Thankfully, Clarke Quay had existed since the 1900s.
Though it was not the shopping Mecca the place would become in the late 2010s, the promenade was already taking shape as a trendy district for the well-to-do to spend their hard-earned HDMs. A riverside district, the streetscape resembled the French Rivera, only adorned with Edwardian Era architecture mixed with traditional Chinese facades, housing a flotilla of pleasure Junks working as floating restaurants and nightclubs.
Thanks to Singapore's unrivalled economic prowess, Clarke Quay's many dockside warehouses had been converted into massive shopping malls full of boutique stores, offering some of the best mundane and magical handcrafted goods this side of the southern hemisphere. That was why Gwen was especially looking forward to what they would find in its many nooks and crannies.
This time, when the trio alighted from the taxi, Gwen exhaled out with relief. The place was as she had recalled from her past life, though it had far fewer patrons, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
The girl's communal war-chest was forty-two HDM crystals, though Gwen had more on hand if they needed the money and would happily 'shout' her friends whatever they fancied, providing it wasn't too exuberant.
When Elvia's blessed conscience raised the question of whether or not it was appropriate to be shopping in a place that was safe and prosperous while their home burned, Gwen gave her a little life lesson imparted from a seasoned adult.
There was a time to mourn, a time to act, a time for procrastination, and a time to relax. There was more to life than worrying about events beyond one's control. Sydney was now a reality, and as students without resources and virtually no influence, all they could do was help when they can. In the interim, their time was undoubtedly NOT better spent brooding in a terminal.
"Evee, the great poet Horace taught us that one should "carpe diem" — that is: seize the day and put minimal trust in tomorrow."
"Okay," Elvia accepted her advice at face value.
Gwen's persuasion was aided by the many kinds of exotic Magic Items now lying at their disposal. In Sydney, they never have an opportunity like this again. If not now, as such, then when?
"So what you're saying," Yue regarded her strangely. "… is that we should shop till we drop because life is short?"
Clarke Quay did not disappoint.
Surrounded by the outlets of the local garment industry, Gwen took the opportunity to replenish her wardrobe. For mere LDMs, Gwen could easily find skirts and shorts, shirts and blouses, camisoles and belts, bangles and hats that would not look out of place in a trendy cafe.
When Yue reached out yet again for a lime-green puffer jacket to go with a white, low-cut tank-top, Gwen slapped Yue's hand like a stern Governess.
"No, Yue, you'll look like avocado bread, not even the toasted kind!"
Elvia likewise wanted to know if a pink skirt paired with a cream-pink blouse when offset with a sakura-pink camisole.
It was hideous, of course.
But on Elvia, she could accept it.
"Yeah, that's lovely. Go ahead. I'll pay?"
Afterwards, the girls visited the Magic Item shops, at which point they sobered up.
"Holy Jesus..." Yue's eyes bulged. "How— how much?"
Braces of Armour (Tier 3)
This finely crafted item once belonged to the illustrious Maj. Farid Malik.
Increases resilience of wearer to physical attacks.
Tier 5 Skin of Stone Aurok, Orange Zone, South Africa.
Created by Master F.J. Vanderfare, 4En. 4E.
~ $98,000 SG / ~ 10 H.D.M Crystals
Goggles of the True Night
These beautifully crafted goggles gift the wearer with the sight of the True Ancestor, able to see in complete darkness and high-light the blood of the living, including most Demi-humans. A must for adventuring in the Dark Zones.
Tier 6 Vampire’s Eyes, Black Zone, Bulgaria.
Created by Magus P. Gorchev, 7En. 5Trn. 4F.
~ $220,000 SG / ~ 220 H.D.M Crystals
Staff of the Illusionist
A boost to your Illusion Spells that greatly increases potency and decreases mana usage. This staff can store up to twelve slots of Illusion spells of tier 6 and below. A truly unique item!
Tier 8 Ancient Cedar Core, Black Zone, Indonesia.
Created by Master G.G Fulcher, 8Ill. 5En. 3W.
~ $1,200,000 SG / ~ 1220 H.D.M Crystals
Barter Options available on request.
"Ahahaha..." Gwen choked while greeting the shop assistant.
The store that crushed their dreams was a high-end Item Shop selling gear from Europe. An assistant offered them cold glasses of sparkling pineapple juice as soon as they walked through the double-doors, opened by a handsome young man in a waistcoat. Where usually the girls would have been ignored or snubbed, Gwen's regal bearing, together with her Enchanted Rings, got them first-class service.
