When she first sipped the scotch Jessie had to agree with Dwennon, but by the end of the bottle, it tasted a lot better. Instead of not being quite what she expected, and thus a little off-putting, it transitioned to a really complex and interesting series of ‘notes’ on her tongue. She kind of regretted hitting the end and wondered if less expensive alcohol would undergo the same metamorphosis.
She was drunk, but only a little bit, there’d only been about 4 ounces left when she’d gotten to it. The bottle informed her it was 80 proof so that meant it was in the neighborhood of two beers worth. Consumed quickly, and on an empty stomach, it was enough to make her fuzzy, but she wasn’t stumbling or anything, and she’d come up with a plan.
She walked back out into the club, grabbing her shoes as she went. For a moment, she considered just carrying them as she went to the car, but then she remembered the blood in the kitchen and slipped them on. It would be fairly dry by now but she still didn’t want to risk stepping in it wearing nothing but stockings and there was likely even more now. She’d noticed Dwennon was dripping a bit as he left the room. She wondered what the cleaning staff would make of the mess, but decided they wouldn’t pay much attention to it at all. The Prime Meridian wasn’t a violent club but it routinely hosted a large number of people drinking a large quantity of alcohol. Bloody noses and worse had happened.
The kitchen entrance was still open when she reached it. That was a bit surprising. She had assumed Dwennon would close it when he left. It was his club after all, and it was his loss if a large percentage of their stock and equipment walked off. Perhaps he’d gone another way, or perhaps he was simply too rich to care. She gave the door a few experimental tugs and found it even more twisted than she’d expected. It closed, but wouldn’t latch. It might require some equipment to get fully shut. It was only when she quit fiddling with it and turned back toward her car that she noticed that she wasn’t alone. A large man in a black suit had come from somewhere and was now standing about ten feet behind her watching her fight with the door.
Something about him put her on guard almost immediately even though his clothes made it clear he wasn’t a mugger. “I have stun spray.” She reached in her purse trying to find the small canister as she said that. She also backed slowly away from him. Backing up said she was afraid, but if she was going to spray the man she didn’t want it blowing back on her.
“You been talking to that iron age reject of an Enchanted?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Her hand closed around the stun spray and she took another step away from him.
“Sure you don’t. Except, you don’t look like you just found a body. I don’t know how that pest of an elf left, but apparently, he ain’t dead yet. Now he’s got his guard up, so he’ll be a lot harder to do. That’s why you’re going to come with me and let me know what that he’s planning.”
The man held up one hand pointing a bulky black plastic object at her. He’d apparently been holding it the entire time, but Jessie hadn’t noticed it until he lifted it out of the shadows by his leg. It looked almost like a portable RFID reader. It was actually a spell thrower or, more technically, a defensive autocaster. They always called them spell throwers on TV and that was the only place she’d ever seen one. They were a quicker way to fire off stun spells and the like than hand casting, but she was under the impression they were also very expensive. Probably something to do with keeping the energy requirements of the spells down. She was learning everything in magic came down to that.
Jessie thought that maybe now that Thomas was personally involved he was bringing out his expensive toys. All of that flickered through her mind as an impression rather then a conscious train of thought. Consciously, she jerked her hand out of her purse, pointed the stun spray at the man, and emptied the can. The stun spray was a mixture of 5% capsaicin, some agent that was suppose to knock people out, and inert stuff. The bottle claimed at that as high as 75% of targets would be rendered unconscious. The remaining 25% would hopefully be rolling around moaning with their weeping eyes swollen mostly shut.
After the can emptied, which happened with shocking speed, Jessie ran for her car, jumped in and ordered it to take her home. The car started and drove out of the empty lot, but compared to her own emergency exit from the courthouse it took its time. That was a shame. Apparently, the man hadn’t been in the “rendered unconscious” group and if the capsaicin was hurting him he was doing a real yeoman’s job of standing up to the pain.
He’d climbed to his feet and was pointing the thrower at the car. Jessie ducked flat against the seat. An instant later something rushed through the car. A magic effect, Jessie supposed, but she couldn’t guess at what it was. She briefly smelled yellow, and saw a loud ringing sound. Then it was past, she was awake, and the car was still moving.
As the vehicle merged with traffic and took her away from the prime meridian she decided he must have missed.