The main office was at the end of a long hall with two meat fountains on either side.
There was a loud bang at the end of the hallway. Chester and Bella exchanged glances before running towards the double doors and pulled them open.
Two figures were locked in battle in the middle of the room. The desk had been turned over. The locker in the corner had several dents in it and was on its side. Papers, binders, and folders were scattered everywhere.
Dedan was in even worse shape than he was at the Post Office. Blood dribbled down his head. He was covered in cuts and bruises. He was losing the fight.
“Dedan!” Chester cried out.
Dedan turned to him right before getting smacked upside the head with a bat. Dedan flew backwards, landing on his back. He coughed up blood, gasping for air.
“Leave him alone!” Chester cried out again.
The Batter hissed at them, then ran after Dedan.
“Bella, now! After Hours!”
“Beginner’s Luck!” Bella shouted.
The two blasts from the elsen knocked Batter
They arrived in Shachihata. To their disappointment, several elsen were running screaming out of the Post Office.
Chester groaned. “I was really hoping this would be a safe haven for them.” He stopped one of the panicking workers, he had bangs that swooped upward and only one arm, his sleeve dangled freely. The elsen’s eyes lit up when he saw Chester.
“Earl, what are you running from?”
“Gh-gh-ghosts!” the trembling worker responded.
Chester sighed in annoyance before smirking. “Oh, well. Shouldn’t be hard to clean up here, right, Bella?”
Bella jumped. “B-but I only defeated one of the spectres!”
Chester snapped his fingers. “If you want some fighting experience, this is how you do it.”
Bella shrank back.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be with me. It’s just a few spectres. They’re easy enough to—”
“They’re not the only ones in there,” Earl interrupted. Chester turned to him. “There’s also a terrible monster fighting a very angry Dedan.” He started rubbing his side with his only hand.
“¡Bienvenidos! ¿Cómo puedo ayudarte hoy?”
“Zacharie,” Chester said through a few pants. They had run all the way to the masked merchant’s store. ”Something’s wrong. Dedan’s not himself.”
Bella stared at the masked man behind the counter. She recognized him from her campus, she assumed he was some kind of con man. Though the students who did buy from him seemed generally happy with their purchases. Nevertheless, she preferred to err on the side of caution while she was a broke student.
“You sure he’s not overworked?” Zacharie suggested.
“No, you don’t understand, he’s…” Chester took a deep breath before continuing. “He doesn’t know who I am.”
The jovial eyes behind the mask turned sharp. “What happened?”
“I’m not sure! My assistant here was signing into her work email when she opened a strange message.”
Zacharie snapped his head to Bella. “What did it say?”
“The subject line said… P-purify.”
He stared at her intently for a long moment before muttering something that sounded
Bella awoke to Chester shaking her shoulder gently. Once her eyes opened, he let out a sigh of relief.
“Thank the Prince, you’re alright.”
She pushed her body up to a sitting position before remembering, “S-sir! Dedan was hit by something!”
“Yeah, he’s out, too,” Chester looked to his husband. “I tried waking him, but he’s a heavy sleeper. Maybe if we try together.”
They both hurried towards him. Chester shook him gently. Bella did the same.
“Sweetie?” he said softly.
Dedan groaned, gritting his teeth before his eyes snapped open. Bella had a brief thought that they were… different, somehow.
“Thank goodness,” Chester sighed. “What in the world ha—“
“Don’t fucking touch me!”
Dedan backhanded Chester, sending him onto the floor. Chester recovered just as his husband stood up. Bella helped Chester to his feet.
“You know better than to touch me, you little shit!” the monster snarled.
Chester’s face turned to shock. He held out an arm, guarding Bella.
“We don’t want trouble
Bella exited the train with a hoard of other elsen on their way to work. She stepped aside to let the hoard through, craning her neck to read the sign in the distance.
As the elsen disappeared into the mines, she could better make out the building the sign was attached to. It was smaller than she thought. Then again, this was Damien. The main offices were supposed to be in Alma.
She patted her black dress, adjusted her white belt and black tie, let out a sigh and marched
Once she reached the office, she knocked on the door.
“Come in,” chimed the voice from the other side.
She pushed the door open and peeked inside. An elsen wearing square glasses, a black waistcoat, and bowtie stood from his desk and walked towards her.
She knew him as Chester, Guardian of the Elsen, and husband to the Guardian of Zone 1, Dedan.
“Bella, you made it!” he held out a hand to shake.
She took it and shook it gently. “Of course! I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for the world.”