Chapter 3 - The Bait

2591 Words
They had found it. They had found one of the most powerful relics that had ever existed—the Asi sword. A weapon imbued with so much potent energy that it could create a rift between dimensions. A weapon that could get him to the Otherworld. “Where is it?” William asked breathlessly, taking an impatient step toward her. “I posted an inquiry on the dark web a few months back, searching for the Asi sword and offering fifty million dollars for it,” she said with a big smile. William’s eyebrows rose almost to his hair. “Fifty million dollars?” he exclaimed. “We don’t have that kind of money!” “Obviously.” Mary grimaced. “We won’t be buying it. We just needed to find it. So, anyway. At first, there was nothing. Then, an hour ago, I received a reply that a private collector in Florida was in possession of the sword and was willing to sell it.” “That sounds like a trap.” William pointed out. “Of course, it’s a trap. What do you take me for?” She grumbled. “So I requested proof.” She typed something on the tablet she was carrying, turning it so he could see the screen. A video started playing, featuring a man in a three-piece suit holding an old-fashioned sword. After swinging it a few times, he stepped closer, lifting the sword with two hands in front of the camera so the engravings on it could be seen clearly. The blade was fine—more than fine—sharp and shiny, as if the passage of time was nothing to it. The hilt was so masterfully inlaid that William had to pause for a moment to admire its beauty. Fifty million dollars didn’t seem that much for it now that he thought about it. “How do you know it’s the real one?” he asked, glancing at her. “Well, we won’t know until we hold it in our hands. But look at those engravings,” Mary said, pausing the video and zooming it in. “Those are Ascendant runes and they can only be drawn by a powerful Ascendant. If a normal person tries to write them or engrave them, they will fade away almost instantly. Also, I asked him to use the sword on something, and he did. The whole sofa was cut in two, the parts that touched the sword were scorched as if a blazing fire had cut through them. It has to be the real deal.” “Is the seller an Ascendant?” “He is human. But that’s a problem for another time,” Mary said, hugging her tablet again. “The real question here is—are we going to go even though we know it’s a trap? His offer expires at midnight.” William rubbed his face, the voices in his head screaming a thousand things at once. He couldn’t put the others in danger, not for his selfish reasons. But he couldn’t let this chance pass, either. “Send me the coordinates,” he said, turning his back on her and rushing to the small cupboard next to his bed. He opened the top drawer, taking out the bulletproof vest he had stored inside. They had learned that while their powers could stop bullets, they were not as fast as them. A moment of delay and their lives could end just like that of any other human. So taking extra precautions had become part of all of their outside missions. “Tell him we have a deal.” “Are we leaving right away?” Mary asked from the other side of the room. “You’re staying here,” William replied, throwing the vest over his head and tightening the straps. “I’m going in alone.” “I thought you might say that.” Mary sighed. A moment later, he heard the door open, and he turned, expecting to see her leaving. Instead, she stepped aside and a group of six people strode into the room. Marcus stood in front of them, also wearing a bulletproof vest. Two dark runes peeked over his turtleneck—one for speed and one for deflection of light, which was supposed to make him almost invisible to the untrained eye. Rashid, Jordan, and a few of the older members stood ready beside him. “No,” William said, grabbing his jacket from the bed. He strode to Marcus, pointing a finger at him. “Especially you. If anything happens to me, the Order falls into your hands so we can’t both risk our lives for this.” “In that case, you’ll be the one staying then,” Marcus smirked. “Since I already know the coordinates and you don’t.” William glared at Mary and she gave him an apologetic smile. “I know what’s going through that stubborn head of yours, but we’re going with or without you. No matter the reason, that sword is too dangerous to stay in the hands of the humans. God forbid Damien gets to it before we do.” “They’ll be waiting for us,” William reasoned, although he suspected there was nothing he could say that would sway him. “We don’t know how many. We don’t know their positions or their intent.” “So what?” Marcus shrugged, but even with that confident smile on his face, William could sense his uneasiness. “It’s been a while since I kicked somebody’s ass.” William sighed in resignation, glancing at the others. “Fine.” He nodded, his eyes stopping on Ariana. He hadn’t seen her at first, but when she moved to the front of the group, she gave him a sad smile. She had pulled her long blonde hair into a ponytail and replaced the knee-long dresses she usually wore with a pair of dark, tight-fitting pants and a black shirt. He was so used to seeing her in lighter colors and more reserved outfits that he stared longer than he intended. Marcus cleared his throat, and William quickly looked away. “Do you all have deflective runes?” William asked as he raised his finger to his neck. He had grown so used to drawing those, with him being a wanted fugitive and all, that he could probably do it with his eyes closed. Everybody nodded, and he urged Marcus and Rashid to open two separate portals at some distance from each other. He didn’t want to turn into an easy target from the very start in case they were waiting for them from the get-go. William watched as they opened the portals, then glanced at Mary, who handed him something. He stared at the tiny white thing resting on her palm, taking it with two fingers. “Welcome to the twenty-first century.” She grinned. “Being an Ascendant doesn’t make you an omnipotent, mind-reading being, so use those to coordinate. The others have theirs already. Tap it twice to transmit. You can thank me later.” William nodded, stuffing the device in his ear. She handed him another gadget that looked like a radio, but it had an arrow that could move from left to right. Currently, it was anchored on the left side. “This device will help you find the Asi sword. Once we knew its location, I did a wide search for any unusual readings around that place and found a unique frequency similar to that of our powers. I adjusted this to detect this kind of signature, so the closer you get to it, the closer the arrow would go to the red side.” “Thanks.” William turned his back on her and nodded to Marcus, Ariana, and Jordan, who were going to go with him through one of the portals. He felt Marcus’s hand squeeze his shoulder before he stepped through the