Kelkathian and Azdekious regrouped back at Junie’s backpack, and braced themselves for Team B. They were the worst of the three, because they looked so benign, and because they weren’t fueled by money or job loyalty, but by some sort of faith Kel didn’t really understand.
“Okay,” Azdekious whispered. “The Harpies are on their way; we just have to keep Junie away from Team B until the wingies get here.”
“Easier said than done,” Kel hissed. “You know she… damn. There they are.”
Standing at the bus stop, walking an entirely-harmless looking dog that the gremlins had already learned to hate, was a completely-innocuous looking old man who would cheerfully sacrifice Juniper to his twisted altar of fate and never think twice about the fact that she was a little girl with a loving family.
“Ah, it’s my lemon girl,” he smiled. The gremlins didn’t know where he’d come up with the nickname, but Junie answered to it, and didn’t seem inclined to correct him with a true name. “Running late today?”
“There were lots of people swearing in the street,” Junie answered with bright innocence. “I had to take a bit of a detour.”
“Ah, that’s no good. People shouldn’t swear.” He tch’d and shook his head solemnly.
“My father says people should swear only when it’s most appropriate, or when they won’t get caught,” she told him primly. In her backpack, the gremlins readied everything they had in their arsenals and hoped they wouldn’t have to use it.
“Ah, well,” the old man seemed a bit tripped up by that, but managed, “your father seemed like a wise man.”
“A Very Wise Man, my mother says,” Junie told him, dropping the capitals in with a self-satisfied smile. “Unless he’s not listening.”
“Ah, well,” the creep repeated. Kel and Az would have been happy at his discomfort, if they hadn’t been bouncing with worry. “And when he’s not listening?”
“I’m not allowed to say,” Junie giggled. “Oh, look!” Those were the sweetest words the gremlins had ever heard. “There’s my friends! Aetia! Kyark, Skee!”
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