Chapter 35

Laurence’s legs swung beneath him as he sat on the wall. He wondered whether Peter would be coming his way or Yun’s. He smiled absentmindedly. Somewhere along the line he had begun picking up friends, followers. He had not intended to meet so many people, but now there were six helping him catch an irritant that had been rubbing against his gang for over a year.

 

The devourer had eaten away at some of Spring Street’s higher end thugs, simply leaving corpses in most cases. It was unfortunate for Laurence, as he would normally not care much about random killings, but the people he was avenging were all family to him. Spring Street was a family to Laurence. Over the time he had been part of spring street, Laurence had learned that the people who he was with were as close to him as a family. They were comrades in arms, whose lives were of real material importance to Laurence. It was an odd feeling to him, and every time he heard about another one of the Spring Street boys and girls being struck down by Peter, he could feel the rage building inside him. He could feel his very soul split.

 

He took a deep breath. Even just the thought of it could set him off sometimes. He had not quite reached the point where his switch was flipped, at least not since the time he fought the Arrows, and Roy. All he could really do until Peter entered the net was continue to swing his feet and kick the wall underneath him. He was lucky he was good at waiting for things. He knew that was never Jim’s strong point, so he wondered how his friend would fare in the waiting game that they had to perform.

 

As he sat there, wondering what he would do with his nemesis when he met him, his Babelian ring lit up. He touched the ring on his index finger with his thumb and immediately he heard Louisa on the other side. “Law, I can see Peter. He’s running on the north side side of the net, in your direction. I’ll get in contact with everyone else so we can begin closing the net around him, but heads up”.

 

“Thanks”. Laurence let go of his ring and it dimmed. He knew that Louisa was situated on his left side, so he began moving in her direction. He sprung over the roofs of the city, watching the paths below him, searching for a boy with red hair. After around thirty seconds of scanning he saw a hooded individual who fit the right height to be Peter. As the figure dipped down an alley in the direction of the building that held Rose, he leapt into the road to follow him. Darting down the alley, he sprinted after Peter but as the figure reached the end of the alleyway he seemed to split into three figures, each with varying strengths of aura. The auras that all three gave off were flickering between the strength of a Saint and a normal man, but they were not stabilising equally. Laurence had to make a snap decision so he pressed the ring and thought of Jim.

 

“Jim. Peter seemed to split into three separate figures I can only reasonably follow one, but the other two are going in your direction”. He sprinted after the one to the left and hoped that by the time that he caught up to the first person, they would catch up to the other two. He followed the Peter copy into a crowd and almost lost him, but his hood fell off just as he left the crowd, allowing Laurence to see the flash of red exiting the swarm.

 

Pushing the bystanders out of the way, Laurence began pumping mana into his legs and quickly began catching up to Peter. He was about a hundred metres from Peter when his ring glowed once more. Touching the ring, he heard Jim’s voice blare into his ears.

 

“Law, the two people you said were coming to me never showed up. There’s no way they could have disappeared, I have six crews running as my eyes and none of them saw him come my way”.

 

Laurence swore. “I thought we were going to do this without using any of the gang? He has been going after the family, so we were keeping them out to keep them safe. Do I need to tell you again?”

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“It’s fine. The two other Peters have just disappeared. It’s like they never existed in the first place”.

 

Laurence kept following Peter, step after step, he mirrored him and quickly began catching up. Peter turned a corner, and as Laurence moved round the corner as well he felt something in the air brush past him. There was a screaming sound as an adult skull sped past Laurence’s face. He slammed to a standstill the moment his body turned into the new alley proper. There was a change in the airflow and Laurence ducked, letting the skull that had passed by him go over his head. In the middle of the alley stood a thin boy in a dark robe. His red hair was like a fiery streak in the twilight of the city. Floating around the boy was a set of three malevolent looking skulls. They chattered as they span in circles around his body, each one letting off a slightly different sense of danger to Laurence.

