Shade Page 2

"Then get inside; it's freezing." Bai Li stepped aside with the door to let him in. She trained an ear on his footsteps to tell when he was out of the way of the door, but she was surprised to hear a second pair of footfalls shuffle-clicking in behind Graghn. Her hand shot out to halt them both. "Wait, wait--who's there? There's someone--"

"That's who I need a favor for," Graghn said sheepishly. "I'll explain everything, I swear. I just need to borrow your basement for a day or two."

She lowered her hand and glared skeptically. "Why my basement?"

"She's a Shade."

"A what--? Just get inside." She waved the two farther into the entryway, shut the door, and led the heavy bootsteps and clacking shuffles into the kitchen. Her hand found the doorway, and she made a habit-honed turn toward the stove by the wall.

“I don’t want to bother you,” said Graghn. “She won’t have to stay here long, trust me.”

“The last time you said ‘trust me,’ it ended up with me having to tell a bunch of angry harlequins why you and your buddies were trapped on the courthouse roof. I want a thorough explanation.” Bai Li shoved a few logs into the stove and flourished her hands. When she pointed, fire leapt from the logs, rushing warmth into her face, but she frowned. She was clumsy with that spell; she hoped her familiar was asleep so he wouldn't notice their mana draining. Standing up straight, she kicked the stove grating closed. “Pull up a chair,” she said, grabbing one for herself from the mismatched dining set. 

The End

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