Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ch. 1.25: Unstable Element



 Where is he? Last he remembered, he was--wait, where had he been? The memory is slipping away. He tries to seize it, but it wiggles away, evading his grasp. All he knows is what’s in front of him.
 

He shivers—he’s cold, frozen straight through to his bones. His marrow has turned to ice. The room is too bright, the florescent lights intensified by the white walls and the metal chambers that are surrounding him. He rubs his face as he steps forward, frosty air billowing around him. He’s not quite sure where he’s going, but he feels like he must walk. The shadowy figure of a man stands in front of him, hazy, impossible to distinguish. The man speaks.

“Mercury,” he says, but everything after that is incomprehensible.




Mercury tries to respond, but his voice fails him, as do his knees. He falls forward, and his body begins to flicker. It can’t decide between ethereal and physical. Oh no, he thinks, please don’t do this. He focuses, concentrating hard, thinking solid thoughts. Gold and platinum, denser than mercury. The flickering stops.

“Mercury, do you understand me?” the voice has been talking the whole time. Mercury concentrates, but he can only hear fragments, “…Bee…female, approximately...alive…debt….Can you….Do you understand?”



Mercury shakes his head. The figure crouches in front of him, his eyes studying Mercury. When he feels that his body finally under control, Mercury looks up to the stranger and meets his gaze.


“Where am I,” he croaks, “What did you do to me?”


“Listen closely, Mercury,” the voice is insistent, “you must find her—“


 
Elysia wakes up, suddenly but not with surprise. Another strange dream, another night. Must be Tuesday.

With Lily’s help, Elysia has gotten better at filtering out the thoughts of others. But when she’s sleeping, it’s harder. Sometimes people’s dreams or thoughts or even their current locations seep into her unconscious mind. It’s been an interesting experiment in the human condition, and as a writer, she’s not complaining. She knows the motivations, thoughts, and feelings of just about everyone in town.

She glances at the clock on her bedside table. It’s three in the morning, but she’s wide awake. She’s been working on a big story for a while, about some top-secret contract between the Simnation military and a pharmaceutical company, a deal which was brokered by the Landgraabs. Both Elysia and her editor are suspicious of the contract. But Elysia has found it hard to get a good lead for the story, and the anxiety is making it hard for her to sleep. She doesn’t want to be stuck running the gossip column for the rest of her career.


Elysia is so consumed by her own thoughts that she fails to sense the angry snarl descending on her. She screams and shields her face as a strange man bursts into her room.

***


It had taken over twenty hours of painful labor, but Luna and Quentin were now the proud parents of a baby girl. They had left for the hospital the night before, leaving Elysia alone in the house, and they had returned with a new life.

“Esperanza,” Quentin coos to his daughter, “See! She looked at me! She already knows her name. Hi, Esperanza! I’m your daddy. Can you say daddy?”

“She can’t recognize words yet,” Luna laughs, “you’re just seeing what you want to see.” Luna let Quentin name their daughter, and she’s happy with the name he chose. Esperanza—it fits.

“Here,” Quentin gently hands his daughter to Luna, “Why don’t you go show Elysia?”

Luna nods, excited to show off her daughter. She should be exhausted, but she feels energized. She bounds up the stairs to Elysia’s tiny room. Unconcerned by the idea that Elysia might be sleeping, she throws open her bedroom door.


And her energy dissipates. Elysia’s room has been torn apart: her nightstand is overturned, her desk has been rifled through, and her laptop is missing.

“Elysia?” She asks the empty room.

***
 

Polaris snuggles her new granddaughter, little Esperanza Parker-Bee. She still has the new baby smell, a scent that hurls Polaris back in time to memories of her first childbirth. It’s too bad she’s not meeting her first grandchild under happier circumstances.


In the living room, Nova is crying. “I didn’t want them to move out,” she hiccups, “and look what happened!”

“Nova, it’s okay. The police will find her,” Zenith tries to console his sister, “please don’t be sad.”

“I’m not sad,” she snaps, “I'm pissed--I should have stopped her from leaving! I knew something bad would happen!”

