Sal’s lab quickly became the one place I felt comfortable in DPI headquarters. Even surrounded by the dark creations of Saphina’s booth, I enjoyed this part of my new job. Sal and I identified what each item did, and Jaime cataloged everything we said. Having him assigned to work with me again tempted me to ask if Agent Boone knew about his powers. The green of his aura appeared more vibrant in the lab. I still didn’t pick up much energy from him, though. I couldn’t tell if he’d been practicing or if it just looked brighter in this setting. Part of me hoped he’d hold off until we closed Peter’s case. They might not be able to tell the difference between a new or a practiced witch, and I didn’t want him to make himself a target.
“I’ve got a ring that can knock out all electronics in its radius,” Sal said. Jaime handed her a number tag. She attached it to the ring and set it back down.
“What will the DPI do with all this stuff once we’re cataloging it?” I asked. I’d been tempted to pocket a couple of items so far but knew it wouldn’t be worth the consequences of getting caught.
“It goes into evidence storage in case we need to show it in court,” Jaime said.
“I can’t imagine demonstrating a champaign glass that poison’s the drinker,” I said, holding up the glass in question. Jamie handed me a tag for it.
“What about a diary that fills itself with the surface thoughts of anyone in the same room?” Sal asked.
“Not as deadly, but I’d still be scared to use it,” I said.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want other people to read my intrusive thoughts,” Jaime said.
“Same,” I agreed.
Agent Boone opened the door with an irritated expression on his face. I took that as a sign that questioning Saphina wasn’t going very well. I knew he wouldn’t be using the same strategy with her as he did on me. He might want to bring more supernaturals on board with the DPI, but I hoped she wouldn’t make the cut. Even if she hadn’t tried to kill me, the items in this room showed that we couldn’t trust her. Boone made eye contact with me, pointed at me, and gestured for me to follow him.
“She refuses to speak to anyone but you,” Boone said, frustration clear in his voice as we walked through the office.
I got fewer dirty looks since bringing in Saphina. Helping bring in a dangerous witch proved my allegiance to many of my new co-workers. I still caught a few people glaring. I memorized those faces. Not every DPI agent wanted to work with the supernatural community. The ones who still gave me bad vibes probably thought they were supposed to protect mundanes from supernaturals instead of helping both communities live harmoniously.
“Did she say why or what she wanted to talk to me about?” I asked.
“No,” Boone said. “We’ll be watching the whole time. If you need help, wave at the mirror.”
“Right,” I said.
“You won’t be able to use your magic in there,” he told me.
“Good to know. Anything specific I should ask? I mean, I know we want information about the knife’s enchantment if we can get it,” I said.
“Just do your best to steer her toward that and get whatever answers you can.” He opened the door for me and stood to the side so I could pass by him.
I felt the force of a Coven binding spell tamp down my magic as soon as I walked through the threshold. I looked behind me, and sure enough, their emblem glowed above the door. Had the DPI requested the Coven’s help, or had they offered it when they first revealed magic to the mundane world?
“Hello, Saphina,” I said.
“Hello, traitor,” she sneered.
“Your opinion means nothing to me. So we can either have a civilized conversation about enchantments, or I can leave you to your fate,” I said. “Given the items we cataloged so far, I don’t think they’ll have much trouble building a case against you.”
“And what exactly is in it for me if I play nice with you?” she asked.
“I’m not in any position to cut you a deal. I’m just a consultant, but that doesn’t mean you can negotiate with them,” I said. Honestly, I didn’t want Saphina walking free. I didn’t know exactly what would happen to her after this, but keeping her enchantments out of other dangerous hands felt like a win.
“Why are you cooperating with these people?” she asked. She still grimaced at me, but I didn’t hear the same malice in her voice. “I’ve heard of you, seen you fight in the arena. You used to be someone worth watching. What made you give that up?”
“There’s something out there targeting witches. It killed my friend, and I will not let it get away with that,” I said.
I didn’t owe her the whole story and didn’t want the agents learning about my history in the arena. She considered me for a moment, deciding if that answer was good enough. I waited, refusing to break the silence, despite wanting to shake the answers I wanted out of her.
“I want to see the weapon,” she demanded.
I gestured at the mirror. I didn’t know if they were allowed to listen in or if they could just see us. Either way, letting her see the knife wasn’t my call. If it were up to me, we’d show her. Maybe it would disturb her enough to get her talking. Agent Boone opened the door and gave me a questioning look. I guess they hadn’t heard what Saphina wanted. I walked out of the room so we could speak privately.
“She wants to see the knife,” I said.
“Do you think it’s a good idea to bring a weapon in there with her?” he asked.
“I think that seeing it could make her see how serious the threat is,” I said.
“All right,” he said.
It only took a few minutes for an agent to bring the null box from Sal’s lab. He tried to hand me the box, but I stepped back. I didn’t mean to, but my body reacted before it registered. The agent didn’t offer me the box again. Instead, he moved closer to Saphina and opened the box. She couldn’t have reached the knife if she wanted to. The look on her face told me she felt the same way I did about the blade. All the dark magic she’d done, and she still couldn’t stand the sight of this thing.
“I want a lawyer,” she said, surprising me.
“You know what kind of creature enchanted it?” I asked.
“Lawyer first. And get that thing out of here,” she said.
The agent didn’t need her to tell him twice. He closed the null box and left the room. I thought I’d seen some recognition in her eyes, but it could have been wishful thinking. If I thought I could convince her, I’d have stayed and tried to get the information out of her. If there weren’t DPI agents watching me right now, I might even find a way to persuade her to talk. But once again, being shackled to this agency meant waiting for the answers I needed.