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From Light to Shadow


The House of Cards is a magic shop that sits on the borders of the black magic district, otherwise known as Dominion Hecate, which is situated right on the edges of Xibalba. It is a relatively peaceful shop that houses apartments above it, like any other downtown business. They boast a wide range of magic tricks, for skills of all ages and talents, from beginners to master magicians. However, beneath the playful shop lies a deadly organization known as the Deck Network, who specialize in smuggling, espionage, gambling and murder.
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The House of Cards

A rather routine looking shop, sitting on the edges of Dominion Hecate, it blends in rather well due to being a magic shop, but more might lay within it than meets the eye.


The House of Cards is a part of Xibalba.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd Lastern

Syd had awoken that morning in a foul mood. Not minutes after his eyes opened to the plain white room he called his, there was a soft knocking at the door. Syd could easily tell that it was an Ace of his, for who else was stupid enough to knock on the door of the CardMaster before 10 am? He shut his eyes, hoping that the person behind the door would just go away until he had fully awoken, but the knocking continued. He made a low growl in his throat as he ripped the covers off of his body, with Syd only wearing his boxers. Still wiping the sleep out of his eyes, he opened the door to the Ace of Diamonds, who was better known as Teddy Salra- and no, he wasn't very soft, nor was he very huggable. Syd had to look up a little to meet the man's eyes for Ted was slightly taller than their leader was.

"What the hell do you want Ted." Syd said in a low voice, not at all like his normal tenor, which sounded quite sweet. Instead, it sounded gravelly, like his voice was rarely ever used. Ted shifted a little in his boots to get a little more comfortable, and ignoring the fact that the CardMaster wasn't dressed yet, he gave his report.

"Well, Syd, it seems that the Spade and Club of 5 have been compromised. Their last mission had them going after a possible weapons cache, and instead are now in police custody. It was a trap." Syd groaned angrily. He hated having to deal with the police, for they always loved papers. Killing the trees came naturally to those moronic people that Syd could only wonder why there were still trees left. If he got caught up in the legal business, and started getting swarmed by warrants, corruption and shit he would be screwed. Not even Syd could get out of the legal system once you were inside those doors on your own free will. "The techs recieved word around 3:30 am this morning, and the fives are being charged with multiple counts of..." Ted paused, and Syd felt like he had to coax the damn words out of him. The man wasn't very good with English. "A bunch of crap."

Syd nodded, none to happy. "Alrighty, contact the Kings in the area and get their asses back here. We will need their media influence to get those poor bastards out of there alive. Hopefully we don't have to spend too much, but you know what to do if we can't get them out." Ted nodded. "Now, Ted, if you would be so kind as to get your ass out of here so I can shower?" Syd shut the door and leaned against it, his blonde hair resting against the hard wood. Too much to be going on for a morning, especially before ten o clock. He stood up straight and went into the washroom, where he stripped down and stepped into the shower, letting the hot water hit his skin. The steam began to fog up the room quickly as he just stood there, staring at the faucet. He could tell that his brain was going into overload, with the water hitting his face, so he started blinking constantly, hoping to avoid a painful memory, but it was too late.

Syd laid on her bed as, in the background, the shower was running. The room was a frivolous pink color, and he had to laugh every time he was at her house: The walls stood out way too much, making it look like Alicia was a 4 year old obsessed with the color. She always wore the color when she was at school, no matter what part of the clothing it was: She always had it on. Syd was amazed as to how one girl could be so loyal to one color, even though he had always stuck with yellows and greys. He smiled as he heard the shower stop running, and closed his eyes pretending to fall asleep. When she came out of the bathroom - in just her towel, go figure - Syd kept very still and motionless, looking fast asleep as best as he could. He could feel a hand on his forehead, then her lips kissing his forehead, before he struck: He jumped up and grabbed her by the waist, flinging her onto the bed beside him and rolling over her as well. They were both laughing as they lay there, until she kissed him on the lips. It stopped the laughing, her lips caressing his as he returned the favor. The kiss started small, slowly gaining passion until...

"ENOUGH!" Syd slammed his fist against the wall, the water spluttering for a few seconds before continuing. He was panting now, a cold sweat forming over his body as he tried to recollect his conscious. Once his breathing slowed slightly, he finished his shower and jumped out, quickly drying himself off and rushing into his room. In a flash he changed into a simple grey, longsleeved shirt and black jeans, with his converse shoes to match. He effortlessly slipped on his chain of bullet casings, and placed that behind his shirt. Once he pulled on his jacket, he reached for his bed to find the locket resting there, the same as it always had been. Before he could contemplate anything, he shoved it into his pocket and reached for the door: there had been enough incidences this morning.

