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"Hide and Seek" is the eighth episode of The Demon's Light.

Synopsis

Baptiste continues his exploration of Silivia, deciding to take a break at a pastry store. Chris continues to evade Alchem., hiding behind an alleyway, and then stealing the clothes of a passerby. Atticus and Marshall have an argument about the morality of stealing, due to Marshall attempting to take from the cash register of a barbershop.

Melissa continues her talk with Steven about her memories, with Steven deciding to take her in for examination.

Savannah finds the barbershop Atticus and Marshall are in, but an Alchem. operative, Fontaine, finds and slits her throat; as ordered by Gabriel. Baptiste leaves the store, finding and recognizing Atticus and Marshall in a building across the street. Chris is spotted by Fontaine.

In the lab, a new character enters.

Narrative

Atticus Anoethite and Marshall Rooke

Marshall looked at the nearest source of audio, which happened to be a large television screen on the side of a shop, directly outside the alleyway. "We're screwed."

Atticus, hearing the broadcast, looked over in shock at the television screen. "That means Chris is in this city, we have to find him!" While the broadcast from Alchem Corp was certainly not good, he was relieved to hear the name of one of his companions again.

"The police are probably already looking for us. We'd be sitting ducks." Marshall looked down the alleyway. He noticed a backdoor was open. Inside of the building, he could make out a barber pole. "I'm going to check that shop out."

"But we have to find Chris. We can't just leave him to be fetched by Alchem. Corp again." Atticus then noticed Marshall heading towards the backdoor and started to follow. "Damn it, listen to what I'm saying instead of running off after some nonsense."

Marshall entered the backdoor of the barbershop. He looked around to see if anyone was there. No one was in sight. He then noticed Atticus had followed him in. "Atticus?"

Atticus, following behind Marshall, stopped upon hearing his name. "Yeah, what is it?"

"I didn't mean for you to come with me!" Marshall paused. "I came here to check this place out, but there's no one here. I'm going to break into the cash register and see if we can get some cash." He started towards the cash register as he finished his sentence.

"Well, too bad, I'm here. Was I supposed to just wait outside like a sitting duck or something?" Atticus said, stepping into the building behind Marshall. Upon hearing the rest of Marshall's sentence, he facepalmed. "What the hell are you doing? Was not stealing from the café enough? Do we have to face more possible trouble from the law?"

"Relax. No one's here. We should be fine." Marshall took the pair of rusty scissors out of his pocket and tried to open the register with them.

Atticus was baffled as Marshall continued with his plan. He quickly walked up to Marshall and grabbed his wrist in an attempt to prevent him from opening the register. "Stop!"

Marshall tried to break free from Atticus' grip. "We need the money. I'll only take as much as we need. Atticus, we can't stay on the run."

"We can't stay on the run, sure. But robbing stores will ONLY lead us towards more trouble. We need to leave before the shop owners come back." Atticus began to walk back towards the door, pulling Marshall with him.

Baptiste Rousseau, John Fontaine, and Savannah Whitesmith

The nine men strolled through the city, smiling to themselves as if nothing occurred. There was no need to appear threatening, or glare at anyone. They managed to be calm, as terrified citizens watched as they marched with their rifles.

They visited major buildings -- stores, apartment buildings. Baptiste gave everyone a calm and respectful greeting, as they would all give a terrified "No, I have not seen this Chris kid, sir."

"I think we oughta abandon this ship." said one of the guards, sleepily to Baptiste. "We've been at this for quite a while now. Just fetch the Hummingbird, go back to the site, and tell the citizens to alert us if they find the droid so we can pick it up."

"And then that would be procrastination," replied Baptiste. "I don't do procrastination. I'm here to get this over with, the tracker said he is definitely in the city. Come now, perhaps we can take a breather over here." Baptiste smiled as he pointed to a Silivian pastry shop.

The guards were quite amused. "Well then," one began, "I suppose sometimes it's better for a break than to abandon the project."

The men politely strolled in. The shopkeeper fearfully took their order of several glazed donuts, deciding it was best for the order to be free. As they sat down for their prize, Baptiste began lecturing them. "Trust me, we'll have him back in no time. Come now, look at this -- the tracker saw him around this nearby park."

Unknown to them, two Alchem. fugitives, Marshall and Atticus, were robbing a nearby barbershop. Behind the barbershop, stood Chris Wellington, whose GPS signal was enclosed by mounds of garbage.

