Inside the little cottage Ayla and Atrocious shared, three cups of tea were being consumed. “The summoner is an addict and a criminal,” Ariadne explained, regarding her brew with suspicion. “There is a reason why we must always find the summoner before she has her twenty first birthday. Do you know how old this one is?”
“I do not.”
“Thirty one.” Ariadne said. “Practically ancient for a human.”
Wrinkled and bent, Atrocious muttered and made a very rude gesture.
Ayla folded her hands in her lap and regarded Ariadne with a solemn look. “I understand what you are saying,” she said, “but my loyalty is with Atrocious now. Our time together grows shorter by the day.”
“Take her with you,” Ariadne snapped. “This summoner is starting to come to the attention of other entities. If she should fall into the wrong hands, or go too far down the wrong path, the Blood Witch will be the least of anyone’s concerns.”
Ayla looked uncertain. It was Atrocious who decided the matter. She spoke in a frail voice, a whisper of conscience. “What if you had not found me?”
The lovers shared a long look, at the end of which Ayla sighed.
“Very well,” she said. “We will travel to Clitera City and find the summoner.” She cast a wry look at Atrocious. “It is a pity Kira is not here to collect her. She would have been very effective.”
Atrocious nodded solemnly. “Poor Kira.”
“Poor Kira,” Ayla agreed.
“Poor Kira,” Ariadne echoed with a brief roll of her immortal eyes. “Now please, go and collect this summoner before she destroys the world yet again.”