Sunday, March 5, 2017

Blue Nexus #63 - A Sentinel, A Shield, A Sword

            The Sentinel took up his position atop the southernmost abandoned Capital Industries building, hanging tight to the radio tower that poked into the sky. The dark grey clouds were all but invisible thanks to the light pollution from down below, but the small shiny stars not muddled by them twinkled.
            He stared out at the city with a blank glance. His mind raced, trying to comprehend the utter beatdown that Blue Nexus suffered at the hands of that Combat mage. Blue Nexus was practically ripped to shreds by the guy, not able to put up the slightest fight. Granted, Kevin thought, he was caught way off guard and the Combat mage seemed to have a plan of attack to cripple Blue Nexus.
            But this was the same hero that took down Alucard. He was just as strong, if not stronger if rumor were true, than Riko, the strongest male in the galaxy. Whoever this Combat mage was had to be both incredibly skilled in the art of fighting and pretty capable in terms of strength. Kevin had watched over their fight dozens of times to try and see what moves the Combat mage implored and they were some mixes of martial arts but most of it was just a sheer mastery of weapons that the Sentinel hadn’t seen in years. He wondered if he could keep up, should there be equal footing for strength between them.

            What worried Kevin the most was the idea that he wasn’t the only out there looking to fight the bad fight. He came and gone just as fast, meaning someone was with him to teleport away. And there was that one mummified mage that he and Blue Nexus found a little while ago that managed to knock Blue Nexus back.
            He doubted that the root of all this magic stuff was embedded in Pacific City, and there was no concrete evidence to tell him otherwise. Someone brought that mummy over from somewhere. The Sentinel had kept solid track of who moved where the past several days and none of them were suspicious or working with any magic users. He made sure to check on them all personally.
            Crime hadn’t gone down, so he and Maya were busy as ever, and it served as the perfect cover-up for someone looking to work a bit below the underground circuit. The Sentinel had the gangs cornered and liked to keep them there, but there had to be something that slipped out from under him. A tighter grip meant a higher escape percentage. Problem was he didn’t know where to start looking other than Capital Industries buildings.
            He’d checked this one, the one he conquered all by himself so many years ago, and the next closest one was completely inactive. It was where all of his old enemies would gather, and he had the place brimming with sensors in hidden spots. If someone were operating from there, he’d have dealt with it already.
            That left the third Capital Industries building, closer to the oceanfront. All the clues added up. The mummy had been imported from overseas, the Sentinel found out a few nights ago after a nice meeting with a mobster, but nobody was sure why it wound up where it did. Some of the goons he interrogated suspected it was just a holding place before it moving it eastbound, but then why even bring it to Pacific City at all?
            Nobody knew. In fact, nobody seemed to know much about the mummy except that it was a special package. After that, details went quiet. Gangs returned to business, but were shaken up, and it wasn’t by the Sentinel’s hand. Someone much scarier came to them and made them keep their mouths shut about the operation until the Blue Nexus got involved.
            That scarier someone worried Kevin. The fact that someone could come into town so quick and instill fear made him quake in his boots a bit. Even he took a while to get his reputation going.
            His hand rested on the Zanderia communicator. As far as he knew, this was an older model no longer in use, but for voice chat it worked just fine. He’d never used it for Zanderia purposes until now. Phoenix handed it to him after a team up with the hopes that the Sentinel would actually join the super squad.
            It must’ve given the guy great pleasure to hear Sentinel’s voice four years later over the communicator. Thankfully, Kevin didn’t give him much time to talk since he had to get out in the field and check up on the city, make sure things weren’t running too rampant. Now he was waiting for the inevitable call back, and hopefully that wouldn’t be too strenuous. Even though he didn’t know much about the global situation, he knew they were running out of time.
