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"Duel": Night falls over the Cascades. As they make their way through the forest, Bigby tells Snow White about how his people, on his mother's side anyway, find their mate. It's whoever produces a pleasing scent, and for Bigby, that person was Sn
Appearing in "Duel"
- Cascade Mountains
- New York City
Synopsis for "Duel"
Night falls over the Cascades. As they make their way through the forest, Bigby tells Snow White about how his people, on his mother's side anyway, find their mate. It's whoever produces a pleasing scent, and for Bigby, that person was Snow. Since their first meeting in the Homelands, she had a scent that he couldn't ignore. Even now, when they were living in the city with all the car fumes and loud noise, where he had to smoke constantly and mentally filter out everything around him to avoid sensory overload; even then, Snow White's was the one scent he could not block out, though he's tried. Just by the slightest change in her musk, he always knew where she was, whether she's feeling happy or sad, or if she was having good or bad dreams. That was why he became so attracted to her. Snow asks him to stop talking about it now, she was starting to feel like he was stalking her. Bigby replies he'd stop if he could, and that she shouldn't ask questions that she doesn't want to know the answer to.
Inside Bluebeard's apartment, Prince Charming pays him a surprises visit, offering up a challenge of a duel... to the death. Bluebeard is shocked, asking why the prince suddenly wanted him dead. Charming replies that there were many reasons that a scoundrel like him should be killed, but the main reason for the duel at hand is because of Bluebeard's plot to kill Bigby. He knows that Snow White likes him, despite the mask of annoyance she wears when their in public, he's learned to read her feelings quite well. Though he never really cared much for the wolf himself, Charming truly feels bad for how he treated Snow all those years ago, and figures saving Bigby by killing Bluebeard is the best way he can make it up to her. Bluebeard takes up his sword, reminding the prince how easily he beat him during fencing training. Prince Charming replies that the threat of real danger with real blades can make a world of difference.
Bigby leads Snow on a path away from their pursuer, though he doesn't want to get too far ahead. If they try to escape, the gunman will just hunt them another day and possibly catch them off guard. The two of them conclude that it had to be Goldilocks hunting them, being the only one with a motive for wanting to kill Snow. Bigby finds a small hollow surrounded by boulders and tells now to tuck herself inside as much as she can. He was about to give Goldilocks a taste of the old huff and puff.
Back in Fabletown's Woodland Apartments, Bluebeard and Prince Charming continue their deadly duel. Charming parries every blow, with Bluebeard continuing on the offense, though the noble lord is starting to tire. He bargains with Charming, offering him his price in riches if he would only end the fight. Prince Charming tells him that he intends to take all of his riches once he's out of the way.
Inside the small hollow, Snow is safely protected from the increasingly fierce gust of wind that blows through the forest, trees are uprooted by it's force. Goldilocks is blown off her bike as the wind reaches her. And just as soon as it started, the wind dies back down.
Prince Charming gains the upper-hand, stabbing Bluebeard through the shoulder. In pain, Bluebeard begs him to stop, that he can't save Bigby this way. Charming ignores his plea, telling him to die with some dignity. Bluebeard tries to offer his own surrender, but Prince Charming responds by running him through. With his final few breaths, Bluebeard explains that had Charming listened, he would know that Bigby's fate was already sealed. He had his assassin hunt down and kill Bigby and Snow White days ago.
After a large fresh path has been blown through the forest, Bigby, still in his large wolf form, rejoins Snow. On her shocked expression, he explains that he picked up the skill from his father, the North Wind. He added that the local winds will obey him now, for a time, keeping Goldilocks upwind of them at all times, allowing him to know where exactly she is. Snow mentioned she had heard the story involving him and the three pigs, but it was simply astounding seeing his ability in person. Bigby in turn says he was just a pup in those days, not even a brick house could stand up against him now. Then he tells Snow to stay hidden.
Goldilocks recovers from her fall, grabs her gun, and shouts into the surrounding woods for Bigby to show himself. Pouncing from out of the brush behind her, Bigby obliges, his large form overshadowing her...
- This book was first published on August 13, 2003.
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