After the mess of horrors, Gabriel called some men over to clean up the mess. Jake went to where Kate was and gave her a hug. “Are you alright, gorgeous? You no longer need to be scared,” he said.
She looked at him with an expression of shock. “My goodness, Jake! What was that? You pretty much boned the mouths of those men!” She pointed to the Guardian. “Look at you! You are all dirty and bruised!” She wiped the blood from his face and lifted his shirt that was torn. She was startled by the cuts and bruises caused by the fury of the humans. “You know, I hate violence!”
Jake kissed her forehead and reassured her, “Don’t worry about me, I’ll soon be cured.” Laughing, he added, “Unlike those worms!”
She looked angrily at him and said, “Very funny ... If it was you who was toothless, I would never kiss you!”
“Don’t exaggerate!” Jake winked at her. “I’m charming anyway! The teeth are just a bonus!”
Gabriel approached the boy, clapping. “Magnificent, but predictable. Jake, with each passing day you excel even more! Why did you not wait for me to get in touch before you came here breaking the door of my bar and breaking everything?” he accused the Guardian.
“Are you calling this filthy and stinking garbage bar precious? That would be the understatement of the year!” Indicating the men, he said, “What’s more, you are being frequented by unscrupulous humans who are in league with hell!” Moving away from Kate, he came very close to Gabriel and said in a firm voice, “You weren’t answering my calls and hiding in this filthy place without sending news while the demons entered my congregation, almost killing everyone!” He pointed towards Kate. “They almost managed to catch her! The least you could have done was to warn me, you traitor! Are you in contact with these creatures? Is my friendship and respect for you not enough? Is the price they are paying you more worthwhile?”
Gabriel crossed his arms and stared at Jake brieﬂy. He observed that the men who were cleaning up the mess had stopped and were in great expectations. A blonde woman who had warned him before approached him and whispered in his ear. The other two former Guardians who were close to him tried to block Jake. Gabriel just motioned for her and the others to stay away, making it clear that he would take care of the situation. “After all these years, this is how you treat me? Is that what you think of me?” He looked at his friend, hurt. “Jake, I would never betray you!” He pointed towards Kate. “She’s the girl, isn’t she?” Jake just nodded. “Come on,” Gabriel called the two. “Let’s talk in my office.”
As they walked to where he indicated, Jake noted that other former Guardians followed them and looked grumpy, not liking his visit. Once everyone entered the room, Jake asked Gabriel before he shut the office door, “Why are they here?”
“They are my friends and are helping me. After you left that day, I summoned everyone to do a search in the whole region. They questioned several creatures that made the crossing. The investigation did not occur only in Alcantes.” He sat in a chair and put his feet up on the table. “We set up in Longaile seeking for more information.”
“So? What did you find? Why didn’t you call me?” Jake asked.
Gabriel sighed. His friend had always been too impatient. He checked the time on the clock. “We were able to get some information.” He crumpled the paper that was on the table, made a ball, and hurled it towards Jake’s head. “If you were not distressed and impulsive as always, I would have spoken to you roughly a half hour ago.” He looked thoughtfully at the Guardian. “I think that was the time you took to destroy my bar and leave most of my men toothless!”
Jake replied, “Not so. I think there was a universal sync in it all. Anyway, it was good that I took a fight here. While your disgusting men attacked me, I just defended myself inspired by a great gesture of philanthropy, providing an immense favor to them and you.”
“For God’s sake, Jake. If a Guardian could pursue a solo career, you are not lacking in talent.
Jake rolled his eyes and said, “Dramatic!” He straightened his torn shirt and demanded, “Enough with this bullshit and tell me what you found!”
By the time Gabriel opened his mouth to speak, the girl who was cleaning the bar entered the office. She was tall, blonde, and beautiful. She wore a blouse and a short denim skirt. She also had blue eyes and wore long boots. Kate realized that she could not stop touching her hair. Turning to the Jake, Gabriel explained, “I learned that there is a great uproar in Zebheus. Demonic creatures of the Dark Guardians are scrambling to cross the portal looking for the girl.” He directed a glance towards Kate. “The demons cannot see her as she has a strong lock.” Still staring at Kate, he amended, “She proves difficult for them to find. There is a prize for those who catch her.”
Realizing that Jake had held his breath and ran his hands through his hair worried, Gabriel warned, “However, the intentions of the demonic creatures and the Guardians of Darkness are quite different from each other in relation to the girl.”
Jake, who was sitting in a chair facing Gabriel, bent over the table and rested his forehead, laying his hands on his nape. Sighing, he asked, “You told me the whole story while driving an accusing look toward Kate. How do you know my girl is the reason behind this?”
When he made mention of Kate, everyone looked at each other surprised. Kate lowered her head and thought, “I wonder what was so extraordinary that all hell was in an uproar? What did they really want?”
Jake rose from his chair, pounding his fist on the table, and proceeded suspicious. “When I was here that day, I told you about her distorted aura.” He stared at his friend. “Answer me honestly Gabriel, what you were doing that they did not open the door for me when I called you? Where were you when I came in and put your men and your filthy pub to the ground?” Still suspicious, he continued, “Your humans attacked me this time and tried to get Kate.”
Gabriel smiled at him and said, “Relax, buddy! I’ll explain everything, but I need you to trust me. When was the last time I ever gave contradictory reasons?” Gabriel went to where the Guardian was and put his hand on his shoulder. “I promise you as if it depends on me. No one will harm her.” Gabriel cleared his throat and continued, “I never said anything to my men about her. The creatures were asking for help in lowering the human sects. They were desperate. They didn’t know it was Kate. I just knew that a girl was being sought by demons and that she had something to do with you because I learned earlier today that Mark’s congregation had been invaded. When you entered breaking the door with everything and saw her beside you, I was sure.” He pointed to Kate. “The subject wasn’t even about her aura.”
