Clayton remained crouching behind his shrubbery for a few moments after his teleportation, nausea nagged him. He felt sea sick, remembering the time he was on a ship on a job. He was very able use illusion to adjust and maintain his stomach to the sea. In comparison to having to upkeep his cantrip over his gut the entire trip, only having to adjust himself once was a piece of cake. He closed his eyes to enter the state of mind needed to optimally sense his body and undid the knots his guts tied themselves into.
His mini moment of mediation was also to help him clear his apprehension about coming back home to Mother and McCloud having left on such a bad note with them. He was still upset about Mother lying to him and forcefully putting him to sleep, for such flimsy reasons as well. However, the light of dusk was fading; he had to complete the very last part of his plan and leave town by tonight. Interrogate that Black Platypus executioner, brainwash him, plant him right where the Black Platypus will find him, his revenge is nearly complete.
Making sure the patrols were nowhere near, he created his illusion barriers completely covering his path to the door. Knowing he was safe from prying eyes both from the outside and inside, he stood up and walked to the window, looking to checking if enemies were waiting in ambush. Inside sat an armorless McCloud, asleep, along with his Black Platypus friend.
He had to make sure if the Black Platypus weren't hiding inside. He wanted to wait for Mother, scanning every area the window would let him see, but it didn't seem she was coming. To his dismay, it seemed only McCloud could give him the okay. "Maybe I'm being too harsh on him. I'm pretty sure I could count on him when things are serious. Anyways, I'm sure it's safe, but now would be a good time to establish stealthy communicating. I hope I can wake him up.”
Clayton concentrated and transmitted bells ringing directly inside McCloud's head; only he could hear them. In direct reaction to the bells, McCloud stood up with what was unmistakably a well practiced situation. He looked around the room as though he were expecting someone or something. Seeing nothing, he sat back down, confused. Clayton, having McCloud awake now, sent him a one way message directly to his head.
(“McCloud, it me, Clayton. Is the house safe? Give a quick thumbs up if yes.”) Surprised again, McCloud looked around quickly in search for a face to the voice in his head. (“Yeah, I'm invisible right now, McCloud. Is it safe or not?”) “Oooh.” McCloud worded, finally making the connection, trying to keep this little "game" up. He raised his arm and directed a thumbs up to where he thought the invisible person was. Clayton sighed irritably. "No subtlety whatsoever. If there were anyone around, I might as well have just knocked on the door." With that, he put the illusion of a still door behind him, opened the door, and walked in.
"Hello McCloud." Clayton sarcastically grumbled, sharply closing the door behind him for emphasis.
Turning to the sound of Clayton's voice, McCloud directed the Thumbs Up at him."Yeah, I know it's safe now. Thanks.”Clayton curtly resigned. "Hello Clayton, how were the errands?" “They went great. Where's Mother?" Clayton's day had been long and his patience was getting short and wanted to immediately get on with tonight.
McCloud's face got worried. "Shes... Not here?" "What?!”, Clayton exclaimed, “Well, where is she?" He frantically started looking for her, like a child that lost his bear. "I... don't know..." McCloud blushed. "I was um, just reading.... Yeah." he confirmed himself. "Well goddamn it, we can't be scouring the entire city looking for her.” Clayton was furious enough to fall back into his habit of pacing, thinking of what to do. "Lets look for her here then."
"Are you ser- I really hope she's just here and you're just panicking for no good reason." Clayton continued to save himself from blowing up on McCloud, taking visible effort to suppress his rage. “The nerve of him!” Clayton thought, “Scaring the crap out of me like that. What is his problem?” Instead of giving into his homicidal urges, he opted instead to stare intensely at McCloud, hoping the sheer heat of his gaze will melt him on the spot.
"I don't know....What's near here?" Clayton has heard enough from this man. "Just go look in the backyard and try not to die in the process." He snarled, then barreled to start looking in the guest room. "Yes sir!" McCloud cheerfully acknowledged. He turned and walked to the door to open it, attempting to push the door open, before realizing he has to pull it open.
"No wonder he gets on Mother's nerves” he thought as he made his way to the guest room. Clayton saw that the guest room door was open. He let himself in while knocking on the door. "Mother, are you in here?” No response. "She wouldn't be in my bedroom, would she? She better not be." Clayton muttered under his breath. He went to his bedroom, and forced the door open in prepared indignation. He looked around his room but sees nothing. His contempt for his guests was beginning to form into an unswallowable lump in his throat. "She wouldn't be, in the basement, would she?" He opened the basement door and looked in, only seeing emptiness. "She not here at all, is she? That foolish woman, she was supposed to stay put!" If she was in the kitchen, he would have most likely smelled dinner already. Nevertheless, he decided to look in the kitchen briefly before retrieving McCloud. He looks down the kitchen and sees nothing except a cleaned kitchen.
He rubs his forehead in frustration. Thanks to her unreliability, he has to replan everything. He looks at their captive lying in on the living room couch. He hasn't moved since he left this morning. Without Mother brainwashing him, he has no informant and getting info out of him now would be pulling teeth. His only use for him now is being a corpse for his plans. "So much for an informant." he internally groaned. "At least I get to finish him off now." Now his thoughts turn to McCloud. "McCloud is useless to me without Mother. I'll just tell him to go look for her in the city and I'll just finish up my plans here and leave without him. He probably won't want to leave Dorter without her anyways, so this is for the best." he decided.
Clayton went out to the backyard to bring McCloud inside. Outside McCloud was stumbling around "looking" for Mother, while smashing into plants. "Oh no!" McCloud cried out. Clayton could only shake his head at this knight drunkenly crushing all his flowers. As much as he flinched at the site of him destroying his precious plants, it didn't really matter anymore. Clayton was leaving to never come back and he'd have to wreck this place anyways, so at least he has a head start. "McCloud, come inside for a second before you hurt yourself." Clayton calmly called, motioning for McCloud to come inside. McCloud, in relief, dropped the bits of the plants and pots he was holding back onto the ground, shattering it further. He dashed to the door and into the house, slowing down when nearing Clayton, and rested in the living room.
Seeing McCloud finally settled down, Clayton began. "So it seems Mother is nowhere to be found.” Clayton began matter of factly. “We have very little time left before we must leave the city. You must go out into the city to find Mother. I'll wait here in case she comes back. Understood?" McCloud fell apart at hearing that. "but... Mother.... alone?..... city..... no.... noo.... nooo......." Clayton was genuinely angered with this knight's utter childishness. His inaction towards helping his one and only family sparked a fire inside him."Just what kind of knight are you? I didn't realize the knighthood had an Order of Cowards. If you're going to abandon your charge to the wolves, you should renounce your knighthood right here and now!" Clayton inserted a furious pause, then he went back to trying to get rid of him. "You're the only one that can, McCloud. My injuries have worsened from running around all day and I need to take a break if I'm to leave by tonight. She's out there all alone. You have to save her." The door creaked open and shut. "That's not really a nice thing to say now is it?"
Clayton immediately recognized Mother's voice and grunted in frustration. "Where the hell were you?" he demanded sharply enough to pierce the air. She ignored his question as she walked slowly to the living room where she took her seat. She took a brief, yet irritatingly casual, moment to look over McCloud, then to her hands, one of which held a book. "I would ask you the same. You came back late. Luckily for you, I have been heating up the stew all night." She set the book to rest on is back next to her thigh. Clayton found this shocking arrogant. "Well for one, I told you to stay here. And secondly, I asked you first."
Ignoring Clayton's angered tone. Mother shifted her attention to McCloud. "How has the Ninja been? McCloud." "He has been.... Asleep." Seeing through McCould like a pane of glass, she nodded her head. "Yes, I do see. Did You know McCloud? There's this flower outside?" Clayton was at the end of his fuse. "Its so brilliant, as white as an angel, large, and so...." She trailed off at a loss of words again
only to be interrupted by Clayton. "Did you at least get that Black Platypus ready for interrogation?" he stated as calmly and firmly as he possible could.
"Oh" In realization that Mother was supposed to do that "I didn't. I was so busy reading, and staring at this flower. I just... Love it, so much." She glanced over to a shattered Clayton. "You're amazing. How did you make that? It's so, breath taking." Clayton took a deep staggered breath. "As much I appreciate how much you appreciation for my flowers. It's a Fovoham Glory by the way.” he growled. Her eyes widen at the mention of the flower. "I needed to interrogate that man and I had to do it quickly.” "Fovoham glory? Wow.... that means..." Clayton sharply interrupted her dreamy diatribe."You do understand our predicament, right?" She snapped back to reality. "Right, yes I do." "If I can't rely on you, I'm just going to do things myself." "Sorry. Something about my past seems to be creeping back to me. You can rely on me" Mother said as she was getting up
Clayton has finally had it. "No, you're wrong. I can't." And with that, he moved towards the sleeping ninja, kunai drawn. Mother stopped in place. "Excuse me? Why is it that you think such?" "I already warned you.” Clayton roared. “Nobody gets in my way. If you can't do as you're told then I don't need you.” Clayton decided to give her one last chance to make things right. "Give me one good reason why I should listen to you anymore." he challenged. "Give me one reason why you should not" Mother tried to retort. Clayton just had to bitterly laugh. "Well?" "Why shouldn't I? Why shouldn't I? Are you blind or just stupid? Because it seems you can't do one simple thing I asked you to do. It wouldn't even be so bad if you at least had tried and failed." "What have I not followed from what you have said? Oh right. I went outside."
A flurry of emotions explodes within Mother. "If you have to carry such a burden" She grabs for the book. "As this piece of shit. And still maintain a piece of mind." Clayton's indignation gives way to caution. "And manage to keep track of not only yourself but another person, who can't even take care of himself." Clayton senses danger, he's on his toes now. "And goes far enough to also add another person into the picture. And decides to also go even further. To pause her mission-" Clayton is not sure what's going on here or what she's on about, but he has seen enough. He bounds and sprints out of the house. "To focus on this new person, and make sure that they are safe and able to continue their amazing art." "Oh crap." he thought as he turned himself invisible upon entering the back yard. "I knew I should have just baled from the get go. She's prepping a curse on me!" He runs out into the street and beelines for a nearby abandoned house.
McCloud, taking similar action as Clayton, hides behind the couch. Mother stops herself, seeing the reaction of the two. "Why...." She stares at the book in her right hand. "I guess I'm back to focusing on you again...Your curse is apparently mine." She grabs her bag and places the book in it, throws it over her back, and walks out the door. "McCloud I-" she chokes. "McCloud I'm going outside again. Help yourself to the food." She steps outside and takes a deep breath to calm herself more. Her hands clasp her face and she falls to the ground crying. "Why did I have to be left with this...I have always been such a good priestess. I followed everything under the commandments. Oh St. Ajora. What did I do...?" A familiar scent finds Mother, and she stops crying. She turns to face where the scent was coming from. "Fovohan glory... Where do I remember you from?" She walked towards it to inspect it. "I remember you, but where?!" Her hands pulled forward, and slowly went around the flower again. But this time, she grabbed the stem and plucked it. She took it with her back to the front door and sat there, smelling it and staring into it thinking of the flower, and the link between it and her.