Rigsin was in the doorway, breathing hard, his steel eye drifting dazedly. It took him a second to summon up language: “There’s a demon outside. I’m a little confused.”
Everyone looked immediately at Teo. He had slammed his book closed. Illogically, he snapped, “I don’t know why you all think it’s about me -”
“‘s not about me!” protested Rigsin. “I asked. (I don’t like talking to demons, you know.) You need me to distract it and you go out the back?”
“- no, I don’t need – I didn’t do anything, damnit -”
Scowling thoughtfully into space, Lyssa asked, “Do demons care if you do something else with bird hearts, do you think?”
Teo stared at her for a second, then said carefully, “Perhaps you’d better stay inside, just in case. I’ll go,” he told Rigsin, standing with a wince and pocketing his book. “It talks?”
“Not so good at it -”
As Teo closed the door, he heard Scarlet saying, blank with hysteria, “‘Something else?’”
“- you – you told me to marry her, you didn’t specify *where* or *how* -”
“I told you to marry her within certain obvious unspoken constraints! Don’t ask her to say “obey,” don’t kill her after, find out her last name, and *invite me*! *You dick.*”
I will never finish this book, because I would rather come up with snippy dialogue than figure out the plot.
“Haven’t you got a brilliant plan yet, Teo?”
“Several, but thus far they’re all contingent upon the rest of you being rendered unconscious and the moral rectitude of the room so being reduced to tolerable levels.”
Scarlet snorted. “…tolerable…”
“You think I am joking, but I am not. I have a very low tolerance for ethics recently. I was ethical a couple of days ago, and suffered an acute attack of the Violent Illiterati.”
“The truth is, Red,” Marsowen said confidentially, leaning closer to Scarlet, “I really don’t like you much.”
Scarlet’s first impulse was to say, Well, I guess I’ll just have to live with that – but abruptly he realized that that was something like exactly the opposite of what Marsowen was saying.
He dropped to the floor just in time to avoid the pointy clockwork ferret jumping at his ear.