Jubilee continued to watch the man who had just walked into the tavern, and she leaned forward as soon as she realized that she wasn't going to be free of his presence anytime soon. She allowed her forearm to fall into a horizontal position while her other elbow sat in her hand, giving her the chance to cradle her chin between her fingers. She tilted her head to the side and forced herself to say something, desperate to push at least a bit of information from the strange man. "Tell me... What is your name?" she questioned, trying to sound as casual as possible while still showing the man that she was the one in charge. It was a quiet method of probing that Jubilee had become good at over the years.
The man looked up at Jubilee before his eyes narrowed. "Colt," he answered simply. "But I get the feeling that you already know that information. I know that you're good at uncovering information regardless of if you're supposed to know it or not. That's exactly why I'm here to speak with you."
Jubilee's eyes went wide as an expression of vague surprise appeared on her face. She stared at Colt for a long moment before she shook her head. "I see," she commented, unsure of how she was meant to respond to his comments on the matter. She forced herself into a fully upright position once again, and she tilted her head to both sides to stretch it out. "Why are you here, Colt?" The question made it clear that she had no intentions of proving Colt right or wrong about her knowing his name prior to their first encounter. Jubilee knew how to keep certain information hidden if she believed that it would play to her advantage, and this was no exception to such a rule.
Colt glanced to Jubilee in disbelief before shaking his head. "You already know why I'm here. You know things, and I want to know them as well," he explained. "You've got access to a lot of information. When people pass through here, you hear what they say, and I need to hear about the things that others say when they come by this bar."
Jubilee forced herself away from where Colt was sitting, desperate to busy herself with anything else so that she didn't have to pay attention to his probing words. "You sure are bold in believing that I'm going to tell you anything that I know... That is, assuming that I have any information that you want. I've worked here for a long time, but there are some bits of knowledge that you simply don't come across in this little corner of the world," she pointed out, picking up a plate sitting on the back counter before starting to scrub it down.
"I don't think that's going to stop you," Colt told Jubilee honestly with a light shrug. "The rumors that I've heard about you make it clear that you're going to find something out if it interests you regardless of if you're supposed to hear about it. That's how you function. Unless you have a way of proving that wrong..."
Jubilee shook her head. "You sure are a stubborn one," she muttered with a roll of her eyes. She didn't know who Colt was, but she already found him to be rather frustrating. Who did he think he was, simply marching into the tavern that she called home territory and asking that she talk about subjects that he wasn't entitled to know anything about? He had an ego, and she had to admit that she was impressed with his hubris. She would never have the ridiculously bold confidence to do something like that, if she was being honest with herself.
However, Jubilee was lying to herself slightly when she said that she didn't know who Colt was. She was vaguely aware of who he was, but the details were distant and foggy. She never bothered to look into Colt more than she had to. Jubilee knew that he was part of a large group that was suspected to be involved with shady activity, but it wasn't as if she could force him to talk about that so suddenly. Colt might have been confident enough to think that Jubilee would be forthcoming with her information, but she knew better than to rub him the wrong way so soon after they first met one another.
"I think that you're stronger than you let on," Colt began, earning him a confused frown from Jubilee a moment later. He continued when he noticed that his words had caused her to pause in her scrubbing of the plate she had picked up. "You pretend to be a regular waitress around here, but I somehow doubt that it's the case. Everyone knows you, and you've been here for ages, but nobody has ever bothered to ask you about where you come from."
"You think that I'm up to something nefarious?" Jubilee questioned, turning her head over her shoulder to steal a glance at Colt. "You sure are confident, strutting in here like you own the place and then demanding that I share all of the information that I have access to."
Colt raised an eyebrow. "Don't put words in my mouth. I know what I want to know from you, and I'm not going to be leaving this place behind until you tell me what's going on with your true identity. I know that you aren't who you say you are, and I want to know the truth," he told her.
"Is this a search for that company you work for? Or is this simply a personal endeavor? Either way, I'm not exactly inclined to trust you so soon, especially not if you're coming in here and demanding that I tell you everything that I know when we don't even know each other. Can you blame me for being a bit pessimistic about this?" Jubilee asked. Regardless of if Colt said that he understood or not, Jubilee was sure that she wasn't going to reveal anything more than she had to.
