Sally and the Carnelian: Chapter IV
Flying is friggin’ awesome.
I mean, I don’t mean to brag. But it’s the best.
As the people below me point and stare (holy crap I’m glad I wore jeans instead of a skirt today), I wave and smile, all the while making sure I’m not about to slam into a sign or pigeon or something.
Eventually, I circle back around and meet up with Kat.
“So… How do you feel?” she asks.
“Fantastic,” I say, grinning. “You still want a ride?”
“Hold up a sec, Sally,” she says.
She looks so serious. I’ve never seen her like this.
“What’s up?” I say.
“I… I can’t believe I’m the one saying this, but…” she says, rolling her eyes. “Listen. You need to be careful, OK? Not just physically. You’re at that tipping point where you could either be a crazy-awesome superhero and save the day, or you could decide to use your power for yourself and, I dunno, next thing you know, you’re stealing cars just for the fun of it.”
“Trust me, I won’t be using a car for a while,” I say.
“I know, but that’s not the point,” Kat says. “And I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life or whatever, but… I want you to be careful. For your sake.”
Ah geez, Kat.
“Thanks,” I say. “And you’re right. I do need to be careful. You’re gonna keep me in line, right?”
“If you’ll let me,” Kat says.
“…We’re not going back to work, right?”
“Oh, hell no,” Kat says. “Screw that. I’ll be your moral compass, but not your buzzkill. Let’s go flying.”
Aegis finds his way to the convention center after asking about a dozen more pedestrians which way to go.
When he arrives, he finds everyone leaving.
“Excuse me,” he says, grabbing the arm of a passing cosplaying elf. “Why are you all leaving?”
“Hey, man, let me go!” Elf says. “C’mon, we’re all looking for the flying girl.”
“Flying girl?” Aegis asks.
“Yeah, it’s been blowing up on Twitter,” Elf says, pulling out his phone. “You haven’t seen this?”
Aegis watches the shaky phone footage of Sally flying over the streets.
“Dude, do you know her?” Elf asks. “Man, if you know where she is, you’ll be, like, a legend around here. No one knows if it’s just a publicity stunt by the con or —”
Before he can finish, Aegis jumps into the sky. “NO WAY,” Elf says, switching his phone to video mode as quickly as he can.
“Oh, there you are,” Thanekron’s head says, flying up beside Aegis.
“If I were not busy flying, I would have yet another way of dispatching you,” Aegis says, focusing on his flight spells.
“Listen, here’s the thing,” Thanekron’s head says. “I want to propose an alliance.”
“I am no fool, demon. I know not to trust you.”
“Yeah, but here’s the thing — and this is something you know too, even if you won’t admit it — she’s stronger than she should be.”
“…You are correct,” Aegis says.
“Not only that, but she’s… I dunno, she’s changing me, somehow. It’s not natural for me to be this chummy.”
“Again, you are correct.”
“She could endanger not just us, but the very fabric of reality,” Thanekron’s head says. “She’s upset the balance in a tangible way. We need to shift it back.”
“How do you propose doing that?” Aegis asks.
“Easy. You chop off her head and rip out my carnelian. Keep it, if you want. You stick my head on her body, since mine’s probably dust by now. Everyone’s happy! Well, except her, but whatever.”
“…I shall consider your offer,” Aegis says. “Leave me be for now.”
“Whoa, hold on! Don’t you want to know where she is?”
“If you know, why did you not tell me so at the beginning!?”
“Eh. This was more fun. C’mon, follow me.”
“WAHOO!!” Kat screams.
“Kat, we’re on the ground,” I say, unlocking the door to my apartment.
“I know, but that was epicsauce!” Kat says, following me in. “Man, do you need a plucky sidekick? I feel like I could totally be a plucky sidekick. Right? I have that vibe.”
“Absolutely,” I say. I kick off my boots as we step inside. I seriously need to clean my tiny hole of an apartment, but whatever. It’s livable.
“Hey, what are we doing here, anyways?” Kat asks. “Man, I haven’t been here since… Hang on, when was I here?”
“When you were too drunk to drive after Tony’s party, so I let you crash on my couch,” I say.
“Oh yeah, right!” she says. “That was so rad of you, too; we barely knew each other back then!”
“I was a bit drunk, too,” I say.
“…Fair. But still. So rad. Anyways, why are we here?”
“I wanted to change into something a bit more aerodynamic,” I say.
“Ooh, sexy,” Kat says, grinning.
“Right, ace,” I say.
“Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate objective sexiness. You‘ve got it in spades.”
“That’s literally the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten,” I say, heading for my room. “Grab something to drink out of the fridge if you want.”
As I grab my workout clothes and change into them, I feel the gem pulse inside me. Once I’m done changing, I hold my hand to my chest and close my eyes. It’s in sync with my heartbeat, almost like it’s becoming part of me.
Or I’m becoming part of it.
After I lace up my sneakers, I head back out of my room.
“Just like I said,” Kat says, sipping on a beer. “Oozing objective sexiness.”
“Aw, shucks,” I say.
“So what’s next?” Kat asks.
“I dunno, I thought I’d go out and stop crimes,” I say. “Help protect the city and whatnot.”
The freaky demon-head flies through my living room window, followed by some dude in a knock-off Thor cosplay and carrying a huge sword.
What the heck?
End of Chapter IV