Master PC – Mind Magi
Part Three—The Right and The Easy
Chapter Seventeen—Den of Dragons
I approached the warehouse, not sure what the security of the place was like. There was little outside lighting so there might have been no cameras. Then again, they might have used infra-red equipment to put would-be intruders like me at ease. I wasn’t at ease. I could feel my heart pounding, my muscles flexing and the surrounding area slowing down. I was ready for a fight.
I didn’t bother with the door Russ and Leland had used. If they were expecting me, and I was certain they were, I wasn’t going to go in that way. There weren’t many windows on ground level. The few I did find were blocked by stacks of boxes.
It would have been easy to just tear into the siding to get in, but I wanted to sneak in. I wanted to take them by surprise, just like they had done to me twice.
Finally I gave up looking for another way in. The sides of the building were sheer walls. The upper windows were all closed. Nothing short of a miracle would get me inside by any means other than that damned door.
I went back to it. The doorknob was unlocked. I shook my head, not believing that I was about to do what I was going to. Maybe, if I was fast enough, I could slip past everyone. Of course, there was Russ. I would have to put him to sleep as quickly as possible. In fact, I would have to expect to do that to the whole lot.
Letting my fear out a bit, my adrenaline picked up. I shoved the door open and rushed in.
There was no one around.
I slowed down and looked around. There were stacks of boxes all over but no one waiting. I went back and closed the door shutting out the only light in the place. Knowing that I was quickly losing track of Russ and Leland, I began following the paths left among the boxes.
I realized quickly that they could have gone any of a dozen directions. I listened intently for footsteps and voices but detected none. I doubled back after another dead-end among the boxes and halfway to the intersection I heard someone. I stopped instantly.
“...What do you mean?”
“He told me. His parents broke the first law. He’s the kid from the prophecy.”
“He was just pulling your chain Leland. No one’s broken that law.”
“He also said he had the First Law abolished.”
It had to be Russ with Leland and they were heading toward me. I continued to listen to their conversation as they approached. As dark as it was among the stacks of boxes, I was sure they would have to pass a flashlight over me to see me. I just stood stock still and waited.
Their voices got closer and when I thought they would pass the intersection I was at, they went by and started getting farther from me, but I hadn’t seen them.
I figured out that they were in a nearby aisle. I traced the wall back the way I had come until I found an opening and raced up that path trying to catch up to them. The problem was my boots clapped on the concrete floor soundly. I had to slow down and hope I caught up soon and without giving away my position.
Around a corner I came to an opening. There were several people gathered around a table. Food was strewn about and a few flashlights were standing up, acting like low-light candles.
I slipped back to wait and listen.
“Leland let Ral get away,” said Russ.
“I didn’t let him do anything,” Leland retorted trying to retain some dignity.
“Don’t feel bad, Leland, he even got the best of Russ and me.” Said another gruff voice. That must have been Roy.
“I don’t understand what is so difficult,” said another voice. “He’s just a kid. What? The rest of you let your guard down because he’s so small or something?”
There was some grumbling. “He’s strong, fast and can apparently command others.”
“He can do more than that,” said Leland. “He can see your memories and he’s been to the Void.”
The others were quiet. Then a voice asked, “Leland, did he get your memories?”
I was guessing he nodded because there were groans. “It’s a good thing we didn’t tell you where the hostages were then,” said the same voice.
That told me what I needed. Some of them knew where the hostages were, including Whisper. What I didn’t know was who the other Dragons were or what they could do.
I needed Russ out of the way first. His speed was the only thing that could keep me from taking them all down. I inched forward, staying low.
I spotted him on the other side of the table. My desire to do this quick and quiet filled my Charm and I let it go to Russ. It wrapped him up and he yawned.
“Not tired already, are you?” One of the others quipped.
Russ shook his head fighting my command. I reinforced it and he passed out.
The others looked at one another and I moved. One by one they passed out and the others knew something was happening. Leland, Roy, a woman I hadn’t seen before and another man all slumped in their seats or fell to the floor.
I slowed down and touched each to make sure they were securely sleeping. Then I heard someone clapping.
I spun around and Laura Stephens was coming out of an office. “That is some work Ral. I’ve seen others fight off the Dragons when they were desperate but I have never seen such a calculated and well executed attack.”
I stood up, ready for her. “Looks like I was wrong about you or at least wrong about your death.”
She smiled. “Quite.” She looked at the other sleeping Dragons. “What I don’t understand is why you don’t kill them. Eventually they will come after your head, especially with the number of humiliations you’ve brought on them.”
“That’s not my way.” I didn’t know why but I didn’t like this little talk. “Where are the hostages?”
She looked up. “Hostages? What makes you think I know or would even tell you if I did?”
I started toward her, slow, one step at a time. “Because of what I can still do. Because I don’t kill. You should worry about what I will do that won’t result in your death.”
“Oh please. You can’t touch me and not hurt yourself. Anything you do will only be made worse on you and your little girlfriend.”
“Worse on me how? What is your ability?”
She smirked. “My talent is neural manipulation. A single touch and I can do anything from give you a hefty rash to knocking you out to completely frying your brain.” She looked about again. “And from the looks of it, frying your brain seems to be a good idea.”
