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Volume 1, Interlude B: Preparations

A man of below medium height, wearing a white hoodie with an eagle design, chopped vegetables in the sweltering kitchen. He felt his phone vibrate but didn’t bother checking it. The phone continued vibrating on and off for the next ten minutes.

He finally exited the kitchen from the back entrance of the restaurant, checking who had been so persistent in contacting him. His eyes went over the missed messages.

“I don’t think I can make it. Huh? Yeah, I talked to him a few days ago. Yeah, I’ll call you after I’m done with work,” the worker said.

Meanwhile, another man exited the deli at a supermarket, finishing his shift for the day. He checked the caller ID on his phone. Surprise appeared on his face.

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“Yeah, I just finished with work. Standby? Sure, I can do that. Something big going on?” the man asked, nearing a van.

The interior of it was dingy. The age of the vehicle showed with a broken heater and worn seats. Wires extended out from where a radio or CD player usually was located. The back of the vehicle was filled with an assortment of clothes and opened boxes. He continued listening to the person speak without saying a word.

“I can make it if I have to. Yeah, anyone else coming? Uh, yeah, I’m sure I can give him a ride there. See ya.” The man hung up and connected his phone to a portable speaker resting on the passenger seat.

At a house about eight miles away, a man wearing glasses clicked on his mouse with rapid speed. His right screen featured a raid occurring for a certain MMORPG game. A petite girl, with white hair, wearing a beret and hugging a Siberian Husky was displayed on the left screen.

“Who’s calling me?” the man grabbed his phone, frustration on his face.

He pressed the phone against his left ear while his fingers flew across the keyboard. His main focus was on the game. Yet, the name of the caller meant he shouldn’t ignore the incoming call.

“I can be here all week waiting. Everyone else can handle it so you don’t even need me there,” the man replied.

He hung up and shifted his full attention to the game. This was an important raid since it dropped special rewards that wouldn’t appear again until next year. However, he did keep in mind what the caller relayed. It might mean he would have less free time. That wasn’t confirmed yet so he would just have fun for now.

A woman jotted down notes in a large classroom bustling with noise. She saw the message icon flash across her phone screen. She believed it could wait until later and checked it after class ended.

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“I will make sure to try and be there if anything comes up. Does everyone else know?” she typed, heading toward her next class.

The response from the recipient was instantaneous. The woman read through it and thought about calling the person. She glanced at the time on the upper right corner of her phone. Any conversation with that person would take awhile so she decided against it.

“I’m sure that she will reach out to me right away if anything happens. I will trust the others,” she whispered to herself, putting her phone away.

Finally, in a large building containing an underground workout facility, a woman sat down on a bench. A towel was draped over her neck and sweat poured down from her forehead. A wooden sword was propped up next to her. The weapon was quite worn, splinters of wood jutting out from it. Small pieces of cotton and cloth stuck to the upper part of the blade.

She ignored the buzzing of her phone, knowing who was calling her. In fact, she spoke with this person only four hours ago. That conversation sparked her interest in returning to this building. She hadn’t been here for almost a year now. But in light of the information she received, this was an optimal time to brush up on old skills.

Thirty minutes later, she finally returned the missed call on her phone. She was only one of a few selected people that either had enough courage or didn’t care enough to make the person that called wait.

“Any updates or are you just calling to tell me to slow down what I’m doing?” she spoke first.

“Yeah, I know, I’ll keep it in check. Don’t be worried about me, you have more important things needing your attention. Let me do my thing and you can deal with things on your end,” the woman said, glancing at her splintered wooden blade.

With these various calls, things were now in place. The person responsible for all the calls created a contingency plan if anything went wrong. Having backup wasn’t a bad idea.

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