Salib stares over at Marcus, one of the suspects, with a look she’s practiced all of her life. Pure boredom of the meaningless task that she’s performing. The other three suspects had given her nothing, as they had practiced the age-old tradition of no snitching. Their lips had been so tight that she was reminded of Baba when she wanted a new dress.
Though her look shows pure irritation, she had the exact opposite feeling. Because if there is anything she’s learned from Ralph, it is to spot a weak link. And by the Dragon’s mercy, Marcus is a link made of cotton.
Honestly, Salib has always hated that Ralph could perform this task better than her. Her Spirit Magic gave her the ability to see a person’s spiritual essence, which should have given her an edge. A person’s spiritual essence is tied to their vitals. The academy taught her to read a person’s vitals to predict truth and emotions. That training had nothing on Rogue training and Borjas’ experience, apparently.
“I’m not talking until my lawyer gets here,” Marcus says, looking at the door. Hint one that he was the weak link. Well, as Salib saw it, hint two as well. She had said nothing to him. Yet, he made a point to protest. “You hear me?” He says, giving a quick glance, then down at his hands, cuffed to the table.
Salib still gives him a blank stare, tapping her fingers on the table. Tap, tap, tap. He watches as she raps her fingers over and over again. He clears his throat and finally makes eye contact with Salib.
“I’m not going to answer your questions, no matter what you say to me!” He shouts, then looks away again.
“Okay,” Salib says, then pulls out her phone and starts up a game.
“Fine, as long as you know.” He says nervously.
“For someone who isn’t going to talk, you’re quite the chatterbox,” Salib says dryly. A smile wraps around her face when the tune of the app sings out.
“I am not,” He slams his fist on the table.
“Then what do you call the thing you’re doing. Oh, Dragon’s fury! You made me select the wrong spell. Now I just healed the boss. Will you be quiet!” Salib says, turning away from and watching the screen scenes of the game’s animations.
Though her fingers slipped talking, she was doing well in her game. She gives a series of grunts and sounds of frustration until finally a high pitch squeal. “Yes! Take that Ralph, I am now two bosses ahead of you,” She says, placing her phone on the table and sporting a sizable grin. “Okay, are you ready to go to your cell with your friends?”
“Yes.” He says with a node.
“So, you ratted out Lucas. He was always the strongest, after all. You couldn’t take him getting away with taking the woman you love just to toss her to the side. And with your ridiculous guy code, you couldn’t talk to her because that would ruin a lifelong friendship.”
“What, I would never do that.” Marcus foolishly protests.
“I think you just did.” Salib’s grin widens.
“No, no. I don’t even think about Clara… How do you know about that?” His face twist in confusion, only to be awe-struck by her phone.
“You and you’re friends don’t seem to know the importance of making your social media private, just in case you are ever arrested. That and Lucas hates you. Lucas admitted that he only took Clara because he thought you would stop being friends with him, but when you just tucked your tail and followed along, he figured you were perfect as a whipping boy.”
“That’s a damn lie!” He pounds his fist again. “Lucas is my friend. If I am just a whipping boy, then why would he help me move.”
“To keep tabs on you.”
“Why would he help me get a job.”
“To hold it over you.”
“Why would he throw me parties and treat me like his brother.”
“To keep you close and use your contacts. You are, after all, from a very well-connected family. All of you are bad at keeping your secrets off of social media.” Salib fights to keep her smile going. She hates how much she’s learned from Ralph. At least she didn’t have to tell him about this.
“You’re just trying to trick me!” He sits back down, staring at the wall.
“I wouldn’t say trying. You’re rather easy, not nearly as much trouble as Lucas was.”
“There is no way you got Lucas to talk.” Salib holds back a burst of laughter at how easy it is to keep him talking.
“So sure, are you? Like you were sure about Clara?”
“That was different. Lucas would never talk. He’s too tough.”
“Tough Enough to kill a Demon? My, my, no wonder Clara found him more appealing. He’s more manly than you.”
“None of us killed that Demon! He was alive and well when we left him.”
“Are you sure? I mean, if you did do it, then you would just say that you didn’t anyway.”
“I swear. We just rouged him up a bit. We didn’t even use our knives.”