Colt was silent at her words before he shook his head. "Personal," he muttered. "I think that there's something more to you, and I think that we can be of assistance to one another. This involves the history that you never discuss with anyone, but I might be able to factor into it somehow."
Jubilee had to admit that she was surprised at how honest he was being about it all. She had been sure that he was going to lie his way through it with hopes to get the best results. Jubilee had picked up on ways to tell if people were being honest or not in her many years of working as a waitress in the tavern, and she was positive that he was telling the truth. It wasn't worth much, but she still had to admit that she found it fascinating.
"Tell me then," Jubilee said simply, sliding the plate out of her grasp as she turned to face him. "You claim that we can help one another, so go on and tell me what about me is so special that you would come out of your way to investigate me. It's not as if I've done anything illegal. I simply work in a bar, handing out drinks to the patrons who pass through. I somehow doubt that you're coming to ask me about my work involving that though."
Colt shook his head. "No... I'm here to talk to you about something more. I have reason to believe that you used to be involved with combat, and I wish to know what elemental abilities you possess," he told her. "We can help each other if you are who I suspect. Even if you don't trust me, then that's alright. I'm hoping to prove myself to you one of these days regardless of how long it takes me to accomplish."
Jubilee hesitated at his inquiry before forcing herself to speak once again. "I've got Fire magic," she replied simply. "Your magic is unknown though. You don't ever use it regardless of who you're with. You work with a big bad agency that should give you free reign of your powers for your various missions, and yet, you simply decide to not unveil such information no matter what you do. It's strange."
"I have my reasons for that, and it's the same reason that I'm sure we would be able to help each other out. The rest of the world is harsh and unpredictable, but I'm positive that you're something a bit different from what I'm used to," Colt said. "How about this? I can tell you everything that I know, and you can return the favor."
Jubilee shook her head. "You really think that it's going to be that easy? I can tell that something is going on here, and even if you promise to be honest, it's going to take more than that to convince me. Your information isn't valuable to me, if I'm being truthful here. No matter what you have to say, you're not going to drag the truth out of me. How about we finish our conversation here and save ourselves a bit of time?" she questioned.
Colt sighed before rising to his feet and backing away from the countertop of the bar. "If you truly wish to wait until a later point to speak once again, then that's fine with me. I'm sure that we're going to find a way back to one another sooner or later," he commented, starting to walk towards the door. He vanished through the entrance soon afterwards, leaving Jubilee alone in the area.
Jubilee stared at the place where Colt had disappeared from, and she nodded to herself. He was right about them finding a way back to one another. It was only a matter of time before they wound right back where they started at one another's sides. Jubilee had never met Colt before, and yet, part of her felt as if she had known him for ages, but she assumed that it simply came with the territory that they were exploring.
Jubilee poured herself another glass of water before leaning up against the bar. The day was still slow, but thinking about the peculiar figure known as Colt gave her a little something to do. She took a swig from the glass before setting it down on the counter. "Oh, I'm sure that we will," she murmured. She knew that nobody was around to hear her speak, but she didn't particularly care. Instead, she simply got back to her regular business, wondering when she was going to learn the truth being the strange man she had come to know as Colt that slow day in the tavern.
A few days had passed since Jayler and the rest of the Clan Leaders were last able to bridge the gap between Earth and Hyperion to help with the construction of the castle as a Hanilia base. School had dragged them under its tyrannical fingers once again, and that most certainly made reaching out to Hyperion a bit more frustrating, but that didn't stop Jayler from trying. He continued to plan even when he wasn't on Skylia, wondering when they were going to be ready to move to the next phase of their plan.
Jayler was sure that it was going to be soon, and he couldn't wait if he was being perfectly honest with himself. The Skylia project was reaching the starting point of its second stage, and Jayler knew that it got him closer to being able to see his twin once again. The Silver Knight was still roaming the Galaxy of Hyperion, and he was determined to find her. Thinking about her brought him a twisted sense of melancholy reminiscence, but he knew that it wasn't always going to be that way. One day, he would have the answers that he sought, and they would be back together again.
