Versers Versus Versers; Chapter 37, Slade 160

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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 37:  Slade 160
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Chapter 36:  Hastings 178

Slade was playing with the mirror when Shella entered.  “What are you doing?” she asked.

He looked up.  “Oh, I’m trying to find these other versers, figure out where they are.”

“What do you hope to learn that Lauren hasn’t already told us?”

He shrugged.  “Probably nothing.  That’s not the point.”

She waited.  He continued.  “I can’t figure why they would have shot Derek.”

She shrugged.  “The guess is that they were trying to approach the castle unnoticed, and thought he was spying on them.”

“Yeah, but you see, that’s just it:  it’s a guess.  What if it was just a mistake?  What if one of his people thought he was a missile, and was trying to prevent it from striking them?  Or maybe thought he was a bird?  Derek might have been shot simply because someone thought he was a suitable practice target.”

“I suppose.  We can’t really know.”

“But they know.  If it was a mistake, they might have run fearing our retaliation.  We might be able to prevent this from becoming a bigger problem.  I think we should meet with them.”

“And how do you propose we arrange that?”

“We pick a neutral location--like the bandit camp we destroyed in the wadi, if it’s not flooded--and we send a message inviting them to meet us there.  Maybe we can talk.”

“Talk, my lord?”  She smiled teasingly.  “I thought you didn’t do much talk.”

“I did say that, didn’t I?”  He glanced back at the mirror, which from his inattention had returned to his reflection.  “Look, I’m all in favor of a good fight, and I don’t mind killing them all, particularly as they are apparently versers so they don’t really die.  But I don’t think we should be killing each other over a mistake, and I’d at least like to know that this is something more than that.  At least when the ghosts and shades were killing each other they had good reasons.  Their reasons were entirely wrong, but had they been true they would have been good.  Here, well, we seem to be getting sucked into a war without knowing what it’s about.”

“So you just want them to tell you why they killed Derek.”

“Sort of.  I want to know what it is they want.  Certainly if they want war, I’ll give it to them, but let’s be sure that they want it.  So I figure if I can work out where they live, I can send a written invitation using that message spell I occasionally use, and arrange a meeting.”

“How will you know if they are coming?”

“I won’t, I guess, unless they have a similar trick.  But it’s worth a try.”

Shella shrugged.

“In any case, I haven’t found them yet.  I’m not very good at this, but I suppose I’m getting some practice, and Lauren always says that’s how you get better at things.”

“It’s time for dinner,” she said.  “You’ll be hungry later if you don’t eat now.”

“Right.  Go on ahead, I’ll be along in a moment.”

“No, if I leave you here you’ll become engrossed in what you’re doing, and later tonight you’ll have us both up looking for something for you to eat.  Come.  Now.”

“All right, mother,” he said with a tone of facetious exasperation.  “I’m coming.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 38:  Takano 6
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #333:  Uncertain Worlds.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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