Welcome to a city full of infinite darkness and delights. The cultures a bit different here whether you're walking on four legs or are shooting lasers from your eyes. Whether you're an unsuspecting human or a thing beyond scientific explanation there is much to explore! Step into our world of creative desires and ideas!
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The familiar gently bumped his shoulder into Cherub’s, hoping to distract her from Kelly’s temper. He knew firsthand how quickly his moods changed and how...unsettling, totally not terrifying it could be.
Meanwhile, Kace noted the agitated expression on Reverie’s face and tactfully refrained from mentioning it. Instead, he busied himself with examining another shelf for secrets until her voice once again drew his attention. Upon seeing the hatch, he blinked in surprise. “I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t really it,” he commented.
Kelly rolled his eyes, somewhat miffed that Reverie had technically figured it out before him. That, and it hadn’t even occurred to him to check Mary’s location via the tracker Requiem had given him. He grumbled something under his breath, then gestured with a jerk of his head for Alik to follow. The familiar obeyed immediately, for once with no audible complaint.
Kace followed after the others, eyeing the dark space with distaste. He suppressed a shudder and lowered himself through the trapdoor, mind tormenting him with thoughts of the hatch locking behind them and leaving them trapped.
Cherub looked at Alik with a bit of fear at the sudden touch before recognizing it as him and giving him a small smile in return. She was mainly grateful that he didn't hate her, but it didn't stop her from hating herself that he was caught now. Now he was just like her, an accessory to someone's kill streak.
Mary hadn't gotten too far at all according to the tracker, which was relieving for Reverie who quickly hurried ahead. Whatever monster could be down there was not going to be worse than Mary, in her mind. She took Kace's hand moving him forward as they walked, scenting the air for her, but it was practically impossible with the stench of soda everywhere. "Do people hunters in Chicago hate soda or their floors?" She grimaced beginning to find it harder to walk in her shoes without them getting stuck to the floor.
At the sound of Reverie's voice the tracker updated to show that Mary had moved farther away from them, rather intentionally it seemed.
Cherub came down from the ladder last, the bottom step was the furthest as she tried to find it, but instead dropped, wincing as she fell only half a foot down. Opening her eyes she turned back to the group, rubbing at her eyes and waiting for Kelly's direction.
"I bet she's stealing information," Reverie growled already turning objects over searching for her, "She's short, she could be anywhere!"
"Well maybe Kelly's going to track her down," Cherub said with a shrug.
Reverie grinned, "I mean if you really want to find her you could give her a sharp shock and we just follow the cries."
Mary winced at the sound of Reverie's voice.
"Who is that!?" The changeling squeaked, transforming back into a mouse.
Kneeling down Mary picked up the changeling, but looked torn between going back to the group or continuing forward. She didn't want the changeling to be killed, which Reverie and Cherub were not afraid to do in the slightest, even with mutants that cooperated. Biting her lip she stood back up and quietly ran away from their voices. Searching for an exit or at the very least searching for a place to hide the changeling.
“Why would she steal information?” Alik spoke up. He didn’t see how it could benefit the ex-mutant, but he was curious to hear how Reverie came to that conclusion. He glanced back to Cherub when he heard the small noise upon her landing, but after making sure she seemed okay, he turned to face the downward sloping room once again.
“...Surely we don’t have to shock her?” Kace spoke up hesitantly, recalling the pain Reverie had been in when Requiem had done it to her. “I mean, we’d notice if she tried to leave the area, and it’s not that big, right?”
Kelly shook his head. “We don’t have all day to look for her... On the other hand, I don’t feel like putting up with her all the way home if we do.” He paused, then beckoned Alik over.
The familiar sighed, slowly walking to the relative center of the room and shoving his hands in his pockets. For a moment it didn’t look like he was doing anything, and then the smallest flow of wind wound it’s way past the other occupants of the room, carrying the scent of soda with it.
Alik’s eyes snapped shut, and for a long moment it was quiet.
“Is he okay?” Kace whispered.
“I’m fine,” the mutant responded. “And she’s over there,” he added, pointing vaguely towards the far right.
Kelly was moving as soon as he heard the answer, ignoring Alik’s indignant, “You're welcome!”
"Well I don't know about the rest of your cultures, but in dragon culture everyone lived and traveled together. We would take flight to different countries on the regular for migration and I had a pretty perfect family with my mother and my father being the chief. But when Requiem was born after my mom cheated on the chief that was a big deal, everyone rejected him. So to me the MDO's should have rejected Mary now that she's lost her powers, but they haven't. So what that tells me is that she's still useful to them somehow, probably by being an informant. So I'm pretty sure she's found a way to communicate to them..." Reverie said thoughtfully.
"You mean when she plays video games with them online?" Cherub asked with a long yawn.
Reverie blew out a small flame from her mouth, growling, "What?" She asked slowly.
