Chinatown 7:30 PM
Wes and Kim stood on the rooftop of the brownstone house next to Andrea’s house, waiting for the signal. Below, Paula and Grim crept through the shadows to the back of the house, while Riley and Brandi moved toward the front. The pairs each had their weapons and wands ready, but concealed to prevent any casual traffic on the busy street from observing them.
“This is a little risky isn’t it, Wes? I know we can be subtle, but what about her?”
“It’s the only way. If we wait too long, she will come to us, subtle or not. Or worse, she will hit the wedding tomorrow with all of those innocent people there.”
“Ok, if you say so.” She said, before kissing him on the cheek. “I am right here with you.”
Grim and Paula reached the back door, facing the alley behind the house. He looked over at her and nodded. Paula touched her cell phone, and a second later Kim’s vibrated. “Paula says they’re ready,” Kim whispered.
Moments later the vibration repeated and she motioned to Wes that Riley and Brandi were ready too.
Andrea was at the desk of her study, peering into her own crystal ball, searching for either Grim or Wes. Frustrated still, she moved over the next room and stepped inside the magic circle. It was time for another spell to at least narrow down their location of she could. Chad was on the computer, searching the FBI data base and other sources for information on the elusive Wes and even more elusive Grim.
Riley and Kim casually stepped into the lobby of the Andrea’s townhouse. It shared a lobby with another one just like it, and she easily opened the door, unlocking it with a wave of her hand, while Riley carefully looked around to make sure they were unobserved. Stepping through, they reached a pair of doors, one leading to the neighbor, and one to their target.
Paula and Grim waited at the back door. Any moment, they expected a signal from Gavin indicating that he and Kim had reached the roof access and that Riley and Brandi were in position.
Andrea was completing her spell, and suddenly it was clear to her. Not only was Wes in the same city, he was very close by. Her eyes glinted wolfishly. An idea came to her. “I have been stupid, I should be looking for his girls. They won’t have the same protections. And where they are, he is sure to be!” She muttered aloud.
Both the front and back doors silently opened, and the two pairs of invaders slipped inside, making every effort to remain quiet. Meanwhile, the rooftop access door silently opened as well, and first Wes, and then as he caught her as she dropped, Kim moved into the silent attic. It was dark, but both had their magical lenses on, and they moved carefully across the cluttered room to the door leading to the third floor.
Grim and Paula slipped into the garage. It was empty except for a SUV and a few boxes, and stairs leading to the second floor door.
Meanwhile, Riley and Brandi moved cautiously up the stairs toward the front door of the townhouse. Brandi could feel the sweat dripping down her back, in spite of the cool evening air, and she fought down an urge to run. She remembered Vivian, how she had been left as a mannequin by the evil woman they were about to fight, and her mouth set again in anger.
Andrea stepped back into her study. She could easily picture all of his girls after months of observation, spying and studying their pictures she had taken. She began to focus on Sarah, who she had determined to be the likely leader. It took only a moment, and she found her.
Sarah and Cheryl sat at the kitchen table, worrying and chatting quietly. Beth was still at the computer, diving into work to take her mind of things, while Vanessa and Michelle were cooking food and checking on the sleeping Holli and Vivian from time to time.
“So where is Wes?” Andrea thought as she looked. She decided to shift over to one of the girls not in the room, deciding that the newest girl, Paula, was a good possibility.
Grim and Paula were at that moment at the door leading out of the garage into the house and Andrea watched for a moment as Paula carefully dispelled a glyph.
Andrea stood, and swept from the room into the office. “We have visitors at the back door, come on!” She commanded. Instantly, Chad stopped what he was doing, stood and drew his gun. “Put a silencer on that thing, we don’t want a lot of noise just yet if we can help it.” Andrea commanded again as she saw him pull out the heavy automatic.
Chad nodded and pulled out a silencer from his pocket, and began to quickly screw it on.
Riley waited silently as Brandi dispelled a glyph, then another at the front door. Brandi nodded, and they silently opened the door.
Kim looked at Wes in alarm when they heard voices below. He nodded, and then cast a silent spell that knocked out several glyphs that they had carefully sidestepped, opened the door, and removed the glyphs on that.
Andrea and Chad moved quickly down the stairs to the second floor. Their intruders were would be in the kitchen any minute. Turning on lights as they went, the living room was lit up just as Riley and Brandi stepped inside the door.
