The Archfiend Artifact

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42

OUTSIDE PARADOX, MABON CITY

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24
9:17 PM


Paradox was packed tonight, both within the shop and the cavern beneath it. Zero, Necro, Aiden, and a handful of others had already gone inside, but I had something to do first. So I took up a sentinel’s post across from the secret door in the alley, waiting. Watching.

She would come.

I knew it.

I had something she wanted.

The heartbeat of the city thrummed on. People moved through the city’s streets, blissfully oblivious to the encroaching dark and the creatures lurking within it. Creatures like me and my new friends.

I felt the marrow-freezing energy long before the icy demoness appeared at the mouth of the alley. Khione’s snow-blue skin glinted in the light that filtered through the shop windows as she moved. Her outfit tonight mimicked the first one I had seen her in. Silk shirt. Leather pants. High heels. All in varying shades of shimmering blues and purples.

“Right on time,” I said and held out the item I had for her.

Her catlike eyes narrowed slightly as she studied the plastic Dollar Store bag. She warily accepted it, looked within. Her grape-colored lips fell open in awe. “What did you do to it?”

“Made sure nobody would ever use it again.”

Her eyes met mine.

“Hey, the way I see it, the mirror was mine, anyways. After all, it was stolen from my family’s vault.”

“And the diamond?”

I scoffed. “Anonymously returned to the Smithsonian.”

“Good.” She tied the bag closed. “I shall see to it that the bounty on you is rescinded immediately.”

“Then our business is concluded,” I said and started for the hidden door that would take me to Paradox’s underground nightclub.

“Thanks for the help, Cybil.”

“Cybil Starr is dead.” I looked back at her. “Just call me Jinx.”

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