Fairy Slayer, page 12
“Hay, Kalista, can I ask you something?” I looked at her as she cut her pancake up into tiny little bites.
“Yeah, shoot,” she said but didn’t look up at me.
“The dragons, what happened to them?” I asked.
Her head shot up, and her violet eyes looked at me with an intense mixture of anger and confusion.
“They were killed off, I told you yesterday,” she said, and I knew she purposely avoided my real question.
“Yeah, I know that,” I responded, “but by who? Was it us?”
The hacker sighed and put her fork down as she met my eyes. She inhaled deeply before she spoke.
“It wasn’t so black and white back then,” Kalista said. “The Seelie weren’t so good, and the Unseelie weren’t so bad, but, yes, it was us.” A tear threatened to spill over onto her cheek, but she quickly rubbed it away.
“So, if it was us, why would we keep one here?” I questioned.
“Because by the time we found him, things had… changed,” she whispered. “The guilds had appeared, and the world was peaceful. We didn’t need to kill him immediately, and, besides, having a dragon at our disposal could serve as a very powerful weapon.”
“I get it,” I spat bitterly. “He’s a captive here until we need to use him as a slave.” I knew it wasn’t her fault, but my words still sounded like a personal attack.
Her head shot up, and her violet eyes went hard.
“Why are you asking me all these questions, Milton?” she asked with an edge to her voice.
“I went to see him this morning,” I answered as I lifted my chin.
“Milton, why would you do that?” she asked, more loudly than she intended. As she realized that, the hacker bent her head closer to me so we could talk more privately.
“Because I needed to know what he meant yesterday,” I whispered. Suddenly, this conversation felt like a very dangerous one to have in the middle of the food court.
“And what did he say?” Kalista shot back at me.
“Just that good and evil can be one and the same, and that makes the world unbalanced,” I stated in a low voice. “I’m supposed to make sure evil doesn’t reign somehow. He quoted some prophecy at me, something about the world burning. He said the Racmoth, which is me, is meant to defeat evil but I could end up being destroyed in the process. I don’t know, the thing kept speaking in riddles.”
Kalista didn’t respond right away. Instead, she furrowed her brow and toyed with the necklace she wore. I watched as she mouthed my words to herself. The hacker closed her eyes, and I could almost see the wheels spinning in her head.
Then her violet eyes snapped open.
“We’ve got to tell Danira,” she said firmly as she shot to her feet.
“Right now?” I protested as I glanced down at my half-eaten plate. “Can’t it wait until after breakfast?”
“No, Milton,” she said as she rounded the table and yanked on my arm. “Prophecies are serious fucking business. We need to tell her now.”
“Just--,” I started to argue more, but the small hacker only pulled me to my feet and began to drag me from the mess hall.
I cast one last forlorn glance at my unfinished pancakes before I stumbled out of the eating hall and straight into Kalista’s back. The hacker had come to a dead stop outside the door, and she stared down at a device in her hand with a frown.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I asked as I tried to peek over her shoulder. “I thought we were going to see Danir--”
Before I could finish my sentence, an alarm began to screech. It had a fast cadence and a high pitch. Everything about it signaled serious danger. As soon as it went off, every Fae around us broke into an immediate run. Elves and dwarves toppled over each other as they tried to get to their destinations. Fear and worry were written across every face I saw.
It took me a moment to realize Kalista wasn’t in front of me anymore. I turned and saw her about twenty feet down the hall to my left, and she waved frantically at me.
“Come on, Milton, hurry your ass up!” she yelled down the hallway.
I used my newfound super speed to catch up to her, and we were on the third floor in an instant. The control room was tense as interns and commanders alike rushed around. Shouts echoed through the room as the Fae communicated the latest information. Less than a second later, an answer would be hollered out from the other side of the room. Everyone spoke in Elvish, but their tones were panicked.
We rushed up to Danira and Ariette at the bank of computer screens. Ariette sat at the keyboards, her expression one of concentration.
“I need eyes on the street!” Danira yelled in Ariette’s direction.
“I’m working on it,” Ariette shouted back.
Kalista quickly took her seat in the middle of the computers and pulled the keyboard from Ariette’s grasp.
“What street?” the dwarf asked quickly.
“Second and Main,” was Danira’s gruff reply.
Kalista’s fingers flew across the keyboard. She paused for a moment and looked up at the computer above her, but the screen was still black.
“What the hell?” she muttered to herself.
“Kalista?” Danira’s question came from the back of the room now.
“I’m locked out!” she yelled with her eyes still fixated on the keyboard. “Someone is keeping me out of the street cams. Give me a minute!”
“Ariette!” I called to get her attention. Her beautiful face turned toward me immediately, and I raised my hands in silent question.
“Another troll attack,” she replied. “Started five minutes ago. There are no agents on the ground to stop it.”
Fuck. So there were more of those creatures.
“I got it!” Kalista yelled suddenly, and the room stopped for a brief moment as the video feed came up on the screen.
Another monster rampaged through the street on the monitor. It threw people and cars about, but not in such a random way as the troll-2.0 that I had stopped. This creature seemed to have a path as it ran down the street with purpose.
