Bella was worse for wear, but alive at least. The van was fucking trashed though, no way we were gonna be able to drive it back to the church. I helped ease her out of the wreckage, though I quickly eased her to the ground when it became apparent that she couldn't put any weight on one of her legs. Bella's left arm may have been broken too, and she had that deep cut on her scalp. Bella let out a soft moan as she rested her head against the car door and I applied some pressure to stop the bleeding. Bella and I were silent as I watched her close her eyes and concentrate, while I kept the pressure up.
After a few moments, Bella opened them and I could see a sparking green flare fuse from her eyes. She reached behind her back with her right arm and drew out the short staff she had taken earlier. Affixed to the head of the staff was a green emerald. Driving the staff into the dirt she held hold of it, beginning a chant that sent the magic in her eyes through the gem and an to the ground. She kept up this chant for a few minutes as waves of Green energy flowed from the her eyes through the gem and back from the Earth.
Elementalism was magic from the elements, Earth, wind, fire, and water. Through it could also pull its energy from the plants and lifeforms that can be found within this world. Bella was using life force of the Earth to knit her wounds. While not as good as the healing magic of Holy, or even the self healing powers that Ethereal magic offers, it was a fuckload better than nothing.
When she finished her chant, she let out a long breath. The bleeding in her scalp had stopped, and she could move her arm and leg again, albeit very gingerly. We would need to get her to Quint asap for some proper healing. I jumped back up into the remains of the van and grabbed up Bell's bag and retrieved my weapons. I jacked new rounds into them before glancing at my watch, noting the time. Hopping back out, I leaned over to Bell and helped her up, letting her put her weight on me. We gingerly headed for the bridge that lead over the canal, and into the city proper.
"C'mon Bell, let's get you movin'. We'll get you to Father Quinton and he'll patch you up. I also don't want to get caught out during True Dawn, we need to get back to St. Augustine's for more than one reason quick."
"Okay Alex, I think your right. The fact that they were waiting for you outside the Acamy is really disturbing. It's like they knew where you were going. If they can rustle up two attack units like you faced tonight, who knows what they could do. They may have even taken another shot at the church."
I didn't like the sound of that. I have been underestimating these fuckers. If they can cast the kind of magic to control a planar demon and get onto holy ground, then send another team after me, I couldn't afford to take any more chances. Or make any more mistakes. I was afraid Bella may be right. Whatever happens next, I needed to be the one acting, not reacting to these assholes.
We got to the other side of the canal and despite casting that heal, I could see Bell's face twisted in pain. She was putting less and less weight on that leg. That heal was like putting a band aid on a knife wound. Yeah it helps, but really how much. I used my free hand and twisted out my cell. Fuck, I had cracked the damn screen again. I punched in the number for one of the local cab companies and promised a big fucking tip if they got here within the next 10 minutes.
We hobbled a little ways down the drag until we got to a lonely little bus stop. I eased Bella onto the bench and head her let go a little sigh of relief. She's a tough little girl, I had to give her that. I glanced up again at the moon, drawing lower in the sky and knew didn't have the time to waste. Out of habit I popped out another smoke. Stressful fucking shit I tell you. I offered one to Bella as I sat down beside her, who shook her head no. I took a long drag letting the smoke fill my lungs, then slowly exhaled it. Man that felt good. I used my free hand to caress my rosary beads as we sat there waiting for the cab, in the quiet early morning. Reminding myself of what those beads meant, and of what I had almost lost.
The cabbie showed up as I finished the smoke and I bustled Bell in. I threw a wad of bills on the front seat and told him to haul ass to St. Augustine's. His eyes widened and he floored the cab. I might have been using my "I'm gonna fucking kill someone" voice when I said it, but I didn't give a shit. I needed to check on Quint..... and Sera.
The cabbie kept his eyes half on us and half on the road as he sped through the streets. Traffic was light on the fringe of the city, but as we got deeper down it started to pick up. Santa Diego, needless to say, always had a healthy nightlife. With so many Walkers, there are entire districts of the city that are open only at night. I just hoped we wouldn't hit traffic, there would be a rush for our kind to get indoors before True Dawn and I really wasn't in the mood for that.
The cabbie made good time though and got us to the church. I dumped another $20 on the wad I had tossed him earlier and helped Bella out of the car. I had the cabbie drop us off in the back entrance, though I didn't see Brother Tristan's car yet. Worried, I eased Bella onto the stoop and slid my gun free.
"Bella... I'm gonna check out the church. I'm thinking you were right when you said that these guys had more resources than I gave them credit for. I already got you hurt once tonight, I can't have that happen again. Wait here, if you hear shots fire off a flare to the Academy. They'll come for you at least."
She tried protesting but I wasn't having any of it. I fixed her with a hard stare and she finally relented. I knew that she never gave in that easy, she must be more hurt than she was letting on. I knew one thing though, if I asked her to go in there, she would. It was like the years of tension between us was leeching away.She gave me a grim smile while she pulled out her gun and and staff as waited on the steps. Besides I knew she had ways to get a hold of help if things went to shit, though I doubt the Academy would care all that much about what else was going on. One of Merrin's key choices was to keep the school out of politics. Still, she had been going there long enough and had some contacts that would come and help. I just hoped it didn't come to that.
I nodded her my thanks and eased the back door open. As soon as I entered I knew that something was wrong. The place crackled with energy, ambient rays of broken Blue and Black magic still echoed across the building. I rushed through to the kitchen and found it destroyed. The entire room had exploded in a shower of magic. The backlash was so bright I could see it with my normal vision. There were several bodies strewn about the room, including that of several lesser flight demons, imps, familiars, and watchers alike. It looked like the pantry had seen the worst of it. The sigil that had held the secret room had been cracked and the entrance was opened in the blast.
I crept down the stairs though I didn't hear anything. As I reached the bottom, I saw the ground covered in burn marks and blood. The room was destroyed, furniture broken and burnt, ambient magical energies still coursing unchecked through the cracked sigils that had adorned the wall. It was what I saw next that nearly broke me though. On the far wall was Father Quinton. He had been crucified.
His hands were splayed to either side with long silver knives driven in them. His feet had been bound together and driven into the wall with another knife. His face was a bloody, puffy, broken mess. Thick tears formed in the corners of my eyes as I vaulted the distance between us.
I immediately sent the Orange tendrils of my magic to probe him. He was still alive! Just barely, his pulse and heartbeat weak and irregular. As I urged him to stay with me, his left eye fluttered open, his right to swollen to even move. He managed to utter one phrase before blacking out again.
"Alex.......it......was Tristan. He....he took Serapha."
That fucking mother fucker.
End of line.