Jayler sat in class while tapping at the table in front of him with the top of his pencil. The day had been excruciatingly slow, and he wanted nothing more than to slip out and go to Hyperion to keep working on the castle. They had gotten far beyond the halfway point in cleaning the area up, and Jayler loved it when he had the chance to wander around and find all of the details of the palace. It was a beautiful place, and he still couldn't believe that he was going to be able to spend a ton of time there as soon as they were finished with sorting out the remaining details regarding their occupancy there.
He and the rest of the Clan Leaders were planning on going to Hyperion after school ended. They didn't have classes the following day due to a session meant to train teachers during school hours, and Jayler couldn't wait for it. Until then though, he couldn't help but wonder how slow time could crawl by as he sat in his final class of the day. His foot began to bounce up and down out of a desperation to be free. Why couldn't the world have mercy on him?
Jayler was so caught up in his own misery that he didn't realize class was over until after the bell sounded, and he practically jumped three feet in the air at the piercing noise that rang in his ears. He forced himself to throw his things together as quickly as he could manage before darting towards the door.
Xia was waiting for him outside the room. She was leaning up against the lockers to the right of the door, typing on her phone with a miffed expression. Jayler knew that Xia's emotional switches could be radical and more, but something about her felt different this time, as if she was barely able to keep her anger under control.
"What are you-" Jayler began, but he was cut off when Xia noticed him and sent one hand shooting out to grab firmly onto his wrist. She was dragging him through the crowd of students a moment later, and Jayler had to fight to maintain his balance as she wove in and out of countless clusters of their peers.
By some stroke of a miracle, Jayler managed to get his feet beneath himself again, and he allowed Xia to lead him as far away from the school as she could. They arrived on the frozen football field soon afterwards, and Jayler could see just how pinched Xia's features truly were, as if she was barely managing to hide how enraged she was at some outside figure. It looked as if she was struggling with a headache as well, and Jayler couldn't help but wonder what in the world could have put her in such a sour mood. He already had an awful feeling about why she was so upset.
"What's going on with you?" Jayler questioned as the two kept walking. He felt as if his arm was being torn out of his shoulder socket every once in a while when he wasn't able to keep up with Xia's speed, and he wondered how someone a good few inches shorter than he was could move so quickly and still put him under pressure.
Xia was silent until after she and Jayler had cleared the first cluster of students leaving the school. She crossed her arms and let out a sigh once she had released Jayler from her grasp. "I'm still getting text messages from a certain annoying person, and I think that I'm going to punch her in her stupid face if I ever see her again," Xia replied, and Jayler couldn't help but think that it was a miracle that Xia wasn't swearing violently over the situation. He was fully aware of how much she disliked Allison these days, and he couldn't blame her in the slightest given that he didn't like them much himself.
"When is she going to realize that you just don't want to spend time with her anymore?" Jayler questioned with a roll of his eyes. "I don't understand how she isn't getting the picture yet. You've made it perfectly clear for quite some time now that you've changed your outlook on life, and yet, she just keeps on wanting to drag you back into her group of punks."
"She's tired of not being able to control me. I think that she enjoyed being able to use my attitude to her advantage somehow, but since I'm making it clear that she won't be able to get away with that anymore, she's getting mad about it," Xia replied. "But that doesn't matter anymore. I just want to forget about everything that I ever associated with her. We have to go to Hyperion now anyways."
Jayler nodded his agreement as Xia put her phone away. He could tell that there was still some unreleased animosity towards Allison for the way that she was acting, but he chose not to comment on it as a way of keeping Xia from growing more upset than she already was. Jayler knew not to poke that beast, and he respected Xia to not do the same in return when he was in a bad mood in the future.
As other students began to stream their way out of the building, Jayler and Xia waited patiently until they were close to being alone. It was best for them to ensure that nobody would walk in on their quest to Hyperion when they went out to the football field. Plus, it was a way to keep Xia from getting too cold when they went outside. The chill didn't bother Jayler because of his Fire magic, but Xia unfortunately lacked those advantages, and he thought it would be for the best to keep her from getting sick by staying inside for as long as possible.
Once all of the chaos had cleared, Jayler and Xia walked out to the football field. Jayler's breath fogged in a cloud in front of his face as he caught sight of the other four members of the team. Lex was waving one hand above her head dramatically in an attempt to catch Jayler's attention. Luckily, it worked, and both Jayler and Xia sped up so that they could meet with the other four Clan Leaders.
