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Between the lines (Arc 4 Side Story)

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Post  Saravati Nair Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:01 am

Someone seemed to be on edge today. As stressful as the situation was, the little empress was definitely showing her stress by how much she was tossing her weight around. Even so, she was the one who came up with some sort of idea.

She would ignore the obvious insults that were hurled at her and focus on the task at hand.

“The neck, huh.”

She muttered as she kept her eyes focused on the damn thing she had tried to lure in. But, another shift occurred before she could even attempt to take advantage of what she had just learned.

The word she had surmised was the greatest factor in the golem’s actions was distance. But, she never considered one key thing—or rather, she had made far too faulty an assumption with her successful experiment.

When Vita had turned tail to pursue the culprit, the monstrosity shifted its focus.

When she thought about it, it was silly for her to assume that the distance between the target and the golem was what drove its action. There was no logical reason for anyone to use such a weapon.

So, what else would mark its order of priority? What distance would make that golem leap into action?

“Dammit!”

She needed to close the gap. She ran at top speed towards that towering monster, hoping to close in before Vita and Atsa. With a free hand, she threw a knife at its neck and continued aiming to close the gap. She was the most nimble person there (or second most). So, she could still dodge those train-force blows even with a small room for error.

If it was working based on the distance to the culprit, then chasing them would only be impossible with that thing getting in the way.

They needed to neutralize it fast. Otherwise, the only way out would be in a casket.

So, she would aim for that thing’s neck. She would kill.
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Post  Atsa Tsinaajinii Fri May 01, 2020 6:11 am

Atsa felt it. There was someone else in the station and then they were just gone. Vanished into thin air as if they were never there. This was definitely not good. It seemed not only had they gone after the wrong target but while they were doing that the real culprit had used the opportunity to get away. The golem purpose wasn't to destroy them, though he imagined the magician responsible would be far happier if it did, but to delay them long enough to allow them to get away. Then again, maybe the magician had gotten away. There was always the possibility that they had detected his tracking and cast some kind of cloaking spell.

Regardless, the current circumstance required the shaman to keep his attention elsewhere. They couldn't figure out where the culprit if they were impaled with train shards. With that in mind Atsa would quickly spring into action and use his enhanced speed to move backwards out of the path of the shards. Vita had her explosion magic so he was sure she'd be okay but just to be safe he'd try out an idea. A test to see just how complex the spell animated the beast was. As he moved backwards he'd pulled out an arrow, stab it through a pelt, place the arrow in the string, and pull back. Once his target was in sight he'd release the arrow sending it flying towards the exit.

If he was right that the golem's goal was to delay them more than destroy them he hoped it changed targets and go after the arrow with the pelt around it. He hoped the spell mechanism just stopped anything from moving from making it to the exit instead of it being able to differentiate between humans and objects. The pelt had been included incase the target needed to be a certain size or needed to be something life like. Sure a pelt wrapped around an arrow wasn't anything close to looking like a living thing but it was definitely better than just an arrow on its own in that regard. So now he just had to pray that his understanding of the monster was correct and if not he'd atleast inform the others about what he sensed while he tried to make his escape.

"I'm not sure who the culprit is but they seem to be gone now. I sensed another person in the station with us but they suddenly just vanished without a trace. Pretty sure the golem was just here to buy them time and we ended up doing exactly what they wanted."
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Post  Vita Vesta Caesar Mon May 11, 2020 11:08 am

Vita had been the one to suggest the tale of the Talos as a potential foundation for the spell. The immortal bronze giant that protected Crete and Europa who resided therein from invaders. Fundamentally, a guardian of place and person; not a wild beast that harms whatever comes close. In voicing her suggestion regarding the foundation, she had also acknowledged the ramifications in such a case as it turned out to be true.

To put it another way, the current situation was not one entirely outside of her expectations. As she prepared the invoke Vulcan's blessing once more, she ran through the changes to the plan. The decoy, Saravati, would distract the giant. While the tactics she would need to use would differ somewhat, her task was essentially the same as before. With her speed, bursting ahead of the rest of them and attracting its attention would be easy. And when she succeeded in disabling it, she would be able to dash ahead of them and scout things out, with the rest following after shortly.

In terms of allocation of human resources, it was a flawless strateg-

"I'm not sure who the culprit is but they seem to be gone now. I sensed another person in the station with us but they suddenly just vanished without a trace."

Even as Vita moved out of the way of the metal giant (and launched yet another explosion, if necessary), Atsa would find himself on the receiving end of a reflexive venomous glare the likes of which he might remember from their first meeting. Rather than hatred, disappointment, or frustration, the emotion that was conveyed was more accurately described as spite. They were the eyes of a thoroughly irritated empress who was more than ready to release the whole of her stress upon the messenger, or otherwise the first person she sees.

Woe betide the bearers of bad news...
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Post  Leivinia Birdway Tue May 12, 2020 5:24 pm

There is a limit to any person’s patience.

Some can wait months for a precious preordered item to arrive, some cannot even handle the start up screen of their computer. People are different, after all. Anyone has a different fuse length.

And Leivinia Birdway, as someone who is a great leader the core surely does have a lot of patience. Is it a core requirement to be a schemer attempting to secretly control the world.

However, there is always a limit to patience. To anyone’s.

«I’m not sure who the culprit is but they seem to be gone now. I sensed another person in the station with us but they suddenly just vanished without a trace. Pretty sure the golem was just here to buy them time and we ended up doing exactly what they wanted.»

These words had drawn the end of the line.

«What…?»

No longer finding entertainment in the sight of ineffective attacks being recklessly thrown at the unmoving yet fiercely striking guardian, Birdway finally set into motion.

She’d simply flip the wand in her hand upside down and break off into a charge, easily crossing the distance between her and the monstrosity. There was no care or caution, even when she had passed all the others and therefore fallen into the centre of that thing’s attention.

«Master of all craft and art, builder of palaces, maker of keen-edged swords and impenetrable armor, creator of all manner of finely-worked trinkets and baubles. Beauty falls from your hands, as artistry falls to those you favor.»

The moment its limb launched a strike at her, she’d return the favour and struck it with the upside down wand.

A hammer.

A symbol of fire.

