“I only have one idea, and it seems even riskier than the last one,” Violet told me. “I think we should head to the BBN building next.”
“I’m so glad you said that!” I responded in relief. “I feel bad about ditching Nicole like that! She’s stuck doing the Fallen’s bidding, and it must have crushed her when we left! She’s probably been waiting for answers for years! I’ve been there before, it’s an awful thing to go through! I bet she must have so much frustration built up after getting so close and losing the opportunity so abruptly like that! It’ll be good to be able to help her out!”
Violet only partially agreed with me, “Yes, that would be nice, but don’t forget, that’s not the main reason we would be going there!”
This reminder made me frown. “Oh, right! We’d be there for those executives she mentioned. But we can’t go there just to fight them! Do you think that the Arch Deity could have chosen to hide there?”
“Possibly. It’s also vaguely possible that we already met her…” Violet cryptically stated.
“What, you mean Nicole?” I inquired with a hint of doubt in my voice.
Violet picked up on my underlying tone and replied, “You don’t believe it’s at all likely?”
As politely as I could, I differed with her, “If she were the Arch Deity, she wouldn’t give into the Fallen so much! Those jerks would have already disappeared from that news station! How could it be her?”
“Deities are humans, they succumb to the same issues that we do,” Violet educated me. “Both our physical and mental health can hold us back from reaching our full potential, and remember, the Arch Deity hasn’t surfaced to put a stop to Birsha’s regime for a reason! Maybe she doesn’t have the confidence to pull it off. We can certainly assist her with that! You’ve got a real talent for that sort of thing!”
“Thanks!” I grinned while trying not to let this attractive woman’s compliment elate my spirits too much. I shook off my more fanciful notions and brought up, “And what if she’s not the Arch Deity? Then what do we do?”
Violet asserted, “We see what else she knows about this subject! She figured out our involvement in defying Birsha and her Army pretty quickly, so I’m guessing that she may know more about all this than we realize. If she’s not the Arch Deity, she may have learned some clues about their location. Or, at the very least, she might’ve gotten something handy to use against Birsha, so it’s worth a try to have a chat with her! However, there is one problem with this… how do we get to her without getting caught by those executives?”
I mulled it over a bit and came up blank. “It’s hard to say without knowing the layout of the studio. There’s probably some sort of backdoor that we could use, but we won’t know that ‘til we get there! Actually, we probably couldn’t even do it then- I’m pretty sure they’d have surveillance surrounding the property! They’d capture us in a minute if we strolled up to the place and started sneaking around the entrances that aren’t open to the public!”
“We would have to portray ourselves as someone they trust,” Violet noted.
“Are you saying that we wear another disguise?” I asked her. “Do they have a cafeteria there?”
Violet laughed, and then she answered me, “Not likely. They may have food delivered there sometimes, but I doubt they’d accept anything that they didn’t order. Even if they’re not smart enough to get suspicious about strangers randomly showing up at their doorstep, they’re executives, so they’ll be leery about anything that might cost them money… Not that I was ever like that when it came to running my company…”
I teased her, “Uh huh, sure…”
“Hey! I wasn’t cheap!” She pretended to show anger as she threw some grass at me.
“Throwing projectiles at me, huh? A few seconds ago, you were trying to lessen my pain, and now you wanna create more injuries on me?” I feigned being affronted by her actions.
She ribbed me, “Wow, I didn’t know you were so delicate!”
I slyly reacted, “Okay, let’s see how you like it!” I plucked up a small clump and tossed it at her. She repeated the same move, and we went back and forth like that for a while! When no one appeared to win this scuffle, I called out, “Alright, truce!”
Violet obliged, “Yes, truce. But this ceasefire won’t last forever!”
I pretended to get scared by her threat, and we erupted in laughter. My pulse began to race, but unlike in the hospital, this time it had nothing to do with a severe case of stress! For a brief instance, I forgot that we were in the midst of planning a dangerous mission! In that moment, I almost felt like I was on a date with her, and when I realized that I had that thought, I immediately chastised myself for it! Not only had I gotten distracted from a vital task, but I nearly let myself fall into the temptation of acting upon my enamored inclinations for her! This woman was a Guardian, she was practically a goddess, and I found it improbable that a lady of that caliber would choose me as a lover! If I attempted something affectionate, I assumed that she would rebuff my advances and would lose the will to partner up with me to save the world! I couldn’t take the chance of going without her services, there was no way I could take on Birsha’s Army with her! It would have been lunacy for me to make that endeavor solo! I didn’t want to use her powers and deplete her life force unless we absolutely had to, but it was prudent to have somebody who could do magic on my side for this ordeal! I resolved to avoid any scenarios that had the potential to make me lose my ally, and I redirected my focus as I addressed her, “So, what would be a feasible disguise for us in this situation?”
When I heard how bitter I sounded as I spoke to her, I grew worried that she would know that something was up with me! It irritated me that I felt spurned right then, and I inwardly harped on myself for not dating more when I had the chance! I never married, and I hardly ever got into a serious relationship because it was so rare to find a girl who didn’t adhere to the societal standard of isolationism. In addition to that, I sought out ladies who shared my passion for coming to the aid of people in need all around us, and that was even more of an unusual find during these times! Most individuals that I encountered were centered around nothing more than their own survival, which was totally understandable now that I thought about it. I wondered if I had simply been too picky, but still, I preferred to go out with someone who had the same drive of putting in great effort into altruism as I did. It drove me crazy to have somebody who had everything I ever wanted from a future life partner and not do anything to pursue that venture, and even though it would hurt like mad to ignore these sentiments, I knew that I had to do it… unless my emotions became obvious to her and she ended our quest!
