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Wish Upon A Star

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As she listened to Morgan and Yanique, the woman’s expression shifted from carefully maintained boredom to alarm. All pretenses of casualness forgotten, she drew herself to her full height and ran a hand through her hair. “You’re - you’re telling me,” she began slowly, “that all of you are Contracted? All four of you have found a Pokemon?” Her free hand balled into a fist. “That’s not just unlikely, it’s impossible. Of course you aren’t the only Contracted people out there, but… how can I put this… Pokemon aren’t exactly commonplace, and ones willing to approach humans are even rarer. Me and my… partner were the only ones in this area for years, although I suppose… considering recent events…”

 

She scanned the park again. Still no one, aside from the tall girl’s dogs chasing each other around. “Look,” she continued. “Something’s going on here, and I don’t know what it is, but I get the feeling you kids have somehow gotten yourselves involved in it. I can’t say I approve, but I can’t exactly stop you either, so.” She shrugged and gave the kids a crooked grin. “Welcome to the world of Pokemon. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting kind of tired of standing around here, if you catch my drift. Name’s Alexis Kay, nice meeting all of you, and if you want to continue this conversation I’ve got a hotel room over at Pleasant Cliff. Join me for tea?”

 

[NPC information has been updated.]

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The woman transformed back, looking like she wasn't interested in picking a fight as she answered the short girl's question. And while she was outnumbered, the brunette didn't look concerned at all, speaking volumes of the chances she thought she had if they attacked. Victor didn't make a move but didn't relax either; in a situation like this, it was better if things were resolved calmly, but he wasn't going to let his guard down anytime soon. After all, one of her hands was out of sight, and he didn't want to be threatened with a blade again.

 

He felt his phone buzz, but ignored it. Russian girl was already taking out hers, so it was probably from Sam or that girl that went with him anyway. And he was right, as a few seconds later she relayed the contents. With Amber far away from there, at least that was one problem less.

 

The girl with the black-and-yellow hair (he really needed to learn their names at some point. Why had they all introduced each other at the same time?) spoke up, prompting a confused answer from the woman. Was she unrelated to what was happening then? She mentioned a partner, but Victor didn't know if she was talking about another human or about the Pokemon she was Contracted to.

 

The woman grinned, and he felt himself loosening up a bit. He wasn't worried; he could take dangerous.

 

And then she then invited them for tea.

 

He groaned, covering half of his face with a hand. Tea. Him. With four girls.

 

...Could he go back to being threatened with something sharp?

 

"You three go," he said in a slightly hurried tone, looking around the park for anyone he might know.

Edited by Puredark006

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Tea? Alexis was inviting them to tea. For a moment, Taylor beamed, liking the idea of relaxing on a couch with a warm cup in her hands. However, the excitement faded as Victor grumbled his refusal in a few words. Clasping her hands behind her back, Poké Ball trapped between her palms, she shifted her weight between her feet. "Tea sounds nice, Miss Kay! I'm..." she paused, wondering if she should tell the strange woman her name.

 

Shaking her head, she quickly smiled nervously. "What kind of tea do you have? My name's Kara!" she lied, starting to feel a little warm within her sweater. Glancing at the other two girls, she hoped they wouldn't turn down the offer; she really didn't want to go by herself. She had been uncomfortable with the woman's gaze found her hands and she fretted that Alexis had seen her Poké Ball. However, it was no longer a secret that the four of them were all contracted; Morgan and Yanique really gave that away.

 

Geez guys. Couldn't keep a secret identity, could ya?

 

But, too late. The situation couldn't be corrected now and Taylor's nervousness only grew. "The woman you were going to meet... Are they a nice person?" she asked suddenly, eyes wide as the idea of Alexis being a Super-villain crept through her thoughts again.

