I am not proud of falling asleep like I did that first time I stayed at Ami’s dwelling. Normally I have enough energy to last weeks of this world’s time when on a mission. It must have been all the jumps and paperwork I was subject to, plus the glamour usage in those fights. Ami’s squirming around on the way back didn’t help any, either.
Over the next few days, I took it upon myself to both recuperate as best I could, taking some glamour from the strong emotions in Ami’s practicum class when they were talking about racism, and using a few of my legacy titles to strengthen the spiritual wards to her residence, which were laughably weak. I was unsure as to why the glamour from this class tasted like both passion and near-rage, but didn’t ask Ami while she was studying.
When I did, she gave me a pointed look as we walked down the street towards what she called a “bus stop”.
“It’s a touchy subject for most people that are aware of it,” She said as she searched in her bag for something. “Generally it is the systemic oppression of those that are of different colored skin than the white European colonizers that came here in the 1600s and never left. Most overt oppression isn’t as common as it was in the 1960s, but it still happens and the news doesn’t even cover it unless there’s a cop and a death involved.”
I digested this for a moment. “It doesn’t make sense to treat others of the same species unfavorably,” I said as we stood at a sign with a bench beside the road. “Even worlds where there are multiple sentient species have some form of egalitarianism to them.”
Ami looked mildly shocked that I told her there was more life out there than humanity. She took a few minutes before she spoke again. “There are some people that extend the definition to how superhumans have been treated since the passing of the Superhuman Registration Act. I can see where they are coming from, but I want to make my own conclusions once I have read the entire law with notes first.”
A stranger on the bus gave Ami a questioning look before sticking their head into a print publication.
“I think I understand now,” I said, trying to keep to an open chair where my wings wouldn’t need to pass through solid matter in the near Unseen. I dislike that feeling. “Humanity here hasn’t yet reached a point where they consider others different from themselves as valid and equal, and it is one of their active struggles to do so. Well then, I would wish them to go down the path of ma’at if I were allowed to, but it is not my active mission.”
“What is your active mission, anyways?”
“Now that you have become my liaison to this world, you have a right to know at least some of the details. I am to find out who or what is disturbing the energy flow in the area and stop them, using force if I have to.” I felt the pommel of my sword and watched an order spirit float by as we sat at a traffic control stop.
We sat in silence for the rest of the ride to where Ami had an appointment. She bade me to stay in the waiting room while she went into a different part of the office. Since I was supposed to see the city with her afterwards, I was inclined to oblige. There were more people around the clean and stark white walls, sitting in what looked to be mildly comfortable chairs around the room as the early afternoon light streamed in from the partially open blinds on a window on the far side from the entrance. There were a few small tables that held glossy print reading material a few years out of date smattered among the chairs.
Many of the people that sat in that waiting room had some strange phenomena around them in the near Unseen. A few had their heads’ energy fragmented, some were pierced with an ethereal screw of their own auras, one’s khu, or protective energy field, was torn nearly in half and the sides were arguing, and then there were the two that shouldn’t have been there. One was a netjeri of the world who kept on poking the head of a man and laughing when he reacted, and the other was a human male in his near middle years almost encased in shadow.
I knew what the shadow meant, but I wasn’t here for it. I have to be given orders for most of my duties, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to interfere. I did note its signature for later to give to Alex, one of my coworkers, and have their people assess it once I was done here.
The netjeri, however, was another case entirely.
I gave him a withering gaze. “Could you not torment one of Netjer’s children?” I asked. “It is hard enough for them to be mortal as is without being prodded by pranks.”
The goblin-like netjeri turned and sneered at me. “And who are you to be liking humans, huh? You should be joining in on the fun, not berating me for it!”
“I do not enjoy harming humans. In fact, my employer would be annoyed with me if I were to sink that low.”
“Sounds like your employer is a no-fun yuppie.” He went back to poking the human on the head.
“My employers are Lady Nit-Nebthet-Seshat and Master Shu, you low-bred ingrate! Have you never even heard of them?!” My wings flitted fast and the trees outside shook in the breeze.
“Nope, I would have if they had power here.”
I growled. No one gets away with insulting me without paying a price. “I’m warning you, for the sake of those I have protected, even went intensive for, stop or you will force my hand.”
“Make me, bitch!”
I brought my hand to my necklace. “Oh noble House of Reshanuke, hear my cry! A commoner has defied the law of which I have laid down. Hear the blood of my veins and the air of which I am borne and help me to enforce the law that has been set forth of which is to not harm one of Netjer’s children for personal gain!”
