The first guard went down in silence.

The second the same.

Third and fourth were slammed together before they could raise the alarm.

On and on we went. Number twelve saw the flash of a blade, and had to be locked in a broom closet. Twenty-six was thrown down a flight of stairs, and had to be tended for a nasty head wound.

We were just breaking into the mayor’s residence. We weren’t going to kill anyone we didn’t have to.

I wish I knew how the mayor felt. I imagine she started to rouse when some extra pressure settled on the bed. When the blade tapped her on the head, she awoke. And when she found her dagger under her pillow missing, and the charms from her bedside table absent, she stiffened in fear.

I held out my hand, and smiled. “Mayor Gianna, we haven’t met. My name is Emelia.”

Sela kept her blade trained on the mayor. Lana crouched at the edge of the bed, and kept an eye and ear out for anyone who even breathed wrong.

Gianna was exactly like Sela had described. She was calm, and composed, rising to a sitting position. She took my hand, firm while not trying to break anything. “Green Witch, I presume?”

“Not tonight. Taking a night off from superheroing after a long day. Just wanted to say hello, and pay my respects to the leader of our new home.”

“Pleasure.” Her words were tight, measured.

I smiled. “I like Gratitude. Or rather, most of it. You seem to actually work to combat some of the worst parts of politics. There doesn’t seem to be a trace of racism, or species discrimination.”

Lana cleared her throat. I winced, and nodded. That was something that we’d have to return to again and again. But it was worth it.

“Women can find work just as often as men. There actually are some opportunities to work together here.”

“I have several ideas on how we can…”

“Like cleaning up the sheriff’s office. Or reforming the union workers on the dock so they don’t take so much graft. Or run a sex trafficking ring out of a damn harbor.”

Gianna looked at me. I didn’t look like it, but I listened.

“You think you know everything. You have no clue what it takes to run a city.”

“You’re right, I don’t.” I said. “And I’m not saying we’re in charge, or you better hold to our code, or anything dumb like that. I just wanted to let you know, we’re not going to let things slide. Purse snatchers, wife beaters, the dumb crimes will be treated just the same as one of your cronies engineering a kickback for poisoning kids.”

“We take it personally when kids are involved,” Sela said. “Something a bit too close to home.”

“There are compromises we could make.” Gianna said. “But I won’t do it at the point of that sword.”

I really needed to learn more about Sir Violet. “Ok.”

Sela lifted her hand, and sheathed the blade. “We just wanted a chance for a chat. We didn’t even kill any of your men.”

“Thank you?”

“You’re welcome!” I smiled to Sela. “I told you she could be reasonable.”

“Surprised me too.”

“It was so nice to meet you,” I said. “I can’t wait to see what happens next. Have a wonderful evening.”

Gianna nodded. “Good night. And likewise.”

I got up off the bed. Handed Lana the mayor’s knife, and patted her on the head.

“Just once, in the arm or leg. And don’t nick anything important.”

“What?” Gianna shouted. Lana stabbed down in the mayor’s left bicep. She didn’t tear through the arm. Just a quick strike, in and out.

“I did promise.” Sela said.

Gratitude was going to be fun.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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