The public office of the Foreign Intelligence Bureau was exactly what one would expect from a government-run institution. It was bigger than it needed to be, at a size almost rivaling the four-story building that housed all eight of the Central Consortium’s guilds. The place could function just as well if not better at only half its size, but the extra space had turned out to be very useful in recent weeks. With the FIB being swamped with dealing with the aftermath of the Collapse, its halls were abuzz with activity as its people did everything in their power to handle the situation.
Yet the streams of elves milling about as they performed their duties came to an abrupt halt when its front door was practically kicked off of its hinges. There was a brief bout of panic and alertness as the guards, agents and officials prepared to repel a hostile attack, but froze in their tracks when they saw the one responsible. Standing at two and a half meters, clad in intimidating black-and-gold armor and with six muscular arms ready to turn skulls into mush, Kora stepped into the building.
“‘Sup, nerds!” she said, baring her pointy teeth in a vicious grin. “Got a gift for ya!”
She then unceremoniously tossed the bound and gagged human she was carrying under one of her arms into the middle of the room. He struggled valiantly, but the prisoner had no hope of escaping the magic shackles and chains he’d been wrapped up in.
“Ugh… This is why I can’t stand you people…”
The crowd’s gaze moved from the captive to stare at Keira, who had entered immediately behind the demon. The more knowledgeable among the spectators were able to deduce that Azurvale’s most famous beastkin and most infamous Warlock-for-hire had teamed up yet again. They were initially confused because of how different the former archfiend looked to their memory, but they were able to recognize her easily enough once Keira had shown up. She and the Sandman had been known to work together on multiple occasions, though the frequency of such had decreased dramatically over the past year. Something that was commonly attributed to a conflict of personality between them.
In truth this was Boxxy merely letting its catgirl Facade reap all of the credit for its achievements in an effort to increase its Doppelganger Levels. However, this occasion demanded that the Sandman share in the limelight, even if only a little.
“Make way, make way.”
Cecilia Underwood’s groaning voice could be heard as she pushed herself through the densely packed corridor, until she finally made it to the scene of the disturbance. She then noticed who it was that had made all that racket, causing her to sigh in exasperation.
“Sweet honey-bagels, Miss Morgana,” she rubbed her temple. “Must you always raise such a fuss?”
“Don’t blame me, it’s this meathead that wanted to show off,” Keira pointed accusingly at Kora. “But yeah, as she said, Mr S and I managed to land ourselves quite the catch.”
Cecilia’s eyes shifted rapidly between the demon, the catgirl and their prisoner as her sharp wit put all the pieces together.
“So I see,” she said, a look of disbelief on her face. “And, uh, I trust your jolly red friend there has something for us?”
“Yup!” Kora declared. “Here you go.”
The demoness handed over a slip of paper, which turned out to be exactly what Cecilia had expected.
Sandman Assassinations Inc.
For services rendered:
Payment terms: to be received within 5 days at the usual place.
We appreciate your custom! I look forward to doing business with you again in due course.
Cecilia had to try especially hard not to spill the beans then and there. It was a testament to her character that she managed to keep a cool head long enough to have the ‘mastermind’ and all of the ‘evidence’ that Keira was carrying safely locked away.
“Should I even bother to ask how you… found all this?” she asked the catgirl once they were in a more private space.
“By following the trail of the scumbags that attacked my house,” was the Hero’s answer.
She then proceeded to elaborate, declaring that the Great Collapse had been orchestrated by remnants of the Gilded Hand. The tragedy had been nothing more than an act of revenge brought about by bad people with both the talent, ability and resources necessary to pull it off. This enemy had also been blamed for the attack on the Morgana household. They had allegedly targeted Keira because of her involvement in stopping the war they orchestrated, which directly led to their organization’s downfall. The methods they had used to carry out both attacks were described in great detail in the evidence the catgirl had provided. That information would surely allow the Republic to tighten its security protocols to ensure nothing like the Collapse happened again.
It was, of course, all a farce. Well, mostly a farce. The claim that someone had hijacked the hylt tree’s mana currents to power the Forest Gates that severed its own branches was true. It was the perpetrators and motivations that were manufactured by Boxxy, though it could never have made a convincing enough case on its own. Stain’s mindless puppet was instrumental, of course, but Jen’s help had been just as invaluable. Though the shapeshifter hadn’t considered asking for her help at first, the harpy had turned out to be an expert at falsifying documents with her Scribe Job. No doubt a leftover from her Gilded Hand days.
Cecilia leaned back in her chair and sighed heavily once Boxxy was done giving her the short version of its story.
“Well… I honestly don’t know whether I should thank you or yell at you,” the elf grumbled.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Keira raised an eyebrow.
“I mean, you make us Bureau agents look like incompetent fuckwits.”
“To be fair, it was Mr S that did all the snooping around. I hate to admit it, but his information network is… expansive. I was mostly there just to satisfy my own need for payback.”
“I see. I guess I should be thankful he’s on our side, at least for the moment.”
“Tell me about it,” Keira agreed with a wry smile. “Now if you’ll excuse me… I have a life to put back together.”
“Of course,” Cecilia nodded. “Just, please make sure you don’t skip town over the next few days. It’ll take time to confirm all of the things you’ve given us, and we might need your input.”
Boxxy left the FIB office feeling confident that its falsified evidence would hold up to scrutiny.
That said, it had still taken a while to get everything ready. It was now eight days after the confrontation with the old God of Destruction, though not all of that time had been spent faking imaginary people’s handwriting. A portion of the past few days had been dedicated to securing Boxxy’s haul from the Phantom Auction. It would’ve liked to attend personally, but that cult business kept it otherwise occupied, and the event was far too well-defended to attempt an assault or infiltration without significant preparation. As such, it had to approach nobles of ill repute in search for someone to act in its stead in the days leading up to the event. It knew in advance which ones had been invited thanks to the observers the auctioneers used for security, so it wasn’t just asking around at random.
And the sucker it had ultimately landed was none other than baroness Emilia Shinji. It had been surprisingly easy to convince the woman in question to do what it had asked. Too easy, almost. Boxxy imagined the baroness would have raised a lot of questions regarding their deal, but she had proven to be a much bigger fool than it was expecting. From her perspective, she just had to spend some wealthy stranger’s money on various trinkets and baubles, and would be rewarded handsomely in return. To say the shapeshifter had felt uneasy about leaving twenty million GP in the hands of such a nitwit would be an understatement, but it was preferable to risking its life over material possessions.
It had all worked out in the end, though. Emilia had spent a total of twelve and a half million on nineteen Artifacts and fifty eight Masterworks, all in a single night. The items, as well as the leftover sum, had been delivered to her estate just earlier today. The baroness had unfortunately come down with a sudden case of being eaten, but Boxxy had been kind enough to accept the goods in her stead. It hadn’t had the chance to go through them yet, however, which was why it practically ran back to its dungeon home.
Technically speaking, the next thing Boxxy had to do was visit Lucius and pick up the nephilim triplets, who had been in the ancient djinn’s care for the past two weeks or so. However, that could wait until after it had finished sorting through its new acquisitions, which it was looking forward to immensely. For the most part, at least. The Masterwork items were nice to have and certainly useful, but not all that exciting. At least not when it had nineteen new Artifacts to add to its collection, which when combined with the thirty three it already had gave it a total of fifty two unique relics to play around with.
Once Boxxy had returned to its lair, it immediately began appraising and categorizing the items in question. Each article had been carefully packaged in individual custom made wooden boxes, which it personally approved of greatly. Not only were the containers luxurious and high-class goods by themselves, but they did an excellent job of raising its expectations, almost like it was opening gifts. Admittedly ones that it had paid an ungodly sum of money for, but ‘gifts’ nonetheless.
Of the new Artifacts, one that immediately stood out as exceptionally shiny was a mithril ring with an obscenely large diamond in it, which turned out to be part of the same Aethereal Repository series that Keira’s belt belonged to. It possessed the same Subspace Storage ability, which was of limited use to the ex-mimic. However, the radiant gemstone embedded in the precious metal made it one of the shiniest items it had seen in recent memory. This ring alone was worth all that money it poured into the auction.
Okay, not really, but Boxxy was trying really hard not to think about just how astronomical an amount twenty million actually was. The only reason it was able to part with it in the first place was because it opted to sacrifice the part of its collection it had deemed ‘expendable.’ Which was to say things with a high monetary value but low shininess rating. It had to part with quite a lot of gold and gemstones too, unfortunately, but exquisite pieces like its newly acquired Aethereal Repository easily outshone such mundane things.
Simply put, the monster had sacrificed a significant quantity of shinies in order to obtain shinies of significant quality. Otherwise it would not have been able to satisfy the sophisticated taste in treasure that it had cultivated over the last two years. It had obtained so many gold coins and precious gemstones that it had, sadly, gotten a bit desentized to their plebeian glitter. Which wasn’t to say it didn’t enjoy them, it would just much rather have this one exquisite ring than a room full of generic valuables.
Unfortunately the rest of the Artifacts weren’t anywhere near that shiny. There were a few crystalline items that shone enticingly in the dungeon core’s sun-like light, but nothing on the level of that ring. The Masterworks had some diadems, bracelets and earrings that were quite shinier. Boxxy could find no fault in the various items’ performance ratings though. Looks aside, all of its new stuff could prove to be either uniquely useful in certain scenarios or would serve as generally powerful gear in most situations.
However, that didn’t seem to apply to the last item on its ‘shopping list.’ It was a milky white crystal cube about twenty centimeters on each side, with each of its six faces bearing a different decorative engraving. It was so-so in the shininess department, but seemed like a glorified paperweight at first glance. However, the documents it was packaged with revealed it was an Artifact called the Universal Instructor, and that its only function was the ability to bestow any enlightened Job onto anyone.
The shapeshifter immediately understood why the receipt it got from the Phantom Auction said this alone cost over two million GP. It could potentially give a nation or organization access to a number of Jobs that were strictly regulated, like Armsmaster, Spy, Stonesinger or Scribe. This also included rare ones, such as Hydromancer, and even ancient — albeit obsolete — occupations like Arcanist or Fighter. And the only thing required to make this happen was a lump of MP, a twenty hour cooldown period, and a target.
Boxxy immediately thought of a number of ways it could use this to its advantage, mostly as a bargaining chip. Though it was pointless to try to give its familiars new Jobs since they’d be unable to gain Levels in them, all of its other allies, contacts, corroborators and accomplices could benefit immensely from this. For instance, it knew an entire village full of succubi who would pay handsomely for the Spy Job. Doppelgangers in hiding would pay handsomely for the opportunity to obtain combat-oriented occupations discretely, as would any number of enlightened criminals.
This Universal Instructor was an item that could throw the world into chaos in the wrong hands. There was no doubt that the big players at the Phantom Auction had thrown everything they had at it, and there was even a chance that things had gotten violent. Their efforts clearly hadn’t been enough to win against Boxxy’s hoard, though this was not a purchase the shapeshifter would have made if it had personally attended the event. Not for two whole million, at any rate. Its Job slots were full and it had no intention of replacing any of the Jobs it already had with something else. Boxxy’s selfishness was easily elder dragon tier, so the fact that the UI would be of very little use to it personally was... unfortunate.
Was it truly unusable, though? Honestly speaking, the shapeshifter wasn’t all that attached to its Wizard Job. It wasn’t that the occupation in question was bad, but it was, at most, a convenience, so something more useful could definitely be found. Armsmaster certainly seemed like a good one, especially when considering the sheer variety of high-class weaponry it used.
However, it was loathe to start over from Level 1, especially with the Dragon Festival looming overhead. It also quite liked teleporting around at will, which it wouldn’t be able to do without its Wizard Job. Mana Shield was nothing to sneeze at, either. Not to mention it knew very little about what Armsmasters were actually capable of. Yes, Hilda was one of them, but she was also under oath to keep her mouth shut about it.
Seeing as how it was unable to completely justify the ‘transaction,’ Boxxy decided to forego doing anything rash and would consider this topic in greater detail later. It was still quite eager to put this Universal Instructor to the test, however, so it decided to do that. Just not on itself.
The alraune dungeon master responded to Boxxy’s shouted summons by appearing out of the floor next to it.
“Yeees? May I help you with something?” she asked sweetly.
“How would you like some extra duties?”
“Really?! I would love some!”
The flower-girl’s face lit up at the promise of more work, though it was unclear whether this positive attitude was because of the core’s grip on her mind or due to sheer boredom. So far her only responsibilities had revolved around dusting, polishing and generally looking after Boxxy’s collection. There were some things she was not allowed to touch, of course, as she did have the occasional bouts of clumsiness. What the Universal Instructor offered was a way of remedying that fault.
Boxxy activated the item in accordance to the relevant paperwork, causing a familiar blue light to pour out of the cubic Artifact in its hands. The luminescence flowed through the air like a gas, wrapping around and seeping into Lavender, who merely blinked dumbly as this was going on. The glow subsided moments later, leaving the plant-woman with a brand new Level 1 Laborer Job.
“Ohh! What’s this do?!” she asked excitedly.
