Chapter Fifteen, New Friends

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"Well, not as often as he speaks of one Gemini," Peter said, straightening himself again, "But he did mention that your eyes are the loveliest shade of grey."

Rachel rolled her own eyes.

"All of our eyes are grey, Petes. It's Guardian group fashion."

"Please excuse the strange blonde girl in black," Peter said, continuing his ruse. "Could I interest you in a diamond, a diamond ring perhaps?"

Peter uncurled his hand dramatically and Bennie saw a good sized rock in his palm shape itself into a flat band: literally a diamond ring.

"Peter manipulates diamond," Rachel and Sean both said in unison.

"A fact he enjoys using to pretend he's God's gift to women," the lady centaur said, trotting over.

"He seems to have it down to an art form," Bennie responded, crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow at Peter. He closed his fist around the diamond and pocketed it.

"No," he said, acting normal again. "Having it down to an art form would require removing these pests from the scene." He grinned as he gestured at his comrades. "Nice to meet you either way."

"You too," Bennie said, shaking his hand. "I like diamonds but I don't want to take from your supply."

Peter's smile grew. "Wise," he said. "I get my supply from the dwarves and they're particular about me not losing them too easily. I can make them change shape, size, density, even substance in some cases. I simply rearrange the molecular structure to do that. The drawback is once it's no longer a diamond I can't control it, so I can't change it back. So I avoid doing that."

"The dwarves would have my haunches if I let him waste their stones," the lady centaur said. "His ability is usually only found in their kind, and it's still a rare gift."

"Having a skill that usually belongs within the racial boundaries of the dwarves does lead me to the conclusion I had a dwarf ancestor or two," Peter said. "That would explain why I'm short."

"You're not short," Bennie said, sizing up Peter's frame. He wasn't as tall as Sean but he was at least five foot six. She was a little less than eye-level with him.

"Yes I am," Peter said sheepishly, "But anyway, you haven't been introduced to Jinx, real name Erlina—"

"Who's the REAL short one here," said the petite elf. Up close she looked to be in her early twenties by human years, but was probably a lot older. Unlike Gemini, who glowed with glorious beauty from both halves of her heritage, Erlina caught your attention by being a flicker in the corner of your eye. She was small with a mischievous face and short, black hair. She was about three inches shorter than Rachel, at shoulder height to Peter. She moved as nimbly and swiftly as a cat.

"Everyone on my mother's side of the family is small," she said, pushing her fringe of dark hair out of her eyes. "Just genetics it seems. It can come in handy though. Oh, I tend to go by Jinx because Erlina is a very common name in my family, but you can call me either."

"I like Jinx, and it's nice to meet you as well," Bennie said.

"You can call me Karla, or Fleta if you prefer Night Names," the lady centaur said. "As for Jinx, don't be fooled by her fun-loving air," she smiled. "She's the biggest fan of no-nonsense training I've ever met."

"Is that a compliment?" Jinx's eyebrows shot up and her lips quirked into an almost threatening, yet obviously amused semi-pucker.

"Yes," Peter said, "But they did have to assign me with you to give you a bit of a sense of humor."

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