The Right Conditions

Just a random story… kind of a continuation of the cozy mystery that I wrote for the Genre Stretch.

**

Mykolas wasn’t a warrior.  Generally, he left the fighting to his brothers and his younger cousins.  After all, they were his defenders.  It was there job to protect him when Singer attacked.  He hadn’t been lying when he said that he wasn’t afraid of a fight.  It just wasn’t something he relished either.  At the same time, given the right conditions, even the most gentle person will fight.  He had never encountered that circumstance for himself, until that day.

It was a relatively normal day.  He was delivering coffee and a box of pastries – donuts, ironically – to the police station nearest his shop when he sensed a Singer.  Normally, he would have retreated to his car and raced to wherever his nearest defender was.  What stopped him from doing that now was the presence of a familiar face.

“What is that singing?” a soft voice with a lilting accent asked.

Mykolas gasped, his heart hammering in his chest.  “Detective Stanton,” he rasped.  He saw her eyes glaze over as the Singer’s melody ensnared her.  Biting off a curse, he began singing the counter-melody.  Even as the detective shook herself, he saw the figure of the demon come into view.  It smiled at him as it walked towards them with slow, deliberate steps.

Detective Stanton spun to see what Mykolas was staring at and breathed a curse.  “Stay back,” she snapped, drawing her weapon.

A part of Mykolas wanted to tell her that wouldn’t help.  Singers didn’t, generally speaking, stop very long from gunshot wounds.  In fact, all it generally succeeded in doing was making them angry.  However, he was still singing counter to what the demon was trying to do, so he couldn’t warn her.

Mykolas did the next best thing.  Still singing, he raised his hand and summond the power of the sealing ring he wore.  As far as he knew, there were only three that were still in the hands of their True Crosses and only his had been fully activated.  He mimed drawing back a bow and a glowing arrow flared to life.

“What the…” Detective Stanton rasped.

For an instant, Mykolas stopped singing to say, “Down!”  As Detective Stanton dropped to a crouched position, he released the arrow.  It sank into the Singer’s body.  It fell with a strangled cry and Mykolas sang the purification song.  As the demon vanished in a shower of light, Mykolas breathed a sigh of relief.

He looked at Detective Stanton and said, “Are you all right?”  She’d asked exactly that at nearly the same moment.  Laughing wryly, Mykolas nodded.  “I’m fine, Detective.  That… was a demon that we call a Singer.”

“I’d heard of them, but I’d never seen one,” she said.  She stepped over to him and smiled.  “Given the circumstances, I think you can call me Miriam.”

“Kolas,” he said, offering his hand.  As she took it, he kissed the back of her hand gently.  When she arched her brows, he shrugged.  “It’s my father said we should greet a lady,” he explained.

“And what does the lady do in return?” Miriam asked, smirking.

Mykolas gave a weak laugh.  “If you’re very lucky, she doesn’t slap you across the face,” he said, shrugging.

“I would say that you were most fortunate, Kolas,” Miriam said, her voice soft.  Then, she crossed her arms over her chest.  “You are also just full of surprises.  I wouldn’t mind hearing more about those arrows… over coffee?”

“I know just the place,” Mykolas said.  He smiled and offered Miriam his arm.  Sometimes, it wasn’t such a bad thing to fight.

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