 

“Why are you following me?” Said Peter. The boy’s’ voice was truly unsettling. It grated against Laurence’s ears like nails on a chalkboard. He smiled a sickly smile, “And who actually are you?”

 

Laurence summoned his hammer. “You made two mistakes when you came to Spirit. You should have never touched the men and women of Spring Street, and you should have given up on the girl, Rose. Now it’s time for you to pay the price”.

 

The baleful aura that surrounded Peter thickened as he focused on Laurence. In return, Laurence’s aura of absolute power seemed to rush about and batter back the deathly miasma. Their strengths of will were equivalent, both being peak existences in the Saint rank. Both children, born merely six months apart, were stronger than a hundred normal men, and their auras represented that.

 

The black miasma that surrounded Peter began making the area around him decay. The plants that were sprouting out of the dirt and cobble in the alleyway began wilting, browning, and soon just turning to dust in the presence of the boy. He had a truly unsettling sense of death around him. In contrast, Laurence had the scarlet aura of a wild animal poised to murder. It was not as insidious as Peter’s, but held more danger behind it. If Peter’s aura was akin to a morgue, then Laurence’s was like a pack of hungry wolves.

 

The two of them stood in the alley, facing each other and waiting to see who the first to act would be, who the first to show weakness would be. Laurence blinked and noticed a slight deviation in Peter’s aura. It was like Peter was inviting him in. He knew it was likely done sorry of trap, but he had to spring it. They would stand in that alley staying at each other for days otherwise.

 

He leapt in, hammer held level in his palms, and began to spin the head like a drill. Thrusting forwards, the spinning spearhead dove towards Peter, but Peter simply sent out two of the skulls to meet it. Metal hit bone and there was a screeching crunch, but Laurence could move no further forwards. In response to Peter’s two skulls blockading Laurence, he used the still spinning hammerhead as a pivot and rode the momentum of his own weapon. Flipping over with the spin of the hammer, Laurence landed less than a metre away from Peter and continued using his momentum to throw a punch towards the boy.

 

Over the last year Laurence had spent all his time learning and mastering various martial arts with three goals in mind. The first was to become stronger, the second was to craft his own martial style, and the third was for him to be able to use his entire body and surroundings as a weapon. As the punch swung towards Peter, the third skull appeared in Laurence’s way and blocked his fist. There was a burning sensation against his skin, but he ignored it in order to pivot once more and kick out at Peter. A flash of shock passed over Peter’s face as Laurence’s leg collided with his ribs, but it was quickly replaced by a calculated calmness. He obviously refused to show Laurence how much damage he had actually done with that strike.

 

They both retreated a few steps before facing each other again. Laurence could have continued to attack, but he wanted to continue sizing up his opponent before he committed to a series of strikes that might leave himself too open. Peter, on the other hand was beginning to realise he may have underestimated the boy in front of him. They were obviously well matched, but Peter was was less committed to fighting, which meant he would be less likely to commit to double edged attacks. Laurence had a vendetta, and he would not rest until he had fixed the problem that was Peter Mephisto.

 

Laurence saw that Peter was beginning to retreat and decided it was a perfect chance to test out his Inferno Flowers in real combat. He pulled a flower out of his bag that was always by his side and threw it into the ground behind Peter. Peter saw something flash by, but as there was no immediate reaction behind him, he did not look, as looking would leave himself open. The second time a flower flashed past him, one of the skulls tried to intercept, but the artifacts were to small and they slipped by. The third flower thrown hit the ground at Peter’s feet, something he was not expecting, and so he could not block it. Laurence smirked as Peter frowned at the gem flowers that had been embedded into the ground. He could see the cogs whirring in Peter’s head as to what they were, but it was impossible for Peter to know without using them. He could see and understand the arrays on the flowers, but could not see how a simple array synchronising the flowers and one increasing the power of fire in the area would help.