. . .

Savannah was taking a stroll through the city, with a bit of anxiety in her stomach due to the recent announcement on her friend. What was far worse, she thought to herself; was the possibility of being seen by Alchemilia Corporation. They were only searching for Wellington, but she very well knew of the incident a few days ago. If they saw her, she knew she could be very well detained due to her being in the stolen Alchemilia car. In addition to all of this, she did not know where any of her friends were.

To try to ease her mind, she decided to visit a Silivian pastry shop. Warren had given her some pocket change, so she hoped to get something small. Unfortunately, as she walked in, she noticed the bright black and red uniform of an Alchem. crew. Nervously, she returned to the door. She wanted to leave, but still had a slight curiosity on their conversation. They were reading over some sort of tablet, discussing coordinates and such. She decided to hide behind a stand, hoping to gather information she could relay to her friends.

. . .

"Does the tracker have any things on his recent movements?" asked a guard.

Baptiste let out a small smirk. "That's the thing it best knows. While we, unfortunately, do not have the exact location, I can tell he recently made a long run, and then stopped somewhere. Probably found a secluded area to hide. I'll tell you -- he's a sitting duck now, we just need to find him. Boy, boy -- I wish we had installed one of the better trackers on the site Droids. We only need the basics since we thought they were confined to the site, but he slipped right through security with a simple disguise." The crew nodded and reacted positively to Baptiste's optimism. They began to finish their pastries and were preparing to get up.

. . .

"We practice the selective annihilation of those in power and government officials to create a vacuum. Then we fill that vacuum. As war advances, peace moves closer alongside it."

The words echoed in the head of the figure standing over a quivering civilian. These were the words Gabriel Alchemilia had delivered years before, one of many eloquent speeches that Alchemilia had given either to inspire morale or enforce a point. Enforce a point. That was the man's job here, after all.

He held a long, thin blade in an offhand position, the pointy end directed to the pavement beneath him. His pale eyes examined it with a calmness that would make any ordinary mortal quake in their boots. With his free hand, he fingered a pistol. Not any fancy Alchemilia weapon, but a trusted weapon filled with lead. The tried-and-true type of pistol that had fought countless wars.

Illustrate a point. Enforce an idea. Make sure that the people know why you're here. If you make threats, but do not act on them, then others would know that you're weak and take advantage of that fact. But if you enforce your threats-Casually, as though the action doesn't bother you one bit, -people will fear you. It works almost like a truth serum, because cowards will bow to anyone with power.

And casually, he committed the act. He wasn't physically imposing, a dark man not even wearing any Power Armor, but influence can be gained through actions alone. In the center of a cluster of civilians, he tore the blade through the air, about a foot of distance from where it started, and a dark liquid splattered the street. He stood over a civilian no more. This is what inspires fear, and this is the direct action that Alchemilia had given him.

"If the people do not speak-" Gabriel had told the man about half an hour prior, "-take away their one defense. That defense is security. I know how Baptiste operates. They don't fear him as they would if he took action. I don't enjoy killing, Fontaine, but it's a chore like any other."

The 'chore' had been completed. All that was left was to find the Android.

. . .

As the men began to rise, Savannah's heart raced wildly. Fearing that she would be recognized, she walked out of the Pastry Store, and decided to run elsewhere. During her nervous walk, through the glass, she noticed two boys seemingly arguing within a barbershop. She stopped her walk, for the voices seemed quite familiar. Savannah listened to the voices, trying to think of a connection, but she couldn't pinpoint who exactly they were. Wanting to listen in and have an easy hiding spot from Alchem, she ran behind the building.

. . .

After a short period of questioning the civilians and executing a few dissenters, the man who was identified as Fontaine headed out.

"No leads on the location of the Android..." Fontaine mumbled to himself. He slipped his smoking pistol back into its holster under his arm, symmetrical with a second one, and slipped a long blade into his boot. That made two concealed knives, easy to remove and use in a fight. He pulled a tight, dark mask over his face, concealing all but one eye hole which was filled with a red glass lens.

"There's the director himself," he spoke, looking towards a pastry shop. "I won't interfere with him." The red lens scanned for increased heart rate and sweating, and quickly spotted Savannah exiting. "Bingo," Fontaine whispered, quickly increasing his walking speed and grabbing Savannah's shoulder once he was in range.

"Fuck!" Savannah was absolutely horrified. A strange figure had grabbed her. She desperately shuffled, "Off! Off!" she yelled, through gritted teeth.