The creature rampaged down the road, and then suddenly a blinding blue light flashed across the screen. When the flash disappeared, the creature was gone, too.
“Again?” Danira yelled out. “How do these things keep disappearing?”
I threw a glance at Ariette, and she saw the unasked question in my eyes.
“We’ve been tracking these attacks--” Ariette started before I cut her off.
“Whoa, attacks? As in, more than the one yesterday and today?” I asked.
“Yes,” Danira replied, “there have been six over the last three weeks. They’re getting more and more frequent, and it’s always the same. Some big lump of a creature pops up out of thin air and starts trashing shit, killing people and Fae, and causing mass destruction. There’s no rhyme or reason to where they come up, how long they stay, or what they destroy. It’s like these things are empty pods with one goal: to wreak havoc. And then just like that, they’re gone. Poof.”
“And,” Ariette added, “they don’t seem to be affected by iron. The humans had all but bombed them with iron and nothing happens. The first time one of them got caught was when you came along.” Her ocean blue eyes focused on me and then flickered across my face and down to my hand.
One of the phones on Kalista’s desk rang, and she picked it up immediately.
“Yeah,” she mumbled into the phone. She placed it between her neck and shoulder so that she could type as she spoke. “Uh-huh… Okay, got it… Yeah, we’ll be there, I’ve got an idea though… We’re going to hang back for a sec to figure it out if you don’t need us right now… Thanks, Officer.”
Kalista hung up the phone and swiveled her chair around to face us. Her arms were crossed over her chest, and she looked pissed.
“How do they keep doing that?” she asked herself, and then she turned to look at me. “That’s what every single one but the thing you killed has do
“Or where they come from,” Ariette said ominously as she leaned back over the desk and stared at the black computer screens like they had all the answers.
“Kalista, can you pull up video from the other attacks, and show us when those things pop up and disappear?” Danira asked, and then she turned to me. “I want you to see what happens with these creatures when no one’s there to stop it.”
Kalista nodded, and then the central computer screen lit up. The first video was an attack outside of city hall. A streak of blue light shot down the center of the video feed and obscured the shot for a split second. When the flash disappeared, a giant troll bolted down the street.
It swung its arms and smashed into anything in its vicinity. Anyone close enough to its meaty fists was picked up and torn apart. People ran from it as fast as they could, but those that didn’t get out of the way in time collided with the monster’s arms and flew through the air. Within seconds, it had barreled off the edge of the screen.
And left a trail of destruction behind it.
Cars were turned upside down. Lucky passengers crawled out of some of the vehicles while others were engulfed in flames. Shattered glass lined the street, and dust still settled from the remnants of caved in walls. It looked like a bomb had gone off out of nowhere.
Kalista switched to another video. In this one, the monster careened down the street from beyond the camera’s view. As in the first video, it swung its arms and collided with anything possible, or picked people and objects up and ripped them apart without hesitation.
Suddenly, the creature stopped and froze where it stood. It cocked its head as if it listened to something. And then, another bolt of blue came through the screen. When it was gone, so was the creature.
“We don’t know what the blue energy is,” Ariette answered my question before it even left my lips. I looked over and saw a single tear spill over onto her cheek. She wiped it away quickly and glanced around to make sure no one saw. I averted my eyes so she wouldn’t be embarrassed.
“But,” Danira piped up, “we do know that it can only be seen on the cameras. No witnesses reported seeing a flash of blue light when that thing appeared. I don’t know what that means, but it’s got to mean something.”
“Are they all like that?” I asked quietly.
“Yes,” Kalista responded, and she bowed her head to look at her necklace.
The phone rang again, and Kalista reached to pick it up with lighting fast speed.
“Yo, what is it?” She paused and cocked her head as she listened. Her features slowly became more and more anxious. After a moment, she hung up the phone without saying another word. Her violet eyes looked at all of us with a mixture of anger and confusion, and we waited with bated breath as she regained control of her voice.
“It’s back,” Kalista whispered. “That was the humans. They said the thing popped up in the middle of the bank. We’ve got to go.”
“Go,” Danira commanded with a flick of her wrist. “Take Milton with you.”
“Come on, HC,” Ariette said, her voice light again with the anticipation of action. “Let’s get you into a better bedroom.”
“Wait, what?” I asked as I followed her.
“You do more missions, you earn a higher rank. Soon enough, you become a full member, then you get better housing. Ariette thinks your bed is too hard.” With that, Kalista barreled past us, all business once again.
“I didn’t say it was too hard!” Ariette exclaimed to Kalista’s back. “I just said that next time we should use my bed because it’s a feather mattress.”
I followed the warriors out of the guild hall and back to the van that sat in the large parking lot.
“I think I’m calling this the Van of Death,” I announced as I stepped inside. Ariette had parked herself in front of the bank of computers, and Kalista was behind the curtain.
“Oh yeah?” the hacker smirked as she peeked her silver head out of the black cloth. “And why is that?”
“Uh, because you can’t see out of the damn windows,” I stated matter-of-factly.
She raised an eyebrow and stared me down before she gave me a flirtatious wink. “Buckle up, cowboy, we’re about to have a wild ride.”
