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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #1161
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Big Boy’s Gas Station
    Phase: Road’s End
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain


    Finishing her roll into the bar, Anna back up on her feet, dusted herself off (for what little good it did to her) and seated herself down behind the nearest table, right next to the door itself. While the others no doubt had questions about what had just happened outside, Anna was hardly in a mood to explain anything to anyone at the moment.

    Instead, she merely closed her eyes and tried to make sense of just what had happened moments before.

    A hulking steel armor, draped in elaborate gold and purple furnishings, possessed by an intense will and strength that defied logic and common sense. While it would be something she would need to confirm further, its presence in these lands was a… distortion. To begin with, the chances of any natural phenomena in these lands taking that specific shape was extremely low. That specific form, that of a knight, was inexorably bound to tales of the Old World, after all. Which led her to believe that it wasn’t something that had naturally arisen here. Rather it had been an invasive presence brought here by something… or someone.

    Well, that was the least of her worries. The “fight” itself, if it could even be called that, had been nothing more than a farce.

    Mobility.

    The gap was too small. Never mind ten meters, based on its acceleration and overall capacity, that things effective combat range is at least fifteen meters, if not more. It’s was also somehow elevating its natural movement speed, based on how easily it crossed the gap and attacked. Even for humans dancing on the very limits of human capacity, such a feat would simply be impossible unassisted.

    Power.

    And that physical strength… ridiculous. It’s undoubtedly abberant, no matter the scale you use or perspective you look at it. To take my hand off with a single strike… that type of shit usually doesn’t come without downsides though… Well, not like it mattered. It beat the stuffing out of me either way.

    Technique.

    It has some capacity for telekinesis, that’s for sure. That “knight” simply hid his blade and then “called” upon the blade to perform the first strike. From the looks of it, the scale isn’t really a concern, but the fine control… It probably doesn’t make a lick of difference whether it fights at range using telekinesis or wields the sword himself. That, coupled with that insane strength, most likely means that it can swing at everyone and everything within at least a fifteen meter radius as if it was standing right next to them.

    ...in all those aspects she had been lacking, when compared to the hulking knight.

    Or well, that wasn’t completely true. In hindsight, she had options to deal with the situation, but due to being both trapped by the situation and her own lack of foresight, she had simply completely played into his strengths. In a manner most fatal, in fact.

    Incoherrent flashes of crimson flashed briefly before her eyes, as she felt a phantom pain trace across her chest.

    And then there were the fragmentary memories she had, along with the entire spectacle that had unfolded afterward. She had nowhere enough information to even speculate, but…

    Anna briefly opened her eyes and turned them towards Caleb.

    Unlike Caleb’s look, which seemed to no small amount of frustration, Anna’s own expression was completely blank, devoid of all emotion. The non-expressiveness was remarkably out of place on the raven-haired girls face, but one thing was certain at least.

    The relationship between the two had fundamentally changed. And judging by the cold glint that momentarily passed through Anna’s eyes, it hadn't been for the better.

    "Should be fine in an hour."

    “...”

    The Estonian girl didn’t say anything in response, merely closed her eyes and fell back into the depths of her mind.

  2. #1162
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Avery’s Diner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "It used to be all the rave back in 80's, seriously..."

    Feeling a sense of unity in being targeted by the same menace, as well as a pang of guilt for the man who defended him so wholeheartedly, Colt patted Tommy on the shoulder. As far as taste went, an unorthodox environment had bred a far different kind in Colt than most of his peers. As far as he was concerned, the fringe look was still in.

    “Don’t pay it no mind, Tommy. He’s just trying to get under your skin.”

    Someone else seemed to have noticed Travis’ bright and cheery personality, as Avery not so subtly threatened gave him the eye.

    Hoping that it’d stay dead, but knowing that it likely wouldn’t, Colt took another sip. Truthfully, he had dreaded confronting the inevitable rumors about the shower incident. But having it shoved in his face by someone so blatantly trying to get at him, it didn’t feel as bad as he had expected. There was still that drop in his mood. Nobody could walk out of a gust of dirty gossip about them without feeling something.

    But maybe it was just because it was so obvious that it was meant to bother him, that if only for a minute, it didn’t feel as big of a deal as it really was. Or maybe it was just having Tommy stick up for him.

    But that stabbed him with a different feeling.

    Gotta shape up.

    He glanced to his side, at Tommy.

    Live up to expectations ‘n all that.

    "You alright, dude? “ Just then, Cathie whispered from his other side. Reminding him that there were more things to worry about than Tommy’s blind faith in his character. “Sounds like you ain't the most popular chump back at your school... And what's this about peeping into girls' showers?"

    Colt set his drink down.

    “I’ve been better.” For a second he glanced at her, then turned to stare straight ahead. Over the counter and at the various kitchen essentials around the diner. “I had a bad scuffle during breakfast the other day. I went to apologize, but the girl I got into it with was in the showers.”

    He paused and scratched himself above the eyebrow.

    It’s not like he really did go in to look. The part where he seriously debated between going in or not… that would be better off omitted.

    “Well, that’s where the rumor comes from. I waited outside with another classmate for her to come out, and well… when she came out, it just escalated. But a guy getting into it with a girl over at the pool showers, word gets around.”


  3. #1163
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    For a moment, Subaru simply stared at Alexstrasza with a rather passive look on her face... and then, out of nowhere, heaved a little sigh. Much could be read into that sigh, but at the very least, the smaller girl wasn't rising to the argument that the blonde student was trying to start with her words. Instead, she let the talk pass by her, once again acting like a mountain buffeted by a violent wind.

    "... Well, if that is the way you feel, then that is the way you feel," Subaru answered, picking up Tonkori from the ground as she did. "Truth appears to us as we view it, so in that sense, I can understand it feeling malleable, relative even. The same is true with how oppressive mortality can feel, to the point of viewing it as a ruling force. Therefore there is nothing wrong with emotions such as yours."

    Gently scratching her dog behind the ear (who was still looking down at Alexstrasza with that smug look on his face), Subaru stopped talking for a moment, concentrating on the living being in her arms. Then, when she finally looked back at the blonde student again, the passive look on her face was gone. Instead, she simply smiled at the older girl. Very kindly, and very patiently.

    "As for gods, well, that all depends on how you view gods, does it not? As I understand, in western theology gods are understood at existing beings, personified forces. That is quite similar to my Shinto cousins," Subaru spoke. "That is one way to view it, and perhaps not a wrong one. I do not claim to be an expert of the subject, after all, despite my rank and position."

    For some reason the smaller girl shook her head quietly and looked over into the distance, into the depths of the rain-swept forest. At the same time, her expression changed a little and she heaved another small sigh. It was under that breath that she muttered something in a language that none of those gathered could understand, something that sounded much like:

    "...... Ramusak pooho ......"

    Well, maybe it was not unknown to everyone.

    After all, Souma Nubatama's eye twitched ever so slightly as he looked at Alexstrasza and then, after a moment of silence of his own, the boy smiled a bit wider and went.

    "................... Heh."

