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Authors: Jeffrey Cook,Katherine Perkins

Street Fair

BOOK: Street Fair
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Street Fair





Book Two of the Fair Folk Chronicles

by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins


































Cover by Clarissa Yeo of Yocla Designs

Text Copyright © 2016 Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, and events are either imaginary or used in a fictitious manner.

All Rights Reserved







Dedicated to Mr. William Shakespeare, from whom we cannot seem to get away.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Evaluation

Chapter 2: Summer Plans

Chapter 3: Green Pills

Chapter 4: Still New

Chapter 5: Backstage

Chapter 6: The Goblin Market

Chapter 7: Collector

Chapter 8: Glitter

Chapter 9: Mag Tuired

Chapter 10: Barrow

Chapter 11: The Gray Lady

Chapter 12: Backfire

Chapter 13: Recovery

Chapter 14: Rigged

Chapter 15: Wandering

Chapter 16: Beastly and Sacred

Chapter 17: Ice Cream

Chapter 18: Bass

Chapter 19: Rushed and Real

Chapter 20: Sax & Violins

Chapter 21: Best Seats in the House

Chapter 22: The Crowd Goes Wild

Chapter 23: At Home

Chapter 24: Returning

Chapter 25: Calling In

Chapter 26: Semper Paratus

Chapter 27: Up the Storm

Chapter 28: Clearance

Chapter 29: Fal Stone

Chapter 30: Gods and Monsters

Chapter 31: Mobilizing

Chapter 32: Ready and Aimed

Chapter 33: Under Fire

Chapter 34: Princess of Power

Chapter 35: Hail

Chapter 36: Confrontation

Chapter 37: The Man Who Would Be King

Chapter 38: Nobody

Chapter 39: The Post-Carnage Brunch

Chapter 40: Someplace Like Home

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Chapter 1: Evaluation


"Conflict in Gaelic Cultures is a 400-level course, Mr. Thomas. They knew it was going to be difficult when they signed up.” Dr. Brian O'Neill paused just long enough to let the other voice on the phone utter two and a half sentences before interrupting. "Do any of them discuss all nine salient points covered in class?” This time the pause was only for two and a half syllables before he interrupted his TA again. "Then no one earned an A. I don't think the instructions could be any clearer.”

He allowed a few more words as he walked briskly through the mostly empty halls, then continued, speaking just as briskly. “All the more so for the first test of the Summer quarter. A bit of tactical advice, Mr. Thomas: always set the bar clearly high from the beginning of the term, when they still have time to do better quality work.” He began the first of three flights of stairs, his free hand clutching the duffle bag over his shoulder to keep it from jostling irritatingly. “And their electing to take the class in what could have been a vacation term is commendable, but it does not change the grading standards of the university.”

He was intent on not letting his breathing get too much heavier as he spoke. “I'm sure you'll handle those questions ably in your own office hours. Mine will not resume until the Autumn. My current research is very time-consuming. I'll see you Monday.” He hung up as he reached the third flight of stairs, then the final hallway.

Dr. O'Neill reached his office. He took a deep breath, whispered a few syllables in an old dialect of Gaelic, and shifted his foot in one shoe a little to make sure the penny he'd placed in the heel was still there, even if he'd been vaguely aware of it throughout the long walk. Caution was critical. Finally, he reached for the doorknob, turned—then paused, looking about to make sure he was actually alone, before he slipped into his office.

As he closed the door, he checked to make sure the horseshoe was still nailed perfectly above it. Over the window, he'd gone with daisy chains to complement the salt on the windowsill. He set the filthy duffel bag on the desk and opened it, removing stack after stack of damp $20 bills. His thumb brushed off some of the grime from the top bill of each stack.

He lifted one closer in the florescent light. "L-7-2..." His voice rang clear, even when just reading a serial number. "525..." Precision was important—so, so important—but it wasn't everything. "383..." He should be able to command attention if he were reading the phone book. "...B. Exactly so. For the first."

 Then he replaced the bills in the bag, set it down, and took his seat at his desk. 

Fifteen centuries of genealogy charts, on various qualities of paper and various things that technically were not paper at all, covered the left wall of the office. He glanced over at them, studying name after name. He looked at one of the lowest ones, printed out in a calligraphic font on multipurpose laser paper: 
Brian Angus Ui Niall.

He refocused. He opened drawers, taking out antique coins from one and an old book from another. He laid the coins out on his desk and stared a while, then carefully perused a few pages of the book. Frowning, he put the coins away. He rose and stepped over to the right wall of his office. Taking down a framed certificate, he studied it for a few moments as he returned to his seat.

