Ceridwen stared furiously at Devil, her eyes like blue lasers boring into the dragon's purple ones. Devil was indifferent as a blank wall.
"You fool!" Ceridwen shouted. Whispers rippled across the gathered crowd like wind through dry leaves. "I didn't want him dead. You tend not to get answers from the dead."
Devil made no response, merely licking the gleaming icicles of his teeth. They were pearly white despite the blood they had just drawn.
Fuming, Ceridwen bent to examine the fallen man. Devil had made short work of him. There was something familiar about him though. . . .
Dagger slipped through the crowd like a whisper and crouched down next to Ceridwen. "What's happened?" he breathed.
"It's Hero," said Ceridwen, straightening up. "Remember Hero?"
"Ah yes," recalled Dagger. "The fool who went surfaceside a while back. We never did hear from him again, but I always wondered. . ."
"I reckon he got mixed up with the CTs," said Ceridwen pensively. "They must have sent him to find us out."
"And to track me down, don't forget," interjected Devil in a voice that was cold and metallic as frozen steel.
"Yes, but unfortunately we'll never know his true motives or who sent him," snapped Ceridwen, flaring up again. "Seeing as you went ahead and ripped his bloody throat out!"
Devil gave what appeared to be the dragon equivalent of a shrug, his violet eyes turning disinterestedly away. He casually slid back into his human form which he had previously shed like snakeskin.
"I really must be getting back to our dear friend, Whitney, you know," he said, his overlarge, oversharp teeth clicking together disturbingly. "We don't want to keep her waiting."
Ceridwen shot him a look that would have put Medusa to shame. How could he be so infuriatingly insubordinate all the time? Whatever skills Dagger claimed he had, Ceridwen was not sure the blasted dragon was worth the trouble.
"Good, why don't you do that, then?" she said harshly. "And while you're at it, check our resident sentient computer's database for anything you can find pertaining to Hero Skidds. And perhaps you could spare a moment from licking your chops to use that amazingly big head of yours to try and figure out what the hell CTOs are doing down here."
Ceridwen knew that last request was totally unfair, and Whitney was likely to have no information on the matter, but that was the point. Devil merely sneered at her, however, then stalked off, the thinning crowd giving him a wide berth.
Ceridwen turned to Dagger, but before she could say anything a voice rang out from amidst the congregated spectators.
"What's going on?" Lorden had arrived and Ceridwen nearly growled with annoyance. Lorden could be nearly as abrasive as Devil himself, and like Devil, he was too important for Ceridwen to do much about it.
"A good deal that doesn't concern you," replied Ceridwen acidly.
"I heard something about a dragon," Lorden pressed on. "And who's that? Is he -- he's not dead?"
"Dead as a doornail," said Dagger with about as much concern as a particularly insensitive rock. "But look what I found," he muttered turning to Ceridwen. Between his fingers he held a tiny object, black and encased in a smooth shell.
"A tracker," he said.
Ceridwen groaned. "I knew it would happen eventually, but I had hoped to have a little more time to prepare. But if CTs have really found us out. . . ."
There was a pause.
"You know what this means don't you?" continued Ceridwen in an undertone. "It means we're going to war. They made the first move, but we have our pawns perfectly placed for a counterattack. It's time to kidnap the princess, and then we can see if they care to talk."
Ceridwen and Dagger started to move off. She could sense Lorden eavesdropping, but she hardly cared.
"And one more thing, Dagger," she said. "You had better keep that damn dragon of yours under control if you have to put it on a leash to do so."