(Please note, not edited/checked/PR-ed. You may run into a questionable grammar or two. If you happen to spot them, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks in advance!!)
Nico Gavalas didn’t feel tired or fatigued. He hadn’t slept, barely ate anything substantial or rested at any length of time, ever since arriving in this wonderful country, yet, he felt great somehow. He felt wonderful, alive and alert. His mind was incomparably clear, his steps light.
Maybe, it was the energy of the city, its people, causing this metamorphosis. Even though there was a heavy presence of police officers and military personnel here and there – everywhere – Nico found it easy to feel the life pulsing in the streets from every nook and cranny, on his skin.
Didn’t matter that today was Sunday. Most cities would be empty and eerily silent on early Sunday mornings but not New York. It was like everyone living in this city had places to go, people to meet and things to do regardless of what day it was.
Nico mused to himself that indeed, this city deserved to be called the one of the greatest on earth, judged from its stunning architecture to the vast melting pot of culture, art and heritage. Most importantly, its people.
He loved it. It felt so much more alive and full of hope, compared to his hometown back in Greece. There was this aura, a buzz of excitement, permeating in the air, seemingly born out of the people’s beliefs that there was an opportunity for everyone as long as one wished to grab it with both hands. And Nico was such a person.
Oh, how he struggled for years to make ends meet.
So much went wrong so very quickly; people losing their livelihoods and their homes, their directions in life gone almost overnight without warning. Of course, that wasn’t really true, as there were enough hints of decay, signals of impending collapse, but as it was often the case with humanity, those hints went ignored and unanswered until it was too late to reverse. His home country and particularly, his hometown, was hit hard by the economic recession and needed to receive bail-out funds from the neighbors with humiliating conditions attached.
All of that was meaningless, now that he had become the part of the light. He was a part of the solution. He was reborn from the ashes of the corrupted society. And pretty soon, others like him would be reborn in the same way.
While walking down the street Nico caught his own reflection from the window of a clothing store. He grinned slightly at his own visage. Although he hadn’t rested much, he still looked great. No one would doubt this handsome, jovial man would be their unlikely savior. Funnily enough, even he himself couldn’t readily recognize it.
He was not 100% sure, but Nico thought that his face looked different. And there was this lingering feeling, telling him that he wasn’t supposed to be a Nico Gavalas anymore, that he was instead somebody else now.
A brand new being, befitting of a brand new beginning.
As to who he had become after this wonderful metamorphosis, well, he believed it didn’t matter. He was better off now anyways. No point in dwelling on the past for any longer, lest he roused his unpleasant memories from their slumber. Besides, he couldn’t remember them all that well as it was.
As he continued checking out his appearance, he saw a police car cruise by behind him. Two cops sat inside, looking vigilant and slightly trigger happy. Nico lost count how many times he encountered policemen and women this morning while on his way. He thought that all this presence of officers was the strangest thing, a blight in otherwise a wonderful cityscape.
Not too long ago, he had heard that New York shed the unenviable title of the crime capital of the United States of America. But all this presence of the police force made it like there was a major crime going on right at this moment. He found it all very bizarre.
Not even once did it cross his mind that he was responsible for this heightened security level, though.
Anyways, they weren’t looking for him, that much Nico was sure of. He went past many cordons of checkpoints with no problem, so that was the proof enough.
Everything was going so well and he had no complaints. He found the Divine Dagger of Enki, the God of Creation, ahead of schedule with minimal resistance. And now, he was hot on the trail of the second artifact needed for the success of the ritual. The enigmatic broken compass was leading him towards an industrial district, to where his objective was. After he found this piece, then it’d be time to go to the Metropolitan Museum and boom!!
Nico couldn’t wait to see the elated faces of all the New Yorkers after the ritual was performed. He was quite sure it would be an incredible spectacle to witness.
Soon, a warehouse came into the view. The compass’s needle was pointing towards it. Nico nodded in delight and hastened his steps but as soon as he got near it, his facial color changed for the worse.
He saw familiar people, walking around the warehouse. No, not familiar as in he knew them, but familiar as in how these people smelled, how these people talked, how these people moved, their eyes shifty and suspicious and arrogant and worst of all, corrupt.
They were criminals. Nico saw them bully innocent and weak back in his hometown. Their Eastern European faces and accents pretty much confirmed his suspicions.
Nico felt his mood sour. Before he came here, before he became this new person, he too had suffered at the hands of these despicable criminals who peddled narcotics, trafficked young girls, robbed and assaulted anyone who got in their way with total impunity.