            The only thing that did stress him out most about his request was that he was working with someone unfamiliar. Of the Zanderia, he’d happily only worked with Phoenix and Blue Nexus. Both had their annoyances, but both were more than capable under the guidance of the Sentinel. Blue Nexus trusted Shindari implicitly so the Sentinel did feel safer with her hands, but he still didn’t know how she operated. Even while he aided in the recovery process for East City after Alucard, he didn’t see or talk to her that much.
            But she was a powerful mage and would be more capable for hunting down magic than Blue Nexus, whose powers were more based from the cosmos.
            Kevin couldn’t help but let a small chuckle out. Hunting magic, working with cosmic powers? What the hell happened to the world he thought he knew? He thought the strong martial artists and assassins of Renza were one thing. These new heroes spat in their face and laughed.
            The communicator buzzed in his hand. Kevin checked it out and noticed a glowing red dot in the center. He pressed down on it and raised it nearer to his mouth.
            “Glad you returned my call,” he said.
            “Had to,” Phoenix said. “Gotta love when you come calling. You should do it more often.”
            “Before you make your pitch, did you tell Shindari to get over here?” Kevin asked.
            “I did,” Phoenix said. “A little difficult, since the service in her magical forest isn’t too great, but I managed to get through to her. She’s on her way now, with Violette.”
            Kevin grimaced. “She’s bringing a partner?”
            “What? I thought it was a good idea.”
            “Three’s a crowd,” Kevin said.
            “You sounded urgent,” Phoenix said. “You know, like you need a little more help than just one person.”
            “Shindari’s more than qualified on her own,” Kevin said.
            “So is Violette,” Phoenix said.
            “She’s a rookie, from what I understand,” Kevin said. “This is serious.”
            “If things go south, like they did last time you had help, you could use not just an extra set of hands, but someone else that’s magically-inclined.”
            Kevin regarded the idea. He locked his eyes onto the Capital Industries building across town.
            “What style of magic does she use?” Kevin asked.
            “Combat,” Phoenix said. “She’s proficient with a bow.”
            “Does Combat magic come with enhanced strength?”
            “It can, and in her case I believe it does,” Phoenix said. Kevin could almost see the smile propping up on Phoenix’s face.
            “Fine,” Kevin said. “She’ll be fine, then.”
            “I hoped you’d say as much,” Phoenix said. “They’ll be there soon. Make sure everything’s nice and clean for them.”
            Kevin hung up the communicator before Phoenix could make another stupid remark. He clamped it to the back of his belt and crossed his arms. He sighed.

            Brenda apparently spotted the Sentinel and floated them down closer to him. Sandy held tight to Brenda’s waist the entire flight over, despite her ensuring that the cube they travelled in would hold them. Flying was not her strong suit, and she knew it never would be. How she or Kyle or Riko or Lalay, or any of them, managed it on a daily basis was way beyond her.
            Brenda slid them down behind the Sentinel, who was staring out across Pacific City when they arrived. Sandy fixed her Violette outfit, one she hadn’t worn in a bit, and held out her hand. Her bow appeared. She waved her hand over her back and the quiver filled with all the arrows she would need. Brenda approached the Sentinel while Sandy fixed herself up.
            Sandy watched the city as well while she fixed her hair up for combat. It wasn’t quiet by any means. Car horns and sirens blared up, as if screaming at the three of them. They were on what appeared to be one of the tallest buildings in the city, though that fact didn’t sway Sandy too much. Falling wasn’t much of a problem for her.
            Still, she thought, it was a gorgeous view. The city was alight with all sorts of reds, blues, greens, purples, and even silvers. There were some parts of town were the lighting wasn’t so great, and she figured the crime rate wasn’t too great there either, but who was she to judge about criminals? She tried to follow where the Sentinel and Brenda looked out to, but the city was way too big to pinpoint a specific spot.
            And to think, she thought, this is my first trip to the West Coast. She hoped to come out west with her girlfriends after they graduated this coming June on a fun roadtrip, and that was still a possibility, but she wanted to make that her first time out west. Maybe she could even relocate, if she liked it that much, for the Zanderia.
