William and Ami borrowed the house outside Everfier for their wedding. They’d initially been hesitant about being in the Overcurrent for it, but their desire to have Rick and his family there was strong enough to outweigh their concerns. The house was secluded enough to give them privacy, but still close enough to a major city to make traveling easier. Easier for Ami’s parents, too, who Risa and Zane escorted there from the Mid-grounds.
The other benefit of having the ceremony outside of a city was that there would be fewer people to pick up on the fact that the Dragon Lord was attending. Risa wasn’t sure if he’d been invited because Ami and William felt obligated to or because they actually wanted to thank him for all the help. Maybe both.
“Do you think he’s alright?” Aubrey asked.
“I doubt she’ll kill him,” Zane answered. “Angry as she is, she must still realize the benefit of having a relative in such an important position.”
“Maybe,” Aubrey responded.
“You don’t think so?” The demon asked.
Risa shifted back into human form after landing in the field near the Reinvale gates. She stretched an arm overhead, gripping one wrist with her other hand, then switched arms. Maybe that would keep it from being obvious that she was eyeing her uncle’s graceful “shifting while landing” move. Why was he so stupidly good at not falling on his face?
She heard a chuckle from her right and turned to glare at the dragon that had retaken human form. Zephyr smiled at her, then turned his smile past her to Nico. “Phoenixes are always so graceful.”
“Ok, remember, don’t say anything unless someone directly speaks to you,” Risa paused, considering. “Even then, let me do most of the talking, please.”
Chrys pouted and crossed her arms. “I was the one sent here to officially tell those stuffy Fey pricks about that old fart kicking the bucket.”
Risa pointed at her friend’s mouth. “And that is exactly why we’re going to consider your part of the mission accomplished now that you’ve told me and I am going to be the one to deliver it to the Fey Council.”
“I still can’t believe you said that last night,” Risa said, once again fighting off laughter.
“It wasn’t as amusing as you’re making it out to be,” the dragon replied. He was pouting and had his arms crossed. The posture just made her laugh more. He frowned. “Besides, I should be the one saying that to you.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me.” She covered her face with her hands and groaned. “Past Risa was such a dick.”
Even without Cirrus leading the way, Risa would have had an easy time finding Nico. First, because the more time she spent with Nico, the easier it got for her to pick out his particular soul from the rest of the information the city threw at her senses. Second, because when they got onto the street where the tavern was, the crowd gathered outside of it left her with no question that they were in the right place, despite the fact that the tavern where Nico was staying was on the other side of the city.
Said crowd of onlookers from various Fey species (and also some curious wild animals) looked when they felt her approaching. Cirrus fell back to let her take the lead, which turned out to be the best plan since the crowd parted for her without her having to ask. It was getting fairly well known now that the Angels, in general, were in contact with the phoenixes and that, more specifically, she was connected with this one particular phoenix.
The double doors of Zephyr’s study opened before the three of them even got close enough to knock. Pitt waited in the doorway for them, forcing them to stop once they were close enough. He looked each of them over in turn, pausing the longest on Risa. He’d gotten a lot more comfortable with her being around Zephyr the more time they spent together, but still never quite seemed happy to see her. At most, grudgingly neutral. He stepped aside and beckoned for them to enter.
Amaryllis smiled at him and gave a small curtsy before squeezing past. Alistair glanced back at his sister, seemingly uncertain. He’d had the same reaction upon seeing the bodyguard yesterday, too. They’d met before, during the trial, and Alistair hadn’t reacted like this then. Her theory was that it was him being in unfamiliar territory that made him feel nervous. In the Overcurrent, he understood his role and knew how to interact with others while filling it. Here, he wasn’t totally confident. He’d never spent all that much time around other Fey in their youth.
Risa put a hand on his back and pushed to get him to go in. She saluted Pitt with her other hand. “Hey bro. Nice party downstairs.”
“This is so boring,” Risa said with a whine. She leaned back as far as she could while sitting on the railing of one of those windows in the dining hall of the Fey Council building. It must have been too far back for her brother’s liking, because she felt his hand on her arm. Which was silly. She could just shift and fly if she fell.
“I did tell you to take your time getting here,” said a voice from off to her left.
She sat upright again to look at the dragon standing there. And the fox-eared woman next to him. “Oh, hey, when did you guys get here?”
(Note: Replacement modem should be in soon. Yay for public wifi hotspots in the meantime!)
As far as Risa was concerned, the one thing that William’s dad was absolutely awesome at was mimicking a puffer fish with his face. His cheeks just rounded out so much on either side of his frown when he was attempting to choke back a rant about Fey and, more specifically, demons. She couldn’t tell if holding it in was for his son’s benefit or to keep himself from getting killed. Evidence highly suggested it was the latter. When she’d encountered him alone in Everfier, he hadn’t held back. She was pretty sure that he lectured William when she wasn’t around. Without fail, though, every time he had to be in the same room as Zane, the puffer fish face came out.
The first time she’d seen puffer!Eric, it had been towards the end of their adventures while she was regaining her memories. He’d been vocal about her being dangerous until someone had very obviously tried to change the subject while looking at Zane (who was actually not at all showing any signs of aggression at the time). Puffer face had come out after that. And continued to come out during subsequent encounters.
Risa leaned back to look at the sky from her seat on the edge of the fountain. It was at the point in the day where it was rapidly getting dark. Not that that really mattered since they were in Las Vegas and the artificial lighting would kick into overdrive to encourage people to stay awake and spend money. Or whatever one normally did in Vegas when they weren’t trying to recruit another Fey into their growing network of underlings.
So far she was up to three: Vesper, a second dragon in Seattle, and the Sea Serpent in Los Angeles. There were other Fey living in those metro areas, but Crow had only given her information on one individual in each city whose residency contract was up for negotiation. She wasn’t sure if that was because they were the only ones needing contract renewals or Crow was being careful not to give her too much information. She wasn’t about to push the issue when she felt lucky to have gotten any information at all after the vicious glare and icy “We’ll be in touch” Crow left her with that day at the café.