“Nice job! Now can you help me slicing the mushrooms?” Reisig asked Marnie, reaching her out a bowl of rinsed Shiitakes.
They were almost cooking for half an hour and were nearly to finish. The little girl stood on an ebony stool and took the bowl. Handling them one by one, she meticulously sliced them with an apprehensive smile. Preparing a dish was clearly not in her habits, but she carefully followed the oldster's instructions. Presently bathed, he preheated the oven.
“Being able to turn into a shadow is quite useful.” Ling commented, busy on cleaning her guns, well-off on the sofa. “You can be our sentinel, as a complement to our security system.”
“She would be the perfect one for that job!” the elder Player added with an overwhelmingly enthusiasm.
The little girl shyly glanced at them. She was in the Player's lure for less than an hour and yet was already assigned a mission. Did she seem to be that reliable? Though it unsettled her, she didn't dare to say a single word. The reason was straightforward. Contrary to Reisig, as soon as Ling appeared leaving the bathroom, she felt ill-at-ease. Each time she turned her back to that woman, she had the feeling that a needle pushed into her spine. Maybe Ling disliked kids, strangers, or was that something even more alarming?
The fair-haired girl twitched, widening her eyes.
“Marnie? Have you finished with the Shiitakes?” Reisig asked, staring at her with a questioning look.
“Oh… Oh yes!”
Back to her spirits, she sliced the latest Shiitake and gave him the bowl.
“Good job kiddy!”
Holding in his other hand another bowl filled with grated gruyere, cheddar and mozzarella, Reisig was humming while pouring it randomly and more than generously on the pizza dough already embellished with tomato sauce and chicken pieces.
“What do you think of the mayor, Marnie?” Ling asked, looking up at her.
“Not much, I don't really know her. Why?” the young girl replied with a little voice.
The vice-leader slightly rose an eyebrow, still gazing at her while softly rubbing a rag on Yang.
“I see. Woodle should not have the time to deal it with you. Then, I will. Lucy Merlish is one of our main enemy, together with the police. It isn't only a problem of that she is the one ruling the city. She's way too perfect. This woman conveys the image of righteousness and stability. She even has the most suitable husband, since he is a policeman… This is exactly what we have to dismantle in order to set a new game.”
As she kept on explaining the situation to the young girl, another woman made her entrance in the living room, yawning savagely. She had short cinnamon-brown hair and wore a beige dress adjusting perfectly to her generous curves.
“More of that, it will be a sheer pleasure to us as she's not as bright as she pretends to. Each of us has a reason to hate the mayor or her relatives. Or even… To take revenge on her. Don't we, Mekko?” Ling asked, taking a glance at the freshly awoken lady.
Though she was still drowsy, the change in her expression was immediate. Mekko stopped yawning and stared at Ling with two absolutely cold looking half cyan half purple eyes, albeit this rudeness wasn't against her.
“This plaster saint… I swear the whole Asperia will soon now who she truly is...”
Meanwhile, Reisig placed the pizza into the oven, setting the timer. Ling had a wicked laugh whilst Mekko spotted the young girl listening them quietly.
“Wait, who are you?”
“Ahhh it thrills me, it thrills me so much! I can't wait till the Great Founder's Day!” Ling added with an unconcealed euphoria.
Voices chattering with enthusiasm. Festive music diffused in the streets crowded with people of all ages, even the air was quivering with good vibes. Hundreds of people were gathering on the central square of Asperia. Mobelius's Square, thus named in tribute to Norbert Mobelius the founder of the city. His statue of white marble strewn with neat black arabesques dominated the whole place. The end of his sleeves, the edges of his coat were covered with gildings whilst he cast an everlasting and benevolent gaze on Asperian people from the top of his fluffy moustache.
Some children were running around the fountain in which centre rose the revered statue.
“The speech should soon begin.” “I can't wait till see her gorgeous husband.” “Look! That's the mayor's car!”
Echoes of conversations were buzzing all around. This effervescence only increased when the mayor was caught sight of, heading to the platform. Huge holo-screens spread along the city upon the buildings interrupted advertisements transmission to display a high-quality image of the platform so that anyone could follow Merlish's appearance. Some people took out their phones and switched on a holographic retransmission of the scene above their screen.
As the night fell step by step, so did the luminosity emphasizing that way the stage and Mobelius's statue thanks to floodlights. Glaring at the scene, seven individuals were gathered at the top of a nearby building, the wind blowing pleasingly. Almost a month had gone, and the party was about to begin.
“Is the program running without snag?” Ling asked, wearing a grey mask half-covered with multiple diamond shapes, carved with a weird smile.
“Don't worry. The system will be fully infiltrated in less than five minutes.” Woodle answered, checking the process on his connected watch before standing up.
A tall lady stepped forward on the platform. She had long blond wavy hair reaching her lower back, big sparkling blue eyes and a sweet lovely face.
“I am greeting you, citizens of Asperia.” a consistent voice enunciated, amplified by the speakers.
Putting aside her onyx coloured shoes, the mayor was wholly white dressed, in pants and jacket pinned with her mayor's badge. A man silently stood a few steps behind her, holding his hands in his back. A slender silhouette, rectangular glasses at the top of his elegant nose, rather short and shaggy jet-black hair. This was Merlish's spouse, Kiseki Idonosoko. This twenty-six years old man displayed a steadfast expression, dressed to the nines in his grey suit.
“To begin with, I thank all of you for your presence. It's genuinely important for me to share with Asperian people this unforgettable day, for the 9th consecutive year. We are all together, little ones and grown-ups, to pay homage to Norbert Mobelius, the great founder of our dear city. 187 years back in time, he was the first may-”
Though she didn't manage to end her sentence. All the screens suddenly began to sizzle, the image to blur, the rumour to spread. The transmission had been restored although…. It was no longer the mayor that the citizens could see but a group of seven persons on the roofs.
“Good evening, Mrs Merlish. What a pleasure indeed to join you on that day!” the hacker said, with a calm face, yet excited gaze.