Edited by Narvix

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"At the hotel?" Yanique raised her eyebrows in inquiry. "You're not from around here, then?" Tourists or other kinds of visitors from other cities were rare in Hillside Heights. There wasn't much the small town could offer that couldn't be found in neighbouring cities. But… couldn't this woman have asked whoever she was waiting for to come to the hotel in the first place? Yanique was sure she had her reasons. Or maybe it was the person she was waiting for who scheduled the meeting? And unless there was an assassination ploy involved, the other person might have been a magical girl too! Perhaps there were more magical girl turf wars in the world of contracted pokemon than just the one between Diancie and Luxray. But… the woman just said that contracts were rare. It didn't really add up.

 

Yanique did find her feet starting to get a bit sore in her heeled boots from standing in one place. Whether or not they took up Alexis' offer for an afternoon of leaf water and possibly biscuits (that Vic would miss out on because of his stubborn nature as he voiced his opinion pretty quickly about the matter), they weren't going to stay in the park for long according to the weather.

 

The teen pursed her lips to try to avoid giving away the fact that Taylor was lying about her name, though she noted with amusement that her own nickname was kind of like a codename in of itself. "But anyway, I'm Yanique. Pleasure to meet you in such a weird place, but we're kind of trying to find someone too this afternoon." Looking at Morgan then Vic (but ignoring Taylor), she added, "We've barely entered the park and we still have the library. And, what about the others?"

 

She paused, snapping her mouth shut. Others? Was that giving away too much to Alexis?

 

 

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Though Morgan had intentionally subtly hinted at fact that the entire group was Contracted, she could not help but feel a sting of annoyance as Yanique gasped with wonder before loudly asking the woman if she there was more Contracted people. It wasn't like Yanique was screaming at the top of her lungs, but Morgan definitely was disturbed by her companion's volume level. A slither of paranoia had crept into the blonde's mind after the encounter with the impudent spy earlier in the day. She was alert, casting her eyes around the surrounding area every so often as though she expected to spot yet another spy crouching in the bushes. The team had been spied on twice with two consecutive days, who was to say there wasn't a third spy watching the teenagers' every step? Partly, Morgan was scolding herself for fantasizing such a distraction, but, at the same time, the scenario was possible. Shaking her head, Morgan attempted to remove the thought of a third spy from her head. She needed to concentrate on the problem at hand, not some delusional problem fabricated from her imagination. She wasn't a mere child so she shouldn't act like one.

 

The woman's surprise at Yanique's and Morgan's exclamations wasn't exactly what Morgan expected. She seemed more than just mildly shocked, she appeared to be completely caught off guard. What the woman, who revealed her name to be Alexis, said caused Morgan's eyebrows to lift quizzically. It was rare for Pokemon to Contract humans? How could that be possible? There were seven Contracted people at the meetings, Morgan included, and they all had only been Contracted for a day or two. It wasn't possible for Contracts to be rare, but yet, Alexis' words rang true. Morgan could see her body posture change as she uncomfortably ran her fingers through her hair. Alexis, after giving her two cents on the situation, offered a crooked grin before welcoming the group to the "world of Pokemon", offering to take them out for some tea as well.

 

While Morgan found the suggestion to be mighty generous, not everyone seemed to share her thoughts. Victor let out a long drawn-out groan, covering his face as though he was embarrassed to show it. He waved the others away, telling them to go on without him before nervously glancing around the park as though he was expecting someone. Morgan stared at the boy for several moments with a questioning look. Morgan hadn't the slightest clue as to why Victor wouldn't want to go to tea, after all, weren't they going to get more information about Contracts and Pokemon? Still, she saw no reason to force him to join. If he wanted to walk off, fine, she wasn't going to tackle him and drag him along.

 

As Victor looked around as though he was trying to secure a safe place to exit, Taylor suddenly piped up. Her cheerful demeanor almost distracted Morgan from the fact that she was lying straight to Alexis' face. Morgan had to do a double take when she realized Taylor introduced herself as Kara. Morgan had to refrain from glaring daggers at the shorter girl. Alexis was possibly one of the few Contracted people that the group could turn to for some advice and Taylor's first thought was to lie to her? Was thinking five seconds into the future painful for Taylor? She had every right to be suspicious, but if she was going to be secretive, she could have been more serious about it. Yanique, thankfully wasn't as secretive as Taylor and told Alexis her real name. It was just her nickname, but it was an honest answer at the very least.

