I decided I was going to give the lawyers the benefit of the doubt. They might not actually be evil, just being bribed and manipulated by Tyz’vel.
But the fact was: They were still trying to destroy my family. With no finalized adoption, it was very likely that me and Kanesha would be taken away from Mike and put into separate group homes again. And again, I’d likely end up in a better one.
Well, no. I could emancipate. I was definitely making enough money to survive on my own. I could avoid being tossed back into the group home system.
She couldn’t. And Mike…no. Mike was a cop, and a good cop. And he’d always been a good cop. He always would be, as far as I was concerned. I wasn’t going to let anything else happen.
So, for my next trick – to talk to them and find out just how much they were being controlled. Unfortunately, they knew what I looked like. In theory I could fix that. I could already make myself nondescript and beneath notice – but that wouldn’t work if I was in their office and they had a picture of me.
What would work was Loki’s appearance changing trick, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to pull it off. I felt I had to try, though.
I wanted to be…at least ten years older, in a suit. Red hair, I decided. That would probably be enough. It wouldn’t fool Tyz’vel himself, but if he was actually there, he’d be expecting me.
It would fool the people who were in the office. If it worked. I reached for the mental state that let me pass without much notice and then tried to overlay the new appearance on it.
Then I walked into the office.
“Hello, Ms…” The receptionist was a tall black lady wearing way too much makeup. I wanted to tell her she wasn’t on camera.
“Johnson.” It was the first name that came into my head.
“Well, welcome to Fitz and Lawson. Do you need help?”
I nodded. “I need…I need advice on getting a restraining order. My ex is being quite scary.”
It was the first thing I could think of. In the mirror I still looked like myself.
“Oh. One of those. Let me guess, he doesn’t think he’s your ex?” she said, sympathetically.
I nodded. “Pretty much. A friend suggested I get one, but told me I’d need a decent lawyer, because he’ll probably fight it.”
“Obadiah Lawson’s the best for that.”
In the mean time I was feeling around for Tyz’vel’s influence. It seemed to be settled over the place, but I didn’t feel much of it around the receptionist specifically.
Which made sense – he didn’t really need her. He needed the lawyers.
Then the back door opened, and a thin man in a suit stepped out. It wasn’t Tyz’vel, but I could feel it…it would only take one tug to make this man a demon’s pawn.