“It’ll help you with your work,” Boxxy said curtly. “For starters, start carrying all of these weapons and armor to the appropriate rooms. This, this and this pile go to treasury number three, and these ones to treasury four. And I mean carry. As in physically, with your own two hands and legs. Without using the dungeon core’s features.”
“Sure! I’ll get it done right away, Boxxy!”
It was a less than efficient way of transporting things, but the Laborer Job advanced through mundane work, so giving her menial tasks like this was necessary in order to make it grow. And the more Levels it gained, the more efficient and skilled she would become at her other duties. Her immediate goal would be to get the Laborer Job all the way to Level 50, at which point the shapeshifter would look into how it could advance it into a Tailor Job. Once she had that, it would put Lavender to work with the copious amounts of demon silk it had acquired from Claws over the years.
It honestly wasn’t expecting much from the alraune, but it only stood to profit from this little experiment.
After spending more time with its new loot than it needed to, Boxxy begrudgingly put away its new playthings and got ready to pick up the nephilim triplets. It doubted Lucius would’ve done anything weird to them, but it dreaded the trip over there. It would’ve been tolerable if it could bring Fizzy along for company, but she refused to go back to the Pearly Dunes unless it was a literal matter of life and death. It also entertained the thought of having Jen pick up the kids in its stead, but would her Disciple of Chaos Skill be enough to guide her to the old fox’s den? Probably not. Not to mention the girls were in need of some… emergency memory adjustment, so Snack’s Dreamweaver Skill would come in handy, to say the least.
It was already approaching sunset by the time Boxxy left for Lucius’s place. It used Nexus Access to relocate to the desert, then started using consecutive Gate Spells in the direction that Xera’s Guiding Light was shining. This method was significantly faster than the mundane cart-and-camel approach that the nephilim triplets had to sit through. It allowed Boxxy to reach its destination in mere hours rather than a whole day of travel.
The triplets rushed out of Lucius’s illusory manor the instant one of them had noticed the Sandman approach alongside Kora.
Madeline, Lydia and Robin cheered in turn as they ran up to their demonic parent and tried to hug her across the waist. The heavy armor was getting in the way, however, so Kora willed it to disperse in a mild flash of light, leaving her in a set of tight white undergarments reminiscent of the outfit she wore when she was still a basic fiend. She then knelt down and used her many arms to lift the triplets up and hold them close with a goofy grin on her face. Boxxy couldn’t help but note that it was… a surprisingly wholesome embrace considering who it was that was giving it.
“I’m so glad you’re safe!” Madeline proclaimed, tears of joy welling up her in eyes.
“Well, duh! Of course I’m fine,” the hoarder boasted. “You do realize I’m me, right? And that the boss is, well, the boss!”
The triplets glanced at the Sandman with mixed looks. While they were by no means going to berate the shadowy figure for saving their father, they couldn’t help but feel apprehensive. Not only was he a superbly creepy individual, but Lucius had revealed that one of his familiars had been impersonating Keira when they first got here. They would likely begin to doubt whether the catgirl was who she said she was from now on, which was unacceptable.
“Well, isn’t that lovely?” the first djinn said as he stepped out of the mansion. “I’d almost think you weren’t a violent murder-rapist if I didn’t know any better.”
The nephilim glared hatefully at the demon pretending to be a many-tailed foxkin, prompting Kora to mirror their sentiment.
“By the way, care to explain why my kids are wearing outfits like these?” she growled at him.
“What, do you not like them?” the old fox asked jovially. “I think they look rather stunning for a bunch of mortals.”
The attire in question consisted of black-and-white dresses with short sleeves, scanty skirts, generous cleavage and white aprons, all of which were accentuated with silky frills. The outfits had a number of other accessories, such as white thigh-high socks, black high-heels, wrist wraps and headbands with yet more frilly embroidery. It was a look that could plainly be described as a ‘slutty maid costume,’ which did not sit well with Kora.
“You better not have laid a single finger on them!”
The fact that this old furry bastard might’ve done something objectionable to her kids did not sit right with her at all.
“Uh, dad? That’s not why we’re angry with him,” Robin mumbled. “We don’t like him because he’s a total slave driver.”
“Yeah, it was horrible!” Madeline agreed.
“Why? What did he have you do?” Kora inquired.
“Completely pointless things,” the eldest sibling complained. “He had us shovel sand from one corner of the room to the other, or polish some metal statues. During a sandstorm! Do you know how difficult it is to shine brass during that sort of weather?!”
“Very?” the demon hazarded a guess.
“Very! He worked Robin the hardest, though. I’m honestly surprised she’s still standing after all that rock lifting.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me,” the woman in question groaned. “My back’s going to be killing me for weeks…”
“And Madeline had to sing until she was coughing up blood, even if there was nobody around to hear her!” Lydia added. “I’d say these ridiculous getups were the least of our worries.”
“… I personally think they’re super cute,” Madeline sheepishly added.
“Keep them then,” Lucius spoke up. “Think of them as your reward for all the fun you’ve given me.”
The only reason it had given them those maid outfits was because it made the triplets uncomfortable. Plus, even if lust wasn’t his thing, the ancient djinn’s current host was male, so he could appreciate the sight of lovely young ladies in skimpy clothing. It had also been rather interesting to watch Madeline practically drool over Lydia and sneak glances at her butt. Robin’s muscular physique, on the other hand, made her look quite silly while wearing such girly clothes.
His main source of enjoyment, however, had been derived from all the thoroughly pointless tasks it had them do. There was a certain kind of irony to be found in a sloth demon forcing others to do meaningless hard labor, and the old fox was practically an irony aficionado. It was why he couldn’t help but smile at Kora’s surprisingly doting nature, even if it was driven by her newfound greed.
“That’s enough of that,” the Sandman declared. “I’d rather not waste any more time here.”
‘Keira’ was supposed to stay in Azurvale in case the FIB needed her, so her current absence could become a problem. Boxxy doubted the elves would come calling in the middle of the night and could always explain the catgirl’s disappearance away even if they did. However, there was no need to drag this out any longer, so it had Snack appear behind Arms and put all three sisters to sleep with her magic. She then got busy rooting around in their heads as she erased their memory of her impersonating Keira. The djinn also replaced their recollection of travelling through Boxxy’s dungeon network with a fantastically flashy teleportation sequence that made almost no sense.
Kora was a bit sour over this. Not because she had objections regarding Boxxy’s reasons or methods, but because she found the notion of watching the Slutinator mess with her belongings to be… displeasing. At least she’d get to take her frustrations out on Xera’s wonderfully stretchy butthole later, so she couldn’t complain too much.
Meanwhile the shapeshifter chatted with Lucius in an effort to figure out a way to scrub the fiendish taint from its psyche. Unfortunately the old fox was being needlessly cryptic in his responses, which Boxxy took to mean that he didn’t actually know how to solve its problem. If he did, then he would’ve bartered for something he wanted instead of wasting its time. Seeing that there was nothing more to be gained here, it left the first djinn’s domain and started making its way back to civilization. Its nephilim luggage was kept sedated the entire time, right up until it had safely made it back to Azurvale shortly before dawn.
Robin stirred in her bed as the first rays of the new day poured through the open window. She sat up, yawning mightily as she stretched her overworked body, only to find herself feeling strangely refreshed. She lazily looked around the unfamiliar room, confirming that her two sisters were dozing in beds of their own. Her eyes then settled on Keira, who had fallen asleep in a chair with her arms crossed. Robin found herself staring intently at the catgirl’s face, genuinely surprised by how peaceful she looked despite the uncomfortable sleeping posture.
Her glare seemed to disturb the woman in question, as she jerked awake a few moments later, making her fall out of her chair and onto the carpeted floor with a loud thud.
“Gorsh dromed, flurple, frasin…”
A string of disgruntled-sounding gibberish fell out of Keira’s mouth as she stood up, the commotion having woken the other two nephilim.
“Just five more minutes…”
Madeline seemed rather unwilling to do so, however, seeing as how she rolled over and covered her head with her sheets.
“Oh no you don’t, young lady,” the catgirl chastised her. “You need to get up right now.”
She then went over and quite literally threw the lazy girl out of her bed.
“Same goes for you two. Come on. Up, up, up, up!”
One side-effect of the triplets spending so much time in Lucius’s domain was that the essence of sloth that permeated the place had seeped into them. It was nowhere near as bad as Boxxy’s wrathful corruption, but it still needed to be fought off lest the laziness become permanent. Not that the shapeshifter actually cared whether the nephilim became slobs and slouches, but it couldn’t afford any more slip ups while its Hero title was on the line. That was why Keira had the sisters line up in their sleepwear first thing in the morning.
“Hope you three enjoyed your little vacation,” she said sternly.
