Magical Security Taskforce




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Chapter 32: Undo

Session One

The moment Miguel sniffed the air within Dark Room 2.0, he smiled.

“Now this is a place where we can do some magic,” he cooed.

“Looks pretty good, doesn't it?” Yuki asked, trying not to sound boastful.

Miguel nodded. “Indeed. Whoever had this room before, I bet they'd be surprised to see it now.”

Yuki twiddled her fingers. “Oh, uh, yeah... after he saw what we did to it, Donovan kinda went nuts. Almost killed Renee.”

After a moment to process, Miguel nodded again. All he could say was, “I bet.”

“Anyway, Kurt's at Central tying all that up. That's why I'm here instead.”

“Excellent. Let's get going.”

From his toolbox, Miguel pulled out most of the important gear- paint remover, gloves, a sand blaster, masking tape, a small crucifix, glass cleaner, salt, instant cement mix, a priest's robe, a hot plate, a circular saw, a utility knife and an industrial-sized drum of WD-40.

And here Yuki thought her satchel held a lot. “Uh, how hazardous is this?”

“Don't worry, I do it all the time,” Miguel replied. He handed her a welder's mask. “Now put this on.”

This was, of course, a complicated procedure that took several hours to complete and still leave the premises up to code. It was also being done on a school day. Normally the students at L. B. Gould High held a very healthy ignorance regarding the activities within the school. Molly, Donovan, Yuki and a host of other miscellaneous eccentrics were so unusual that the student body dismissed them as normal high school quirks.

But Miguel's work on the wall was so loud, bright and disruptive that it was hard to walk by and not say anything.

“What the hell is that idiot Donovan doing in there now?” Madison bitched.

Covering her ears to deafen what sounded like a chainsaw, Jordan gazed at the pulsating yellow light under the door. “Much as I want to know, I also want to get as far away as possible,” she said.

When they turned away, they saw Troy and Marie, also staring at the door. “I don't suppose either of you two know what's going on,” Madison asked, in her typical accusatory tone.

It made Marie take a step back, defensive in spite of herself. “N... no! Why would we?”

A nasty grin formed on Madison's face. “I don't know. Sounded like you were hiding something right there.”

“We don't know what's going on in there,” Troy declared, loudly. “Quit badgering her.” His voice was firm and exasperated, like the allegation was ridiculous. Even if it was true in his case.

Madison dropped it immediately and stepped toward them, eying Troy with interest. “You're that Troy kid, right? We met on the beach last summer.”

His tone didn't change. “Yeah. And?”

The look on Marie's face hadn't changed much either. It said 'why are we still talking to this person?' Madison was a little dismayed that the two weren't easily susceptible to random acts of discord.

Yet she persisted. “Speaking of which, how's Renee doing?”

If this was an effort to start something, Marie was determined to stop it. “Last we heard, she was doing all right, but she'll probably be out for a little longer.”

Madison glared at Marie. Both girls knew the script called for Troy to answer that. “Oh... well... Troy, I'm sure she'd love it if you signed our card for her.”

Troy folded his arms. “Marie and I already signed a card. Yuki sent it off a couple days ago.”

“Yuki?” Madison snapped her fingers.

Jordan was right there with her notes: “Yuki Shizuka. Sophomore. GPA...” She peered at her notebook. “Someone tore this page out.”

“Never mind... I know where to get the dirt...” Claude was walking by, and Madison was all over it. And him, for that matter. “Hey there, Prez,” she said, smiling slyly and setting a hand on his shoulder.

Claude cleared his throat. “What?”

“Certainly someone as important as you know what's going on with our dear, dear Renee.” Madison pursed her lips a little. Even Jordan rolled her eyes.

“I guess it doesn't hurt to try to get on his good side now that he's in charge for a while,” Jordan muttered to Troy.

In any event, Marie wasn't about to watch the action. She tugged on Troy's sleeve and they made their escape. Once they were in the clear, she mumbled, “Jeez, no wonder Kathryn didn't want to get mixed up with them.”

