Hilde had woken up, dressed and eaten by the time she heard a knock on her flat’s window. Bianca was floating there on a broom. “Climb on and hold tight,” she said.
“I take it this library is some kind of magical thing,” Hilde said.
Bianca nodded. “It’s in a pocket dimension like that one the mass murdering witch had set up when we first met. Except this one is totally stable. The Council set it up about seven centuries ago as a safe haven for witches to research all things magical. Over time, other magical creatures were allowed in, under certain circumstances.”
“Will you get in trouble for taking an ordinary human?” Hilde asked.
“If I would, I wouldn’t take you,” Bianca said. “We can’t take humans who don’t know anything of magic or humans who are enemies of witches. You’re fine.”
Hilde climbed on the broom behind Bianca.
Bianca waited for her to be secure before ascending into the sky. She started chanting. Hilde wasn’t sure what language it was exactly, maybe Latin. A portal opened in the air in front of them and Bianca flew into it.
Instantly, they were in front of a giant castle that seemed to be floating on a rainbow coloured cloud. Bianca flew directly inside through one of the large, upper windows. The room they were in looked like an entrance parlour, lined with racks for brooms.
Bianca chose an empty spot and gently placed her broom in it and the pair went inside, past a pair of heavy, carved doors that slid open with a single gesture from Bianca.
Inside, the walls were lined with books. They were on the upper level with stairs leading down to other levels with more books.
“How do you find anything here?” Hilde queried. She had noticed a distinct lack of labeling on the books or shelves.
“Oh, that’s easy,” Bianca said. She pulled a crystal ball from her pocket. “Crystal eye, grant me insight. Show me a tome about creatures that control insect swarms.”
The ball glowed, floated out of her hand and started moving. They followed it. They didn’t have to go down the stairs or even that far. It took them to a book about mummies.
“Guess I should’ve been more specific,” Bianca muttered. “That thing wasn’t a mummy.” She put her hand over the ball. “Though you were accurate, this is not what I seek. Find me a creature shadowy and small that controls swarms of insects and freezes time for its victims and other non-magic creatures around, leaving only a small window to even see it.”
She took her hand off of the orb again. This time it led them down three flights of stairs before finally stopping in front of a book.
Bianca examined it. “Goryou? I’m probably pronouncing that wrong.”
“Sounds Japanese,” Hilde observed.
“Might be,” Bianca said. She flipped through the book. “It looks like a Goryou was once believed to be a vengeful ghost, but it was later discovered that they’re actually a type of air spirit. When they see someone they consider a noble soul die unjustly and in pain, they take on his or her pain as well as their last few memories and seek revenge against those who caused it. Or against people who resemble them in a significant way.”
“So, this spirit saw a noble person die horrifically because of some thug in the Warehouse district and now it’s murdering every person it sees around there who seems to be up to no good.”
“Looks like it,” Bianca said. “We could just leave it. You can reassure the client that she’s safe since she isn’t a violent criminal and let it keep going all vigilante on them.”
“I don’t think so,” Hilde said. “This isn’t just about Demetria. There could be kids in that area who just took a wrong turn and need a chance to redeem themselves. Besides, the violence is causing trouble between different factions and we could be looking at a full gang war if they get more paranoid and start blaming each other. How do we stop this thing?”
“According to the book, the only reliable way to stop it is to find out who it’s taking vengeance for and ceremoniously honour that person while praising the spirit for a job well done in their name. I could also try to seal it, but it’s going to break free eventually and go back to doing exactly what it’s doing.”
“I guess we have to find out what noble person died in the warehouse district recently,” Hilde said.
“One thing bothers me,” Bianca said. “These things are supposed to live in Japan, so how did one get here?”
Hilde thought for a moment. “Maybe when that tengu and wheel thing I fought came over, they brought this spirit with them.”
“It is possible,” Bianca said. “I’ll take you home. You can try to figure out who the Goryou is seeking vengeance for and I’ll try to figure out a way to get it home once it’s calmed.”
“All right,” Hilde agreed. “We’ll meet at my office tonight.”