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Thread: Original Sin (IC)

  1. #21
    Leila, Gremory, Fatima
    Inferno
    The Past

    "Human—nay, rather We call thee a dog. Thou'st insolence aplenty to call Us by that moniker. Demons are to Devils as dogs are to humans. Or humans to Devils, for that matter! We'd fain have thine tongue for this!"
    Contrary to the man's expectations, his words of praise backfired on him as he seemingly accidentally gave rise to a grave insult. The devil raged, throwing a tantrum and she beat her wings balled her hands into fists. From a certain perspective, it was rather cute but the man was in no state of mind to properly observe this.

    "P-p-please forgive me!"

    The devil gave a sigh, and relaxed her mood ever so slightly.

    "Hmph, but this should be expected from thou curs, no? Rip a tongue for every imbecile and We would never get a deal done. Fine, then. We shall overlook thine transgression this once. Now, power, was it? It can be done, naturally, but not at a price to thine convenience."
    And for the first time, the Devil's eyes fell on the woman who lay bound on the floor.

    "Tell Us, what is this female to thee? Wherefore should We deem her sacrifice sufficient?"
    "This woman is a sacrifice, as per the rules of the contract. In order for one to obtain the devil's miracle, one must offer a suitable payment to the devil in question, I believe is how it went. Thus, I went and obtained a suitable payment. For a great devil such as yourself who rules over the all powerful domain of love, there was nobody more fitting."

    The man stood up and began walking over to Leila, removing the dagger as he approached his sacrifice. With a single motion, he raised the knife high in the air, its wicked edge reflecting the against the light of the room.

    "I offer up to woman as payment and in exchange, demand the power of the devil's miracle be granted to me!"

    He brought down the blade.

    At that exact moment, the door at the far side of the room burst open.

    What a cruel irony. Fatima had finally found the room she was looking, except she had arrived at the very instant that it no longer mattered.

    The scales between salvation and despair had tipped towards the latter. Her hopes had been extinguished, her nightmare realized.

    The blade seemed to move in slow motion, but there was nothing she could. Without slowing down or stopping, it pierced Leila's heart.
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  2. #22
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Theola August
    The Past
    Eden


    "...what you seek is no different from... suicide... The death of yourself..."
    Suicide.

    Not too long ago, the thought would have been completely alien to me. Back then, my attachment to life was so strong that the very fear of dying could spur me to steal or murder without even thinking twice, as long as it would help ensure my survival. How could someone who was so desperate to avoid having her life crushed by the cruel world that was Inferno possibly think of finishing the deed herself? It was unthinkable.

    And yet, this reminder by the Devil that what I wish for is nothing more than that, only comforts me.

    For one, I am pleased that I have properly conveyed my intentions. That he seems to be understanding what I am asking for. That there will be no confusion about the wish that I want granted, and that in but a few short minutes, the person in this world who I detest the most will disappear- that the Theola August I’ve known up till this day will no longer be around.

    And the other reason I feel comforted by this reminder, is because these words do not inspire any hesitation in myself. To choose this end myself means to spit in the face of my life up until now. I can no longer even attempt to excuse my actions up to this day by claiming that they were all done for my own survival, if at the end I neglect my own survival for my own selfish reasons. It leaves me with no choice but to accept that all my actions committed up until now were wrong. I had thought that the act of doing so would repulse me, and I would be filled with doubt and anguish even up until the end. That my inner ugliness would not resist rearing its head and as it has always done up until now, disgustingly struggle to survive. The fact that no such feelings make themselves present here, and I can only feel a sense of calm- and even a bit of elation, pleases me.

    A bit of this elation seeps into my voice, as I reply to the Devil.

    “You are correct- that is essentially the wish I seek. But I think that phrasing by itself, is misleading.”

    The monstrous creature with whom I am speaking to hardly possesses anything resembling a human body, and I doubt the human idea of death has at all the same meaning to him- to begin with, I don’t even know if devils are capable of dying. But it is evidently a creature whom I can find some common grounds with, and so I am sure that it can understand what I mean.

    “Death only acquires it’s meaning because of life. For a life itself has no value to it, the distinction between life and death is of no concern. Then, if I were to evaluate my life up until now, I might as well be dead- I care not for the existence I have lived. What I am asking of you, Devil, is not something so trivial- I do not care about dying. If that were what I seek, then it would simply suffice to do the deed myself.”


    “What I am asking of you, Devil, is the opposite- to grant me life.”

  3. #23
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    A0-22
    Eden
    The Past


    "Tell me, my powerless little rebel. What is your name? And what is it you desire?"

    A0-22 looked the devil in the eye. Its breath smelled like rotting meat and dying men, but he wasn't afraid.

    He had never, really, been afraid from the start.

    Death.

    Pain.

    Misery.

    He had survived everything.

    He had overcome everything.

    Never asking questions, never being understood, even under the litany of tests they had subjected him too.

    Under each and every trial he had been placed into.

    His mind had never faltered, never, not even once.

    Why?

    Because, at the heart of everything, he had no name.

    A dog needed none.

    "I..."



    "I want to tear this city down. I'll never rest until it's done."
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  4. #24
    Ashley Harker
    Eden
    The Past

    "If no one can believe, how can anyone ever have faith? ...If no one shows what is injust, how can anyone know what justice is? ...If a king does not lead--How can he expect his subordinates to follow?"
    With words clearly conveying his will, Harker stepped forward. Without hesitation, he broke through the circle's protections-

    -and took the devil's outstretched hand.

    The dark void around them erupted into bright light as the countless portraits around them blazed pure white.

    Each hand closed around the other.

    Around the two, the pictures began to rapidly pick up speed, shining like stars. And one by one, they faded away, until only a single light remained.

    The human and the devil shook hands. The contract was complete.

    Here was the beginning of a new miracle-

    The lone star slowed it's orbit, coming to a stop behind the giant devil. For a moment, Harker thought he was staring into a mirror. But he instantly realized it too was a portrait just like all the rest.

    -and here too was the birth of a new devil contractor.

    For the first time, Alexander laughed with a sound like the roar of a lion.

    "So be it! By the name of the Great Devil Alexander, Collector of Dreams I'll acknowledge it! As you wish, I shall grant you power. The power to topple a city, to bring those above you crashing down, to raise those beneath up high. Show me, the path you'll carve out for yourself...struggle desperately as you try to keep that dream of yours alive, as you try to avoid being crushed beneath the weight of your ideals."

    The world began to slowly fade away as reality returned. However, the contract was not yet over.

    Alexander raised his other hand, and covered Harker's face. There was a burning heat for a brief instant.

    "As for the price... they say that humans will always have at least two paths before them, but that's no longer true in your case is it? You have no need to see any other path now that you have made your choice."

    With that final action, Alexander vanished. Harker found himself back home, almost as if nothing had happened. However, the power surging in his body and the pain inside his head was proof that what had happened now was no delusion.




    Ana
    Eden
    The Past

    "What I want... the people who did this to me, they have to die. Slowly and painfully."
    The girl spoke slowly as she laid out her request.

    The devil nodded as she listened to Ana, but she wasn't listening to Ana's words. No, what she was listening to was something much deeper than mere words, it was her desires and intent.

    Wrath. Spite. Hate.

    Revenge.

    The devil grinned a sinister smile. Evidently she had found something to her liking.

    Across from the devil, the girl seemed to be growing in strength, the promise of potential vengeance against those who had harmed her giving her soul wings.

    From the floor she rose, standing on her two feet, staring the devil in the face.

    "And I have to be the one to do it. Grant me the power for this and I'll give you my soul."
    "Very well. I, Eriynes, Devil of vengeance, accept your wish."