Unfortunately, Troy heard that. “Why would she get mixed up with what?”

“Uh... never mind.”

Troy looked concerned for a moment, but shrugged it off wordlessly. “Either way, nicely handled.”

“Thanks, you too!” She smiled as they clasped hands and continued walking. It may have been over, but she still couldn't shake the encounter. “Jeez, I can't believe Renee's friends with those witches. I mean, honestly, it's like they're trying to make me jealous.”

“I know...” Troy mumbled.

Marie shook her head and looked up. “I mean... you're over her now. What's so hard to understand?”

For a moment, Troy stopped. He hesitated. As his hand was tied to Marie's, it pulled her back too. It was just for that one moment, as he raised his eyebrows and said, “Yeah. No kidding.”

They continued walking as if nothing of significance had happened. Both knew otherwise.


Session Two

For most, private training with Smittle in the Forest of Unspeakable Peril in the December cold was a worse prospect than memory recalibration. Despite Molly and Uriel's disappointment, Chancellor Whalen had intended it to serve as a makeshift punishment to fill in for the unavailable preferred options.

“There's one! Kill it!” Smittle shouted. Donovan readied himself, aimed, and blasted a shadeling to pieces. A few hours in the FUP and Donovan had proved himself an efficient, accurate and unrelenting shadeling destroyer. He grinned: whether intended as a punishment or not, he was enjoying this.

Smittle grinned as well. He was in his element. By the time Donovan's training had begun, one snowfall had come and gone. The result was a wet, sloppy grass that swallowed a bit more of his boots than normal- a wonderfully squishy feeling for him that made him want to go out and shoot things. Better yet, most students in this atmosphere would run off crying or bitterly trudge through it. As much as Smittle liked watching their misery, seeing someone revel in this mire was just as enjoyable.

Donovan's satisfaction had nothing to do with the weather. Despite the shady procedure and the retribution he was supposed to receive, this exercise proved that the demon bonding made him stronger. The curse that was supposed to deter this had been passed, leaving him with just this powerful vrockrompir demon, which proved to be controllable. The feral urges he would suddenly get to attack something could be subdued: he would just remind himself that he was biding his time. Besides, even before the bonding he didn't go on a bloody rampage every single time the thought crossed his mind.

After a few more shadelings fell to Donovan's new power (his training would forever be known as 'Red December' in shadeling lore), Smittle held a hand up.

“Looks like you got the killing down pretty good. Now the trick is to stop.”

“Stop? Why should I stop?” Donovan asked, glaring back.

Smittle held up his shotgun. “Well, here's your main reason. You're half demon and I'm tenured, so don't get too cross with me.” They started walking back to civilization. “The next step is making sure you can control it. We pulled a lot of strings to keep you on board, but even we can only be so patient.”

Donovan scoffed. “Ha! If anyone is the puppetmaster, it is I! They were merely afraid of my new powers. Afraid that I would join with the enemy and take the tome with me.”

“Well, that last part maybe. We like your grimoire all right.” Smittle snickered. “But it's not like we're afraid of you. You're not a threat, mate. More like... an opportunity.”

“I hope you're not giving away too much, Smittle.” Donovan furrowed his eyebrows as Marlowe wandered came up to meet them. As they were in the middle of a muddy forest, this was clearly no chance encounter. Indeed, Marlowe smiled. “We don't want to clue him into all of our motives, now.”

Suddenly, and likely inappropriately, Donovan smirked. “Ah... so the plot is beginning to unravel and you think I will quietly play along to your game.”

Marlowe frowned for a moment, but his face lit up instantly. “Pretty much, yeah.” He extended a hand. “Alistair Marlowe, Dean of Student Affairs. According to the official records, we haven't met.”

Donovan furrowed his eyebrows. This was the man who tricked him into accepting Yuki. “What is your evil plan, Alistair Marlowe, Dean of Student Affairs?”

