He wasn’t in the best of moods.
I can’t say as I blame him. I did lock him in a mausoleum for nigh on four decades.
Without anything to eat or drink.
Seems like we can live without it, which is – according to Aretas – damned unpleasant. I’ll take his word on that.
Once we were back at the farmhouse and he’d had a proper bath and a shave, not to mention a fair bit to eat (and he drank three bottles of good French cognac, the sonofabitch), we set down to parlay.
While Aretas wasn’t overly fond of Cross, he didn’t want anything happening to Blood property. He was still harboring a desire to own it, although he had an aversion to the back section of the land where his mausoleum stood.
“How many do you think there’ll be?” he asked, taking one of my spare pipes and loading it with a heavy hand.
Holding back a sigh, I answered, “I suspect close to a regiment.”
Aretas raised an eyebrow. “How do you plan on handling them?”
I lit my own pipe, took a long, contemplative pull, and as I exhaled, I stated, “I’m thinking of calling in some dogs.”
“Dogs?” he asked with a frown.
I nodded. “They’re the most reliable.”
“Mayhaps for keeping the troops in the Hollow,” Aretas remarked. “We’ll want to kill as many as possible, though. Sharpshooters if we can find them. Any kin like that around?”
“You’re ‘bout the only kin I have left, Aretas,” I informed him. “I suspect we could reach out to some of the Coffins that moved on toward Norwichtown. There’s a chance some in Concord might be able to make it down, too.”
“Send word to ‘em,” Aretas said. “And sooner rather than later.”
I paused and looked at him. “What do you plan on doing, cousin?”
He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the back of the chair. “I’m going to sleep in a goddamn bed.”
With my pipe clenched between my teeth, I went out and saddled a horse.
Aretas deserved a bed. He’d earned his food.
But damn it, he was an irritating bastard.