Magical Security Taskforce




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Chapter 24: Hostile Takeover

Session One

Fifteen minutes later, Molly, Renee, Kathryn, Yuki and a pair of minions were at Kurt's apartment.

“Where's Donovan?” Kurt asked. Although Donovan didn't have a cell phone, his minions had already passed on the news. At least they were supposed to.

“Don't know,” Bryce replied, just as confused. “He knows where you live, right?”

Blaine lifted his head, sensing something. “Oh... 'scuse me.”

He teleported away, arriving five seconds later along with Donovan. Upon arrival, Donovan glared down Kurt and muttered, “You moved.”

Kurt narrowed his eyebrows and looked around. “Um, yeah... but you were here yesterday.”

Donovan turned his head. “I was far too distraught over the loss of the tome to take in my surroundings. But now... we shall enter in the night and reclaim it.”

Molly raised a finger. “Donovan, that...” She paused and thought it over, then continued, “...actually brings up a good question.” She turned to Kurt. “While inside, are we going to pursue the book?”

“Saving Ellen's our main goal, but if we come across it, you bet.”

After a curt nod, Molly yawned. The call from Kurt had woken her up and if it weren't for the absolute necessity of this mission, she would have let him and Troy do it alone. The yawn proved contagious as Yuki, Kathryn and Blaine followed suit.

“How's your potion coming?” Molly asked Yuki.

Yuki stole a sip of Kathryn's Red Bull. “It's coming along,” she replied as she returned to work on an anti-sleep potion. Too tired to remember the exact concoction, she took the rest of the Red Bull and poured it in. That same potion comprised part of the drink anyway.

“Babies,” Renee said with a snicker, “It's only 11:30. I was up playing Halo.”

Everybody guarded themselves as Yuki finished up the potion, but it was a clean finish and explosion free. Most of the group imbibed and, after a round of intense jitters and dangerously high heart rates, stood alert and ready for battle.

“All right!” Kathryn shouted, pounding her staff on the ground. “So are we going to save her or not?!” She drummed a few more times.

“Shh!” Kurt exclaimed. “Remember what happened last time we woke the neighbors?”

“Sorry! Can't stop!”

“Then let's get going,” Molly added, hiding a twitching eye. She shooed everybody out the door and into Kurt and Troy's cars.

The initial effects of the potion wore out along the way, so everybody was good and sober when they pulled up to the Golden Sun office. Though only two stories, looking up at the facade in the night sky was still intimidating.

First objective was getting inside. The obvious plan was to have Kurt teleport in and unlock the front door, but that proved more difficult than conceptualized.

“Um... oh boy,” he said after the first two attempts went nowhere.

Molly glared at the door, then approached it. “Figures they'd have something set up. We'll have to do this the hard way.”

Kurt and Molly pored over the door, trying to establish what exactly the hard way implied. Two minutes of cold observation ended with glass shattering nearby. They both turned, readied themselves for any necessary defense, and dropped their guard when they saw Kathryn clearing out the rest of the glass from the now-broken window.

“Try not to overthink this, guys,” she said. Once enough glass was out of the pane, she helped Yuki squeeze through the window.

Molly sighed. “I was hoping to avoid outright breaking and entering.”

Shaking any glass shards off of her staff, Kathryn replied, “Why? Is it less illegal to use magic?”

Regardless of the means, Yuki got in and unlocked the front door for everybody else. No alarms sounded from either the window or the front door- a lucky break and a clear cause for suspicion.

“Almost like we're being invited in,” Troy said, cautiously scanning the sparse entryway.

“Maybe they just forgot to turn the alarm on when they left,” Renee said, trying to offer some explanation.

“Or they want to take care of us without getting the police involved.”

Speaking of which, Molly had gone to the window to repair the pane. Whether Golden Sun intended it or not, she certainly did not want the police to drive by and see a sign of forced entry. Such a spell would normally be easy for her, but her trigger fired only blanks. Nothing happened to the glass.

Likewise, Kurt had trouble conjuring a light ball.

“Problems?” Kathryn asked, teasingly.

Kurt stared at his palm. “Not getting a light ball.”

Donovan scoffed. “You forgot the incantation... Illumitorium!” He didn't get one either.

Yuki looked around nervously. “You think it might be a negator?”

“Seems to be the case,” Molly replied, returning to the group.

“What's that?” asked Kathryn.

Molly raised an eye at Kathryn, before explaining what she felt was obvious: “It negates all magic in the area.

