Eugene hauled the tavern master up by his lapels. "It's not too late," he said. Part of him believed he'd never seen Mack so broken except that felt false. There was something eerily familiar about the hollow expression in the man's eyes that rang all his inner alarms.
"Mack! Snap out of it or I will bloody bite you!"
The absurdity of the threat made the man shake his head. His vacant gaze slowly came into focus. "He's there. Jacob's at the heart."
Not good, but the universe wasn't cracking apart at the seams yet. "Can he get to it?"
Mack went silent, his eyes tracking something beyond Eugene's senses. "No, not yet, he needs--" He cut his words off, his gaze shifting to Calponia kneeling beside the fallen Eleni.
"Like hell," Eugene muttered. His body hummed with anger at the very thought, an answering darkness curling in the pit of his stomach. The vial of blood hung around his neck, curiously warm; blood that no longer burned him. That was a troubling development, though he couldn't deny it was a welcome one. He shoved the mystery aside. There were other priorities, such as preventing that idiot Henderson from destroying reality. His grip tightened, nearly lifting the tavern master off his feet.
"What do we need, Mack? How do we stop him?"
"I--I--Hume, we need to get to Hume." Mack closed his eyes, that cool confidence slowly reasserting itself. "Stop rumpling my coat, vampire."
Eugene bit back on a sigh of relief. "Stop acting like a helpless nancy then," he said, releasing the man's lapels. Mack scowled, sobering quickly as his gaze shifted to Eleni's body.
"There are wounded and fallen here," he said, glancing up at the smoking ruin of Infra. "Untold damage to the city."
Ravelock rested a hand on the tavern master's shoulder. "Which I will attend to."
Calponia looked up at that, tears on her face. Eugene's fist curled tight. His desire to shred Henderson intensified to a yawning ache.
"We can't just leave. What if there are more Krakens? What if--"
"Priorities, lass," said Ravelock, with a sad smile. "The Edgewise needs help and I'll want a drink after dealing with this mess. My crew and I can handle things on this end."
Mack still hesitated, staring at Eleni's still form.
"Mourn her, honor her, but don't muck up now," said the Captain. "I can't settle my tab if there is no bar to return to."
The tavern master nodded, gently pulling Calponia to her feet. He eyed Eugene. "Coming?"
As if he would leave her side now? Eugene raised a brow. "He said they've got this."
Mack nodded. He lifted a hand, etching a glowing doorway on the air. Calponia moved back a step and slipped her hand into Eugene's. He glanced down at her, wishing he had the right words to comfort her, but he was terribly inept with grief.
YOU ARE READING
***Winner of the Wattys 2016 for Hidden Gems*** The Edgewise exists everywhere and nowhere. A sanctuary to all realms, should you find the door. Managed by one Macklemore Edgewise, proprietor, guardian of the between places, and barman of mystery...