    However, almost immediately afterwards his smile became almost sarcastic and he glanced over at John, tapping his own forehead with his gloved finger.

    "--- You're right. It does eat into the image I'm trying to build, doesn't it?"

    He chuckled under his breath, before putting his hands back on his hips and looking at the scene unfolding before their eyes between the two girls. Well, Subaru seemed to have washed her hands form the whole debacle by now. Mostly it was just Alexstrasza's words still hanging in the air... and one Akita puppy looking at the blonde girl down his nose, like in the animal had been above her in the growing hierarchy between these two groups that had been growing. Old wisdom spoke that dogs would not respect your authority if you looked them in the eyes, but in this case... it was like the animal was already being disrespectful, and was now mocking the girl with that stare.

    "As for this whole situation, we are not required to handle anything," Souma continued quietly. "If the two of them want to strut their stuff, let them. They are free to boast all they want."

    The golden eye narrowed.

    "... You won't learn that a knife is sharp until you cut yourself, after all."

    In the background, a smug bark could be heard, Subaru looking somewhat confused at her pet's sudden behavior towards Alexstrasza.

  4. #1164
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka & Hisa Momoi & Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Through Prushka tackling him, through Hisa slapping him, through Vivienne patting him, Pyry had stayed silent. He had taken all of it with a stoic expression on his face, almost like he was understanding where everyone was coming from and that he deserved every bit of it. It was not until almost a minute later after everyone had said their pieces that the boy finally moved. He looked up to the sky that was coated in dark clouds, so black that stars could no longer be seen, and muttered something in a foreign language under his breath. Then, very slowly, he looked back down, face wet with the rain and his healthy cheek glowing red where Hisa had slapped him.

    "I know... I know," the boy quietly spoke. "That was a stupid thing to do."

    He lifted his hand and put it on top of Prushka's head, just holding it there. Perhaps trying to comfort the girl, perhaps trying to get her ease on the squeezing of his mid-section. Whatever the case, the hand was certainly warm. Rough, calloused and with broken skin where blood still seeped out from... but definitely warm.

    "But it's alright, Squirt. Come on. No need to cry. We're all safe now, right?" Pyry tried to console the small girl. "I mean, I had to do something. I made a promise to you lot, after all. No, even if I didn't, just the thought that any one of you was in danger, well... I can't just sit and wait if something like that goes down. That's what friends do, right? Help each other out?"

    For a moment, a tired grin rose to the lanky boy's face.

    "Not to mention the thought of that whackjob pointing a gun at you guys, well... it pissed me off something fierce."

    Still keeping his hand on top of Prushka's head, Pyry shifted his attention to Vivienne, who was now standing next to Hisa. The boy's expression was a strange one, but what was definitely clear there was some sort of gratitude. Perhaps, even if the girl couldn't express her emotions at all, even if her attempts to make him feel better had come across as awkward and strange, Pyry had still felt something. The old expression of "It's the thought that counts" seemed to hold true here. That was why he now smiled his thanks wordlessly to the girl.

    "Appreciate the umbrella, Vivs," Pyry said and chuckled, suddenly thanking her for something completely inconsequential. "I think I've had enough rain for one week. Tomorrow, I'm just gonna stay inside and sleep all day. So yeah... again. Thanks. You're pretty cool in my books, y'know."

    It was clear that wasn't what he was really thanking her for, but those were the words he chose.

    And that left the final one out of the three, the one who had taken time to slap the holy hell out of the boy's healthy cheek. Even if Pyry had not even budged at the hit, he still clearly felt it. Even in the darkness of the forest where evening had turned to night, the shape of a hand could be seen clearly on the boy's cheek. It would probably remain red for a good day or two.

    But from the looks of it, Pyry didn't mind.

    "Hisa... you know... sorry," the boy started. "I know that was hell of a stupid thing to do, but, like I said... I had to do something. I couldn't leave you lot with that loony. I mean, I couldn't exactly hear what was going on, but the sound of your voice told me things were getting pretty heated up. I figured it'd turn out even worse if I didn't act."

    Pyry hang his head for a moment, searching for the right words before he continued.

    "... But I'd do it again. And will do if I have to," he quietly said, barely audible over the rain. "I'm not just gonna abandon my buddies. And I can take a bullet or two... I think. Though getting back to MMA after that might be a bit hard. Not saying that I want to take any bullets, of course, but still... I'd rather suffer some than endanger you guys."

    The boy looked aside, into the rain.

    "... Sorry about that. But that's just who I am."

    The tense atmosphere of the old saw mill was now almost completely gone, replaced by the solemn sounds of rain and relief, mixed with adrenaline that was slowly leaving everyone's bodies. Soon enough exhaustion would hit the group like a fully-loaded truck, and they still had the walk back to civilization, along with a long drive back to the school. There was a high chance both would be awkward and silent, as often were with these things, but at the very least everyone was safe and sound, if a little quiet and shaken after the whole ordeal.

    --- And speaking of quiet, there was one more girl who had been almost forgotten by everyone else that was now approaching the group.

    Ubon, with an uncharacteristically serious expression on her face, walked through the hole into the outside air where everyone else was. She stopped to look at the group, and even in the dim light of the evening-turning-to-night, people could see tears welling up in the corners of her eyes. But the cyanhead held her ground and continued that walk, all the way over to where Prushka and Pyry were. There she stopped, put her hand over Pyry's so that she too was comforting Prushka, and looked at them both.

    "... I dun wanna feel that again. For realsies," Ubon whimpered. "I thought I was gonna lose all of you. I hate that. I hate feeling like that. I wanna be happy, not like... this."

    She shook her head with clear determination.

    "We're never doing this again. Or I'm out. I dun wanna see my friends die... not again..."

    --- What followed was a rather feeble attempt at headbutting Pyry which ended up striking him in the chest.

    After that, Ubon wordlessly walked over to where Hisa was and, before the girl could even stop her, wrapped her arms around her and pulled the scarred girl into one hell of a bear hug that threatened to drive air out of her lungs.

    "That goes for you too!" Ubon yelled over the rain. "For God's sake, Hizzy, I thought you was a goners! Why'd you have to talk to the crazy lady like that!? I was scareds to death! Don't ever do that again, you hear? Ever! For realsies!"

    Watching the cyan-haired girl was like watching a puppy that was kicked asking with a whimper: 'Why?'. Even Pyry turned his gaze away, clearly feeling guilty about what was happening.

  5. #1165
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    John Dove & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Nu fi proastă, da?" I reply, smiling, my native tongue exiting my lips for the first time in many, many moons. "E pur și simplu o... Neînțelegerea?"

    I don't need to sigh to convey my own distaste for the Gods. I don't need to frown, or cry, or even laugh. They're all dead, after all, and I'm still here.

    "I have heard the prayers in half a hundred tongues. Save me, heal me, love me, kill me, harm my enemies, protect my friends -- protect me."

    Save me, oh Gods.

    Help me, oh Gods.

    Make her love me, oh Gods.

    Kill my foes, oh Gods.