Suddenly, Troy got the chills. A dark, enemy office building late at night with none of their usual powers. “So we're left defenseless.”

Another scoff, this time from Molly. “Hardly. If this is all they have, it's quite stupid. It negates their magic too, including any traps they could have laid for us.”

“Given our numbers, and knowing me and Kathryn, our odds in a fight are probably better without magic,” Kurt added.

“Hey!” Yuki shouted. While everyone had gone back to ignoring her, she had wandered to the other end of the room. “I think I found it!”

Ordering the others to remain by the front door, Molly and Kurt checked out Yuki's finding. As soon as they approached the discolored marble tile, they felt their spiritual energy draining. Kurt peeled the tile off, revealing a small compartment underneath. A small disc spun around inside.

“There she is,” Kurt observed, standing back up. “Smash it up?” Molly nodded, but Kurt's foot was too big to fit through the hole. They were going to need a weapon that could reach in with enough force to shatter the disc.

“Hey! Put me down!” Yuki cried as Kurt and Molly hoisted her up under the arms. Centering her over the compartment, they lifted her in the air as far as they could.

“Ready?” Kurt asked Molly.

“No!” Yuki replied, but Molly nodded. They threw the young girl down to the ground, driving one foot into the negator. Her foot was big enough and the force was enough to splinter it. Immediately, they felt their powers restored.

They also saw a circle appear underneath them, and two more in front of the entrance under the other six.

“Definitely worked,” Molly said, gritting her teeth. “This would be one of the-”

Traps. Three of them, to be exact. Before she could finish, she, Kurt and Yuki were teleported away. Just like everybody else at the entrance. In a flash, the room was silent once more.


Session Two

Clearly, they were in a different building. The architecture was different, in a darker motif than the Golden Sun office. They were also in a long hallway, lit only by dim sconces between several doors on both sides. Their backs were up against an emergency exit door that was apparently locked.

Most troubling of all was that 'they' consisted solely of Kurt, Molly and Yuki.

“Where are we?” Molly asked, carefully eying the hallway, which seemed to open up into a brighter room on the far end.

Kurt's Bloodberry wasn't telling. “Can't connect to the GPS. I doubt that we're in the same building. Might not even be in the same city.”

“Out of the city? How did they get past the anti-teleportation field you set up?” Yuki blubbered.

Before Kurt could answer, Molly added, “And if you say 'magic,' I'll hurt you.”

“With the irght resources, it's possible the circles in that book can get around a normal ATB. The field prevents teleportation spells, not circles that happen to take you somewhere,” Kurt said.

“So where's everybody else?” Yuki mumbled.

“Don't know. And I can't get cell phone reception either. Wherever they are, they'll have to take care of themselves.”

“Even though none of them have any idea what to do and if they get hurt, I'm stuck with you two?”

Kurt nodded. “That's the spirit.”

“No sense staying here,” Molly said, stepping down the hall. “Let's-”

At that moment, the hallway doors flew open and a dozen men flew out, all wearing identical black business suits. Watching as the suits adopted fighting stances, Kurt and Molly turned to each other, more awed than frightened.

“They have an army of corporate goons on call?” Kurt marveled.

“Same tailored suit for all of them... these bastards can afford everything,” Molly added.

One of the goons charged forward, rubbing his hands together before flailing at Molly and Kurt. Kurt didn't wait to see what it was, and threw up a stone wall to intercept it and serve as a temporary blockade.

Molly sat at the base of the wall. She saw Yuki clinging to the emergency exit door. “Yuki, stay back and get down.”

Kurt did the same. “Yeah, we can handle this, but we may need a drink when we're done.” After a deep breath, he turned to Molly. “Well, Molly? Shall we dance?”

She narrowed an eye at him. “Won't Kathryn get jealous?”

Chuckling, Kurt stood up. “Are you trying to be catty or snarky?”

Rather than answer, Molly stood, turned around, and cast a spell on the blockade. The top half detached and hurtled toward the mob, taking out about half of them before the others got the idea to duck. Those remaining stood and fired an assortment of air and fire spells back, forcing Kurt and Molly to take cover again.

“Good start,” Kurt said, raising a hand to fire another spell. Before he could, a magic flame singed his wrist. He yelped in pain and pulled it down.

The barrage of projectiles prevented either of them from getting a shot off and forced Yuki to cower in the corner rather than make serious progress on a potion. One demon poked his head over the barrier. Molly nailed him good.

