Interlude 8 .

The In

The underling stood calmly while the Mistress and her companions screamed into the cold air of the stone room.  Green magic swirled around them kicking up a wind that knocked over bookshelves, tables and chairs.  Making a mess that he and the other underlings would have to clean up later.

When their screaming ended, the Mistress turned calmly to the underling and said, “So two of the cafe’s in India have been destroyed.  That isn’t a big deal.  We can recover from this.”

The underling cleared his throat.  The Mistress’s eyes narrowed.  “What else?” she asked in a tone that indicated if she didn’t like what she heard, he might die.  But he couldn’t lie.  The consequences of that would be worse than death.

“More cafes have been destroyed.”

“Where?” she asked.

“Three in the U.S., two in Canada, one in Mexico . . .”  she held up her hand to stop him from speaking.

“How many in total around the world were destroyed?”

“Twenty four.”

The Mistress tapped her fingers on the leg of an upended table.

“But none of them were destroyed by humans alone,” the underling said.  “In each case they were either destroyed by supernatural beings or supernatural beings working with humans.” 

“Maybe it’s time to move onto the next phase,” one of the companions said.

“It’s too soon,” another companion said.  “We haven’t gathered enough souls for that kind of magic.”

The Mistress sighed.  “We can’t move to the next phase until we have collected more souls.  We will gather into fewer larger cafes instead of many smaller cafes.  We will protect ourselves by gathering in great numbers.  Signs will go up to direct humans to these larger cafes.  Inform the others,” she said to the underling.

He quickly left the room before she decided to kill him.

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