Nico lost so much as a victim of their trickery. Their silver tongues and rich promises brought him nothing but heartache and pain. He was powerless to make it right, too weak and voiceless to take revenge.
But now, things were different. He could deal with these bastards. Just as well, the Dagger and the stone tablet needed sacrificial blood to get going anyways; might as well spill the blood of these scums of the society, begin the cleansing of the world proper with them, right here, right this moment.
As he thought like this, Nico immediately felt better. An amiable smile returned to his lips. Chuckling lightly, he approached the warehouse guarded by several burly men carrying semi-automatic assault rifles.
Nico unhurriedly walked past the unmanned guard post between the steel wire fencing and got nearer to one of the gun-toting goons who was standing around oblivious while smoking a cigarette, apparently failing to notice a figure approaching his back. He was evidently alone, out of his friends’ view. That was a fatal mistake on his part.
In Nico’s free hand, there was nothing. Then, a blink of an eye later, the dagger he had taken from Abyss the masked vigilante appeared like a magic trick.
Nico simply stabbed the smoking man from behind. The blade was unexpectedly sharp, cutting through the man’s spine like a hot knife through butter and pierced his heart, killing the man instantly. Nico nonchalantly withdrew the weapon and the lifeless body fell with a soft thud, the semi-automatic rifle in his side clattering noisily on the ground. The blood on the blade sizzled, before dissipating into wisps.
Nico’s gym bag started vibrating. Remembering something important, he hurriedly put the bag down and opened it, releasing the stone tablet inside. That’s when the bizarre things began to happen for real.
The tablet flew up in the air and started to emit a low hum, glowing in a sickly golden hue. As it did so, the pooling blood from the dead man quickly coagulated into a single ball-shaped mass, before floating up near the tablet, circling around it. Then a single thin thread emerged out of this bloody sphere, and its end was absorbed by the tablet. Slowly, the ball unraveled as more and more of the thread continuously entered the tablet.
The stone tablet shook a little harder but returned back to a low humming after it finished absorbing the sphere of blood. Nico nodded in satisfaction watching from the sidelines.
“Heh, so this guy was a warrior, eh. Must’ve killed a quite a few people in his life.”
Nico shook his head but the wide smile remained on his lips.
“Oh well, this amount of blood isn’t enough, but I’m sure there are enough sacrifices inside, so no worries, my liege. It’s all going to be just fine.”
Nico spoke reverently towards the exposed golden skull, before picking up the gym bag and the skull within it. The stone tablet remained suspended in the air just above his head, following him as Nico started moving again.
Wilhelm Milosevic was a self-made man.
Born to a poor peasant family eking out a wretched living in rural Albania, born as one Ylli Markaj, Wilhelm quickly made a name for himself as a bare-knuckle underground prizefighter in his teenage years. It was the only way he thought he could earn a bit of money and dig an escape hole for himself. The heavens blessed him with a kind of physique well-suited for such a purpose and young Ylli – Wilhelm – learned early on how to utilize that advantage to the fullest.
By the time he turned 20, he had fought almost everyone he could in his neighborhood – even crippling two and killing one – and was left with no choice but to move to a bigger league. Which was, of course, crime. Organized crime, to be exact.
After the fall of the Soviet Union and its societal ideology of Communism, Albania moved on to the paths of a freer economy and democracy. This change of direction for the nation unwittingly allowed numerous local gangsters the access to the bigger markets beyond its borders. Tempered by years of doing things their way, the brutal, unrestrained way, the Albanian criminal gangs proliferated at a rate which shamed the traditional organizations of Western and Southern Europe.
During this time of tumultuous change, Ylli decided to change his surname to something that sounded a bit more Russian, Milosevic, thinking that having a background of being a dirt-poor, uneducated rural Albanian would only serve to buy ridicule from his peers. Whether his wishes were granted or not, no one could tell, really.
Also, he hadn’t told anyone this, but his first name was supposed to be a William – but he got the spelling wrong on the paper and somehow, the guy forging his new identity effed it up big time and went with Wilhelm instead. Suffice to say, the idiot was now…. sleeping with the fishes at the bottom of an unnamed lake.
After that, it was a whirlwind of trafficking drugs, armed robberies and commissioned murders before leaving the old continent for the land of the free – the United States of America, the country that welcomed all those with a decent bank balance. William happened to be one such individual so naturally, he was able to enter without encountering any pesky issues. That was almost twenty years ago.
