Doloise stood in the doorway behind us.

“I am your Guardian and Guide,” is all she said to me.

I took a look at her.  It had been a slow transition, but while she was still wearing outrageous heels and amber glasses, something about her outfits had changed.  Instead of sharp (and dangerous!) curves, there were more balanced looks to them, cuts that suggested more conservative considerations.  Was she growing up or changing or (more disturbing) fitting my particular needs?

“Even into the mouth of a Dragon?” I asked.  I meant it to be funny, but she just nodded sharply.

I watched her as she turned around, pushing open the door.  I smiled at Ivan.  “I’ll be in touch.  Don’t sniff the fewmets or get into any arguments with the undead, alright?”  I made it sound like I gave that kind of advice every day and then hurried to catch up with Doloise.

Funny, usually I led.

She walked back to the car.  Nellie was no where to be seen, which, of course, made me temporarily concerned that Doloise had, I don’t know, eaten her.   I looked around the parking lot which seemed somewhat empty for a Saturday afternoon.  Well, maybe they’d have a large dinner crowd.  Actually, for being such a main thoroughfare, Colfax itself seemed kind of devoid of traffic.  Was there a game on or something that I’d missed?

That feeling of oppression, maybe – a lot of people could be sensitive to such, and decide to stay home.  I guessed that was it.  But a lot more people were completely blank to it, so why not have a steady stream of cars out on the road?

I frowned and got in behind the wheel.

“The sorceress would see your bones ground into bread,” Doloise said.

“I bet she tells that to all the fellows,” I replied, mostly on automatic.  Where were people?

A few birds fluttered on the phone lines.  “You are not concerned to become a pastry, I take it.”

“You are what you eat.  It’s only my fabulous metabolism that’s kept me from being slow enough to be dipped in sprinkles.”  Well, I could still go to the gym.

“She is sorceress enough to do it.  I do not understand her…animosity.”

“I am like her husband, waking up things that ought to have died long ago.”  I started the car up.  I wasn’t actually in a hurry to go home, but I wasn’t sure exactly where to go.  I was wound up in a strange way.  I figured I’d just head east and see what interested me on the way.

There are a lot of places for bands to play along Colfax.  The Tattered Cover cast her siren’s song but I was too wired to actually look for books.  Lots of opportunities to buy used goods or get liquored up, but it seemed kind of early and unkind for that.   Maybe not in that order.  I could buy cheap cellphone service at almost every other corner, kind of like the proliferation of sweet coffee places.

“How will I get in touch with a Dragon?” I asked Doloise.

“You call them.”

“I don’t think they’re in the phone book,” I sighed.  I pulled into a drive-through and bought us both some vanilla shakes.   “The Questor?”

“He would know,” she agreed.

“I have a feeling that it isn’t so much of a Quest, yet, though.  Maybe I just find a name and speak it three times.”

“That is a law of Will,” she seemed to be amiable to it.  She slurped a little with her straw.  I chuckled.

“You are not helping.  Are you not supposed to be Guardian and Guide?”

“You merely had to ask.  I would prefer not to do it in your transportation as it may make for discomfort.”  She didn’t set down the shake but I could hear faint harmonics.

“No, no, you’re right.  Need to find the right place and time.  Position of strength, find out what it is a Dragon wants except to grind my bones and make them bread.  Wait.”  I literally hit my brakes – good thing there was no one behind me for a couple of blocks.

“Nellya.  Why hadn’t I seen it?”  I hit the steering wheel with my hand.  “She’s the Dragon.”