“I think you’re projecting that feeling now that this happened,” Zenith can be surprisingly astute sometimes, “you can’t blame yourself.”

“Maybe,” Nova sniffles, “but once I find out who did these, I’m going to kill him.”

Quentin watches this scene, unsure of what to do. He barely knows Luna’s family, and now he’s been thrown together with them in the midst of a possible tragedy.

“I’ll dispose of the body,” Quentin finally offers.

“Good. I could also use a patsy,” Nova tries not to smile.

“Then patsy I shall be,” he promises.


Kiki sniffs at her human and gently nudges her with her nose. Nova absently pets Kiki, who wags her tail in return, proud of herself for having obviously cheered up her dear, beloved pet human.

After Luna found Elysia’s room trashed, Quentin had insisted that they leave the house immediately. Luna called the police and told them to meet her at Polly’s house. Now, with great difficulty, she is trying to file a police report.


“So you didn’t actually witness any sort of abduction or foul play,” the officer asks doubtfully.

“No, but her room was a mess.”

“Your sister is single?”

“She’s seeing someone, but it’s not too serious.”

“I see. And she’s young?”

“Well, yeah, she’s the same age as me.”

“How often does your sister drink?”

“Drink? I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Luna’s voice cracks a little and she tries to hold back tears. Why is this woman being so mean?

The officer sighs, “is it possible she left of her own accord?”

“I don’t think so—“

“But you’re not sure?”

“I don’t understand what the problem is, officer. My sister’s room was torn apart and she’s missing. No one has heard from her in at least a day!”


“Ma’am, you sister is an adult. She has the right to disappear if she wants to. I can’t waste the department’s time with a report like this.”

“But—“

“Stop,” Polaris interrupts and hands Esperanza to Luna, “may I speak with you outside, officer?”

“Of course, ma’am.”

Polaris makes sure the door is shut completely before she turns to speak to the officer.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but—“


“Not another word,” Polaris tries her hardest to restrain herself from saying anything too inappropriate, “I know that you think this is just some case of a ditzy blond wandering off for a weekend of fun without notifying anyone, but you’re dead wrong.”

“I don’t—“

“Elysia is a strong-willed, brilliant young lady with a bright future. She would not ‘leave of her own accord.’ I don’t know what your problem is, but I am not going to allow you imply that this is anything but foul play.”

“But there’s no evidence—“

“There’s no evidence because you need to find it. That’s your job. Now, listen here: you are going to go back in there and you are going to take Luna’s report. You are going to open a case about Elysia’s disappearance and you are going to investigate it to the best of your ability. Do you understand?”

The officer nods; whether it’s because of her inexperience, or because of Polaris’ firm tone, she’s completely cowed. “Yes, ma’am. I understand.”


“Good.”
*** 
In the wake of Elysia’s disappearance, the remaining members of the Bee brood try to keep busy. Polaris and the twins spends their evenings plastering the neighborhood with fresh missing posters that offer a reward for Elysia’s safe return. Luke, now obscenely wealthy due to royalties from his albums and Lily’s smart investing, foots the bill. With the help of Elysia’s editor, Solaris has been making sure that Elysia’s disappearance stays in the news. And although they now have a baby to take care of, Luna and Quentin have slowly been interviewing all of their neighbors since the police department seems to be ignoring Elysia’s case.


Polaris worries for the safety of her youngest children. She doesn’t forbid them from going out, but she gives them worried looks whenever they ask to go somewhere with friends. Thus, the twins spend their free time locked at home, the alarm system armed and the ever vigilant Kiki on guard duty. They spend a lot of that free time playing video games, substituting their real lives for virtual ones. First-person shooters are their poison of choice. They recently bought a new game, and Zenith is currently trouncing his sister.

“No fair,” Nova complains after a particularly brutal execution, “I was scratching my nose.”

“That’s the last act of a desperate woman, sister, and I won’t hear it,” Zenith says.


“According to the Twin Treaty, there are automatic time-outs for bodily functions.”