Cherub waved her hand for her sister to calm down, "I was playing a game with her and I got randomly selected to the other side. But then my own team betrayed me and then her team worked in perfect unison. At first I thought she was using bots and then I realized it was her hive mind playing with her. My initial reaction was being really annoyed at the cheating, but I started to realize it was probably a training exercise for him. He had to control multiple people to play a game where each was a different class and to do multiple moves and respond to different people."
"I didn't know video games could let you talk to people! She plays those for HOURS!" Reverie fretted, "I mean, the last game I played was Centipede, but apparently things have changed.
"Oh Reverie..." Cherub said patting her sister on the shoulder with a bit of effort to get to her height.
Mary held the mouse looking in all directions before grabbing a few tools from the ground and climbing up onto an old desk. Leaping up she pulled down the vent shaft grate and put the tools up inside. Carefully she placed the vent grate under some of the paper like she was trying to clumsily hide. Humming loudly she used her nails to tear open the loose floor trimming, placing the mouse inside before leaning one of the many books against the hole. Running back over she sat on the desk with an innocent look that would never pass as she acted like she was focused on tying her shoe laces. "Hey, what's up everyone?" She said casually before calmly scratching a bit behind her neck at the collar. Her plan was for Kelly and Reverie to discover the tools in the vents, misdirect them into thinking she was spending her time to get the collar off, but that wouldn't work when she forgot to damage the collar a bit to show some effort. But maybe she could just pretend she didn't have the time to get started and they wouldn't suspect it was anything more than an escape attempt.
“Have you considered that maybe the reason the organization hasn’t abandoned her is because they’re friends?” Alik questioned as he returned to his previous spot, somewhat hesitant at Reverie’s current emotional instability. He really didn’t want to catch on fire. Once in a lifetime was enough…
Kace, not particularly interested in watching Kelly potentially lose his temper again, shifted focus to Reverie and Cherub’s conversation, only fully catching the last part. “Wait a minute, Centipede? You’ve missed out on so many good games!” he protested, much to Alik’s exasperation as he’d asked a question first. “When this mission is over, I’m introducing you to my favorites,” he warned her, gravely serious.
“What. Are you doing?” Kelly asked with a heavy sigh, watching Mary hop up on the desk and pretend to tie her shoes. Without waiting for an answer he brushed past her, looking for anything suspicious to go with her guilty look. He almost didn’t catch it at first, but something out of the corner of his eye finally caught his attention. He knelt to inspect the grate nearly obscured beneath some paper, glancing up to give Mary a ‘Really?’ look.
“Did you really come all the way down here just to try, and fail, to take your collar off?” he asked, pointedly holding a rusty screwdriver up to emphasize his point. “You do know I’m reporting to Requiem, don’t you?” He shook his head, tossing the screwdriver a few feet away and kicking the grate back shut.
“C’mon. You’re not leaving my sight again this entire assignment,” he told her, motioning for her to walk ahead of him. “Asides from the obvious,” he warily added, expecting a sarcastic comment about her needing to run to the bathroom.
Reverie laughed, "If the new games are anything like the ones Cherub plays I don't need a virtual boyfriend to spend all my money on."
Cherub's face deepened to a bright red shade, "THAT'S!" She paused in place, uncertain to deny it or walk away, "Hiro is cute, it's nice to pretend to have a pretty perfect boyfriend! I obsess appropriately by shamefully pouring all of my money into games, unlike you and Requiem! If I led an adventure we would just stay indoors and maybe watch some anime, not take a plane flight to Chicago, exploring abandoned buildings..." She said, shrinking back from a stray cobweb.
Reverie rolled her eyes at Cherub before turning to Alik, "And if it really is friendship then they're morons. Mary's a hunter trainee whether she likes it or not. If they get too comfortable around her one of us are going to have an easy time sneaking up and killing them. I won't deny that she's good bait to lure them out though."
When the hunter walked in, Mary and Kelly probably could have communicated in looks alone as she gave him an over bewildered, wide eyed expression that seemed to say, I've never seen that screwdriver in my life. Her head followed the screwdriver when it was thrown, but gave up the innocent act when he motioned for her to walk. "It wasn't as easy as it looked, I don't need the criticism," She mumbled, pushing herself off of the desk and back towards the hallway, but was stopped in the door way by Reverie who was smelling the air.
"Something's off..." Reverie said walking into the room, her tall combat boots kicking over a few papers as she tried to pick up on the scent, "It smells supernatural, but-" She let out a small breath of fire before walking back to the door with Mary just managing to maintain her cool as the dragon stared her down. "The sodas blocking out the scent, plus I think it's probably stale... Unless it's you," Reverie said cautiously as she sniffed at Mary's hair.
Mary pushed Reverie's face away, "It's cute when you're a dragon sniffing around, not a person. And yeah, no, I wish," Mary said, gesturing with her hand the way she would have when she had powers to prove there was nothing there. However as soon as she moved her hand the papers on the floor began to move making Reverie and Cherub stiffen. However what emerged out was a mouse staring up at Reverie.
