A darker shadow passed over her helmet breaking through her reverie. Startled she looked up and was shocked to see a figure of a tall slender person standing before her. The same sonic boom she had felt at Hidden Brier slammed through her very being. Gasping she wavered unsteadily on her motorcycle, struggling to bring it under control. Then she had no choice. She was upon the person. Swerving sharply, she tilted the cycle and then lost all control. She skidded hard with the motorcycle on it's side. She lay there stunned for a moment before looking up to assess the damage. When she looked for the other person, there was no one there. Getting unsteadily to her feet she took off her helmet and staggered to where her bike had stopped. She gazed around searching each of the fields that lay on either side of the road. There was no sign of another person. No matter where she looked she could find no one. A chill went through her and griped her like a vice. Something was not right. Uneasily she replaced the helmet on her head and picked up the bike forcing herself to breath normally. Off in the distance was the woods that led to her home. She was close. She would be safe there, thanks to the protective wards that China had put up. No one could enter her yard or home save for Kallista herself. She took one more uneasy look around and set off.
From under an illusion shield, a man watched the girl with a smile. He lifted his phone to his ear and talked.
"Change of plans. It's definitely her. But there is one more thing I want to do before we set the plan in motion."
He hung up the phone and smiled slightly in the direction that Kallista had gone.
Across the city of Dublin, a beautiful women with rainbow clips in her hair sat before a handsome weary detective, her arms cuffed behind her. They sat in a tiny windowless office with only a small table between the two of them. The dim lighting cast uneven shadows along their faces.
She smiled at him as he regarded her with quiet reflection.
"So what you are telling me Ms. Hart, is that you do in fact have information on the young girl, Kallista Pendragon." He clarified.
"Your sharp as a pickle." Jodi teased Detective Simmons. He really was adorable in his quest to be honorable and lawful. A trait that in most people looked foolish and was a wast of time. But in Jodi's eyes, with Detective Simmons it was really quite enduring.
"May I call you Matt? It's such a nice name." She made a big show of yawning, taking one slender hand and covering her mouth demurely and then replacing her wrist calmly back in the confines of the handcuffs.
Detective Simmons sighed and reached back for the key.
"You may call me Detective." He answered her simply. He moved to take off her handcuffs. "I guess we don't really need these do we? It seems that you are here by your own will."
"Sharp as a pickle." Jodi repeated with a smile.
"So then you will tell me what you know of this girl." He held up a picture of Kallista that had been taken several years ago. Next to her was an identical girl. The only difference was that the one girl had a white ribbon in her hair.
"So that's Kalliope Pendragon." Jodi said softly taking the picture and studying it further. She looked up to find Simmons staring at her intently. "Why do you want to find Kallista so badly? She is just a girl."
"Just a girl?" He repeated and leaned back in his chair. "That girl single handily brought down an entire school and blew it up. I don't know how she did it. Forensics never found any signs of arson or any kind of explosive devises."
"Then what proof do you have that Kallista was involved at all?"
"There was video footage."
"Ms. Harte. I'm going to ask you again. Have you seen this girl?"
"Care to elaborate?"
"But you let yourself be caught by me. Why?" Detective Simmons studied the young woman with interest.
"Just a friendly reminder to drop this case. Kallista is in good hands."
"Ms. Harte. I think you know I can't do that. I am bound by law to find her and bring her in for questioning."
Jodi laughed softly. "Poor Detective Simmons. You are really in a tough situation aren't you? We are not going to help you and your superiors are not going to let this go. What's a detective to do?"
"I have been around long enough to know there is more going on then meets the eye." He said carefully. "With this case in particular I have been witness to.......many unexplained events."
Jodi raised her eyebrow at him. "Care to elaborate?
"It would not do well for me to speak of things that defy reason and logic." He stood up then and offered her his hand.
She accepted and rose to stand with him.
"I figure it would do me no good to arrest you Ms. Harte, so I will not even try. I am sure, however that we will meet again."
"If you continue in your fruitless quest to find Kallista then you most likely will find me along with a few of my friends."
Simmons gave a little laugh.
"We will see just how fruitless I can be then. Until we meet again, Ms. Harte. Have a good day."
He nodded to her and left the office. Jodi followed more slowly taking out her phone as she walked and dialed. With her other hand she collected her Sai Swords from where they had been hidden and strapped them on in one smooth motion.
"Did you convince him?" Israel questioned as he answered.