 

He did not have to wait long for his answer. The air began to ripple around a second after all three had been stuck in the ground and mere moments later the entire area within the triangle Laurence had created immolated. Flames sprung high into the sky, and yet Laurence could not help but frown. Yes, there were flames but they were in no way as hot as he was expecting. For the inferno flowers to be a real wall against Peter they needed to be hundreds of times hotter than the soft red triangle that he had created.

 

The cloak that Peter wore ignited as the flames around the boy burned, but he looked confused at Laurence. To Peter it looked like whatever his opponent was trying to do had failed, so he laughed and walked towards the older boy. As he walked out of the fire, the only things that were left undamaged were the leather armour on his body and the rings on his fingers.

 

“I liked that cowl,” Peter growled, “I think I’ll replace it with your skin”. Two tubes of fluid appeared in his hands and he threw them at Laurence as quickly as they appeared. The vials shattered as Peter pulled his hands together and a wave of fluid spread towards Laurence. Laurence spun his hammer, and whipped it out of the way, but a few specks landed on his forearm and he felt the flesh sizzle. The skin that had only been slightly touched by the fluid immediately began necrotizing and spreading. Without a second thought Laurence let go of the hammer and it spiralled towards Peter. He pulled his hand up and immediately cut the quickly blackening skin on his left arm with a blade of mana. As the skin flicked off his arm it almost immediately decayed into dust and a slightly putrid smell. He growled as Peter moved out of the way of his hammer and threw out a fourth flower.

 

The fourth flower flew through the air and slid into place around fifty metres above both boys. Immediately the fire turned from the soft red glow that it had been into a thick bar of white light. The heat of the fire warped the very air, morphing and warping the light around it. Peter shouted out in shock as the heat behind him scalded his back. The sudden heat had shifted his attention, and covered Laurence’s opening, giving him an opportunity of his own. He activated Inklight and sent a spiral whip round Peter’s ankle, upending Peter on the ground. Resummoning his hammer, he cleft down towards Peter’s legs, aiming for the boy’s abdomen. Peter rolled out of the way and a small pouch appeared in his hands. He immediately tossed out the bag and clapped his hands together once more. Like the vials it split and dust scattered towards Laurence. This time he had no chance to avoid the substance that was being thrown at him, so instead he ignited his hammer to the highest temperature it would go, and burned up everything between the two boys. The ground cracked and dirt crumbled as the heat intensified, the powder ashed and did not even have a chance to connect with Laurence’s body.

 

Rolling away once more, Peter smashed a third vial into the ground. The cracked and burnt soil began bubbling and melting around Laurence’s feet. He copied Peter’s action and stepped back away from the decomposing ground. He raised his blade and drove it towards Peter once more. The blade sprung forwards and slammed straight into Peter’s throat. Immediately Laurence pulled his blade out and stepped back. The corpse that used to be Peter writhed on the ground for a moment then stopped. Normally after a person died, they would shake as they died, and then stop, but Peter did not stop. The faces of screaming souls tried to pull themselves out of his body as he shook, a few faces Laurence even recognised. Eventually the shaking stopped and Peter stood up. He smiled, wiped the blood off his neck, and pulled out two more vials of fluid.

 

“You know you can’t kill me,” Peter said. He flicked the vials in his hands into the air and placed his palms together once more. The vials split apart and a new fluid came into the air. As it approached Laurence the fluid quickly became a large gas cloud that filled the alleyway. Laurence stepped back, but as he did, Peter lobbed another small bag and clapped to split it apart. From the front and above, Laurence was blocked. The only thing he could do was retreat.

 

Before, when he whipped apart the dust and fluid clouds, he could hold them off with a simple spiral of his hammer. Now he was not so confident. The dust and fluids all seemed lethal to him, and unlike Peter, Laurence could not just come back to life after being a death blow. This did not mean he could not be beaten. Laurence could just not quite work out how to finish it yet. The fog moved forwards and Peter pulled out two more bags of dust. He smirked and threw them into the cloud then clapped and watched as the cloud split into three colours. As the colours rippled through the cloud and reached the ground, they tore apart the dirt and walls either side. One dust necrotized, one dust melted, and one dust decomposed. Either way, there was nothing that could keep standing after the cloud moved Laurence’s way.

