“We are not putting it up to a game of rock, paper, scissors!” Salib yells at Borjas, but she had to admit that she had no idea what to do with them. Cuffed and magic nullified, Victor and Rosa were sat on the couch while Borjas and Salib pondered over what to do.
“Well, it’s clear that Victor is going to prison, no way around that,” Borjas said.
“But he did it for a noble cause.”
“He took someone’s soul and framed innocent men for it.”
“Horrible and raciest men.”
“Let’s focus on the innocent part,” Borjas says and grabs another beer out of the fridge. Before opening it, he does ask for permission.
“Sure, I would hate for them to go to waste,” Victor speaks up, his voice a little strained from the pain in his jaw.
“We’re cops, Mal. We have to take him in.”
“Well, I won’t let you take Rosa. She was only defending her child.”
“That’s true, but she also attacked an officer.”
“I didn’t know you were officers at the time.” She defends.
“No one asked you,” Borjas says, still a little sore from her spell hitting him in the baby maker region.
“How many times must I say I didn’t aim there.”
“Still doesn’t change how much it hurt,” Borjas says, resting the cold beer on his lap.
“We can work a deal with her, maybe let her become an informant.”
“Do you really trust a warlock as an informant? You know she has to answer to her Patron, right?”
“Yes, but she will have a wealth of knowledge because of her Patron.”
“I suppose, but what’s to stop her from giving us the wrong information?”
“Gratitude?” Both Borjas and Rosa say.
“Yes, gratitude for me saving Isabelle. I will perform her spell for free. Doing this favor for her, she will owe me one in return.”
“I don’t know. It sounds like a lot to gamble on.”
“It’s not!” Rosa screams. Eyes start to glisten. “Everything I’ve done wrong was for Isabelle.”
“Everything you’ve done wrong? Shouldn’t that be we?” Salib inquires.
“No, I’ve been using small suggestion spells on him for years. I needed to push him in the right direction so that I could do what was needed.”
“So killing the Demon was…,” Salib stammers.
“My manipulation of him,” Rosa holds her head down, and a few tears start to fall. Victor puts his head on her shoulder.
“Mi Amor, you didn’t have to do that. I would have done so had you just asked,” Victor tries to comfort her as best he could while being cuffed.
“Could you guys stop? This is making our job far too hard.” Borjas says, then pulls out a cigarette.
“Really, Ralph?” Salib turns to him.
“I’ll open a window,” Borjas says and finds the nearest window, and once it’s open, sparks up and leans against the wall.
“Let me explain what has my partner here so stressed out,” Salib says, rolling her eyes in his direction. Borjas just shrugs his shoulders and warns that they only have about five minutes before backup arrives.
“Now that we know that it was your spell, Rosa, we need to take you into custody as the killer. Our problem with that is, we will have to leave Isabelle with Victor, who doesn’t have proper childcare to keep Isabelle. As a child with special needs, she has to have someone at the house at all times. With his pest control business, he can’t do that.”
“Why not,” Victor says, struggling to sit straight.
“Mi Amor, how many times did you have to run out to an emergency job?” Victor holds his head down.
“So our next solution is to let Victor take the fall for it. That way, Rosa will be home with Isabelle and won’t have to go into the system.”
“Let’s do that.” Victor quickly volunteers.
“Then where will she earn money from?” This house is in a nicer neighborhood, and without your business, she won’t be able to keep up. And if she goes into your business, we run into the same problem with her going down for the crime.”
“I can find work elsewhere.”
“But how will we trust that you won’t seduce someone else? Trust me, our sympathy isn’t for you. It’s for Isabelle.”
“I swear on my life that I would never! Once Isabelle is cured, there will be no reason for me to seduce anyone else. Besides, Victor has proven to me that he’s the love of my life, and I don’t need another man.”
“Just as Rogues are manipulators of emotions, Warlocks wrote the book. You have to see this from our end.” Borjas says after blowing a puff of smoke out the window.
Borjas turns his head to Salib, who for some reason got quiet. When he notices her astral eyes were up, he got curious.
“I have an idea. But you are not going to like it.”
“Have a good day at school, sweetie,” Rosa says, sending Isabelle off with a kiss.
