TWENTY-TWO

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"What the hell is going on?", shouted David as he burst into the conference room. Everyone turned to see me standing next to him and I saw them choke on their words. The look they shot me next was really displeasing, I tell you, I can guarantee they'll never shoot me that look even if I told them that I'm a fan of the Devil himself.

"I think it's best if you move away now", David said to me, "Believe me when I tell you those looks can get worse".

I took his advice and returned to my original position next to Vic. Not that I was affected by the looks, mind you, there are just other pressing matters at this moment.

"So, you're ready to tell me what that Trichloris guy is up to now?", asked David as he went to take his own seat too.

"A friend of mine just called me that he spotted Trichloris in a television station in town", explained Oliver.

"Huh!", I said before I could contain myself but seriously, what the hell is that guy thinking? Is he trying to hold a press conference or what?

"I think he's planning to expose us to the normals", said Kendra, "That's the only thing that makes sense".

"Yes, I think so too", concurred Oliver.

"Even if that is true, what good will it do?", asked Victoria.

"That's actually the point", I replied after thinking about it, "It won't do any good". I have to say Trichloris is ever a madman genius. He knows that exposing us to the normals will cause us endless trouble because people tend to fear what they don't understand, especially if it's more powerful than they are, and we won't have the opportunity to plan for his attack if we're busy trying to stay hidden from the normals.

"I'll tell Jones to find a way to stall and prevent him from sending the world of magic tumbling down in just a second", said Oliver as he took out his phone and began to dial a number.

"No way am I allowing that", said Victor as he suddenly yanked the phone out of Oliver's hand, "What are you thinking involving a normal in this?"

"Jones is one of us, Victor", he replied, snatching his phone back from Victor and redialled the number, "I suggest the rest of you start getting ready for the trip into town".

Everyone began to disperse but I saw Victor standing there, still not convinced.

"What's the problem, Mr. Elmonton?", I asked as I moved closer to him.

"It's the distance", he replied, "Even if this Jones guy's able to stall him, I don't think he'll be able to keep it up till we get there". I have to say that I agree with him, the Estate is very far removed from the main town and every second counts in the fight against Trichloris.

"So what do we do now?", I asked.

"We need to find a way to give him a massive distraction that'll keep him occupied long enough till we get there".

I thought about it for a while before it hit me. "Mr. Elomonton, don't worry", I said with a smile, "It think I know just the right person that will create the distraction we need".

"What exactly am I doing here?", asked Denise as I invited her into the study.

"There's a problem and only your 'expertise' can solve it", I replied. I looked up to see that Victor is the only one waiting for us.

"Where's my father?", I asked, confused. Oliver had promised that he'll be waiting for me in the study and he's not one to break a promise, at least not in a moment such as this.

"An important business came up and he had to take care of it", he replied and I saw something flicker in his eyes that told me that he wasn't entirely telling the truth but he had turned his attention towards Denise so fast that I couldn't finish reading his expression, "So, Miss Firewalt, what can you do to help our cause?"

"Depends on what you want", she replied and I saw her face take on that business look that Francesca always had as she sat down and pulled out her laptop from her bag.

"We want to stop someone from exposing us on air", I said and I saw her look at me with a completely confused expression.

"Can't you guys just wave your hands or say a couple of those things that you say and stop it yourselves?", she asked.

"Actually, we can't", replied Victor, "The thing is, magic and technology are like two similar but parallel entities of the world. Magic cannot influence technology and technology cannot influence magic likewise".

"And that's why we need someone who is a Master of technology", I added, "You".

She nodded understanding and got down to typing. Within a few minutes, she had completed the job. "Nothing is going to get aired from any station around this area", she said as she stood up to leave, "Your friend's stuck but you still have to go down there personally to stop him completely 'cause if he has someone who is a computer expert like me then we'll be in a really big tug-of-war".

"Thank you so much anyway", I replied and gave her a big hug. We were still in the celebratory mood when Kendra entered.

"Troy, your-".

"Troy Alexander Sanders!", shouted Mom as she burst into the study, almost catching Kendra in the head if not that the latter jumped out of the way in the nick of time, "What in the world have you been doing?"

"Oh-Oh!", I exclaimed as I backed into a corner. Mom going all full name basis like that can only mean that there's fire on the mountain and not even running can save me. Victor, Kendra and Denise excused themselves as Mom laid eyes on me and began to walk determinedly towards me- This is so not going to end well for me, I tell you.

"What have you been doing?", she asked again as she enveloped me in a bone crushing hug instead of the cauldron of anger I was expecting and I felt her starting to sob against my shoulder.

"Mom, why are you crying?", I asked, a little confused at her actions.

"I heard all about the dangerous things you've been up to and I'm here to take you away", she replied.

"No Mom, I can't leave", I replied as I led her to one of the chairs, "It is my responsibility to be here".

"But Oliver and the other wizards can take care of whatever it is that's going on", she insisted, "They are much more powerful than you are".

"Perhaps you're right", I said, "But I'm old enough to take care of myself now, and you too Mom, which means I have to stay and fight in order to keep you safe".

"But I am safe", she said with a reassuring smile as she squeezed my hands, a lot more forcefully than necessary too.

Not if Trichloris wins, I thought to myself but chose to say " And I intend to keep it that way" instead.

She was about to counter me when Victoria burst in and shouted, "Troy, there's another problem, bigger one this time".

"What is it?"

"Denise has spotted Trichloris' disciples on the grounds of the Estate and they're heading towards the manor", she replied.

"How many?"

"She's not sure but puts the least number at thirty".

"No no no", I said as I pulled Mom, "You have to leave, Mom, NOW".

"Why?", she asked, panicking a lot more than before.

"The bad guys are coming and I don't want them to find you here".

"Actually, it will be impossible for her to leave", interrupted Vic with a sympathetic expression, "They're coming in from every entrance of the Estate, we're trapped".

"Damn it!", I shouted as I hit the table with my fist. I'm sure this is another one of Trichloris' crazy plans to stop us once for all; Trap us with about thirty no good Cultist-Wizards descending upon us from every angle, and my mom is caught in the middle of everything. Oh God! This is bad, this is so bad.

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