This is to certify that BRIAN ANGUS O'NEILL, having submitted a thesis entitled
The Wielding of Sacred Power in Ancient Ireland
and having satisfied all the conditions prescribed by the Statutes of the University, was on 1 June 2002 admitted to the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY.

Very slowly, he took apart the frame and ran his fingers over the certificate—over the historic seal, the name, the title—with a look of regret. He stared for a while at the left wall. He took a deep breath, put the certificate into a folder, and put the folder in the book.

The resulting melancholy of the room was broken by an inordinately chipper voice. “Did you remember to check that the bills were 1969
? You try to pass on knockoffs to people like this, and…Well, actually, I'd love to see that. Don't check.”

Dr. O'Neill nearly knocked over his chair as he scrambled up. “But …

The boyish figure standing there, shaking out a shaggy mane of tawny hair, smiled too big. “The daisy chains are a nice touch, but you need some along the floorboards. You've got a mouse-hole behind the mini-fridge. So, what about my retainer?”

Having regained his composure—pointedly so—Dr. O'Neill strode over and opened said mini-fridge. He removed a tall, frosty glass of milk and handed it over. Then he ventured, “Not to inquire too much, Rob, but isn't a glass of milk for a retainer in keeping with brownie protocols?”

“Them, certain dime-novel detectives, mice who also want cookies, ultraviolent dystopian thugs—don't even try to label me, Doc. I can go from milk to a nice Chianti in nothing flat.”

“Noted.” Dr. O'Neill, attempting to be ever so casual, also checked the bag of $20 bills once more, to make sure the year was right.

“Of course it is. So how's the master plan going?”

"Well enough. I'll let you know when I need you. The first part's just going to be coordination, finding the nexus point, making the initial deals, setting out, and...” He trailed off, before trying to smoothly trail into another sentence entirely. “And it doesn't trouble you?” He picked something off a far corner of his desk. “What I've done? What I may do?”

'That's just it, oh Captain, my Captain, or ...” Rob took a look at the left wall of the room, then gave him a mocking bow. “...whatever it will be. What you're doing will trouble everyone. And that's more fun.” He smiled, again too big. “Why do you ask, Doc? Do you think I'm scared of what you chipped off of old gates?” He stepped closer than any concept of personal space—and closer than someone fidgeting with slivers of wrought iron might expect. “Do you think I'll stab you in the back?”

“Rob, buddy,” Dr. O'Neill spread his arms as much as possible while being careful with what he was holding. “No need to worry at all.” He met the yellow eyes evenly. “I
you're going to stab me in the back. Just not yet.”

Rob stepped back, still smiling. “That's why you're the smart guy. Remember, though, you're calling in a solid, not a guided tour. I'll be a distraction when you need it, but I'm not going to hold your hand. Making sure people
get lost isn't any of my schticks.”

Dr. O'Neill nodded. "Provided I get all the information I need, triangulating the locations should not be a problem," he said as he looked to examine the tiny scraps of wing-membrane pinned to the butterfly board.




Chapter 2: Summer Plans


"Guess what's coming to town this weekend?" Lani asked, once they'd settled into the booth at the burger joint after placing their orders at the counter. Megan, Lani, and Justin no longer had to limit themselves to the park within walking distance, ever since Lani and her father had finished working on her car.

Megan spread her hands slightly. "If it's another opportunity to get your picture taken with Grant Imahara, I want to point out that I already did my part helping you the first time."

"No, no, that picture is still perfectly framed on my desk, thank you. This is bigger. You know the Fremont Solstice Fair?"

"Tales of naked bicyclists are hard to miss. Cassia's band is playing it this year, aren't they?"

"Yes, and also this year, there's going to be a path to the Goblin Market!"

Megan raised an eyebrow. "And that would be...?"

Lani was still bouncing with excitement on her side of the booth. "Well, obviously, there's some tricky fourth-dimensional stuff—“

“Obviously,” said Megan.

“—which is part of the reason they only put out so many carefully-selected paths for each event. Last time they were sort of close, Mom thought I was too little. Even this year, she said we had to wait until school was out to talk about it. But she says I can go, and I can take you."

"Which is great and all, and I get that you're excited. But what is it?"

"Okay, well, it's sort of like a fair..."

"Does it have naked bicyclists and cotton candy too?" Megan asked, amused.

"Those might be some of the more mundane things there, sure. But there's not really any comparison between it and anything you'll find here. It's, well... it's a faerie fair."

"And you want to go?"

"So do you. If nothing else, just for the magical artwork."

"There'll be magical artwork?" Megan asked, suddenly more intrigued.

BOOK: Street Fair
4.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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