As Time Goes By Pt. 6

The city sentinels were quick to arrive on the scene. When a building, even just a cottage, collapses, it is always cause for concern. Following close behind them was the building’s owner who was a sturdy old woman who was definitely freaking out. Many expletives were slipping from her mouth. The sentinels were cautious as the dust had not settled yet. The strongest of the sentinels were closest to the scene, ready to lift and dig through rubble and debris should anybody be trapped inside during the partial collapse.

“Hullo!” the commerce district shift captain called out. “Anybody in there?”

“A few of us,” Luther called out. “Sorry for trespassing.”

“Are you alright?” the astonished captain called back.

“We’ve got some unconscious wounded,” Luther yelled. “We’ve stabilized them but we’d appreciate some help before we get arrested. We’ll come along peacefully.”

The captain looked at a subordinate and pointed toward the nearest temple. The young woman ran off to fetch some clerics. “Agreed,” the captain said. “Holy healers are on their way.”

“Good,” Luther said. “I’m coming out unharmed to parlay.” He walked out of the rubble with his hands up and weaponless.

“What the devils did you do to my haunted cottage?” the landlady yelled at him.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Luther said. “We’ve un-haunted it.”

The woman narrowed her eyes. “Bloody, adventurers.”

Mariel woke up in a bed in the back of a temple dedicated to Asherah. She knew it immediately from the banner on the wall. She blinked in the dim light. She muttered a few words and the lamps burned brighter. As the light expanded, she saw Luther step forward from where he was standing in the corner. His eyes were kind and there was a smile on his face.

“Take it slow, Mariel,” Luther said. “Everything’s fine. You’re safe.”

She was not sure she wanted to ask any questions because, despite his assurances, Mariel was not sure she wanted to hear the answers. “What happened?” she asked, her voice shaking a little.

“You and Asher pushed yourself too hard,” Luther said. “You both passed out mid casting. Dimitri and Fern made sure you two were stable. You and Asher blew up the cottage. Fern and Dina slipped away as wolves just in case things didn’t go well with the authorities. The city sentinels were agreeable enough but Dimitri had to sweet talk a very upset landlady. Apparently, she was using the cottage as a haunted attraction without knowing what exactly was going on. We’re in the clear but I had to drop a lot of gold to smooth things over. I also volunteered Dimitri, Dina, and myself to do the physical labor of repairs for the cottage.”

Mariel gave Luther a stern look. “Luther,” she said and his name resonated almost with a magic of its own. “What about my parents?”

“They’re still recovering but they’re alive,” Luther said. “Apparently, time travel takes a lot out of you. The clerics think that they’ll recover consciousness in the next day or so. You did it. You brought your parents back.”

Mariel laid back for a moment with a big smile. “Remind me to thank Asher,” she said.

“There will be plenty of time for that,” Luther said. “He’s still asleep but we’ve all decided to stick around here until your parents are alright. Oh, and we have a cottage to rebuild.”

“Are you sure?” Mariel asked. “Don’t we have lives to save? Also, I interrupted everybody’s vacation.”

“Stop feeling so guilty about that,” Luther said. “It was obviously worth it. You and Asher can continue your vacations in recovery. As for the rest of us, hanging out and building a cottage is way more relaxing than fighting monsters. I’d say it’s still a vacation.”

Mariel smiled and for a moment thought she might cry. “You guys are the best,” she said softly.

Luther smiled warmly and shrugged. “We need you, Mariel,” he said. “We’re happy to see you happy.”

“And you told me that you were a bad, bad man when we met,” she said. “You’re really just an old softie.”

“Don’t tell anybody,” Luther said. “I’m going to go check on Asher. Rest up and I’m sure you’ll be able to talk to your parents soon.”

Mariel felt her eyes getting heavy and she yawned. “Maybe you’re right,” she said. “I’m just going to take another nap.” She was asleep before Luther made it out the door.

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