            The ocean was on the complete opposite side of the city as they were, Sandy noticed. It was hard to see, but the lights and Moon glistened off the water. Sandy approached the two others on the roof with her.
            The Sentinel half-turned to face her. “Violette, right?” He held out his hand. “Sentinel. I saw you during the fallout of Alucard’s battle.”
            Sandy winced at Alucard’s name. “Nice to finally meet you.” She returned his tight grip.
            Brenda nodded and smiled. “We were just talking about how the city looks. Pretty weird, right? A city that you always hear about having so much crime is still so beautiful.”
            “The prettiest things have the darkest demons,” Sandy said. She shrugged. “But it is a great view.”
            “It’s even better from over there,” the Sentinel said. He pointed to the other skyscraper that was much closer to the ocean, way on the other end of the city. “Another Capital Industries building.”
            “I thought they got shut down?” Sandy asked.
            The Sentinel raised an eyebrow and glanced at her. “Why would a kid like you know about that?”
            “Who didn’t hear about you taking them down?” Sandy asked. “You’re Mister First Vigilante, after all. Even a dumb middle school girl like me heard about you.”
            “You were in middle school when I got started?” Kevin asked. He shook his head. “I need to retire.”
            “You’re not that old,” Sandy said.
            “I feel that old,” the Sentinel said.
            “If it makes either of you feel better,” Brenda said, “I was on a planet in a completely different galaxy when he was getting started.”
            The Sentinel and Sandy exchanged the same look toward Brenda. She shrugged. “Just saying,” she said.
            “Swear to God I’m not on the same planet anymore,” the Sentinel muttered.
            “See, you’re not old, but now you’re talking like an old man,” Sandy said.
            “She has a point,” Brenda said.
            “Listen, much as I love making fun of me,” the Sentinel said, though a pause came with it afterward. “Never mind that. We need to get moving.”
            “Oh, right, we’re here on a mission,” Sandy said. She shook her head. “Sorry, still catching up from the flight. Someone got me out of bed.”
            “The more you get into this business, the more you’ll find that sleep is actually kind of optional,” the Sentinel said, and Sandy swore she could see a little smirk hiding under his mask.
            “Whatever,” she said.
            “What’s the prerogative?” Brenda asked.
            “The building by the bay,” the Sentinel said. “I’ve reason to believe that someone, a mage probably, is holed up there and knows about that super-powerful mage that’s been wrecking shop.”
            “Rafael,” Brenda said.
            “He, or at least his mummified body, was brought here from overseas,” the Sentinel said. “The gangs I’ve talked to have no idea why he was brought here, so that leaves the next shadiest thing in the city.”
            “We’re chasing a thin lead,” Brenda said.
            “It’s a lead,” the Sentinel said. “And I need you, or I guess both of you, here in case things don’t go well with some mages. Plus your pal Blue Nexus seems a bit incapacitated.”
            Sandy looked at Brenda, who didn’t meet her glance. Something happened to Kyle? Just another thing to ask about later, she figured.
            “I need to fight fire with fire and you two are the best, I’ve heard,” the Sentinel continued. “Thanks for coming out here.”
            Sandy almost blushed. The best? Far from it. The Six Pillars were still running around and Brenda was, by leaps and bounds, the best mage Sandy had ever seen that fought for the good guys. Tania was also up there, for sure. Sandy was still learning. She was in training and wasn’t afraid to admit she was good, but not the best.
            “Happy to help,” Brenda said. “Especially if we can expose something about Rafael. Running out of time is an understatement. We ran out of time the second he woke up.”
            “Well that’s good to hear,” the Sentinel said. “Do you guys have any battle strategies for confronting him?”
            Sandy hadn’t even thought about that. Apparently, while she was out in the forest training, Rafael attacked Magus Forest and made a complete mess of things. Not to mention he managed to send a powerful message to the world that he was basically something of a living God. It didn’t inspire confidence, and what was worse was that he promised to come back and destroy Magus Forest. It was clear that their defenses weren’t enough and that things would probably resort to violence. Sandy and Brenda were effortlessly training others but they hadn’t instilled any sort of plan.
