Indeed, I think at the end the heroine and friends will discuss whether it had any connection with their earlier problems. Something's happening that will complicate their work, but that doesn't mean it was intended to do so, and it's even possible than someone other than the original villains wants to interfere. For pride or to take their place.
And my original ideas of a path have -- veered off. Looks like it's going to be longer than I first intended.
It's a cycle. It's flexible. As long as each story has a beginning, middle, and end, the arc can be a bit loose.