The unicorn spat in the middle of the circle near where I was sitting. “Time to move forward.”
“Hold it,” I stood up while avoiding the spitball at my feet. “What are we doing?”
“We?” The unicorn pointed his horn at me. “There is no we. You are not qualified to fix this conundrum.”
“Excuse me, but this is my problem too. You might think me a careless rogue.”
“That’s because you are.”
“Point taken. Just because I’m careless doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’m helping you fix this whether you want my help or not. Besides, what was your plan?”
He snorted, a plume of black smoke came out of his nose. “First, I need to get the Baneportal back from the dimension pocket of space-time you put it in.”
“Yeah, so you need someone to help you.” The first rule of being a successful thief is to outsource the stuff you can’t do for yourself to trusted individuals. And I happened to know the right person for what the unicorn wanted to accomplish. Hands on my hips and an arched eyebrow, I said, “We need the Tinker.”
“Out of the question.” The unicorn turned and galloped away. I hurried to keep up with him, not realizing how damn fast unicorns were until I had to keep pace with one. Their hatred for elves was rather legendary, so I understood his haste and dislike for my zany half-formulated plan to seek out an ancient elf’s aid.
“Wait, you demented horse,” I yelled and ran into the backside when he stopped suddenly, the bristles of his tail hair swiping me across the face. “So you got a better plan? Randomly teleporting until you find the Baneportal? The Tinker can get us what we need for a small nominal fee. Done deal, no questions asked.”
“True,” said the unicorn, “but her assistance is not needed. Further, she has no business knowing the Baneportal is lost. Leave her out of this.”
“Fine. Just promise you won’t find the Tinker by yourself. And stay out of this.”
“Yeah, yeah. I promise.” I waved. “I guess this is goodbye then.”
“Good riddance.” And with that the unicorn was gone. Poof, gone, slipped in to another space-time dimension for all I knew. Arrogant bastards, I’ve generally disliked unicorns and this one cemented my dislike. Now I needed to find the Tinker and be done with this whole ordeal. Oh, and by the way… When you make me promise not to do something, I usually take that as a dare. You’ve been forewarned.
Now for actually finding Elmara. Unfortunately, in some ways at least, that’s not as hard as it sounds. She shows up when you need her the most. Not bad when you have torn the universe asunder, but annoying as hell when you already know you’ve messed up.
So I turned around and there she was sitting on a tree stump, shuffling a deck of cards and smiling as if she didn’t have a care in the world. “Brin,” she cooed, “come to have your fortune read? A fortunate encounter. Very fortuitous of you to stop by.”
“Nice to see you too. No, I need help with a little problem.”
Elmara put the deck into a wood case, which she slipped into a pouch. “A fecund opportunity to peruse my services, no doubt. To tinker with time is to dinker with space, and to tink I’d miss this… I think you should sit down.”