            She looked over to the Sentinel. He’d been waging his war on crime in Pacific City for some time now. He had to have some sort of militant look on things. Maybe he could help. Not the best time to bring it up, though, she figured.
            “Not yet,” Sandy said before Brenda. “But we’re working on it.”
            “Everything just happens so fast,” Brenda said. “We’re managing, basically, a seven-sided battle against us. The Six Pillars as individuals are scary until we can figure out their weaknesses.”
            “Was that one mage that Blue Nexus fought tonight one of these Six Pillars?” the Sentinel asked.
            “The Pillar of Combat, supposed to be the best Combat mage in the world, and maybe even one of the best in the galaxy,” Brenda said.
            “I noticed,” the Sentinel said.
            Sandy stayed quiet. Axel took on Kyle as the Blue Nexus and managed to beat him? It didn’t seem possible. Kyle getting beaten by Rafael she could sort of understand, since Kyle took him on alone. But Axel was just one guy, and just a combat mage at that. Could the Six Pillars really be so powerful?
            “Which is why we’re out of time,” Brenda said. “They’re already flexing as if they’ve conquered Earth. We need to earn some sort of victory tonight if we’re going to get anywhere in the coming war.”
            “Coming?” Sandy asked.
            “In the war,” Brenda said. “I guess this’ll make round two, considering the attack that Axel made tonight.”
            “Then let’s get moving,” the Sentinel said. He gestured at Sandy. “Here’s the low-down. You and I are going to come in from the roof. Usually the person in charge at Capital Industries will be about three-fourths of the way up. If they’re smart they’ll have guards, probably ninjas.”
            “Why ninjas?” Sandy asked.
            “It’s always ninjas,” the Sentinel said. He gestured at Brenda. “You are our distraction. The two of us are playing hide-and-seek, essentially, and we need all attention off of us. Do as much damage to the building as you can if you need to without tearing it down.”
            “Sounds good,” Brenda said.
            “Draw out any mages you can,” the Sentinel said. “We need as clear a line as possible if we’re going to get this done quick.”
            “I can handle all of them,” Brenda said. She nodded at Sandy. “Let her take point, too, with you. I know you’re experienced and all, but she will literally see the moves an enemy makes before they do it.”
            “Sounds good, then,” the Sentinel said. He nudged Sandy in the shoulder. “Let’s get moving. Shindari, good luck.”
            “You too,” Brenda said.
            The Sentinel took a step and dropped straight off the building. He whipped his arm out and a cable shot out, latching onto a building across the street. He swung through the air. Sandy watched him go.
            “Be safe,” Brenda said. She rested a hand on Sandy’s shoulder. “Trust your instincts.”
            “I will,” Sandy said.
            Brenda squeezed and Sandy felt a new presence around her, as if there were another aura. It was thin, almost invisible, but she saw traces of red. Brenda smiled.
            “Just a little extra protection,” Brenda said. “Won’t block anything at point-blank but it’s good for distance.”
            “Thanks,” Sandy said.
            She whipped out an arrow and reared it back. She launched it and let out a stream of magic behind it, which solidified into a line. Sandy leapt out across the rooftops and gripped the line with her glove, sliding down and following the Sentinel through the skyline of Pacific City.

            Brenda arrived at the Capital Industries bayside building about a minute before the Sentinel or Sandy did. She watched them land atop it before heading for the front door with a hard sprint.
            She felt the presence the closer she got to the building, but once she crashed through the front glass doors with a barrier she sensed it clear as ever: there was an incredibly strong Power mage hidden somewhere on the lower levels. She worried it would be the Pillar of Power. If he caught wind of Brenda that would be great, but if he caught wind of Sandy he would no doubt snuff out the weaker mage.
            Brenda expanded her barrier to light the room up a bit before the overhead lights flashed on and the gunmen were revealed. They barraged her barrier with bullets, but all of them just bounced off.
            A pair of shrouded people dropped from the ceiling, leaving a trail of thick Demon magic behind them. Brenda expanded her barrier to stretch across the room and spun to face them. She ducked under the closer one’s fist and blasted the next one back against the back wall with a barrier. They dissolved.
            Brenda didn’t have time to ponder it, as the Demon mage she dodged lurched at her. Brenda disabled the blade by crunching the mage’s knife hand between her elbow and her knee, then knocked him out with a swift kick to the head. He dissolved as well.
            She stooped down to investigate the dust but it faded as well, moving back to the top of the ceiling. She dove out of the way of four Demon mages now moving to attack her. She slid on her feet to give herself some room.
            The gunmen across the room had switched from bullets to just running up and taking swings with their arms and legs at the wall. Brenda shoved it back and pushed them back against the lobby’s wall, knocking all of them out. She pulled the wall toward her with incredible power. None of the Demon mages noticed and they were all knocked off their feet.
            She ducked under them and fazed right through the barrier. The four Demon mages crashed into the wall and dissolved. Brenda quickly placed barriers over all of the dust they left behind and crushed it against the ground, feeling the Demon magic fade under the force of her own power.
            She clenched her fists and charged for the stairwell, where even more gunmen were streaming down. These were also Demon mages, she noticed, and they were all sharply dressed. Why was that, she wondered?
            Brenda swung her arms around and two barriers knocked the Demon mages off their feet. She crushed them underneath the barrier with another wave and leapt up to the balcony on the second level. She reached out with her magic. The Power mage was just a few dozen feet above her, and was not moving just yet. She extended her power further and let it nip at Sandy’s presence. She couldn’t tell if she were in the building, but at least she was okay.
            Something rumbled above. Brenda prepared a barrier. The rumbling increased. The railing Brenda’s hand rested on shook violently. Brenda, trying to guess ahead, leapt over the railing and landed on the lobby floor below.
            The ceiling above exploded and let dust and debris tumble down near Brenda. She threw up a barrier and blocked all of it. The barrier shattered, though, and another person crashed right through it. Brenda leapt back, performing a back-flip, and landing perfectly on her feet.
            A blue aura permeated through the dust. With a single swipe, the Power mage had cleared the room of all dust. Brenda let her small aura of protection intensify.
            “A strong Shield mage?” the Power mage thought out loud. “You must be that alien one, Shindari. Rafael’s always talking you up.”
            “How sweet,” Brenda said, although she felt her heart practically sink to her stomach. “You’re the Pillar of Power, then?”
            “Robbie, at your service,” Robbie said. He took a small bow.
            He certainly looked the part, Brenda realized. The shirt he wore could probably fit around a car. His muscles protruded through it, putting great strain on the shirt as he just stood there. His veins were popping out all over his body, too. It almost appeared as if someone pumped his muscles full of air, but Brenda knew that just wasn’t the case. His head was proportional to the rest of his body.
            His blue aura was thick around him, too, and it didn’t seem that he knew of a way to turn it off. His fists and feet were glowing the brightest blue, probably because he’d just punched through several floors without a scratch or any sign of strain on him.
            “But you’re not too big,” Robbie said.
            “Comparatively?” Brenda asked. “I wouldn’t think so.”
            “No, you’re like a toothpick,” Robbie said. “How can you hide so much Shield magic in that little body?”
            Brenda almost threatened him to find out, but she had to tread carefully. This was a Pillar of Magic. She would have to confront him in combat, no doubt, but she had to keep him here until the Sentinel and Sand were done. In the back of her mind, she kept a track of Sandy’s position. Once she got far enough away, Brenda knew the time would be right to flee.
            If she could defeat Robbie that would be an incredibly victory. Brenda powered up, letting more magic flow out of her for her to use on the fly. She knew how to take down thick bad guys like this, but that was because they weren’t too strong. Even the Blue Nexus could struggle in a sheer power struggle against this guy—even though she and Kyle shared the same amount of power, she’d been told.