    With a snap of her fingers, the wall behind her exploded. Outside those walls lay the city and freedom.

    But at the same moment, Ana dropped to her knees and screamed as she was assailed by waves of pain.

    "Remember this feeling. Remember this hunger, this thirst. This, my contractor is the crystallization of your desire for revenge. Well, I suppose you don't need to remember it since it'll be carved into your body and soul... If something like this is enough to disable you, you'd never have succeeded in your vengeance anyway."

    With those words, Eriynes slowly began to fade away.

    "If you're serious about those desires of yours, now is not the time to stay still."




    Asher Bharrant
    Eden
    The Past


    "Yes, I understand fully what I'm asking. For the sake of my dream, I shall break, tear, trample, destroy, crush and kill anything that dares stand in my way. Violence shall be my greatest weapon, with it I shall clash with the dreams and ideals of others and with it I shall walk over their shattered remnants. I shall be the most human, the most selfish in all of Eden, and I will emerge victorious."
    "Fantastic. Simply fantastic. I seemed to have found an excellent summoner."

    The suit of armor clapped its hands together. It seemed overjoyed.

    "Our interests are aligned. Thus, I, Yomi Devil of Strife do accept your request."

    The next moment Ashter was engulfed in a metallic cocoon. His skin burned, his lungs screamed for air, all he could see was darkness. But his ears still worked, and he could hear the devil cackling with joy outside.

    And he could feel his body changing.

    "If violence shall be your greatest weapon, then you shall become a weapon of vengeance. You will become strife, you will become conflict, you will bring the battlefield wherever you travel. For the sake of an impossible peace, you wage an eternal war... then so be it. The contract is completed."

    With those words, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the metallic cocoon vanished, depositing Ashter on the floor, alone.




    Theola August
    The Past
    Eden

    “You are correct- that is essentially the wish I seek. But I think that phrasing by itself, is misleading. Death only acquires it’s meaning because of life. For a life itself has no value to it, the distinction between life and death is of no concern. Then, if I were to evaluate my life up until now, I might as well be dead- I care not for the existence I have lived. What I am asking of you, Devil, is not something so trivial- I do not care about dying. If that were what I seek, then it would simply suffice to do the deed myself.”


    “What I am asking of you, Devil, is the opposite- to grant me life.”


    The flesh of mass considered the girl's words. It understood them. It accepted them.

    "Death... and rebirth. I see... If that is... what you truly desire... from the bottom of your soul... It is a... viable wish and so I... Scar, devil of... flesh accept this contract."

    The next moment, the girl felt a strange sensation. It was as if her skin was melting, her bones had turned to clay and invisible hands were reshaping her, molding her into something different. It wasn't painful, but feeling parts of her body shrink, stretch, and contort was definitely something she would not wish to experience again anytime soon.

    "This should do..."

    The invisible hands withdrew. The girl stood up, her first time in a brand new body. She gingerly felt her new face with her hands. There was no mirror here but she instinctively knew, this was the body she had always dreamed about, a completely different person able to walk a completely different path.

    "A new life should... have no need... for the past..."

    With that strange parting remark, the devil of flesh seemingly began to melting away, the liquid quickly evaporating.

    The girl stood there, partly pondering those last words, partly awestruck at the conclusion of her wish and having visions of her new life.

    ???

    It was almost unnoticeable to anyone else, but even as someone new, the girl still retained her experiences. Three people had briefly passed by here. There was no doubt they were her pursuers.

    But then why had they just left? Combatwise, even with the devil summoning nothing had changed... even with the devil summoning...

    The girl felt her face again. They must have missed the summoning. Therefore, when they looked inside here, they saw not their target but a stranger unrelated to their mission.

    They didn't recognize her.

    She had done it.

    She was free.




    A0-22
    Eden
    The Past

    "I..."



    "I want to tear this city down. I'll never rest until it's done."



    "So you would make enemies with an entire city... no. I can see it in your eyes. If it came to it, you would even make enemies with the world."

    A stray dog that bared his fangs at the society that rejected it, the city that failed it. Even with that indomitable will burning inside of him, it was too great an enemy to fight on one's own. But yet fight he would, the devil could see this within the boy's eyes. As it stood currently, all that was left was for the boy to die the death of a stray dog.

    What a waste.

    This must the real reason why fate brought Alabaster was here.

    The wolf grinned.

    "So be it, my little stray dog. Your will has been acknowledge by me, the great Alabaster, devil of rebellion. And so I shall respond."

    All of a sudden Alabaster unleashed a huge wall of flame from its mouth at the ball. The boy was instantly engulfed in a tower of blue fire.

    The heat seared the flesh from his bones but at the same time, the boy could feel a new strength entering him from the flame, counteracting the damage.

    "I shall grant you power as you wish. The power to walk down the path of revolution that you desire. What lies at the end of your path, whether it be victory or defeat is for you to discover."

    The inferno surrounding the boy suddenly intensified. The boy could no longer even see anything past the countless blue flames.But he could hear.

    "But a stray dog has no need for a master. You'll no longer have need for commands or any type of outside influence, even from me... I wonder how your story will end?"

    A sudden gust blew away the flames engulfing the boy, freeing him from his fiery prison. Alabaster had vanished. With his contract complete, he had no more reason to stay.

    The weight of what had happened suddenly hit the boy. This was going to be his life from now on. There was no longer any going back.

    A contract with a devil is an action that cannot be undone.


    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  5. #25
    Gläubig müssen die nicht sein, daran glauben müssen sie I3uster's Avatar
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    Fatima
    Inferno
    The Past

    It should have been a distant memory or perhaps not even that. Just a scare that came and went, passing her by in her own personal hell. A room barely big enough to shelter one person, with the smell of formalin, ammonium and iron hanging in the air.Mother never had been too coherent when this happened, but that night...something was different. She seemed lucid, her usually dilated gaze uncharacteristically sharp.

    "Tell me Fatima, what do you think is a devil's favorite plant?"

    Among all the strange murmurs she usually let go, this was the one sentence that she could never shake off. But still, she was a child, and that mother had fallen to the temptations of Inferno before she had even seen the light of this world. So she answered it as casually as any child would. A child that would see nothing out of the ordinary in that situation.

    "A nettle? They hurt."

    Her mother smiled. Gently, in a way that she rarely did.

    -----

    Someone was going to die tonight.

    That was a sentiment usually reserved for a low level thug trying to show off, with a new girl in town, pulling a knife on someone he really shouldn't. Arrogant, crude little shits loved the threat of death as an easy tool for intimidation. All it usually showed her was a lack of general awareness. To cause a fight to the death in the first place...a real fight to the death that is, not an incident that ended in someone pulling something as an affective action, nor someone hitting the ground badly, that was one of the stupidest things you could do in this place.

    To push someone to the edge of desperation where they no longer saw their life as the absolute highest necessity, but a simple stake in the simplest bet of them all, you versus me, opened all kinds of avenues of thought any rational fighter would rather see barred.

    It wasn't like that to her. She had nothing to prove to the person that had slighted her today. It simply was a logical conclusion of the way things proceeded from here on out. In chaotic circumstances people will cling to the few rules that are established. They seek to bring the tiniest bits of order into chaos. And today she had to set a rule herself. Something that would make her life easier, now that she had chosen to make it harder than necessary.

    If you touch my woman, you die.

    There was no such thing as absolute security. Especially, as previously noted, in Inferno where a life comes cheap enough for wholesale. Still, there would be enough people deterred by such a rule.

    All she had to do was ensure people played by it.