The engine revved up, and then the computers came to life. Ariette leaned back in her seat and glanced across the information that began to scroll across the screens.
While the elf was preoccupied, I took the opportunity to close my eyes and practice a few breathing exercises. Life in the guild seemed to be one of nonstop action and intrigue. If it wasn’t grotesque beasts wreaking chaos in downtown Jefferson City, it was dragons spouting prophecies and visions of a fiery future. Ever since that Unseelie fairy came crashing through that bakery wall, I had barely been able to take a moment to breathe, let alone process everything that had happened to me in such a short period of time.
Sure, I now had incredible Fae powers that could both slay terrible monsters and entice women into my bed, but there was also a downside. Mainly diving headfirst into dangerous situations like this. A part of me, the part that wanted to be a badass Fae warrior when I was a kid, was ecstatic about the prospect of defeating the troll and showing off a little for Ariette and Kalista. But the rest of me, the logical adult part of my brain mostly, couldn’t help but worry about the dangers that lied ahead.
“Doing alright there, HC?” Ariette asked as she drew me out of my thoughts.
I opened my eyes and plastered on a smile as the van rumbled out of the guild’s gates. “I’m fine. I mean, I had a pretty amazing night last night, and now I’m about to go on my first real mission. Super excited.”
Ariette pursed her lips and scrutinized me with those ocean blue eyes of hers.
“It’s okay to be nervous, Milton,” she said gently as she completely saw through my false bravado. “This is all new for you. Guild members usually have months if not years of training before they first go out into the field.”
“Oh thanks, that makes me feel a lot better,” I muttered as my heart skipped a beat.
“What I mean to say,” Ariette replied as she smiled and leaned over to squeeze my hand, “is that you don’t have to pretend to not be affected by any of this. Even I vomited after my first field mission.”
“Really?” I asked in surprise. “I… wouldn’t have guessed that. You always seem so capable and badass.”
“Well, I am,” the elven warrior said as her smile widened, “but it took time for me to become what I am now. It’ll take time for you to hone all your skills, too. But you already have several advantages.”
“Like what?” I questioned.
“Like the fact that you scored higher than almost all adepts during your tests,” she pointed out. “You are incredibly powerful, HC, and with a little work, you could be unstoppable. And, you have us. Kalista and I will be with you every step of the way and, together, we’ll eliminate this threat that looms over Jefferson City.”
A true smile tugged at my lips as her words filled me with hope and excitement. I might be new at this, but I wasn’t alone. My team had my back, and with their help, I’d figure out this Hand of Blood/Racmoth thing. I simply had to go through a little on-the-job training.
“Thank you,” I said as I squeezed Ariette’s hand back. “Have I mentioned how glad I am that I was in that alley yesterday? Even with all the destruction and chaos, if I hadn’t been in the right place at the right time, I wouldn’t have gained this amazing power, and I wouldn’t have met you.”
“I am happy we met, too,” Ariette replied, and her eyes dropped down to my lips.
I was about to lean down and kiss her full and luscious mouth when the van lurched into motion. I was thrown backward into the counter, and my neck shuddered with the impact.
Ariette, ever the prepared warrior, gripped the edge of the desk with her hands. She laughed at my fall, but the sound coul
“Sorry, should have warned you,” Kalista hollered from the front of the van. “You okay, Milton? I heard a bump.”
“You don’t even know it was me!” I responded.
“Yeah, I do, shut up,” came Kalista’s laugh.
“I’m fine then,” I said with exasperation, “thanks for asking.”
We hit multiple rough turns on our journey to the bank, but I finally got a good hold on the desk next to Ariette. She was lost in her thoughts as her body slid from side to side.
“What are you thinking?” I whispered in her ear. My nose touched her hair as I leaned forward, and I inhaled that beautiful sweet scent of flowers and vanilla. She turned to me, her lips and nose mere centimeters from my face.
“Just trying to piece everything together.” She spoke just over a whisper, and her warm breath tickled my chin. “These attacks have to stop, one way or another.”
“You just gave me a pep talk,” I whispered. “Now I’m giving you one. Didn’t you say we’d solve this together?”
Ariette nodded her head, and I planted my lips on her forehead as she took in a shuddering breath. A few moments later, the van screeched to a halt. When the engine died down, I could hear the clamor of voices outside.
Kalista came out from behind the curtain and grabbed an ax off the wall. Ariette followed suit, took down her sword of light, and tied the belt with its sheath around her waist. When it was my turn, I opted for a compact gun. It resembled a Glock, but it was made from dulled silver. I checked the magazine and found golden bullets securely inside. Hopefully, I wouldn’t need it, though, since my magic had been enough last time.
We stepped out of the Van of Death and onto the hot blacktop. A canopy tent had been set up just outside the steps that lead into the bank. Caution tape was wrapped around the entire front of the building to create a zone of no passage. Human cops stood in huddles under the canopy tent as they had a whispered conversation.
It was deadly quiet.
I turned around to survey the scene behind the blockade. The rank metallic smell of blood and death made my heart sink in my chest.