Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-eight - Prophesy? You've got to be f***ing kidding me! (part six)
Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part one)

Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-eight - Prophesy? You've got to be f***ing kidding me!

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-EIGHT

Monday morning — 12:15 p.m.

Katy couldn’t help it.

She was bored.

Life had gone from heartbreaking not-being-able-to-see-Paddie to fun play-at-home to exciting back-to-school to dreary boring-winter. Katy sighed at looked out the window. The snow was gently wafting down.

“Okay,” the teacher said. “Why don’t we head outside for a bit?”

“But it’s ’nowing,” the kid whose nose was always stuffed up said.

“We’ll be okay,” the teacher said. “Let’s put our warm clothing on.”

Katy could tell that the teacher was putting on a brave face for the class. The teacher was worried that it would be too cold for her students.

“Can’t wait,” Katy said, hopping to her feet.

Katy started pulling on all of her outdoor gear. With Katy’s movement, the rest of the class started to pull on their outdoor gear. The teacher checked to see that everyone had on their wool caps and face masks before sending them to walk quietly to the outdoors.

Katy watched the teacher turn on the UV lights, open the windows, turn on the fan, and then head to the teacher’s hang-out-place. With the teacher out of the way, Katy went to find Paddie.

Paddie’s class had break time when Katy’s class had break. Katy waited for Paddie to pull on all of his gear and head out into the hall.

She fell in next to him as they walked quietly to the door. Once at the door, the classes screamed like banshees and ran out into the cool midday. The recess monitor and the volunteer parents were watching the children for signs of being too cold, but most of the kids were so happy to be able to play and be loud that no child complained.

Katy and Paddie slipped to the side to avoid the monitor and parents.

“What’s going on?” Paddie asked.

“Bored,” Katy said looking down.

“What do you want to do?” Paddie asked.

Katy looked up at her best friend. Even with his facemask covering his mouth and nose, she could tell that he was up for an adventure too.

“I don’t know,” Katy said with a shrug.

“You wanna. . .” Paddie said.

Hecate appeared next to Paddie. She looked from Katy to Paddie.

“What are you two planning?” Hecate asked.

“Why are you here?” Paddie asked defensively.

He instinctively pushed Katy behind him and put his hand on the Sword of Truth.

“Now, now, young human,” Hecate said. “I mean you harm. I am here because my niece, Mistress Katy, is bored. A bored niece is a dangerous niece.”

“Hecate!” Ms. Palio, the principal of the Marlowe School, said as she walked around the corner. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”

“Auntie,” Hecate said. “How lovely to see you!”

The two Titans hugged. Ms. Palio was the sister of Hecate’s mother Asteria, who was currently trapped in the form of Cleo the cat.

Ms. Palio looked at Katy.

“What are you up to young lady?” Ms. Palio asked Katy.

Still unsure, Paddie stayed in front of Katy.

“Why?” Paddie asked defiantly.

“That’s the Sword of Truth, isn’t it?” Ms. Palio asked.

The principal gestured to what looked like a wooden sword on a belt at Paddie’s side.

“What if it is?” Paddie asked. He stuck his chin out defiantly.

“They are so cute,” Hecate said.

Ms. Palio grinned and nodded before turning to look at Hecate.

“Why are you here, niece?” Ms. Palio asked.

“I was instructed to keep an eye on Katy,” Hecate said.

“Why me?” Katy asked. “I haven’t done anything.”

“Uh-huh,” Hecate said with a grin. “Katy gets bored. She decides that she and her friend should have an adventure which leave her and the boy are vulnerable to be pulled into conflicts for the swords.”

“What?” Paddie asked, doing his best to look offended. “When did we ever?”

“Fairy war?” Hecate asked. “Remember when the fairies were trying to steal the Sword of Truth? How about the time you were in the middle of a big fairy fight when Katy’s mom was having her twins? That’s not to mention all of the bs with the Templars. . .”

“Oh, Gods, is that heating up again?” Ms. Palio shook her head. “Are the Templars back?”

“Our friend is trying to end them,” Katy said, mustering all of her courage to talk back to an adult she didn’t know well. “He’s the last Grand Master.”

