Herring glanced at Tol, who was caught between being disturbed at something, and laughing hysterically. For himself, Herring was doing his best to be calm. Somewhere, somehow, his incubating parasite had died. He could feel it.
Worse than the death of his eventual dinner, was the pull at his soul, as the creature was coerced into leaving Alexandra Horsheit’s body. To him, it had a similar “flavor” to the power of the Rose Thorn Ring, which was supposed to be in the possession of Tol’s pasty, Lois Nasen-Hedges… unless it wasn’t any longer.
Tol interrupted his musings.
“Did you see that? Did you?”
“What?” Herring tried to keep the annoyance out of his voice.
“The President groped the breast of the woman in the food truck!” Tol shouted, and clapped his hands in glee. “They gave him an electric shock and took him away! This is marvelous!”
“Oh, it is grand. It most certainly is.”
Herring’s master turned to him and regarded him with slit eyes and a sour expression. He flinched and sunk farther back into the ragged cloth that covered him. Too many years of seeing that expression had taught him that violence was not far off. Shrinking away was simple self-preservation, not paranoia.
“Herring, you do not suit my mood today. Leave me.” Tol said to him, and waved him off.
“Aye, Lord.” Herring hid his smile, and passed between the realms with barely a conscious thought.
He materialized beneath the apple tree he’d come to favor, and bellowed his frustration at the top of his lungs. Losing that meal vexed him beyond reason, almost to the point of not caring that the ring may have fallen into an entirely different set of hands. The only positive point is that Tol dismissed him for a time. Alone, he could vent at his leisure, and plan the most effective way to kidnap the shorter man in the food truck.
The powerful, and mysterious, girl needed to be swayed to his cause: liberation from his former student. In an ideal world, that would also include the abominable demise of his current overlord.
Indeed, Tol’s death had to be part and parcel to the agreement. Left to recover, bargains, wagers, and promises, would mean nothing to him. He would return, and kill everyone, as soon as he could. Revenge was a concept Tol understood from the moment he emerged from the womb.
For some minutes, he paced back and forth in front of the trunk of the apple tree. With a snarl, he flung the rags off, and sat down with his naked back against the tree.
Leaning against the bark, he couldn’t tell what the rougher surface was, the tree trunk, or the knots of scars that covered his emaciated body. Every ridge was another reason to orchestrate the death of the foul usurper that was once his student.
The girl had to be brought to heel. To do that, he needed to think. To think, he needed to set the rage aside, at least for a time. With a sigh, he locked down the feelings, and closed his eyes.