"…Okay, so let's get things straight. Azazel went missing 2 years ago, around the same time as the Unkiller." A nod. "And Lalan, you've been looking for him ever since, right?" Another nod. "And now, both the Unkiller and Azazel have returned." A third nod is received from the two, and nearby, Patrick rubs his temples in frustration.
"This is giving me a headache…" He muttered, sitting down on one of the 2 red armchairs around the fire. They all sat in Jackson's cottage, Azazel rather awkwardly in the middle, and Jackson on the other side of the cottage.
"So, Zazzy, what were you doing those 2 years, anyways? At the rate we're going with this, you're already a major suspect." Lumina asked, laying on her stomach on the bed. Her feet casually moved back and forth, showing her interest.
"…Zazzy?" The blonde asked, raising an eyebrow.
"It's my new nickname for you!" She grinned mischievously, her chestnut brown hair falling over her shoulder as she did so.
After a moment, 'Zazzy' sighed in reluctance, deciding to let it go. He ran a hand through his messy blonde hair, which now appeared curly. "To be honest… I honestly don't remember anything."
"Huh? How do you not remember anything?!" Everyone (but Jack) asked incredulously, leaning towards the rather uncomfortable blonde.
"I-I don't know. All I remember is walking home one night and then, nothing. After that, I remember waking up in the hotel I brought Patrick back to. Some strange guy staying there said he found me lying in the snow. I've been here for the last 5 days." Azazel explained, playing with his hair in what seemed to be a nervous habit.
"Describe strange." Trent asks, a hint of suspicion leaking into her voice.
"Well, what I noticed most is that he has red eyes. His skin is tanned, and he has black hair that hangs in his face and reaches his… chin, I think. He's here on vacation, but he's currently in college. He agreed to let me stay with him until he went home."
"What's his name?"
The door opened, revealing a young man with red eyes and chin-length raven hair, matching the description. "Hey, Azazel, who're your friends?" He asked, raising an eyebrow at the decently large group. They all filed into the rather large hotel room, spreading themselves out comfortably. "Um… What's going on?" He raised an eyebrow, closing the door. Azazel silently apologized sheepishly as he sat down at the kitchen table.
"I'm going to get straight to the point. Are you the Huntsman? And I will know if you're lying." Lalan crossed her arms sternly, looking pointedly at Kyu. A moment of silence ensued as Lalan and pretty much everyone else continued to stare at Kyu, until he finally gave a strained nod. Azazel looked at him with a sympathetic expression, letting the other know that the interrogation wasn't over yet. "Okay… Then who hired you to protect that place?"
"…He never gave me his name. I just got a letter one day with about $150 inside. It said that if I protected everywhere within a ½ mile radius of that tree, I'd get the other half of the fee if no one entered the place for the next 2 weeks."
"…That's it?" He nodded. Lalan sighed, rubbing her face in frustration. "Did you see anything else while you were here? Like, strange people or places? Things perhaps?" The raven-haired man thought for a bit over the question, his eyebrows furrowing in thought.
"Just one." Lalan perked up with interest, her hands gesturing frantically for him to continue. "There's a strange cave about a mile or 2 from the entrance to the base, imbedded in a large cliff. I've never been inside, though frequently I've seen a blue-ish light from inside." The almost-detective burst out of her seat in excitement, pointing at Kyu.
"That's it! Take us there!"
Before them sat a rather large cave, the entrance bordered by what looked almost like hieroglyphics. Inside what would have otherwise been a pitch black cavern was a faint, pulsing blue-white light. Patrick whistled. "So this is it, huh? Guess we should go inside." He took a step forward, when Jackson grabbed his arm.
"Don't." Patrick looked at the face of the other, emotionless besides a slight frown. Reluctantly, the hero complied, and Jackson removed his arm.
"He was right to stop you." Azazel piped up, staring at the symbols bordering the entryway. "These aren't hieroglyphics. They're Elvish."
"El-what?" Drella asked, staring at the blonde as if he was crazy.
"Elvish. Language of the elves. A friend of mine once decided that he would only speak Elvish, so I picked up on a few words."
"Mind reading it out for us, then?" Patrick asked, crossing his arms impatiently.
"…n'uma er yassen i' coia en' a raa, coia ere' vee' a ai'mithe."
"In English?" Came the sarcastic response from Hangman, who received a glare from Lalan.
"Um, it doesn't make much sense, but in a direct translation, it would be, 'no one with the life of a lion, life only as a mouse.' So, I think it would be more like 'no one with the life of a lion, live only as a mouse'. These are probably the terms you must meet to enter."
Everyone stood around for a moment, thinking. "Well… maybe only those with the self-esteem of a mouse can enter?" Lumina suggested thoughtfully, and several others shouted their agreements.
"Then which of us should enter?" Trent asked, and the excitement quieted down quickly, everyone slightly somber at the thought.
"Well… there's only one way to find out." Joey muttered nervously, stepping up to the entrance. No one said a word, ready at a moment's notice to pull him out if something happens. The brunette took a deep breath, and stepped through. For a moment, the blue light turned a blinding white, and several of the heroes began attempting to scramble towards him. In the same second, the light dimmed again, and Joey stood there, startled but otherwise okay.
"Thank god… Anyways, who's next?"
After a lot of blinding lights and nervous rackets, Joey, Azazel, Jackson, Trent, and Lalan made it inside the cave, with Kyu, Drella, Patrick, and Lumina stuck on the other side. "We'll just guard the entrance till you get back then!" Lumina called as they all said their goodbyes, the others heading further inside the cave. "See you guys later!"
I've got a 3-day weekend next week, and plot bunnies going, so the next chapter should be up soon if all goes well!