A Moribund Hero
Sister Mary Jons strutted into her lavish glass house, which was connected to the private gardens of Our Lady of Light's high fane pantheon complex.
As she moved through sparsely furnished rooms of polished floorboards, she activated various scenery changes across all the glass walls that doubled in purpose as her data monitors.
Soft downlights cast a clean and mellow sentiment around the sparse room she ended up staying in. She activated a roaring fire in a small hearth that was temperature controlled to emit low heat. Slipped off her shoes to feel the fox fur rug at her feet. Ease off her crown to let her blond hair fly free. Her attention was toward the bamboo credenza and tea cabinet nearby.
She helped herself to some calming tea, then eased into the leather sofa before the fire. Its light drew out the green of her eyes, which reflected her pensive mood.
Her tea cup was placed on the glass side table. She clapped her manicured hands to call up a free-floating, semi-transparent, monitor before her. Her fingers moved around the monitor's space to bring up a city cam view of La Capilla. Every glass wall of the room was a panoramic view of the modest chapel and its dwellings. Naturally, it was the heart of night at that place. A few dimly lit wall sconces revealed the chapel's entrance.
Two biodefects demonstrated expert warrior skills in Squad42. This was unheard of and concerning. To date, all the biodefects within HiRock were semi-vegetated and non-magical. Any who exhibited magic were incinerated by the People Army.
"Two mentally functioning biodefects." She frowned as she swapped the view on one glass window to dossier profiles of Rabbit and Leon. Their mugshots were shown among basic information from the cadet data Avril had collected from them.
"Hmm, Rabbit, a.k.a. 256970CCD0 of Silicon Valley's House," she said and continued to read the girl's profile.
Rabbit was a Black Knight Cadet who underwent training to be an assassin. Sister Mary Jons was surprised that a no-name was granted elite training straight off the bat. She read on.
The girl failed the limb replacement process like Leon. Although, her femur and tibia were replaced with the regimented titanium bones and partially tuned. So, her highest shelf rank stopped at 1009 of 7098 shelves at her House. Like all knight cadets, she trained in stealth, short blades, and analytics. Her assassin training added the skills of field poisons and antidotes, healing, and telepathy magic.
"I guess that explains why she has that type's hair and eyes. The girl would've succeeded in her elite status if her operation was successful, no doubt." Her eyes narrowed and glanced over Leon's data.
It was less impressive. The man was common fodder, albeit on a higher status than the average cadet, with his highest rank placing him in the top 31 percent of his House. He trained in guns, hand combat, analytics, and swordsmanship. The only magical ability he was capable of was low-range fire magic. It wasn't powerful, since his magic cell count was low.
His data made her frown deepen. From her experience with biodefects, Leon was the first low-to-average failure with his own free will. Indeed, he was the most human out of all of them, with natural limb bones intact. Aside from his cataract blue eyes and cadet barcode, his skin held no meshing (melded metal with skin) that was common on biodefects at his age.
“Almost like a ken doll.” She scoffed as she appreciated his handsome features. “I wonder if some important sadist released him to toy with him later.”
Her eyes peered closer at his listed ailments.
"Hypoxemia, interesting." Her frown eased, taking comfort in the fact that the man was destined to die either way.
According to Butcher and Avril’s reports, he had used up all his magic reserves to save that Lucy girl. A biodefect with no magic whatsoever. Certainly, he was less of a threat than his counterpart. Making him insignificant in her eyes.
"I'll need to have the squad keep a closer eye on the Rabbit."
An incoming call on her free-floating monitor disrupted her attention. She hastily reset her star crown on her head and fixed up her hair. Then went to accept the call and faced her superior.
"Mother Alvery Leonis, may the goddess grace your steps." She bowed to the older woman on the screen with her respect, keeping her annoyance in check.
The older woman's wrinkly face showed more wrinkles with her austere frown at the younger girl. Similar to Sister Mary Jons, she wore the silver star crown that twinkled with sapphire grains. It held back her gray hair to show more of her lean and hardened features. Sister Mary Jons felt the heat from the crone's steel-gray eyes upon her bowed head.
"Our Divine Mother Supreme has new orders for you."
Sister Mary Jons blinked with surprise and slowly raised her head with confidence before the woman upon hearing her orders.
"Do not fail them. Also, you still carry the amulet our illustrious Divine Mother Supreme gifted you."
"Of course, it has been my greatest honor!" Sister Mary Jons feigned modesty. "I still feel unworthy of her blessing."
This show of humbleness seemed to appease the Mother's frown upon the girl. She prompted her to reveal her amulet.
Sister Mary Jons pulled out her version of the Amulet of Gaia from beneath her collar. Mother Alvery Leonis nodded with approval. The charm still carried the purity of fiery-ruby colors, representing Eleutheria's passion and will.
"Good. Continue to monitor Squad42's activities and those biodefects in their ranks."
"So, we're not to incinerate those refuge criminals?"
Mother Alvery Leonis's glare made Sister Mary Jons gulp down a nervous knot in her throat. Beads of sweat trickled down the sides of her neck.
"All in good time. They are not an imminent threat. War is on our doorstep. The empire presses our borders every hour of the day. We must be ready to counter their invasion. For now, assign them and Squad42 to that mission." Mother Alvery Leonis's eyes twitched with a sadist glint. "And have Squad43 babysit them."
The call ended.
Sister Mary Jons sighed with relief. She killed the monitor, turning all the glass walls back to their default images of a relaxing rainforest; tossed aside her star crown, and relaxed onto the sofa.
Her mind was churning with the good mother's last words about war. She couldn't stop feeling that once the triggers for war were tripped, control around HiRock would crumble. So, Mother Alvery Leonis's orders and concerns for pending war were valid.
"On this, we agree."
She closed her eyes and relaxed further into the sofa.