While the trio walked to the farmhouse, Elizabeth and the others made plans on how they were going to carry out this assault. I was actually rather surprised Elizabeth was going through it at all, given her dislike of violence. I shouldn't have worried.
"So here's the plan," she explained.
"Who made you leader?" asked Sam.
"I did. If you had your way you would just bust the door down, rush in there, and punch the guy in the face."
"Exactly. If Zephyr's information is wrong, you just committed murder."
"They wouldn't be wrong. Would they?"
"I can make a chain appear out of thin air. You think there isn't some power in the world that can redirect seeing or whatever it is you call what Seers can do?"
"I guess it wouldn't hurt to be sure."
"Glad you're seeing things my way. I'm more then a little disturbed that you would just take what they say entirely on faith and go kill some guy, but whatever. That's why you have me around. I'm going to go talk to him. If he isn't a demon, we leave him alone. If he is, I want to see if he'll talk to me, as I'm the nearest thing to a demon around here. I mean he's not talking to you Matt, if you really are a Petitioner."
"Yeah, that makes sense. Are you sure you want to do it alone though?" Matt asked, concerned.
"I'll go insubstantial if he tries anything. It's fine. Anyway, meanwhile you guys are going to be sneaking in through the back, so I'll have backup if I need it right away. After he reveals himself, and not before," she glared hard at Sam, "You can come in and make with the violence."
The two males went around the back of the house, while ELizabeth gave them a moment to get into position. She rang the doorbell and waited. While she did I scanned the house, and got some curious energy readings running through the walls of the structure. A man looked out the window a her, then came to the door.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
Elizabeth put on a big smile. "Wow, I hope so. I'm really sorry to bother you like this, but I'm doing a project for school on local barns in the area. Do you think I could film the inside of your barn over the weekend, and maybe ask you some questions about it? I just see so many falling apart out the outskirts of the city it's great to see one being maintained!"
Clever girl. You made up a whole story to have an excuse to talk to him, and see if he would recognize you or just attack. This way if he isn't a demon... you aren't just standing there with a blank look on your face.
"Well I'm afraid it wouldn't be ready in time for this weekend," he replied. "There was some groundwater damage a few days ago and part of the floor collapsed. To be honest I'll probably have to hire somebody to make sure it's safe even for me to go into. If it wasn't for that, I would have been happy to help. Always glad to see you young people getting interested in your neighborhood."
Elizabeth's face fell. "Aw, that's too bad. Well I hope it isn't too hard to get fixed. It would be a shame to have to knock the barn down to redo the whole foundation. Well, I won't take any more of your time. Sorry again for bothering you!"
"Don't worry about it. Have a nice day."
He closed the door. Elizabeth just looked confused.
Okay, so is he a demon or not? she thought.
Sam and Matt were keeping low and motioning her over around the house. She ducked down and went over to them.
"You guys shouldn't be out here, you're supposed to be inside," she protested.
"We couldn't get in, he must have the house covered by those weird symbol things."
"Well shoot. And he seemed normal enough when I talked to him."
"Oh, he's a demon alright. He saw him change into some farmer dude from the back window."
"Oh. Well now what? I do want to talk to him and see if he'll tell us anything. Even if it will be suspect, it would be more then Zephyr's told us."
"I say we just take him out."
"He must have recognized you," put in Matt. "If he's smart he's long gone by now."
"But that's just the thing. He's still here, days after trying to kill us. Either he has no fear of us, and why should he, or he's set up shop here and can't leave."
"So what do you suggest?"
"Get him out here again. You've seen Home Alone, right? Do you want to go through his house with who knows what traps set up to find him?"
"No, not particularly."
She walked over and rang the bell again, and once again the man opened the door.
"Was there something else?"
"Look, my friends saw you change, so drop the act. We're just here to talk anyway, so can we keep this civil?"
"I don't think you came here on your own just to talk. I think you were sent here to kill me."
"You're right, we were sent here to kill you. But I came here to talk to you."
"I'm supposed to believe that?"
"I'm standing here making mouth music and not the Sam Pummels Your Face Until You Die sonata, aren't I?"
"Look, what do you want?"
"I want to know what's going on around here! You seemed to convince Dlizabeth (she says hi, by the way) it was essential Sam here be killed, I want to know why. I want to know why I have these weird powers now, and why I'm being trained as some sort of supernatural assassin. You know what's going on, or at least implied that you do, and as loathe as I am to admit it, you're probably our best bet for finding out the truth."
"Did you ever consider your being kept in the dark was deliberate?"
"Go away." The demon (man?) started to close the door, but Elizabeth snapped her fingers. "Sam," she commanded.
"Finally," he breathed, and smashed the door down.
This pinned the man under the debris, and he shimmered and became the creature I had seen earlier. My probes recored the event and I eagerly watched to see what the three would do.
Elizabeth immediately put up a barrier as two more of those four legged creatures came into view, and Sam leapt in the air to come down and punch the demon. I noticed with interest this barrier had a bit more cohesion then the last, but still wasn't what I would call her best work. The demon narrowly avoid the blow by vanishing in a puff of smoke, which was followed by Elizabeth disappearing in a similar one. Luckily with my probe in her head, I could know where Elizabeth was wherever she went, and watched as Sam crashed through the floor and into the basement.
That guy really needs to learn the word restraint, I thought, willing myself to Elizabeth's side again. The demon seemed oddly off balance, but Elizabeth and her barrier were looking determined. I realized I hadn't actually gone very far, this was still the same house. Interesting.
"That was a dangerous thing to do," sneered the demon. "What are you going to do all by yourself?"
He started chanting and waving his hands about, and a circle of light appeared underneath Elizabeth. Undaunted she began to mimic him, and an identical circle appeared under the demon. He stopped, and both faded away.
