Chapter Twenty-Four, Part Three: The Third Man and the SeaMature

Hanishtymion collapses to the ground, clutching his head as he sits on his knees and hunches. 

His blond hair begins to poke back out from his grasping hands and crawl upward, drifting as if lifted by a sudden lack of gravity. Then his ears slide round, his whole face shifting about like the masks on a Shishin Pagoda. 

When those hands come down, the dark bronze face of a baby stares up at the Master’s stubble-tipped chin; it has the mouth of a simple wooden doll, a simple tongue in groove carving. Hainish reaches toward him, combing soft fingers across the bridge of his nose, and… 

The Master feels his carefully manicured narrow eyebrows shoot up through his hair like two flirting birds. 

There is a sudden redness, a poking and prodding of the veins around the Master’s eyes and then... 

Plop! Plop! 

Hainishtymion’s hands plunge into the Master’s sockets, making a grisly withdrawal. 

The Master screams, his mouth cracking open abruptly; but the noise is drowned by the whir of Hainish’s head making a new revolution- probably to the mask of a pretty woman with long hair, judging by the swish of tresses and the scent of flowers. 

Then, he can feel the wind of Hainishtymion’s hand at his vulnerable earlobe, as though deeply desirous of an earring. 

“Oh and I know what happens next, you little snot! I don’t think so, I’m not your… wuh wait! Ow!” 

No more ear. 

The Master holds the draining bloody stump of his left ear, trying to guess when the other hand will come up and grab seconds. 

The End

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