In the end... there was naught for her. Only the gnawing of the back of her mind seemed to be the only thing she had gotten. Still drained because of her ordeal and subsequent struggle, Meredith flew. She had been a good girl, but most people had not caught wind yet of what she had done. Retribution was in order. She did not fear punishment as much as the rejection it'd create. Demon child, a kid of both worlds. Her father... her father would be so disappointed.
She hesitated for a second... before typing a curt "I'M SORRY" message to her dad's cellphone, the last link between him and her. She had wished he had been around... but he had not. A demon hunter sometimes had to go and disappear for weeks or months. Her own mother would be no good either, as without her father she would have mocked her. And those two... they always fell in line with mother. Her hands tried to reach for a stray cat, a yearning for fluffiness to soothe her aching mind. But the little puss caught wind of her nature, and hissing, jumped away in some bushes.
Her knees were about to fail, the letters "POLICE STATION" in front of her looming menacingly.
"Hmm. Empress, you seem to be in the wrong place. What're you doing here?" A familiar voice asks from behind Meredeth. Since he had woken up from his forced nap, he had been trying to keep an eye on her. However as she grew closer to the police station, he knew he had to act. He didn't know why she was going there, but it looked like she was about to collapse on the spot.
In a risky act of kindness, he tried to walk over and put his arm around her to help her stand. "I didn't think I had taken so much out of you....unless you got into something after?" He asked, a toothy grin spread across his face. Just as the voice had indicated her would be savior was indeed the monster she had faced against outside the arena. Well, he was the monster. His body seemed to have reverted to his normal human form, and stayed as such.
"Before. I was nearly bled to death and driven insane with pain. I made some regrettable decisions. Probably this is my last chance to be a good girl." Meredith droned, her voice full of sorrow. "I never wanted any of this. I was lost and scared, and ended up listening to the wrong people." She added, but she never made the step to enter.
"I..." He started, before he let out a deep sigh. Her words hit him like a ton of bricks, the powerful and commanding demoness he had met, reduced to a sniffling wreck out of her want to do good. This just felt like a knife had been plunged into his gut, and was twisted. "You don't need a police station, you need a hospital. Come on, you're in shock." He whispers, moving to try and pick her up. The wound in his back ached as he tried to lift her, and he prayed it wouldn't tear open again.
"It will heal. It always has. Ever since I was a kid, unless my heart or head are gone, I will heal." Meredith said as she clenched her teeth. "I suppose that's the price I have to pay, I was born with a twisted heart. Just like the other half demon... and I've lashed out at my best friend." She added. "I despise that woman of his. He deserves more. And I don't know why I am telling you this." She added, trying to force her way into the station.
When Alexander arrived at the tournament, everything was chaos. There were scorch marks and blood everywhere, and the fire department and paramedics were scrambling to give everyone the attention they needed. He saw a set of officers hauling away a Mephisto boy into a squad car, but that didn't interest him. He had larger concerns. The number one being finding out everything he could about the cultists who had attacked the people. He did not need to climb thanks to the fact the tournament ground had no basement. The ground floor was the lowest point, so he wasted no time and called for the spirit of the Arena. The monstrosity of a man that formed nearly made Alexander draw his weapon, but he reminded himself that it could not harm anyone. He took in minor details such as his worn armor and scars. He felt like he should know this person, but brushed it off as he had more important things than remembering a long-dead warrior.
Alexander had the spirit tell him everything it could recount after Katherine had transformed into a demon. He had some info having watched everything he could from King's TV network, but needed the spirit to fill in the blanks. He quickly found that there was too much information, and had to have the spirt summarize it all for the sake of time. He was shocked to find out one of the Cultists was still alive. He was especially confused when he found out Meredith was with them. He wanted more answers, but he had already wasted so much time listing to the stories of the spirit. He pressed for as many details as he could while having the spirit take him to the edge of its domain to point out where it saw them go. He was able to gather that Meredith had befriended the cultist, or it worshipped her. He wasn't too sure given the rushed explanation. He left without saying a word to anyone. If they needed him then he had a radio.