He had built his business very carefully since then. Wilhelm was never a fan of drugs himself, but it was a good cash cow, so he continued peddling them. In reality, though, his passion was weapons. And not just your average peashooter one could get from the car trunk of some shady character in a dark back alley.
No, he loved handling stuff that could fire hundreds of rounds per minute, or stuff that could fire a rocket propelled projectile that could puncture a hole in the side of an armored truck. Or a helicopter. Or a plane, if that took the client’s fancy.
So he specialized in illegal weapons smuggling, in and out of the various countries around the globe to whoever was willing to pony up the cash. And as an aside, he also got in touch with some well-monied Middle Eastern gentlemen who wished to purchase fine, young Caucasian girls, preferably virgins, necessitating that he got going on that front as well.
The end result was that, his business has been good. Very good. Very stimulating as well.
It was only recently that one of his underlings suggested trying out at smuggling arts and ancient artifacts, and selling them on the black market. This suggestion was met with a certain amount of enthusiasm; as Wilhelm found himself getting older, his tastes had become more refined. A genuine appreciation for fine art had developed before he was aware of the change. This, from a man who couldn’t be bothered to start a family of his own because kids would be too much work.
Anyways, this new venture meant that not only could he enjoy feasting his eyes on some of the most beautiful works of art produced by mankind but he’d also make a healthy chunk of cash too. A win-win, in other words.
Since it was a new thing, the scale of the operation was still on the smaller side compared to the rest of his other interests. But it was steadily growing in size and Wilhelm predicted that in no time it’d be as significant a contributor to his coffers as the drug running.
And currently, Wilhelm was sitting in his office, his fingers gently toying a small broken bronze mirror.
His dark brown hair had lost most of its color, now more or less gray. His taut, scarred and chiseled face had a few more spots than before, never mind the wrinkles on his forehead. To disguise the ravages of time, he had grown a luxurious beard but even that had turned gray, betraying its original purpose.
But his huge shoulders and intimidating countenance hadn’t lost any of its visceral intimidating power. He could cower any man simply by glaring. The ruthless coldness in his eyes was still the same as the day he decided to commit a murder for the first time in order to make a living.
Currently, though, his eyes were softer as he studied the ancient bronze mirror. An appreciative sigh left his lips as he traced the smooth lines of the artifact.
The mirror was beautiful. A piece of its reflective surface was broken off, but the damage itself was negligible. The overall shape was quite nicely preserved, unaffected by the ravages of time, unlike his aging face.
The carbon dating hadn’t been conducted yet, but from what Wilhelm could gather, this item was old. Very old. Like, thousands of years old. Older than even the ancient Egypt kind of old.
He had hit a jackpot, in other words. Even if the mirror turned out to be nothing more than some trinket a child might have played with back then thousands of years ago, it still was an item of immense archaeological value. The monetary price attached to it would be astronomical.
The bronze was highly polished with an unknown technique. Its reflective ability would put most modern day mirrors to shame in this regard alone. And then there were all those decorative patterns on the side. They were very intricate and utterly beautiful. The craftsmanship was at a level of being enchanting, bewitching, simply arresting.
Wilhelm Milosevic had heard how an unlucky farmer in Turkey or somewhere nearby accidentally unearthed the bronze mirror and tried to sell the damn thing to make the ends meet. A local gangster forcibly acquired it and then sold it to one of Wilhelm’s partners there. Now, he held it, and he’d profit from it, big time.
As he happily toyed with the mirror, his phone vibrated. Raising an eyebrow, Wilhelm unhappily answered the call.
“Yeah? What is it?”
A familiar voice came from the other side.
“Sorry, boss, but we might have a couple of problems. I’m in a hospital right now. That idiot Max got his balls busted.”
“What? Why? What the f*ck happened to that asshole now?”
Wilhelm massaged his temples as he lowered the mirror.
“The fat f*ck’s in the ER right now. The motherf*cking Abyss roughed him up last night. Max called me for help so I got here and heard the story. Abyss is looking for that girl, boss.”
“Abyss? That crazy bastard? How the f*ck did Max live through the night? No, it doesn’t really matter. Did he spill the f*cking beans? What did the idiot say?”
“That’s the thing, boss. Apparently, Abyss got interrupted by another Super. They fought, but Abyss lost and hightailed it out of there. Max said he didn’t even have a chance to NOT talk before the crap went down in front of him.”
“Huh, is that right. Fine. I don’t trust the f*cker anyway. Get rid of him later. So? What else?”