Since she didn’t know I could heal, I wasn’t going to let on that her ability would hurt but not kill me. I continued to approach. “That would explain how you knocked out my other girls earlier, but I had touched you just fine with no ill effects.”
“Because I let you.”
“Really? Let’s test that...” She reached for me and I grabbed her wrist. Her other hand came around and I snatched that one too. I could feel her power but the black suit muffled it. The pain built and built. I knew it would hurt but she was doing something that made it unbearable. Finally I turned and threw her along the ground, sliding toward the others.
She got up grinning. “What’s the matter? The new House Lord not able to take a little pain?”
“Just building up my immunity,” I replied. I was bluffing because even the cut I got from Russ earlier had hurt. I was fine once it had healed, but the pain had still been there. Pain was something my healing couldn’t protect me from. I needed her to go down. I reached out with my Charm...
She charged me and my Charm wrapped her up halfway to me. By the time she got to me, she was barely able to walk. She slapped my chest and slid down me to the floor. I bent down and brushed a hair out of her face. The graze of my skin to hers allowed me to ensure she slept.
I pressed into her mind, looking for her memories. She fought me, trying to use walls and other passive implements to keep me out. Finally, frustrated, angry and simply tired of games, I punched my way in. Her memories flooded me.
Laura had been a college student in Chicago. Her ability had manifested itself when she was with her fiancé. One intimate night that ended with him in a coma. She didn’t mean to hurt him of course, but she hadn’t known she could do what she did. At first it was added stimulation then it overpowered him and he simply shut down.
Laura left Chicago, not wanting to face everyone who knew them. She sought someone who could tell her what happened, maybe even tell her how to turn it off. Finally, she found members of House Nickelson. They accepted her and she became a full member. When she told them about her accident, it was brought up with Lord Morehouse. He immediately dispatched healers to tend to the boy then turned his attention to Laura.
She was initiated in the Dragon program and excelled at both using her ability with a wide range of effects, plus various martial arts that would allow her to get close enough to use her ability if needed.
Then something happened. She accidentally shocked a fellow student. It was so sudden and out of control, the boy had died. Laura was distraught with what happened. It made her realize just how dangerous she really was. She again ran away.
Lord Morehouse found her and talked her into returning to his facility. She did so, but only to face trial. She was found innocent. There had been no animosity between her and the dead boy, no reason at all for her to kill him. The accident was just that. However, Morehouse saw her as too dangerous to keep. He released her from his House and she had spent the remaining years trying to prove herself worthy of one House after another. Most turned her down flat while others would test her. She still didn’t have a House only because she couldn’t completely control her ability.
Finally, I found the memories of her recent activity. She had received a text message. It didn’t have a name of who it was from, but the message was simple enough. Whoever sent it wanted her to find my schiavi and knock them out. That was all. She had decided to go further, hoping that taking me down would prove she was worthy of whatever House had contacted her. Unfortunately, that hadn’t worked.
From her training as a Dragon, she had enough forethought to put up her defenses and set up a booby-trap for me. When I started searching her for her mark or tried to penetrate her defenses, she would go into cardiac arrest. It was a trick she had learned. Her body would shut down for an hour or more and then just restart again. At least that’s the way it looked. In reality her heart still beat, only so slowly it made her look dead. If she couldn’t bring me down, maybe she could have me framed for her “death”.
She woke up later when Russ and Roy had brought her back to the warehouse. They were relieved to find that she wasn’t dead and thought her plan would have been good if only they had been informed of it. They told her of their failure to bag me as well and that they had barely gotten out of the hotel with her before the police arrived.
What they hadn’t told her was what else was going on. “Damn it,” I said under my breath.
I went to Russ. I made sure he was asleep and dove into his memories. He fought me like before but I was getting more and more adept at pushing past those defenses. He didn’t know where the hostages were either. I checked Roy, and neither did he.
Finally there were the other two. I went to the man. I pulled out his wallet and cell phone. Like the others, I pocketed the cell phone, but in the wallet, I learned his name, Leo Cunningham. I wasn’t sure what he could do, so I was careful as I examined his memories.
At first it seemed like he had the same normal defenses as the others, then he hit me with something that felt like a sledgehammer. I reeled back so much that I actually let him go and broke the connection.
I shook off the effects and looked around. No one else was there. Whatever happened, it was him that did it, purely with his mind. He could be just as dangerous as Russ, but instead of using speed he didn’t need to overpower my strength or speed. The only thing that had saved me earlier was the fact that he didn’t know when I had commanded him to sleep; only that someone was attacking them.
Now, he was asleep, but and using his trained subconscious defenses coupled with his mental weapons to keep me at bay.
I touched him and commanded, “Stop!” I wasn’t sure it would help but I had to check. In I went and again, I was hammered. This time I couldn’t get away fast enough. Again and again he hit me. The pain was unlike anything I had ever felt. Finally, I fell back, breathing hard and barely conscious. I knew if I passed out, they would probably wake up before I did. I couldn’t let them find me. I couldn’t fail Whisper.
I tried to get up but got hit again. I knew I wasn’t touching Leo and turned to see who had hit me. All I got was a face full of rifle butt.