He was able to follow them by stopping at every other building and summoning a spirit. He stopped mostly at stores and vacant lots as they, typically, didn't have subfloors. He had a lot of time to process his thoughts while tracking them. He still didn't know how he felt about Meredith. He finally knew the truth about what happened the night of the airship crash. He had spent these past few weeks looking into Galbrek and Meredith. He wasn't able to get much on Galbrek, but he learned plenty about Meredith. Perhaps he did too much digging, as the things he heard painted a sad picture.
As he rounded the corner, he saw them, and to his amazement, they were both standing outside a very familiar building. He hadn't counted on them turning themselves in. Especially not the cultist who was looking at some serious time if not death. It would probably be for the best if they did, but he would never get any answers in that case. As a junior officer, he would be a low priority for a case like this. The other, more experienced, officers would take the lead and leave him at the wayside. He needed to make a move, but he couldn't risk scaring them off. He needed to control the situation as much as possible.
He glanced around the area and spotted a small coffee shop a few buildings down. It was his and a lot of other officers favorite place to sit and eat though none of them would be present after the incident in the arena. They were speaking as he approached backs turned to him. He did not draw his weapon, but when he was as close as he could be, without catching their attention, he spoke in a calm but firm voice, "Meredith." He paused, giving her time to turn and see him, "We need to talk. Follow me." then without saying another word, he would walk past them and towards the coffee shop. He knew showing his back to them was risky, he could get supplexed again, but this was in its own right a test. He didn't know anything about them and needed to get a read on their position. Their reactions to his actions was a good first step. He gave them a clear opportunity to escape by approaching them this way. He didn't want to believe someone willing to turn themselves in would attack him, but of course, he could be wrong. They may have come to destroy his station and him along with it. If that were the case, he had a grenade in his coat ready to take himself and his attacker with him. He'd been taking a lot of gambles lately, and so far none of them had paid out. However, he needed certainty more than he needed safety right now. What was one more gamble? If they did go along with him, then maybe they could all get some answers they needed.
"...alright." Meredith, said sheepishly, as she followed. "I suppose i need to be told off." She said, a hint of sorrow in her voice as she hesitated for a second... something dark and deep stirring in her mind, beckoning her to rend the human into pieces and drink his soul... which she ignored. Just listening to her darker impulses had made her make poor decisions. Outwitted and outsmarted by everyone, she needed to play better assets... fortunately, people would still believe in her good faith, a newfound trust earned by the sheer amount of blood she had shed in the invasion.
"...I need this. This is my last foothold among people." She whispered back to the cultist, before prying herself out of his grasp, and indicating him not to follow with a gaze. She and only herself would turn herself in.
The Cultist puts up only enough resistance to Mer's prying as to not let her fall on her face, and sighs. He puts his hands into his pockets, and starts to waltz off. He stops for a moment, and looks to Alexander. "We'll talk, later....you, and I." He says, his attempt at keeping his face locked into a scowl failing as the corners of his mouth curl up into a restrained smile.
Alexander nodded to the Cultist in response to his words. He hadn't expected this all to go so smoothly, but he was glad that it did. This short interaction told him Meredith was more than willing to speak with him without a fight. The Cultist also showed respect for Meredith's wishes and to him. He wasn't sure what Meredith did in such a short time to win the boys trust, but he was glad that she did. He was feeling far more hopeful about this plan now. As Alexander entered the diner, he was greeted by name by the waitress. "Hey Alex, who's your girlfriend?" she teased while looking over Meredith.
Alexander stepped in front of Meredith at her prodding, trying to keep her eyes on him and off Meredith. He didn't want to risk her noticing the blood under Meredith's cloak. "She is just a friend. Now Liz, could we get a table for two. I am here on business today, so I don't have time for your shenanigans."
