Stealing Terry

STEALING TERRY
by Addison Lane

Most people know of the Wild Hunt--the tales of wicked hounds and black riders spiriting away drunkards and careless travelers. It’s a cautionary fable to keep children indoors. Yet in a world where hybrids and humans are perpetually on the verge of war, there are those who revel in the squalid stories of the Hunt--who wish to bring those scenes of terror to life. And those who call themselves the "Huntsmen" are hungry for revenge.

Fergus returns on a mad adventure to find the gateway to Tír na nÓg. But finding a place that might not even exist may be the least of his worries...


 GOODREADS REVIEWS

“This was one of the best stories on mythology I have read.”
LESLIE

“This is still one of my favorite series.”
WIT

“In a world in which we have so many modern literary heroes who embrace the whole concept of trickster and moral ambiguity, it is a breath of fresh air to have a character who has a very distinct view of what is right and what is wrong yet that urge towards grey morality is always present and is always a force he fights against (like all of us).”
MARY

“Addison Lane's Fairypocalypse series reimagines everything you thought you knew about either genre to create a world that is wholly unique and forever captivating.”
—ANGIE


EXCERPT

Chapter One.

Ashton Harriet had a murderous gleam in his eye.  His cheeks were bright red, nostrils flared.  Fergus edged towards a heavy oak armoire on the far side of the room.  As an officer of the Air Guard, Harriet was permitted to carry a firearm.  In fact, Fergus could see two strapped to his hips.  He wasn't so sure that the armoire would shield him from a bullet, but thanks to having a kelpie's innate strength, he thought shoving it at Harriet wouldn't be a problem.  He wondered if it would provide enough of a distraction that he could jump over the sofa and escape into the corridor.

Only a half hour before, Fergus had been down at the dock markets, picking up fresh fish and vegetables for dinner.  Technically, he wasn't supposed to be leaving the Count Palatine's penthouse, as he and his best friend Terry were wanted for burning down New Peiling's slums four months prior.  The actual culprits had been the anti-hybrid vigilantes, the Knights of Evalach.  Yet, while Terry and Fergus were innocent of the charges, they'd been framed by the Knights, so leaving the penthouse was a gamble.

These days, the relationship between hybrids and humans was especially strained, what with Paige Harriet – Ashton Harriet's mother – running for governor.   She was notoriously anti-hybrid, and her son was no different.  It had always been an uncomfortable dynamic, ever since New Peiling was founded in the years following the Cataclysm. 

Even now, no one could agree about what caused the disasters that had halved the human population.  A number of humans took a religious stance, calling it an act of God, while many hybrids believed that humans had been too selfish and careless, and nature had finally reacted. 

It was because of the Cataclysm that hybrids even existed.  There was no better option for the disembodied fairy souls than to latch onto human children and bond with them.  The humans hadn't taken this well. 

Fergus had been hiding out at the penthouse for a few weeks along with his companions from the ill-fated adventure to the wilds beyond New Peiling, Pip and Three, and his former band mates, Raja and Terry.  The Count owed him.  After all, it was Fergus who had convinced his head of staff, Deirdre, to return to the penthouse unharmed after her girlfriend (and fellow maid) Audrey had been exorcised by the Knights.  The Count had not been keen on it, but Terry and the other founding members of Bandersnatch had thrown their weight around, forcing his hand.

Still, Fergus felt like he was going to pull his hair out if he had to be stuck inside another minute, so he'd jumped at the chance to run the errand in Deirdre's place.  He figured if he kept the hood of his jumper up and made it fast, there was no reason to single him out of the crowd.  There were plenty of tall, dark-haired men around, after all.  The only thing that might give him away was the white sheen to his eyes, courtesy of his kelpie fairy-soul.  But he'd been careful about not looking at anyone too long, or drawing attention, so the shopping had gone down without a hitch.

It was the first time he'd been to the lower level since he and his friends had returned to New Peiling from the wilds, and though he'd seen the devastation of the fire before, it was still staggering to see the remains of the slums.  The place he'd grown up in seemed both home and alien to him.  He'd been busy mulling over that when he nearly ran into the Air Guard's Captain and Vice-Captain on the penthouse steps.  He considered dropping the groceries and running, but Captain William Guillory had stopped him, and from there, things just went from bad to worse.

Fergus didn't know how, but Guillory had gotten wind of their plans to leave the city and tracked them down to the Count's.  He hadn't wanted to let the Captain in, but he'd found himself trapped, and it was either stand outside all day, or face the fact that Guillory was going to enter with him.  Once inside, Guillory had announced that he was taking a hiatus from the Air Guard in order to be the pilot for their voyage, and Fergus could feel the hatred coming off of Harriet in waves.

