The next day.
“What a mess we found ourselves in!” Said Loki.
“Yes… to think such a thing was right under our feet.” Said Artemis. “Do you have an idea how deep it goes?” She looked at Cirrus.
“It at least goes down to the 18th floor.” Said Cirrus. “7 years ago they used it to get past the barrier. That allowed Alfia to confront us and how those spirits got away.”
“So the possible lowest it has gone is the 18th floor at least.” Said Finn. “That is still a lot of ground considering the Knossos has so much danger in them with Orichalcum Doors, Demi, and Corrupted Spirits along with Evilus remnants with a changing man-made labyrinth.”
“So many dangers… our luck would be better off if we have one of those keys.” Said Riveria.
“You said the key was an orb with a D on it, right?” asked Cirrus.
“Yea.” said Ai. “Valletta, who I’m sure is still alive, held it up and several doors opened up.”
“Then I already have one.”
The room looked at Cirrus.
“When did you get one?” asked Finn.
“On the 18th floor, remember when Lefiya and Bell were found? Well, some rats caught my eye, and having interrogated them for a bit with some help, Revis and that masked fellow along with Thetis killed them leaving nothing to be learned nothing about their identity or bodies except for an orb with a D on it.”
“Then we can go back and—"
“No.” Cirrus interrupted Loki. “We won’t be going back until we have trained our Familia member and now that we know of how dangerous the Knossos is, we have to prepare. If we had gone in with the original plan, we would have lost some people to crush them. We need to take our time, me and Ais destroyed a good chunk of the Knossos anyway, so it will be awhile before they can move.”
“How much do you think you destroyed?” asked Gareth.
“… About 2 floors, more or less. The Knossos is a lot more sturdier than I had expected.”
“Then, for the next raid, we shall prepare.” Said Finn. “We’ll keep watch on their entrances and investigate the Ishtar Familia.”
“… I actually have some information to report on for them.” Said Ai.
“Oh?” they all said.
“That’s a surprise. I didn’t think you knew something so convenient?”
“It’s not convenient when you had already been investigating it, Finn. Since Melen, I found some old friends of mine unwilling involved. So once I finished my cleanup in Melen, I began to investigate the Ishtar Familia. First, I explored the district they controlled, which was pretty much all the brothels of bought slaves and the like. I combed the streets, learning the routes and alleys until now. I had thought it had a bit odd design, but knowing the Knossos, it all clicked.”
Ai took out her maps of the Entertainment District and marked the most unusual parts, with there being several.
“This is… how long has she been in cahoots with them?” Loki said, examining the detailed map.
“I plan ongoing back and rechecking this. That’s about all I can do. Any actual investigation into them leads nowhere, whereas they are all charmed by Ishtar, so… there that.”
“Damn… we have a lead to follow and it ended at a wall.” Said Riveria.
“Ai, keep looking into it,” said Cirrus. “Even if we're at a wall, we can still find ways to get around it. It’s only a matter of time before we find it.”
They all nod their heads.
“Then it seems this meeting is over then.” Said Artemis.
“Wait.” Said Loki. “I have something that’s been on my mind for a while now.”
“And that is?” Artemis said, glancing at Loki.
“Cirrus, how did Ouranos give you a quest to save my kids? And at such convenience as well. Not that I’m mad about that but…” her eyes opened up and he could feel a sharp glare looking for a point at attack.
Cirrus didn’t like the look he was getting. He narrowed his eyes and returned the glare.
“… Are you implying that the Guild had a hand in the Knossos?” Cirrus said, walking up to her and staring into her red eyes. “If so, you have taken your title of Trickers of Heaven far too seriously. Any fucking fool would know The Guild and by extension, Ouranos would not risk a danger as a second dungeon upon the world when he’s forever upon his solemn throne keeping the lid on the Dungeon.”
“So you have met him to know what he sits on… How do we know we can trust you?”
The tension in the room grew tense.
“I don’t know who fucked with your head so much as to see the Guild as a possible threat, but let me tell you this.” Cirrus leaned in close to her. “One, you are walking on some thin fucking ice, and two, gods like you who think they are ever so clever and only see the big picture are always the gods so easy to read and manipulate.” He leaned back just a bit. “Always the trickster and never the fool, right? Well, Loki, you are a fool who thinks they are the only trickster in Orario; do you know how one would go about getting to trick you?”
“… Go on.” She said, now focused on his eyes and words.
“Your children, one would simply threaten to kill or take them to really get something out of you.”
He could see her glare flicker with anger, more than enough of her to focus on him for what he planned to do.
“I like to think I’m more calm-headed than that.” She said, making a small smile.
“Is that so?” Cirrus then leans back more, and he opens his hands, dropping her hair tied to the table.
“!?” Loki flinched when she saw it.
‘When did he get my hair tie!!’
The Loki Familia could see their goddess's pride getting stained.
“You know I learned to steal from Hermes, he is also known as a God of Thieves, so his technique was hard to learn, but something new learned is always good. Just had to bribe him with liquor and a good time with some cabarets back in Yamato for him to really teach me his moves.” He walked to the door. “If I were you, I would personally not take anything Dionysus says as helpful.”
He could see her slightly flinch a bit.
“You know he is also a god of insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity, and theatre, right? His title as the god of wine helps him as much as Freya’s title as the goddess of beauty. No one ever looks to find she is the goddess of death and war. So no one suspects a mere winemaker or goddess of beauty to be so cunning. We’re leaving, our business here is done for now.”
“Goodbye Loki.” Said Artemis with a smile.
“Bye Riveria, Gareth, Finn!” said Ai waving goodbye.
As they leave Loki was shaking in anger.
“Loki are you—"
“I’m fine Finn.” She said, getting her tie and making a ponytail again. “I’m just mad. I missed something so crucial in not suspecting Dionysus as well.”
“He fucking baited me…” she said, gripping the handles of her seat tightly. “He spewed some damn sob story about his children dying and I lapped it up. A god of insanity… no wonder it’s so hard to read him… he even made me think he was trustworthy.” She then gritted her teeth. “And no god can be trusted…, especially the smart ones.”
“Then… should we investigate the Dionysus Familia?” asked Riveria. “It will be rather awkward with Lefiya and Filvis.”
“… No, just monitor them for now and make sure to not slip anything too valuable to Lefiya. I don’t want her to spill the beans on them to get tipped off.”
Dionysus Familia home.
“So, how was the raid? Filvis,” said Dionysus, a beautiful god with golden hair and emerald eyes.
“It went… well. But it seems the Flashing Saint really did level up.”
“… so now Orario has another level 7…” he looks out the window and drinks his wine. “… Hm. anything else?”
“The Uncrowned Emperor has a Spirit of his own, possibly two, but the one I saw was powerful, very, very powerful.”
“… Then it would be best not to get in his line of sight.”
Walking back home.
“… It was Aisha, wasn’t it?” Cirrus said.
“How bad is it?”
“She was charmed into submission, breaking her enough to serve as the big sister for a majority of the Familia and in turn taking up the job as Vice-Captain while the actual vice-captain is used as Ishtar’s toy while that Toad just sits around and ruins men who go near the Familia home.”
“We’ll begin making plans.” She said. “If she’s involved and her territory is housing the Knossos entrances, then we will have to deal with them, eventually.”