Borjas smiles at his phone as he taps a few commands and watches the animation of his armies invade a small country nearby. His unsuspecting victim would get a notification in about thirty minutes that their base has been completely destroyed, and with no guildmates nearby, there was no way they would get reinforcements in time. Sure, they were in a guild, and they could send for them, but Borjas was the leader of his own guild, and all of his allies were nearby. This was a war they couldn’t win, and he was hoping they didn’t know that. He could use the XP.
He puts his phone away once Salib shows up, and he has a whole new reason to smile. She was holding the evidence bags of the four idiots. He had to give it to them, though. They were loyal, but who buys matching knives with their friends? Especially if you’re going to be racist bastards that your whole neighborhood knows. Borjas is ecstatic that Salib has the same smile he does.
“You look awfully happy,” Borjas says with more of a question inflection.
“I’m having a good day. I’m two bosses ahead of you in Roads of Heroes, The cafe line wasn’t long at lunch today, and I’m getting better at interrogations without my magic.”
“Two whole bosses, huh? Wow, someone’s been putting in work.”
“Yes, I’m finally better than you at something none magical.” Borjas gives her a little applause, which she excitedly takes a bow to.
“Well, let’s see if you finally can beat me at interrogations.”
“Pretty soon, I won’t need you for anything.” Salib giggles.
“Yeah, and you can let your parents marry you off,” Borjas says, leading the way. Her laughter stops.
“It wasn’t funny the first time you said it, it’s not funny now, and it will never be funny.” She says, pinching his arm.
“Cool it, Kiddo, I wouldn’t dare let them do that to you. But watching you squirm a bit at another one of those match-makings might make for some light entertainment.” Salib’s blood is boiling, and she starts to cast a small spell. Before Borjas notices it, she turns one of his shoes into stone. “Really? I thought we were a little more mature than that?”
“You thought wrong,” Salib says, Walking into the interrogation room. This time all four of the suspects are around the table and their lawyer present. He stands to great Salib.
“Nice to meet you, Detective Salib. I’m Nkululeko Mandela. Please just call me Luke.” The well-dressed Elvish Lawyer said.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Luke. Blessing of the Dragons be upon you.” Salib says with a slight nod in her mother tongue.
“Ancestors grant you blessings,” Luke replies to her in his. Borjas comes in and straightens out his suit. Salib is surprised to see her spell undone, but when she notices a small container in his coat pocket, she remembers he keeps dispell spray on him. Damn him for being resourceful.
“Hello Detective Borjas, I’m…”
“Nkululeko Mandela, upcoming defense attorney fresh from Elyswhyre. Rumor has it, you were top ten of your class and were well sought after in Galvornia, The Underdark, and the Southern Coast. Glad you came to Los Mitichas. Hey, is that other rumor about you true?”
“Other Rumor?” Luke asks
“Yeah, the one about you taking to city life extremely well. The women of the city in particular.” Borjas gives a sly grin.
“I may have indulged in a few ‘freedoms’ afforded to me that would be looked down upon by my ancestors,” Luke says bashfully. “My colleagues told me to watch out for you, and now I see why. You are very well informed.”
“It doesn’t take much work to know that a rich, handsome lawyer would be very popular in Los Mitichas. I mean, you even got Mal over here ogling over you.” Borjas doges an attempt at a punch in the ribs.
“I am not,” Salib says, only now noticing she’s doing it. She did find his blue-gray eyes enchanting. He is clean-shaved, well-kept hands and a body that said he was in shape but not some meathead. All of this added to his professional demeanor, but Salib didn’t want to be too obvious. Besides, cops and lawyers rarely got along.
“Sure, let’s get this little meeting over with so we can lock one of these boys up, and you can give him your number.”
“Salib goes to cast another spell, but a small flash of orange from Borjas reminds her that he holds the cards for now. Everyone takes their seats, and Salib places the evidence bags on the table.
“So we have three matching knives and four suspects. With that math, we have four people going to jail, but if you cooperate, that can be knocked down to one and a shorter sentence.” Salib starts off strong, and Borjas is impressed.
“One of my clients missing a knife means nothing, detective. Theft is one of the most common crimes in Los Mitichas due to its big immigration problem. And as I’m sure you know already, pickpocketing is on the rise as well. The hottest spot for this is, of course, public places, and with them being in a bar on a Saturday, it’s likely.”
