dragon. These are the caves that the tourists know about. There are caves beneath those caves
that the tourists do not know and do not ever get to visit. They go down a long way, and they are inhabited.
Silas went first, followed by the grey hugeness of Miss Lupescu, padding quietly on four feet just behind him. Behind them was Kandar, a bandage-wrapped Assyrian mummy with powerful eagle-wings and eyes like rubies, who was carrying a small pig. There had originally been four of them, but they had lost Haroun in a cave far above, when the Ifrit, as naturally overconfident as are all of its race, had stepped into a space bounded by three polished bronze mirrors and had been swallowed up in a blaze of bronze light. In moments the Ifrit could only be seen in the mirrors, and no longer in reality. In the mirrors his fiery eyes were wide open, and his mouth was moving as if he was shouting at them to leave and beware, and then he faded and was lost to them.
Silas, who had no problems with mirrors, had covered one of them with his coat, rendering the trap useless.
“So,” said Silas. “Now there are only three of us.”
“And a pig,” said Kandar.
“Why?” asked Miss Lupescu, with a wolf-tongue, through wolf teeth. “Why the pig?”
“It’s lucky,” said Kandar.
Miss Lupescu growled, unconvinced.
“Did Haroun have a pig?” asked Kandar, simply.
“Hush,” said Silas. “They are coming. From the sound of it, there are many of them.”
“Let them come,” whispered Kandar.
Miss Lupescu’s hackles were rising. She said nothing, but she was ready for them, and it was only by an effort of will that she did not throw back her head and howl.