    "Protect me from my enemies, from the night, from the war, from the slavers, from the bandits -- and yet, isn't it so interesting, Miss Iburi, that none of those people's prayers were answered?" I tap the side of my nose with half a smile, gesturing to the trees. "In half-a-hundred tongues, and none of them were saved by the Gods. Their faith was not a shield. Their prayers were not a sword. If the Gods are watching, then they must truly be crueler still then man could ever dream of."

    The Gods are dead, and they died an ignominious death, having lost nothing and gained nothing. Their existence was nothing more then a summer storm in the overwhelming history of humankind, a brief reprise in the darkness of the truth.

    "Death, of course, is not such a God. The oppressiveness of mortality is simply that - the fact that everything ends. There are three constants in Gods, no matter the people, the place, or the time. A ruler, one of death, and one of war. As such, does it not make far more sense that man made the Gods in his own image, rather than the other way around?"

    A sigh leaves my lips, and I stretch my arms. It's far too late for theological discussion, and I have little to no interest in such an argument.

    "Haaah, I'm getting too worked up. As a whole, our philosophies simply differ. Whether it is because of our upbringings, or because of our beliefs, I have no interest in a theological argument at this time of night. Souma certainly didn't help with my stress relief," I arch an eyebrow at the man, calmly laughing at the interaction between the two of us. "After all, who on earth invites a girl into the middle of nowhere to threaten her away from peering eyes? Wasn't that truly a bit cruel of you?"
    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.


  6. #1166
    リビングデッド Living Dead Thalraxal's Avatar
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    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Avery's Diner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Elise winced as Colt's head hit the diner's countertop. He lifted his head back up, and turned to see Elise and Travis. He didn't seem to be in any particular pain, but the large red mark on his forehead suggested that hitting the counter had hurt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt Davin
    “That’s right, I’m Colt, apparent peeping tom and loser from Pinefall, but I think all three of us go to Pinefall, and you get into Pinefall by being a loser, so that ain’t sayin’ much. And pay attention to that apparent part. As in, that’s how I appear. Appearances aren’t everything though. Which is to say, I'm innocent. Mostly."
    "Nice to meet you too, Colt!" said Elise sincerely, "Having a rough week, eh?"

    Travis sat down at the counter, taking the seat beside the man with the fringe on his leather jacket seated beside Colt. Elise followed, taking the stool beside Travis.

    The man with the fringe on his leather jacket leapt to Colt's defence, only to have his spirit crushed by Travis. A small part of Elise felt relieved that Travis had found a different target for his mockery, and greatly enjoyed the reprieve. A much larger part of her felt guilty for that, and for being at least partially responsible for unleashing Travis on other human beings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathie
    "Oh, you got that right. Tommy's a huge dork."
    The name caught Elise's attention, and she glanced over at the man with the fringe on his leather jacket, still looking rather dejected as Travis had scored a direct hit on his self-esteem.

    "Wait, are you Jake's friend Tommy?" asked Elise, "He said you were the guy to ask about the native folklore of the area."

    Quote Originally Posted by Avery
    "And what about you, love? What would you like?"
    Elise internally sighed in relief as Avery gave her a gentle smile rather than the glare she'd reserved for Travis.

    She deserves a large tip for having to put up with Travis.

    "Uhm, I know it's late, but you wouldn't happen to still be serving breakfast? I could really go for some bacon and eggs."

  7. #1167
    Lost in the dance Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Ghostwood National Forest
    Evening Phase
    09.09.1994
    Rain



    Subaru Iburi speaks to the other girl, her words and attitude suggesting that there is no more to discuss from her part. John Dove can only wait patiently and trust that this arbitrary and purposeless discussion will not descend into equally purposeless hostility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubatama
    “—You're right. It does eat into the image I'm trying to build, doesn't it?”
    “Oh, so it is a constructed image?” John responds with a slight emphasis on the main verb, for this is a man who does not understand ‘almost sarcasm’. To him, it seems like a waste of time—Souma Nubatama seems the kind of person who will create an impression in people’s minds without any effort from his part. Then again, John Dove knows nothing of the other man’s circumstances; like John himself, the Japanese might have his own reasons to develop such a construct. It bears repeating: John Dove does not judge.

    He never judges.

    “That’s interesting,” he finally says with a straight tone poorly matching the words themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubatama
    “As for this whole situation, we are not required to handle anything. If the two of them want to strut their stuff, let them. They are free to boast all they want.

    ...you won't learn that a knife is sharp until you cut yourself, after all.”
    “That…only applies to children if anybody,” John quietly retorts, the two young men’s conversation quieter and distant compared to Alexstrasza Lochkeart’s ceaseless deluge of words. “Any rational person can assess the sharpness of a knife via testing on anything besides themselves.”

    But…”strutting their stuff”, is it? Is this an awkward expression of man’s calling to compare things and establish hierarchies? Is Alexstrasza Lochkeart acting upon an urge to establish herself as intellectually superior? On the contrary, does she find meaning in subjugating others in either body or mind?

    He has no interest in being part of this “discussion” and his thoughts on human faith have not been requested, so he has no reason to share them. The different opinions of others are solely to be recorded in his mind. Why debate if either result is equally hollow?

    John can only shake his head, his mind utterly incapable of finding basis or purpose to the scene in front of him. It is just strange.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza Lockheart
    “Haaah, I'm getting too worked up. As a whole, our philosophies simply differ. Whether it is because of our upbringings, or because of our beliefs, I have no interest in a theological argument at this time of night.”
    “She talks a lot for somewhat claiming disinterest,” John’s quiet musings thus continue, but then the blonde’s attention turns to the man to his side, so John’s lips are welded shut.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza Lockheart
    “ After all, who on earth invites a girl into the middle of nowhere to threaten her away from peering eyes? Wasn't that truly a bit cruel of you?”
    For those words, Souma Nubatama becomes the recipient of John’s “so this is your fault, after all” face. It is not much different from his normal flat expression.

    While the last question was aimed at Souma Nubatama, however, John Dove finds it in himself to provide an answer, perhaps out of a stubborn need to not leave things hanging.

    “From personal experience, public threats more often than not are nothing but empty posturing,” he posits. “Real threats, if necessary, are direct, private, and personal.”

    If the suggestion of a threat was intended to bother or move John into action, then Alexstrasza Lockheart is talking to the wrong person. However, the boy does have enough awareness to offer at least some reaction.

    “So,” he continues, looking at Souma. “May I inquire on the matter, or is this one of those things I should not involve myself into…?”

    The last question is left hanging, for it is only completed within his thoughts.

    …but end up inevitably involved in when the police show up?

  8. #1168
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    [BGM]

    He clearly did not regret anything.

    He didn’t seem to understand.

    I wanted to argue with him, to make him understand, because if something like this were to happen again…

    That was the plan, at least, until Ubon appeared.

    With how she was...It just didn’t feel right anymore.

    “I---”

    What a strange girl, indeed.

