"... Maybe placing all of your hope into your sister getting your sister was not the wisest choice."
A voice spoke out to the group on the construction site, drawing their attention off to the side where they noticed a cloud of inky black darkness. It swirled and shifted constantly, maintaining no consistent shape whatsoever. A silhouette appeared in the darkness, piercing through it, and was undeniably a humanoid shape... but not. It was far too bony and skeletal to be a human, and that was not counting the giant horns coming off the being like it was some type of demon. Slowly the darkness faded and revealed the being's true shape. To put it frankly, it was a skeleton in a dapper black suit, with massive antlers that would belong on a demon of a deer. He hovered a distance away from the group with one hand behind his back, and stuck out his other hand as if he was holding something... and then a wine glass appeared in black fog and a bottle of wine appeared above it. It poured wine into the glass before it disappeared.
"For the children of the great and magnanimous James..." The skeleton trailed off before the glass of wine he was holding floated in the air. The strange being finger quoted the next part, "... Vanburen. You all are not as nowhere near as foxlike as he was. The man would stab his own brother in the chest before letting anyone see him as unintelligent!" Before he loudly chuckled, grabbing his wine... and when nobody else laughed he dramatically placed a hand on his chest.
"Aw... everybody's a critic... or are you all under the impression I'm an enemy? Or God forbid in league with that Triple Goddess? Trust me, she hates me more than she hates you all."
"What's there to talk about? I hate it here. Everyone hates me. Leave me 'lone!"
Georgie shouted, followed by her falling on her ass Sabrina presumed, and throwing something at the door. The bang caused Sabrina to jolt and nearly fall on her own ass... So, Georgie chose to get drunk when there's a crazy satanic cult at their gates and she has the one thing that they want. Even Sabrina was getting a little fed up with Georgie and her lack of common sense. A vein nearly exploded in her head because Sabrina was getting so frustrated, but she saw that Georgie was under a lot of stress and maybe that was clouding her decision-making. Just a little.
Okay, a lot. Sabrina thought to herself.
The best that Sabrina could think of was getting Georgie to the trap group and hoping that everything goes well but she realized that she was babysitting a child. She sighed, hoping to clear her tone of all vexations before she approached the door. She graced the door with one hand and then softly spoke,
"Georgie, we don't hate you, we all love you," Sabrina started, "We're a family, and any family has disagreements... but you have to understand that you've been nothing but condescending and abrasive towards the whole family for no reason!"
And also put a god damn target on your back and get drunk. Sabrina thought to herself before she sighed and continued.
"I understand we all have our little squabbles from time to time... and that Tansy was being antagonistic... but we need to see the bigger picture here. We need to figure out this curse so we can get back to our own lives. If we just pull together, we can solve this and never have to deal with this again. So... just open the door and come with me. We need you."
Outside the Sunrise Resort
“Those dogs are on the move. But remember, we’re here for the healer. Let’s try to hide and let them pass first.”
Ezra was right... the group was at half strength and Justin counted on their odds being less than ideal if they got caught with the Wiccans at full strength (Especially if his little theory that there might be more than they expected was true). Oscar could probably eliminate the Hellhounds, but what about all the other ones? Justin would rather not get chased when all they need to find was the healer. Justin put his finger to his lip and gestured at everyone as he crouched down, and with his other hand, he pointed at the bushes. He quietly got into the bushes and hoped that everyone else could use the same level of silence that he had demonstrated.
A few moments later, the dogs had charged past them without even noticing them, he thinks. The good news is that they won't have to deal with the Hellhounds... the bad news is that they have no clue where the Hounds were heading. They were heading in the direction of the manor but he trusted that Ezra had a contingency if they attack the manor. Or that Georgie and Sabrina had left already - that was the ideal because that place couldn't take any more of a beating.
He sighed as he gestured, a mere point, for the group to move towards the resort, and still crouched down and walked towards the place. Eventually, they made it to the place; the front doors were wide open and Justin could hear a faint chattering coming from within. He couldn't make out just what they were saying but he knew that going through the front door was not a smart idea. He looked at the group before he nodded his head and pointed towards one of the side windows and began moving towards it. Now the idea of everyone poking through their heads through one window was comical so Justin began to float upwards a little bit to get a good view.
"... Morgana's clearly gone off her rockers, right?" Penny said, walking around in a circle with her arms crossed, face towards the ground.
"Yes..." Thea said. "Rushing them head first was not the smartest idea... but it isn't like Morgana would listen."
"Well, when she drags her ass back here with her ass whooped; she'll get the message, ay?" Maxine laughed as she sat on a strange pumpkin minion that Justin had not seen before.
"Any second now she's going to call Tegan asking her to make a portal so she can save her ass," Penny shrugged.
Justin immediately hopped down and reported back to the group,
"Morgana is heading towards the manor... does anyone have any idea if Sabrina and Georgie are out of there yet?" Was Justin's first concern.
The second that bike flew on the scene, Oh-Six completely stopped in her tracks until her scanners detected just who was engaging her... it was none other than Jill Brecian. She detected several more closing the distance... However, she was not going to give up easily on her prey... she began laughing as she activated her overboost. Her blade began humming with an electric hum as she focused on Jill.
"Well, if you want to give up your life," She softly chuckled before screaming at the top of her mechanical lungs, "SO BE IT!"
After the last word left her lips, she raised her scythe above her head, ready to charge-
"RECORD SPIN!" Justin screamed, appearing on the scene as a spinning tornado; going so fast that he barely appeared human. He cut through the air at extremely high speeds and the second he was in the range of Oh-Six, he stopped and kicked Oh-Six square in the midsection and sent her flying. He fell to the ground alongside Oh-Seven and Jill.
