Maya woke up on her unsteady feet and suddenly rubbing her eyes. She had no idea where they were but the sisters were standing there too. Luckily their bags had also arrived. Maya leaned down and picked up her messenger bag and hugged it tight before slinging the strap over her shoulder. The weight was about right but she would have to check it when they were not out in the open.
Everybody was shivering a little and Maya still had no idea where they were. She realized they were on the side of a dirt road bordered on both sides by forest in what looked like the middle of nowhere. There was an old truck rattling down the road maybe a mile away. Maybe that was the vehicle that dropped them off. It was hard to tell how long they had been standing there. It was hard to tell how they had been standing there while they were unconscious.
“Where are we?” China asked.
“Council headquarters, I suppose,” Ivy said. She bent down to pick up her own bag and her guitar. Straps went over shoulders and she was good to go.
“Yeah but where is that?” China asked. She waved her hand above her bag and it levitated up into her arms. She pulled out a cell phone before she got a sour look from Ivy. “What?” She asked of her sister.
“I think that she thinks you are going to check a GPS program,” Maya said with a smile. Ivy tapped her nose and pointed at Maya and also smiled brightly.
“That’s not what I was going to do,” China said. She looked indignantly at her sister.
“It wouldn’t work anyway. There’s probably an anti-technology field around this whole area. I imagine they’re covering all of their bases because they are the Council. Additionally, we might still be under a whammy from the ticket. Also, it’s rude.” Ivy said, her voice was a little raised in full-on teacher mode. China quietly slipped her phone back into her bag.
“Most of us don’t carry cell phones or stuff like that, at least not in my experience,” Maya said. She was looking at China in particular. There were so many magical means of communication that cell phones were far too limited in comparison. Also, magic and technology did not always play nice and devices often ended up overloaded or broken.
“I don’t know. It’s come in handy a few times,” China said. “Like looking up arcane symbols or remembering what monsters look like.”
“She uses it to check our Twitter feed,” Ivy said casually.
“What do you have a Twitter feed for?” Robin asked. She had reconnected with the Internet after Coyote had graduated her. So she knew the basics which meant that she knew what Twitter was.
“It’s how people contact us with missions in between the missions we get from the Ishim,” China said.
“What do you mean? Other missions?” Maya asked.
“We get bored between calls to fight monsters. It can be a long time in between Ishim orders sometimes. We use that time to save people or just help people out,” Ivy said with a smile.
“Oh,” Maya said.
“Why? What do you do with that time?” China asked.
“I help people too actually but I do it by patrolling. By letting the universe guide me. I’ve never received missions from anyone but the Ishim,” Maya said.
“Our method is way easier,” China said. “When this is over, I’ll help set you up.”
“Thanks,” Maya said.
A tall man stepped out of the woods in front of them. All three of them reached for implements of defense or offense.
“Hold. I am here to lead you to Ishim Hall,” the man said and held up the Ishim sigil. All three of them relaxed. Ishim was still a pretty secret word among the public and using it was as good as a membership card. Besides, Maya was beginning to trust the sisters and if they trusted this man, she supposed she could too. “Please follow me.” Then he started to walk back through the woods he had come out of. They started to follow the man through the woods as quickly as they could. Ivy made sure the younger girls went first so Maya ended up in front.
They walked for miles through the woods. There were no paths that could be seen anywhere. Still, the man’s steps did not falter and he confidently walked in one direction. Obviously, he knew where he was going so the navigation waypoints he was using were probably so well hidden. It was either that or he innately knew their destination. Eventually, they walked along a stream and after a while, Maya realized that there were no wildlife sounds. The stream led into the gaping mouth of a cave and the man stopped and stood aside.
“You three are to go on from here.” The man said.
“What’s your name?” Ivy asked.
“I do not have one,” The man said.
“Then what do we call you if we need your help again?” Maya asked.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” The man said. “I’m not even real.” Before they could question that he started to fade away like milk mixing into coffee. After a quick moment, he was gone as if he had never been there at all.
“Um. That was strange,” Maya said.
“I don’t know, I like a flair for the dramatic.,” China said.
“So do I but I don’t like standing around and talking about it. Let’s go into the cave,” Ivy said.