New arc begins! :D
I know the type of intro I used might be getting a little repetitive by now but the later parts are just so good it doesn't matter. Trust me, keep reading and you'll love this arc! ^^
Late at night within a valley, the Brystol Forest was dark and sinister, with malicious entities lurking in the shadowy corners. However, a speck of light can be seen much deeper within, where it turns out to be coming from a campfire of a strange couple sitting on opposite sides. One was a tall teenage boy rather generic looking with blonde hair sticking up. The other was a teenage girl with short straight black hair mostly pulled to one side over an ear and doe like eyes.
"So Alice you said you enjoy a romantic night camping in the woods right?" The boy smiled speaking from memory of what the girl named Alice had told her before. "So how are you enjoying yourself?"
"...," Alice thought of what to say. How much longer must she keep up this facade? A part of her is still telling herself to back out but she's not really meaning any harm is she? This boy is just needed to help a friend and he may even get off fine afterward. So Alice decided to look up saying, "Sorry Greg, just let me watch the stars for a moment..."
"Wow, so you're into that," Greg replied. "You know, with these rumours of this forest being dangerous, it's pretty stupid right? The others who disappeared probably just poked a bear they shouldn't have. I mean, we're doing fine here right?"
Alice only continued to contemplate on the sky. What is taking them so long? The voice telling her to back out is growing stronger than ever. Even for a friend is it still wrong? How many people have been sacrificed without results? Her thoughts were interrupted when she turned to hear a sound in the bushes. "What's that?"
"Don't worry baby," Greg got up to walk over confidently to the noise to check. "I'll show you it's nothing to get..."
Alice looked shocked seeing her date had mysteriously fell limply and she no longer stayed quiet, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"
At a different time but not so far in space, Team Freakshow resided in Brystol town or rather the hotel to be precise. In the morning. The smell of pancakes had lured Rina from her dream as she slowly woke up and look around the apartment.
She could see that Ian was still asleep, Corey is elsewhere and Prisha was the one making breakfast. Trying to get started for the day, Rina got up and rubbed her eyes, "Hey, so it looks like Corey got up and early to go out on his own again?"
"All bets are off on the number of problems we'll have to fix when we have the energy," Prisha sighed as he placed the plates with the pancakes of the table.
It's been a while since the mission with the aliens and Rina and her friends had been wondering the Lorieth region. After tidying herself in the bathroom, she went out to take a seat and tried the pancake. But could only comment, "too cold..."
Prisha frowned a bit more before the door opened to reveal Coery returning, "Hey morning everyone!"
"Corey!" Rina exclaimed. "I'm surprised you didn't start a riot on your time out."
"Oh yah, that's because I was busy at the hideout for a while," Corey held up a document that seemed to be a mission paper.
"Uh..." Rina stopped to read the title. "Investigate the disappearances in the Valley of Dying Screams..."
"YOU DID NOT JUST ACCEPT IT!" Rina bursted out in shock.
Later in the morning, all four of them are now at the Brystol agency speaking to a lady named Emilia who had straight black hair, mostly knotted. Corey looked enthusiastic while Rina, Ian and Prisha had flat expressions.
"So... you want us to find out what happened to the people who disappeared in the forest in Brystol Valley..." Rina said monotonously. There should be a system for them to quit a mission they chose by mistake. But how many teams have a member like Corey?
"Yes, Brystol Valley, now known as the Valley of Dying Screams earned its reputation after certain people were reported missing passing the valley to cross to other towns," Emilia explained. "Even when they are accompanied by another and brought a communication device with them the signal is lost during the exploration."
"And they are never heard from again?" Ian assumed aloud.
"No, if you are close enough to the forest and listen very carefully, you can sometimes hear a scream some time after the signal is lost, hence the name," Emilia continued. "Even soldiers sent into the valley suffer the same fate."
"But you don't just have to investigate on foot do you?" Rina asked.
"No, but when we had someone fly a helicopter over, it seems to somehow get damaged and crashed after the signal was lost followed by the scream of those we sent in," Emilia said causing the expression of the teens to be even more lifeless. "Even when we had people dig a tunnel under the forest-"
"They returned and climbed out of the hole as lizard people!" Corey smiled widely.
Then after everyone finished face faulting, Ian got up and yelled, "At least let people finish their non random explanation!"
"..., right yes," Emilia went back to explaining after everyone has calmed down. "As I said even with people digging a tunnel under the forest, the last we heard of them was a scream."
Seeing as that was all Emilia had to say, Rina turned to her team to ask, "Any idea how to start investigating? Possible causes for the disappearances?"
"There is a really high probability it was humanly induced," Prisha said coldly. "Being calculated enough to cover air, ground and under."
"True, but who would be the suspects?" Rina sighed and scolded Corey. Maybe it's better if people just avoided the valley altogether and find another way to where they need to go. "You see, accepting a mission shouldn't always be the first step. There are background checks you could do and some missions are more reserved for people with the necessary abilities."
"Do you still have the mission paper with you?" Emilia asked causing the teens to turn back to her. "Maybe an adjustment would do better for us both."
Rina handed over the document as Emilia written something on it. Once it was handed back for the others to look at, they could see what has been changed and Rina pointed it out excitedly, "Ian! What does the mission paper say about the reward fee?"
"What?.. You mean nine thousand and one?.." Ian read out the fee and raised an eyebrow before Rina hit him over the head. "Ow!"
"That's not how it's supposed to go!" Rina yelled at him.
"The town will reward you better if you could solve the whole issue," Emilia said. She just can't seem to make up her mind. "But I will pay you if you can just save my daughter!"
"Your daughter?" The four occultists asked simultaneously.
"The truth of the matter is that people have gone missing in the valley for months," Emilia explained but the subject was rather touchy. "But about a month ago Alice secretly went out into the forest with a boy and gone missing. My daughter, who is also the daughter of the head governor, who indeed is my husband."
"Our daughter's disappearance had motivated him to use more resources to find the source of the problem, until now that is. Too much money had been invested so it was best to make the area off limits. So as you can see, I turned here for help."
"The last resort agency," Corey smiled and sweat dropped. "I feel so special."
"Please, just do anything you can to bring Alice back to me!" Emilia said emotively. "If it's the fee we can still bargain."
"No the fee is ridiculous high enough as it is," Rina replied then smiled both with both a hint of confidence and sincerity. "Just leave it to us."
A few hours later, the occult kids found themselves on the outskirts of Brystol with the forest ahead of them. Corey jumped around like crazy, "Yay! You guys ready to explore the forest of mystery?"
"I'll just like to make double certain," Prisha said a little further from the forest. "We had done all the background research we can haven't we?"
"I'm afraid so, the only practical course of action left is to enter the forest," Rina sighed. "I mean, I looked up some important people dying a few months back. But it likely a coincidence and I couldn't find any links between them and the problem."
"I did also look up on the people who disappeared and found this," Rina took out a photo for the others to look at seeing a teenage girl with short straight black hair and doe eyes. "That's the governor's daughter, Alice."
Ian whistled enjoying the view saying, "You know, I'm carrying little enough for another photo- OW!"
Rina just punched him away. Ready to enter the forest, Corey asked enthusiastically, "So what do you think is in the valley anyway?"
"Booby traps if not people set to ambush us?" Prisha answered bluntly. Also, he wondered what the culprit's motives were. For keeping people away from an area they sure are drawing a lot of attention to it.
"Possible booby traps could involve, pit holes, spikes or poison gas," Rina thought about it aloud. "At least we can rule landmines out, since people would have heard the explosion."
"You three could there scared all you want," Ian started walking into the forest. "We waited long enough."
Rina and Corey were about to follow, But Prisha had laid out his arm to stop them. Seeing how confused his friends are, Prisha reluctantly explained, "It's a strategic formation to minimize the casualty of booby traps by having a safe distance between each of us."