    I returned the hug, while lightly caressing her hair with one hand;

    “I’m sorry---”

    Afraid of losing her friends...again, huh…

    “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

    It was weird. Before we got here, I was completely convinced that there was no way I could get along, or in any way enjoy interacting with her.

    That she was my complete opposite, different in a way that just looking at her would annoy me.

    And yet...She wasn’t all that different, from the looks of it. The only difference was her way of coping with those very same feelings.

    A naive approach, really. But...Trying to have that cheerful, positive outlook...A commendable effort, a lot harder than how I decided to live my life.

    Thinking about it, she must have felt the same way all this while. Worried about things going wrong, someone getting hurt, Pyry disappearing...From her point of view, my actions must have looked pretty reckless as well.

    She has barely spent any time with us...And she could still feel that way.

    Seems like...It really would be worth enduring that silly facade of hers, after all, though...

    "Thank you for worrying about me."

    ...I'm not even sure if I deserved someone like her.

    “Still...If we want to avoid something like this...Or something even worse from happening, we’d need to cooperate a lot better than this,” I explained, aimed more towards the group as a whole rather than just Ubon, “Acting alone, taking all the burden on one’s shoulders, pretending to be a hero...Won’t work, not for you, Pyry, and...Not for me, either.”

    I was pretty sure that I would have been able to handle the situation - but I suppose it wasn’t right, regardless.

    “And Prushka...Will you ever agree with anything I say? I know it’s partly my fault, but...It just feels like you are deliberately trying to argue all the time, but then...Maybe our views really just differ that much. But...It’s not healthy, not for either of us, and not for the group.”

    "We need to understand...And trust each other a bit more."


  9. #1169
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Instead of answering, Subaru simply shook her head and sighed quietly, again. It was done in an exasperated manner, like she was getting tired of listening to Alexstrasza's words. Or perhaps the closer analogy was an adult listening to the tirade of a precocious child? Whatever the case, she let the blonde girl's words stay as just those - words. Instead, she turned towards the two boys who had been standing at the sidelines for so far. Even Tonkori, now in Subaru's arms, just let one more condescending bark towards the blonde girl before looking in the same direction as his owner.

    Meanwhile Souma, who had now been accosted by both Alexstrasza and John, simply shrugged and chuckled under his breath. He didn't seem to have taken the other boy's slight accusation to heart - if anything, he was amused by it. Indeed, during this whole meeting between the two duos, he had been nothing but affable, finding some sort of joy in watching the argument or comments of John. Now that the attention was actually on himself, he continued with that same mood... though something in his single eye did darken somewhat.

    Putting his hands in the pockets of his jersey, Souma let his gaze move slowly from John to Alexstrasza, from Alexstrasza to Subaru. In that time, a slight wave of chill from somewhere passed through the patch of forest they were in... something even colder than the rain around them. Having apparently satisfied his need to bring a moment of silence into the conversation, Souma opened his mouth to speak.

    "... Not really. Lockhart here has a habit of understanding truth only in the way that suits what she believes in. Almost like a scientologist," the boy said and laughed. "She understood my inquiry of something that puzzled me as a threat... or so it would seem. I may have added a little fright into the mix to spice things up, but that may have backfired. I suppose in English you call it 'being big-headed'? Ah well, live and learn."

    The boy smirked at Alexstrasza in a somewhat vicious way. As always with Souma, he didn't practice sarcasm or other ways to twist his words into a form of humor. Even if he was amused, he meant what he said - all due to what he had observed. And so far, this seemed to be how he had observed the blonde girl to be.

    Finally, the golden eye moved back to the other boy.

    "I had an... encounter during my first visit to this forest. It might have been a dream or hallucination, but I highly doubt that. It was this encounter that warned me that something dreadful would befall our student body," Souma continued. "Be it a vision or be it real, I am somewhat fond of the people we have. I would hate to lose someone to an unknown entity like that. A man that had no body, only a silhouette in my field of vision."

    That made Subaru's eyes widen a bit, and even Tonkori grew serious. The smaller girl bit her lip, and after a moment of thought, took a step forward towards the boys.

    "Are you... are you perhaps talking about the Disembodied Man?" she asked. "Because if that is the case, then..."

    Subaru hesitated for a moment, and after looking at Tonkori once, continued.

    "... I might have seen him too, in the distance, on the night between Wednesday and Thursday."




    Colt Davin & Elise Pelltier
    Location: Junk Garage
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Uhm, I know it's late, but you wouldn't happen to still be serving breakfast? I could really go for some bacon and eggs."
    Avery flashed a small grin and a wink to the brunette.

    "Bacon and eggs, huh? Coming right up," the owner said and fastened her apron. "Now you lot sit tight while we cook. You coming, Cathie?"

    The auburn-haired girl hesitated for a moment, taking one more look at Colt, then towards Travis, then towards Colt again. And after a blink-and-you'll-miss-it expression of a mischievous grin, she stood up and shook her head. Her mother tilted her head in a confusion before Cathie explained herself by nodding towards the soda machine.

    "Go ahead. I'll get them their drinks," Cathie said. "I'll join you in a sec."

    Apparently satisfied with that, Avery nodded and headed to the kitchen, the door swinging close behind her. In the meantime, Tommy (who had already finished his own drink and was now waving his glass to Cathie for a refill), turned towards Elise in a surprise. It was clear on his rather emotive face that the man had not expected to hear the name of 'Jake' come from the student's lips... until he rolled his eyes and slapped his own forehead.

    "Oh, duh, he's your janitor, right? Of course you guys would've run into Jake eventually," Tommy answered, before chuckling a bit. "But yeah, he's an old friend of mine. We used to go to Pinefall before it was closed down. We're in the same class as well. Me, Jake, Rachel and... Erm, us. All in the same class, that is. That's it."

    As always the guy was bad at masking that he had just blurted out something he clearly did not want to. Cathie even let out a frustrated groan at the man as she filled up glasses for both Elise and Travis.

    "But I suppose I know a thing or two about local native tribes," Tommy continued. "Mom was Klallam, so I guess that makes me a half or something. In any case, she told me lot of local legends and lore, so if you're ever interested in, feel free to drop by. Would be nice to see more new faces around Junkyard. Colt is the type of guy that forgets all about little old me when he gets going on about some machine or another."

    This made Travis cackle and he shot a rude grin towards Tommy, who instinctively leaned a little back. Clearly he didn't want to be mocked anymore. But the shark had smelled blood in the water, and now Travis was going back on the offensive... probably just to stave off his boredom of having to wait for the food.

    "Local fairytales, huh? I guess that'd be the only way you could get a girl to visit your loser-lair," Travis sneered. "Though aren't you shooting a bit too low on the age range? Or is that the type you like to go for, Mr. Ped---"

    Travis was interrupted suddenly by the cola glass slamming onto the table in front of him. The blue-haired youth found himself staring into the face of Cathie who was now standing there, something like a smile on her face... but with one eye twitching ever-so-slightly.

    Travis's grin turned few degrees more vulgar.

    "What? Did I hit the mark? Is this guy actually such deviant? Wait... are you his current doll so you don't want competit---"


    SLAP!