Yue was still trying to count the zeros on her fingers when Elvia expressly wished to leave lest she breathed on an expensive item.
When the girls finally tired of the impossibly priced shops, they came into the localised section of the Magic Item market where low-level crafters plied their wares. Unfortunately, there was nothing of particular note unless the girls wanted to restock on potions or purchase one-use scrolls, which they currently possessed no disposable funds to procure.
As the late afternoon approached, the girls found a nice junk converted into a riverside cafe where Gwen ordered a frap, soy, no cream, while the others had milkshakes.
"So mature," Elvia marvelled at her, cutely sipping at her shake and enjoying the cool breeze coming from the river's scintillating surface. Exhausted by the shopping, she grew so relaxed that she fell asleep for a few minutes against Gwen's shoulder, making her very happy.
"Where you guys from?" the waitress asked when Gwen called for the bill.
"Melbourne," Gwen replied without batting an eye, not wishing to be bothered for details.
"Oh, I heard lovely things about that place. A shame what happened to Sydney though, I hope they pull through."
"Yeah, it's pretty bad."
"I guess we won't be eating Auroch for a while, or the wine. A shame. Both are popular around here."
"I can imagine." Gwen paid as the girls finished their drinks and were soon on their way.
Dinner time quickly approached as the boiling sun finally struck the horizon, causing the temperature to drop from stifling to just bearable. A water taxi took the girls from the Quay towards the riverside, where the famous restaurant Jumbo floated on a wooden platform tethered to the dock. Renowned for its Chilli and Pepper Crabs, the restaurant boasted live, mana-rich tier 3 Mud Crabs caught straight from Sri Lankan Orange Zones, brought to Singapore through Glyph-cooled barges.
When Gwen arrived with the girls in tow, Whetu, Paul, Taj and Jonas were already seated, having come early to obtain bay view seating. Whetu was drinking Cola, but the men were already half a dozen beers down the hatch.
"Yo!" Gwen hailed the Alesia Trio, Whetu included.
"No Morye as of yet," Paul noted, but that wasn't to Gwen's surprise. If her father said he would be back tomorrow morning for the freighter, then that was when he was due. Though Gwen would have liked him to be here, to enjoy the celebratory dinner, she wasn't about to force him to attend.
A waiter saw to their seating, and Gwen browsed the menu. The Crabs clocked in at 56 LDMs per kilogram, which was reasonable given their difficulty of capture. Likewise, it took a Mage-Chef of considerable talent and skill to prepare a creature capable of tearing through sheets of galvanised steel.
The girls had only a dozen HDMs left from shopping, but Gwen was happy to use her private funds. The 'shout' was a fine Australian tradition; one Gwen was pleased to disburse upon the men who risked their lives for loyalty and favour, retrieving her friends from certain doom.
Gwen ordered for the group, additionally purchasing a bottle of Yarra Valley Riesling, whose beautiful stonefruit and floral palette would uplift the savoury taste of the juicy, fat Sri Lankan crab when joined in harmony with spices from the egg-beaten tomato-chilli. When the servings came, the group stared down two crabs the size of a small child. She should have paid attention when the waiter was explaining serving dimensions.
She wept for the loss of HDM crystals, but it was worth it. As the group lavishly ate into the soft-tender flesh, their mouths oily with pepper and chilli, they could feel their mana replenishing impressively. Tier 3 Wildland products were rare in Sydney, usually supplied exclusively to Tier 1 cities.
When the inevitable food coma took over, they sat and made small talk, discussing what life entailed once they returned to Sydney. The men themselves would return to the military or take up Tower duties, becoming indisposed for the foreseeable future.
"I wheel miss you girls, but I can't say I won't be glad to see Orklund," Whetu remarked, cleaning his hands in the lemony solution provided for patrons. "I've learned a lot and seen a lot, though. Thank you. Really."
"I am sorry the Inter-high competition never worked out, Whetu," said Gwen apologetically.
"Seeing the world, the Dryads, experiencing the fall of a city - more than made up for it. So did fighting those Mermen and that Void sheila."
Gwen raised a toast. "To your safe return to Auckland, to Whetu O Turanga!"
"For New Zulland!" Whetu announced.
The gathering raised their glasses and clinked, filling the air with crystalline notes.
"Are all of youse going to do your Military Service?" Whetu asked the girls. He was already enrolled in Auckland and was merely awaiting the onset of July.