The action of striking an automaton crafted from worldly materials.

These three symbols united to invoke a certain effect upon impact.

With the sound of a hammer striking metal, the arm – instead of crushing the little girl under the full force of its weight and momentum – lost all shape and fell apart on the spot. However, Leivinia Birdway did not stop there. Instead, she’d use the wand to tear through the entirety of the arm and straight into the body of her enemy, obliterating it entirely in the process.

Now, with the monstrosity falling apart into debris of glass, metal, and plastic, the girl would not even break a sweat as she returned the wand to its proper position. Standing in the rubble that had once been the enemy these three Magicians had been unable to overcome by the full extent of their skills, the girl would not celebrate her own achievement. Instead, much like any leader would at the underwhelming defeat of their underlings, she used the opportunity to unleash her anger onto a piece of simple paper containing the drawing of a standard magic circle, tearing it to shreds with the tip of her high heel.

Clearly, though, that wouldn’t suffice either. All it did was buy them time. Time to run from the true calamity.
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Post  Vita Vesta Caesar Fri May 15, 2020 11:27 pm

Ultimately, Vita's turn to deal with the golem-cum-ping pong ball did not come. Despite her heart's current state of domination by frustration towards Atsa's unfortunate news, she still couldn't help but feel some small tinge of sadness as the metal monstrosity was pulverized. While it was hardly professional, she had felt no small amount of satisfaction in the act of batting the thing around at anyone nearby who happened to irritate her. It had honestly been rather cathartic.

But alas, now was not the time for mourning. With the monster destroyed, she turned her eyes back to Birdway. While no longer considering her a straight-up enemy, she still regarded her warily; they were allies born of circumstance at best, after all. Hardly a solid foundation to stand on. It it came to be to her convenience, she still might turn on them in an instant.

For as much as she wanted to rail on her partners for their unsightly display here, the smaller girl's display of violence had convinced her to maintain at least a facade of professionalism, at least for now. She would just have to hold onto this grudge until later.

"Atsa, where were they? Guide us there. Even if they're already gone, we need to investigate whatever traces they may have left."

For any enemy who managed to break into one of Necessarius' most closely guarded facilities, tracking them after they'd escaped might seem like a dismal duty, but it wasn't good to underestimate Necessarius either. No matter how skilled their enemy, if they had left the slightest trace, it was their duty to find it.
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Post  Atsa Tsinaajinii Tue May 19, 2020 7:56 am

Atsa watched as Birdway ripped through the golem, taking down the monstrosity that had caused them so much trouble in a matter of seconds. While the shaman was relieved that the threat had finally been extinguished he couldn't help but wonder why the piano child hadn't destroyed the golem earlier. After all it seemed the finding the proper spell and executing it had been fairly simple. Was she trying to test them in someway but letting it chase them around? Was it just some kind of petty punishment for accusing her of being the culprit?

Neither of those options seemed to make any sense. The girl seemed to have wanted to catch the criminal as well so it seemed unlikely she'd let pettiness get in the way of that. Then again, even if she was a magic prodigy she was still a child. Maybe she had let pettiness interfere with her better judgement. Regardless, the shaman wasn't going to bring any of that up now. The piano girl seemed angry enough as it was and he had a feeling she wouldn't hesitate to kill him if he questioned her. Also after seeing how easily she dealt with the train monsters he doubted it would be very hard for her to bring him to a gruesome end.

"Sure, thing just follow me. I'll take you to the last place I sensed them before they vanished."

Atsa would start running off in the direction he had last sensed the culprit and as he did so an eagle would appear in the hole in the glass ceiling they had smashed earlier before it would glide down to fly next to him. The shaman would look over at the bird with a disapproving look before whispering a scolding at the bird.

"So now you show up? Wanted to wait till the monster was obliterated, huh? You're a traitor. I want you to know that."

Unless anyone stopped him or told him otherwise Atsa would lead them towards the last place the culprit had been. Along the way he'd pause a few times to figure out exactly where he was going. After all, while he had tracked the culprit through the ground he hadn't analyzed the station's structure. So the job of figuring out what pathways led to where he needed to go took a bit of quick thinking. Even still it wouldn't take him too long to get the group to their destination.

"Well here it is, this is where they were. Now just to figure out where they've gone, huh?"
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Post  Leivinia Birdway Wed May 20, 2020 8:33 am

«Nothing. Nothing at all. No runes. No drawings. No out of place carvings. Nothing that in any way implies any ritual having been performed.»

Leivinia Birdway declared audibly after having jumped down onto the trackbed.

That girl had taken thorough look at the entire platform. Starting with the ticket machine and continuing with the floor, the benches, the rubbish bins, the advertisements, only to conclude with the very train tracks themselves.

There had been traces, but those were perfectly natural. Everything that was here was perfectly natural by the standards of an underground station. Nothing spoke of intention.

«Whatever she did, she prepared it well. The spell she used to ‹disappear› most likely is entirely self contained so that she wouldn’t leave the faintest hint of a trace behind. Something on this level isn’t easy to pull off. Either she had someone help her or she invested months of preparation into this.»

A perfect crime could be achieved only if you took into account all factors surrounding it. One needed awareness of the conditions surrounding the act, as well as all the consequences and possible pitfalls. Months if not years of planning would have to be at the foundation of all that. Most normal people wouldn’t choose to go down a path like this, but a Magician was different. They lived for their goals after all. And sometimes that desire could escalate to unforeseen levels.

«With this woman the latter is more likely. She went up against the entirety of the Anglican Church and the Dawn Coloured Sunlight, after all. This isn’t something you do on a whim. Not like this. She knows how dangerous the enemies are she chose, but she still went through with it. She broke into the British Library, slipped past all security and escaped from it nearly unscathed. So is it that unlikely she can pull off the same with the city of London. If not the entire United Kingdom?»

A lot of what she said was just theorising. However, that was all she could do at this point. There was no evidence. Nobody knew anything about the woman. Not why she had done it. What she had been after or where she was headed next. Only her actions themselves had been present as of right now.

