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Chapter Four

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"So," Terry said as he left the information room with Iris, "they're...what...Zillas' brothers?"

Iris shrugged.

"They're her family. The only blood family she has left."

Terry thought about that as they went down one last hallway and into what could only be described as a foyer. Glass doors lead outside, and it was well-lit, with many windows.

"Iris, Zillas' hair...it's..." he began, turning to the blonde, only to yelp and stagger backwards as he came face to face with Zillas instead. "Uh...hi?"

"Did ya drink the soda yet?" Zillas asked, grinning. "No? Well, y'should. It's awesome."

Terry had no idea what to say. He just stared at the woman, jaw hanging open. Iris reached over, clearly amused, and closed his mouth.

"...Zillas, your hair...is that your natural colour?" he asked. Zillas nodded, grinning.

"Just like yours is natural," she said. "And yes, it means exactly what you're thinking."

Terry just watched the woman. She was rocking back and forth on the heels of her shoes, just smiling. Purple hair was a sign of a very specific type of lineage, one that was even more distrusted than what amber hair meant.

"You started a guild," he continued. "Why?"

Zillas shrugged. "I was bored."

Terry stared at her in disbelief. She started a guild because she was bored? "Okay," he said eventually. "You were bored. Fine. Great. Why me?"

Zillas shrugged, smiled, and a can of soda appeared in her hand. She held it out. "It's cold now. Go ahead, drink it."

Terry accepted the soda. "Um, thanks," he said. "You really enjoy soda, don't you?"

"Oh yeah, I love soda," Zillas had another can in her hand. She opened the can and sipped. "Best thing the human race has ever come up with."

Terry opened up his can of soda and sipped it, blinking. "Wow, this is...delicious."

Zillas grinned. "Told you so."

She held up her own can. "Jazz loves it too," she said. "Heck, we share soda all the time."

Iris rolled her eyes. "And if any of her other 'friends' heard you call her that, they'd be upset," she said. Zillas snorted.

"They need to learn to lighten up," the guild master grinned. "At least the ones that used her parents for their own ends are in jail."

Terry was lost. "Um...who is Jazz? Is she part of another guild?"

Iris laughed. "No."

The fae girl walked off, and Terry found himself watching her hips sway. Zillas nudged him. "Yes, she's sexy. She also has really high standards, you're going to have to work really, really hard."

Terry went red. "I'm not...I mean...she's gorgeous, but way out of my league!"

Iris laughed as she turned a corner and vanished. Terry blinked. "Um, did she..."

Zillas sipped her soda. "Fae have very, very good hearing."

Terry couldn't find anything to say. He just stared at Zillas, jaw working but no sounds coming out. He really had no idea what to think of the woman, she seemed nice, but something about her screamed trickster...

Terry had only ever had bad experiences with tricksters. "So, what are the twins to you?"

Zillas shrugged. "Family."

There was an explosion outside. Zillas blinked and walked to the entrance, sticking her head out of the door, blinking at the three hundred or so non-guild-affiliated mercenaries that were standing in front of a huge crater in the front lawn, weapons of all sorts raised, guns pointed right at her face.

"Sorry, we have plenty of weapons and explosives already. Find somebody to sell them to."

A bullet shattered the window next to her head, and Terry yelped as it put a hole in the wall near him. Zillas turned and looked at the shattered window, and then looked at the man that fired it.

"That's coming out of your pocket, buddy. Shooting a person's home is just rude. Go home."

She stepped back and closed the door behind her, snapping her fingers and repairing the window with magic. "Honestly, so rude."

She walked back towards Terry. "Some people are just-"

The doorway exploded, sending glass and wood everywhere. Zillas stopped and turned towards the destruction, her face blank.

Terry got shivers all along his spine. Zillas stepped towards outside again, just looking at the group.

"Which one of you did that?" she asked in a far-too-cheerful tone. "No, really. Don't be shy. It was an excellent shot." The mercenaries raised several guns and took aim again. Zillas didn't move, just staring at the men. "Well? I'm waiting for an answer, y'know."

Terry poked his head out of the door, staring at the guild leader. Why am I suddenly afraid?

Somebody brushed past him, yawning loudly. Terry blinked again as the man that had been sleeping in the entertainment room walked out and stood beside Zillas, putting his hand on her shoulder.

"Hey," he said, "which one of you morons woke me up? I'm trying to catch up on some sleep after a forty-eight hour marathon of Professor What."

Zillas' mood seemed to swing right back to cheerful in an instant. "You don't need an excuse to nap, Leon."

Leon grinned at her. "Good, you're smiling for real. Don't go putting that fake smile on your face, you're scaring the new guy."