Kace winced a little at the dig at Cherub, but laughed a little anyway. “That’s not quite the genre I had in mind, but it is pretty popular. I have a feeling you’d like the fighting games…” he mused, trailing off as he became lost in thought.
“You should lead the next adventure,” Alik told her, studying her red face in amusement until Reverie spoke to him. He shrugged, then replied, “I never said they were smart, but isn’t that kinda cruel?”
“Can we please get back on topic?” Kelly scowled, taking a moment to look around at the ragtag group in front of him and realizing, not for the first time, that he and maybe Reverie were the only ones seeming to take the assignment seriously.
He almost thanked the dragon shifter when she started sniffing out a trail, although he had to agree with Mary that it was odd to see it happen in her human form. He watched her expectantly, then rolled his eyes half in disappointment when she explained she was unsure where or when it was coming from. He was about to suggest they move on when there was a slight scuffling sound and he, along with everyone else, collectively paused.
“A mouse. That must be what you were smelling,” he said to Reverie, clearly unimpressed.
"Fighting, huh?" Reverie asked, her lightning green gaze becoming distracted briefly. Anything that required Kace to be in her room, maybe because it was the only room with a game in it was a fantasy. She would buy any game he liked, play any game even if it sucked for hours if it meant being next to him. Her heart felt tight in her chest as she at first nodded, forgetting how to use her words before confirming, "Yeah, that would be great, you have to show me everything. Even if it takes um. Days? Or weeks. Maybe months... A life time," She smiled dreamily.
Cherub brightened up at Alik's comment, she wished the two of them could hangout in other settings other than hunting and being bored at base. Unlike everyone else here she had a large social life, but a lot of time was eaten up just sleeping in her weapon. It would be nice if in another world the two could just go buy some milkshakes and watch anime without Kelly being loud and having to be surrounded by her siblings constantly... She hesitated to say something back, smiling at first, she liked to choose her words carefully before saying anything meaningful. But after some thought she spoke, "Yeah that-" Her gaze drew back to the floor when Kelly piped in, "Sorry Kelly..."
"Wow, classic Reverie, sniffing out mice," Mary said, shouldering past Reverie.
"You're mutants!" The mouse squeaked before transforming back into her human state. She had long winged black eyeliner and smooth peach blond hair that was frizzy at the top of her head. In that moment Reverie grabbed Mary's arm to prevent her from leaving right as Mary was about to use that arm to face palm herself. The changeling let out a sigh of relief, "I've been stuck here for a long time as I was telling your friend so I would really love to know the way out."
"Oh my gosh, that mouse just turned into a person! What a crazy world we live in with dragon shifters, mouse shifters. I think it's safe to say she's not a danger with that ability though," Mary said in mock surprise until Reverie slowly turned to her, silencing the trainee.
Reverie moved Mary roughly back into the room by her arm, a sickening grin on her face, "Wow, just when I thought you couldn't suck at this more. You know you're lucky any of us spared your life at all, right? So couldn't you be a little bit less traitorous and instead of sneaking away maybe yell, "hey, there's a mutant down here," 'cause if you actually were on our side you'd be good at this. But instead I just want to throw you in a dark room and shock you for an hour."
Finding Reverie a lost cause to reason with Mary turned to Kelly, "She told me everything that happened and I was going to tell everyone. I just didn't want you or the others to meet her because I know Cherub and Reverie kill every stray mutant they can. I didn't mean to betray any trust."
Kace gave her an odd look, unable to keep the creeping smile off his face. A lifetime of games and Reverie was quite the temptation, but much to his dismay he didn’t have time to dwell on that fantasy. His eyes followed the mouse before his brain could fully switch topics, only fully switching gears when he heard the shapeshifter’s exclamation.
The trainee blinked a couple times, partially tuning out Reverie’s anger and Mary’s explanation in favor of sneaking over to Kelly’s side and grabbing the flashlight hanging on his belt. Alik watched him with a raised eyebrow, but in the end shrugged and just watched as Kace figured out how to turn it on and, after nearly blinding himself, directed the beam towards the mouse-shifter.
“Have you forgotten why we’re here?” Kelly demanded, motioning for Reverie to back away from Mary. “Something annihilated this entire hunter base! Withholding information, however temporary, regardless of your motives, is more than stupidity. It’s suicidal,” he snapped. “In fact—”
“She’s a changeling!” Kace suddenly exclaimed, ‘accidentally’ interrupting Kelly’s line of sight and showing him the base of the flashlight, in the process shining it into Alik’s eyes and changing the word to ‘mutant’ while said mutant hissed at the sudden beam.
“Is that mine?” the proxy asked abruptly, electing not to wait for an answer and instead snatching it back from the trainee and pointing the beam at the shifter to see for himself. He angled the back with the word ‘changeling’ towards Reverie so she could read, then flicked it off and hung it back on his belt, casting a glare at Kace for touching his stuff in the meantime.