“Bullshit,” he replies, “scratching your nose isn’t a bodily function.” Zenith is tired of Nova using the Twin Treaty to win arguments. It’s about time he stood up for himself.

“Yeah-huh!”

“Nuh-uh!”

Nova’s cell phone rings, interrupting their scholarly debate. “Time out,” Nova declares. Zenith ignores her and spitefully kills her character again. She sneers at him and checks the caller ID: it’s her friend Mia.

“’Sup?”

“I’m taking you out, bitch,” Mia says.


“Is that a threat?” Nova asks.

“No, dummy. I’m taking you out for a night of fun-filled partying,” Mia laughs, “bitch.”

“Traditionally, one begins a telephone call with a casual but friendly greeting.”

“I’m serious. You’ve been isolating yourself ever since your sister went missing. Like, I understand why you’re upset, but you need to take your mind off of everything. Have some fun!”

“I don’t know. Zenith and I got a new game—“


“Zenith can come with us,” Mia sounds a little too eager.

Nova turns to her brother, and with her hand over the receiver, she whispers, “It’s Mia.”

Zenith’s eyes bulge out, and he shakes his head and whispers in return, “No way! You’re on your own.” He doesn’t like the way Mia stares at him—she looks like she’s really hungry and he’s a turkey dinner.

“Umm, I forgot, Zenith is supposed to, um, he’s—“

“Okay, he doesn’t want to come. Got it,” Mia sounds disappointed, “well, then it’s a girls’ night out! I’ll be by to pick you up in half an hour. Change out of those nasty-ass pajamas and gussy up.”

“I’m not wearing pajamas,” Nova lies.

Mia hangs up the phone and looks over her shoulder. “I’m going out, mom.”


“I heard, dear,” January doesn’t look up from her book. It’s not that she’s a bad mother; she just wouldn’t mind a night without her daughter home, “Make sure to be back by eleven.”

“Of course, mom,” Mia grins. Her mom never waits up that late, so Mia usually comes home whenever she wants, “’night!” she calls over her shoulder as she traipses out of the house. January winces when the door slams shut. How can one girl be so loud?


January waits a moment, listening to her daughter stomp across the front lawn and down the street. When she’s sure Mia is gone, she pulls out her cell phone and dials Solaris’ number.

“Hi, babe. Mia just left. Would you like to come over?”

Before Solaris can respond, January feels a pair of strong hands wrap around her, one placed over her mouth and the other around her waist. Her phone drops to the ground, the screen shattering in the process.


“Don’t scream, bitch,” a gruff voice commands her, “we’re going on a little adventure, you and I.” He pushes her forward, steering her to the back door.

“January? Hello? What happened?” Solaris’ voice drifts from the phone.

***
 
 
Mia takes Nova to a place called Toucan’s. It’s sleazy enough to not check IDs at the door, but clean enough that the chance of catching anything seems slim. The drinks are cheap, the bathrooms are clean-ish, and the music is loud. It’s perfect for a pair of underage drinkers. Mia quickly stakes out a place on the dance floor and then sends Nova to order drinks. 

“You’ve done this before,” Nova complains, “Why don’t you order them?” She’s afraid that the bartender might kick her out since she’s obviously underage. Besides, Mia seems more suited for such a task since she looks older.

“Ah, I am trying to teach you, my child,” Mia says as she sways casually to the music, “you must learn to fend for yourself.”

“You just don’t want to stop dancing.”

“That too. Now go!”


Nova takes a deep breath and plasters a smile on her face as she makes a beeline to the bar. As she walks, each step deliberate, Nova conjures up a story. Her name’s not Nova, it’s…Norah! Norah Lee. She’s 23, almost 24, and she left her ID at home. She’s a gymnast, so that’s why she looks so young. It’s an airtight story, but the bartender hardly looks up at her when she signals for a drink.

“Whatdya want, ginger?”

“Um…what do you suggest?”

“For a girl like you?” the bartender briefly glances at her, “Cherry Casanova.”

