Chapter 30:

Nightmares and Routine


Amy jumped away from her pad, waking up from what was her first dream in a good while, and a nightmare nonetheless. Even if it was a terrible enough nightmare to make her unable to breathe or even think, it at least showed that she still had this skill.

It was pretty bad still. In fact, if it wasn’t for the angry soothing voice calling from outside the room, she would've ended up stuck there for who knows how long.

“AMY!!! Stop dilly-dallying and wake up!”

The call almost made the pink mass of frilly dress charge through her machines and everything else, but her head started to work before she did it. So instead, the idol slapped her cheeks and got up, leaving the small room below her bed and skipping her way towards the door.

And now, her usual beaming smile was back on her face as it should.

“Sorry for the lateness.” She swung the door open and smiled at the ex-cop waiting there. “And good morning, Lily!”

Amy then jumped to hug her purple-colored partner, but Lily dodged the straightforward attack and chopped the head of the overenthusiastic idol. A fair reaction considering that she wasn’t here for a social meeting.

“Stop causing trouble and let’s go. Hazel’s calling.”

“That is irrelevant.”

“That’s what?!”

“Irrelevant!” Amy doubled down on her point, causing even more confusion to her friend, even if only until it became something closer to exasperation. “What matters is… How was your date? Are you progressing well? When will I be your maid of honor?”

The question’s target stood still in silence, only glaring at the beaming pink girl in a silent show of displeasure that would never hit her. And then, after giving up on trying to crack the hardest of all blockheads, she turned around to return to the pub.

“I’ll be ignoring you now… Shut up and follow already.”

“B-but… the gossip…”

“After whatever Hazel’s calling, then maybe. Now, try to be serious for a while.”

“But I’m always serious, you know?!” The short idol complained with a pout, even if there wasn’t a glimpse of anything real behind said pout. “And you should start calling Hazel ‘Boss’ already. Or maybe ‘Manager’, that one is popular too.”

“That’s not happening and you know that." Lily spoke over her shoulder, moving through the workshop’s exit right after. She was getting more and more used to this place as time went by, which was enough to brighten some person’s mood.

So said the brighter mood person smiled and followed behind her partner back to the usual place.

Both the vintage-looking pub and its owner were exactly as they always were, even if the place was a little more famous by now.

The El Democrat was already popular before, so it was somewhat hard to know if the constant growth had something to do with Amy though. Her only real contribution was a certain signed picture framed on one of the walls.

A singular picture showing the self-proclaimed legendary idol at her first big-scale concert from a few months ago.

“Took your time today, little miss.” Boss greeted the arriving girl while setting some bottles on the racks behind the counter. “Should I get you some alarms? The industrial kind maybe.”

“This time was but an unlucky indiscretion, boss! It is unlikely that this much will be repeated in the foreseeable future, you know?” Amy answered in her usual antics as she took a seat on the counter and started to spin the bench. “Now, shall we hear what is the new job?”

“Energetic today, aren’t you? Is all that due to the extra sleeping hours?”

“No, no. It is for a much simpler reason… I am very much in need of an advertisement mission. Those forty-three events will not sell by themselves, you know? Although some did...”

“FORTY-WHAT?!!!” The ex-cop jumped in reaction to the pink girl’s words, forcing her to stop in place before glaring her soul out. “When you set these up?!”

“I had to prepare a year of events, you know? Imagine losing our momentum after a couple of concerts.” The duo’s self-proclaimed leader started to recount the records of her spending spree, showing a holographic calendar to Lily in the meantime. “I also prepared a virtual world for fans and a huge collection of merchandise, although the first batch is still to arrive.”

“You’re insane… What in the heavens is a ‘handshake meeting’ even?! Who would buy tickets for something of…”

“It sold out in exactly thirty-one seconds.”

“I… I don’t understand people anymore… Wait! I’ll have to be in all those too?!”

“But of course! You are an integral part of my beautiful, perfect, wondrous, magical, incredible, beautiful, and… and… and I forgot what I was trying to say. But you are important to make it work, I am sure of that!”

“It’s impressive how easily you kill your own reliability, Amy… It’s almost like a custom-made skill even.” Lily conceded in a deadpan tone and a blanked-out stare. “I better remember these dates then… Making more of a fool out of myself would be way too much right now. My surname is already on the mud as is…”

“Since you are currently ‘Lily’ instead of Lilianna Norcraff, why not get a new surname too? It is not as if you had to bother with that old company anyway.”

“I don’t think that’s how…”

“Aham!” Hazel loudly cleared his throat in annoyance at the endless tangent on which Amy was taking the conversation. “Could we go back to the assignment, ladies? I do comprehend you’re having fun, but there’s still a job to do.”

“Aw… Sorry about that, Hazel.” A blushing Lily apologized while scratching her head. “I lost focus here…”

“Glad you understand.” The dark-skinned man nodded to his more reasonable freelances, but then glared at the other girl after that. “But you! You were never the most focused person, but it’s getting worse later, little lady. Is it all because you got a co-worker?”

“Well… It is the hype, you know? I have dreamed of this for a little too long to not be affected, even if not only in positive manners…”

“Oh? So you’re shifting the blame to me now? Maybe it’ll be better if I start looking at solo caree…”

“NO!!!” Amy shouted as she almost jumped from her little bench, taking everyone by surprise, including herself. “I… I mean… Going solo would ruin the very big and important plans that I have for us. And it would be a contract breech too.”

“What contract?!”

“Anyway… Could you brief us now, boss?”

The pink idol then kept pretending to not hear the worries of her friend that didn’t seem to remember a contract while ignoring how Hazel was eyeing her.

Even though she knew that she was weirder than usual today, there was little Amy could do. That stupid dream had messed up the already fragile state of her head, so the only thing she could do was wait until it calmed down. And letting anyone question her on this matter wouldn’t be of any help to it.

She was lucky that, although it was obvious that the pub owner wasn’t falling for her diversion, he didn’t care enough to dig into it. And also that the off-duty Lily was much less capable, albeit happier and less stressed, than during her cop days.

Outside pressure was an efficient and dangerous factor for sure.

“As I was trying to say, this one came from very high up, and I agree with how dangerous it was rated, so don’t even think of messing up.” Boss spoke in a serious tone, trying to ascertain that both of his agents would understand. Only then did he open the cashier and pressed the console on it. “You two should receive the briefings any moment… Now.”

When it was only Amy here, the briefings would be sent directly, but since Lily wasn’t as augmented, now it took a few seconds for any message to arrive. It had to be encrypted and forwarded a lot more now that one of the receivers couldn’t assure security.

It was more work for Amy, having to decrypt every message and then copy them to keep in the archives, but that was fine. The purple-haired woman wouldn’t let her companion deal with all the briefings too, so it was also the only option too.

“Oho?! Now that is an interesting job…” Amy exclaimed at the same time that she started to cross the information she had received with what more she had. “And to think it would be connected with our little vacation from a while ago too.”

It was a very unexpected job, even more when considering that Amy always read all information she stole. Seeing something that was based on data she should know was unexpected, but what mattered was the inside of said data.

Though Lily was still to even manage to start reading the whole thing.

“Hey! Wait a little, Amy. I’m still reading here…”

“Do not worry, my partner, you will have all the time to read while we travel… I even called my Amymobile already!” She ignored the woman in purple with renewed energy and then started to pull her toward the door. “We shall be visiting the underground now.”

“We what?!”

“Try to remove the least possible, little lady. I don’t want another mess like the one with the brainwashing devices…”

“Do not worry, boss…” The smiling idol kept moving forward with her best, and possibly only, friend in tow, trying to wave her boss’ worries away. Even if her suddenly serious tone had somewhat of the opposite effect on Hazel. “No danger shall ever leave that place.”

And then, swinging open the El Democrat’s door and heading to the balcony, Amy and Lily came in front of the small personal shuttle one of them had acquired. A pink glowing monstrosity of a flying device that made it very obvious who owned it.

“Ready for it, Lily?”

“Sigh… Does it matter?” Lilianna sighed as she was pushed inside the glittering shuttle, turning to the pink girl with a smile as she too boarded the Amymobile. “And even if it did, when I ever wasn’t?”

Both girls shared a smile as they boarded, caring very little about the potential danger of their assignment. For her, it was just another mission either way.

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