An Excerpt From The Scale Tips Dark (Book 2 of Trials of a Demon Prince)

“Albany, actually, but the two are like twenty minutes apart. Double reason to stay away,” he muttered. “Ronni bought the tickets, though, and Azzie wasn’t there…at the counter, I mean. They must be together voluntarily. So what gives? Going north had to be her idea.”
“Doesn’t mean she hasn’t somehow forced Azzie into obedience,” Reyneart argued.
“Of course it does.” Moon rolled her eyes in exasperation at the knight. “If she were holding him prisoner, she’d hardly leave him untended while she purchased tickets. She’d want to keep him in sight.” She turned back to Frank. “What now?”
“Go after them,” Reyneart roared, startling both of them. He whipped out his sword and began to brandish it wildly. Frank ducked, although he was no longer in a panic. The knight’s antics were becoming commonplace; Frank was getting used to these outbursts, and the sword held less fear for him. “My place is at my master’s side and now he’s roaming Terra unprotected.”
“Why the Capital District?” Frank groaned. “I can’t go back. I’ve come too far. I left that shit behind. To show up…I don’t know if I can.”
“Take me there.” Reyneart sheathed his sword again and grabbed Frank by the front of his undershirt, yanking him to his feet. “We must go. We must leave immediately. I know not what this ‘train’ is but it cannot be faster than a good steed. Where are your stables?”
Despite Reyneart’s bluster, Frank burst out laughing. “Steed?” The knight, disconcerted by his reaction, released him. “Stables? Jesus, right next to the ballroom! Didn’t you see them? All right, we’ll go, if only to get my hands on Ronni. No train, though. I’ll drive. My ‘steed’ happens to be a ’75 Nova, and yea, normally I could beat the train. It’s gonna take a lot longer in this weather, though, so you’d better just keep your pants on.”
What the hell am I doing? Did I just say what I think I said?
A three hour car ride. Four or five, if the Thruways’ crap. Okay, the weekend before Christmas, make that seven hours, with a lunatic knight. What the hell are you thinking, Rhoades? Are you begging for a nervous collapse?
Damn that little wire that connects my mouth to my brain. It’s always on the fritz.
“What about me? Do I go?”
Yipes. Guess I really said it. Words, jump back down my throat, please.
Frank looked into her soft onyx eyes and groaned in sincere regret. He reached out, lovingly stroked her thick black curls.
*Believe me, sweetheart, I wish it were the two of us.* Aloud, he said, “Someone needs to stay for a couple of reasons. Azzie or Ronni, or both, might return. Sun will probably be back, too, maybe with important news. With your abilities, you can relay the news to us. You can span three hundred psychic miles, right?”
“To you, yes.”
“Cool. You can deliver any updates. You can also protect the apartment against…intrusion. Meanwhile, if we run into something, I’ve got Reyneart’s brawn behind me.” Frank gave the knight a warning look. “You’d better back me up. Unless you swing that sword around for show.”
The knight stuck his lower lip out in a mock pout. “You don’t trust me? I’m truly hurt.” In seriousness he added, “The plan has merit, Lady.”
*Honestly, hon, think it over. Leave Reyneart alone in the apartment for a couple days, maybe a week? We’d have nothing to come home to. What if he puts the toaster in the microwave?*
“You’ll have no magic.” She wasn’t giving in easily. “And how will you find him, once you’re there?”
“Against a higher-ranking demon such as a Prince, your magic is worthless. I am experienced in their ways, and having lived in Hell for years, I have some immunity to their attacks. This is the wisest choice.”
Frank couldn’t help but preen at the knight’s approval. “I may not find him, but I can find Ronni. Before we go, I’ll call Visa and have them track any activity on my card. You’ll have something else to do; if they call to say the card’s been used, you can relay it to me. I’ll throw some clothes together. We need outfits for you, Rey. You can’t be seen in armor. Better ditch the sword, too.”
“What? Why? I’ll peace-bond it.”
“We haven’t used armor or swords here in centuries,” Frank explained. “You’ll get nailed on a concealed weapons charge, and that’s if you’re lucky.”
“What shall I fight with, if not my sword?”
Moon crossed her arms, unable to hide the smirk on her face. “Why not use the dozen or so knives you have tucked away on your person?”
Frank’s jaw dropped open. Reyneart merely grinned. He reached down and drew a slender dagger from one boot. “Would you look at that? I wonder how that got there. Oh, and here’s another. You’re right, Francis. Best furnish me another set of clothes. Preferably loose-fitting.”
Wondering just was exactly he’d gotten himself into, Frank shuffled into the bedroom to begin packing.
Another holiday down the toilet.

Published by azbaelus

Local artist, author, slacker, gamer!

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