Looking up at Amothel, Haley said, “We want to talk to her. Everything that happened today from the Rocket and Bloodmaiden fighting downtown to Shifter showing up here connect to the Cabal and she used to run the Cabal.”
Graffiti Knight, his voice muffled by his helmet, said, “Really? Amazing. I imagine I’ll forget that soon, but Ruthie’s so old. She knows everything.”
Vengeance sighed. Amothel shook her head, “We can ask her if she wants to talk to you, but if she doesn’t want to, we won’t push and I wouldn’t get my hopes up. She doesn’t want to talk to anybody from the outside.”
“Tell her,” I said, “that Magnus is trying to do something big. We think we know what it is, but he’s been interested in it for quite a while and she might know more than we do. Also, if she knows where an object that he’s looking for is, we’re interested in knowing more.”
Vengeance tilted his head to look at me, “What’s he looking for?”
“Uh…” I thought about how much I’d have to say for him to get it. Multi-dimensional aliens that predate our universe, a division between them that caused them to create a device for killing each other, and the unpleasant knowledge that Lee had hidden it somewhere on or around Earth. Plus, of course, the fact that telling people about it might attract their attention, causing a battle that would at the very least destroy Earth and maybe the whole solar system with it.
Amy shook her head and looked at me.
“Let’s put it this way,” I said, “you’ve probably already been told things that, if you passed them on, had the potential for huge, massively disastrous consequences? This is another one of those. Plus, this one comes with a target on your back and the potential to attract the attention of supernatural beings I don’t dare to name.”
Vengeance nodded and let out a sigh, “Yeah, I get it. I could tell you a story or two myself except it wouldn’t be worth the pain.”
Amothel smiled, showing her teeth again, “We’ve all seen a few things we can’t talk about and some of us know many. By any chance, does this device have any relationship to The Thing That Eats?”
If you assumed that both the device and The Thing That Eats had connections to the Artificers, sure. I replied, “Indirectly.”
Amothel gave a slow nod, “That might pique her interest.”
Both “Ruthie Shaw” and The Thing That Eats were immortal or near to it. It wasn’t impossible that they’d known about each other. If Amothel wanted to help, I was fine with it.
“I’ll pass that on,” she said and glanced over at Graffiti Knight and Vengeance, “We should go.”
Graffiti Knight started for the door, waving to us as he left, “Well met, fellow heroes. Fight with honor and determination and I’m sure we’ll meet again in your… coffee-filled halls.”
Vengeance shook his head, “Don’t forget that if they target Bloodmaiden again, we will be back. If she happens to be attacked while someone targets the rest of you though, well, that most likely won’t worry the Wizard’s Council as much.”
Amy raised a hand to wave them out, “That’s fine, thanks. I don’t need you to watch me all the time.”
Amothel followed Vengeance out, giving us all one last look as they stepped outside of the building.
The door shut behind her. She stood next to Graffiti Knight and Vengeance as shadows swirled around them. They disappeared, much to the delight of the remaining people who’d pointed their phones at the group the moment the door opened.
With that, Amy, Haley, and I were together without outsiders. We looked at each other. Haley let her costume turn back into clothing. I had too much material for that, so my suit absorbed the helmet.
I looked over at Amy who was leaning against one of the room’s concrete pillars, “Still tired?”
She shook her head, “It’s not bad in my real body, but when I think about the past Bloodmaidens, I can tell that they feel tired.”
Haley raised an eyebrow at that, but still said, “When they said you’re a provisional member of the Council, what did they mean?”
Amy raised her hands in the air, “I don’t know yet. The Council and Reliquary didn’t use to get along because he was working with superheroes, but something happened and now they’re okay with him. As his apprentices according to their system, Samita and I got grandfathered in with him. So now we’re okay and because of everything that happened around The Thing That Eats, it’s more than okay. I’m still waiting on finding out what we get out of it, if anything.”
“It looks like you get protection out of it,” Haley glanced toward the windows as if expecting something to happen.
Amy laughed, “I never expected that. Here wizards need protection from normal people. In my world, normal people need protection from us.”
Haley gave a faint smile, “Yeah.”
Then she turned around. Even as she did, I heard a crackling noise. I made the helmet reform on my head, noticing that Haley’s clothes turned back into her costume. Deciding to follow her example, I saw that a circle of shadowy flame had appeared on the crimson carpet in front of us.
A voice came out of it, “The one known to the world as Ruthie Shaw has accepted your request for an audience. Step into this circle at your earliest convenience.”
Haley and I looked back at Amy who’d made a small motion with her hand, staring at the circle, “It’s really the Council. They want us right now.”