Witch-Girl / Mirror Heart (4/18) – Vile Trickery
“All things can be tricked,” she says, “it is the nature of things.”
Stacey and Ramiel walk into the alley next to the auction house.
It is dark, but two silhouettes are distinct.
As Stacey and Ramiel close the distance, Amora steps in between them and Desdemona. Ramiel quickens his pace, overtaking Stacey.
With about five feet left between them, Stacey speaks, loudly, from behind him: “You can stop now. I called the police.”
Desdemona steps forwards, stands with her hands on her hips next to Amora. “I call your bluff!”
“I really did!”
“Today is April ninth. Tomorrow is April tenth, twenty-twelve, one hundred years to the day when the ship left port. Also tomorrow, not coincidentally, is the auction. If you had called the cops, you wouldn’t be able to steal it either.”
Stacey steps forwards, stands next to Ramiel. She, too, poses. “I really did.” She holds out the small light of her cellphone. “Look, it’s on my last dial.”
Desdemona walks forwards. Amora gives a brief shrug.
Stacey walks towards her, holding out her cellphone. Desdemona leans forwards to peer at it.
“This only proves that you called,” Desdemona says, with, perhaps, just a little doubt. “You could have hung up.”
“I didn’t! They’ll be here soon.”
“I’m not going to fall for your vile trickery. You can’t just get me to leave. The police might decide to hang around, you wouldn’t be able to break in either.”
“I don’t intend to,” Stacey says, a little smugly.
Subterfuge really isn’t your thing, Ramiel notes.
“You… don’t intend to…?” Desdemona says, weighing the words. “You cheating slut! You intend to buy it!”
“I…” Stacey hesitates. “Err, no! Of course not!”
This is why we can’t have nice plans, Ramiel does not say.
“They’re here,” Amora says.
Amora is pointing down the alley. Ramiel turns around.
A police car has parked just without the alley. A policeman is stepping out from the open door.
“We need to go,” Ramiel tells Stacey.
She nods. “Fly.”
He picks her up.
Two policemen are silhouetted against the light at the mouth of the alley. A pair of bright beams shine from the flashlights in their hands.
“We’ll talk on my rooftop,” Desdemona says. Then she turns and grabs Amora’s hand, pulls him the other way. “In the Shadow of Leaves, Blown by Wind.” She and Amora appear to… not be there. Ramiel can’t even hear their footsteps.
He pulls Stacey close and he leaps straight up into the air.
Stacey is being held in the arms of the flying Ramiel.
“I didn’t know you could do that,” she says.
“Transfer the stealth mode.”
“Her incantation was something about leaves.”
“It’s not an incantation, it’s the name of the spell. It’s the same spell I use. You don’t actually have to say its name.”
“You never do. You go around zapping things, and making things float, and all sorts of things, but you never say anything before.”
“I… Do you want me to?”
“It’s not about whether or not I want you to. It’s… Kendo. I was watching Kendo, and they yell out something before each attack. You don’t get points for accidentally or randomly striking, you have to name your target and then strike it. The yelling makes the striking more dramatic. It made me think that you never do that.”
Her arms are around his neck, as he carries her, as he flies. He feels her tighten her grip. Automatically, he tightens his grip around her.
She’s silent, and so he continues: “Sometimes you do, but it’s ‘fuck you’, mostly. It’s not really the same.”
She pulls herself up into a hug, placing her face against his. “You’re turning me into such a girl,” she softly says. “I don’t know if I like it.”
“I don’t understand.”
“In the Shadow of Leaves, Blown by Wind. You know how when leaves get caught by wind and they fly through the air? Nobody ever notices the shadow, you always look at the leaves. That’s how the spell works. That’s why it doesn’t work against security cameras. If people are somewhere else, or if they’re looking at a recording, they can see you.”
He flies in silence, for a while.
“We were trained to say the name of the spell before we cast. It helps with focus.”
He thinks, if someone else had said that, I would think that they meant, “I don’t have to. I’m better than her.” But you don’t think that, do you? Because if you did, you’d just come out and say it. He says, “I see.”
“Don’t you think it feels silly, saying ‘lightning bolt’ before zapping something?”
“Say something else.”
“What do the Kendo people say?”
“There’s ‘men’, there’s ‘do’, ‘kote’, and there’s a rare attack called ‘tsuki’. It’s a thrust to the neck, and dangerous, so you only ever see it in fights between graded students.”
“I guess saying something in Japanese does make it cooler. I could yell ‘pikachu!’”
“No. Don’t yell ‘pikachu’.”
She pushes her face against his. She’s nuzzling. It makes him remember the imp.
“I might like it,” she whispers, “a little bit.”
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