Interlude: Meanwhile, Elsewhere
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A phone rang.

“Yes.”

“I thought we had an agreement.” The voice was deep and gravely.

“…You shouldn’t be calling me here. This isn’t a secure line.”

“We were to talk to each other, to find the best time to dispose of our pawns. And yet, I lose three of them in a short time.”

“You’re one to talk. One of my own is in a coma. We hadn’t discussed that.”

“Amet was… Over-enthusiastic. But you can hardly blame him, can you? He wanted to avenge Ipsum.”

“Ipsum wasn’t killed by us.”

“He wasn’t…?”

“Defender Red defeated him, true, but he teleported away along with Scarab. And according to my people, his wounds weren’t life-threatening.”

A pause.

“Bizarre. My own people had told me he had been struck down in combat. Why don’t the two stories match up?”

“And, speaking of Amet, which I assume is the one we call Sapphire Beetle. He’s still alive, too; he was captured by us, after being defeated by an unknown Defender.”

“An unknown Defender?”

“Defender Silver. And she was the one who convinced Scarab to leave with her, for parts unknown.”

“How is this possible? Besides us there should be no one with the capability to build morphing devices.”

“No, there is another. Think about it.”

Another pause.

“Winters.” The word was almost growled out.

“Of course.”

“How can it be? I thought we had killed her.”

“Apparently not.”

“There is much I have to think about.”

“I’ll always be here. And remember, we’re in this together.”

“…Of course.”

 

 

A phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Good afternoon sir! I am trying to reach Mrs. Weber, is she in the house?”

“I’m sorry, she’s out. I’m her nephew.”

“Oh, that’s a shame. Would her husband be available?”

“No, I’m sorry, he’s out too. I’m alone here.”

“That’s perfect! It means we can discuss things without being interrupted.”

“…What do you mean?”

The voice shifted tone. “How are you doing, Clyde? Is everything okay at base?”

“What? Who is this?”

“Is my sister getting along with everyone? I hope she is.”

“Your sister? Who is this?”

“Say, does your leg still hurt when it rains? Where I cut you during sparring? It was a nasty wound as I remember, took you out of commission for a while.”

A long, almost deafening moment of silence.

“…Mark?

“The one and only. We have much to discuss, my friend.”

 

Announcement
Thank you for reading! With this interlude, we're done with the fourth arc in this story, and we're starting our descent towards the ending.

I have a bit of bad news, though: I'll be taking a couple weeks off to properly write and edit the final chapters, to ensure they are up snuff. I don't know when this story will resume yet, but it'll likely be early-to-mid April. But after that, no more interruptions: it'll be a straight line to the end.

Thank you for being with me so far, folks, and I hope I'll see you there :)

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