Fontaine looked over her. She was short, and looked worried. Her heart rate was through the roof and she was avoiding eye contact. His one red eye reflected a bright light from within the pastry shop right towards Savannah.

"You're scared. Not like the others in the shop, who just fear the soldiers sitting down. Anxious... That's what you are." His words were barely muffled by the mask, as he spoke with a clear and concise tone. Now that Savannah was close, it was obvious that this man was far more professional than the average Alchemilia henchman. He was draped in a black trenchcoat, though it was fitted in a way to avoid constricting his movement, and two guns could be spotted under his arms. "I haven't seen someone as worried as you, yet. Hiding something? I'd like to ask you a few..." For intimidation purposes, he moved his head right next to hers. "...questions. Is that okay?"

Savannah's hands started to shake wildly. Her eyes blurred slightly, she felt lightheaded, and she was sweating from her temples. "Okay," she managed to whisper.

Fontaine moved his gloved hand from her shoulder onto the back of her head, forcefully turning her towards a nearby alley. He swaggered towards a dumpster where he shoved Savannah to the ground. A cold, metal object made contact with the back of her head. "Chris Wellington. You're hiding him, or you know where he is. I want answers."

. . .

The men drew their rifles, and were on the search once again. Baptiste opened his tablet, and examined the semi-functional tracker.

"Here we go again. This direction apparently, let's go."

They marched through the streets once again, following the direction the tracker was pointing to. The city, right now, was quite dull. Some confident people stayed in the streets, believing the announcement to be a great amount of nothing. Some remained inside their homes, not wanting to come in contact with the Corporation. Shops were quiet, the amount of cars began dwindling. As the Crew peered inside the glass of shops as they walked, they stopped for a moment at the a barbershop -- holding Alchem. fugitives Marshall and Atticus.

Most guards were disinterested, though a few, along with Baptiste, chuckled at what was happening. "Look at em," said one. "They don't know where they're going, how they'll survive in life. Choosin' to rob a barber shop. A shame, ain't it?"

"Ha, it cert-- Now hold on a second. Aren't....."

At that moment, Baptiste had a revelation. As they approached the door, Baptiste knew he had recognized their faces somewhere before. Previously, all Alchem. members received information on a group of people who stole an Alchem. car. The fugitives faces had been plastered all over Alchem. He communicated his findings to the other members of the crew.

"Well, I suppose we're killing two birds with one stone today. Those pathetic fellas in there -- Atticus and Marshall, fugitives who stole one of our cars." . . . "C-Chris? I haven't seen him since before the accident, I swear." Savannah answered in a terrified voice trying not to think of the object she felt against her head as fear shivered through her veins.

Fontaine pulled back his gun, removing the metal from behind Savannah's head. "You don't sound like you're lying." His eye moved towards Baptiste and his company. "Looks like Baptiste has a lead on Individuals One and Two. Marshall and Atticus... I don't need you anymore." He slipped one of his two chrome knives out of his boot, quickly dragging it across Savannah's pale neck. His free hand held her mouth shut, staining his black glove with blood from her throat.

Fontaine stood up, gently burying Savannah's body underneath a pile of trash bags. He detected movement in the distance, though no human body heat. He pushed a button on his wrist. "Magistrate Alchemilia, I've dealt with one of Chris' associates and Baptiste is approaching two others- But that's not what I'm calling you for. I've spotted the loose Android."

Fontaine walked into the outskirts of the city, staring at Chris. Without a word, he put away his knife and took both of his pistols out of their holsters. The man crouched, following Chris through shadowed areas cast by the incoming sunset.

Savannah's limp body laid under the trash bags. With a tear dripping from the corner of her eyes, she closed them and embraced the incoming darkness, feeling everything around her slip away.

Chris Wellington and Melissa Devlin

After leaving the bookstore, Chris was feeling very tired. He slowly trudged towards the nearby park, where there was a huge screen playing a television broadcast. To Chris' shock, the broadcast was about him. He was now a wanted fugitive. Out of shock, he glanced around for a convenient hiding place, finally spotting a dumpster poking out of an alley a few blocks away. He ran as fast as he could, hoping he wouldn't be seen in that period of time. Finally, Chris made it to the dumpster, and opened the lid, only to notice two dark-haired boys arriving at the backdoor of a shop in the alley. The hairstyles added up perfectly with Marshall's crewcut and Atticus' shaggy hair. It could have been a coincidence, but maybe it wasn't. Maybe his friends really had survived that terrible crash. "Marshall? Atticus?" He called out, though in a somewhat quiet voice.

