I was only half right, Keyne loved the pub but instead of being in the middle of everything he took us to a table in the back corner, out of the way of everything. After settling in beside me he leaned over, “I know you wanted to talk last night but you fell asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow. Here we can talk and no one will pay any attention.” I was puzzled but touched. “It’s OK, if you want to go and have fun with the crowd I will understand. I came here because I thought you would like it.”
“I do love, the ale is plenty and the booth is comfortable. It is just my kind of place. However, I wish to spend my time here with you, not these mortals I will never see again.”
Overwhelmed by feelings I wasn’t sure I could name, I lowered my head and began fiddling with the bowl of bread that had been placed on the table with our ale. I was so lost in thought I missed Keyne ordering dinner until a giant plate of shrimp, potatoes, corn, and sausage was set down in front of us. “I hope you don’t mind La’el, I ordered a Low Country Boil for us to share. If you would like something else we can get it.”
“This is perfect Keyne, I love shrimp. What will you eat?” Snorting at this he took a sausage from the plate. “What is it you wished to talk about love? You can’t keep avoiding it forever.”
I debated what all to tell him as I pushed the food around on my plate, suddenly the shrimp looked less appetizing. I decided to go for full honesty. He had been kind to me and made sure I not only had fun but didn’t feel bad about not being able to bring us home.
“You will not like this but I feel I must tell you the truth. I took Dragon-Breath, I felt bad even as I did it, but I needed time to undo all of the havoc you have caused with your power to grant divinity. I thought that if I hid the ax you would go on a quest and give me a day or two to fix things. I also hoped it would give me time to make Erwin realize how much of a problem it was causing for you to be creating new Gods and Goddesses at random. I devised a plan to get you drunk enough to transport it here while you slept. I did not expect to enjoy your company so much that night. That someone might look for the ax as well never entered my mind. They should not have even known about it. Once I saw that there were others involved I knew I had to come with you though I never expected Erwin to know what I did. I certainly never thought I would have so much fun on the trip, that horrid swamp notwithstanding. I hope that you can forgive me and we can at least be friends. I have found I want that very much.” It all came out in a rush. When my mouth finally stopped moving, I slumped back into the booth relieved that it was all out in the open.
Keyne was silent for a long time. So long I thought he would never speak to me again. Just before I decided to leave he threw his head back and gave a loud laugh. He laughed as though he had never heard a more funny joke which sat my teeth on edge. I pushed up from the table and turned to go but he grabbed my arm and holding his stomach
“sit La’el, I am sorry if I offend you, it was not my intention. I had despaired you would never interfere with the new Gods and Goddesses I was creating and had gone to The Khan that very night to tell him I wanted a new plan. He was going to undo their divinity the next morning with or without you. When I told him to fix things he agreed as long as I gave you one more day to react. He said he knew you were up to something and wanted to see what you would do. I agreed and I had never been gladder than I was when you walked into the great hall that night. I wasn’t sure if you dressed up for me or not but I had to speak to you regardless. I was shocked you sat with me and I could tell you were up to something but I went along with you just to see where it would lead. When I woke up to find my ax gone, I’ll admit it threw me and I was angry at first but I realized quickly that was part of your plan. I knew if Malachi did not have the ax then you took it and if you did it was safe where ever you put it. Erwin sent you with me because he knew that you would either realize my feelings for you and return them or you would make it clear to me once and for all I was never going to win you. He is the one who created the men in your vision. They are nothing more than the magic of The Khan, illusions used to have a reason to send you. So yes, we can continue to be friends. I hope we can be more than friends at some point soon.”
Stunned, all I could do was stare at him. Part of me wanted to be angry that he and Erwin had done all this but a perverse part of me was touched that he would go through all the trouble to make me notice him. I just didn’t understand why he felt the need to. Finally, when I could speak again, I asked a ridiculous question,
“OK, but why Carl, the God of Wet Willies?”
“Oh, because I knew that would be the one to get you. After all the other stupid powers I had handed out I was running out of ideas and so they kept getting increasingly more silly. Carl was the last by the way, he thought it was a riot to have the power even for a day or two. They all knew it was only for a time even if they didn’t know the reason.”
I was at a loss and too confused by this change of events I didn’t begin to know where to start. I had to admit, the plan was pretty amusing now that I knew the entire to story. “Erwin was in on this?” I finally asked. For some reason, I was stuck on that. Then a light bulb went off.
“You two are the reason my powers have been so off lately! I had no idea he would give you the ability to create gods and there is no reason I shouldn’t have been able to get us home after we got the ax. You and Erwin combined your powers to block mine! How could you? My powers are everything to me!”
Now I was mad and ready to go home. I no longer wanted to spend time in the city or with Keyne, I needed to think. With no warning, I jumped up and fled to the restroom where I quickly gathered my powers and disappeared just as Keyne burst into the ladies room.