Vanessa went up to the Eyrie the next night confident that she could continue this charade. She saw Goliath first in the hallway. She called out his name and he said hello.
"I know you wanted me to stay away but I'm concerned after that awful night happened. How are you? How is the clan?"
"We're fine," he said. He could feel his anger rising but Derek's words rang in his ears.
"I'm glad. I couldn't bear it if anything happened."
The look in her eyes seemed genuine and if he didn't know any better, he would have believed her. "What are your plans for the evening? Perhaps you could join us for breakfast."
She smiled. "I would love that." She followed him into the dining room. The clan acted normal and didn't tip her off. She inwardly smiled as she thought it was working. She interacted with them until she excused herself and said goodbye.
She went to her car and drove to the docks. She waited for Terrence to arrive. "Vanessa, you finally showed up."
She looked at him. "I was preoccupied. Any word on the Council's plans?"
"They plan to strike halfway through the battle. They really want to defeat all of you."
"What of the gargoyle council?" she questioned.
"Talks are still in the works."
She walked up to him. "Are you really prepared to betray all of them?"
"You're questioning my loyalty," he said.
"No. Once you go all the way, there's no turning back."
"I've been ready," he said.
"Good. Go now." He vanished and she drove home.
Elisa went into the study to see both clans discussing strategies. She cracked a smile. She heard footsteps approach. "Your friend was here," Angela said.
"How did she seem?"
"Like she thought she had us fooled," she stated.
Elisa nodded. "How long has this been going on?" she asked nodding her head to scene before her.
"Not too long. It is weird to see this many gargoyles in one room," Angela said. Elisa heard her name whispered behind her.
She turned around to see Michael. He motioned for her to follow him. Elisa turned to Angela. "I'll be right back."
She followed Michael down the hall. "Terrence has met with Vanessa. Their meeting wasn't long. I'm not sure what was mentioned."
"Have you informed the others?"
"I have. Also, Robert wants to meet with all of you."
"Now," he replied. She sighed and looked down the hall.
"They'll be fine. They'll be too busy to notice your absence." Elisa followed Michael to one of the guest rooms.
They walked in and Richard turned to them. "Good. We are all here. We can go." Richard snapped his fingers and they were in Australia in an instant.
They landed in Robert's backyard. He turned around and greeted them. "Nice of you to join me. I'm sure you all are questioning why I have asked you here. If you would follow me please."
They walked in to see a group of people standing. "These are my remnant," Robert explained. "They will join you in this war. I have told all about you. However, the main reason I have brought you here is for you to see their talents. I can assure you, my men and women won't let you down."
They all went back out to the backyard. The group demonstrated their talents and needless to say the Core Eight was impressed. Every moment was fluid as they craftily dodged one another's attacks.
"They're impressive," Andrea stated.
"I agree," said Brian. "They're naturals."
Robert nodded. "They've been preparing off and on all their lives. This just gives them a reason to use their skills."
"How well will they get along with the clans or the other soldiers?" Paul asked.
"Fine. They are aware of the third race. They are aware of the Valencian people."
"Can we trust them?" Beth asked.
"Yes. I would not have even brought them to your attention if you could not."
They watched on and the group finished. Robert nodded and gave them time to collect themselves. "Anymore questions or thoughts?"
"Do they know who they're up against?" Elisa asked.
"Yes. They know that in order to stay alive, they must do what is necessary in battle."
She nodded her head. Robert said, "You may stay for a while if you'd like." They looked at each other.
"Sure. It's the least we could do," Paul said. They went back in except for Elisa and Robert.
"Something on your mind?"
"Yes. Are you ready to fight with us?"
Robert answered, "Of course I am."
"What happened to the guardians after she died?" Elisa asked.
"A grievous period. Jason wanted nothing to do with them for the longest time. Derek and Beth tried to keep it together. Eventually, the dust settled and they regrouped but they added another member. Another sister. Her name was Christine."
"So they could move forward without her. Did they do anything?"
"As far as war...no. They had other issues but nothing compared to the previous war."
"Why do you ask?" he questioned.
"Just curious," she replied.
He smirked. "If you're anything like my dear sister, the wheels are turning in your head. Look, you're not going to die. There are too many people who want to see you alive and well. Considering you'll be in Valencia. "
Elisa snapped her head up. "What are you talking about?"
He chuckled. "Micah would leave that out. This band of brothers and sisters you all got had a two fold purpose: defeat the Madori and also take over the Council. They want the guardians in place once they retire or something. Think about it, every part of the process led to this but also to each of you going back. Whether or not you want to do it is irrelevant."
"Our lives are in New York and Pennsylvania."
Robert shook his head. "They were unless you split your time. Things will change and continue to change. Just be prepared when they throw every tactic at your feet. One thing, never let them break you into making a mistake."
"Richard said something like that," Elisa said. "Particularly Goliath...he's a beast. He won't stop until he has you pinned down like an animal. Of all the people to be cautious of, it's him."
"I don't understand fully. Was he always power hungry and she just didn't see it?"
"Not at first. When you get with certain people who inflate your ego then the story writes itself. He wanted something greater and bigger and he did."
"Not this time," she said determined.
"I have a feeling he will make his presence known to you only. He still harbors a grudge. You may look like her, sound like her or even do some of the same stuff. However, she had experience in dealing with him. My advice, don't entertain him and wait to engage on the field."
She nodded her head."I hear you."
"Good because I want you to win. I want this nightmare to be over."