Mary screamed, causing the new arrival to jump.
"What's she doing down 'ere?" The man asked, his accent almost as thick as his salt and pepper beard.
"Relax Rush. I brought her." I told him, slowly getting to my feet.
"She's with you?" He glared at me.
"I'm not with anyone!" Mary growled.
"Sorry," I apologized on her behalf and shot her a look. She held my gaze for a second, the fear evident in her eyes. "Cyrus just tried to grab her. I got there first
and now we're here."
"Excuse me, Rush, how-" She started to ask.
"You," he snapped and it was her turn to jump, "May call me The Russian. And you, Dairy Mary, what does Cyrus want with you?"
"I, I uh, Dairy Mary?" Her stare was directed at me. "Dairy
Mary? Why, why the hell didn't you tell me."
I tried to feign ignorance. Luckily I did not have to for long.
"I asked about Cyrus," the Russian asked.
began to sob. "I, I don't know what he wants. Charlie thinks he wants
me to be his wife." She reached into her pocket, pulled out a crumpled
tissue and blew her nose.
"Tovarishch, is this true?" He asked, momentarily lapsing into his mother tongue. He turn to me and I nodded.
He spat. "Son of a... You know what this means?"
"Calm down," I told him, "I don't know for sure."
"What?" Mary asked, dabbing at the tears on her cheeks.
"What I was trying to tell you before he arrived." I began but The Russian interrupted me.
Don't sugarcoat it." He limped slowly to a pile of crates, his right
leg bending very little. "Sit," He gestured to a box opposite him.
She looked to me and I nodded, resuming my own seat upon the floor.
"It was long time ago when the Twelve Princes appeared for the first time."
"But, aren't you one of them?" She interrupted, casting a sidelong glance at me.
He let out a long breath through his crooked nose.
I took this as a cue and answered her myself. "Yes, I am now,
but I wasn't always." I rolled the Sigil Sphere around in my hand,
letting it rest between my thumb and forefinger before flipping my hand
over, the orb not appearing to move at all. "A few years ago, The Troll
King passed away..."
"Troll King?" She asked
"Let him finish..." The Russian barked, shaking his head.
She brought her hands to her lips, chewing on a knuckle. "Sorry."
"Anyway, when The Troll King passed, he gave his Sigil Sphere to me, and I became the new Eighth Prince."
"You took it from him!" The Russian laughed, but soon was bent over coughing.
Mary stood up, but I held my hand out, motioning for her to stay put.
"Took. Gave. What does it matter now, he was dying and had no use for it then."
you say is true," he said between wheezes, trying to catch his breath.
Dust began to fall as another subway train rumbled over head. "I am in
need of food." He winked at me. "Let us finish this story over a
"I know just the place." I smiled. Before she
could protest, I rose and took hold of Mary's arm, and once again, we were