Meanwhile...I swear a bulk of my characters being relatively nuts is a curse on my own writing
With most of everyone heading out to Bolorton, that allowed the witches to hold a meeting of their own.
Yet the distance between Maura and Justine wasn't the only sight of something amiss. Something seemed off about the Cradle Mother in general. She was either busy with something else or another, or could only be bothered to interact with others for a brief moment. Of course, Rowena was an exception to this. The Witch of Life even caught her younger sibling spacing out at times. She didn't wish to pry, but did offer to take over for a while, let her get some rest. The glare in response. Unintentional or not, that was a definite no from Maura's end.
What was going on through her head?
Once all of them were gathered in a room (away from Valerie's, at her request) Maribel spoke up first: "Well, not sure what else we must know besides the impending doom of Penrose, but I bet you'll be happy to know dear Amanda should be able to return in a couple of buisness days~!"
The nightmare witch chuckled. "Mint's been a bother to pick out, but perhaps if she and Oliver work on a permanent cure for her friend's father's ailment, they won't have to rely on that bunch of swindlers any longer~" "Bit late on the uptake, ain't it?"
Lauren rose a brow. "Not like they'll let Pinky go without a fight, especially not if she's accumulated a debt, and especially when they can reach her royal pain-in-the-ass-to-fight through her."
She crossed her arms. "Luckily Beacon hasn't been stupid recently either, probably busy with preparing a counterattack against Wonderland. Thank fuck Vanhorn got us some info on their military works, I can use that to find weakpoints and shit."
The emerald haired girl looked over to Maura to see if she would speak up next, then went to the next option when she got nothing but a shrug. "Got anything, Ro?" "Ah! Goodness no, I've just been treating Miss Howard with everything else going on..."
Rowena frowned. Maura looked back at her, almost in plea. "It's strange. I'm not sure if her body's in a state of comatose to try and heal itself, or if it's afflicted by her own magic or..."
She trailed off. "I'll keep trying though! I just...need more time to figure it out..."
Maura and Lauren both looked at each other, as if to confirm something, then the latter spoke up again. "If no one else has anything to say, there's something we have to tell the two of you."
Once Rowena and Maribel were listening close, she nodded to the reaper. "...Jen's in Penrose."
The two's eyes widened for vastly different reasons, but surprise nonetheless. "Really now~?"
Maribel grinned. "Has she grown impatient at our efforts?" "Impatient doesn't even begin to cover it."
The group became startled at Jennifer's sudden appearance at the doorway. The false witch was leaning against it with her arms crossed. Lauren pointed at her with a annoyed glare. "How the hell long have you been standing there?!?"
Jen shrugged in response. "Long enough. But y'know, you should really start using anti-scrying measures when you're talking in Cradle. If Mister All-Seeing Allfather and his pet can use Valerie and your conversation as fodder against you, who knows what else could be forfeit here."
She explained, looking directly at Lauren when she addressed her specifically. "What do you want this time? Nothing's happened to Finn yet."
Maura asked. She wasn't the last thing she wanted to deal with at the moment, but she still wasn't up for dealing with her bullshit. "No shit nothing's happened to him yet and BY GOD may I murder a man when otherwise, but anywho!"
Jennifer walked over and sat down next to Maribel, who surprisingly (or not surprisingly) didn't react much. "With him okay until the next free time, that leaves me to remedy you AND your little shithole of a faction."
Maura tried to retort, but couldn't think of one. She opened her mouth then quickly shut up. She had to listen. No matter how psychotic Jen was. "Good. Atleast you know when to shut up now. Anyways, anyone got a list and clipboard? Maybe a pen?"
Jen asked around, and Maribel dropped the needed items next to her from her nightmare dimension. "Oh. Thanks Mari. Now then, what have you been doing anyways? Like, specifically? No, 'trying to stop Mint and/or Beacon' isn't a valid answer anymore."
Maura didn't have an answer. "I see. I know Finn and Oliver, well, Finn alone got put into dealing with Wonderland and Penny. On his own accord for the former too! What a card! The latter I'll admit, we've been a bit of an influence on that. No matter what those two idiots think, I can tell he's just going with it."
For a moment, it looked like Jen frowned in worry. But only for a moment. "But other than that, what are ya standing around for? Get out there, get the word out! Get some new recruits after the rest left you for dead!"
The false witch teleported out of the room for a nanosecond to get a snack. Looks like she raided the sweets. "I know you have some reservations there, especially with most solo's either choosing to live peacefully in the mountains or feeding off Penny's palm right now. Honestly, might as well rename this damn town into Sanctuary since that's what she calls her 'precious kingdom' now. Eugh."
She took a bite of the chocolate bar in her hand after opening it. Her face contorted quickly, did she accidentally get dark chocolate? "But what's stopping you? Besides the Grand Magistrates? I know they were gonna give you a new recruit, but looks like she's skipped town too."
At that Maura tiredly furrowed her brows at her. "I think you already know, O' great Exodus..."
There was a hint of sarcasm in her tone.
Jen grinned. Now she can get to buisness. "She hasn't chosen to defect to Odin yet, but Justine's grown more distrusting of you. Especially over her sister, who's currently getting treatment. How long until this trust fades completely, I wonder? Remember. Sanngridr is still part of Mint. The maid's involvement is another story we'll read another time. You getting all this?"
Jen asked Maura. Who silently nodded. "Then you know what should be done. But take heed, patience is an important virtue. You'd only make things worse by desperately speeding up the process."
She got up and walked over to the other red-eyed woman. "...Y'know, kind of a weird pattern I'm seeing. Red eyes? Black hair? Wonder if it means anything."
Maura visibly tensed up as she leaned forward. Rowena had to restrain herself from stepping in. This was between the two of them. Jennifer hummed in thought as she stared, tilting her head to the side almost...innocently. A sense of deja vu. "As much as I'd like to resort to killing you and making sure your next incarnation is less incompitent. I think...you're not unsalvagable yet. After all, I too was a dumbass once."
She chuckled. The reaper was more confused on the other hand. "One more thing, freshen up will ya? You actually do have a new recruit on the way!"
Maura's eyes genuinely widened. "W-Wait, really?!"
With that, she hurried out the room, Jen casually walking behind. Before she dissapeared behind the doorway, she turned back to the other witches. "Oh yeah, could one of you chuck this over to Finn for me?"
She asked, tossing what looked like a silver pocket mirror to Lauren, who was the nearest to her. "It's not a real artifact, nor is it as fancy as Asengav's black mirror, but it'll let me communicate easier without having to physically be around. Alright gotta go, talk to you later Mari!"
With that Jennifer left. "...Fucking shit, I'm getting a drink."
An exasperated Lauren walked out too.