No one’s POV
A heavy fog had set on Ridgevalley, the humidity sticking to her skin as she stomped angrily on the grass.
She still couldn’t get over it.
After everything she had done for them-! Here they were, kicking her out like it was nothing. It brought her back to over a decade ago, when she’d woken up without her memories. She’d had to stumble around the streets, trying to survive just till the end of the day at least. The circumstances were different this time. Her only support system might have rejected her, but she still had several important connections in town that she could exploit. She hadn’t been beaten down yet. They would regret throwing her out.
Had it been worth it? She couldn’t tell. All she had learned was that she’d been a murderer, if the witch even told the truth. But he had been too angry at her for it not to have been true.
Though she disliked the title, she couldn’t deny it. The sight of blood in her mind wasn’t foreign. She just had to believe the deaths she had caused were for a reason, not simply a desire to end lives left and right.
How she wished she could question him again…he had to have more to say.
For now she needed to leave and set up somewhere else – get her assets together. After that she’d find a way to question the witch again. His son as well. Whether the boy knew anything or not didn’t matter as much. It was the shadow following him that had her curious.
She’d get her answers eventually, no matter how long it took.
With a sharp pain in her head, Assaria’s legs suddenly buckled underneath her and she dropped down on the ground. Frowning she tried to push herself back up, but her muscles froze on her.
It was like she’d turned to stone, she could barely even breathe. None of her limbs listened to her.
What was happening?
She couldn’t tell how long she was stuck in that position, unable to move, but it must’ve been at the very least an hour. Maybe even more, before someone showed up. Over the minutes passing she’d heard a lot of cars pass by, but nobody had noticed her in the foggy decor. It was a camouflage of sorts. Which is how she knew this newcomer was probably bad news.
He circled her from behind, hidden from her view, with tense slow steps. If she didn’t know any better she’d swear her mind was being searched. Was he the cause of her current predicament?
“Who are you?” She forced herself to speak. One of the few movements she had left.
The legs kept circling around, till they stopped in front of her. She looked up to meet a vicious pair of golden eyes.
Her heart stopped in her chest from fear.
Fear was quickly replaced by burning anger that boiled in her veins. She had absolutely no doubt now. This was the man who had killed her…because she had murdered the mothers of his children.
She fought against his control with a mixture of fear and anger. But if anything, his strength had been underestimated. A memory came to her then, vague and unclear, of a time when he had the grim reaper in his shadow. Oh, the Whitelights were unfairly interesting.
“Let me go!” She hissed under his glare. Nothing happened. Assaria realized then, that he was wondering what his son had been asking: how is she still alive? “No use in killing me. I’ll just come back again. Release me!” She demanded, her voice tinged with a quiver. Death still wasn’t something she wanted to experience. What if she lost all her memories again? Everything she’d done in the last 15 or so years….gone? It was all she had, and even there she didn’t have them really.
Her throat closed up on itself. She went from barely being able to breathe to not at all in a second. He was strangling her. Her body shook and trembled slightly and her muscles tensed painfully in reaction.
Suffocation? Death by suffocation!?
Her eyesight grew blurry, and she vaguely remembered the last time she died. She could faintly see a bridge, and she could feel the horrible mental pain she had suffered.
She understood why he chose asphyxiation.
That’s how you kill bugs in a jar.
Dad was still feeling extremely drowsy from the drugs, so we decided to stay till he was able to stand on his feet without wobbling to the ground. No complaints from me, I was really curious about this organization. After biker lad- er Assaria got kicked out we all gathered in some kind of common room. Well ‘all’ being the important people I assume.
Since my fathers didn’t want to elaborate on the whole Assaria shebacle – though I’m pretty certain she’s the witch something vampire my dad kept referring to in his stories – I got curious about this group, and they were surprisingly open to answering all my questions.
They consider themselves to have a very peacemaker group. People join to find answers and uncover mysteries. So they spend their time trying to resolve never-ending problems. That kind of evolved into trying to ‘fix’ the world if you will. Getting back some equality between supernaturals and naturals.
They have a system of four leaders. Well now three. Each leader is just the director of a specific branch of answers to uncover. Annie, for example, concentrates on a more abstract subject : white-eyes. And how it all ties into the grand scheme of things. So basically she researches Kevil.
The red head beside her – which I swear I’ve seen at the café more than once, with Sebastien too – takes care of the supernatural balance if you will. She pokes her nose into anything that tilts the balance. Like supernatural school bombings, or the Talent Troupe coming to town.
The third one is a guy, Terrance, a name I’ve heard before and I’ve seen him before. A year ago, at the bank. He takes care of the weirder little things – like magical tattoos and secret magical basements.
The fourth one was Assaria, and if I understood correctly she was basically the one who brought home the bread. She was tasked with getting sponsors to keep the place up and running. So I guess they’re going to go bankrupt now?
