Dame Primus stopped before Arthur and curtsied.
When she spoke, she first sounded like a normal
woman. Then her voice became low and gravelly, with
something of the Carp’s self-satisfied booming
tone in there as well.
“There is indeed a problem. There are many
problems. I must ask you, Lord Arthur, to come back
to Monday’s Dayroom. We need to hold a council
“This isn’t some sort of trick, is
it?” asked Arthur suspiciously. “You
haven’t put a copy of me back home yourself,
Dame Primus took in a shocked breath.
“Never! To create such a Spirit-eater is
utterly forbidden. And in any case, I have neither
the knowledge nor the craft to create such a thing.
It is clearly the latest move of the Morrow Days
against you, Arthur, and against us. One of a number
of actions that we really must discuss.”
Arthur clenched and unclenched his fists.
“Can I go back through Seven Dials?”
Arthur had returned to his world once before using
the sorcery contained in the strange room of grandfather
clocks known as Seven Dials. He knew it was the
other main portal for Denizens to leave the Lower
House and enter the Secondary Realms.
“No,” said Dame Primus. “As I
understand it, the Spirit-eater has sorcerously
occupied the place you should have in your Secondary
World. Should you also return, the interaction for
yourself with the Nithling would cause an eruption
of Nothing that would likely destroy you an, come
to think of it, your world.”
“So this Spirit-eater is kind of like an
antimatter Arthur?” asked Leaf.
Dame Primus bent her head and looked at Leaf, sniffing
“I don’t believe we’ve been introduced,
“This is my friend Leaf,” said Arthur.
“Leaf, meet Dame Primus.”
Leaf nodded reluctantly. Dame Primus lowered her
chin a quarter of an inch.
“What’s this Spirit-eater going to
do?” asked Arthur.
“Besides preventing me from going back?”
“This is not a good place to discuss such
things,” said Dame Primus. “We should
return to Monday’s Dayroom.”
“Okay,” said Arthur. He looked back
at the Front Door for a moment, then away again.
“Let’s go, then.”
“Hand on!” Leaf interrupted. “What
about me? I want to go back. No offense, Arthur,
but I need some time at home to…I don’t
know…just be normal.”
“Leaf can go back, can’t she?”
asked Arthur wearily.
“She can and should return,” Dame Primus
“But it had best be through Seven Dials.
The Lieutenant Keeper has closed the Door until
he deals with the intruders. Come, let us all return
to Monday’s Dayroom. That includes you, Suzanna.
I trust you have not broken any of those plates.”
Suzy muttered something about a few chips and cracks
never doing any harm, but not loud enough for Dame
Primus to acknowledge her.
As they descended Doorstop Hill, Arthur noticed
that there was an outer cordon of Metal Commissionaires
and Commissionaire Sergeants around them, all looking
out at the ground and the sky. Midnight Visitors
– the black-clad servants of Monday’s
Dusk – drifted through the air overhead as
well, their long whips trailing by their sides.
They too looked out, constantly turning their heads
to cover all angels.
“What are they looking for?” Arthur
asked Dame Primus.
“Assassins,” snapped Dame Primus. “That
is one of the developments. Both the former Mister
Monday and the former Grim Tuesday have been slain
– by sorcery.”