Chapter Sixteen: Part Two

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It was half past midnight. Reeves could just see one of the four faces of the clock tower on St. Vitus Cathedral from Vladislav Hall, despite the massive window being coated in grime. He had made himself comfortable here, running his operation in a way that made him nostalgic for times long since passed.

Or at least at night he did, when there weren't any tourists swarming the place.

Like the oversized insects they are, he thought peevishly. Still, he understood why he and his forces had to remain incognito, if only for the time being. If the High Council was tipped off about their presence here, they would suffer more setbacks than they already had. After everything he'd endured, Reeves wasn't about to take any unnecessary risks.

Sighing, he turned away from the window, and strode toward the other side of the hall, where he had set up his own, quaint little sitting area. A large, inky black throne made of dark ether sat between two support pillars. Its form, while constantly rolling and twisting like rising smoke, appeared more or less solid; high-backed, with matching armrests that were curved like the swirls of a snail shell.

Settling into the shadow throne, he closed his eyes, intent on taking a power nap—when he felt a cool, tingling sensation shoot up his spine.

Ah, they're back. Cracking one eye open, he glanced to his right. Where there had been a rectangular beam of moonlight spilling across the floor moments ago was a mass of writhing black energy, a series of red pinpricks glittering back at him from within.

"Don't be shy my little friends," he beckoned with a lazy wave of his hand, "come forward. What news have you brought me?"

There was a moment's hesitation before they did as he asked, the shadowy mass breaking off into three separate forms with the one in the middle taking the lead. As they approached, the other two stopped on either side of Reeves' throne, leaving the third to approach on its own.

Reeves watched as the small, shapeless being grew upward, taking on a more humanoid form and bending to whisper in his ear. The hall around him was silent for several minutes; neither of the other two shadows, nor the Akuma—standing sentry at the hall's entrance—daring to make a sound while the shadow gave its report.

It told him about all the mundane goings-on, first. How an elderly couple who had been taking an evening stroll had caught sight of their forces exiting one of the portals, and how said elderly couple had since been silenced. Permanently.

Reeves wasn't concerned by this. The elderly couple were hardly the first humans his forces had encountered in Prague, and they probably wouldn't be the last. He didn't care how many mortal lives were extinguished, as long as word never got out to the Regulations Force. Even Her Ladyship had told him the odd human stumbling upon their operation was inevitable; what mattered was ensuring they never stumbled out of it.

However, with the shadow's next words, the vision of continuing their mission uninterrupted shattered before his eyes. It seemed in spite of their caution, the Regulations Force had caught wind of their tactics, but for whatever reason, hadn't acted on it.

Until now.

Reeves felt anger forcing its way up from his chest and into his throat, building until he could no longer contain it. Panes of glass shattered up and down the grand hall, the shadow shrinking away from him and joining its fellows at the foot of his throne; gathering so close together he could no longer distinguish one from the other. He could hear Cife's muffled yelp from the hall's entrance when one of the support pillars began to crumble, the frightened cry drowned out by the groaning of Prague Castle's foundation as the stone walls convulsed and shuddered.

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