    It happened too fast to properly register - not when it was such a surprise. There was just Cathie, now holding her hand up and brandishing it like a weapon, and then there was Travis... holding his cheek that had a growing redness in the shape of a hand upon it. A slap that had shut the boy up in an instant, and a promise of more to come.

    "W-w-what the hell, bitch!? Did you just sl--"

    SLAP!

    Again, Travis found himself momentarily speechless.

    "Jesus Christ stop with the---"

    SLAP!

    "What the hell is your malfunc---"

    SLAP!

    "QUIT I---"

    SLAP!

    "Whooooooor---"

    SLAP!


    At this point Travis had had enough. He scooted backwards on his stool (almost falling backwards) and threw his arms up like a boxer to protect his face (which was no glowing red thanks to all the physical hits). The boy stared there, breathing like a wild animal and looking at Cathie like the girl was an absolute lunatic... which was one possible explanation for what had just happened. The other, more likely one, was that the auburn-haired girl had tolerated the delinquent long enough, and had just taken the matter into her own hands.

    ... Though the sly wink she gave to Colt sort of implied that she had gotten payback for him too.

    Still, Cathie quickly adopted that bored, unfettered expression so common for her and took one last look at Travis before rolling her eyes.

    "Ugh. So lame..." Cathie muttered before disappearing to the kitchen.

    This left Travis and absolute silence, the boy looking like he had been just sucker-punched.

    Well, silence that lasted for twenty seconds.

    After which there was a yell of:

    "What the actual blazing hell!?"

  10. #1170
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "..."

    "..."

    "..."



    *sniff*

    "I... wasn't crying or anything. It's just the... thing she threw..."

    I separate myself from Pyry and bring a sleeve across my face, wiping away the smoke-induced tears.

    The rain's still going. Everything is quiet again. But I can hear everyone's breathing. And I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. This isn't why I came to Pinefall. It wasn't to get attached to a bunch of awful humans and almost die before the week was up. That just happened on its own.

    So these feelings... they probably happened on their own, too.

    I turn back and stare at Pyry, searching for the words to tell him what an idiot he is. But nothing comes. Instead... I give him one more gentle poke in the ribs.

    I look at Hisa, who's speaking haltingly, echoing that tall blonde goof in more ways than one, gently reprimanding me, even though she's still as wrong as ever... and shake my head. We'll settle our differences another night. But not now.

    I examine Vivienne, the sole person among us who didn't panic, who hasn't changed a bit despite everything. I return her stare for a long moment, trying to see what's behind those wide, unblinking eyes... but there's nothing.

    Finally, I'm back to Ubon, who wears her distress on her sleeve. I return, step by shaky step, and take her hand again.

    "It won't happen again," I tell her, and everyone else. "I mean, we've all learned our lesson. No more adventures in the middle of the woods."

    It doesn't sound too reassuring, even to me. But what else can be said? It wasn't really one single person's decision that put us here, so it falls on all of us to be more careful in the future. With how humans are, that's doubtful... but even a monkey doesn't repeat the same mistake twice. So maybe there's hope.

    Maybe we can avoid any more danger this year. Maybe whatever darkness hides in this town will avoid Ubon, and Pyry, and Vivienne too. Maybe...

    "Next time, let's go for ice cream instead!"

    Maybe for Ubon, a big enough smile can chase away the regrets of yesterday.
    Last edited by Bloble; May 13th, 2019 at 11:07 PM.

  11. #1171
    The Man Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Elaine swatted at the too-smug-for-her-health-lady's hand as it snatched up some of her hair.

    She'd worked hard for that!

    Well, alright, no she didn't. The rate her mane grew she'd probably have that back in an hour or three.

    She swirled her drink around, taking in her little spiel with a focused look, frowning in thought.

    Kindling to burn, death and rebirth, spirits and sacrifice.

    She slugged the rest of her drink down her throat.

    Fucking shit.

    Naturally, of course, this is when Anna makes her re-entrance to the station/bar combo, via tumbling through the door like she'd been kicked through it.

    Elaine Winters slowly, deliberately set her glass down, swiveling to face her entire body directly towards the door, expression opaque.

    She lent Caleb an ear, mulling his words over with a fine-toothed comb, then slowly nodded to herself.

    So, it was like that, was it?

    "Mm, doesn't look that bad out there, driven through worse in my time," She said idly, staring at the door with a flat look in her eye.

    Badump, badump.

    She shrugged then, "But hey, if it really is that bad, I'd like to go ahead and get some stuff out of my car, at least throw a tarp over it or somethin', avoid any water damage, y'know."

    Badump, badump, badumpbadump.

    "S'real important t'me, y'know, Caleb, an' I'd really like to go and take care of any trouble that might happen to it, that kinda stuff, heh, it's, ah, real important to me, yeah?"

    "Real important."

    She sniffed and rubbed at her face for a moment, pinching the bridge of her nose and clearing her throat, shifting her weight forward and standing up in a smooth motion.

    "You understand, right?"

  12. #1172
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff & Elaine Winters & Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "You understand, right?"
    "No. I don't."

    The answer that struck back at Elaine was as short, as curt, as brusque as possible. Caleb left no room to argue in this - even his glare had been now redirected at Elaine instead of Anna. Other than the annoyance and frustration, it held within it now one more feeling. One that seemed to say: "Really? The amount of morons has doubled?" It looked like the boy was not willing to debate this, almost like he was actually offended that the blonde girl tried to be so coy about her suggestion. And in a way it was understandable. The fact that Elaine was pressing on this topic again and again must've made his already foul mood grow worse.

    Which is why he was now glaring at the girl.

    "Anna said some stuff about you. Made me think. So I know that you know," Caleb quietly, but firmly, spoke. "I can't stop you from being a bloody bellend of a blithering idiot. But you're not dragging others here into something you started. Not while I'm here."

    For the first time the awkward, somewhat grumpy artist looked absolutely furious - like chilling steel that was being brandished towards Elaine's throat.

    "You understand, right?"

    Meanwhile, the rest of the bar had sense the awkward mood and now they were doing their best to cope with it. Without even asking about it, Billie had served Inacio a beer of his own, and the boy was now sipping on it, clearly contemplating on something. Finally he stood up from his chair and walked up to where Vier and Aleen were. The blue-haired girl had been shooting confused glances around the room, and the people in it, after Anna had come crashing in. She even stood a bit closer to Vier even, looking for some sort of protection. Maybe she remembered the incident with the strange kicker not so long ago.

    "... Err, you guys have any idea what's going on?" Inacio whispered, glancing over to where Caleb, Elaine and Anna were. "It sounds almost like there's something else going on than Vandemeel there getting angry at our resident drunkard."

    Speaking of Carrie Rivers, she had walked back over to the bar counter, ordered another one of her strange, black drinks and was now sipping it calmly. Her eyes kept a close watch on all the youngsters, and the smile on her lips was somewhat mysterious - almost like she was finding something funny in the situation. Nevertheless, the woman kept quiet aside from something whispered to the bartender, who shot her a confused look. Carrie simply shrugged, and Billie shook her head, dismissing whatever it was that the other woman had said.