«And if I were her, I would make that my top priority. A single person cannot outrun an entire country as long as she’s in it.»
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Post  Saravati Nair Fri May 29, 2020 8:42 pm

In one single blow, it was crushed. Sara in reality had to do nothing. Her actions to pursue the train demon were utterly useless as Leivinia Birdway crushed the train demon without a hint of impunity.

Perhaps it was for the better that it happened this way, even if it did turn out this way because the young girl was utterly livid. Rather than try to take any chances with poking at the hornet’s nest, Sara opted to simply land herself off to the side and follow along with what was going on with her motley crew. Though, calling it a squad of disasters may have been more apt given how far they had mucked it up this time.

Not to mention, given that the culprit may have already escaped, the situation may have already progressed to the worst-case scenario.

So, she simply took all of bird boy’s words in stride and followed him to the site he had claimed to be the last known location of the culprit. Instead, she leaned on a nearby metal railing and looked upon the searching Birdway.

“I know we’re not the picture of perfect first responders especially seeing as we’re completely in the dark here. But, seeing as you have an idea of who the culprit is, do you mind filling us in?”
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Post  Atsa Tsinaajinii Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:28 pm

As Birdway was talking Atsa would retrace the steps he sensed the culprit take before they vanished. The piano girl was right, there didn't seem to be any sign of any spell work. They had truly vanished without leaving a single trace of their presence but the shaman was certain the culprit had been here. It was when he got to the last steps he had sensed the culprit make that things started to add up in his head. He'd crouched down and begin investigating the tracks. Still no signs of any spell work, the shaman had to admit he was impressed by their handwork. They vanished and took all the evidence with them.

"It's true there's nothing here. Pretty sure they took all the spell work and evidence with them. The last time I sensed them before they vanished they were walking towards this track. My best guess is that the entirety of her escape spell was entirely contained within a train that was on these tracks. Unfortunately without any aspects of the ritual or spell left behind I have no idea how we are going to figure out anything specific about the spell."

There was some good news the shaman thought he could take away from all this. If he was right about the spell being contained on the train then that would limit the number of places it could've transported her. If she was still in London she'd have to reappeared on one of the train lines. At least that would've been the best way to stay undercover, a train suddenly showing up anywhere else would surely catch someones attention.

"If I'm right about the train she'll have to reappear on one of the tracks. More specifically, an old track that's no longer in use. After all, to escape only to get hit by a train on your way out would be a bit foolish. Then again, she could probably use a track thats still in use as long as she knew the train schedule well enough."

Going from what Birdway had said so far it did seem like she knew exactly who the culprit was and the shaman was relieved when Sara asked the scary piano girl about the culprit. The more about the person they were chasing the higher their chances would be of actually catching them.
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Post  Vita Vesta Caesar Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:05 am

"When the forensics magicians arrive they might be able to dredge up some information on the spell, but if the enemy is half as competent as our friend here is implying that's likely a dead end," Vita noted aloud. "Your guess about the train sounds plausible. If they'd fled someone within the city, or even the country, we might have been able to track them down following it. But Birdway is probably right about them leaving the country; the first and most important step to escaping Necessarius is escaping our territory. So long as you remain on United Kingdom soil, capture is only a matter of time. I would've done the same, if I were them."

In short, they had been left with a lot of questions and little to nothing to go on. But it wasn't as if they were completely without clues.

"Rather than the culprit, a better clue would be the item they stole," Vita remarked to Saravati. "Depending on what it is and what it could be used for, we might be able to narrow down their potential destinations significantly."

And even more importantly, they wouldn't have to rely on Birdway to obtain or confirm that information. It seemed Saravati had some small degree of trust towards her, but the enemy of your enemy was not necessarily your friend. The Dawn-Coloured Sunlight doubtlessly held their own reasons to get involved here, and they certainly weren't acting out of a sense of altruism to their neighbors in Necessarius.

Even if their goals had aligned just now in the short run, there was no telling whether things would remain that way. It was best to rely on them as little as possible.
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Post  Leivinia Birdway Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:26 pm

If there was one thing Leivinia Birdway hated, it was stalemate situations like this. There was no line of progress ahead, but only a dead end. Even if they caught on eventually, it could very well take them days or weeks to be even again. Not to forget that these people weren’t her allies per se.

Yet, still, a good leader would know to value alliances.

«Our little thief’s name is Stella Dellinger di Ariana. Originally she was a high society lady involved with the Anglican Church. In fact, she assisted the church by working as a researcher in the British Library. Outside of that, however, she also meddled with quite many higher circles. That’s how she also got into contact with the Dawn Coloured Sunlight.»

As such she’d share what she knew.

«That was why we were her first choice of victims tonight.»

Naturally, there was a whole lot more to share about the criminal in question. However, keeping things short and understandable was pertinent.

«As for what she was after: I don’t know. We never found out. She just snuck into our hideout, went through our secrets and then ran off empty-handed. Implying it wasn’t there. So, out of curiosity I decided to tail her and see where things would go, before I would strike.»

Underneath the unwithheld cockiness there was disappointment mixed into the white and black girl’s voice. She had strong distaste for how things had gone over these past few hours and where they had lead.

However, that didn’t mean her frustration would transform into a road block. Instead, that role would be taken by the persisting unknowns.

«What she took or if she even took anything, I don’t know either. And trust me, with how rich the Anglicans’ collection is, there is no worth in trying to guess until you have official intel.»

«Official intel you say? Mhm!»

A man’s voice cut into the conversation. While not there physically, it was loud and clear enough to be heard by everyone present perfectly well. That was the quality of the communications items the three supposed witch hunters had brought along.

«We were just done investigating the crime scene. Took us a while with how much she messed things up. Buuttt we went through the entire inventory and it turns out everything’s there.»

The man was talking carelessly as though he laid in a hammock ever so comfortably. No matter how long the night had been, his mood hadn’t been spoiled one bit. Neither by exhaustion nor by failure. No, he’d remain jolly and relaxed, indulging himself with the sound of his own voice.

«That traitor took a whole lot of nothing.»
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Post  Saravati Nair Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:24 am

That didn’t make sense at all.

Birdway was unlikely to be lying to them, but none of what she had said made sense. Stella had moved in and out of numerous different organizations as a consultant, infiltrated their ranks, and used that infiltration to rummage through their stuff and leave with nothing.

