Jota tapped his fingers against the table, a slightly irritated look on his face. He was currently in one of the bases board rooms, where executives would gather to discuss numerous topics, mostly relating to Project Muse. The table was oval shaped and a dark blue, with eight chairs, including the one Jota was in, surrounding it. Aside from that, the rest of the room (which was a darker blue) held nothing.
Jota pulled back his sleeve and glanced at his watch.
Two minutes to one.
"They're really cutting it tight..." the young officer muttered under his breath as he resumed his tapping. For about a minute, nothing happened. Then, a quiet knock sounded from the door, followed by a quiet, hesitant voice.
Jota sighed in relief. "Yes. Come in Elise." He said. Slowly, the door opened, and Elise quickly stepped in, dressed in her uniform. "S-Sorry I'm late!" She apologized, bowing and screwing up her eyes. "Ehh... Don't worry! You're actually a little bit early!" Jota reassured, a forced smile on his face. "Oh! I-I see..." Elise stammered, straightening up and taking a seat, her face red.
"Do you know where the others are?" Jota asked. "Uhh... I saw Zonda on the way here! I-I think..." Elise answered. Jota groaned slightly. "Honestly, some of them don't even act like office-"
"OI! OUT THE WAY RUNT!"
"Ahhh!" Elise screamed as she jumped her seat. Jota just rubbed his forehead. "There they are..." he muttered. A few seconds later, the door was flung open, and Viper stormed in, cursing under his breath. "Care to explain yourself Viper?" Jota asked, rising an eyebrow. "Some guy got in my way! So I got rid of 'em!" The redhead replied, stomping over to the seat next to Elise, who whimpered and edged away slightly.
"Oh Viper! You're scaring lovely Elise!" Zonda declared, strutting in with a flirtatious smirk. "Come on! Show her some love for goodness sake!" The flamboyant adept said, taking the seat between Jota and Elise, rubbing the latter's head. Elise just sank deeper into her chair, blushing deeply.
"Tch... thank you for joining us Zonda..." Jota sighed. "It's my pleasure..." the illusionist said, who was now caressing Elise's cheeks. "Hmm... I never realized what soft, pale skin you have..." Zonda continued, eyes clouded with lust as Elise became more and more flustered. "Ahhh.. ahh... p-please... Yo-You don't have to..."
"This gathering best be worth the time it wastes!" Carrera said as he marched into the room. "I was scheduled for a round of combat within mine training room!" The avarice huffed, walking across the room and taking a seat. "What I wouldn't give for a coffee right now..." Jota muttered.
"Coffee... hehehe..." a low, sinister voice hissed. Then, Stratos slithered through the door, an twisted grin on his face as he peered around with wide, buggy eyes. "Coffee goes well with sugar... Do you have any sugar, hmm?" He asked. "Just take your seat..." Jota sighed. The Gluttonous Fly gave a quick, jittery nod, and crept over to the seat next to Carrera.
"Alright. Now that we're all here..." Jota began, standing up. "Ain't Merak supposed to be here as well?" Viper asked. Jota's eye twitched slightly. "I suppose he is..." he said through clenched teeth as he sat down. For about ten minutes, the six sat in silence. Carrera stared at his nails, Stratos just sat there twitching, Viper kicked his feet up and seemed to be trying to sleep, Zonda carried on molesting Elise, and Jota tapped his fingers, growing more and more irritated.
At last, the door swung open, and there stood Merak, his hair and uniform scruffy. "Ahhh... did you really have to schedule this during my lunch break?" he yawned, slowly walking over to the empty seat next to Stratos. "You were due over ten minutes ago. Lunch started THREE minutes ago," Jota said. "Huh? Whatever..." Merak replied, slouching in his seat.
Jota took a deep breath, and straightened his back. "Now then. I'm sure you're all wondering why I summoned you here," Jota began. "If thou seeks help cleaning thee's vast collection of swords, count me out," Carrera said. "No no! Nothing to do me!" Jota said. "This concerns Lord Nova."
"Ehh? What's up with the boss?" Viper asked. Jota sighed sadly. "I'm... not sure. Perhaps the pressure of Project Muse is getting to him, but... recently he seems more... distant," the young man said, his gaze becoming slightly downcast.
"I... I think I know what you're talking about," Elise said. Instantly, everyone in the room faced her. Elise blushed at the attention, but carried on. "He used to be really calm, but but now he looks a bit more... frustrated..." Elise explained. "When he isn't being angry, he's always just staring off into space..."
"I've noticed something similar," Zonda agreed, with a surprisingly thoughtful expression. "I called him to give him my report a few weeks ago, and he mentioned that the top brass are really putting pressure on him." Jota nodded. "He told me the same as well. It would also appear he's a bit more edgy."
"Heh? What's that supposed to mean?" Viper inquired, raising an eyebrow. "A few weeks ago, he asked me to confirm I'd kept a secret of the up most importance," Jota explained. "Oh really?" Viper said. "Care to explain?" Jota kissed his teeth. "Like I can do that! Besides, you already know!" He huffed. "Ehh? The heck you on about?" Viper said, frowning.
"You know... when we first met..." Jota said, getting slightly nervous. Viper stared at him blankly for a few seconds, before it finally clicked in his head. "Ohhhhhhh... You mean that fight me and him had!" He said, snapping his fingers in realization. "Hmm? You saw our commander use his fabled three glaives?" Carrera asked. "Yes yes! It was quite impressive!" Jota said, beginning to sweat. "Now, back to the to-"
"What the heck are you talking about?! Nova didn't use any glaives!" Viper replied. "Hmmm, did he fight with his bare hands then?" Zonda asked. "Nahh! The guy used his septima!" The redhead said. "Ehhh... but I thought you said he didn't use any..." Stratos began, before trailing off. The five adepts sat there thinking, Viper looking at them confused, and Jota tugging on his collar.
"Can... Nova use his septima... without a glaive?" Elise asked. "Yeah. Didn't he tell you guys that?" Viper said. It was only when the five shook their heads that Viper seemed to realize everything he'd said in the last minute. Slowly he turned towards Jota, who buried his face in his palms. "Heh... uhh... sorry man..." Viper apologized, a slightly nervous grin on his face as Jota removed his palms, giving a glare that would send shivers down a God's back.
"The boss can use his septima without a glaive? Big deal," Merak muttered. He was the only one of the five who was not completely shocked. "I can use my wormholes without my glaive." Jota sighed in annoyance, before turning towards Merak. "You may be able to, but it places a tremendous amount of stress on your body. Nova is able to use his base septima without any of these negative side effects." Despite this explanation, Merak still seemed unimpressed.
"Such power our commander must possess..." Carrera said, a grin spreading across his face. "Imagine if such an ability rested within thy grasp..." he whispered to himself, clenching his fists. "N-Now Carrera! We must return to the topic at hand!" Jota demanded, his face flushed. "Now, I have thought of some ways we can ease the pressure placed on Lord-"
"Could you imagine if I could use my septima without a glaive!" Zonda said, donning a sly smirk. "I-I guess it would be a little cool..." Elise hesitantly agreed, giving a nervous grin. "The power to consume without a glaive... hehehe... Stratos would feel the pain... no more..." Stratos whispered, an insane gleam in his eyes. Merak shrugged. "I guess not having to worry about any physical problems would be pretty neat..." he muttered.
"Jota! Nova wouldn't be willing to... teach us his secret... would he?" Zonda asked, eyes narrowed whilst giving a sinister grin. "O-Out of the question!" Jota yelled. "Such a practice is against regulations! We could face dire consequences for even considering this!" Zonda just laughed. "The boss is a smart guy! He wouldn't get caught! Even if he did he could talk his way out!" The adept said. "The possibility of such ability... I cannot wait any longer!" Carrera declared as he rose from his seat and dashed out the door. "Wait for me!" Zonda said, following suit and running out the room, swiftly followed by Viper and Stratos. Elise remained where she was for a few seconds, before screwing her eyes shut, and, with a quick apology, ran out the room. Merak stayed in his seat, before letting out a loud groan, getting to his feet, and shuffling out the door.
Jota remained standing, staring straight ahead, his eyes twitching. Finally, he took a long, deep breath, and spoke in a shaky voice. "Forgive me for only adding to your stress Lord Nova..." he said, before baring his teeth and dashing out the door.
"Hmph. So we can cross that area of our list," Nova said. The young lieutenant was in his quarters at his desk with his phone pressed against his ear, an officer on the other end giving a report. Again, the search squad had failed to find the muse, or any clue as to its whereabouts.
"Well, at least this is narrowing down our options..." Nova muttered, rubbing his eyes. He hadn't gotten any sleep last night. With his monthly report coming up in several days, he'd been working tirelessly, sometimes going days without rest. "Yes. I'll have decided the next region to investigate by tomorrow. That is all." Nova ended the conversation and used his psychokinesis to place the phone on his bedside table. Letting out a sigh, he leaned back in his chair, eyes closed.
How long has it been since I've gotten a good night's sleep...
This certainly isn't doing any favours for my health... mentally and physically...
Once I've given in my report... maybe then I can finally slack off a little...
"Ehh?" Nova said, tilting his head back so he could see the door. "Who is it?" He asked. "Lord Nova! We request a favour of utmost importance!" A familiar voice yelled from the other side of the door. "Hmm? Carrera...?" Nova whispered to himself as he got up from his chair and walked over to the door. Opening it, he was surprised to find not only Carrera, but Zonda, Stratos, Viper, Elise, and Merak, all standing eagerly in front of him, except for Merak, who seemed bored out of his mind, and Elise, who seemed incredibly embarrassed by the situation.
"W-What are you all doing here?" Nova asked. "Well, a certain Viper may have told of a certain ability a certain lieutenant has..." Zonda said. "Is that so?" Nova said, glancing suspiciously at Viper, who coughed awkwardly. "I'm shocked you didn't tell us boss!" Zonda continued. "I mean really. The power to-!"
"STOP!" Jota cried as he dashed down the corridor to the crowd of adepts. "Lord Nova! I tried to stop them but they wouldn't listen to me!" He hurriedly explained as he skidded to a halt in front of his commander. "Ehh? What are you all talking about?" Nova questioned. For a few seconds, nobody said anything. Then, Jota let out a sigh of relief.
Thank goodness... nobody seems to have told hi-
"You can use your septima without your glaives can't you?!"
Jota froze, then slowly turned towards Stratos, the level of fury on his face rivaling Viper's title of "The Burning Wrath". Stratos looked up at him, his tongue hanging out his mouth like some kind of deranged dog, and tilted his head in confusion. "Hmm? Did Stratos do something wrong?" He asked. Kissing his teeth, Jota turned back to Nova. "Sir, if you would allow me to-!"
"Ahhh!" Elise jumped and instinctively wrapped her arms around Zonda at the sudden loud noise. Jota stared in shock at the closed door. The seven stood in the hallway in stunned silence. None of them had seen Nova lose his cool before. Then, everyone turned and glared sharply at Stratos, who shivered under the intensity of their glares.
"What did Stratos do?!" The crazed man screamed as he fled down the corridor.