The Cup, Part VII


After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, and The Cup, Part IV, and The Cup, Part V, The Cup, Part VI, in that Order

The road turned upward at a ninety degree angle.

More importantly, it was still doing so in the morning, so it hadn’t been some sleep-deprived illusion of some sort. No, the road just went upwards.

The sign at the base said, simply, If you really need to know how to visit me, you’ll find a way.

“Isn’t this a little obvious?” JohnWayne frowned at the sign. “I mean, massive display of magic and all, isn’t that verboten?”

“You live with Boom.” His father stared at him in incredulity.

“I’m collared by Boom.” Despite what he’d said to his father the night before, sometimes it still startled him how easily the words rolled off his tongue. “That doesn’t mean that I’m in on their policy decisions. Besides, Boom doesn’t do anything this big on their home territory.”

“Okay, that I can believe. Still…”

“Still, this is ostentatious. Be ready for battle.” Cya’s clipped words were underlined by the hawthorn blade she was sheathing in her boot. “JohnWayne, lock the bus down, and then we’ll go.”

The orders didn’t feel like yanks on his strings anymore, but it was interesting to watch his father’s face, and the way he moved like he was being ordered. You take well to the collar, Cya had told JohnWayne once. He was beginning to understand the ways that one could take badly to it.

He locked down the bus, triggering the Workings Cya kept hanging for that purpose. Meanwhile, however, Pellinore was pacing around in circles, muttering Workings. JohnWayne tried to ignore his father so he could do his own work. The words kept popping up, however, and finally he had to ask. “What…”

“Buffing.”

“Polishing…?”

“You don’t remember the world before the war at all, do you?”

JohnWayne shook his head. “I remember preschool, a little. I remember Mom. But that’s about it.”

“Remember…” Pellinore’s fists clutched, and then, much to JohnWayne’s surprise, he reached out as if to hug.

Cya saved him from that awkward horribleness. “Come on, boys. I’ve found our route.”

Of course she had. What had taken her so long?

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