“Find the king,” they said together and moved to stand on either side of the bare patch of concrete.
My hand was throbbing and staring at the world through weird-tinted glasses for so long was beginning to feel like someone was hacking at my frontal lobe with a hatchet so I slipped back to normal. I felt more than a little irritable and I had little tolerance for cryptic nonsense on a normal day, and none on days the world was possibly ending. I stood over the two little men - who could destroy me with a twitch - and fixed them with my gnarliest glare.
They shared an exasperated look, then the two of them leap up into the air and came down on the concrete. The floor beneath my feet buckled and I staggered, throwing out my arms for balance. I heard Hack holler in surprise nearby somewhere. The ground rippled around the spot where the underkin had landed, and as they stepped back a hole opened up in the ground, easy as you please, as if it were a mouth yawning open, ten or twelve feet wide. It opened into a strangely symmetrical tunnel hewn through the earth that descended into darkness.
“Show offs,” I mumble and edge closer to the tunnel.
“I ain’t going down there.” Hack sidles up alongside me and squints at the hole. “Take my chances with the police.”
Swift moves to my other side and stares down the hole. “Police will call Rosa.”
“Right, then,” I say and step into the tunnel, waving behind me as I go, “that settles it. I’ll take my chances with the horrors of the underworld, thanks.”