19 Ch19. Magic is real?

Tom nonchalantly walked through the halls, Natasha's body slung over his shoulder, the only indication that she was 'awake' was her opened eyes that tried to look for a way out of her current predicament.

Since this party was a way to establish connections with the mundane businessmen, there were naturally rooms in the back where private talks could be held.

Rooms with privacy wards... Such a thing was very convenient for Tom's current situation.

He trusted the quality of these wards. After all, the only reason why people did not freak out when he walked around them with a limp woman over his shoulder were the wards that prevented people from seeing anything out of ordinary. All he had to do was coat Natasha's body in a thin invisible mana field and voila, she as if didn't exist in their senses as long as she didn't leave the building.

Of course, even the weakest of magicians could still see her and that earned Tom a few weird looks but nobody said a word. Tom surmised that a sight like this was not that unusual around here.

Whether in the mundane or magical world, both had their fair share of scumbags who always found a way to screw over the system for their benefit.

Sure, the system now benefited Tom but he knew well there was a substantial number of women who would leave today's party with no recollection of what happened to them during the night.

As long as they left unharmed in the morning, the influential Magician Families couldn't be bothered to care less.

Hence, the current sight of Tom was nothing out of place.

Tom finally found an empty room and was about to walk towards it when the door to his right opened and in them appeared a rugged tall man clad only in pants who halted in his place when he spotted Tom.

Tom gave the man a brief glance, recognizing him as the heir of one of the less important families, and sighed.

"Oh, look at that. The scum is doing something scummy." The man condescendingly sneered, causing Natasha's eyes to flicker toward him.

When the man noticed the woman over Tom's shoulder, his eyes slightly widened and his mouth opened but...

"You are one to talk, dickhead." Tom casually rebuked and walked towards the door leading to the empty room, completely ignoring the spluttering idiot.

It was only a second but Tom's eyes caught what was in the dickhead's room and he couldn't help but inwardly cringe. This dipshit was the sort that took 'unharmed' literally, uncaring about the invisible mental scars he would cause. Scars that would persist even beyond memory wipe.

He was not somebody worth Tom's time.

"Oi, what did you just call m-" The man's expression twisted at the disrespect and he started threateningly stomping his way towards Tom.

Unfortunately for him, Tom had already walked into the room opposite the man and as he finally reached the door, Tom slammed them in his face, cutting off his unimportant self-important speech.

What exactly was the dickhead trying to accomplish anyway?

Hurting Tom would create a massive tension between all his business partners and the dickhead's family. Not something anybody in England, no matter how big of a self-important prick, would desire right now.

It told tales about the man's intelligence and his chances to live long enough to actually succeed in the leadership of his family.

"Well, that's one walking corpse dealt with." Tom playfully quipped and gently patted Natasha's posterior before he walked towards the bed and unloaded her body there.

Tom then walked towards the bar and took out the juice, pouring a glass for himself and his guest before he deposited them on a nearby small table and slowly dragged it in between the bed and an armchair opposite the bed.

After he was done, he sat down in the armchair, getting comfortable and at that same moment, Natasha suddenly found herself once again able to move. She sprang up into a sitting position, her hand reaching towards her thigh where a handgun was previously strapped...

"Looking for this?" Tom's voice interrupted her, making her eyes snap towards him, and then promptly widen as she noticed her gun leisurely gripped in his hand. "And for the record, this room holds a lot of restraining wards that work best against mundane people so I would advise you to calm down and stop trying to start violence, Natalia."

Natasha gave him a long wary look. This man completely immobilized her for minutes and then dragged her... here.

She didn't feel safe. Not at all. But the nice evening warred in her with her distrust and wariness, making it very hard for her to decide what to do next. This was the first time she felt like this and she could safely say she already hated it.

'Is this what my victims feel like?' A stray thought flashed through her mind, making her instantly forcefully squash it. She had more important things to deal with than self-doubt right now.

"Wards? Mundane? What are you talking about?" She resorted to what she knew best. Fishing for information.

Tom smiled, catching up to what she was doing. But he would have to explain it anyway to make his offer seem plausible. So...

"Tell me, Natalia." Oh, he enjoyed calling her by her real name. The ever-so-small twitch in her expression whenever he did so made it so worth it! "What is the name of this event?"

Tom could see the gears spinning behind her eyes as she uttered, "Magical Gathe-" She suddenly halted, "Oh. You gotta be shitting me." She whispered in disbelief.

This was supposed to be an ordinary assassination! How the heck did she get caught up in some hocus-pocus bullshit!?

'I knew trying to be normal would just screw me over in some way.' Natasha scolded herself, cursing at her foolish past self.

Normally, she would have never believed something like this but she saw quite a few unexplainable things today. The limits of her belief were already stretched thin so... why not go further?

Apparently, magic was a thing.

'Just great.' Natasha dryly thought, realizing what it meant to be told this. "You are not going to let me go, are you?" She resignedly stated, her shoulders slumping.

She would still try to run at the first opportunity but she realized her chances were minimal. The binding... spell... was enough to completely neutralize her and she had no idea if it needed physical contact or could be cast remotely.

So far, Tom did both. He caught her up in it when he was touching her and released her while sitting a few meters away from her. She could always assume that he needed contact but the unease and uncertainty in her heart didn't let her act recklessly.

There are bound to be more powerful spells too so... yeah, she was screwed.

"And why would I not?" Tom casually quipped with a mirthful expression. "What exactly could you do with this kind of information? Tell Fury?"

Natasha's eyes widened and she stiffened at the mention of her boss.

"Please, we both know what would happen if you started spouting something like 'magic is real'." Tom snorted, "At best, it would be played off as an unimportant quirk of yours and they would keep you around due to your usefulness. At worst, you would be killed on the spot because insane trained assassins are just not good for the business."

That shut Natasha up pretty fast. Her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth pursed as if she wanted to argue but she couldn't find the correct words. As much as she wanted to deny it, deep down she knew well that what Tom said was the truth.

Tom shifted in his seat and took a sip of his juice, his eyebrows raised at how delicious it was. Somebody apparently already got the idea of making juice out of his fruits.

And he didn't get his share of profits from it.

Well, apparently, in the near future he was going to inform his business partners that some family was getting cheeky and then watch the ensuing fireworks.

"Let's say you keep your mouth shut, build up SHIELDs trust in you first, and then tell them." Tom started speaking again, "There is still the problem of you keeping that information from them for a long time. Nobody would care about your reasons. They will only care that you did it. Once again, you would have been fucked." He uncaringly shrugged, giving her an amused smile. "Why would I put forth the effort to keep you quiet when you will do so anyway if you know what is good for your continued well-being?"

Natasha... once again couldn't argue with that.

But that begs the question...

Not for a second did she believe the man in front of her didn't have an agenda. He said something about an offer and with her past record with those, she was almost despairing to find out what he meant by that.

The last offer she got was to join SHIELD or die and she didn't see any reason for this to be any different despite Tom's reassurances and the good time she had with him.

With no way out, Natasha could only take her current problem head-on. Clenching her fists, she asked with a guarded expression, "What exactly do you want from me?"

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