It was bad luck that the Vice-Captain had cornered him, but as far as bad luck went, it couldn't have been much worse.  He couldn't hear anyone in the adjoining room or hallway – the others still downstairs arguing with Guillory. 

 "This is all your fault," Harriet snarled, advancing on him.

"How is it my fault?" Fergus asked, narrowing his eyes and resting a hand on the cabinet.

Harriet grabbed him by the front of his shirt, jerking him forward.  The Vice-Captain was slightly taller than he was.  He was a handsome man with long black curls; however, the ugly scar across his temple was a salient reminder that he was not to be underestimated.  Fergus grabbed his wrists, trying to push him back without being rough.

"You know why!"

"No," Fergus replied," I really don't."

"The Captain resigned because of you.  He said he'd met a young man who interested him."

"That's not much of an excuse."

Harriet's eyes narrowed further.  "He said he wanted to keep an eye on you.  You," he spat.  "Why you of all people?  What's so special about you?"

Fergus didn't reply. 

"Did that mangy cur put a spell on him?"

Fergus glared.  "Screw you.  We didn't do anything to him."

"You've tricked him.  Why else would he want to help you?  What other reason does he have to believe in someone like you?"

"We didn't do anything!" Fergus shouted, shoving Harriet and sending him crashing backwards over the sofa.  He moved to jump over the back of the couch and make for the door.  No sooner had he hiked up his leg than he found himself looking down the barrel of a revolver.  He froze.

"You're not going anywhere.  I could kill you right now, and no one would be able to do anything about it."

"The Count will have your stupid hero arrest you."

Harriet laughed.  "I think not.  Besides, my mother would have me out by dinner." 

He drew back the hammer.  Fergus swallowed as he heard it click.

"Am I interrupting something?"

Rosslyn Weber stood in the doorway, his limp blonde hair falling into his eyes.  Fergus shivered at his expression. 

"You know, if by some chance you shoot and don't kill him, I'm going to shut this door and . . . " He paused, sneering.  "Well, perhaps you'll be the one disappearing."

"Is that a threat?" Harriet whispered, his voice shaking with something that went beyond insult or anger.

"Get up and go," the blonde replied coolly.

Harriet moved to sit up, mouth forming a white line.  Fergus started to relax when he saw the flash and burst of smoke, followed by a deafening explosion as a bullet zoomed over his shoulder and embedded in the armoire behind him.  Pieces of wood splintered and shot off into the air, pelting him in the back of the neck.  For a second, Fergus thought his heart had stopped.  Rosslyn took a great stride into the room.  However, the Vice-Captain had already righted himself, dusting off his suit and tucking away the revolver.

"Sorry," he drawled, returning Rosslyn's smirk from before.  "Slipped."

Rosslyn said nothing, but his face was a blotchy red as Harriet sauntered past him through the door.  Fergus took a gulping breath and sagged down behind the couch, fingers pressing into the embroidered fabric.  He hiccupped and then let out a little curse before a second hiccup escaped him.  Clutching at his chest, he looked up to see Rosslyn looming on the other side of the sofa.

"Thanks," he managed, standing up.  His hands were shaking.  He shoved them into his pockets.  "Seems like he doesn't like us very much."

"He doesn't like any hybrid.  He's Paige Harriet's son."

Fergus said nothing for a moment, leaning back on the balls of his feet.  "Guess he is . . . That election's coming up soon, isn't it?  Do you think she's gonna win?"

"I'm quite sure of it."

He said nothing, nodding and staring down at his worn-out trainers.  "So why does she hate us so much?"

"I believe that her husband – his father – was killed by a hybrid," Rosslyn said with a shrug.  "I don't know the details, but they've damned us all thanks to that."

Fergus chewed on his lip, feeling glad he'd be out of the city soon.  "I should probably go see what's going on down there, huh?"

"Don't bother.  Guillory is going to be your captain whether you like it or not."

"What do you mean?"

"No one is more stubborn than William Guillory.  I have no idea why he's set his mind on this, but he has, and I don't know the man who could change it.  So I suppose he will be the captain of this mysterious voyage."

"Yeah," Fergus said, trying to edge around Rosslyn to the door before he could fire off any more uncomfortable observations.  Going back to his room and his guitar sounded very nice at the moment.  He thought maybe his hands would be still if he could just lay them on a pick and strings. 