Rather than answer, Marlowe turned to Smittle. “How's the training?”

Smittle nodded. “Kid's got an arm. I'm gonna have to stock more shadelings.”

Another shadeling passed by them. Donovan blew it away. Smittle grimaced. “Control's still up in the air.”

“Well, we knew that was going to be a problem,” Marlowe said. “But Whalen figures you and Molly can take care of that. You've got a few more weeks to get him fixed up before school's in session.” Smiling, he added, “Tell him if he behaves he can go home for Christmas.”

“I do not celebrate such festivities,” Donovan asserted.

“Okay, fine, tell him we'll make him go home if he doesn't behave.”

Donovan snorted. “I honor only the dark lord Urzelbak.”

Smittle nodded. “Urzelbak... nice guy. Ringing for the Salvation Army this winter. Shape up enough and I'll introduce you.”

Marlowe chuckled. “And I see you've become friends.”

“Just glad you talked them into rolling the dice a bit. Sick of all those regulations and pencil pushers telling kids not to go out and bond with demons or attack superior officers. Hate to have them throw this talent away.”

As Donovan preened at Smittle's compliment, Marlowe said, “I have my reasons. We all knew this unit was something else. Troy's acing everything, Molly's refining Kathryn nicely and you know Yuki's blood will yield results eventually. How can I pass up an opportunity to boost the other two?”

Donovan's hands flew to his hips. “Are you saying you have only spared me for your personal gain?”

“Is there any other reason to spare you?” Marlowe replied, smiling. “Normally, Whalen would have no trouble erasing your memory and forcing Kurt and Molly to defend the book. But our students are decidedly pathetic compared to other schools. And you are definitely stronger with your demon. So I say, why remove the demon and dismiss you entirely over one minor offense?” Marlowe clasped his hands together. “Why destroy, when you can create and nurture?”

“I exist only to destroy and conquer!” Donovan shouted.

“I'm talking about the school.”

“I see.”

Marlowe placed a hand on Donovan's shoulder. “So yes, if you do exist only to destroy and conquer, why erase your ability? We want you destroying and conquering on our behalf.”

“So... you'll allow me to keep my new demon powers in exchange for my help in destroying the demon races.” Marlowe nodded slowly.

“Just this once, we're going to let this slide. Rather than focus on your so-called mistreatment, focus on the fact that we need your help. And if you're a good little soldier, we will reward you with the grimoire. Donovan... to hell with Molly. We can make this work.”

Marlowe extended a hand. After several moments of hesitation. Donovan shook it.


Session Three

For someone who had technically gotten her way, Molly was miserable. Uriel was rightfully angry about the ruling, but he had a right to be: his prosecution yielded a sentence Donovan would enjoy anyway. Despite having an arrangement with his opposition, his opposition defeated Uriel soundly. Problem was, although Molly received everything she asked for, she also got one thing she didn't want- control over Donovan himself.

She was no longer worried about Grimoire 17. In fact, she ended up continuing the plan to keep it in storage. This meant taking advantage of the extra freedom Chancellor Whalen had granted her, which now seemed like an uncharacteristically liberal gesture on the academy's part. Normally, the MST was adamant on keeping important artifacts close in hand, so they can be wielded immediately. Whalen wasn't normally one to break standard procedure, but here he had almost invited Molly to keep the book out of town. Out of step, perhaps, but it fit his reputation as a frustratingly competent administrator, and as it did rid her of the damn thing, she couldn't ponder it too much.

In the end, however, she still had to deal with Donovan. And as much as Smittle would work to rein it in, Donovan still had that demon, along with the powers and temperament that went with it. What was she supposed to do with that? By her logic, the most important way to keep her unit in line was to always know the strengths of her students and remain a step above them. Molly kept close tabs on Troy's prowess and Kathryn's power and knew she could take them on if they got too uppity. But there would be no report from Professor Melrose on the exact danger level of this vrockrompir demon.