She had seemingly put in all this work to leave empty-handed and that didn’t add up. The effort seemed to be far beyond what was necessary.

Though she could have been scoping out locations in search of something and using each place she went to as a way to rule out possibilities.

When she looked at it this way, things began to make more sense. It wasn’t that she had left empty-handed. It was that what she was searching for had not been in the places she had checked through, culminating in her attack on the British Library.

«Official intel you say? Mhm!»

“Oh. Hey, boss~”

The girl smiled as she had felt she had figured at least something out, ready to hear from her scruffy burger-loving superior about what had transpired and what Stella had taken.

But, things would not go as Sara had expected.

«That traitor took a whole lot of nothing.»

“Eh?”

Had she heard that correctly? After going through even the British Library, what she had been looking for was not there?

“None of this makes sense. She went through all that for nothing?”
She thought and thought about it as much as she could and her line of thought eventually redirected itself to another possibility.

“Was there anything out of place? She had gone through all of that and left with nothing. But I doubt she actually left empty-handed. If she can simply memorize information, maybe that’s what she took. Rummaging through everything would leave no trace as to what she was after, so she covered her trails that way.”

But that still left them nowhere if the answer to her opening question was ‘nothing’.

“Was there anything within the British Library that held some sort of common thread with the secrets of a prominent splinter faction of the Golden?”
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Post  Leivinia Birdway Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:27 pm

«You might be onto something with that. But only maybe.»

That man had only paused shortly to absorb the proposal, audibly rummaging through some things on his side. However, whatever he was going through apparently wasn’t valuable enough for him to stop eating.

«All she left behind was a huge mess. It could very well be just a diversion, but it looks as though she was searching for something she didn’t know where to find it. So it could be that she didn’t know whether what she was looking for was really here.»

As long as there was no clear evidence to prove one of those two possibilities they both could not be excluded. Things like that happened in an investigation. Yet, in this case that aspect, too, felt quite intended. The culprit was no fool. No, they must have planned all this. Down to the point where they should have full knowledge of what treasures were hidden underneath the British Library.

«You see, she didn’t have access to this part of the library. Hell, everything down here is top secret even by the church’s standards. So she shouldn’t have known about any of it. But that’s only a ‹should›.»

«Was there anything within the British Library that held some sort of common thread with the secrets of a prominent splinter faction of the Golden?»

«Possibly.»

The priest fell silent again, not eve chewing as he pondered.

«There’s a couple of old stuff stretching through all of British history around. Of course you’d also find something on the Golden Dawn. Grimoires, old scriptures, reports, diaries, all that crap. I can’t go into detail, though, with our friend around. But I guess it’s all in line with what you’ve got, right Birdway?»

«Naturally that’s only one aspect our collections might intersect on. Even if you want to go down that train of thought the sheer amount of documents to consider isn’t going to help us progress.»

In response to the voice on the speaker, Leivinia Birdway spoke sharply and directly. And as she did she circled around the train tracks in an attempt to keep her balance atop them.

«As it stands, there is no way for us to determine what she was after. Not even conducting a forensic investigation might lead us anywhere – at least soon. Of course we are free to juggle around theories all night long, but I suppose that’s going to grow boring, as well.»

In summary: The situation was annoying. All the new information did was confirm the advantage held by the fugitive. Necessarius as the strongest investigation force had been thrown into disarray as well, slowing down the chase as a result. However, if they forced themselves into motion by going with assumptions they could also end up chasing the wrong traces, possibly leading to an unavoidable dead end.

Just thinking about it was tiring.

Still, only a wrong choice of path could lead to said dead end.

The right now on the other hand wasn’t one just yet.
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Post  Atsa Tsinaajinii Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:00 am

The new intel seemed to leave them with only more questions. Sure, they now knew the culprit's name but there were still a large number of unknowns that left them completely in the dark. They didn't didn't know Stella's goal was or even what she wanted so much that she was willing to go against not only the Anglican Church but Dawn-Colored Sunlight as well. Going against even one of those organizations was a suicide mission so what was so precious to make Stella go against both of them and yet not take anything. If they could figure that out maybe they could where she went.

With what Vita said in mind Atsa wouldn't try using the lay lines for look for Stella, it simple didn't seem worth it. A range of a mile radius meant nothing if Stella had already left the country. Sara might have been on to something with the idea that Stella had been looking for information instead of physical object but it seemed their boss wasn't entirely sure about that theory. So all they had to go on now was that Stella had broken into a part of the library she shouldn't have known anything about and had checked the Dawn-Colored Sunlight for this same information. With that in mind the shaman had to assume that while whatever she was looking for was top secret it wasn't held exclusively by one organization.

"So she clearly doesn't care what organizations she pisses off as long as she can get to what she's looking for. With that in mind I'm assuming she's after something powerful enough to take down the Anglican Church and the Dawn-Colored Sunlight or at the very least strong enough to equal our combined power. Alternatively, it could also be something of enough personal value to make her safety and potentially her life insignificant in comparison though the former seems far more likely."

This information didn't exactly help them though unless their boss or Birdway knew something about some document that described how to create a spell that could take them all down. Then again, maybe the information wasn't about the mechanics of a spiritual item or spell but a location. Something that recorded where it was located but if the Anglican Church or the Dawn-Colored Sunlight knew where it was why hadn't they retrieved it.

"What about a location? Is there any chance she thought the Library or the Dawn-Colored Sunlight knew the location of some spiritual tool that was being kept elsewhere and thats what she was looking? I mean if thats what it is we might be able to figure it out by considering what tool our two organizations were both likely to know."
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Post  Vita Vesta Caesar Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:19 pm

"She might also just be going to her next target, Vita mused. "Perhaps she didn't find what she was looking for in either location, and now she's going off to investigate a third possibility."

It was a very real possibility, though it seemed rather fantastic for whatever the woman was searching for to be something that neither the Dawn-Coloured Sunlight nor Necessarius had any info on. She had apparently spent a lengthy amount of time infiltrating and ingratiating herself with both United Kingdom-based magical organizations, and all for the sake of finding something which was most likely located within the forbidden section of their libraries.

