'The Masked Oracle': Chapter 4

Wynter’s POV

I opened my eyes once more and a small drop of water fell onto the pavement. I brought my hand up to my cheek to find it wet. My thoughts were short-lived as I realized it wasn’t over yet.

“Enough!” A loud voice yelled. “She has passed the test. It has been witnessed. Child, you may name your side.”

“Neither!” I shouted. People started to uproar and shout in protest. I slowly walked out of the arena and slid down one of the dirty brick walls. A tall figure came down the other end and revealed himself to be Dyson. “So, what did you think?”

“Bold move, allowing the pain eater to feed,” Dyson said, picking me up off the ground.

“He suffered enough at the hands of your boss. And I don’t kill. My gift naturally allows me to avoid those types of situations… You owe me breakfast.”

“I suppose I do. Get some rest. You’ve earned it.”

I shut my eyes, and the soft rock of Dyson’s movements lulled me into a deep sleep. When I woke up next, I was in an unfamiliar bed. I looked around the room to find Dyson hitting a punching bag. I sat up in bed and watched him, as creepy as that sounds. He was very powerful.

“Morning,” I said as he was taking a break to catch his breath.

“Evening. You slept through the whole day,” Dyson said, grabbing a towel.

“Doesn’t surprise me. He took a lot more than I was expecting.”

“Not many survive when fed on by a pain eater.”

“I’m special. You still owe me breakfast and I am starving so chop chop.” I did two quick claps and we shared a small laugh. “Do you know of any place hiring? Like a bartender or a waitress, things like that.”

“I might know a place. You might even learn more about who you are.”

“I know who I am. I am a smart, independent woman that can predict the future. I’d fit right in if we were in Vegas.”

“Not everything is a joke.”

“If we can’t joke now will we ever laugh again… My dad used to say that. Laugh in the moment so after it passes it doesn’t seem so bad.”

“Smart man.”

“Yeah, he was… Now you are buying me breakfast so go shower or something. You stink.”

Dyson let out a small laugh before walking further into the apartment. I took the time to actually look at the place. Everything was so clean, even with the messy bed. Nothing looked out of place, everything had a spot. A few minutes later Dyson emerged clean and fully dressed. We walked out of his apartment and he drove us to a hole in the wall type place. We walked inside and it was anything but.

glass orb and city Anika Huizinga

“I’ve seen this place before,” I whispered looking at the eclectic decor.

We kept walking up to the bar. “Dyson,” an older gentleman said, holding a dishrag.

“I have someone you should meet,” Dyson said. “Trick, this is Wynter. Wynter, this is Trick. He’s one of our elders and the keeper of this way station.”

“Non Locals who pass through have to declare themselves here.” The man walked out from behind the counter and I had to look down to keep eye contact. “The Dal is also a place where all Fae can find sanctuary from persecution. It’s neutral ground for Light and Dark Fae.”

“Judging by the side eyes and outright glares I won’t be making many friends by not choosing,” I said.

“The politics of remaining undeclared are complicated.”

“I don’t care much for politics. Dyson said that you might be able to help me.”

“Come with me.” He walked towards the back of the bar and Dyson motioned for me to follow Trick, so I did. He walked into a small office and pulled out a giant book. “Okay. Wynter… mother’s and father’s name.” He opened the book and took a quill from an inkpot.

“Lillian and Henry Lane.”

“Um… I mean your real parents.”

“I don’t know who they are. I take it Bo didn’t either.”

He softly shook his head no. “Well we know they’re both Fae. Those born of only one Fae don’t have Fae abilities, and you most certainly do. Well… guess you’ll remain a mystery. Sign in, then.”

I carefully took the quill from him, making sure not to have physical contact. I signed directly under Bo’s name, and then we were done. I walked back out to Dyson to see two plates of food waiting at the bar. I gave him a small smile before digging into the food. After we finished, I told Dyson that I was going to explore the city and I didn’t give him much time to argue before I left the bar.

I walked around downtown looking for a place to work. I found a cute little diner and walked inside. It looked a lot like the one back home so I walked up to the manager and asked if they were hiring. Thankfully they were and we discussed that I would start tomorrow. She gave me a spare uniform and I went on my way. I hailed a taxi and he took me back to Bo’s. When I walked inside I took notice of the green fire. Kenzi rushed over with a fire extinguisher and put it out.

“Oh, not that’s handy,” an older man with snarly white hair and a grungy green outfit said. “You just, like, pull a trigger and pfft, it’s out? I really have to get one of those.”

“No,” Bo said, grabbing him by the shirt collar. “What you really have to start doing is telling us the truth.”

“Truth about what?” I asked walking further into the room. “And who is he?”

“He’s a client,” Bo said brushing me off. “You sent a headless nightmare after Connell.”

“What, you mean like a Dullahan? Oh, no way. I hate those things. They’re creepy.”

“Beautiful. Now we have the pot calling the kettle ‘creepy’,” Kenzi said.

“What is going on here? Who is Connell and what the hell is a Dullahan?” I asked, getting impatient.

“Connell stole this guy’s bling and a Dullahan is a headless Fae,” Kenzi said, clearing it up for me.

“Thanks.” I walked up to my room leaving them to their ‘client’.