Seoc’s hand flew automatically to his neck.

                “Go away!” Seymour screamed into the darkness, his voice rising nearly a full octave higher than he had intended.  “Leave us alone!”

                “You are an ‘us’ now?” the Lady Raven asked, amused, still concealed somewhere in the shadowy recesses of the catacombs.  “How sweet.”

                “Go away,” he repeated, forcing his voice back down into its normal range.

                She chuckled, somewhere behind him.  He felt the back of his neck prickle.  “I am not here to harm you—neither of you.  Just to give you a bit of advice.”

                “And what would that be?”

                “Talk to Simon.”

                “But I already did,” Seoc countered, still with his hand covering his neck.  “All I got out of him was an explanation o’ Henry’s psyche.”

                “That is because,” she insisted, sliding out of the shadows, “you didn’t ask the right questions.”

                “He did no’ give me a chance ta ask my questions,” Seoc retorted.  “I said I wanted to ask about the Serpent, an’ he told me he’d already told me everythin’ aboot it.  But he had no’.”

                “He did not say he had told you everything.  Had you pressed him, he surely would have elaborated.”


                “No matter.  You need only try again—or perhaps you should,” she amended, nodding toward Seymour.  “As a detective, you ought to know how to glean information from a person.”

                The Aechyed turned slowly on his knees to look at her, raising his eyebrows as he observed her new, modest attire.  “Well, that’s quite a change. Did you lose a bet?”

                “I made a bargain.”

                “With whom?”

                “None of your business.”

                “What’s the corset made of, bones?”

                She smiled mirthlessly, displaying her fangs.  “The ribs of nosy Aechyeds, in fact.  Now get yourself up to the infirmary, merman.  Your prying mind will be of more use to you there.”

The End

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