Orlando had recently learned of another group just as determined as Lexicon to achieve Magik at any cost. A group run by a mysterious man named Royal, a group that called itself Prism. And Orlando suspected that Charlotte, whom he was now following, would lead him to Royal and to Prism. As far as Orlando was concerned Prism and Lexicon were one and the same; animals who needed to be put down.Charlotte was immortal, kept eternally young and beautiful by the delicate brush strokes onto a canvas. Her image had been carefully captured immortalizing her for eternity, death only coming if her painting was destroyed. For this reason, she kept its whereabouts secret. Orlando had asked his friend Michael to follow her for the last few days, but Michael had reported no sightings of the painting. Michael, a fellow hunter and several of the zombie hunters, were slowly coming to follow the leadership of Orlando.
The sounds of the subway train approaching pulled Orlando back into focus. He noticed that Charlotte was boarding the train. She must have seen his reflection in the window of the train because she suddenly darted down the platform. Charlotte couldn’t get far because Orlando shot a bolt of Magik at her which restrained her from running any further. It was a risk to do such Magik in an open place where there were plenty of witnesses, but it was a risk he felt he had to take. As he began to slow down time, a spell he was still learning and so couldn’t make time come to a complete stop. He was working on how to accomplish that; in the meantime he could slow time down long enough so he could speak to Charlotte without drawing any further attention.
Charlotte had her hands full of canvases that looked ancient, and she held them carefully but securely. “What do you want, Orlando?” she demanded as she tried to break free of the hold. “I don’t have time for this.”
He took the canvases out of her hands carefully. It felt strange to be holding these lives in his hands, the immortals and the most vulnerable of all the creatures of the night. “These are paintings of immortals.” He held one up and added, “I’ve seen this guy before he’s in my English class.”
"We’ve been watching you.” She didn’t sound surprised that Orlando had recognized the immortal or irritated that he had taken the canvases from her. “Royal thought we should learn what we could about the type of kid you are.”
“How did he hear about me?” Orlando demanded. He didn’t like being called a kid, but wasn’t going to make an issue out of it.
“We learned about you after we raided one of Lexicon’s labs.”
Orlando hadn’t heard of any raids on Lexicon. Charlotte quickly cleared up his confusion. “There was a lab in New Mexico. Lexicon has labs all over the country. You and Ruben have been so focused on what Lexicon is doing in L.A. that you haven’t even cared about what is going on in the rest of the country. Which is why I’m working with Royal, he wants to put an end to what Lexicon is doing and he has the means to do it.”
“Royal, he’s the guy who made you immortal?” Orlando released the Magikal hold he held on her and Charlotte took a quick step away from him.
“He knows what he’s doing.”
Orlando held up the canvases as he said, “He needs these to do it? What are these for … blackmail? Does he intend to use them to make these immortals do whatever he wants?”
She looked away from Orlando and then back at him as she answered his question. “They are immortal… the risk of death is less for them.”
“How are you going to keep those canvases safe from Lexicon? Will you store them in the same place where you are hiding your own?”
Charlotte held her hands out for the canvases. Orlando knew she wasn’t going to give him a satisfactory answer. “Royal has a place in mind for them.”
“I understand now why Ruben didn’t want you to come back,” he said. Orlando was not about to hand the canvases over to her. He didn’t want Charlotte or Royal manipulating the immortals into becoming their slaves. “It’s not because you became an immortal or the reasons that you did, but because you killed a camp full of people just so you could get your hands on these canvases.”
Charlotte became visibly upset as she broke her composure. “It wasn’t like that at all. Ruben went into that camp with the intention of killing everyone he found. He was only angry with me because I beat him to it.”
“Those immortals trusted you, they let you into their camp believing you were one of them and you betrayed them. And now you want to turn them into your slaves.”
“Those people were willing to allow Lexicon to continue with their experiments. What was the greater evil, Orlando? Was it what I did that night? Or what Lexicon has done and is continuing to do? You are not strong enough to go after Lexicon on your own and you are a fool if you think you stand a chance with only Ruben as your ally.”
Orlando realized that what Charlotte didn’t know was that he was growing stronger everyday. He was learning things about his Magik that he surprised even himself. He did not realize that such Magik was even possible. He could feel his Magik growing and becoming stronger. He wasn’t about to share this with Charlotte, he’d rather let her continue to believe whatever she wanted. He didn’t want her or Royal to try to find his weakness; Charlotte wouldn’t have to look very far. She knew Elodie was his greatness weakness. “You can’t justify what you did, or what you intend to do with these.”
“You’ve been around Ruben too long; you are beginning to see things in black and white.”
The subway train was beginning to depart; the platform was beginning to catch up to the point of time that Orlando and Charlotte were occupying. A scream filled the air followed by a multitude of other screams and shouts. Chaos had broken out on the platform. Orlando looked up to discover a creature, breaking through the window of a train car, and crashing heavily onto the platform. The broken glass shards sprayed forward striking several passengers in the eyes, face and limbs.
“It’s from Lexicon,” Charlotte said and she couldn’t hide her fear. She was unsteady, nearly stumbling back and losing her balance in the process.Orlando didn’t bother with her as he focused in on the creature. It had the look of a man, a tall and extremely thin man, whose eyes were void and skin was the color of ash. “What is that thing?” Orlando asked in caution. His mind raced as he tried to settle on a method to destroy it and destroy it quickly. And he had to get the canvases away from Charlotte and her manipulative friend Royal.