“Make it two,” Nova says confidently. The bartender grunts in response. She doesn’t make enough money to be polite.


“She didn’t even card me,” Nova giggles when she returns to Mia.

“Welcome to the dark side, Miss Bee,” Mia grabs her dink and begins to chug it down.


“You are too kind, Miss Covington,” Nova opts to sip hers slowly. It makes her feel more ladylike and proper.

“Oh, c’mon! Chug it, Bee!” Mia says playfully.

“Harumph! I would never,” Nova adopts a regal tone, “If one is going to break bad, one should do so with class and elegance.”

“Well then, in celebration of your newfound depravity, I’ll get the next round."


Mia quickly outpaces Nova, swigging down twice as many drinks. With alcohol twisting their tongues, the girls decide that it’s the perfect moment to sing a duet. They select a random song—one they don’t know the words to—and begin belting.

The words are random, of course, and neither girl can seem to pick up the melody. But that’s incidental, because they look hella cute while singing.


Not everyone finds them as endearing as they believe themselves to be. A random man begins to boo them. “Get off the stage,” he jeers.

“Jump back up your mother,” Nova retorts.

“That was uncalled for,” the man looks genuinely hurt.

“So’s your FACE,” Mia delivers the wicked burn with ease. The man clenches his jaw shut and decides to order another drink instead of engaging with the obviously intoxicated duo.


Once their song is over, the girls tear up the dance floor. They’re the only ones out there, but the girls don’t mind. Nova, as part of the oddest family in town, is immune to the judgments of others, and Mia rather likes the attention. She tries to make eye contact with each man in the bar. Her eyes finally come to rest on a potential target.

“I think that guy’s checking us out,” Mia says, gesturing to the man. Nova glances at him over her shoulder.

“Ugh, looks like a real dick,” she replies, trying not to stare, “I mean, a good looking dick, but a dick is a dick is a dick.”

“Stop saying dick!”

“Dick.”

“I think I’m going to go talk to him,” Mia begins to move towards the man, but Nova grabs her arm.

“Hey, it’s girls’ night out,” Nova reminds her, “you’re not gonna abandon me here, Covington.”

“Fine,” Mia pouts, “but you owe me one.”


Mercury is surprised when the girls appear to notice him. He’s been watching them for at least an hour from his perch, trying to get a feel for them. When he meets Nova’s gray eyes, he quickly looks past her towards the door, pretending as if he’s waiting for someone. But when the brunette starts to approach him, he slides off the barstool and slips out the back door. They have to leave the bar at some point. He’ll find out where she lives then.

The girls alternate between dancing and torturing innocent bystanders with off-key singing until finally the bartender signals last round. By that point, Mia is so far gone that she requires Nova’s assistance to walk.


Nova has always thought that it was weird how Mia’s eyes seem to glow in low light, but she’s too polite to ask about it. Mia returns the favor by never asking about Nova’s general appearance. The girls share a lot with each other, but there’s obviously an unspoken mutual agreement to ignore physical oddities.

“Now was that so bad?” Mia slurs as they leave the bar, “No biggie, right? No biggie.”

“It was a’ight,” Nova says, “thanks for inviting me. We gotta get you home, though.” Nova is by no means sober, but she can at least walk semi-straight.

“Can I just crash at your house?” Mia always gets sleepy after drinking. She can’t fathom walking home when her bones feel like lead.

“Fo’ sho, ho’,” Nova giggles at this, believing this to be quite the witty riposte.


Mercury watches carefully as the girls leave. They seem foolhardy and oblivious—just how he would expect teenage girls to act. But this only makes him more unsure of his task. She can’t be his target, can she? 

But he has a debt to repay. He sighs and—keeping a safe distance—follows her home.

21 comments:

  1. I was so happy to see Mercury back... But now not so much... Something is hinky. To whom does he owe a debt? And what for? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

    Mia is a werewolf? I kinda don't like her... Maybe because I'm not the type of person to invite someone out while their sister is missing. As long as she isn't TOO big a bad influence. Hard to be a good one when your mother doesn't REALLY care though.

