Angela hadn’t slept. She just paced around in the living room of the dorm Robynne should have been in. Where all of them had been since last night. Eli, Cory and Vivian were on the couch watching TV, Kara was in the Kitchen stress cooking, and Noriko and Mal were sitting at the table trying to keep themselves occupied. She dialed again, like she had every hour. “Heya. You reached Robynne’s phone. Sorry I missed your call but leave a message after the beep and hopefully I’ll remember to check my messages.”
Angela sighed, “Robynne it’s me…. Again. We are really, really worried so if you could just call or text or… I don’t know… come home please. I don’t know what to do. Call me soon please.”
She hung up, knowing the desperation was evident in her voice. She looked in her other hand where the non-functioning Valor Pen was. It didn’t even write at this point, it was useless. A perfect metaphor for how she felt.
“Okay, enough waiting. We need to go do something.” she proclaimed. “I’m going stir crazy standing in here.”
Mal looked up from where she was half-heartedly going through a magazine, “What exactly can we do? They literally disappeared from in here.”
“We can try a ritual circle,” Cory said from the couch before Vivian slapped his shoulder, “What? You said she was taken by like, Thor and Sif from Norse Mythology, that’s how those things work.”
Vivian gave him a sharp look, it’s not that she didn’t appreciate an idea, this was just a bit much, “You’re not helping.”
“Well we have to do something. It’s not like someone is just going to knock on the door and give us an update!” There was an awkward pause as everyone turned to the door. At this point it would have just figured if that happened. There was nothing. “See. We have to find her, she’s been kidnapped! And we can’t use our powers, this is like a season finale type situation.”
Kara returned to the main room with a plate of red velvet cookies, “If they wanted to hurt us they clearly demonstrated they could.”
Angela turned to Kara, “Maybe that’s what they want us to think? Maybe they’re going to do something to her!”
Kara narrowed her eyes at Angela, “You weren’t here to see how she reacted to them.” Her voice got soft, “I’m worried too Angela, but honestly… what can we do?”
Angela looked around, her mind was racing for an answer, a solution. Grasping at anything she could to try and figure out what to do. “Please,” she thought, “I need help.”
The next moment the room was filled with the sound of a heavy hand knocking on the door. Everyone exchanged a few glances before Angela raced to the door and threw it open. She was greeted by the sight of two men. A rather cheerful looking man with long blonde hair in a tank top and jeans, and another blonde man with more well-kept hair in a white suit and overcoat. The man in jeans smiled warmly, “Hello. I am Skale. I have been sent to check in on you?”
The man was handsome, very well built, and seemed very friendly at first blush, and any other day Angela would be much more likely to give him an equally warm greeting. But it was today and all she could manage in a much more demanding voice, “Where is Robynne! What have you done with her?”
Skale blinked and looked from her to his associate whom said, “Robynne is Raelynn’s mortal name.”
“You made her forget her name!?!” Angela yelled ready to go across the entryway at him.
“No! No. That is not what happened,” He said looking in a panic between the two of them. She realized just then they were both holding drink holders filled with drinks as he continued, “I did this wrong. Apologies, it has been very eventful. Robynne has sent us here to talk to you all. As I said I am Skale, I help. This is mine cousin Ormarr. He is very smart. May we come in?”
Angela eyed them up suspiciously, “Is this like a vampire thing where you can’t come in unless we invite you?”
Skale furrowed his brow, “First, that is stereotyping. Vampire totally different from divine. Second, No. But barging in is rude. You are mine sister’s friends, so want to put on good impressions.”
“I don’t know,” Vivian said trying to break the mood a bit. “That sounds like something a clever vampire would say as a trick to get us to invite him in.”
Angela crossed her arms, “How do I know you weren’t sent from Platicore?”
Ormarr interjected, “Look we don’t know what a Platicore is, but needless to say if he or she or it had something to do with what happened to Robert, well, do Viking gods strike you as the type to not go after him?”
Skale just sighed and stepped across the threshold and handed Angela a warm cup. The smell was fragrant. “Jasmine Tea, two honey one sugar, splash of cream.” He smiled as she begrudgingly stepped aside for the other guy to come in. She took a sip and it was perfect. Just as she liked it. A bit of tension left her but not totally. This proved nothing.
Skale looked around the room and then turned and plucked a drink from Ormarr’s tray and held it out, “You must be Kara. El Salvadorian hot cocoa.” She took it a bit skeptical but once she inhaled, she took a long smell and a sip. The sigh of contentment was all the confirmation Robynne’s supposed brother needed to move on. “The suspicious vampire hunter must be Vivian. We got you iced Caramel Unicorn which has like all the sugars.”
“Oooo! Gimme!!” she hopped up and grabbed her drink and took a long over dramatic sip. “Oh man, I’m going to be up for days.”
He put a cup in front of Cory, “A skinny three raw sugar cappuccino, made with some coffee called “Bullet”. Spoiler, this coffee has no bullets.”
Cory picked up his coffee and looked at Skale. “So what are you the god of?”
Skale smirked, “Aid, Wheat, and Mead. You are too young for mead however. So you are Cory and that makes you Eli. “He turned and places a cola in a glass bottle in front of him, “This is much better for you. It’s made with real sugars. Tastes very nice.”
Eli just glance over at Kara and then back to him, “Thanks?”
“You are very welcome.” Skale said brightly, and then turned to Mal. He just without a word put a cup that had the faintest smell of berries and coffee on it.
She was still trying to decide whether she trusted these men or not. She knew the drink by the scent of it and it was indeed her favorite. “How?”
Skale just shrugged, “A little red bird told me. I mean mine sister, by the way.”
Mallory nodded still staring at him, “Yes I got that.”
“And finally, you must be Noriko.” He set down a bag that was slung over his shoulder, “This is your brand I believe, and we got you a lot. I believe Mama, was slightly… coarse with you, this is apology.”
Noriko rubbed her throat for a moment and then leveled her gaze at the all too cheerful man, “I would appreciate more if you could answer our questions rather than shower us with gifts.”
“Yes! Of course. Please ask me anything. Raelynn told me to be as forthcoming as I can.”
Ormarr interrupted, “Which is to say we are going to try to address any question to the best of our knowledge.”
Angela didn’t waste any time, “Where is Robynne? Why are you calling her Raelynn? Why won’t she answer the phone? Why aren’t the pens working?”
Skale took in the barrage of questions and then faced Angela, “Robynne is in our home in Iceland. It is very high up in the mountains and so cell service can be tricky. We gave her special divine phone but it must be low on the list of things. You can understand this is very, overwhelming to her. Her Papa and Mama are alive, her uncle is her brother, she has many family that she did not have before, and is divine so… that’s a lot. However, her thoughts have been very much of all of you, hence why we are here.” He gave her a second to take a breath and relax before he continued, “I call her Raelynn because Raelynn is the name she would have had, if she ascended as a girl.”
Ormarr corrected, “Which she did.”
Skale nodded, “Yes she did.”
Ormarr continued on, “You see those of us, who have divine blood we tend to have mortal guises in addition to our real divine one. Robynne is her mortal form but she is Raelynn Hero of….?” He looked at Skale to finish his lingering sentence.
“Cheerleading.” He pronounced which nearly caused Vivian to choke on her drink.
“Are you kidding me!?!” she managed to get out between coughs and Cory patting her back.
“No. She has some thunder, but Cheer. Mama is very proud.” Skale said happily.
Ormarr sighed, “Anyway she is at the beginning of her journey as a divine so there is some balancing that needs to be done. Truthfully the fact we are coming to you so openly says a lot of how trustworthy all of you are. No one below full god status so openly shares their names like we are.”
There was silence as everyone let those words sink in. “As for the pens, the honest answer is we don’t know why they’re not working. Some of Robynne’s other siblings are investigating what’s going on but this is the best we know right now. This thing, the Spirit Guard, was set up by someone, a Divinity. For what purpose or reason we have no clue. Whatever this grant of power was it was not set up to take a hero ascending while connected to it and it fed back and blew out the source. I’m sorry I don’t know anything beyond that.”
Mal spoke up, “Will they come back?”
Ormarr shrugged, “I don’t know. But we are going to keep you all in the loop. This is a very… new situation. It’s a very serious one too…” Ormarr kept talking but Angela was honestly not hearing a word of it.
Was this all a lie? It was like a dream come true becoming a magical girl but now that it was gone, was this a weapon that was used to try and hurt Robert? Was she indirectly responsible for this? Everything inside of her went cold; the world around her sounded like there was cotton in her ears. How could she have been so blind, of course this type of thing doesn’t just happen, of course…?
“Hey.” She snapped out of it with a start looking confused up at the smiling handsome man that called himself Robynne’s brother. He was looking at her in a way that showed concern. He was a god could he read her thoughts? “Listen, you look of guilt. We don’t know what this is yet. Could be good. Could be bad. But nothing is your fault. You are good person, Mine sister told me you are just wonderful” he place a card in her hands, “You need anything. That is mine number. You call, I help.” He nodded.
“I… sure.” she said looking at the plane white card with runes across the top and a phone number on it.
“Angela.” he said a bit more firmly, “You call, I help. You take care of mine sister. I take care of you. Is way of things.” She studied him for a moment. There was something there, it was hard to describe but she nodded slowly.
“Of course. If I need help I will call Skale.”
“Wonderful.” He smiled and stood up and stood next to Ormarr.
Kara had taken all this in and finally said, “So how do we get in touch with Robynne?”
Ormarr shrugged, “Well, basically when she remembers to put her sim card in her new phone but until then, have you considered a ritual circle?”
Cory just threw up his hands, “I told you guys!”
Eli groaned, “There will be no living with him after this.”
There was finally and thankfully a laugh across the room. The tension, while not gone, had definitely drained a bit.
Ormarr let the laugher die down a bit before he said, “Look guys… um, we don’t want to alarm you but we would like to just be sure while everything is being sorted that you guys are okay. So for now, if you can stick to groups and give us a call if you feel like something is off. We can cycle through some of us as well being around; if you like but this is totally up to you. This is entirely precautionary.”
Eli sounded worried, “Are we in danger?”
Ormarr looked over at Skale who addressed the group, “Whoever is behind this, whether intentional or not is in, so much trouble. Messing with a god’s kid, let alone transforming them permanently is big deal. Gets a few looks from all the gods. We just want to make sure if anything escalates you are all okay.”
Ormarr chirped up, “This is just until Robynne returns. On my card there’s a few others that can help you including Bjorn, who you know as Taylor.”
Skale said happily, “That is Mine brother. He is very good.”
Cory looked over his card, “Is this the number for Boulders?”
Vivian looked quickly, “That gaudy country girl themed restaurant?”
Ormarr chuckled, “Yeah, my sisters own it. So, they know to look out for you guys.”
Mal stood up, “Thank you, the both of you. I think we all need to talk about this but we appreciate everything.”
Ormarr nodded, “Of course. Seriously don’t hesitate to call us. We’re sticking around the mortal plane so we’ll be here in a jiff.”
Mal got up and showed them out. Angela just sat there trying to process everything.
Kara sat at the table, “they seemed nice.”
Mal nodded, “Robynne’s brother is a little weird though.”
Vivian came over and sat with them, “You really think this is the end of the Spirit Guard?”
Angela shook her head, “I don’t know… But I’ll feel a whole lot better when Robynne is back.”