32. ExplorationSelva went to the helm. Artemis was navigating brilliantly, reading one of his trashy paperback novels."Are we on course, helmsman?""Yes, Captain,""Good"They were searching the planes for treasure, and it looked like they were about to find some.A rival vessel approached. Selva didn't recognize the banner. She pulled out her book of emblems. None of them matched."Hmm, call the crew,"A large blue bell appeared beside them, and rang three times. In a minute, the entire crew assembled.Creatures, machines, spirits, all ready to do the bidding of their captain."We approach a vessel, crew. Let's give 'em Hel,"The other ship approached. They were headed roughly along the same course. Selva gave the order to bring the ship alongside."Attention unidentified vessel. Surrender your goods or pay with your lives. By the charter of Malcriant, you have 5 minutes to negotiate,"There was no reply. The crew prepared to board. The shifting engines readied, and a small sortie went a
28. Light28. LightThere was light now. That was the difference. Before she wandered in the darkness in the hallway. It seemed like ages. Then, the light.As she emerged, the car crash left her mind. She passed out of the cave tunnel into a flowering meadow. She saw some she recognized, and a lot she didn't.She was thinking about all of this, when an old man approached her. He was young, impossibly young, but something about him seemed older than she could ever hope to be.He took her by the hand, and they began to talk. At first she was nervous, but she sensed no deceit or danger from him.They talked about everything, past, future, real, and more real.There was no fantasy or illusion here. It was reality becoming real and more real. She felt like she was going home.
27. Lost and Found27. Lost and FoundRoss had just received a shipment of goods from a fence downtown. Fairy scales, unicorn fur, and some angel tears were in short supply these days, but his contacts were usually good about getting him what he needed to trade, even if prices had gone up a little.Now where did he put that new box of incense? Incense wasn't inherently magical, but smelling the familiar Egyptian musk reminded him of his days as an Egyptian deity. It was a little sad, but it was his past. If you don't know where you came from, how will you get to where you are going?He found it by his altar, and set it to burning. Then he went outside to check on Will and Fen."How's it going, Will?" he asked."Pretty good, sir. Haven't had any customers yet, but I'm sure we will soon," Will said.Surely Will suspected something with the boxes and bags showing up at Ross's shop. THere was also the fact that the meager amount of money that came in through the antiques wasn't