Chapter 22 - Rythe: Guns > Magic


“What are you looking for,” I watch as Ci-Ci scrambles all through her house.

“The Key,” she calls from the bathroom.

“Key to what?”

“My past,” she calls back and I think I may be physically ill.

“Can you just tell me without all the damn riddles?”

“It’s not a riddle,” she calls back.

I’ve been sitting in her home for close to an hour as she runs around the whole thing sporadically. I still haven’t been able to convince her that Jonah is the serial killer, but I’ve got her convinced we should confront him. She said she needed to grab some things from her home before we could do it, but I’m not exactly eager to leave Tituba in my apartment. Ci-Ci thinks that Jonah is watching Tituba’s home as well as hers. Obviously, I wasn’t thrilled when she suggested we come here.

My idea, turn in everything we had to the Shadow Syndicate. Let them put out a bounty on Jonah. He could have a trial after he was captured. The guy is way out of our league. Sure she can use blood magic, which is very impressive, but it looked like she was almost dead after going a few rounds with Jonah. I’ve got nothing. I’m not a fighter, or anything like that.

“We could just call in the Syndicate, and be done with all this.”

“Stop being a coward,” Ci-Ci is possibly the most patronizing person I ever met.

“I’m not trying to die because you want to talk it out with your family. I don’t have the leisure of confronting actual monsters. I am an elf, with no magic ability. I am essentially a human. I have no protection if things go south.”

“Shut up, you’re the one who wanted to say he was a serial killer. You need proof, and a confession. We’re going to go get it.”

“I don’t need to be there personally.”

“If you’re going to point fingers you need to be there.”

I take a drag from one my cigarettes, and wait as she continues searching. I can’t even run out and ditch her. She knows where I live now, and Tituba is still sitting in my house. I just have to go along with the play now. I’ve gone so long in my life without any magic, since I was twenty-three so close to fifteen years. I wonder if it’s completely off the table for me now, or something I still call on. Hadn’t thought about it before, but dealing with her is going to send me straight to hell on a one-way journey.

“I’ve got it,” Ci-Ci emerges from her bedroom with an actual key.

“You really have a key to your past?”

“Oh yeah, it’s buried deep in the basement.”

I watch as Ci-Ci makes her way over to a door in the kitchen that had previously been untouched. She uses the back end of the key and stabs the palm of her hand. She tells me to relax as she begins to draw some symbols on the door. Likely some kind of magic sigils, something I wouldn’t know about. She stands back and smiles as the blood slowly soaks the wood and drips to the floor. From my perspective she’s done nothing but make a mess. Still she seems to be more eager, so I sit back and watch.

Slowly the door begins to dissolve and I’m awestruck. Blood isn’t acid, and I’m not sure what kind of acid would be needed to melt through this door. When the door finally melts there’s another door standing behind it unscathed. A large door that looks like steel with a keyhole right in the center. Ci-Ci jams the key in and turns. I can hear heavy locks fall into place and she pushes it open slowly, it squeals after seemingly being unused for a long time. A dark stairway awaits behind the door.

“Watch your step,” she begins to walk.

Slowly small lamps along the wall begin to light as we descend. I’m not sure if the lights are magic or just motion censored. Once we reach the bottom of the stairs she places her bloodied hand on a stone wall. Slowly the lights start to flicker on in the basement. As more lights come on I notice more and more equipment. Not just standard hiking equipment or stuff for yard work. She has guns, espionage equipment, magic instruments and so much more. She’s got an entire armory down here.

“What is all this?”

“Well, when you do the kind of work I used to you gain a lot of stuff. Some of it, you buy yourself. Some of it gets confiscated. The only sword I know how to use is made of blood, but I’ve got eight swords down here. Justin couldn’t use magic so he used most of this stuff on different missions. If Jonah really is your villain, you’re going to want to used some blessed bullets. Cursed bullets would be more effective, but he’s spent his life learning to negate dark magic. You’re also going to need some body armor. You don’t seem like you can take many hits.”

“If you don’t believe he’s the killer why are we going through all of this?”

“Because even if I think you’re full of shit, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”

“So, this is your past,” I knew, but I didn’t know.

“Yeah we spent our time hunting down people who were using magic inappropriately or creatures that had gotten into cities and run wild. We had to keep a lot of things. Didn’t know if we needed to bind a werewolf with silver cuffs or need a gun that could pierce troll skin.”

“Do you miss it?”

“Sometimes.”

“Why not keep doing it? I saw how happy you were when that door opened.”

“Because it reminded me too much of Justin.”

“Maybe you just need to find a new way to go about things,” I suggest.

“Like you and the drugs?”

“What?”

“I’ve seen enough fairy dust in my life. Maybe we all deal with our problems different ways.”

“You don’t understand,” and she doesn’t.

“Sure, let’s just get you suited up.”

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