A.N.: Never fear, I have returned. Hopefully, with an enjoyable chapter. I hope this meager offering will help your appetites for chapters to come.

"How did it go?" the shadow man said as Dorian stepped over the threshold of an airy, spring-time parlour.

Dorian frowned, his good mood of seeing Mina again ruined by the services he must render. Even now, though, he considered how usefull the other man's position to him was, with his back turned facing the darkest possible corner of the room like he was afraid of the light. A stray thought passed through Dorian's mind to use his advantage and end his services once and for all. Only the memory of a previous attempt kept such thoughts from becoming action.

"Mina's reaction followed your assumption, to say the least," Dorian finally replied after a moment.

"So," the man asked, his voice devoid of emotion, "She has revealed Canodor's plan?"

"Not exactly," said Dorian, not preventing amusement from infiltrating his voice.

He picked up a few stray grapes from the table as he passed. The shadow man turned to look at him.

"What do you mean, not exactly?" he demanded, his voice a deadly calm.

"I mean, while Ms. Mina was...cooperative, it was merely in informing me my plan, or rather, your plan would never work," replied Dorian smugly. He popped a grape into his mouth.

The shadow man frowned for a moment. Turning back around, he sank into his chair.

"There was no such luck from the others," he said, "And Agent Sawyer's state of unconciousness at the moment..."

"Yes, it was quite clever of you to falsify a torture," interrupted Dorian, eating another grape, "It would have fooled the very best of us. Unfortunately, you do not know this group of individuals as I do, master."

A soft chuckle came from the chair.

"You may be right, Dorian," said the man, "But you also have much, much more to learn."


"The footprints end here," declared Nemo, bending over the tracks he, Carmine, and Doctor Jekyll had been following.

He looked over his shoulder to see Carmine scamper up the small dune to reach him. Dr. Jekyll still remained a few steps behind. Kneeling down, Carmine looked at the vanishing point of the footprints with a studious expression. Reaching out, she traced her fingers around where the tracks paused, but did not touch them. Looking up, her eyes scanned the skyline.

"Air transport," she muttered under her breath, "That sneaky..."

"What do you mean air transport?" Jekyll interrupted.

Carmine looked over at him.

"I mean airlift...um, a transportation vessel without wheels. Sort of like a Nautilus in the air, only smaller," she explained.

"But why would he use such a vessel?" Nemo questioned, "If these metallic men have the strength you say..."

"They could carry the others back," Carmine finished the thought, "I know."

She stood up and brushed the sand from her hands and pants.

"We need to get to the woods," she said, pointing to the tree line, "I'll show you what Kyle inteaded for you two."

Before the two men could say anything, Carmine took off, running for the woods.

Pausing only when she realized they weren't following, she turned and called out, "Come on, it will be dark soon. We need to reach his base before sunset."