“You too, Mami!” She says, bursting with excitement to see her friends again. Rosa couldn’t believe that she could see this day, and Victor didn’t have to die. She would miss him, but Detective Borjas and Detective Salib promised they would do all they could to get his sentence shortened.
Isabelle unbuckles her seat belt, and after leaning into the front cab to give Rosa a kiss, she jumps out of the car and runs to the teacher assigned to her class. It did Rosa’s heart good to see the teacher embrace Isabelle as if she was her own. Knowing that she was loved and sheltered from all the negative publicity of Victor’s case.
To the rest of the world, Rosa and Isabelle were victims of a Warlock’s greed, and it would have to be that way until Victor got out from prison and cleared his name. Rosa dreaded having to deal with the bullying that would come when the other children learned of her dad’s face, but she would deal with that when the time came.
Moving through the line, Rosa steers the car in a direction so unfamiliar to her, she needed GPS.
“There is still time to run?” Walpurga whispers, but Rosa will not have it.
“Don’t worry, Dark Queen. You will get the energy you desire. You’ll just have to be okay with smaller rations.”
“No, child. You will be the one who has to deal with smaller rations. I will not waste my powers on someone so weak.”
“Then free me from my contract,” Rosa says, slamming her hand down on the steering wheel and gripping hard with the other.
“You would like that wouldn’t you?” the old hag cackles. “You want to partition to another Demon lord? Or maybe go into another form of magic? No, your soul belongs to me. And I will make you suffer. Go ahead and try arcane magic. It’s near poisonous to dark magic users. The spirits will not come to you knowing that I have your soul. Don’t even get me started on the Divine.”
“I know my options, Dark Queen.” Walpurga hisses.
“Then give me the power I require, and I will give you back your full power,” her words more threatening, now that she knows that sweet talk won’t work.
“No. You’ve taken enough from my life. Luckily,” Rosa stops to make a right turn. “I won’t need you anymore. Time to start a new life without the use of dark magic.”
“You’ll be back. They always come…,” Rosa breaks the link, using the spell that Detective Salib had taught her. Maybe there was hope for her yet with spirit magic.
Parking among all the government vehicles is a little weird for her. She hadn’t worked in quite some times with her powers, and with her profession, being here was usually a game over. Not this time, though. She was blessed with a second chance, and she would not waste it. For the Sake of her Family and her newfound friends. One who was wearing a painfully dull cream suit.
Gathering her things and getting out of the car. The detectives were there to greet her.
“How did you know I would park here?” Rosa’s curiosity has to know.
“It’s where all the newbies park until someone tells you that the cafe across the street allows parking for LMPD workers,” Borjas says with a strained voice, getting frustrated at his phone. It seems he isn’t quite clever enough to clear a stage of block attack. It’s a tune that Rosa was quite familiar with before she quit the game.
“That’s good to know, Detective Borjas. Thanks for the tip. And for your game, you may want to use some power-ups. They give you plenty, so no need to hoard them.”
“He used all of them,” Salib can’t help but laugh. “And he’s only on the one hundred block of stages.”
“And where are you?” Rosa asks with an impressed inflection.
“My dearest friend, I am in the two thousand block.” She wears her smile like a badge of honor.
“How? When I was a stay-at-home mom, I still couldn’t find the time to get that high?”
“I’ve always been good at puzzles.”
“Well, I’ve always been good at strategy,” Borjas says, banishing his phone to his coat pocket. He was able to turn Victor’s anger into a crippling weakness for us.
“So what? You destroyed my base and used me to find new resources. You can’t beat me at puzzles.”
“You know what I can beat you in? Cooking.”
“I burned the Chicken Masala once, and you won’t let me live it down.”
“Well, I’ve never burned anything, so there.” Rosa laughs at their playful banter. “I hate to tell you this, Detective Borjas, but if I am to join your group of friends, I will take the title of best cook.” Rosa proclaims.
“That’s a mighty high claim. Hope you can back it up,” Borjas says, grinning for the first time.
“Lucky for you, I brought you a thank you for my first day.”
“Can’t wait,” Salib says, rubbing her stomach.