 

“Why are you even bothering? If you cannot kill me, you cannot stop me. I will find her. She’s my little Rose. My…” He paused for a moment. “She’s my songbird. She has such a lovely voice, truly one of a kind. That’s why I want to keep her. Can’t you understand? I just… I just want her to be… all mine”. He trailed off, looking wistful for a moment.

 

“But she doesn’t want it. That’s the reason why my friends got the information on you. That’s how we set up this trap”. Laurence smiled. It was a twisted grin, one full of rage. “And now you’re going to pay. If I can’t kill you. I’m going to make sure you get back to your family. Your clan can deal with you without any arms or legs. You’re going to pay for breaking my men”. He raised Jormugand and began spinning the hammer around him in a figure eight. The cloud closed in on the older boy, but as the speed of his hammer increased it began to split around him. The wind and dust whipped around Laurence’s form as his hammer got quicker and quicker. Within seconds it was like there were two thick wheels acting as a shield for Laurence from the poisonous cloud that had surrounded him. The more he span, the quicker it dispersed into the walls and the floor, and even back towards Peter. Peter smirked. He had nowhere to run, but Laurence could see that he did not mind wasting a few more souls, especially not if they were connected to Laurence.

 

Finally, after most of the dust had dispersed, Laurence sprung at Peter. His hammer still spinning and rage building. The boy in front of him was so arrogant, so willfully ignorant. He would not listen to Laurence, so Laurence did the one thing he knew how to. He would crush him under his hammer. As Laurence reached within reasonable range he screamed the word “Gamaliel!” and twisted the hammer high in the air. It ignited as he span the great weapon and slammed it into Peter. The blade slid through Peter’s right shoulder and leg before he had a chance to react, and then smashed into the ground, causing the entire area to tremor. Shards of thoroughly damaged dirt and stone sprung into the air and covered Peter as the flesh around his now severed arm and leg steamed and stank.

 

Peter screamed and bit his own tongue, blood bubbling out of his mouth as he laughed and choked on it. The fetid dirt covered him and burned at his skin, letting the untouched flesh and muscle bubble up and weep pus. The child of Mephisto was covered in varying hues of sickness, blacks, purples, greens, greys, even browns and reds. There was no hope for him, but that just made Laurence feel angrier. He already knew that the worst thing he could do in the fight was kill the boy, but then he had an idea. Peter was not dead yet, which meant that Laurence could still keep him from harming Rose and his gang again. All he had to do was run to the main outpost of the Mephisto clan and deliver the troublemaker to them. He hoped they would have plans and punishments in place for when a golden child stepped out of line like Peter had.

 

Wrapping the boy in Inklight, Laurence dragged him out of the alleyway, momentarily stopping to pick up his Inferno Flowers as he left. He leapt up to the roof of a low building and began swinging the golden cocoon that held Peter around like a ball and chain. He could not risk letting the boy near him, even in the state that he was in. Peter was simply too dangerous an individual.

 

Laurence picked up the pace as his friends came close. “Don’t come near me!” he shouted at Cleo, who came closest to him. “I have Peter captive, but he’s still a threat. I’m taking him to his clan to be punished”.

 

“Can’t you… just kill him?” Cleo shouted back.

 

Laurence laughed, “I’m afraid not. Believe me, I tried. Only his family can deal with him at the moment”. He moved off, touching his ring and notifying Jim, Yun and Louisa about the situation with Peter. He knew he had to be quick, but the Mephisto stronghold kilometres away. It was highly likely that Peter would try to make an escape attempt before he arrived, but there was nothing Laurence could do about that other than be prepared. He began dragging mana out of his reservoir and pumping it into his muscles. Streams of energy rippled through his muscles as he sprung from the rooftop he was perched on. The roof tiles cracked and exploded as he shot off towards the home of Peter’s clan.