“Guy Semaines,” Hecate said.

“The prophesy,” Ms. Palio said.

“His name is Nelson Weeks,” Paddie said. Shaking his head, he said, “You’ve got it all wrong. We’re not doing anything and. . .”

Two apparition’s men appeared in the middle of the playground. Their vapor bodies wore the historic costumes of the Templars. Their clothing was covered in splatters of blood and mud. Playing children ran right through the men. The men were clearly looking for someone.

“Shit,” Hecate said.

Hecate snapped her fingers. She was wearing complete modern body armor.

“Nice,” Ms. Palio said. “Where’d you get that?”

“It’s who you know, Auntie,” Hecate said with a laugh.

Hecate opened her hand in the direct of Ms. Palio, and Ms. Palio was wearing full modern body armor as well.

“Thanks,” Ms. Palio said.

Paddie moved to pull out the Sword of Truth. The moment his hand touched the sword, the men seemed to hear the sword’s call. They turned toward where Paddie and Katy were standing. Their menacing, angry faces would have terrified any normal children.

But Paddie and Katy simply got into position.

“You do not belong here,” Ms. Palio said. “Your problems are long over. Be gone.”

With all of her Titan power, she was unable to make the apparitions leave the grounds of the school.

“Dad,” Hecate said under his breath.

Perses the Titan of Destruction appeared. He looked at the apparitions of the Templars and scowled.

“Get into the building,” Perses said.

“But. . .!” Paddie started to protest.

“You see two men here, right?” Perses asked.

Hecate and Ms. Palio nodded along with Katy and Paddie.

“There are thousands here,” Perses said. “It’s a trick.”

Perses wrapped his arms around Katy and Paddie. They were standing in the middle of the Marlowe School.

“They don’t seem able to get inside,” Ms. Palio said.

“It’s a very long story involving the spirits of hundreds of children. . .”

“And us!” Katy said.

Paddie nodded.

“Jacob has made the building impenetrable to spirits and magic of any kind,” Perses said. To Ms. Palio, he said,“I believe you’ve strengthened the charms on the building, s.”

“Why are we able to get inside?” Hecate asked.

“You are my kin,” Perses said.

Perses turned and knelt down to Paddie and Katy.

“You little ones are once again in grave danger,” Perses said. “These Templars do not wish to be disbanded. They do not want their hoard found. They do not wish to fade into history.”

Katy looked up at Hecate and Ms. Palio. They nodded in agreement with Perses.

“They need your swords and will stop at nothing to get them,” Perses said.

“Same shit, different day,” Paddie said with an exaggerated shrug.

Katy nodded in agreement with Paddie.

Perses grinned at the children.

“You will be safe here,” Perses said. “But don’t take any risks.”

“I’m bored,” Katy said.

“What if you’re not?” Paddie asked. “I mean think about it. Those scary smelly guys could make you feel that way and then. . .”

Paddie’s blue eyes got very big. Katy shivered. After a moment, she nodded.

“Come with me,” Ms. Palio said.

“Why?” Katy asked.

“We are going to work on your defenses,” Ms. Palio said.

“They’re just kids,” Hecate said.

“These men will kill them whether they are children or not,” Ms. Palio said. “We have to make sure that your minds do not let them in, not matter what.”

Katy and Paddie slumped along after Ms. Palio. Hecate and Perses whispered back and forth behind them. When they reached the auditorium, Ms. Palio turned to them.

“I want to see your defenses,” Ms. Palio said.

Paddie went to pull out the Sword of Truth.

“No,” Ms. Palio said. “I know that you are the bearer of a great magical sword. You must be able to do this without the sword. The sword can only assist you. It cannot fully protect you unless you know what you’re doing.”

Paddie gave Ms. Palio a nervous nod. Katy flicked an energy buzz toward Ms. Palio. The Titan absorbed the energy.

“Nice,” Ms. Palio said. “Thanks. You’ve now diminished your power while giving me energy.”

Katy scowled at Ms. Palio and began chewing on her lip.

Hecate and Perses spoke with Ms. Palio for a long moment. The principal nodded.