Rubbing his wrist, Kurt laid flat on his back, his legs against the barrier. From this horizontal position, he could get his trigger off easily and created a stone buckler. With that, he would have a shield to let him battle a little more upright.
At least that was his intention. “Perfect,” Molly said, using a spell to lift the buckler into the air and send it coursing down the hall like a frisbee. That knocked another two down and gave Kurt time to get to his feet. A quick fireball from him took out one more and gave Molly a chance to stand up.

Of the two that remained standing, one was wise enough to pick up the now-discarded buckler and use it himself. Molly shrugged and sent it in motion again, taking the goon into the ceiling with it. Then she dropped him. The final demon, facing both Molly and Kurt, was the wisest of all: he bolted to the open area on the other end and disappeared into hiding.

“Okay... that wasn't too bad,” Kurt said, rubbing his arm again. “Got those drinks ready, Yuki?”

Yuki was still crouched in the corner, hugging her knees. “Are they gone?”

“For now. Get cooking.” Kurt watched as Molly checked the inside of the rooms.

She entered one door, then exited another down the hallway. Each door on that side led to the same room, with nothing but a table and a deck of cards inside.

“Kurt, I made something for your arm. Need anything else?” Yuki said, handing Kurt a vial.

Kurt poured the liquid on his arm, healing the damage in an instant. As he did, Molly said, “No time. If the arm's fixed, let's get moving.”

Down the hall, they were extra-cautious before entering the open area. Besides that last goon, any amount of additional help may be awaiting them.

Or, as it turned out, simply Mr. Winston, who lobbed an air spell as soon as he saw the intruders. Had they been simply cautious instead of extra-cautious, it wouldn't have sailed over their heads harmlessly. The last member of the first wave stood nearby, ready to offer support.

Without a word, Kurt prepped a spell, but Mr. Winston was too fast and shot two bullets of air before Kurt could get it off. Molly stepped in and not only shielded, but also reflected the darts back. They hit the final goon and he immediately fell over, losing consciousness. Before they could react properly to the magnitude of such a seemingly-light Thrusting spell, Mr. Winston sent more their way and the dodging and deflecting continued.


Session Three

In a different hallway upstairs, Kathryn received the same welcome. She spent the next three minutes knocking all of them into submission. Standing over the pile of bodies, she wiped the sweat from her forehead and smiled.

“That was actually kinda fun.”

Donovan nodded in satisfaction. “Indeed. Bryce and I shall take the next wave.” Bryce just stood there, dumbfounded. He didn't even pull out his crystal.

After poking her head in one of the doors, Kathryn shook her head. “Looks like that was it.” She rejoined Donovan and Bryce and took out her cell phone, still catching her breath. Even though she handled the ambush with ease, she was still winded and wouldn't have minded a refreshment potion or something. Or at least find Troy and Kurt. “Damn, phones are out.”

“Unnecessary,” Donovan declared, marching down the hall. “The tome is that way.”

“Who cares about your book? I just want to find everybody else and get out of here.”

“The tome is far more important than a mere human could ever be. What is a martyr or two between-”

“Don't talk like that!” She grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, staring him down. Normally Kathryn ignored him like everyone else, but she had limits. “Look, I don't give a damn about that thing or what these guys will do with it. If you think anybody's life is more important than a stupid book, then...”

She gave up, unable to come up with an adequate consequence. Donovan wasn't about to help, smirking as if her lack of words constituted a victory. Had it not been for the uncertain circumstances, she'd give him the same treatment as the goons she had just dropped.

Bryce sighed, unimpressed with the drama. “Can we get moving now?”

Kathryn shook her head, releasing Donovan with a light shove. He ignored it and marched down the hall. Behind him, Kathryn and Bryce scoped out the wider area for anybody ready to peg Donovan from behind. She may not have interfered.

At the far end of the hallway, Donovan confidently pressed the down button to summon an elevator.

“You really know where you're going?” Kathryn asked.

The elevator doors opened, but Donovan first turned around to answer. “As its guardian, I have a special bond with the tome. It is calling to me. And what better hiding place then the dark catacombs of this tower?”

He turned around in time to hear a loud clanging from above and see the now-untethered elevator plunge down the shaft. As it fell, Mr. Cedric swung from above into the room. He slid past the three and down the hall before anyone could react. Finally, he turned around, looking at them with some dismay.

“You were supposed to be aboard.”

Kathryn stared back, paralyzed. Bryce stared at the falling elevator until the mighty crash consumed it below. Way too close for them.