“Yeah, we all have matching knives. We got them all together, a sign of our friendship.” Salib sends a text to Borjas.
“So after you assaulted the Demon, you didn’t leave each other’s sight?”
“No, we were together the whole time.”
“No one left to go to the bathroom or grab another drink,” Salib questions.
“I mean, well yeah, but …,” he stammers, and Salib smiles at the message that springs up on her phone.
“So why did we only take three knives into evidence?” Salib says, sliding her phone over to Marcus. And it was only then that he used his right to remain silent.
There is a moan and a smile on the lips of Rosa as she and Victor share one last kiss before he leaves for work. Her flirty giggle hushed in the early morning breeze, careful not to do anything to wake Isabelle.
“Have a good day at work,” Rosa whispers, pulling her robe tighter to protect her from wondering eyes and the elements.
“You too, Mi Amor,” Victor says, his eyes returning from their black color after he put one last spell in his kiss. The flash of black in Rosa’s eyes confirms the spell is successful. Thanks to his magic, her day will be filled with longing for him. Everything is just as they like it. Zipping up his hoodie, Victor turns and faces the day, with the love of a woman in his heart and a mission in mind.
Luckily he only had to work his side job on the weekends. It wasn’t a far walk, and it always did him good to listen to a bit of music and think on his brisk walk. Human Banda music plays and takes him back to a time long past in the lore of humans as they sing of valor, honor, love, and drinking.
He does a little dance as he walks and is thankful for his short shifts days. The other days when both were required wore on his body and soul, but on weekends it a couple of hours, then he was back to his girls. Not to mention the power pulsating through his veins gave him a considerable boost of energy. He smiles from the full filling it provides.
He was happy to find that the rumors he heard were true. Demon souls had more power in them, which made sense. They used to be the elite units of the Dragons. They were bound to be a little more potent than an ordinary mortal. Victor was sure that if he could get his hands on an actual skilled Demon, the power would be enough to complete his goal.
Salvation for Isabelle was within his grasp. With just a little more power, he could unlock the tome of his master and use the rituals that will cure Isabelle. Then he would be a little more at ease, knowing that he has once again risen to meet the challenge of being a father and provider to his girls.
The only part of the plan that Victor hated was lying to Rosa. No, not a lie, a different interpretation of the truth. Isabelle did need an operation, just not surgery. They did need money to afford it, just for artifacts and the occasional soul. So it wasn’t like it was a complete lie.
Rosa has known from the beginning of their relationship that he sometimes leave her in the dark. For her safety. She had accepted that when he first met her and cured Isabelle the first time.
She was so tiny and so frail. She needed help, and no one would give it to her.
Doctors couldn’t do anything because it was a magical illness. They were useless anyway. Magic nearly made them obsolete. Clerics wouldn’t do anything because it went against the will of the Gods. The dead guys, who were little more than mist most of the time. Bah. Shamans wouldn’t touch her for fear of upsetting the natural order of things. But Victor had no qualms about distorting balance to right a wrong. The universe always puts itself back into balance. Those idiots know that. So why make a child suffer? Because some other person might be harmed?
Is easing the suffering of a child less important than the life of a criminal? The con man that worked on Victor’s car didn’t think so, but the smiling face of Isabelle told him he made the right decision. Sure, the Demon didn’t do anything wrong, but he was doomed to live a horrible life anyway.
Broken and left for dead in an alley behind a bar, Victor had done him a favor. Going to the police wouldn’t have worked for him. He was just a Demon. No one would take his word over four well-known humans in a Human capital city. He would just be subjected to more torture and cruelty at the hands of Humans. Better to end it while he was unconscious.
Victor walks into the small gas station and waves to his coworker Emma. The daughter of a well-off Angel family who wanted to instill work ethics in her. They took fairly well.
“About time you showed up. I’m sick of listening to the news. At least you can provide some type of distraction,” Emma says, putting her phone away and stretching.
“Would it really kill you to learn about what’s going on around you, Em?”
“Pft! I get all the news I need from social media. Besides, there’s only so many times you can hear about the same murdered Demon and give a shit.” she huffs.
“What? A Demon was murdered?” Victor plays along. Em just rolls her eyes and points him to the TV.