Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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“I didn’t make my hat for this,” says Tom. “It’s not supposed to make everyone into soulless cannibals!”

Tom bumps into Lucy Souvante — space princess assassin, his one-time enemy, and the evil prophet of space. He recognizes her instantly. He draws his pocket flamethrower. He turns. He squirts his space distorter to gain distance and fires —

She has already caught his gun hand and pushed it aside, already lifted him by the neck, is already staring at him.

“You followed me?”

“I go to school here,” he squeaks.

She puts him down.

“Oh,” she says. “Sorry.”

“It’s all right,” he says. “I was going to set you on fire.”

She looks him up and down.

“You’re different, boy,” she says.

“I made a ha—aa—”

His word is both interrupted and strung out when she plucks it from his head, looks it this way and that, and experimentally puts it on.

“Don’t eat me,” whispers Tom.

“Of course not,” she says. Then her stomach rumbles. “I mean,” she says. She licks her lips. “I mean —”

She closes her eyes. She counts one, two, three, while lifting and lowering her hand.

She throws paper.

Tom has also thrown paper. She squints at him.

“It’s what you threw last time,” he says.

“Again,” she says. “If I win, I get to eat you.”

“I don’t want to play rock-paper-scissors for my life —” he starts. One, two three.

Paper against paper.

Lucy squints at him. “I should warn you,” she says, “that I always throw paper.”

“That’s just aces,” says Tom.

“It’s because I’m an evil prophet —”

But he’s punched her in the stomach and he’s grabbed his hat back.

And he’s run away!

“God damn it,” she says, because he’s around the corner now, so he could throw rock or even scissors on their next go and she wouldn’t even know.

The House of Hunger is bad. They terrify him.

The Keepers’ House is worse.



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