Chapter 16

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Crystal halts in the doorway of her office and peers round the frame, checking that the coast is clear.

"We're not taking any of your cupid friends with us, love?" I say, stopping inches behind her.

She shakes her head.

"We don't want a War, Mino," she looks over her shoulder at me. "I fear this is bigger than you imagine."

I raise an eyebrow.

"You do?"

She gives me an exasperated look.

"Whoever the founder is, you have reason to believe they're starting a War on behalf of their father?"

I nod – not sure what she's getting at.

"What if they're trying to bring their father back?" she says.

"Would that even work?"

"A huge paranormal War? I think it would certainly give off enough power to reach him, to please him, to invite him."

Her blue eyes darken in the dim light of her office.

"Why do you think they're creating this super human army? So there'll be deaths on both sides. By bringing back-up we could inevitably start the War we need to prevent. We can't let that happen, Mino. The old gods have no place in this world."

I hold her gaze, watching the reflection of the flickering candlelight flicker in her irises. The I nod.

"OK. Just you and me, then," I say.

"Just you and me," she replies.

Together we walk out into the open plan office, back through the empty reception area, and out into the night.

It's time to end this.

***

We walk the cold, dark, London labyrinth. Crystal's white bow reflects the light of the moon each time a cloud reveals it. When we arrive at the black iron fence that encases Olympian Corp we stop. Crystal looks up at me - the industrial smog clinging to her eyelashes.

"Ready?" she says.

"Yes, my love," I flash her a grin. "Always."

"We head straight for the Transformation Room and destroy the serum," she says. "Without that the founder cannot start a War."

"What about Jekyll and the other?"

I think of the monsters inside. Crystal puts her palm gently on my chest.

"We will try to save them. But it might not be possible, Mino."

"No. I won't have you harm her."

Crystal looks up at me, something softening behind her blue irises.

"She reminds you of you, doesn't she?"

I look away. Then I meet her gaze again and flash a grin.

"I don't think we've time for a heart to heart, love. Shall we go?"

I start to move but she pulls me back- her fingers curled around my bare bicep. The smile falls off my face.

"Mino..."

"Yes. She does," I say.

She looks at me sadly.

"You can control it, she can't."

"I couldn't always, Crystal. You don't know the bad things I have done in my past. I can teach her to keep the beast inside."

A small smile tugs up at the corner of her lip.

"I knew you were a big softie, really," she says.

"Heart of gold, my love," I reply with a grin.

We hold each other's eyes for a moment and something in the air seems to crackle between us. Then a smashing sound resounds into the night. Both of us snap our heads towards the looming, prison like building. Subconsciously, it seems, her hand jerks to her quiver. Her fingers stroke one of the black arrows.

Sounds like Jekyll and the new monster are causing some trouble.

She looks back up at me.

"You said there was a cage in the transformation room?"

I nod.

"OK – you deal with the two monsters, put them in there. I'll deal with the serum. OK?"

"Deal."

She bounds toward the gate, jumps and swings herself over it. I follow close behind. Sticking to the shadows we dart across the grounds toward the entrance. We burst inside. There's a human on reception and Crystal flicks an Ardor arrow out of her quiver as he looks up. Not before I clear the room and grab his head in my hands.

"Sleep," I say.

He slumps down onto the wooden reception desk.

We continue across the chequered floor to the atrium where the statue of the God of War stands. Two uniformed workers are also passing by. They see us, stop, pull knives out from their belts. Crystal runs at one, flips over their shoulders, then strangles them with her bow – stopping when he falls unconscious to the floor.

I watch, a smile on my face – she really is quite impressive – while the second continues to race toward me. He swipes at me and I laugh at his pathetic efforts – easily grabbing his knife hand and looking into his eyes.

Seconds later her falls to the floor.

I catch Crystal's eye, she nods at me, and we continue onwards. Ahead I hear the sound of clattering.

Jekyll?

We make our way past the prison cells. The door is open. I peer inside, seeing the rubble covering the floor from when Jekyll last transformed. Unlike last time, though, all the prisoners have gone.

They must be being injected with the serum, now.

"We may have a problem, Crystal, my dear," I say.

"What's that?"

"There may be more monsters to face than we originally anticipated. And more still if we don't stop it soon."

She gives me a dark look.

"We better hurry, then," she says.

We head onwards to the next chequered corridor, the one leading to the Transformation room. Crystal halts. I look over her shoulder and see why.

Blood is pooled on the tiles, splattered onto the walls. Human workers lay unconscious, or worse, on the floor.

Sombrely we walk through it.

And then something jumps through the wall in front of us. Crystal swipes an arrow from her quiver and shoots at it as another crashes through the door up ahead. They charge toward us as another appears in the doorway to the transformation room. And there are more behind it.

I see five monsters in total – big, bulging, muscular bodies – twice the size of me or Crystal.

"Oh dear," I say.

We share a look.

Then together we charge. 

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