“Why does it kill more than it can eat?” Pa’haana said to himself.
“Maker-of-Ghosts kills for the pleasure of killing,” a voice behind him answered. Pa’haana did not turn to look. He did not have to.
“And where have you been, brave W’tah?” Pa’haana said. “Cowering in your lodge until you were certain the beast had gone?”
“I am not so fleet-footed as you, Pa’haana,” Tobazhi answered. “Nor so impulsive.”
Pa’haana headed back to Aunt’s lodge. He snorted when Tobazhi followed him. “A creature that serves Tull takes pleasure in killing,” Tobazhi said.
“So the elders say,” Pa’haana answered.
“Do you doubt it?”
“Why should I?”
“I think perhaps because you do not wish it to be true.”
Pa’haana stopped, turned on him. “What do you mean?” he snapped.
“Have you not also killed for pleasure?” Tobazhi asked.
Pa’haana snarled. “I did not mean to kill him!”
“No?” Tobazhi shook his head. “Was there no moment when you enjoyed the feeling of T’cho’s blood on your knuckles, Pa’haana? Not for an instant?”
Pa’haana tensed. He had to restrain himself. He wanted to hit the little W’tah. “So I serve Tull?” Pa’haana demanded.
“I think so, yes,” Tobazhi said. “But that is not the important question.”
“Riddles!” Pa’haana snorted. “Always you play at riddles, like a little boy. Or maybe I should say, like a little girl!”
Tobazhi ignored the last remark. “Do you not want to know what is the important question?” he asked.
Pa’haana cursed. “You are not a boy or a girl!” Pa’haana said. “You are a little cur, running after me, snapping at my heels!”
“Then you do not want to know?”
“Tell me, damn you!” Pa’haana said. “You won’t stop pestering me until you do. Just tell me your precious little bit of wisdom, and then go away, before I wring your skinny neck!”
Tobazhi grinned. “The question of most importance is not whether you serve the Abominable One,” he said. “The question is, will you continue to serve him?”
Pa’haana didn’t respond for a moment. He wrinkled his nose. “More riddles,” he said, walking away. “Your counsel has less value than shit, little man. At least shit can be used for fertilizer.”
Again, Tobazhi followed him. “That is because you do not listen.”
“Go away!” Pa’haana ordered.
“I shall,” Tobazhi said. “I need my rest. It is too late to stand around talking to a tree stump. But remember one thing, Pa’haana, whose name means Outsider.”
Pa’haana spun around. He would have grabbed Tobazhi by the collar of his deerskin tunic, but the little man danced backward a step.
“You are half Menhau,” Tobazhi said. “That is true enough. But you are also half a man.” The True People did not regard the Menhau as men. “Your mother was of the True People. And you do have a choice as to which side you favor.”
With that, the little man turned and walked away, allowing Pa’haana no chance for a response. Pa’haana stood for a few moments with his teeth clenched, as if waiting for Tobazhi to return and carry on with the lecture. After another half minute, he went back to his Aunt’s lodge.
He did not sleep for a long time.
Even then, Tobazhi’s words echoed in his head while he dreamed.