“You’re not thinking of trying to get past Herself, are you?” I ask Jim Throat.
The big guy laughs. He’s strapping his sword on him like a knight, like you don’t see on the Outside anymore except in pictures and parades. “We’re late, and out of options. If you have a better plan, now’s the time to tell me.”
Adrian Keys already has stuff in his pockets, but he’s cramming in more. There’s the Eye he has no idea how to use, and candles and string and maybe a dead mouse. And that gum he’s always chewing.
“I don’t think I can think of a better one,” I admit, “but aren’t I allowed to feel sad that our choices are so few?”
“I don’t like the sound of this,” Eddie Guitar grunts. He’s got stuff in his pockets too, but it isn’t wizard-stuff, no dead mice. It’s pocketknives and wire and bullets. In his hands he has the shotgun. I could tell him that his guns aren’t going to be much use against the denizens of the Mirror Queendom, but I don’t. It’ll be a fun surprise, this way. “You mean Mab, I guess?”
“Close,” I say. I have my fighting sticks, that’s all I need. We’re all wading through a ruined restaurant and bar, picking up our stuff after taking a serious beating from some of the major Fallen. Nothing good ever comes of dealing with those things. “Only much worse.”
“Stop!” says Mike Bass. He’s the big one, and the way he’s shoving candy bars and booze into his pockets, he plans on getting bigger. “Just for once, can’t somebody tell me what’s going on ahead of time?”
Jim Throat nods at me. I guess he’s done speaking, and no wonder, if we’re going to have any stealth in our approach.
“Sure,” I say. “There’s a road Jim here wants to walk. We’re going to have to go into the Mirror Queendom to get to it, and once we’re on it, we’ll have to deal with the guardians. The biggest of the guardians is Herself. Herself is a sort of reptile.”
“Herself is Rahab the dragon,” Adrian Keys says.
“Dragon?” Mike Bass asks. “Like Sleeping Beauty?”
“Like Isaiah,” Eddie Guitar mutters. “Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?”
“Cagado,” Mike says. “That sounds bad.”
“Nah,” Adrian tells him, snapping the chewing gum in his mouth, “it’s optimistic. It’s a dragon who can be wounded. What’s good for the goose, et cetera.”
“That’s right, big fella,” I say to Adrian.
Mike looks at me with that hurt look, so I show him udders. It’s funny to see him go all red in the face and confused.
“No, it ain’t,” says Eddie. He stuffs even more shotgun shells into the pockets of his jacket, which has the sleeves ripped off it. “Rahab was wounded by the Arm of the Lord. Which we ain’t got.”
“Thanks,” Mike mumbles. “That spark of hope I was feeling disoriented me. I needed someone to kill it.”