Wordcount: 478 words
“So, what’s wrong?”
“You should have traded her Gray for the flute.” Moonstar’s accusation was completely unexpected and it took Wendy a moment to find a polite answer.
“You knew the mask was down there?” And wouldn’t that have been nice to know going in. They’d gone stumbling around in the caves with nothing but a map written in a foreign language and the assumption that whatever guardian was down there would recognize them as Good Guys.
“No, but it’s obvious to anyone who looks what it was and what deal you made.” The unicorn nodded at the base of her throat where the tiny bone mask had embedded itself.
“I didn’t have a lot of choice,” she tried to remember not to touch the mask; it had nipped her finger last time she’d brushed it unthinkingly. “Besides, everything worked out last time.” The Band of Nine had returned the Shadow Knife at the end of their quest and the mask had popped out again, leaving behind a leaf-shaped scar. Although that mask had been less prone to biting and more inclined towards cryptic comments. It had been a cute plot device that quickly got old as the adventure wound on; the biting was much less annoying.
“You had David last time.”
And that pissed her off because of all the things in her mind screaming for attention, the fact that neither Heather nor David were here was almost always first and foremost. “I’m not helpless.”
“Oh really, because from where I’m standing you look pretty damned helpless.”
“She wouldn’t have given me the flute if–”
“Yes, she would.” Moonstar stomped the ground angrily. “Do you know what kind of power she’ll gain when she adds you to her collection? You aren’t meant to be here, in the story, in Velanon; just by existing you shift the balance of power.”
“Then you’d better keep me from dying.” This had been his idea, after all. She’d been fine with staying on her side of the gate, where life went on without unicorns or quests, or bargains made with pseudo-Japanese demons.
“And that’s your solution. Not dying.”
“I can’t believe this! You’re worse than Maisie!”
“Wait, Maisie as in David’s great aunt Maisie?” Because Maisie had died long before Heather had been born, and if Moonstar knew her that meant Maisie had known him. “Who were you then?”
“Who am I now?” The unicorn shook his head. “You may as well as who am I really, the answers are all the same. I am who I am, and that never changes no matter how much the story does.”
“So you’ve always been this obnoxious, good to know.” And with that she gave up and headed back into camp, because she was only a breath away from saying something she really shouldn’t and she still needed him. In theory.