“Jerry, what are you doing!?” Charlotte asked him as he beckoned her.
“Get over here, for now, Charlotte. I don’t want you getting caught up in that.”
The energy that had formed Emma’s wings was now flying all around the hallway, barely missing the people who were in it. Charlotte took his advice and ran up to him, watching as Emma yelled in agony.
“Jerry! We gotta help her! We—”
“This is helping her.” Jerry pointed at the remote. “It’s gonna hurt, but the signal that this thing created should block the foreign entity from controlling her body.”
“How do you know that…? What is that anyway? I know you’re smart, but how do you—”
“I’ll explain once this is over. By activating this, things are going to get more complicated. And I’ll more than likely need your help. Adam’s as well.”
Charlotte held herself back, shifting her attention back to Emma. The energy had begun to fade, eventually dissolving into the air. Her eyes slowly turned back to normal, although she quickly lost consciousness.
“Emma!” Charlotte flew over to her, grabbing her before she fell. Turning back into her black-haired form, she inspected her friend’s status. “It… It’s gone. I think?”
Jerry reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny tablet. “Yeah—she should be okay for now.”
Roy and Roger finally stood up, after cowering in fear the entire time. Roger ran up to Jerry, with a relieved smile on his face.
Jerry facepalmed. “This isn’t an anime, Roger. I don’t know why you still call me that.” He let out a loud sigh. “It seems you got mixed up in this, huh? I’m sorry about that.”
“That’s not important right now! We gotta get Emma some help!” Roger turned frantically to look at the girl who had fallen unconscious.
“Of course. My dad should have handled things above. So—Roy, is it?” Jerry pointed to the boy who had been keeping his distance. “Think I remember you from school. Anyway—help us carry her out of here.”
“I can do it—” Charlotte insisted. “And… wait. Your dad?”
“Yeah… It’s all gonna take lots of explaining. First I need to ask: are you okay?” Jerry leaned down, inspecting Charlotte’s condition.
She nodded. “I am. Whatever was controlling her… should have killed me. It had such a strange power. But it didn’t. I was simply ‘moved’ back outside of her.”
“So, that’s what it decided to do, huh…?” Jerry pondered.
“…Jerry. You seem to know more than you first let on.” Charlotte noted. “Just what have you been hiding…?”
“I’ll explain everything, I promise. If you’re okay, I need you to go and fetch Adam right now. Sneak him back into Prelude—into my dad’s office specifically.”
“All right. I’ll trust you, as your fake girlfriend.”
Jerry smirked at the statement. Charlotte gave one last look at Emma before phasing through the wall, beginning her trip back to Minuet.
“W-What about the boss!?” Roy asked, pointing back toward the interrogation room.
“The boss? Huh? What are you talking about?” Jerry seemed genuinely confused.
Roger stayed with Emma as Roy escorted Jerry down the hallway, showing him the bloody room. The red-haired boy was absolutely baffled by the scene presented to him.
“They… went this far…!?” Jerry began to chuckle—being in a state of complete shock. “Yeah… We can’t allow this to go on any longer. We have to do something.”
It was an early evening in Requiem. Soaring through the twilight, Charlotte held Adam and Muraco in her arms, carrying them back to Prelude. She maneuvered her way through Daylight Forest—an area that was in between their hometown and Minuet—heading northwest.
“You’re awfully quiet, Adam,” Charlotte stated.
“I usually am. What of it?” Adam asked her, not realizing he gave off a small amount of attitude in his words.
“I didn’t expect to be heading back to Prelude this soon, is all. Well… that’s not all. I didn’t expect Jerry to be hiding something from me.”
“Human—I mean, Adam—you trust this Jerry character a lot, from what I’ve heard. He gave you directions to head to Minuet in the first place, correct? I can only assume you feel some sort of betrayal, not only from him keeping secrets from you but from potentially throwing you off course?”
“I’m not going that far. I… I’m sure he has his reasons.”
“Adam…” Charlotte paused. “I think I can understand why you hold some sort of resentment, despite your trust in him. It’s cause Emma got hurt, isn’t it?”
Adam snickered. “You hit the mark. I’m impressed.”
“I know it wasn’t Jerry’s intention for her to get caught up in this. However… I feel like he hasn’t had any say in what’s been going on.”
“Let’s just see what happens when we get there.” Adam solemnly stared at the ground below him, flying past at incredible speeds.
About a minute later, they had arrived. Charlotte sank into the ground, masking their presence from anyone above. Although their vision was utterly cut off, Charlotte somehow knew exactly where to fly.
They ascended, entering the waiting room of Thomas’ office cautiously. This act caught Jerry off guard—sitting there in one of the chairs.
“W-Wah!” He leaped into the air, now standing on his seat—arms all the way up.
“Sorry, sorry!” Charlotte chuckled, letting go of Adam and Muraco. Jerry looked at Adam, who raised his vision to meet his friend’s.
After a moment of tense glaring, Jerry’s eyes shot off to the right, noticing Muraco’s presence for the first time.
“W… What is that thing!?” Jerry attempted to climb up his chair but was already as high as he could go. “Wait—a white rabbit…? Is this the thing that attacked you?”
“Thing!? How rude! I am Muraco—Hero of Requiem!” Muraco yelled.
Adam scratched his head, sighing. “This is Muraco—Hero of Requiem. Kidnapper of Adams. Group Member of The Adam Kidnappers. Joined by fellow member Charlotte the Kidnapper.”
“…Incredible.” Jerry jumped off the chair, grabbing hold of Muraco’s floppy ears. “T-This is incredible! I had no idea creature like this could exist!”
“H-Hey, watch it!” Muraco shook Jerry off of him, bouncing back to the opposite side of the room. “If you weren’t Adam’s friend, I would have destroyed you for that act!”
“That… That doesn’t sound very heroic.” Jerry scratched his head, chuckling awkwardly.
“That’s exactly what I told him.” Adam shrugged. “Anyway—Jerry. We have a lot to talk about.”
Jerry nodded. “Yeah… we do. Before we get to that though…” Jerry lowered his head. “I’m… I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’ve kept things from you. I’ve had to lie about a lot, actually. And Emma ended up getting hurt because of it.”
Adam did not respond for a moment. After a long silence, he let out a loud sigh.
“Knowing you, you had a reason to do it. Which is what I’m here to learn about. And when it comes to Emma… You obviously wouldn’t want her getting hurt. Cause of that, I blame whatever ended up hurting her. Not you.”
“Right…” Jerry put a fake smile on his face. “Come on. My dad’s waiting. He can help fill you guys in on a lot.”
“In his office?” Adam walked over to the room’s door, swinging it wide open. He gazed inside, seeing nobody present. The only noteworthy things he could notice were the multiple degrees and certificates displayed on the wall.
“Sort of.” Jerry went past him, standing on the right side of Thomas’ sizeable wooden desk, which had a pen, an empty notebook, and a few folders littering the surface. “You just push it, like this—”
Using all of his strength, Jerry moved the desk off to the side, revealing an old, secret staircase. “He’s down here.”
“Is… Is your dad a supervillain? Are we stepping into his evil lair?” Adam asked half-joking.
“Supervillain? Evil!? I fight that!” Muraco shouted enthusiastically. Charlotte sighed, holding down the rabbit that was about to dive down into the abyss below.
Jerry chuckled. “It’s nothing like that. If he has a lair, he’s not telling me about it.”
“A dad not telling you things? I can relate to that.” Adam smirked.
Jerry escorted the boy, the ghost, and the rabbit down into a brand new room, that was as large as the entire building above. Directly ahead was a long rectangular table surrounded by multiple metal chairs. Roy and Roger currently sat in two of them, playing with some cards.
“Charlotte…” Roy stood up from his chair. “You’re back? I’ve meant to talk to you about you… apparently being a… ghost…?” He stopped talking, eyeing Muraco.
“Yes, I’m a ghost. And don’t worry about him—” She patted Muraco on his head, which seemed to be comforting to him. “This is Muraco. Our friend.”
“F-Friend…?” Muraco was surprised at Charlotte’s statement. She turned to him, nodding with a smile.
“Where’s Emma?” Adam asked, glancing around. The left and right sides of the room in front of them were similar—both having multiple desks scattered about with old computers stationed on each one. A man was sitting at a desk off to the left he did not recognize. Upon seeing them enter, the man shot up and ran over to them.
“You’re Adam Grayson, correct!? It’s such an honor to meet you! I’m Travis Robinson, I used to work with your mom back in the day!”
“An… honor, huh?” Adam shook the man’s hand. That was the first time someone had said it was ‘an honor’ to meet him regarding his mother, not counting Rizzo’s more than likely ruse upon meeting him a week prior.
Adam analyzed the man’s appearance. He seemed to be in his early forties, with his light brown hair wrapped up into a single curl on his head. Wearing round-black glasses and a white lab coat, he was undoubtedly the stereotypical smart-type.
“I’m currently here helping Thomas out with… well, why don’t you ask him yourself? Travis pointed back toward the staircase, off to the left side. The room extended into that section, where multiple beds were placed. Thomas sat next to one of them, where Emma was lying motionless.
“Emma! Is she okay!?” Adam ran up to Thomas’ side, glancing down at the girl. Thomas looked up at Adam, hushing him.
“She will be, thankfully. Her body was really worn out.”
Adam clenched his fist. All right—let me see if I can understand this. Something possessed her after Charlotte killed off those two Brown Suits that shot her boss?”
Thomas sighed. He stood up, placing his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “As long as you promise not to get angry and punch someone like you did with Rizzo, I can guide you through everything that’s been going on behind the scenes.”
“Just…” Adam took a deep breath. “I’m tired. Tired of not understanding what the hell is happening. Emma… Why did she have to get involved?”
“Jerry already apologized to you, right? That’s the first thing he said he would do upon meeting you. Now, it’s my turn. Adam…” Thomas paused for a moment. “I’m sorry. I’m… sorry for being so weak. I’ve known so much for so long, which is why I’ve established this little base down here. But I haven’t been able to do a thing.”
“…You did, though. Jerry saved Emma with some sort of device? I think that’s what Charlotte told me?”
“Right. That was my one condition: If Emma were to get into a predicament, I would get involved, no matter what. Now that I have, however… Our time is limited.”
“I see… Well then, it looks like you’ve got a lot you need to talk about. Please, I want to hear every detail.”
Thomas nodded, gesturing back toward the main table.
“Welcome to Twine, Adam. This mini organization I founded in this trashy basement will hopefully save the world. From what, exactly? Well, let me tell you all about it.”
Next: Chapter 2.12
Previous: Chapter 2.10