Chapter 15: Pandemonium

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"Wake up." he huffed.

Nothing. No response.

"I said wake up."

When no answer was received, Shade took it upon himself to rip the blanket away from his boss' lithe body and discard it onto the floor. "Up!"

The leader of DICE curled himself up into a tight ball and pressed his hands against his face. "Stop it... Go away... M'sleepy..."

"It's almost time for the meeting, boss."

He cracked a lazy eye open and moved his hands to peek out at Shade. "What time is it?" he mumbled weakly.

"It's six."

"Six in the morning?"

"Yes."

"Oh. I don't like that."

Shade drew his brows together, "What?"

"Mm... Don't like what you said."

"Why do you have to be so difficult?" rolling his eye, Shade picked the boy up and placed him on the floor as he groaned in annoyance. "I'll give you five minutes to get ready, then we're leaving."

"Boo." the leader whined, obliging to his comrade's wishes before being forced out of the room. "Where's the meeting?"

"In the dining room; we're eating breakfast as we talk. Boomer says it will be more productive and didn't allow any argument against it." he shrugged with a hint of distaste in his tone.

When they arrived, Shade pushed the door open and made sure the boss sat in his seat before arriving at his own. The room held a heavy air, dense, suffocating and unusually quiet. They sat knee deep in the silence, no amount of careful chewing on their breakfast made it any easier to swallow, and all eyes on the small boy drained him of all his normally dominating confidence. All but Aergia's, who laid asleep on the table, hand resting feebly on a fork her conscience had given up on holding.

This would be a time where he found it appropriate to make one of his snarky remarks, but his throat closed up and his tongue dared move.

The air was so brittle it could snap. This meeting seemed off... Something wasn't right.

The imp scanned the room. Everyone was there, with the exception of two members..."Where are--"

"Gadget and Smile?" Shade interrupted, waiting for confirmation, "They're busy."

Before the leader could respond, Minerva took control of the room, slamming her hand down on the table and waking the sleeping girl up once again. The leader clutched at the glass of water which had been left there for him to prevent it spilling. "Now that the boss is here, we can officially get this show on the road. Now," she turned to look at him, "I have a question. Boss?"

He jumped. Why was he so easily startled this morning? It was out of character. "Yeah? Sup?"

"Did you get the opportunity to read the calling card before it was planted?" she inquired, ignoring his lack of formal language which she greatly disliked.

"Nope." he hummed, drumming his fingertips softly on the bottom of the table. Minerva slid a copy of the card over to him and he scrutinised the words. "Ah? Are we on about her? That's unusual."

Minerva nodded. Aergia, who had been asleep once more, lifted her sleepy head as she murmured insightful information he'd already heard before. "There's... More than one location..." just like before, she was out like a light.

The leader nodded with a hum of impressed approval. "I get what you're trying to do. I like it."

"By the way, boss," added Ego, "you'll be the one taking on the detective solely because you're distracting enough to steal all of his attention so Aergia, Pigtails and Vigour can do the dirty work."

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