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Wafflemancer Part 5

Updated on October 12, 2013

Previously

Last time we were introduced to Luke and Seamus, the Werewolf and Leprechaun that were in debt to Lilith for getting her expelled from The Mad Maenad. To fulfill this debt, they helped Lilith and John fight off and ultimately lead away a pair of Merfolk that were looking to do Lilith some serious harm. Lilith's plan worked and the pair left to retrieve John's wallet from his workplace.

Part 5

“Whoa. Why so serious?” I laughed at my movie reference. Lilith did not. We had just survived a potentially lethal affair with a couple of Merfolk and dammit I wanted a little levity for once. Her face didn't lighten up one bit.


“Look up.” She said pointing towards the moon just barely in the sky. “You see that faint red ring around it? That wasn't there earlier.” Of course. There just had to be something else. Why couldn't my life mellow out for just one second?


“Ok. So what does that mean?” I asked, not really certain I wanted the answer.


“That is blood on the moon. It's a dark omen and my magic says that something is wrong at your apartment.” I stopped and stared at her as I began to realize what she was implying.


“Ross.” I whispered. She gave me an exasperated, yet relieved sigh and nod. Like I was a child she finally got to understand his multiplication tables. The condescension would have upset me. That is, if my mind hadn't been completely occupied with the thought of something happening to Ross. I would never forgive myself. We booked to my car and I peeled out of the parking lot like a mad man. Maybe I was.


When we arrived at my apartment I got the intense feeling that she was right. Something was wrong. You could feel it in the air. The area of the complex I lived in was almost vacant except for me, so it was usually quiet. But this, this was otherworldly. This quiet, this stillness; it made your hairs stand on end. It gave you that faint nausea of dread. Something was very, very wrong. And Ross was here. I just hoped to God that he wasn't here anymore.


I wanted to book in there as fast as I could, but Lilith put her hand on my shoulder and held me back. She shook her head trying to convey that my haste wasn't a good idea. I hated it. I hated it with every fiber of my being, but she was right. If this was supernatural in origin we needed to be cautious. We slipped out of the car as quietly as we could and crept up to my front door. I went to unlock the deadbolt, but the keyhole was now just a hole. I looked over at Lilith for some reassurance. What I got was her miming for me to hurry up and open the door. What a great friend. Then again, we weren't really friends were we? I wondered how I could have forgotten that.


I started to push the door open slowly, but it began to creak, so I pushed it open as fast as I could and took care not to let it hit the wall. Not completely silent, but better than loud creaking it would have done at the previous speed. Nothing immediately seemed out of place in the short hall that led to the rest of my place. As we walked forward though, that feeling of dread intensified. Each step closer towards the kitchen, and the living room by extension, made me feel like my body weighed an additional hundred pounds. I wanted to make sure everything was ok, sure, but that was just it. I knew nothing was ok and because of that I damn sure didn't want to confirm it. Almost like if I didn't know, then it wasn't real. I wasn't prepared for what I saw in my living room.


The place was trashed. The furniture was turned over. My book shelf was on the floor with my novels and comics everywhere. Pages were torn and thrown about. Drawers laid haphazardly with their contents spilled out next to them. I didn't care about any of that. What mattered to me was the body lying on my floor with three enormous gashes along his chest and his throat torn open. Laying there in a pool of comic books and blood was Ross.


I ran to his side and collapsed. I was so overcome with grief that I didn't look anywhere else. Certainly not my open bedroom door. No. My attention was on the bloody mess in front of me. My vision blurred as my tears rained down on my fallen friend. But, I only had time for one good hearty sob before my lack of caution caught up to me.


“Kon-ban-wa.” Came a singsong voice from my bedroom, stressing each syllable of the foreign word. I looked up to see an admittedly cute Asian girl sitting on the edge of my bed. She smiled as she pointed to the remains of a potted plant on the floor next to her. Shocked and confused I followed her finger as she did it and stared at the soil on the ground. With a flick of her wrist the soil took shape and an earthen dagger flew at my face.


The next thing I knew I was coming to on the floor next to Ross. I was again overcome with grief for a moment until a crash caught my attention. Still groggy, I looked up to see Lilith and the little Asian girl duking it out. Each of them was covered in, well, earth. They obviously got it from the giant holes that I then noticed littered the floor of my apartment. I guess “covered” really doesn't describe it. It looked like they had built themselves a pair of Rock 'em Sock 'em robots out of dirt and stepped inside. Each blow sent dirt and blood flying everywhere. Embedded in the Asian girl's earthen fist looked like metal claws. We were fighting a pissed off little wolverine with earth powers.