            Robbie, it seemed, didn’t feel the need to power up at all. Instead he raised his fisticuffs. Make the first move, he was saying.
            Except Brenda was perfectly content with standing here and lingering and just waiting him out. He was not the mission. He was not the priority. Still…if she could beat him…
            “Would you stop wasting our time?” Robbie asked with his thick voice. “I need to clear you out so I can waste even less time with your Combat mage friend up top.”
            Brenda shot like a rocket right at Robbie, unleashing all of her magic around her. She reared back a fist and a barrier appeared in her hand. Robbie, too big and too slow, couldn’t dodge and received the hardest punch Brenda had ever let out right in the face.
            He launched across the room and through several more rooms before stopping. Brenda’s chest heaved up and down as she caught her breath. She’d never unleased that much power before in such a quick burst. Brenda recovered much of her power around her and waited for…
            Robbie! He leapt through the air, practically unscathed, and slammed his fists on the ground. Brenda cast up a barrier in front of her and let the rubble bounce off. Robbie rushed at Brenda and with a single swipe broke through her barrier. She tried to scamper away but Robbie caught her foot with his thick hand and slammed her to the ground, then threw her off to the side, letting her crash into the wall.
            She got back up, jarred, and had to erect another barrier just as fast. Robbie punched right through it and rammed his fist into her gut. He brought his fist up again, then slammed Brenda against the ground.
            All the wind in her lungs escaped her, coming out in a quick gasp. Robbie kicked her away and right out the broken glass doors and onto the street, where she was stopped after she knocked a car over.
            Brenda got her air back and felt her body repairing the several broken bones she’d just been delivered. Robbie belly-laughed and started toward her. Brenda managed to get to a knee. She wiped the blood from around her lips and some of the cuts on her cheek while her magic did the work of healing it.
            Too strong, she thought, but she needed to hold him off until Sandy got away. If Brenda couldn’t handle this guy, Sandy didn’t have a shot. Kyle didn’t even have a shot against this guy, Brenda realized, not while he’s this strong.
            She placed a barrier around her, as if it would do anything. It expedited the healing a bit. Robbie laughed again and ran at Brenda. Brenda did the same, but feinted and went around him, reappearing and kicking him in the back of the neck. He stumbled forward, but that was all. He swung his fist around and knocked Brenda in the foot, sending her spinning in the other direction. She managed to stop herself from crashing into the back wall.
            She drifted down and leapt out of the way of another of Robbie’s attacks. He clapped his hands together and the sheer tonnage of the clap knocked her off her feet. She managed to keep herself steady in flight.
            They now stood opposite of where they had been when the fight started, but Robbie looked no worse for wear while Brenda probably couldn’t look much worse if she tried. Still, she let her magic flow through her body fluidly and thickened the aura around her body.
            “It looks like you’re not as strong as Rafael made you out to be,” Robbie said. “You’re just a little more durable than I suspected.”
            Brenda didn’t say anything. Robbie attacked her first. Brenda dodged every punch and kick, but felt the force behind each. Robbie laid off and swung his hands hard through the air. It pushed Brenda back, sending her toward the wall. She braced herself with a barrier, then used it as a propeller to launch toward Robbie. Robbie absorbed the hit, but couldn’t absorb the barrier that protruded through his gut. Brenda kicked him away, sending him right into a wall. Brenda ripped the barrier free.
            Robbie came to a sliding halt in front of the broken glass. He examined the bloodletting with some morbid curiosity. He chuckled once, and then chuckled much louder.
            “Nice!” he exclaimed. “Real nice.”
            He punched his wound. More blood came out. Robbie gritted his teeth together and seethed.
            “Now I’m just mad,” he said. He lowered his shoulder.
            Brenda created three barriers between them. Robbie took off, barreling toward her. Brenda poured all the magic she had into each barrier. Robbie rammed right through the first one. Brenda stepped back and locked her arms. He bounced off the second one, but another hit with his shoulder took that barrier down as well.