So how was Molly supposed to contain Donovan when she couldn't be sure if she was stronger than him? He was the type that needed enforcing, not to mention the occasional boot to the ass, but what would happen if he were again pushed too far? Was she in danger? Was her unit?

Ultimately, all she could do was stick to the usual routine. She certainly wasn't about to go easy on him now. But for the next few days, at least, the usual routine was going to be much harder.

“Okay, that's everything,” Kurt said, carrying his duffel bag out of Kathryn's room. Considering his luggage consisted of whatever he could grab from his apartment in five minutes, packing today seemed to take a while. He faced Molly and added, “You gonna be okay?”

Molly looked up from the table and the reports from Smittle. “I have no idea.”

Kurt frowned. He had stuck around for an extra day just in case the now-unchained Donovan misbehaved. Relations between Molly and Donovan were still cold (okay, colder than usual), so he wanted to stay longer to help keep peace. But he had to return to his post in L. B. Gould, especially now that Kendrick was back in the picture. Plus the symbol in the dark room had just been removed and no one could predict if the Hageshoni would respond.

“Any idea if you're coming home at all?”

“I have no plans to. Although Renee may want to see the family again.”

“That she might.” Kurt nodded. “What are you two going to do here alone?”

“Dad's sending assorted distractions to occupy Renee,” Molly replied. “I've never had a surplus of free time before and I doubt I'll have one now.”

“True...” Kurt fished for something else to say.

Molly stood up and approached him, suddenly stern. “If you're going to worry about anything, worry about us surviving with this idiot, not about us occupying ourselves. And if you're not going to worry, then you may as well leave.”

Kurt smiled and shook his head. “You take care now. Tell Renee I said goodbye.” With another quick nod, he turned around and headed out the door.

Once again, Molly was on her own while Kurt was bound for home to resume his normalcy and sleep with his girlfriend. Molly's first instinct was to go back to her reports, but she was tired of them. They all said the same thing: Donovan now had some very impressive abilities. She didn't want Donovan to have mad skills; heck, she didn't really care if any of her brood did. Now, she just wanted to lie down and figure out how to process everything.

She ended up sitting down instead of lying down. Molly couldn't trust herself not to fall asleep, not with Donovan in his room. Smittle had driven him to the point of exhaustion in the day's training, but she couldn't take chances. She wasn't sure if the fear was justified, which made her hate it even more. Not knowing Donovan's state of mind was worse than finding him uncontrollable. Nothing in Smittle's reports indicated that Donovan's demon was running the show. Also, Smittle, Whalen and even Kurt at times believed that Donovan could be rehabilitated, even potentially useful. It wasn't that Molly doubted the possibility; she just didn't want to be stuck with the risk.

Donovan's door opened. Molly tensed up, her finger rising reflexively. Instead, it was Bryce.

“He's thirsty,” Bryce said, walking to the kitchen area. Molly sighed as her fist unclenched and her palm clutched her forehead.

“How the hell did you get here, Bryce?”

Bryce grabbed a can of juice from the fridge. “Magic,” he mumbled.

Molly shook her head as it fell against the couch cushions. Then a thought struck her and she flew back up and faced Bryce. “Wait, Bryce...” He stopped and stared at her, surprised that someone had acknowledged him. “You're his minion. What do you make of all this?”

Pondering for a moment, Bryce shrugged. “Can't say I didn't enjoy the week off. Been a while since I've seen my girlfriend.” And that was all she was got out of him. Still, that pause was enough for Donovan to step into the doorway, wondering what caused the delay.

At that moment, Renee walked in.

She looked no worse for the wear, perhaps a little tired from the operation and subsequent observation sessions. Still, she was notably quieter- so quiet in fact that she had actually come in moments earlier and nobody heard her. Now, she was face to face with her assailant.

Donovan narrowed his eyes at her. She stepped back, hesitating as he said, “You're alive.”

