Thru translucent vials, a pair of golden eyes scrutinizes the many colors of liquids in the numerous glass containers. Sotalia slowly drifts her head along the display, pausing to examine the listed contents within the ampules. She halts suddenly, squints at the target ahead closely, and flits her eyes open with a corner grin. She carefully plucks a few vials from the shelf display and rest them between other reagents in the plastic shopping basket hanging from her arm. Stepping back, she scans the area. Jars full of dry plant specimens, bins of powders, flasks of viscous fluids, and sealed plastic bags of fresh compounds bolster the reagent stock of the magic shop. Sotalia hums in thought, fishes her aetherphone from her pocket, and taps through a few screens. Her lips tug the corner of her mouth and she reads the calendar underneath a colorful "Miradia's Magic Materials" banner on her phone screen. A thick, black nail taps the Wednesday square and the animation expands out the text. "Wednesday: Premium Protellow Parts! Fresh from the finest forests delivered to our store by expert reagent hunters."

Sotalia glances at the tall emin woman tending the antique wooden counter with a very modern point of sale system upon it. She walks up to the counter and places the basket of items upon the surface. The tall emin perks up with a smile and blinks her purple on black eyes to attention. "Oh! Yes! Hello, I'm Lilacia. Um, did you find everything you were looking for?"

Sotalia lifts up her aetherphone, taps the screen, and rotates it to the view of Lilacia "Almost. I was looking for some protellow anti-microbial fluid sacs. Or, at least the fluid extract. Your aethernet site said you should have had a delivery of some today, but I could not find any out on the store floor."

Lilacia sighs, sags her shoulders, and bows her head momentarily forward, swinging a few long, dark purple hair braids forward. "I'm so sorry, ma'am. My mother was hopeful about our delivery for today, but it looks like it'll be next week. Our normal reagent hunters are having a very hard time getting to their normal hunting grounds... And, haven't stopped by our town, yet."

The aetherphone spins back around and Sotalia eyes the device in contemplation as she sorts through alternatives. "Okay. Hmm. Well, I can make do for now. It'll be a bit more prep in the process."

Lilacia nods sympathetically with a gentle frown. "I understand completely. The compound works so well to cleanse reagents. Just to avoid risking potency loss from boiling alone is SO useful."

Sotalia places her phone back into her shorts pocket and curls a tight smile in the corner of her mouth. "You got that right. It'll be an hour or two at least with each batch. I don't know what I'm going to do until next week."

Lilacia guides a small stray braid over a small side facing, upwards curled horn and nearly closes one eye as she scours her memory with a twist of the lip. "This is only a rumor, but I remember hearing from a friend who works at the police department about a call they answered. Turns out someone's SUV got hit by a huge protellow falling down. So, there may be plants that are old enough to have large, harvestable fluid sacs in the area!"

Sotalia's expression lights up and she dons a presentable grin with a perk of a brow. "Interesting. Any word on where this incident happened?"

After a careful bite of the lip and brief wince, Lilacia frowns and her tone frustrates. "I don't know exactly. All she would tell me is that it was on the road to the where certain reality show adventurers live."

A hard eye twitch yanks Sotalia's cheek and her expression deflates with a slow, quiet groan. Lilacia cocks her head to the side and focuses a long gaze at Sotalia. Her face erupts with recognition and she reflexively covers her mouth with both hands. "Oh my gods! I recognize you now!"

Lilacia energetically squirms and fidgets, full of excitement. "At the Amaranth Adventure Con! You got into THAT competition with that other emin mage! I was in the crowd! That was SO amazing to watch!"

Sotalia smugly grins with a pose and inflates back up with pride as she nonchalantly checks her fingernails on a hand. "Well, we may have gotten a little carried away, but think it was an excellent demonstration of true ability by the end of it all."

With purple on black eyes checking side to side and a quick glance behind towards a back room behind the counter, Lilacia leans out close to Sotalia with a hushed voice. "And I believe she called you a... Well... That foul term..."

An amused chuckle sneaks out from Sotalia and she dramatically rolls her eyes with a smile. "Well, I'll admit I haven't heard that one in a LONG time."

Lilacia covers a side of her mouth with a long nailed hand and eyes Sotalia in a mix of surprise and intrigue. "Do pick up that accent she said THAT with? That almost sounded-"

Sotalia directs an amused smirk and a lift of an eyebrow at Lilacia. "Laskian?"