. . .

Steven had started to show his sister around the lab. "Wow, this place is huge." She said in amazement. "What all do you do here?"

He smiled at his sister's curiosity. "Well, we do a lot of things here. We research weapons, the nature of demons, their power, medicine -- all to aid in the war, I suppose. There was once a time when our lab was not for such purposes, but I guess times change."

Melissa looked at him confused, "War? What war?" As she waited for her brother's reply, she begins to look at the beautiful paintings that lined the wall of the lab and she noticed a group of what appeared to be students on the opposite side of the room.

Steven let out a confused "Er...", baffled at his sister's bewilderment to the war. The war dictated nearly all aspects of your life, and the war's progress was always the most important happenings of the day. "The war right now, the war against demons and such, of course." He began making up thoughts and wild speculations in his mind. "Perhaps she has some sort of memory problem? I..." He went over the details in his head. For a moment, perhaps briefly, he considered checking up on her in his lab. But for now, he could only wait for her response.

"Ha!" Melissa let out an innocent giggle at Steven's statement. "Don't be smart now, Steven. What do you use the stuff in the lab for, really?"

It was at this moment that he confirmed his suspicions about Melissa. Melissa not remembering her brother at first glance was nothing of significance, but her not knowing about the war meant she definitely had some sort of problem.

"I... Melissa, how do I say this?" he began. "Do you have some sort of... Well that's, no, no. Melissa, I, uh, honestly think you should come with me so I may perform a brief examination on you."

Melissa looked at Steven in confusion. "Examination? But why? I feel fine."

Steven sighed softly. He stroked his chin softly, giving off a few verbal pauses, before finally stopping and giving her an answer. "Well, perhaps I can start it like this. Melissa, besides your memories of us, what is the earliest thing you remember? Come now, what were you doing say, three months ago?"

Melissa paused and tried to recall her earliest memory, "I-i don't really remember anything.. Before I woke up in the barn surrounded by the other people.." She replied to him, her soft features suddenly overcome by the sadness of her lack of past memories.

Unknown to them, a pair of sapphire blue eyes was watching them closely from across the room.

. . .

Chris inched away from the dumpster, having no idea what to do. On one hand, he was a fugitive, but on the other, he had seen his friends, though they paid no attention to him. He decided that maybe reuniting wasn't a top priority, nor was trickery. He had to escape the city. So what if he never saw his friends again? Chris walked past the building, a moment's hesitation happening as he wondered if following Atticus and Marshall was a good idea after all.

Eventually -- he decided it was best to run. Chris finally ran towards the city limits. He hid in some bushes and knocked out and stole the clothes of a passerby, removing his own clothes, and ripped out his hair. He then continued on.

. . .

"Now, now. Well then -- I am pretty sure that confirms it. Don't be sad now, come with me to the lab. I'll see what happened to you, everything will be fine, I promise." Steven motioned over to Melissa, pointing to the direction of a room she had to go to for examination.

Despite being nervous, Melissa walked into the examination room and waited for her brother.

"Do you remember coming into contact with anything before you found yourself in the barn? If you do, it may help me to determine what I need to do to help you get your memory back." Steven asked, closing the door as he entered the room.

"No, I don't.. I don't remember anything before I woke up."

"That's a darn shame." Steven answered. "Mind if I were to test some sort of experiment on you to see whether I can recover any more of your memories?"

"Experiments...? Sure, I guess, if it means I get my memories back." Melissa replied, she was clearly nervous with her response. Steven nodded as he began to think of what sort of tests he would run on his younger sister. There was a sudden knock on the door. "What is it?" He called out. Then a gentle feminine voice answered, "Sir, something's happening in the city you should know about. Can you please come quick?" Steven went to the door and opened it, gesturing for Melissa to follow, which she did. Beth, one of the young students of the lab stood outside the door, with a look of urgency across her face. "Sir, Alchem Corporation is raiding the city."


Episodes
Season One The Mysterious LightThe Lost Ones • Alchem. Corp (Part IPart II) • Getting ScrewedThe City of Silver LightsDivided We FallHide and SeekExit MusicReunionSurrealism
Season Two Double Sides'Till Dusk Dawns
Season Three Family Traitors
Season Four TBA
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