Chad immediately turned toward the pair of intruders and opened fire. Riley stepped in front of Brandi a moment too late, before throwing a quickly drawn dagger at the man. Andrea, just entering the kitchen, heard the pop of the silencer, and screams, just as she saw Grim come through the door. Deciding that the screams had given the game away, she cut loose with a spell that she had stored in a ring on her finger just as Grim fired his dart gun at her.
Brandi screamed in pain as the heavy .45 caliber bullet caught her in the stomach, knocking her off her feet. Falling down the stairs, she felt her left arm snap as she blacked out. Riley, enraged, watched in satisfaction as the dagger caught the man square in the chest, before snarling in frustration as it bounced off. “Shit, he has armor under there,” he thought, jumping behind a couch as a round barely missed his head.
The kitchen was lit up with a bright flash, and a thunderous sound of a lightning bolt shattered every piece of glass, including the windows, in the room. A white bolt of light smashed into Grim, throwing him off the stairs, knocking Paula down behind him and both fell in a heap on the garage floor.
Andrea clutched her leg, where the dart had nearly penetrated her spider silk leggings, pulling it out and massaging the nasty bruise. “Shit, not this time Grim,” She snarled at him, and walked toward the now vacant doorway to finish the job.
Wes jumped down to the third floor and ran toward down the hall looking for the stairs. Kim followed as quickly, pausing at each room to make sure no one else was behind them. Reaching the stairs in a moment, Wes moved down them as quickly as he could.
Chad was aiming carefully. He knew the heavy bullet would go right through the thin couch that Riley was taking cover behind and was fairly certain he knew where his head was. He had only a couple of rounds left, but he smiled as he began to squeeze the trigger.
Wes saw him, and knew that he didn’t have time for a spell. Jumping from the stairway, he landed on top of the FBI agent, knocking both of them to the ground. Moments behind him, Kim ran down the stairs, and saw Wes dazed and Chad reaching again for his gun. She swore, and cut loose with a spell, her anger and rage and fear at Brandi’s scream giving it unexpected power.
His head pounding, Chad reached for the gun and was just beginning to point it at his new assailant when an angry red glow surrounded him and he suddenly couldn’t move.
Riley was standing, drawing a dart gun of his own, as he watched the spell engulf the man, and then almost in a pair of eye blinks, the man’s skin began to loose its color, before gradually in the course of minute transform, along with the rest of him, into glass.
Andrea stood at the doorway, and heard the thud as Wes landed on top of Chad. Thinking that all was at least contained in the front, she looked down at the two figures trying to pick themselves off the floor. Grim, waves of pain smashing into him from his burns, tossed away the ruined dart pistol and was trying to pull another weapon from his pocket, while Paula, dazed and bruised, was trying to clear her head as she lay there stunned.
“Good bye Grim, you should really stay out of private fights between a wife and her husband,” Andrea said, her beautiful soprano voice now taking on a menacing tone.
Riley heard her in the other room and acted quickly, throwing a baseball sized object into the kitchen.
As Andrea was releasing her spell, a massive flash of light and sound again filled the kitchen, knocking her forward out from the doorway. Stunned, but using a lifetime of instincts, she managed to break her fall with a catlike gymnastics move that amazed the dazed Paula.
Riley dashed into the completely ruined kitchen, Wes following a little slower as he cleared his head. Kim dashed down the stairs toward the open front door where she had last heard Brandi.
As Andrea landed, Paula saw the little ball of fire land almost on top of her and Grim. She had time to grasp her amulet, and then felt a wave of coolness sweep through her as the magical protection of her ring saved her as a dazzling ball of fire erupted from the previously small fireball and blew the door of the garage open, and immediately set fire to the SUV parked inside. Amazed that the ring actually worked, and at the most important moment, she quickly threw a spell to put out the flames that were engulfing her lover.
Andrea swore as she hit the floor, and instinctively twisted a ring as the fireball exploded. She felt the painful heat, but the magic of the ring, like that of Paula’s, protected her from the worst of the intense heat. However, it did not protect her clothes and she, like Paula, were now practically naked as the fearsome heat literally reduced the majority of their clothing, and almost everything else, to smouldering ash. With only her forn-fitting spidersilk undergarment remaining, and a submachinegun, Andrea was even a more fearsome sight now.
Riley swore as he dove away from the doorway, pushing Wes out of the way as a sheet of fire shot out the open door from the fireball below.
“Shit! I think she is really pissed at us,” he shouted, temporally deafened by the too many explosions in too short of time. Wes, similarly afflicted, nodded, and dashed to the door.