    If she could not, there would be no reason to continue. If even the very few rays of light that shone into the abyss were denied to her, there would be no need for eyes.

    Either she would die, or the person breaking the rule would.

    Her own little piece of order in the chaos. Certainty where there had previously been none.

    It was fear that drove her this far, if not outright panic. But in the moment she at least had this. And it made her calm, if not serene. Maybe it had been all the adrenaline pumping through her body. Maybe she simply had become a loaded spring, unable to move under all the stress she was currently exposed to. Maybe she had just been numb for years now and this is the first time she noticed.

    "You have 3 seconds to open this door."

    Another matter of fact statement. For a second she pondered if she shouldn't have used a threat, but at this point it had become clear he didn't fear her.

    Many people did not.

    A few should not.

    He was not among those lucky few.

    "3"

    If he had a gun the spacing wouldn't work in his favor.

    "2"

    If he had a knife the reach difference would do him in.

    "1"

    If he had a sword, thing might become interesting if he was as skilled as she was...but so far that seemed to be an increasingly rare commodity.

    "Time's up."

    All of that had been assuming she had been his target of course. What she saw broke her cold professionalism.

    "I offer up to woman as payment and in exchange, demand the power of the devil's miracle be granted to me!"


    It wasn't something she saw too often. Even as someone who supposedly had seen a lot, even for a denizen of Inferno. She had made it a policy to face her opponents head on. She wasn't an executioner. She was an enforcer. Sure, she had often come after people that by no means had enough experience to defend themselves, but that was the rule everyone had to play by.

    Survival of the fittest. The strong prey on the weak. Even in that disgusting reality, there had been something beautiful about the struggle even those weak showed.

    Something admirable. When it all had felt like a meaningless series of random happenstance, that spark of life was something she often thought of. Before that woman had stepped in her life, it was the closest thing to something "spiritual" she really experienced.

    This wasn't like that.

    It was like cattle getting its throat slit, bleeding out into the streets.

    A spark of life, extinguished in an unceremonious manner.

    As if she had been worth nothing.

    As if Fatima's protection did not matter.

    It was a scream, screeching and yet guttural. Only after releasing it she managed to form a word.

    "YOU!"

    It was fury, incoherent and messy as it tends to be. The one person she did not want to see hurt. The one reason why she even kept walking this bloody path, with all its downfalls and risks. The reason she wanted for more instead of living on the sidelines.

    The one respite in a cruel world she treasured had a knife sunk into her.

    "GIVE HER BACK!"

    As if he could unkill her, a demand was made to the man.

    It was merely a prelude to a murder. There was nothing he could do.

    But after all, there had been another on the scene, seemingly much more interested in her display than the shocked murderer.

    -----

    "It hurts when you touched the nettle right?"

    It wasn't true motherly warmth. That was something she had been well capable of, but it no longer surfaced. Her mother's touch that ran gently over her skin was that of a person that had lost control of their faculties. A blind woman, trying to orient herself in a world that seemed unrecognizable.

    "Yeah mom. It did."

    And yet she still had that same intense look. Maybe it had been spiked. She was old enough to understand that there was no such thing as reliability down here, even if she still didn't quite understand why her mother was like this when she took her medicine.

    "So you'll never touch it again, right?"

    "No, why would I?"

    In the moment it was nothing more than another one of the strange conversations that had accumulated all her life. Back when she still talked to that woman, there had been a lot of them, some even strangely...nice. But it was her reply, her ice cold gaze and her tight grip that bore her fingernails into her daughters flesh that really burned this particular one into her memory.

    "And that, my child, is why a devil's favorite plant..."

    A sweet voice rang out, in complete contrast to her focused look.

    "...is the rose."
    [04:55] Lianru: i3uster is actuallly quite cute

  6. #26
    Leila
    Inferno
    The Past


    In that moment, she remembered a scene from the past.

    A day among days, a job between jobs. Herself, leaning against the doorframe, feigning detachment in her posture that she could not put to voice. Fatima, leaning over a corpse, feigning toughness that her body betrayed. A casual conversation in the wake of violence.

    "Doesn't it hurt?"

    "It should."

    One grinned and drew her blade from its sheathe in a dead man's heart. The other shook her head.

    "Your wounds. What else would I care for?"

    She looked away, aware of the heat rising to her cheeks. The words were still foreign to her. Strange, embarrassing, and ever so exhilarating.

    "Ah, these? They did just a moment ago, but y'know..."

    Fatima laughed, and she could not turn away if she tried.

    "Seeing you just now, they don't feel that bad."

    And then she gave her that smile that never failed to send her heart racing. And she took her home, and washed the blood from her skin, and sewed her wounds shut. And true to her word, she never once cried out, and never once took her eyes off her.

    At that moment, she had truly believed that there was no pain that could stand up to what they had.

    And perhaps she could have found comfort in that thought even as a blade now pierced her own chest. Perhaps she could have found reprieve from that transient pain for one last time in that ever-present feeling, that which no knife could cut out from her beating heart.

    If she could die with that hope, that would be fine. Such selfishness, even at the last. But that was not meant to be. This last illusion could not measure up to reality.

    Why is she here?

    Because she could have borne any torment to protect a single person.

    Why is she here—!

    Because that person's torment was the only thing that would destroy her.

    Steel scraped against bone, but she did not feel it.
    Veins burst from the strain, but she did not feel it.
    Blood choked up her lungs, but she did not feel it.

    Fatima stood at the door, eyes wide in horror, a primal scream ripping from her throat, and all-consuming anguish was the only thing that Leila knew.

    The keenest pain of all was the only one that love could not soothe. For it was born from love itself—an equal amount of suffering from which there was no respite.

    She could not cry. She could not speak. She could not reach out.

    However much she wanted, she could not protect Fatima.

    However much she wished, she could not make this right.

    The world—the ugly, hideous world—would crush all that was beautiful without mercy.

    However much she prayed—in this cruel world, who would ever hear it?

    How senseless, she thought. How futile.

    She thought, and then she knew.

    No benevolent saviour would hear her. If God was given a shape by humans such that they can believe in His existence, not a single soul in Inferno could imagine such a thing. But even so, even if such a God did not exist, there were other beings that usurped His throne far more fitting to this forsaken world.

    Dark, twisted things, yet they could undoubtedly create miracles.

    Thus Leila fixed her darkening gaze on the Devil of Love, and prayed.

    Please, protect Fatima.

    And from the darkness, one voice rang out in two minds.

    "Pledging thyself for love to endure? A fitting deal for Us, at last. What dost thou wish from Gremory, and what wouldst thou give up?"
    Last edited by Leftovers; January 30th, 2019 at 06:16 PM.
    Fanfiction, on occasion.

    /Ep.in lost dream.
    Decoration Disorder Disconnection. Ishizue Arika and Mato Touma. An episode from a hypothetical future.

    Pseudepigrapha
    Snapshots from the world on the eve of the Third Crusade. A Tuitio Mysterii et Obsequium Reliquiarium prequel.

  7. #27
    Inferno
    The Past


    Love was a simple thing. Standing above it all she could see that clearly.

    Not because it was unknown to her. And not because she perfectly understood it.

    Defining love was a useless endeavour. Recognising this, she sought to qualify it. A Devil marking the boundaries of her domain; and yet exclusivity was her prerogative. Contending with anything less that deserving of her power would tarnish her in turn, or so she thought. Therefore, a limit was required. A singular quality that would set apart one thing and exclude all others in turn. Surely such a thing would be worthy of her notice.

    This the Devil of Love decided, and set her rule to stone. It was the conclusion of an observer presiding over these mortal engagements, a common theme extracted from the manifold and the mutable and refined into a simple equation.

