We went to get Eric, and go. (Packing for Eric is easy: he doesn’t own anything.) We walked, waddled, and waded through wiggly ways to the Museum of Extradimensional Curiosities. Which, it turned out, was the waiting-place of four local detectives. They took depositions from everyone willing to give one to them, including me. Mine was about what Vong had said about Spunglemarr, and the incidents with Irontrias and Softbelt, which I have already described. Here’s Eric’s:
For me it was a normal day at work. Well. Not that you have ‘days’ on Ixange. I came to work. I chatted with a couple dozen people in the road. I got seven of them into the museum. That’s normal.
Then this girl sticks a broadsword through my chest.
Well, I’ve been dead for weeks now, so it’s not a really big deal. I turn to her and say, “Hi, sweetie. If you are interested in wonders from weird worlds, there is no better place to see them on Ixange than right behind you.” That usually gets some kind of a noncommittal reaction from the tourists, you know. There are better ways to start a conversation, but maybe I was a bit put off by that broadsword. It’s not quite friendly.
She looks a bit put off too. You can see she’s wearing that backpack full of zapping coils and sparky electronics. She attaches a couple of wires to the hilt of the broadsword. All of a sudden it’s lit up with this horrible color, this unspeakably nasty color. I’ve only seen that color once before. It’s the color of the crowns on the god of death who cursed me into a ghost. So I get the impression that maybe if that sword hits me, it might hurt me.
So I run away into museum through the wall. It’s a big wall, too, bricks on the outside, then fiberglass insulation, then a heavy cardboard where I would expect particle board. On the other side is the Cryptic Crypt of Cryptopher Crant, a spinny mirror sort of thing from the world of Lorzune according to the sign on it. It hallucinates you sort of. It’s a good thing for a ghost to walk out of — one of the best ways into the museum for me, if I’m not using a door.
And good for me that I did it, ‘cause right straightaway the point of the broadsword comes through the wall. Through the bricks, that’s hard. Through the fiberglass and cardboard, not so hard if you can go through brick I guess. Through the Crypt. OK, into the middle of this spinning array of mirrors. There’s a cracketty crash and a squacketty squeal. Slivers of mirror go showering all over the place, through me, and into a roomful of tourists. Like twenty or thirty of them. Including the faces of a couple badger kids who had been staring right into the Crypt. Damn near the broadsword takes their noses off too, and it does shower their eyes with mirror shards.
Well, aren’t there twenty or thirty upset tourists about that! I can see the sword change color, back from that hideous one to regular metal, so I stick my head out to see what’s going on. The woman is trying to pull her broadsword out of the hole. Only the sword has gotten bent by the crypt, and the wires have come undone again.
I tell her, “You’d best put that down and come to the office to sort things out. You might have blinded a couple kids with that, and wounded any number of people, and broke a valuable exhibit to boot.”
“I don’t care about that stuff,” says she. “It’s you that the dragon wants dead, you and the toad, and I am to be the one to do both.”
“Well, you’re halfway there. I’m dead. But you’ve got this little problem with collateral damage. Oh, here comes Norven. He looks upset.” Norven being the bouncer at the museum, a human guy. He seems to know her.
So Norven and the girl get into a big argument about all sorts of things. Who’s responsible for getting her pregnant. Who’s responsible for getting Morwenna pregnant. Who’s responsible for that bar fight when Norven’s nose got broke. When the museum docents come out, the argument gets a bit more practical and immediate: who’s responsible for the hole in the wall, the tourists’ medical bills, paying for the Crypt, and all that.
Well, it’s not a really good discussion. The girl — Spunglemarr is her name, Suzie Spunglemarr — she takes out a razor, slices up Norven’s arm with a long bleeding cut, puts a big hole in Bostritude’s belly, and starts to run off.
So Norven pulls out a gun and shoots her in the back of the head. He seems to regard this as an unambiguous and well-stated comment on their relationship.
Then all the docents get upset about how Spunglemarr is dead and they won’t be able to collect any damages for anything at the museum. Norven is all how they wouldn’t be able to anyways because Spunglemarr can’t keep two coins in her pocket for two minutes without gambling them away — nor an engagement ring on her finger for that matter.
Then the detectives get here, and the medics, and my friends.
The docents asked if my twirly right-head horn can cure wounds, like a unicorn horn from Earth. It can’t. I offered to cauterize some wounds with fire breath, but nobody wanted that. Hditr worked with the medics, casting Rejection of Pus on all the wounds so they wouldn’t get infected. That mirror thing hadn’t been dusted in a while.
Three hours later the detectives were satisfied. Norven was in custody. “Custody” in this case meant “A shirt that doesn’t let your arms move, full of chains, attached to a lamppost”. The first of the children was in an eye-doctor’s office, paralyzed and asleepitized, with the doctor extracting glass slivers from his eyes with tiny tweezers. (I didn’t actually see this, so maybe he was using a fantastical glass magnet for all I know, or a wooden mallet blessed by the spirits of five thousand generations of eye doctors. Eric says tweezers, but Eric isn’t always enthusiastic about the more interesting bits of our worlds.)
And we were free to go.