Coyote walked down the still rain-shiny street with his hands in the pockets of his jeans and his nose lifted into the air.  He sensed the prickling before his awareness focused in on the presence.  He smiled and continued walking, a new lightness to his step.  He walked so casually, that he couldn’t resist the urge to try whistling…an art he had never quite mastered.

The air thrummed with the magic, for although the woman who tottered toward him on too-high heels looked anything but magical, she couldn’t disguise herself from those who shared her abilities.  She stumbled a little, caught her heel on the uneven pavement and leaned a hand against the brick wall of the building to steady herself.

Coyote was only five steps away from her, pretending not to notice.  The woman giggled and Coyote felt his face fall into a smirk.  He stopped mid-stride, three paces from her and checked his watch – realizing he wasn’t wearing one, he quickly manifested one on his wrist and tapped the face of it as one might do if he suspected the watch had stopped.

Tilting his head to the side as if perplexed, he took another two steps and tapped the watch again.  He held it to his ear to listen for the whispered tick-tick-tick.  From the corner of his eye, he watched the woman lean down and grab the heel of her shoe.  When she had freed her foot from the sling-back pump, she held it to her face and examined it closely.

“Damned shoes wobble…but they’re so pretty.”  She whined, wiping her arm across her forehead to brush the hair out of her eyes.  She staggered as if drunk.

Coyote continued to check his watch as he advanced on her.  In mid-stride, he quickly reached out and grabbed the woman’s wrist, pulling it to his face to peer at her bracelet.  It shimmered and became a watch.

“That’s odd.  Yours doesn’t work either, Kalali.”  He said, pulling the woman closer to him by her wrist and peering down into her wild eyes.

“They never work for me.  I only work for them.”  She spat, flinging her hair back over her shoulders and fixing him with a defiant stare.

“Perhaps you should find a new occupation, then.  It doesn’t look like they respect you very much, sending you out in the rain to track a Bokor.  It’s only a matter of time before they kick you out.  Ask the Bokor.  He’s experienced it.”  Coyote said, pushing her hair out of her eyes and watching her shiver with delight.

“You’re playing at a dangerous game.”  Kalali whispered.

Coyote noticed her eyes dart around, as if she were checking to make sure they were alone.

“This is no game, child.”  He said, setting his hands on her shoulders, but keeping her small form close to his.  “This is for our very survival.  If it were a game, they wouldn’t have bothered to send you to watch him.”

Kalali looked at him with such fear that for a moment Coyote expected her to just pop out of existence.  The minor fae were unpredictable like that.  One never knew what would happen with their kind.  It was odd the Alliance would send one to watch the Bokor.  Coyote smirked.  The Bokor had been contemplating something but Coyote had managed to insure that the Bokor was properly… inspired.  It hadn’t taken much of a push to do it.

Kalali remained silent, her eyes flickering with conflicting emotions.  Wordlessly, Coytoe pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her.  Channeling the energy into a loop that fed between the both of them, he soothed her while carefully burning out the traces of their conversation.  He felt her relax against him and he set her back against the building, propping her back against the rough brick.

She leaned there with a blank look on her face.  The shoe she had been complaining slipped out of her hand and dropped to the ground with a thud.  Kalali slid to the pavement, breathing steadily.

Coyote smiled down at her.  She had provided him with valuable information.  Her employer, The United Coven andAlliance must be worried about the Bokor, but not quite worried enough.  They’d been curious enough to send Kalali, but arrogant enough not to send one of their best.  Coyote shoved his hands back into his pockets and resumed his whistling, walking away from the crowded bar and the slumped woman.

The United Coven andAlliance had made three errors that night: They underestimated the Bokor.  They overestimated Kalali.  And most importantly, they didn’t even bother to consider a little divine intervention from one of the ancient ones.

Coyote smiled.  Yes, it was time to return to the old ways.  Bureaucracy doesn’t mix well with magic.

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