Chapter 7. Magic (Part 4)

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Molly and Mose rummaged through the cabinets of the Gatekeeper's office, struggling to ignore the imposing figure waiting expectantly behind them. At a little over five feet tall, Tyrro's current vessel didn't even match Mose in height, but something about its inhuman eyes and long, twisting horns made practically everyone in Leavenworth uncomfortable. They could eat the meat, but they could hardly stand to be near an occupied guardram, even after generations of exposure.

"You're sure it was this office?" Tyrro asked impatiently. "Not somewhere back over the lightbridge?"

Molly pushed a loose braid uneasily behind her ear. "Yeah, it had to be here," she insisted. "Could be Thrako just imagined it, but it seemed real in his mind. He was thinking that the Wizard had the boots, so he had to get the belt. It felt really important."

Those boots. For the hundredth time, Tyrro chastised himself for letting Pierre leave with them. Both of them. One would probably work just as well as the pair, but he hadn't even kept one. And now he was pinning his hopes on a magic belt that might not even exist. Even if he found it, there was no guarantee it would possess the same power as Adelaide's silver boots. He might still be stuck in the Void for decades and miss the war entirely—assuming his dreams were accurate and there was indeed a war brewing in Ozghard. So far removed from his home, dreams were all Tyrro had to go on these days.

"Molly!" shouted Mose. "This is it! This has to be it, right?" He held up a large belt for his wife to inspect. It was made of thousands of tiny silversteel hoops, all woven together in such a way that the final product resembled the skin of a snake.

Molly stared reverently at the silver belt, drawing her fingers over its smooth surface. "That's the one."

Without comment, Tyrro took the item and began to examine it. The metal hoops were connected so that the belt could be stretched or compressed easily. A thin, smooth chain ran through the center of the thing. It could be pulled to fit the wearer and locked in place with a latch. Tyrro wrapped the silver belt around his waist, then tightened and locked it. "Yes..." he mused. "Yes, I believe this will work."

Mose looked thoroughly pleased with himself, as well as relieved not to have angered the new Gatekeeper. He was anxious to leave. So was Molly, who'd already begun planning out the work to be done back at the tavern before bed.

Tyrro resumed speaking: "I have another task for you two, if you'd be so kind. The people of this city... You're familiar with many of them, I imagine. I need a list of all the young, able-bodied Kansans without much in the way of familial obligations. I have quite a journey ahead of me, quite an undertaking. And I'll need some help."

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