Member of the Yato Club
"He's not my boyfriend." Alice grumbled as she urged Eponine forward into the fountain, giving Niles the same rude gesture she gave Rei.
"Then it's settled..." Niles smiled a little. "I get my daughter back, you meet the boss, Yuri goes free. Maybe we'll salvage this mission after all..." Niles reached behind his head and pulled upon the finger of one of the cherubs that had been carved into the heart of the fountain. With a grinding groan, the fountains low began to rotate. The noise was enough to startle some of the celebrants. Niles shooed them away. They didn't need to be told twice. Slowly, the fountain began to descend down a great, secret passage.
"Relax, Alice! You'll get your boyfriend back!" Niles taunted, cupping his hands behind his head. "Just hurry up and get in the fountain! The water's great!"
Nina recoiled as Jester whispered to his. She brought her hands towards her chest and leaned closer towards Alice.
"Nina, get away from the strange woman!" Niles demanded. "Just get in the fountain!"
After a few moments of traveling, the walls of the elevator shaft finally parted to reveal a large underground chamber filled with strange technology. Several side tunnels stretched out like arteries from the heart of the room, leading to countless bedrooms and storage closets. The main hall itself seemed to contain and seemingly endless see of server boxes, each glowing with the same crimson light.
View attachment 5959
[Here's where I get off...]
Rei's microphone began to hum and shake. With a final ping it went silent. Cori's blue glow vanished from the mic and returned to the server box sea.
"It's where I get off too," Niles smirked, stepping out of the fountain. "But let's not talk about that..."
"Niles!!" A voice echoed from the base of the great computer screen that loomed at the back of the room. A figure sat upon the chair, observing footage from a series of cameras hidden across Valla. "You're forgetting your manners. If your bungled kidnapping wasn't offensive enough..."
"No excuses." The Boss replied, gruffly. "After all I gave you, all that intelligence, all those men... and look what you have to show for it..."
"You can't just blame him, Boss!" Nina pleased, pulling against her restraints.
"You're right. You're equally to blame."
"I've been watching the whole thing. Had you not gotten yourself captured, we could avoided this whole sorry show. I gave you full autonomy with this mission. I told you to bring the Returned to me however you wished... and you chose this... this clumbsy pantomime of a kidnapping. You should be ashamed of yourselves!"
The Boss stepped out of his chair and turned to face the returned. He crossed the room in long, quick strides. He never once removed his cutting green eyes from Niles and Nina.
"We're sorry, Boss..." Niles mumbled. "We screwed up."
"You did." He replied abruptly. "Go fetch Yuri, and pray that your Dragon-God forgives you for your failure.
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"Once Nina has been release, the two of you will be on wet stone duty."
A smirk slowly stretched across Nina's lips. Niles bowed and vanished down one of the Underground's tunnels.
"I'd apologize for their behavior--" The Boss added, presumably talking to the Returned. He refused to look at them. He returned to his seat at the back of the room and typed a few lines into his computer. Cori's face appeared on the screen. "--But I doubt it would make a difference. They've already brought shame to this organization. I can only hope that I can change your opinion of us."
"Welcome, to the Godless, Brothers and Sisters. Welcome to the Children of Ashes. The War you were fighting 5 years ago was lost. The Secularists were purged. The fortune ones fell in battle. The unfortunate were killed in the Arenas. I have the pleasure of inviting you back into that unwinnable conflict. I trust that you have questions. I'll do my best to answer them. In times like these, I understand that trust can be difficult..."
The Boss kicked his chair around and paced back towards the elevator. His eyes finally met the Returned.
"But I'm asking you to open your minds. You most of all, Alice." A sincere smile danced across the corner of his mouth. It lasted for a second. Not a moment more, not a moment less. After a moments hesitation, he spoke again. "It's been 10 long years... And we've both changed so much. But I'll never forget those eyes. I'll never forget the arms I died in. I'll ever forget the last face I ever saw... It's good to see you again, Alice..."
Eli stifled another smile.
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"It's... it's good to see you again... Sister..."
As the three riders tore through the undergrowth, most of the ninjas leaped out of their path. Their remaining foes scurried up some nearby trees and continued to pursue the Returned from the treetops.
After a few seconds of riding, a thick gray wave washed over the Returned. A cold, white fog settled over the forest. It was hard to see your hands before you. The woods went silent.
In the distance.
Gunter was hammering his axe against his shield, luring theirs foes towards him. With any luck, you too could follow the sound towards him...
The Pale Beast groaned in a strange, forgotten tongue. It remained hidden in the fog. It's bestial cries seemed to gurgle from all angles.
"Iiii wassss tooolllddd tooo llleeettt yyoouuu lliiivveee..." The creature snarled. "III wwaasss toollldd tthhhaattt yooouuu wwweerrreeee imppooorrrtttannnttt.... Sooooo yyyooouuu wwiillll lllliiivveeee... bbuutt yoouuuu wiiiillll noootttt passsss ttthhrrrooougggghhh hhherrreee unnnnhhhaarmmmeddd.... eennnemmmiesss offf Noxxxx....."
@Jeremi @Lucky @Minerva
Once the group met the boss however, Alice blinked for a moment as he teared into both Niles and Nina.
Then he looked at them, and she sucked in a breath and nearly choked.
"No fucking way." She muttered, before letting Nina go and walking over to Eli to look him over. Then she pulled him into a tight hug.
"Holy shit." She muttered, before pulling away. Her eyes narrowed a moment, remembering a time where someone wore the face of a loved one and couldn't help but be almost skeptical for half a second, but it was gone as quickly as it came. This was her Eli no doubt about it.
In an instant her hand shot up to smack Eli in the back of the head. She had a lot of shit to say to him, and couldn't even find the words to say it. Running on adrenaline with no sleep after being drunk a few hours before didn't help either, and she was pretty sure her brain short circuited a second.
"Brat how the fuck...you...damn right I have a bunch of questions!" She huffed. She totally didn't have tears in her eyes. Nope, not at all.
"You owe me a drink and a good night's sleep." She spoke with an upward twitch of her lips into a small smile, a flash of amusement in her eyes.
"It's good to see you too, little bro." She added quietly, crossing her arms. It felt weird, being reunited after ten years when the last memory she had was him dying in her arms. That memory haunted her since, and seeing him here now felt unreal. This was a lot to take in. Ten years was a long damn time. She half expected something to go wrong, in all honesty.