 

Each step crushed the roof of a house, but sent Laurence shooting off towards the north of the city. He sprung from rooftop to rooftop with the cocoon that held Peter swinging round him like a satellite, and quickly made work of the massive distance between the alleyway he had cornered Peter in and the Mephisto home. A sense of danger tickled the back of Laurence’s neck as the citadel itself came into sight. His highly trained sense of threat was on overdrive, and it was coming from the cocoon. He growled, he was so close, and yet so far. He needed to hold on for a bit longer, so he began pumping mana into his arms as well as his legs and spinning the cocoon round him quicker. There was a slight cracking sound, but he closed in on the building, before finally slamming into the ground mid swing. He could see Peter trying to desperately push his way out of the cocoon, his arms and legs visible as the young boy stretched the rope beyond the area of the ball he had been wrapped in. Giving the satellite one last swing, he shifted Inklight from its solid form to its pure light form and retracted it back into his hand, letting Peter slam into the high wall of the Mephisto citadel in a cloud of dust and brick. The detritus from the wall spread and obscured Peter from Laurence’s vision, but the sense of danger did not dissipate. He summoned Jormugand into his hand once more and held it horizontally in front of him. “Yesod…” he whispered to himself and stared into the slowly retreating cloud.

 

As he stared he saw Peter, still alive and much angrier than he had been before. The aura of death was thicker round him now, like his strength had been increased by the times he had been killed by Laurence. “Why do you keep trying to kill me? You can see it’s pointless. I won’t die permanently, and you can’t stop me otherwise”. His teeth were clenched as he pushed out the words he spoke.

 

“It’s simple. I think you’re bluffing. I think it’s hard to kill you, likely hard enough for it to be impossible for me to complete, but that is not why I’m doing it. I’m letting your family deal with you”. Laurence smirked as Peter looked around himself and his face dropped. This was obviously not somewhere he wanted to be. As Laurence expected, rather than just go in quietly, Peter acted out, and charged towards him once more. Rather than the vials he had been using beforehand, he pulled out a large fan and another bag. The skulls appeared around him once more and he screamed out.

 

“I refuse to go home!” His bag flew out and burst as the fan opened, scattering another coloured powder into the fray. He pushed two skulls through the dust and began waving the metal edged fan in Laurence’s direction. Thick gusts of wind propelled the cloud in Laurence’s direction, but now they were in a much more open region. Laurence injected mana into his legs and sprung around the cloud, darting towards Peter and away from the skulls.

 

In response, Peter’s empty left hand made a sweeping motion to the right and the skulls followed, cutting off Laurence’s path. He waved the fan and diverted the cloud, letting it move towards the right rather than straight ahead. Pulling another bag of dust out of thin air, he tossed it to the right of Laurence and clapped against the fan, cutting off Laurence’s right side from escape. There were only two ways that Peter could see of Laurence getting out, the rear and above, both of which he had planned for. However that was when Laurence surprised him.

 

The skulls moved closer to Laurence and he sprung into motion. He began rotating like a spinning top in a similar way to the way he had moved at the beginning of the fight, but with much more power behind it. The skull closed in and tried to bite down on Laurence’s right hand, but before it could connect the hand was no longer there. Laurence had spun ahead and his hammer was arcing back into the side of the skull. It split into fragments as his spiral path continued. He picked up speed and slammed his hammer into the second skull, which followed the first into dust, but still he did not stop. He span closer to Peter, and his momentum became greater and greater, until he reached the third skull. He crushed the third skull and kept going, the shards of bone flying past his rotating form.

 

As he reached Peter, the younger boy brandished his fan and swung towards Laurence’s head. As Laurence dipped out of the way, Peter closed his fan and cleft down with all his strength in an attempt to break the momentum that the older boy had built up. The fan slammed against Laurence’s side and there was a crack as one of his bones broke, but still he did not stop. He wrapped around the fan and spun up using Peter’s arm as a guide. Their eyes met as Laurence passed Peter, both boy’s filled with rage as the other refused to let them do what they intended.