"Whatever she's looking for, it's associated with the United Kingdom or is something she has reason to believe an organization based in the United Kingdom is in possession of, and it's some manner of item which might be categorized as forbidden literature. With how much she risked doing this much in the first place, it's hard to believe that she'd flee the country without investigating every possible avenue."

Vita paused for a moment, and then addressed their irritatingly bushy-faced superior.

"Longroad, does Necessarius have any libraries overseas with notable restricted literature sections?"
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Post  Leivinia Birdway Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:57 pm

The discussion could have gone on forever. Spiritual tools, grimoires, old scriptures. All those words were flung around in an attempt to develop a functional theory. But to what avail? From Birdway’s point of view all those could easily be lines with no end.

However, that only was until the Roman idiot spoke up again.

«Longroad, does Necessarius have any libraries overseas with notable restricted literature sections?»

These words raised a possibility that had not occurred to her yet.

She had heard only rumours about it, but those alone still lead her mind into the direction of a new answer. The best strategy for anyone in the culprit’s situation could logically only be one. One that – while dangerous – surely was the most goal oriented.

«Of course…Mhm…mhm…yes this seems plausible.»

And from the sound of it, she wasn’t the only one following that train of thought.

«I suppose it’s better to discuss this in person. You guys return to the base. I’ll do some digging in the meantime. Ah, and bring our guest along, will ya?»

The matter hadn’t come to an end just yet. This hadn’t been the first time for Leivinia Birdway to encounter the man going by the name Richmond Longroad. And he had managed to leave quite an impression on her. From that alone she could deduce that his response implied for even more to come. Not to ignore the fact that she had been invited to tag along for the continuation of the conversation.

Surely, things were about to become truly interesting.


3:43 A.M.

The scene had shifted from London’s most frequented and largest station to a small chapel in the city’s outskirts. It wasn’t a shabby place, but none that was anywhere near touristy or on the grid for anyone in the know. In fact, the place was so irrelevant, the majority of people involved in the Anglican Church wouldn’t know of its existence. A small speck on the world map, far removed from the all seeing eyes belonging to the UK’s infamous witch hunter organisation.

The main prayer room was small but still harboured three rows of wooden benches separated by a narrow corridor leading to the altar. As if to add a sense of romanticism the ancient looking space was solely lit by a few oil lamps and candles instead of any electric source. While it made things harder to see so late at night, it also spread a relaxing odour in the otherwise stale air.

A man sat on the floor by the altar. He was clad in a colourful hand-woven poncho, wore a military hat with brim, as well as a traditional Anglican priest uniform with worn out hiking boots. Overall, he left a not really respect worthy impression. Especially, since he was eating a burger while going through an already collapsed pile of papers.

Between the lines (Arc 4 Side Story) - Page 2 Longro10
«Everyone’s here now. That means we can start!»

He announced 20 minutes after the last arrival.

Leivinia Birdway had assumed position in the far back of the hall, relaxing herself by leaning against a stone pillar. There was no need for her to take the centre stage, given that she was only supposed to be a guest to the meeting. As such her single purpose right now was to listen closely and see.

Besides, there were four other people present. Three of which were the ones she had run into at the station.

«We looked deeper into tonight’s incident. We were able to fully confirm that absolutely nothing has been taken from the library. And there’s no trace of Stella Dellinger di Ariana, either.»

He opened the update with a summary of what nearly everyone already knew. However, only nearly.

«What is new is that we now believe to understand where she will head to next. There is in fact many vaults for knowledge used by the Anglican Church throughout the world. Not exclusively limited to the Common Wealth Nations. The protection of the world from dangerous knowledge needed deals to be struck with outside factions like the Roman Catholics or the Russian Orthodox.

But, if you think about it, there’s no way anyone would target any of those. After tonight security will be heightened to a degree where not even an insider in the know would be capable of sneaking their way in.

However, there is one single exception to all of those. A single of those repositories isn’t located within any of those cooperating institutions. And that’s the go-to for everything actually. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The library harbouring 103000 grimoires. You can imagine that, whatever she seeks, she would find in there.

And sadly, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum is currently located in Academy City, the capital of the science side. The only place in the world we don’t have full control over. The only place we cannot fully trust with its defence.

It’d be crazy to invade it as a Magician, but under the current circumstances it is obviously the easiest path to pick. After all, she would be fully aware of the results her actions might bring. Something she has proven quite well when invading the British National Library and breaking away from us.

Therefore, while there is no certainty to anything we are very sure that Stella Dellinger di Ariana is currently on her way to Academy City.»


The Index Librorum Prohibitorum and Academy City. While no longer entirely unexpected, that turn of events had been quite thrilling to Birdway. More thrilling than the actual situation that had led to this turn of events.

Surely, things had become truly interesting.


Last edited by Leivinia Birdway on Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Saravati Nair Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:15 am

Within that old church, one girl had decided to place herself atop one of the chandeliers, sitting on its edge while keeping a hand on the chain that supported it. She was hardly the type to place herself on a pedestal, but she did enjoy having her own perch and seeing things from a bird’s eye view. Not to mention, as much as she was the one endorsing the idea of listening to the little leader of the Dawn-Colored Sunlight, she would be remiss to not harbor some suspicions and keep an eye out. Though, whether her efforts were worth anything was an entirely different story.

While the scruffy boss had deduced the likeliest next destination of the culprit, that merely closed one issue and opened up an entirely different can of worms.

“Even if she infiltrates Academy City, it’s not like that’s the end of things, right? Assuming she makes her way in, she still has to find her way around, ascertain the position of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, make her way through whatever safeguards may have been put in place, secure a position, and still find a way to access her knowledge.”

The girl had replaced her sundress on, so it simply fluttered as she had swung her bare feet from her perch with lackadaisical abandon.

“In other words, there’s still a good window of time left before she can get what she wants. That leaves her in a position where she can still be intercepted.”

Regardless of how well she had made it through both Necessarius and the Dawn-Colored Sunlight, that worked well because she had spent the effort to build a prerequisite level of trust with those organizations. That would not fly as easily with Academy City. Not only would anyone aware of her know where to intercept her, but she wouldn’t have the ease of access she did with Necessarius in that fortress of science worship.

