"You must be mad!" The man yelled incredulously.
Jasmin frowned. "Lionel Ame-"
"Is a sadistic killer!"
"Now that Charles is no longer with us, Lionel is my most trusted acquaintance. And believe me, I do not trust him."
"It's a stupid idea!"
"He needs to reform. Some responsibility would be a good idea for that. We'll get him a puppy too. Puppies are good."
"Grand Mage, all due respect, but-"
"I don't want to hear it...what did you say your name was?"
"Montagneux." The man responded grudgingly. "I'm your advisor. I was Surgele's."
"Right. Montagneux. The only person I trust is English and can't speak any French, so she wouldn't be much good, eh? So I propose Lionel Ame as my first Elder...what's your full name?"
"Ashley Montagneux." He was getting annoyed now. He was quite young. Dark-skinned and tall. Too tall for Jasmin to feel comfortable around. His hair was straight and flopped down to his chin, glossy and healthy and looked like he used straighteners on it. He was in a grey suit and ugly floral tie.
"In that case, my second Elder is Ashley Montagneux." Jasmin replied airily.
"I have spoken. You're an Elder now. You're the sensible one who tries to keep the stupid ones in check."
"I'm not working with Lionel Ame, I can tell you that now."
Jasmin shrugged. "It's Lionel or Pons Excitacion."
Montagneux pressed his fingers to his forehead, exasperated. "You know what? I don't care. Put whoever the hell you want on your council!"
"Excellent. I have children to comfort now, so if you would be a dear and tell Lionel my decision?" He got up and left, leaving the newly appointed Elder to grumble to himself.
Katharine stormed off down the street. "Gale, leave me alone!"
"Hey, you came on to me, not the other way round!" He walked after her, very annoyed. Katharine paused.
"Okay, that's true...but I have a boyfriend, Gale, I can't just..."
"You don't have to, I promise. Just listen to your heart." Gale turned his head slightly and caught the eye of someone sitting at an outdoor seat at a cafe nearby. There were two people seated and a third just joining them. One of the first two men, both of whom were blonde, was yammering away. The other, the one Gale recognised, was watching him suspiciously with his thin blue-grey eyes. Reluctantly, Gale turned his attentions back to Katharine. She stepped closer to him. "My heart's a mute, I swear to God!"
"Well who's more fun?"
She hesitated. "Austin has too many downsides."
"Most men do. Everyone has their downsides."
"Like you being a slut, you mean?"
She sighed. "I'll decide when I see him next."
"Until then, can't we stay together?"
"Uh..." He was worried the blonde man was watching him. The man he recognised all too well. Katharine gave a pleading face and suddenly Gale didn't feel so slutty anymore. What he had heard was that Austin was giving Katharine a third chance, that he was in love with the personality and the body, but the girl cheated on him, twice caught, lord knows how many other times. Gale never went for more than one girl at once, but he never had a lasting relationship. He would have liked to have had one, but it just never happened and he moved on very quickly. He glanced across the road to make sure the three men weren't looking and kissed her softly. "Tell nobody."
Only while the blonde men across the road hadn't been watching when the kiss began, the brunette man with the limp, the late joiner, had. He tapped the first blonde man and pointed. "That's Katharine and Artemis' brother, right?"
Austin stared silently. Box raised a finger. "Sam?"
"Yeah?" Awesome Dude had been a contact of Box's for about a week now. It was surprising how quickly they had come to trust one another, especially with the whole Awesome being a vampire thing.
"I asked you a question."
"Was that the one about Snooke and McMooney and their standing against Mevolent and stuff?"
"That one was half an hour ago. Keep up."
Awesome just looked confused. "The rocket fuel then?"
"The rocket fuel and the killers' 'holy healer'."
"Oh, right. Yeah, he's got it and them."
Austin looked a little confused. He didn't know who the 'Holy Healer' was and he quickly excused himself to go confront Burn and Blaze.
The new Irish Elder stood in the robes in Erskine's office. He was an old friend of his, another old confident of Corrival's. He was staring at a desk ornament as though he had never seen one before. He had been standing like that for a while now. He'd nodded occasionally to show he was listening to what Ravel and Mist were saying to him and he understood, but he offered no response. Actually, he hadn't spoken once since Ravel had first contacted him. He had accepted the position silently and now Erskine was sure he could see a wide scar over the man's throat. "Justice?"