    Love, while nascent, is tested. Settling inside a heart, it is resisted. As it takes hold, it is weighed against the value of everything that stands in its path. The more it grows, the more it is challenged. If it is not challenged, it remains complacent. It is only through trials that it can grow, and only hardship can temper it into something deserving to be recognised, something that can be called the genuine article.

    True love. Such that life’s vagaries cannot break or tarnish, so precious that everything else is cast away for its sake, even if the world itself becomes its enemy. The kind of love for whose sake one would make a deal with the Devil.

    That was the love that Gremory sought. As the Devil presiding over that domain, it could be considered her most cherished delicacy. Handing down the world’s most splendid thing in its name—something as pathetic as that man’s lust for power could never stand up to a deal like that.

    A deal, or two. With a feast before her eyes, she believed she could indulge herself just a little.

    First, the sacrificial lamb.

    In the dark room, so choked by dust and smoke, an outside observer might have thought that the flow of time was stifled. To that perception every motion in the room, from the particles dancing in the air to the sword and the knife being drawn from their respective sheaths, would have seemed inexplicably slow, as though they were being met with extreme resistance from the air itself, making barely perceptible headway from their suspension. All, except for the Devil in its midst, and there lay the cause. If such an observer free from the conventional perception of humans were to witness that scene, it would surely be one operating in the same framework: the common sense of Devils.

    It wasn’t the world that had slowed down, but the experience of an asynchronous present between the room’s occupants. However, while a human body could not synchronise with its flow, the speed of thought did not know those limitations. While Leila may not have felt the small hand softly brushing against her cheek, the words resonated in her mind as surely as if they had been spoken.

    "To think of another even at death’s door, thine is a beautiful wish. Though We can take from thee nothing thou wilt not soon lose, tis better to relinquish it for such a cause. This We grant."

    No further words were needed. As surely as a flame would peter out and die with its fuel spent, each sputter of a ruined heart painted the floor with blood, the small accompanying gasps counting down the beats until Leila’s life was extinguished. In that moment, the only thing the girl could offer was that death itself. Like an old romance, or perhaps a clichéd tragedy, a deal with the Devil commanded the ultimate price—her soul, while it could still be claimed. For Duke Gremory it was an especially pleasing deal.

    Burning away one’s life to protect a dream never to come true. A miracle for the sake of another ought to be selfless to the end. With a pleased smile, the Devil of Love confirmed the sincerity of that love.

    Then, she sealed the contract.

    If that brought about a change, it was not readily apparent. Time remained dilated and Leila kept bleeding out. While the knife once lodged in her chest was now being brandished towards Fatima, the other girl was torn between the horrible sight of her lover and the immediate threat posed by the assailant, her dilated pupils shifting from one to the other. In her eyes, the monster in the guise of a young girl had moved with inhuman speed from the summoning circle to Leila's side, laying hands upon her for purposes that she did not even want to imagine. In such a state, the Devil's voice in her head had barely registered, a distraction she could not spare a thought for in her turmoil even as the instincts drilled into her body snapped to readiness in anticipation of battle.

    That would not be so again. Duke Gremory was not one to be ignored. And even if she wanted to, Fatima could not avert her thoughts from the Devil this time. Not with her very being seizing up as a foreign power flowed into it.

    With nary a word of warning, the miracle bought at a steep price by Leila began to manifest in Fatima's body; a power that would protect her from harm, a gift from Gremory's own imagination that had received a simple wish and channeled it into something inhuman. That was, after all, her prerogative.

    It was said that Devils perverted the wishes of their contractors to the point that they would ultimately lament making them at all. The few humans that dabbled in the profane art of summoning often considered that a reflection of what they believed was the Devils' inherently evil nature, their predisposition to making playthings out of mortals, and dared to ascribe them personal characteristics based on such observations, assigning tendencies to the unknown based on what was no more clear to them at all. For if it was, they would not undertake it so lightly.

    Simply put, the premise was faulty. A wish was nothing but a person's flawed understanding of their own desires. Not knowing even that, on what grounds could pass judgment on its outcome?

    The nature of miracles was inscrutable, as the nature of miracles was to be inscrutable. Not because the Devils' devices were obscure so much as the human wishes they were contingent on. And eventually, in ignorance of that, the truth of Devil summoning itself eroded to the point that it could be confused for chance; or perhaps fate.

    The lover who became the sacrifice, and yet was offered to the Devil of Love, could attest to that in the afterlife.

    Ah, but therein lay the crux of the matter—the kernel of truth in the sum of apocryphal knowledge scrawled on the tattered pages of grimoires.

    Leila's wish for Fatima was certainly granted, as nothing could bring her harm with the power that she was now being given. There was no deception on the Devil's part. An honest wish gave rise to an honest miracle, and a fair price commanded a fair trade.

    But now the contract was done. Everything after it was Gremory's prerogative. And if Leila's wish had proven pleasing, if striking one deal had only whetted her appetite, what was there to stop the young Devil from making the most of that fateful meeting?

    Really, the girl should have known. She had given Fatima the means to elude harm but she could not stop her from inflicting it on herself. Either crumbling to a remaining sense of pain, or begetting another sacrifice in turn.

    "For all thy vows to naught avail, abide by this and curse thyself. Or else..."

    With her senses overtaken by the influx of supernatural power, Gremory's voice rising above it cut through her mind's haze like a beacon through fog.

    "If thou objectest such a fate, thou needest only ask. If indeed thy love is true, ye will surely overcome."

    The Devil's words were gilded thorns meant to appeal and hurt alike, but they were as good as wasted on Fatima. There was no need to provoke and coerce the girl's feelings when they almost seemed to roll off her in tangible waves, an emotional maelstrom channeled to a singular drive whose mere taste felt almost intoxicating to Gremory.

    Pure, raw emotion resounded throughout the mental link, a wordless, soundless will that conveyed the meaning of Fatima's wish as though she was shouting it with every fiber of her being.

    The Devil of Love wholeheartedly received it. There was no misinterpreting it. Such a wish, delivered from something as lowly as a human, gave even her cause to reconsider. Having idly toyed with her own notions of love, Duke Gremory indulged a moment's fancy and stumbled across an example of what her domain should strive to encompass.

    So that she would never use her power for those undeserving, she had tried to discern true love. But no matter how many arbitrary limits she assigned they would only amount to the illusion of order. Only now did the young Devil encounter the tangible proof that would serve as her personal standard and the paradigm of her domain, and she drank deeply from it.

    An honest wish was a fine conduit for miracles, but emotion was the nectar that sustained a Devil even more than the price they exacted. A wish brimming with emotion naturally attracted their attention; it stood to reason that one made at the brink of death, or at the sight of a loved one being killed, would be all the more delectable.

    And, perhaps, it could give rise to even greater miracles. Gremory certainly felt that she ought to reconsider her own limits in light of that revelation. Her powers, too, would have to match her station. The Devil of Love would not answer to petty wishes, and there would be no contract claimed that she could not fulfil—starting with that girl.

    Bringing her back from the verge of death would be child's play, she thought. It was only a matter of giving her some manner of regenerative ability, perhaps tied to the lifeforce of her beloved. That would be most appropriate.......

    Oh, but the girl was almost dead. With her soul slipping away and her flesh in such a state, there was no way her body could take it. Regardless, that was but a trifle. The other girl was able bodied enough to......

    No. Mortals were fragile things. That one already possessed a fragment of her power. Given any more and something would fall apart very fast, whether her body or her mind. How troublesome. Perhaps the man...?

