“I followed you,” Ellie admitted, “and I could ask you the same question. I know there was a murder, and you two looked like you knew what was going on. Was it that thing, that dragon?”
“Master,” Ophelia projected.
“Not now,” the stranger said out loud, interrupting Ophelia’s attempt at mental communication. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you are in? You can’t know about this. I need you to forget.” He reinforced the word “forget” with a mental push.
Ellie felt the push, but she didn’t forget. “I’m not just going to forget about what I’ve seen here. You can’t make me.”
“Not now, Ophelia.” The priest pinched the bridge of his nose and scrunched his face. “Forget.” He tried again, this time without the verbal reinforcement. He didn’t even look at Ellie. He kept his head down as he pushed mentally.
“Would the two of you please stop? You’re giving me a headache.”
“On that, we can agree,” said the stranger. “Ophelia, be still.” There was power in his words directed at the monster as if he were pouring all of his psychic energy reinforcing his command. Ellie felt Ophelia stumble as if she had been rooted in place by the force of his words.
“Master, please,” Ophelia begged, a hint of hysteria rising in her voice.
“What is it, Ophelia? Can’t you see I am in the middle of something?”
“There’s another one, Master.” This last bit Ophelia spoke out loud.
“Another dragon, Master.”
“There can’t be another one. They only hunt alone.”
Ellie heard the leathery flap of wings above them, and a sudden shadow overtook the dark stranger. Another dragon, this one larger than the first landed hard, right behind him. He turned, with a look of absolute disbelief on his face. He dropped the bracers on the pavement.
The dragon swiped at the priest with a massive claw, sending him plunging into the wreckage of the burning bar. He landed hard among the smoldering debris. The priest tried to stand, but there was a large shard of wood sticking through his chest. He coughed once and then tumbled backward into the flames.
That was it. Ellie felt the power of his mind leave, like a weight that had been holding everyone in check. It was gone. And that could only mean that the man had passed beyond. He was dead. She had just seen someone die.
“No!” screamed Ophelia, echoing Ellie’s thoughts. She launched herself toward her fallen master, his hold on her broken. Sobbing, she wrapped him in her arms, leaning over him and keening.
The dragon briefly considered the retreating demon, and then he turned his eyes on closer easier prey. Ellie raised her gun and fired two shots. Neither one had any effect on the monster, so she tossed the revolver at the encroaching creature. It caught the revolver in a massive powerful jaw and crunched the weapon in half. When it spit out the broken remains, it licked sharp teeth with a long black tongue.