After he wore a false face—the same one as always, because he couldn’t waste time on reintroductions——and stole an employee uniform, Twilight slipped back to the waiting area. Sticking to the shadows, he stared at Yor and waited for her to notice him. He knew she would be able to sense his gaze. She’d done it once already back at the tailor shop where they first met.
Just as he expected, Yor turned and looked directly at him in a matter of seconds. Her eyes glinted with recognition. Turning back to Franky and Anya, she murmured some excuse and weaved through the crowd, joining him at the edge of the room.
“What is it?” Yor asked.
“Follow me. I’ll explain while we move. It’s urgent,” Twilight explained.
The first priority was the bomb hidden near the new exhibit. The majority of people were concentrated around there, and Twilight and Thorn Princess were already in the area.
Storage closet right next to the new exhibit, Twilight recalled. He scanned the space, looking for the room in question. There.
“There are three bombs planted in the building,” he told Yor. She let out a small gasp. “Keep your gait confident, and don’t rush no matter how much you want to. We don’t want to set anyone off—we don’t know whose eyes could be watching us right now.”
“Got it.” She’d completely switched to her Thorn Princess persona, ready for action and completely calm in the face of danger. Some of Twilight’s internal panic subsided knowing he had a very capable partner at his side for this.
“I don’t know what types of bombs they are—shit, I should have asked—but I can probably defuse them. I know my way around most bombs. What I need you for is backup. I don’t know how many enemies there will be, and we need to clean them up quickly, because we have less than thirty minutes. Probably twenty now. I also need you to cover me while I’m defusing them. Make sure no one gets in my way, essentially.”
“You can count on me,” Yor said.
Twilight glanced at her and allowed himself a small, stressed smile. “I’m glad you were here today. I don’t know if I could do this without you.”
Sparing her from replying, he pointed out two “employees” lingering outside the storage closet. “Two enemies over there.” Their shifting eyes and fidgety stances gave them away.
Yor followed Twilight’s lead as he led them straight toward the two, not needing any explanation—simply coordinating with him in silent understanding. “Don’t look at them,” he said quietly. “We’ll pretend we’re walking past them. You take care of them while I obscure the view of anyone watching.”
Their two opponents watched Twilight and Thorn Princess warily as they approached the two. “Laugh at a joke I just told you,” Twilight said, looking at Yor as if he was engaged in conversation with her.
Yor chuckled. It was obviously fake to him, but not to them. They relaxed as Twilight and Yor entered their range.
He didn’t even need to give a signal. They moved wordlessly, Twilight positioning himself just right so that Yor could knock the two out while he blocked the viewing angle. It wasn’t perfect, but he was counting on nobody bothering to look over in the first place.
Twilight opened the door to the storage closet and Yor carried the two bodies inside as if they were light as feathers. Just how strong was she?
He inspected the bomb. It was nothing he hadn’t seen before, but he noted that it was crafted in a Westalian style. Trying to frame Westalis for this? All the more reason for me to step in, then.
Twilight nodded decisively. “Make sure no one interferes while I take care of this.”
Yor dumped the unconscious duo on the floor and left the room to stand guard. Twilight doubted they would wake up for a while.
It wasn’t long until he defused the bomb and opened the door. “Let’s go,” he said to Yor. “The next one we’ll go for is the one in the back, where they store the penguins’ food.”
There were more “employees” lurking around as they approached the back room.
“Do you need something?” one of them asked, eyes narrow with suspicion.
They didn’t bother with negotiation. Yor kicked the person back, sending them crashing back into their allies behind them. Twilight was about to join her in the fray, but she already took care of them, moving faster than his eye could track—weaving, sliding, and ducking in a deadly dance, one only she could keep up with. She had a serious look on her face, and her eyes were cool and calm, honing in on her targets like a lioness. She was the predator and they were the prey, and she was keenly aware of it. She was regal and majestic and lethal and beautiful.
Twilight shivered. “You’re not pulling your punches.” This side of his wife would never fail to fascinate him.
“My husband and daughter are in this building,” she growled. “I’m not gambling with their safety.”
He was glad for the mask that covered his small blush when he heard that. He really was losing his edge, especially around Yor.
Shaking it off, Twilight quickly defused the bomb, and they were on their way to the west wing.
“I don’t know where this one is,” he explained. “So we should get some answers out of them before we knock them out.”
“Okay. I’ll leave the last one for you, then,” Yor replied.
The concentration of more enemies clued them in to the general location of the last bomb. Just like before, Yor held nothing back and left only the last one for him, decimating all opposition before Twilight even had a chance to jump in. He guessed she was so angry that she probably wouldn’t appreciate it if he tried to interfere, anyway.
Twilight approached the last opponent left, who took a few steps back apprehensively. This one was obviously frightened, but he also seemed determined to hold his ground in defiance. I wish she could’ve left me a less resistant one, he thought. Would waste less time. Oh well. I can’t say I won’t enjoy this. He was quite incensed himself at the thought of these lowlifes planting a bomb in a building where Anya and Yor were present.
His enemy blinked, and that was all Twilight needed to close the gap, winding him with a left hook and slamming his face against a wall, twisting his arms behind his back. “Where is the bomb?” Twilight asked coldly.
His prisoner struggled in his grip, to no avail. “I won’t tell you shit! Go fuck yourself,” he snarled.
Twilight clicked his tongue in annoyance. Precious seconds were ticking away. He had what—five minutes left? He couldn’t waste time like this. Slipping out a hidden knife, he stabbed the man in the shoulder, ignoring the pained scream that followed.
“Shall we test your pain endurance some more, or will you tell me where the bomb is?”
“F-fuck you. I’m loyal to the Jaeger Crime Family. I don’t care if we both get blown sky high!” he spat.
Twilight twisted the knife. Another scream. “Want me to take off your fingers next?” he threatened evenly. It would be far from the first time he had tortured someone for information.
The man caved. “F-fine,” he gasped out, face pale from pain and blood loss. “Storage room. Food for the animals.”
They really loved their storage rooms, Twilight observed in the back of his mind. He knocked the man out, turning back to Yor.
He wasn’t prepared for the look on her face. Horror would have been unpleasant, but not unexpected. Or fear, or disgust, or anger. Any of those, really. Instead, her eyes were focused on him. Her gaze had the same intensity as when she’d been dispensing their opposition, but it didn’t have the same killing intent. There was something else there—not judgment, but...
Something you don’t have time to think about, Twilight reminded himself.
“Sorry you had to see that,” he apologized while they approached the storage room. “Anyway, stand guard outside, will you?”
“Y-yeah,” she said, jerking out of her strange trance.
He heard shouts as a fresh batch of enemies rounded the corner. They’d heard the commotion, it seemed. Trusting Yor to handle them, he slipped inside the room, mind still dwelling on the way she’d been looking at him. Flicking on the lights, he stepped forward to deal with the bomb, glimpsing something in his peripheral—
A body slammed into him. Twilight barely turned his face in time so that his nose wouldn’t be crushed against the walls of the tiny room. Hands clawed at his face—did they know about his mask, or was it just an attempt to go for the eyes?—and he felt a rip in his mask.
Ducking his face, Twilight pushed back, overpowering his opponent with brute strength so that he was no longer pinned to the wall. He heard the sound of them whipping out a knife, but he grabbed their arm and twisted it, forcing them to drop the blade before they could attack him with it. Then he flipped his opponent over his shoulder, throwing them to the ground face down. A fierce kick to the head knocked them out before they could try anything else.
He lifted a hand to his face frantically, trying to assess the damage. Shit. The rip was too large; there was no point wearing the mask anymore. He tore it off—it was only a liability now, the pieces hanging off his face obscuring his vision. Serves you right for getting distracted in the middle of an operation! Twilight scolded himself. Not to worry; he had another spare mask, but he needed to defuse the bomb first. He had less than a minute left.
Quickly snipping the appropriate wire, Twilight noticed that the thuds and yells outside had died down—Yor must have taken out all of the backup. He breathed out in relief once the bomb was disarmed and smiled. They’d pulled it off. I really couldn’t have done it without Yor, he thought, wiping away a bead of sweat that was trickling down his cheek. God, my hands are shaking… I’m really glad Anya and Yor are safe.
He heard Yor pound on the door. “Twilight?” she asked. She must have heard the sounds of his fighting.
Fuck. He shoved the used mask into his pocket.
“Twilight, are you alright? Answer me!”
“Shit,” he hissed to himself. His fingers were still trembling as he rummaged through his pocket for the fresh mask—goddammit why was it so hard to grab a mask now of all times—
He heard her bash down the door. He froze, turning around on instinct—but he really shouldn’t have.
Should have just said you were okay, that you just needed one second, now look what you’ve gone and done—
She was staring at him in shock. “Twilight? But you’re… Loid? D-don’t tell me…”
Not long after Mama left, Anya managed to slip away from Scruffy. She waited for him to get distracted looking at some pretty ladies (not as pretty as her Mama though!) and snuck away. She was small, so it was easy to hide in the crowd. A spy must play to their strengths. That was something she heard in Papa’s mind before.
Anya knew today was the day it was supposed to happen. Mama was wearing the same clothes as in the vision. And now she recognized the clothes Papa had on, the same clothes the workers wore.
Listening to Papa’s mind, Anya found out that there were three bombs hidden in the akwarium. She stayed as far away as she could while still hearing Mama and Papa’s thoughts, following them around the place. Luckily, they were distracted by all the fighting and each other, plus Anya was pretty far back, so they didn’t notice her.
Anya shuddered when she saw all the baddies lying on the ground. Mama sure was strong! But that was why she knew Papa and Mama were gonna save the day—together! She just needed to make sure Mama didn’t find out Papa’s secret while they were being heroes.
Nothing really happened while they took care of the first two bombs. But the third bomb. Anya recognized the hallway. It was the same one in Bond’s vision. As she got closer—and honestly, she wasn’t even sure what she was gonna do about this, maybe distract Mama with a sound—she heard from Mama and Papa’s minds that they already took care of everything. Papa already stopped the bomb, and Mama finished fighting everyone.
In the distance, Anya heard pounding on a door. Just like the vision.
“Twilight?” Mama asked.
Anya ran faster, trying to get closer to the end of the hall. She needed to make it in time!
“Twilight, are you alright? Answer me!”
No, no! Can’t let Mama find out! Come on, make it in time! Why couldn’t she run fast enough?
The loud crunch of Mama bashing down the door. And then—"Twilight? But you’re… Loid? D-don’t tell me…”
Anya skidded to a stop right before she rounded the corner, defeat weighing down on her legs. There was no point anymore, she realized, fear turning her blood to ice.
She was too late.