"My name's Morgan, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," the blonde said, dipping her head respectfully towards Alexis before listening to the rest of what Yanique had to say. "Victor," Morgan called as she turned around to face the boy. "Could you check out the library if you're going to leave? We still haven't checked it."

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Alexis shrugged at Vic. “Your loss.” She produced a battered white flip phone from her pocket and started typing something into it, staring into the screen and nodding as the kids introduced themselves. “Right, well,” she muttered, still not looking up, “tea-wise - I’m not the one who bought most of it, to be honest, so I’m not sure what I have. My hotel room’s basically infested with the stuff, though, so I’m sure I can find something. As for your other question…” She paused, flipped her phone shut, and met Taylor’s eye. “No. No, she’s not. But we can talk about that when we get there, alright?”

 

Gesturing with her phone for the others to follow her, she strolled off in the direction of the hotel. “I live pretty close by, actually,” she began again, as she left the park’s boundaries. “Not in this town, but less than an hour’s drive away for sure. I’m here on business. Of course, it turns out that meeting didn’t pan out, but…” she stopped to squint at Yanique. “You didn’t just say there were more of you, did you? Geez. At this rate, I’m going to have to extend my stay indefinitely.”

 

Her phone buzzed in her hand and she opened it once more. “Yeah, yeah, alright,” she muttered into it as she tapped out another message. “Anyway, tell me about this person you’re trying to find. I’m hoping it’s not who I think it is.”

 

-----

 

Amber snapped her compact mirror shut. She looked around again, but if she noticed Sam disappearing into a nearby shop, she made no indication of it. She let her breath hiss out through her teeth, before stuffing all of her supplies violently back into her bag. She stalked off down the sidewalk again, in the same direction that she’d been going before. The hotel wasn’t far ahead, but she spared it no more than a glance. Her backup strategy hadn’t worked - fine. It was time to head home.

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Sam had thought that 20 minutes was the longest he could keep the charade without it starting to look suspicious, but turns out he didn't have to worry; Amber made a move much sooner than that.

 

He had entered the shop after Sasha left, with a slow pace he hoped made him look like just a teen with nothing better to do that had wandered inside to take a look. The shopkeeper, a woman who had to be at least twice his age, had barely paid any attention to him, instead choosing to focus on the newspaper on her hands. He had closed the door behind him, and walked to a line of clothes hanged in a line in front of the left wall after taking a glance around. And once he made his way there, he had tried his best to not look at Amber directly, instead pretending to merely be using the light from the window to better see and compare some of the tops.

 

He noticed the movement on his peripheral vision, and took out both the blue shirt he had been checking and his phone. Holding the shirt close in front of him, he flipped open his phone and held it at arm's length. A small turn to 'catch the light better' as he smiled and snapped a picture of himself provided him a good excuse to have most of the window in his field of vision, confirming Amber was on the move. He didn't have time to see if she had been doing something or even her expression, but Sasha could take care of that.

 

He started to text, hoping that, if anyone was spying him, they'd think he was asking one of his friends for an opinion on the shirt.

 

Amber's walking again; the direction is the same as before. I'll go in a minute, to be sure she doesn't see me

 

Once the message was sent to Sasha, he started to mentally count as he put the shirt back and picked out another one.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The girls presented themselves to Alexis, so he guessed he should do the same. "Victor," he simply said, as Kara and Yanique (what kind of name was that anyway? Thinking about it, it sounded familiar, but he couldn't remember where he had heard it before today) started a fresh round of questions about the person the woman was going to meet, and the one the group was looking for. Nothing he could help with, which was good for his 'put-dozens-of-meters-between-me-and-the-tea-party' plan.

 

What Alexis was saying... if he was honest with himself, it did sound important. But those three could tell him what happened afterwards. Wasn't that the whole point of having a group? No matter what Houndoom's opinions were, Victor wasn't going to do everything himself.