    Gremory cast a quick look at the summoner, his hand still gripping the bloody knife, and sighed. Very well, she would have to do it herself. It went rather against the point of a contract and completely opposite to her inclinations, but she couldn't complain too much that her hand was forced because of her whim in what was, if anything, a day of firsts.

    It was a simple matter. She only had to bolster the girl's fading lifeforce with her own. Being a Devil, a Duke of Hell no less, using a fraction of her superior essence to stabilise a mere human was well within her considerable capacity.

    So assured, Gremory reached out to Leila and linked her faint existence with her own. It did not take long for her to realise her mistake.

    Too much. The girl was taking in too much. The farther gone she was, the less her soul was tethered to her body, the more it took to pull it back, bolster the connection, and work towards mending the flesh. There was a reason that true resurrection of the dead was thought to be impossible even for Devils, and Gremory was finding out firsthand.

    But even so. Even then, she was not dead. However far gone, as long as there was a sliver of life clinging to that body a Devil should have been able to recover it. Then why——the contract!

    Of course. If she wasn't intently concentrating on the flow of her power into the girl Gremory would have thrown a fit to match her appearance. She could even smack herself for omitting something so obvious.

    There was a reason, always a reason. One summoning, one contract. But no, she had gotten excited, and then she got greedy. For all her conviction to preserve her pride, it was her own fault she was in this position, sweating like a, a mortal! to keep her contracts intact. Nobody had told her being a Devil was a learning experience, but if this was what failure felt like she now had ample incentive.

    And still it wasn't enough.

    She had to draw from another source. Draining another of the room's occupants was not an option; the moment she broke her connection with the girl to link with another her lifeforce would dissipate to nothing, her soul unable to return to her body. This left only one option.

    In the objective perception of time, the scene in the room had barely changed. A few steps had been made, blades were beginning to trace deadly arcs as they were swung, and dust motes swirled like snowfall wherever they caught a meagre light. Even less perceptible, so small that even a hypothetical observer could be excused for missing it, the young Devil's lips were pinched in a grimace of determination.

    Indeed, there was only one source that she could possibly tap into: the prize that had lured her into this mess in the first place.

    After all, what was this but another miracle?

    Gremory reached out and touched faith.

    Leila's faith that had been entrusted to Fatima.
    Fatima's faith that had been poured into a wish.
    A wish that pulsed with the strongest emotion.

    "Bring her back!"

    Fine. She was the Devil of Love. If she didn't grant that wish, who would?

    She had said she would. Long ago, she had declared that there was nothing she could not do. She would stay true to herself.

    "You will surely overcome."

    And so she did.

    In that instant, holding the soul of a human in the balance, Gremory saw a glimpse of a truth long lost to the world.
    Then, with a surge of power, she drew upon the ocean of roaring emotions and materialised a miracle.



    It was glorious. Monumental. Truly life-affirming.







    ......so why did she feel like she had royally screwed up?
    Last edited by Leftovers; February 8th, 2019 at 12:21 AM.
    Fanfiction, on occasion.

    /Ep.in lost dream.
    Decoration Disorder Disconnection. Ishizue Arika and Mato Touma. An episode from a hypothetical future.

    Pseudepigrapha
    Snapshots from the world on the eve of the Third Crusade. A Tuitio Mysterii et Obsequium Reliquiarium prequel.

  8. #28
    Act 1. Into the Inferno

    Here rests shattered souls and broken dreams

    ???
    Inferno
    The Present


    The sound of an alarm going off suddenly brought the sleeping woman back to reality.

    A dream? How long has it been since she had one of those. A wave of unease began to creep through her mind. Was it some type or premonition about the upcoming day? Some sort of warning about an unexpected incident going to occur.

    With a single thought she pushed all those concerns aside. It didn't matter. There was no avoiding her responsibilities, no delaying the inevitable.

    She was the one who had thrown the gauntlet. The challenge had been issued. There was no backing down.

    This was something she decided upon herself, and she would see it through one way or another.

    This was no time to idly daydream about the past. It was time to get to work, and prepare for whatever the day may bring.




    Ana
    Inferno - Upper level s, private residential district
    The Present- Morning


    Ana stood in front of the gates leading to a rather fancy mansion. Compared to the rampant poverty that ran throughout the circles of Inferno, this area stuck out like a sore thumb. But no matter when and where it is, there will be someone who claws their way to the top.

    In other words, these houses belong to some of the higher ups within the Night Parade's gang. It wasn't exactly a hard kept secret. These were men who bleed and stole what little wealth Inferno possessed and proceeded to flaunt it for all the world to see. And anybody who dared protest would vanish, only to reappear a few days later beaten within an inch of their lives.

    That suited Ana just fine.

    She recalled her meeting with Yuri, a thief who was beginning to gain somewhat of a reputation in certain circles. Of course, since that fateful day a while back, Ana had also begun to gain a minor reputation in those same circles. That's probably why she found Ana and proposed they team up for a job. On one hand, Ana was still a bit wary on trusting others, but on the other hand, a girl has to eat. Furthermore, she possessed no particular love for the perspective targets of Yuri's job. And finally, reputation counted for a lot in these circles, and news of betrayal would make finding future partners rather difficult.

    Besides, Yuri had already give Ana a 'down payment' for her role.

    And her role was a simple one. To put it simply, all she had to do was be a distraction.

    Ana glanced again at the target's mansion. She could see one guard standing near the doorway, but there were probably several more in the area. It was also early in the day, so there wasn't much people around. Furthermore, it was a big day today. The big event had finally arrived, and no doubt a lot of people were interested in that, decreasing the amount of passersby even further. On the other hand, it was still a very public area, so the guards probably couldn't go too overboard. However, the same applied to Ana, in that it would probably be a poor idea to create a huge spectacle and let her secret out.

    In that case, what was her best option?



    Ashley Harker
    Inferno- Dragon's Den: Luxury Apartments
    The Present-Morning



    From the outside the building looked like a normal apartment complex, perhaps a bit above the general quality of buildings of Inferno, but unlikely something that would garner a second glance.

    At first, anyhow. And while it was very likely that the majority of its inhabitants were probably normal civilians, Harker knew that the top floor luxury suites were all owned by gangsters.

    Which brings us to why Harker was there. The reason was, because at his core, he was a man who fought for the people, and would not ignore the plights of people in need. And the past few months there has been a noticeable uprise in human abductions in the local neighborhoods. Parents were not arriving home, children were vanishing from their houses, and families were being torn apart. These numbers began to exceed even the normal dangerous environment of Inferno and seemed to hint at a systematic operation. Privately, several victims had already tearfully gone to Harker but one way or another this wasn't something that he could ignore.

    After weeks of investigating, he began to piece together a picture from the information he gathered. The locations these kidnappings occurred all seemed to happen on the territory of the Seven Sin's gang. Specifically, Julius's 'Pride' faction.

    Which brings us back to the present day. One of the upper lieutenants of his gang lived on the very top floor of this apartment. As one might expect, such a place was filled with all types of security measures, and was essentially as secure from outside breaching as a castle keep.

    Under common sense anyway. Something that could no longer apply to the man known as Ashley Harker.

    He landed without a sound on the apartment's balcony. At the moment, the place seemed empty. Fortunately for him, with all the commotion today would inevitably bring, the Seven Sin's upper echelon's attention would be fully occupied elsewhere. And if his suspicions were true, there should probably be some clues somewhere.




