me into doing something he wanted done, but I couldn’t imagine what he’d want with it. And maybe he was responsible for Barry’s problems too. And…the bastard was waiting for me when I left school.
“Give me one good reason I should give it to you,” I said flatly. “For all I know, you’re why Barry’s grounded.”
He actually…smiled, hands clasped behind his back. “Now why would I have done that?”
“I don’t know. To mess with my head. To get what you want…which isn’t a shabby old drinking horn.”
“Oh, somebody I know is rather attached to it.”
“So, you’re using me to prank another person.” Somebody who would put a rune of justice on a drinking horn…that had to mean like a cop or something. Or just somebody who followed Tyr. “A follower of Tyr.”
Except that didn’t explain the appearing, disappearing, appearing horn. Nothing did, really, except magic or insanity or him slipping drugs into my drink.
“Close. It’s harmless. Give it back to me and I’ll return it to the person it belongs to. No harm, no foul.”
“Why don’t I believe you?” I wanted to…but that wanting to was so strong it, alone, made me suspicious of the man. I kept one eye on him. Long grey hair. Hints of red in it. And there was something about him that reminded me, oddly, of an elf from Lord of the Rings.
“Because nobody ever does,” he said in an obviously-teasing woe is me voice. “Never mind. Keep it, then. It’ll find it’s way home eventually, and I suppose you might find it useful.”
I started to say it didn’t do anything, then thought better of it. If he thought I would find it useful then maybe it was, in some way I didn’t know about yet. I also felt that it was best not to mention that I’d drunk from it.
And right at that point, I saw Thea. “Uh oh.” The two of them in the same place struck me as a bad idea.
And him, too, because when I looked back from her, he was gone. And Thea was striding towards me.