She gulped a bit, but nervously replied, “Yes.”

He smirked. “Excellent...” And in he went.

Renee sat down next to Molly, still looking at Donovan's door. Then her eyes fell to the floor. In the end, she was just as lost as Molly.


Session Four

As feared, Donovan grew stronger, better and more compliant under Smittle's training. Per his request, he wanted to continue perfecting his demonic side over Christmas rather than head home. Smittle was plenty accommodating and Molly was forced to be. There was no way she was leaving him at Central unsupervised. This was a blow to Renee, of course, who actually liked the whole family/presents combination. Yet when Molly broke the news to her, all Renee did was lower her head and nod sadly.

Furthermore, with Molly, Renee and Donovan at the academy over the new year, Troy, Kathryn and Yuki needed alternate transportation to Central. At Molly's insistence, Kurt filled in, despite the task not being anywhere in his job description (and thus preventing him from getting reimbursed for gas). God forbid they take a train or something.

“So, you're sure it's absolutely safe for us to be around Donovan again?” Troy asked as the trip began.

“The academy's banking on it, so I should think so.”

Troy folded his arms, skeptical. “And Molly didn't try to stop this?”

“She doesn't like it, but it's better than the alternative. At least we got the book out of our hair.”

Kathryn wasn't buying it. “But how do they know he's not dangerous?”

“Come on, do you really think they'd stick us with someone that wasn't rehabilitated?”

“Wouldn't put it past them.”

Kurt shook his head. “Look, Molly and Renee have been stuck with him the last couple weeks and they're fine.”

“Amazed that you left them there,” Kathryn mumbled. Kurt glared at her for as long as he could keep his eyes off the road.

“So are you heading home right away?” Troy asked, determined to break up the tension.

Nodding, Kurt replied, “I have to. Someone has to hold the fort down here.”

Kathryn asked, “You going to be okay on your own?”

“Don't see why not. Other than Donovan, it's been pretty quiet. And why would anyone attack without the book or Molly in town?”

Grumbling, Kathryn elaborated. “I meant, are you gonna be okay without me?”

“Job first, hon. I was gone for a while last month and we survived.”

“Yeah, but you had Molly,” Kathryn spat. Kurt didn't validate that with response.

Troy leaned over to Yuki. “I never imagined this could be worse than the Caravan,” he mumbled.

“I kinda miss Molly driving,” Yuki replied, nodding.

Despite the disdain, or perhaps because of it, their parting kiss once they arrived at Central was nothing short of breathtaking. Yuki was so enthralled she instinctively shielded Troy's eyes. He didn't mind.

Two minutes later, they had sufficiently released all of their frustrations, half of their insecurities and a fifth of their daily saliva production. Kathryn raised her eyebrows and clasped his hands. “C'mon, once more in the FUP? For old time's sake?”

“It's January!” Kurt shouted, weakened by a lack of breath. “How are we going to find any dry ground?”

Kathryn winked. “Magic.”

Kurt gasped and stared at her for a moment. She smiled slyly. Good enough for him: he took her hand and whisked her away.

This left Troy and Yuki alone in the vast parking lot. “I feel like I need a shower just hearing all that,” Troy muttered.

“Um... Troy?” Yuki looked around. “I hate bringing this up after seeing that, but, uh... assuming we're teleporting to the dorm... you'll have to take me.”

He moaned and hesitantly took her hand. “This just feels wrong.” Yet, he closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on the right destination. This was increasingly difficult and doubly important now: focusing on Kathryn and Kurt in the FUP could very easily take him there instead. And he and Yuki did not want to end up there instead.

Yuki understood and agreed: “If you accidentally send us to the FUP instead, I'm feeding you to the first monster we see.”

Troy opened one eye at Yuki. This is what happened when someone viewed Molly as a mentor instead of a tormentor. Thankfully he managed to focus and teleport successfully. When his eyes opened, they were outside their dorm. They both sighed in relief.

