Chapter Forty-Four – How I Met Your Mother
A couple times over, the sun rose up and fell back beneath the winter horizon. Renatta was still cloaked, both to keep her unique appearance on the down-low, but also to shield herself somewhat from the frigid breeze of the night—not to mention that, even if she wasn’t used to it, it was in fact illegal to carry around two big, bladed weapons in most places in Canada.
She had learned a lot since meeting her friends. Recently, she was set up with a phone, and while she was completely baffled still by how it functioned, she was learning. She had recently been playing a frustrating game where she had to navigate a bird through a series of pipes. Not even her magic could help her get even remotely far. But it wasn’t the time for gaming. She had work to do, for her mother, her late father, and for herself.
Both her and her mother had been looking into the whereabouts of the men responsible for her father’s demise. It was recently that Renatta was confident she knew the location of the final man—the one who committed the murder. She could finally rest her hunt.
The hamlet of Opal was hardly an hour from Edmonton, and it’s where she tracked down her prey. Hardly anybody resided there. It was the perfect place to hide for someone evading attention, but unfortunately for the man in question, it did him little good. Renatta followed her leads to a large structure on the opposite end of town that seemed to be an incredibly old, unused factory building.
If it was unused, then why would the front doors be locked? The owners of the structure likely didn’t account for wizards, however, and Renatta glanced an eye through the keyhole. In a flash, she was on the inside, and although the entry room was expansive, it was also completely vacant. The only lighting came from the reflected moonlight off the snow outside.
Renatta brought her hand over her gaze, and her irises shifted to a glowing green hue. She could now see quite easily in the darkness. There was a door up ahead, so she quickly made her way along, and passed on through.
There were two figures on the opposite end of this new, much smaller room. It seemed like they didn’t notice her yet. Upon closer inspection, the figure at her right was on the ground, on its knees.
It was a younger girl. She was sobbing—face full of terror. A pistol with a suppressor was being pointed down towards her forehead from a man beside her, while her hands remained obediently behind her head. The sound of him loading his gun resonated off the walls, and it caused the poor girl to cringe.
“You think you’re cute, sneaking around a place like this? You little pissant. The door was locked for a reason. And now your curiosity is gonna cost you,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“What? I can’t hear you,” the man snarled. “You make me sick, snivelling on the ground.”
He thrust his boot into her shoulder and knocked her to the floor, but his gun remained pointed at her body. He spit. Then, he decided to pull the trigger.
The man didn’t succeed in firing. Renatta jumped forwards, and with a snap of her wrist, she let go one of her chakrams, and it flew through the dimly lit room—bits of light flashing off the golden blade that was otherwise nearly invisible. The crash of metal on metal launched the gun from his grip, followed by a small spray of red. He gripped his hand in agony.
“My finger!” he called out. “Who—You bitch!”
But before he could do anything more, Renatta unleashed a series of precise blows to his chest and stomach, both with her fists and feet. He crumbled to the ground. The room went silent once more, with only Renatta and the terrified girl remaining.
“Are you all right?” Renatta asked softly as she knelt down.
“Yes,” said the girl. “I was just exploring. I know now it was a stupid idea. There’s bad men here, and they didn’t want me sneaking around. I don’t know who they are. I think they might be responsible for some people from our town disappearing.”
“I know one of them. An old crime boss named Ajor.”
“Do not worry about it. Sneak back out of here. Let me handle the rest.”
She nodded. Quickly, she scampered off and disappeared.
Renatta retrieved her chakram, and proceeded through the door into the next. It was even darker and larger than the first, but thanks to her dark vision, she was able to see old, worn machinery, from machines to conveyer belts. It was obvious none of it had been used in ages.
Each step she took was quiet and cautious. She found her way past some of the machinery, and scanned her eyes for any looming figures, or other doors. That was when she tripped over a loose bolt on the ground. It sent a ringing throughout the room. She paused.
“Who’s there?” came the voice of a man.
Renatta sighed, but it mattered little. She was here to take the life of the man and avenge her father, whether it was done stealthily, or directly in the man’s line of sight. She didn’t care either way.
A dark-skinned man with long black hair and a trimmed beard stepped into the room. Age showed on his face. He was garbed in a black coat, and in his hands, he carried a crowbar at the ready. Renatta decided not to hide any longer, and she was confident in her magical abilities, so she stood in place and awaited his arrival.
“Who the heck are you?” asked the man.
“Are you Ajor?” Renatta asked.
“I am. What’s it to you? Got a death wish, lady?”
A death wish. Yes. In a way,” she said as she took hold of her robe and yanked it off, throwing it aside.
“Ah! You’re—I see. You’ve tracked me down. I honestly didn’t expect you to find me or even to try. I can tell who you are. Name? I don’t remember, nor do I care. But you look a lot like your mother did.”
“Did you fight her?”
“No. I saw portraits in your house. Your father was on to us. He had to be dealt with. You know that, right? It’s business. It’s also old news. Have you really been wasting your life just finding me? And for what?”
“Since that day, my mother doubled my training. She turned me into something that could help take you down.”
“So she made a weapon. How adorable.”
“I am not a weapon!”
“Then what are you doing here?”
Renatta launched one of her chakrams in his direction. At the same time, she sprinted at fully speed towards him with the soul of her right foot beginning to smoke. Flames spiralled up her ankle like a snake.
With a swing of his crowbar, he bashed the disc from the air like a baseball. However, he saw Renatta quickly near with her leg engulfed in flames. She leapt into the air, and spun like a top, causing the fire to ripple outwards like an expanding ring of intense heat. Dragon Wave!