And that same issue applied to Necessarius as well.

“But, it’s not like we can do anything there either, is it? I don’t really get the politics between the two organizations, but it’s not like we can just waltz, even if it is to capture and eliminate another magician, right?”

The obstacles laid out in the initial phases were inevitably the same for both groups.
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Post  Vita Vesta Caesar Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:08 am

"We actually have a pretty good relationship with Academy City, though?"

Seeing that Saravati was laboring under some sort of fundamental misunderstanding, Vita, who had been alternately trying to drive Saravati down from her perch on the chandeliers with a broom she'd retrieved from the supply closet and trying to peek up her skirt, took it upon herself to provide a resolution in the form of an explanation.

"I mean, out of all the magic side organizations, I think we're about the only ones who can say that? I don't know what sorts of deals the higher ups made to get things this way, but that's the truth."

In the first place, the fact that the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was being kept there said much. Rather than being kept within their own territory, it had been entrusted to the care of the bastion of the science side. There were surely many political motivations in play behind that decision, such as leaving it as a hostage as insurance, but in the end Necessarius had still trusted Academy City enough to leave it in its care.

"So yes, we're probably going to be doing exactly that," Vita confidently declared, referring to Saravati's 'waltz in' comment. "I mean, that Stiyl person who we were actually going to meet up with before he got blasted by our friend here," she gives a nod to Birdway, "has actually gone in and out of Academy City a few times on business, I think? It should just be a matter of informing them of the situation and requesting entry."

Vita glances towards Longroad in search for confirmation, absentmindedly poking the broom towards Saravati all the while.
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Post  Atsa Tsinaajinii Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:49 am

So they were located in a library in Academy City. Atsa thought it was a bit strange that the Anglican Church was keeping a library 103,000 grimoires in a place completely dominated by science but there was no point in questioning the decisions of the higher ups right now. At the very least he had to admit they put it in a place that very few magicians would go looking. Well at least that seemed to be the case until Stella came into the picture. It made sense now why she was so willingly to go up against the Church and the Dawn Coloured Sunlight now. With access to that many grimoires it's very possible that one could rival their power though he had to wonder what her plan for dealing with the side effects were.

The shaman would’ve thought more about this if it wasn’t for two major distractions that were taking his attention away from his own thoughts. The first of these was that his eagle had flown up to the chandelier only to find that Saravati had set up camp in the spot it wanted. As a result it had perched itself up on a different part of the ceiling fixture and spread its wings out while flapping them at the female magician in an attempt to shoo them away. The other distraction was Vita who was currently attacking Sara from the ground with a broom.

For a meeting about a library with over a hundred thousand grimoires and a magician willing to take on the world’s strongest magic organizations to get it the energy seems strangely lax. Then again, Atsa was fairly certain their superior was eating a burger earlier while they were in the middle of trying to figure out who had attacked the library. So maybe this was how these people acted when they were taking things seriously.

Regardless Atsa would take advantage of his position behind Vita to extend his leg and give her a very light kick to the back. It wasn’t enough to do any damage just enough to maybe momentarily knock her off balance. The shaman thought it was the very least he could do for Sara since his bird was already giving her a hard time. Dealing with an aggravated bird and a perv trying to look up your skirt at the same time had to be irritating.

”Interception would probably be ideal but Vita has a good point. If we have a good relationship with Academy City or even just one better than the rest of the magic organizations I imagine they’d be willing to let us in even if begrudgingly. After all, if Stella is left to her own devices she is likely to cause a lot of trouble for them as well. Bringing our friend along might be a problem though.” Atsa would turn his head towards the back of the room at the piano child who had tried to burn and blow them up earlier. “Unless you happen to have your own plans for getting into the city.”

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Post  Heinrich Steinmann Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:31 pm

Heinrich sat in a pew watching the chaos unfold.  He had just finished committing corporate espionage for a Spanish engineering firm when he was contacted by Necessarius about a new job.  He had immediately hurried to the meeting at the church as Necessarius only ever called upon him when a task became too difficult for their members alone.  He had arrived to find a man enjoying a burger, an American shaman, a girl who thought of herself as a bird, a small magician who seemed stronger than appearances might suggest, and that roman girl from the time on the bus.  A total group of strangers aside from the roman, whose name Heinrich recalled to be Vita.  As the situation was explained and Heinrich learned of Stella Dellinger di Ariana, the girl who had managed to come out on top against both Necessarius and the Dawn Colored Sunlight, he thought to himself that he was gonna have to ask for a much higher fee.

At the present there was a squabble in the chandelier as an eagle battled the bird girl for perching rights while Vita alternated between shameless voyeurism and attempting to bring the eagle to victory by knocking the bird girl from her lofty position.  He shuddered at the thought of having to get in the middle of such a situation while on the job, when the shaman spoke.

”Interception would probably be ideal but Vita has a good point. If we have a good relationship with Academy City or even just one better than the rest of the magic organizations I imagine they’d be willing to let us in even if begrudgingly. After all, if Stella is left to her own devices she is likely to cause a lot of trouble for them as well. Bringing our friend along might be a problem though.”

The shaman then asked the small girl at the back if she had her own plan of sneaking into Academy City, giving Heinrich his own opportunity to interject.  "I don't know anything about her, but I've been before on jobs, mostly before I took up magic.  Even now, I don't think I'd have too much trouble getting in.  The real question should be less how do we get in, and more of what do we do once there? Do we know where to find the grimoires?  Can we get there before our little thief?". He directed this last set of questions towards the man eating the burger, as he seemed to be the one in charge.
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Post  Leivinia Birdway Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:52 am

A chaotic bunch of idiots. That was all Leivinia Birdway saw before her in that prayer hall. You had those three from earlier, you had the burger munching sloth of a priest and you had that other man who clearly was an extra pay worth asset.

They had quickly broken loose into a discussion regarding Academy City, political relationships and a possible way of entry. A discussion where the attention shifted towards the odd one out: Herself.

«There are always methods to accomplish your goals. If that pilferer can, so do I.»

She gave a short albeit convincing reply, not shy about hiding her own displeasure.

Summing up the whole of the situation, there was nothing to be overly enthusiastic about. This was less of a strategy meeting than a carnival.