 

Laurence spun past Peter and whipped the handle of the hammer around his opponent, barring him from moving forwards. He leapt and landed straight onto Peters calves and there was a cracking sound as the bones gave way under the force of the older child. Peter tipped forwards and landed on the ground, face down in the dirt screaming.

 

Laurence pulled out five break talismans from his bag and slapped them on peter to bind him to that spot then waited for someone to come out of the citadel. He was not waiting long. Around five minutes after the fighting stopped, a man in his twenties walked out of the hole that Peter had made in the wall and saw the situation. Without even asking what had happened he ran back into the citadel and brought out an older man, one that Laurence recognised. He was the man who had come and picked up the corpses on the day of the Festival of the Dead.

 

“Young boy, I recognise you. Why have you and your… opponent decided to destroy the outer wall of my home?” The man had a smile on him that did not quite reach his eyes. It was a face Laurence recognised because it was one he made often. It was one when he felt like he should smile, but did not understand the need. It was a facade, and it put him on edge. The old man was far more dangerous than anyone he had met in recent history.

 

“You came to pick up a large amount of corpses from my friends last year, but that is not why I am here. The boy that I am currently sitting on is known as the devourer. He’s a wanted criminal, responsible for the Festival of the dead last year and a slew of killings since then”.

 

The old man cut him off. “That’s a falsehood, and we both know why”.

 

“No sir, it’s not. He might not have been responsible for the entirety of the festival, but it was when he started his killing spree. He has been sucking out the souls of hundreds of the citizens of Spirit, and I am here to gift him to you”. Laurence wiped his forehead as mud, sweat and blood began irritating his skin. He was filthy and tired. He needed to end this quickly.

 

“Sucking out the souls you say? Wait, why is he my problem?”

 

“The boy under me is one Peter Mephisto, golden child of your clan. He seems to be practicing some art that makes it near impossible for me to stop him, let alone kill him. So my only option was to give him to you to deal with. He’s been making your clan look bad, sir, and I assume there are methods for you to deal with that. I just want him to stop killing members of my gang”.

 

The older man stood still when he heard that the boy on the ground was Peter. He knew who Peter was, but to not only see the boy with such a thick aura of death around him, but also a boy not much older sitting on top of him having bested the child made him extremely surprised. “You say he has been here for a year? By Babel’s eye… Alright, we will take him”. The man lifted Laurence off Peter’s body, and hoisted him over his shoulder. “You are a very interesting… and dangerous child. Dominus clan?”

 

“No. Though my daddy is someone you’ve probably heard of, Angus Absolution”. The old man’s face paled as he heard the name.

 

“So what are you going to do now?” Laurence said as he lay on the rooftop next to Cleo and Jim. He was still caked in the waste from his battle with Peter, but he was too tired to deal with it. He just wanted to rest and relax without thinking about dealing with anything of substance for a few days.

 

“I don’t know. Do you know much about the Ignis clan, Law?” Cleo said, her copper hair grey in the moonlight that bathed the city. Law liked her, she was forthright, honest and decent. It was a far cry from what he was, but he did not care. He could not care really, because he wanted more people he liked around him. Helping those he was friends with gave him focus to get better. It gave him a drive that he would not have had, and allowed to realign his boundless curiosity. He still wanted to know how Peter had managed to survive and heal like he had, but he did not think he would be able to find out without getting a copy of the Book of Death. He knew that now it was time for his journey to change focus slightly. When he mastered the Book Creation he would begin learning anew. He would pick up another path that the world gave him and he would devour it, like Peter had devoured souls. He did not want to read the books to become an immortal. He simply wanted to read the books to learn their contents. But now he knew, that there were other things that he could learn than just what the books showed him. He could find out about the worlds he walked through, the people he was with, the lives of the men women and children who had come before him. He knew that without a doubt the world was a far more interesting place than he had ever given it credit for, and now he would start anew, with this girl who sat beside him. He would learn her. He would consume her information, and then he would see where it took him, but to begin that path he had to listen.

