Blossom shivered, dust filled every crevice of the room as if nothing had touched the space in ages. A decorated door caught her eye, a wreath hanging on it. "Maybe this is a way out...?" she grunted as she rolled herself over to the door. Before she could open it, Marshall stopped her.
"It might not be another antechamber. Wait a second." He yanked at his holster and pulled out his pistol, preparing himself for whatever lied behind the door. "Now go," he told her.
Blossom hesitantly followed Marshall's orders and opened the door. It revealed itself to be nothing more than a portico and brick patio, with a nearby shed that sat on the wrought iron fence. The area was silent except for the sounds of birds chirping. Moving past the girl, Marshall stepped outside and looked around. It was clear. Nothing more than gardening tools, a hose, and a rusted wheelbarrow. Remains of a garden hung on lattices and in raised boxes.
"There's nothing here. What the fuck, they left."
Chris, meanwhile, remained inside the manor. He decided against following Marshall and Blossom right away, certain they would be fine. After all, it wasn't like they were on a time limit or anything, and he would most likely join them soon. Looking into the open library, Chris realized that the oldest bookshelf had some sort of strange pattern on it near the top, and went to take a closer look. While trying to climb the shelf, Chris accidentally knocked it over with his enhanced strength, an ability he frequently hid due to it making him incredibly hostile. In a fit of rage, Chris jumped off of the shelf and smashed through the screenless window near it, landing in the grassy yard.
"What the hell are you even doing?" Blossom snapped, startled by the falling glass. "Couldn't you have just followed us out?"
After her words were met by silence, she changed direction. "Now that we're out here, we should stay together. No telling where the attacker went or if they'll come back."
Hidden from trio's view, a young man sat on the ground, his gun and backpack placed near him as he ate his breakfast - a simple energy bar. Hearing voices, the man instantly dropped his food, quickly grabbing hold of his gun.
A glint of light came from the shadowed corners of the room, and for a moment Atticus caught a glimpse of his attacker. Sunglasses, a leather jacket, and various small buckles and straps throughout his outfit. Apart from his questionable fashion choices, this person seemed completely human.
The massive knife that had been used to hold Samuel hostage had now slipped across Atticus' face, leaving a nasty cut from cheek to cheek across his nose. The figure skidded to a halt, turning around as a glass object made contact with his face.
"When one is too focused on the forest, one may fail to see the trees..." Wen Li smirked, his fists raised. "Or in this case, the vase."
Samuel kept his distance as he held a wooden stick behind him, his other hand held up to defend himself.
"We're destroying priceless artwork that has likely been in your lineage for generations, Samuel. Perhaps be a little more careful," Li said, picking up his cane.
The environment around Atticus shifted and swirled into a silhouetted simulacrum, as he slipped into another vision. Every shadow of the room illuminated itself as he saw a creature slither underneath the floor and through them. The serpentine figure emerged in the corner of the room, next to a large statue of a knight.
Returning to reality, Atticus leaped forward to the statue, grabbing the knight's sword, and pointing it at the darkness beneath it. Taking a deep breath to prepare himself and as blood poured down his face and onto his body, he closed his eyes and plunged the blade forward, making contact with flesh.
The assailant's mouth, as he emerged from the shadows, was lodged open both by the sword and by shock as it stuck through the back of his throat. His glasses fell as he writhed in pain, revealing no human's eyes, but a pair of black, round orbs devoid of color.
Li and Samuel were taken aback after witnessing what had happened. Samuel placed one hand on his knee, taking a breath and letting off his shock. "Well," he said after a brief silence, "Guess that's been taken care of. But still, we need to try and get out of here quickly. Come on." Li nodded at Samuel and walked over to him.
Atticus let go of the blade's handle. After taking a sharp breath, he turned around and followed behind the other two.
After the three managed to find their way out of the mansion, a small reunion was held. As each group recounted their time apart, they learned of an assassin slain by Atticus and of an assistant who fled after being confronted by Marshall and Chris.
As the group prepared to leave the manor and explore more of the environment around them, Li suddenly remembered something they had forgotten.
"Melissa must be getting every can of fruit down there. I'll go check on her and see if she needs any assistance," the old man said as he got up from the porch bench and traveled back through the kitchen, marching towards the entrance of the cellar. Walking down the damp steps once there, Li tried to maintain his balance as he gripped his cane and the moldy banister. Mildew lined the wall. The stairs fell into darkness, and he began feeling his way down. Upon reaching the bottom, a thin chain collided with his face to which he pulled and a single dim light turned on. In front of him, two cabinets of wine stood tall, with Melissa bound by rope next to them. He ran over to her, muffled screams of help filled the room. Before long, he had untied her and they began walking back up the stairs.
"Where were you?! I thought he was going to kill me!" she asked, both frustrated and relieved.
"We just were exploring the place," he responded, smiling.