Alik chose then to step forward, slipping into place beside Mary in between the changeling and the hunter group “It doesn’t matter what she is; no one needs to kill anyone—or shock them,” he added quickly at the dark look in Kelly’s eyes.
The proxy sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose briefly as he directed his attention to the changeling, making an obvious effort to ignore Mary. “Why are you here? What happened to this base?”
Reverie reluctantly followed Kelly's command, backing off from Mary. Transforming into a dragon the height of doberman she stalked over to Kace's side, ready to strike at the changeling in a moments notice. Mean while Cherub stood there wondering why she was on this team if no one was asking her to be a weapon.
"I'm not a changeling, I'm a shapeshifter! There's a difference," She argued, although clearly something was different about her from the way her eyes reacted to the light. They appeared more bug looking, like a fly. "A huntress told me she needed help to fight against a demon, which is not normal, at all. When I came to the hunter base there were a few other supernaturals there to help out too. We were all set up to try and lead a strike, but it turns out the demon was with us all along, possessing a hunter. It was too powerful, it overwhelmed us and we had to start retreating. I was scared, I'd never been in a fight so I just hid while everyone else screamed for help. I never got a good look at it and that's probably why I'm alive at all."
"Yeah, you're definitely the demon thing," Reverie said, staring it down.
Cherub looked at Reverie with consideration before shrugging, "She's got a point, I mean, you could transform into the hunter to get in, then you can transform into any beast you want to kill them all. I mean, I get a hunter trying to recruit a supernatural to help with a demon, but a changeling? A supernatural that can transform into anything is a pretty dangerous guest."
"I'M NOT A CHANGELING!" The changeling argued back, trying to smooth out her hair.
"Listen, I know Alik has a good heart and all, but it is a changeling, we should kill her. She can do a lot of damage and even if she doesn't she'll have kids someday who might not be as kind as she is. Plus, she probably killed everyone," Reverie reasoned.
Mary had remained quiet since Kelly reprimanded her, instead just standing there and listening. But after listening to the same story over again she looked around the room more, this time with more focus. "Stop." Mary walked around to the desk, stopping in front of it, but instead opted to open up the filing cabinet, "This is the only messy room. I mean, yeah, everywhere is messy with things fallen over, soda everywhere, and supplies thrown around in half hazard weapons, but this room has a lot of paper. No one would throw paper at a demon thinking it would do anything," Mary trailed off.
"So it's weakness... Is actually paper!" The changeling exclaimed in realization.
"Um... No. I mean, a hunter probably ran in here looking for something after the attack and pretty frantically too. Apparently soda wasn't the weakness, but maybe something in here was or maybe something in here knows what it is," Mary explained, searching for anything that jumped out to her as strange. Most of the files were already thrown out onto the floor, leaving her with few to look through. However the desk was raised slightly, capable of seeing anything on the floor of the desk and underneath the desk appeared to be a sopping wet cardboard box.
Kace glanced at Reverie, then back at the changeling doubtfully. “Maybe she’s not the demon thing? Why would she still be here? And why wouldn’t she attack us?” he mused aloud.
Alik listened to Cherub’s argument, then shook his head in disagreement. “I agree with Kace. If she was strong enough to kill everyone in the base, then she wouldn’t need to lie about her purpose here,” he explained, shooting a glare at Reverie when she spoke. “What kind of argument is that?” he protested. “That’s like saying you should be killed because your future kids might hurt people!”
Kelly his head warningly at his familiar, opening his mouth to answer Reverie when Mary’s voice had everyone turn.
Alik didn’t look sold, but he forced a moderately more enthusiastic look on his face nevertheless.
The proxy sighed and ushered the others over to come investigate, giving the changeling a wide berth as he did so. His hand was resting on one of the hilt of one of the daggers not-so-carefully concealed in his jacket, but no one commented on it.
Just as he was about to give up and call this a waste of time, he noticed the slightly off-kilter desk. He paused, then stepped around the side to see underneath it better. He glanced at Mary, an indecipherable look on his face, then crouched and pulled the box out. He placed it on the desk with a wet-sounding thump, saying, “This your something?”
"I mean..." Cherub exchanged a confused look with Reverie before nodding to Alik, "Yeah, that is what I'm saying. Don't you think there's a reason Reverie's over two hundred years old without kids."
Reverie looked at Kace, but nodded, apparently taking his word for it that the changeling wasn't the killer.
Mary's eyes shined at the sight of the box, "Could be," She said, kneeling down before holding out her hand, "Cherub, knife, please."
Cherub's figure turned into pure light, shaping into the form of a knife before resting in Mary's hands. Mary cut the box open, but the box was so weighted by soda that it collapsed open on all four sides. The stacked paper pooled out onto the stick floor, but Mary was careful to lift up as much of the paper as she could and placed them onto the desk, which wasn't much cleaner.
Reverie walked over at a leisurely pace, but something caught her eye, a symbol on one of the papers and another paper with grid lines covering it. Moving Mary away completely she grabbed out a few other items, specifically blueprints. The same contents with the same symbols as the one they received in their base before investigating in Chicago, the package here matched it perfectly. "This is bad."