"Wider spread death traps take more resources after all, making them less probably," Prisha made sure Ian was at least twenty feet ahead before entering himself along with Rina and Corey. "If Ian was to foolishly step on something, I would see it to inform you two and the worst case scenario is if the trap swallows both me and Ian and the two of you will survive and be warned."
"Wait, you're going after Ian?" Rina asked. She was sure that would be the second most dangerous position.
"Yes, we don't have much time to decide the order so let's stick with it," Prisha said quickly while staying vigilant. Ian most suited for the front with his durability, being the most likely to survive a trap. So if that's dealt with then what they need to be most on the alert with is an ambush. "After I finish talking, I want you two to wait until I'm twenty feet ahead."
"There you two can decide who falls last on the order," Prisha finished and kept walking ahead of Corey and Rina. He also remembered to take out his phone, seeing when it may lose transmission.
"Okay just be careful," Rina whispered and waited for Prisha to be far enough ahead. She then turned to Corey saying, "Right now we have to decide who goes next."
"Already did!" Corey's voice called out behind Rina who turned to see him waving at her twenty feet back.
It wasn't easy having to do so much at once while walking in the forest. Keeping an eye on Ian, often looking at his phone and staying alert for anyone who can ambush him. At least it wasn't as difficult as scrutinizing the aliens in his last mission, so he's more used to it. However, he wondered how the other two behind him were putting up with it.
He hadn't checked his phone for a while, so he tried doing so and found it stopped working. It may be due to an electrical jamming device somewhere around but this is the time to be extra vigilant. Ian hasn't stepped on any traps yet but there still may be someone out to ambush them.
Hearing an unusual sound in the forest beside him, Prisha managed to jump in time to dodge what looked like a dart. He managed to take a closer look to see more precisely that it's a tranquilizer dart. In order to warn the others, he cursed, "Damn it! Tranquilizer darts!"
"Prisha!" Rina ran to his side to look around for where the attack came from. Corey had also reached the area.
"Force Wall!" Call had conjured the barrier just in time to fend off more incoming darts. It's at least more clear now where they're coming from. The group looked to see how Ian is doing and he looked confused.
"Hey what are you all doing?" He called out and just barely evaded a dart from his side.
"Ian come one!" Rina called out. "Corey's barrier could shield us!"
But Corey didn't think he needed to anymore. He figured out the precise location the darts had come from. So he brought down the barrier to charge at that direction saying, "Leave it to me!"
"Corey!" Rina called shocked at the loss of the refuge from the tranquilizers. "You know some of us still need a defence!"
But it didn't seem to matter much. The tranquilizer sniper seems to be aiming entirely on Corey now, who need to evade them by moving side to side as randomly as he could. But even that trick won't be of assurance once he got to a dangerous range. So he fired a Force Blast, not at the sniper, but at a small hill between him and Corey to create a smoke screen.
The sniper was caught off guard by this. Now all he can do is keep his eyes on the cloud of smoke and where that brat can escape from, such as the sides. Soon, the boy emerged and it turned out he picked up a tranquilizer dart and threw it at the sniper.
Trying to evade it, the dart hit the sniper on the arm. Then before he could lose his coordination, he aimed the tranquilizer at the red headed boy to shoot him on the arm.
Corey decided he'll need to throw the remaining two tranquilizers he picked up as well at the sniper and eventually knocked him out. The dart was already taking effect on Corey, even with his training to fight off this kind of intoxication. But as drowsy as he may be getting, he needed to look around.
The sniper, now passed out, seemed to be a man in his twenties, with blonde hair, mostly flat, but spiked on the sides. Corey then heard Rina's voice call out behind him, "Corey! Wait up!"
Rina and Prisha managed to make it through the smoke to see how Corey is doing but at the cost of breathing a little hard from rushing.
"Give me a time to breath will you?" Ian also made it through. But a little far as he leaped past Corey. He then bumped into what seemed like an invisible wall and fell back. "Ow!"