    Elysia better be safe...

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    1. I know Mercury's return is bittersweet. :c The next chapter should answer those questions. I'm actually already working on the next chapter, and I hope to have it out in a day or two.

      Yes, Mia and January are both werewolves. I've been thinking about adding supernatural sims for awhile. Mia is maybe not the best person, but she's well-intentioned. I imagine she's not very forward-thinking.

      I promise I am not planning on killing off anyone....yet. :)

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  2. I would obviously be very happy the sooner it comes out. I love all your characters.

    I like that you introduced supernaturals a little subtly. People know they're different but it's "behind closed doors". Until someone bites someone else and all hell breaks loose. And I'm sure Mia is well intentioned, just a shoot first, ask questions later type. But when your parent is so nonchalant about your whereabouts, I can see it being easy to build habits like those.

    I don't like that "yet".

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    1. Thanks! I'm really hoping for what is tonight/early morning for me, but I still have a lot of pictures to pose and I write really slowly.

      I've wanted supernaturals since day one since the sims universe seems to be okay with them and I thought it would provide a nice contrast with the sci-fi elements. It's definitely been easy for Mia to build bad habits.

      That was too ominous, wasn't it? I'm sorry. :C

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  3. Yay Mercury! *insert wild fan theory about who is talking to him*

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    1. D'aawww, I don't get to hear your theory?

      I'm really excited about having Mercury back. *bounces up and down*

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    2. Naw, that'd be jinxing it. ;D

      I'm excited to see Mercury again too! I always wondered what became of him. =/

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    3. He was around Simnation, more or less. I want to say more, but I'm thinking about writing a short little chapter about him. I always say this to myself about secondary and tertiary characters, though, and I usually just forget about them unless I need to use them as a plot device.

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  4. Okay, let's get everything down on virtual paper.
    Elysia is abducted by the same people who took January, and for some reason, I think same men in black who took Cruxie
    Mia and January are werewolves, not a surprise though, for some reason
    Mercury is back(yay)and owes someone. I'm thinking...Cruxie!
    Also, Esperanza is so cute! Esperanza means happiness or hope in Spanish, don't know which one though. Still cute though!

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    1. This is much more succinct than my chapter! ;)

      That's possible. :)

      Their wofiness is supposed to be a secret, but I'm sure everyone can tell they're different.

      Or he could owe the men in black, if they are indeed back?

      Esperanza is adorable, and I was really happy when Story Progression assigned that name. Esperanza does mean hope (if I remember my Spanish correctly).

      Thanks for reading! <3

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  5. Mercury... Who was he again? I'm blanking, sorry. Wait! I remember! He was the guy that could do that thing. He was with Crux when they escaped and he was the guy with the hair! He could kind of disappear, right?

    Carrie isn't making sense, she's starting to ramble and talk in third person.
    Carrie's fine again.

    Elysia! And January! (Elysia! more though) Who took them? Did Mercury? Elysia wouldn't just walk off. She's not that kind of person. It was a very ominous chapter, so well done!

    I'm going against the current and saying that I like Mia and Nova's relationship. I think that Mia can be a nice distraction for Mia, after all, she could probably do with a distraction from her sister's disappearance.

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    1. Haha, yes, Mercury is the guy who can disappear, If you're familiar with the X-Men, he's similar to Shadowcat (except with some different limitations). He was only in one chapter (1.8), so I understand the confusion.

      Yeah, Elysia's the more important of the two. I just added January in there for fun. Elysia is kind of bitchy, but she's more or less responsible. Thank you! I was aiming for ominous. This is supposed to be a table-setting chapter: it sets the tone for the next two.

      I like Mia and Nova's friendship, too. Zenith is Nova's rock--they have a very good relationship, but I think Nova is also the kind of person who needs someone a little wild..

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  6. ♥ Mercury ♥ Can't wait to see who he owes and where he was. Two body snatches in one chapter **whistles** top stuff. I like how even Kiki has a worried look, even though that's her (right?) normal expression, it was so fitting here.

