Where was I?
So plaster is cracking and flaking down upon us, turning the air in the dungeon into a dust-filled haze. The bulb flickered and dimmed, but didn’t go out. Pre-beatdown jitters gripped my captors, and they took their eyes off me to look to Mrs. Brannigan.
I took the opportunity. I pulled myself up by the chain until I hung upside down. Umbra tried to shout a warning, but too late. I jerked my body back down with a grunt and pulled. The chains tore from the ceiling with a crack.
I hit the floor in a crouch and flicked one of the chains into the face of Aeromancer. Red blossomed from his face as his nose broke. His eyes crossed and he went to his knees.
I didn’t wait for him to fall before flicking the other chain at Ice Diamond. She froze the chain, turning it brittle. I shattered the chain and sent the shards flying into my enemies.
The door burst in, catching Ice Diamond as she aimed her freeze rifle at me. She flew into the far wall with a thud. A large figure, built of gray stone, stood silhouetted in the doorway.
“Rockslide,” Tek-Knight moaned.
“Y’all are under arrest,” Rockslide said in his soft southern drawl. “Come quiet or come painful, it’s up to you.”
I dove to the corner holding my gear and picked up my sword handle, activating it with a thought. The room brightened as my blade glowed bright. I cut my remaining chain off.
The improved lighting revealed Mrs. Brannigan muttering under her breath. I did something that, in retrospect might seem cruel, but my sympathy for people trying to kill me is limited.
Do you remember when I had her and Mr. Brannigan sign a blood-oath contract giving me one favor of my choosing twenty some-odd posts ago? Her magic might be enough to fool my abilities, but even the Magus has to abide by blood-oaths.
I had to speak quickly, before she finished the spell. “Mrs. Brannigan, I have found your daughter and claim my reward. My favor from you is that you never use your magic again.”
Her spell completed the moment after I spoke my terms. She screamed as a pillar of liquid sunlight rose from the ground to consume her. Everyone in the room, except me, covered their eyes.
When they could see again, the short matronly woman had changed into a withered parody of herself. Skin shriveled against her bones, and her thick grey hair turned white, stringy, and thinned.
Helpful hint: Don’t break a blood-oath witnessed by an ancient god. They no likey.
Lisa screamed and rushed faster than I could react. Her shoulder drove into my stomach and propelled us through the wall into a darkened storage area. I heard more voices, including Lady Aether and Boost enter the dungeon, yelling.
Ice Diamond screamed, “DIE!” Her ice rifle fired and pandemonium broke out.
I couldn’t help out, I had a vampiric fourteen-year-old to destroy.
My job sucks sometimes.
I regained my bearings quickly, but Lisa had already taken off through the storage room exit. I took off after her.
I turned off my blade to draw her out. No way was a vamp coming near a sword made of pure sunlight. The darkness didn’t bother me, I could see just fine. Well enough to see that the hallway branched off in several directions.
I came to the first intersection and extended my senses. Not that I expected it to do anything more than offer me as a tempting target.
It paid off. She leaped on my back and I felt slender, impossibly strong hands grab my clavicle and head. I felt her head descend to my exposed neck. My hand flailed and I managed to find her forehead to push her back.
But I was losing the battle inch by inch.
So I tried something different. I let her head go and threw mine back, spinning as I did so. The unexpected move broke her grip. I grabbed her by the hair and flipped her up and over me, slamming her on her back into the ground. My foot slammed down into her chest.
“I’m sorry this is the only way I can save you,” I said as my blade activated and descended into her heart.
She screamed as it pierced her. Rays of sunlight shot from her torso as her body began to disintegrate. She turned to ash and I heard another scream rising over the sounds of battle in the dungeon.
The link between them broke with Lisa’s destruction. This wasn’t the cry of a defeated supervillain vowing vengeance. This was the cry of woman who had just lost her only daughter.
The sounds of fighting died along with her scream.
I strode back to the dungeon. Tek-Knight was on his knees, blubbering about how he was only following orders. Professor Quark, leader of the Keepers, covered him with his hard-light arm cannon.
Aeromancer looked like he had woken up, only to find that air is limited against rock. His face bore the evidence of his stubbornness.
Boost and Lady Aether, along with the twins Flora and Fauna, covered Ice Diamond. To be more accurate, vines, spiders, and roaches literally covered her while the others stood guard.
Rockslide held a weeping Mrs. Brannigan in his arms. The frail old woman would pose no more threat to anyone.
Mr. Brannigan stood in the middle of the room, looking alternately frightened, angry, and sad. I felt sorry for him.
Until he strode up to me and slugged me in the jaw.
He pointed a finger in my face that shook with fury, along with the rest of his body. “You murdered my daughter!” He punched me again.
I held up my hand to keep Lady Aether from coming over. His punches didn’t hurt.
I let him tire himself out. When he bent over to hold his knees, I leaned down and whispered, “My favor from you is that you pay my full fee. You better hope the check clears.”
I gathered my stuff and walked out of the dungeon.
Until next time,