“Will that hold us?” Bon asked dubiously.

“It’ll do for the trip up and the trip back down.” Leonard shot Bon a look that clearly said, If you survive long enough to take the trip back down. To Mac, he said, “I used to paint it with this stuff called Rustoleum. Can’t get it now; you people don’t make it anymore.”

“Whose fault is that?” Bon retorted. Mac closed her eyes. Shut up, shut up, shut up!

Leonard neither responded nor killed Bon. He simply started up the clanging stairs, leaving them to follow on their own. Mac elbowed Bon sharply in the ribs.

“What are you doing?” she hissed angrily. “If you keep needling him, he won’t help us!”

“What am I doing? The question is, what are you doing? We came to ask for his help with intelligence. You waltz in and offer him a mercy killing.”

“Well, he didn’t kill me for it, did he? And you can’t expect him to help us without offering him something in return.”

“Something usually doesn’t encompass killing the person helping you.”

“Unless it’s what they seek.”

“Where on earth did you get an idea like that? You can’t possibly know what he’s seeking. A good meal is more likely, and we just provided him with two.”

Mac huffed out an impatient breath. “Can we just go up and talk to him? He didn’t kill us, so let’s see this through. Stop being so pessimistic.”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, Mackenzie, there is no optimism left in this world. And walking into the den of a Revenant isn’t optimism. It’s insanity.”

“Yet here you are with me.”

He bristled. “I wasn’t about to let you walk into this with no defense. What kind of person do you think I am?”

“That,” she said firmly, “we can discuss later. But I’d like to remind you that you agreed to do this, and you came here with me instead of turning me in to the elders. Now I’d like to—”

I’d like to get out of this sunlight and hear your insane plan so I can be rid of you that much sooner,” Leonard’s voice growled down the stairs. “Are you coming up or are you leaving?”

With one last determined look at Bon, Mackenzie clambered up the steps into sunlight, hesitant steps behind her assuring her that Bon had followed.

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