    I enjoyed Nova's and Mia's *wild night* out. I hope Mercury's mission is a good one, I would hate to dislike him.

    Been trying to find the connection between Elysia and January's kidnapping. I thought perhaps Elysia's story about the top-secret contract was what got her snatched, but January hmm...I wonder if it has anything to do with her being supernatural. Since Elysia could be viewed as a supernatural with her mind reading powers, could that be the connection? Asking rhetorically, my mind goes awry. :)

    Excellent chapter.

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    1. I know! I love Mercury. I started out thinking "I'm going to make a really douchey looking guy" but now I'm in love. I'm working on my next chapter now, but real life is trying its best to intervene.

      I figure I'll never top that mass murder a few chapters ago, but I thought two kidnappings would come close. ;) That is Kiki's normal face, but she looked so worried I decided to include it.

      Haha, it was mildly wild, wasn't it? Sometimes it's fun to like bad characters. ;)

      That could be a potential connection....or could it? Muahahahaha!

      Thank you so much! :)<3

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  7. Really, two abductions in one chapter? I was expecting at least one additional one, a murder and some severed bodyparts! You're loosing it girl ;)

    A black glove, and a suit for January. That smells of MIBs (yay!) Though the wordings for Elysias abduction was very interesting. Makes me wonder..... But can I ask what that on her floor is supposed to be?
    It's almost like someone is collecting supernaturals and other oddities. If you can mesh, you can make January and Elysias head mounted :D I'm just saying....

    Polaris way of approaching the cop was great. She still has it. Even if I'm surprised she hasn't cracked big time. Maybe if she got a severed ear in the mail....

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    1. I considered throwing in a murder or two, but I thought it'd be too much. ;)

      The thing in the middle of the floor is a lamp. It's one that came with Seasons--it looks really weird.

      Oooh, mounting their heads would be a good idea! You're giving me so many ideas. ;)

      Thanks for reading! :D

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  8. No mounted heads! Gosh, please be nice to Elysia. She's still my favorite.

    I do agree that it seems as if someone is collecting people with certain abilities. That is, if they know that Elysia is a telepath. She's certainly the least "obvious" of all her siblings as an alien. So I'm thinking more along the lines of what they can do, not what they are. If that makes any sense.

    I'm happy Luna has a happy life with Quentin and Esperanza but the baby's arrival is bittersweet. With Luna's prior abduction, I imagine this is bringing up a whole lot of emotions for her.

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    1. Aww, I won't mount her head. I really like Elysia, too. I kind of regret that she's not my heir.

      Elysia's interesting because she looks the least alien, but has the most alien-esque powers. That would certainly put her on somebody's radar.

      I felt really bad interrupting Luna and Quentin's new life with all of this. Luna is over-emotional, too, so this is definitely bringing up a lot of emotions.

      Thanks for reading! I promise there will be no mounted heads. ;)

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  9. Oh no, this is so not looking good! I don't like what's going on with Mercury and I don't think this debt and target business is going to turn out well for the Bees.

    I kind of like Mia and Nova together, and while it may seem a bit of a bad influence for Mia to be dragging Nova out under the circumstances, they are both teenagers so I'm willing to see it as just teenage foolishness for now

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    1. Well you already know what happens at this point, but it is very ominous. MWAHAHA!

      Mia is obnoxious, but she's a good friend for Nova. I don't think Nova would be the type to have a sweet, girl-next-door type friend. She needs someone a little wild.

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  10. Uh oh. I can't decide what's happened to Elysia. The Landgraabs seem like likely suspects, but with her family history? Could be anything. Alien conspiracy nuts, Hegemony remnants. However--angry snarl? Doesn't sound exactly impersonal, either. And the dream--was that something she was pulling from the mind of her intruder? Her laptop missing makes me think it's work related, though. This is one good thing, I guess, about falling behind in my reading. I won't have to wait long for answers because I can just continue to the next chapter :D

    D: January too!?

    Oooooh. Mercury. His target. The plot thickens.

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