As we drew closer, it got harder to get a good look from the angle of the passenger window. I leaned back, then winced—the scabbard over my back had shifted to just the wrong position. I squirmed until the Salzkammergutschwert was off the center of my torso.
“Wait a minute,” Heinz said incredulously. “Is that what I think it is?”
“I don’t know,” I said pleasantly. “What do you think it is, Heinz?”
“You … packing a sword?” Heinz said incredulously.
I glanced over at him. “Sort of, yeah.”
“What the hell for?”
“You’re packing,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, but a gun,” he said. “That’s useful in a fight—”
“Most of the people I get in fights with,” I said, “won’t be impressed by a peashooter.”
“Ah, very sensible,” said Warstein from the front seat.
“You pack an anti-fae weapon.”
“Sort of, yeah,” I leaned up again, watching through the window as the MIRU shot over the I-64 bridge and through the giant hovering ring. Mr. “Seen it already” Warstein turned away from it with a condescending tone that made Heinz roll his eyes and glance at me for relief.
“You see,” Warstein said, even as one of the greatest wonders of the Western World slid stainless and gleaming past the glass behind him, “if Frost deals with the fae, she must face the fact that many fae are bulletproof, but highly vulnerable to cold iron, or enchanted swords—”
“What the fuck?” Heinz said, looking at me. “You’re telling me that’s Glamdring?”
“Another hat tip,” I said, mouth quirking. “You, ah, can view it as a magic sword—”
“So,” Heinz said, incredulous, “that fucking thing glow when orcs come around?”
“Not that I know of,” I laughed. “Not that I’ve ever met an actual orc—”
“Most magic swords don’t do anything we’d call special,” Warstein said archly. “Like the legendary vorpal blade, their primary capability is that they’re sharp, and made of metal that hurts the fae. A very few, like the, uh, the Saltgammerswort, are specifically anti-fae—”
“Salzkammergutschwert,” I corrected automatically.
“Gesundheit,” said Heinz.
“Excuse me?” Warstein asked.
“It’s called the Salzkammergutschwert,” I said. “It means the Salt Chamber Sword.”
“Which is where it was found,” Warstein said, “very good, very good. The Salz—ah—I can never pronounce it—the Salt Chamber Sword is one of the rarest of blades, a long, black sword of cold iron specifically forged to fight the faerie—”
“Not exactly,” I said. “Technically, it’s a magical radiator, not a sword, though you can use it as one because it’s nearly indestructible. The hilt wrappings are human work, but the blade itself is a faery artifact, repurposed—not a weapon, just something that happens to hurt them.”
Heinz looked at me strangely, then at the scabbard over my back.
“You’re wearing this Gesundheit thing now?”
I shrugged and smirked. “Sort of, yeah—”
“What are you talking about—oh my God,” Warstein said, excited and aghast. I reached up a long arm and popped the blade out of its scabbard briefly, and Warstein keened and wailed, more intense than a fanboy meeting Shatner. “Oh-my-God and aaaa! You’re wearing the literal Salt Chamber Sword? Oh my God. Oh my God! That’s a four million dollar blade—”
“Jesus,” Heinz said, tweaking his ear. “Shout it louder, why don’t—”
“I don’t need you advertising the value of my blade,” I said. “I really don’t.”