He made his way down the stairs and into the store, checking to make sure somebody was working the store front. The House of Cards had slowly become his baby, growing into a very popular, LEGIT magic shop over the past 2 years in an effort to make it less suspicious. He unlocked the 'Employee's Only' door and made his way into the Common Room where most of the numbered members were quietly discussing what happened to the black 5s. Syd rolled his eyes, annoyed with the situation already, and spoke up quickly.

"Look guys, being all prissy isn't going to solve our problem. 5 of Spade and Club did as they were told, and went on that job. We didn't suspect it to be a dam cop trap, even the Queens didn't, so stop moping. The contractor is already being hunted down," He stared at the only Queen in the room who had been filling in the people on the details, saying with his eyes 'At least, we better be.' The Queen took the hint and ran back into the ComRoom to inform his fellow co-workers. "And all that is left to do is take care of the 5s, be that mean we save their asses, or their dead. Plain and simple. It would be best if we could save them, since I don't need the cops finding their tattoos and tracing it back to us..." Tattoos of the Network were places quite smartly, with some being under the tongue, like that. They usually were plain, so most could normally never figure out what they were, but still...

Syd's thoughts were interrupted by the muffled words of a girl, to which everybody stopped their quiet conversing to listen to. Um, hello?” Every single man and woman in the room grabbed for their weapons, where ever they may be, and made quite a ruckus until Syd put his hand up to continue listening. Movement stopped as she continued. Is there anyone here, or is your shop closed? I-I’m Nicoletta from Ardente Sundries, I believe you received a call earlier from my mother, Csilla? I was sent with my siblings to exchange the goods that got mixed up by the postal service. Uhh, is there anyone here . . . ? Syd turned his head around to a bunch of very sheepish looking gang members, who all looked away. He frowned deeply, going over to the grate that allowed them to talk to the Queens. "Techies, what is she talking about? Did we receive a call?" He heard some papers swishing about, some screeching of the chairs, and then silence for a good bit until a feminine voice spoke.

"CardMaster, about 40 minutes ago we did receive a call for the front end. We patched it through and thought they were making a mistake, so we ignored it." Syd groaned, highly annoyed by the situation. How bad is the postal service on this damn planet?! He then swung around to the members who still couldn't look them in the eye. His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Alright. Who was on shipment duty?" All eyes gave a quick dart towards the 9s, who were fidgeting in their spots until the Diamond, a very curvacious female named Sharlette, muttered. "We thought it was the redecorating textiles you ordered. They're in the back." Syd rolled his eyes, aggravated. Many of the Network, especially the numbers, had been complaining about the need to redecorate. He waved his hand as a command to go get them, so the 9s ran off to get them.

"You all stay put down here, I can handle a girl. Don't be so damn edgy." He stepped onto the first step of 16 and ascended up to the store floor. There he opened the 'Employee's only door' into the light to see that nobody was running the store front. It dawned on him that it was probably his day to run the store, and he was more than happy to take care of it: But that also left to him having free time to let his thoughts wander, which was dangerous. Best having the thrill of a job than nightmares in the shop.

When his eyes quickly refocused to the sudden change in light, he saw a young lady behind the counter with two twin-like humans staring at him. He instantly deduced that they weren't normal, but who was anymore. What made him stop in his tracks for less than a second was the lady: blonde hair, a steel grey coloured eyes that, if caught the wrong way, could be mistakenly blue, short and lean. Syd thought he knew her, until he remembered She looks like-

His mind screamed at him and he shook his head physically, shaking away his thoughts. His face remained the same neutral as it did for everybody that wasn't in the Network, with his dull blue eyes seemingly staring right into another person's mind, yet not looking like they were even focused. He walked up to the counted and leaned on it, looking down on her. The twins kept staring at him, which he returned for a few seconds until formally speaking to the miss.

