Though they had been separated by thousands of miles for several years, Eldes had gotten quite adept at detecting his own twin's anxiety, a power that he still apparently possessed. He swallowed as Ardos' unease began to seep into his body language, unsure of what he should do. His mind raced to numerous possible confrontations that would end up with Eldes further injured or possibly dead if the truth came out about his job or motive for coming to the island. The ginger twin figured that Ardos' unease likely stemmed from his own, but he couldn't help it. This place... not only was it completely foreign now, but everyone in it was so... robotic. It was like the grunts were no longer their own people, no longer individuals. Instead, they were now a hive-mind... and that thought terrified him down to his core.
If Ardos had been able to do that to these people...
Eldes, despite the welling, heavy sense of doom that weighed down in the pit of his stomach, kept his pace with Ardos even, not wanting to fall behind. Anything to keep the ants from being disturbed while he toured the nest. There was soon noise, however, which drew Eldes from his own fear for a moment to listen. They were words; words spoken by many voices, chanted simultaneously by a large crowd. Ardos led them closer, he turned and placed a single still-too-thin finger on his lips, indicating silence. Eldes could certainly do that. Nodding his understanding, he followed his brother to stand in the threshold of a large, intimidating archway.
Before them was the large crowd he heard not moments prior, almost evenly divided by a long thick gap between two neatly formed groups. They weren't in normal Cipher gear, but... robes? Robes like he and Ardos had been assigned when they were younger, like the robe Ardos wore now. They were plainer, of course-- stark white with blue accents that reminded him too much of his brother's colors. On the back was a golden Cipher emblem emblazoned upon the robe, their collective looking like a hundred golden eyes watching. Eldes blinked as his eyes made their way through each member of the crowd, suddenly coming to the realization that they were separated by sex. The robes, their stance, the words they shouted to their superiors... Even their hair was uniform. At at the front of it all was yet another grand visage of his brother, accompanied by the same symbol they all wore.
Eldes' mouth gaped slightly at the sight; the words they spoke with such conviction struck him to the core, his mind flaring with alarm. It was too much like his childhood. Too much like the words their father forced them to recite each and every day. He stole a quick glance to his brother to see him deep in thought, but the question in his mind remained: Did he truly cherish the memories that brought Eldes nothing but despair? All of Father's abuse, all of his torture-- did Ardos actually think that ideal? Even after all this time?
His emerald eyes glanced back to the ceremony, where he did manage to spot a familiar face. Venus, the most popular of the admins that had served under Cipher, stood quietly in a corner as she surveyed the scene. He hadn't recognized her at first because she was no longer in her trademark Cresselia garb; instead she was fashioned after... Diancie? There was only one pokemon that was so uniquely tailored and colored. He swallowed against the hard lump in his throat; Venus had been fanatical before... What was she even like now? He was sure that if she was anything as he remembered, she wouldn't view his abandonment of Cipher any better than his brother had.
Unable to keep his anxiety to himself, Eldes leaned closer to Ardos, forcing the fear from his voice, keeping it steady. He couldn't show his fear. Not in this shark tank. "Ardos, what is this?" His voice was barely above a whisper, but he was sure his brother would be able to hear well enough.