I followed him, glad to be back on familiar ground. His hooves clicked musically on the stones. He bowed deeply, indicating I should sit on the bench. After a slight hesitation, I did so and he sat down next to me. His green eyes looked deeply into my own. I blushed despite of myself.
Looking away, I said, “You never told me your name.”
He stroked his goatee thoughtfully with his slender fingers then he smiled mischievously. “You may call me Deep Hoof for now. So, did you solve the mystery?”
I blinked but was not surprised that he’d know, given who I suspected him to be. “Yes. It was the streetlamp bogey.”
Deep Hoof feigned surprise. “Really? And why would he do such a thing?”
“He was upset by Thalo Green’s drawings of Oak.”
“They were rather abstract, weren’t they?”
I narrowed my eyes. “I have to wonder who might have told the bogey about them.”
Deep Hoof smiled charmingly at me. “Who do you suppose?”
“Someone who couldn’t touch iron, who wanted to spark the flames between the Downtown and Uptown Fey. Someone like you.”
Deep Hoof pressed a finger to my lips. “Shh… not too loudly; the shadows have ears. There are those among the Fey that see your Urban brethren as an aberration. I myself couldn’t care less, of course.”
I looked up in surprise to see Lord Neon standing there with a green traffic light fairy on one shoulder.
Neon raised an eyebrow at the satyr. “Deep Hoof?”
The satyr jumped up and bowed slightly to Neon. “Ah, his lordship arrives right on cue. I see you got my message. You really should keep better track of your people; you wouldn’t want them getting hurt, would you? I must go now, exit stage left, to meet up with some dryads.” He skipped off, the clatter of his hooves dampened by the grass.
Lord Neon said, “Shall we go, Lady Forensix?”
I fell into step with Neon. “How much of that did you hear?”
The glimmer of Neon’s hair lit the path with just enough glow to keep us from stepping on a sidewalk crack. “Most of it. I’ll have a talk with the streetlight bogey. I trust you’ll return the iron bar to its owner.”
I scowled. “Just talk to him? Word gets out that murder is punished with a wrist slap like that and I’ll have more work than I can handle!”
Neon laughed. “Don’t worry. It will be a stern talking to and a relocation. I think this part of the park needs more light, don’t you?” He grew serious. “The bogey was just a pawn in a larger game. I’m more interested in preventing a war than in punishing a crime of passion. Consider this park his prison.”
I looked around. “True. Most Urban Fey would find this place frightening. So be it. What will you tell the newspaper?”
Neon stopped and looked up at the stars. “Perhaps nothing. I’m sure they’ll move on to a new story soon.”
We were nearly out of the park now, I heard the hum of the City growing louder. “Just one more question. Who was that satyr?”
Lord Neon replied with a wry smile, “An art critic.”
copyright 2014 by Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved