All was unusually silent until the tell-tale sound of a portal appearing broke it. Stepping through was Gunther, a concerned look on his face. He had received word earlier from Thomas that something had gone awry before it abruptly cut off. Looking around now though, everything seemed to be in place. "Thomas?" The demon called out, closing the portal behind him. Walking around slowly, he kept an ear out for any noise. "I got your message...or part of it at least."
'Still nothing,' Gunther thought, a frown forming on his face. 'I'll check upstairs first. Usually one of the others hear me even if he doesn't.' Moving quickly, he stopped and checked his room first. Other than a few misplaced movies on his desk, he didn't notice anything odd. Continuing on, he walked down the hall towards Thomas's room, where the faint sound of a tv was coming from. 'Bingo.'
Cracking open the door, he saw Thomas asleep on his bed while the tv played in the background. Grabbing the remote, he shut it off before shaking the human gently. "Thomas? Wake up," he whispered.
"...Huh? Wha-?" Thomas blinked his eyes, looking around blearily before his vision focused. Once it did, he sat up, "Gunther? Did you get my message?"
"Part of it," Gunther answered, sitting down on the desk chair. "It got cut off after you said that something came up."
Thomas scratched the back of his head as he thought about it, "Oh yeah, that must've been around the time when the others started arguing."
Gunther raised a brow, "Arguing? Over what?"
"I- uh- I found this book at the library," Thomas said, reaching over towards his book bag. "I don't remember checking it out or even picking it up. It doesn't have a proper cover or library number either," he continued, pulling out a plain brown book with yellowing pages and handing it over. "When I looked through it...well, have a look yourself."
However, the minute he went to open the book Aiden and Arlo appeared, no doubt finally realizing that Gunther was back.
"Gun," Aiden said, patting him on the back.
Gunther nodded his head in acknowledgement, "Aiden. Arlo."
"You two wasted no time," Thomas commented, watching as the two sides hugged Gunther.
"And he wasted no time coming back home," Aiden remarked.
"Speaking of, we were just discussing why Thomas needed me to come back here so soon," Gunther said, glancing down at the book. "Apparently there was some arguing over this thing?"
"Unfortunately," Arlo sighed, crossing his arms. "We'll fill you in after you look through the book."
"Hmm." Opening the book, Gunther began to flip through it, realizing that most of the pages were blank. "Odd..." He muttered as he continued to turn the pages. Near the middle, text started appearing but he couldn't make out most of it, the ink long since started to fade with time. Eventually, the ineligible text gave way to the final page where a worn out picture of a skull and crossbones had been drawn. "Hold on a second..." Gunther said, noticing that the "last" page was stuck to another upon closer inspection. Grabbing the corner, he pulled the two pages apart as slowly as possible, not wanting to risk damage.
"What in the world?" Thomas asked, eyes focused on the book itself.
"We are not burning a book!" Logan yelled as he appeared, startling the rest of them. Beside him was Remy, who was scrolling through his phone.
"Here we go again..." Thomas muttered, feeling a headache coming on.
"All this over a book?" Gunther grumbled, ears turned back.
"It appeared out of nowhere and has a skull on the last page so it's probably cursed," Remy pointed out before nodding at Gunther. "Oh cool, you're back."
"Seriously guys," Virgil said, appearing next to Logan, "if you're going to go through this argument again, do it downstairs."
"My apologies, Virgil," Logan said calmly, looking at him. "We will do as you suggested. However, have you come to a personal decision in this debate?"
Virgil slumped his shoulders, just wanting to sleep his worries away for the time being. "Yeah, whatever you do, just get rid of it. That thing is putting me on edge."
"No one is doing anything just yet," Gunther said firmly, finally un-sticking the two pages. "There we go..."
Arlo looked over Gunther's shoulder at the book and blinked as the page unfolded into two. "Is that...a map?"
This question got the attention of the others in the room. "Let me see," Thomas said, holding the book carefully as Gunther passed it to him. "Well...it's a map alright - a treasure map if the red "X" is anything to go by."
"Odd. None of those places labeled are any we've ever heard of," Logan stated, studying the paper.
"What about the Demon Realm? Any of those names ring any bells, Gunther?" Thomas asked.
"None to my knowledge," Gunther said, shaking his head.
Peering over Thomas's shoulder, Remy noticed something odd about the "X". '...That better just be my eyes playing tricks,' he thought to himself. "Hey guys, might want to take a closer look at the map."
"What're you talking about?" Virgil muttered, looking over Thomas's other shoulder. Sure enough, he noticed the same thing that Remy did. "...It's glowing. That thing is glowing, get rid of it!" That was the last thing any of them were able to say before a bright light enveloped the room. When it died down, the book fell to the floor, the room now empty of its occupants.