Basically yeah, four leaders, and everyone just falls into one of those categories to help out.
“What’s so special at the bank though? Why were you guys there?”
“We’ve read about a legend related to that bank.” Terrance answered. “We think there’s something that would give us access to limitless amounts of ancient history down there. Just the fact that it’s protected by a curse makes it old and valuable. The project’s been put on a back burner with the latest events though. I’m curious as to how you knew of the statue down there – the source of the curse.”
“Well I actually didn’t, I had to use-”
Dad forced himself up suddenly. “We’ve overstayed our welcome.” He grumbled. “We should head home, Nikita must be worried.”
“I already called her, she knows we’re okay.” Pa reassured him.
“You’re free to leave if you want to.” Annie said.
“Wait I have a lot more questions!” I piped up and the dragons gave me a smile.
“We really should-”
“So uh, James Whitelight is in the building with um, Assaria’s dead body.” Some guy came in looking a little freaked. We could hear someone’s footsteps down the hall.
“We’re getting all kinds of special visits today.” Annie said, getting up to greet the vampire.
My grandpa walked in with the most disturbed unhappy expression I’d ever seen him wear. He was closely followed by one of the members carrying a dead ex-founder. Said member dropped the body rather harshly on the ground.
“Sorry I didn’t mean to drop her like that,” He fumbled nervously. “I’m just going to go now.”
A silence, mostly sustained by my grandpa, fell down as the guy ran off. I got up to get a better look at that body. I grimaced. Is it me or does it…smell bad?
“That’s just….nasty.” I avoided looking directly at the body.
“Dad what-” Xavier gestured at the scene in confusion.
“I called him, after you were taken.” Kevil explained, but dad still looked surprised.
“Is she dead for real this time?” Dad asked with a clear underlying insult. Dad hadn’t been exactly clear on how she had died the first time, but in general when it came to stories related to my grandpa the details became vague. I was pretty certain grandpa had killed her the first time, just as he’d done this time.
“Do say more…” Skyla leaned forwards in her seat, her eyes twinkling with curiosity – the perverse kind.
“We’ll burn it.” Annie stated coldly as she stood up. She relaxed a bit and her natural charisma came back. She stared right at my grandpa. “If she comes back to life as you say, burning is indeed a good safety measure.” That made it pretty clear that it’s my grandpa who had made her say this, but her reply seemed to have eased his him. The room definitely grew warmer.
The big man I also remembered from the bank came out from the shadows of the room. “I got it.” He said as he grabbed Assaria’s lifeless corpse and slung it over his shoulder.
Just before he left, Terrance stopped him. “Wait a moment, I’ll just take this…Ok off you go!” He said, after pulling a ring off Assaria’s finger. He pocketed it after sharing a nod with Annie and Skyla.
“Please accept our apologies for the troubles caused.” Annie continued her conversation with James.
“And tell us more about this zombie like quality of our ex-dragon.” Skyla said, crossing her legs and smiling.
Dad didn’t look any happier, he actually looked about ready to protest against the conversation.
“Yeah, please do.” I grinned at my grandpa. Instead of initiating a silent monologue on the probably zombie biker lady, he gave Kevil a look. The vampires had a silent two second conversation that made Kevil looked panicked.
“What happened to her?” Kevil asked. James looked around and walked to the white board and wrote a word on it: Taken. “By who?”
“If I may, took who?” Annie asked, stepping into the conversation.
Kevil paused, seemingly unsure of how to explain it.
“Are you talking about a girl with lizard eyes?” I asked. “I saw you two at summer camp once!”
“She’s special.” Kevil said. “Immortal and with a very dangerous power. She’s strong, who even has enough power to take her on these days?”
“We might have a suspect.” Annie supplied, looking at Terrance.
“Oh you mean the Hans?” Terrance perked up like he’d been drifting off. “Yes something dangerous and immortal, of course that would interest them.”
“Wait, the Hans? The scientific and medical prodigies?” I said. The pillars of knowledge and technology? Who…huh, also happened to be the name of the doctor in charge of the experiment that gave me my tattoo.
“That’s the tip of the iceberg!” Terrance said with gusto. “They’re something else entirely with very selfish goals.”
Dad reached his limit and interrupted the conversation by getting up. “I’m feeling better, we really should head home.” He insisted – again.
“Dad come on, this is interesting.” I protested. Couldn’t he sit back down a few minutes? Opportunities like this were rare and he still didn’t look steady on his feet.
“And you’re sixteen!” He exploded. “You don’t need to be seeing dead bodies, getting kidnapped and having people fill your head with more ways to get into trouble.”
“That’s not going to happen…” I rolled my eyes.
“That’s what you say every time. We’re going home, it’s been enough for one day.” He said with a tone of finality, reaching for me.