Donovan, of course, took a step towards Mr. Cedric and boasted. “Did you believe we would fall for your petty trap? By avoiding it, we have forced you to reveal yourself. Another triumph!”

While Donovan was all talk, Kathryn inched closer to him, her staff at the ready. “Don't suppose you'll let us take the stairs?”

Mr. Cedric smiled. “No, I don't. What do you plan to do with that staff?”

“I'mma hitcha.” She marched forward, lifted the staff high, and prepared to strike. Instead, Mr. Cedric stood on the balls of his feet and in a flash had whisked himself behind her. He drove her face-first into the corner of the wall, sending her reeling down the hallway with a scraped face and a bloody nose.

“You-!” she cried, but he did it again, darting forward and shoving her over and atop some of the goons she had dispatched earlier. Now all she could do was watch him tower over her and hold her staff up for protection.

Well, she could also dodge his energy blasts. He had to tip-toe again and raise his arms up to summon it, so the first one wasn't too hard to evade. Kathryn avoided the second as well as it struck an unconscious suit in the face. The third was closer as she realized he could summon them rapidly and with expert precision. Finally, she took one square in the ribs and she dropped her staff, clutched her chest and had no move against his next shot.

Yet, when he fired, it dissipated before hitting her- knocked down by a magic shield. Mr. Cedric fired another shot, but the shield absorbed it too. He geared up for another, but this time Kathryn saw what appeared to be a flicker in his image, like something in her subconscious registering his absence for one brief moment. That brief moment also involved her head getting slammed to the floor.

As she moaned in pain, Bryce held his crystal up and approached Mr. Cedric from behind, glancing once at Donovan. Strange- despite the physical attack to Kathryn's head, Donovan's shield was still intact. Bryce started to swing the crystal, close enough to make a move as Mr. Cedric stooped up for another attack. Only this time, his disappearance was more than just fleeting. He appeared behind Bryce and grabbed the crystal.

“What have we here?” he oozed.

Bryce clutched the string and got his second hand on the crystal itself. Besides the obvious importance of not letting the bad guys take the über-crystal that was pretty much the essence of Bryce's ability, Mr. Cedric was now occupied and susceptible to an attack from someone else. Too bad Donovan didn't know any good attacks and Kathryn was still struggling to get to her feet.

Struggle she did though, and eventually stood up. Her first motion on two feet was to charge after Mr. Cedric and Bryce. Kathryn had seen what Molly could do with that crystal and there was no way she was letting a demon have it. She rammed her shoulder into Mr. Cedric, dislodging the crystal towards the elevator shaft. Bryce dove for it, but Mr. Cedric simply cast another spell and instantly swooped in and grabbed it. He stood up, holding the crystal high while Bryce barely avoided falling down the open shaft.

Mr. Cedric faced Bryce, willing to help the minion fall down the hole. But before he could, Donovan fired an energy ball above Mr. Cedric. Hollow as it was, the force knocked the crystal from his hands and down the shaft. Bryce lunged to catch it, couldn't, and in desperation let his momentum send him falling after it.

Staring down the shaft, Mr. Cedric appeared ready to chase after the crystal as well. As he pondered the merits of doing so, Kathryn charged forward again and took a swing at him. Mr. Cedric tip-toed, evaded the staff, and while she was off-balance, gave her a push to send her screaming down the shaft behind Bryce.

He smiled to appreciate the moment, then faced his one remaining opponent- Donovan. “Well then... your turn,” Mr. Cedric sang.


Session Four

Troy and Renee stared down the dark, empty hallway for about five minutes, neither interested in seeing what else their new surroundings had to offer. Contact with Kurt and Molly failed and Yuki wasn't around to heal any injuries sustained from all the traps they were bound to trip. Renee justified this inaction with the old 'if you're lost, stay put until someone finds you' mentality.

Eventually, Troy realized that they were on their own. The others had ended up in different circles and were likely in different parts of the building. There was an elevator on the far end of the hall that looked very tempting. “C'mon,” he said, pretending to be assertive.

They walked slowly past the line of doors, ready for one to fly open and reveal any kind of horror. A rumbling from another part of the building, a lower floor most likely, startled both of them. Renee clutched Troy's shoulders. It was hard to ignore her breathing down his neck. He took a moment to convince himself that he wasn't enjoying Renee's proximity. But before taking another step, he said, “Blaine?”

“Sir?” Blaine was bringing up the rear. “Er... Troy?”