"We're going to be heading out now," Gemini told them, her voice solemn and leaving no room for objections. She looked over to the bleachers, and a figure came slinking out of the shadows. Tuila's silvery hair was familiar enough to Jayler that it earned her an immediate smile from him.
"I wonder what we're going to do now," Luke commented, rocking back and forth on his toes and heels. "We've made a lot of progress on the cleaning process of the building, so that should mean that we're closer to being able to reach out and find the rest of the Hanilia who will be working with us in the future."
"I've actually got some new information that you six are going to want to hear about. Liathine will tell you all about it once we arrive," Tuila explained. She gestured for the Clan Leaders to come in close, and she snapped her fingers. Light burst around them, and Jayler closed his eyes to keep from seeing spots. The world around him began to spin, and he knew that the football field was falling away.
From behind a corner, Allison watched everything with a frown on her face. Her fingers clenched tightly into a fist, and she glared at the place where the Clan Leaders had been. She took a step back a moment later, clearly thinking about what she was going to be doing next time she saw something like this happen.
When the castle on Skylia came into view, Jayler smiled. He glanced up to Tuila and saw that she was uncharacteristically serious. He couldn't help but wonder if perhaps the news Liathine was going to be giving them was of the negative variety. He didn't want to think that something bad could have happened, but given how solemn Tuila was being, it was most certainly a possibility.
Tuila gestured for the Clan Leaders to follow her into the building, and they did so without a moment of hesitation. The lobby area of the castle was mostly empty, but Liathine was standing inside. She had a hologram pulled up, and she was sliding her fingers lazily across the surface. Jayler caught sight of both Cordell and Diamond's names on the list of words the hologram was displaying, and he assumed that they were trying to finish cleaning up the castle.
"Have a seat," Tuila instructed once the Clan Leaders were fully inside. This was Liathine's cue to disperse the hologram, and she walked over to where the Clan Leaders were located. Liathine sat down on the floor alongside the six teenagers as Tuila continued to speak. "I'm going to go and make sure that everything is going well on Daragon with the war restoration. Tell me if there's something that I need to know about."
Tuila took a few steps away from the group before snapping her fingers and disappearing into a shower of silvery light. Jayler watched the spot where she was standing a moment beforehand. However, his attention was soon attracted by Liathine clearing her throat, and he knew that listening to her was undoubtedly the best course of action.
"I've figured out that there has been recent Hanilia activity here on Skylia," Liathine began. "The group of defenders for Skylia is called the Skylian Mages, but I'm sure that you already knew that. The Skylian Mages haven't been seen in a long time. They're one of the hardest Hanilia groups to get into contact with because they haven't been a cohesive team before. The original Skylian Mage was Lyloc, and she selects the next generation herself. She picked out the Skylian Mages through a list of immortals, but she never actually got into contact with them. For all we know, some of them aren't even aware of who they are as Skylian Mages. That comes with the territory that we're going through of assembling the Hanilia factions, but... It's still something that we didn't expect to see happen."
"You mean that the Skylian Mages are actually doing things even without us going out of our way to search for them?" Ocean questioned, her eyes wide with surprise. "If so, that will certainly make our eventual goal of assembling them a lot easier since they'll already be together."
"It's concerning that this is happening in the first place," Liathine continued. "If they're assembling, that means that there's a reason for them to go out of their way to connect for the first time in history. The Skylian Mages have never been together since they're the same group that has been around for generations. Other sets of Hanilia get reincarnated, but they've been the same countless years, and if they never saw a reason to reunite before now... That means that there's something going on here that we aren't seeing. It's concerning that they would suddenly have a reason to work together after settling for being alone for so long. You see where I'm coming from here, right?"
Jayler nodded slowly. "Yeah... I definitely think that something here is weird... I just don't know what reason they could have for coming together. I mean, there's peace all over Hyperion since the war between Daragon and the Fearbringers is over. What reason would anyone have to go out of their way to create a force of fighters?" he questioned. "We're bringing the Hanilia together for peace reasons, but it didn't take us centuries to get that idea."
