HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 172

“Your friends will find a way to come for you,” Teth said, standing over her. He glanced at his sister. “Right?”

Orna was quiet for a moment, then said, “Lizbeth placed an order for lightning charms to aid in her research on this… electricity. You did good work while I was busy with Magh. I could use your help again. Just… until your friends return.”

“Especially since I’ll be spending less time at the shop,” Teth said.

“What?” Orna snapped. “Why?”

Teth smiled sheepishly.

“Illuyanka and I have… entered into a collaboration,” he said. “I know you’re against the idea, but—”

“But nothing!” Orna said. “This isn’t happening. End of discussion.”

“What don’t you hear him out?” Frederica said. “Seems only fair after everything he’s done for you.”

Orna sighed.

“Fine,” she said, and nodded to a booth in the corner. “In private.”

She marched over to the table. Teth mouthed a “thank you” at Frederica and followed his sister. Frederica smiled in spite of herself. She didn’t like the idea of being stuck here, but she could’ve ended up with worse companions.

She glanced around the tavern. A trio of lizardmen ate some sort of crustacean at the next table. A goblin sat alone at the bar. And the orc and satyr from the other day drank together in a corner booth, all smiles and laughter. Finally her stomach growled and she looked down at the food in front of her.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad here, after all.

As she dug into her squid, the front door opened and a cloaked figure stepped into the tavern. The figure was tall, indistinct, with a face obscured by a hood. They looked around the room and seemed to fixate on Frederica. The figure walked slowly toward her, pulled up a chair on the other side of the table, and pulled back the hood.

“Professor MacNeil?!” Frederica stammered.

Carmen,” the woman corrected.