That's when the reality of uncertainty crept in. What were they to expect from Molly, Renee and Donovan after they had (theoretically) survived three weeks together? Troy took a deep breath, clutched the handle and opened the door.

A blaring television greeted Troy and Yuki. They stepped inside to see Renee and Donovan on a couch, together, silently watching some fear-mongering drivel about doomsday prophecies. It must have enraptured them enough, for neither noticed the arrivals until Troy cleared his throat. Even then, only Renee turned around.

She vaulted over the couch and glomped Troy.

“Troy! I'm so glad to see you again,” she cried. Despite the flurry of emotion, Troy was more than happy to receive it. His arms found their way around her and he couldn't help but smile at the closeness of her voice.

“Thank God you're okay,” he whispered.

She released and stepped back, but continued to stare him in the eyes, smiling. “Yeah, the procedure went really well. I didn't get a nifty rune on my forehead like Molly said, but I guess I can't complain.” She rubbed her right shoulder and frowned. “The tests are a pain though. Checking my blood and my magic levels and all that. It's like 'I'm fine! What do you need to know?' You know?”

Troy took her hand and grinned a little. “You're okay. That's all that matters.”

“Yeah. Nice to have some more company though.”

“Oh yeah...” Donovan hadn't budged. He continued to stare intently at the TV, as if the key to unraveling the mysteries of the universe could be found in an ad for a niche kitchen accessory. Still staring at him, Troy asked Renee, “Everything all right?”

“He hasn't really said much. I don't know what to think. He hasn't done anything besides training with Mr. Smittle. He hasn't even been all that annoying... just kinda here.”

Troy exhaled. “I guess I can live with that.”

Lowering her voice and clutching Troy's hand tighter, Renee said, “I don't know. He's almost scarier like this. I liked it better when he opened his mouth, even if it was to say something stupid.”

“At least it's good for a laugh,” Yuki observed.

Molly interrupted the brief jovial moment as she burst through the front door before Troy and Renee could think to pull their hands apart. Her arrival was so sudden, they were practically fused together. She glared at the hands until her mind bullets broke it off. But instead of the natural response, berating Troy, she closed her eyes and seethed for a bit.

Finally, she turned to Yuki and barked, “Where's Kathryn?”

The stark question startled the girl, but she swiftly responded, “Oh, she's in the FUP giving Kurt a bit of a sendoff.” Troy and Renee shuddered.

Even Molly winced. She stormed into her room without another word. Renee and Troy just stared at Yuki. They liked it better shielding the youngster from such material.

Donovan broke (or possibly amplified) the awkwardness, boasting, “Shame the two will find no more monsters of darkness in the forest. We have hunted the shadelings to near-extinction, denying her the proper farewell ritual.”

Thankfully, silent, demonic or whatever, at least he was still clueless.


Session Five

At the end of a cul de sac in some unnamed development in White Oak, Ohio, two figures were clearly visible in the moonlit night sky. One was a young girl, only eight or nine, looking up at the second- a tall young man with one knee on the ground and extending a hand towards the girl. Even the naivety of youth could only go so far, as she looked hesitant about trusting the man. He persisted with a smile and a nod.

“Trent, set a displacement. You take care of her; I'll take care of him,” Frank whispered.

Frank turned to Trent Sempman, who nodded back. Trent's resemblance to Kurt was unmistakable.

The all-too familiar twinge of displacement caught the young man's attention. He turned towards Frank in surprise. But Frank was ready- flames emerged from two fingers on his left hand and spiraled at the man. The flame connected and the guy backpedaled. He began rubbing his right hand back and forth from the side of his leg to his torso. This magically extinguished the fire on his shirt.

Frank held up his fingers and drew out a small sword. “Frank Monroe, MST. We have identified you as a demon of the Urayoni faction. So how you want to do this?”

