Kara’s story continues…
And a completely unrelated story, starring Kara and Mun, can be found here.
Writing Prompt: A Druid’s Spell – part 3
Killian bowed to the Ancient – the sprawling oak he and Kara had came to meet – and said their goodbyes before releasing his spell. Kara had asked it a few questions after she got over her shock that the main reason she had sought out the tree was a bust. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been able to provide many answers, other than that the demon, Eukithor, was a higher level demon – which was bad – and that she, like everyone else, had assumed he was dead.
He and Kara just stared at each other a moment. What to do now? The tree wouldn’t be able to identify their suspect through a picture on Kara’s phone. He wished he had known that’s what she had intended before they had attempted this little charade; he could have warned her. He had only known she would ask the Ancient some questions.
Stepping closer so they could whisper, she typed into her phone, he assumed sending a report to Roric. “Well, at least we got a little information. He had a small, but loyal following; and was supposedly destroyed by someone more powerful.”
Killian nodded, thoughtful. “Yes, but the Ancient couldn’t give me a name of who destroyed him unfortunately. Only impressions of the man’s spirit. That doesn’t help us though… she also gave impressions of a spell being cast, but again, nothing specific. Just that it was powerful enough to destroy Eukithor, and a bright light had engulfed the demon.”
Putting away her slim phone into a hidden pocket of her dress, Kara looked around, peering into the night shrouded gardens. “That also isn’t much help. A lot of spells can have that effect.” She sighed, heavily. “Well, we’re here. We might as well look around, see if we can find any evidence of Montgomery involved in either Eukithor or the Calabrook murders.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned down at her with his most stubborn expression. “No. Absolutely not. I agreed to help you speak to a tree. Not investigate Montgomery’s estate or try to pin a couple murders on him. I’ve fulfilled my obligation to the guild.”
Her draw dropped in astonishment before she turned a full glare on him. He barely held back his grin.
“The guild helped you hang onto over forty thousand acres of land! All you did was play dress up and mumble at a tree!” She moved closer to make sure he could hear her furious whispers. “Your obligation is hardly fulfilled.”
He leaned over her, drawn to her fury. “Regardless of how you choose to weigh the debts, I agreed to assist you in communing with the Ancient as payment for my debt to the guild, and that is what I have done. There is no reason for me to continue to assist Darklight in this matter.”
If one could be killed with a look, he’d be a dead man right now.
Her glower suddenly turned thoughtful. He could practically see the thoughts churning behind her gold flecked eyes. She silently eyed him a moment before a small smile tugged at her lips. He had her.
“I’ll make a new deal with you.” She pressed closer still and had to tilt her head back to continue to meet his eyes. He could feel the caress of her dress against his tux and cautioned himself not to reach for her. Not yet.
He forced a grudging note into his tone. “What deal?”
“Help me search Randwolf tonight and I’ll go on a second date with you.”
He was about to scoff, thinking he shouldn’t cave in so easily. Make it appear like he wasn’t eager for more time with her, or that a simple second date wasn’t incentive enough to potentially ruin his standing with Montgomery. However, the moment he went to answer he changed his mind. Though she appeared confident, he caught a small flash of worry in her eyes. She feared she wouldn’t be enough to entice his help.
Which was ludicrous; of course she was enough.
Dropping the charade of resistance, he smiled at her, all teeth. “Done.” It took all of one second for her to realize what he had done.
Making a sound of disgust at her own gullibility she pulled away and stalked back towards the castle. Seeing as there didn’t seem to be any guards at all, she no longer tried to be stealthy. “Just come on!” She glanced back to make sure he was following. “Where should we start?”
Easily catching up to her, he looked at the lit windows, many showcasing partying guests and harried staff. While many rooms were ablaze with light, there were just as many shrouded in darkness. “Let’s see… if I was the evil mastermind behind a nefarious plot to bring back an ancient demon, I would do all my evil scheming in one of two places… the basement or the attic.”
“This place is too big. We either need to pick one or the other, or we need to separate and search both.” He could tell she was leaning towards the latter option. He didn’t like leaving her on her own, but he couldn’t see any other option.
That was until a white furry rat popped into existence right in front his face. Floating backwards – and upside down – Mun grinned at him widely, sharp white teeth on full display. The golden tassel still hung from his tail, swinging wildly as they made their way back to the casement window.
Killian remained silent, thinking through all the options, until they reached the window. He went to give Kara a boost when she deftly gripped the ledge and climbed agilely into the dark room beyond. That settled it then. She was a guild hunter and knew how to handle herself. If he insisted on going with her he’d give her the impression he didn’t think she could handle herself. That would not help him in the long run… or the short run.
Besides, at this point he didn’t think Montgomery had anything hide.
He climbed through the window, amused to realize he did so with much less ease then she had. Mun floated behind him, sending him unhelpful impressions of a sloth climbing a tree.
He found her leaning against the massive desk they had taken refuge under earlier. One foot swinging as she pretended to wait impatiently. His eyes were immediately drawn to the leg peeking out of the slit in her dress. It was designed for ease of movement, and hiding – and retrieving – weapons easily. It was also very very sexy. He glimpsed the knife strapped to her thigh before she stood, the brocade once again hiding her curves.
Flustered at the direction of his stare, she appeared to have trouble catching her breath. “So, which one do you want? The attic or the basement?” So much for hoping she’d want to explore together.
Crowding her against the desk, he forced her to lean back against it once more. Her breath hitched and she stared up at him in a daze. Her look of bafflement and intrigue went a long way towards soothing his anxiety over their imminent separation in a potentially dangerous situation. As did the locating token he slipped into the pocket she had hidden her phone in.
He brought his face close to hers. He wanted to kiss her. It was almost a need. But he didn’t want to do it here, where they might get interrupted, where evil might lurk, and where Mun watched them with intense interest. He breathed a sigh across her lips. “Basement.”
Blinking up at him in confusion, she frowned slightly as he pulled back. “What?”
Killian grinned at her. “I’ll take the basement.”
“Oh! Right!” All confusion gone, Kara was suddenly all business. An eager smile lit up her face. “Okay, let’s search for an hour then meet back in the main ballroom. We’ll do a round or two for appearances and then get out of here.”
Killian nodded and looked to Mun. Speaking out loud for Kara’s benefit, he sent impressions to the imp to stay with her and let him know immediately if anything went wrong. Mun immediately responded with an annoyed sniff of his nose that he had intended on going with her whether Killian wanted him to or not. At the same time, Kara said, “As if he’d go anywhere else.”
Having explored the main and second floors a bit earlier, they had a general idea of where to go. Pausing outside the study door, they each gave one last lingering look at the other. Without thought, Killian grasped her hand in a quick squeeze, unwilling to let her just walk away into unknown danger without a final touch.
Giving him a lopsided smile, Kara squeezed him back and then slipped away down the hall, Mun resting on her shoulder. Though the room had been dark, the halls were dimly lit, and he watched until she rounded a corner that would take her back to the second floor and then to the attic.
Turning in the opposite direction, Killian muttered an incantation that would let him walk invisibly around the hallways while he searched for the basement. He had purposely chosen the basement figuring that since this was a castle, the basement was actually a dungeon. Where else to search for evil demon summoning rituals than in a dungeon?
Little did he know, the attic could house evil just as much as a dungeon could.
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