B-J staggered back into a stack of pots. Esra began to turn, but Cadence saw what B-J had been looking at and forced the boy's face back to her, hoping to get a moment to ask what the thing beneath the cloth was. Flirting with Esra certainly was fun. She didn't like him in that way. He creeped her out when they'd first met and his holier-than-thou attitude had really pissed her off, but this was her job and she loved messing with this freak. Get close to Serpine and take him down, and one way to do that was through Esra. She had heard a little about B-J, and she doubted the girl would trust anyone working with Mevolent...or anyone against...B-J would have no idea who to trust for a long while. She was having fun. She was playing. The thing was, even though he had a girlfriend, Esra had always liked Cadence more. Making him like her was easy. The seeds were already there, she just had to water them.
Esra suddenly froze and nudged her to get her off. He stood, dragging a surgical mask over his face and gesturing for them both to leave. "I have to get back to work. I dodged my duties, they'll shorten my deadline...please go." Disheartened and letting her disappointment show very clearly, she trailed out after B-J, trying and failing to get a look at his project.
"Don't worry, he's like that sometimes..."
"What did you see? Under the cloth, I mean?"
"You'll tell him I was snooping."
"No I won't!" She tried her best to look insulted. She had always been good at deception, it was something she had needed from a young age to make the way she made in the temple. "I'm not a snitch, B-J!"
B-J flinched, made sure no-one was around to hear and whispered her response to the necromancer.
Austin went to sneak the files back to their place. Gale had his meeting with Arachne fixed. He could feel his face heating up with nerves, feel the knot in his chest as he hurried himself through the halls, nodding a hello to a few others, he wasn't sure if he trusted Arachne yet.
He handed over the files wordlessly and hurried away...he wasn't sure what it was...maybe it was the shift he could feel in the air...but he backtracked, and he caught his supposed boss talking to Mevolent. They laughed. "They suspect nothing. They think I'm on the side of the angels. All of them. Meanwhile the information on the Sanctuaries comes through via innocents...Maleficent, Repine, Noon, Shadow...They think they've links to the good guys, they think they're spies for them, but really they're working for us."
Mevolent nodded. "You've organised this well. I didn't think you'd manage."
"Never underestimate me."
He backed away as fast as he could without causing a disturbance. He heard them saying they would leave this information where Maleficent could find it and pass it on, only altered, and he went to find Baritone. He got to the file room, but there was no-one inside. There were, however, clear signs of a disturbance. Austin's jacket was draped messily over an overturned chair. He felt himself panicking now as he turned to run again, this time deciding to find out who this Maleficent person was and warn her of what was going on. He only hoped Mevolent didn't read her letters to the Grand Mage. He managed to barrel into her shortly after she and Cadence had split.
Maleficent raised her head and glared. "Watch it, kid!"
"I...I'm sorry...I'm looking for someone called Maleficent..."
"...That's me..." She moaned out with a dramatic sigh.
He tried his best to explain what they were doing and she nodded. He wasn't sure if she believed him or not, but he warned her of the misleading information and told her to warn whichever Grand Mage she was in contact with. She agreed to this and Gale decided to come to her with his findings. She was much more trustworthy...
Austin tried to put the files back where he found them, back in the right order in the right cabinets. He didn't hear the men behind him. He didn't notice them until the man on the ceiling with the stupid moustache grabbed his collar and heaved, trying to pull his coat off. If the man hadn't done it so violently and had actually offered first, and if the coat wasn't where Austin stored his magic, he would have appreciated it. It was stiflingly hot in there. As it was, he whirled round, trying to loosen the man's grip as he shot shadows out...which was when he realised the assailant holding his collar was on the ceiling and the other man he had just shot shadows at blocked them with his own shadows. The other necromancer was a weed of a man who looked like he didn't fight much and seemed pretty scared. The other man was short and muscular, but Austin could already see weaknesses. He directed the shadows up at the short man, towards his face, aiming to take off his glasses and maybe break his nose in the process, but the skinny necromancer shielded his companion with shadows. The short man moved, shifting his weight to the wall behind Baritone and pulled the collar so that he could kick the necromancer without kicking the trench coat. The kick hit his shoulder and spun him out of the jacket. He tried to hang on but something tripped him and he was sprawling on the floor. The skinny man was stood over him, ready to hurl his own shadows at him, but he rolled away from the strike and slammed his booted foot into the man's shin, and he stumbled over with a yelp. The wall-walker threw his coat over a chair and walked back down to the floor, cracking his knuckles. Austin darted for the chair, but the wall-walker slammed the heel of his foot into his stomach, followed by cracking the side of his hand against his jaw. Baritone was terrible at melee fighting, he decided as he went tumbling head-over-heels into the chair. One of the men grabbed him under the arms and hauled him up. He tried jabbing his elbow into their face, and he howled and dropped him. Austin rolled and got to his feet, heading for the door this time, but shadows blocked his way and snagged his ankles. He tried to struggle as the shadows raked across his back and he howled, feeling blood stain his pristine white shirt. One of the men came over, he couldn't see which one, and grabbed him by the hair, slamming his head into the ground until he lost conciousness. As the darkness enveloped him, he reached the conclusion that he had walked into a trap.
It was the short man with the stupid moustache who came to get Cadence. He came to where she was resting and gestured for her to follow him. "Why?" She asked, suddenly suspicious. He tried to hide the blood crawling out of his nose, but he didn't speak. He was one of Esra's best friends, probably the mute one. She knew a bit about his friends, but he had never met them. Readying herself for an attack, she followed him down to the cells. Her suspicion growing, she was stopped at one cell and she peered in, then cried out. Her little brother was in there. Silently, the man, Mr Twist, handed her a file on Dexter Vex. Someone from behind spoke. "Your job is to go after that man. He was last seen in the Sahara."
She whirled around. Esra's weakest friend, Darren Shadow, smiled up at her wickedly. "What if I say no? This wasn't on my contract. I'm supposed to be a porter. I move things."
"Your contract's changed. The powers that be decree it. And if you insist on saying no, this one ends up dead." He tapped the bars of Austin's cell with his foot, grin widening. Cadence looked desperately to her brother as he began to stir.
"I...I...I'll do it..."