Blythe and Nathair were waiting in the interrogation room when Alastair burst in with his team excitedly whispering and pointing behind him. Alastair shushed his team before he took a seat opposite of Blythe, who still confidently leered at him. Nathair probed, “So, Agent Vendari, what do you got?”
Allison handed Alastair a piece of paper, and Alastair revealed to Blythe and Nathair, “What I have is a job offer for you, Miss Tanith.”
Whatever Blythe had expected him to say, it wasn’t that! His comment wiped the smirk right off of her face, and Alastair secretly reveled in how thrown off she got. Nathair addressed him, “Is that a joke?”
“I’m not mocking your client, Mister Lyndstrom.” Alastair pushed the piece of paper he had towards Blythe, who only had seconds to see it before Nathair snatched it up to examine it. “When we did a background check on her, we saw that she’s been out of work for quite some time. I figured by now she must be low on funds, especially after buying that plane ticket! Now, it so happens that we have an immediate opening for a receptionist position back at our Amouraqian headquarters! So, I thought, with all of your customer service experience, that you’d be a good fit for the job! What do you think?”
Blythe eyed Alastair suspiciously. “This is some kind of trick!”
Nathair reminded her, “Don’t talk to him.” He turned to Alastair and asserted, “I’m assuming since you’re giving her a job that you didn’t find any evidence against her?”
“We confirmed that she was, indeed, on board a flight from Seattle to here. According to two flight attendants, she never even left her seat. She did cause a big fuss for the crew the whole way there, almost as if she wanted to make sure that people knew that she was on that plane at that time.” Alastair glanced at Blythe, who continued to glare at him but said nothing. “While I do find it strange that she happened to handle a number of energy drinks at Seatac and then proceeded to miss her original flight, I don’t have any links suggesting that she had anything to do with the crime in question.”
“So, she’s no longer a person of interest in your case?” Nathair surmised.
Alastair confidently dismissed the idea, “I don’t know what I was thinking in the first place! It’s not like a simple retail worker could ever devise such an elaborate crime!” As he laughed derisively at his remark, he could see that he had successfully struck a nerve in Blythe, whose scowl overtly displayed a boiling rage at him. “She’s no criminal mastermind, but she’d make a great receptionist!” He turned to her and asked, “So, what do you think of my offer?”
“What do I think?” Blythe snarled. “I think you-!”
“Don’t say anything to him!” Nathair recommended.
Blythe snapped at him, “Don’t tell me what to do! Neither one of you respect me! Just because I was a minimum wage worker, you think I’m not worth anything! I don’t want anything to do with pricks who can’t see my potential!”
She got up to storm out, but Alastair stopped her by saying, “Is that what he did?” She froze on the spot as he went on, “Your new boss? He made you feel special and convinced you to do his dirty work for him? Oh, I just remembered, your last boss told us you listed your reason for leaving as ‘Found a New Opportunity,’ so I guess you wouldn’t be interested in my receptionist position after all!”
Nathair vehemently responded, “That was a mean, underhanded ploy to use on her!”
Alastair retorted, “What do you care? I think she just fired you.”
Nathair ignored him and ordered Blythe, “Don’t say anything else! We’re going to file a complaint about his behavior!” Alastair looked undeterred as he ushered her out of the room.
When Nathair and Blythe were out of earshot, Alastair whispered to his team, “Did it work?”
“Like a charm?” Allison showed him another piece of paper, and he grinned victoriously.
“Lumenia Minimius!” Emily chanted as she pointed her palm directly in front of her. A soft light cascaded around her, and their dark path illuminated as if she had held a small flashlight. With a faint glow around her, Stephen couldn’t help but remember that she was a descendant of a goddess! She had an unearthly characteristic about her, and if she hadn’t already convinced him on the concept of magic being real, this image alone would have been enough! “What?” she inquired curiously.
Stephen snapped out of his torpor. He found her irresistibly fascinating, but he couldn’t keep letting his imagination distract him, especially when they had a dangerous criminal to apprehend! Connecting the two of them together, Stephen wondered, “If Xavier’s a descendant of King Alexander too, then he also comes from the Nymph Queen of Good. With her blood running through his veins, how can he possibly do so much evil?”
Emily shrugged. “I dunno. How does anyone ignore their conscious? How does anyone cause so much suffering without it tearing them apart?”
Stephen put in, “Well, the thing about bad guys is that they never think that they’re the bad guys. In their mind, they’re the ones fighting against evil. I’ve seen hundreds of people like that, I just didn’t think it applied to you guys since you come from the embodiment of all things good.”