Zillas blinked and turned back to Terry. "Whoopsie. Sorry about that, Terry."

"Hey!" the mercenary leader stepped forward. A burly man, with a bald, scarred head and a face that only a mother could love (if she were on drugs), he held a rocket launcher and wore a khaki outfit with ammo belts criss-crossing his torso. "Don't ignore us, freak! We're here for the lesbian girl!"

Leon groaned. "Oh, now you've done it. Sorry, we can't save you."

Terry yelped as he was shoved aside by the scientist girl. She ran outside, those gloves on her hands, a look of utter fury on her face. "Do not tell me that somebody just threatened my little sister! Who said it!?"

Electricity arched along her gloves. "Well!?"

Zillas pointed to the mercenaries and their leader before grabbing Leon and running back to the building. "Say, Terry? You know those lightning conductors on the roof? Well, you might not have seen them on your way in, but they're there. Now watch. Nikki is reaaaally pissed."

The mercenaries all laughed and raised their guns. Nikki pressed a button on one of her gloves moments before they fired, and a barrier of pure energy erupted from the gloves, covering her body and protecting her from the bullet by melting them on contact.

"Allow me to introduce myself." Nikki raised her gloves, and the conductors on the rooftop started to buzz. "My name is Nichola Tesla, and you just threatened my little sister."

Terry blinked. "Did she just say..."

The rest of his sentence was drowned out by the roar of artificial lightning surging towards the gloves on Nichola's hands. The barrier was converted to raw plasma energy again and added to the power surging into the special gloves, and she brought both hands down in a violent slashing motion. Lightning surged from the gloves and slammed into the leader. He screamed for all of three seconds before his body and clothing were reduced to ash. The weaponry he carried were reduced to sludge.

"The rest of you..." Nichola's eyes were cold, "...run."

The mercenaries dropped their guns, turned tail, and ran away. Terry was silent, jaw hanging open. Zillas reached over and closed his mouth. "Yeah...Nikki is just a little protective of Misty. She has this weird sixth sense that tells her when the girl is being threatened."

"Actually, she saw them through the cameras," Leon said, pointing to the hidden cameras that dotted the building. "There's no sound, though. She must have made her own conclusion."

"That's reached, Leon," Nichola said as she walked back to them. "The daily storm is coming soon. I need to refill generators three through to six, I emptied them with my experiments today and that little light show."

"You turned a man to ash." Terry's tone was flat. "With lightning. That you made. Without magic."

Nichola made a small eep sound and hid behind Leon, sticking her head out from behind the six-foot-two man's back. "W-well, he had it coming..."

"You're going to be scared of me for a while, aren't you?" Terry asked. "I'm not sure how I'm scary compared to what you can do...I'm decent in a fist fight, but that's about it."

Nichola just stared at him, nervous. "Men scare me," she said in a small voice.

"You seem pretty comfortable with this guy." Terry pointed to Leon. Nichola shook her head, clutching at his arm.

"Leon is my friend. He protects me." Leon smiled and turned around, hugging the girl.

"I'm going to get some food," he said. "Although I wonder how those idiots got here...and who hired them..." He trailed off. "...no, it couldn't be that former noble. He should still be in jail..."

He looked at Nichola. "Come on, you. Let's get some food. It was nice meeting you, newbie. We'll talk later."

Terry just nodded numbly, and the two walked inside. Zillas dragged Terry in after her.

"There's a short, but brutal, lightning storm here every day, at the exact same time, for ten minutes," she said. "Those conductors on the rooftop are lightning catchers, they attract the lightning and convert it into energy our generators can use."

She grinned. "Nichola created them. Neat, huh?"

Terry looked outside as the sky began to darken with storm clouds. "She said her name was Tesla. Is she...?"

Zillas nodded. "Yep, his great-granddaughter. She's a great girl. Terrified of men, but brilliant. She's going to change the world one day, I'm sure."

The lightning storm started. Lightning split the sky, thunder roared in the clouds, and a massive bolt shot down towards the rooftop, followed by another, and another, and another. There seemed to be hundreds of bolts, all striking the rooftop one after the other.

It was spectacular to watch, really.

"Leon was right, though...those mercenaries came here without an invitation. That's pretty worrying. Sure, they could have travelled here the long and hard way, but the forest is confusing." Zillas was watching the storm. "I'm sure it means something, but the former noble...hm...I'm going to have to ask Jazz about this when she next visits for soda day."

Terry turned to the woman, the feeling of fear briefly returning despite the genuine smile on her face.

Something about the way she was acting earlier scared me, he thought. She has purple hair... She must have demon blood in her. People with demon blood always have purple hair...but her guild trusts her, so can I?