"Sorry about that miss, I was informing my employees of the error in their actions for not telling me immediately that your mother had called." He paused, his eyes glancing over to the box. It was from a particular company that left hidden messages in the crates for the next weapon cache or assignment, so he had to make sure that nothing had been taken out. Syd kept his monotone stare on the box as he noticed that it had been already opened, so he needed to be sure everything was intact. "This seems to happen too often enough nowadays." He faked a sigh to make it look like he was exasperated with the entire system, but he really didn't care. "Anyways, my employees will be arriving with your package quite soon, they just need to go and grab it from the back. It is fairly large, so you should be grateful you brought more than yourself." He gave a sideways look at the twins before getting onto the point.

"However, I need to know that everything within the box hasn't been broken and is all accounted for. I am sure you are aware that if you had taken any of the goods out and kept them for yourself, that it is an unwritten code that I must keep an item of equal worth? I would rather not have that, so I would like to inspect the box and invoice, which should all be inside. May I?" He motion for the box. He was really being quite formal for it being so early in the morning, but he needed to keep appearances up for the shop's sake.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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It had probably been a little more than a minute she’d had to wait before someone had slipped out of the ‘Employee’s Only’ door. In that time, she’d gone ahead and gotten herself down from standing on the very toes of her boots, and ceased from having half herself leaning over the checkout counter. While waiting that short time, Nicoletta had gone on ahead and turned her gaze back to the twins as they curiously seemed to be examining several of the products stocked on the shelves of the magic shop. Amalia maintained that rather dull expression upon her face, as she usually seemed to, while a slight bit of wonderment seemed to creep onto Momchil’s features. Truly . . . as the days passed onward, there was no denying that the two of them were indeed becoming more and more human, little by little.

It was, well, even if the two false humans could be snarky little devils, seeing them growing into their own made her feel a bit happy, and she couldn’t deny herself the smile that happened over her young face when she got to see that. At the same time, it left a dull ache within her heart, a sort of hollowness would surface when she saw the twins acting as the children they looked to be, curious and full of astonishment. That ache was there . . . because it made her remember Aylin, and the things she herself never got to experience with her younger sister. She’d been so young when she had been taken away, and Nicoletta had only gotten to do so much with her. And what she had gotten to do, it wasn’t enough, no, those memories, they just weren’t enough. Some were dull, old, and worn out, barely even coherent anymore.

I miss her. . . . she thought to herself, before hearing the telltale footsteps of someone coming to respond to her earlier shouts.

Quickly enough, Nicoletta had spun herself back about to face the counter, accidently jamming her right knee into the side of it in the process, that earned a quick hiss from her, but it weren’t as if it were a life threatening injury, so the blonde simply sighed and made herself quiet about it. Okay, just get this done and you can go home Nicoletta, you and the twins can just go home and you won’t have to think about Aylin.

She sighed to herself as the door opened up, and revealed the employee who’d come to answer her call. He looked like he squinted when he was exposed to the light, I guess that door must go to a really dark place, basement. . . . she thought, blinking kind of dully. The man looked to the twins, who had ceased their examination of the items on the shelves to look at him upon his emergence. Nicoletta herself couldn’t deny being guilty of staring at him herself, a slightly questioning look happened over her face, and a glint of it ran through her grey eyes. This caused her to tilt her head to the side ever so slightly as she continued to ignore the throbbing coming from her damn knee.

A few things were off about his appearance, but even still, the teenager realized that he didn’t look too far off from her own brother, from looking like Vincente. Of course, this man had longer hair, it was lighter as well, paler skin and eyes that were not at all of the same color. . . . He was about the same height, but, he was built differently, and also . . . he had an entirely different aura about him than Vincente did—it wasn’t the most pleasant of ones to say the least, and the impression he gave Nicoletta made her feel a bit on edge. Like, she needed to maintain a certain sense of cautiousness.

When she realized that the man had sort of, froze in place for a moment or two, looking at her specifically, she couldn’t help but wonder if she reminded him of someone he knew, like he did to her? Well, a lot of people say that everyone has someone out there who resembles them greatly, even if they aren’t related at all. Truthfully, with the expression that passed over the guy’s face, Nicoletta was ready to stand on her tip-toes again, and wave her hand in front of his face and do the routine, ‘Hellooooo? Anyone home?’ bit to snap him of it, but when he seemed to break himself free of whatever had bewitched him so, the girl just blinked and maintained a simple expression when looking at him.

He was taller than she was, but then most people were, even with the sense she had, that sentiment that told her to be wary, Nicoletta herself consciously felt no fear or anything of the sort, there were really no thoughts in her head about him, other than the fact that he kind of looked like her older brother. Even then, there are a ton of things different in his appearance. He looked to Momchil and Amalia again before he went on ahead to actually address her directly. Even with the height difference, and him leaning on the counter to look at her, the girl just stood there quietly, listening to him speak. . . .

"Sorry about that miss, I was informing my employees of the error in their actions for not telling me immediately that your mother had called. This seems to happen too often enough nowadays." He glanced to the box while he was speaking to her, but that was to be expected, the thing had been opened up by her mother after all, and the items inside were meant to be the merchandise he sold in his store.

But that sigh, maybe I’m having paranoia or something, but it seemed sort of . . . off. Nicoletta thought, keeping her mouth zipped shut with her own thoughts. Last thing she needed to go and do now was wind up mouthy and end up getting the shopkeeper angry or irked.

Anyways, my employees will be arriving with your package quite soon, they just need to go and grab it from the back. It is fairly large, so you should be grateful you brought more than yourself." the man looked to the twins, who simply went on ahead and silently returned the gaze with their off-putting, and unnerving crimson gazes, no readable emotion upon their features whatsoever. Whatever the two might have been thinking, Nicoletta herself had absolutely no idea. Even living with the twins for over a year, she still did not know how to read them. "However, I need to know that everything within the box hasn't been broken and is all accounted for. I am sure you are aware that if you had taken any of the goods out and kept them for yourself, that it is an unwritten code that I must keep an item of equal worth? I would rather not have that, so I would like to inspect the box and invoice, which should all be inside. May I?"

When he pointed down to the taped up box, Nicoletta allowed her gaze to follow suit before she turned her eyes back up to looking at him, blinking dully. With her knee still throbbing on her, the girl decided just forget whatever thoughts had been pushing themselves upon her about the man, that lurking sentiment to be edgy, and the slight suspicious, which was roused by his sigh. He was a person as much as the rest of Manus Luna’s population, and she knew nothing about him, so she had no right or reason to assume anything about him in the least. He was just doing his job. . . .

Talk of unwritten codes about products, mixed up shipments, and yada yada, she didn’t get any of that—her mother was the one who ran the shop, she didn’t. Folding her pinky and ring finger into her hand, and securing them in place with her thumb, Nicoletta raised her right arm up, and gave the blonde shopkeeper something of a mock salute. “Just do whatever it is you need to do, the code you’re going on about, or whatever, I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff.” She told him, dropping her arm back down to her side before moving to placing her thin limbs over her diaphragm. “My mom runs the store, I normally have nothing to do with it, and besides, I wasn’t the one who got into that package. She was.” With this, Nicoletta gave him an agreeable enough smile, before the thought of how he sort of looked like Vincente wandered through her mind again.

That thought present in her skull once more, the teenager’s head tilted to the side again, and she absentmindedly tapped her cheek with her index finger before she went and opened up her mouth without thinking about it, “Y’know, you kind of look like my older brother. . . .” She pointed at him without meaning to, and blinked before she went red-faced and she promptly smacked her hand over her mouth. Damn it, why did I go and say that for? There was no reason for me to say that!

While her hand was still present over the lower half of her face, Nicoletta failed to notice the light set of footsteps coming along her right side until a figure entered her peripheral vision. She turned her head to see that it was Amalia standing beside her, the false humanoid’s crimson eyes locked on the shopkeeper’s face still, as if she were examining him thoroughly. “Sister Nico is correct in her musings sir, you do indeed resemble our elder brother.” In the girl’s sleeved covered hands was one of the things she and Momchil had been looking over.

Removing her hand from her mouth, face still tinged red, Nicoletta cleared her throat, “Ah, I’m sorry about that, I sort have a tendency to think aloud, um, I’ll just leave you to it then.” She prattled on, turning around to walk away.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd Lastern

Things were getting way to out of hand, but it made Syd so confused that one simple girl brought so many random people into his store.

He waited patiently for her response, until she did something bizarre: She gave him some mockingly weird from of salute, which was responded with an extremely confused expression from Syd. Was shy saying that he was her superiour, or was she just mocking his formalities? His brows furrowed a little before she spoke, and his dulled face resumed. Just do whatever it is you need to do, the code you’re going on about, or whatever, I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff. That explains a few things... Syd thought to himself as she continued. It became extremely apparent that she had no clue what she was doing when she spoke next: My mom runs the store, I normally have nothing to do with it, and besides, I wasn’t the one who got into that package. She was. The lady Nicoletta gave him an odd sort of smile, like she was agreeing with him or something, and he gave a little 'Ah' before grabbing the box to examine it.

