Back at the group of rag tag assasins’ apartment, Amigo was kneeled next to Roy, who was still playing with his foreigner’s fingers.
“Pleeeeeeease,” Amigo mocked. “It would make Father Amigo very happy.”
Roy looked up to Amigo, putting his fingers down. “But it feels like work. If there was a bit of fun in it, I–”
That was the time when Shoy appeared in the middle of the room, clasping his shoulder. A small amount of blood dribbled down his sleeve. He drew in everyone’s attention almost immediately.
Shoy never got hurt. Ever.
The man in the center of the room shoved his fingers into the hole and pulled out the bullet, throwing it to the ground and standing straight up.
Sim sat up from the couch. “Edmond doesn’t use guns.”
Amigo shifted his weight. “Q uses guns. But Edmond wouldn’t tell him to shoot you… Did he?”
Shoy appeared visibly shaken for a moment, a shiver going down his spine. It was moreso that he was missing his weapons, not that he was injured. “The Count is very fast. I was expecting quite a fight, but he exceeded my expectations altogether.” He gave a passing glance to Roy, who was rolling one finger over the carpet and knocking it into the other finger. Shoy had been expecting a smart remark, but it did not come.
“So then they were working together? I haven’t heard of that before,” Amigo remarked, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the wall, near the mirror.
Shoy shook his head, walking over to the couch and sitting on the end, so he could lean on the arm. “His lackey came in near the end. I thought we were alone and wasn’t expecting it. It’s my fault. I saw the bullet but Edmond pulled me into it at the last moment. He seemed mad the other guy had interrupted, though.” Shoy laid his head back, closing his eyes and heaving a sigh. “It won’t happen again.”
Sim snapped his fingers. “I knew something was up with him.” He looked toward Shoy, “You didn’t feel him come in, did you? He must mask his ki or something.”
Shoy hmphed. “He doesn’t mask his ki, Sim. You can’t make yourself completely invisible. I don’t know how it’s possible, but the guy has no ki.”
“But even normal goodfornothings have ki,” Sim argued. “Is it because he’s not from here?”
“No,” Amigo interjected. “Even people without Resonance souls outside of Dexterity have ki.” He looked toward Roy. Although the androgyne appeared to not be paying attention, Amigo knew the man heard every word. “Is it possible his Rez is the ability to have no ki?”
Roy picked up one of his decapitated fingers and threw it toward the laptop at the far wall. “Q Q Q Q Q, Life like a quiz~” he sang, it was the lyrics from a jpop song.
The rest of the room all groaned to themselves. The monitor on the laptop flicked on.
“I’ve never met the guy,” the madman finally answered, seeming to sober up. “I would like to see him for myself.”
The speakers of the laptop rang, causing Amigo to jump. Startled, he quickly went to stop the noise, which coincidentally was the only way to answer Mercain’s phone call.
“I had a very interesting call just now,” Mercain told the group.”Q called me. He’s wondering if we have access to something that will prevent someone’s Rez from being used.”
Amigo quirked a brow.
Roy jumped up, hands in the air above his head. “YES! I just invented one of those!” He got a serious face for a moment. “The RezSuspend. It suspends Rez and negates the soul’s ability to use it!” He jerked his elbow back. “Score!”
Amigo frowned. It wasn’t just Roy who had invented it. He, Roy, and Mercain had helped. Oh well. It didn’t need to be said, everyone already knew. They would let Roy have his glory.
“Yes, well. It turns out the only way to really kill the Pheonix is to cremate her while her Rez is unusable,” Mercain tried to keep the gang on track to the actual subject at hand.
Sim’s ears perked up. “How did you get such specific information?”
Amigo’s hand went to his chin in thought. That question had been on his own mind.
“Apparently,” Mercain stretched out the word, as if drawing in the suspense as he wriggled in his rolling chair. “Q has a friendship with Opal. Before you ask– Yes, that Opal. The one that kills everything. But, before I called up you guys, I had to look up Ms. Koboi for myself. I didn’t believe a guy like Q could reign in Opal for a second.”
Mercain seemed excited to be spreading this information, as if it were some special hidden gem. “I couldn’t find much. But, I did find out that Aine, that crybaby alter ego of Opal, was murdered and that’s how she is able to do what she does.”
Amigo was able to jump in before Sim could ask the very same question, “What’s Aine’s murder have to do with Q?”
Mercain laughed. “Nothing really. Except when you consider the video of it happening.” there was a large surge of tapping on the keyboard on Mercain’s end, before a window was pulled up. The camera this was pulled from obviously wasn’t the best of quality, as the video itself was very blurry and black and white.
“Everyone’s gonna wanna watch this,” Mercain said off screen.
Shoy tiredly looked up, as did Roy. Amigo and Sim were already looking at the screen.
The frame rate was low, so the frames were jumpy. There was a small girl – Aine – and a taller man. The man looked no different than anyone else, except when the frame jumped and the man’s hand was on Aine’s head. There was a flash of a tail. Only one man had a tail in this city.
There was a glow, a bright flash. Q’s hand was behind him, arm outstretched. A white, ghostly figure was in it… Aine’s body fell to the ground. Then there was a ball of light in place of where Aine was supposed to be. The ghostly figure in Q’s hand had dropped – she was taking the shape of what the group knew to be Opal.
The next frame, the light was going through Q’s chest. And the next frame, Q was on his knees. Opal beside him.
“What…. The… Fuck…” Sim’s mouth was wide. Shoy’s brows crumpled together in thought.
“What the hell was that?” Amigo questioned, stepping toward the laptop.
“Hold on, I’ll loop it,” Mercain stated off-screen. Then, the video played again.
“That must be his Rez,” Shoy thought aloud.
“But what the hell is it?” Amigo asked.
Mercain minimized the video, much to everyone’s dismay. He was grinning with delight. “I don’t know exactly what it is, but it happened a year a go, remember? When Opal went crazy and started killing everyone. Q came in with Edmond two years a go. Nobody gave a shit about Q back then, right? I didn’t even know he existed until later. But, I do know that having a Rez like that’s gotta be extremely difficult to hide.”
Shoy stood up and walked closer to the laptop, nearing Amigo. “He already has his own device for disabling Rez.” He finished the thought Mercain was trying to get to. “That must be why I couldn’t feel his presence, either…”
“NO!” Roy, who had been quiet until this point, stomped his feet in anger. “My invention is nothing now! Why must he have something I don’t!” The androgyne shook his head from side to side, his fists clenched. The one finger he still had in his hand snapped in two. “It’s not fair!”
“Calm down, Roy…” Amigo pressured. “Maybe you should go outside for now.”
Roy took the hint and did as told, slamming the door behind him.
“It can’t be a generator like we have,” Amigo turned to Mercain. “Then Edmond wouldn’t be able to use his Rez, either.”
Shoy shook his head and added his piece. “Even with Q in the room, Edmond could use his Jade Armor.”
Sim, while perplexed by this whole thing, still went in a different direction. “If he has his own device, why bother asking you for yours?”
Mercain cocked his head. “Maybe he only has one. Perhaps it is a prototype. I didn’t think to search for things that could mask ki or Rez since we had come up with the RezSuspend. I’ll do that as soon as we’re done here, and see if I can find out who made Q’s.”
Shoy crossed his arms over his chest. There was a moment of confused silence before Shoy asked, “Mercain. Was there more to that video? I mean, on the beginning and the end.”
Mercain cocked his head, typing a few things on a computer to his side which couldn’t be seen on the other side. He clicked around a bit, and frowned. “Yeah, but not much. Q walks up, Aine walks up, they’re still for a while, Q does that aura thing, out pops Opal, then Q falls to the ground and…” He clicked a few more times, becoming more interested.
“Hey, wait. About an hour later Q’s still on the ground and The Count comes in and takes him back to the castle.”
Shoy brought his fist to his chin in thought. “Q was lying there for an hour? What was he doing?”
Mercain looked back over to the monitor with the video on his end. “Doesn’t look like he’s doing anything but lying there. Kinda looks hurt.”
Shoy pointed to the monitor. “Show me.”
Mercain didn’t see why he should, but pulled back up a still anyway. Shoy was the most experienced fighter out of everyone. If he wanted something done, it was best to respect it.
Shoy brought his hand beck to rest on his chin as he stared at the image. He knew that look. After a moment, it came to him. “I know what that is.”
Everyone looked at Shoy in disbelief. It was such a vague image, how could he know what it meant? It just looked like a guy crouching down on the ground…
“That’s what happens when someone who doesn’t know how to correctly use their Rez gets knocked back by the after effects. Askasa is similar. The Decay arm– it takes Askasa’s life force away. I managed to see what happened the first time he ever used it. It was like this,” Shoy Explained. “Q must hide away his Rez because he’s afraid of its adverse effects. Askasa does the same.”
Sim cocked his head to the side. “But Fortenra just doesn’t use his Decay Arm. He doesn’t own a sort of limiter.”
Shoy turned to his younger companion, explaining what more experienced travelers already knew. “Here in Dexterity a lot of people get killed off when they’re weak. But outside they let people live easier. So people who can’t get a hold on their powers find other ways to survive.”
Sim frowned, but continued to listen, as Shoy obviously had more to say – the man had been all around the world, after all.
“There are also people — on the outside — who can’t control their Resonance souls very well. If they have a powerful Rez, sometimes it can get out of hand. Be used when it was not intended to be, or tapped into unconsciously. Sort of like how Tali can revive herself. It’s a bodily reaction.” He paused for a moment, to take a breath, and try to word this as easily as he could. “People who can sense Rez know where Tali is, yards away. Even now, though Tali is technically dead, her Rez is still working. With a Rez that looks as powerful as Q’s.. to separate a personality outside of the host body… If Q did not have control over it, anyone with even the most remote ability to sense Rez could feel him from miles away.”
Mercain waited a moment, making sure Shoy was done, before he chimed in. “The outside is more advanced than we are, in terms of technology. They have things we couldn’t even fathom having a use for. So since nobody cared about Q when he came here, I think it’s possible that whatever his Rez Suspender is, he got it from wherever he was before he and Edmond came here.”
“It would make sense that Q would ask you if you had a limiter, is his own was needed for himself,” Shoy stated bluntly.
Sim took a step back, taking everything in. He’d never been outside the town walls, and now he was wondering why he hadn’t been, if it was so amazing. It was so foreign, people allowing weaklings to just roam around, like they had a right to live…
Amigo jumped in with his new question. The mention of Edmond had sparked his interest. Mercain minimized the still image and turned to Amigo as Amigo asked his question. “Mercain, you know more about Edmond than anybody. You say Edmond came to Dexterity with Q already?”
Mercain nodded. Amigo continued, “How long do you think they’ve been together?”
Amigo’s face made it clear was devising one of his master plans.
Mercain leaned back in his chair, thinking. “I don’t really know much about Q. He’s about as mysterious as Insom, if not a little moreso.” He rubbed his chin, looking up at a picture of Edmond with a mustache and angry eyes drawn on the face with marker. “If I had to make a guess, I’d say at least two or more years before coming here. Why?”
Amigo put his foot forward, opening his hand in explanation of his motives. “Edmond has several servants. I believe at one point you said he’s trained most, if not all of them. If Edmond has sparred with Q, or even known Q for as long as you guess, then they would have a deep trust. Edmond would know about Q’s Rez. Edmond would know how Q is able to mask himself.”
Mercain’s brows creased. “You’re right. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”
“Edmond still trusts you,” Amigo stated in response. “You should go to him in a few hours, explain you heard about what happened, and want to know if Edmond’s okay. Then you should bring up how it was weird Q contacted you about a limiter for Tali. Maybe bring something up about how he should bring Tali to us, to take the problem off Edmond’s hands.”
Mercain nodded, “Right, I’ll call him in-”
“No,” Amigo stepped forward, asserting his authority. “Go to him in person. Show you care. Even though I know you don’t.”
Mercain frowned, suddenly uneasy, “Outside…?”
“It would be best for you to get some fresh air in all these years, anyway. Trust me on this, it’ll only work if you go in person. Show you are worried about him.” With that Amigo cut the line and closed the laptop. He took a deep breath, then turned to Shoy. “You should go find Roy. I’m going to go out to eat.”
Shoy nodded, giving a passing glance to Sim, and walked out the door. Amigo reached for his coat, which was on a coat rack.
“Wait,” Sim grabbed Amigo’s sleeve. “That Q guy… Should I be worried about him?”
Amigo sighed, and loosened up, looking down to Sim. “Even with this new information, Q is still only a dog. And the dog only does what its master orders him to. He will ignore everything else. You have nothing to be afraid of.” He turned to continue putting on his coat, but Sim stopped him again, pulling on the sleeve.
“Are you sure? He will ignore me?”
“I am positive,” Amigo replied. “Dogs have one-track minds. You should be worried about Edmond, not his pet.”
Sim let go of Amigo’s shirt, allowing the man to put his coat on and open the door to go outside. “You have nothing to worry about. I don’t understand why you would be in the first place.” With that he stepped out into the early evening and walked off.
Sim, left by himself, looked at his hands. His worry turned into play. He grinned. Why wait a few hours for Mercain to ask Edmond? Sim could get the answers straight from the source. He jumped through the nearby mirror.