(I over scheduled myself this week so this is only half an episode. I’ll get the rest up tomorrow promise!)
I’m not very good with mind magic. What I really needed was to wipe away all memory of myself from the Coven witch’s mind. I didn’t have it in me to kill her just because she knew about me. She was young, powerful, and clever. I couldn’t be the reason her life got cut short. Umbra was still recovering from what her spell did to them. Considering that they’d both been victims of a cerebremancer I knew that Ruby and Eli wouldn’t have the talent needed for that intricate of a memory spell. Even if he would do it, asking Eli to get rid of her would still leave me with the knowledge that she died because of me. If I couldn’t do the spell myself and I wouldn’t kill, my options grew increasingly more complicated. Ice would be able to do the mind magic we needed since the witch was sleeping. But I didn’t know when he would be back. I didn’t have time to waste tracking down another witch with the skills I needed. We needed those blockers sooner rather than later. We couldn’t do everything we needed without splitting up.
“Ruby, can you come in here?” I called into the bedroom.
“What’s up?” she asked on her way into the living room. “Please tell me she’s not dead?”
“She’s not, just sleeping. We need her to stay that way though. My ring’s enchantment only lasts so long. I need you to use it on her hourly.”
“You’re going somewhere?” she asked.
“Eli and I are going to convince Willard that he has to leave Georgia.” I still didn’t have any ideas on how to do that. I would just have to hope that he found me or Eli to be intimidating enough to do what we wanted.
“What if the other Coven witches come looking for her?” It was a good question.
“Put this on her,” I said, taking off my blocker and handing it to her. It was risky but I couldn’t think of another way to hide her from every trick they might try to find her.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“None of the locals will be looking for me. Hopefully anyone with the power to find me and get to me that quickly would be too busy monitoring the PR fallout from Storm Ryder’s coming out.”
“Okay,” she said, seeming unconvinced.
“Keep an eye on the hotel’s security and don’t forget to use that ring every hour. If anything goes wrong, get out of here and find me,” I said. I went to the door and opened it. Eli was leaning against the door frame and looked over his shoulder at me. “Feel like scaring an enchanter out of town?”
“Absolutely,” he said with an eager smile.
I put a ward on the door. Rather than keeping anyone out it was meant to keep people moving. It was inspired by the repulsion spells that guarded the Chastain Park Market. I didn’t trust Eli enough to leave him there to watch over Ruby. Even if I cleared the compulsion to kidnap Ruby, that didn’t mean there weren’t other incentives when nothing stood between him and getting her out of there. I didn’t like to compromise but this felt like the only option that didn’t get anyone killed. On the brightside the little I did know about Eli led me to believe our intimidation mission. I just had to hope that Willard was still at his booth in the Market.
“So do you have a plan?”
“Find Willard, ask him to leave town nicely. If that doesn’t work, drop the ‘nicely’ part.”
“I don’t mean for the enchanter. That’s a cakewalk. I meant in a more general sense. These blockers will be useful tools but Newton is a resourceful man. He won’t stop just because you’ve blocked the easier way to get what he wants,” Eli said. “I can walk away without much worry. He’s got plenty of people with my skill set, but Ruby is something special.”
“I’ve given it some thought.”
“He can only amass so much power before he gets on the Coven’s radar.”
“I don’t know about that. He’s been keeping himself hidden for a couple of years now. And let’s face it the Coven has a lot more on their hands these days. It could be a while.”
“Do you have a suggestion?” I asked.
“You could take him out,” he said.
“What makes you think that?”
“I’ve been with you for less than a day and you’ve managed to subdue me, subvert Newton’s compulsion, and kidnapped a Coven agent.”
“Not to put you down but none of that comes close to facing a cerebremancer.”
“I’m not saying you should fight fair. Lord knows he wouldn’t. I’m saying take him by surprise,” He said. “Do that shadow teleporting thing you do and stab him in the back before he even knows you’re there.”
“If he’s as well established as you say it wouldn’t be that simple,” I said. The thought of going up against Newton had crossed my mind. Eli was confirming my anxiety that dropping off the map magically wasn’t the same as being free.
“I’m just saying if I had your power I’d go for it. Rather than live the rest of my life looking over my shoulder,” he said.
“Let’s just get these blockers,” I said.
We walked out of the hotel and headed towards the parking garage that hid the entrance to Willard’s market. Even if Eli was right that Newton had to be taken down, I wasn’t ready to adopt that fight. For now, I just needed to worry about getting out of Atlanta without catching the attention of any other Coven witches. If I could just manage that much it would give me the space to breathe necessary to look at the whole picture. Things were still up in the air with Ice. I didn’t have a guarantee that he was even coming back. I had hope. It had been a long while since I’d let myself hope for more than evading capture. I was a little scared to imagine a future that involved more than that. Maybe there was still a chance at having a life and a family even with what I’d done.