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Chapter One: Aconite

Somewhere in the world, lives have ended, as a giant fire pushed through a residential area in a small city. Kept away from the world, not many are aware of its existence, and soon almost no one would be aware of its demise.   Almost, because, as fate would have it, a small group of messy individuals would tear through the ashes and remains into the wild night. They would drift from town to town, never to tell another soul their stories, and only with each other to depend on. With no cash and hardly any possessions, these weary wanderers turned to crimes and tricks to get by, always out to break laws even when it seemed unnecessary too. With each crime committed and each town turned upside down, they gained a following of people who supported them, along with this came to a sense of immortality as they haven't been caught yet. They would grow more bold with every day gone, and in the night they thrived; and tonight, they set their eyes on a new place.
The City of Mourn has always been quiet yet busy, nothing of note would really happen too, save for the times a Paragon or government leader had a visit with the Guild. But tonight seemed to be especially quiet, it wasn't too busy either, as raindrops echoed on the brick streets with the low hum of a sports cars parked in front of a still building.   The stillness of the evening dissipated as the large glass double doors opened with a young woman bundled in heavy clothes looked back, in the middle of a loud discussion with whoever was still inside. Another woman and two burly men followed suit out the doors, and the group made their way to the parked car, their discussion interrupted with fits of laughter.   From the rooftop across the street, a restless figure stirs, with eyes watching the group below, a thick black piece of fabric silences their breath. As the car speeds off the figure pulls out a small device which begins to emit a light blue glow and a holographic screen projects from the front surface, the words Chat Board: Mourn Report is open and Clarence has entered the chat board appears at the top, the figure types out:   Me: New people of interest have entered the fray in mourn. Can't scope more, need to lay low.   On the other side of the chat board, a young man receives a message from one 'Annigan' about new people to look out for. He considers for a moment what to say, he finally types out a response:   Me: Thank you for your help, take your time and rest up, Cantionis will send someone soon.   The man closes the app and walks over to a young woman who looms over a table with holograms floating around, some are news articles, some are profiles of different people, a few are avatars of masked figures running around in buildings. The woman doesn't look up, she doesn't even move, instead, she simply sighs as she swipes holos from one side of the table to another.   The man, Clarence, leans in to inspect one of the news article holos as he says, "Annigan reported back from Mourn, some new people have moved into town and think they might've brought some less than legal hobbies here."   The woman straightens up and looks over her shoulder at Clarence, "That's just what we need right now," she turns to face him and leans one arm on the table, "any clue as to what they might be up to exactly?"   Clarence moves closer to her side, he waves his hand over the table as a holographic box appears, displaying an image of the four people entering the car from Annigan's rooftop perspective, "Nothing that detailed has been found yet, this inspection is still brand new and Anni has too much heat to continue scouting for us, I went ahead and told them to lay low for a while."   Cantionis nods, "I don't want to put too much stress on this, we don't even know if there's a definite situation happening, but I suppose we should send someone to scope it out more thoroughly."   Across the table another woman quietly stares at an identical holo with Annigan's photo, she sets the photo aside and moves onto a map of the world, "Where did you say this was at again?"   The holo world zooms in on one portion until a street map appears titled 'City of Mourn', Clarence tips it downward and the individual buildings of the city appear in 3D, "This is the City of Mourn, located in Northern Meta, and isn't that too far of a travel from your town Lilith."   Cantionis pinches and flicks outward on the map until the city-wide map only shows one particular neighborhood, where a dark hooded figure packs up their things and climbs down a fire escape ladder. They disappear into the darkness of the alleyway before reemerging in a dark car and driving off the map.   The woman leans back, tilting her head again as she stares at the 3D building for a minute before she grabs one of the unused floating holos and pulls up a site of the City of Mourn. She spends a few minutes silently flipping through department icons; Department of Trusts, The Guild of Mourn Department, Department of Housing, the Department of Preservation, Waste Management, City Resources, etc. etc. Until she finally stops at an icon of a badge, 'Department of Security and Law Enforcement', in which she starts to read through it.   "Security and Law Enforcement, huh," she taps her finger on the tabletop, "I could maybe try to act like I'm on a trip to investigate and mentor their Law Enforcement Department in comparison to my own, play it off like it's apart of a new programs so that I could at least have a liable reason to have access to their networks."   "Actually," Cantionis copies the department tile and rapidly scrolls through the contents, "that's not a bad idea, especially if I could get in touch with other members of the network who work in Law Enforcement or Security Departments, this way they would be in the know and we could create a legit organization with a solid alibi."   Clarence shakes his head, "But wouldn't it be a bit unusual for only one person out of an entire supposed organization came to tour their department, Lilith?"   To which Lilith responds, "it's a made up program, not a full-blown organization," she throws her hands up, "it doesn't have to make sense!"   "Well, he's got a point, it may set off some red flags if there is only one person to represent the program, especially if that one person runs a department not that far away," Cantionis pulls an old tile from above with a list of names, "we could look into getting someone from a father place to go with you and help scope out the situation."   "I REALLY don't think that's necessary," Lilith Sighs.   Clarence pulls up Annigan's profile, going through their connections before ending up on a different profile Labeled 'Forest', "How about Miss Forest, she just finished a personal mission and may be willing to travel to Mourn and help as well."   "Forest? I didn't know she was a part of law enforcement?"   "That's because she's not, she was, however, a key member in a small mercenary group and has since been on solo missions for the network. We could say she's a scout for the network and the southern region of Union."   Cantionis runs her hands over her face and through her hair, "let's give her a call then."
In another part of the world entirely, two women move from their separate vehicles towards each other. One, having just arrived at the scene, had casual light clothes on, and a baseball cap covering her face, as she leaves the white luxury car towards the center. The other was indistinguishably taller than the previous, with a fitted black suit, she gets up from her motorbike, and removes her helmet to reveal an afro that covers her face as well.   The pair is silent as they meet in the middle, until the prior jumps into a hug on the latter, their small laughs echo off the cement walls of the empty parking lot. The casual girl makes a motion towards her car, and a gentleman in a suit brings out a case of, presumably, cash before the lady in the suit. She opens the case to inspect the contents before nodding as she closes it once more. The two hug once move and wave goodbyes as the girl goes back to her luxury car and drives off.   The lady in the suit moves back to her bike and adjusts the back a bit before she attaches the case to it. She goes to sit on the bike and put her helmet on, but before she can she feels a vibration as her communication device glows and rings from its position near the monitors of the bike.   She doesn't even get a chance to move nor read who it is before the call answers itself, and the screen is taken over by a video feedback showing off Cantionis, Clarence, and Lilith, all gathered around a table looking back at her.   "Hey, Forest! How's life? I hope we're not interrupting anything," Cantionis smiles before yawning.   "I just finished a bodyguard gig with your friend Loni, and was just about the leave from our last meeting," Forest picks up the device and leans on her helmet.   "Really? That's awesome, I should get in touch with her again, it's been a while," Cantionis sighs, "Say, do you have any plans for the next few days?"   "No. Why?"   "Well, there's been a new group on the radar, and they seem to plan on staying in Mourn for some time, I don't really have the time and energy to go there in person and check things out so Lilith volunteered to go. But the thing is, we don't think it's a good idea for her to go alone and so we were looking through the network for someone who could possibly assist her in this."   "Absolutely not," Forest shifts upwards and holds the device a bit away from herself.   "But-"   "No. I'm not going to Mourn, I don't care what the reason is unless there is a definite chance of civilians getting hurt I'm not going."   Cantionis looks over to Clarence, who pulls up the map of Mourn and replays the scene of Annigan leaving, "Normally we would have Annigan take care of things there for us since she lives there and is even considered an invaluable member of the community."   Forest stares at her screen, watching the figure leave over and over again, "Annigan lives in Mourn?"   "They were born and raised in Mourn, after your little group disbanded they returned home and opened a café," Clarence moves his head side to side, "if need be, I can set up arrangement for housing and jobs to better keep a low profile, maybe Anni will even let you work at the café."   "Jeeeeeez," Forest runs a hand over her face and sighs, "What are the chances that this group of people is up to something bad exactly?"   "I'd say something like 9 in 10, You don't end up on the network's radar from just traveling, y'kno," Lilith exasperates.   "I'm… aware of that, Miss Siah, I'm just cautious because this particular city has been nothing but trouble for me."   "Does this mean you're thinking of helping," Cantionis leans forward more on the table.   "I-," Forest shakes her head, "I guess I am."   Cantionis smiles brightly, "Great! I'll set up connections so Lilith can meet you somewhere and you can both travel to Mourn together!"   Lilith peers at Cantionis, "She only admitted to thinking of helping, she hasn't said that she will for sure."   "Ah, you say tomato, I say tomahto, I know what she's thinking," Clarence waves her hand as if to dismiss the idea.   Clarence looks mercifully through the video feed, "I'll send you travel plans soon, stay safe."   "You too."   The screen turns black as the video is ended, Forest leans back to stretch and yawn. Damn it, Merci, always making me tired. With that, she puts her helmet on, looks at the screen one more time, and shakes her head before speeding off into the night.


Author's Notes

The opening chapter of Flower Girls, not much in terms of exciting scenes but maybe I'll go back and revise it again. Edit: Cover image has been updated to the Flower Girls title, chapter two is underway.

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