Phyllis Esposito: Interdimensional Private-Eye #105

I glared at Ms. Moon and Eduin while Graham the mercenary lowered his sword. Their eyes flicked back and forth between my face and his. They were trying to watch him lower his weapon and to ask for my permission to attack him at the same time.

I did not grant it.

As soon as his grip loosened enough, I squirmed out from under his arm and scooted away, out of his sword’s reach. “Okay then,” I said. “Now we should all prepare ourselves, because everything is going to be really awkward for a while.”

And it was, in both expected and surprising ways.

Introductions, for example, proved more difficult than I would have guessed. Though I suppose I shouldn’t have been, I was taken off guard to realize that everyone else was calling Ms. Moon by her alias “Airehithe”, and somehow I had just missed it.

In my defense, I had spent much of the last few days in a stupor of withdrawal and pain. Still, it didn’t exactly put my best foot forward with the new guy to fumble that one right out of the gate.

No one else had any reason to call her Ms. Moon. After all, that was just the false name she had given me when we had first met, back in my office. Still, “Airehithe” wasn’t her real name either, and my brain stubbornly resisted calling her anything other than Ms. Moon.

On top of that, Eduin took nearly an hour to return from the near-feral state of battle-readiness he’d worked himself into before killing Graham’s four buddies. I have to say, even though it had technically saved my life, I did not find myself relieved to discover that the elf had this capacity for violence within him.

Pensky was fine, though pouty about the cut on his chest. I suspected that he and Graham would be fast friends within twenty-four hours.

We had to search for Henricks, and eventually found him hiding in the bushes about a hundred yards away. They returned to camp with us, accepting our new travelling companion without complaint, but also without much reply at all, returning to their previous sullen attitude.

Then, once introductions had been a disaster, corpse cleanup proved surprisingly easy.

I myself had not been looking forward to handling that aspect of our new business arrangement, but Graham took the death of his compatriots in stride.

“Oh, them?” he said. “I don’t even really know them except that they also hung out at the tavern. After the fight, I talked a bit about going after you lot and they were eager to join up with me for some action. Said they could handle themselves, but guess not, if that squirt could take them out.” He jerked a thumb at Eduin.

Eduin’s eye twitched, and he clutched his still-bloody spear.

“They had swords though,” continued Graham. “And a little money. How about I handle dragging them off the road and rifling their pockets? I’ll keep whatever coin they had, and then you all will have weapons of your own.”

Not a one of us was inclined to argue with his proposal.


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