He looked back at me as I felt the necklace warm and my forehead mark start to hum. “Bl-blood?!” He jumped off the man’s lap and hid behind a table. “S-s-stop please! I won’t do it again!”
“And there the commoner weeps, the force of name applied stalls his hands from the break and the sword from his neck. Know, Reshanuke, that I calm thee now, but keep eyes for his misdeeds for a year and a day. If he breaks his vow, he shall know the full incant.” The necklace cooled and my forehead mark went inert, acknowledging the deferment of sentence by one of my legacy titles.
He breathed a sighed of relief. “I thought you were some messenger sylph!”
“I am the first daughter of the main line of House Reshanuke, out on my given duty by the Netjeru themselves. They are gods, and they have power here.”
“Shit…I apologize Lady Reshanuke. I haven’t been to Dannania or Tir in some time, but even I know not to mess with that name.”
I sighed and shook my head. There are times I wish I could get away with not using my noble heritage in the multiverse, but fate and stubborn faerie folk deem my titles be used, in spite of what I have become. “You and I both. My work keeps me from there most of the time, anyways.”
“Wait, you mean you’re THAT one?” He looked at me strangely.
Before I could muster up the words to answer, the shadow enveloped human started squirming and yelling. His normal companion tried to ask them what was wrong, but was pushed aside as it got up out of his chair and started to swing at me. It gave me the feeling of what Ami would call goosebumps or the freezies, where it tingles like when Alex and I spar and they get a hit in with an electric spell, but cold as it passed through my arm and shoulder.
I regarded it with a disinterest as the companion went to get the office staff. It couldn’t hurt me in the slightest unless it wanted to disembark from the human it was possessing, and what creature of that type would give up a ride, anyways? I rolled my eyes at it as it said garbled nonsense with the next swing.
A few of the office staff in blue uniforms came through the inner door that Ami had went into and hooked their arms into his, restraining him. He fights against them to break free in vain, flips me a universally insulting sign, and talks garbled more. At this point, I wondered if the shadow was trying to get a rise out of me, when the netjeri took to hiding again.
He struggled against his captors and finally slipped them as he bit one of them and swung at me again. The rest of the people in the room seem terrified at this man, but to them, he was just attacking an empty space in the middle of the waiting room.
“It…will…destroy,” The hoarse voice of the man said before being grappled once more by the staff.
I furrowed my brow. I did not want to hear the nonsense this shadow had to say.
Just then, I felt a glare of dazzling light behind me and the sound of wings as I knew something had come through. In the fading gleam, I spotted the female companion to the possessed man had her hands clasped together and her eyes closed while uttering something.
That meant one thing to me: trouble.
In one fluid movement, I stepped to the side, kept my wings closed and felt the rush of aetheric air as a small bird-winged humanoid rushed past me in a chain shirt towards the possessed man.
“For His glory,” I heard the winged humanoid say as he swung a mace of silver at the man and knocked the shadow out of him. The man went limp as the shadow crashed into the far wall and the office staff looked bewildered at where the man’s fight went.
It takes the sickly shadow thing a second, but it starts to panic as it sees the body it had been riding out cold with the bird-winged humanoid standing near it. It started to look around the room for a vulnerable person to hop into.
It spotted the khu split individual after a few shove offs from some fields around a couple. I reached down onto my sword scabbard, flipped open the catch on the auxiliary sheath and withdrew one of my daggers.
It leapt, but I intercepted it before the winged humanoid could turn its head and slashed its shoulder.
“Ish’ta mo souri! Daggers of the multiverse, send the marked to the Lake of Fire that deals with his kind! Kheperu, Nekhtet!” I said and a rip opened up not inches from the legs of the khu split woman and sucked the shadow into it before closing cleanly.
The bird winged humanoid scanned the room for its next target before its unfeeling eyes landed on the netjeri.
The netjeri was cowering behind the table. “Please, I didn’t do anything wrong to that guy! Spare me!”
It started to cross the room towards the netjeri, as from the corner of my gaze, I saw a flutter of a small human headed bird race past my wing towards the unconscious man’s body, as if guided by a rope being reeled in.
“Enough!” I said to it. “You’ve answered her prayer and taken out that foul shadow from her companion’s body. There doesn’t need to be any innocent destruction today.”
It turned its head towards me and twirled its mace. “You took the glory of the kill from Him. He should punish you.”
“I am not one of that god’s brood, nor was I ever. He does not hold dominion over me. If that one has a complaint, they should bring it up with my Master and Lady, and if they want to kill that shadow so badly, they should directly speak to Wepwawet-Yienpu. For now, though, let us have peace.”