“Likely, but not proven. Besides, a pickpocket targeted just one of them and only took their knife? A five-year-old could see the problem in that.” Salib comes back swinging.
“There is a lot of Human hate building in the recent years, days really. Seeing this altercation was the perfect opportunity to frame my clients. Any person who knows the math, you know, knows that they only needed to frame one. They well know people in the community. They know that if one goes down, they will stick together.” Salib finds herself more impressed with Luke. More than she should be. Borjas notices that she is still processing a comeback and doesn’t want Luke to know.
“Yes, they are well known, but what are they known for? They aren’t exactly quiet about their hate of Demons.” Borjas says, looking at his watch.
“Yes, but everyone knows that they are harmless. Even says so in your report with the BarTender.” Borjas was starting to be impressed as well. He wanted a turn doing the talking. “Salib, you may want to get your phone. We’re going to be here a while.”
“What do you mean?” Salib says and feels a slight vibration. When she sees the notification, she turns to Borjas in disgust, but Borjas was already negotiating with Luke.
“That will be twenty-three seventy-four,” Victor says, rounding up all the binging snacks for the customer who was undoubtedly a stoner. Taking the card payment, Victor hands him the bag of salt, fat, and various flavored potatoes and snacks with enough sugar to put down an ogre. The customer pulled their skull cap to the back of their head and headed out without saying a word. So much for manners.
Victor refocuses on the TV, still covering the murder from last night. Looks like Lucas was going to take the fall for it. They’ll find his knife behind the dumpsters soon enough. And with only his prints on it, I don’t think he has much hope of getting out of it.
With Lucas out of the picture, these idiotas will need to find another man or back off of business for a while. Instead of all of them learning all the warding spells, they divided the work and shared the load. With Lucas out of the picture, there is a hole in their business. They could no longer ward off rodents.
Every year around this time, rodents ran rampant. All the festivals and feasts attracted all kinds of pests. Rodents are coming out now that the cold weather is gone, which was the best time to be in the business. Lucas and his friends have been giving a bit of competition to Victor’s company. Still, when they created an opportunity like that, Victor couldn’t help but seize it.
Soon Victor would have enough money to buy the reagents he needed to perform the ritual on Isabelle. After that, maybe Lucas’s friends will have found another fourth, or if Victor was lucky, he could keep the benefits of the extra business. Perhaps even hire them on and take their clientele.
Victor smiles at the idea. No longer would he need to work the extra hours. Maybe for once, he could relax and stop working so hard. He could definitely go back to just running his business and stop with the side job. Not that he didn’t mind some of his coworkers.
He watches as Emma and her friends walk into the store.
“Sup Vic.” Emma and all her friends greet him.
“Most people can’t get far enough away from work, yet you come back to work after getting off.”
“Oh shut up, you love us. Besides, Emma is being stingy with her allowance.”
“Bitch, what allowance? Why do you think I work here? My parents make me buy everything.” Emma laments, grabbing a large cup and heading to the Freeze-E section.
“What about your car?” Victor adds.
“And your phone.” One of her friends.
“And your sixty-five inch TV,” another friend chimes.
“Or…,” another of the group starts but sees her death stare and just picks up a couple of packs of jerky.
“You know I like to tease you E, I know you pay your way. You have a discount for a reason, right?” Victor cracks his famous smile, but Emma isn’t having it.
“Since you are down for the cause of helping broke teenage suffering, you can pay for my drink at least.”
“Amiga, the last woman I bought a drink for, I had to marry. I think I’ll pass.” Victor laughs and catches Emma trying to hide her grin.
“Yeah, you don’t have to worry about that this time. So you can front the bill on this one. Mio Amico.” She says, taking a sip of a combination so wild, even she doesn’t know what’s all in it.
“Just the drink. I have a wife and kid to take care of.”
“And a coworker who’s the little sister you wish you had.”
“I have a little sister Amiga.”
“I know. And you still like me better.” Victor smiles because she wasn’t entirely wrong.
“Hermanita, not in front of your friends,” Victor says, taking all of their items and ringing them up, except for the Freeze-E.
“Claro, Hermano.” She says with a cheery grin and takes another sip.
Shortly after, Emma and all her friends were back to talking about boys and parties, or whatever the kids were talking about these days. Victor was watching the news and celebrating quietly.