Amadeus took off toward the sound of Richard’s voice without response or any sort of hesitation. Kyle would have liked to hesitate, but he didn’t want to get left behind so he followed as well. He found himself hoping whatever Richard had found was nothing. Any major developments would only keep the men around the house longer and Kyle didn’t want it to be too obvious that he wasn’t worried about being caught. There was also the nagging fact that anything they found might serve to implicate Alison in some sort of larger wrongdoing with the homeless people. He wasn’t on her side, but he had always been prepared to give the Children of Atlantis the benefit of the doubt. It would be nice to learn her good deeds were just that – good deeds intended to turn magic towards the common good.
Kyle had been in the basement of the the house the Children were living in very briefly after he’d arrived, but he hadn’t really registered it then. As such, his first real look at it was when he pounded down the stairs the basement after Amadeus. It had last been renovated at some point in the 80’s, which was was better than the 70’s, but still not great. The carpeting was some sort of high traffic thing in clashing Earth tones and asymmetric shapes. The walls were a beige that still managed to be obnoxious by virtue of being a little too pink, all the fixtures were mirror bright, and the recessed lighting was enough to tan under.
The Children had converted it into a rec room. There were a foosball and ping pong tables at the opposite end of the room from the stairs. That worked oddly well with the layout of the space as it was a long but slightly narrow room. Closer to the stairs was a couch and some chairs which looked comfortable but beat up, and across from them was a large TV with a game system on a shelf under it.
The entire room was below ground, so there were no windows, and the walls were mostly unadorned, but directly across from the foot of the stairs a rug or tapestry of some sort had been hung on the wall. It looked vaguely Native American and Kyle could see it being part of some decore somewhere, but it had nothing to do with the remainder of the room. Richard stood by it.
“Listen to this,” he said when they both arrived. Then he tapped against the rug. Instead of the low hollow thump of drywall the the rug gave a higher sound as well as a secondary rattle. He smiled and pulled the rug back. There was a door under it.
“Jackpot,” Amadeus said.
Kyle winced, but didn’t try to stop the bounty hunters from opening the door. That was a bit of a production. First they took the rug down so they could open it quickly, then they both got to the sides of it making fairly sure no part of their body was directly in front of it. Kyle wasn’t positive that was necessary, but he walked over to the ping pong table anyway which moved him well out of the theoretical line of fire from the door. Once he was out of the way, Richard who was on the hinge side of the door, yanked it open.
After a moment of waiting Amadeus crouched down low to the floor and looked into the room keeping his head well below where one might expect a head to appear when checking out a room. After a moment he announced, “Clear.”
Richard visibly relaxed and Kyle walked forward until he had enough of an angle into the room to see some of it. It appeared to be a bedroom, at least he could see the foot of a bed almost filling one end of the room. It was cramped and dark, but the most nefarious thing about it was the pile of laundry on the floor at the foot of the bed.
“Now why’d they hide that,” Kyle mumbled. A dark thought struck him, and he looked at the door a second time, but no: the door locked from the inside like any bedroom.
The bounty hunters stepped inside the room. Amadeus walked toward the head of the bed, and Kyle lost sight of him. Richard knelt down to poke at a pile of dirty laundry on the floor.
“Geez man,” Kyle said, “is that really necessary?”
Maybe Richard was going to explain that the secrets of magic were certain to be hidden in funky laundry, but a yelp sounded from out of sight in the room and then there was a loud thump as something hit a wall. Richard stood then jumped deeper into the room while Kyle was still trying to figure out what made had happened. There were a bunch more thumps and bangs of varying intensity and at least one crash. Kyle thought it sounded oddly like a fight in a cartoon, and then he realized there was a good reason for that; the men were fighting someone or something.