Sure enough, everything was slightly disorganized - what do you expect from another person who received the wrong package? - until he found what he was looking for. It was in the shape of a deck of cards, but this one was slightly different, and he could tell instantly: It had the Deck's trademarked D on it, and he smiled slightly to himself. To most, it looked like a regular deck of cards, nothing more, but inside were calling cards for clients, weapons drops, the jazzy stuff. The supplier of the package was a business partner, once a rival group, whose agreement with the Deck was simple: The other group (whose name cannot be mentioned due to confidentiality) would use their extremely large influence in Portum Animas to get the Deck weapons and jobs, while the Deck wouldn't take any jobs against them. It was the only standing alliance that Syd had ever agreed to go into, for they did it out of fear.

He wasn't paying attention to her, instead reaching for the 'deck of cards' when he heard the teen say something, stopping him cold. Y’know, you kind of look like my older brother. . . . Syd whipped his head around, his attention gone from the deck that was now in his hands, and he stared at her. He raised an eyebrow, but underneath his exterior was a very panicked Syd. Don't say it Syd. You know what will happen to you if you do, so don't do it. You have a job tomorrow dude, don't throw it away! That's right, keep thinking about the job tomorrow... No, wait! His inner mind screamed at him, but it was already too late: Syd spoke in a softer voice. "Interesting. It so happens that you resemble my..." He faltered, almost able to stop himself, but instead of halting in his tracks, reworded what he was originally going to say. "A girl I once knew." Anger, pain, distraught, vengeance, and a multitude of depressing and violent emotions streaked through his body, yet only being able to be seen through his pain stricken eyes.

The girl had placed her hand on her mouth, but she had already done the deed: what made it worse was that her little... thing (Syd couldn't tell if that person was human or not, crimson eyes were not usually normal) walking up to Nicoletta and musing over how the miss was correct about the fact. He stared down at the magic tricks, how all of them were completely useless in light of his situation. He wished that he could stop hurting, stop the nightmares, stop the torment, but he knew of no way to. And the more he brought her up, the more this kind of thing would happen. He could faintly hear Nicoletta speaking once again, but he was tuning her out. Ah, I’m sorry about that, I sort have a tendency to think aloud, um, I’ll just leave you to it then. He looked back up at her, finally back in control of his emotional state. But before he could say anything, two new customers showed up in his store, both looking under the age of 12. Syd frowned slightly, wondering why two preteens would be wandering around the fringes of Xibalba, but it was day time still. He would be slightly concerned if it was past 6.

As they conversed, Syd heard a knock from the Employee's Only door, and opened it to find the 9s carrying boxes and textiles. "Here they are." Syd nodded, and indicated with his head where to put them, which was on the counter. After slowly putting the 2 boxes and the one role of textiles on the counter, they went back downstairs and shut the door behind them with a soft thud while Syd turned back to the counter. He was going to call out to the now distracted Nicoletta and tell her that her goods were ready for her to take, but that was when something bad went down: Men in business suits entered. Syd's facial expression remained neutral, but his emotions were slightly tightened with annoyance and caution. Only 2 types of people wore suits in Xibalba: Conmen, and Government Officials. And Conmen at least attempted friendliness.

The officials instantly started snooping around his store, which began to irk Syd slightly. Possiblities swirled through his head, trying to piece together reasons, hoping that they hadn't discovered the location of the network. They had a small force with them, not enough to take out the Network's members that were present, but that wouldn't solve their problems: The government would just come back later. They were even keeping an eye on the kid that just showed up, which made Syd suspect that they believed this place to have some form of foul play. However, Syd kept his expression blank and spoke up.