Lilacia covers her mouth and nose with both hands in shock and retracts her hand away to speak softly. "Yes!"

A long sigh resonates from Sotalia and she shakes her head. "I got closer to that area that I ever wanted to. I didn't know I was in a sunset town until it was well past sunset."

With crossing arms and a cringing stature, Lilacia nods her head down and hooks a few fingers around a horn in nervous habit. "I don't think I'll ever be brave enough go anywhere near that county. I don't think I'd be welcome there at all."

Sotalia puzzles a moment at Lilacia. She quickly surveys Lilacia form and her confusion remains well after a few seconds. "Really? Am I missing something?"

Lilacia lowers her arms to her sides and sighs. "Well, it's because of my tail."

She lifts up her hand holding her long, thick short-haired tail and hugs onto it with a happy smile. "I've heard a few horrible names, too... That I'm not going to repeat with my mother in the area. But, I know what it's like to be on the receiving end."

Sotalia smiles back with an understanding nod and places a hand on her hip. "No need to repeat the small, insignificant words of smaller, more insignificant people."

Lilacia grins as she slides her tail out and moves her hands over the computer checkout system. "Amen. Let me total this up for you."

The shop door open with a chime and an average height man calmly walks in. He scans the store area with a neutral expression and his brown eyes. As he steps forward towards a display, his typical length, brown hair gently shifts upon his tan face. Lilacia and Sotalia gossip at the counter as the man passes nearby in transit toward a shelf. The moment the man crosses behind Sotalia, she momentarily breaks from listening to Lilacia with a subtle squirm and gradually angles her head to eye over. She briefly glances over the man, but resumes her conversation with Lilacia when nothing immediately catches her attention.


Bach and Cideeda stroll down the sidewalk in front of the strip mall. Bach opens up a paper bag with both his hands and shakes his head in disbelief. "It's kind of strange to buy this many power packs and rounds all at once."

Cideeda quirks a brow and shrugs her shoulders while she totes a metal ammo box at her side. "You get used to it. After a while, it feels like business as usual."

Bach closes the brown sack back up and carries it by a hand at his side with an accepting nod. "I can see that. They were really nice and really willing to work a deal with you."

A sneer parts Cideeda's lips and her face settles to an unamused frown. "Not as good as I've gotten before, but in dealing with a town shop like that one... It'll have to do. Certain premium you have to pay for specialized goods."

With quick eye to the bag in his hand, Bach chuckles with a smile. "That's true. I doubt there's too many hunters around here hunting small game with energy weapons."

A snort escapes Cideeda. She presents a toothy grin to Bach and shakes her head. "Actually, those power packs aren't that uncommon.."

She searches her shorts pocket and grits her teeth when she briefly glances at the munition container in tow. "It's this damn caseless ammunition for Dretphi's submachine gun! Outside a few vendors, no one has it in bulk and they want a king's ransom for whatever they have."

She retrieves her keys and the humvee fob from her pocket, aims the device at the humvee nearby, and presses a button. A series of chirps emit from the humvee with quick light pattern. Cideeda steps up, unlocks the back hatch door, and swings it up. "But, one of the nice things about being registered with the guild is that you can purchase near-military grade equipment from anyone without too much trouble."

Bach smirks with a sarcastic tone as he places the paper bag within the cargo space of the humvee. "What about military grade equipment?"

Cideeda hoists up the ammo box securely inside the humvee, rests a hand upon the container with a rap of claw tips, and gazes at Bach with a sly, toothy smile. "Oh, a little paperwork and a few days..."

She reaches up to firmly grip a hanging pull down handle, lowers the door once Bach is clear, and pushes it securely shut. She props herself against the back hatch door, grins, and winks at Bach. "If we go the official routes."

Bach blinks blankly as all the possible connotations emerge in his mind. Cideeda shakes her head and scans out into the shopping mall area. "Borderlands markets are interesting places. Anyway, you see any sign of Sotalia?"

Bach surveys the vicinity and eventually spots Sotalia exiting Miradia's Magical Materials. "Oh, looks like she just got done."

Cideeda twists her head towards the same direction Bach faces. "Good. Should be able to get back in time for lunch. I wonder what Dretphi settled on cooking."

