The first place we went was Miskatonic.
“They’re all gone,” Frank said.
“All the Ecthroi we had trapped in the Museum have vanished.”
“I don’t think so. They were made of magic. With Tiamat dead, they don’t have anything to draw from to maintain their karmic field.”
“What are you going to do with the university, then?” asked Epiphany. “If there aren’t any Ecthroi.”
“There are other monsters,” said the Dean. He took a dog biscuit from a jar on his desk and tossed it to Fairfax, who crunched it with every sign of enjoyment. “Smaller, maybe, but they still need killing. And there’s no guarantee Ecthroi won’t find their way back into our world. There are other sources of magic.”
“Speaking of, what are they going to do about Amtrak?”
“Rebuild. We’ve got contractors from every planet and plane on their way to Mars Prime by ship. It’ll be up and running in three or four months.”
“They’ll put it back the way it was.” He leaned on his desk. “What are you going to do?”
“Take a break. Bum around the Prime System for a while. I’ve still got the cherub Watchword gave me.”
“We’ve got a new tattooist coming in. You’ll need ink.”
“Not for a little while, okay, Frank? I’ll come back when they’re done putting Central Terminal back together.”
Frank nodded. “Fine. I’ll see you in three or four months.”
Epiphany and I walked out of Frank’s office, Fairfax at our heels. It was cool and clear on the quad. The stars were brighter there than anywhere else in the world.
“What are you going to do?” I asked her.
“Take some time. Relax.” She stopped and looked up at the sky. “My glyph needs some time to recharge.”
“You want to—”
We stared at each other. I smiled. So did she. “Come on,” I said. “I know this great diner in the Heart of the Carnival.”
“The one on Jordan Prime?”
“You know the place?”
“Been there once or twice. Owner’s shady as hell.”
“The food’s good.”
She took my arm. “C’mon,” she said. “Let’s go.”
“Angelus lux,” I said, and then we were somewhere else.
Steven Smiley is the author of Milo & Fairfax.