“No, Well, this other thing is more f*cked up, boss. While I was in here waiting for Max, I got a call from the contact in Athens. He tells me the stone tablet we were supposed to receive next week got stolen.”
Wilhelm slammed the top of the table hard enough to nearly tip it on its side. The fiery anger blazed like a wildfire in his face.
“What?! Who the f*ck pulled that off? Which crew dares to rip me off?”
“No idea yet, boss. The contact says that everyone taking care of the thing ended up dead. All their eyes were dug out, or some sh*t like that. Funny thing is, the contact also tells me it was one man, apparently. Some smiling bastard or some such like that.”
Wilhelm sat back down on the chair and slowly rubbed his forehead. After a short silence, he barked out an order.
“Okay, fine. Take care of business on that end and come back in, tell me everything in detail. Got it?”
Wilhelm ended the call and chucked the phone away in disgust. That stone tablet was also supposedly a very expensive, very old artifact of unknown origins. It was going to give him a huge financial boost when he’d get his hands on it. But some lunatic bastard stole it from him?
That wouldn’t do. Not at all.
Wilhelm was already thinking of dispatching his boys over there to find out what the hell was going on and to kill the bastard responsible for it. No one screwed with Wilhelm Milosevic and lived to tell about it, not even the Pope himself.
And then, there was the matter of the vigilante, Abyss. To think, he’d get involved in the thing with the girl. That was quite a troublesome matter to overcome. The client waiting on the other side of the continent would not be pleased to learn that a nosy vigilante had caught on to the scent of this deal.
“How the hell did Abyss catch a wind of the girl? Damn it.”
Wilhelm angrily shook his head. He’d have to hire proper external help to deal with Abyss. His men were not trained or adequately equipped to handle a Super like that. Wilhelm wouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating the legendary vigilante that was Abyss. Not in this lifetime.
After all, the damn vigilante had been active in the underbelly of New York for a better part of a decade, killing and maiming all the criminals he could lay his hands on. And he evaded capture by the cops and other Supers until now.
Most famously, he once publically executed a serial killer who preyed on young children in full view of everyone at Times Square, declaring that he’d kill all the darkness in this world or some crap like that. Even after pulling that stunt, no one could find him.
That told Wilhelm everything he needed to know, that Abyss was a dangerous, resourceful opponent that would be terribly difficult to contend with.
Cursing inwardly, Wilhelm picked up the phone again and dialed it, trying to connect to an underling outside his office. But the phone kept on ringing. No answers.
Frowning in irritation, Wilhelm tried another number, but still, no answer. His irritation grew in leaps and bounds. He no longer restrained his anger and spat out a choice of expletives before walking out of the office, located on the second floor of the main warehouse Wilhelm owned. In fact, he owned quite a few in numerous parts of the city, all for the sake of security, the appearance of legitimacy and finally, diversifying his so-called portfolio.
From the exit of his office, he had a pretty good view of the floor space below, being on a catwalk. He enjoyed checking out the cargo from the high vantage point, seeing them all wrapped up nicely and ready to be shipped to their destinations.
As soon as he leaned over the railings, his face drained of all color. Wilhelm initially saw not one of his soldiers but that was for only a brief second. Right away, his senses told him it was dangerous to hang around here and he whipped out his pistol, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.
Wilhelm quickly ran his eyes all around the floor space until he spotted one of his men. From the look of things, it was as obvious as daylight that the man was dead, the way the poor shmuck was lying on the ground, face first on the cold hard floor, not even twitching slightly.
Wilhelm frowned. How the hell didn’t he hear anything? No gunfire, no screams, not even the shouts of warning or panic? This made no sense. Unless….
“Sh*t, it must be Abyss. That f*cker Max did spill his f*king guts!! I swear, I’ll kill that idiot bastard real slow, real painful, later!!”
Wilhelm hurriedly returned to his office and locked the doors. He then went to one of the walls and roughly ripped the cheap painting off it, revealing a safe. He quickly punched in the security code, unlocking it. Wilhelm pulled out a bulletproof vest from the safe and threw it on, then yanked out another pistol, tucking it in his back. Next, he grabbed some rolls of cash and stuffed it in his jacket.
Finally, he took the tablet computer from inside the safe and smashed it to the ground, hoping that this action would render the device unusable and its data unsalvageable. Of course, he didn’t forget to grab the bronze mirror too.
All done with his preparations, he exited the office and hurriedly went downstairs, his pistol pointing forward. His aim remained true and unwavering. Wilhelm had encountered enough life or death experiences so this much wasn’t going to fluster him.