Thankfully, I didn’t think she detected anything based on the neutral way she relayed to me, “I’m not sure what we could wear to get into the BBN’s headquarters, but before we come up with that solution, we have to work out a way to get across town without getting recognized! Got any ideas on how to do that?”
“Hmm…” I briefly contemplated this predicament. “I know I passed a number of businesses on the way to Sylph’s Hollow, but I didn’t anticipate quizzing myself on what was there or else I would have made more of an attempt to cement them in my memory! Let’s see… there was a florist, a liquor store, a dentist…”
“There was a couple of restaurants too,” Violet added to my list. “And a hair salon too. Oh, and a vet’s office, which was next to a daycare and a post office…”
That last one struck a chord with me. “A post office! They travel all over the city without too much of a hassle…”
Violet queried, “Are you saying that we disguise ourselves as postal workers? Delivering mail would really eat up a lot of time!”
“Yeah, and this place wouldn’t be as hectic as an understaffed hospital kitchen, we can’t just show up and start working!” I acknowledged. “I’m assuming that they would keep track of who they assign their vehicles to. It’s too bad ‘cause I know at some point one of those trucks would drive right up to BBN with no trouble from the Fallen!”
“I wish we could hitch a ride with them! Wouldn’t be great if we could mail ourselves to the station?” Violet kidded, but that prompted her to unearth a more serious thought. “But we could hide ourselves underneath all of their letters and packages! I’m positive they have certain people sorting through the mail and that they’re not the same people delivering it, so it’s not like the mail carriers would check their trucks too thoroughly before beginning their route! Hold on though, there’s bound to be multiple vehicles that they use, so how do we figure out which one is going to where we wanna go?”
After ruminating over this matter for a spell, I submitted to her, “We’d have to break into the building while it’s closed.” She gasped at the prospect, and I articulated to her, “Yeah, it’s insane, but we don’t have a choice! We would need to borrow some uniforms anyways ‘cause even if we managed to stow away in the correct truck, those executives aren’t gonna let us inside with our plain clothes on.” Violet appeared hesitant at the outlook of my proposal, so I assured her, “If we can come up with a way to get to the news station that’s less complicated before we get there, we’ll do that, but if we can’t, then we gotta use this plan!”
Violet gazed at the setting sun as she reflected on the proposition for a short interval, and as I anticipated her reply, I couldn’t ignore the fact that under any other circumstance, sitting together by a forest stream watching the dusk set in would be incredibly romantic! It was difficult to restrain myself from holding her right then, and a part of me lamented that we had this daunting task that prevented from using this idyllic scenery to initiate an amorous tryst! Most of my senses didn’t sincerely believe she would desire me in the same way I wanted her, but it was pleasurable to picture the two of us in a passionate embrace…
“Alright, let’s do it,” Violet concluded.
“Huh?” It stunned me to hear her utter that phrase1 Could my fantasy literally have been coming to life? My logical side urged me not to get my hopes up, but the rest of me ignored that advice and practically trembled with excitement…
She expounded on her statement, “Well, I can’t root out any other method of getting into the BBN studio, and we can’t afford to sit around here ‘til something else pops into our heads! It’s extremely bonkers, but if we can pull it off, we’ll at least be safe heading over there! Those trucks have a bunch of silver in them, so we’ll have some protection in case some Fallens decide to ambush during the trip!”
My exuberance sank down quite abruptly! Of course, she meant our post office plot! I admonished myself for being so foolish as to convince myself of any expectations of some kind of intimacy in the middle of a period of unrest for the planet, and I pondered how long it would take for those ridiculous abstractions to vacate my mind! Now I had to endure the pangs of disappointment coursing through my veins again, and it was incredibly challenging to shield my altered mood from her! My curiosity managed to permeate through my bitterness after a minute though, and I posed to her, “Why does silver have that type of capability?”
“I don’t know the scientific explanation for it, but a Deity’s powers can’t penetrate it,” Violet illuminated on this for me. “That’s why Birsha’s Army wears armor- a Guardian would have to aim between all the silver to successfully administer a hex. We got so lucky in that arbitration room!”
“Why didn’t those thugs in Saint Cyprian’s have any silver?” I questioned.
Violet shrugged. “They could have worn a silver vest under their scrubs, but it wouldn’t have made a difference- we took them down with more conventional techniques! Funnily enough, they looked less prepared for hand-to-hand combat than magical warfare!” We both chortled at their error in judgment, and as we observed the stars commencing with their nightly appearance, it seemed even more unfair that a deadly force threatened the earth as we found ourselves in such a pleasant scene!
Once the hour became late enough, Violet and I journeyed to the post office that edged the woods. We spotted several security cameras above its various entrances, but we didn’t see any signs of an alarm system, so I made the suggestion, “If we throw a rock hard enough at the lens, it can’t capture us jimmy-opening the locks on the door.”
“Are you a good aim?” Violet probed.
“We’re about to see!” I picked up a decently sized stone in the unkempt field that we stood in, but prior to me going for it, I espied a shadowy silhouette in the distance that caused me to cease my fire! “Quick! Hide!”