They all looked at the eager young Asian boy in front of them who, seemingly oblivious to what he had just put them through, now wanted to tag along with them.

“Excuse us,” Dr. Ransom said, putting a hand again on his daughter Jeanette’s shoulder to stifle another intemperate but not irrational outburst. They walked until they were out of earshot of the boy, with Thyrsis and Antithyrsis, the two crows, keeping watch.

“Let’s open our deliberations with me saying that this is completely insane. Do I hear a second?” Senhor Capoeira Capybara said.


It seemed like a whirlwind in their hotel room, but there was something must more solid and brutal among the flying shards of glass, metal, paper and everything else, Both Terence and Jeanette were out of bed and on their feet, and both had instantly gone beyond the sixth wall to pull out heavy-duty guns, but Terence had not had the training instilled by hours of first-person shooter games to fire all the time and at everything, so he was holding off, and Jeanette was following her father’s lead.


Terence was steering the enemy ship with a confidence he didn’t really feel, especially with Senhor Capoeira Capybara seemingly punching buttons and waving at surfaces just to see what the did. He knew, however, where he was going, making a circle around the edge of Radiant City by night, and thanking whatever powers there were that there was no pursuit—either from the Polizei or other possible enemy ships.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing, Dr. Ransom?” Grandmère Hutan said with forced evenness.


When they had all gathered by Jeanette, it was her father who gently made her give up her hold on Kelly’s dead body.

“It’s all wrong,” she cried. “It’s all just wrong.”

He said nothing, but walked her away, then knelt and wrapped her in a cloth from his knapsack. Such was the virtue of it that the blood all came off, even that which had dried. He moistened his fingers in his mouth and cleaned her face with the tips as he had done before she could walk.

Then he stood up and looked down at her. “I think I knew what we should do.”


The train, while still towering and magnificent on the inside, felt a lot less ghostly and ethereal than the one Jeanette had been in--briefly--before.

The fairies, obviously, had a great deal to do with that.

They were thin and delicately colored--miniature versions of the conductors she had met, but they were everywhere, chattering in tiny voices, and forming chaotic aerial groups that sometimes involved pushing and poking. They complained loudly about hauling Lord Elphinstone’s treasure-filled suitcase away to his room, but they did it.


Upon conference with the unseen engineers, it was decided that the train would pull into the Broceliande Station as scheduled, since it was unlikely that the Theravader ships would be aware of their existence. (The only thing that would cause damage would be a direct accidental hit--they were, after all, physical--but debarkation would be quick and they would be away.)

There was a brief discussion in Grandmère Hutan’s stateroom before they put in--minus Lord Silvertyger Elphinstone, since they knew beforehand what he would say.


It was Chancellor Acquin who asked, “Was this your--hunch?”

Senhor Capoeira Capybara said without taking his eyes off the figure on the table, “There are enormous differences, but this is what happened, more or less, to each of us in this circle. Some of us don’t remember at all, while I have fragments of memories, but we were like this--boy--and were thrown out by a force we call the Exile--to land into a foreign world and acquire a normal life for that place--and that included memories, parents, a history--like your forester couple.”


Jeanette kept staring upward until the sky was blue again, and not Jimmy Newman’s face. She brought her hand down: she hadn’t realized that she had waved to him as he expanded into infinity. It was definitely a stupid gesture, but around her, her friends, the Chancellor, the guards, and a few others were staring up at the sky in astonishment. There were men and women standing at balconies and crenellations, and even burning roofs of the city of Broceliande, staring in the same direction.


Jeanette sat on the stone floor of the infinite bookstacks. She was not going to simply run again, taking turn after turn and up staircases and down, only to have it look exactly the same. She had already called for help ten or so times, and if her guardian (or whatever) Parise hadn’t heard her, surely Thyrsis and Antithyrsis, the crows would over her bracelets. Except that there was no guarantee that the bond would work into another universe, which was very likely the case here.


When light returned to the throne room, Chancellor Acquin was lying on the steps, a massive hole in his chest. He looked definitely dead.

The guards rushed to him and picked him up, carrying him to the two pillars that would turn back time for a few minutes.

King Charles Martel shouted in rage, “STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING!” But the guards ignored him. One of them pressed the panel.