I'd have been impressed, or maybe amused, if I had been capable of feeling anything at all. All I could think about was how Ross was dead. And it was my fault. If I had just left with Lilith like she wanted. My brooding was interrupted by a scream. The Asian girl managed to break through Lilith's armor on her midsection. The claws were dripping blood as she pulled them out of Lilith's stomach. I screamed her name as I scrambled to my feet. Just as I got my footing Lilith's armor exploded, sending chunks of earth flying everywhere and, most importantly, into our assailant. She, like me, was knocked backwards. Only she had the misfortune of slamming her head into the wall.


I got up and ran to Lilith's side. Kneeling next to her I ran my fingers over the bloody gash. My mind was a complete blank. I couldn't think, couldn't react. All I knew was now I was losing someone else. It didn't occur to me that I didn't particularly like her on her best day. She had fought for me and now she was dying. She reached up and wiped a tear from my eye with her left hand and smiled. I don't know if it was the sweetness of that smile, or the blood dribbling out of her mouth, but I felt a strange sensation in my gut. I wondered if this was the butterflies that everyone talked about. Was this love?


I looked down to find Lilith's athame sticking out of my stomach, wrapped in her bloody fingers. She ripped it out and I remembered the sensation. It definitely wasn't love. The bitch stabbed me again! I was almost furious until I watched my blood start to glow on her athame. Instead of flying back into me as it always did, this time it flew into her. I glanced back and forth between my stomach and hers as the flesh of the two open wounds knitted themselves back together. My mouth hung open as she placed her hand on my chest.


“I've used up too much mana.” Behind us the Asian girl started to pull herself together. “She's too much for us right now. Time to do your job, hero.”


Her hand pressed harder against my chest and she closed her eyes as it began to glow. A feeling of warmth flowed from her into me, filling me up. It was incredible. It circulated through me, getting hotter and hotter. Like white hot fire, like pure unfiltered power coursing through me. I felt it all swim through my veins until it bunched up at the entry point and began to flow back into her. The glow spread from her hand to the rest of her body. Her hair began to rise on its ends like she was being electrified. She opened her eyes and their glow was so bright I couldn't even remember what color they used to be.


Valefar. Come to me.


She spoke in a whisper, but there was a force to those words. She slid her hand from my chest to her right, keeping her arm raised. The light that had been building within her came pouring out of her fingertips and began to pool on the ground next to us. Once all of the light had fled into the pool, it began to take shape. Soon, beside us stood a massive lion with the head of a man. It bowed to her.


“Mistress,” it said. “It's about time you summoned me.” Its form contorted and shifted into that of a tall man in a pitch black suit. He may have looked human, but there was an aura to him and a fire in his eyes. He was a beast in every sense of the word. He smiled at me, flashing his menacing canines.


“Valefar, we need your assistance.” Her voice was weak. I could tell Lilith was not happy about having summoned this thing, whatever it was. He took in the damage of the room around us and looked to the Asian girl who was finally picking herself up. It was then that it occurred to me that there was something familiar about him.


“I should say so.” He said in a mocking tone. God, I hated this guy already. His eyes stayed trained on our attacker as she approached. “Kitsune, dear. How lovely it is to see you again.” When she had been fighting Lilith earlier she had seemed like she was enjoying herself. Like she got some kind of psychotic thrill out of all of this. When he addressed her, all of that was gone. She looked pissed.


“How dare you speak to me like that?” She ran towards him with her claw raised to strike. He simply grabbed one of the blades between two of his fingers with his left hand and backhanded her into my bedroom with the other.


“I'll speak to you how I like, child.” I could feel her rage from the other room. It wasn't long before she came barreling back in to attack again. She stopped short to reach down and touch one of the holes in the ground. Blades of earth rose up and flew at our new protector. He raised an open palm and the projectiles fell to dust. “Did you honestly believe that would work against me? I, who gave you that power?”


“I never wanted it!” She yelled as she spun to kick him. He grabbed her by the ankle and slung her back into my bedroom.


“Petulant child!” He called to her. “You squander your birthright.” She howled with her rage. With a determined stride she crawled back through the doorway to face him down again. She took a step to charge again. He raised his hand and as he mimed grabbing her, the earth beneath her feet rose up and trapped them. With both arms outstretched in front of him he slowly clenched both hands into fists. The ground beneath us shook as his muscles visibly tightened.


“Leave. Now.” He steeled his gaze, meeting her eyes. Slowly the rage began to subside and was replaced by something else. Fear. Reaching down, she broke her earthen bonds and ran for the front door, stopping to make eye contact with Lilith.


“I will find you again. Now it's not just about the contract. It's personal.”

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