*tap* *tap* *tap*
Sounds of footsteps can be heard echoing inside the corridor. The sounds come from two pair of feet walking in the building. One of them is the blonde swordswoman, Lyon. She’s still wearing his black suit and trousers and look tidy. Behind her follows a man with glasses decorating his face. His black short hair is brushed tidily and evenly to the side of his head. Similar to Lyon, he’s wearing a black suit and black trouser. He’s also wearing a black long coat to protect him from the winter wind outside.
They are walking down a long corridor. On their left side are walls. Every few meters there will be a brown wooden door to enter the room behind it. On their right side is an array of big window that spread from the floor to the ceiling and from the far back way to the front. The cool blue winter sky can be seen clearly through the window. The height of the floor they’re in provides an unhindered view of the city with its skyscrapers soaring toward the sky here and there.
“This way,” Lyon stops and open the only double doored room in that floor. When the door opened, one can see the room is dark, heavily contrasted with the bright sky from the window across the room. Lyon enter the dark room with the man following behind her.
“Aleister Hart is here,” Lyon speaks into the dark as if there’s somebody there.
“Thanks Lyon, I’m fine from here,” Aleister taps Lyon on her shoulder. Lyon stares at Aleister with a slightly annoyed look on her face before turns away, “Suits yourself.” She walks out of the room and close the door behind her, removing any external source of light available in the dark room.
When there’s no light from outside, the eyes soon become accustomed with the darkness in the room. The room actually is not really that dark. There are standing lamps along the wall lit dimly providing a soft light to the room. The room itself is quite big. It looks like an office of an important person. Bookshelves filled with all size of books are covering one side of the wall. A big wooden desk sit nicely on one end of the room facing the double door. Behind it is a big window similar to the one found in the corridor. In the middle of the room are three couches circling a table. What really weird about the room is the fact that although the sun shouldn’t be set yet as evident from the sun rays in the corridor, there’s no light coming in from the window other than the silvery moonlight.
“It’s been awhile since the last time I’m inside this mesmerizing room,” Aleister removes his coat as he walks towards one of the coach and sit.
“Indeed you are, Al,” a woman standing near the window replies while still watching what looks like the night view of the city without any artificial lights. Her voice sounds mature and has alluring feels to it. Her long black hair sways behind her as she walks away from the window and heading to the wooden desk with an almost empty glass of wine on her hand. She’s wearing a white long sleeved shirt tucked in messily into her white trousers. “Wine?” She holds a bottle of wine and offers it to Aleister.
“If it’s not a bother, I don’t see why not,” Aleister smiles.
“You know it’s not” the woman smiles back at him and pour the wine into her glass and another empty glass that’s already prepared on her desk. “So,” she walks toward Aleister with both hands occupied with glasses, “what brings you here?” The woman hands Aleister one of the glass and proceed to sit on the opposite couch with her legs crossed. She leans back and stretches her free arm on the back of the couch.
Aleister takes a sip of the wine before answering, “Well, Moira, couldn’t old friend like us visit each other without any real reason?” He shows a smile that looks almost like a smirk.
“Cut the crap, Al,” the woman named Moira scoffs, “the realms will converge way before that happen.”
Aleister chuckles hearing Moira’s reply, “True that.”
“Don’t beat around the bush. We are both a busy person and you know that.”
“I’m the one who should say that, Moira. I believe you know the reason why I’m here.”
“I am,” Moira takes a sip of her wine before continue with her usual smile, “The black mist, am I correct?”
“It is to my knowledge that you’re familiar with something similar to that.”
“The one you fought in Tunguska? I never met him personally.”
“His main ability was the mind controlling black mist.”
“Is it him then? I thought he’s dead.”
Moira takes another sip, “No. It doesn’t feels like him. And based on Lyon’s observation, the characteristic of the mist is different. Tenebris able to control those who had been exposed to his mist. This one feels more like out-of-control than being controlled.”
“So, is it a different kind of black mist?”
“Pretty much. Tenebris’s mist couldn’t make a haphazard instant connection to other realm. Yet, this one can.”
“True,” Aleister leans back, “And this is more annoying in the grand scale. Having a lot of visitor from other realms is never good.”
“But you have more people to fight on your side, or so I heard,” Moira smiles cunningly.
Aleister looks amused and smiles, “You heard a lot, don’t you?”
Moira laughs softly, “You know I have eyes and ears in every corner of the city.”
“Well,” Aleister leans forward and clasps his hand together, “I haven’t talked to most of them about this yet, so technically, they’re still not on my side. For now.”
“You’re still observing, I suppose.”
“I am. And so far, they’re quite good. Several new individuals also catches my attention.”
“The list is growing, I see.”
“And how about your so-called ‘Apostle’? Anything new about them?”
“Well, maybe when you already have your champions we could make a big meet up or something. Then I would gladly talk to you about my Apostle,” she grins.
