Chapter 73:

Deal With the Devil - Part 3


“Calm down, calm down… This is only our second meeting yet, you can’t expect that I’ll give you everything right away.” The shrouded person calmly went on. “We need to build some trust first.”

“Y’know it won’t happen.”

“Yes, I know… Some professional respect then?”


“We write a contract and be done with it.”

“That works better.” Anna finally nodded to the ghastly voice as she knew this much was the least she could comply to. “And the terms?”

“The main point is to cooperate with each other as much as possible. Other than that, it would be good to avoid fighting, don’t snitch on each other, and share any information related to the main objective as long as we’re allies.”

“And we’re allies until…?”

“We’re allies until we reach Gloudhaus and start things up. I believe we're well aligned enough to let you solve everything by then.”

“You'll be usin' me to some whatever ya wanna, but what mah' stakes in it?”

“What I have to offer you is very simple, but very useful…” The mass of fake voices started as an answer to Annabeth’s question. “I’ll feed you with insider information and, after we trust each other a little more, with information about how this eye of yours is the key to everything. Also, I’ll both help you in dealing with your main target and with whatever else after that.”

“Mah' target, ay…?” The inquisitor stared with an expression full of suspicion as she started to consider less diplomatic options. “How’d y’know ‘bout this? And yer answer’s better be good, ‘kay?”

It wasn’t as if Anna went around telling people about why she was so invested in hunting an organization she didn’t even know the name of. And even if she did, she would never speak the truth straight like this. Even more when taking down a certain person was the first and less problematic bullet point on her list.

Speaking about most of them would likely get her on the inquisition’s bounty list for special targets.

Still, for the first time since they had first spoken, the creature under layers of camouflage seemed to be taken back. The stare she was receiving was beyond anything Anna had ever shown openly, to the point that it could even cause a flight or flee reaction. And it was without her even pulling her gun out.

“It was only a deduction, okay? I bet you’re trying to kill the person that killed your family and what I know tells me this person is my leader.” It answered in a hurry even though it wasn’t that clear due to the voice scrambling. “And the second half is all based on what I got from the investigation the others did about you and on this feeling that we’re alike, got it? I may even be wrong there.”

The pressure in the room, and the light on the chains, plummeted in intensity after these words. Being called ‘alike’ to a demon didn’t make Anna any happier and having someone profile her like this was bad too, but it made sense. It also meant that Louise was likely to have a good idea of her aim too, though.

“I see… So y’know what I wanna and ya’ve what I need…” The redhead answered while cooling her head as much as possible. “Since you already know all this then, what ‘bout tellin’ me what exactly ya wanna? Kinda hard to play along otherwise.”

“That’s fair. I’ll even add an extra and use this chance to tell you about our Eden Workshop then, what about this?”

“Eden what?!”

“Eden Workshop. The weird name of the organization you’re hunting for more than a year.” The blurry figure was clearly smirking as it dropped this information, but Annabeth couldn’t bother to react to it. “And no, I don’t find it a good name. Our leader is very… eccentric… so his naming sense ends with this kind of thing. My codename is Broker, by the way.”

“’Kay...” Anna answered with a weirded-out expression due to all these names coming from some teenager syndrome. “So yer Broker as in ‘information broker’, ‘aight?”

“Pretty much so.”

“Gotcha. Go on with yer explanation then. Mah’ drinks’re almost over and I’ll be goin’ the moment they end.”

Ever since she opened the first bottle, Annabeth ended up chugging on the White Colas without even thinking about it, which meant that she was already at the third bottle. The taste of bottled death in the form of more chemicals than anything was the best one could wish for.

Her ultimatum didn’t seem to make her possible co-conspirator any happy, though, although the Broker was forced to comply.

“Fine… As I was saying, our leader is an eccentric, but a very strong and secretive one. Even I never got much about him, but I can bet he could rival the hero in strength.” It went on with a ‘voice’ that showed some respect even. “How he operates is beyond me too, but all members were either convinced or forced to submit to him. Still, he’ll always say that it’s for the greater good and for a world that’s actually fair... It’s almost the same as me, although he pretends to do it in a more autocratic all-powerful emperor way.”

“Sounds like a lunatic…”

“Can you really say it about someone?”

Anna gave shoulders instead of answering this question. It wasn’t as if a crazy person couldn’t call someone crazy in the end. She found the idea of taking over the world to make it fairer very stupid too, so it wasn’t as if she would hold back.

The inquisitor's belief was that bringing real justice to the world meant undoing any possibility of evil either way.

“Anyway, this is his goal and what Eden’s Workshop exists to do, but I’m more of the thought that we should give up on this world as is... Things went beyond the point of no return already, so changing the rules outright would be much better, even at the cost of almost everything else.”

The Broker’s words seemed hard to believe but the way it spoke made Anna believe that this House of the Light somehow had the power to do it. Still, this power was yet to be mentioned and she was at the end of the fourth bottle.

“I think I can see yer point, but why ya need me then? We’re somewhat aligned, but not fully, ‘aight?”

“That’s true… But I can concede a little in this situation. This whole thing won’t work without you, but that’s for further ahead the path.” It closed its speech as if saying that anything more would need some extra trust. “Now, you can see why I’m useful and I need you to make things work. Can we start the contract?”

Anna drank the last bits of her beverage and then stared at the Broker in silence for a while, suddenly moving to hit her empty bottle at the table. And right after, she buried her hand in the bits of glass splattered around while holding a catalyst and presented the remains of the bottle to the shady figure.

“It’s already done. All ya need’s a li’l bit of blood.” She spoke in a serious tone as the other creature in the room finally noticed the pool of blood turning into a magical circle.

A proper blood contract made by the person who was likely the fastest enchanter in the world was set in front of her. Even if it was only to show off, it was still very impressive.

“You work fast, eh? That’s a good quality to have.”

And with a swift motion of the broken half of the glass bottle, the table started to shine with the conclusion of the devilish deal.