Sotalia strolls up a minute later with a smile and wave to Bach and Cideeda. "Mission accomplished enough. Looks like protellow sacs are hard to come as of late. But..."

She grins proudly as she places a hand on the hip and lifts a brow. "Heard a rumor as to where to look for some."

Cideeda's arms cross and she narrows her stare upon Sotalia. "Really?"

While Sotalia recounts her recent experience in the reagents shop, Bach idly gazes out into the distance of the mall. People move around the between the various store fronts, often stopping to admire products of choice behind glass display windows. Bach passes his stare back over the entrance of Miradia's Magical Materials, watches an average height man calmly exit the door with a branded plastic bag in hand. As his attentions drift away, the man glances down at the sidewalk. Bach refocuses upon the man. Just as he starts to follow the man's gaze to the sidewalk, the details of the man's face waver to a blurry haze then quickly revert back clear. Bach blinks hard, carefully aims his head towards the group and keeps an eye peeking out the corner to track the man. "Hey, Sotalia? Was there a man in that store with you?"

Sotalia tilts her head in thought and looks to Bach. "Um. Yes. There was this man that came in. Nothing out of the ordinary from what I could tell. All I know he asked for a reagent I've never used before."

She retrieves her aetherphone from her pocket and lifts a curious brow at Bach while she slides through menus. "I messaged Aristespha to see if she knew what it was used for. I've learned most of the ones for medicinal purposes, so I'm curious as to types of potions it was for."

Bach slowly moves his head nonchalantly and quickly aims his eyes at Sotalia's phone screen as she presents the a sent message with the name. "I know I've heard of that before, but it's been so long since I've done any serious potion making."

Cideeda narrows her eyes at Bach with a tinge of concern. "What's going on?"

With a smooth slide around to the opposing side of the vehicle, Bach directs the others to follow suit. "I swear I saw that man's face phase out for a moment. Almost like an illusion resetting. It was strange."

Sotalia dons a more serious tone, taps a few button on her phone, and holds it up to her ear. "You know I thought I felt something magic wise when he walked near me. But given it's a magical material shop and all, I didn't think much of it."

The phone speaker sounds out into Sotalia's ear and she responds back. "Hey girl! Did you get that message I sent you?"

She focuses upon the phone while Bach and Cideeda split their attention between the conversation and the man walking through an aisle of cars in the parking lot. Sotalia's eyes flit wide open as surprise leaps up onto her face. "A component for illusion spells? So, like a potion to help change how your face looks?"

The eerie silence between Bach, Cideeda, Sotalia, and Aristsespha on the other side of the phone call looms heavy. Aristespha speaks through the phone much quieter and at a quicker pace. Sotalia nods quickly. "Understood, we'll keep a watch on him and-"

Cideeda ears perk and lock onto the slam of a car door closing. She leans out from behind the humvee and spots the average man in the driver's seat of small gray sedan. "Shit! He's leaving in a car!"

Sotalia snaps her head towards the vehicle with the man and grits her teeth. "He's on the move. Gods damn it!"

Cideeda rushes to the driver's door, presses a button on the key fob, and slips into the driver seat. "Get in! Let's see if we can tail him."

Bach moves to the rear passenger door, opens it, and hops into his seat in one fast motion. Sotalia zips to the front passenger door, cracks the door wide enough, and slides into her seat. The humvee's power plant spins up to life as everyone inside readies themselves and Sotalia places her shopping bag into the seat behind Cideeda. Cideeda glances into the rear view mirror at Bach. "Bach, check near the back and look for a box labeled Trackers."

After a fast series nods, Bach guides himself through the aisle towards the back, bracing upon the nearby seats. "So, I guess a crash course in tracking devices, today?"

A sinister grin flashes upon Cideeda's face while see checks for clearance to get out of the parking spot. "Exactly! I'm going to keep an eye on this guy and try to maintain a good distance behind him. But, we're going to need to plant a tracking beacon on him. Because if he wanders off too far from city traffic or we keep tailing him for too long, he's going to get real suspicious, fast."

Sotalia secures her aetherphone in a cup holder and taps a speakerphone button the screen. "We're in the humvee. I've got you on speakerphone."

Aristespha voice blasts out of the phone. "Okay, so he bought reagents for an illusion spell. What else happened?"

Bach braces himself against the roof of the humvee with box in arm as the vehicle rolls out of the parking space. "As he was walking out of the shop, he nodded his head forward and his face... went out of focus separate from his body. Thinking about it more, it had to be an illusion spell refreshing."

Aristespha hums in thought and calls out through the phone. "Bach, have you mage sighted it yet?"

The humvee turns sharply and Bach follows the inertia to flop right into his seat. "Not yet, I'll confirm here in a moment. I didn't want to do anything too obviously magical, near a possible mage."

Sotalia directs her voice down while she maintains a casual gaze forward towards the sedan in the distance. "I felt something magical when he walked past me in the store, so he's used magic."

Through the phone, background footsteps echoes change inflections as Aristespha moves on the other end. She hums affirmative and sighs as her mind processes. "Okay. You guys keep tracking him. I'm going to update Dretphi and Sebastian. Tag a tracker, if you can safely. Chances are if he's getting reagents, he may need to brew up another batch of whatever he's using to change his appearance."

Bach places his hand on the back of Sotalia's seat and gradually leans out with glowing blue eyes. He squints out ahead, seeks between other cars on the road, and settles upon the gray sedan. After few moments, he nods with confirmation. "He's got magic flow all around his head area."

Aristespha replies affirmatively through the aetherphone connection. "That is confirmation enough for now. Sotalia message me all the info about his vehicle. If I correctly remember illusion magic and materials, it's going to take a while to process the reagents and mix them. He's got have some place to set it up."

Bach opens the metal "Trackers" box in his lap and examines the collection of electronic devices inside. "He's probably staying at some cheap motel that takes cash and no questions."

Aristespha's voice sounds out. "I'll start getting a map together, in case he runs off. I'll call back later."

The phone's display blinks to a call end screen and Sotalia lifts the device back into her hands, keeping a nonchalant stare forward with thumbs at the ready to message. Bach returns his attention to the box of electronic devices and glances ahead to Cideeda. "So, where do I start?"


Vehicles flow through the busy intersection. Stoplights alternate through their programs to control the passage of cars, trucks, and other transportation equipment. A gray sedan slows to a stop before a red light. The driver searches ahead in the distance and compares a map on his phone. The humvee gradually brakes to a halt a few cars behind. Bach clicks a final button on a small metal cube with a coiled wire protruding from it. He raises a brow and eyes Cideeda through the rear view mirror with reservation on his face. "Umm... Okay... Frequency set, protocol selected, calibrated to the local nav beacons, and my phone is picking it up. Anything else?"

Cideeda shakes her slightly and continues to maintain a vigilant watch ahead. "No. That should be it. Write down the frequency and protocol. Now, we just need an opportunity."

Sotalia squints her eyes through her relaxing, carefree facade, and witnesses the behavior of the man in the gray sedan. "He's looking for something and checking his phone. What is he-"

The stoplight turns green and vehicles accelerate forward through the intersection. The gray sedan creeps ahead of the pack after crossing through and reveals a blinking right turn signal to the group. Sotalia's eye flit open and corner grin forms on her lips as she notices the rows of fast food advertisement signs. "Oh, he's hungry. He's probably going to turn into one of these places ahead."

Bach glances up from the device in hand and scans the scene ahead with a nod. "Makes sense. Grab everything in one trip and head back to wherever he's hiding out."

A twist curls Cideeda's lips and she snarls in anticipation. "That could work for us. But, I bet he's going through the drive thru..."

Her voice trails off as she drifts momentarily in full thought and a sly smile overtakes her face. "I got an idea. Sotalia, take the wheel and get into the driver's seat when I tell you."

A spark of surprise hits Sotalia, but she quickly nods, undoes her seat belt, and prepares with determination. The sedan slows down significantly and the front tires pivot. The vehicle coasts a right turn into the parking lot of a fantasy themed fast food restaurant with Draco-Burger prominently upon a wood and stone sign. While keeping her left hand on the steering wheel, Cideeda reaches down with her free hand, pulls the seat's adjustment bar, and slides the seat back. "Now!"

As Cideeda slips out of the driver's seat into the aisle, Sotalia grabs hold the of the steering wheel with her right hand, hops over into the driver seat, and steadies her control of the vehicle. She adjusts the seat back up, clicks the turn signal lever, and follows along the same path as the gray sedan. Cideeda gestures to Bach to hide down out of sight. "Keep low. He shouldn't be too suspicious if it looks like only one person is in here and I need your help."

Bach carefully falls out of his seat to join Cideeda in the aisle and presents the tracking beacon to her. "Okay. Here it is. What's the plan?"

Cideeda briefly directs her voice to Sotalia as she peeks over the dash to see the gray sedan move into the drive thru lane. "Sotalia, keep behind him and just use the drive thru to order something. I'm going to hide under the humvee and sneak up to plant the tracker when I get the chance."

A hard blink squeezes Bach face with a brief shake of the head. "While its moving?!"

The confident toothy grin overtakes Cideeda's lips and she chuckles. "Not the first time I've done it. And, with the humvee being direct electric drive at the wheels, there's not that many moving parts underneath it and plenty to grab onto."

Cars wrap around the building within the marked off drive thru lane and periodically progress forward. The gray sedan follows along the curve of the path and a menu screen partially obscures it. Cideeda nods, pats Sotalia quickly on the shoulder, and plucks the tracker from Bach's hand when she summons his attention. "Okay. I need you to open and close the door for me. Then, I need you to tap the floorboards to warn me when you all are going to move and listen for my taps when I'm secure underneath."

She pulls the seat release bar under the rear passenger's seat and slides it back to give herself room. Bach scoots up to the seat, leans over the cushion, and grips onto the door handle at the ready. The humvee slows to a stop. Sotalia keeps her gaze forward and calls out from the corner of her mouth with a hand casually covering. "Okay. He's still behind the menu sign still, go for it."

Cideeda nods to Bach and he partially opens the humvee door. Cideeda gracefully zips through the opening, gingerly swings herself underneath the vehicle as the door closes, and latches herself to the underside with the faint sounds of claw tips hooking onto the chassis. She slides tracker down the front of her shirt and taps the floorboards above. Bach reacts to the noise and lowers his head back close to the floorboard, aiming his voice at Sotalia. "She's secure underneath."

Sotalia nods gradually. "We're moving."

Bach firmly drops his hand on the floorboards a few times. The humvee rolls up in line and stops just behind the sedan. Cideeda waits a moment and her ears sift out a man's voice ahead calling out an order. She claws and climbs underneath, moving closer towards the front of the humvee. She keeps herself near the center, gripping onto solid supports and the edges of protective underside plating while she navigates forward. The man stops speaking, and a voice through the intercom repeats the order to confirm. Cideeda hangs just under the front bumper of the humvee and judges the distance to the rear bumper of the sedan. She checks her footing and grip, extends an arm out, and barely touches the underside of the rear bumper. With a determined smirk, she retrieves the tracker from within the front of her shirt, and readies herself as tail coils protectively around her leg. Her ears pick up the intercom stating a price and a series of taps upon the floorboards. "Dammit."

She locks in her position under the vehicle and lightly kicks the floorboard. The humvee creeps forward up to the ordering station. A bored, unamused woman sounds out from the speaker. "Welcome to Draco-Burger, how may I serve, your highness?"

Sotalia angles her head and projects her voice at the station. "I'll take a Lord's Meal with large fries, no onions, double pickles, and Lady's Tea to drink."

Cideeda groans with an eye roll and focuses on the gray sedan ahead. The line ahead affords only the minimal amount forward room for the sedan. Cideeda grins, judges the distance, and prepares herself. The sedan begins to roll forward and a stubborn sparks ignites Cideeda's drive. "Not this time."

She lunges herself forward with both arms stretching out, pushes from herself underneath the humvee, and latches her grip onto the chassis of the gray sedan. The moment she flops onto the pavement, she arches her back and tenses her legs to keep the grind of the parking lot on the heels of her toed-shoes. Bach lifts his head up from listening to the floorboard and directs a confused tone to Sotalia. "That was a weird sound..."

The voice over the intercom finishes confirming the order and states a price. Sotalia settles her gaze forward and surprises wide-eyed watching Cideeda cling to the underside of the gray sedan. Cideeda pulls herself forward, reaches the tracker underneath the vehicle, and magnetically nestles it securely within the corner of a chassis beam. She eases herself from underneath following the movement of the ground, releases her grip of the sedan, and quickly signals Sotalia forward. As the Sotalia eases the brake off, Bach glances over with concern. "Wait! I haven't signaled Cideeda-"

Sotalia answers back with a corner smirk to Bach. "I know where she is. She just signaled us to move."