"Ah, your no fun a usual Alex." she pouted, and then pulled out some menus. She sat them down in a booth by the window and set out waters and poured a cup of coffee for Alexander. "Thank you, Liz," he responded before casting his gaze upon Meredith. She looked very stressed and understandably so. He felt a little sorry for her, but he wasn't ready just yet to play the sympathy card. He let her sit for a moment to give her a chance to gather her thoughts before asking, "Why were you at the police station?" it was a question with an obvious answer, but he wanted her to say it. "I would also like to know why you befriended that Cultist, and yes, I am aware of who he is." He waited patiently for her response, but he kept his stern look.
Meredith stood very silent. It was significative how unresponsive she was to the teasing the other girl did, and merely followed, avoiding as much contact as possible. "I... was there to offer an apology. I fully did not understand the consequences of what was going on. There was so much pain... and I ended up listening to the wrong voice in my mind." Meredith managed to piece together. "As for him... I just... stayed my hand at the right moment. Even though my demon self wanted to eat him for his transgression." She tried to steady herself as she gathered more confidence. "I don't really want to be a bad girl. Mom was a bad girl. Look what good it did to her. Trapped among humans."
Alexander listened to Meredith's words intently, only pausing at the mention of voices. If the girl had mental instability, he wasn't sure he was equipped to handle it. She could have been referring to her conscious, but it didn't come off that way. He was surprised to hear the cultist had been won over by an act of mercy. He knew nothing about their sect, but it at least seemed like mercy was not a valued trait. It may have been more personal reasons that motivated the boy, but he would have to ask him directly to find out.
Alexander sipped his coffee before answering, "Ok, I want to believe that you mean it when you say you want to be a good girl. I really do, but It is hard given your choices as of late. This right here." He gestures to the cafe, "Was a good choice, and what you did at the arena was even heroic." He sighs, "But, I am not a judge. I'm not even a full officer. I am a junior officer. So, I can't pardon your crimes." He waits a moment to let this sink in. "I can, however, forgive you." He gives her a small smile, "You put my brother and I through a lot of hardship, but I am willing to look past that and give you a second chance and, if possible, become friends."
As Meredith and Alexander wandered into the diner, sat down, and began their chat, the cultist watched from a near by rooftop, laying down and peering from the edge to try and watch them. Most diners had windows so those dining could see outside, but the cultist found it hard to see them from his angle. "Don't try anything funny, officer...." He muttered quietly to himself. He was untrusting of this fellow, this final foothold. Part of him wondered if they'd try to bind the Empress of Dreams with magic, make them a servant. Surprisingly, that part of him boiled with rage where normally, the idea would of amused him.
Then, his stomach rumbled. He cursed at how much of his energy he used in the fight, and how now he was famished. However, he knew he couldn't just pull someone off the street to satiate his hunger, he'd have to find something, or someone, else later. For now, he had to continue his watch. Something in his guts told him he needed to keep a watch out.
Meredith bit her lip, as she fidgeted with her hands. She strained herself for a moment before eyeing Alexander. She tried to talk a couple of times, before finally raising her sight to meet Alexander. "Well, I am glad, you're still willing to believe somewhat in that I can redeem myself." She paused. "However... you're projecting
" She added, her hesitant voice gaining firmness all of a sudden. "It wasn't my idea to go with the overkill by wantonly borrowing a magic airship. You failed to use proportional force, and knock sense in your brother as well." Meredith added. "You are also given a second chance, am I right?"
Meanwhile, in the rooftop, a presence appeared behind the prone man. It felt very much like the Meredith... but somehow even more potent, a true otherworldly presence, which she also laid low just behind the cultist. "My my, my little Mer... you keep fumbling and fumbling. What an useless daughter you are sometimes..." The sultry voice answered to the man's back.
".....Hmm. So you're the mother she spoke of." The cultist grumbled, as he rolled onto his back, and leaned up onto his feet. He looked over the new arrival, and sneered in an almost disgusted manner. He crossed his arms, gently creaking his neck to the side. "So tell me, servant of darkness....why're you here? It's a dangerous time for you....the city will be in a panic, looking for those like you, I, and her."