    Stray Dog
    Inferno-Underworld Coliseum
    The Present-Morning


    The air was filled with the sounds of shouts and screams as well as the smell of cheap booze and smoke. This place was somewhere outside the reach of the law, as well as a rare neutral territory between the gangs of Inferno. Faction leaders from both the Seven Sins and Night Parade recognize the important services that such underground fighting arenas provided, and reached a tentative agreement allowing these venues to operate independently as long as they continue to provide their cut. And among these venues, the 'Underworld Coliseum' was among one of the more popular ones. Even on a day like today, there was a sizeable audience and steady fights.

    It was a fitting name, for it was an arena for fighters to battle for the amusement and entertainment of a watching crowd. While deaths were actually somewhat uncommon as most fights ended before it got that far, severe wounds and crippling injuries were common everyday occurrences. Make no mistake, this was a place for blood to be shed.

    Stray Dog was sitting in his tiny waiting room connected to the arena, waiting for his match to begin. His first entry in this type of 'entertainment'. What it came down to in the end was the fact that a person had to eat, and he didn't exactly have any type of income or money. One inquiry led to another and after a long chain of questions eventually found him over here.

    He was here as an 'appetizer'. All he had to do was go into the ring and last a certain amount of time against his opponent. Of course, if he managed to defeat his enemy his payment would be much longer, but as a complete unknown against a 'veteran' of these matches, nobody had any expectations of him.

    At last, his time came. The door to the arena was opened, and he slowly made his way into the ring. It was... fairly plain, as far as locations go. A circular ring about a hundred feet wide with a dirt floor. Here and there were old bloodstains, souvenirs from past fights. And if one looked up, one could see the crowds of people sitting in the stands, yelling and screaming for blood.

    Across from him, his opponent entered as well. A large, muscular man which greatly contrasted to Stray Dog's own physique. Upon seeing Stray Dog, his face showed an expression of disappointment.

    "You're my opponent? You know where you are boy? You looking to get yourself killed? This ain't no place for someone like you."

    Spoiler:

    Griffon-Veteran Underground Fighter




    Theola August
    Inferno-Officer May's house
    The Present-Morning


    Theola stood alone in a bedroom with the remains of a corpse. No, the object could barely be called a corpse. After all, corpse implies human body and the thing before her had been completely and utterly maimed and destroyed almost beyond the point of recognition.

    Almost...

    Officer May. A rookie that had recently joined Theola's squad. She had been a tough girl, an orphan who grew up on the streets of Inferno like so many other people. But despite coming from such a hellish environment, or perhaps because of it she never ended up becoming 'twisted'. She was honest, straightforward, and a hard worker who fought her way up but never betrayed her own principles. She was a noble, naive person who dreamed of helping and protecting those in needs so that her own experiences wouldn't be repeated.

    And now that dream had been cruelly brought to an end. Theola was no stranger to dead bodies. But this was something else. Even in her... previous life where corpses were an everyday occurrence. Back then, killing people was simply a job. But this was the result of someone's 'hobby'. There was no other reason for someone to go this far in the destruction of a human. Her entire body was shredded by countless cuts and slices, almost like she had been thrown into a thresher. And to make matters worse, she wasn't the only one.

    It wasn't public knowledge yet, but Theola knew that there was a string of murder cases recently with corpses like this. It was likely the work of a serial killer or perhaps even a group. May had actually been investigating a bit on her own time... but this wasn't the time for that.

    The remaining three members of Theola's squad were downstairs. As the squad's captain she had a duty to witness the crime scene, but she had at least wanted to spare the rest of her squad the sight of their former teammate.

    She had come a long way. It wasn't something she often thought about, but this crime scene made her recollect some memories she thought she had locked away. It almost felt like a lifetime ago where she broke taboo for the sake of her wish. For the sake of a new life. At that moment, the person she was died and Theola August had been born. Afterwards, she joined the Eden police force. Her skills helped her stand out from the other rookies and she was quickly moved up until she eventually arrived in squad #117, 'Starlight'. The name didn't actually have any particular meaning beyond the current captain of the squad liking the sound of it. That Captain... had been strong. Theola had been a bit of a rising star up to that point, but Captain Akagami showed her that she still had much she could learn. Theola had only been trained in how to kill, but she taught Theola how to win, and much more.

    Eventually, she had been promoted out of the squad, and nominated Theola for her role. And this was how Theola had inherited the 'Starlight' and became captain of squad #117.

    She suddenly snapped to attention again. This was no time to reminisce about the past. She had work to do. And once she had finished with her investigations, the chief had wanted to see her, likely to do with the security for today's big event.



    Asher Bharrant
    Inferno-Jolly Fool's Bar
    The Present-Morning


    Asher sat at a table by himself nursing a drink. In a place like this, it was best to not draw attention to oneself. Despite what it's innocent sounding name would have one believe, the Jolly Fool is one of the more popular underworld hubs. Here people of a certain... inclination could meet one another and discuss business without prying ears. And it goes without saying that anybody caught trying to eavesdrop would soon find themselves in a rather difficult situation, to say the least. Even on an important day like this, there was still plenty of business to be discussed.

    It was a dog eat dog world out there, he knew that. Ever since he committed the forbidden sin, ever since he swore he would trample upon the happiness of others in order to obtain his own happiness, his life had taken a different turn. And yet still, he found himself being suppressed. Even with his newfound will and ability, in the end he was essentially a single man fighting a war against everybody in the city.

    Against such impossible odds, the best thing to do would be to find allies, preferably people who shared a similar mindset. And he knew exactly where to find such people. Or to more specific, person.

    Sen, Sin of Wrath of the Seven Sins gang. She was someone who could be considered somewhat of a celebrity, if you can call it that. A person who lived her life free to her own desires, bound by neither the rules of the city nor the opinions of society, and with the strength to back it up. Whatever she wants, she takes with her own power, regardless of who or what is in the way. And in such a fashion, without even trying , people began gathering around her until she had her own faction. Such people almost seem to have a certain gravitational pull.

    In a way, the way she lived her life was something that Ashter couldn't help but respect. The will, the drive to solely be concerned with one's own happiness at the expense of anyone else's. It was an extraordinarily selfish kind of thinking, but on the other hand it was the fault of the weak for being exploited.

    Back to the point, Asher had been providing some minor assistance to members of her faction over the past few months and eventually his work had paid off. Today, he would be meeting with a more senior member of the organization and perhaps seeing if a more... professional relationship could be reached.

    As Asher reminisced, suddenly a large man took the seat opposite him at the table. With a grin, he offered him his hand.

    "Asher Bharrant, I assume? What are the odds. My name is Ash. How do you do?"

    Spoiler:

    Ash-Seven Sins Member, Wrath Faction





    Fatima and Gremory
    Inferno-Night Parade territory
    The Present-Morning


    The pair walked down a long and winding passage. They were currently in a rather large building located deep within Night Parade's territory that functioned as one of their hidden 'strongholds'. There were no floor plans or building maps; however the two of them had been given very specific instructions in order to get them to reach their destination. It goes without saying that it was probably in their best interest to follow the instructions to the letter; it would not be surprising for a 'stronghold' like this to contain numerous traps.

    They had not been given any reason for this summons, but the two of them had a pretty good idea. In the past few months, after the incident Fatima had begun producing excellent results and quickly rising above the result of her compatriots. And of course, her companion 'Leila' was right at her side. Their work had no doubt been noted by several of the Night Parade bigshots so what this had to be was finally a promotion to the big leagues. So to speak.

    Of course, it was also quite possible that some head felt threatened by the two of them or felt them to be a danger and were arranging for them to preemptively be disposed of. Despite having both the Seven Sins and the Inferno Police department breathing down their necks, the fractured factions that made up the Night Parade were never quite as unified as their counterparts. Such internal strife and politics were not uncommon.

