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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4461
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    As I went further and further into the Ghostwood National Forest, I didn’t feel like I was getting closer to my target. If anything, the tracks that I was following were doing something I could only describe as paradoxical. Hawthorne’s tracks did head into the forest, but they didn’t lead further in. His tracks led back to the town. Yet, I was positive I wasn’t misreading his tracks. While his evasion skills were good, I was also good at tracking. Especially, since I could see that the tracks were heading back into town. The only explanation that would explain my current paradoxical situation was that… The local superstitions weren’t just superstition. The disappearing lumber workers weren't them getting lost or even a cult neutralizing them.

    So as the storm came into full effect while I’m inside this Turnside forest and with my target getting further and further away. I decided to stop my pursuit. At this point in time, I was more in danger from this forest and the weather than anything. If the Ghostwood National Forest didn’t want me to leave, then I wouldn’t leave it… for now. I merely had to wait till the conditions were better and then I can navigate myself out back into town or the club. However, that doesn’t mean I was going to just sit in the forest and continue to be soaked.

    I started looking around the forest for a spot to make a shelter. Specially, I wanted a tree that has fallen over but one half of it was higher than the other. Preferably in a 30 degree angle. After a quick survey, I found a suitable candidate and went to look for suitably large branches nearby to form a cage around this fallen tree. The branches are adequate for shelter and comfort. However, I was now considering this to be hostile territory so I decided to gather moss from various sections to prevent further rain leakage and camouflage my newly created shelter.

    And once done, I only had to do one thing… Shelter and wait till the storm passed according to the last loop.

  2. #4462
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    The storm came earlier than I remembered. Or perhaps we've been waiting for longer than I thought...

    Seeing how Pyry was getting more and more focused on the threat that was approaching from way beyond the lumber mill, my eyes slowly drifted away from his form and upwards, onto the slowly rotting panels that made up the roof of the building. Time and constant, uninterrupted exposure to nature certainly had its effects on everything around - as if the wilderness was fervently trying to reclaim what originally belonged to it. Many pieces of the roof were already missing, could not endure the assault, and once an opening was found, they were likely torn off and thrown away by the wind.

    I could only wonder how long it would last now.

    With nature successful to sink its teeth into it, its days were already numbered and the end would only approach faster and faster now. The roof will fall apart, and with the insides exposed everything will slowly crumble until its leveled with the ground, only the moss covered, rusty remains acting as a reminder.

    What did all that remind me of?

    Haaa...

    Well, hopefully these two won't make the process even faster and get us buried under the rubble. That would be unfortunate, considering that there were still so many things to do.

    My gaze wandered further, onto the skies above through one of the holes. While it was already getting dark, the occasionaly lightning lit everything up just slightly over and over again. There was some irony in the fact that I warned everyone to stay safe from the storm, and yet now it was us sitting deliberately under the raging clouds. It was unpleasant, even though I was fond of the rain, this was just too much. And it will only get worse, once we won't have a roof above us, and when we will need to take the long trip home.

    I could only hope that the others will be safe until then, and this whole deal won't turn into some desperate choice where sacrifices must be made either way.

    Yet, before I could get any more lost in my thoughts, the large door at the other end of the building swung open with a creak. Ahti, accompanied by Prushka stepped inside, but with them there was also...

    Huh. Was that the girl from the second floor? I wonder how - or why - they managed to drag her out of her solitude, but...Bringing her here of all places sounded like an idea that I could hardly wrap my head around. She hardly had anything to do with this, and in exchange she was just exposing herself to unnecessary danger.

    Not that I was really going to question it now.

    As Prushka rides to the middle of the room, gesturing me to approach her as well, I give Pyry's hand a squeeze and nod Gradient to wait. Then, hands sank into the pocket of my hoodie, I walk closer to the small girl.

    "You shouldn't ride that thing everywhere. Your legs will become noodles, and you'll only ever grow horizontally rather than vertically."

    I stopped just a few steps away from her, my face free of most emotions.

    "You had something to say, no? I'm listening."

  3. #4463
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory – In Front of Xylia Pheme’s Room (2nd Floor, Room 119)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    On the way to Xylia Pheme’s room, John Dove put considerable thought on how to interact with the girl. Kean and Hwan Bin’s absence is both convenient and regrettable—having three guys suddenly seeking her out would probably raise all sorts of alarms in that brain of hers, but it would have been comforting to have them out of sight, in case the girl chose violence. Vandemeel’s knife rested on his lower back, held by his belt, but John Dove carried the conviction that this blade was not made to be used on Xylia Pheme.

