Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 31

“It’s almost spring,” Kanesha said, brightly.

“Feels that way.” And for once and now I was determined to concentrate on ordinary, mundane things. On being, as it were, like other girls. Not that I ever would be. “Spring, then summer. Of course, we’ll probably be regretting summer.”

“Speak for yourself, O Nordic One.”

I laughed. I wasn’t exactly made for warm climates. Which reminded me a little of the story I’d read about Skadi and Njord, their shotgun wedding and very rapid divorce. Couldn’t stand to live in each others’ homes.

Well, that wasn’t going to be an obstacle for us. They had probably been looking for an excuse, after Skadi had thought she was getting Baldur, and ended up with the much more homely Njord.

Maybe, though, she should have given him more of a chance. I would have, I thought.

I would, if I ended up in that situation. “Okay, okay. Just because…”

I tailed off, not wanting to tease her more about skin color in a public venue. I could get away with it in private. In public, some busybody might hear us and call me a racist.

And there were quite a few people around. As the cold faded, people were emerging from the sort of false hibernation a bad winter tended to induce. I was glad of it. It felt like a return to normality, or at least the semblance of it.

It felt like a good thing to me, and I grinned at Kanesha again as I headed up the street. “Let’s stop at Julio’s and get pizza.”

“Get enough for Mike. He told me he wasn’t expecting to have a great day.”

“Would I ever not?” Even if he couldn’t eat it straight away, it was always good to have leftover pizza around. As long as you didn’t warm it up in a microwave. “Meat lovers?”

Julio’s was a bit of a hole in the wall, like all the best pizza places. I stopped at the entrance, and then saw the fyrhund walking towards me. Limping.

“Uh oh.”

Kanesha blinked. “I hope he just has something in his paw.”

“I don’t think that happens to elementals,” I muttered, but stepped towards the dog and dropped to one knee to examine him.

He was definitely hurt, and I was reminded that the last time I saw him he’d disappeared because Tyz’vel was there.

Had it been voluntary or had the demon snatched him on his way out? He whimpered and I scratched him behind the ears. “You get the pizza, Kanesha. I’ll stay with him.”

The dog growled.

I looked up as Kanesha ducked inside Julio’s. I waited for her to come out.

And waited.

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