Mary waited as everyone's attention moved to the stack of papers as she quietly tucked a document into her pocket.
"Every single document is the same as the one we got at our base," Reverie said shifting through them, "We have to get back, what if this is some kind of calling card? Requiem doesn't even have a familiar with him, but maybe he can get Dezlim... Unless it is Dezlim since this is a demon or it could be his dad in which he'd probably listen to his dad," Reverie growled in frustration.
"Our flight back isn't until tomorrow and finding a flight for all six of us this last minute is unlikely," Mary said aloud.
Reverie growled once more before calming herself, a smirk crossing her lips, "Yeah, it would be difficult for us, but probably not the rich girl of the group. I bet you could buy us a flight back."
Mary tapped her fingers against her crossed arms, "You'll get your plane flight from me if I see the self described shape shifter walk out of here alive."
The private jet had six seats and a table between each two seats. The tables had snacks on them with a luggage area in the back.
Mary was the first to walk into the private jet, but gripped Kace's sleeve in the direction to one pair of seats. She didn't make any eye contact with Kace as she walked over to the back, seating herself down after subtly hinting that she wanted him to sit with her.
Reverie's fingers tickled the back of Kace's neck before moving down his shoulder and to his hand, "Hey, you want to sit across from me? I can feed you some snacks."
Kelly sidestepped to avoid the sudden flood of soda-sodden papers, doing little to disguise his dislike for the mess as he instinctively reached out a hand to catch some stray papers. He’d just started to scan over them when Reverie spoke, and with a jolt of fear uncharacteristic to the proxy, his eyes narrowed in on the symbol.
He cursed loudly and grabbed a few more documents, confirming Reverie’s and his own suspicions. “Very bad,” he echoed gravely, gesturing for Alik to come closer. “Dry these off—we’re taking them with us,” he ordered, and the mutant for once didn’t question it.
Kace hesitantly spoke up, addressing Reverie’s worry. “I’m sure Requiem will be alright. He has a lot of connections and he’s not dumb—”
Kelly cut him off with a scoff. “No, he’s not dumb, but he’s a terrible judge of character at best. We should hurry.” He spared a final glance at the changeling, eyes narrowing again. “Consider yourself lucky,” was all he said to her.
Kace was busy looking around the jet in mild awe when he felt the tug on his sleeve. He glanced at Mary as she continued past him to some seats in the back, and it clicked that ‘oh, that was a signal.’ He glanced back at the others, trying to keep the worry off his face as he contemplated what to do. He should tell Kelly, right? But Mary had gotten his attention specifically, which meant she trusted him maybe? If she did trust him, he didn’t want to mess that up, but he also didn't want to make Kelly angry by keeping it from him.
Before he could fully decide, however, he felt fingernails gently scrape against his neck. Goosebumps appeared along his arms as he smiled and squeezed Reverie’s hand, resisting the urge to lean into her touch as he considered how he was supposed to tell her no. “Actually I think I’m going to sit next with Mary. You know, the one you threatened to shock for an hour straight ‘cause she’s disloyal? By the way I think she’s hiding something from us!” Or maybe, “I think I’m going to sit across from the girl who kidnapped me that one time, instead, but thanks for the offer!” Probably better to not. He really didn’t want to be the reason everyone died in a fiery plane crash...
“That’s very tempting,” he started to say, but before he could get to the ‘but’, Kelly interrupted.
“I need to talk with you, Reverie,” the proxy said, and Kace tried not to look too relieved.
“Darn, uh, maybe some other time then, Rev?” He made a show of looking for a place to sit, as if the only available seat wasn’t across from Mary, and ‘reluctantly’ took his place. “That was risky,” he breathed, then turning his full attention to Mary, he quietly asked, “So what’s up?”
Meanwhile Alik finally took his eyes off the others, mumbling, “Well that was weird,” and looking to Cherub. “Do you really think that the New York hunter base is in danger?”
"Friggin', worse than Requiem," Reverie mumbled in disappointment at Kelly calling her over. Like c'mon! Two hours in a small, packed in plane. Maybe draw a curtain, warm him up a bit while feeding him-
"Dude, Kelly's calling you over," Cherub said when she saw Reverie continue to stand there.
"YEAH I KNOW!" Reverie said in frustration, but nodded at Kace, "Yeah, just... Another time. Like when we play those video games I guess," She smiled at him, always trying to act more cool about things than she was around Kace. Retreating over to Kelly, she sat down, "Yeah?" She asked, unpacking one of the bags of cookies at the table and then another... And another. She was probably going to eat all the snacks.
Mary stared quietly ahead, but after a moment of hesitancy finally looked at Kace, whispering softly, "It's not a demon, it's Phantom, he's hunting all of you."
