I found myself reserved; lukewarm and without too much to say. Either the pyromancer was playing games with me and expected me to be as dumb as I probably was, or she genuinely had no idea she had assailed me on the bus. Unless perhaps she did know and was curious as to who defeated her. But if she did not know me, how would she have known where to look?
I resolved to tow the line, attempting to look neither sheepish nor stupid. I said: “you first.”
With the same gaze of certifiable horror, she stared straight ahead at me. All the while immobile. I hadn’t even placed another hex on her.
Brassy and with as much swagger as I could manage I repeated myself: “You. First.”
The look of transfixed horror began to dissolve. My emphatic attempt at being intimidating instead proved emasculating.
Instead of the fear shackled “who are you?” I had previously received, she – to my dismay – repeated herself. This time more breathy and with the slightest trace of condescension: “who are you?”
If I could have been a sheep, I might have joined the flock then and there just to escape the profound embarrassment. With the very shifting of her tone, she had disarmed me.
“I- I am Richard Berkshire, and you. You. You almost killed all those people! How did you know where to find me!? Where are the remaining Issacary?”
Now my speech had the desired effect. For at least, startle and shock overtook her face.
“What. What are you talking about? What bus? What am I doing in the woods?”
“The westbound bus! The bus where you nearly incinerated all those bystanders! We crashed and you again tried to dispose of me! And-”
Something additional was amiss. Her aura. Her aura had shifted inward. Close to her. As any other hex user might do. Hello! It seemed to say. I’m a hex user!
“Don’t move” I continued. “I need to assess your mind.”