"What about Ursula?  And your friend – Raja, right?  What about his little girlfriend?"

"Evelyn has been missing for weeks.  There's no hope there, you know?  Better for him to just get away."

"They've exorcised – or tried to exorcise – a lot of people in the last year," Rosslyn observed.

Fergus stopped.  The doorway was just a few steps away.  He pursed his mouth.  "They have," he agreed as mildly as he could manage.

"I guess it is safer to go."

"We aren't running away," he replied, bristling.

Rosslyn was silent a moment too long for Fergus's liking, but before he could press, the blonde turned away and began examining the hole in the armoire. 

Fergus didn't feel like rehashing the point.  He was doing what he felt Flynn, his murdered best friend, would have wanted him to do.  Besides, Ursula was the one who'd said they were better off apart, there wasn't anything anyone could do for a hybrid who'd been exorcised, so Evelyn was a lost cause, and Fergus didn't particularly care what role "Ainslee's son" was supposed to be taking in all this.  They hadn't seemed so interest in rallying to him a few weeks ago.  In fact, he recalled that they'd implied he was too dull-witted for the job.  His mother's intrigues were none of his business, and he had his own life to live, which he was going to do by pursuing the puzzle that Flynn had died over.

He let out a low sigh and walked down the dark corridor with its odd assortment of surrealist paintings.  He tried very hard not to look at the one of Terry in the raw as he turned right at the corner and continued to the room at the very end. 

It was made up in pale spring greens.  Given that it was almost autumn, this didn't seem entirely appropriate.  He thought maybe the decor was a cover for the fact it was the darkest room on the floor.  It looked like it had been a child's room.  There were places on the wall where old drawings might have been plastered at one time.  They'd been peeled off since, but the rug still had juice stains, and there were crude watercolor scribbles in some of the corners.  Fergus sat on the bed, running his hands through his dark brown hair, before throwing himself onto his back. 

The Count's penthouse was fancy.  There was no getting around that.  Even the rooms that had sheets over all the furniture were nicer than any Fergus had ever stayed in, including Ursula's apartment, and there were plenty of rooms to spare, so they'd been allowed to pick the rooms they wanted.  Terry had chosen the room next to this one, which was how Fergus ended up in here, though he would have preferred a view of the square and its mermaid fountain. 

He hadn't slept in a room all by himself for a long time.  Not since before Flynn had been killed. Even with Terry next door, he still couldn't quite relax. Fergus threw his forearm over his eyes.  He'd barely slept at all the night before, or the night before that.  He kept dreaming about Flynn and Audrey and Evelyn.  The three of them would stand at the end of a rotting pier calling his name, and he would just watch as the wood crumbled into the ocean.  He would watch as their heads and hands disappeared under the foamy waves.  Then he would turn, and Rosslyn would be there saying, "But you're Ainslee's son."

There was a knock at the door.  He jumped and sat up, feeling ruffled.  "What do you want?"

"Thought you might want some friendly company," Terry said, peeking inside. 

He sounded injured, and Fergus felt guilty.  He sat up the rest of the way and tried to smile, but felt too tired to make it genuine.

"Heard the gun go off?"

"The great ass returned to the drawing room smelling of gunpowder, and then Rosslyn came in.  They're still shouting.  I hope Rosslyn curses him."

"Yeah.  Me, too."  Fergus flopped backwards.  "Do people really feel safer knowing that lunatic is watching over the city?"

"Gotta wonder what it'll be like if Guillory really does come with us," Terry remarked, coming over to sit beside Fergus. 

Once upon a time, Terry had been the bassist of Fergus's now defunct band, Everyday Resources.  He was one of the three pupils Fergus's mother had taught to transform into their fairy forms – Terry's being a gytrash specifically – and had established Bandersnatch with Ursula and Rosslyn after Ainslee killed herself.  He was a tall man in his early 20s with wild auburn hair, straight features, and pale grey eyes.  Terry was a lot of things, and Fergus had only recently realized how few of them he was aware of. 

He felt a little stupid for trusting him again, given that Terry had been lying to him consistently for years, but he was comforting to have around, and he was the one person his mother had known first who seemed to prefer Fergus to Ainslee. 

"Is Guillory really doing this because of me?"

"Because of you?" Terry asked, looking legitimately surprised.

"That's what his lackey shot at me for."

"I dunno.  Who knows what Guillory thinks he'll accomplish?" 

