Athena called the rest of her side of the Circle before closing her eyes and searching out the feel of her own essence. As Justin suspected, there was a spell on her. She fumbled around trying to get rid of it. She stopped long enough to close the shop before resuming. It took her an hour to get it off. She tapped into something she once swore never to use except in the direst of emergencies to get rid of it.
Athena staggered back a step. She glanced at the clock. There was an hour before Justin would be at her house. She turned off the hotplate, grabbed her mp3 player, and picked up her purse. She jammed everything into it and hurried out of the store. She started towards the bus stop but ended up turning around. She locked up the store before making her way to the bench.
The bus came on time and Athena climbed on. She shivered as she thought of the creature that they were facing now. She kept her eyes out the window until she found her stop. She didn’t feel safe until she walked through her door.
“So, did something interesting happen?” Socrates asked.
“It’s far beyond that, Socrates,” Athena said. “It’s bordering on fatal for the Circle.”
“That bad?” Socrates asked. “I sensed a new presence but didn’t think it was going to prove to be a big enough problem that you couldn’t handle it.”
“Justin and I might not be able to take care of this thing,” Athena said. “If you sensed it, you could have warned me. It put a spell on the shop, and then one on me. I dealt with both, but the second one took me an hour to get rid of.”
“That is not good,” Socrates said.
“Justin will be here in twenty minutes,” Athena said. “The rest of the Circle in a little over an hour. We’re going to have to work together to get this thing out of the city.”
Justin showed up right on time. “Are you all right?” he asked as he came through the door.
“Not really,” Athena said. “I’m going to have to be though.”
“We’re no strangers to fighting things trying to take over our territory,” Justin said.
“I know,” Athena said. “It’s going to be one hell of a battle though.”
“If you two are through playing nice, could we get the wards up so our Circle is safe?” Socrates asked.
“Are you still using your rune stones?” Justin asked.
“Not for this,” Athena said. “This is going to take something with a little more kick.”
“Then let’s get started,” Justin said. He raised his hands. Athena could see the power emanating from him. She put her back to his and held her arms out. She sent her magic through the house, weaving around his to create a whole greater than either of them could alone.