"I don't know," I say. "How am I supposed to get you into Maisy's world? And why should you care, anyway?"
"Maybe he can use me for dragon bait. After all, I carry the dragon's mark on my shoulder," says Maisy, an even younger red-headed woman. She's not as fiery as redheads are reputed to be, but she is willful. "He could rip my sleeve as he's rescuing me from the attack, and realize I'm the person he's looking for. And while you're at it, you could dig through that big list of names you keep adding to. In 495 pages, I bet you could find a better name than Maisy."
"What's wrong with Maisy?" says an older, stooped -shouldered man. "I thought it was a lovely name."
"Oh, Thom. You know I love you like a father, but...well, that name is so, well, backcountry."
"Well, I did find you growing up in the hills," Thom replies, scratching his head. "Your ma thought it was pretty."
There is a cough and a smell of brimstone, and a sudden swirl of wind. Everybody's head turns to see an aged, grey in the snout black dragon. His eyes are cloudy. "At least you all have names. Me, I'm just the Old Black Dragon."
"Shut up, dragon," says the short, silverhaired witch with a pixie sitting on her shoulder. "You don't have a cloud of pixies to put up with every waking hour."
"Mistress Gan," says the pixie on her shoulder, a little petite girl dressed in a flower petal dress. "I thought you liked me. And all of us. You made us cobbler."
My head's getting to be a noisy place. I blame Pink for having trouble making decisions. If not, they're all going into the maybe file, and they don't like the sound of that. Pink, taking a drink of her sake, looks at the gang surrounding her.
"It was your idea, Pink," I say. "Fix it."
"Yeah, yeah," she says, picking up her bowl. "This is going to take more popcorn."