Terry lay down across the pillows.  The two of them stared at the hangings in silence.  Though Fergus and Three had given the room a tidying, it was still pretty dusty and moth eaten.  He could see bits of the ceiling through the thinning velvet overhead. 

"I wish we could just go now."

"Yeah," Terry agreed, sounding as tired as Fergus felt.

"Hey, Terry," Fergus muttered, looking away.  "We aren't running away, right?"

"Running away from what?"

Fergus was silent for a moment before nodding.  "Yeah, right?  Running away from what?"

Terry sat up.  "Are you having second thoughts?"

Fergus paused and then looked up at him.  "No, I wanna go.  But what about you?  Do you really want to go to the middle of nowhere with me?  What about Bandersnatch and the city and Baba Yaga?"

Terry's mouth scrunched to the side.  "Badb Catha."

"Yeah.  I mean, what about all that?"

"I suspect the Count has been longing for that role for some time.  I'm kind of sick of it."

"Of him wanting it?"

Terry shook his head.  "No, of being 'Badb Catha' – the one doing the dirty work."

"You know, I always wondered why people seemed . . . "

"Afraid of me?"  Terry frowned, looking away.  "If I did stay, I might end up putting all of Bandersnatch in danger.  I'm probably next on Evalach's list of 'Evil Fairies to Exorcise.'"

Fergus's heart missed a beat.  He swallowed, looking away.

Terry touched his shoulder.  "Well, I wouldn't be easy to catch, so don't worry."  Sighing, he dropped his hand into his lap.  "This city is going to Hell.  I'm sick of it."

"What happened to doing the wrong things for the right reasons?" Fergus asked quietly.

Terry shrugged. 

They were silent for a few minutes before Fergus finally said, "Go get your bass.  We'll play a little while."

• • •

Fergus and Terry were recruited to help in the kitchens that night along with Three, who was the only one there on a voluntary basis.  Despite their help, only Terry was asked to go to dinner with the Count.  Fergus and Three stayed down in the kitchens with Deirdre, Pip, Raja, and the grumpy old cook, sitting on pots or counters or the floor as they could.  The cook noisily slurped down her stew, periodically casting glares at no one in particular, like a dog defending its food. 

Fergus wasn't sure if it was her presence, or that he had been excluded from dinner upstairs, but the atmosphere was bad.  He poked at his stew without interest. 

"Cheer up," Deirdre said in her usual no nonsense tone.  "At least you'll have some money when you set out."

Fergus jabbed at a carrot.  "How come he wanted Terry up there?"

She shrugged. 

He noted she hadn't touched her meal either.  Though she had returned to the penthouse, and though she was as strict as ever, he noticed that Deirdre's cheeks had grown hollow.  He wondered if she was just going through the motions, but then he thought that wasn't all bad.  He'd personally found that if he forced himself to continue on normally, repetition usually won out over his misery.  Then again, even though his mother and Flynn were dead, their fairies' souls were floating around somewhere.  Someday, they'd attach to new humans. 

Maybe they'd remember him, if only just a little.  Sometimes, he recognized things he'd never seen before, or remembered places he'd never been, which he thought was his soul's memories.  So he hoped that maybe someday he might be able to meet them again, even if they were in an entirely different body, and even if they were a very small part of who they were when he knew them.  Deirdre didn't have that option.

Then there was Raja, who was essentially in the same boat as Deirdre.  He'd been exceptionally quiet since the Knights had taken Evelyn.  Fergus and Terry tried to ply him with songs and drinks and talk about magic and other countries, but he'd been steadily listless.  But Fergus had noticed that Deirdre was nicer to Raja than anyone else besides the Count.  He'd even seen her bringing him extra food. 

"What?" she asked waspishly, and he realized he'd been staring at her.  Her hair was short now, sticking out haphazardly, and he had a feeling she'd just grabbed a pair of scissors and started chopping.  At his silence, she glared even more.  "What is it?"

"Why did you cut your hair?" he asked, putting his bowl aside.

Deirdre frowned, but it made her seem more like herself, and he felt a little relieved. 

"I felt like I needed to.  It doesn't look very good.  I shouldn't have been so careless."

"Who said that?"

She lifted her chin and gave a little snort. 

He sighed.  "It looks okay."

"One of the painters I modeled for told me not to return until it grew out."

"It wasn't that guy, was it?"

"If you mean the Count, then no, and you should be more respectful.  Besides, he prefers male models."

"Yeah, sorry," he muttered, careful not to add the, "whatever," on the tip of his tongue.

"Are you finished?  Give me your bowl."