 

“Sorry what was that?” He said, turning to face Cleo properly. This would be a challenge for him, but it was one that he would happily face. He would learn all about all his friends. He would not let them just become nameless faces consumed by a soul devouring monster child. He would never let that happen to anyone he valued.

 

“I said do you know much about the Ignis clan, Law?”

 

“No, sorry, please tell me”.

 

“It’s pretty simple really. The elemental clans had a problem a long time ago. There were simply too many of us, and we were beginning to out-populate the pocket dimensions that house the elemental clans. It was an odd state of affairs, but there was nothing that we could really do about it. So one day the leaders of the four clans come together and decide that they will set down a missive, that no family from this day forwards would be allowed to have more than three children. If someone broke the rule, they would be exiled with the fourth child, and the first three would be adopted by the clan in general. They would become what was known as ‘saved children’. The child that was exiled would become a lost child, born to wander Babel and never truly know their homeland. If they ever did try to get back into the clan, they were to be killed on sight. It was a tough law, but times were hard. Families in general came to only have one or two children, because they were afraid of an accident invoking the terror that was permanently leaving the family fold.

 

“Now, after maybe… ten cycles my family decided that they would rescind part of the law. They decided that it was unfair for a child to be cast out for a crime that they had no control over, so they decided that the fourth child would be allowed to stay in the clan. I don’t know if they hoped that it would allow for the child to be taken in and treated like the first three children, but instead they… I… was treated like an outcast anyway. I was given nothing, so I worked for everything I got. I became a golden child while barely having access to the Book of Chaos, and so I don’t really have much of an attachment to my family. That said, they feel the same way about me”. Cleo paused, and began fiddling with the hem of her dress. “Winoa can still go home if she wants to, she’s the eldest of three, and Rose is an only child. They have homes to go to and I would feel awful if they ignored that but I don’t. I don’t really want to go to the Ignis tower. I… I don’t know what I should do”.

 

Laurence looked at her for a while. She had been through a lot. He could tell that. What surprised him was that despite everything she had been through, how she had been treated by her family and her own climb up Babel, she had not lost a certain innocence about her. She had something enchanting to Laurence, and for a moment he understood what Peter was talking about. After a second he lost the train of thought and could not catch it, but the ghost of the idea was still there, like a mental aftertaste. “You could join Spring Street if you like. I’d have to see what you were good at, but you’re a golden child. You’ll easily pass the induction ceremony. Yun, Louisa and I still hold the records for everything, so it might be interesting to see if someone can actually compete”

.

Cleo laughed, and the mood around them lightened. “Okay, I think I can get behind that. I don’t really like the idea of killing people. Even the idea of doing that to someone like Peter is slightly… too much for me. I don’t understand how you can do it”.

 

“I don’t understand why people have such a big problem with it. Did you not hunt during your time coming to this floor?”

 

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“Of course I did. I didn’t like it, but it was a necessity”.

 

“I don’t like killing either. I don’t feel particularly strongly about it, but sometimes it needs to be done. But my point was that people are just animals that we can understand. If someone needs ending then end them. It’s no different from killing a bear that is trying to kill you, or a few rabbits for food”.

 

“I don’t get him either, Cleo. His reasoning makes sense, and I think that there are some people who truly do deserve killing, but… I can’t be as flippant about it as Law is. I honestly only think that Yun can,” said Jim. The entire time he had been next to Laurence and Cleo talking, he had been absentmindedly throwing a stone into the air and catching it while listening. He caught the stone one final time before looking at the both of them. “I just thought of a new name for our troupe, by the way”.

 

“What’s a troupe?” said Cleo.

 

“A troupe, or a cell, is the name of a group of people. Usually a close knit one,” Laurence replied. “Go on then, what’s the idea”.

 

“Well, seeing as we are all Saints, why don’t we spit in the face of the clans and call ourselves the Golden Children?”

- my thoughts:
Only the epilogues left in release schedule! Next week the first book will be complete!
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