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The Keys to the Kingdom

Sir Thursday

Sir Thursdayexcerpt

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 of war.”

“This isn’t some sort of trick, is it?” asked Arthur suspiciously. “You haven’t put a copy of me back home yourself, have you?”

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 in disdain.

“I don’t believe we’ve been introduced, young lady.”

“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 replied.

“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.”





   
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