    The one student that had reacted to the event most was, however, Ramia. At some point she had moved over to where Anna was, and leaned on the nearby wall while keeping her eyes on the raven-haired girl. There was nothing but something inquisitive in the dusky-skinned girl's eyes, though laced with something else, perhaps... something like understanding.

    "I suppose you don't want to talk about it," Ramia spoke, so quietly that others didn't hear her. "But if you frown any stronger your eyebrows are gonna fuse together."

    It was a bad joke, and Ramia clearly knew it... and even so, she chuckled a bit.

    "... Want a beer?"

  13. #1173
    The Man Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Badumpbadumpbadumpbadump

    The tall, blonde girl walked forward towards the taller boy, eyes narrowed and deeply intent.

    Her hands clenched and unclenched, a muscle pulsed in her jaw.

    "Y'know, when words like 'blithering idiot', and some other implications in that sentence come flying my way, I get a little upset."

    Her voice was low, murmuring quietly, despite her clear anger.

    dumpadumpdumpumpumpumpumpumpump

    "Makes me really want to do something unwise, right? Go and do something spiteful and mean, just to stick it in your craw."

    Something ugly flashed deep back in her eyes, something raw and angry, straining against her better nature.

    Badump.

    Then she blinked, and rocked slowly back on her heels, her hands moved to her jacket pockets, settling herself.

    "But, hey, I'm not the one who saw what it was like," She shrugged, "Could be you're all shook up about something I don't know."

    Something gleamed in her eyes again, not as ugly as that chained anger, but no less intent.

    "I'm all for knowing about things that might end up hurting someone," She said, honestly, "And I don't know what Anna said to you, but if a storm like that sends someone tumbling through the door like they're about to win the Gold at Barcelona, it concerns me."

    Elaine looked at the taller boy, trying to convey her intent, "It could hurt someone, and even if people in here'll be okay," She said, sweeping her arm behind her, then she brought it back, sweeping to her front.

    "What about the people out there?"

    She hesitated a brief, fleeting moment, then allowed herself a small, self-depreciating smile.

    "I've got a bit of a thing about that, you'd say."

    Then she abruptly dropped her arms to her sides.

    "Plus there is actually stuff in my car that could get wet," She said bluntly, "Girl stuff, y'know."
    Last edited by Mormarth; May 14th, 2019 at 02:34 PM.

  14. #1174
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Big Boy’s Gas Station
    Phase: Road’s End
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain

    "... Want a beer?"
    Anna was so mired in her thoughts, she barely registered the words that left her lips.

    “No, thanks.”

    “I only drink when I want to reminisce about the dead.”

    It was at this point that Anna actually became aware of what she was saying, causing a brief grimace of frustration to momentarily pass over her feminine features. It was clear the Estonian girl had said something she really wouldn’t have under any other circumstances.

    “Tch…” The raven-haired girl let out a quick sigh before her eyes turned back towards Ramia. “My bad, I’m not really in the mood at the moment.”

    A blatantly obvious attempt to plaster over what she had just uttered moments ago, but at this point, Anna wasn’t really in the mood to be particularly delicate with these things. Her eyes briefly flickered over to Elaine and Caleb, both of whom seemed to at the verge of blowing up at each other. Great. This was the last thing that she needed at this point, but when it rains, it pours. Though, in all honesty, it might be a bit presumptuous of her to criticize anyone on this point, considering her own recent behavior.

    “Sorry. Can you give me a second?” Anna rose up from her chair and gave Ramia an apologetic smile. “I need to make sure Highlander and Winters don’t bite each others heads off. I’ll be right back.”

    A couple of quick steps later and Anna was next to the pair. And judging from the dangerous looks flashing in the pair’s eyes, not a moment too soon. Anna’s tone was reduced to a bare whisper, but there was an undercurrent there no less intense than the dangerous looks in the pair’s eyes.

    “Pipe down, you two. You keep on going like this and the rain outside will be the least of our problems, understand?” The hidden implication of Anna’s words was clear. “Winters. I’ll be more than happy to explain to you what was exactly behind my rough and tumble entrance, but that will have to wait until we are in a more private setting, got it?“

    “You rush into a hurricane without proper preparation and the only one who is going to be hurt is you.” A look of distaste flickered on Anna’s face for a moment, almost as if she remembered something unpleasant. “Besides, I am not as convinced as Caleb that being inside here means that we are all going to be fine and dandy inside. If the wind ends up blowing the door of this joint open and we all end up getting wet, I would prefer that we have as many hands to deal with it as possible, eh?”

    “As for you, Caleb.” Anna looked deep into the boy’s eyes. “Perhaps it might be a bit presumptuous of me, considering what just happened, but... try to compose yourself a bit. The way you are acting is counter-productive to what you are trying to accomplish.”

    “Winters doesn’t really know the situation and getting into a confrontation with her like this is doing nothing but needlessly inflaming the situation. Or do you actually think you can berate her into compliance?” Anna let out a self-deprecating snort. “God damn it, I can’t believe I am the one saying this, but…”

    “Let's all take a deep breath here and calm down a bit, alright?”

  15. #1175
    Lost in the dance Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Ghostwood National Forest
    Evening Phase
    09.09.1994
    Rain



    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubatama
    “Lockhart here has a habit of understanding truth only in the way that suits what she believes in. Almost like a scientologist. She understood my inquiry of something that puzzled me as a threat...or so it would seem. I may have added a little fright into the mix to spice things up, but that may have backfired. I suppose in English you call it 'being big-headed'? Ah well, live and learn.”
    Is that not something all humans do, seeing the things they want to see, and hear the things they want to hear? On another note, anybody would be suspicious if you need to take a girl to a remote location under the rain in the middle of the forest at night, just to “make an inquiry”.

    Everything suggests that his words are to be taken completely at face value, but a part of John Dove still holds to the thought that Souma Nubatama might be trying to make a joke in his own way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubatama & Subaru Iburi
    “I had an... encounter during my first visit to this forest. It might have been a dream or hallucination, but I highly doubt that. It was this encounter that warned me that something dreadful would befall our student body. Be it a vision or be it real, I am somewhat fond of the people we have. I would hate to lose someone to an unknown entity like that. A man that had no body, only a silhouette in my field of vision.”

    “Are you... are you perhaps talking about the Disembodied Man? Because if that is the case, then...I might have seen him too, in the distance, on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.”
    Wednesday night…the night of the beach event. That night, John stayed for a short while at the beach before returning to the dormitory for an overall comfortable sleep.

    “Correct me if I am mistaken: you are both aware of some unknown entity that may have ill intentions towards us, yet nonetheless chose to bring others into the very same forest where it lurks. Is that about right?”

    There is no judgment in his words—no disapproval, no wariness, no discontent. No opinion can be read on John Dove’s words, tone or face. Merely the statement of facts as he understands them.