Confusion seizes Bach's expression and he carefully sneaks a peek over the driver's seat shoulder to briefly spot Cideeda. "Oh. Okay."

Cideeda aligns herself between the wheels of the humvee with a few shuffles, and waits with open hands and ready claws. The humvee gradually creeps over her. When the mid section is over her, she latches onto familiar spots. Bach smiles with relief as a few dull, metallic thuds resonate from the floorboards. "Okay. She's secure."

He sighs long and rests his ear on the floor. The man in the sedan receives his food from the drive thru window, inspects it quickly, and turns his attentions ahead. As the gray sedan drives off, Sotalia drives the humvee up to the window. A younger teenage man adjusts his servant themed printed shirt uniform, opens the castle turret decorated window, and drones the price. Sotalia hands over a company card, waits a minute, and receives her card, a bag food, and a drink. Once she places the food into the passenger's seat, Bach taps the floorboard and receives a response from below. The humvee rolls ahead and into a nearby parking spot. When the humvee's powerplant spins down, Cideeda swings out from underneath the vehicle with a confident, toothy grin. She opens the front passenger's door and Sotalia picks the bag up to inspect the order. Cideeda plops herself in the seat and exhales with relief. "That was close! Let's head back to the house and get everyone else."

Bach checks his phone and nods. "Sounds good. I'm picking up the tracker and the map app is plotting the coordinates."

Sotalia starts to nod as she examines the bag. She growls out a grumble and abruptly closes the bag up in frustration. "Gods dammit. I'll be right back, they gave me a medium fry and forgot the straw."


Night darkens the area around a small, rundown motel. The motel sits in a deteriorated, paved lot just off a two lane highway. Apart from the dim outdoor lights next to the doors, only a neon sign occasionally flickers to life to cast blue hue upon the surroundings. Off to the wooded perimeter of the property, Dretphi scans through binoculars to the end motel unit with a gray sedan in the parking space. "Nothing. Still."

In middle of the group, Sebastian's ghostly visage reforms next to Aristespha with cool, focused expression. "Phased in there just enough to see him when he was busy. It's definitely what was in the file picture. And, it looks like he's busy brewing up some potions and some kind of cream."

Aristespha nods as she checks through the messages on her aetherphone. "That does make sense. Refreshing myself on illusion magic, there's a host of alchemical components that help the details, functionality, and longevity of illusion spells. But, it takes a while to prepare."

A smug grin cracks across Sotalia face as she stares menacingly towards the motel. "Good. Then he's not going anywhere soon."

Cideeda stretches her arms out, pats down her bodysuit, and eyes another electronic device in an open case. "Any word from the guild yet?"

Aristespha shakes her head as she squints hints of irritation at her phone. "No. I sent the report and request an hour ago. And still... Nothing."

Bach wanders his eyes between everyone in the group and scratches the back of the his head. "Umm... Question. What's the proper process here?"

Sebastian drifts down next to Bach with an explanatory tone. "Well, any time you get information about a bounty, it's usually proper to report the findings. This way the guild gets more information to help everyone out, even if you aren't interested in the bounty."

He narrows a stare at the motel and contorts his lips in frustration. "If you think you have located the bounty, you are suppose to send in a Request for Pursuit to the guild."

Aristespha looks up from her phone with a sigh and brushes some hair back over her long ears. "The guild then checks with the local authorities for any limitations and allowances. They'll also confirm if requested methods of capture are acceptable. It also helps sort out confusion between multiple groups going after the same bounty."

She glances back down to the device's screen and curls a twist in the corner of her mouth as she squints in confusion. "Usually, it doesn't take this long in an area like this. Especially after an alert."

Cideeda taps her claw-tipped fingers upon the small electronic equipment in front of her and groans. "They usually don't have any problems authorizing trackers and covertly installing remote cutoffs."

Bach quirks an eye brow and apprehensively eyes Cideeda. "Didn't we already put a tracker on there?"

A sly, toothy grin appears on Cideeda's face and she playfully shrugs coyly. "Well... Yes. Sometimes you got to take the initiative and ask for forgiveness later. Most places prefer you use tracker rather than risk provoking a high speed car chase or standoff situation, anyway."

Sotalia glances over her shoulder as she lays prone next to Dretphi and pulls a dry smirk. "Turns out not many places want an epic mage showdown right in their most populated areas."

She holds a pair of binoculars up to her eyes and stares out through them towards the motel, gradually adjusting focus and her aim. She mumbles condescendingly. "Not that an illusionist is going to put up any kind of worthwhile fight. Ooo... I make pretty pictures of stuff I can't cast..."

Dretphi rests her eyes away from the binoculars, and sighs. "For reports, we attempt to obtain photographic evidence. Helps grant us authority to approach the situation as needed."

Bach nods and briefly flickers his eyes blue towards the motel. "That would be nice. But, I doubt he's going to show his real face out in public."

Sotalia smiles as she scans the parking lot and rows of entry doors to the different motel rooms. "Bah. He'll mess up eventually. Maybe he forgot something in the car or wants a candy bar from the snack machine."

A small, awkward smile graces Dretphi's lips and she lightly taps Sotalia's shoulder with a soft tone. "THEY are back."

Both Sotalia and Dretphi aim binoculars upon an evuukian man and emin woman wandering from separate cars. They cling upon each other midway to the motel and embrace each other upon the wall off to the side of a room door. Sotalia snickers as she fidgets in anticipation. "I hope they got a bed without a headboard, because she might get those horns stuck if she's not careful."

The couple collectively manage to get the door lock open, in between their activities, and roll in together with the door securely shutting behind them. A collection of vehicles approach the parking lot from the road. Sotalia and Dretphi check up from the binoculars before examining the activity through the lenses. Aristespha, Bach, Cideeda, and Sebastian peek out from the cover of the forest brush and visually hunt for more information. In moments, vans roll up through the lot aisles with headlights off, stop, and unload equipment carrying crews. The crews take positions throughout the area, hiding behind cars and other structures. Cideeda eyes fully open in shock after she squints to scrutinize the side of a van. "NO. Why the hell are THEY here?!"

A wave astonishment and disbelief shakes the group to full attention. A lone black sports utility vehicle with partly reformed, large dents along the roof, creeps up behind the gray sedan to block it in. All the doors open. Chad, Trakenthin, Tassilda, Deedri, Modoran, and Veevi exit. Chad and Trakenthin rush up to either side of the end unit's door with trailing Veevi behind Chad. Tassidla takes cover behind the doors of the SUV with Deedri. Modoran disappears. Minutes later after hushed discussion, Trakenthin steps in front of the door, rears back, and slams an armored boot to knock the door off its hinges.

A strong eye twitch cringes Aristespha's reddening face. Bach blinks absolutely dumbfounded. Cideeda's jaw hangs open as she gestures with her hands out in pure bewilderment. Dretphi growls and clenches tightly onto her binoculars, her arm shakes with muscles flexing. Sebastian blinks in synchronicity with Bach and the brothers struggle in vain to figure out the situation. Sotalia's wide-eye rage barely subsides with the firmly clasped hand of Dretphi keeping her down prone.


A repetitious electronic chime blares out into the bedroom and a hand with long, sharp black nails presses down a button the aetherphone screen. The alarm silences and Tassilda slowly rises from bed. She blinks her blue on black eyes and guides the strands of her long black hair off her swirling horns down upon her pajama top. With a pull of a small chain, the lamp upon the nightstand illuminates the room and she momentarily shields her eyes. After a few minutes of sitting idly in a morning haze, she slides on a pair of slippers and plods across the room to a satchel of toiletries and beauty supplies. She rummages sleepily through the bag and retrieves toothpaste and a toothbrush, and wanders groggily off to the bedroom door.

Tassilda steps slowly through her bedroom door, glances down one path towards two doors, and listens for a few moments. In the silence, she faces ahead and stares down the stairwell at the faint glow of morning light downstairs. She sets off towards the open bathroom door down the opposite stretch. While continuing along, she passes a door with a brightly decorated sign stuck upon it. A long glare carves annoyance into each letter of the name upon the sign, Veevi Valiant. Tassilda rolls her eyes hard with a long grumble as she shakes her head. She drags her sleepy self closer to the bathroom door, but startles as the door ahead at the end of hall opens. Tassilda mumbles and blinks. "What is he doing up?"