"I am, for sure," Yue affirmed the Kiwi's question. She turned with a look full of expectation towards the Alesia trio. "You guys don't mind if I tag along, do you?"
"Be our pleasure." Paul grinned affably.
"What could go wrong with two Alesia(s) on the team?" Taj noted wryly. "Double the power, double the fun."
"Ah, haha…" Jonas laughed, likely finding Taj's projected vision of mayhem less than enterprising.
"Well, that'll do. For Yue's new party!" Gwen raised a toast.
The group obliged, some more happily than others. As much as Jonas and Taj jested, it was a given that Alesia would want Yue close while she underwent Mandatory Military service. Where better to train her Apprentice than under her trusted team?
"What about you, Gwen?" Yue inquired. "What are your plans?"
"Well, my big reveal at the Inter-high is toast," Gwen sighed, not wanting to think about her Master so soon after their recent disengagement. "I'll have to discuss it with Gunther, but I'd say Military service attached to the Tower. With the accolades I aim to pick up in the next two years, I can apply for university somewhere, maybe join Richard? Back in the day, I aimed for Sydney Arcane U, but with the city like this, maybe somewhere in Shanghai or even here, at the NTU?"
Thinking of Richard, Gwen wondered if the Magus in training would be willing to stay with her in Australia if it meant that they would be serving directly under the Tower, working together to get a commendation into a prestigious university. He could earn money needed for tuition, as could she, and they could work out something between them that would be mutually beneficial. Mayhap that was the best way forward for them both, toiling together, helping one another as a family and as partners in Spellcraft.
Then there was her 'new' family in China, towards which Gwen felt ambivalence. Here was an opportunity to relive a wholly neglected part of her old life. Yet, compared to her "House", she was a country bumpkin, while they were the residents of the largest tier I metropolis in China. Travelling to and from a tier I city was highly restricted; she could apply as a refugee, of course, but that would mean separating from Alesia and Gunther, which would be both foolish and hazardous in her present circumstance.
Ten days ago, her life was all mapped out— and now it was all in shambles. But "such was life", was it not? Gwen banished the feeling of annoyance from her mind. She would have to make do with the lemons she'd been given and get on with the lemonade business.
"Gwen…" Elvia said suddenly, tugging at Gwen's sleeve.
"If… I want to stay with you— and Yue. If my parents are adamant about going overseas, can you convince my parents to let me stay?"
"Of course!" Gwen exclaimed felicitously, grinning expansively. "We can share a room like always, though I am sure there's plenty of room in the Tower. If not, you can sleep with me."
Elvia blushed. The others laughed.
"Here's to the three of you staying together then!" Jonas raised a toast. "To make a team! You just need an Abjurer and one other!"
Yue's eyes twinkled.
Their very own party! They could take on missions, go on adventures, travel to exotic locations. With Gwen's pull in the Tower and their combined talents, that was an entirely plausible scenario!
"Oh! I can see it!" Yue exclaimed, her face red with excitement. "We can be - the Dynamic Trio - plus two!"
A round of roaring laughter passed over the table.
A waitress cleared the empty shells. Their final dish was a wobbly coconut flan dripping with golden caramel.
"Oh. My. God. I am in heaven!" Yue exclaimed as the creamy pudding encountered her tongue.
Gwen smiled and dug in, watching Elvia close her eyes and entered nirvana. Whetu wasn't big on the dessert, so Yue pilfered his bowl, and the girls shared it between them.
"Sure you don't want to stay with us, Whetu?" Yue coaxed the big man with a suggesting wink.
"When ai become a Magus, sure," Whetu replied confidently. "When you necks see me, my punamu will be en-penetrable."
Gwen felt a sudden clarity come to pass. An Abjurer? Wouldn't Richard fill the spot? He was a first-tier Abjurer, and he had an Undine capable of covering both support and tanking roles within a party. If they could recruit Richard to their cause, it would mean that they only needed one more member, perhaps a Transmuter or an Illusionist, and they were good to go.
It was perfect! Gwen was sure that Richard wouldn't refuse, at least not in his present circumstances. Even with the four of them, they could begin to take on Quests from the Tower once they started their Military Service.
"To the future!" Gwen made a final toast, and the group honoured the sentiment by draining their cups.
With that, the much-lauded dinner came to an end. When the party exited the restaurant and stepped into the riverside promenades, the city had changed entirely. A concourse of scintillating colours refracted from the skyscrapers onto the meandering river, placidly flowing through the city's centre. There, on the not-so-distant horizon, the shape of Singapore's Capital Tower loomed, rising from Downtown Core's superdense city blocks toward the sky like a skyward sword.
As the blue hour came upon them, a bloom of colours swept the skyline. Massive illusionary Glyph-arrays embedded onto the sides of skyscrapers burned the air with their dazzling hues. Transnational corporations haughtily displayed their companies' logos, glowing and dimming, changing between adverts of products and services and giant emblazons ten stories tall and dozens of meters across. Further on, streaks of red and blue light flashing across the night sky indicated aerial Mage patrols, while here and there, in and amongst the masses, Gwen could see the Military Mages in their dark uniforms patrolling the streets. Unlike Sydney, Singapore's CBD seemed festooned with men and women busy at work, dinner and play wherever they looked.
"Shall we head back?" Jonas asked Gwen.
Gwen's eyes floated over the dreamlike riverside. Their eyes filled with the refracted rainbow of commerce, enjoying the wonder that is Singapore before their inevitable return to the war-torn home that awaited them.
Singapore's premier red-light district.
"Target is moving, fifty meters to Guillemard." A nondescript diner wearing a tight singlet and blue jeans spoke into a coded Message Device as he busily mimed the eating of L32's famous prawn noodle Laksa. "Target has stopped. He is at Madam Lin's."
"Confirm target entry," the cold voice of control came over the Glyph.
"Confirmed. Switching optics."
As if displeased with the restaurant's Daylight globes, the young man put on a pair of American made Ray-Bans. He leaned back in appreciation of the famous noodle joint and its spicy serving of gut-churning wonton-prawn noodle and burped. A few Glyphs passed over the aviator's dark surface, and a Lesser Scry effect came into being.
"Confirmed. Target is engaged in negotiation with the Madam."
"Target is entering level 2."
"Target is with a female... Make that two females."
"Target is…" his voice trailed off. "Engaging."
"Keep watching," the voice implored. "Do not break scry. Target is exceedingly slippery."
"Affirmative," the voice replied despairingly. "Target is now engaged in coitus."
"Confirming Target 2."
By the glowing waters of the riverside, a young man with a heavily accented voice moved fluidly past the crowd, tailing a group of foreigners. There was a tall, lithe girl among them, as tall as the Singaporean men around her, as well as a gigantic Polynesian who towered heads and shoulders over the public. He wasn't afraid of being seen, everywhere the group ventured, men turned their faces to steal glances at the girl, while children gawked at the dark-skinned giant with the facial tattoos and pointed.
"Target is returning on route 7 to the designated hostel."
"Confirm observation status."
"Confirmed. Target is six-foot, female, dark brown hair, shoulder-length. Eyes, green. White dress, floral notes. Travelling with a contingent of Senior Mages. Advise, next course of action."
"Stay at medium operation distance. Move to maximum observation distance once the crowd thins," control's voice came over the Message Glyph with the precision of a mechanical apparatus.
"Affirmative. Request for more information."
"Is capture operation tonight?"
"Negative, contact will initiate elsewhere. Continue as ordered."
The hostel that the Customs Officer recommended was both clean and cheap, much to Gwen and her crew's surprise, despite its proximity to the city's industrial blocks. The men took two rooms, two to each, and the girls took the other. After more showers, the girls were ready to tuck in for the night. Their designated Freighter for Brisbane was to be boarded at 0900 sharp, meaning they would need to be at the customs two hours prior.
They put the beds together and laid next to each other, feeling the warmth of one another's bodies in the dark. Gwen reached out and held Elvia's hand, and Elvia touched and found Yue.
"That's not my hand."
Thus connected, the friends fell into silence.
"So, Gwennie," Elvia's voice drifted through the invisible dimensions of the darkroom.
"Are you ever going to tell Debora's mother the truth?"
"I wouldn't," Yue's voice joined them. "If I were her mom, I would want to know my daughter died defending her friends."
"Yeah." A long sigh lingered in the air. "I wouldn't either."
The sound of soft breathing filled the room.
"Thanks for saving us."
"No need." Gwen smiled in the dark. "You guys would have done the same for me."
"You know it," Yue's voice interjected. "Good night."
Yue's snores were instant.
"... Good night Evee."
"Good night... Hey, Gwen?" Elvia's hand crept a little closer.
"Evee… go to sleep."
The morning saw the group gathered outside the hostel, sans Morye.
Thanks to their well-placed hotel, they were within walking distance to the Jurong Docks. The group walked through the warehouse area until they were hailed by a black-uniformed officer who directed them to the Customs Terminal, an impressive building with a modern facade of concrete and glass.
The ship they were to embark on was the "Crown Express", a Triple E class Freighter. From their vantage point, they could see the cargo cranes presiding over the ship's massive hull like skeletal fingers.
As usual, the difference between the interior and the exterior of the building differed by at least ten degrees, the humidity about 100 per cent.
"Oh wow, I am alive again," Yue exclaimed loudly, fanning herself with one hand.
"Yeah." Gwen inhaled the cold air. "It's a steamer out there."
The group turned to see Morye, still wearing the same clothes he had left with, lifting himself from a sunken sofa in the lounge. It was self-evident that he had at least spent a few hours sleeping in public.
"Good morning, Mr Song," Elvia greeted him sweetly.
"Hi there." Morye gave her a toothy grin. "Good morning, daughter-o-mine."
"You look to be in good spirits, Dad." Gwen forced herself to smile.
"So I am." Morye's eyes followed through the crowd, exchanging nods and greetings until they fell upon Yue's liberally frontage.
"Oh hello," he said to Yue, not looking her in the eyes.
"Mr Song." Yue stuck out her chest proudly, though her eyes were mirthfully watching Gwen's expression turn frosty.
Whetu stepped between them. He very much wanted to go home and not be delayed by a showdown in the middle of Singapore Customs.
"Right, let's go home!" Jonas clapped, calling for the group's attention. "No delays, single file, follow me!"
A different officer greeted them this time, a young woman whose gaze lingered on Morye as he made flirtatious eyes at her.
"Just this way, through the scanner-portal" The girl pointed them in the right direction. "Do you have any forbidden goods you like to declare? The list includes Transmutation or Evocation magical items of tier 2 and above, Conjuration based items of tier 3 and above, as well as anything you would like to volunteer for inspection. If you do not declare these items, Singapore's Maritime Code issues fines and sentences up to 100 HDMs and one year in prison."
The military men produced several items that had to be inspected for safety and clearance while Whetu and the girls went on ahead with Morye.
"This way, please," the spritely counter girl pointed to a sectioned off series of corridors that divided the space between the boarding station and Singapore city. "Please stand here, and here, the machine will scan you for volatile Elements."
Elvia and Yue went first.
When Morye's turn came, the Customs officer flashed him a suggestive look, which he reciprocated with a flirtatious wink.
A few meters away, Gwen felt the fire rising in her chest but forced it down like a good girl who knew not to act up in public. Her father went next into the partitioned section; then it was finally her turn.
There was a tunnel inside. It was empty, white, sterile and impeccably clean like many places in Singapore. Her father was nowhere in sight and must have gone through quickly. Gwen made it about halfway when a Mandala lit up. She picked up her pace and walked forward, hoping that whatever they were scanning for wouldn't pick up anything strange, like a flux of Void mana or her Kirin amulet.
There was a brilliant flash of silver-white mana, the tell-tale colour of Conjuration, one that Gwen had seen many times before.
A Teleportation Circle? Gwen wondered to herself. What could they be scanning with space-time magic?
The mana faded the next instant, and Gwen found herself in a cubic room, about four meters across and utterly sterile. She was standing in the centre, atop a fading circle of spent teleportation mandalas. There were three men by the door at the far end, two in dark suits and one in the navy uniform of a Customs' Officer she recognised as the friendly Sergeant Liu— the very man who had offered them the cheap hotel.
"Shit!" Gwen cursed under her breath. "Ariel!"
The marten materialised from thin air, filling the room with the stink of ozone. Whatever was happening, Gwen would have the insurance of a Familiar by her side to harass her foes if things went south.
"Very impressive, Ms Song," Liu said, golf clapping politely. "But please do not make a scene and instead listen very carefully to what I have to say."
"Who are you?" Gwen narrowed her eyes and leaned back into a combat stance. If need be, she could unleash Caliban in his spider form, but that would also mean that she was desperate enough to endanger exposure. Immediately, her mind turned to that disturbing episode she had suffered in Blackheath. "Are you Slavers? Traders?"
Liu seemed taken aback by her outlandish accusation.
