Damian tried to be conspicuous. It was weird. He was so used to blending in with the crowd, of laying low and doing his job in the dark. Maybe he was more like Baxel than he thought. Regardless, this wasn’t a time for subtlety, and yet he was forced to at least pretend to be trying to be inconspicuous. It was a weird situation, for if he was too obvious, Sirio would catch onto him, but if he was too subtle, he might not notice. Damian was treading a thin line, but the thought he could pull it off. Hopefully.
The only place Damian could think to sniff around that Sirio would notice was, of course, the building in which he had been held for a week. Damian was certain that he wasn’t supposed to know where it was, but after he’d done that little trick with the light listening, he’d explored a little further. He still wasn’t very good at it, and his skills weren’t very developed, but he was good enough to hear the cashier at the grocery store next door saying, “Thanks for calling Hillie’s Quick Stop, how can I help you?”
After that, it was only the matter of a quick google search to figure out where Hilllie’s was. Of course, they probably could’ve asked Ted, but Damian was reluctant to summon his “best friend” unless absolutely necessary. Baxel agreed; the lat time, it had taken a series of carefully thought out distractions to draw him away and keep him occupied.
Standing on the street corner in a long black trench coat and sunglasses, Damian tried to look as conspicuously inconspicuous as he could. It was a difficult part to pay, and it was only after about fifteen minutes that Damian sensed a shift in the light. It was being pulled from beneath the streetlights and under the doors of the building in which he had been held.
Damian pulled out his phone. “The sun has risen,” he said into the receiver.
“Perfect,” I replied on the other end, then hung up. Okay, so yeah, maybe I didn’t fill Damian in on the whole plan, but he knew enough. After all, if I had correctly judged Sirio, Damian wouldn’t be in danger at all. After all, I had no doubt that Sirio would see right through out very obvious little “trap” and try to go behind our backs.
That, my friends, was the real plan.
I smiled. It was going to be epic. Following the decoy plan, I had quickly teleported a few minutes ago to one of Sirio’s safe houses that I had picked up on long ago. He knew I knew about it, and probably knew that I’d check there too. It was fine. It was all according to plan. Entering the house, I had tripped a few of the traps, knowing they’d send light signals back to Sirio, the headed to the next one. I did the same thing in three different hideouts of Sirio’s before I judged that it was time to resume my real post. No doubt Damian was wondering why no one had come to kidnap him yet, but I didn’t care.
I closed my phone and slipped into the Nether. I had an angel to catch red handed.
The house looked the exact same as it had a few hours ago when I stopped by to visit that old woman who was currently tied up in the basement. It was stagnant, still, and silent when I teleported directly into the bedroom in which I had performed some shadow magic a few hours ago. This time, I was not conspicuous; I melted into the shadows, watching and waiting from the corner of the room.
Sirio did not disappoint. With a flash of light, he appeared in the stream of moonlight, stepping forward to lean over the edge of the bed like a creepy murderer might tower over the crib of a domed baby. That actually wasn’t a bad analogy.
He reached a hand out, but before he could touch Taryn, I stepped out of the shadows. “Hello, Sirio.”
Sirio whirled around., with a mask of calm on his face. “I knew you were there,” he said defensively.
“Sure you did,” I replied. “If you ask me, you’re a little distracted right now. A little off your game. Is it the ring?” His eyes flickered down to his own hand, as if checking just to make sure it was still there. Even I wasn’t good enough to have stolen it without him noticing. “I bet it’s eating you up inside. The fact that you finally have it and can’t use it.” I began to pace closer. “I bet it’s killing you.”
I don’t know why I kept talking. Probably because this was the longest Sirio ever let me talk without interrupting me. But my streak was over, for he spoke now. “I’m just fine, thank you,” he said, his voice cool. “If you didn’t notice, I saw through your plan.”
“True,” I conceded. “You did. But if you were at your best, you also would’ve realized that I’d be expecting you to come here. And then you would’ve just gone for the boy.”
“Actually,” Sirio replied, “I decided that the boy was too stubborn to ever give in alone. I needed leverage.”
He shot a pointed look at Taryn’s sleeping form.
“Yes, well,” I began, “you can’t have her.”
“Why not?” Sirio asked. “You don’t care about her.”
“True, but I care about her brother,” I blurted before I could think better of it. “And by that I mean,” I added quickly, “that if I let you take her, you’ll use her against him and get power of the ring. I can’t let you do that. “
Sirio stepped closer, so that we were nose to nose. “Why not? It’s not like you’ll ever get it off me. You can’t beat me, Baxel, and you know it.”
I forced a slow, cocky smile onto my face. “Oh yeah? Well, I’m damn well gonna try.”
Sirio’s answering smile was full of challenge. I accepted. My shadows collided with his light in an explosion that shook the room.
Oh, it was on.