Troy smiled. “You can call me sir. I don't mind. But why don't you go in front?”

“Why me?”

Troy looked back and shrugged. “Because you're the minion.”

“I'm not your minion.”

“Still...” Troy didn't want to expound on the formula to determine which of the three was more expendable. But he was ready to and Blaine decided to relent and take the lead rather than hear the ugly truth.

In the end, it didn't matter. They reached the elevator in one piece, with no ambush from behind or wave of indistinguishable suits or nothing. Troy reached for the elevator button, pausing a moment to deliberate between up or down. Grimoire 17 was certainly not calling for him.

“Wait!” Renee cried. Troy pulled his finger back, despite being nowhere near ready to push a button. “That's what they want us to do!”

“Um... what?” Troy was completely open to the possibility for a trap, but why summoning an elevator was more dangerous than creeping down an ominous hallway was beyond him.

Renee raised her eyebrows and darted her head frantically. “All those rooms in the hallway, nothing lurking in the corners... something's amiss.”

Troy blinked, unable to resist smiling. Somehow her paranoia came across as cute while his had always seemed neurotic. He shrugged. “Would it make you feel better if Blaine pushed the button?”

“Or we could use the stairs,” Blaine suggested loudly, making clear his desire to not push the button.

In the far corner, Renee opened a door marked 'Stairs.' It was as advertised. “Perfect,” she said. “Up or down?”

They heard more violent noises- whackings and clangings and the occasional thud, all clearly downstairs. “I vote up,” said Blaine.

After more noise below, Renee nodded. “Yeah. I mean, the princess is always kept at the top of the tower, right?”

“Did you just call my mom a princess?” Troy asked as they scaled the flight of stairs.

They reached what was listed as the fourth floor. “Wait... there aren't any four-story buildings in town,” Renee said.

“Only the hospital,” Troy replied, looking at her. Tense once more, they opened the door and stepped into a similar open area. Along with the ominous narrow hallway, there was a set of double doors along the back wall. Again, nothing was there to greet them.

They walked back to the elevator in time to hear the supports unsnap and the carriage fall. Eyes widened, all they could do was look at each other in astonished relief.

Well, except Renee. She threw a hand up. “Who called it?!” she shouted proudly, prancing around in a celebratory dance.

Troy and Blaine let her. They needed to calm down and not get too scared now that the Chioni were playing for keeps. A little momentary amusement was a nice distraction from the looming dangers.

With one glance down the hallway, Troy realized just how true that was. While Renee continued to rub it in, Troy saw Bo in the shadows hurling one of his little grenades at her. He dove and tackled her to the ground, sliding far enough along the paneled floor to get out of its way. They still felt the explosion at their feet.

Bo shrugged it off and threw again now that the two of them were huddled together and defenseless on the floor. Blaine was on it with a wind gust to blow the grenade off target. So Bo threw a line drive at Blaine. Unable to react in time to put a spell up, Blaine could only try to dodge. The blast knocked him to the floor.

Troy helped Renee to her feet, the two still clinging together and watching Bo for his next move. “How many of those things do you have?” Renee shouted. Bo didn't answer... at least verbally. Instead, without even looking at her, he pulled three more dull stones out of a bag. Troy and Renee took a step back in fear, but the demon didn't throw them. He cupped one in his hands and held it there for a moment. When he lifted his hand, the stone was shiny and undoubtedly packing. Bo set that one aside and went to work on the next one.

“Um...” The demon's lack of regard for his opponents was unsettling. Yet, an opening was an opening and Troy fired a bolt of ice at Bo. It collided with his torso, it definitely did, but seemed to make no mark in any form. Besides a cursory glance up from Bo, he seemed to ignore it. He set down the second completed grenade and clasped the third one.

Troy tried again, but to no avail. Blaine, though reeling from his last hit, flew toward Bo and the grenades. But before he could get his hand on them, Bo finished his third and casually tossed it at Blaine. It knocked the minion all the way back to the wall, but didn't knock him out.

Bo shook his head in disapproval and focused one more grenade to get back up to three again. Then he stood up with the full set and looked at Troy and Renee. Now he could continue.


Session Five

As you could imagine, though Ellen and Kendrick were covered as far as essentials, they soon discovered that the tricky part was not losing their minds. For the first few hours, neither of them wanted to discuss much of the details. Ellen because she didn't want to be mistaken for a mage; Kendrick because he didn't want to be exposed as a demon.