“I apologize,” Ms. Palio said. “I hadn’t realize that you’ve not actually been trained by anyone other than humans.”

Katy and Paddie nodded.

“That ends today,” Ms. Palio said. “My niece, brother-in-law, and I will undertake your training from this moment further. You will meet with us here every break, every school day. We will speak with your parents to figure a way to work on the weekends.”

“But my dad. . .” Paddie said.

“You’ll continue working with your fathers,” Ms. Palio said. “You will need to do all of this and keep up with your schooling. Can you do that?”

“We can try,” Katy said, meekly.

“That’s all I ask, my dear,” Ms. Palio said. “Let’s get started.”

For the next fifteen minutes, Ms. Palio tested Paddie and Katy’s psychic capacities to protect themselves. When they were done, the children felt like they had run in circles for hours.

“You did very well,” Ms. Palio said, dropping them off at their classrooms.

Katy gave Paddie a tired look and Paddie nodded. The children went back into their classroom for the rest of the afternoon.

~~~~~~~~

Nine hours later

Monday night — 9:15 p.m.

Nelson groaned when he stepped out of the taxi.

“You okay?” the cab driver asked in French.

“Just old,” Nelson replied in French.

The cab driver was from French speaking Ivory Coast.

“What does that mean about me?” the cab driver laughed.

“Bonne nuit!” Nelson said.

Nelson grinned at the man and stepped back. The cab driver waved to Nelson and headed toward Sixteenth Avenue. Sighing at his own fatigue, Nelson started down the path to his home. His mind was bleary from the long day on his feet. His boss, Ava O’Malley, and the rest of the team had presented their evidence to the DA’s office in a crazy and complicated crime involving finger bones and casinos.

He was just glad to be home.

As he reached the door, he noticed a small someone was sitting on the bench outside the front door. He folded back his left wrist and a thin red knife slid into his hand from his wrist.

“Show yourself,” Nelson said.

The person stood up and turned toward Nelson.

“Jill!” Nelson said, pressing the knife back into the holder. “Please, come inside. Why aren’t you inside?”

“I was too angry,” Jill said, through her face mask. “I wanted some time to collect my thoughts.”

“Angry?” Nelson checked that his face mask was in place as he neared the door. He stuck his key into the lock. He turned his head to her. “Why are you angry?”

“Oh, just something about a prophesy and the French asshole who hasn’t said even one word about it,” Jill glared at him.

“Prophesy?” Nelson asked. He lifted his shoulder in a shrug. “Please. Come inside. We’ll figure out whatever this is. If you wish to kill me when we’re done, I won’t fight you. I’m way too tired for that.”

Nelson gestured to the door. Glaring at Nelson, Jill went inside. The house was dark and silent.

“Everyone is already asleep. Let’s go down to the big kitchen,” Nelson said. “I’ll make us some tea and we can talk.”

Jill sniffed at him and walked down the stairs to the large open kitchen. Jill took a seat at the table while Nelson made a pot of mint tea.

“Would you like something to eat?” Nelson said. “I find myself to be peckish.”

Jill reached out and touched his arm. She shook her head.

“No Covid?” Nelson asked. “That’s good to know.

Nelson quickly made himself a sandwich from left over salmon and grabbed a tin of cookies.

“Chocolate chip,” Nelson said setting down the tin. “I do have a secret stash of croissants. Would you like one?”

Jill shook her head.

“Why were you so late?” Jill asked.

“We just finished this big and super stupid case,” Nelson said. “We presented all day and most of the night to the district attorney and then the state attorney. They are trying to figure out how to prosecute and who’s going to do it.”

“Is this the one where Ava was shot?” Jill asked.

“We call it ‘Freddie the Freeloader,’” Nelson said with a nod. He took a bite of his sandwich. “We finished it a while ago but the DA wanted to wait until Ava was back to talk about prosecution for the case at large. Are you sure you don’t want some? It’s perfect.”

Jill looked at him for a long moment.