That alone gave her enough of a reason to extend her period of silence, until she found something truly worthwhile to pick up on. After all, everything she heard, while valuable, didn’t quite include her just yet.

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«It won’t be as easy as you think. Just because we’re on good terms with Academy City, doesn’t mean that they’ll allow us in just like that. Things don’t look that good after tonight, you know?»

Longroad continued, providing only the hint of an insight, as was usual. Surely, he would get to the actual point any moment, but there was a clear love for making a mystifying headline to lure the others’ curiosity in on the spot.

And as usual before he would go into the details, he’d rummage through the pile of papers around him, picking up a specific one possibly containing the major points.

«Oh right. Could you please leave Sara-chan alone and sit down like a well mannered little Empress? What I have here is a collection of your gynaecologist records and I’m not too shy to read them out. Do you copy, Vita Amante?»

He drifted away from the topic entirely casually, but at the same time directed his most dangerous blade at the trouble maker at the centre of the chaos. Information had been Longroad’s forte. It was the true reason he had been this terrifying an individual. If there was something to dig up about you, he would certainly find it. And he’d use it to his advantage. Much like he had done right there, bringing forth that name of all.

Yet, just as today’s guest of honour was about to facepalm at this display of utter unprofessionalism, a door to the backrooms of the church opened.

«Please pardon my intrusion. It seems like everyone is getting along just well, so I could not hold back any longer.»

The person who emerged was a young girl of about 18 years of age. She was clad in a simple beige robe that was not entirely in line with the standards of the clergymen. However, that was quickly overlooked when facing her clear blue eyes, the crystal-white skin and that golden hair. In fact her hair was the most outstanding of her features, was it so long that even after being folded and fixed in place by a silver hairpin, it easily reached down to her ankles in each of said folds.

She was a presence to behold. Yet also one that sent a shiver down Leivinia Birdway’s spine.

After all, that girl was Laura Stuart. The archbishop of the Anglican Church.

«…eh…? Didn’t I ask you to stay backstage…? I got this!»

Her appearance even threw Longroad, who so far had kept up his casual facade, into utter disarray.

«It’s fine! It’s fine! Don’t worry! Don’t worry!»

Another casual talker. Her soft, slightly insecure seeming smile was not at all in sync with her reputation.

Even as she turned to face the group, this woman did not seem like the commander in chief that she was.

That was until she opened her mouth to speak once more.

«Let us cut straight to the point, yes? Things will not be as easy as you hope for them to be on this operation, as – unfortunately – Academy City has turned down our request to handle this situation. Part of the that is sourced in our embarrassing failed attempt at capturing Stella Dellinger di Ariana tonight.»

She explained carefully yet softly as she moved to the centre of the altar. While she did, she made sure to instigate eye contact with everyone involved. First Sara, then Vita, afterwards Atsa and lastly Longroad.

«I do not need to tell you that you did a bad job tonight. That is why I decided to give you one final chance.»

A cold wind blew through the already cool interior.

«Another part of them declining us entry is the realistic possibility of our ranks being compromised. With how smoothly Stella’s escape happened, it is fair to assume that she had help from within the Anglican Church and Necessarius. As of right now we do not know of the extent of that, but we are investigating the traitor or traitors.»

That was why outsiders had been involved in the first place. That was why those responsible for tonight’s failure had been requested into this hall. It wasn’t an act of mercy. It was because there was nobody else to trust than those that had made it to the scene.

«However, as a result of this turn of events, this meeting is off the record. As a matter of fact, this entire incident won’t be an official matter any longer.»


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Post  Saravati Nair Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:01 am

Sara had to wonder how she became the center of so much unwanted attention. Beneath, the super prideful blonde girl was trying to poke her with a broom stick (or get a peek under her dress? Sara couldn’t really discern what her true intent was.) From nearby, her assailant wasn’t even human. It was just an eagle who seemed to be pissed off that it didn’t get its vaunted perch. Really, she had to wonder what she did to gain so much attention.

But, what happened next definitely wiped the confusion from the pincer attack away.

“Boss, that’s a bit too much, don’t you think?” As much as the girl below her was an annoyance, she definitely could say Longroad took the order a bit too far. Revealing gynecological records? Every girl had their secrets and she could assume the one called Vita was no different.

But, before she could blurt out any further, a face she had only seen once before. Though that form had only entered her vision once, she could never truly forget it. The beige habit. The unbelievably long hair clasped together yet still longer than anything she had ever seen.

Her eyes narrowed at the sight of her. After all, her appearance this far out of the way couldn’t be a sign of anything good.

The bare feet that had been hanging and flitting about beneath her had come to a halt.

It didn’t take much for her to understand what Archibishop Lola Stuart was saying to them. Perhaps that was because that woman had made it that way.

It didn’t take any whispers or subtlety to realize what had happened.

They had failed. And thus, they needed to rectify their mistake or be cut off.

“I see.”

Everything that happened here was off the record. That meant that from this moment forward, this motley crew’s actions were not of the organization’s until success was certain.

Truly, this was the level of cunning of the witch at the top of the organization. Especially considering that she was likely hiding even more than she let on.
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Post  Vita Vesta Caesar Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:10 am

«Do you copy, Vita Amante?»

All else Longroad might have mentioned flew from Vita's head with the mention of that name. He had mentioned information that was of vital importance to your assignment and rectifying their previous failure, and he had brought up her gynecologist recordsーsomething that would surely make any girl sweat for someone to have possession of, much less threaten to spread, much less be in the possession of someone like Longroadーbut with the mention of that name she forgot it all.

For magicians, names were of the utmost importance. There were magic names, but the names they went by day to day were just as important. It was hardly uncommon for magicians to change their names as they entered the magic side. It might be to separate themselves from their former lives, to act as a foundation for a new persona, a symbol of resolve, or else even for more esoteric purposes. In Vita's case it was a mixture of all four.

Amante was her baptismal name. Whatever the surname she should have received from her birth parents was, she didn't know what it was and wasn't particularly interested in finding out. So when the Roman Catholics took her in, they gave the name Amante to her who was lacking one. 'One who loves God'. It could hardly have fit her any less.