The demon rubbed his side again. This time, a clone of himself materialized next to him and charged after Frank. As it did, the demon created a second one.

“Have it your way,” Frank said, shooting a second fire spell at the clone. It connected, but only knocked the clone back a bit. The clone didn't seem too concerned about his shirt being on fire. That certainly bothered Frank, though, so much that he didn't catch the original demon charging after him, now brandishing a sword.

“Jeez!” Frank said, parrying. As he fought, the clone approached, ignoring its fiery attire. “Trent!”

He stole a glance at Trent, who had one arm around the girl and a second in the air, summoning a stone shield to defend the attacks of the second clone. The two enemies Frank was dealing with weren't letting up, so he backed away- or up, rather. A flight spell lifted Frank above both foes. Not wanting to be outdone, the original demon followed suit. Frank smiled and slowed his ascent.

By the time the demon reached the same height as Frank, Frank was ready with a wind gust that knocked the airborne assailant backwards and falling to the ground. This canceled Frank's flight spell, but Frank knew well enough to cast something weaker to control the fall... right at the first clone. It had no defense for Frank falling in with his sword extended. The blade pierced the clone, which was all it took to make the clone go away.

Frank took a moment to catch his breath- a mistake, he soon realized, as he saw the shadow of the original charging at him, an attack spell at the ready. Frank was out of position and could only face the demon, hold up his sword, and hope to block the attack somehow. His muscles tightened as he braced himself.

Before the demon could reach Frank, however, a strong blast connected with the demon's side, sending him sprawling away. Not bothering to look at the source of the blast, Frank shouted “Thanks, Trent!” and pursued the demon. The Urayoni had no time to get up; Frank stabbed him in the chest with the sword. As the genuine article, his death was more climactic than his clone's. Steam erupted from his wound and he uttered something close to a death rattle before his body fell limp to the ground.

Now Frank could catch his breath for real; the second demon that had been keeping Trent busy vanished with its maker's destruction. Frank sheathed his sword into its compact hilt and sighed.

“That was close,” he said, only mildly concerned. “Nice shot, Trent.”

Trent, however, was dismissive as he lifted the displacement. “Yeah, yeah, I stunk that one up. Sorry.”

That caught Frank off guard. He turned to his partner. “What do you mean?”

Not looking back, Trent unhappily picked his sword off the pavement. “Didn't expect that clone to be so tough. Spent the whole time on defense.”

“Well, you did get that one shot on the original. Sure saved my butt.”

Trent furrowed his eyebrows and frowned at Frank. “I didn't land anything on the original. I couldn't even see how you were doing.”

Frank's eyes narrowed. “So who the heck...” his voice trailed off when he heard the little girl's whimper. He looked down at her.

Her whole body trembled. She held out one shaking finger in front of her, still pointed at the spot where her spell hit the demon.

“I... I... saw you were in trouble and... and...” she mumbled. Frank and Trent's eyes widened.

Frank faced her. She looked up at him, still scared. To be honest, he was too. “You mean... you did that?”

The girl was almost in tears. “I just... wha... what's happening?!”

His head jerked towards Trent, who was already hastily pinching his earlobe to call the office. Turning back to the girl, Frank took a deep breath and bent down to a knee. “My name's Frank Monroe. I'm with an organization called the Magical Security Taskforce...”

“Hold on, Frank, you should get approval-”

Frank waved off Trent's warning and continued. “That man was a demon. He's a bad person. It's our job to make sure he doesn't hurt people.” He smiled and extended a hand. “What's your name?”

She stared back, still wary. To her, it was just another stranger. Still, she answered, “M... Molly Pearson.”

“Molly?” He smiled. “We need your help.”


The memory ended there. Molly pulled her head out of the reader as the orb floated back to its holding place. She had the urge to blow it out of the air, even if it was grossly illegal and likely shielded. Suppressing it, she put her hands in her pockets and walked away. “Even from the beginning, that bastard made it all sound so simple,” she muttered.





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