Instead, they paced around the room, looking for anything to kill time. At first, this involved a lot of reading- ingredients on food packages, the instruction manual for the coffee machine, or that poster listing the minimum wage and all those worker protection laws Golden Sun was currently violating.

Although her cell phone couldn't connect to anybody outside, it still worked. So she burned two hours playing Snake while Kendrick built a pyramid out of packets of coffee creamer.

Eventually, that too got old, even after letting Kendrick try to break her top score. By late night, boredom had set in once again. Sleep hadn't become a viable option yet, due to the lack of trust between the two, the lack of comfortable furniture and, most significantly, the bounty of coffee they had been drinking. Finally, seated across from each other at the table, Ellen felt obligated to open her mouth.

“So what's so special about that thing anyway?”

“Hmm?” he responded, raising an eyebrow, surprised at her sudden desire to talk shop.

“That thing they took from you. Some sort of book, I guess?”

Kendrick squirmed. “Yes. Well, it has some... er... proprietary information that could be a problem in the wrong hands.”

“Well, the people who are supposed to help get it back are working on it... I think.”

“What was your name again?” Kendrick asked, suspicious. In all his research, and remember that he had done a lot, he had not heard of any local field agents or support staff besides the open position that went to Kurt.

She then realized that they had never introduced each other. “Oh, I'm sorry! Ellen Monroe.”

Kendrick shook her extended hand, but very hesitantly. “Monroe?”

“Yes. I don't want to guess how you're connected with all this, but maybe you know my ex-husband or my son from somewhere?”

He shifted his eyes. “Yes... I may have crossed paths with your son once or twice.”

Ellen nodded, not noticing. “I hear he's doing pretty well. Then again, I haven't been paying too much attention. I was never all that interested in this sort of thing.”

“And yet, here you are.”

It might have been the pickle she was in, or the way Kendrick pointed out the irony behind it, or just the caffeine, but Ellen started laughing. Hard. “I know! He's the one studying up on all this and I'm the one locked up for espionage!” Kendrick was afraid she was about to start crying.

Instead, she took a prolonged drink of coffee. “I bet Troy hasn't been in half this much trouble.”

Kendrick couldn't help but snicker. “Oh, you never know...”

She slammed her mug down and shook her head. “No, I'm sure he's behaving. I've been to that academy. You have to actively look for trouble to find it. And he's got a girlfriend here in town so I know he hasn't been screwing around in the FUP. No, it doesn't come to you...”

Suddenly sober, she focused on the wall behind Kendrick and added, “Unless the drunk guy next door wakes up you and your boyfriend at 3:00 am to go get donuts.”

Kendrick could only blink. “You speak from experience.”

With a sigh, Ellen smiled. “Yeah. I've grown up since then.”

“But again... here you are.”

She grumbled. “Yeah, well they knew I worked here and needed to make sure your book was still here before going after it and asked me to check. Guess I just wanted to do my part to help recover it.”

“Unbelievable,” Kendrick replied. To his surprise, he was genuinely unhappy with this. “I've never approved of their tactics. Very crude, very untactful, and just the idea of getting someone like you involved... quite questionable ethics given their objective.”

“I know. But it's not like you can question their purpose.”

He chuckled. “Oh, I can stir up a good argument for the existence of evil.” Then he caught himself before he got carried away. “But there's no sense getting into a philosophical debate over it.”

“Why not?” she said, smiling. “We're not going anywhere. Let me get some more coffee.”

While she refilled her mug, Kendrick sighed. He had become too comfortable. Although he loved discussing why demons like were a needed presence on Earth, he couldn't give too much away. There was no telling how long they'd be stuck there and letting on that he was a demon would not make things any more pleasant for him.

Fortunately, that's when the feeling struck him. A liberating feeling as if he was no longer restrained by some inner force. As if he now had the opportunity to find a way out.

As if a little girl's left foot smashed the negator preventing him from using his powers.

“Did you feel that?” Kendrick asked, standing up and turning to Ellen for verification.

She stared back, confused. “Feel what?”

Surely she wasn't going to feel anything. So Kendrick shrugged it off and chose a field test instead. He put his hand on his heart and, when Ellen looked away, cast a teleportation spell. It worked; he vanished.

“Did you need any more...” And Ellen was left alone. “Hello?” Suddenly, she wasn't in the mood for a drink. A sudden disappearance left her talking to herself in her own sparse cell. That made her jittery enough. “Where'd you go?”

It happened so fast she barely registered the notion that she had been betrayed and Kendrick had left without her.





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