She took a deep breath. “I'm a Valkyrie,” she said, pushing the words out in a breathy rush.
That was it? I reached up and scratched an itch on my forehead. I saw Joseph in the corner of my eye rub a spot on his chin. We both kept watching Mercy, who looked back and forth from Joseph to me.
I shifted my seat on the bed. Joseph brought his feet up to sit cross legged. The silence stretched out. I chewed on the inside of my lower lip.
Finally, I broke the silence. “So...” I said, trying to think of something to say. The myths of the Valkyrie were pretty vague, with some saying they were kind of half gods and others saying they were spirits of dead warrior women. Lots of speculation and theory, but little fact, even for myths. “Does that mean you’re dead?”
Mercy drew back, horror and disgust showing on her face. “What? No! I'm not dead! Valkyrie are spirit warriors. We are kind of like extensions of Odin's will.” She shifted in her chair, still watching us closely. She hesitated another moment before continuing. “That's all? You aren't going to freak out?”
I laughed. “Probably not.” I caught her confused look. “You gotta understand something. We get people coming to us all the time claiming to be stuff.”
Joseph nodded and ticked off the more common ones, “Dragons, fae, werewolves, aliens, unicorns, ogres...”
I jumped in. “And don't forget the whole I'm the queen of this group or that group. And, yes,” I nodded my head at Mercy, “we've heard 'I'm a Valkyrie' a few times.”
I paused and rubbed the side of my chin. “Haven't had much in the way of proof for the Valkyrie thing before, though.” I shook myself out of the mental wanderings that I felt my mind going towards. “The point is, me and Joseph may not swallow this stuff hook, line and sinker, but we do try to take these claims seriously. A couple of times, we've even gotten proof that the claims were as real, or at least as real as can be expected.”
“Which means,” Joseph said, “we have had deep, dark, long conversations about how likely these things are. And what it would mean if all of these different creatures actually showed up.”
“Valkyrie may not be human, but we've gotten to know you as an individual,” I pointed out. “And you fought off those demons.”
“And demons are much scarier than badass warrior women who aren't trying to kill us,” Joseph finished.
Mercy gaped at us. I don't think she was expecting the reaction we'd had.
“I thought I'd have to... I don't know. Calm you down. Keep you from running off...” She trailed off.
I frowned. “Running off would be pretty stupid of us, at this point, what with monsters and gun-toting detectives after us.”
Joseph snorted. “The gun-toting detective is only after you,” he pointed out. “I only have to worry about drooling creatures from the nether realms.” He stopped suddenly, as if he realized what he'd just said, and shuddered.
I forced a laugh, trying to break the mood. “You just aren't as lucky as I am,” I teased. “Only the really popular kids get dragged into interrogation rooms, don't you know?”
Joseph smiled, but it didn't quite reach his eyes.
Mercy shook her head at us. “You guys are so weird,” she said. “Your world is being turned upside down and your reality is being shaken, and you just... deal with it.”
I grinned at her. “Well, it helps that we were crazy to begin with.”
I turned to Joseph. “Hungry? Let's get a gooey pizza and a lot of really sugary soda. And breadsticks. With garlic. Cause nobody's copped to being a vamp, but I'm not ruling it out.”
I eyed Mercy and Joseph up and down playfully as Joseph grabbed the hotel phone book to check out the pizza places.
We found a local pizza dive and order a couple of cheesy pizzas with a selection of toppings, though Joseph and I stood strong against Mercy's criticism of adding cream cheese to pepperoni.
Apparently, being a demi-god doesn't mean you have good taste in pizza.