Charles grabbed the reckless elder and pulled him into an empty side room, glaring. "Jasmin, what is this really about?"
"I was promised." He tried to move past his companion, but Charles stepped in the way again.
"Okay, the evacuation of some others. Non-essential personnel as well as the less dangerous prisoners and my daughter, with us, in the same group, so that I could be assured they would be removed. Hoquet and Nature and Metallique. The holding cells, 1-12 and 23-27 emptied. Even Excitacion and Grippe from the gaol, although they weren't a must. And Lydie was not there. If there was a reason, I would have been told. Surgele and Hoquet themselves were in charge of rounding up Lydie and the personnel..."
"She's my daughter, Charles...and your niece..."
"I see...and the Grand Mage was in charge of getting her out safely?"
"That's why I asked if it was just a drill. I did not see her with him. I'm going to find her. I'm going to let some prisoners out."
"Jasmin, no, not the prisoners!"
"I'm letting them out to free up the cells for Mevolent's lot. Only the holding cells. Nothing overboard."
"I'm glad to hear it. How can I help?"
"You and Hoquet get the prisoners who I feel should be evacuated out as safely as possible. Possibly lure Mevolent's men into the holding cells, and call your sister. Let them all know Elders are in the cell room."
Fiable paused. "Which cell is the Spanish man in? Frivolidad?"
"Cell 27. He'll be released. Just for you. Now we have to go."
He hesitated a little longer before moving away. "After you, Jasmin."
"Thank you, Charles." The detective edged out of the side room, checking the coast was clear as Orage removed his Elder's robes to be a little less conspicuous. He emerged after a few minutes, looking a little less sure of his plan, and hurried into the fray flanked by the two detectives. Fiable whimpered. "Jasmin, fair warning, I can't fight when it's this crowded...if I get hurt or killed, you're going to be haunted like no tomorrow."
Orage laughed and grabbed his friend's wrist, working to keep the other fighters at bay. He ducked and dodged and struck back and felt a thrill. It was like being taken back to his old days. He broke through and pushed and elbowed his way into an empty corridor leading to the holding cells.
Metallique was huddled in a ball under his desk. "Moineau?" He raised his head as Jasmin leaned over to look at him. Predictably, he hit his head on the desk and let out a string of curses. The Elder grinned and helped the sort-of guard to his feet. The man smoothed his shirt and tilted his head. "Elder Orage...I thought you'd been evacuated..."
"You were meant to be as well. You're a pacifist if I remember correctly."
Moineau Metallique nodded quickly. "Strange place to work for a pacifist, eh?" He gestured to the holding cells. Fiable had walked over to Frivolidad's and they were conversing very quietly in English. Moineau was a small man, even smaller than Jasmin, which was one of the reasons Jasmin wanted to guarantee his survival. It made him feel better about his own small stature. He was usually buzzing with energy, flitting around like a small bird, constantly chattering away in a high, chirpy voice. Today he looked terrified.
"Seen Jonquille anywhere?" Moineau shook his head. The Elder sighed and held out his hand. "I need to open all the cells, set the prisoners free."
The gaoler's eyes widened. "You're not serious."
"We're going to lure Mevolent's lot down here. Lock them in the cells instead."
Moineau whimpered and went to unlock the first door, explaining to the convict inside exactly what was going on. He turned, throwing the keys for the cells against the other walls to the Elder. As half the cells were unlocked, Jasmin turned to tell Charles and Yvonne it was time to lure Mevolent's men in. The two Detectives ran off, joking to one another about how much fun it would be to strike if Mevolent himself showed up.
Of course, with Remit on his side, Mevolent could flit between the different places he was invading in the blink of an eye. Charles had to admit he had faltered when he'd seen him and almost got himself killed there and then for that. Yvonne was going for insults and dodging to draw others away, but Charles felt he had a clear shot to some of the enemies with his Gist...
Perseus slipped out of his cell gracefully, smoothing down his clothes and shaking a little. "I would kill for a cigarette." He mumbled.
"Haven't any on me." Jasmin glanced over his shoulder as the last prisoner was let out. "If you help us bring our enemies into your former cells, you earn your freedom." Metallique looked at him like he'd gone crazy. "If you try to strike each other, myself, Mr Metallique here, Detective Hoquet or Detective Fiable, you will be forced to share a cell with one of Mevolent's men. Understand? It will be easier for us to recover you than you think."
The prisoners agreed. Five there were even from the proper gaol, murderers and the like. They were a little thrown by a semi-hysterical shouting approaching as Fiable and Hoquet returned. Fiable was the source of the screams. "He's going to kill me!" He screamed in the other detective's face. With a sigh, Jasmin walked over and turned his old friend to face him. Frivolidad craned his neck to watch over his shoulder.
"Who is going to kill you? What happened?"
"My Gist...it struck Mevolent...sliced his face open...he turned to look right at me as I retracted it...and he came after me..."
A ripple of chatter went through the assembled criminals and Jasmin groaned. The Elder turned back to the gathered people. "Okay, change of plan. Focus your main attacks on Mevolent. If others come for you, defend yourselves of course. Push them into cells. If we can, we try and force Mevolent himself back into a bound cell. Hope it works, right?" The murmur that ran through the crowd was much less affirmative this time. They formed a sort-of human wall. Even Metallique was readying himself for a fight.
Mevolent burst in with his army for today behind him. The French criminals began to throw all they had at him. The full force of all the blasts at once took him off his feet. There were over thirty people sending all they had at him at once. The army charged, reducing the number of people focusing on the leader by 100%. Jasmin cursed as he threw another fighter off him and crushed down the impulse to face Mevolent himself there and then. He wasn't stupid. Something else almost made him break for a run in that direction. Elder Hato appeared behind Mevolent with two young girls gripped firmly in her arms. "I think the eldest was here all along." She told the enemy, smiling a devil's smile. "These two were at home with their lovely mortal grandmother. Hope you don't mind I killed the dear sweet lady."
Clarice was splattered with blood. She was only three and now she was going to be screwed up for life. Alice was crying. His eyes met those of his middle daughter and she let out a sob, reaching for her father, screaming for him. Clarice joined in the screaming. Jasmin sort of froze and Mevolent approached him. The Elder took a deep breath and tried to run around him, Frivolidad and one of the murderers attempting to provide cover for him, but Mevolent's arm lashed out and Orage felt the knife against his throat as the slice sent him spinning into the desk. The girls screamed as he fell and he didn't even have time to think he'd failed before his head crunched against the desk edge.
And Moineau took his place with a snarl. He was flanked by the murderer and Frivolidad as they weighed up their options. Fight Mevolent and end up dead or try and get past him to fight Hato before she disappears and free Orage's kids?
((uhhh...should have been revising for English, but instead I wrote this, invented Moineau Metallique (Sparrow Metallic) and sat there admiring what used to be a 5 cents coin from my foreign money collection (started purely because I found a bunch of euros, Hong Kong dollars and my mum was given the 5 cents coin as change once by accident) but in Chemistry today we were coating silver coins with copper and now all of it except the person on the back's mouth and nose are covered in copper...at least he can still breathe...I think the phrase in the title is actually 'Heck in a hamster ball'...))