His fingers flexed. He thrust his empty hand forwards, and the area of fire that was seconds away from colliding with his body vaporized in an instant. The rest of the flames scorched the area around Renatta, but in front of them, her magic was broken.
“Wh-What? No. Impossible,” mumbled Renatta.
“You’re just a foolish child still, and you shouldn’t have come here.”
“I barely needed to use these abilities to kill your father. Funny that not even your mother knew. What an airheaded family.”
“Do not talk about my mother that way! And I do not need magic to kill you.”
“I know you don’t. But you do need magic to get out of here alive,” he said before clapping his hands.
She heard several doors open, and before she knew it, there were half a dozen men in the room with them. With her magic, she could easily take them out, but while a spellbreaker stood beside her, she knew any attack would become her last. She simply wasn’t experienced enough at fighting someone with such abilities.
“I hope I can remember how to…” she mumbled as she fidgeted in place. “And I hope he will not be mad.”
“What are you muttering about?”
“Oops. I did not mean to say that out loud.”
“You really are an airhead. Come on, boys. Let’s teach her a lesson. This isn’t entertaining anymore.”
“Yes. I might be a little slow, and you might be able to break my spells, but that does not change anything! I have friends now. You can try to kill me like you did with my father, but you will not succeed. I am Renatta Winds, daughter of Lara Winds!”
“Shut up already!”
“I will not, because you already made your mistake. You gave me enough time to stall, and give hopefully enough information,” she said with a finger pointed directly towards him. “You are the airhead this time.”
Suddenly, a mahogany door opened up over her head, and this time, it dropped downwards from the air like a trapdoor. It was far enough above that none of them noticed. A figure, garbed in flashy blue, landed with a squat against the hard concrete floor between the two of them. In one hand, he gripped a dark wood staff trimmed with silver and gold—the Staff of Lightning.
“Sorry it’s only me,” Eldrian said as he rose up from the ground. “Hopefully that’s enough.”
“Another wizard?” scoffed Ajor.
“That’s archmage-in-training to you,” stated Eldrian as he slammed down the blunt end of his staff to the floor with a loud thud.
A powerful blast of lightning exploded in a cone out from the point of impact, and it was nearly blinding. However, with a movement of Ajor’s empty hand and crowbar, he was able to deflect the magic before it did any real damage, just as he did with Renatta’s Dragon Wave.
Ajor smirked, but when he looked up, there was no Eldrian. The staff wobbled, and then it fell to the ground with nobody to hold it.
“Where—“ he started to say before he grunted out in pain.
Eldrian was behind him, and his palm was aimed to his back a mere inch away. An explosion of force surged from his hand into Ajor’s back. Push!
“Heads up, Ren!” Eldrian shouted.
As he fell forwards, Renatta knew that she needed to do. She landed a spinning kick to his stomach, knocking the wind straight out of his lungs, and Ajor collapsed near Eldrian’s feet with a groan.
Eldrian retreated back to beside Renatta and retrieved his staff as the crowd was getting closer. Each of the men held some kind of blunt or sharp object, and they were eager to break the intruders for hurting their boss. But these men weren’t wizards.
With Ajor temporarily stunned, the two began taking out the oncoming fighters. Renatta used mostly her martial combat, but included some flames in her blows on occasion, while Eldrian preferred to blink around, electrocute them, and even mess with them a little bit. Without magic eyes, all of the men fell quickly, but Ajor stood up a moment after.
“God damn it,” cursed the disgruntled spellbreaker.
He pulled himself together enough to attempt a swing of his crossbar at Eldrian’s face. He tried to blink away, but in a flash, he crushed the spell with his abilities. But Renatta was nearby, and she used this time to slam her fist into the side of his face.
Eldrian held up his hand. Crackling to life was a ball of black energy barely visible in the dark room. He threw it, and when it collided with Ajor’s body, it blew his crowbar out of his hand, and sent him soaring back into a wooden crate—shattering through it. Shadow Ball!
“And now you die,” Renatta said as she readied a chakram. “Just as mother wishes.”
“Wait. You’re going to kill him? I get what happened, and messing him up feels pretty satisfying, but you can’t just murder him.”
“Eldrian… You should not stop me. This man killed my father.”
“You should be better than him. We can easily get him arrested. I’m sure there’s proof everywhere of everything he’s done, and witnesses.”
A few moments passed. Ajor was in no condition to escape, so he remained laying back in the debris, and occasionally coughed or grumbled.
“I didn’t take you for the killing type,” Eldrian said.
Renatta hung her head. “We do not know each other all that well. I would be dead if not for you, but I should still avenge our family’s name.”
“She’s right,” came a powerful voice, following the door opening behind them.
In came Renatta’s mother, still garbed as she was the last time they spoke. Though unlike in the Bliss Abyss, her scimitar was drawn and gripped tightly in her right hand.
Eldrian looked to the tall woman, and then back to Renatta. “You two dress kind of similar.”
“That is my mother,” Renatta whispered.
“Oh. Good to meet you, Ren’s mom. I’m Eldrian.”
Her toned figure stood threateningly over Eldrian, and her stare was piercing. When she poke, it was assertive, like one could never hope to argue against it. She noticed Ajor laying behind them, but there was no smile on her face.
“You aided my daughter. For that, I thank you, but you will not get in the way of my family’s business,” she stated.
Stay tuned for Chapter Forty-Five – Family Feud!