Svarog strolled down stairs and walked toward the Captain and Taug. They were frozen in place with the dragon on his back and Captain Long kneeling on his neck, about an inch from driving the long end of the ankh through Taug's right eye.
He nodded at Sanchez. "What a mess. You know I never play this sloppily."
She nodded back. "I know."
He stood next to her about five feet from the frozen combatants and looked down at Taug. "I know you can hear me because I left everyone’s senses intact and brains functioning.”
“You’ve always been a problem child Taug. I have to keep a leash on you all the time to keep you from doing something stupid. And now you’ve managed to do something even I couldn’t ameliorate. Let me list the ways you've mucked everything up.”
He lifted one finger on his right hand. “You’ve damaged my Market. I’ve been building Lexington into the biggest supernatural market in the New World since 1782. In a single hour, you have done so much harm that the market in Barinas has a sixty-two percent probability of surpassing us for the first time in more than a century.”
He lifted a second finger. “You’ve now established that the CIS can come into my part of Lexington. Before today it was an open question whether they had jurisdiction here. Now it’s going to be an exercise in futility to deny them. Your stupidity brought them in force. Because of you, they showed up with a Ma'at, an Ifrit, the Survivor, and," He pointed at Sanchez, "One of them."
He held up a third finger. "You interfered with my plans to return to the reality on the other side. You’ve muddled at least a dozen potential realities and,” He pointed at Margaret, “Even mixed in a predicted and conformed reality so that I couldn’t intervene to stop you until it was certain she would survive. This fiasco single-handedly reduced my probability of success from eighty-two percent to twenty-seven.”
He held up a fourth finger. “Worst of all, you failed. I cannot abide failure by those acting in my name. Stupidity I can work with and correct for. Failure is unforgivable.”
“I want you to know that I could save you Taug. I won’t, but I could. This moment I have bound in place shall last maybe a minute or two more. I leave you to the tender mercies of the Ma’at.”
With that, the man in the red and green soccer jersey turned to leave, only to have Sanchez put a hand on his shoulder. She looked between me and me and then looked at Svarog. “Fix it.”
He smiled at her. “Well, since you asked so nicely.” He turned, pointed two fingers at the other me, and flicked them in my direction.
Every nanometer of my body burst into instant screaming pain. And then it was gone. I found myself on my knees, my whole body shaking, and being flooded with two sets of memories of the last hour. Then a wave of weakness swept over me and I slumped to the ground. The last two things I saw were Svarog closing the door behind himself as he went back into the courthouse and Sanchez positioning herself on the outside of Captain Long’s left arm and taking a firm grip. Then things faded to black.