Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-four
After Fate’s magic wore off and I exhausted myself, I found a spot to rest and sat watching Regis for the longest time. The glow around him shook from time to time. I tried reading him, but found that I can’t really read people when they’re unconscious.
So I waited in the snow. And waited. And fidgeted. And finally couldn’t resist playing with his still, malleable looking face. I pinched his cheeks, stretched them out as far as they would go, nudged his nose every-which way, and decorated his eyes with some berry juice.
Satisfied, I licked the remains of berry off my fingers. “Take that.”
He still didn’t wake up. I threw my hands in the air. “Oh, come on, Fate. What’d you do? Put him in an eternal sleep? Or maybe he just sleeps that heavily. Whadd’ya say, Regis?”
I moved his lips with my fingers and mimicked his low voice. “ ‘You’re a pest.’ Aw, thanks! ‘Go away.’ Nope. You threatened my family, and I’m gonna make sure you do what you’re supposed to do. Because I’m mature.”
Regis’ lips moved on their own. “Why are you mocking yourself?”
I sat back primly, acting as if nothing had happened. “Because I was mocking you.”
Regis blinked and looked around. I grinned and crossed my arms. “Surprised I was able to carry you all that way?”
He genuinely didn’t remember. It showed in his eyes. I wilted a bit. “I didn’t think I hit you that hard.”
“You hit me?” Regis frowned and leaned forward. To my surprise, he leaned forward and took both my hands. “What did you break?”
“I didn’t break…” I just stared at him. He was joking. A smile shone in his eyes, and he was joking. “Okay, I’m worried.”
Regis made an obvious effort to shove his mirth down and stood. He noticed the pack I’d brought and began rifling through it. “Where’s my amulet?”
“It’s been gone for a little while.”
“There’s a town about three miles out. I’ll get another one there.”
I stared at him. “How do you know where we are?”
Regis hefted the pack. “How do you know where you live?”
“Finally.” His voice dropped back to something of its normal grumpiness. “Speechless. That’ll last an hour, maybe.” He walked off. Towards the wildlands and Fate’s castle.
“I think I need an explanation.” I scurried ahead of him, then turned and walked backwards. There was one word obvious in his eyes. I made a face. “ ‘Latte’?”
Regis nodded. “The town has a spectacular coffee house.” A shadow settled in his face. “About the only good thing that’s happened so far,” he muttered.
I clapped. “There’s the familiar Regis. What else has happened to you? Besides me, of course.”
“Fate. She sent Destiny after me. I’ve been avoiding her for some time.”
“Oh, and you thought you lost her? Heh, you can’t avoid Destiny any more than Fate.”
“I’m finding that out.”
And he was. His hand gone, his amulet lost, and Peter. How could he have missed that?
“What happened with you and Peter?”
Regis glanced at the little elf walking alongside him. Her head was tilted up, and her hands laced behind her back. She was reading him. He purposely let his thoughts drift so she couldn’t pick anything up. In answer to her question, he grunted.
“That’s not very helpful.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.” Regis flinched inwardly at the disappointment that flitted across her face. It was as bad as a begging puppy. He sighed. “We raised ourselves, traveled from town to town. Peter started stealing and almost got caught, so we ran.”
“He said something about leaving him,” Cloudwillow prompted.
“The enforcers of a fringe group caught us. They wanted what Peter had stolen. He didn’t want to let it go. Last I saw, he was stabbed, bruised, and thrown off a cliff.”
Cloudwillow nodded slowly. “I can see why you’d think he was dead. What about threatening my family?” She glared at him with sudden ferocity.
Regis shook his head. “That wasn’t me. That was Peter.” He held his hand up before Cloudwillow could say anything. “We’re both beacons. We can control each other. I believe in ghosts, and I was afraid that Peter’s would try to do something. My amulet kept him from doing anything.”
“Oooooooh.” Cloudwillow skipped over tangled roots. “Guess that makes sense.” After a moment, she added, “Sorry.”
Regis nodded in acceptance. There was a tension in the air that told him the elf thought he would keep talking. He didn’t.
Cloudwillow gave an exasperated sigh. “Soooo,” she said pointedly, “why are you willing to go to Fate now?”
“If I can’t run from her, I may as well fight her.” Regis picked up his pace and tried to keep his thoughts vague.
“And the lattes don’t hurt either, right?” Cloudwillow giggled. “I can’t believe you. Willing to face the ruling force of our world, and stop running, for a latte.”
Regis couldn’t keep his face from twitching. “Their motto is, ‘So strong it’ll turn you into a hero.’”
Cloudwillow snorted. “Seriously?”
Regis didn’t answer, just kept walking. He sped up his pace. The lattes were good enough to lay siege to Fate's castle.
Cloudwillow laughed. "If they're so good that you smile like that just thinking about them, I have to try them."
Regis hadn't meant for the thought to be that obvious. He grunted and covered it up with angst. He had plenty of that.