While still at Mercy Hospital, the teens were still debating over what to do with the evil forces that were inhabiting their city. Lilith Marid made her way to the parking lot with Mahala Kindt. Lilith, interested in hearing more about what had happened to the puppet-slaves of Mahala’s who were slaughtered at her house discovered that whereas Mahala was clueless on what happened, she was concerned that Carnamagos had found her. Fortunately, since he was still weak, she felt that she had some remaining time to get rid of him. Lilith made sure that Mahala knew she wanted all the cards on the table if they were to trust her.
When Lilith came back inside, Molly Sterling recounted in great detail what they were to do, especially after Molly’s harrowing encounter with the Castalanta clan, especially the bargain proposed by Ferdinand Castalanta. The group debated the best course of action and decided that whereas they would try to negotiate with the dragons, they would have to do so carefully, as it was clear this family was wily and ancient and would broker no foolishness or tricks. But Emma Lee Raines was convinced that she could get Raphael Castalanta to help them in their negotiations.
When Devon Lauer attempted to contact Yasmine Castalanta, this prompted Lilith to become upset, leading to an argument between the two that saw Devon storm off after discussing whose family had made the greater sacrifice in this fight. Lilith knew she was being a bitch but her emotions were getting the better of her. After all, it was her boyfriend, Raphael, who was at the center of this even though it was Emma Lee who seemed to show more concern over what was happening to him.
When the group finally came back together and Emma Lee convinced Devon and Lilith to work together, they decided that they would have to interview Sophie Wessel/Betty Swain. It seemed that Sophie had information about Lilith’s father that had been twisting for months. But has as the group decided they were going to visit, Emma Lee get a text from her ex-boyfriend, Drake Straker, who wanted to meet her at Carnamagos High to talk to her. Emma Lee suspected some kind of trap and convinced Devon and Simon Parker to go with her for back up, while Molly and Lilith decided to visit Betty’s house.
Upon arriving at Betty’s house, Molly and Lilith received a cold reception, to say the very least. They began to ask Betty/Sophie her involvement with Lilith’s father, and of course, she denied any knowledge, saying it was the Patron that gives all the orders, especially regarding the strange cloth she placed in Lilith’s locker some months ago (taken out by Solomon Kane, under the orders of Mahala). It was then that the girls demanded to speak with the mysterious Patron.
When Betty finally pulled out the candles and began the summoning ritual for the Patron, she stabbed a knife through Molly’s hand, for no apparent reason, other than spite. Molly recoiled in pain and horror but her pain was soon overcome by awe as the shadowy figure of the Patron came into view. Molly spoke with the strange shade as it whispered in her ear, only things that Molly could hear. Through her conversation, she negotiated information from the Patron, learning that she was not who Sophie and the Cult of Vesta thought she was. Rather than being some kind of spirit dedicated to feminism, she was some kind of demon and sexual partner or Aslam Khan and was doing his bidding by duping naive teenager girls to do his bidding by slowly trying to free him or, at the very least, bring him into contact with his daughter, Lilith.
Meanwhile, as Emma Lee, Devon and Simon showed up at the school, it was dark and there were few cars in the lot. When Emma Lee got out of her car, she saw Drake on the roof of the school and when he hailed her, Devon immediately took to the shadows to see if he could get a better vantage point on any would-be assailants. When Emma Lee shouted to Drake she would come up there, he panicked and shouted back down to her that she should run. At that moment, before anyone could react, a bolt of flame came from behind him, engulfing him. He was dead before he hit the pavement. Reacting to the shock, Emma Lee went into defensive mode as she saw Yasmine Castalanta come from behind where Drake once stood and transformed into a dragon, swooping down for further attacks. Quick thinking on everyone’s part made the difference between life and further death. Emma Lee used a magic favor from Lilith to shield herself, Devon managed to jump on Yasmine’s back as she flew by and Simon used his holy word to repel the creature. As Yasmine flew off, Devon snapped and began to embrace the darkness within, unleashing furious attacks on her. She managed to throw him off into the trees before escaping. After Emma Lee and Simon found him and took him back to Emma Lee’s house, they contacted Lilith and Molly.
In return for Molly’s dealings with the Patron (or whomever she was), Molly had to agree to give up her body to the Patron for 24 hours, something Molly was uneasy with. But, for the good of the rest of the town, and for Lilith, she agreed. However, as Molly considered pressing her luck for more favors and information from the Patron, she knew these would lead to more problematic bargains and she and Lilith left, especially getting the text from Simon over what just happened at the high school.
The group then met back up at Emma Lee’s house and agreed to meet for breakfast the next day. Emma Lee, in desperate need of some physical contact, sought out Deputy Cody WInters for a romantic interlude.
The following day they met at the diner and were somewhat shocked to see Mahala there. After reminding them that whatever Molly knows, she knows, she then told them again she was committed to helping rid the town of the evil, ignoring the fact that a good argument could be made that she, herself, was evil. With the anguish over the numerous deaths that had happened recently, Mahala reminded them that she did have the power to restore real life, as opposed to mere puppets and that she was sick of hearing all the whining about death when the ability to change that was right before their very eyes, even though, as Emma Lee pointed out, it would require the death of someone else; a life for a life.
When the discussion came around for making a truce between Mahala and the Castalanta family, Mahala again stated that while they were welcome to try, it was not advisable. It was then that she mentioned that she was responsible for ending the dragon’s line by many years ago not only stealing their precious eggs but also making the entire family infertile, which created a massive setback in their plans to make peace but they were committed to at least trying. In fact, Mahala went so far to agree that if they could make some kind of peace and become victorious, Mahala would put the option of Lilith making contact with her father back on the table
Emma Lee gets a vision of Raphael and determined that the family had him chained up as a prisoner within their dungeon, likely as a counter measure for him helping either Emma Lee or Lilith. Whether or not he was in immediate danger was unclear but when asked if Mahala could help in this, she agreed that she could, but it would take all of her strength to pull him out, which could weaken her with the other arcane assistance she was needed to provide. When the group left, determined to figure out a way out of the crisis, Mahala bestowed on Molly a deep kiss, which Molly determined was some kind of bestowal of power or energy. But before they left, Mahala warned them that whereas she was an ally, she was prone to doing things, seemingly wretched, in her own self-interest. Very soon they would see just exactly what she was referencing.
Lilith had the radical thought of going to another potential ally on the table; the infamous ‘Grandmother Dandy,’ mother of the deceased Hollis Dandy. They suspected for quite some time that the Dandy’s had access to some kind of voodoo magic and decided that if they were going to act on any hunches, this would be the right time to do so.
In speaking with Grandma Dandy, they determined that she could provide some assistance, as she knew full well the war between the three factions (but she was ignorant of the machinations of Aslan Khan). She told them she wanted no part of this war as she wanted to protect her granddaughter, Astrid Dandy, since her son, Hollis, had recently disappeared (not knowing, but now suspecting, that Emma Lee had something to do with it).
Curiously, Grandma Dandy stated that when she looked at Molly, the girl was infused with some unusual power and when she looked closer, she determined that Molly was the recipient of some kind of spell that, when triggered, would destroy all dragon-kind nearby. The teens were livid that Mahala would resort to such tactics, but as Molly reminded them, Malaha warned them this is exactly the kind of thing she would do.
However, the time for pondering decisions was over. It was now time to act, and engage in a final showdown with the forces of evil in San Luis Obispo.