Crystal has the sort of laugh a guy can get lost in, even when she’s laughing at him. Normally, I’d have been embarrassed but at the moment, I was just glad she wasn’t mad any longer. I chuckled myself.
My inclination was to settle the matter right then and there. On the one hand, we were under a starry sky on a bright moonlit night. On the other, we were on a dirty rooftop. I will never understand what people think is so great about rooftops – they’re nasty. All the tar, mechanicals, bird poop, and every bit of conceivable trash that you find up here – this is not my idea of romantic. I may not be Romeo but I’ve got enough style to pick someplace nicer than a filthy rooftop to romance a girl.
I got to my feet, “We have to get back to your…”
We both sensed it a split second before Tresmayne dropped to the roof from the next building. He was carrying the smaller werewolf in his mouth. Werewolves don’t seem to come in ‘small’ and seeing them together made me realize just how freaking huge Tresmayne is.
Evidently, his concealment can hide anything he has hold of because we hadn’t sensed the smaller one until the last second, either. I promised myself silently to remember that tidbit. That could a useful trick and it could also be used against us. That concerned me more.
“It’s alive.” Crystal commented blandly.
I nodded. I was beginning to get used to having conversations about werewolves but her nonchalance was pushing the point.
Tresmayne let go of his prey and it fell to the ground. “As you wished, Master Jack.”
I hadn’t begun to figure out all the different types of these things let alone gotten to where I could recognize them, “Thanks. What kind is that?”
“Pseudo-traditional. A young one, not very powerful at all.” Tresmayne answered me.
“Can they talk?”
Crystal shook her head, “Not when they’re young. Some of the elder ones can but most can’t.”
“I can translate, Master Jack.” Tresmayne offered.
“Good, thanks. Ask it who sent it.”
Tresmayne merely looked at it and growled.
The smaller wolf growled back.
Tresmayne growled louder. The air rumbled from the force.
It had the desired effect. The smaller werewolf rolled onto its back, surrendering like a dog. It made a lot of dog-like noises.
“He does not know his master’s true name. He has standing orders to attend his master every time he converts. He does not know if his human side knows his master’s name, either.”
“How does he find this guy?” I asked.
The smaller werewolf made more noises without any prompting from Tresmayne.
“It understands me?” I asked.
Tresmayne nodded, “He says if there is no scent, he has orders to go to a certain place and seek his master from there. He will show me if you so command.”
“If I… did he say that?”
Tresmayne nodded, “Yes, Master Jack.”
“He needs a new master.” Crystal explained. “You’re asking him to betray the other one. Which means it can’t be the Huntmaster!”
Tresmayne nodded, “Very astute, Mistress Crystal. The Huntmaster could not be betrayed. It must be someone of lesser stature.”
“And he thinks I can do that?”
Tresmayne cocked his head and looked at me, “What? Oh, I see. No, Master Jack. He merely intends to trade loyalties. He knows nothing of your ability.”
Tresmayne nodded, “Yes, Master Jack. It does not translate well into human words, but he clearly meant a change of loyalty and not being subdued by power.”
“Good.” I didn’t need that bit of info getting around, especially since I didn’t know myself what it might mean. “Can… er, what do I do with him afterwards?”
Crystal chuckled, “It’s not black or this wouldn’t be so easy. Fairly light gray, I imagine?”
Tresmayne nodded, “Aye, Mistress Crystal. The Mistress will accept him into her pack when we’re done, if that’s Master Jack’s wish.”
The Mistress was welcome to the pet werewolf. I certainly didn’t want it. But I did want the information. “Okay, that works. What do I do?”
“Merely give the order, it is enough.” Tresmayne answered.
I nodded, “Okay, Werewolf, you show Tresmayne where this place is and answer any questions he may have. As long as you obey, he’ll take care of you, got it?”
The danged thing rolled onto its feet and bowed to me. I nodded, trying to take it graciously but feeling like an idiot.
Tresmayne growled and the smaller werewolf took off like a scalded pup, Tresmayne on his little heels. I mentally promised myself I would not name that thing. This was just way too weird even for me.
“Wow, was that your plan?” Crystal asked.
I turned to her sheepishly, “Well, not the getting a new pet part, but I did want to get info from the thing. Guess it worked out okay.”
“I’d have never thought of doing that.” Crystal commented.
“You’re used to killing them. I’m not.” I shrugged, “Anyway, let’s get back. I have to let Tim know it’s safe.”
She nodded, “You’re really good at this.”
I shrugged. I felt really stupid. I knew full well I was playing catch up and it didn’t feel like I was catching up. But I accepted the compliment as graciously as I could as I took her arm and we headed back.
A thousand things I needed to worry about but the only one in my head at the moment was finding a romantic spot for an important chat.