pulsing energy, bracing himself for an attack on the other end. The cold air engulfed him as he appeared on the other side, and he raised a ward even before his vision cleared. The portal blinked out of existence, drowning them in complete darkness. William waited for the attack to come, but there was nothing. With each passing second, his eyes grew more and more accustomed to the dark until he could see his surroundings. They were in a giant garden about a hundred and fifty feet away from an imposing three-floor mansion, big double-winged windows covering the better part of the side they were facing, providing little to no cover for anyone without a deflective rune. William raised his hand and touched the rune on his neck, feeling the slight tingling of its energy. He had expected the humans to use one of their new disruption devices to mess with their powers—Peter and Rashid had stumbled upon one of those while trying to get a few people across the Canadian border. Thanks to them and Mary, the Order knew of their existence and how to disable them. Unfortunately, they had no luck figuring out how to get their powers to work when those things were in range. These machines used some kind of frequency that rendered all rune magic useless; they could still use their energy in close range, but there was a fifty-fifty chance of it backfiring or not working properly. So far, there were no signs of a trap. If this turned out to be a genuine deal, they ought to be the luckiest people in the world. And the guy selling the sword—the unluckiest, since none of them brought fifty million dollars with them. The garden itself stretched in both directions, tall hedge figures in different forms making him question his sight every few seconds. His eyes moved back to the building, inspecting the windows, but he noticed no movement behind them. Most of them were dark except for the last floor. “What now?” Ariana asked, stopping by his side and staring up at one of the bushes that looked like some type of bird with a long beak and a tiny body. Before he could answer, she took a step toward the bush. “What are you doing?” William hissed, but she just raised her hand to silence him without even turning. As she reached the hedge, a thin sliver of purple mist left her fingers and disappeared behind the bush. A few seconds later, a body half-stepped, half-floated forward, the mist now hovering around his entire head like a helmet. The man was wearing black clothes and military gear—he was even holding a radio in his hand. William stared at the dazed eyes of the human, wondering what she was doing to him. He had never seen her use her powers like that before and by the looks of it, she wasn’t hurting him—not that he expected Ariana to hurt another living soul, human or Ascendant, without a very good reason. The guy looked like he was dreaming. She motioned at the body and he slid next to the bush, the same dazed look on his face. She returned to them, keeping her forefinger on her lips. She stopped next to William, leaning closer. “There are more of them in the garden. They can’t see us because of the runes, but they know we are here since they probably saw the portals opening,” she whispered, and William nodded. “We should be able to go past them if we keep quiet. But what if they have those things that girl mentioned?” “They probably have them inside,” William said, motioning for the others to move closer. “We need to get into that building. We are too exposed like this and we don’t know for sure if they have a way of spotting us. Let’s move over there,” he said, pointing to one of the windows of the first floor that was half-hidden by a massive tree growing nearby. “Keep your eyes open. If you find yourself put in the corner, portal yourself out if you can. Clear?” Everybody nodded, so William signed for them to be quiet. He took the lead on their way toward the building, circling more of the strange bush figures, fountains, and decorative benches. Ariana had been right, of course, and it took less than a minute to prove that. Stepping carefully so as not to make a sound or break something under his foot, William noticed a dozen more soldiers before they could even reach the house. They were all hiding behind the big objects in the garden, armed with rifles and even more sidearms attached to their thighs. Their faces were tense and some even had their eyes closed, as if trying to focus their hearing. They were expecting not to see them. William gritted his teeth, continuing forward with more caution. A crack resounded from behind him and he froze, his head snapping back. Marcus’s eyes widened as he stared at the small branch under his foot. He had lowered himself as close to the ground as possible, half expecting a bullet to pin him on his spot, but nothing happened. An owl creaked somewhere close by, then the night was drowned in silence again. William held back a sigh, then continued forward until he was behind the tree he had pointed to the others. He waited for the rest to reach him, amazed at how easy it was to spot the soldiers from this side. There were a few dozen of them, all spread out to cover the whole garden. None of them made a sound or moved. As all of his group finally gathered under the dark window, he signed for Ariana to raise a barrier around them then motioned at Marcus and Jordan to lift him up. Catching each other's wrists, they made a place for him to step and he climbed up, catching the windowsill and peeking inside. After his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he inspected the room carefully, thanking the gods when he didn’t notice anyone inside. He called on his powers and focused them on the window mechanism. After a few seconds, one of the wings of the giant window opened with a creak, and William froze, waiting for anything to happen. When it didn’t, he pulled himself up and rolled inside. A strange weight appeared in his body as if there was something around his ankles that was dragging him down. He raised his hands to his neck but could sense neither of the runes working anymore. He stepped back toward the window, making a sign for the others to follow. A second later, Jordan pulled himself up so William stepped back to give him space. He walked to the door, pressing his ears toward the wood, and listened for any noise outside while the others got in one by one. William took out the device Mary gave him out of his pocket, turning its switch on to check which direction they should go. The thing let out a loud cracking sound, then as the arrow moved to the red, it made a piercing screech that reverberated through the floor like a banshee’s cry. A set of clicks came from the other side of the door and a second later, the sound of machine guns firing filled William’s ears.
Free reading for new users
Scan code to download app
  • author-avatar
  • chap_listContents
  • likeADD