“He could be the descendant of someone evil too,” Emily pointed out. “If that’s the case, it would come down to his own choices.”
“Yeah, I guess it…” Stephen trailed off as he noticed a wispy, bright red flame far ahead of them. They both stopped talking and cautiously crept closer.
As they neared the strange flame, they could hear the faint sound of women’s voices whispering. Emily quietly chanted, “Fute!” The light around her extinguished, and she very softly relayed to Stephen, “Nymphs!”
Stephen stepped closer to her and muffled his speech as much as he could, “How do we tell the good ones from the bad?”
“We don’t,” Emily replied in a hushed tone, “They’ll tell you! But that tree said the good ones were scarce, so we should avoid them if we can help it.”
“Right!” Stephen agreed. They moved as stealthily as they could, but Stephen half worried that they could hear his heart pounding! He had snuck by enemies before, but he always had a plan to fallback on if he got caught. If the nymphs were evil, their only shot for survival was to outsmart them. He tired to think of ways to do that, but he found it hard to concentrate on the road ahead, so he hoped for the best in order to press on.
As they got into the vicinity of the nymphs’ fire, Stephen thought the flame almost looked like pure light. He assumed it generated some warmth when he saw five females sitting around it. He wasn’t close enough to see any details about them, but he could tell that they were much taller than him! They were on a grassy hill to their right, so Stephen and Emily crawled on their stomachs to avoid detection. He couldn’t see them, and he inwardly prayed that they didn’t have any way of seeing Emily or him. Traveling in such a manner was more time consuming than walking, which really prodded at his nerves. He couldn’t wait to get out of their periphery!
Without warning, the voices fell silent and the sky grew darker, and Stephen sincerely hoped that they were simply turning in for the night. Emily and he froze on the spot in case they were ambushed, which he truly dreaded since they had no plan. After a moment of pure silence, Stephen and Emily suddenly found themselves flying in the air! They were shoved to the top of the trees, and ropes made out of vines magically bound them! Emily raised her hand up to do a spell, but a harsh woman’s voice cackled, “Silly sorceress! Your human ancestors tainted your bloodline, so you can’t hurt us!”
A group of very tall women in sexy, toga-like clothing winglessly flew up to them, and the haze of light they emitted really highlighted the malicious expressions on their faces. The woman in green introduced herself, “Hello, you fools! I am the Nymph of Destruction!”
The one in purple introduced herself, “I am the Nymph of Abuse!”
The one in brown introduced herself, “I am the Nymph of Torture!”
The one in red introduced herself, “I am the Nymph of Murder!” She paused and added, “Well now, ladies, how shall we do this? Should we show them mercy and kill them quickly?” The others snickered at that snide joke.
The Nymph of Abuse relished, “Let’s have some fun!”
The Nymph of Torture queried, “Any last words?”
For a brief instant, Stephen worried that they had landed themselves in an unbeatable situation, and he considered taking a grandstand as his final act, but he couldn’t let them do their malevolent deeds to Emily! It sickened him to think of the jubilation that her pain would bring this vile team! All of a sudden, that train of thought hit him with a stroke of inspiration. “If I have no choice but to die tonight, I only have one request: Please let the most powerful one do the honor! Which one of you would that be?”
“That’s easy! I am!” the Nymph of Destruction responded.
“No, I am!” the Nymph of Murder argued. “Hello, I kill people!”
The Nymph of Hate jumped in, “And what is the motive for murder? Hate! I am the most powerful!”
The Nymph of Abuse passionately differed, “What is responsible for the cruelest murders? I am, which makes me the most powerful!”
All of the nymphs ferociously argued with each other, and their fury grew more and more intense. Their rancor heated up more and more until it internally boiled over. They each conjured a ball of light and threw it at each other! In a flash, the nymphs were all destroyed!
Emily and Stephen’s constraints also vanished, and they slid to the forest floor. Emily gazed at Stephen in awe. “How did you…?”
Stephen very modestly explained, “Their minds were already corrupt, so it wasn’t hard to corrupt them some more!” He scanned the area just as a precaution. “They are truly dead now, right?”
“You destroyed the embodiment of their spirits,” Emily informed him. “They’ll be reborn in the hearts of humankind.”
“How long will that take?” He thought about it for a second and decided, “Actually, let’s not wait to find out!” Emily agreed with that sentiment. After they helped each other up, they hurried away from that spot and raced down the path.