“I wouldn’t really call it a vacation though…” Robin said while scratching her back.
“Oh, I heard. But trust me when I say this — hauling boulders all day will seem downright relaxing compared to what I have in store for you.”
The flat tone of voice and stone cold stare she was giving them made it abundantly clear she was being completely serious. However, the triplets did not whimper or complain like Boxxy had expected them to. They were, after all, rather spoiled after getting coddled by the Inquisition for the entirety of their lives prior to meeting Keira, yet they responded with firm nods and determined voices.
“Oh?” the catgirl raised an eyebrow. “Where’d this motivation come from?”
The sisters glanced at each other for a few moments before Robin stepped forward.
“We couldn’t do a thing when those people attacked us two weeks ago,” she solemnly said. “We were so hopelessly outmatched that dad nearly died to protect us.”
“We do not wish to be a burden to those who care about us,” Lydia added.
“Being helpless… is the worst,” Madeline chimed in. “I never want to feel like that again.”
“Mhm. That’s a good attitude,” Keira nodded sagely. “Seems you’ve realized how harsh the world actually is.”
“Yeah… that’s an understatement…” Robin mumbled.
It seemed as though she was taking this the hardest. Even if she was technically the youngest nephilim, she was also the one blessed with the largest frame and the strongest muscles. This discrepancy had led her to become quite protective of her sisters, so she couldn’t help but feel like a colossal failure after that night’s events. Her siblings had tried to console her during their ‘vacation,’ but she couldn’t help feeling the way she felt.
“You’ll be starting your new training effective immediately,” the catgirl informed them. “I’ve already arranged for specialists who will oversee each of you, so your first task is to go meet them.”
She then handed each of them a slip of paper with a name and an address.
“Specialists? What kind of specialists?” Lydia asked.
“Veteran adventurers. People I’ve met over the years that I know are both capable and trustworthy. People who value ability and character far more than physical deformities or questionable lineage.”
Keira had made a sizeable number of connections ever since arriving in Azurvale, and Boxxy did not hesitate to use them whenever it felt like it. In this instance, it was dumping the nephilim on them so it could have a bit more time to itself. Motives aside, however, their tutelage would be very much to the girls’ benefit. It wasn’t lying when it said it valued their abilities highly. Even if none of them were VIPs, its experience teaching classes as Keira had allowed it to recognize their potential. Not all of them would become powerhouses on Jen’s level, of course, but it wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity of befriending them just in case they hit it big later.
“That said, your true nature as a goddess’s offspring is to remain a secret,” Keira cautioned the triplets. “If they or anyone else asks about your horns, you tell them they’re a deformity caused by a strange demonic curse.”
“What? Didn’t you say you trust these people?” Robin couldn’t help but ask.
“I trust them to properly educate and guide you greenhorns, not to keep their mouths shut regarding a potentially world-changing secret. Or would you rather have someone else come along and wreck my home?”
“No… I definitely would not.”
“Then you’d do well to keep your trap shut.”
“By the way where are we, exactly?” Lydia looked around. “I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this place before.”
“It’s a hotel room on the northern edge of Azurvale,” Keira explained. “We’ll be staying here until the repairs to my house are complete. It’s not ideal, so please bear with it.”
“What, all of us? In the same room?” Madeline blushed lightly.
“Yes? Will that be a problem?”
“It’s just that,” the blonde’s face reddened even more, “won’t your wife-to-be complain about you two not getting any… you know… alone time?”
The catgirl stared blankly at the middle sibling for a few moments before blinking a few times.
“Now that Maddie mentions it, where is Miss Slyth?” Robin realized.
“She’s… out,” Keira said curtly.
“What, this early? I thought-”
“Enough stalling you three,” the redhead cut her off. “Your gear is in the corner. Get dressed and get going! And if I hear from your instructors that any single one of you was slacking off, you’re all going to get a formal introduction to my good friend, Mister Wellness Blade!”
The triplets were understandably less than eager to meet Keira’s favorite disciplinary instrument, so they hurriedly threw on their gear and went on their way. Boxxy naturally didn’t let them go off alone, which was why it had Arms, Snack and Claws waiting outside along with a few FIB agents to act as their escorts. That way the shapeshifter would be able to immediately respond should any of them come under attack while performing their assigned tasks.
However, it would be unable to do so immediately, as it had a certain chore it needed to perform first.
It may or may not have ever so slightly neglected to remember that it had left Rowana and her mother in Stain’s care for longer than it probably should have.