“Okay, let’s say I believe you ...” Jake arched an eyebrow at him. “Answer me bluntly how you learned about this whole story.”
Gabriel shook his head with a laugh. “You have no idea! It was by sheer luck.” He cast a reproachful look at the Guardian. “You’ve just contributed a little to my discovery. Remember when you killed my dog the last time you were here?”
“Dog?” Jake frowned at his friend. “That thing was a werewolf!”
“Anyway ...” Gabriel continued laughing. “I contacted the guy who smuggles these animals. I needed another since you killed my dog. It was through him that I discovered everything. When you came after me and I did not open the door, it was because I was talking to him on the phone.
Kate remained worried and sometimes, she would cast a glance at the blonde. As always, the girl tried to call Jake’s attention. The woman came to sit in a chair facing him and crossed her legs wide open. That bitch! Jake also looked towards the blonde and realized she would not stop teasing him. She was not a bit discreet. Kate had already withdrawn the bid. Covertly, Jake put his hands in his pockets and asked Gabriel, “How did he know?”
“He learned of this story through a sect that exists in Longaile. Everything was to be kept secret, but someone leaked the information. The smuggler called to ask me if I wanted to help him find the girl and split the prize. I am a former Guardian and he’s a human. We could find her through her aura, since we are not demons or warlocks with dark magic. We can obviously see Kate.”
“What did you say to him?” Jake asked his friend, his green eyes widening. “My God! As soon as I find out who this coward is, I’ll slay him!”
“Hey, take it easy! Nobody knows about the alleged mastermind. The only thing we know is that the suspect requires secrecy when it comes into contact with the mercenary creatures. This is the primal part of the agreement. Then, we would be well rewarded.” Gabriel said. “The good news is that I will find out who this bastard is today, no later than tomorrow. The smuggler has a reliable source. He will contact me.”
The Guardian and Kate exchanged glances. She approached him and gave him a hug, no matter who the audience was. Raising her head, she stared at his face with a worried expression, “Jake, I’m afraid! What if you get hurt?” Still cuddled to his body, she whispered, “When you know who is responsible, you will do anything to go after him. I know, there’s no use denying it!”
“Kate, I am strong so you need not fear.” He kissed her neckand then said in her ear, “I need to protect you, and the only way is killing the ordinary.”
The blonde stood up from her chair and cleared her throat. “All right, enough of this little scene of dramatic love,” she said with disgust, then turned towards Gabriel. “Is our meeting rolling or not?”
“Why don’t you take a hike, Sabrina? Check for me if the humans have organized the mess a bit,” Gabriel said to the blonde.
“It can be better than staying here enduring this whole molasses,” she said.
While Sabrina was leaving the office, Gabriel rolled his eyes and said to Kate, “Don’t worry. All that anger is a result of repressed passion.” Launching a fun look at the Guardian, he added, “Not even Jake?”
Jake froze on the spot, throwing a glare towards Gabriel. He said, “Funny ... What I just realized was that you two are getting along very well lately.”
Kate coughed in an attempt to change the subject and asked Jake, “Shall we go? The others may be wary of our trail.”
“Yes, we’d better go. If Mark finds out I’ve been in this vicinity providing community service and extracting some teeth, the one who will have to wear dentures is me!”
Kate and Gabriel let out a relaxed laugh while the other two remained serious. “Did they not understand the joke?” Jake thought, frowning.
Before they left, Gabriel motioned him forward and asked his friend, “What you said before was that really true?”
Jake tilted his head to the side, wondering if Gabriel had heard his speech earlier regarding the safety of the girl and what he would do to defend her. Gabriel stared at him with a dark look. “Would you really do anything for the girl? Would you be capable of killing human sects and disobeying laws to save her?”
For a moment, Jake just stared at him thoughtfully. Then, without saying anything, he nodded in agreement and glanced at Kate.
“It’s ... I knew,” Gabriel said, worried. “This is my fear!” Still staring at the Jake, he blurted, “The funniest thing of it all is that when I was revolted by the death of Laura and Barbara, you were not very lenient with my decision.”
Jake beckoned it did not alter the tone. “What do you want? What’s the matter, huh, Gabriel? Why are you fumbling in the past?” He faced the outraged former Guardian. “I never judged you on your choice and the direction you decided to take after what happened. I just did not agree much at the time. You wanted me to be happy for you in abandoning everything and following the path of darkness, joining a demonic cult?”
“No... I just wish you had understood me.” Gabriel pointed towards the girl. “Now, I think you finally got it!” Still offended, he said, “You know I do not get involved with demons. I only keep in touch with them and the sect because I need Ambrosia to survive. Do you think if I knocked on the door of the mediator of Alcantes or any other congregation, they would provide me with it?”
“I know, no need to throw it in my face. I never forgot the promise I made to you. If you help me with Kate, I will reward you,” Jake said, remembering that if it were not for Ambrosia, he would have died along with the other Guardians.
Gabriel led them to the door and said in parting, “Don’t worry. When I have a name, I’ll get in touch.” He frowned at Jake. “And you hothead, you must wait for my call and not just come here to set off my bar and my men.”
“Stop being cynical! What I did to it was really a favor. To be more exact, a charity.” The Guardian pointed toward a man sweeping near the door. “What’s the point for a guy like that to have only two teeth in his mouth?” Jake raised an eyebrow. “Just don’t tell me that one serves to hurt and to open another bottle!”