"Oh, no. We're legitimate Officers of the law, I assure you." Liu produced an ID card and waved it in front of her. It scintillated as it refracted the light, showing the Singapore Tower's unmistakable symbol— a rainbow-hued Merlion. "I assure you that you are in no trouble."
Gwen did not drop her guard and instead applied a layer of Bark Skin charged with Elemental Lightning, causing arcs of blue-white electricity to leap from her body.
"Now listen to me," Liu continued. He pointed to the two men beside him. "These two gentlemen are from the Shanghai Tower."
Gwen's heart fumbled. Mages from a tier 1 Tower!
One of the men removed his glasses, revealing a stoic, featureless Asian face that was pancake flat and almost reptilian in its impassivity. The man pressed something besides his ear, and a pink-green Ioun Stone began to float around his head.
"I am Wei." The stone took a few seconds to attune, translating his speech from Mandarin to perfect English. "We are from the MSS."
Gwen blinked, having no idea what "MSS" denoted.
Wei frowned; her confusion was not the reaction he was expecting. "The Ministry of State Security."
Gwen's eyes told him that she still had no idea.
"They would be men that The People of the Republic of China sent to do rough work," Liu explained helpfully. "The kind that keeps you and me honest."
"What do they want with me?"
"It's more so what they want with your father that matters, but orders have come through to take you in as well. I am sorry."
Gwen wasn't sure how to respond. As often as she'd travelled in her old life, she was never once detained, not even when she flew to the Middle East, visited Iran, and returned laden with souvenirs.
"I am not going."
"You will." Wei reached into his pocket and retrieved a small cube. "Willingly or not, your choice. It doesn't change the outcome."
"Where is my father?"
"He is on the way."
"Where are we going?"
"Shanghai. All I can say is that you are safe."
"Are you going to read me my rights?" Gwen felt stupid the moment the words left her mouth.
Wei palmed the golden cube, which must be some imprisonment based Magic Item. "You have sixty seconds to decide to comply."
Liu stepped forward, hands extended in front of him in a gesture of peace. "Now, Ms Song, I understand that you are personally acquainted with Lord Gunther of Sydney, so I am going to make this quick and easy for you. In a moment, your friends will emerge on the other side of that barrier, but they won't be seeing you. As a favour from the Singapore Tower, I will bear your message of peace. Recorded here—"
The man pointed to what must be a Lumen Recorder pinned to his chest.
"If your friends were to attempt a rescue or cause a scene, it would be not only futile; it would also land them in prison, so think carefully about your next words."
A year ago, Gwen would have felt awash with panic and despair. But all she felt now was a cold calm. Angry as she was, she understood that Liu was speaking to her as cordially and patiently as a man in his position was capable of doing. Liu wasn't rude; he wasn't condescending. He merely explained the situation to her as one might to a neophyte on their first entry into some strange new zone.
Dispelling Ariel and her Bark Skin, Gwen faced the Lumen-Recorder and tried to relaxed her body. After more than ten seconds, she wrangled a convincing smile.
"Speak," Liu nodded approvingly. "Please."
"Evee, Yue, I am not in danger. My father has become involved in some trouble. I need to go with him to sort out whatever this problem may be. I will try to get back to Australia a soon as I can. I'll contact you as soon as I am able. Tell Gunther to contact the Singapore Tower for details."
"Excellent, Mrs Song. I find it difficult to believe that you are just a high school student. A lesser Mage would have reacted far more passionately."
Gwen said nothing. Instead, she turned to face the two Chinese men and put her wrists forward in a gesture of supplication.
"I am all yours."
Wei and the others looked at her wrists blankly.
Gwen felt her face redden as she pulled her hands back to her sides. "Is this not how authoritarian arrest work these days?"
"Not if you come willingly, Ms Song," Wei noted drily. "For your peace of mind, I can assure you that you are in no trouble."
"So my father is in big trouble?"
Morye had previously told her that he killed someone he shouldn't have— but then had spoken little else about it. Was this his past catching up to him? If so, why was she being taken along with him?
While she tried to recollect Morye's outburst, the two men-in-black stepped past Liu and stood beside her. Strangely, though their aura felt intimidating, they were both shorter than her. It made them far less terrifying now that she was standing next to them toe to toe and looking over their heads.
"Please relax," Wei said without any particular emotion, sending a jolt of mana into the golden cube Device. "This might be a little nauseating for someone who has never experienced LR Teleportation Circles."
They each placed a hand on her exposed shoulder.
There was a flash as the Teleportation Circle reactivated.
Then they were gone.