 

Especially if it involved going to a tea party.

 

Russian girl aka Morgan spoke next, asking him to go to the library. Oh good, they weren't expecting him to follow. He could already taste freedom. "Yeah. Can do that," he said with a nod, not even trying to contain his relief. "I'll be going right away," he added with a small wave as he immediately turned and started to walk, before anyone could think of any reason he should stay.

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Mystery tea party!

 

Taylor started to bounce where she stood, clasping her hands together in front of her chest and grinning excitedly. After a moment, she realized what she was doing and stopped, embarrassed as she swung her arms back and twined her fingers, looking much like a small child caught with their hand in a cookie jar. Morgan was talking to Victor at this point and seeing if he would check the library as Alexis grumbled at her phone. "Oh, splitting up!" she noted with a hushed voice, smiling as she liked that idea.

 

Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman! Going into the depths of the lair of a possible enemy... Will the valiant young women find the answers they are looking for? And will Batman find the clues everyone needs at the library? Taylor smirked at the idea, opening her mouth as she started to answer Alexis' question. Though, the moment she started the first syllable, she promptly clamped her mouth shut, eyes widening a fraction. Alexis was a possible enemy. Would Yanique and Morgan get angry with her for talking about the spy from yesterday?

 

She fidgeted nervously, glancing from one girl to the other and then Victor. Though, he was already on his way and she tugged at her sweater sleeves, fingers fidgeting with the tear from the lot fence. "Hey, Vicky? Can you check out a book for me when you're there?" she called, quickly falling silent again as she shrunk into her oversized sweater.

 

Oops! The other three were already walking. Sneakers slipping against the dirt, she hurried to close the small distance that had been made.

