The Sorcerer found the Hunter in the jail cell. The jail was abandoned and broken apart, but one large cell was still available for use, it seemed. The bars had been replaced with something more legitimate.
“Oh, look at this, you’re not the first one to get caught! At least, you’ll have company for the night, eh?”
“Riveting,” she rolled her eyes.
“Who caught you, girl?” Dazin asked as he pushed the Sorcerer away, finally giving her some respite from his body odor. The Hunter didn’t reply, she simply stared back in silence from behind the large collar of her scarf-like cape. Her silver hair glowed in the moonlight, or what little of it got through the mist.
“What’s the matter? You a mute? Is that your thing uh… The Mute?” He snickered at himself, locking the cell. “You two ladies have fun, now.”
He left them there, safe in the knowledge all their gear had been removed and so they wouldn’t be able to do much of anything to escape the cell. Once he was out of ear-shot, the Sorcerer sighed and pushed her hands out of her sleeves. She noticed the Hunter glancing at her in interest but she ignored it. Her thin-layered gloves had runes inscribed on them in the same color as the gloves, so they were invisible to the human eye, as much as they were still actually there. Magic didn’t care about what was visible or not. They had but one use: to summon her staff.
She stepped farther away from the Hunter and rubbed her hands together in concentration. She didn’t do that one often.
She held her palms up, hands next to each other, and closed her eyes. “Mev,” she exhaled and she felt the air twist above her hands until she felt her staff landing on top of them.
She opened her eyes with a smile, it was time to get out of there.
“Well then, dear, see you some other ti–” she was interrupted by the Hunter lunging at her. “Hey–” She grabbed onto her arm. Morgana shook her off but she didn’t let go.
“I go too,” a quiet voice stated, her grasp growing firmer.
“Ha!” Morgana swung her staff to hit her on the side, “Unhand me, you jungle person!”
The Hunter took three hits but eventually grew impatient, abruptly turning to grab the staff instead of her.
“You are not leaving without me.”
“I shan’t be aiding in your escape, that much I know!” She started smacking the Hunter but, besides a little wincing, it didn’t seem to be having much effect. The Hunter would most likely be a lot more proficient in a fight, but Morgana knew she couldn’t fight her all that well, with the rules of the competition in place.
“You need me to escape this cell?! How shameful!”
“Fastest,” she offered as an excuse which made the Sorcerer feel like it did matter to the Hunter as an insult. So she pushed it.
“How shameful indeed!”
She tried pulling, pushing, spinning and turning but the Hunter was far more agile than the Sorcerer could ever hope to be. Through it all, she just kept those gray eyes locked on hers, which were still glowing from inside the shadow that was her hood, as per the spell she cast before every competition.
“Humpf,” she sat down, her hands still grasping the staff that the Hunter was holding on to, and thus her arms were hanging up. “Fine, neither of us gets out, then.”
“…stop being childish.”
“Helping me escape…” her voice sounded hoarse like she didn’t use it much. “It means competition. Staying here presents you with defeat.”
“Well, maybe I care more about seeing you…defeated than actually getting this win. Humpf.”
“…that is childish.”
She stood up with anger. “I am not acting like a child! I merely refuse to assist you in whatever way. You almost caused my defeat earlier.”
“…and you will allow me to do so again?”
Morgana flinched, innervated. The Hunter had a point, she already cost herself a lot just by staying in the cell longer than she really needed to.
“How do I know you will not simply beat me and steal my staff as soon as we are out?”
“You don’t,” the Hunter turned her head a little in thought. “That is a good idea.”
“Well!” She sat down again, “happy to oblige!? No, I think I shall stay here until you come up with a way to leave, one which does not involve losing my primary gear.”
“That may take a while.” She seemed inconvenienced by the fact she had to say words. “My usual instruments, which I have hidden, were found out. They are with the rest of my gear, and thus beyond my reach.”
“Ugh, of all the incompet–”
Morgana’s whining – and she knew she was whining, it was part of why she was so annoyed – but all matters in her mind were interrupted when the wall burst open like exploding cardboard. Both she and the Hunter took pebbles to the body and were pushed away from said wall, the one opposite to the cell door.
“Ow…what in all the hells?” She opened her eyes to see a formidable beast in front of her. Black spheres trailed the big white cylinders that made its eyes, the darkness of its metallic skeleton and shell dwarfed any other shadow in the room. Everything about it reminded the Sorcerer of the legends…
She noticed the Hunter was still grabbing onto her staff, as was she, and both of them were half under a pile of debris and with a monstrous beast coiling its claws on the ground, ready to pounce.
The next course of action seemed obvious.
She closed her eyes and felt the displacement caused by her teleportation spell. She didn’t even hear the words coming out of her mouth, but teleporting out of trouble was so second nature to her it didn’t really need to be something that she had to think about, or decide to do.
She suddenly found herself on the outside of the jail, mist filling her vision as she felt her body fall back a few inches to land on a roof.
A moment later, she heard part of the debris being pushed off onto the ground, the Hunter stood up, already having released her staff.
“That beast…is it them?” She meant to ask if the Shadow Conclave were somehow behind the beast, as if it was some kind of test.
“Foolish girl,” Morgana lifted herself, wiping the dust and debris off her robes, “they are not of the Shadow Conclave, they are the whole reason the Shadow Conclave exists.”
She looked back at the Sorcerer, clearly turning the gears in her mind. A realization came to her.
“Exactly,” she pointed up, “the beasts of legend…they have finally returned.”
She walked out to the ledge of the rooftop and she could see nothing past the mist, but the point was that it was the mist she was looking at. A scream erupted into the air, echoing from a distance across the silent reaches of her surroundings.
She closed her eyes, her heart full of purpose. The Dark Runner was dead, the Shadow was a rookie. She was the Sorcerer, the one and only original founder that was truly ready to fulfill the prophecy.
