Thor hesitated outside the door, frowning, and I paused with him. Bragi was herding the zombies toward the stairwell and their suite, and Baldur was carried along with them, his shining face lined with exasperation and worn patience.Klikk for the second half of Episode VIII!
“Shouldn’t we follow?” I asked him.
“And leave that vampire without escort? To say nothing of Ms. Hayson, who is bound to lose herself trying to find her friends.” Thor’s eyes narrowed as he watched his brothers. “Bragi was meant to fetch Idunn, not show the zombies to their quarters.”
I snorted. “Sending him for Idunn was a little bit much, don’t you think?”
Thor was still scowling after his brother, but his head turned slowly toward the office door. “Did you not think it odd how the vampire attached herself to Bragi’s side, rather than expressing concern for her zombie boyfriend’s feelings upon the failure of Mia’s heart?”
“Um?” I blinked, thinking back. Mia had been watching them, too, but it hadn’t occurred to me to think it was strange. I’d been too worried about her – and about the truth slipping out. Honestly, I still had some concerns in that regard, but now that Thor had mentioned it… “You think Bragi is conspiring?”
“I think there is something very wrong with all of this,” Thor said. “And not only because I dislike the notion of Mia’s zombies taking up residence in the embassy with all their glitter, for your sake even more than mine. Vampires are, by and large, most fastidious. I find it very hard to believe one would find pleasure in the company of a zombie, most particularly one of Mia’s, possessing so much drool and filth.”
“But what could Bragi gain from any of this?” One thing I’d learned a long time ago was that thunder gods weren’t unduly paranoid. If Thor had suspicions about his brother, well, I’d never really cared all that much for Bragi to begin with. Stupid god of poetry. Stupid kennings. Thorsvif, indeed! “You don’t think he’s looking for some kind of story to turn into an epic? I mean, he wouldn’t try to manufacture something would he?”
Thor’s hand stalled on the doorknob and he stared at me with hazing eyes, his mouth a thin line of what I could only describe as doom. My stomach sank and twisted with dismay. Because if Bragi were looking for a story – looking to start some kind of trouble between the gods, I was the easiest target by far. Thor and I both were. All it would take was the wrong thing getting back to Sif, true or not. And there was just enough truth to make swearing things out before Baldur awfully difficult if we had to defend ourselves.
Something thumped hard against the door, jerking us both from unpleasant thoughts, and I could have sworn I heard Mia smother some kind of shout.
“You see?” Thor growled, throwing open the door. “Did I not warn them that allowing these people to guest would not cause trouble?”
But I was distracted by Mia, blood streaming from her nose, which she pinched delicately as she threw herself over Baldur’s desk. Adler was hissing, diving across the room to reach her with fingers formed like claws. For all I knew, they were claws. I sighed. Nothing about the scene was at all promising for the charges still pending against me. Bragi hadn’t even drawn up Adler’s receipt yet, I was sure, if he’d ever meant to at all…
Thor caught the offending Vampire by the back of the neck, holding her as far from his body and mine as his arm allowed, his eyes blazing white. “What is the meaning of this?”
Mia’s head popped up from the other side of the desk, relief written in her wide eyes. “Dor! Amaliadz! Die can eggsplaind!”
“You will not,” Thor said at once. “Not until you have stopped bleeding. And how you could be so careless as to allow yourself a nosebleed while in private audience with a vampire I will never –”
He glowered at my interruption, then followed my gaze to Adler. Unless I was very much mistaken, Mia’s blood was all over her. Just where it might be if Mia had attempted a head-butt in order to escape and broken her nose in the process.
Thunder rumbled outside and there was the faint odor of burning hair as Thor tightened his grip on Adler. She hissed, clawing at Thor’s arm and hand, kicking out with wickedly sharp heels, but Thor was unmoved. A mountain of fury and barely restrained violence.
“As long as Ms. Hayson and her zombies are guests of this embassy, their welfare falls under my purview,” he said, his voice low and hard. “For your sake, Vampiress, I do hope Ms. Hayson was not fleeing for her life, or I fear it will go very poorly for you, ill-fated zombie love affair or not.”
Need to catch up? Thor in Zombie Land page o' links!