Snake-Boy turned on Lady Dogface, still all enflamed and stiff, and hissy.
“Chuck!” she said. She shoved him backwards. She bared her teeth. Or maybe she was smiling. He hadn’t quite yet learned the subtleties of facial expressions on humans, much less dog-faced ones. She grabbed one of his shoulder-snakes in each hand. She put her foot on his abdomen. She kick-shoved him down onto his knees. The side-snakes snapped at her, but they had already begun to retract back into his body. They couldn’t quite reach.
Snake-Boy stopped struggling.
“Wow,” said Lady Dogface. “Just. Wow.”
He said, “Don’t sneak up on me like that.”
She snickered, and let his shoulder-snakes go. She left her hands open in the air, though. The shoulder-snakes snapped away from her. She stood there. She tilted her head sideways, raised her eyebrows. From behind her open hands, her widely-spaced arms, her defensive stance: “You okay?”
He sat down. He put his hands on his face. “I’m too dangerous! See? I should never have left the Clockwork Brownstone.”
She sat beside him. “Don’t flatter yourself. You weren’t going to hurt anybody.” She shrugged. “I mean. Anybody here could’ve taken out one single solitary snake-boy easy, most of them have – I mean I myself have –” She realized what she was saying. “Ew. Um. What I meant was –”
“I need to go back to my cage.” He started to get up. “I don’t belong here.”
She touched his knee, “Wait. No.”
Sky Prince, meanwhile, had been fighting Aeroboy.
Aeroboy had won.
And flown away, with all his friends.
Lady Dogface walked over to where Sky Prince lay on the ground on his back. She bent down to sniff at his face.
“Yes.” He touched his forehead with the fingers of one hand. He touched his mouth. He said, more firmly, “Yes.”
She held a hand down to him. “Get up, then.” She barked over her shoulder at Snake-Boy: “You, too.” He didn’t take her hand, so she gave up. She slapped her hands together, job-well-done, walked briskly toward the edge of the Plaza, where the hot dog vendors and gyro sandwich vendors and taco-burrito-chimichanga vendors waited, sweltering and smoking. “I swear to God,” she said. “Boys. Get. On. My. Nerves.”
“Hey get me a soda,” Sky Prince yelled after her, still flat on his back.
“I think we’re supposed to get up,” said Snake-Boy, also on his back.
“Lady Dogface is not the boss of us,” said Sky Prince. “Try to keep that in mind.”
“I will try,” said Snake-Boy.
They lay there.
“This is roughly where we met,” said Snake-Boy.