"Now you have your answer," Elizabeth said. "I'm going to do to you whatever you do to me."
"That's an interesting power you have there," he said, studying her barrier. "But you can't mimic this!" He tried to puncture it with his claws, but skittered off. He snarled in frustration.
You know, I could take him out for you easily," I heard that odd voice in Elizabeth's head say to her. "Just let me out before you get us both killed.
Shut up, I'm trying to concentrate.
She willed her weapon into existence as this time the devil managed to get a claw inside the barrier and tore a hole for himself thought it. He lunged for her, and I stepped "left", coming to 0% temporal sync with them. Looking at the angle of the attack and calculating his velocity, plus the hardness of those claws... she's in for a bad time. I looked them both over. She was doing pretty well, too. I considered, then looked down at where the demon's foot was going to land next. Reaching down I tapped the wood, and a tiny sliver of my armor slid off and settled there. I made it nearly frictionless, and stepped "right" again to speed up the action. As I calculated, the tiny patch of floor now covered with my armor threw off his balance just enough for Elizabeth to skirt out of his way. While she did so, she wrapped the chain around his neck and began to tighten it.
Rather then struggling, as I expected, the demon instead reached up and grabbed one of Elizabeth's hands, and my sensors registered some sort of power coming from him. Whatever it was it didn't seem to do much, Elizabeth just tightened the chain.
Forget that, said the voice. Even you can't miss at this range, practice or not. Just blow his head off with your energy attack and be done with it.
I won't do it!
So you'll strangle him instead? How is that better?
Just- just shut up!
I'm just saying.
The demon tries again, but again fails, and at this moment, Sam comes barreling into the room, screaming "Get away from her!" He knocks the demon to the floor.
"Oh, this is much better!" exclaims the demon. He reached up to grab Sam now, and Elizabeth got a horrified look on her face. Even slowed down, what happened next was quite startling, even to me. As the demon grinned in triumph, Elizabeth's hand came down on Sam and something started to happen. But just as it did, a beam of energy smashed through the window, angling downwards. It struck the demon in the face and tore his head off, making his body disintegrate into fine particles.
When the afterimage cleared, Elizabeth was gone... and my probe wasn't functioning anymore.
Matt was standing looking stunned at the sudden disappearance of his friend as the Spirit Hunter they had met on the roof of the school took the window out the rest of the way as she sailed into the room.
"That was close!" she exclaimed. "It would have been a disaster if he had possessed you, Sam. Hey, were's that girl?"
Exactly what I want to know.
"I saw the whole thing," remarked Matt. "When you killed the demon she disappeared too. You don't think she was trying to mimic his powers and got killed the same as him, do you?"
"That would be unlikely," she replied, looking around. "I do know a technique, but it takes awhile. Give me five minutes."
The others stand and watch her chant for several minutes, and she comes out of it again.
"Yup, somehow she's managed to possess you Sam."
"Possess me? What does that mean? Liz? Are you here? Give me some sign, anything!"
Suddenly Sam starts slapping his own face and crying "Stop hitting yourself."
Sam seems to snap out of something. "What the!? Okay, that was weird. I guess I see what you mean about me and possession."
"So how do we get her out of there?" asked Matt.
"Let's just hope it wears off," replied Rosalitta. "We can forcibly eject her, at least there are powers that can do it. Unless you've learned how to do that, Matt?"
Matt shook his head. "No way to practice that."
Okay, so did Elizabeth just somehow go inside Sam? I thought. How is that even possible? Energy beams is one thing, but this violates so many laws of the universe I can't even begin to list them all. My armor started to list them all for me. That wasn't a request, it's fine. The list disappeared.
"As long as we know she's here I can tell you guys why I came back. It wasn't to kill that demon, as fortunate as my timing was."
"Yeah, thanks for that. Sorry I was so useless," Matt said, ashamed.
"You're not a direct fighter, don't worry about it. Anyway, I have to tell you, Spirit Hunter society has basically written you all off and is now gathering forces to come and kill every person here that got powers."
"What?" shouted Matt. "They can do that?"
"There is some concern over the 'media backlash' in the supernatural community if the plan goes forward, but that's basically their thinking right now. They feel with all the demonic presences here, and the manner in which you all got your powers, basically corrupted you all. Expect for yourself and Sam here, who are both holy in nature."
"Oh, that's some comfort," sneered Matt. "I get to bury half my class. Well we've got to do something about this!"
"That's why I came to get you. I think if you two speak on behalf of your classmates, you might be able to sway them. Or at least buy some time? The society is very much a "kill them all and let God sort them out" kind of organization. "So I'm not sure if anything can be changed at this point, but it's your best shot."
At that moment, Elizabeth seemed to be forcibly ejected from Sam's body, and staggered around the room dizzily.
"Okay... that- where- AARG!"
"Deep breaths, it'll pass. You heard all that?"
"Yes. Never doing that again. You okay Sam?"
"Yeah, I guess. You were in my head?"
"Sorry. It was the only thing I could think of to do. He tried doing something to me, so I figured he would do the same to you. I thought if we both tried it, either we would both be inside and fight for control, or I could push him out by going in. Didn't matter it the end, but..."
"Hey, it was a good idea, at the time."
"Come on, if we're going, let's go!"
"Just a minute! First, I'm glad you're all okay," said Elizabeth. "Second, let's fix up the door Sam busted down so someone doesn't walk by, see it, and call the cops. Then we can go."
They do that, then gathered around Rosalita. As she started chanting, I picked up a strong thought from Elizabeth.
I seriously hope we didn't just get suckered into willing going with a kidnapper.
She has the most cheerful thoughts.