    “Is this perchance part of your ‘amusement’, Souma Nubatama?” He quickly shakes his head. “Ah, but I am digressing. The important issue here is this…‘Disembodied Man’. Where does that name even come from? Is this the sad fate of Road’s End transformed into folklore by its inhabitants?”

    He frowns, as if he had caught a mistake in his words.

    “Yet, you speak of it as a concrete thing, Miss Iburi, so for now I will assess it from that angle.”

    Accepting everything in stride, whether discussing the weather or being presented with evidence of the supernatural. Herein stands John Dove as his most fundamental. He makes sure to store the fallen aconite in his bag, as a sort of memento of this event. Who knows, maybe one day he will give witchcraft or alchemy a try.

    “A man with no body…”

    There are a number of demons in the Goetia capable of invisibility and of granting that power to their summoners. Incorporeality was also a characteristic quality of Mesopotamian demons. Narrowing down on the Pacific Northwest, there are native tribes that give the Sasquatch the power of invisibility, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation have legends of ‘Skanicum’ that can camouflage themselves perfectly among the trees.

    His gaze moves between Alexstrasza Lockheart and Souma Nubatama.

    “Am I wrong in assuming you came all the way here to investigate? I can guess why you have not brought this matter to the faculty, but…do you have anything else you are willing to share with us? Any way to assert that this is, in fact, a phenomenon within the realm of occultism rather than an elaborate deception?”

    John notes what Souma said, but the fact remains that they already lost someone.

    “No, I’ll go on a tangent here and ask you a somewhat odd question: does the name ‘Elizaveta Vyraj’ mean anything to any of you?”

  16. #1176
    Progressive Shattering Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    After moving Aleen away, I kept my eye on the reentering group and everyone’s reaction to it. While I can’t be certain on what happened outside, I can figure out what is happening in front of me. If I add some assumptions, then I’m bound to get something meaningful out of this. Small details make a bigger picture. That’s information gathering 101.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    You understand, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Montjay
    ”No. I don’t. Anna said some stuff about you. Made me think. So I know that you know. I can't stop you from being a bloody bellend of a blithering idiot. But you're not dragging others here into something you started. Not while I'm here. You understand, right?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    "I'm all for knowing about things that might end up hurting someone. And I don't know what Anna said to you, but if a storm like that sends someone tumbling through the door like they're about to win the Gold at Barcelona, it concerns me. It could hurt someone, and even if people in here'll be okay."
    My eyes narrow at the implication of something casually rampaging through the town and here. If something of that nature were to occur, it would be nearly impossible to cover up without… significant backing. It would require a silencing of us here, deleting any records of us in the school, and most importantly any damage to the building. And if they intend on silencing us… I have no intention of keeping damage to a minimal.

    Their decision on staying here or heading out there to confront whatever it was didn’t matter to me. Their talk about “knowing” on the other hand was worrisome especially if it’s about “that” side. I purposely cut that line of thought off early. Keep any potential planning done in solitary. Eventually my study of the “knowing group” was distracted as I recognized someone approaching my position. To my surprise, it was Inacio approaching with a beer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inacio
    "... Err, you guys have any idea what's going on? It sounds almost like there's something else going on than Vandemeel there getting angry at our resident drunkard."
    “Not really. But I’ll take Caleb’s word that we don’t want to go outside right now.”

    I decided to let Inacio decide on his own why Caleb wanted us to stay indoors and why the atmosphere was the way it was. After all, I only have a hypothesis that something dangerous is out there and currently I don’t have a reason to go seek it. In any case, I need to do something about the mood of this place. The more everyone thinks about it, the more it’ll nibble at everyone’s morale until it snaps in half. Case in point, Anna is now confronting those Caleb Montjoy and Elaine Winters.

    “Well I’m glad I brought Fen, because if we’re going to be here for a little bit. I could always use this as time for more practice,” I unzipped my bag enough to pull out Fen before turning towards Aleen. “Now that I think about it, I don’t know what kind of music you like listening to Aleen. Got any requests before Inacio forces me to play some ridiculously hard song?”

    At the end of my sentence, I decide to give Inacio a light teasing grin. While I don’t mind a challenge every now and then, Inacio did drop me off into the deep end that one time despite knowing I was very solidly an amateur.

  17. #1177
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff & Elaine Winters & Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna
    “Let's all take a deep breath here and calm down a bit, alright?”
    Caleb glared at both Elaine and Anna with a hardened stare for a few seconds, clearly still high-strung thanks to what had happened... but after five seconds, he backed down and sighed, exhaling all of his fustration with one sigh. Almost like it was a reaction to his earlier behavior, the artist pulled his beanie down on his face a little, hiding both his face and expression mostly... though both of the girls could see that he was blushign a bit, clearly ashamed of how he had been acting.

    "... You're right. I was being rude. Sorry, Winters," Caleb mumbled awkwardly. "That was uncalled for. It's just that... I saw something I never wanna see again. Not when it involves a friend of mine."

    For a moment, Caleb's eyes glanced at Anna, before he averted his gaze once more, staring at his own shoes.

    "But, I... this isn't the first time this has happened. Not to me at least. I know enough about this to know what's safe and what's not," the boy continued with a quiet voice. "There's only one person in real danger... unless someone else gets in the way of the 'rain'. That specific rain cloud hangs above only one person. And it can't get inside unless you open the door. Like most other forces of nature, human made stuff is great at keeping it at bay."

    He chuckled a bit for a moment, though it was a bitter and tired, so very tired, sound. So tired that for a moment Caleb looked much older than he was, like a man who had been running for whole of his life and never found respite no matter where he went.

    "Kinda like the folklore about vampires, right? It can't get in unless you invite it," he said. "But in the end, it's just rain. Just a force of nature no humans can't control, much less erase for our convenience or leisure. Unless you count all those supposed Russian weather control experiments. But I don't buy conspiracy theories."

    Another sigh, and the boy's shoulder slumped. He hung his head, much more interested at the wooden floor than the faces of the two girls he was talking with right now.

    "... So yeah. Again, apologies. Didn't mean to insult you, you did nothing wrong after all," Caleb spoke to Elise, before turning to Anna. "And sorry... well, about what happened. About all that happened."

    Meanwhile, at the other end of the bar, both Aleen and Inacio nodded at Vier's assessment that whatever was going on with the rest of the group, it was better to not get involved. After all, it looked like emotions were flaring up here and there, and sticking one's nose into that might get it cut off before one could even realize it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “Well I’m glad I brought Fen, because if we’re going to be here for a little bit. I could always use this as time for more practice. Now that I think about it, I don’t know what kind of music you like listening to Aleen. Got any requests before Inacio forces me to play some ridiculously hard song?”
    Aleen was about to shoot back and answer, but at that moment the jukebox that still had some coins in it after Carrie Rivers's decided to randomly select a new song to play. Instead of the previous mullet rock that had been prevalent before the spooky sung that the barfly had sung to them, this time it was... something different. Something much more melodramatic. Aleen looked at the machine in surprise before giggling at the song and mouthing: "Wait, really? Air Supply?". But while the blue-haired girl was having fun listening to the incredibly cheesy song, Inacio was...