Fergus handed it over and watched her go put it in the sink with her own.  The cook was also finished.  Dumping hers in with the rest, she picked up her bag and hobbled out without even saying, "good night."  Fergus turned to the others.  Raja was staring into space again, his bowl yet full. Pip and Three were arguing.  Fergus cleared his throat softly, venturing a, "Hello," in their native language.  Pip stared at him for a moment before sneering and returning to the dispute.  Three gave him an apologetic look, mouthing, "Not bad."

He sighed and stood, pausing next to Raja and putting a hand on his shoulder.  Raja blinked up at him sluggishly and then forced a weak smile, swirling the oily surface of the stew with his spoon. 

"We'll probably be able to go soon."

"Seems like it," Fergus agreed.

"I don't really want that human piloting us."

Fergus blinked, taken aback. 

"Sorry," Raja muttered.  He turned his electric blue eyes on Fergus for just a moment before looking away and moving to stand.  "I think I'll take a walk."

"Do you want company?"

He shook his head and went to pour out his soup.

Fergus sighed again and shoved his hands into his pockets.  He left the sounds of Pip's and Three's argument and Raja's and Deirdre's gloomy silence behind as he stepped into the hallway and ran straight into Ursula. 

She let out a hiss of irritation, righting herself and brushing her sleeves before looking up.  Her face immediately went blank as she stared up at Fergus.  She looked less pale than when he'd last seen her, though her features were still pinched, the weight not yet returned to her cheeks.  Her shoulder-length black hair was pulled up into a rough bun at the nape of her neck, and most of it had come out.  She looked windblown and alluring, and he felt his stomach twist, his throat growing tight, before he turned and started to walk away.

"Fergus," she called softly.

He paused, on the verge of bolting, and jammed his hands into the pockets of his hoodie.  "How's Toby?"

"The fish are fine," she said, sounding disappointed.  "I put them near the window with some of those moon snails.  They light up the aquarium nicely, and it helps keep the snails longer."  She hesitated before adding, "You won't be collecting them anytime soon, I imagine?"

"Probably not," he agreed, resisting the urge to turn around.

"Did you know?  It's quiet without you."

"I'm sure Dominique would keep you company."

She snorted.  "She's taken an interest in one of her girls – Cindy Starlight, or something ridiculous like that."

"Isn't that the one who can swallow swords?"

"I'm surprised you can remember that."

Fergus was beginning to feel like this was getting too familiar, and getting overly comfortable around Ursula was a one-way ticket to pain, so he shrugged and didn't reply.

"You'll be leaving soon, then?" she asked in a softer tone.

"Dunno, but hopefully."

There was a moment of silence, in which he risked a glance at her over his shoulder.  She caught his gaze, and he cringed, quickly looking away again.

"Come by before you go?"

"Yeah, maybe I will," he replied and started towards the stairs. 

He took the steps two at a time, and if she said anything else, he missed it.  He wished he'd said nothing at all, because conceding that much made him want to go and see her.  Just entertaining the idea caused that traitorous spark of hope to flare up, like maybe this time she would change her mind.  She'd forget she wasn't into monogamy, or decide he was worth the exception.  But she wouldn't and thinking about it made him feel sick.

He stepped inside his room and walked over to the bed.  For a moment, he just stood there, staring at it blankly, and then he grabbed a pillow and struck the frame.  It exploded into a flurry of feathers.  Fergus watched them drift and settle around his feet.  Despite his outburst, the room was very quiet.  He scooped the feathers from the bed and sat down, head in his hands. 

There was a hot, prickling sensation just under his skin.  He'd been experiencing it every time he got angry recently, and it was becoming harder to convince himself that he shouldn't give into it, but he forced himself to breathe slowly and deeply until the feeling subsided.  Then he kicked off his shoes, wriggled out of his jeans, and slid halfway under the covers.  He'd be less irritable if he just got a little more sleep, he thought, and tonight would be the night he'd catch up.  Then losing his temper wouldn't be an issue.

Yet as he tried to drift off, he kept recalling how his mother had been angry most of the time and about how she had wound up transforming too often and started losing her mind because of it.  His fingers tightened in the sheets, and he took steadying breaths.  That wasn't going to happen to him.  He wasn't going to go crazy.  He wasn't like her.  Still, when he finally fell asleep, he dreamed of cold black water and people screaming.

