September 27, 2018 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

They take MeaZea inside of the house and let her sit on a red futon. The cushions are laced with gold. Everything about the cottage is both fancy and humble, as though it might once have been the summer get-away for a great lord.

The rabbit sits on the cushions beside MeaZea, close enough that her soft white fur brushes against MeaZea’s scales.

On the other side of the room, the gazelle stands and watches.

And stands.

And watches.

And stands some more, until MeaZea asks, “weren’t you tired? You can’t rest if you aren’t – “

Without a word to either of them, San turns and leaves the room. The rabbit makes a disgruntled sound. “You don’t need to worry. He’s safe. He just has been doing this for a very long time, and he’s set in his ways.”

MeaZea asks, “doing what?”

“Taking people to see the Caretaker.”

“That’s…not what you called him before.”

“He has many names,” says the rabbit, dismissively.

MeaZea reaches out, stroking her fingers over the back of the rabbit’s head. “What’s his true name?”

“I don’t know,” says the rabbit. She leans her head into the touch. “No one does.”

MeaZea asks, instead, “what do you call him?”

“The shadow-walker,” answers the rabbit. And then, as though running down a list, “the caretaker, groundskeeper, planet-master, coin holder. I call him what’s needed, depending on the time. He answers to all of them, and sometimes to even more.”

“What does San call him?”

“Lord,” answers the rabbit, without hesitation. She twitches her nose, eyes trained on the door that San went through. “Lord of the Coins. San has been here for a very long time. Longer than I have. He knows more about the Lord of the Coins than any other creature.”

MeaZea frowns. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“There’s always more than one side to a story,” says the rabbit. “Just as there is more than one side to a coin. Now, rest. No more talk. We leave as soon as San comes back.”

It doesn’t take San long to venture back into the room. He’s chewing on stalks of lavender and golden rod. San asks, “are you sure she doesn’t need to eat?”

“Positive,” answers the rabbit. “She just needs to speak with him. Come now, hurry, our time is running out.”

“She has all the time in the world,” says San, just as he had before they stopped at the house. “And you should know that by now, rabbit.”

The rabbit flattens her ears. She thumps one hind leg, impatient and irate. “Let’s just go, San. We have much to do, and my patience is running out.”

“Now that,” says San, lowering himself for MeaZea to once more clamber onto his back. “Is at least closer to the truth.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author