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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

What Friends Are For

“You want me to leave with the team before Vickie can get here?” Khyrisse squinted at Amatsu in confusion. “I thought you two were her friends.”

“We are,” said Garal.

“That is why we have come to you,” said Amatsu. “You are aware that Miss Dare is host to the ancestral spirit of the Monkey King?” Khyrisse nodded. “In Shikintu, the legends say that the infallible luck of the Monkey King comes from his perfect innocence. If he should ever come to understand that his way is charmed, he would lose it. There would be nothing then to protect him from the retribution of the fates.”

“So if Vickie went to the Hotel with us, it could be dangerous to the Monkey King?”

“It could be dangerous to Vickie,” Amatsu said. “Western ancestor spirits inhabit only mortals who have both the proper birthdate and the proper temperament. Perhaps you have noticed that Miss Dare seems to live a preternaturally lucky life?”

Khyrisse’s brow wrinkled. “I guess I thought she was just being a munchkin,” she admitted.

“I suspect it is her nature. If I am correct, then being brought face to face with it would destroy it forever. I do not know if this Hotel could affect the Monkey King himself, but it could cause Vickie to lose the strength she has built her life on. As her friend, I cannot allow this to happen.”

Khyrisse looked at Flicker, who nodded. “Well,” she said, “if the others are ready to leave too...”

“They are,” said Garal.

“Then what the flark. I wasn’t going to be getting much sleep tonight anyway. How are we supposed to explain this to Vickie without screwing her up the same way?”

“This one requests permission to stay behind and handle that part.”

“You don’t need my permission, Amatsu.” The sorceress raked her fingers through her hair. “I appreciate you telling me about this. The fewer disasters in our path tomorrow the better. Let me go suit up and leave my instructions with Lora. You three spread the word... we meet at the Rat Trap at eight.”

“Vickie Dare will not thank you for this, but in her behalf... I do.” Amatsu bowed.

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