Welcome to the Blasted Dragon! Come on in, watch your step (DO NOT accept gifts—especially eggs or live young). Feel free to post your thoughts on all things Idiot Genius and Willa Snap.
Excerpt from Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy:
We emerged into a hazy courtyard. The Blasted Dragon’s stone exterior looked like two immense dragons curving around face to face, their outstretched wings forming a high-pitched roof. A row of scorched steps between their smoking snouts appeared to be the only way in or out. A rumbling shook the cab.
“What’s that?” asked Nimet nervously.
Bertie glanced uneasily at the top of the steps.
“Wait for it,” he said grimly.
A few seconds later, the dragons’ mouths erupted in a fiery red blaze, completely engulfing each other’s heads.
Nimet let out a little shriek.
I turned to Bertie. “That’s fake, right?”
“Yeah . . . never really had the nerve to check that out.”
The Clockwerk cab let us out at the foot of the steps, then wheeled away. We stood side by side by side, staring up at the twin smoking jaws.
“This place tends to attract a rather odd crowd,” said Bertie.
Nimet gulped. “Can’t imagine why.”
“Best if you let me do all the talking.”
“Roger that,” I said.
“Oh, and whatever you do, don’t accept any gifts—especially eggs or live young.”
Horrified, Nimet and I mouthed the words live young to each other.
The ground began to rumble again.
I grabbed my new friends’ hands.
“On three?” I asked.
“Better make it one,” said Bertie.
“One!” yelled Nimet, and we bolted up the vibrating stairs and dashed in, screaming our heads off the entire time.
The instant we crossed the threshold, the opening behind us was consumed by fire. The searing heat drove us blindly forward into the dark inn. As my eyes adjusted, the first thing I noticed was that everyone was staring at us. The second thing was that the brewed people in the room outnumbered the, uh, old-fashioned people. I saw mixes of cat, armadillo, bird, and many things I couldn’t identify. In the back, a booth of boisterous elefantkin were engrossed in a heated game of poker, swigging from tall bottles and swearing salty oaths.
“Come on,” said Bertie, as he unsuccessfully tried to pry his hand loose from mine.
The crowd lost interest in us as we crossed to the bar, and our ears filled with the sounds of their different languages.
Bertie hailed the barkeep. “Morgan.”