Sylvie leaned back. She’d listened to Inés and Serena recount what they’d been asked and what they’d agreed to without comment.
“In other words, we find these guys and bait them into attacking us, right?” she said.
“Not quite,” Inés said. “I’ll be the bait myself. You two will sit back with Max and move in when they make their move.”
“That’s a reckless plan,” Sylvie chided. “At the very least I should go with you. We do have to watch each others’ backs.”
“I think they’re more likely to act quickly if they think the target is a lone priestess,” Inés stated. “Besides, if we approach them together they’ll be able to guess that we’re not full priestesses and that could weaken the chances of the plan working.”
“Point taken,” Sylvie admitted. “But why should you be the one to act as bait instead of me?”
“Because I’m good at picking fights,” Inés said. “I’ve done it a lot without even trying!”
“I wish you’d say that without sounding like you’re bragging about it,” Sylvie muttered. “In any case, haven’t most of your fights been with people who were mad about you fooling around with their sisters? That doesn’t seem relevant to this kind of situation.”
“Well if you’d really prefer to do it…” Inés began. “Of course, you’ll have to be able top hold out a bit for backup and it could take days for them to act. So, you wouldn’t be able to see Illyana until it’s all over.”
“Trying to manipulate me like that,” Sylvie scoffed. “Fine, if you want to do it so badly I won’t stop you. Just be sure to hold out until we get there.”
“No problem,” Inés said. “I’ll also be sneaking out of the city early tomorrow and coming back in alone. Just in case they’ve got the gates watched. Their favourite spot to set up, at least according to Max, isn’t far from here. So, you two can watch over me from the roof. Max is going to show up to help maintain surveillance.”
“We’ll keep an eye out for you,” Serena said. “Please be careful.”
“I will,” Inés said. “Promise.”
“Don’t go overboard,” Sylvie said.
Waiting at the city gates had been more arduous than last time. Because last time she’d been with Serena and Sylvie. Going through alone was no fun, but it had to be done. Just as she’d had to draw attention to herself, make sure any spies for these monotheists would remember her.
She started by going to a humble, cheap inn and securing a room.
She moved on to wandering the market district for a little bit. She wanted to move right to it and wandering probably wasn’t necessary, but she was worried that moving directly and purposefully towards the monotheists would rouse suspicion if she was being watched.
She gradually made her way towards the wealthy housing. She spotted the monotheists pretty quickly. There were four of them. One was on a makeshift, elevated stand, preaching. The other three were standing around, wearing what Inés thought were very fake smiles. All four wore light blue robes. There may have been weapons underneath, it was hard to tell.
Even if there were, she was committed. Inés wandered over, picking up a large stone on her way. She listened to hear what their leader was saying.
“God is merciful,” he said, in a loud, clear voice. “When we bring our woes to God, he hears and cares. Unlike some false Gods. We merely have to give ourselves to him, eschew worldly goods and trust in his love and we will be saved.”
“You’re full of shit!” Inés declared. There was silence as the people gathered turned to look at her.
The head priest put on a broad smile. “We bring the truth, Young Lady. It may be hard to accept, but if you open your heart, God will forgive your trespasses and welcome you.”
“And what does this God of yours actually do for anyone?” Inés asked. “You make a pretty little speech about love and compassion, but will any of us see this God of yours come down and help anyone or even just give a speech while scratching his ass?”
“God works in mysterious ways,” he said. “He gives us the foresight to know when disaster will befall so that we might avert it.”
“Is that so?” Inés asked. She hurled the stone she’d picked up. It slammed into his forehead, causing him to drop to the ground in pain. “How odd,” Inés continued. “I thought with your blessed prophetic powers, you’d be able to avoid that.”She turned away from them. “Your God seems pretty useless to me. I’ve seen one of Apollo’s priests stand still while fifty people aimed their bows at him. They released and, miraculously, not one arrow touched him. Apollo diverted every single one so that it couldn’t fly straight. And your God can’t even stop a single rock. How pathetic.”
“You’ll be punished for your sacrilege!” Inés turned. The head priest was pointing at her, his head bleeding and his finger shaking. The kindness in his voice had been replaced by rage. “Tomorrow night, God will send a disaster against you!”
“Why not now?” Inés asked. “I’m right here!” She shrugged. “Whatever, I have a true Goddess looking after me. Let’s see which is stronger, shall we? The great Athena or your nameless God.” She walked away without looking back. They’d come after her, that much was clear. Without their benevolent masks and with the intent to kill. She smirked, it was going to be fun.