"Excuse me there, sirs. Do you need something, or can I just see the search warrant that you were issued to search my store?" Syd said with utmost politness. This time he wasn't even having to fake it, he had gotten tips from Azariah when he joined on how to make yourself sound sincere always, and get away with it every time. Syd just hoped that they were just cops searching for clues to a bomb or murder and not with an actual warrant.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Why can I never seem to keep control over my brain? she thought as she turned about on her heel, facing away from the shopkeeper who happened to bear a bit of a resemblance to Vincente. With a still red stained face, the teenager honestly felt like a total idiot for telling someone she’d just met that he looked like her brother. Although, she had heard him say, almost begrudgingly, that she indeed looked like someone he knew. In a way, even if his words had not been the happiest of the bunch, the fact that the man had said that she resembled someone herself, it made her feel a little less like an idiot for blurting out that he looked like her brother. Of course, just flat out saying something like that to anyone was anything but normal. . . . One step at a time, Nicoletta, one step at a time. It’s a problem, you’re aware of it, and you are trying to remedy it best you can, so relax. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she did her best to regain her composure, and to stop feeling like a damn fool.

No matter what happened, she always seemed to have a tendency to go ahead and think aloud, and to make things as awkward as hell for other people. Eventually, she somehow managed to make it happen. Scratching the back of her neck in an uncertain manner, Nicoletta simply allowed herself to take a couple of steps forward, moving around the store while trying to figure out what to do while she waited for the business exchange to be completed, magic and sleight of hand, neither were things she could say she was particularly interested, unlike the twins it seemed. Momchil remained where he had been before, curiously seeming to examine product after product, perhaps attempting to figure out and understand what made the items so ‘magic.’ Amalia, on the other hand, was still standing at the counter, staring at the blonde man who was going to be looking at the package she’d brought in for her mother. The false humanoid’s pallor face was near expressionless, save a semblance of intrigue that was barely notable on her features. Whether or not Momchil and Amalia were slowly becoming more and more humanlike, the two still were unaware of the simple decencies of manners, which included not staring at people for long increments of time. . . . The very sight of seeing Amalia with her faze transfixed upon the man’s face caused Nicoletta to sigh to herself, and place a hand to her forehead.

It wouldn’t matter if she went and told the girl to stop, because Amalia would end up just doing what it was she choose to. . . . The only true sorts of orders she followed from her human sister were those pertaining to labor, or things to do with the Sundries shop. While it was that Nicoletta was looking at her ‘sister,’ that someone shouting at her, using one of her nicknames caught her attention. "Cole!"

How many times have I told people to not call me Cole? she thought, feeling a touch of annoyance well up in her. Nicoletta wasn’t sure how many times she had told people to not call her ‘Cole,’ but she had done it a lot. . . . Though the girl had a powerful urge to give the person using the nickname a good tongue lashing, she refrained from doing so, because the voice was coming from a child, or one whom she considered as such. And . . . also, she knew who it was. Although she wouldn’t go so far to say that she was best of friends with the boy in question who was calling out to her, she did at the very least know him enough to call him a ‘friend.’ Of course it’s him, he’s one of the only people who will not stop calling me ‘Cole.’ she sighed, turning herself around to face the entranceway of the magic shop, knowing full well where he would be coming from.

Sure enough . . . it was him, Alexi. He darted right up to her, getting into the space Nicoletta liked to call her ‘personal bubble.’ The result was a startled look on her face, and her taking a small step backward before the boy could continue with what he had to say to her, "Cole, listen, I just discovered something big, but I need you to promise not to tell anyone first. And I mean not anyone.” he informed her, his voice sounded both serious and frantic, okay, she knew enough about Alexi to know that when he was serious . . . he was indeed serious, whatever he had to say was obviously important. But, the need to go and make her promise not to tell anyone was sort of ridiculous, because, the boy knew that she herself barely had anyone in her life she could call a friend. Yes, she had her brother, but that’s what he was, her brother. . . .

The instance of Nicoletta being called by her unliked nickname garnered the attention of both Momchil and Amalia, who turned their distant gazes to look upon their human sister and the one she called her ‘friend.’ Yes, they knew him too.
Although she found it pointless to go and vocally promise the boy that she wouldn’t say anything about his news to another, the blonde teenager went ahead and opened up her lips to do so, but before the words could even leave her throat . . . Alexi was suddenly shoved right into her by a man she did not know. A man who was not alone, Nicoletta did not know them, but she at least knew where it was they were from. Government agents . . . just like those who detained Aylin. While a small exchange took place between Alexi and the man with a scarred face, Nicoletta felt her small hands tighten into fists at her sides, a terse expression passing along her face. Her jaw tensed up as she bit on her tongue to keep herself from fully speaking her mind toward the arrogant acting bastards.

