“Can you feel it? The power unleashed here,” a voice whispered.
The young woman nodded, staring at the broken tablet pieces scattered across the ground. She knelt, discovering blood on one of them, and held it up in the air. There existed only one light source in the area, originating from a small hole in the ceiling. Still, it was enough for her to inspect the item.
“Yes, that’s his blood. His sacrifice awakened an intriguing power, one that should have rightfully been his. Does it make you mad?” the voice continued.
She remained silent, placing the bloodied piece into a metal tin, clattering as it struck the container surface. The woman combed the ground for similar pieces, dropping each one into her tin. Once finished, she closed the lid and walked around, confirming everything was accounted for.
“Good. You’ve gathered all the pieces. Now, we can move onto the next step. One that will lead you to the one that inherited his power,” the voice said.
A shimmering light appeared in the center of the room, allowing her to exit the area. The young woman took one last glance at the ground before stepping into it. When she left, the lone light source vanished, plunging the area into complete darkness.
Tess noticed one of her bright keys lose its luster. She unhooked it from her belt, inspecting the number etched into it. The Gatekeeper finished her assignment first, before pulling open a drawer. Grabbing a folder, she inspected the contents and opened an interdimensional portal. Stepping in, she arrived at an unexpected location.
“This intermediate area again,” Tess muttered, staring at her key.
Tess found herself in the same track field where she and Tomo Yuki stood back in September. Noticing another presence right away, she shot a golden chain toward it. Her chain bounced off a barrier, disintegrating immediately. An orange haired woman held a ripped Joker card in her hand, heaving a sigh of relief.
“Oh my, the Gatekeeper. I timed this rather poorly,” the masked woman remarked.
“Ah, the mysterious woman mentioned in the Special Investigations Unit,” Tess said, chains shooting toward the orange haired woman.
“I love to talk, but I know that this is way out of my league. Dear Tess, you’ll see me in due time, once I have everything assembled,” she declared, leaping through a portal.
Tess snapped her fingers, collapsing her portal, sealing off the escape path. The masked woman stepped back, caught off guard. She bit her lip, unwilling to engage in extended combat with the leader of the heroes, but had no viable backup plan. Chains wrapped around her ankles, bringing her down to the ground. When Tess reached for her mask, a powerful magical energy enveloped the fallen woman. A blinding light forced the Gatekeeper to shield her eyes. When it dissipated, the masked woman vanished.
“An unrecognizable magic,” Tess said, flipping the mask around.
“Oh my gosh, I almost had a heart attack there,” the orange haired woman said, sweat pouring down from her forehead.
“My lady, any injuries?” Al rushed over, seeing her sprawled out on the floor.
“Oh no, nothing like that! Al, quick, you need to get me more research material on Tess. I thought my portals were impregnable against her sealing powers. This needs to be fixed if I’m going to keep snooping and recruiting potential members,” she requested.
Al nodded, helping her up before departing. She took three deep breaths, heading toward the study room. Sitting down, she touched her bare face. Although she escaped, Tess now had possession of her mask. It wouldn’t lead the Gatekeeper here, but it would provide clues for discerning her identity. Although, Ace worried her more than Tess.
“Oh, why do things have to be so hard? If only they were so much more responsible, things would be so easy to take care of,” she lamented, shouting out in frustration.