Puzzle

Part 3

"So, Seliph, mind telling me what this is all about?" Elite asked, chained to the wall, "I've got all night."

"My," Seliph replied, "so inquisitive, and so spirited, for one about to die. Very well. This is what you were chasing after." He held up a small, flat, thin bar of metal with a few notches at either end.

"That's it?" queried Elite.

"Indeed. Rather plain-looking on its own, but observe." Seliph pulled out another metal piece, this one a half-circle, and placed the two together. There was a blinding blue flash, after which the two pieces were fused.

"Well, a bit better," Elite quipped, "but still not much above the average parlor trick."

"Ah, but the third piece is not yet in place. Once we recover the other half-circle from those accursed witches, the Fhgbhdz will be complete. Then I could show you true power! Unfortunately, you will not survive to see it completed."

Above him, Elite felt movement, but nothing more than a slight breath of air. Suddenly, he felt the tension of his chains lessen, as if one of the links had been broken. He dared not call attention to it by looking, however, so he carried on the conversation, hoping an opportunity to test the chains would present itself.

"So," Elite asked, "this, ummm, circle with a bar, this theta- thingy, is really powerful?"

"Oh, yes!" Seliph answered, "With it, we of the Cabal shall rule the world!"

"Oh, come on. Even with this theta-thingy, look at the numbers, man! There's just too many of them!" Elite exclaimed.

Seliph chuckled, a sneer on his face, "Oh? If so, how is it that we have not yet been destroyed? Your presence indicates that mortals do indeed know of us."

"Hardly. The Institute is a purely scientific organization. We have absolutely no interest in eradicating vampires or any other supernatural creatures. Furthermore, we are the only organization that knows of the existence of the vampire, and it is against policy to reveal that information, for fear of the very backlash I spoke of--not only would it destroy the great opportunity for knowledge that vampires represent, but it would also lead to countless deaths. The vampires would be destroyed, but the price would be too high."

"Agent Elite, I know understand why your Institute masquerades as a Church. You preach too much, and it's all a pack of lies. You will tell me the truth about The Institute now." Seliph said, his eyes meting Elite's.

As soon as their eyes met, Elite's glasses mirrored over, blocking the hypnosis. Taking advantage of Seliph's momentary confusion, Elite jerked on his chains, hoping that the break he had felt was actually there. It was, and Elite was free. Immediately, he grabbed his vail and turned to face Seliph.

"OK, Seliph," Elite said, "this is Holy Water. Drop the Theta-thingy, back off, and let me go, or you're gonna be hurting."

"Fool!" Seliph replied, "Holy Water rarely even works in the hands of the devout!"

Two quick flicks of Elite's wrists later, Seliph's sneer was replaced by an expression of agony as his face smoked from where the liquid had hit. Howling, he raised his hands to his face, dropping the Fhgbhdz. Elite quickly pushed a few buttons on his UV sensor, grabbed the Fhgbhdz, then turned tail and ran for his life, as the rest of the Cabal had no intention of just letting him walk out.

A few seconds later, the UV sensor erupted in electromagnetic fury. Elite had activated its emergency feature, and instead of the normally minuscule amount of ultraviolet radiation, the sensor put out enough radiation to cause debilitating, though not fatal, pain to the vampires. It also gave Elite the worst sunburn he had ever had. The sensor burned itself out twenty seconds later, but it was enough time to allow Elite to escape.

Elite made it back to The Institute without further difficulty. Once there, he headed immediately downstairs to the Equipment section.

"Put this in the Maximum Security vault, access limited to my authorization only," Elite said to the clerk, handing him the Fhgbhdz, "Oh, I also need a refill on this vial."

"Holy Water?" the clerk asked, reading the label on the vial, "Really getting into the part, eh? One vial of fuming sulfuric acid, coming up."

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