Control, keep control. she told herself, her heart beginning to pound in her chest from the anger. Ooh, how she loathed these sorts of men. If they even had the rights to be called ‘men’ for what they went and did. They just bust into a place, shove a child out of the way and begin to aimlessly search about for no stated reason. They also went about aiding in taking children away from their families, and they made those left with ‘gifts’ live in fear within Portum Animas’ bounds. Why had he spoken to Alexi? What did that man want with a child like him, or his friend Tammy? Who knows what these asinine, supercilious nimrods are up to. . . . What they could want. There was an obvious look of anger on Nicoletta’s young face, and her very presence had shifted from one of normality, to a slightly foreboding one. One look at her, and it could be easily deduced that she was not happy. The truth was, while she herself was a Gifted, she should have been scared to be so close to those sorts of people, but Nicoletta was just filled with rage. She hated them; she hated all officials from the government like them. . . .

Alexi still standing in front of her, and her still having an apparent glare on her features, Nicoletta set her eyes upon those men while Momchil and Amalia stood as silent as before, being the natural onlookers they were. Oh, those two false humans knew well the extent of their human sister’s displeasure, they knew. . . . "Excuse me there, sirs. Do you need something, or can I just see the search warrant that you were issued to search my store?" the voice of the store’s keeper came from behind her, almost startling Nicoletta from her rage induced transfixion, but it didn’t do enough. She could hear the civil tone in his voice, but at the same time she could hear it, she could feel it was a false one.

With that heart of her still pounding away within her chest, and her body beginning to quiver from the mounting irritation . . . Nicoletta could feel her body beginning to grow a little too warm, a certain heat was beginning to come from her skin that could not be considered a natural occurrence. No, no! Not now, not now! she mentally hissed, realizing just what was happening to her. What her anger was doing to her body . . . to her powers. A few minutes ago, the girl’s upmost concern was the fact that she’d just acted like a total idiot toward the man who she was suppose to be making the exchange with, and now she could not have been in a more opposite situation. Now she had to make sure she did not lose control over her powers in front of the worst people possible, no one could know of her status, what she was. Only her family knew . . . not even Alexi had been made privy to what it was she could do.

Just calm down Nicoletta . . . c-calm down. she told herself, breathing out a shaky sigh, trying to quell her raging heart, and to suppress the unnatural heat beginning to come from her bones.

It was when Momchil spoke up, that the girl was utterly caught off guard however, “Sirs,” the boy began as he set the item he’d been holding onto to the side, “May I please inquire the reasons of your being here? Though I do believe I know the reasons of your presence here already. . . .”

Following this, Momchil’s words were followed up by Amalia’s own, “If your persons would happen to be at this location based upon the threat of bombing within Xibalba or Dominion Hecate, I believe the location of your investigative efforts is wrong. Am I correct, brother Momchil?”

To this, Momchil nodded calmly, “Yes, sister. I am certain that it was reported within the very news this morning that areas under threat for bombings lay upon another street, two blocks over.”

“Indeed so, brother. That is what was stated, or, was it that false information was given out?” Amalia accused, her voice without emotion. This little accusation caused Nicoletta to stop breathing . . . the things Amalia said at times sent a true fright through her, she was so unabashed, fearless.

Nervous now, heat still radiating from her skin, Nicoletta took a step to the side, and forward, ahead of Alexi, “She is not mistaken, Amalia’s memory is never wrong . . . sir.” the blonde strained herself to show even that much respect to the scarred man, a look of obvious tenseness and irritation lay over her as she spoke. “You coming in here and beginning to simply ransack the place without stating a reason, or asking permission from the store’s owner is a violation of the law, being from the government and all, however, I would expect you of all people to know and understand this simple matter.” Nicoletta’s voice took on a sarcastic edge to it, “ After all, that is one of the most basic principles of our city’s existence and establishment, is it not? A certain granted freedom to its citizens, both private and otherwise. So, you are either have proper designation to be on these premises, to carry out a search, or you don't. If the case is the latter, well, then it might be best for you to leave.” A very, very bitter look took over the girl’s face as she had spoken, that mouth of hers running on again. . . .

Even if the store in which she was in was not hers, and even if she were not truly associated with it in any manner beyond the exchange she’d come to carry out, Nicoletta could not hold back her tongue toward men such as them. So, whether she seemed to be a fool or not, that was simply something she could not help.