"We're going to have to be on the lookout for something that could possibly make them want to do this," Liathine said. "I'm going to do what research I can to make sure that nothing bad happens, but... There are no guarantees that I'll be able to keep everything under control. Until I find something that we can use, you six are going to keep working on cleaning up the castle while a majority of the Draconic Superiors restore peace to Daragon. We'll figure out a next step after all of that has been taken care of. If we need to act before then, we'll know that something is going seriously wrong. I'll do my best to figure everything out before it hits that point though."
"Thanks for telling us about this, Liathine," Lex smiled. "I'm hoping that nothing goes wrong enough to merit our reacting in such an extreme way, but I guess that there's really not a way for us to tell what will happen until it actually does. For now, let's focus on cleaning up the castle. Once this place is fully presentable, we'll be able to help you with research involving why the Skylian Mages would want to get together."
"When you phrase it like that, you make it sound like they're a band coming together for a reunion concert rather than a bunch overpowered immortals going on a quest to defeat some unspecified evil," Gemini commented with a shake of her head. "Anyways, I agree with Lex. Let's get to it now."
"I'll be here if you need to talk to me about anything," Liathine told them. She created her hologram from before once again, and she began to drag her fingers along the surface just as she had before. Her focus zoned in completely on the work that she was doing, and Jayler knew that the chances of them squeezing further information out of her were rather slim. When Liathine focused on something, nothing could disturb her.
Jayler took that as his cue to get back to work, and he walked into the deepest corner of the castle that he felt he could navigate without getting lost. He began to hum to himself as he glanced around the small room, and he let out a gasp as he realized just what room he had stumbled upon.
Lyloc's room was out of the way of the majority of the castle. Since it was hidden in a small corner far from where anyone would need to come on their daily business, the Clan Leaders hadn't felt the need to stop by. Besides, it was a rather important room, so they chose to leave it be until they had taken care of other areas. It seemed that their progress had pushed far enough outward from the entrance that they were able to head to Lyloc's office on the way to their other daily tasks of cleaning the palace up.
Jayler was careful as he explored Lyloc's room, not wanting to disturb anything that had been there for quite some time. The area had been left essentially untouched ever since the Skylox Heroes were first defeated ages prior, and Jayler could tell. He held up one finger in front of his nose in a vain attempt to keep from sneezing and messing with something he wasn't supposed to touch.
One thing did catch Jayler's attention, and he frowned to himself. There was an odd area of the room that appeared to have been disturbed since the attack. There was a clear outline of a hand on a drawer in a specific table, and Jayler couldn't help but wonder who could have wanted to come inside and mess with such.
Against his better judgement, Jayler reached out and opened the drawer, swiping at the air to keep from breathing in any of the dust that lived in the atmosphere just as much as air did. He let out a sigh once he was sure that he was safe from disturbing anything, and he closed his eyes before forcing himself to look into the drawer itself.
There was something inside that he recognized as the hazy outline of a square. The object that had created such a border was clearly gone, and Jayler didn't have the slightest idea as to what it could have been. No new dust had settled on the spot, so he assumed inwardly that whatever had been responsible had been moved rather recently. He bit down on his lip, trying to banish the nervous feeling that was quickly rising in his chest.
Jayler forced himself away from the desk as soon as he was able to convince his legs to move. He shouldn't have been looking around in there. It felt like an invasion of privacy even though Lyloc was no longer alive to be offended by his actions. He shook off the guilt to the best of his ability, but he couldn't help thinking about the square outline that he had stumbled upon. What in the world could have caused such a disturbance in the dust? ]
Someone had been inside of the castle recently. He was sure of it. He didn't know what he was supposed to do about that, but he felt as if he was supposed to tell the rest of the group about it. They had to know if they were going to help him unravel the mystery behind who would have had a motivation to break into the castle in the first place.
Jayler walked back towards the front of the castle, and his gaze settled on Liathine once again. He approached her slowly before tapping on her shoulder. The Metal mage glanced over at him once she noticed that he was there, and Jayler let out a sigh before speaking. "We need to talk," he said. It felt like the understatement of the century, but he didn't know how else he was supposed to start off the conversation. This was going to be a complicated chat, that was for sure.
I need to stop procrastinating