 

~~~~

 

Amber's walking again; the direction is the same as before. I'll-

 

A message preview pop-up blinked into existence at the top of her phone's screen, pausing the Bejeweled game Sasha played. Opening the message from Sam, her dark eyes quickly scanned the text message. Amber's walking again; the direction is the same as before. I'll go in a minute, to be sure she doesn't see me. Lovely. Shay wasn't going to have to wait longer for something to happen.

 

Closing the message after a quick confirmation, she exited her game and started walking again. Stuffing her hands into her pockets, she kept an eye on the streets for any sight of Amber across the way. Once or twice she caught a glimpse. Though, nothing interesting seemed to be happening at the moment. Vaguely, Sasha wondered where Amber was off to but the possibilities were as numerous as there were places in the city, making process-of-elimination virtually impossible (even with the closed businesses out of the list).

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After he deemed it safe, Sam exited the store, closing the door behind him as he had done when going in. He stretched and started walking in the direction he had seen Amber go, fiddling with his phone as if texting.

 

Sasha hadn't replied. He hoped that meant there was nothing relevant to say.

 

Deleting the photo he had taken earlier (no use for it now), he put the phone back in his pocket, confirming again Roserade's Friend Ball was still inside when his hand brushed against the smooth surface. Just in case, he thought as he looked in front of him again. The distance between him and Amber was enough that he wouldn't even be sure it was her if not for the lack of other teens on the streets, but he didn't want to fasten his pace unless it was necesary. If Amber started to turn corners he'd lose her, but that was the reason Sasha had gone on ahead, wasn't it?

 

He continued the tailing with those thought on mind, trying again to have the air of just a normal girl wandering around for lack of something better to do.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Victor had already put some distance, though not enough to not hear when one of the girls raised her voice. "Hey, Vicky? Can you check out a book for me when you're there?"

 

He stopped walking. Now, under other circumstances, Victor would have done the girl the favor. It might have been slightly annoying to be called for in the middle of walking away, but he would have just called back some variation of 'what's the book's name' while walking backwards to not lose time, and would have tried to find it. He did need an excuse to be in the library on a Sunday.

 

He stopped paying attention after that second word though.

 

He turned to glare at the brunette, right eye twitching, and yelled. "DON'T CALL ME THAT!!!" He was three quarters angry and the rest disbelieving that someone would look at him and think of a nickname like that. Did he look like a freaking Vicky!? Seriously, what the hell!? That Kara was lucky she was a girl and already far away or he might have picked a fight.

 

It took most of his self control and the reminder that he was talking to a group of girls to prevent himself from making an obscene gesture. He managed to reel the urge in at the last second and just turned away again, storming off.

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If Alexis' evasiveness didn't pique Morgan's curiosity before, it certainly did now. Just as she did earlier, she was dropping tidbits of information that ended up in leaving more unanswered questions than answers. Who was she meeting with? Why was she meeting with this person? What did Alexis mean when she said her contact wasn't a good person? Just who was she Contracted to? She seemed to know about the conflict going on, but just what side was she on? If she didn't buy the tea, then who did? A roommate? A friend? Morgan shook the questions out of her head as self-disgust slivered into her mind. What right did she have to inquire about such matters? Alexis deserved her privacy and Morgan needed to respect that. Questioning her about matters she did not wish to speak of wouldn't benefit either party. Though still inquisitive, Morgan managed to hold her tongue and refrain from asking anything that strain the relationship between Alexis and the magical girls.

 

Before Morgan could think of a proper response to Alexis' inquiry, Taylor and Victor suddenly had a shout-out. Taylor asked if Victor could grab her a book, using a nickname instead of his first name, and he quickly turned around, barked angrily at her, and then sped off. With each passing second of the exchange, Morgan's face contorted into a look of disappointment. Her teammates' sheer childish actions chagrined her marginally. She was not deeply disillusioned with her companions, but she was still displeased. What was Victor's damage anyhow? Morgan barely caught the fact that Taylor called him Vicky as opposed to Victor. Even if he didn't want to be called Vicky, that didn't excuse his theatrical reaction.

 

It wasn't the first time that day that Morgan observed Victor allowing his emotions to overcome his sense of logic, if he even had any, when making a significant decision. If Beedrill's and Pidove's ravings weren't overly exaggerated then there would be times when select individuals of the group would have to make crucial decisions that could affect others. How the hell was Victor suppose to make an imperative decision if he cared more about trivial matters than what was important. Letting out a small sigh, Morgan anxiously rubbed the nape of her neck, slide her hand down to her collar bones, and the lowered her hand, allowing her arm to limply hang at her side. God, how was this group suppose to function when they were making some extravagant mistake every five minutes? It was the second day and already Morgan was doubting the group's competence. For a matter of fact, she was doubting their ability to get the job down the first day.

Maybe we've just had a rough first few days. Perhaps everything will get better in the following.

Morgan glanced over at her two remaining companions, her blank stare holding no indication of her internal worries. Fate ought to lean in their favor and soon for their own sakes.

 

Seeing as Taylor and Yanique had not spoken to Alexis after Victor ran away, Morgan decided to take lead and initiate a conversation with the strange woman. For a moment, she was unsure what to say. After all, she had to answer Alexis' question without giving away too much information. Although the woman seemed trustworthy, Morgan did not feel as though giving away every little secret she knew would be beneficial for the group in the long run. Letting both of her arms lay comfortably by her sides, Morgan hurried after Alexis, taking care to stay a step or two behind the woman.

"We're looking for a young girl, a teenager actually," Morgan said, doing her best not to be too specific about who the spy was. "I personally didn't get a good enough look at her to formulate a description of her looks although..." Morgan glanced over at Yanique expectantly. "Yanique, you bumped into the girl, right? Do you remember any specific distinguishing features about her?"

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Yanique innocently looked away when Alexis gave her a hard stare. Nope, totally didn't say that there were more of us. She decided to leave the conversation at that, as the group began to head towards the hotel. The teen followed behind Morgan, and Taylor skipped on behind them, calling out to Vic as they parted ways. The young man threw a fit, and why wouldn't he? They've only known each other for less than a day, and it was as obvious as day that he was a time bomb ready to detonate. It seemed like the bird-girl had trouble reading the mood.

 

"Hey, Kara," She whispered to Taylor, "Nicknames are serious business!" If someone didn't want to be called something, then wouldn't it be best to respect their wishes? Maybe Taylor was just oblivious to everything.

 

And what about Morgan? How could she keep her composure? Morgan's face had remained neutral for most of the day, with the most notable exception being that beautiful, beautiful cat. It was hard to know what she was thinking.

 

"I dunno," Yanique answered the question. She closed her eyes in an attempt to remember the spy's face. "She just looked really average, ya know? Like a mild-mannered alter-ego." She placed a finger on her lips. "Little white dress like a cloud, and this tiara that I remember jabbed in my face."

 

She shrugged, looking forward at the two taller girls. "Ring any bells?"

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Alexis nodded thoughtfully at the description of the spy. “White dress? No, I don’t think I’ve seen this person you’re talking about. Hm.” Tap tap tap went the phone. Without stopping, she glanced over her shoulder to address Yanique. “I’ve still got a few things to handle while I’m here, so if I spot someone of that description, I’ll let you know. Any other details? Hair colour, perhaps? Height? Or -”

 

A black-haired girl who had apparently also not been watching where she was going plowed bodily into Alexis. The girl stumbled backward before regaining her balance and immediately shooting a glare up at the taller woman, the effect somewhat lessened by her smudged eyeshadow. “Excuse me!” She demanded. Alexis winced at her volume. “What are you doing just standing here in the middle of the sidewalk? I can’t believe this. I just - ugh!” Making a disgusted noise, she brushed her hair out of her face and stalked off, not stopping to comment on the crowd of teenagers behind Alexis.

 

“...Well.” Alexis began, after a lengthy pause. “That happened. The kid you’re looking for wouldn’t happen to be her, would it?” She chuckled nervously at her own joke and glanced at the retreating figure of the girl again. “In any case, we’re here.”

 

Pleasant Cliff was a perfectly rectangular building painted a uniform off-white, with a set of automatic doors at the entrance and a series of blocky grey letters above that announcing its name to passersby. Motioning with her head for the kids to follow, she stepped through the doors and into the lobby, heading straight to the elevator. Off to the side, a boy with a mop of brown hair sat on a drab brown sofa, nose buried in a shabby paperback book. As the group passed, he looked up and shot Morgan a grin and a wink.

 

-----

 

Kat groaned quietly into her sleeve. Mrs. Fitzgerald swiveled her head 90 degrees to glare at her. Kat shut her mouth with a snap.

 

“Now, come on,” Pearl tapped her pencil against the notebook laying on the table in front of her, somehow effortlessly achieving the legendary Quiet In The Library volume. “You asked me for help, and you got it. You can hardly give up now. There are only two problems left.”

 

“Yeah. With seven parts each.”

 

“Don’t exaggerate. Now, this one is similar to #3, don’t you think?” Inching further into Kat’s space, she began copying the diagram into the note, oblivious to the fact that her student was now staring moodily at the window and the swaying motions of the trees outside.

 

[NPC information has been updated. Sorry for the wait, guys.]

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Taylor winced when Victor shouted at her for the nickname she used. She fidgeted with her fingers, slightly scratching at the back of her left hand. "Sorry...," she mumbled as Yanique began to whisper in her ear. "I won't do it again," she replied, murmuring. She hadn't meant to anger the boy. Honest. Victor just sounded so ridged of a name to her so she tried something more relaxed like Vicky. Or maybe it was just because his attitude was rather icky? Really, it could go both ways and, in the span of a few moments, it kind of did.

 

Shaking her head, Taylor kept to the back of the group, listening as Morgan and Yanique briefly described the spy they were looking for. Then, as Alexis began to reply, asking for more specific details, someone ran into her. Taylor gasped faintly, watching the girl regain part of her composure and start to verbally aggravate the situation. Her eyes widened at the girl, hand covering her mouth. Of all the people to run into today, why did it have to be Amber again?

 

Fortunately, the girl stormed away without further incident. Either she hadn't noticed the three girls with Alexis or was too angry to say anything about it. Whichever it was, Taylor was just glad that Amber left. "Uh... No. That wasn't the girl we're looking for. She's actually someone we want to avoid," Taylor responded nervously, shifting her brown eyes away from Amber's departed figure and onto the strange woman.

 

Looking up at the hotel, Taylor felt a little disappointed. She had vaguely been anticipating something a little more... grand. But this was Hillside Heights, after all. A small town with nothing truly significant about it. And, up until now, she never really had the need to enter the building. At least the interior was a little more exciting than the exterior.

 

"Damn. That'd been unexpected." Startling, Taylor glanced behind her and saw Sasha striding over, the entrance door closing soundlessly in her wake. "At least no further trouble came out of a second run-in with the Gossip."

 

"Where's Samantha?" Taylor glanced behind Sasha, trying to find the other girl as Sasha folded her arms across her chest.

 

"I sent her a message so she's hopefully catching up. I ran ahead to try an interception but, obviously, that didn't work very well since an unexpected bump occurred in the road." The taller girl smirked, indicating a joke.

 

Taylor fidgeted again, glancing at the others. "Well, we're going to have tea with Alexis and she's going to answer some of our questions."

Edited by Narvix

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Well, there he was. Arrived safely. The library was a pretty neutral place too, so no problem there either.

 

Now what the heck was he supposed to do.

 

Victor groaned, massaging his eyes with his index and thumb. Perfect. Just perfect. He had been so focused on getting out of the tea party that he hadn't considered the kind of important fact that he himself had not seen the spy they were looking for, and wouldn't know if it was someone even if they were right in front of him. Unless they transformed or something, but after how the day started he believed he'd be more likely to be struck by lightning.

 

Either way he had been standing in front of the door for almost ten seconds, so he decided to just wing it and entered.

 

The library wasn't exactly a place he frequented; he wasn't the reading type, so his visits were limited to when Alex wanted someone to go with him. Still, he had gone enough times to remember where everything was, so he headed for the second floor. Better start with the part he disliked the most. 'Sides, that way he could get a sandwich from the cafeteria on his way out.

 

He slowed down when reaching the second floor, mindful of the noise his boots were making on each step he took. The day had been bad enough without adding a scolding by Fitzgerald to the list. Drats, he still didn't know what to do there. Quickly checking that no one had those weird capsule things sounded like the most he'd be able to manage, but what was he going to say if someone asked what was he doing? 'Oh, nothing, just looking for signs of Pokémon' would get him labeled crazy in a heartbeat.

 

As he tried to think of something, his eyes fell on the label "Classic Literature" over one of the shelves. Right, there were labels indicating the genre each shelf had, to reduce the time one had to walk around when looking for a specific book.

 

That gave him an idea.

 

More confident than he was feeling when he entered, he headed towards the "Horror" section, near some table where two teens were, and started to look through the paperbacks. He didn't remember the name, but he kinda knew what it was about, so it was just a matter of taking the books out and looking at the back summaries until he found it.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Tailing Amber had been difficult. Walking on the other side of the road to lessen suspicions meant he had her out of sight for a while when she turned a corner, and he had to consciously keep his eyes forward while glancing only occasionally. He honestly didn't know how well he was doing either. Hopefully, avoiding the signs he was cautious about when playing the mental stalkee role would be enough.

 

“Excuse me! What are you doing just standing here in the middle of the sidewalk? I can’t believe this. I just - ugh!”

 

It also helped how that tone was so easy to recognize when looking for it.

 

Sam risked a glance. Whatever he expected to see, it wasn't the rest of the group following an adult woman into the local hotel. His phone vibrated once, as a figure he recognized as Sasha entered after the group. Guess the tailing is off, he thought as he flipped the phone open and skimmed the girl's message. Well, the job was to make sure Amber wasn't following them, so he saw no risk in leaving it be. He closed his phone and pocketed it again, crossing the road.

 

The automatic doors moved aside as he entered the lobby, a curious glance around determining the only guest besides the group was a boy sitting in one of the sofas.

 

The existence of Jay in the near vicinity certainly explained why he couldn't see Vic around. The rest of the group didn't look overly concerned, though, so Sam decided it'd be best to not bring it up so soon.

 

He walked up to the last ones in the group, Sasha and Taylor. "Hi again," he greeted with an easy smile, matching their pace. "Anything we missed?"

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Refraining from sighing, Morgan dolefully shook her head as Yanique described the spy's appearance. There were probably a hundred or some girls in Hillside Heights that wore white dresses. How were they supposed to catch the spy? They couldn't just drag Yanique around town until she pointed the spy out, could they? Glancing up at Alexis, Morgan clicked her tongue thoughtfully as the woman turned to look at Yanique as she began to ask for more details about the spy; however, before she could even finish her sentence, a young girl suddenly slammed straight into Alexis. Morgan halted her approach, blinking at the young girl with muted apathy. It took only a moment for Morgan to recognize the stranger as none other than Amber. The way the black haired girl rudely confronted Alexis, despite the fact that they were both at fault, and the way she spoke unnecessarily loud further confirmed her identity. It appeared as though Morgan wasn't the only one who felt a wave of uncertainty wash over her as Amber suddenly appeared as Taylor let out a soft gasp before covering her mouth in horror. Was Amber going to bother them again? Morgan hadn't confronted her the first time around, but she had heard enough from over the fence to understand the problem Amber presented. If the shorter girl felt the need to harass the magical girls again, then she would have to deal with Morgan.

 

Fortunately for Amber, she decided not to bully magical girls and instead threw a mini tantrum before marching away in an overly dramatic fashion. Morgan briefly watched Amber storm away before tearing her gaze away from the troublemaker. How childish just was this girl? For someone who had acted so high and mighty when trying to blackmail the magical girls earlier, Amber acted more like an undisciplined child than a scheming teenager. Alexis, much to Morgan's relief, passively joked about the encounter before shaking it off and continuing towards the hotel. Morgan nodded as Taylor nervously explained that the girls were trying to avoid Amber.

"She's definitely not who we're looking for," Morgan agreed. "In the event that she miraculously is, we'll probably find her tomorrow morning when we look out of our kitchen windows." Morgan had never really interacted with Amber for an extensive period of time, but, by guessing from how big of gossip she was, it wouldn't be a surprise to Morgan if Amber did her share of stalking. Hopefully, Morgan's assumption was unfounded and not in the slightest bit true for both her, the other magical girl's, and Amber's sake.

 

As the group marched up towards Pleasant Cliff, Sasha and Samantha, both of whom had been following Amber, walked towards the group and quickly rejoined the party. Seeing as the two were more inclined to speak with Taylor and Morgan did not want to intrude on the conversation, Morgan offered the two a quick nod of acknowledgement before looking forward once more. As the girls chatted in the back, Morgan took the time to examine the lobby. The lobby was better maintained than a majority of the other businesses Morgan had been to in Hillside which, honestly, wasn't saying much. There was probably a hundred things that could be changed to make the hotel more appealing but Morgan did not have the creativity, nor energy, to think of them. As she scanned her surroundings, Morgan silently noted Jay who was lounging on a dull brown sofa. He looked up from his book momentarily to give Morgan a lopsided grin and a complimentary wink. The taller girl simply blinked at the boy before averting her gaze. He had made similar gestures to Morgan in the past though she thought nothing of it so why should she now? Glancing at Alexis, Morgan suddenly remembered something the woman had said earlier that brought a question into the girl's mind.

"If you don't mind me asking," Morgan began. "If you live less than a hour away, why bother with getting a hotel room? Wouldn't it just be easier to drive here or catch a bus than to book a room at a semi-busy hotel?" Morgan knew she would prefer to just go through the hour or so drive than deal with the nonsense busy hotels presented. She wasn't entirely sure just how Pleasant Cliff could compare to the activeness of one of the hotels Morgan stayed at, but, if they were in the least bit similar, than surely just driving to town each day would be easier.

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