As the three figures approached the damaged Pumpkin King building, a thick fog emanated from the top and spread across the ground. The stopped their advance as it flowed passed their feet.
One man, covered by a cowl that hid his face, looked at one of the others and scowled. "Seems like Master Hyde was right. They left defenders behind to guard our mark. What do you suggest we do, Jekyll?"
Jekyll readjusted his glasses as the fog flooded the fields around them, hiding the guild from sight. "They mostly likely mean to disorient us in this fog and lead us off the path. We could wander in here for hours and not get anywhere. However…" Jekyll looked at the other man, smaller than the other two. Despite being a young man, his hair was gray as if he were far older. It fell around his ears messily. There were scars on every bit of exposed flesh, on his arms, his legs, his hands, his fingers, his face. There were even scars on his sandaled feet.
Jekyll raised an eyebrow to him. "Can you still sense him?"
The man tilted his head, like he was trying to hear something. Then he nodded. "Yes. The one making the fog is an old man atop the building. There are two others, younger who are waiting for us to make our move inside. The woman Master told us about is inside as well, along with two unconscious people." He tilted his head to the other side. "The Valmagus still sleeps."
Jekyll smiled. "Excellent work, Taboo. Those powers of yours never cease to amaze me."
Taboo tilted his head in Jekyll's direction. "I paid a heavy price for these gifts. I couldn't care less whether or not you were amazed by them."
The hooded man scowled. "Enough chatter. Use those gifts of yours to lead us to our adversaries. I will not be beaten by mere fog, nor do I wish to waste any more time. The longer we take, the more time they have to come up with a plan."
Inside the guild, Sara and Reese looked out of the windows and makeshift barricades and into the fields. The fog kept everything covered, making them feel as if they were the only building in the world.
Reese walked over to Sara and took a deep breath. "That old man set up his field. You know what that means."
Sara nodded timidly. She'd been kneeling next to Lucinda the entire time, clutching her hand tightly both out of fear and concern. But now she finally let go and stood up to join Reese just as Bertrand jumped in through the window. How he was limber and strong enough to climb off the top of a roof was beyond them.
"They're here. Three of them." He informed them. "My fog should confuse them enough to buy us some time, but if they're here to free Valmagus, then we can't underestimate them." He turned to look at Rosemary, who was sitting on one of the few remaining stools. "They could be upon us at any moment. Prepare yourselves."
Rosemary stood up with a solemn look on her face. She didn't say a word as she walked over to the blazing fire that still illuminated the room. As she stepped close, the fire began to die, completely going out as her foot touched flame. There was no fire wood or kindling, only ashes covered the floor where the fire once was. A perfect circle of ash that Rosemary walked over without so much as batting an eyelash. She walked to the middle of the circle and sat down, disregarding how dirty she was making her clothes as she did so. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. And as she did, a glowing magic circle appeared under her.
Sara squeaked in surprise. "M-Miss Rosemary, what are you-."
But before she could ask anything, Bertrand put his cane in front of her. "Quiet, child. We need to leave her be. She must have complete concentration in order to strengthen the seal on Valmagus. Our job is to protect her."
Reese shot him an annoyed look. "Yeah, about that. How are we supposed to protect anyone when we're a man down? Err…woman down?"
Bertrand furrowed his eyes in thought. "Indeed. Without Tamashi, there's only so much the three of us can do together. None of us are meant for combat. For that, we were relying on Tamashi." He growled. "Where is that girl?"
Reese looked uncomfortable as he said it, but it needed to be said. "I know I'm new to the guild…but can we trust Tamashi?" Both Bertrand and Sara looked at him in surprise. He flinched, but he didn't avert his gaze. "I mean….I heard that she wasn't always on the straight and narrow. So…what's stopping her from cutting her losses and leaving us all behind?"
The room was silent at that statement. But, surprisingly, it was Sara that broke the silence. "She…Miss Tamashi wouldn't do that." She stepped back when Bertrand and Reese looked at her, but she kept talking. "S-She's our friend. She would never abandon us like that. B-Besides, she would never leave…..she would never leave Mr. Erk behind."
That surprised the two. And Reese actually felt embarrassed to have brought it up. "Well…if you put it that way." He sighed. "We just hope she shows up in time to save our collective asses."
Bertrand nodded. "Until then," he turned to glare at three figures that were standing in the doorway, "we can't keep our guests waiting." He palmed his cane. "Let's teach these youngsters the reason they shouldn't go into another person's home unannounced."