“Don’t let her get away.” He shouted. Things were getting out of hand in a hurry, Brandi was down, and he hoped fervently she was alive. He knew that Paula should be ok, but what about Grim?
Only a couple of minutes had passed, and the neighborhood and streets outside were still filled with the screams of passing people reacting to the deafening explosions and flashes of light. Soon a massive police response would have to be expected.
Kim leaned over the fallen Brandi, checking her pulse, and then relieved that her friend was still alive, teleported her back to the house and Cheryl. Now intensely angry, she strode up the stairs to rejoin the fight.
Andrea was the first to recover from the events in the garage. With both of her immediate enemies still dealing with the after affects of the fireball, and knowing now that more enemies were behind her and had taken out Chad, she had to make a quick decision. Instinctively, she dashed out of the burning garage through the splintered door and into the alley.
Paula realizing now that both of her legs were broken, bit her tongue to keep from screaming. The burning car next to her was filling the garage with black smoke and the heat, in spite of the magic protecting her, was becoming unbearable. Focusing all of her strength and concentration, she pulled Grim to her, and teleported them both back to the house.
Wes saw them vanish, and thanked the gods, then leapt onto the garage floor, Riley right behind. They dashed through the flaming garage out into the alley.
Kim reached the top of the stairs and walked over to the glass statue that used to be an FBI agent.
“YOU FUCKING BASTARD! YOU COULD HAVE KILLED HER!” she screamed, rage filling her. She let lose a spell, and watched, her eyes glinting, tears streaming down her face, as the glass statue shattered into countless tiny shards. Wiping away the blood from the wounds the tiny slivers of glass caused to her face, and the angry tears, she walked toward the garage.
Andrea, still trying to clear the painful headache caused by the explosions all around her, didn’t hear the two men approaching her. But some instinct caused her to turn, and she saw them both, outlined in the flames behind them.
She recognized both the shapes of her husband and surprisingly, the lover she had before Wes and suddenly the emotions overwhelmed her. Swinging the submachine gun, she fired at the dark figures, before turning and running.
At the stairs leading down to the garage, Kim looked at the roaring inferno. “Oh shit, this isn’t good,” Kim muttered, the rage leaving her. “I have to take care of this,” She exclaimed just as she heard the gunshots.
Kim cast a spell, and immediately, a cold blast of air and frost filled the garage, quenching the flames and putting out the fires just before the flames reached the gas tank. The frost from the arctic blast of air was immediately melted by the flames, leaving the entire floor drenched in water, oil and soot.
Dashing through the ruin, she slipped and half dove, half fell out of the garage as a rain of bullets zipped over her head. But she heard Wes swear, saw someone fall and she prayed it wasn’t him.
Andrea, screaming in incoherent rage, fired off the entire clip from the UZI she had been carrying. Seeing one of them fall, but turning to run, she didn’t know who she had hit. Running down the alley, her only thought is that she needed to escape. Things had gotten out of hand, and now the local authorities were bound to come.
Wes felt a round graze his arm and cursed at being shot. It wasn’t bad, he realized a moment later. But he saw Riley stumble and heard bullets thudding into him and knew that Riley was in trouble.
“Shit!” he swore as he stopped. He watched as Andrea ran away, and a moment later disappearing as she teleported. He and Kim reached Riley at the same moment.
“Oh God, is he dead?” Kim asked.
Riley managed to open his eyes, and smile, in spite of the obvious pain. “Of course not. I can’t let her kill me, that would be cause even more problems.”
For Kim, this was the final straw. Collapsing into tears, she sobbed as she knelt by the wounded man. “I killed the other guy Wes, I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted him to pay for Brandi. What have I done?” she cried.
“It’s ok honey, I know,” He said to her, holding her close as he squeezed Riley’s hand. “I’ll get us out of here now.”
With both of his wounded friends close to him, Wes uttered a spell and all three of them vanished.
A few moments later, a police cruiser turned into the alley, sirens and lights on, headlights lighting up a now empty space.
Less than fifteen minutes from the first explosion, dozens of police and fire personnel where going through the shattered building, looking for wounded. They were amazed to find not a body in sight.
In the house, the shattered kitchen and garage dripped water, while smashed furniture and bullet holes, along with countless shards of glass, were all that remained of the spotless living room
A police captain and fire chief toured the mess, grimly wondering where the bodies were to go with all of the damage.
7:35 PM North Beach
Sarah felt the something and looked around. Something wasn’t right, and seconds later Michelle noticed it too.
“Someone is scrying us?” Michelle asked.