• • •

Fergus felt even grumpier the next morning when he went outside to pick up the bottle of milk, loaf of bread, and paper that were routinely left outside the penthouse between six-thirty and seven.  The penthouse was just close enough to the edge of the city that a little sunlight managed to peek through the streets, casting a dim light on the fountain.  It would have been nice if he wasn't feeling tired and prickly.  He stifled a yawn and tucked the bread and milk under one arm, opening the paper. 

Paige Harriet's Growing Popularity: Preliminary Polls Show Over 65% Approval

Fergus glared at the photo of a smiling woman with dark hair, glasses, and a broad jaw line.  She looked like her son.  He wondered if that made her handsome.  She had a politician's smile, which didn't meet her eyes, but she wasn't bad looking.  He found that annoying, so he crumpled up the paper and was about to go inside when he heard a familiar voice.

"Good morning," Guillory called from the bottom of the steps.

Fergus stopped and blinked down at him groggily.  "What are you doing here?"

"I thought we'd start preparations."

"Who said you were gonna help us?" Fergus demanded.

Guillory smiled.  "Is that still an issue?  I thought we'd settled it yesterday."

Fergus glanced around.  "Your flunky's not here."

"No, he has business to attend to.  He's the acting Captain of the Air Guard now."

"So what do you want, then?"

Guillory proceeded up the steps.  He was tall and tawny and formidable.  Fergus felt a little uncomfortable standing so close to him.  He straightened, feeling he should hold his ground, but edged away despite himself.

"You and your friends will need papers.  Proper papers."

"What for?"

"Many cities won't let you disembark without them.  Unless you're planning on staying in the airship the entire time, I think it would be a good idea."

"Aren't they still looking for Terry and me?"

Guillory's smile faltered a little.  "No, it seems not.  It seems they aren't concerned with last spring's arson anymore.  However," he continued, perking up again, "even if they were, I'm vouching for you, so it'll be fine."

Fergus didn't feel like picking a fight this early, so he just shrugged and opened the door to let Guillory through before going to dump the paper in the sitting room and heading off to the kitchens with the milk and bread.  Guillory trailed after him.

"Why are you following me?" he gritted out, putting down the bottle of milk a little too forcefully.  It clattered angrily against the countertop, and he had to check to make sure he hadn't cracked the glass.

"Well, I need you to stir your friends, of course.  The sooner we set out, the better.  The immigration office can be very crowded."

Fergus counted back from ten.  "Fine.  Just stay here and don't touch anything, okay?"

Guillory was already inspecting a rack of knives imported from a city with a name Fergus couldn't even pronounce.  He sighed in exasperation, but left the former Air Guard Captain to it, taking the servant's passage up to the next floor to wake the others.

Pip and Three were sharing a room.  He headed there first, pausing outside the door a moment and listening before knocking.  He was pretty sure they weren't sharing it for romantic reasons, but he wasn't entirely certain.  It sounded like someone was up and moving around, so he gave a little tap.  There was a pause, and then the door opened to reveal a sleepy Three.  Her black hair was sticking up weirdly.  Part of it had been bleached blonde; the rest was streaked with blue.  She stifled a yawn.

"Hi, Fergus," she mumbled.  "Pip's still asleep."

"Can you get him up?  Guillory's here, and he wants us to go with him to get papers."

She rubbed at one eye, seeming to take a moment to understand him, and then blinked.  "Oh, yes.  Okay."

"Meet you in the kitchens," Fergus said and proceeded down a winding corridor to Raja's room.  He rapped on the door, but Raja didn't answer, so he decided to peek inside.  The room was empty.  He felt a prickle of anxiety go down his spine.  Probably Raja had just gone for a morning walk, but Fergus didn't like anyone being unaccounted for.  Lately, that could very well mean all kinds of really bad things.  Fergus frowned to himself before heading towards Terry's room, but ran into Terry halfway there.

"What's up?"

"Guillory's here," Fergus replied.  "Says he wants to take us to the immigration office to get papers.  'Proper papers.'" 

"Sounds like him.  Did he say what he was gonna do if someone tried to arrest us?"

"Said he would vouch for us."  Fergus paused and then added,  "Harriet hasn't come back for us, so I guess his word's good.  He also said the arson case was dropped."

Terry scowled.  "Figures."

"Maybe we should have testified."

"No point worrying about it now," Terry said, starting past him.

"Have you seen Raja?" Fergus asked.

"Nope.  Not since before dinner.  You missed Rosslyn dumping a glass of wine on the Count."

"I ran into Ursula."

Terry gave him a wan smile.  "I figured.  Well, don't worry about her.  C'mon.  Let's go find Raja."