Jordan is getting the hang of this Peri thing.
According to Anty, negative energy is possessing people and giving them superpowers. This is bad, because people with negative energy do bad things, and people with powers do bigger bad things than people without them. The warehouse theft? The Void Shadow Collective wanted to see how she would do against lower-risk crimes, before assigning her to this stuff.
Princess Peri has used her Perfect Purification move on four people now. A baker, a toy maker, a professional dancer, plus the first guy. She just needs to fight them for long enough to create an opening - a point when their energy is too dispersed or unfocused or something. And then she can siphon the evil core out of them, and trap it.
She’s working on her fifth person, who’s currently a big lizard with nine heads, when Mercury, A10, Armiger, and Telekinetian show up. She notices them, but can’t worry about it.
The new tools are working out okay. She has swords, portals, illusions, and force fields. She has a gravity thingie, plus a darkness dingus. She opens with the force fields, to see how hard the monster hits (it hits pretty hard), plus flight and portals to see how fast it is (it’s pretty fast). She uses illusions to make it expend its energy hitting nothing, and portals to keep out of the way of it accidentally hitting her. And when it’s pretty tired out, she uses the gravity thingie to send it into the air, and unleashes a big blast.
As it hits the ground, Perfect Purification! Hooray, it looks like she rescued a bicycle messenger.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Peri says. “You’re gonna be okay.”
The bike messenger, confused and afraid, gets to her feet and mumbles something. Peri watches her stumble away in a daze.
She watches Mercury approaches, watches warily as Armiger follows. But Mercury holds up his hands. “Peri, we’re just here to talk, promise.”
She nods. “Well, if you promise, then okay. What do you want?”
Mercury looks at his pals, and back to her. “We wanna know what your deal is, honestly.”
Cross-referencing. A deal is a term derived from card games. They want you to explain what you're doing and what you intend to do.
Don’t these heroes ever fight people with negative energy?
There’s a pause.
I have no record of any purification performed by these heroes.
Huh. Well, so they don’t know the danger then. Is this stuff secret? What should I tell them?
You are advised to tell them the truth, but omit your identity as Jordan Amari.
They will attempt to interfere with your work if they know.
Jordan doesn’t want that to happen. Okay!
“Well, my deal is, I was chosen to have this power, and I’m usin’ it to purify people who got hit with negative energy. It makes them do bad things. So I take it out of them.”
Mercury looks at his teammates, then back to her. “Chosen by who?”
Jordan admits she’s a little vague on this point. Anty, can you explain for me?
“By a group of cosmic entities who are pursuing enlightenment through emotional balance across the universe.”
Mercury nods along with this, like he knows what that means. “Like the Concordance?”
“Yes. Like the Concordance.”
Peri smiles. “So anyway, sorry if I didn’t do somethin’ I’m supposed to do as a hero, like register somewhere. I just really wanna help people an’ do what’s right, here in the city. Is that okay?”
Again, Mercury looks at the others, and they look at him. They’re all a little baffled, Jordan thinks.
“Yeah, it’s okay, but…” Mercury stands aside, and gestures at A10 and Armiger. “What was the thing you two were getting from her?”
“Bad vibes,” says Andi.
“There’s a definite darkness surrounding you,” announces Armiger.
“Any thoughts on that?” Mercury asks, turning back to Peri.
“It is possible you are sensing the negative energy I am absorbing.”
Armiger glances at A10, and she glances back.
Mercury fills in. “There’s another problem, though. We saw you - or someone that looked exactly like you - making a deal with the warehouse thieves beforehand. We’re concerned that you may have set that whole situation up.”
Jordan can see the others tensing up. But she’s confused. Set up? The warehouse thieves? What?
“The first time I saw those guys was when I went to the warehouse.”
Jordan can still feel the latent hostility radiating from everyone. But Mercury seems to be listening, and when he talks he’s still polite. “How did you know about the warehouse incident?”
“Oh, I got a mission, from the–” “–cosmic sponsors who empowered me.”
Anty? What are you doing?
I have detected danger. Your emotional reactions indicate that you have as well. These individuals are preparing to attack you. I have therefore engaged a security filter, in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
You’re speakin’ for me?
That is part of the security filter.
I don’t like it.
The security filter exists for your protection. It will not interfere with your ability to help people in the field, or on missions. It is only for use in situations such as this.
Well… I still don’t like it.
Mercury still feels wary. “The people who are like the Concordance. Are they the Concordance?”
Jordan gives her best and most honest answer. “I guess? Like, I got a voice in me and stuff? Like Concord does?”
Jordan watches Mercury process all of this. He comes to his conclusion. “Tell you what. We’d like you to come with us, and talk to Concord. Okay?”
Jordan thinks about this too. I’ve done some real heroin’ now, and I did a good job, Anty said so. So he can’t chew me out or anything, 'cause it’s been going great. I’ve been a real princess, just like I told him.
“Yeah! I’d like that.”