They invited him in.
I saw the Brening Tylwyth Teg strolling past the train station, and I nearly choked on my pipe. It’s not often one sees the King of the Welsh fairy court, nor is it often that I want to.
He greeted me with a nod and a wink. In Welsh, he asked, “Will you walk with me, Duncan Blood?”
“That depends on where you’re walking to,” I replied in the same tongue.
The fey chuckled. “Oh, I do enjoy your company, Duncan. You’re a damned sight more pleasant than your kith and kin.”
“Most of them are dead,” I replied, falling into step beside him.
“And by your hand,” he said with another exaggerated wink.
“So, where are you walking to?” I asked. My hands itched to hold the Colts, but that would be only a false comfort. No weapon I had would do more than irk the creature beside me.
“To the university, of course,” he laughed. “They’ve invited me in.”
I blinked and shook my head.
“Oh,” the king smiled, patting my arm. “I was almost as surprised as you. Word had come, as it does, of some serious inquiries upon their part. When I discovered they wanted to speak with me, in person no less, I was happy to make the trip.”
I was still at a loss for words.
“Yes,” the king’s voice sank lower, darkness creeping into it and around his eyes. “I’ve asked to speak with their resident theologians, too.”
“What of my town?” I inquired.
“Did you invite me in, Duncan Blood?”
“Because you’re not a fool,” he remarked. “Your town is safe. I have words I wish to exchange with those who invited me. I will speak, and then I will leave. You should come back to Wales, though. Rumor has it that your mother has slipped in a few times. Or is it a few of your mothers have slipped in once?” The king shrugged. “I’m not certain. Will you join me at the school?”
“No,” I answered. “I’ve a fear that you might get a little too excited.”
He let out a deep laugh, nodding his head enthusiastically. “That I might!”
He gave me another pat on my arm, and we separated.
Five members of the faculty vanished from a locked room that night, and they’ve not been heard from since.