    ... Planning for revenge with mischievous grin on his face.

    "Ridiculously hard? Why, that's a hurtful accusation Miss Wolff," the boy spoke with a cocked eyebrow. "But maybe if freely jamming is a bit too high-brow for you, Air Supply here can match your tastes. Why don't you accompany the song? I'm sure you'd do very well belting out a love ballad of the cheesiest caliber."

    Oh, he was having fun with this torment.

  18. #1178
    Progressive Shattering Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Thankfully, the general mood of the bar improved after Anna and I stabilized the our respective groups. Anna by calming down Elaine and Caleb. While I didn’t learn what Aleen’s favorite type of music was, I did manage to relax everyone by keeping calm and acting normal.

    I could see Aleen about to answer when I heard the next song play since Carrie Rivers added more coins. All Out of Love? Admittedly, I wasn’t really that big of a fan, but I could see how it stopped Aleen from her state. Inacio on the other hand was sending back his own joke counterattack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inacio
    "Ridiculously hard? Why, that's a hurtful accusation Miss Wolff. But maybe if freely jamming is a bit too high-brow for you, Air Supply here can match your tastes. Why don't you accompany the song? I'm sure you'd do very well belting out a love ballad of the cheesiest caliber."
    “Belt out the song you say... I’m sure I can do better than that. I may not be a pro like you Mr. Ilusão, but I’m confident I can sing this song just as well as I can play it.”

    While I would love to do both, I’m well aware that my music ability couldn't keep up. I can do one or the other without drastically increasing my mistakes and I'm not giving anything a less than good performance. With that said, I place down Fen and take a deep breath while analyzing the beat from the first two lines of the song.


    “I know you're hurt too but
    What else can we do
    Tormented and torn apart”

    Even as I try to get everyone to relax while I keep an eye on the door, I can’t help but think about how fitting those lines were before moving on. Something small and insignificant reminded me of my past. That mental lapse caused an unintentional additional error that I swept under for review as I moved on to keep the performance as best as I could. I intend to keep this song as enjoyable and error free as possible.

  19. #1179
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    ---
    Vivienne Bianchi

    Date: 08.09.1994 (FRI)

    Location:
    McLampet Saw Mill

    Phase
    :
    Evening Phase
    Weather: Rain
    ---

    If there was a constant in this situation, it was Vivienne's emotions. It remained constant even as Ubon unloaded the torrent of what and how she felt as all had happened, and while the other members of the group reacted to it, Vivienne remained unchanged. Perhaps that she felt like the others were better at handling the situation, or maybe she had just fallen back on the idea that 'speech is silver, silence is golden'. A lot had been said afterwards, and maybe it was just better if the group left this place for now.

  20. #1180
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka & Hisa Momoi & Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "You know what, you're totally right, Squirt," Pyry chuckled, rubbing the spot that Prushka had poked. "Instead of going venturing into old, rundown saw mills and spooky forests, we should focus on doing stuff that normal teenagers do. And I think getting ice cream is on the top of the list. God knows we don't have that many warm days left, after all."

    Noticing something, a small look of surprise on his face, Pyry suddenly stuffed his hand into his pants and fished around for a something. Eventually he recovered whatever it had been that had bothered him, and he palmed the thing, looking at it with one eye closed. Considering how it stayed hidden by the boy's large hand, it couldn't have been that large object - maybe the size of his fingertip. A small snort of amusement escaped from his mouth. Then the boy turned towards the forest proper and threw whatever it had been as far as he could. The tiny thing disappeared into the thickets, leaving only a small glint of metal in the night air before completely vanishing. Whatever it had been, it was gone now, hidden somewhere in the undergrowth and darkness.

    "But... and this is a big but... if we run into a situation like this again, you're right, Hisa," Pyry admitted, looking at the scarred girl with a smile that was clearly trying to reassure her. "We need to work together. As a team. I'll try not to, y'know, hog all the glory and be a hero, even if its in my instincts to be the little kids everywhere. I just need to remember that Squirt here is sweet sixteen, no matter how she looks."

    The lanky boy chuckled again and winked an eye at Prushka.

    "Still, like I said, this is a very big 'but'. I'd much rather avoid situations like these completely."

    For some reason, Ubon suddenly snorted so loudly that snot came out of her nose and giggled uncontrollably. Then, with tears of laughter and released stress in the corners of her eyes, she let go of Hisa and pointed at Pyry with her finger.

    "W-well, that fits! I mean, Pyrrie, you totes like big butts! That's why you're so distracted by all the girls in class, for realsies!" Ubon guffawed. "Big Butts for Big Boy!"

    Pyry might have forced a smile in return to this horrible joke, but the way his left eye was twitching, he clearly did not appreciate these accusations of being perverted... or a normal, healthy teenage boy. Nevertheless, the boy grumbled something under his breath, threw up his arms in a form of surrender, and walked over to where others were. As he went, he took a moment to pat Vivienne gently on the shoulders, nodding to the girl as he passed her.

    "But Vivs here is right. We should probably get going," the boy said, apparently perceptive enough to have noticed the tiny changes in her disposition despite her emotionless face. "The car is still on the roadside, after all. My baby doesn't exactly like the rain, so we'd better hurry. If we do, we might beat the curfew and not get ourselves in trouble."

    Having reached the rest of the girls, Pyry let out a surprised yelp when Ubon suddenly lunged forward, draping her arm over his shoulder in a familiar way, while doing the same with the other arm to Prushka. This way the cyanhead was both slightly lifted off the ground and also dragging that same ground. For a moment her foot even snaked forward, like she was going to drag Hisa into the pile... but luckily enough, Ubon gave up rather quickly.

    "Then let's go! I have some ice cream hidden at the dormitory's fridge, so we can binge on that while hiding in someone's room after the curfew! Y'know, totes like teenage group of friends does in all those young adult novels!" Ubon exclaimed. "You come too, Vivvie! You're being so quiet we might lose you in the forest, for realsies!"

    The cyanhead threw a glance behind the group, towards Vivienne.

    "And that'd be totes horrible!"

    And with that, the group started forward, heading back towards Pyry's car... even if they had to walk back through forest to reach that place.

    It had been an eventful evening, full of tension and even some scary situations, but at the end of the day the somewhat insane lady with a gun had escaped after yelling nonsense, and none of them had suffered even a scratch. All in all, a sort of a happy ending for an adventure that might have gone rather badly if one of them had made any sort of mistake.

    Yes, a happy ending.

    Though... there was one wrinkle in the atmosphere, only felt by Vivienne Bianchi.

    One tiny wrinkle that cast shadow over the cheerful, relieved air around the group.

    After all, the expression on Ubon's face as she looked back at Vivienne...

    Just for a split second...

    Spoiler:


    ...Had sent chills down her spine, even as emotionless as she was.


    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Prushka: Friendship Rank Raised!

    Hisa Momoi: Friendship Rank Raised!

    Vivienne Bianchi: Friendship Rank Raised!


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