Chapter 23 – The Organization and the Witches of the Night

In the days following the Great Covenant, I didn’t sleep much as I wondered what more I could do about the Witches of the Night. I didn’t know where they were going to attack next since all of their enemies I knew about had already been defeated. I constantly looked in the newspapers for signs of their activities, but never found anything. Someone must have been cleaning the locations of their attacks.

Then I remembered – The Organization! They must have been the ones who were hiding the Witches of the Night activities. If they were, they would certainly also be frustrated by the highly visible nature of the attacks.

I didn’t have direct contact with the Organization, but I knew that they monitored my old blog – terceirarealidade.wordpress.com – because they would occasionally send me articles or changes that they wanted me to publish through untraceable messages. As such, I wrote an article about the Witches of the Night, hoping the Organization’s frustration with them would make them contact me directly.

The very next day, my plan bore fruit. At the end of the day, after I left work, Almeida was waiting for me next to my car.

“So, you’re also investigating the Witches of the Night,” he said as soon as I approached, getting straight to the point.

I started to tell him what I knew, but he then interrupted me.

“Not here,” he said.

He then took me to a black car with tinted windows that was parked nearby.

“Now we can talk.”

For over an hour, I told him all that I had discovered about the Witches of the Night. Halfway through, I had to call my wife to tell her I would be late.

Almeida was very interested in everything that I had to say, and even asked a few question to clarify some points.

“I wonder what’s at the bottom of that lake in Tibães,” he wondered when I finished. “The Witches of the Night’s soldiers surely went somewhere.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I just shrugged.

“I hope you’re not busy tonight. We’re going to drain the lake.”

Almeida’s tone showed that it was more of an order than an invitation. So, while he phoned for the equipment and manpower to drain the lake, I called my wife to tell her I was going to be even later than I thought. She wasn’t very happy as I had been coming home late too often, but she ended up agreeing.

Once Almeida finished his calls, he ordered the driver to take us to the Tibães Monastery.

As expected, we arrived there long before the draining equipment, and Almeida took advantage of this time to (again) hear what I knew about the Witches of the Night in case he had missed something the first time. We only left the car when the rest of his men arrived.

Contrary to what happened on my previous visit, we didn’t have to jump any walls to enter the monastery fields since the Organization contacted someone to open the door for us.

Almeida and I quickly went through the paths beneath the vines and in-between other cultures before reaching the lake. It wasn’t very different from when I saw it last time – it was only missing the cloaked figures of the Witches of the Night next to the stone from which flowed the water that filled it.

While their mates assembled the equipment to drain the lake, some of Organization’s men searched the forest for signs of the creatures that had been summoned by the Witches of the Night. Although weeks had passed, they still found faded footprints and broken branches, confirming my story.

Gradually, the lake bed became exposed. At first, there seemed to be no place where the Witches of the Night’s army could have gone, but soon, a tunnel appeared under the Eastern shore. However, we couldn’t investigate it immediately since the pump still took about an hour to drain enough water to clear a path to it.

After putting on tall rain boots, myself, Almeida, and some of his men stepped into the lake’s mud. Advancing was difficult because, with every step, we’d get buried halfway to the shins, but we finally reach the tunnel ‘s mouth.

We pointed the lanterns into the interior. The floor, the ceiling, and the walls were made of earth. Ahead, on the edge of the area illuminated by the lanterns, there was a sharp bent in the tunnel, so we entered, curious about what was beyond. The Organization’s men, armed with automatic rifles, went up front with Almeida and I behind.

A connection to the tunnels under the city of Braga, a cave that the army of the Witches of the Night could use as barracks and many other possibilities went through my mind as to what we would find around the bend. However, we found was the only thing I didn’t expect: nothing. About three dozen meters after the bend, the tunnel simply ended.

Frustration immediately appeared on Almeida’s face. Incredulous, I advanced till I reached the end of the tunnel. Perhaps there were signs of a collapse and that it hid the rest of the passage. But before I got to the wall of earth, it vanished.

Stunned, I pointed my flashlight back and realized that Almeida and his men were no longer there. It was only when a cool breeze led me to look further did I realized what had happened. Nothing and no one had disappeared. I was no longer in the tunnel, but in a huge clearing surrounded by distant trees. Here and there, I could see the huge, dark silhouettes of mountains covering the stars.

Moments later, Almeida appeared behind me. At first, he seemed as confused as I was, but he soon realized what had happened.

“Teleport” he said, surprised. “The Witches of the Night are even more powerful than I thought.”

We quickly inspected the site and immediately found campfire remains and makeshift shelters. This was a campground for the Witches of the Night’s army, or at least it had been.

“How do we get back?” I asked.

“Let’s see if we can get back by taking the reverse path. If not, I’ll have to call a helicopter. But, before we do that, let me first mark the coordinates of this location on my phone.”

When he finished, we tried to go back to the same place where we appeared in that clearing. As Almeida predicted, we found ourselves in the tunnel again in the blink of an eye.

We no longer had anything to do there, and since the investigation of the Witches of the Night camp would have to wait for daylight to be thorough, Almeida took me back to my car in the City.

When I opened the door to leave, he told me, “We’ll keep in touch. Your experience and knowledge about the Witches of the Night might prove useful again.”

As soon as I got into my car, the Organization’s departed.

So, for the first time in awhile, I went home satisfied after an investigation. We didn’t discover the intentions of the Witches of the Night or their whereabouts, but we found their army’s camp which would certainly lead to new discoveries. I just hoped that Almeida was being sincere when he said that he would keep in touch.

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