Chapter 56: Don’t tell me twice.
“Really?” Eliza asks when I hand her my plate.
I smile. “Well, I’m a guest!”
“So, as a guest in my house, you do your laundry in my machines, you sleep in one of my rooms, you eat breakfast that I cooked, and I’m just suppo—”
“FINE! Just give me the sponge.”
She laughs. “It’s right next to you. I’m going to head out. Want anything from the store?”
“Four cases in the basement. Help yourself.”
I wash my plate with enthusiasm. “Anything else you want me to do?”
“Just keep the place clean. I should be back around three-ish.” Eliza grabs her purse from the counter. “I plugged your PlayStation to the projector’s receiver in this living room.” She points directly across from us.
Eliza walks out of the kitchen and down the hall. The front door slams shut.
Ugh. One batter-covered waffle maker, two greasy pans, two glasses with orange juice residue, and silverware crusted with syrup and yolk. Great. “Kanti!” I yell out, shutting the running water.
Kanti appears right beside me.
“Where were you?”
“I searched for Nothing in the immediate area. I was able to pinpoint five within a seven-hundred-mile radius.” Kanti sighs. “There are undoubtedly more concealing themselves.”
“Damn. I’m still impressed. You made it that far in like half an hour? That’s crazy! Where’s the closest one?”
“They are all in Times Square.”
“How do we handle them?”
“I am uncertain. We are unclear of their motives, but I believe it is a trap. Observing is the wisest action. Without being certain of their capabilities, I cannot say with confidence that I can restrain all five at once. The circumstances would have to be grave for us to engage immediately.”
“That’s lame! You make it seem like being the cloak bearer is this high honor; like I’m going to be going around exorcising Nothing, keeping order and stuff in the universe, or whatever, but how is it that the first Nothing I fought has been around for eighty years? And, now there are five, who I can’t even fight! Were the other cloak bearers not doing what they were supposed to do?” I clench my fists. Steam and suds rise in the sink. “Why can’t we just warn people and tell them to be good? There’re too many ways we could handle this. There’s no telling what five Nothing can do. That last one had an entire city to feed on! We can’t just stand by!” I shout scrubbing silverware.
“There are too many variables present for us to approach the situation without a strategy. What if all five feed themselves to you and the fragment of Aemon can overpower the cloak?” Kanti asks firmly. “We do not know their power, or yours.”
I remember my dream and cringe. “I can use the crystal you gave, right? Why can’t I fight them with that? I’ve used it to fly, warp myself, and materialize clothes on my body.”
“Yes, but combat is different. If you do not keep yourself composed, you will not wield my energy effectively. If the crystal is taken from you, there’s no telling what can happen.”
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