“CHILDRENNNN!!!” A voice thundered.

The floor shook. I grabbed at the bed, and hung on tight. Darkling flew around, screeching. Dust fell down in waves from the rafters.

Lady Violet and her blade remained centered.

The noise subsided. So did the thumping downstairs, and the mutters and death threats.

The three of us looked at each other, confused. Was there a new terror in the building? A wyvern egg hatch? A god? The Mayor?

“Children, if you will, please come down,” the voice said.

Please. They said please. We raced for the door and the stairs. We had to see the villain who said please.

Lady Violet stopped just above the landing. She looked down, Sir Violet at the ready and raring to go. I snuck a peak behind her, Darkling floating up above her.

The three of us slept on the third floor. It was the cleanest, the one that was easiest to get beds in. And it only had one window, so cut down on possible assassins. That was Sela’s reasoning. All this meant that we had two floors of thugs and cronies spilling down the stairs.

There were the mechanical Half-Men, off-duty deputies, and a bunch of people I didn’t even know what they were angry about. Armed with magic, weapons, claws, anything that could be considered a weapon.

I ran through a few spells in my head. If Lady Violet could get the first few, we might be able to make a barricade of the bodies at the stairs. That could slow them down while Darkling ran for the Reza.

“Oh, do put those things down,” the voice said.

A little woman stood up from my chair. My comfy chair, right next to my spot and where I hid the comic books. I gripped my staff tighter. But she didn’t seem to have read them.

She handed an empty tea cup to one of the Half-Men, and smiled. “That was wondrous, Harald. Do give your maker my compliments.” The Half-Man creaked his welcome, and tottled off happy.

She looked at us, and I took an involuntary step backwards. Dressed in a tweed dress jacket, with a prim hat and a single feather. Tan skin, the color of toffee. She had pale hair that was curled like some of the earlier Batman comics, but the eyes. Dark eyes, that saw straight through each and every one of us.

“I don’t like to repeat myself, ladies,” she said. “Put that stick and piece of steel away. Some of you have classes.”

Lady Violet took a step forward, keeping Sir Violet at the ready.

The woman cocked an eyebrow. “I see.”

She clapped her hands. Everyone came to attention. Everyone.

“Listen up. Emelia McKay and Lana Woodland are currently tardy for their first classes at Blue Wheel Preparatory. If I have to bring them in any later than absolutely necessary, I shall blame each and every one of you.

“Do I make myself clear?”

The building cleared out.

She smiled, and nodded to me. “Come along, then.”

copyright 2019 Jack Holder

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