She opened her eyes.
“And I’m the only one who can stop them.”
After she was done holding her pose, she held it for a few encouraging seconds, she turned around to face her competitor.
“Will you assist me, Hunter?”
“…” The Hunter judged her with careful eyes. She looked around while asking “in what way…?”
“We must make history repeat itself,” she calmly and quietly explained. “We must find whatever vessel they traveled in, we must infiltrate it and we must steal whatever rock is powering it. You are the Hunter, surely you can track better than anyone?”
“…my sight can’t pierce the mist. And I don’t know of this vessel,” she said cautiously, she did everything cautiously as if all her actions and thoughts were second-guessing themselves.
“Oh but I do not need you to find the vessel, I need you to find the one person that will be able to find it,” The Sorcerer said, “I will be able to get us inside and you, Hunter, will take the place of the Dark Runner. I dare say you are even better suited to the job, as you are even more silent and swift of foot.”
“…” She didn’t look convinced by the plan, but it was clear to Morgana she was begrudgingly convinced she needed to do something. Another yell surged from another direction, and crashing noises vaulted across a street near them. The Hunter clenched a fist and hid her mouth behind her collar.
“I lost my gear,” she said.
“Why do you need it? Your darts will ill-serve you against these beasts.”
She saw the Hunter thinking about it, looking out and away.
“…I dislike this situation.”
The Sorcerer almost laughed. Why would she feel the need to relay that? She but chuckled instead.
She sighed and looked at the Sorcerer.
“What about the others?”
“The others?” It had not occurred to the Sorcerer but yes, there were eight of them there, outside of how many other thieves were acting as patrolling guards. “There are more important things right now.”
The Hunter further turned her head down, now hiding up to her nose, so that only her eyes were visible through the small bangs of her silver hair.
“I dislike this.”
“Yes, well,” she reacted, a bit more flustered than she intended but her patience was running out. “And so you should. After all, we are invaded by ruthless beasts. As we have before, and as soon as you wrest control of yourself, we will deal with them, as we have before.”
“…I know the story,” she said, a bit offended.
“It does not sound like you do,” Morgana insulted.
“…Tell me, Sorcerer. Who will be left behind to die this time?”
She frowned from inside her hood, not appreciating the Hunter’s lip all that much. She would probably only notice a slight squint of her eyes.
“No one, we shall perform better this time around.”
“Stop being so disagreeable, Hunter, will you be helping or not? I can always search for another,” though that would be far from ideal.
More crashing through sounded out, two streets to the side of them. The Sorcerer opened her arms inquisitively even though the Hunter wasn’t looking in her direction.
“…there is someone nearby. I can smell the sweat. Whether it is the Shadow or not, I do not know.”
“Lead the way, tracker.”
She nodded and, at last, she moved to purpose.
The Sorcerer followed her. While she wasn’t specifically trained to physically traverse environments, as a world-class thief, she was no stranger to superbly physical prowess. They jumped roofs, to one lower, and then down to the ground. She followed the Hunter as she gestured her to, they turned a corner and went into a room to find their prey.
It was the Don, that much was obvious from his appearance: the red suit, the overcoat, but most importantly, the old seasoned face and matching cigar. They found him angled behind a closet, holding the gun in hand.
“He cannot help us,” the Sorcerer quickly said, “let us move on.”
“Oh, but you will help me, sweetcheeks.” He left the closet and didn’t even maintain the gun on them, he just walked towards them, imposing and intimidating. “You’re the Sorcerer, correct?”
“Yes?” She looked right back at him, meeting his mortal glare with her supernatural one, and yet, he did not even blink. He just smirked content.
“This’s a grand opportunity for you, see? You take me outta town right now and I’ll owe you big, honey, the entire Infeperio family will owe ya big time.”
“I care for none of your favors, Don. We seek to put an end to this invasion… we have no time to lose. Now if you’ll–”
“Now sweet-cheeks,” his smirk turned into an angry one, “you don’t wanna walk out on me now, I promise you that. You want to have any kinda life after you’re done with your mission, ya help me out, see?”
The Sorcerer winced at his glare.
“Are you threatening me?” She was so confused, “in these circumstances?”
“I’m tellin’ you, stop wastin’ time and gemme out. Right now. Or I swear I’ll get out myself just so I can make you regret leaving me for dead!”
Ordinarily, the Sorcerer would just ignore it. Anyone else and she would, but she felt her stomach tighten before his words, she could not see any future for her if she did not heed his command. She swallowed all her pride and spoke side-ways.
“I shall be back momentarily.”
The Hunter nodded, apparently understanding of the situation for some reason that escaped the Sorcerer.
She stepped forward and touched the Don’s shoulder.
“I suggest you close your eyes.”
“You’re doin’ the right thing here, see? I’ll make it worth your–”
She didn’t wait for him to stop talking, she concentrated and whispered the words. Thankfully, the teleportation spell had always, since the beginning, been her primary focus of practice. She did not want to suffer her predecessor’s mistake, she did not wish to ever get tired from teleporting. That long distance a teleport was risky, however, but it was a risk she had to take. Because of that, she, at least, wanted him to feel bad for what he had made her do.
“We are outside Prusnia,” she said, letting go of him, “I hope your life is worth it, Don, you have likely cost us our mission.”
“Uch, stop with the drama and get to it, woman,” he smiled gladly, “get it done and get out, and remember Lazaro Infeperio is in your debt.”
We can only hope that will carry any significance…
She didn’t reply and she knew he couldn’t see her expression. He would simply see her eyes closing, and then he would see her body spiral into oblivion as magic essence spiraled into being. He would see her leaving behind nothing but the purple hues of that magical energy which would quickly dissipate, like hot breath in a cold day.