“The normal business,” the Third Queen of Time replied to the Second, absently twirling her scepter, which was made of bones and topped with a distinctly human skull.  “What else would bring me forth from the Realm of the Dead?”

                “Who is it?  Who died?”

                Mortua frowned, adjusting the funeral shroud that she wore as a shawl and checking the tarnished watch that hung about her neck.  “No one yet, but a certain Lord of Carvil shall be breathing his last in approximately…three minutes.  I was on my way already, coming to collect his brother, in fact, but it seems that he pulled a switch on me…” Her empty black eyes settled for the first time on her sister, and she scowled.  “For the love of Time, Moriba.  You are dressed like a…like a ragged whore!”

                Moriba glowered, insulted.  “Have you seen Viviane recently?  At least I don’t go about with nothing on me but a crown of flowers!”

                “Well, Viviane is too naïve to know better.  You, on the other hand, are aware of how a queen is supposed to appear.”

                The Queen of the In-Between eyed the Queen of the Dead critically, from her crown (bone and black velvet) to her shroud-shawl to her gown (more black velvet, with cobwebs for lace, tastefully strung with vertebrae and teeth, and trimmed with intestine) to her shoes (which were, remarkably unremarkable).  “Yes,” she muttered.  “Yes, I know.  Are you open for a bargain?”

                “What sort of bargain?”

                “I will wear a nice, wholesome, queenly dress if you spare the Edmund boy.  I suspect I will be needing him for something.”

                Mortua narrowed her eyes in suspicion.  “For what, exactly, will you be needing him?”

The End

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