Once again, this week's episode begins with Ms. Hayson and her Zombies (uh, and Adler, that most troublesome Vampire!), and therefore, upon her fabulous blog as well. What you need to know: Everything the Zombies hope for depends upon Adler's agreement to drop all Vampire charges against Amaliaz and the Asgardian Embassy!
“Done!” I said, the moment Adler agreed. On Asgardian soil, a verbal agreement was binding – even after death, depending on the oath – and breaking said agreements usually meant swords drawn and blood spilled, or tremendous amounts of gold paid to the person betrayed. “Baldur, Mia, and Adam, you three are my witnesses. If Adler breaks her word, she forfeits all rights to safe conduct and visitation. Trust me when I say Thor will start swinging his hammer in, shall we say, an aggressive manner, post haste. So I’d suggest you all clear out if it comes to that.”
“Absolutely!” Mia clapped her hands, smiling relief. “Absolutely, of course!”
“Bragi, write a receipt for Ms. Adler, since she has requested it, outlining the law regarding verbal agreements,” Baldur added. He wasn’t the kind of god who wasted time, and the sooner this was smoothed over the better it was for everyone.
“If you think for one moment this means you will be permitted free access to the entirety of the embassy, you are sorely mistaken,” Thor growled, his eyes burning white. Though who he was growling at, I wasn’t entirely sure.
Not me, at least. For now. I had no doubt that would change the minute our audience scattered.
“You,” he said with a chin jerk at Adler, “will be escorted at all times, but for those moments you spend in the privacy of Tyler’s room.”
It was, frankly, more generous than I’d expected. But Thor did have a soft spot for cross-cultural romances. He had two sons by a frost giantess, and then there had been… well. I definitely didn’t count, anyway.
“You,” he stabbed a finger at the zombies clustered around Mia, “will remain in your suite unless you are escorted elsewhere. There will be no feathers, no paper clips, and absolutely no glitter permitted outside of them. In addition, you will refrain from slobbering on arms, armor, or Baldur, I do not care how brightly he shines or how great the temptation.”
“Er.” Mia’s relief dimmed slightly, and she inched toward the zombie still gnawing on a sword in the corner. “The slobbering. Right. I mean, we will do our best, of course, but I cannot exactly make that as a complete promise, what with things being what they are. I’m sure you understand! Zombies are wild creatures of the undead and like thunder gods, sometimes there is just no reasoning…”
Baldur and I both winced as thunder shook the building. Bragi snorted with what was, I was sure, laughter at Thor’s expense. I wanted to beat his head against a wall.
“The Unreasonable Lord of Goats and Thralls,” he said. “Defender of Grave Sleepers and Glitter, Thundering Friend to Zombies.”
Black clouds were forming inside the building, clustering over Bragi’s head. I stepped back, pulling Tyler and by association, Adler, with me. After years of hanging around with a thunder god, I knew the signs of a throwdown when I saw them, and Bragi was about to get a thunderbolt to the brain. Experience had taught me it was better not to stand too close when lightning bolts came into play. Thunder gods are not exactly known for their precision.
“Even better,” Bragi was saying, his eyes bright with the kennings Mia’s comparison had inspired, “perhaps you should be known as The One who Longs for Zombie-Friends in his Heart.”
“Um. Guys. Maybe we should…” I tilted my head toward the door, gently trying to herd Mia and the zombies in the direction of the exit. “Just you know, to be safe.”
“Bragi,” Baldur warned, glancing anxiously at the rest of us, bunched too near to conductive metals. “Now is perhaps not the best time…”
“Corpse-Coddler, The One who Shares Reason with the Glitter Lovers!” Bragi called out, choking on his own laughter. “Sif will find that most amusing, I am sure.”
That was when the lightning struck, and Bragi dropped, scorched and twitching to the floor.
Unfortunately, so did the zombie who hadn’t quit slobbering on the swords, and Mia, who had been trying to pull him free while Thor was distracted elsewhere.
In that moment, I had x-ray vision, my gaze zeroed in on Mia’s pulse, as I watched it flutter with fits and starts beneath the glittered skin of her throat. She had obviously not had a chance to shower in some time, judging by the smudges of glue, and I knew with absolute certainty that if her heart stopped, none of us were leaving this room without scars.
“Thor,” I called, and he was beside me, his attention caught at once by the break in my voice. “Thor, Mia!”
I scattered the zombies, throwing them out of the way with a burst of adrenaline and terror. And then I dropped to my knees at her side and met Thor’s wide eyes.
“CLEAR.” I shouted. “CLEAR!”
Tune in next Friday for Episode VII!