The four of them descended to the lobby where they found Daiyu waiting, to everyone’s surprise with exception of Juno. She looked absolutely terrible, and it was clear she had still not slept since the day before.
“You came back,” said Charlie.
“Don’t get all gushy,” she said. “I was sent to give you this.” She held out a wax sealed envelope, pointing it directly at Charlie.
Milo reached out to take the envelope, but she snatched it back.
“The hell?” growled Milo.
“It’s for him,” she said, pointing once again at Charlie. Charlie reached out gingerly and took the letter. He ripped off the wax seal, while looking up at her. “A wax seal? Did Mr. Kemp forget to tell us he’s a Victorian vampire?”
“He’s…older than you might think,” was all Daiyu said.
“Okay, well that’s ominous,” replied Charlie. He unfolded the paper and read.
To Mr. Charlie Cole, Owner and Operator of Darkmoon Drive,
Since you have failed to hand over the deed to Darkmoon Drive in a peaceful and willing manner, I find that I have no choice but to issue an ultimatum. Tonight, I will be arriving at your place of residence with a few of my close acquaintances and if, at that time, you still refuse to transfer ownership of Darkmoon Drive over to me, we will have no other option but to take it by force.
I do hope you can find it in yourself to see reason before things become unnecessarily violent.
Yours Most Truly,
Charlie looked up at Daiyu. “He’s gonna come here and kill us over this place?”
“To be fair, he already tried to kill us over this place,” said Milo, motioning towards Daiyu.
“But you can convince him to stop this madness, right?” asked Charlie.
Daiyu shook her head. “He’s done with me. Told me not to come back.”
“What?” Charlie was baffled. “Then stay with us. Help us fight him.”
“I can’t,” she sighed. “Even if I wanted to, I’m powerless now.” She held up the broken bracelet which still hung from her wrist. “And besides, no matter how awful he might seem, I…I just couldn’t fight him. I’m sorry.”
She turned to leave.
“Where will you go?” asked Juno.
“Anywhere that isn’t this dumpster fire of a city,” she said, turning back. “Maybe I’ll head up North. Get some fresh air. Might be nice to walk outside without smelling piss and garbage all the time.” She turned to Charlie. “Look, you want my advice? Give him what he wants. Because if you don’t, he will kill you.” She turned and put a hand on the door.
“Daiyu,” Charlie called out.
She stopped but didn’t turn around.
“Thank you,” he said. She sighed and headed out into the world, the door swinging closed behind her.
“Shit,” said Milo. “What do we do now?”
“Could we call the police?” Asked Charlie.
“And say what?” asked Juno. “You wanna explain relics and magical backpacks and the catacombs to them? Face it, none of this is really in their jurisdiction.” She shook her head. “We’re on our own here.”
“I say if he wants a fight, we give him one,” said Milo, punching a fist into his other hand. “We can even get the other residents to join in.”
“Some of them, maybe,” said Juno. “But most of these people aren’t fighters. They’re builders and crafters and cooks and artists, but they aren’t fighters. The best thing we can do now is to tell them to all be on alert and be ready to evacuate if things go south.”
“Anyone who can’t fight should lock their doors and be prepared to hole up for the night,” said Charlie. “And if they don’t feel safe here, they can always evacuate before tonight.”
“I doubt any of them will do that,” said Juno. “This is all our homes. We’re all here because we don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“The only person who would run is you,” said Milo, then proceeded to stare at him as if waiting for an answer to some unasked question.
“Well obviously I’m not leaving so you can stop scowling,” said Charlie.
“Great,” said Juno. “I’ll take the lower three floors. Charlie you take the upper three and Milo you can hit the fourth floor.”
“Why do I only get one floor?” asked Milo.
“Because you take forever to do anything, and you’re not exactly personable,” said Juno.
“I am the most personable you jerk!” hissed Milo.
“Point made,” said Juno. “Everyone meet up on the roof, and we’ll work on a plan for tonight.”
“We have no idea what kind of acquaintances this guy is bringing,” Charlie reminded them.
Bear barked in confirmation.
“Then we plan for everything,” said Juno. “Let’s go. We’ve only got so much time.” They all nodded and boarded the elevator, ready to tell the residents of Darkmoon Drive that today might be their last day in their homes, but that the four of them wouldn’t let it go without a fight. One way or another, it was going to be a long night.
Oh boy, things are really starting to look dicey for our heroes! I just wanted to quickly mention that due to some traveling I’ll be doing over the next week for work, Chapter Thirty-Three will be up on Monday 9/26! Thank you for understanding!!