Her eyes open wide in bewilderment as Veevi slides out between the ajar door and into the hallway. Veevi stumbles around in a drowsy daze and idly slides down a Flames of the Phoenix T-shirt that's too large for her. Her tail wags freely in vain to maintain balance and she stretches her arms up to absentmindedly reveal no other clothing. A few meters of travel, Veevi blinks to awareness and glances over to catch the glare of Tassilda. A sly smirk creeps up on Veevi's lips and she eyes Tassilda smugly. "Well... Good morning."

Tassilda's stares accusatory at Veevi and slowly crosses her arms while contempt radiates. "Morning. If I'm NOT mistaken, your room is on the other side of the hallway."

Veevi's stance straighten as she steps forward towards Tassilda, a smile on her face. "Oh, I'm not mistaken. Chad invited me over to... discuss... some things. We had the most wonderful conversation."

Tassilda places her hands to her sides, postures herself proudly, and marches slowly forward. "Oh, I'm certain much was talked about. Did you... secure... a reference for the next group you go off to after this SHORT TERM internship?"

A sharp toothed grin parts Veevi's mouth and she tilts her head of pink hair slightly forward to defiantly eye Tassilda. "Oh, much was secured. I believe we came to an agreement about the terms of my internship."

A brow sharply hikes up on Tassilda's face and she narrows a condescending glare to Veevi. "Interesting. I'm sure you made use of your... unique... talents... Would any of those help explain the lack of any of your own attire at the moment?"

Veevi giggles, suggestively slides her hands down the oversized Flames of the Phoenix T-shirt, and pulls it down by the sides. "Oh, this? No, of course not. Our discussion got a little too energetic and excited, and something got spilled. Chad was ever the gentleman and let me borrow one of his shirts for the night."

She sighs playfully, rolls her eyes at Tassilda, and struts in front of one side of the bathroom door frame.. "We were just ever so relaxed that I just fell asleep and just now woke up."

Tassilda arrives at the other side of the door frame and glowers at Veevi. "Well. I hoped you enjoyed your... discussion. But, I think your focus should be upon other things. For example, what other professions you'll explore in the very NEAR FUTURE."

Veevi perks a brow, grins sharply with a glint in her eye, and flicks her tail up with a dismissive lift. "Not as near as you think. So you better learn to teach better that NEAR FUTURE."

She sidesteps swiftly through the bathroom door past Tassilda, and the bathroom door shuts tightly with a click of a lock. A wave rage flashes upon Tassilda's face and a spark of blue ignites her eyes. She grasps hold of the door knob and attempts to torque it open out of sheer aggravation. An echoing snicker from inside the bathroom leaks out into the audible air. Tassilda sneers as she grits her teeth and growls tinged with boiling rage. A piece of fabric softly thumps against the wooden interior door and faucet values squeak to usher the flow of rushing water from a shower head. Moments later, the sounds of Veevi singing one of her song drifts out from the background din. Tassilda releases the door knob and slowly exhales wavering with spite. She steps back, draws in a long breath, and closes her eye as she release the air. A tentative calm roots in her demeanor. She pivots swiftly and walks away towards the stairwell. When she nears the stairwell, Deedri cracks open her bedroom, peeks out from the other far end of the hallway, and spots Tassilda. She weakly waves. "Morning."

Tassilda pauses and her expression softens. She nods with a neutral smile to Deedri. "Morning."

Deedri glances with concern down the hallway and leans further out her door. "Is everything okay?"

Tassilda contorts her mouth momentarily and sighs in resignation. "Yes. It is just fine. A brief conversation with Veevi."

Deedri's eyes flit wide and she bites her lip in apprehension. "Oh. Okay. I just heard a lot going on and wanted check to make everything was okay."

With a nod Tassilda turns towards the stairs, but pauses for moment. She aims her gaze to Deedri and directs a loud whisper. "If you need to use the bathroom soon, I would use one the one downstairs for now. This floor's bathroom is presently... unclean."

Veevi's singing spikes in volume during the song's dramatic chorus. Deedri's ears droop down and her expression unsettles with a frown. She nods in full understanding to Tassilda and quietly retreats behind the bedroom door. Tassilda returns her attentions forward and marches down the stairs, muttering a few insults in a uniquely accented emin dialect.