She took out the document she had tucked away, smoothing out the crumbled edges and turning it around so Kace could look at it. The document didn't seem to mean much, in fact it just looked like a printed receipt from one of their candy suppliers for the upstairs store. "The candy supplier on this is my company, I found it in the box. So I got a bad feeling, called my accountant for a list of every single candy export. Got an email back, nothing weird. But what my accountant didn't know is that I don't trust anyone so before I called her I already found the listing and there are loads of exports to a bunch of suspicious places that I can only infer are hunter bases, which means that my accountant, Martha, a.k.a Phantom, intentionally hid those exports from me and also since I called in, those exports are off the page now. And you know what else? I think he gives hunters what they wish for, a machine that can neutralize all powers. But once they lose their powers Phantom maintains his and becomes top of the food chain. It's why species creatures like changelings keep their powers, but mutants don't. That's my theory anyways, what do you think?" Mary asked, maintaining her hushed tone.
Cherub sat down at the table in thought, "Hmm... I think it could be, if it's a demon they can basically do anything. Requiem's probably fine though, my mom can swap people's souls and she would do that to him a lot when hew as little. So because of that he's used to out of body experiences, I think if a demon possessed him or something that he'd be more okay than any of us. I think we can take a demon though so if there is one we'll be fine. The Chicago base probably failed because they weren't used to working with supernaturals."
Kelly pointedly ignored the crinkling of wrappers as Reverie tore into cookie package after cookie package, instead smoothing out some of the blueprints Alik had salvaged across the small table. “Since you’re the only one who seems to fully understand the implications of what’s going on, I want to talk about these. Something isn’t making sense to me,” Kelly explained, forehead creased in worry as he stared at the pages.
“Requiem was confident these weapons would work. We’ve tested that his own inventions work on demons, which begs the question why the attacker would provide us with something that could potentially take them out.” He glanced up at Reverie to gauge her reaction before continuing, leaning back in his chair tiredly. “Whatever’s going on, this whole thing is staged like a game; it’s over-complicated and messy. Why give the hunters in Chicago the opportunity to prepare and enlist the help of supernaturals?”
Kace felt uneasy with Mary refusing to meet his eyes at first, eventually giving into the temptation to turn and see if he could identify what she was looking at. Seeing nothing he turned back, only to find her eyes suddenly boring into his.
He swallowed nervously, leaning forward a little in his seat to hear her whisper. At the words he visibly paled, feeling as if someone had directly injected ice into his veins while dread pooled in his stomach.
“Phantom?” he repeated softly, quickly checking to confirm Kelly was preoccupied before listening to the rest of Mary’s explanation. “I think… I think I don’t know why you’re telling me this. We need to tell the others,” he urged, struggling to keep his voice low enough that no one would overhear. “Can’t you get him to stop? I mean, there’s got to be a reason he tried to hide it from you, right?”
Alik hummed noncommittedly, seemingly content to let the matter rest as he looked out of the window. “I like planes,” he commented suddenly. He glanced back at Cherub and cracked a small smile, already preparing to defend himself. “Random, I know. It just feels...peaceful up here, you know? Makes me wish I didn’t have to worry about fighting demons or whatever,” he added with a sigh. He was quiet for a drawn out second, and then perked up a little. “Oh yeah, you seemed like you were going to say something earlier, but then Kelly cut you off and then there was the whole thing with the changeling, so you never got the chance,” he prompted, waiting expectantly for a response.
Reverie looked like her mind had stopped working at full capacity the second he started speaking and was only straining to try and push her lizard brain aside to think rationally. "Maybe someone who has nothing left to lose," Reverie said thoughtfully, already swallowing all four cookies before digging her hand into the bowl for more snacks, "I wish I could tell you that I smelled a demon, but I didn't, it was too full of soda to even pick up on the human scent of hunters down there. But listen, I think demons are stupid anarchists that don't care about anyone's well being, even their own. But, saying that, I did find it weird that we never saw blood on the walls or bodies. I mean, what happened to them? I agree that things don't add up..." She said, but her mind seemed to be elsewhere, hesitant to mention all her theories to Kelly.
"I don't really know if I can call him off, Kace... Phantom will always respect me, but my powers are gone, I don't have the alpha intimidation factor anymore to keep him in his place. If I'm not the most powerful mutant then someone like him will fill the gap. Besides, I'm telling you this because you know everyone here best. Phantom will have his eyes on everyone here, he's an excellent stalker. If he senses that we've caught on he'll strike us as soon as we get in the airport. So do you know, with certainty that if we told everyone the truth that they can keep their cool? Because this is the reality of our situation, if he went to our base already, he knows we're not there, but our best advantage is that he doesn't know what we know. He'll play nice, wait for the perfect opportunity because he won't feel in a rush. But if one of us shows sign of fear in a POPULATED AIRPORT, you are all are very screwed. On the other side, if a hive member tries to separate us and they don't know better they'll be screwed to. I don't know how everyone here works under pressure enough to make the best decision, but you do know them. So what do you think is best?" Mary asked.