A phone rings. It lets out a basic ringtone a cell phone usually has. Aleister takes the phone out of his pocket and looks at the screen. He gestures to Moira that he needs to take this and stands before answering the phone and move away from Moira and the couches. Moira takes yet another sip of her wine and turn her attention to the city outside.
The view from this window is bizarre. The clock is suggesting it still noon but no sun nor its rays can be seen. The moon which already out is shining brightly as if it’s nighttime. The sky is dark with uncountable stars blinking and twinkling up there. Actually, it does looks like a night sky. What differ is the fact that the amounts of lights from building is much fewer than in the actual night which create less light pollution and make the stars much more visible. Moira’s expression looks calm and serene as she drinks the rest of her wine while watching this magnificent view of the sky.
“Looks like I have to go,” Aleister turns to Moira after he finishes his call. He puts his glass on the table, “Thanks for the time, Moira. And for the wine.”
“Works called, I presume?”
“It is,” Aleister smiles as he wears his black coat. “I’ll inform you if my researcher found anything about the black mist,” he walks toward the door and opens it. As soon as the doors opens, a bright light from the sun come through. Aleister squints a little bit as his eyes trying to adapt with the difference of brightness.
“You’ll heard from me if I know anything more, Mr Mayor,” Moira smiles, which can’t be seen by Aleister since she’s inside the night room. Yet, Aleister replies with a smile before he closes the door behind him.
The black mist surrounding the man is so thick and enough to obstructs the view. Ignis stands some distance away from the mist with the now retreating Ren on his side. Tama and Usami stand even further since they all know how bad the black mist to them spirit.
“He sure is taking his time there,” Ren remarks. His trusted spear is already at hand.
“Let’s hope he’s suffocated there with all that black thing so we’re saved from the trouble,” Ignis replies with his sword ready.
“Should I make a sandwich while we’re waiting?” Tama shouts at the two guys in front of her.
Then, the mist suddenly distorts. It moves unlike the usual mist they’ve seen before this. It swirls around and compressed into several tendril-like in shape. The man standing in the middle of it while still pressing down his chest. He smiles, then the mist tendrils charges forward as soon as he raises his hand forward.
The tendrils extend toward Ren and the others. Ren instantly jumps toward the tendrils heading to Tama and Usami and slices it without even thinking whether it’s solid or gaseous. The tendrils is cut and the part that are not connected to the main body simply vanish. But that doesn’t stop it. It reshaped its point and continue to heading toward Tama and Usami.
Ren, who was busy with preventing the tendril get to Tama and Usami, was ignoring the tendril that was targeting him. Without any trouble, the tendril grabs Ren at his waist, lifts him high in the air, and throws him hard to the ground without giving Ren any chance to retaliate.
Noticing the characteristic of the tendrils, Ignis dodge the tendril aimed at him and uses his long range slash to reach the base of the tendril. The tendril vanishes instantly as its connection to the base is cut. Ignis swings his sword three more times with each aimed at the base of the tendrils that targeting Ren, Tama, and Usami. Just like before, the tendrils disappear as soon as it cut.
“Heh, not bad,” the man grins. With his palm open facing upward, he raises his hand up. Suddenly, a burst of mist gushing out from the ground below Ignis and Ren. Both men are trying to cover their face from it. Luckily, Ignis’s suit is protecting him from the mist. Ren, on the other hand, is not so lucky. Without protection, it would be easy for the mist to find its way into him.
“Tama! Usami! Get as far from here as you can!” Ignis warns them as he darts toward Ren who looks like having a hard time. Tama and Usami follows Ignis’s warning and retreat to avoid the mist. Hopefully, the mist range is not that far away.
Before Ignis can get to Ren, a tendril breaks through the ground in front of Ignis and slaps him hard. The slap throw Ignis far from Ren where he rolls on the ground to absorb the momentum and stands back up. But, when he looks forward, the man and all of his tendrils is already in front of him. His face looks very excited as he attacks Ignis with the help of his tendrils. With him occupied with fighting the tendril man, Ignis is unable to help Ren.
Ren is having hard time with all the mist still lingering around him. Some of the mist seems to have found ways to get into Ren’s system. He can feel the mist is trying to change something inside him. With his will and everything he has, he tries his best to prevent the mist from manipulating him. The thing is, the more he resist, the more pain spreads and worsen inside him. With the pain starts to get almost unbearable, he falls to his knee. His hand is pressing on his chest which feels like being stabbed with a sword.
While still busy with deflecting tendril, Ignis notices Ren condition. With him kneeling like that, Ignis figures that whatever Ren’s condition is, it is really bad. But, as long he’s staying within the pool of lingering black mist, his condition wouldn’t get better. Yet, there’s nothing Ignis can do right now since the man in front of him doesn’t stop attacking him.
And then, out of nowhere, the mist surrounding Ren is swept away from Ren, leaving the area clear from black mist. After the area clears, a girl lands beside Ren with her black-to-purple long hair sways as she lands. “Seems like this is the right time for me to repay you,” Aqua smiles confidently at Ren with her hand holding her personal big scythe.