- Small Worlds
- Chapter Four
Vaniah pushed through the crowd upon the train. Here was the most varied existence possible, between every conceivable universe, with travelers of every kind. He looked along the crowded aisles, and soon found the barmaid in the crowd.
He snuck over to her, hand on his dagger. She was clearly trained— he would have to approach her carefully.
"Not carefully enough,"
an alien voice in his head replied to this train of thought. He darted his head around, but upon failing to find anybody, turned his head back— and locked eyes with his target.
She jumped upwards, and started running. Vaniah cursed under his breath, and chased her, pushing over a rat and an overgrown chimpanzee with his head in a book.
"You really should be more careful."
He swung his head around to see the fist of a shedim'ato, a king among demons, and dodged it just in time. "My comradesss back in the tavern may have ssstopped pursssuing you, Gunssslinger, but do not think you may essscape usss!" Launching another punch, the shedim'ato— whom he recognized as a certain Lord Visstor— caught him directly in the stomach. Vaniah kicked Visstor in the lump on its back, causing it to gain a horrified expression, cringing and clutching itself. Vaniah smirked, then ran to the next cabin.
The barmaid was nowhere to be found, but suddenly the voice rang out again: "On the roof!"
Vaniah let out a muffled thanks, before escaping the car and climbing up the ladder on the side.
He soon found the barmaid clutching his pistol, aiming it directly at him. "Don't come any closer!" she yelled, quivering. Vaniah merely shook his head, then leapt towards her and drove his knife deep into her stomach. She let out a cry of pain, and he responded by covering her mouth with his hand.
"What now? How do I get her to tell me what I want to know? Or do you only help me with things I could figure out myself?" he whispered. There was then a response only he could hear: "No, Vaniah Vato Vulio. I will tell you her deepest fear."
Vaniah was shocked at this revelation. He reached into his pocket, withdrawing his handkerchief, and quickly tied it around the barmaid's eyes. She let out a choked gasp, and he responded:
"Listen, you. I don't know why you thought it was a good idea to take my gun. But you'd better tell me soon, or else that knife is coming right out." She struggled to maintain a stoic expression. A hiss emanated from a nearby car. "You hear that? He may be angry at me, but I should get away with a few broken bones. I'm still useful to his mistress. But you? He'll see you as nothing more than a further impediment to my progress. You tell me what I want, and tell me now, and I might
see about getting you to a hospital."
They stood there for several minutes, as the multitude of existences whizzed past them. She soon yelled out: "Fine! Just... take the blindfold off! Please!
Vaniah refused to remove it until she spilled her guts. He wasn't going to be duped again.