"Oh, yeah, at least I get to sleep through that stuff," Cherub laughed, still feeling a tug of guilt for even laughing about it. She was the reason Alik was on this flight, she had even distracted him thinking that he would find up dead. Normally it was easy to not feel any guilt when she was just being used as a weapon, but that had been entirely different. "I'm always used to flying from a dragon," She smirked, "So, I'd have to agree that this is far more relaxing and also warmer." Her eyes rounded at his question, "Oh yeah, I um. Kind of forgot, I think I was just going to say that it would have been cool to hangout more? Y'know if we actually could," She trailed off, glancing back to Mary and Kace for a moment where she heard them talking lowly. It was a bit odd since Kace and Mary didn't seem to talk a lot together or at least not as rapid of a conversation as whatever they were having. "I think someday we'll have normal lives though, Requiem and Kelly live too recklessly," She laughed.
Kelly listened to Reverie’s input carefully, nodding at her theory. “That’s a good point. We could’ve missed something—maybe another hidden room—but I don’t see why there wouldn’t be more widespread evidence if the entire base really was wiped out. We should’ve taken the changeling with us,” he muttered, turning to glare at Mary and instead meeting Kace’s startled eyes. The trainee quickly turned back around and Kelly reluctantly did the same, shaking off the uneasy feeling that he was missing something even bigger than a few bloodstains or bodies.
“When we get back to base we should summon Dezlim. Find out if we can get any information from him or see if he seems like he’s hiding something,” he added, a sour taste in his mouth at the thought of relying on the demon once again.
Kace took a deep breath, nodding hesitantly at her logic. He was worried enough about his ability to appear unaffected by such a monumental threat, but her warning solidified his resolve. He took a moment before responding, trying his best to think rationally without letting personal feelings getting in the way. On instinct he glanced over at the table where Reverie and Kelly were sitting, quickly averting his eyes when he saw the Proxy looking over their way.
He started slowly, speaking half to himself and half to the other trainee. “Kelly’s immediate response to almost everything is to fight it, but he has experience dealing with Phantom and I’m sure he’d understand the importance of laying low for now.” A quick pause, and then, “Same with Reverie. Neither of them exactly have a habit of showing fear,” he added with an amused twitch of his lips. “And they wouldn’t do anything rash enough to get us all killed.” He paused again, his eyes flickering over to Alik and Cherub.
“I’m a little less sure about them,” he admitted. “I haven’t interacted as much with Cherub, personally, but if she’s anything like the rest of her family,” his eyes cut to Mary suddenly, then fell to the table. “Then she’ll be fine. And if worst comes to worst, she can sleep through returning to the base. Alik should be okay—he’s run into Phantom a couple times, too, from what I’ve heard, and I imagine he’s used to suppressing his emotions by now,” he explained with a small frown, gesturing subtly at the proxy in case his last statement wasn’t clear.
With all that out of the way, he met Mary’s eyes again. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I trust you…to a degree. If you think we should still wait to tell them, then I won’t say anything until we’re at the base. But if they find out we didn’t say anything, I really don’t see that going well,” he warned with a faint shiver, recalling Reverie’s earlier rage when Mary didn’t tell them about the changeling. He wasn’t too worried about himself, but the last thing they needed right now was more trust issues.
Alik smiled a little, although his face fell when he realized that, yeah, spending time with people still wasn’t a thing he could dictate. He refused to let that get him down, though, chuckling a little at her remark. “You would think!” he agreed in exaggerated exasperation, careful not to draw attention from the proxy in the process. “Kelly doesn’t even wear a mask—how hasn’t he gotten arrested yet?” He shook his head in disappointment, settling back into his seat with crossed arms. “Maybe someday we’ll get a chance to sneak out and watch one of your animes,” he added casually.
Reverie followed Kelly's line of sight to Mary, the human look in her eyes, for a brief moment turned reptilian.
"Okay, but there's something that really bothers me. Her," Reverie gestured with her thumb and fist rolled up in Mary's direction. "I guess I worry about her sabotaging things, largely because her motives don't make sense. I've never seen her try to get that collar off and she knows that throws off my expectations to the point that she even tried to fake that being her reason for being in that room. When Green was caught she always tried to get her collar off and I mean who wouldn't try at least once, right? I'm really the only one who doesn't try to get mine off because I'm dedicated to what we do, so what would be her reason for playing along? I think she found some kind of advantage to staying with us, keeping her enemies close. I know that we only got that delivery when she came along. And she's the only one I know who's as inventive as Requiem is. Who else has studied mutants anatomy enough, who has experience in technology to make the blue prints for that kind of device? Who has the money to deliver those packages across the country and has enough connections to make someone take out the hunters?"
"Are they looking at us?" Mary asked, but stayed quiet as Kace spoke, trying to predict each person's behavior. A kiddish smile rose to her lips hearing him say that he trusted her. She lied the side of her head down on the table in thought, "I should tell them," She said finally, but didn't move, "It's not like it'll change the opinion they already have of me," She said sliding her head back up to look at Kace, placing a hand under her chin to support her, "Anyways, I trust you because you have a good heart. Before I couldn't really trust you entirely because you were a hunter, but I can't really use that as a reason anymore when I'm also one now."