“Yes, and you know it isn’t Wes.” Sarah replied, and as she was getting a spell ready to block the scrying, it ended abruptly.
“Let everyone know that she might be coming,” Cheryl told Michelle and watched as Sarah got up and walked over to the next room to get her own crystal ball.
As the girls who stayed behind got ready for an attack, a few minutes later Brandi suddenly materialized within the magic circle. One look at her barely conscious body, and Vanessa screamed.
“My god! It’s Brandi and she is hurt bad!”
Cheryl raced into the room, Michelle, Sarah and Beth right behind.
“Quick, get her to the table!” Cheryl ordered. Michelle and Vanessa picked her up, while Sarah raced to get the medical kit and Beth raced to grab some towels.
Tense moments followed, but Cheryl checked over the unconscious Brandi and determined that thankfully, the spider silk had prevented the bullet from entering her body. But she was hurt, with a badly broken arm, some internal bleeding and a concussion. Sarah was just starting a healing spell under Cheryl’s direction when Paula appeared in the circle holding an unconscious and badly burned Grim.
Cheryl raced over to her, leaving Sarah to continue to work on Brandi. Beth helped Cheryl pick up Grim and carry him to another empty table, while Michelle picked up Paula with strength she didn’t know she had and carried her to a couch.
Sobbing with pain, rage and fear for her lover, Paula filled them in as best she could.
As she finished, the last three appeared, and Beth ran over to them. “Is Riley dead?”
“No, he will be ok; although some intense healing will help things a lot.”
“What!” was all that Beth could think to say.
All of the girls turned to look, shocked.
“He has a ring that will heal him in time. Look, he has already stopped bleeding,” Wes replied.
Already, the three bullet holes that had knocked Riley out had indeed stopped hemorrhaging blood.
“He has a ring that allows him to regenerate wounds, even keep him from death. But he is out of the fight for now.”
“Did you get her?” Sarah asked, angered by the hurt caused to her friends and finally finished with dealing with Brandi’s injuries.
“No, but she is running scared now, and I know where she is going next.”
Looking over at the shaken Paula, already being worked on by Michelle, “Can you teleport me to Beverly Hills Paula?”
Michelle’s healing spell had indeed worked its magic Paula thought. She still hurt, and she was exhausted, but she had enough left to send him.
“Yes, I can do it. But you can’t go alone.”
“No, he can’t. He isn’t leaving me behind this time damn it. I am going,” Sarah replied.
“So am I!” Michelle added.
Wes was going to argue, but he saw the anger and strength in the women’s eyes. They would come with him now or a few minutes later on their own even if he said no.
Well, he needed the help.
“Ok. Let’s roll.” He replied.
Beverly Hills 7:55 PM
Andrea limped through the mansion, now empty except for the mannequins in the parlor and the statues outside. She was near hysteria, as things were going terribly wrong. Her best slaves were now stolen or dead, and the confrontation with her husband, what she had dreamed of so long, had gone badly. Her leg hurt like hell from the impact of the dart earlier, and the rest of her body felt like one big bruise from the fall down the stairs.
While the fire had left her body and hair untouched, it had burned the clothes right off her, except for the skin tight spider silk body suit and her leather belt and pouch. Even now disheveled, she was as gorgeous as a goddess, her tight body still moved with perfect grace and balance through the room as she swept from the magic circle in her study to her office.
She needed a healing potion, as the bruises where starting to really hurt and she knew her husband would be along directly. Finding it at last, she drank the sweet tasting fluid from the crystal decanter and sighed as she felt the warmth seep through her, healing cuts, scrapes and bruises and knitting a cracked rib along her right side.
After a few minutes, having caught her breath, she decided that she needed attend to her looks. Walking into the bathroom, she began to carefully brush her hair and touch up her makeup.
A big giddy smile on her face, she looked at the mirror as she fixed her face and hair. “My husband is coming to see me. I will show him. He belongs to me, you know. All I have to do is show him.”
The mirror did not reply, but that didn’t bother her. She knew it would be all right. All she had needed to do was show him that she still wanted him.
A little voice in the back of her head kept trying to surface. To remind her that she had attacked his friends and nearly killed him a few minutes before. Her smile left her, and she punched the mirror, smashing it.
“Don’t you talk to me. You don’t know what you are talking about. He wants me, only me. I know it. He would never replace me with those human girls.”
Distantly, outside in the garden, a collection of shadows were gathering. They listened as the last pale vestiges of sanity left the Elven woman inside the house.