If anything, he was feeling royally pissed off at the vigilante for killing his men, as it would cost him a fair whack of money to cultivate another group of loyal soldiers after all was said and done.
As his feet stepped off the last rung of the stairs, Wilhelm heard a gurgling noise not too far from where he was. The view was blocked by the wooden containers but he didn’t have to see it to know what that sound was, the death throes of a dying man. He should know – Wilhelm heard it plenty of times while he was killing, or when he was watching his men kill.
Grimacing, Wilhelm cocked the firing pin into position and quickly stepped out past the container, ready to squeeze the trigger. But he was left frozen by the unexpected sight in front of him.
A smiling man was standing there, holding a bloodied dagger. By his feet, one of Wilhelm Milosevic’s men, lying in the pool of his own blood. There was a cut wound to the throat. Wilhelm could tell the guy had his neck slashed open from behind and had no chance to defend himself.
But that wasn’t the craziest thing that stopped Wilhelm from moving.
No, the floating stone tablet did. Around it, several globes of reddish liquid substance lazily danced around and were in a state of being slowly absorbed by the tablet. On its surface where it was previously smooth and unmarked, now thin, hard-to-read lines of text were slowly materializing as more and more blood entered the tablet.
“Oh, hello there.”
The cheerfully smiling man turned around to face Wilhelm and greeted him. At once, the hardened gangster came around from his daze. He recognized the stone tablet right away – the photo of the damn thing was stored in the tablet PC he just smashed not too long ago in his office. It’d be strange if he couldn’t remember his own merchandise, after all.
“You f*ck, you’re so dead.”
Wilhelm spat out at the smiling man and pulled the trigger. Three rounds were quickly fired, all heading for a sure kill. The range was close enough too. No way someone like he would miss.
And sure enough, the bullets didn’t miss. But the target simply swung his dagger and deflected the bullets away. Wilhelm gasped out in shock.
“Oops, now that was dangerous, sir. You shouldn’t point that gun at a person, you know!!”
The smiling man chuckled amiably, waving his dagger playfully in the air. For a second there, Wilhelm saw the blade leave behind an afterimage of itself, like some kind of a ghostly apparition. The gangster felt his legs go numb from the realization.
This guy is a f*king Super!! God damn it!!
Wilhelm’s grimace became deeper. Without hesitation, he fired more shots, emptying the ammo almost immediately. Not a single shot went through. The man simply swung the dagger in a lazy manner and all of the bullets were blocked in mid-flight.
“Okay, mister. I’m guessing you are out of bullets now?”
The smiling man asked as the clicking of the empty gun resounded in the warehouse.
Wilhelm promptly dropped the gun on the floor and hastily got on his knees, seemingly trembling in fear.
“Jesus, god damn it!! Okay, fine, man. What is it you want? Huh? I can give to you. Anything you want, I can organize for you, you know what I mean? Chicks, drugs, weapons, money – whatever you want!! Just don’t f*king kill me, okay?”
Wilhelm pleadingly looked up at the smiling man. On a closer inspection, the man seemed to be a Greek descent. Remembering that the stone tablet was stolen in Athens, somehow, it fit the bill. But the weirdest thing was, Wilhelm thought that he recognized this guy from somewhere. But from where?
It felt like he should’ve remembered it right away but, for some reason, he just couldn’t. How strange.
The smiling man had a troubled, wry smile now, as he shook his head. “No, sir. I don’t need drugs, money nor women. None of those are important, you see. Oh hey, would you look at that, you do have something that I want, after all.”
He chuckled happily and lowered the gym bag on the floor. Then, he fished out a broken compass from his pocket and pored over at it for a second before beaming widely.
“Well, mister. I know you have it on you, so may I have that, please?”
“What? What do you want from me?!”
Confused, Wilhelm asked in a high pitched voice. His right hand was creeping along to the back of his trousers, feeling for his side gun.
“It’s in your pocket. It’s the bronze mirror. Please, give it to me.”
Hearing this, Wilhelm’s face darkened. But sighing deeply, he slowly pulled it out of the inner jacket pocket and placed in on the cold ground before his kneeling figure.
“Here. Take the damn thing and leave.”
The smiling man’s eyes brightened as he saw the mirror. The happy, jovial smile spread out much wider on his face. But all Wilhelm could think about was how creepy that smile looked. It was something a madman would have, or a crazed junkie finally getting his shot of the drugs.
The smiling man, Nico Gavalas, walked towards the mirror with anticipation in his face. And as he bent down to pick up the mirror, Wilhelm snorted derisively and shouted inwardly.
