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22

F I V E D A N C E S W I T H D E A T H

23

C H A P T E R T W O

I found myself pulled out of the room. Unable to resist, I traveled through the walls to the outside where the shrieks of the low-lifes were even more deafening than before.

Plume f loated above the boat’s tallest tree trunk, smiling at me. She pointed at the coast. “Look there.”

Three Mayan elders stood near the line of sand between the forest and the sea. They seemed unarmed. I recognized the old sorcerer who had met me at this coast before. Even from that distance his face stood out clearly; his sharp features seemed overlaid on the hazy landscape. He was looking straight at me. “That man knows you,” Plume commented. “I’ll tell you about him sometime.”

“That’s bad enough, but look through the trees,” she urged. Indeed, the forest swarmed with life and movement. Just behind the first line of trees, out of sight but close enough for im-mediate action, was a large body of men. They were excited, longing for battle, yet fearing it. I slowed and studied the area with more focused attention. The men were divided into large units, which were further split into smaller cohorts. Runners dashed between the for-mations, passing orders from one to another. Clearly it was an army, four thousand men or more. The whole warrior force of this province must have come to the coast.

“There stands the end to your menace,” I said. “Four thousand Mayans against a few hundred of these? The outlanders won’t have a chance to land.”

“Wasp, we must no longer linger here.”

“I want to see what happens next, but if you wish to go . . . go.” Plume was silent for a while, perfectly immobile. Then she responded, pronouncing every word with deliberate clarity. “Now I see that bringing you here was a mistake. You’re getting carried away.” “I just want to watch a little.” “You’ll lose all energy very, very soon.” “I won’t die,” I said, but she already had gone.

up. Anabel ’s embrace and sudden lack of fear puzzled me, however. Was she also a sorceress? She hardly looked like one, but who could tell with foreigners? My experience had taught me that women with powers never looked the part.

An explosion of footsteps outside interrupted my thoughts. The door f lew open, and into the room rushed the orange-haired man in his own person, full of vitality, excitement, and the stench of sweat. It was too good a chance to let pass—the man straight from Hernán’s deepest fears right after my little spectacle. I had to see what would happen next.

Hernán, still naked, stood with his sword over the whimper-ing woman. He eyed his intruder with a mixed expression of fear, annoyance, and timidity. The orange-haired man froze with an embarrassed smile. Several others loomed behind him trying to peer into the room. Someone had to do something, and I looked forward to watching what might occur.

Just as I was about to snap back into Hernán’s head, Plume’s voice stopped me. “It’s no longer safe here,” she warned.

I felt a soft touch of warm, lulling energy. She was making me sleepy, hypnotizing me with her voice. Her hands caressed me, rocked me slowly in the air. “Go away,” I said.

“A massacre is coming. We must leave now.” “But we can see them fight.”

Plume sent a wave of vibrations over me, and the atmosphere in the room became illusory, as if the scene were made up of fragments of dreams.

“Wasp, the exuberance you feel now is false. You borrowed some energy from your host, but it won’t last. There are powerful sorcerers on the coast. They will destroy you.”

“Which sorcerers? Mayans? Or the Moonwalk People?” “Both.”

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