I scoffed. Yeah okay I saw a dead body. The horror. The cowplant in my basement was more terrifying. “Do I look traumatized to you? Maybe you’ve had enough for the day but I haven’t.”
“N-” Dad’s voice started to rise threateningly, but grandpa gripped his shoulder.
Grandpa signed something to him, which of course I didn’t understand. Though that one might’ve been home.
“Oh yeah, like I can trust his mental health with you.” Dad snapped.
Pa got up to his feet as the room grew colder. “Okay hon, we better get home before we say things we regret.” He said, holding onto his husband’s arms.
“Sounds like it’s already been done.” I said with a snort. Pa cast me a warning glance. Okay yeah maybe that was an unnecessary comment. I gave him an apologetic smile. Pa just sighed and led dad out.
“That wasn’t awkward at all. Nikolas you can come back whenever you want you know.” Skyla insisted.
“Yes, our doors are open to you. You’re welcome back any time.” Annie agreed.
“Really?” I stared wide-eyes.
“Of course,” Annie nodded with a smile. “We have people of all ages come here all the time. We don’t try to be ‘secret’”
“And if you want to become a more permanent member, I have dibs on you.” Terrance added.
“Excuse me, dibs?” Skyla scoffed. “No, no, I have dibs. Annie told me he tried to pick the lock in his room, I need people like that helping me out.”
“He has a magic tattoo on his neck, I automatically have dibs.” Terrance countered.
“What, how could you-” I stuttered, my hand instinctively reaching for the back of my neck.
“Everyone who has a magic tattoo is on my team. I’m in charge of that mystery to solve, so it’s a given.” Terrance stated.
“He meant ‘how could you tell his tattoo is magic?’.” Skyla corrected.
“I can smell it.” Terrance tapped his nose.
“Can you tell I have someone stuck in my tattoo?” I asked, craning my neck…to look at my neck. Yeah it’s a futile effort I know.
“Oh really now?” Terrance hummed.
“That’s peculiar.” Skyla stroked her chin.
“My dad and I found a spell to ‘detach’ him from my tattoo and put him in something else, but we can’t find what.” I told them with a grin. “And putting him in someone else-”
“Defeats the purpose, yes.” Annie nodded.
“It’s just an idea of a solution. My tattoo is supposed to fade eventually and Oscar’ll fade with it if we don’t do anything.” I admitted.
“Fade? No magic tattoos don’t fade.” Terrance shook his head.
“This one is supposed to.”
“No, no, no, let me see-” Terrance said as he moved to come examine my neck. Annie brought her arm up to stop his advance.
“Some other time.” Annie chuckled, then she turned back to me. “We may be able to help you. I believe we have a robot in storage.”
“A robot? That’d be perfect!” I grinned. Why didn’t we think of that? Oscar could move around, and if the robot has a speaking mechanism…he could talk too! Without having to share control with anyone.
“It’s a pile of junk though.” Skyla sighed.
“It needs some tuning up, it’s been in storage for a very long while. It’s an old relic we found, but it’s yours if you want it.” Annie offered. I couldn’t believe it. I’d just met these people! Then again they had just participated in kidnapping me and my dads, but I still felt like this was an unfair exchange.
“And in exchange I can help you guys solve some mysteries right?” I offered in response.
“You’re more than welcome to, as long as it doesn’t get you in trouble. We wouldn’t want that.” Annie said, and I internally sighed at my dad’s attitude.
“It’s a hard thing to avoid.” I grumbled.
“We can help you find your special girl.” Terrance said, turning the conversation back to James and Kevil. “If it really is the Hans who took her, it’ll be pretty difficult, but with a man of your expertise, I think all I’ll need to do is get you a location.”
“If my research has proven right, you and that girl are part of a set.” Annie said to Kevil. “I’m sure the people who took her would love to catch you too. You can stay with us if you want. We can help you avoid them. They’re rather well equipped.”
Kevil and James exchanged a look at the two offers and Kevil accepted for both of them.
“I have a LOT of questions.” I butted in excitedly.
“And we’re ready to answer them, but I don’t think that’ll be today.” Annie said with a little bit of hesitation, and the other two dragons agreed. God dad, couldn’t you have let it be? Now they feel bad because of you.
“I’ll bring you home.” Kevil offered, but James raised his hands and signed something.
“What did he say?” I asked, glancing at Kevil. He shrugged, as confused as I felt.
“He said your father stayed behind. He’s waiting for you outside.” Skyla translated.
“Don’t worry, there’s all summer to answer your questions.” Annie smiled. No use fighting it, everyone’s made their decision.
“Ok then, bye!” I said, taking in a deep breath and waving. I headed for the door, but did a 180 right beforehand. “Am I always welcome, or do you have specific opening hours?”
“There’s always someone in the fort Nikolas.” Skyla said with a grin.