Nisrioch smiled as he stopped the crossbow bolt in midair. “Well, you have to admit things are getting interesting.”
Morgaine raised an eyebrow. “Yeah. Sure. May I remind you that only one of those things has to hit you for your interesting life to be over.”
“Ohh,” said Nisrioch with a pout, as another bolt passed by his head. “Must you forever ruin my fun, Morgaine? I mean this situation is proving so much FUN. Especially with all the amusing remarks these Eremites are making.”
“Die, heathen spawn of HELL!” shrieked one Eremite has he hurled a stone at the Cthonique siblings.
Nisrioch laughed merrily, as Morgaine caught the stone in a shimmering lavender web of force. “See? Such cleverness.”
Morgaine rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Sure, Nissy. Sure.” She sighed. “The plan has fallen to pieces, we are getting shot at by dozens of smelly guys in grey cloaks, and I think I just stepped in cat urine--but we’re having fun. Why I can’t wait for the next bit of jollyness to come our way…”
“Dear friends!” came the voice of an old man talking much too loud. “At last you’ve come!” Morgaine suppressed an instinct to turn, until she saw that the Eremites had paused themselves. She glanced over, and saw him. An old man in a very nice nightshirt, smiling daftly. He walked over towards Nisrioch and Morgaine. “Now, the party can begin!” He clapped a hand over Nisrioch’s shoulder. “My goodness, you’ve grown! I swear you’re taller than me now!” He leaned over to Morgaine and pinched her cheek. “And you! Such a delightful child! Still as fond of rice candy?”
Morgaine blinked. “Ummm, yeah… I… We don’t… know each…”
“Of course we do!” proclaimed the old man brightly, pinching her cheek once again. “Don’t you recall your sweet old uncle Pelleas, my little pookie?”
“Is that the King?” muttered one Eremite.
“Looks like him,” said another.
Pelleas caught Nisrioch and Morgaine in a hug. “Come now, my darlings! Let us celebrate our happy reunion!” He yanked Nisrioch over, and leaned towards Morgaine. “All right,” he whispered. “I’m only going to say this once--in the name of the Seven, try to keep me between you and them. Because these men will take a clear shot if they can get one.”
“Uh huh,” said Morgaine with a nod. “And… umm is there a reason you’re doing this… Your… umm… Majesty?”
“A desire not to be locked in away in tiny rooms and doused with poison to keep me agreeable,” answered Pelleas. “Also, Malina. I do hope she got away all right.”
Nisrioch nodded. “She’s fine. Back at Her Lady Ship.”
“Well, good,” said Pelleas. “Now--big smiles everyone.” He backed away grinning broadly. “Now, you must come with me! We shall see my garden! And drink drinks that fizz! And wear funny hats! We must wear funny hats!”
Nisrioch raised his hand. “Oh, oh! I have a funny hat I’ve been thinking of for some time! It’s a hat, with another hat on top!”
Pelleas nodded. “I am certain such a hat can be made!”
Nisrioch clapped his hands together. “Oh, excellent!” He turned to Morgaine again. “Isn’t great to see Pelleas again?”
“Frankly, I’m still recovering from the fact that I’m going to have let someone who pinched my cheek get away with it,” said Morgaine with a sigh.