            The visible stream of magic from Brenda’s arm thickened as she pressed her arms against the barrier. Robbie bounced off of it and tried punching through it. Each hit created a new crack in the shield. Brenda locked her legs and used all the magic in her body to reinforce the barrier. Robbie shouted gleefully as he relentlessly punched away at the barrier.
            “This is what happens, I guess, when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object!” he shouted when he finally let up. Brenda didn’t, and was glad for it. Robbie suddenly turned and kicked, with all his might, right near Brenda’s hands. Her left hand slipped and fell off the barrier for just a brief second.
            Robbie rammed his hand through the barrier and sent Brenda flying through the walls of the building. She came to a rolling stop after colliding through several metal and bolted-in tables. She coughed up some blood and looked back over to Robbie, who was coming at her to finish the job. Brenda got to her feet, feeling her body tether itself together again. It was far slower this time. Not to mention that there were now seemingly four versions of the Pillar of Power.
            “Hey,” someone said from the other end.
            Robbie stopped and turned around. A woman in red stood on the opposite end, under the flickering lobby lights. She had deep red eyes but bright scarlet hair.
            “What do you want, Clarke?” Robbie asked.
            “Rafael says lay off of her,” Clarke said. “He doesn’t want her dead tonight.”
            “I’ve gotta get through her to get to her friends,” Robbie said.
            “Just go get them,” Clarke said. “And leave her here. She’ll be healing through the night, I bet.”
            “Rafael said all this?” Robbie asked.
            “Yes, now do it,” Clarke said. “Don’t make him speak to you directly.”
            “I’m not an idiot,” Robbie said.
            Clarke dissipated into the flickering light, an illusion. Robbie shook his head and let his blue hands light up even more.
            “Guess your Combat mage pal has to die before you,” he said, and leapt up through the hole he made in the ceiling.
            Brenda tried to get up but her knees buckled and she fell backwards onto the rubble, watching the world go black around her while her body slowly healed.

            Sandy watched the Sentinel kick through the final door and she moved speedily in front of him with her bow raised.
            A trail of unconscious bodies lay behind them, coming all the way from the rooftop entry. The two worked like machines to weave their way through the demonic manifestations that could only be the result of an incredible Demon mage. Either the Pillar of Demons was here or there was some other Demon mage just as capable.
            The Sentinel strolled up to the desk that had, Sandy guessed, their target sitting behind it. They faced outward, looking out to the Pacific Ocean as the moon struck it in the cloudless nighttime. Sandy kept her bow raised. Tons of Demonic magic was stored up in this person, which was strange since most mages at least had some sort of aura. For this person it was as if they were comprised completely of the Demon magic.
            The Sentinel raised his gun to the person’s head. “Turn around. We’re here to discuss Rafael and how you managed to get him here.”
            Sandy approached as well, though kept her eyes on the door. She kept her arrow anchored on her bow and had her arm locked in firing position. If anything moved, it would probably get an arrow through the kneecap. She just hoped Brenda didn’t want to surprise them for some idiotic reason.
            Sandy checked over her shoulder as the person turned in the chair. When the moonlight revealed their face, Sandy released her arrow in surprise. It plummeted through the ground, ripping through the floor with ease.
            “No way,” she muttered.
            “You know this woman?” the Sentinel asked.
            “Yeah,” Sandy said. She completely forgot about her post by the door and approached the desk instead as their target got to her feet, revealing black scars and marks all along her body. “Yeah, I know her. We worked together. When she was alive.”
            “Then how is she here?” the Sentinel asked. “Did she fake her death?”
            “All the answers you seek, Sentinel and Sandy, rely on one place: the Nether,” Dr. Luna said as the darkness of demon magic seeped up to her eyes and blotted them out from the light.

Next time: Dr. Luna is back! But how? And what does any of this have to do with defeating Rafael? The Sentinel and Sandy better hurry, because Robbie is hot on their trail next time in “Blue Nexus #64 – The Mountain’s Call”!

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