Glancing up at the seat belt sign to make sure she could walk freely she undid the seat belt and walked over to Kelly and Reverie. However as she moved closer she slowed when she thought she heard them talking about what might be her. She hesitated before speaking, "I want to talk to you about a sensitive matter, Kelly."
Reverie didn't look interested in moving... Okay she was interested in moving to sit next to Kace, but not if staying seated meant listening in on whatever Mary was going to spill.
"We can watch as many animes as you want when we're able to hangout more," Cherub promised him, but leaned up when she saw everyone else's intense expressions, "I swear, they're in an entirely different genre than us. Everything's so dramatic for them," She said, pouring herself some sprite into a glass, "I mean, you know already about Requiem being Mary's dad right? Families weird, I'm literally the same age as Mary and she's my niece. I'd say I'm scared of catching their crazy, but we're all technically not related by blood so thank goodness for that."
She took a sip out of her glass before pulling the window up to stare out at the sky now that the sun had finally set fully. "I think if they call us over we should just pretend we can't hear them over the jet."
Kelly followed Reverie’s gaze, expression becoming even graver as she voiced her concerns. “Not many,” he agreed, his voice dropping in volume as he considered the possibility. “I’ve spent my fare share of time with her since Requiem asked me to be her mentor...” he trailed off, gaze empty and dark for a moment before flickering up to meet Reverie’s. “As much as I’d like to put my faith in her, I can’t. Still, there’s no guarantee it is Mary. We don’t exactly make a lot of friends in this business; it’s not totally outlandish to assume there are other people out there with the time, skills and money to pose this kind of a threat.” He broke off again with a sigh, hearing the bias in his own voice. “Another thing to discuss with Requiem,” he resolved, going quiet when he noticed the subject of their conversation stepping towards them.
“A sensitive matter,” he repeated blankly, clearly contemplating something before addressing Reverie again. “Why don’t you go check on Kace? We can finish our discussion later,” he suggested in a clear dismissal, drumming his fingers on the table while he waited.
Said trainee was busy staring at his own table, spaced out as the knowledge of what they were facing floated around in his head. His eyes darted over to Kelly, Reverie and Mary once, before fixing themselves to that spot on the table again.
Alik sighed in agreement at Cherub’s ‘genre’ comment, eyes following her movements and finally resting on the window. “Sounds complicated,” he added after a moment, thinking of his small, uncomplicated family that he hadn’t spoken to in...longer than he cared to acknowledge.
He grabbed his own soda with a gleam of excitement in his eyes, ignoring the glasses and drinking straight from the can. Only to choke a little when she mentioned ignoring the drama. Eyes watering, he set the can down with a cough that sounded a bit too much like a laugh and said with a pout, “Why would you curse us by saying that? Now they’ll definitely call us over!”
Reverie rolled her eyes at being dismissed, but it wasn't like she was going to just miss out on an opportunity to sit next to Kace. Although she kind of wished this flight wasn't so spacious. This was a rare opportunity where she had a real excuse to sit close to Kace without Requiem hounding her about age differences, but then also getting upset when she suggests dating vampires.
Reaching her hand down into the bowl of snacks Reverie grabbed a handful from the table before walking over to Kace and sitting down. Leaning her hand over Kace's she smiled, for once there was no devious twinkle in her eyes, only a sugar sweet gaze. That was until she gripped onto his hand firmly, "Soo, what did Mary have to say to you? You two seemed to talk a lot, there were various expressions you made when I glanced over at you."
Mary sat down in front of Kelly, placing her chin over her arched hand to stare up at him, "I know you have a tendency to fly off the handle so I'm going to say this part first. If you have any belief in the theory I'm about to tell you it's very important that you act like I never said anything at all when we leave this plane." Withdrawing a breath she retold him everything she had told Kace, showing him the document she had taken, and explaining her theory for Phantom being connected to the mission. "Phantom's always been more monster than mutant. He'll respect me, but without my power I don't have that alpha presence to make him stand down."
Lifting her head up, her gaze was clouded with worry, "Do you... Are you mad at me?" She asked hesitantly, with slight concern.
Cherub burst out laughing, "Alik, we're on a flight, no one's going to call us over. Here, I'll teach you how to relax on a flight. Even though it's like less than three hours." Cherub lifted up some items from the pouch beside the chair, "They've got complimentary blankets, pillows, eye masks, socks. They all come in plastic and you get to take them home too. Some flights even have hot towels, you just need some pampering." She said popping open one of the blankets. Waving it for a moment she threw it over Alik, "And because it's a private jet you can really lean back the seats without annoying anyone. It's too bad it's a short flight, otherwise someone could be pouring us drinks. Maybe we can make Kace do that for us though."