Block this, motherf*cker.
It took only a split second for Wilhelm to yank out his extra weapon and fire at Nico. It was practically a point-blank shot and no one in the world could dodge it, not even the most agilest Super known to man – or so he thought.
Nico Gavalas didn’t even bother to stop the shot nor did he tried to dodge it. He simply reached out with his left hand to grab and push away the gun holding hand of Wilhelm. At the same time, he thrust the dagger into the hardened gangster’s heart.
The bullet ricochetted noisily on a steel supporting beam above their heads and bounced away. Wilhelm’s eyes trembled in disbelief as he looked down at the dagger penetrating the bulletproof vest, and then at his right hand holding the pistol, with Nico grabbing the wrist and pointing it away from himself.
Nico chuckled slightly as he spoke. “Whew. Now that was a close call, don’t you think?”
Wilhelm opened his mouth to utter another round of defiant expletives but no words came out, only the thick, gushing blood. His eyes began to dim and the world became gray and cold. He heard the smiling man’s voice as his torso fell over.
“Don’t worry, mister. Your life, your blood, it’s all being used for the greater good of the mankind, you see. With your timely sacrifices, the one true, rightful king of this world will be able to rise once again. And the great, wonderful gods shall descend on our planet after thousands of years in exile.
“Oh, but uh, since your soul is so corrupted and impure, well…. You will end up suffering everlasting torment in the Great Below, Irkallu. Sorry about that. Okay, not really. You should’ve lived your life more virtuously, mister….”
As the smiling man’s voice faded away, Wilhelm’s consciousness dimmed to a point where the only thing he could perceive was only the unending darkness. There was not a single mote of light anywhere. And it was also desperately cold, as if he had fallen into the bitter Balkan Winter’s deadly clutch, recalling a particularly unpleasant time in his youth.
Then, suddenly, something brushed by his cheek. Alarmed, Wilhelm turned around, only to catch a fleeting glimpse of a faint figure. Then something else brushed by his other cheek.
Screaming in fear, Wilhelm turned around once more, but this time, the illusory figure didn’t float away and instead chose to remain in his view. Wilhelm screamed even louder when he saw what it was – a ghostly, wailing face of a man.
It was the face of the very first person Wilhelm, no, Ylli, had murdered for money all those years back.
It was silently wailing at him, cursing at him, its ghostly face distorting gruesomely like a leftover oil stain on the garage floor.
Wilhelm tried to run but then, he realized that he had no legs. He had no arms either. He had become just like the screaming apparition in front of him.
Wilhelm desperately screamed out in terror, as more and more of the ghosts from his past appeared all around him. He was surrounded by the phantoms. No one could save his soul now as he was dragged deeper into the darkness….
Meanwhile, Nico had pulled the Divine Dagger of Enki out of the cold corpse of Wilhelm Milosevic and was in the process of picking up the bronze mirror. The moment his skin came in contact with it, though, he felt a strong resisting force repelling him.
Surprised at this turn of events, he turned around to look at the gym bag and spoke. “Something is wrong. It’s rejecting me. I can’t hold it. What should I do, my liege?”
Silence ensued. But Nico slowly nodded, apparently hearing an advice on how to proceed from a figure only he could perceive and via words only he could hear.
“Okay, I understand.”
Nico nodded attentively before brandishing the dagger. He lowered himself and got closer to Wilhelm’s body. Ignoring the blood that was rising up to form yet another globe, he began to chop the right hand of the dead man.
With the severed hand, Nico picked the mirror up, then, he used Wilhelm’s expensive jacket to wrap both the limb and the bronze mirror.
“Okay, all done.”
Smiling happily, Nico stuffed the wrapped hand inside the gym bag alongside the golden skull and stood up to stretch his back. He observed the stone tablet carefully as many ancient runes written in crimson red slowly manifested on the surface the more it absorbed the blood spheres.
The ancient, oppressive aura coming from the tablet got stronger by the second and the surrounding air seemed to distort ever so slightly.
Nico nodded in genuine appreciation.
“Hmm, looks like the gate should be ready to open soon. Haha, everything is going well. Very nice.”
Once finished with absorbing all the blood, the stone tablet slowly fell back down to the ground. Nico collected and stored it back inside the gym bag. After hoisting the heavy bag on his shoulder with a soft grunt, he turned his gaze towards the direction of the Central Park with the usual wide grin on his face.
“Well, it’s time to go to the museum now, eh.”
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