Volume 5, Interlude: Their Next Steps

“Where is everyone?” Bartholomew questioned, taking a seat in the meeting room.

“That’s what I would like to know. I ask for one simple meeting and people don’t even show up,” Lilith answered, shaking her head.

“You want to talk about finding Artifacts, right?” the man predicted.

“Yeah, Tess is getting her people together to unlock their true powers again. It’s about time we do the same. We don’t have the luxury of locating ultimate weapons like they do,” she replied.

“Remind me again why we’re stuck with doing things the hard way?” Lionel questioned, sighing.

“Probably because we don’t have someone like Tess,” Lilith chided.

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“Yeah, yeah, still sucks we have to go around places trying to find pieces and put all of it together to even form one measly Artifact. I haven’t seen the new people around lately. What have they been up to?” he asked.

“I sent them to do some training out in the Crossroads, but not today though,” Lilith revealed.

Lionel stretched, leaning his back against the black, steel folding chair. The two sat around a chipped, circular patio table. A piece of paper was slipped underneath one of the legs as a remedy for the table’s wobbliness. The team leader tapped her laptop cover, pondering something.

Lilith’s goal for the meeting was to schedule days for her members to enter the alternate dimensions and search for Artifact pieces relevant to their powers.  So far, only Lionel showed up.

“Where’s Emma?” Lionel inquired, dropping down to the ground to do push-ups.

“No idea, she’s usually the first one here along with Yui. Kind of weird to see you here so early actually,” Lilith pointed out.

Lionel didn’t respond, focused on keeping count of his push-ups. He stopped at one hundred and still not seeing anyone else arrive, kept on going. Lilith called everyone on their phones, only getting responses from Yui, Natalia, Xiu, and Steph. The rest didn’t respond.

“Is the meeting still on?” Lionel asked, completing his two hundredth push-up.

“We’ll reschedule since everyone seems to have suddenly have something going on. I’ll just send everyone the notes I was going to present today. I expect only half of you will actually read it carefully,” Lilith decided, giving Lionel a look.

“Hey, don’t look at me like that. I try to read your stuff, but I always end up skimming it because it becomes so technical,” he explained.

Lionel went next door to the workout room, leaving the woman alone. She opened her laptop, editing her notes. It was a habit that she inherited from the previous leader, writing down information with too much detail.

Ace chased after the orange haired woman, hurling a throwing knife. Her projectile bounced off as a defensive magic force repelled it away from its intended target. The number one ranked hero leaped forward, attempting to tackle her. She missed by the length of her fingertips as her target disappeared into a portal.

“You like to play games, huh? I’ll track you down. You’re still a rookie when it comes to this, leaving behind traces like this,” she remarked, examining the magical residue left behind.

Ace gave a light clap, revealing tiny sparkles in the air. She pulled out a notebook, writing down pertinent information. The woman pinched one of the sparkles, squeezing it between her thumb and pointer finger.

“Ah, what an interesting trail you left behind. What is your connection to those masks?” Ace mused, returning to her base of operations.

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She sat down on her couch, retrieving the invitation card from her gold-plated case. The woman compared the residual magic on the card with what she just discovered. Very similar in make-up, but with slight differences. There was no doubt about it. Both originated from the same alternate dimension although not from the same person. All that was left for her to do was figure out where exactly this place was.

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