“Sorry,” Lilly muttered. “I… I’m sure I’m too heavy.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Axra said. Lilly was positioned on her back with her arms around Axra’s neck. “Just concentrate on feeling better.” She kept walking, holding Lilly carefully up as she went. Lilly’s hair tickling the back of her neck. “Still, why is Lilly the only one sick?”
“It’s hard to say,” Twila said. “It could be that she’s the least accustomed to moving quickly or there could be some genetic factor responsible.” Fang flew off of Twila’s shoulder and hovered above her as though to demonstrate his own lack of difficulty.
They continued down the path towards the reportedly senile old man’s home. The ground was nearly pitch black and their journey took them through or around several craters. Some of the larger ones had buildings inside of them, usually businesses from the look of them. The city had several statues of Artemis, they seemed to pass one every half hour or so. Axra had looked up at the moon several times, but she’d never imagined that people could or would live on it. Still, it made sense. The Djinn were largely forgotten because they’d retreated to such a distant place.
They drew quite a bit of attention. Which made sense given that the Djinn were isolated up here. Axra didn’t see one member of any other race in the crowd. Although she did spot a cute Djinn girl. The young woman blushed and looked away.
“Right,” Axra thought. “They read minds. Better not think about anything like that.” Just as she was focusing her ind on carrying Lilly to their destination, she spotted a stunningly beautiful Djinn. The woman winked at her. Dammit! Why was it so hard to not think about things like this when you were in a situation where it was a bad idea?
They eventually arrived at their destination. It was a medium-sized house situated just outside of one of the craters. Twila went over and rapped her staff against the door.
After a couple minutes, a bent old Djinn answered. His hair was pure white and he had a bushy mustache. He was barely over a meter tall. “Is this an invasion?” he asked.
“No, Sir,” Twila said. “We…”
“Not an invasion,” he interrupted. “That’s good.” He slammed the door.
Twila tried knocking again.
The old Djinn quickly returned. “Are you my granddaughter?” he asked. “Did you want some hard candy?”
“No, Sir,” Twila answered. “My name is Twila Magia. My friend and I…”
“Not my granddaughter,” he interrupted. “I see.” He closed the door again.
Twila frowned but forced herself to smile before knocking again.
The old Djinn answered. “Where am I? Are you trying to sell me something?”
“No,” Twila answered, speaking quickly. “We aren’t invaders. I’m not your granddaughter and I don’t want to sell you anything. We came because we heard that your an authority on ancient texts.”
“Oh, that’s why you’re here,” he said. “I see.” He poked his head out of the house and beckoned for them to come inside. “Hurry, hurry.”
They moved inside and he quickly shut the door behind them.
“Can’t be too careful,” he said. “These youngsters have no respect. Always trying to take advantage of an old man. They think I’m senile, you know.”
“Aren’t you?” Axra asked. Twila shot her a cautioning look. “Sorry.”
“No need to apologise,” he said. “Just means I’m doing something right. When they think I’m senile, I can talk circles around them until they go away. Very handy. Now then, Miss… Magia, was it? What do you need from an authority on ancient texts?”
“We’re looking for specific information,” Twila explained. “About a woman who was sealed in the Wastes. She has an awful lot of power and we’re concerned for our friend’s safety.” She nodded towards Lilly.
“So, that’s what it is,” he said. “Oh, yes, my name is Kilieg Josa, but if anyone out there asks I couldn’t remember.”
“We understand,” Twila said.
“Good,” Kilieg nodded. “Put your friend down on the couch. I’ll grab some books from before the cataclysm. Let’s see if we can’t find out about this strange woman of yours.”