Fifteen minutes later, Matthew had delivered all of the guns he had in his bag. And he was not even close to the West Wing. At the pace he was maintaining, it would take him another ten minutes to make it through the maze of corridors to the wing. He pushed on though figuring that it would be kind of pointless to run right back to the Armory to grab even more weapons.
As he rounded yet another corner he saw fluttering cloth cross an intersection. It would not have been a worrying thing except that it was going in the exact opposite direction of the West Wing.
Matthew hesitated for a split second. He could follow it and see where it was going but it could have just been an officer carrying out a task. In which case it would have been pointless to do so. Yet, if it was one of the enemy that managed to get past the Inquisition guards then ignoring him could be catastrophic for the Inquisition.
Gritting his teeth against the rising fear, Matthew ran after the figure as quietly as he could. The figure was faster than Matthew and seemed to be using some sort of spell to make himself quiet. The spell, however, was what allowed Matthew to keep track of him. Any guard that ran by ignored both the figure and Matthew which really confused the Armory supervisor.
Sure, there was a fight going on that required the Inquisitors' attention. But this was a possible mage that they were just shooting past. The mage could have been holding another spell that hid himself from the guards, but then why would Matthew be able to still keep track? It did not make any sense.
Matthew rubbed a couple of fingers against the artifice hanging from his belt. He would need it if the figure in front of him decided to open fire. Which was another concern. Why was he not doing so against the Inquisitors around him?
After about five minutes of the chase, the figure suddenly threw himself through a door. Matthew hung back a bit and looked into the room.
It was a maintenance room full of different systems that controlled air flow, heat and electricity. The figure knelt in the center of the room and was setting something on the ground. A small light pulsed from the object and the figure rubbed its fingers in a specific pattern along the thing's surface. The light showed the figure's face in the otherwise dark room.
She was beautiful. Silver hair flowed down to her neck and into her eyes slightly. A slender neck held up a thin face. Green eyes flashed in concern as she looked at something on the device. She was wearing some sort of leather coat and he forced his eyes from going any further. It would have been impolite.
Matthew shook his head and lightly slapped his cheek. Focus. She obviously had an artifice of power. It probably was supposed to destroy the systems of the base or else why would she set it up here. He had to find a way to stop it.
He stayed at his position and watched her carefully. What he was betting on was that the woman would finish setting it up and then leave. However, when she leaned away from the device she stayed kneeling next to it. He was going to have to be direct then.
Taking a deep breath, Matthew flung himself through the door, pointed his pistol at the woman and yelled, "Don't move!" Or, at least he tried to yell. It came out more like an urging statement.
She did react similarly though. She flinched to her feet and let out a gasp. Seeing that he was holding a gun to her, she held her hands up.
"Step away from the device."
She shook her head and Matthew tried to ignore the features the pulsing light showed, "I cannot."
Matthew took a step closer, "Why not?"
He expected her to instinctively take a step back to mirror him, but instead she kept herself planted, "Orders, of course." Her thin and appealing mouth curled up in a smile, "You think I would really do what you say because you are holding a gun to my head?"
Matthew blinked, "Um… yes? Guns are usually threatening right?"
A sweet laugh echoed across the room, "So naive." With that, she clinched her fist.
Invisible force lashed out and crashed against Matthew's chest. He grunted and slid to hit the wall behind him. The wall bounced him back and he stumbled to an upright position again. When he looked up again, he saw that the woman had not moved from her place but she had lowered her arms to cross her chest.
Matthew did not want to do it, but he pulled his weapon and opened fire. The bullet slammed against a dome that flashed with blue light and then ricocheted off of the metal walls until it slammed into one of the system controls. He gritted his teeth in annoyance. She was prepared which he probably should have seen.
And she still had that damn smile.
"You have not participated in a fight before, have you?" She asked. That smile twitched up even more, "Or are you distracted?"
Something drew Matthew's eye down toward the artifice. The light was pulsing faster. He had the uncomfortable image of a bomb ticking down. If he did not do something soon, the artifice would activate.
Matthew raised his gun again. The woman laughed, "You really want to do that again?"
He shifted the gun's barrel to the side and pulled the trigger. The shot careened off of the metal wall, ricocheted off of another wall, and slammed into the woman's back. She jerked forward and felt to a knee. Seeing the woman's pain sent pain through his own body but he controlled it and stepped forward.
She flung her hand up and Matthew felt the spell uppercut him in the chin. His feet left the floor and he landed hard on his back. The gun in his hand barked and the bullet bounced off of the wall to sink into the heating system.
Another spell hit his side and he was slid into the wall again. Groaning he struggled to stand up. Instead he only got to his knee and looked up. The woman was grinning and pointedly glanced at the artifice. Matthew looked too and saw that the artifice was blinking at a machine gun's rate of fire.
He only had time to place his hand on the artifice at his belt before everything exploded.