"Hey! Watch where you're jumping Mullet!" It seemed like air had just adopted a playful boyish voice. But the four teens knew they heard it before and looked around at the area it's coming from.
"Yosuke you simpleton," Another voice spoke, this one sounded rather calm with a care free kind of tone. "Say if Ian was watching where he was going, would he be able to see you?"
"Yosuke... and Lucir!" Rina recognized the voices, who are in fact very high authority in the Occult Society known as Sages. But still she looked around wondering, "But where are they coming from?"
"Looks like there's no longer any point in hiding huh," Yosuke's voice laughed.
"Indeed, you at least," Lucir replied. "Mitsu! Remove your powers from Yosuke!"
Then came into view a man who was supposedly in his early thirties but looked a lot younger. One can actually mistake him for an older teenage punk with bright playful eyes. He stood about five foot seven wearing a cap that keeps most of his messy black hair down and most of his gear seemed to be sports brands such as his jacket and tracksuit.
"Yosuke!" Rina exclaimed. "So Lucir and Mitsu must still be invisible right?"
"Yes, but I think you'd rather act like I'm the only one here for now," Yosuke smiled while Corey was losing strength to stay up, from his victory over the sniper. Yosuke noticed this asked him, "Hey, you alright there buddy?"
"Not...sure...," Corey managed before he fell to his knees.
"Corey you did well, just have your rest okay?" Yosuke knelt down to tell him. With all his energy, Corey looked up at him. Yosuke was actually his most prominent mentor back at the academy, naturally as they have similar powers and Yosuke being quite childish sometimes. But Corey could think no more as he blacked out and Yosuke caught him. "Let the rest of us handle it from here ."
"Now someone carry the sniper over there and all follow me as quiet as you can," Yosuke lifted Corey to carry him on his back. "I'll explain later, but maybe we can all get something out of this."
It was decided that Ian would do carry the unconscious sniper and they all followed Yosuke.
Elsewhere in a more mysterious depth of the valley within a security room, shadowy entities in lab coats watched the surveillance screens of the occultists and their exit from the scene.
"Interesting, those fools sent another team to investigate the valley," The figure in front had spoken up. "However, these seem to be much more competent in more ways than one."
"I heard of them," Another spoke up. "Someone at Brystol must have hired the Occult Agency."
"Yes, a team of supernatural specialists," The one who seems to be the leader spoke again. "Let's see which of us will rise in a test of power..."
"Wait they had hidden cameras there?" Rina asked as she and her friends walked through the forest.
"Yeah Pigtails, if you looked carefully enough, but they are wired due to the electronic jamming," Yosuke explained while Rina got annoyed by the nickname. "It's not likely they also had microphones, the fact that our talking didn't lure them out also supports it. But it was best to stay safe."
"Brains and Mystery Boy are currently invisible behind us on the lookout for stalkers," Yosuke then noticed Rina is now looking around the corners of the woods for hidden cameras. He just smiled, "Calm down, we're out of their surveillance range, the reason I'm finally telling you all this."
"Speaking of which, I think it's also time we can search Sniper Boy over there," Yosuke turned and referred to the man on Ian's back as they started getting to work.
"I'm impressed you knew we were in the clear," Spoke the calm voice from before as he phased into vision. He stood about five foot ten and wore long black robes and had long bright blue flowing hair pulled back behind him. It was Lucir, even though him and Yosuke are about the same age, he only looked a little older and having contrasting calm pensive eyes.
Another more quiet man also came into vision. He's about the same height as Yosuke but more slender looking. His garments seem to be what you would see from china on earth, with the purple vest longer at the front and back with white long sleeves and pants. He had long blonde flowing wavy hair, half pulled back and the other covering half his face over his mysterious eyes bearing a murky ocean of purple.
"Mitsu!" Rinu exclaimed seeing the third member of Team Enigma then turned back to the one with long blue hair. The one who may very well be the current leader of the organization. "And Lucir, Head Sage of the Occult Society!"