Yuseong Haneul—though he preferred the name Claire—sat on the ledge of the belfry overlooking the New Ram City’s market square. It was crowded as usual given the time of the day, but even still, he was able to pick him out from the crowd: Ariesian Prince Olivier Chance. Said prince was standing at the exit of the marketplace, looking back with a determined expression. At his right was Trystan, and at his left was a birdcage.
Claire thrummed his fingers in thought, but a shadow dancing in the corner of his eye distracted him. He turned. A woman stood there. Her hair was a light blonde, her eyes an ice blue, her nose hooked and prominent.
“Why do you enjoy being stepped on so much?” she asked.
“Hey, I’m not a masochist.” He sighed. “But in order to create a better world, you need to be willing to make a few sacrifices.” He turned his attention back to the square, then back to Olive.
The woman didn’t respond and instead followed his gaze to the Ariesian prince. “Is he really one then?”
“Yup,” Claire affirmed with a thin smile, resting his cheek on his fist. “He’s like—”
“My Lord, who are you talking to?” came another voice.
It was Soha who had just climbed her way up the tower. She stood behind him without her mask. Her confusion was clear as her gaze swept the empty area.
Claire chuckled. “To myself like usual.”
Leona approached the two-way mirror and peered inside.
Izsak Wtorek sat in the room on the opposite side of the glass. His hands were bound, and his eyes stared forward into nothing.
“They got rather close this time,” the man who stood next to Leona murmured. “ELPIS… to think they’d taken an Ophiuchian agent…”
Leona glanced at him. His brows were furrowed, his lips drawn tight, eyes focused on the man on the opposite side of the mirror. An expression of loss.
“But they’ll continue making the same mistakes over and over again,” Leona returned. “Struggling like an ant.” She observed Izsak. “Don’t worry. Izsak’s and Ophiuchus’s reputation will be saved since we pinned his actions on the act of illegal manipulation conducting. Of course, we’ll keep him here and alive to see if the other ELPIS Leaders decide he is worth retrieving.”
A soft chuckle. “With all due respect—from one odd saint candidate to an odd other—ants are quite powerful when they work together, Leona… but, thank you.”
“No need to thank me. That aside, you can still crush them with your boot—ants, that is.”
“This was hopeless from the beginning. They should know this.” Another chuckle. “Well, your temporary problem and the end of the border conflict aside, we’ve had good developments. Virgo has finally come out of isolation after some prodding. Unexpectedly, it was a daughter of the Imamu tribe that did it. And… you found one of them?”
“Yes, a True Conductor. A pretty amusing one.” Leona smiled. “I’ve already put a tab on her, but we shouldn’t make a move until we know who she’s connected to.”
“That’s good. We’re close to the syzygy. True peace at last.”
The pitch-black warehouse smelled of iron.
“They really went after you, Omicron,” came a voice from the shadows. “From the Twin Cities to Aries to here. Bastards.”
“No, a saint candidate didn’t come. They must not see us as enough a threat.”
“That’s a good thing. Usian failed and the Geminians still have our shipment. Plus, Verga’s dead.”
“Right… The Romano Family and the Foxmans.”
“And the Ophiuchians have some of ours too. Though… leaving them behind would be sensible, lawful. Technically, they have committed a crime. We could always re-initiate anyways.”
“Oh dear. Have you lost your head already? We can’t do that without our shipment.”
“We need to get it back.”
Moonlight spilled into the warehouse, illuminating a lake of crimson. The bodies that floated in the pool were identifiable only by the white sashes wrapped around their arms. The whiteness of the sashes matched the whiteness of the snake-like tattoos of those who stood above the corpses.
“We have to… because we’re the only hope left.”
One thought on “6c: Outsiders Looking In”
Arc I favourite character chapter ranking so far:
1. Werner. I’m surprised at myself too since I was on the fence about his cold blooded nature in intro chapter but his reactions to connection are hilarious. His comrade Gilbert is a top tier bro, and such chapters overall are such fast paced, action packed fun
2. Cadence & Atienna. Cadence’s RGB brotherhood are fun. Not as action packed but still fast paced. Atienna is such a force of character personality that carries her chapter with just that alone.
3. Maria & Jericho. Maria seems to be developing more depth gradually. Jericho have really interesting teammates but he himself seems a bit too simple-minded at the moment.
4. Olive. His chapter is still fun but the rest of the six are just that much more enjoyable as thing stand. A bit passive? Or reactive? Compared to the rest which is again, fair as he’s the youngest with more room for change (or maybe not. It’s not like his passiveness is an actual bad trait. I’m just biased as I find chaotic but in-control character more fun to read🤣) The casts in his chapter also are a bit plain (the guards & the parents) and Claire got nothing on Gilbert in term of likability and trustworthiness so far. (which again, make sense because Gilbert has been through battlefront with Werner for ages)
Let’s see how my ranking changes after arc two 😋
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