a story of Doomsday/Cloverleaf
Directly after Passing the Torch.
Sunny left Red Doomsday talking to Luke – Luke! He was a legend! – and wandered over to the group of kids – students, barely younger than she was – loitering by the picket fence.
Not Howard-, Leo- or Cabal-type, Cya had said, and Luke’s eyes had drifted over to the tall blonde with the cow horns and something had looked like relief in his posture. So not the cow-blonde that looked a bit like Howard. She looked through the rest of them.
Cya had talked her through this part. “You do what you can with your Find power, and then you try to do more than you can. So…. start with Finding the guy you can live with or the guys you can help and live with. And keep adding on qualifiers until you’re looking for a left-handed elf ranger who’s good with his tongue and knows when to shut up.”
But what if I ask the wrong thing? Sunny had asked, and Cya had smiled, a little tiredly, perhaps, and answered Then you’ll be in good company. And a year later, you’ll know what not to ask.
Lady Red Doomsday had been doing this for a long time, Sunny knew, since before that mystical End the old fae talked about. Maybe she’d forgotten how nerve-wracking it would be the first time.
“Hey,” she greeted the loiterers, while she let her power do a little walking. She had been learning finesse in the last couple years, but it was still better for, as Aron liked to say, finding Cloverleaf, not finding a particular clover-leaf..
They gave her a range of nervous and uncertain expressions, some distrustful, some almost hopeful. One of them — a redhead, tall and lanky and uncertain – was looking over at Red Doomsday.
Her power was saying him or maybe the short dark-skinned girl standing in his shadow. She decided to try her gut.
“She doesn’t do that anymore,” she said, gently, answering the unspoken question and hoping she had the right question. “I mean, it’s her, yeah, but she retired.”
“Yeah?” He eyed her, taking her in and clearly not sure what to make of what he saw. Sunny didn’t look much older than them — she wasn’t much older than them — but, then again, neither did Red Doomsday, and she was old enough to own a nation. “That’s her, though? Red Doomsday? The Lady Who Takes ‘Em?”
“Not the fanciest of her titles,” Sunny laughed, “but that’s her. Mayor of Cloverleaf.”
THe title meant nothing to him, Sunny could tell. “But she doesn’t do the taking anymore? That what you came over to tell us?”
“Well, I think of that more as a prelude,” Sunny offered. She might have her Mentor’s innate power, but she had nothing like Cya’s skill in Tempero Intinn, Control Mind. She was going to have to talk her prey into coming with her. “Because she doesn’t anymore… but I do.”
“You?” He looked at her again. “You’re gonna feed me and keep a roof over me and find me a place, after? You’re gonna Keep me?”
“You volunteering?” She shifted forward, putting herself in his personal space. He reminded her a little of Kerr, but just enough to be interesting.
He was still over a head taller than her. He looked down at her thoughtfully. “You can get me out of here?”
“Oh, that part’s easy.” She gestured at Kurt, Cya’s teleporter this year. “The question comes afterward. You want to go to Cloverleaf, or you want to be mine?”
“I want to go to Cloverleaf,” the cow-horned one put in. “Don’t particularly want another collar, though.”
“I can get you to Cloverleaf. I can probably get you all to Cloverleaf.” She looked up at her target. “So?”
He looked away for a minute, but Sunny could already tell she’d hooked him. He nodded slowly. “Yeah. I want assurances, but give me those and I’ll be yours for a year.”
Sunny nodded solemnly. It hid her grin of triumph. “I brought some paper so we can write something up.”
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