He found Abaddon playing quietly with the yarn dolls which he insisted were “soldiers.”
“So. You’ll be leaving now,” said Abaddon without looking up.
“I have no choice as you well know, Abbey,” he said, squatting beside him.
“Sure,” he said with a shrug and gravel in his throat, still refusing to look up. “He’s your friend. He’s your best friend, and he counts ‘way more ‘n I do!”
Lance went wide eyed at the resentment he heard in Abaddon’s voice. “These days, you’ve gotten to be my friend too, Abbey,” he said, putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder, “but you know as well as I do what’s going to happen to him if I don’t get him out…”
“Well go then!” he said, flinging away Lance’s hand. “But you’re too late!”
“How? Wait a minute! You say I’m too late?”
“If you’re so ready to leave, just go, but someone else rescued your friend James.”
“I said somebody got him out…”
“I don’t know. Some stupid knaves. Boy, is my momma ever goin’ ‘o kill them bad if she catches them. They’d better never get caught.”
“How do I know you’re not making up all this so I’ll not leave?”
“You think I’d lie about something like this?” cried Abaddon with wounded fury.
“Yea. I’m sorry to say so, but from what I’ve seen, if it got you what you wanted, you sure might.”
Abaddon yanked his scrying crystal from his neck, flung it at Lance and dashed out of sight into the lava tube.
Lance glanced at the talisman in his hands. “He was scrying the very moment I walked in!” he gasped, riveting his gaze back upon it. “Fates! Is that James? It is! He looks like a bearded ghost. And I don’t know a one of those knaves, but each one of ’em looks familiar.” He gave the pendant a thoughtful heft before clenching it tight in his fist as he sprang to his feet to find Abaddon. “I sure hope my putting it straight to him hasn’t undone everything.”
Lance found Abaddon lying belly down on his bed. “What do you want, stupid?” said Abaddon, looking up suddenly from his scrying crystal. “Didn’t your dumb Fairies ever teach you to knock to announce yourself to your betters when you enter their private quarters?”
“I learnt it as a courtesy for anyone, and I learnt that it wasn’t the only courtesy one could use either…”
“Yea. Like this pie. I could say, ‘Hey Abby, here’s the best pie in the world. Want some?'” He gave a beckoning nod.
“That’s vulgar clumsiness in place of proper respect for royals, but I’ve come to expect as much…”
“Well, better dig in while I’m being rude, so it won’t get cold.”
Abaddon scowled as he took the saucer, but his first delicate whiff of the pie arrested every urge he had in mind until he had wolfed down every bit of it. Lance sat on the bed and waited, looking at the backs of his hands.
“That was pretty good,” said Abaddon, handing back the saucer. “Thanks.”
“Why, you’re welcome,” he said, stumbling to recover from being completely thrown off by Abaddon’s polite remark. “So, you were scrying when I came in. Did you see anything interesting?”
“Nay, not much. Just James and his idiot knaves on some old road out in the grass.”
“Gollmoor? It’d have to be Gollmoor, but they could be anywhere out on it. Did you watch long enough to see anything else?”
“I didn’t get a chance to because of your clumsy entry.”
“Did you see a river…?”
“I just said I didn’t, stupid.”
Lance studied him for a moment. “Abbey, would you do me a huge favor and scry your dad again, long enough for me to tell where he is?”
“Why? So you can run off and leave me here with your crazy Fairies and Ratman and be where he is?” he said with gravel in his throat. “That’s really stupid, you know. Sooner or later Momma’s going find him and his knaves and they’re all going to die, screaming and kicking. No way she won’t do it, either. And if you’re with them, she’ll really kill you, ’cause you’re his friend and my kidnapper. She’ll figure out ways to kill you for an extra, extra long time.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt that for one moment, Abbey. That’s why I need your help, and that’s why your father needs it, too.”
“You and James need me?” he said, suddenly free of his sullen demeanor.
“Way more than you might imagine. Only you can save us from being killed by your mother and Demonica.”
Abaddon went altogether wide eyed. “Lance my magic is still little,” he said. “It’s not nearly big enough to stop my momma or Nana Demonica. They’d kill me, too!”
“Oh no Abbey. I’d never put you in that kind of danger. All I need is for you to scry your father again so I can figure out just where he is. I think I know of a way to protect him, if I can get to him quickly enough.”
Abaddon took on a sullen look at once.
“Look Abbey, you really wouldn’t think much of me if I let a good friend of mine die when I might’ve been able to save him, would you?”
Abaddon picked at a piece of lint on his bedspread, his mouth set tightly.
“So could you?” said Lance, carefully.
“Maybe,” he said, looking up from his piece of lint. “But you can’t leave me here with the old Fairies. You’re going to need me along with my crystal. You don’t think James and his knaves are going to just stay in one spot and wait for you to get there, do you?”
Lance drew a breath to speak but let it out. “Hmm…”
Abaddon’s eyes lit up. “Then you’ll do it?” he said with an excited bounce on the bed. “You’ll take me with you?”
Lance nodded slowly, stunned at himself for agreeing to Abaddon’s ruse. “Well then,” he said softly, “let’s look at your crystal.”
Abaddon already had it out, staring at the shapes of James and his companions appearing amongst its swirling colors.
Ch. 26, The Burgeoning
Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps