Luna’s mind raced at an uneasy pace as she waited in an abandoned sewer way, the occasional meeting point for Ranger and her. She was relieved to have gotten a request from Ranger for her assistance on a mission. She was thankful that she could leave behind the drab black dress she wore the night before and dawn her combat garb. She was glad she could leave behind the broken hearted Aurora, fresh from Cole’s funeral and adopt the strong persona of Luna.
She could change her clothes and even her face but she could not change the mind and heart that lingered in that sad memory. She couldn’t escape the psyche that loitered on the image of the sea of people clad in black, holding lanterns to light the way in the night as Cole’s remains were lowered into the earth. Her consciousness continued to dwell on the thought of what exactly was being returned to the dirt. Was it just the unrecognizable remains of the man known as Cole Iver, or was it a future. Was it a million possibilities of what could’ve have been? Everything they could have been and could have had all put into a box and buried. Luna held tightly to the hope that setting her mind to the mission would help her leave that hallowed ground, and forget what she left there; if only for a little while.
The echo of steady footsteps pulled Luna from her tortured mind back to the stagnant sewer. She set her sights on her comrades approach.
“Thank you for answering my call on such short notice. The situation doesn’t give me the benefit of a lot of time,” Ranger greeted as he closed the distance between them. When he stepped into the subtle light, Luna could see the casual set of clothes he wore tapered with his usual trench coat.
“It’s no problem. A mission is exactly what I need right now. Give me the details,” Luna answered.
Ranger regarded Luna with a cock eyed stare. “Are you alright Luna? You seem anxious.” Ranger asked.
Luna shot Ranger a steady glare. “I’m fine.”
“Are you sure you’re up for this. I heard that Cole’s funeral was last night. I can work out my strategy without you, if you need time to mourn.”
The steadiness in Luna’s expression quickly turned to irritation. “I am perfectly able to separate my life as Aurora and my live as Luna. I’ve been doing it my whole life,” Luna snapped.
“But Cole was part of both of those lives. You can’t expect me to believe that you can move on so quickly from that,” Ranger reasoned.
“I’m doing all this for him. If I can’t set my feelings aside and do my duty, what would he have died for? Concentrating on the mission will help. Trust me,” Luna assured.
Ranger stood still, locking an intense stare on Luna before exhaling a deep sigh in defeat. “Alright but I need you to promise me that you can keep a steady head. The circumstances are extremely delicate to say the least. We have to move with caution. ”
“I promise I can handle it,” Luna assured. “What’s the mission?”
“I got a call for help from a Knight I know that goes by the codename Mimic. He and his Master were fighting against a Master named Juniper Irving. They were gathering evidence that this Juniper was gathering Knights in the same way that Damon Lexus has been. They were gaining ground but then, out of nowhere, Mimic was ordered to stop the mission by his Master and he wouldn’t explain why. Mimic thinks that Juniper was able to black mail his Master somehow and is afraid that Juniper will push him to give up his rights as a Master to her.”
“Do you think this Irving would resort to those tactics?” Luna asked.
“Irving isn’t like Lexus. It’s a strong rumour that she gained her fortune by fording waist deep in organized crime. If Lexus is a viper, then Irving is more like a bull; she would rather force her victims into submission than manipulate them. She’s a glorified thug with Knights at her disposal and that makes her dangerous,” Ranger informed.
“Do you think Irving and Damon are working together?”
“They seem to be running the same game and it fills some of the holes in the intelligence I have gathered on Lexus.”
“Are you certain this information is credible? Can you trust this Knight?” Luna asked critically.
“Back when I was a Hunter, I was ordered to kill Mimic but I was able to prove his innocence and convince the Hand Council to spare him. He owes me his life.”
“That’s what I thought about Fletcher.” Luna recoiled.
“This is different. Fletcher was just an information gatherer, not a warrior. He was scared and didn’t want to live in fear. Mimic is no push over. He’s a strong and deadly Knight that gave me a run for my money. He’s also extremely loyal to his Master and his Master alone. The only reason he isn’t acting on his own is because his Master ordered him not to. Him calling us for help is a last ditch effort to stop his Master from making a huge mistake,” Ranger explained.
Luna nodded. “You trust him and I trust you. I just wanted to be sure. Do you have a plan?”
“Don’t I always?” Ranger answered with a charming grin. “I did some digging before I came to you and found something interesting. Even though Irving has several cover businesses, she doesn’t keep office space in any of them but her mansion is a veritable fortress full of hidden rooms and safes. She must be running her criminal fronts from her home, making her look like a wealthy backer rather than a kingpin. If she’s has anything on Mimic’s Master, I bet you she’s hiding it there.”
“But how do we get into her home? Like you said, the place is a fortress,” Luna asked.
“For the last five years, Irving has hosted a charity ball at her mansion, fundraising for whatever cause is the hot topic of the time. It’s a way to soften her image to the public and the privileged of the country.”
“How do we get into this party? There is bound to be plenty of security considering who’s going to be there.”
“It will be easy for you. You’re invited.”
Luna raised an eyebrow. “I am?”
“You’re on the guest list. You should check your mail.”
“Then you could be my plus one.” Luna offered.
Ranger shook his head. “Bad idea. I’m going to need to fly under the wire in order to snoop around. Coming in with an heiress on my arm would catch too much attention.”
Luna’s head bobbed in agreement at his reasoning. “Fair point. So, what’s your plan of entry?”
“I’ll think of something,” Ranger insured. A long stretch of silence passed between them before Ranger spoke up, his voice rang with a tinge of worry. “Luna, are you ok with this plan?” he asked.
Luna nodded. “Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
“This plan puts you and your real identity in the middle of the mission. If you are discovered, they may go after your family,” Ranger warned.
Luna eyes grew distant as she considered Ranger’s warning carefully. “There was something my grandfather used to say when my father brought a similar worry to him. He said that when we fight in the Order, we use weapons and abilities. When we fight in the mundane world, we use political footing, fortunes, and prestige in which the Falons are heavy weights. If they try and fight on that field both Lexus and Irving will be severely out gunned and we would bury them. I don’t fear for my family, I fear for the ones who don’t have those privileges. They are the ones who need protecting.”
Ranger shot a self-satisfied grin at Luna’s passionate vigour. “You are tailor made for this.”
“I’ll do my best.”
“Make sure you do. We can’t afford to fail this time. Mimic has made it clear that he would rather die than bow to Irving and Irving will be more than happy to accommodate him. We can’t let that happen.”