“I know that you don’t eat when you’re angry,” Nelson said. He gestured to the bread. “I made this bread from my family’s sourdough. It’s. . . mmm. There’s more salmon. Looks like Heather made it. She has some Olympian magic with fish. I have no idea what she does but it’s magical.”

“Sure,” Jill said. “I could use some magic.”

Nelson got up and quickly made her a sandwich like his. He poured the tea. They ate in silence for a while. Feeling better, Jill sighed.

“What do you think she does with the fish?” Jill asked.

“I think it is very, very fresh,” Nelson said. “But don’t quote me. I am no chef.”

“I didn’t think Heather could cook,” Jill said.

“Mostly she doesn’t,” Nelson said. “Then, suddenly, there’s this magnificent fish.”

Jill nodded.

“What’s this about a prophesy?” Nelson asked.

Jill shot him an angry look.

“Now, little Titan, don’t glare at me,” Nelson said. “I am merely human. I have no special powers. I can’t read minds. You have to use your words.”

“Fine,” Jill said. “There was trouble at the school today. Templar ghosts. Thousands of them.”

“Huh,” Nelson said with a shrug. “That’s weird. I wonder why.”

“Ms. Palio. . .” Jill said.

“I remember that she’s a Titan, but I don’t remember which one,” Nelson said.

“I thought you knew all this stuff,” Jill said.

“I skipped the Titans because they are supposed to be dead,” Nelson said.

“I guess that makes sense,” Jill said. “She’s the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Most of what she was assigned to do has been lost to history, and she’s not telling anyone. My dad thought that she would like being the principal at the Marlowe School so she applied.”

“How’s she done?” Nelson asked.

His curiosity seemed genuine, so she answered, “She’s an amazing principal, truthfully. She’s been dealing with the state throughout the pandemic. She found the funding for all of the improvements and made them happen on time. The teachers love her and most of the parents.”

Jill nodded.

“We’re lucky to have her,” Jill said. “Oh, she’s also Asteria’s sister.”

“Your father’s sister-in-law,” Nelson said with a nod.

“He calls her ‘Sister,’” Jill said. “Honestly, they are all so inbred that she may as well be his sister.”

Smiling, Nelson nodded.

“She said something about a prophesy?” Nelson asked.

“She and Hecate referred to a prophesy that includes the Templars and the Sword of Truth,” Jill said. Her anger ignited again, she added, “You could have mentioned it anywhere along the way.”

“Okay, okay,” Nelson said, raising his hand. “I see where you’re coming from. But you forget, I’d have to know about a prophesy to tell you about it.”

“You don’t know?” Jill asked.

Nelson shook his head.

“If I ever knew, I’ve forgotten,” Nelson said. “Honestly, the years I spent with the Templars have blotted out a lot of things I knew really well.”

“I bet.” Jill nodded.

Nelson looked up at the clock.

“My father is usually awake at this time of night,” Nelson said. “He is very weak but regaining his strength. Why don’t we finish up here and head over? We can bring the cookies.”

Jill gave him a slight nod.

“I know that you are angry,” Nelson said. “And honestly, you have a right to be angry. But outside of knowing the swords exist and what they can do, I don’t know anything about the Sword of Truth or the Vanquisher. I mean, I do know that the Vanquisher is supposed to destroy the world, but your dad told me that he made that up so that people would stop looking for it.”

“Did it keep them from looking?” Jill asked.

“No,” Nelson said. “That’s how it got ‘destroyed.’”

Jill nodded. Nelson gestured to her food.

“Finish up and we’ll head over,” Nelson said.

“Okay,” Jill said.

“I will tell you,” Nelson said. “My father knows that you are the child of a Titan but he does not know the power you wield. I will ask you to tamp down. He is very ill. Still.”

Jill nodded. They ate in silence. Nelson got up to use the restroom. Jill cleaned up their meal and tucked the plates into the dishwasher. She washed her hands. Nelson grabbed the tin of cookies and they headed over to see Nelson’s father, Pierre Semaines.

Denver Cereal continues next week...

Curious about Freddie the Freeloader? This is a new Seth and Ava novella coming out December 7, 2021. Here's the link or it's available everywhere you buy books. I can't give you a discount because it's in pre-order. Sorry.

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