On the freeway, an SUV had stopped and three teenage girls stood by the concrete railing, all of them pointing their phones in our direction. I wondered how long they’d been there and my implant flipped back to when Prentkos and the Cabal soldier landed in the road. They’d seen everything they could.
I wondered how all of that looked to an observer. I hadn’t done anything I regretted, but that didn’t matter. I needed to get the footage to Kayla so she could get it to the League’s marketing and public relations team.
The way Amy had made Major Justice, Mime, and South Beach Surfer disappear in red flashes wasn’t going to look good—not to mention stabbing Mime. It was going to look especially bad if she’d straight out disintegrated them.
If we were lucky she’d sent them to some kind of blood magic hell dimension that we could pull them out of immediately.
Still hanging on to her as I turned toward HQ, I asked, “What did you do to them?”
She laughed, “Don’t worry about it. They’re not dead. I teleported them back to their respective homes. What did you think I did?”
“I didn’t know. I thought you might have dumped them into an alternate dimension for safekeeping.”
Amy turned to stare at me, “I can’t do that.”
She stopped and frowned, “Oh, I could have, but I couldn’t have gotten them out unless we kept Mime with us. I know it looked like I’d absorbed his abilities, but it was more complicated. I used the spear to tap his abilities without killing him, but as soon as he was gone, so was the tap.”
“Huh,” I said, thinking about it. “Could you have done that a few years ago with the dragon?”
She sighed, “No. I had the potential. I didn’t have the skill. Red Hex and Reliquary gave me a new perspective on magic that changes everything—even my understanding of blood magic. I can do a lot more than the mages at home taught me.”
Before I came up with a response, Major Justice’s icon started flashing in my HUD. I considered telling the system to ignore his calls, but I decided that would be worse. Then I wouldn’t know which bug was currently up his butt.
Bracing myself for his newest batch of irrationality, I took the call.
“I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that Mime is well and so far undamaged by your friend’s little stunt even if he is tired. If there’s permanent harm to him, though, we’ll send your magical friend’s ass back to her little fairy kingdom. Children like you have no sense of anything but their own power. You need to develop a sense of goddam responsibility and—“
“Look,” I said, “you came in out of nowhere, did not ask what was going on, and let a would-be assassin escape. You didn’t do anything useful and you actively screwed up what we were trying to do. What’s your problem? Did the old League reject you for membership or something?”
I didn’t wait for him to answer. I closed the connection, resolving not to answer if he called back to shout at me again.
His icon lit up again less than a second after I hung up, but then stopped pulsing as if he’d also realized that the conversation wasn’t going anywhere. If we were lucky, he’d give up completely, but given that we were only hours away by podjet, I wasn’t holding my breath.
Amy and I were flying over a residential area by then, houses in grids below us, all of them lived in by people who’d likely hear about the events I’d just been in through some filter. I hoped it would be more favorable than not.
No longer breathing heavily, Amy said, “I only heard one end of that conversation and it didn’t sound good.”
“It wasn’t great. Major Justice called to let me know that I’m irresponsible and that if Mime’s not okay, he’s going to send you home.”
She raised an eyebrow, “Can he do that?”
Checking around us with my suit’s sensors, I didn’t see any pursuit and replied, “I have no idea. I’d say no simply because his team doesn’t have a wizard or anything, but we don’t either and we could.”
She let out a breath, “I can’t go back yet. It isn’t time and besides, I want to see all of you through this mess.”
Kayla’s voice came over the comm, addressed to the whole group, “We’ve been receiving your feed and that didn’t look good. I’m sending it over to our people and they can try to figure out how to talk about this.”
“Thanks. I was going to send it to you, but if you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”
With that, Amy and I were alone in the air again. I didn’t need Kayla to tell me that everyone else she’d scrambled was heading back to base. I could see it in my HUD.
I was beginning to relax again, realizing that my heartbeat had been racing only now that it wasn’t. Amy, meanwhile, had turned to look behind us as if expecting someone to come racing out of the distance. No one did. When she turned back to face me again, her mouth twisted and she asked, “Do you think Major Justice has any connection to the North American Wizards’ Council? Because they could send me home.”
“I doubt it,” I said. “You know what they’re like. They don’t work with superheroes except when they’ve got no choice.”