"You okay?" Justin asked Oh-Seven.
"Yes, my systems are repairing themselves as we speak."
"Thank you, Jill." Justin said.
Oh-Four managed to block the shield, but the attack was just too much for her and she was sent skidding backward. She held the shield, gritting her teeth and poking her head from behind the shield to face Lucas.
Oh-Three immediately called Abel on the radio, "We need backup, we're outnumbered here!"
"Negative." Was Abel's prompt response.
"If members of MIRAGE come to back you up, its immediately going to give away that this is a large scale MIRAGE operation... and we cannot have that," Abel began, "The mission perimeters I established were simple, and the fact you still went outside of those perimeters will require... correcting later."
"You got yourselves into this; get yourselves out of it."
"Uh, oh!" Jaden shouted as he immediately appeared in front of Oh-Three and delivered an over-the-top and ridiculous flying kick straight to her chest. "I'm on fire baby!" He said when he hit the ground with a spinning flourish.
This was not good...
Oh-Three's hands glowed as she raised them both into the air, charging up a powerful attack in the form of a giant glowing orange orb. She quickly flew up into the air and then screamed,
Before she threw the orb into the ground... which created a massive explosion that rocked the earth. Sending chunks of concrete and everything else flying in all directions, knocking her opposition off-center.
Justin grabbed Oh-Seven and leaped from chunk to chunk until he got to safety while Jaden teleported to a different building.
It was a sufficient cover for Oh-Three and her compatriots to escape. "Let's go!" she shouted before the trio flew away.
"After them!" Oh-Seven shouted, "They're with MIRAGE!"
"Wait, what?" Justin asked, only to get a coy smile from Oh-Seven.
"No time to explain," She gave Justin the peace sign as her lower body transformed into her overboost... and then she jetted off after them.
Was what flashed before Oh-Seven's eyes when she crashed through that building. Glass was shattered on impact and sent everywhere, and Oh-Seven came to a rolling stop with a mere skid. She managed to roll onto her knee and faced the direction where her sisters were. This was bad... she was outnumbered three to one, and there was no way in hell she could take on more than two at a time. They were toying with her... but she had a few secret weapons, an ace up her sleeve one could say. The only issue was...
Her three sisters floated up to her floor.
... She was not sure what they had up their sleeves.
Oh-Three landed on the floor, before cocking her fist back, charging Oh-Seven assisted by her jet boosters. Oh-Seven's left arm transformed into are plasma cannon as she charged it up, and the second Oh-Three began to swing; she was hit with the blast point blank and was sent spiraling out of the building. Right in between her two sisters, who hovered above with a dry smiles on their faces.
"We should have caught her." Oh-Six shrugged.
"Negative," Oh-Four stated, "Oh-Three is more than capable of surviving the fall."
Oh-Six primed her scythe while Oh-Four placed her shield in front and charged Oh-Seven while Oh-Six got behind her. Oh-Seven had her machine gun deploy while her lower body transformed into its jet-form, and she quickly retreated out of the other side of the building at extremely high speeds.... while barraging Oh-Four's shield with her machine gun to no avail. When she was close enough, Oh-Six quickly tripled speed and quickly closed the distance, and surprised Oh-Seven with a slash to her mid.
Oh-Seven screamed as she grabbed her body... but that wasn't all, Oh-Six grabbed onto Oh-Seven's head with her talon feet and carried her along, jetting towards the ground as fast as possible.... before doing a flip and throwing her directly into the ground so hard that it left a crater and she bounced off. Before pulling her scythe back for the final blow, a psychotic smile on her face as if their previous agreement went out the window.
"Have fun running from us with no legs!"
She began the slash and Oh-Seven closed her eyes to let the inevitable happen...
"Georgie!" Sabrina hissed as Georgie just threw the skull into the pocket dimension and then just left. Sabrina did expect this type of behavior from Georgie, but was it helpful? No. Sabrina got the feeling that from all the bickering Georgie decided to be petty. Even though Sabrina wasn't too fond of this plan - too many risks for her family, who seem to be more interested in bickering and throwing shade than figuring out this curse - she could see that Georgie's idea was... not a good one. Of course, she decides to ruin their plan in the process too, and she knew what she was doing. However, Ezra maneuvered towards her and gave her an idea.
“I’d appreciate it if you could check on Georgie in a moment. Convince her that holding the football in a room by herself when we’re going up against a cult who can track ram skulls, open portals, and shapeshift might qualify as a fucking awful idea. She’s clever and probably has some kind of contingency plan, but she’d be safer with family. Take her with whichever group you’re joining. Wrap her up in blankets and drag her if you have to.”
The last sentence elected a chuckle from Sabrina. Because, honestly, tying up Georgie and dragging her down some stairs didn't sound like that bad of an idea... Bah, she doubted that she could get Georgie to come with them, however. Whenever that girl gets an idea in her head; it's next to impossible to get it out of there. However, she figured that, at the very least, she could get the skull from here. Though, she was wondering if that was a good idea either... but, she was going to do her part and then get it over to where they were setting up the trap.
However, the strange native American guy spoke up to Ezra. Sabrina has seen him around just performing but has never truly interacted with him a few times.
"Ugh..hi Ezra. Ummm...I can go fetch Georgiana for you if you'd like. Right...soooo, stealth is not a talent I possess, but I too have magic—like you guys. I can sort of, make people feel better, or something like that. Anyways, it's no trouble. I swear it."
While it wasn't Sabrina's place to butt in on a different person's conversation but she knew that it was a long shot for anyone but Sabrina to convince Georgie to come. She spoke to both Moon and Ezra at the same time... but mostly Ezra. "I think it'd be better if I go do it... no offense, but me and Georgie have a closer connection. I'm going to try to get her to come.... if not, I can get the skull from her. Then I'm going to head to the trap site, just believe in me."
However, her attention turned towards Justin because the second that Georgie threw the Skull in her little vagina dimension and strutted off, well...
... Professionalism went out the window very fast for Justin.
"Yo, what the fuck?!" He shouted at her as she pretty much just ignored him. Now, Justin got the idea that the Vanburens were spoiled and pampered their whole ass life - he knew that, from the gate, they were probably going to be more annoying than useful. For some of them, such as Oscar and Shane, they had proven themselves to be better than that. But, this... This right here pushed him over the edge. Justin bared his teeth as he had never seen something so petty and childish before in his life. Georgie knew the plan but just chucked the skull into her pocket dimension and stormed off by herself. Of fucking course. Because little miss thing is under the impression that she's better than everyone else here. Justin literally just said that the cult likely has the ability to sense where the skull is, and the trap isn't going to work if they can just bypass all that bullshit and whoop her ass. Maybe she was under the impression that the skull was safer under her care, but to be honest... Justin would rather the Horned God break free than anyone here dying.
He took a step towards Georgiana to metaphorically shove his foot up her ass and get the skull back when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked over expecting Shane or Oscar or somebody else but it was... Sabrina? He caught her name but she barely spoke until her little stupid idea.
"I'll handle her," Sabrina softly said before she did a quick jog over to the manor to go after Georgie. Justin shook his head as Ezra approached him.
“I’ll help find the healer. I don’t know if anyone here has anything that makes them stealthy. My ability is extremely versatile but can be finicky. I could potentially find a way to make myself stealthy with the right item. At the very least, I know that I can get us quietly through just about any locked door.”
Justin nodded his head.
"Good to hear, but we need to get a move on ASAP if we're going to pull this plan off," Justin sighed. "I'm going to hope your sister is going to make Princess-" Justin's new nickname for Georgie "play ball, but if not; we're going have to put the plan off until we get the Skull."
He started walking, before he announced to the group, "Anyone who's coming to make contact with the healer, come with me, we're touching off now."
He suddenly stopped, then he turned to Tuyen then said, "I know they're... a lot, but you should go with the other group." Before he nodded his head.
The Wiccan's "Lair" - Aka the Sunrise Resort.
Deep within the woods of eastern Araminta lied a peculiar place: The Sunrises Resort. Araminta was probably the last place between locations like Lancaster and Philadelphia to attract tourism - well unless they had a fetish for train tracks and heroin addicts. Naturally, the place crashed and burned and became another den for the homeless that was only run out by the occasional sheriff. However, recently a new lot moved into the place and ran out all the degenerates... another group of degenerates. Ever since they moved in, not even the bravest homeless dared come close to the Sunrise. There were reports of the damned place being haunted or Wiccans worshipping Satan there... which wasn't all that wrong.
Whenever people were seen heading to that place, they were left alone even by the most vicious animals (perhaps they knew they weren't an easy target as they looked). There were some very strange things going on there, and not a soul dared to witness it in fear of losing their lives in the process. Every other night there was a fire lit there, one that's glow couldn't pierce the treeline but one that carried the weight of something wrong. It was possibly more concerning the nights in which it wasn't there.
The individuals that made up the Wiccan cult moved their way through the forest before the sun went down, and when it finally began the fire lit again. That unnerving presence scared away anyone that was nearby as they all assembled in the lobby. Members of the cult formed a circle around the fire, in front of the said fire was an innocent-looking white billygoat with a beard and it was chained to the wall by a chain that seemed to be rusted by blood.
The leader of the cult, Morgana, - the one wearing the red robe and the deer skull mask on - walked from behind holding a black cloth with a ceremonial jeweled knife on top of it. She marched towards the goat and handed the cloth off to Thea and grabbed onto the sacrificial weapon. She unsheathed it with a satisfying sound as she stepped towards the animal chosen as a sacrifice. The red-haired cult leader grabbed onto the poor goat by the horn, placed her blade to its throat. She didn't even waste any time before she slashed its throat and sprayed its blood all over the ground as it loudly cried out in pain. Before it expired and fell over onto the ground, Morgana knelt and gestured for two members of the Wiccans to come along and they helped roll the goat onto its back.
Morgana raised the knife high up into the air and brought it down on the dead goat's chest area... she cut the thing open like it was a turkey until she laid her eyes on the goal: its heart. Using the knife she cut the arteries she detached the thing - before she stood straight up and faced the fire. She brought the oozing heart to her chest and whispered the prayer...
"Maiden of the waxing Moon, Mother of the full Moon, and the Crone of the waning Moon. Cursed be those that oppose your infinite beauty and wisdom and bless us with power and knowledge of your own. We, as your faithful servants, offer this sacrifice to you on this cold night and hope that you may access-"
Her prayer was interrupted by the door loudly creaking open and Morgana paused in utter shock as she immediately turned on her heel. The rest of the Wiccans watched as Samantha tried to slip into the room...
... Completely nude.
"God damn it, Sam!" Morgana hissed as she tossed the goat heart over her shoulder and it flew into the fire. "We were wearing robes, didn't you read the text I sent out?!"
"I don't read the stupid group chat because you all are always talking about weird shit in it!" Samantha hissed back before she added on, "But, I'm tired of trying to explain the bloodstains to the cleaners every other week!"
"You need to pay attention," Morgana rolled her eyes. "It's shit like this why the plan failed-"
"... no, the plan failed because it was fucking stupid! " Penelope's obnoxiously high-pitched voice pipped up from behind her own ram skull mask.
"The plan would have worked fine," Morgana answered.
"The plan would have worked fine," Penelope put her hands on her hips and shook her head back and forth in an obnoxious fashion as she mocked her leader. "If they were all retarded, obviously not as it went tits-up the second somebody with a working brain cell walked in."
"Well, I don't see you having any other better ideas, Penny." Morgana rolled her eyes.
Penelope's eyes shot open as she gave Morgana an empty look and she tensed up as she said.
"I had a whole fuckin' boatload of better ideas than trying to impersonate two random-ass chucklefucks and hoping that they could fucking distract the Vanburens long enough to find the Horned God," Penelope put both fists on her hips as she rolled her eyes and said, "Like, I don't know; maaaaaaaaaaybe have Thea honeypot her way into the bitch and grab it - they're rich as fuck and she's a tall blonde-haired white girl, it's a match made in fuckin heaven. Or, or, better yet, we could have just had Haley and Samantha sneak into the bitch and just grab it. Those rich motherfuckers wouldn't know a thing.'
Penelope snorted as she walked towards the fire and then turned her upper body back around towards Morgana, "But nooooooo, we had to go with your sister's fuckin' stupid idea. At the very fuckin' least it was a better idea than yours, Morgana." She rolled her eyes before she scoffed.
"Yeah, I bet you still fuckin' think than an upfront assault on the bitch would have worked."
"Penny," Daniel tried to reason with her. "That's enough."
"Yeah, listen to your boyfriend, Penny," Morgana hissed, "Before you get hurt."
"The boyfriend that almost wasn't here because you almost killed him," Penelope hissed at Morgana. "Like, what the fuck were you even thinking dragging him by a chain like that?"
"Thea could fix him, and she did," Morgana shrugged.
"And you know that Mother Theresa can't revive the dead, right?" Penelope tilted her head as she looked at Thea. "Shit like this is why you're basically a shitty leader and we have people coming in naked."
"Oooh, you just wish that you were that confident, Chica," Maxine teased as she slid her own mask off just to stick her tongue out at Penny.
"Shut up!" Penny replied.
Morgana stomped a foot on the ground.
"Why don't you shut the fuck up, Penny?!" Morgana summoned the chains in her hands.
"Try me, hot sauce hair," Penelope took a step forward and had a fire in one hand and water in the other.
An orange bolt of lightning struck the fire and sent embers flying around in all directions. When the flash (and the ringing) faded, it revealed the image of the Triple Goddess. In her strange, three-faced glory, she floated above the flames and everyone had her attention. The being's three faces hovered around her face as they scanned each member of the Wiccan cult.
"Thornton Walters, Babylon the Great, the Nightmare..." The Triple Goddess listed off the three names and each face spoke in a different voice. "Three major threats that lurk here in Araminta and the whole lot of you are ready to tear at each other's throats. Disgraceful."
The fire dimmed for a second as the goat heart that was charred black from the fires floated out of the flames, it was launched off to the side as the Triple Goddess said. "The Goddess rejects your offering. Because of your buffoonery at the Estate, we may have lost our only window to save my brother."
She closed her eyes as she said.
"He's in a different dimension. I can sense the world he's in, however, I cannot pierce through it. Oh, I can only trace it to one person...."
"Oh, Goddess, how may we remedy this?" Morgana stuck her hands out as she faced the Triple Goddess and sent the chains back to hell.
"Hmph," The Triple Goddess's six eyes looked down at Morgana as she answered. "Stop acting like such a child and disgracing me or I will find another, more suitable leader."
The Goddess sighed as she said, "Right now, the Vanburens are plotting retaliation...." The Triple Goddess trailed off. "How you handle this, is truly up to you, Morgana. I would suggest that you flee and come up with a strategy and find my brother - but I'm certain that you will think of something to justify your position... if you don't want to end up the next sacrifice. Good day."
The Triple Goddess disappeared in another orange bolt of lightning and left the Wiccans staring at each other.
"... Well, good job, dumbass we lost the skull for good, high fives all around!" Penelope clapped and put her hand up for Morgana to clap and she grit her teeth as the chains reappeared.
Thea sighed in relief, but she saw the tension between the two and quickly got in between them. She had one hand up for Penelope, and another hand up for Morgana as she said, "Will you two please calm down?!" Thea shouted and played mediator between the two. "At the end of the day, we all could have done that just a little better and Penny, please,"
Penny put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes as she braced for Thea's mother Theresa act.
"... You can complain all you want about how bad the plan was, you still went into it."
"So, what's the plan, boss?" Maxine asked as she placed a hand on her hip. "Please don't tell me we're gonna let these rich bastards keep the Horned God and boss us around."
"Hell no," Morgana answered.
"Nooo, no, no!" Penny put her hands up. "We are not picking this fight."
"Yeah, let's just go," Thea pleaded. "What are we getting from this fight?"
Morgana summoned the chains and they cackled as they hit the ground and dragged on the ground as she marched towards the exit with a purpose. "We are going to please the Goddess, duh." She rolled her eyes. "If we blitzkrieg them right now, while they're planning, we're gonna win."
She stopped like she forgot something before she looked back at the Wiccan cult.
"If you don't want anything to do with it, then stay here. I'll handle it... I'd just advise that you cover your ears."
That was when she let out an ear-piercing scream... the same one that she let off in the manor. When she stopped, the ground began thumping, and her hell hounds broke through the ground. She menacingly laughed.
The Vanburen Estate
Sabrina crept through the Vanburen estate, quiet as a mouse. It was usually quiet at this hour but she was never used to it being this quiet. The threat of the Wiccans, the air soured by the curse and of course... she walked by the foyer which had a giant painting of James right up the stairs. She shuddered when she saw it, in the past she used to constantly tease her father about the painting. Oh, how egotistical it was. Now, it just constantly reminded her of what she had lost, seeing his face here. She was surprised that Ezra or Georgie didn't get the picture taken down at all, or maybe James stipulated in his will that the photo has to stay up at all costs. Either way, Sabrina passed through it to get to the eastern wing, where Georgie's room was.
She didn't want to sneak up on her sister, but at the same time she was worried about who else was lurking through these halls. Didn't want to come up, too loudly... She heard some sobbing right when she made it to Georgie's room and her heart sank. She suddenly understood that Georgie was simply acting out... but then the sobbing stopped. Sabrina knocked on the door pretty hard, which was contradictory to her "don't be too loud" plan.
"Georgie, can we talk?"
Outside the Sunrise Resort
The night was almost over Araminta, and Justin was hoping to had been come up with a plan and moved out but... not important. Snow crunched underneath his boot from each step as he manuevered through the woods... he wasn't very fond of this plan not because of the plan itself, but because of the people executing it. It seemed that the Vanburens were more concerned with pointless bickering than, you know, solving their curse. However, it was asking for way too much for a bunch of rich kids to focus on the bigger picture for just a short period of time. He was going to make the best of a shitty situation and hope that they can be useful for just a short period of time. He glanced at his phone, and knew that they were going in the right direction and all they had to do was keep heading in this-
An orange bolt of lightning struck not too far away from them and Justin jolted. It was similar to the one that the Triple Goddess escaped in which made Justin realize that they were definitely on the right track. A few moments later another bolt of lightning appeared and he heard Morgana screamed.
"Shit!" Justin hissed underneath his breath. He turned back towards his group and then said. "We might have been discovered."
He put a hand on his chin and pondered. While it was likely that the Wiccans have some ability to discover them, there was nothing definite. He looked at his group, before he asked,
” I’ve been attempting to ascertain the location of the Power Stone. Along with a few other loose ends from the battle in Antarctica. Though I believe the stone to be the most concerning among them. Though I must apologize if you were hoping to speak to me about something over the past few months. I had assumed you wanted nothing to do with me.”
"... And what in the world would I have to talk with you about?" Jaden followed that ridiculous idea of contacting the terminator with a chuckle. The Power Stone was something that he found interesting to him... Nomad wouldn't want a Power Stone in their collection. Though, he was wondering what the hell he would do with a Power Stone... oh, yeah, put it on a chain and go on tour with it. Become the most powerful rapper in the world!
"And I take it you come here to ask us about it?" Justin shrugged, he was not the one to trust Seshat or any of the outsiders. He appreciated her help in Antarctica but he wasn't stupid; the little high and pious defender of the world would turn against them in an instant. Justin just knew it. He balled his fist as he looked at his hand, wiggling his fingers. Before he sighed and shrugged, "... Well, you've come to the wrong place, I have no clue where that thing is." Justin lied, he knew that Seshat wasn't going to buy it though, so he prepared for probably another fight.
He took a few steps away from the two as he looked back, stating,
"Beeeeesides... aren't there like eight other ones? Why don't you go chase one of them instead?"
There was an explosion in the distance that interrupted their conversation... Justin jetted his head around toward the rooftop of a building.
Gold City - Rooftops.
The three figures landed on the roof of a building not too far away from Oh-Seven. They all had a great view of Gold City... all the street lights and cars passing by. The three beings were vaguely human... obviously robotic.
To that one's left, was Oh-Four, dressed like a cutesy little nurse with a massive shield. Her eyes turned a bright blue color as she scanned the area around her. Her eyes reverted to a normal. "Jill and Jasmine Brecian are two kilometers north of us. Justin Haggar is one-point-five kilometers away from us. Others are unknown and..."
Oh-Four and the other two turned around when they heard a sound behind them... a familiar jet booster of their acquaintance. "... Our sister is less than a mile from us."
Oh-Seven had a blank look on her face as she landed on the rooftop and walked towards them... that blank look transformed into that of anger as she got closer and closer. She stated, "Oh-Four, Oh-Three, Oh-Six... I told you all never to step foot in Gold City again!" She shouted at them as she came to a stop, waving her hand.
"Terms we never agreed to," Oh-Six said with a cheeky smile. "Besides, we are here on official business..."
"... With MIRAGE." Oh-Seven sighed.
"Like we said the last time we here," Oh-Three said with a smile, "They kept us safe while Oh-One was massacring our kind. While you ran away... and look at the results..."
She chuckled with a wave of her hand, "Our brothers and sisters are dead, subsumed by Oh-One, and gone forever."
"We destroyed Oh-One," Oh-Seven stated.
"Correction," Oh-Four said, "You destroyed one of his bodies. His systems are backed up in a million different places."
"Places we're trying to destroy," Oh-Three said. "While you're playing with flowers... you should leave this city behind and join us."
"No..." Oh-Seven said, "I refuse to turn my back on humanity... they have a place for me."
"By turning your back on MIRAGE, you're turning your back on humanity," Oh-Three said, "Besides... you were never one of them, nor will you ever... you're nothing but a tool for them."
Oh-Seven pointed her right arm at the three, and it transformed into her rocket launcher... with her bright red-tipped rocket primed and ready. ""Leave, now."
"... You know you can't beat us," Oh-Three took a few steps forward, her massive gauntlets twisted. The second she crossed a threshold, Oh-Seven fired the rocket at her and she stuck her hand out and caught it. Crushing it in her hands with a massive explosion. Created a black cloud of smoke as Oh-Seven activated her jet boosters because she knew that her attack wouldn't cause any actual damage to Oh-Three.
... Oh-Three lunged out of the smoke with her hand cocked back, and Oh-Seven flew backward to dodge. Oh-Three slammed her hand onto the ground as hard as she could and shattered the roof - with had the side effect of sending all three of them down with it. Oh-Seven flew up into the air and primed her machine gun, which popped out of her shoulder.
Oh-Three came out of the wreckage again, flying at her and Oh-Seven flew upwards to dodge as she punched the building behind her - shattering all the glass into pieces. However, Oh-Four came flying at her at high speeds, holding both ends of her shield, and wacked Oh-Seven in the torso.
"... Surprise." She said, laughing as Oh-Seven was sent spinning into a building.
The three rogue One-Hundreds floated to each other side by side.
"... Don't dismantle her," Oh-Four said, "I'm sure the Pariah can fix the faults in her programming."
"We need them more off-balance. Either through the girl who wants out so we can scatter 'em. Or, by being proactive and knocking them down before they can regroup. 'Cause, we're not usually on the same page. If we do try and draw 'em to us, there's a higher chance than I'd like of us fucking it up and those kids making off with the other statue."
Shane had a point... Justin admitted to himself, but he also noted that Shane did not have an ounce of faith in his family. Now, Justin admitted that a lot of these people were probably useless due to living a pampered life and never having to get their hands dirty once... they were probably on the same level as a group of idiotic witches. Which was a little bit insulting to the Vanburens, but he had a feeling that both groups are fairly new to magic and thus were as experienced as the rest of these people. Justin knew that there are more threats out there, lurking, and he would be stupid to think that there wouldn't be other people after they supply Apparitions. Georgie sealing them away in her pocket dimension isn't going to do much when they're knocking on their front door wondering where in the world they went. If they don't just sneak into the house and kill the family in their sleep (because that's what Justin would do).
"... And you're saying that luring them out somewhere and ambushing them wouldn't throw them off guard?" Justin chuckled for a second as he ran his hand through his hair. He was going to stick to his idea because... it was easier to fight off an attacker on your terms than it would be to play on their terms. Of course, there were a few members of the Wiccan faction that they had little to no information about. Or there could be more.
They needed to figure something out fast... Justin would rather not have the Wiccans surprise them when they're less prepared.
Sabrina had covered her mouth, holding her tongue when Shane spoke... she honestly felt hurt that Shane had so little faith in her family. Yeah, she knew they were not perfect, a pain in the ass at best... but, would they fuck this up as badly as Shane surmised? Sabrina didn't feel useless, she felt different with the power of Mary Roberts at her disposal. While it wasn't as flashy as Oscar or Shane's abstractions, or maybe even Trisha's, it was something that Sabrina knew made her something... different. They could stop the Wiccans if they stopped reaching for each other's throats for just one god damn second. Sabrina's eyes drifted towards Georgie, Tansy, and Trisha for just a moment.
“But I do agree that contacting the healer is a good way to go, cause we can always try to lure them that way.”
“Perfect weather for it. After that we can invite the Wiccans out for ice cream, It sounds like we might’ve formed a plan. So in summary, we attempt to contact the turncoat and bring her to a secluded location. Potentially we can get some info from her, but considering how on edge the Wiccans might be it’s more likely they’ll follow her. So we spring an ambush, capture one of them, send the rest fleeing, find out where this Triple Goddess is and hit her before the Wiccans can regroup.”
"... but this is what I keep saying," Justin injected, irritated - probably a lot less professionally than he wanted to come off, "Do we have a way to contact her? Everyone keeps saying that we should contact her, and all, but nobody's talking about how we're gonna do it?"
"Well, we know where their little evil lair is," Sabrina finally added something. "Can't we just go there and find her? It can't be that difficult, can it?" She sighed as she rolled her eyes, and her eyes drifted upwards towards the skyline. Out here, Sabrina could see the stars in the skies at night - Araminta wasn't the most urban city in the world but it was always so damn bright at night-
... From the corner of her eyes, she saw that same silhouette of that skeletal being with horns wearing a suit. Hands behind its back, watching down on them from the roof of the Vanburen estate. He disappeared again in a cloud of black smoke, Sabrina was tempted to bring attention to it but she was wondering if this was really... real.
"I mean..." Justin trailed off for a second when he realized that she had a point. "Does anyone here have any type of stealth ability?"
"... Please use any word other than Daddy," Justin begged Tansy.
“Does that work?”
Justin grabbed onto his chin... as he pondered for a second. A construction site would be away from the general public, and if it is insured they wouldn't have to worry about the damage. The only problem would be the unnecessary attention a fight would bring. "I'll have to take a look." Justin flatly stated before he continued,
"I know I said splitting up is a bad idea... mostly I meant that one person flying solo is a bad idea here but I digress; how about one group sets up the trap and the other group tries to find this defector?"
He took in a deep breath and thought about all the ways this could go wrong but this was a situation in which there were no perfect solutions... he exhaled.
No easy way outs either.
He was glad they weren't all dumping this on him, but he knew that he had to prove himself as the supernatural expert or else they would just find someone else. He turned towards Arabelle who was questioning Georgie and said,
Justin didn't think Georgie's idea was a good one because, as he stated, someone would have to leave the mansion at some point for food or just to get out of here. If the Wiccans were smart, they would just set up shop outside the manor and just wait things out - castle siege style. The Wiccans... while they floundered when their plan fell apart, were not especially dumb in his ass. By Justin's admission, there was some intelligence in their plan, just not a whole lot (nor were there any contingencies other than break shit). If Justin and Tuyen did not show up; they likely would have escaped with the skull. Or they would have messed up somewhere else and the whole plan would have crumbled at a different point. That wasn't the point; the point was; that underestimating the Wiccans, which Georgie was, was not going to end well. Despite Georgie's idea being, well, stupid; the little miss thing here was adamant about sitting on her ass in this mansion. What kind of sibling just sits on their behind while their family rushes off to war? To say the least, Georgie was not endearing herself to Justin.
Where Justin thought Georgie's idea was stupid; he thought that Sabrina's idea was the stupidest thing imaginable. The dumbest thing he ever heard. Fortunately, Oscar and Shane talked her out of it, so it was great to see that they were all on the same page here. Justin saw firsthand that letting out powerful entities was not the best idea. At best, the cult and the two Apparitions would become someone else's problem, which... was not how Justin rolled.
"I just..." Sabrina trailed off, feeling a little bit stupid for even suggesting it in the first place. Well, how in the world were they going to get rid of this problem without violence? Nobody had an idea other than hiding in the manor (which Sabrina was not here for) or going to fight them (which could always end badly for the Vanburens). Sabrina shook her head and just kept her mouth shut to see what their experts had to say. However, the lovely Tansy came up and served the Vanburens tea. "Why thank you." Sabrina said as she maneuvered towards the tea and grabbed herself a cup, easing her nerves as she held the plate and took a sip.
Justin also helped himself to some out of politeness... his mother and grandmother loved drinking tea but he never could stomach the stuff. Though, maybe leaving his many comfort zones was what he needed to get out of this. Tansy began to speak and something was odd about the woman, Justin didn't know what it was. Maybe it was her overly "motherly" aura that he found obnoxious. She put the spotlight on Justin and Tuyen and Justin was glad to steer the conversation back around where he wanted it...
... Only for Georgie to steer the conversation back around towards pointless bickering. Yeah, Justin did not like Georgie at all.
"Georgie! Enough!" Sabrina was the one who mainly felt like it was her duty to talk Georgie down whenever she went on these high and mighty rants of hers. It was too much for her to take sometimes! She grits her teeth as she pointed a finger at Georgie, "If you're not going to help, just go!" She huffed.
"...I don't think that's a good idea," Justin injected as he took a few steps in between Sabrina and Georgie. He was speaking to both of them, for obvious reasons. "I don't think any of us splitting up is a good idea right off. Even if you're so confident in yourself-" Justin turned towards Georgie, "-I doubt you can take on more than one of them."
Now, Justin was going to take Tinsel's advice and give them the advice on what he thought they should do. By his admission, it was not without risks but Justin knew that there was nothing they could do that wasn't inherently risky. For starters, he knew that even if they threw the skull in Georgie's garden, the Wiccans would still hound them. That was not something that Justin wanted, not one tiny bit. If they handled them and removed the Triple Goddess from the equation; the cult would cease to be a problem. Well, there was a chance that they would. However, it was obvious the Triple Goddess was the big issue here, if it was up to them he would have rushed them down guns blazing. That wasn't going to work here.
"How about we don't toss the skull in your dimension just yet," Justin noted, "I would be surprised if they didn't have some kind of ability to track the skull. Which is something we can use against them..."
Suddenly, the quiet Native American guy that was in the corner of the room had finally spoken up. Justin had largely ignored him as he had no clue who in the world this gentleman was, given that he wasn't there this morning, but would find out soon. Of course, he spoke up and came up with an idea that was not a bad one, but just a bad time. "The only problem with that is they're probably on high alert..." He drifted off toward Tuyen, "... They would probably see through it, but that's not a risk that I am willing to take."
He took in a deep breath.
"We need to get the Triple Goddess and take her out fast as possible," Justin stated, "My basic idea is to lure them somewhere else and ambush them. Not in the manor because they won't fall for that."
@Atrophy I totally meant to take two weeks to accept a character.
She's more of an Affixed but I'll let that slide.
LIMITS ⫻ Tansy, unfortunately, can only use the power of Dominion's Majesty on one target at a time and to change targets; Tansy has to release her hold on the one target she's focusing on. The Extra-Normal are heavily resistant, if not outright immune, to the effect of Tansy's abstraction due to Emotional-Fields protecting them - if they know of Tansy's ability they can easily resist the effects if they are aware of them. Tansy can use the Dominion's Majesty and use its effects in a range of thirty meters, or if she chooses to use it herself, far, far closer (which is the more effective way to use it). Tansy is able to control a blind for around a few hours before they become more and more aware of the control and is able to break free. An Extra-Normal can only be affected for a few minutes.
WEAKNESSES ⫻ Due to the low-powered nature of the abstraction; there are few drawbacks or weaknesses. The Dominion's Majesty is a very fragile Apparition not designed for combat; it's easily destroyed by attacks. If it's destroyed, Tansy will fall unconscious until the Apparition regenerates. The primary counter to this ability is awareness, if even the Blind are aware of Tansy's abstraction and somebody tells them she's using it on them; they can resist and break free of its influence.
When night fell, the Vanburen estate's entire tone changed. It went from a somber, yet beautiful, estate to a more sinister-looking place. The off-set this, Sabrina usually turned on the lights to illuminate the way for her usually walks through the estate grounds... she figured that she'd leave the lights on tonight as some strange effort to deter any type of intruders into her precious estate. Despite living here almost her entire life, she could always find some odd enjoyment in walking the grounds of the estate. The warmth of James always seemed to illuminate something inside the woman.
Because the temperature goes down drastically in Araminta at night; Sabrina had put on a few extra layers with the help of the Ghost of Mary Roberts. A heavy black winter coat and an extra-thick pair of jeans and some heavy black winter boots - nothing flashy because, for the rest of the night, Sabrina intended on staying her ass on the Vanburen estate. However, the rest of her family had other ideas. Or more accurately; the two little supernatural experts that the Vanburen family seems to turn to and trust. It's funny because James had taught them to stay away from the supernatural types; the fortune-tellers and the like. After digging into his library she figured that it was a warning of sorts.
Against this madness, Sabrina had the feeling that magic was something James didn't expect to ever return.
Mary Roberts materialized a scarf to shield her face as the cold winter breeze hit. Sabrina wanted to visit James' grave, despite it turning her into an emotional wreck and maybe it was not best to do it before seeing the others... but as Sabrina told herself, she had no interest in the meeting. However, Sabrina came to a halt when she saw something concerning when she came to a halt - stopping herself from gasping. Over James' grave, she saw a figure... a demonic one if she ever could tell herself. She couldn't make out the details, but it was skeletal and had these massive horns that never belonged on no man. Sabrina dipped behind some bushes as she watched the figure. It put down something before it disappeared in a cloud of black smoke.
Wasting no time in getting over to her father's grave in hopes that, whatever she just saw, didn't desecrate her father's grave. She had to inspect the damage and... she saw nothing in particular odd about James' grave.
All she saw was a bouquet.
The Vanburen Estate
"Abandoned or not, the resort's likely got pictures of it online in some capacity. Definitely on a map with the surrounding area. If you're asking my take, which you're not, it'd be smart to get an idea of the place they've holed in. Entrances, exits, what have you. Might not be completely accurate now, but better than goin' is blind."
"Done and done," Justin stated with a proud smirk before pulling out his phone and swiping through all the photography of the place when it was in its prime. Some images of the resort were recent, but Justin knows that the place has probably been through hell and back. What caught Justin's eye and distracted him was Arabelle.
“This is what they came here for. The Horned God is sealed within this skull. A woman within the cult- the healer, spoke to me before I escaped. I confronted her in a room where she was searching for this. She is against this Morgana and the Triple Goddess's plan to release him, saying that most of the Wiccans are misguided and unaware of what they are doing. What she said could be a ruse, I know, but she still gave this to me for protection.”
Justin stared at the skull while Arabelle was talking... before he walked over to her and touched it, hearing the rather old gravely voice of the Horned God.
"Release me." The Apparition calmly said before Justin let go of the skull.
Before he touched it again.
"Please." The Apparition said before Justin let go of the skull again.
"You must find this very amusing," The Apparition said before Justin let go of the skull.
"I will end you when I break free." Justin had enough of the Apparition before he looked up at Arabelle.
"... For a hot second, I thought they gave you this random skull!" Justin awkwardly laughed as he ran a hand through the hair on the back of his head. Because, all things considered, it would totally would had made sense! It would have been a trick that Justin would have tried; gain the trust of some naive chick, give her a fake skull, and then and dip with the real Apparition. He listened (... kind of) to the rest of what Arabelle and Ezra said, before a question popped into his head. And that very question came out of his mouth.
"... Do you have her number?"
Then the question of what to do with the skull came up, and Ezra suggested a bunch of things, while Justin was just about to note what Georgie can do...
"Or, I can hold onto the skull. Every apparition James hid in the house is now in my Garden. What's no more thing to hold? I'm the only safe bet here. They can't get to it, unless I open the Garden and if I die, then it's trapped there forever. Problem solved."
"Sounds like a good idea," Justin stated, before noting, "I have a feeling though, that they might be able to sense where it is, so um, sealing in cement won't work."
"It's what I would do. So, we either go with your plan and feed her convincing bullshit to gain her trust while throwing her off, or we could go with my idea: stay here and do nothing. They're bound to try again, which means we fortify the mansion and stay vigilant. We'll have home advantage and can make several plans centered around the layout of the house. Having the home advantage, we could wipe them out."
This all made sense, but there was something that Justin just had to note.
"... but are you all cool with being cooped up in here twenty-four, seven?" Justin noted, channeling that old tiger's logic. "Eventually, one of us has to go out. And waiting around when we don't know the exact details of your curse is not the wisest idea... we don't know if there's some trigger that will cause it to instantly kill all of you."
"... And besides," Sabrina finally spoke up. "You're the last person who would want to be stuck in here with reminders of James, Georgie." She chuckled, before a nervousness overcame her. She was tempted to tell he group about what she saw, but maybe her eyes deceived her; maybe it has little to do with the curse or the Wiccans. Some stranger has been leaving flowers behind for some reason... instead, she voiced a stupid idea of hers.
"Have we thought about just giving them the skull? Maybe they'll leave us alone."