Spirit Chains

Chapter 9

10,203 A.A.-Three weeks until the Summer Solstice

Sid sits by his cell's door, reviewing the plan in his head once more. It was nearly too straightforward but then again, he had always been a man who preferred simplicity. He knocks on the door with his metal gloves, trying to be as quiet as possible.

Across the way, in her and Kim's cell, Jackie answers him back with a series of soft knocks.

He grins at Kim's additional message before hoisting himself to his feet with some difficulty, the chains around his feet making him clumsy. "Hey, Gopher!" he calls out.

When the jail guard appears with a miniature golem, he wears a disgusted look on his face. "Again?"

"Sorry," Sid says. "But when a man has to go, a man has to go." He eyes the golem. It's no bigger than he is, yet he knows from personal experience that it's stronger than even the toughest human.

Gopher tucks a small pouch tied around his neck. "Step back."

He backs away as Gopher unlocks and opens the door, entering the cell to take off the gloves. He rubs his hands and stretches his stiff fingers.

"What are you waiting for?" Gopher says as he steps out of the cell. "Get moving."

Sid shuffles a few steps and falls to his knees. He looks up. "Think you can take these chains off?"

"You wish." Gopher sneers. "You earned them with that last little stunt of yours."

"Your golems were antagonizing those girls."

"They're not mine." Gopher taps his foot impatiently. "Start walking or I leave."

"Fine," Sid sighs. "But don't blame me when I fall on you." As he exits the cell, he glances at the cell in front of him, locking eyes with Kim through her window. He stumbles again and takes Gopher down with him.

"What did I say?" he says conversationally as Kim and Jackie's cell door is blasted off its hinges. He covers Gopher's mouth before he makes himself invisible. "You ought to have listened."

Jackie and Kim burst from the cell, shooting the golem with lightning with one synchronized move before it can do anything other than take a few steps towards them. Sparks fly from it as its internal circuitry is overloaded and it falls to the ground with a crash. "I've been wanting to do that for ages," Kim says, looking at the fallen golem with triumph. "Why didn't we do this sooner?"

"Giriko would have never been as easy to overpower as this one." Sid struggles to his feet, forcing Gopher up. He pushes him against the wall, making sure to keep his hand over Gopher's mouth. "And not as willing to talk."

"Talk?" Kim says as Jackie takes Gopher's key ring from his pocket and frees Sid from the chains. "We don't have time for that."

"We don't have a choice." Sid plucks the pouch from Gopher's neck-the one he's seen him crying over. He holds it out to Jackie. "What's in there?"

Jackie unties and opens the pouch, wrinkling her brow in confusion. "They're ashes."

Gopher's eyes widen in panic and he thrashes against Sid's hold on him.

Sid tightens his grip on Gopher. "You're going to tell us exactly how my son and the Avatar are related to all of this or you can say goodbye to those ashes."

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