"Well, hi to you too!" She replied faintly annoyed, as she walked to her car. "How did you know I would.............Oh! Never mind!"
Israel laughed softly. "I take it he was not deterred. I didn't think he would be...."
"So........am I free to leave now?" She continued talking. "I can go my way and not look over my shoulder and see Skulduggery there waiting for me?"
"Yes. You kept your end of the bargain and we will keep ours." Israel answered her. "Just no more jobs like you did in Tanzania."
"Yeah. Whatever." She snapped shut the phone and tossed it in the passenger seat as she got in. "Now, where was I?"
She opened her visor and took out a plane ticket.
"Oh yes! Back to Tanzania I go!"
She laughed all the way to the airport.
Kallista lingered gingerly on the big soft chair in her room. Her body still ached from the fall yesterday off her motorcycle and she didn't have any of Kenspeckle's remedies on hand to ease the pain. A mistake she planned on fixing when she felt ready to face her comrades. Even now she felt the chill that had gripped her since the mysterious person had first appeared.
As she replayed the events of the last few day, her thoughts drifted back to the time after she had fled the forest, free from Eli Lonestar.
Wild, angry, scared and halfway trained in the martial arts and magic she had managed to get back to the orphanage only to find her sister had left on a quest to find her. Despite the protests of her guardians at the orphanage, she had slipped away before they could stop her and retraced the steps that Kalliope had taken, leading her to America.
How Kalliope had ended up in the deep south in a reformed school for dangerous girls was beyond Kallista's reasoning.
Agitated, Kallista jumped from her chair and broke off her memories. She would have to face them, she knew. Just not right now. Not that part before she blew up the school. She had used all her magic of illusion, fire, earth and wind, to evacuated all the people from the building. A part of her wanted to leave those responsible for her sister's death within the doomed building. But for her sister's sake she did not. Kalliope would never had wanted anyone to die on her account.
Kallista had hated her magic then and had used it with all her might that day as if she could purge it from her body! If it were not for her magic, she still would have been with her sister. Eli would have left her alone and Kalliope would have been alive. She hated her magic as much as she had hated Eli.
Her phone rang interrupting her thoughts. She blinked a moment before answering. It was Israel.
"Is Bridget there?" He asked tersely.
"No!" She replied, startled and a bit alarmed. "You mean she is not with you guys anymore?"
"She left just after finding out that you had gone off on your own."
She could hear in his voice that Israel was still angry with her. He felt.....no.....they all felt that Kallista owed them an explanation for her lack of use of magic.
Then same demons came and haunted her once again. Fear, grief, rage, and loneliness all plagued her as she clung to the phone. The added strain of the mysterious events and the power that had stuck her left cracks in her reserve. A whimper escaped her lips before she could stop it.
"Kallista?" Israel's voice questioned in concern. He had know for some time that something had been bothering his young friend.
While everyone else had family and close friends, Kallista had always been alone and had kept herself distant from the rest. It had been what everybody had been trying to do for the last few years, to get her to trust them all fully.
"Is everything OK?" he questioned.
But Kallista did not answer. She could sense Bridget nearby......and something else. In alarm, she dropped the phone. She pulled on her one item that had been made by Ghastly. A long coat that fitted snugly around her slender waist and then flared out becomingly around her legs to give her room for fighting. She twisted up her long heavy hair using her Japanese hair pins to hold into place and grabbed her Samurai sword and fan.
She quaked with fear as she rushed outside. Did Bridget know she was not alone?
Quickly she brushed away the foolish fear. Of course Bridget would know. But would she be able to fight with that mysterious poison that had been inside her? Kallista could feel through the earth more and more vampires surrounding her place. She knew that they could not get with in her wards. She was safe for now. But Bridget was not!
She stopped just inches from the ward and found herself face to face with an ugly vampire. It had come out of the dense forest that surrounded her place and growled as it reached to slice her, then howled in frustration as it failed. Kallista remained unmoved, even as more and more vampires emerged from the forest and lined themselves along the ward. She held her sword downwards but ready. They could not reach in, but she could reach out.
Then HE came. The vampire from Hidden Brier. The leader of this band of vampires. The one called Dusk. He smirked at her not worried by her barrier. He snapped his fingers and a couple of his minions came forward with Bridget in between them, still weak from the poison.
She looked up at Kallista with a glint in her eyes.
"Gee, Kallista. I didn't know you were so popular!"