I didn’t scare them enough last time, although in my defense, a giant eagle-crow wrecking ball woulda scared the crap outta me, especially one that carries away and eats cougar sized zombie cats. And I can’t kill kids, that’s just low, and not socially acceptable, not that we have a society to frown upon us in this time of high falutency. The kids did go after my bird, which is pretty damn smart, but they have no idea what I myself can do. After I freed Norn from his paladin purloiner, he hopped to the barge rails, and actually managed to pick it up and fly away (with help from my anti-gravity enchantment). Now I just have to see if he drops it off at the house like I told him. Dude, why can’t I stop these half-second daydreams that happen at the worst of times? I mean that literally? WTF. While I was watching Norn to see if my enchantment would work, a bulldozer made up of two teens and their fucking bats (modern maces) blew me out of my reverie. My shield did cushion the blows, but not enough as I was now one with the Humvee. This is why I strengthened my body, to take unexpected hits like this. As my regeneration went to work, I could hear the screams of the kids over my pounding headache, something about attacking their little sister and how they were going to purify or sacrifice me when they were done beating me senseless.

  No, no no, no more. The two older ones where hammering at my shield with their deity-buffed bats, screaming all kinds of religious stuff that honestly just made the headache worse, the stacking concussive forces bleeding through my shield. The younger one had picked herself up at this point and was chanting something while doing a weird little dance. I banished every bit of metal that the Humvee was made of, which dropped me to the ground gracelessly, then forcefully called on my reserves of mana. I stood up as waves of power rolled off of me, forcing the paladins back and unintentionally blasting away the glass and plastic leftovers of the car. I called on the earth to raise me up about ten feet, then made it sink beneath them and all around me about twenty feet. I was on a pillar of stone with an empty moat. I called Gungnir to me and stuck it between my feet, “Fill it up!” I said, channeling water sorcery to my trusty spear. As it began to rapidly conjure water and fill the moat, I used earth sorcery to smooth out the walls of the moat so they couldn’t get a grip and then began blasting the two munchkins with gouts of water to keep them occupied and off their feet. The third one had collected herself and was doing her chanting routine again, to which I stopped with a blast of water. I really didn’t know what to do. Not even sure why they’re attacking me in the first place.

  The water in the moat was deep enough so that it was forcing them to swim. They had dropped their bats and taken off their armor, doggy paddling to stay afloat. There was enough clearance that they couldn’t get out. The tallest one was a boy, about fifteen years in age, with hair to his chin, and the shorter of the two was a girl, right around thirteen or fourteen. I created two small ice floes near them, just big enough to keep them afloat but not get out. “Now, you two stay there, and I’m gonna talk to the small one to sort this out.” I said, shaking my finger to make them feel small. They probably had huge egos, being picked to be a holy warrior and all, but somebody had to bring the real world crashing down, adult like a boss to these upstarts. I conjured a bridge of stone from the side of the moat to the top of the pillar and walked calmly to the third kid. She was clutching her hockey stick, her hockey mask on the ground next to her. “What’s your name?” I asked, sticking my spear into the ground and squatting in front of her. “My name is Nate, and I promise not to hurt you.”

  “You lie!” She screamed, scooting away from me, “You sent that thing after us! We saw you talking to it, taking our food!”

  Definitely a lot more venom there than I was expecting. I put my hands out, “Wait, I mean it, I mean no hard, I’ll even let your other holy rollers go if you promise to not attack me.”

  She kept scootin. “I don’t believe you, we’ve been fighting dead things for days! Goddess Astraea says that magic is what is keeping the dead from their rest, and that’s why they’re hungry! They need more magic, and we saw you using it!” Her voice getting more heated and high pitched as she made butt scoots like I was the devil himself. “Magic isn’t clean, it makes yucky dead things that eat and make bright things black!” Throughout her mini-monologue, her stick’s glowing increased in intensity, till she was a shimmering globe of soft white power, almost solid in consistency. “Ya know what? I don’t have time for this,” I said, thinking about the food I needed to take care of, “I am a sorcerer of earth and water and nature,” I said, conjuring a ball of dirt and dropping it, then doing the same with water, “I’m almost a freaking druid!” How am I supposed to reason with hormonal holy rollers with an actual goddess behind them? The only two real answers that popped in my head summed the first stirrings of a migraine.

  “FUCK IT! You’re all coming with me!”


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