    At last, the two of them made it to the end of their maze and found themselves standing outside a closed door. With both possibilities in mind, but no other options really presenting themselves, Fatima and Gremory slowly opened the door. Waiting in the room was a young woman wearing glasses, patiently sitting behind a table, waiting for them. She gestured for the two of them to enter.

    "Hello. I am Miss Grey, a secretary for Mr. Faeng." The woman adjusted her glasses for a moment before giving the two of them a thin-lipped smile. "Please be at ease, and allow me to congratulate the two of you on your promotion."

    Spoiler:

    Miss Grey-Night Parade Secretary
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  9. #29
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Stray Dog
    Inferno-Underworld Coliseum
    The Present-Morning



    "..."

    He could feel the vibrations of the crowd through the soles of his bare feet.

    "..."

    There must be a lot of them. That was good. It would be enough money to last for a while, if all of them began to bet. He'd bet too, with his remaining money - on himself.

    "..."

    It's not like he'd lose, anyways.

    The door of the arena opened, and with his scabbard dragging along the floor, he made his way out to the ring. It was bright, much brighter than the waiting room had been, and he shielded his eyes for a moment, feeling dirt beneath his toes.

    As his vision adjusted, he saw the crowd, bigger than even he had thought, shouting and screaming in the stands, stomping their feet and calling for blood. To another person, it would have been deafening - but to someone who was already deaf, it washed over him.

    He glanced over as his opponent entered the ring, eyes fixed on the larger man's lips as he began to speak.

    "You're my opponent? You know where you are boy? You looking to get yourself killed? This ain't no place for someone like you."

    He pulled his sword out of his scabbard, holding it comfortably in his right hand. The tip of the sword - something a little larger than average, as a whole - dragged gently against the ground. He could still feel the vibrations of the crowd through his feet, but something else was beginning to drown them out.

    The familiar beating of his heart.

    Stray Dog smiled.

    With his left hand, he gave a one-fingered salute to the other fighter.

    Come on.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  10. #30
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Ana
    Inferno - Upper levels, private residential district
    The Present- Morning

    Ana could have taken the easy option. Ana could just charge right in and unleash carnage and slaughter everyone in her way. Her newest and dearest friend was very inspirational, giving her a kind of backbone and strength she didn't have before. She was strong now, very strong. So much she didn't know how to handle it. In Ana's profession dealing with problems usually meant lying, cheating, stealing, running or a combination of the above. Now ripping people in half was an option.

    Ana liked that. It was very cathartic for her built up anger.

    I could just walk up to him and break him.

    It wasn't the most efficient thing to do. She was hear to do a job and although Ana didn't exactly have any friends in that house over there but assaulting people in broad daylight was a surefire way to make more enemies than friends. Ana needed to make a scene and for that she needed to make an audience. The best way to make a scene however was to be loud and insufferable.

    Fortunately, she knew just the type of person to imitate. The loud, entitled and utterly insufferable rich kid... The kind of person with no merit or talent of their own and rode entirely off the coattails of their friends and family and had a very inflated sense of self-worth.

    Ana adjusted herself to make her features stand out more, fixed her hair, puckered up her lips and strutted her way forward, swinging her lips with notable exaggeration.

    "Um excuse me" Ana yelled out to the guard, channelling every heiress, gold digger and bimbo she had ever had the delight of meeting. "This is my boyfriends place, he's expecting me. You better let me in!"

    God she hoped he'd say no.
    Quest of Fate Apocrypha Universe Fate Quest "OG Fate Quest"
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    King Prussia Today at 16:32 You're the Hermes we need, Hermes


  11. #31
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Ashley Harker
    Inferno- Dragon's Den: Luxury Apartments
    The Present-Morning


    Harker moves lightly through the building, looking with distaste at the signs of luxury and excess that oozes through these halls. Every door is like a painting, and the carpet itself whispers of a life that he could never lead; there is so much money in this apartment building that it is hard for him to even look at how much these people had, while everyone else lived with nothing.

    This is the Dragon's Den.

    This is the Sin of Pride.

    Harker stands outside a door, behind which he knows is a man who may be able to answer him when he demands to know what has been happening to the children, the lost, and the stolen and stares at it for a moment. The door itself seems plain, but behind it...

    There's so much more to the world then what Harker could see.

    Every part of him knows this, and yet he cannot help but stare at that door with piercing eyes and realize that luxury tastes like ashes in his mouth when it's to the disadvantage of others. Raising his hand, Harker reaches for the door--

    And knocks.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  12. #32
    Asher Bharrant
    Inferno-Jolly Fool's Bar
    The Present-Morning

    So, this is the place, Asher thought to himself after getting his drink.
    The Jolly Fool's bar, an underground meeting ground mixing both business and pleasure for those of ill intentions. To call it popular wouldn't be false, despite the Governor of Inferno making a speech today, the place was still filled with all kinds of folk. Whether it'd the distressed young couple in the back keenly listening to some punk, the group of twenty-somethings talking like they own the world, or the older gentlemen talking, perhaps too loudly, about how some bitch was going to get 'it' soon, all kinds of people around.

    But I wasn't looking for some classless nobodies, I was here on business. A quick look around told me that the people currently here were more occupied with their own business than someone else's, suspicious people sure, but no jolly fools trying to snoop. Finding an unoccupied table removed from anyone too close for comfort, Asher took a seat. And while the music continued on, a nice, jazzy tone, he took a sip of his drink. Seems like this place was a good pick.

    "Not bad, not bad at all." Perhaps if things went right today, the road ahead wouldn't be so hard to bear. While the hope of his dream was restored, the journey was still long, arduous and lonely. One man fighting the world, even after gaining the miracle of the supernatural, such a thing could not be done alone. But Asher needn't be alone, his parents were gone, and the brother he grew up with had also found death's cold embrace. Out of respect and care, Asher vowed not to involve the people he had helped. But those unlucky many that take, rob, plunder and kill, now they could be used.

    If I am to rise up, I'll do so using the bastards that pull others down, Asher thought in his head. If I must sin to reach the heavens, then I shall. And my first sin shall be...

    ...wrath.

    And now, after months of work, the payoff was here, to meet with a senior member. Sen herself wouldn't be around of course, most likely occupied with whatever she felt like doing today.
    Asher wouldn't admit it, but while researching the leaders of the Underworld of Inferno, he felt some strange connection to Sen. An admiration formed while reading about her. While Asher's new life of destruction had only just begun, she had been living her life much like he would now going forward. Trampling on the happiness of others to obtain your own, who better to cooperate with than someone with the same mindset.

    Somewhat lost in thought while the music playing changed tone, a tall man approached Asher and sat himself down on the other side of the table. Offering his hand with a grin, the man introduced himself.

    "Asher Bharrant, I assume? What are the odds. My name is Ash. How do you do?"

    Asher shook the man's hand as he took in the image of the man. Tall, brown hair, eyes with a color close to turquoise, well build, a firm grip too. Though he was not exactly what Asher had expected, he certainly was the one he had come here for.
    Meeting the man's name with a smile of his own, Asher greeted him.

    "A pleasure to meet you, Ash. And please, just call me Asher."

    This is it, I think to myself, no going back.

    I stare in his eyes, wondering how a man like him managed to get where he is. The thing he's had to do to get where he is, and the things I'll need to do get even higher.

    "So Ash, why don't you get yourself a drink as well. Then we can talk business. What you can do for me, and perhaps more importantly, what I can do for you."

    This is the path I've chosen. Once more I shall continue to cause conflict, destruction, pain and misery.
    All for the sake of my beloved dream.



    But then, why... just why... did those terrible things...

    start feeling so good.

  13. #33
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Theola August
    Inferno-Officer May's house
    The Present-Morning


    Death was by no means a stranger to Theola- her life had been one which had flirted with it many times, be it her own or that of her enemies. That had not changed, even after her rebirth. There was no end to the scum that lay in this city, after all. Thus, a corpse could hardly be considered an unusual sight.

    There was a saying that human beings could adapt to any circumstance- that with sufficient repetition, any sight no matter how mundane or extraordinary, could be reduced to nothing more than tedium.

    Theola hoped that such a saying would never apply to herself.

    She had chosen to spare her team the grisly sight of their former comrade, but Theola herself did not shy away from it. Instead, after a brief investigation of the room for any clues, she once again approached the corpse and stared at its face, reminding herself of who the body had once been.

    May was promising young officer. She was someone who had remained true to her principles amidst this cursed world that they lived in- for that alone, Theola thought that she was worthy of respect and admiration. A much better person than herself, at any rate.

    And yet, her life had been snuffed out so easily. If she needed any reminder about the cruelty of the people who inhabited this world, then this was it.

    Theola briefly wondered how her former commander might have responded to such a situation. She too, was a person worthy of respect and admiration- not just for her character, but her abilities. Perhaps she would have had some poignant farewells to say to a deceased comrade, or some insight into capturing the criminal would have her leaving the scene right away. Or, perhaps she would have been able to avoid such a situation altogether. Maybe they could have caught the culprit before so many victims had popped up.

    Theola could not know. What she did know, however, was what she would do.

    Tightening her grip on the sword at her side, she swore to return the favor- to do unto this killer as they themselves had done to others. To this end, she burned the sight of the corpse into her eyes.

    Given that she herself had met with a devil, it would be foolish to deny that their existed existence beyond death. It would be nice then, she thought, if such an act could bring some peace to the people who had fallen to this murderer. But even if it did not, she felt not the slightest bit of hesitation for the vengeance she had sworn to inflict. For the sake of the victims- Theola had long stopped hiding behind pathetic excuses like that to justify her actions.

    What she had chosen to do was for nothing more than for her own sake- for her own justice.

    Her resolve made, she left to meet with her team.

  14. #34
    Stray Dog
    Inferno-Underworld Coliseum
    The Present-Morning


    Come on.

    The meaning behinds Stray Dog's actions were clear to not just the opposing fighter, but to all the spectators as well. The arena erupted into as they eagerly anticipated the bloodbath's beginning.

    His opponent shrugged, seemingly unaffected by the provocation.

    "Suit yourself."

    The next moment, he charged Stray Dog with a deceptive speed that seemed unfitting of his size.

    Fast. But not too fast to follow. About the same speed as Stray Dog himself.

    He swung his weapon forward at the smaller fighter, seeking to crush him in a single blow.

    Ana
    Inferno - Upper levels, private residential district
    The Present- Morning

    "Um excuse me. This is my boyfriends place, he's expecting me. You better let me in!"
    "..."

    The man in the black suit raised an eyebrow in surprise. He started to say something but quickly bit back on his words. He had clearly never seen this girl but that didn't mean anything. And he also couldn't just dismiss the possibility that she was telling the truth, because if so and she complained later in person later, he would be the one in hot water.

    "I'm sorry, but Mr. Wosnda is currently very busy at the moment and requested to not be disturbed."

    He settled for simply repeating what he had been told earlier.

    Ashley Harker
    Inferno- Dragon's Den: Luxury Apartments
    The Present-Morning

    Silence greeted Harker. Like the rest of the apartment, the final room proved to be empty as well, containing no trace of the resident living within. No doubt the man was out on some dirty business at this very second, but still that presented Harker with a rather unique opportunity.

    Still this was a place almost too large and luxurious to be called a mere apartment. Harker moved back through the hallways and reviewed the basic layout. Kitchen, living area, hallway, bedroom, and study. This was the basic breakdown of this place's layout. There's also probably some evidence laying somewhere in this place that will point him in the right direction, but the question is where?

    Or he could just wait and ambush him when he comes back but who knows when that'll happen.

    Asher Bharrant
    Inferno-Jolly Fool's Bar
    The Present-Morning

    "A pleasure to meet you, Ash. And please, just call me Asher."
    The man grinned. "Will do, Asher. Will do."

    "So Ash, why don't you get yourself a drink as well. Then we can talk business. What you can do for me, and perhaps more importantly, what I can do for you."
    "Don't mind if I do." Ash took out a flask from inside his jacket and poured into his cup a clear liquid. He held this glass up, almost as if for a toast.

    "To business and pleasure"

    "Anyway, as for what you can do for us, and for what we can do for you, it's basically the same thing, isn't it?" He said once he finished. "Anything we want. As potential kindred spirits, isn't it better to work alongside one another?"

    Theola August
    Inferno-Officer May's house
    The Present-Morning

    She made her way down the stairs and outside to where the rest of her squad had been nervously waiting. They were more or less aware of what happened, but that knowledge combined with their own inexperience had rattled them. Seeing them nervously wait like this confirmed her decision to not like them see May's body. Not because it was the dead corpse of a former comrade so much as the extent to which it had been brutally mutilated.

    "How was it," asked Jules. His voice had just the tiniest crack in it, but he was doing his best to suppress his inner emotions. The two other members of her squad watched Theola, waiting with anxious expressions for something that would put their mind at ease.
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  15. #35
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Ana
    Inferno - Upper levels, private residential district
    The Present- Morning

    "I'm sorry, but Mr. Wosnda is currently very busy at the moment and requested to not be disturbed."
    "Um, how about no". Ana was happy he had said that, it have her the opportunity she needed. She pouted and looked to the left, to the right and over the guard's shoulder. "Where's my honey?"

    Doing her best to look impatient, she wasn't actually looking for Mr. Wosnda. What she was looking to perceive was structural weak points in the building, places where there were less guards and places she could get a vantage point from neighbouring buildings.

    After a few seconds trying to get a shot at every angle, she took a step back - lest she look too suspicious. Switching her 'fake pout' to 'unpleasable retail customer' in terms of expression, she pulled out a phone.

    "You don't let me in and I'll call him up right now. You can explain to your boss why you're not letting his main slice see him. That sound good to you?"
    Quest of Fate Apocrypha Universe Fate Quest "OG Fate Quest"
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  16. #36
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Theola August
    Inferno-Officer May's house
    The Present-Morning


    In response to his query, Theola paused for a moment, carefully considering her next words- but it was to no avail, for she could not think of anything that could help put the team at ease. She was not a person of eloquent speech- instead, she decided to simply say what she wanted to say, and hope for the best.

    “It’s not a pretty sight.” Her voice was stern and cold, as if conveying the severity of the situation. “It’s for the best that you guys don’t take a look.”

    With that said, she turned to address the rest of the team, facing them with a solid and firm expression.

    “Officer May was a good subordinate. As a fellow human being, I can say with all sincerity that I regret her passing deeply, and that I hope she may rest in peace. I imagine that you all feel the same way as well, and I understand that her departure has left us all feeling off.”

    “But,” she continued, “we are not merely just fellow human beings, and neither are we merely coworkers. We are members of the police force. It is our job to prevent future incidents like these- so even if it is unreasonable, I must ask that you all stay strong, and do not let this affect your work for now. Work,” She emphasized, with her tone of voice growing slightly more heated, “that will include without question, finding whoever did this and bringing them to justice.”

    “As your captain, that much I will guarantee you- I will see to it that May has not perished in vain.”

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