The man smiled, turning his full attention to the Grand Mage.
"I never noticed that scar before. Was that there the last time we met?" Justice Popularity shook his head quickly, bringing a hand up to hide it. Ravel frowned. "Can you talk to me? Just say one word? Any word? Elephant, banana, anything!"
Justice raised and lowered his arms in a 'this is hopeless' gesture.
"Oh perfect, he can't talk..."
The new Elder crossed his arms and looked a mix of apologetic and downright miserable. Normally he had his brown hair gelled up in spikes, but today he looked like he had just rolled out of bed. He tried to ignore Ravel and Mist as they began to talk in hushed voices.
"This is the most trustworthy person who you could find?"
"The most trustworthy who didn't threaten me when I turned to them for this."
"They weren't all friends with Corrival, were they? Didn't you tell me that lot were best known for alcoholism?"
"Okay, maybe they were, but that doesn't make them unreliable."
"In this line of work, yes it does."
"Just used to be an accountant, he did all our accounts and stuff, he's trustworthy and reliable and stuff...mostly...as long as he doesn't use sign language around me. I can't make any sense of that stuff, I'd just end up punching him out."
"So now you're intolerant of people who have to use sign language?"
"No, it just annoys me, all the stupid gestures. Why can't they just write things down on some paper?"
Mist nudged her husband with a look. "Sorry." He mumbled before turning to Popularity. "Anyway, welcome to the team, I guess."
Richard Ricky Sloth frowned, watching the castle through a pair of binoculars. Normally he didn't spy; he had fallen out of that habit years ago. He had seen something that bugged him over there though. Ricky was a neighbour of Advantageous Twist. Not next door, he lived up the road. Anyway, he had met Garnet Dorado before. He used to be friends with the guy. He had just gotten home from a holiday in Japan. He had seen Dorado appear at the house with the black-haired girl and the tanned man in the elder robes just as he set off for the airport. There was no movement and he just had to accept Dorado was probably gone.
Ricky was an interesting man with hair just long enough to pull into a tiny ponytail. It was a soft brown. He was thin and had blue eyes that drank in any and every piece of information. He had gotten on well with one of Dorado's killer friends once.
The inside of his house was cushy and just a little over-furnished. Hiro Phantasmagoria stood to one side of the sofa on which an injured man lay. Ricky had met this man before and had been healing him over the past few days. He had woken up a couple of times, been given a bit of food and water and fallen unconscious again. Now he was awake and in unfamiliar surroundings. "What the...?"
"You're okay. My name is Ricky, I'm a doctor, I was in Japan when you got in trouble for killing that Hato witch. Got you out of there with my friend here, brought you back here, healed up any damage the Japanese caused and now here you are!"
"Oh God...Ricky Sloth..." The man was Australian, with wild red hair. He seemed terrified. "Where are the others?"
Ricky looked confused for a moment, then realisation washed over his face. "Ah. You were on Garnet's kill list. The weird ginger guy who stole his first girlfriend. Borealis. Finally caught up to you after Mortis and Jayden moved in, right?"
"Please don't kill me!"
"I'm not a killer, I'm a healer...Hiro, on the other hand..." The man beside the sofa cracked his knuckles. Borealis whimpered. "I saved your life, but I might be meeting my old friends soon...so behave, do as I say, work for me for a few days. I promise you amnesty from the nasty Irish slaughter people."
"O-okay..." He looked pretty startled. Ricky appreciated that.
((Despite it being the only preplanned bit, Blaze and Burn's scene was so difficult to write...Hey look, Ursa! He's back! Hey look, Justice Popularity is a recycled name from a previous chapter! He's a target of Mortis' already because of that! Damn my need to recycle an old name because I didn't want to create anyone new but ending up doing both at the same time anywayness. Not going to go down well. Not intentional. I wonder how long before I kill Lionel or Pons or Ashley...hey look, Awesome Dude! He's back too! Bet you all thought he was never returning!))