Alexander raised an eyebrow, "I didn't expect her to feel so strongly about the situation."He thought to himself, sipping his coffee. He thought of being scolded by his superiors and being made fun of by his peers, his face looking increasingly more sour as he did. He set down the coffee and took a breath, "I don't view it that way. Though, you're not alone in your opinion." Alexander replied, looking a little put out, "Let's agree that we both have made poor choices as of late. In that sense your right. This is a second chance for me as much as it is for you. Though admitting that doesn't help either of us." He said, letting out a sigh, "As I said, I can't pardon you. I could maybe put in a word for you, but as much as I hate to admit it. My word isn't worth as much these days. I have some plans if you'd like to hear them, but what are your thoughts?"
Meredith sighed, listening to the explanation. "I just don't want to waste my chance at trying to be a somewhat normal girl. That's all. But it's all in pieces. If you were expecting some sort of plan, you're barking at the wrong tree."
"Well, that's fine. If it makes you feel better I tend to make most of my plans last second. Though I tend to finding bouncing my ideas off other people tends to improve them. Alex says, then pauses to consider all that he has learned. "I'll be straight. I want to do something big. Something big enough that it would restore my honour and pardon you at the same time. Now, I said plans, but what I have is more of an idea with possible outcomes. I got it when I found out you were with that Cultist boy and have been mulling it over ever since. I don't know how close you are to him, but do you think he would be willing to tell you anything about his organization?"
Meredith sighed. "Well, I stayed my hand... and he keeps following me around for some reason. I might be able to convince him... over time, but as it stands, it won't be possible." Her eyes darted outside, in the general area where her mother was. "Expect hiccups."
"I was watching my little girl. But seems like I don't need to do much anymore. She's getting sharper by the day. I had an offer to give you... but I guess that might happen sometime in the future." Mona said, as she crouched even further, before aiming to take flight. "Well so much for fumbling. I guess she is less pathetic than it seems."
"That's fine. If anything I expected that." Alexander replies, then sips more coffee, "Time. We always need time." He takes a deep breath, then let's it out slowly, "OK, I have an ides, but I am going to hate myself later if this backfires. You need time to work with your new friend, thus you need somewhere safe to stay while you work with him. So." Alexander reaches into his pocket and pulls out two objects and slides them over individually to Meredith. The first was a card, "This is my emergency contact information. It has my work number, personnel number, and most importantly my address." He slides the second object over, a key, "And this is a key to my condo." Alexander doesn't say anything else. letting the objects speak for themselves.
"...Are you really sure about this? You're giving a key to a condo to a half succubus teenager. It could be taken as very wrong." Meredith said, eyeing Alexander. "I'll ask again, are you really sure about this?"
"I'm frankly more worried about harbouring two fugitives, then the potential social backlash. However, you have a point. The condo complex does have a desk lady who like to gossip. Hmm..." he takes moment to think rubbing his chin, "Ok, have you and the Cultist kid claim your my cousins and that your last names our Everett, that's my mother's maiden name. That way anyone who really knows me would recognize the last name, but wouldn't be so knowledgeable to know my whole family. If your OK with playing pretend this should work. What do you think?"
"Alright. It could work. But I was warning you." Meredith said it. "I will be your cousin then. I will see if i can alter my appearance too. I've gotten a bit better at magic."
"That sounds great." Alexander replied, with a pleased look on his face. "I'll talk to my wife about you coming over. In the meantime I got to go back to the arena before I'm missed. Go ahead and talk to your friend or do whatever you need. You have the key so feel free to come by anytime. I won't be home until later tonight." with that Alexander stood up, paid for his meal up front and went out the door leaving Meredith to consider here new situation.
"You've no idea the potential she wields. Things have changed, in the deep dark....Those like her wield power unmatched, if only she knew how to use it." The cultist says, before he too turns to leave, spotting the detective as they left the establishment. "For now, as you said....later, offers will be made..." He mutters, before stepping off of the roof on the opposite side from Mer and Alexander. He had things to do, plots to set up, dark powers to appease. Much to do, so little time....
"Mm." Was the tacit approval of Meredith. She decided to made herself scarce for the time being and return to school.