The netjeri nodded. “I’m not going to harm him. Look, his conscious spirit has almost regained control!”
My eyes flicked to the man, and saw a warm glow radiating from his abdomen as the office staff had him on his back and were trying to revive him. He took a big gulp of air and his eyes fluttered open.
Suddenly, it was within melee range and swinging its mace at me. I raised my dagger and caught the mace head with the flat of my blade.
“You are too powerful to not be in His service,” It said, white wings outspread. “You shall bow down to Him.”
“I refuse to bow down to one who hates my kind and doesn’t give his own servants free will,” I growled and shifted, bringing his forward movement headlong into the window. “Not to mention the atrocities that I have seen committed in that one’s name! Return whence you came, your deed is done!”
It gave me a look of mild annoyance, then hooked into the light and was gone.
After I wiped the shadow’s viscera from the blade, I returned the dagger to its sheath and secured it, then wiped my brow. “I hate angelics.”
Once it had returned to being passably peaceful in the near unseen, the netjeri sprung from its hiding place. “Thank you Lady Reshanuke! Thank you for saving me!”
“It was nothing,” I said and walked over to the man, who was still woozy and on the floor. “I do not wish for us to have a sword fallen on our necks simply for existing in the same room as what was their action.” I squatted over him as the staff used a datapad-like device to see how his airflow was doing. I did a little incant to help his healing speed along as his khu started to reform from the shreds the shadow had left when I felt a glare on me.
“How could you?!” I heard Ami say under her breath as she stomped towards me. “I leave you alone for ninety minutes and you’ve gone and hurt an innocent man!”
I finished the incant and snapped my fingers to initiate it before standing. “I was not the one who did this–”
“Save your excuses, I don’t want to hear them!”
“I am not making excuses!”
“Lady Reshanuke is right,” the netjeri said and drew Ami’s attention. “I saw the whole thing. She saved my life, and that guy’s after the angelic knocked a really bad possessor out of him. Probably would have lost his life after consuming his internal energy so his soul wouldn’t have anything to come home to.”
Ami looked to both of us. “But she was standing over him…and who are you anyways?”
“Call me Konk,” the netjeri said. “It’s rare these days to have a human notice us on this side of the veil.”
“So I’ve noticed,” Ami said and gave me a cautious look.
“I was only helping his healing process along,” I said. “Possession can be quite taxing on a mortal’s body, even to those who are trained. A near total shutting out of a person’s conscious soul for however long he was controlled for has eaten many years from his life, but stimulating the healing process will help get some of that time back. This is much like the work on the ley lines I was sent to do, but obviously smaller.” I dusted the front of my sky blue dress off. “Usually Alex takes care of the possessors and other things of personal evil.”
Ami looked like she was going to ask a question, but was interrupted by Konk.
“You said ley lines? I know where the main one is around here. I can take you there,” He said.
I smiled slightly. “Would you happen to know of any disturbances in the flow of it, and what the source of those disturbances are?”
“I don’t know about any disturbances, but my friends that live in the area might. I can negotiate for information about that from them as thanks for saving me from that angelic.”
I nodded. “That would be helpful, thank you.”
“I could take you today if you want.”
Ami shook her head. “I still need to get some ink from the store for my printer.”
“It would be better if you got in touch with your friends so that we will be expected first,” I said. “That way it won’t be seen as rude. Meet us at the university in front of their library once you’ve finished the arrangements. We will discuss then what day we will be able to visit.”
Konk nodded. “I hope I can find them, I’ve lost contact with a couple over the past few human weeks. Surely they’re just pulling my chain, like they usually do.” He looked to Ami. “It’s been decades since I’ve pestered someone who can see me…”
Ami snorted before she started for the exit, to the relief of the rest of the people in the office. “No way in hell am I going to have you bother me, especially when I have class tomorrow.”
I gave him a sidelong look before we walked out. “Some netjeri never learn…”
“It’s a catch-all term for non-human and non-god entities like myself. He is of more common stock, though.”
“I didn’t think that there were levels, just spirits and humans.”
I smiled slightly. “There’s much you do not seem to know about this side of the veil.” A thought popped into my head and I tapped it into my red-green crystalnium servitor’s bracelet for later.
“It’s not like my parents taught me about it,” Ami said, looking a bit forlorn. “They hated anything that didn’t fit their worldview.”
“Well, it is not their perspective that sees me, it is yours. You will need to know some about the world you see, in order to defend yourself. Since you are my liaison, I can help you with that.”
“Before that, shopping for ink,” Ami said as we stepped onto the bus.
I nodded and followed suit. “And seeing the city.”
Then we were off.