'Vesta Caesar' was her way of separating herself from her pasts, both on the street and in the church. It clearly communicated to any she spoke with her ideals and resolve. For now, it was a matter of pomp and circumstance, almost more hot air than substance, but the fact that she introduced herself as such nonetheless showed that it would not always remain that way.

For a man such as Longroad to speak that name here, to know it in the first place, it was unimaginable to think that he didn't understand the gravity of it. To attempt to forcefully drag her back into her past like this, the shamelessness, the disrespect of it all was almost enough to drive her to state her other name

«Please pardon my intrusion. It seems like everyone is getting along just well, so I could not hold back any longer.»

ーbut before she could a new player arrived with a forcefulness that almost made her lose her grip on her broom, which she had at some point started to hold more like a makeshift spear.

Lola Stuart. Archbishop. Someone who stood in a position that she at present could hardly even dream of holding, possessing power with which Vita could almost certainly use to change her dreams to realities. Someone at present beyond her reach.

And she had come to cut them off.

"We will definitely make up for this failure."

She didn't believe for the slightest second that she had made a mistake back in the station. She had regarded Birdway with the proper wariness, re-assessed the situation when faced with the relevant information, organized her priorities, and attempted to have her allies placed in the positions where they could use their skills to the fullest. Certainly, she hadn't made a mistake.

But the fact was still that they had failed in the end. Even if she were to say that it was the fault of her allies, she could just as easily say that it was her own fault for not possessing the aptitude to single-handedly make up for their shortcomings.

And now, even if it was only because they were the only ones whose loyalty she felt she could trust, they were being given another chance. She had to make the most of it, or else. Necessarius was still of use to her.

And also. It was an action almost certainly calculated for her own benefit, but she had done it nonetheless. With her entrance, Lola Stuart had subtly scolded Longroad for his treatment of her. Sounding like the innocence of a girl who wasn't capable of reading the room, it nonetheless carried an unmistakable twang of biting sarcasm, and despite being levied in such a way that it was applicable to all parties in the room, the timing with which she entered, cutting off Longroad as he spoke, made it clear he too was included within those parties.

It was hardly an act of kindness, but it was nonetheless one that she appreciated very much.
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Post  Heinrich Steinmann Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:36 pm

"Oh right. Could you please leave Sara-chan alone and sit down like a well mannered little Empress? What I have here is a collection of your gynaecologist records and I’m not too shy to read them out. Do you copy, Vita Amante?"

Heinrich had no stake in this argument between the members of Necessarius, and had done his own fair share of questionable acts of blackmail and threats, but even he found this threat to be an act of going too far.  There were lines one didn't cross with those they supposedly were allied with, this being one of them.  Heinrich made a mental note to check with his physician that no one had called about records as he watched the little Roman grow extremely angry.  He saw her stiffen up at the mention of the name "Amante" and noted that there was history there that he would need to be extremely careful with when delving into.  As he watched the girl grow angrier and shift the broom from its purpose of knocking down the bird girl to a polearm to be used against the priest, it dawned on Heinrich that he might need to protect his employer's representative.  Heinrich pricked his finger with his ring, drawing blood so that if the girl were to move on the priest, he could have a weapon ready and get between them.  But this conflict never had an opportunity to blossom as the doors of the backroom opened.

"Please pardon my intrusion. It seems like everyone is getting along just well, so I could not hold back any longer."

Into the main room of the church walked a presence that made Heinrich shudder.  The Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Laura Stuart, had always creeped Heinrich out the few times they had met, usually when he was being hired or paid.  Heinrich thought to himself how strange it was for a girl so young to be in a position of such power, the other non-member of Necessarius in the church not-withstanding.  As Heinrich heard her threat about the final chance, he began to wonder if he too was included in that?  True, he had not bungled the events of that night with the rest of them, but it would still be extremely harmful to lose one of his largest employers.  

"As of right now we do not know of the extent of that, but we are investigating the traitor or traitors."

So that was why his services had been requested.  Necessarius was compromised and only a handful of people could be trusted, while his status as an outsider made him exempt from suspicion.  As the archbishop spoke of how Academy City was refusing to let the Anglicans handle the matter, he felt a need to speak up.

"This doesn't change the fact that I can get in.  But what about these screwups over here, Madame Archbishop?"
Heinrich Steinmann
Heinrich Steinmann
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Post  Atsa Tsinaajinii Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:12 am

Well it seemed things were a lot worse than what Atsa had originally expected and that was saying a lot considering he had anticipated a hefty punishment for their failure to catch the culprit. The Archbishop herself had showed up to the meeting and now there was talk of a potential traitor/traitors. At the same time he had to wonder, what exactly would happen if they screwed up on what the archbishop described as their last chance. There was no way it'd be something as simple as being just kicked out of Necessarious. Execution maybe? That would be better then being locked away, tortured, and then executed at the very least.

There was also the possibility they wouldn't even make it back from the city. Now he had to wonder how a city full of espers would deal with its captured intruders. Once again, he didn't see any particularly comforting ends to that story. With that in mind, there seemed to only be one path that seemed to end on at least a half decent note. They would need to succeed in their next attempt at stopping Stella or suffer the consequences of the alternative endings.

”Well that makes things a bit more complicated but guess their no choice since our mistakes led to this.”

Atsa would get up from the place he had been sitting and stretch out a little as he did so. The new guy's comments didn't sit well with him but there was no point in picking a fight over it. At the same time, however, the man's behavior made him wonder if he was going to end up being detrimental to the mission. Calling out your soon to be teammates as screw ups in front of their boss was definitely not a good first impression to make and considering Vita had been willing to attack Longroad with a broom just a few moments before Atsa doubted she'd hesitate in striking out against Hienrich for bad mouthing her. Breaking into Academy City and beating Stella to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was going to be impossible if the team was at each others throats the whole time.

At the same time while Hienrich's confidence was welcome it could turn out to be incredibly problematic if it turned out to be unfounded. Atsa didn't know much about Academy City but was fairly certain breaking in their with the expectation that everything was going to go your way was definitely going to end in death. With all this in mind Atsa would start thinking of what to do if these problems ended up becoming a reality while he waited for what else the Archbishop had to say.
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