“I have been waiting a long time to meet you,” the kid said, “You and I…” Evil smile. “We will have oh so much fun together.”
“Why do I feel like we have different definitions of ‘fun’?”
“Oh. We do. I enjoy inflicting mental torture upon the weak-minded, and you… well, I must admit, I am a little… curious. How is the whole ‘pyrophiliac’ thing going?”
“Can we focus on my dying friend, and not my… err… relationship with fire? Lilly really needs to get to a hospital and–”
“She does not have time for a hospital. The academy is closed off from the world, accessible only via flight. By the time a medivac arrives, her chances of survival would have fallen to approximately five percent.”
Five percent. Fuck. Not liking those chances.
“Then–then we get her to the academy. There’s an infirmary there. They could–”
“They could attempt to keep her alive until a medivac arrives. Dragging her body back would take longer than waiting for the chopper, so it would not be beneficial.”
“There has to be something I can do.” I watched Lilly’s pained breathing. One of her air sacs must have been ruptured. A serious injury. Likely fatal.
“Of course there is something you can do.”
I looked up. “What? What do I do?”
“You heal her, of course.”
“How? I’m not a doctor, I–”
“Now is hardly the time to dance around the solution, Aleister. You are a fire god. And a phoenix. Just your your magic.”
“What– what are you talking about?”
“Do you really think this the time to play dumb? Your friend is dying, and you have the ability to save her.”
I stared down at Lilly. I couldn’t let her die. I’d never forgive myself for that. “How did you know?”
“I am a god of Truth: I know everything.”
“Then you know why I can’t risk using my true power like that.”
“Of course. The nameless group seeking to hunt down and kill mortal gods. Naturally, they are searching for me, too.”
“Yeah, and I’m pretty sure they’ve got some kind of network to detect us. Sensing our minds, probably. In order to cure Lilly, I’d need to release my true power. And then all it takes is a quick peek at my mind for someone to realize how much magic I have.” I shook my head. “It’s not safe.”
“That is why I came. I can protect you. Both of you. I do not need to shield my mind. If someone comes looking, I will have already left. Omniscience has its benefits.”
I took a moment to debate my options. I could either unleash my power and tip off anyone looking to kill me, or… or I let Lilly die. No way. If I could save her, I had to do it. But I had orders: keep a low profile. Don’t use my true power. My emotions had gotten me into enough trouble over the years. And this… risking everything for some girl? I wasn’t looking forward to having to explain that.
“You can justify it,” the kid said, “Tell them you were protecting an ally. You’ve sensed her power, remember?”
Right. When she stopped my breakdown over the halo. She unconsciously channeled energy into me, stopped me right away. Not exactly a smoking gun, but… it certainly fits the theory. That she’s just beginning to realize her powers. The Company’s been looking for new subjects to study, so… if I bring her back to them, along with this creepy omniscient ‘cubi kid… Surely they’d understand.
“Okay, whoever-you-are. One question: why are you helping me? You don’t seem like the type to do this out of the goodness of your heart. No offense.” Yeah, gotta question his motives here. I really don’t trust this guy.
“I already told you. You and I are going to have fun together. You will… entertain me.”
“I don’t like the sound of that.” I sighed. “I guess I don’t have much choice. I’ll need your knowledge.”
“Yes. It will be a real pleasure working with you, Alex.”
“Yeah. Uh… can’t say the same, but… thanks, um…”
He grinned. “Lucifer. My name is Lucifer.”