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.So I can't just agree when I don't agree.I wish I could lie, it'd be easier and faster."Lyric sighed."We need a solution; I am responsible for both you and myself.What solution can you suggest that will work for us both?""Get rid of your pet.She seems to suffer from the same disease of nobility you do.She will continue to be a problem as long as she travels with us.Besides, you don't need her.I'm more than enough muscle to keep you safe.""Really? Cause last time I checked she saved my life and the life of someone I would have helped, had I the chance." Lyric considered the demoness mulling over the decisions he reached in the car."Here's my plan and your options Acheron.I'm going to Sta Catoe to find this Prophet Man.You may either stay here, bound to the sigil, I will cover you with a concealing song and you will safe.I thought this might cause a problem after what happened in Dacapo and what you told me about amicable separation.Now I think you won't allow that to happen because if I die it's straight to the pit for you.You may also choose to keep me safe by traveling with me and helping me whenever I need help.If you do that, I need your word that she will come to no harm from you.And if she is in danger and you're in a position to help, then you must help her.Or you can teach me enough about the eighth measure right now to enable me to compel you, and then the choice isn't yours at all.""You do need to learn the eighth measure, especially if you're going to be stupid.There aren't any shortcuts though and you'll need a lot of practice to be able to compel me.Here is my counter proposal, I will protect you and help you willingly in your bleeding heart habits.I will help keep your pet alive when she does dumb things.But if it comes down to you or her, she's on her own."Lyric considered this.He didn't like feeling like he was putting his would-be protector in danger.However, she had already proved capable of taking care of herself.He looked over at the pretty mute and she nodded."Ok Acheron, you've got a deal."He sang the release song and immediately Acheron jumped on him.First, she smacked him hard enough to make his ears ring, and then kissed him fiercely.Lyric could not pull himself together enough to respond on any level before she released him."Damn it!" He sputtered."You need to stop that shit!""Sorry Lover, that wasn't part of the deal." Acheron stood next to the stranger and threw her arm over her shoulders.The woman stepped away from her and picked up her backpack, slinging it over her shoulders and marched east without looking at the two of them.Lyric watched her go, admiring her.stop it! He fumed in silent frustration.What the hell is your problem?Acheron grinned."By the way, the name of the girl attached to that perky little ass you're ogling is Cadence."The demoness followed Cadence, making a sweeping gesture along her body that exchanged her leather ensemble for an identical outfit to the woman.Lyric, his face on fire, shook his head and followed, carefully keeping his eyes on the ground.* * *Several hours of slogging through forests and wetlands brought them at last to a remarkable sight.Lyric had visited more than one second sight town in his travels and each was unique.None of them prepared him for this.A bustling town hung suspended from the branches of several enormous cypress trees.Lyric had no idea cypress trees could grow so big.These ancient monarchs of the bayou looked to be thousands of years old, each one easily twenty feet in diameter.Looking up higher in the trees, the Singer could see what looked like dwellings, but the town itself sat thirty feet above the water on an enormous wooden platform.The gargantuan feat of engineering was suspended from the giant cypress by several thick cables that disappeared into the Spanish Moss high overhead.Wide sturdy bridges, Wide enough for a two-lane highway ran around the perimeter of the town, connecting each of the swamp giants, which seemed at least partially hollowed out as Lyric saw horses, wagons and pickup trucks passing in, out and through the trunks.The outer road connected to the town at opposite ends by large bridges.Then several smaller footbridges crisscrossed from town to road to trees to homes and so on.An honest to God town hanging above the water.As they drew closer, they came upon a small ferry that stood ready to carry them across to the Second Sight Town of Sta Catoe."It's five bucks per passenger," said the captain, a bored looking mandragora.Lyric pulled out his wallet but the small imp, upon seeing Acheron, suddenly became positively ebullient."Mistress Acheron, my dark lady, it is a privilege to serve you and your." the little demon looked at Lyric and Cadence, "companions.Please, no charge."First time she's been useful.Lyric thought sourly.I heard that, dickhead.Acheron smacked him in the brain.Lyric winced; surprised that he could be mentally slapped.The trio stepped onto the waiting ferry, as soon as they were on the boat Lyric noticed the oddly convex floor with a familiar looking green and black tessellation.There was no sail, no rudder, and no motor.Lyric was watching to see how the mandragora got the craft moving.The imp moved to the back of the ferry and stamped his foot.A burst of flame shot from his boot and traveled along the vessel floor.The little boat made an odd groaning sound and began moving.Lyric frowned, looking over the bow into the water and made out a massive head just below the surface.They weren't on a small boat, it was a massive turtle! He looked at the ferry captain in disgust who was staring, enraptured, at Acheron.They stopped shortly at a large elevator that would carry them up to the town and disembarked.As the mandragora paused to turn his vessel around Acheron cleared her throat and cocked an eyebrow at him expectantly holding out her hand."Oh thank you, Mistress! Thank you for allowing me to lavish my adoration upon you!" The imp gushed as he pulled a fat wad of cash from his jacket and placed it in her hand.The demoness did not respond, she simply tossed the money to Lyric and turned toward the elevator.Lyric felt a sense of satisfaction at Acheron taking the mandragora's money, but was not happy leaving the turtle in bondage.Singing softly, he sent a gentle tune across the water.Once the ferry reached the halfway point between the shore and the elevator dock, all of the fetters that bound the poor animal, both physical and magical vanished.A resonant grunt sounded from the turtle and it immediately sank beneath the surface and swam away.The tiny demon was left splashing in the bayou to contend with the gators closing in on him.Acheron laughed in delightThe elevator took them to the main loading platform connected to the outside road.The night-lights were just being turned on, and the whole town began to glow different beautiful colors.There were no large streetlights, or floods or spots or anything resembling what you would find in a human city.Instead, hundreds of thousands of tiny lights graced buildings, and trees and even vehicles [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]