Will had soda and cookies, which I indulged in. I felt a sense of tension, though. She was coming back, and the church was safe from her, but I wasn’t.
I couldn’t hide in the church. It wasn’t my place. I stepped outside, alone, glancing up at the sky.
And felt the portal re-open. Not in Red Flowers this time.
She’d opened it outside the Archives. I turned inside. “Archives. Now!” Then I set off at a run.
It was only a few blocks, and at my speed I could make it there faster than a vehicle. Hold her off until Will and hopefully Sarael could get there.
Hold her off. I could do that. I was running about half empty, starting to get tired even for me, but I couldn’t let her finish whatever she was up to.
She couldn’t get in the Archives. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I knew it.
Power of faith. Faith in something secular, but nonetheless something that could focus it.
But she could try something else, and she was pissed.
Pissed and when I got there accompanied by fire demons. The building was stone. It would take a lot to burn it. Four of them.
I moved between her and the building. “Fire demons. Really.”
“If I can’t get what I want one way.”
“You’ll burn down the Archives, as if that would actually do anything.” It might, it might break that focus, but I trusted that a mere physical object, no matter how important, wouldn’t be the sole thing.
“It will help.”
“Will help you, what, destroy American democracy?” Of course she’d lied to me. But I’d known that. Demons always lied. They lost the ability to tell the truth altogether, I was sure of it.
Demons always lied, and this one was, could be, no exception to that rule.
I shrugged. “I’m not going to let you start a fire.” I felt my own fire rising in response.
“What, you? You’re fire yourself.”
One of the fire demons decided enough talk was enough and threw a fireball at me. I didn’t even dodge. Perhaps that was foolish, but I actually reached out my hands and caught it.
The hellfire didn’t even char me, and I held it there as it weakened and faded. “See what I mean?”
She drew in a breath. “You’re more fire than I thought.”
“And I won’t let you do this. Give it up.” I wondered what anyone saw.
I wondered if this was so far beyond their experience they didn’t see it at all.