“Who still farms, anyway? I mean, gas, right? The pipelines stopped. Tractors gotta run somehow, don’t they?”
They were walking – ambling, really – down an almost-invisible path between two fields of something Urania was pretty sure was wheat. The demon pretending to be a gym teacher hadn’t said anything since they started walking, so Urania grabbed at the first topic she could find.
“Magic,” he answered mildly. “And horses. Mostly horses.”
“Horses? What is this, the eighteen-hundreds?”
“Last time I checked, a couple years after the pipelines stopped running.” He looked, she thought, amused. He also looked human; with the wings gone, he didn’t look anything at all like a demon.
“…Touche, creepy demon man.” He still was a demon. It was important to remember that.
“You ran into some pretty bad fae out there, didn’t you?” He sounded sympathetic. She wasn’t sure she wanted to deal with that.
“I ran into ‘fae’,” she answered shortly, “if you want to call them that. They were bad. That’s because they were demons.”
“What?” She glanced at his face, wondering if she was seriously worrying about insulting a demon.
“Just thinking I’d heard that before.”
“Well, you’re a demon.” It was just logical that someone would have pointed out that demons were evil, right?
“Not because of the ‘demon’ thing.” He didn’t make air quotes, but he somehow twisted the word anyway. “No.” He stopped and looked at Urania straight on. “Something like ‘the Dakota attacked my people. You’re a Seneca, therefore I can’t trust you.”
“But… Seneca and Dakota are totally different tribes! That’s like saying all Italians are the same as all Irish!”
“Exactly.” He raised his eyebrows at her.
Urania wasn’t having any of that. “You saw what the demons did to the world! You have to have seen it!”
“I did.” His voice was quiet now, and his expression serious. “And I’m sure Alastair did as well. It was horrible. The aftermath is devastating. I’m not denying that.”
Urania snuck a look at Alastair. He was still following along, but seemed content to stay quiet, listening. That seemed to be his thing, so she didn’t push it.
“So you’re saying, what, some other tribe of demons did it?”
“Not all of it, no. Some of it was done by well-meaning idiots who never learned to watch out for their surroundings, even when they were taught better.” His voice took on a bit of heat. “Some of it was done by humans desperate for an answer, any answer.”
“And this other tribe? Who are they? Why aren’t you them?”
“Well,” he coughed, and a ghost of a smile crossed his lips. “There’s a whole school down there, and that’s on the curriculum.”
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