On a Mission: Eight – To the Edge of the Sky

Written by Eglė Dilytė, edited by Ajané J.K. Celestin. Based off the upcoming game To the Edge of the Sky

It’s a quiet night in Club Visconti.

Though “quiet” may be relative in this case.

Small groups of people mingle and chat amongst each other. Their voices almost blending in with the music, becoming white noise.

I lean back in my seat and take a slow sip of my drink. Something red and non-alcoholic; to anyone else it might appear as wine.

My target sits on the other side of the room, right by the windows. Her deep crimson dress makes her stand out like a beacon in the sea of black and gold.

She’s lucky they only want information out of her. That spot looks perfect for an assassination.

I can almost hear Four launch into a lengthy explanation on why it’s a bad idea to sit next to a window like that, completely out in the open.

With that image in mind, I quietly chuckle to myself as I trace a finger around the rim of the glass.

I can feel several eyes on me; all curious, all so very hungry.

I hear the curious whispers; they’re not as subtle as they’d like to think they are.

Focus. Focus. The sooner I get the information, the sooner I can be done here, before Monarch and Five decide to wander off somewhere together again.

I turn my full attention back onto the target.

She’s sitting alone in a corner seat, her eyes turned towards the windows, looking somewhere far away into the horizon. Her cocktail glass stands half-empty, with the ice cubes long since melted away.

But even as I tell myself to move, I don’t. I just sit there, watching, waiting for….

What am I waiting for?

I slowly push myself out of my seat, already wishing I could sit back down as I start to make my way towards the target.

This shouldn’t take long…If she even knows anything.

She doesn’t notice me approach—or if she does, she pays me no mind. My throat tingles as I activate my augs, and pull a chair up to her table.

The woman in red looks up at me then. Her eyes widen for the briefest of moments, before she carefully hides away her reaction.

Neither one of us speaks at first, and I find myself smiling when her eyes keep darting towards the exit.

She must recognize me, then.

Thinking of running away?

I place a saccharine smile on my lips and the woman offers me a weak smile back. Though I’m only assuming, it seems like she might be too nervous to even ask what I want.

“I’m hoping you can help me with something.” I sweeten my smile for her.

Her eyes widen in panic the moment I open my mouth, but it’s gone the moment it appears. The woman’s eyes glaze over, and she gives me a sweet smile of her own.

“Y-yes? Wh… What can I he-help you with, Operative?”

The words come out strained, the only indicator that she’s fighting my hold over her.

“My friends and I are looking for someone. Someone who has managed to keep their identity secret from us,” I pause, then add. “All we want to do is talk with them, that’s all. It isn’t an unreasonable request, right?”

The woman sways in her seat with a frown. She grips onto the table and blinks very slowly.

Damn, this one’s got a strong will. She’s fighting it.

I lean in closer to her and gently touch her tightly gripped fist. It’s a small act; one that wouldn’t look unusual to anyone watching us.

Don’t fight it. It can all end much quicker if you don’t fight.

She screws her eyes shut and her whole body stiffens. She becomes still, like a statue.

“Can you tell me, please?”

Her eyes snap open at my plea and she looks at me with a dazed smile. With my hand still on hers, I feel her fist relax.

“Who are you looking for?”

The struggle is gone from her voice. I feel a pang of something I’d rather ignore, so I do.

“I’m…We’re looking for the High Priestess, Temperance and the Magician. Can you tell me who they are?”

The woman tries to frown as she still continues to smile, an odd expression to see.

“They are the High Priestess, Temperance and the Magician.”

What…? Is it not working?

“Yes, but who ARE they? What are their names?” I try to maintain the gentleness in my voice.

“They are the High Priestess, Temperance and the Magician.”

Really? Seriously…Maybe something else will work better.

“Do you know their real names?”

“No. They keep their identities secret for security reasons.”

Was the intel wrong? Three said that all the data suggested Artemis knew their identities.

“Artemis, since you don’t know who they are, you must at least know how or where to find them, right?” Each word I say makes my throat tingle, as my augs work to exert further control.

Tell me all your secrets.

But the woman just looks confused and shakes her head ‘no’ instead.

“Artemis would know, but I’m not her.” She says with a calm smile. But I can’t hide my frown this time.

This isn’t good. Someone actually managed to mess with Three’s intel? I thought he doesn’t miss anything, so how…

“Who told you to come out here tonight?” I ask.

“High Priestess said it was imperative that I come meet the PHASe operative for her. She predicted that they would send either Five, or you.”

,,,What?

In my numb shock, my dull mind grasps onto the other part of what she said. 

They were…Five was considered for the job, but I know he doesn’t like…I volunteered in his place.

“What does she want?”

It’s all too late that I realize that I’ve allowed my augs to turn off from the shock.

The Not-Artemis gasps and blinks, looking dazed and confused, but only for a short moment before she turns a smile back on me. Though this smile is different; it’s no longer sweet.

“High Priestess has a message for you: You will not win. Give up for the good of everyone.”

The cold smirk she gives makes me sick.

I push back the chair without any care of the scene I’m making, and stand up. I spare the woman a quick, last glance before hurrying out of the club.

I have to report back…So much for seeing Mon and Five anytime soon.