    Anyway, the hopeless boy now stands here, rebuked even before he can think of knocking on the door. A song he recognizes blares inside the room, even if he cannot put a name to it, dismissive of music as he is.

    He should probably be grateful it’s not Maneater that’s playing. Now that would send a hell of a message.

    Now, the girl does not even have the decency to rebuff him to his face. How does he reach out to a person who will not even show herself? The current John Dove does not know, but the John Dove from before Pinefall can figure something out.

    Let us remember: how this pathetic excuse of a human being has lived thus far. Devoid of the ability to value anything, least of all himself, John Dove did not develop a personality to call his own. His behavior at any given time was calculated based on careful observation, shaping every single one of his words and actions the way he deemed most convenient for the specific occasion.

    Humans always conceal their true selves behind masks—or perhaps the better word is ‘filters’—, seeking to show only specific parts of themselves to different people at different times. John Dove was no different, except that there was no ‘true self’ behind the masks. Therefore, nothing he did was ever authentic, and people notice that. That is why, no matter how skillful his performance all these years, he never truly connected with anybody.

    However, think about this from another angle: if there truly is nothing behind the mask, then what is the difference between the ‘mask’ and the ‘true self’? If there truly is nothing behind the mask, then who is the John Dove that rises to the surface when the ‘empty’ John Dove walks into a dead end?


    “Oh, I wished,” is the boy’s retort to Xylia’s rebuff. “But we both know it’s never that easy, right?”

    His upright, stiff posture relaxes, weight distributed slightly to the left side while his right hand rests on his hip, coincidentally close to the knife on his back. A cold smile rises to his lips.

    “Xylia Pheme, you of all people must have noticed by now, haven’t you?” He continues. “I don’t know if Mister Oceandrop really wanted to do good here, but the truth of the matter is that this place is fucked up. This school, and this town.”

    Appeal not to her heart, but to her intellect, her sensitiveness, and her perceptiveness. She is not a pitiful soul in need of a hug. She is a cornered animal, willing and ready to bite.

    “The fact you came here in the first place means you were looking for something. You wanted something out of this place, just like the rest of us. And I refuse to believe this was your plan from the beginning: to barricade yourself in a small bedroom, hoping the bad guys will forget about you? Is this where you intend to make your stand?”

    He is not her friend, and she does not think of him as such. Therefore, kindness is unneeded and unwanted here.

    “Tell me that’s your great plan: to die alone and cornered like a rat. Tell me that much, Xylia Pheme, and I’ll ‘fuck off’, if that’s what you want so badly.”

  4. #4464
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "Nice to see you too."

    Geeze, Hisa's as prickly as ever. Guess she's fine then.

    Glancing down, my bare legs look back at me, as scrawny as ever. They're not gonna get flabby. For sure.

    I squint, trying to look past her poker face. "Pyry told you what's happening, right? We need to be on the same page here. Fast. They could start swinging any second."

  5. #4465
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "More or less. Can't say that I agree with it, or that it's the best time for something like that, but...I agreed to it since it's about Pyry."

    Was it anyone else, I likely wouldn't have bothered, or resorted to more forceful methods to avoid something so nonsensical...

    "Though I guess it's obvious that I'm not just here to watch," I continued as my eyes jumped onto Ahti, then back onto Prushka's tiny form, "Pyry's safety is more important to me than the existential crisis of some rude jerk, so...While I'll try not to interfere too much, if things get too rowdy, I'm going to step in."

    A sigh escapes my lips. Probably for the first time in my life, I can't help but wish that I could just light the cigarette and ease the vexation with some smoking.

    "I half expect that they are going to, since they are hellbent on this..."

    Nonsense? Lunacy? Primivite, barbaric methods? Guys being guys, thinking only fists can solve things?

    "Tradition. And they don't exactly know any limits either. However, the heart and the mind is easier to heal than any lasting injuries..."

    Or death.

    "These two can inflict on each other. I guess you understand that, too."

  6. #4466
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Parlour
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Vivienne's eyes scans her surroundings, searching for a quick solution to the problem at hand. The arrival of the two men was somehow extremely convenient... yet it didn't seem like they were aware that Vivienne or Rachel had come here -- or was this merely an act of obfuscation from Mr. Halloway? There were a lot of possibilities, and in contrast, very few certainties Vivienne could act on here. The only things that were a given for now were: firstly, she was in a place she shouldn't be in; secondly, her friend was unconscious on the ground... and last but not least, this situation with Rachel would entirely appear to be of her making, should the two new arrivals open the door and walk in.

    Thus, what does she do?

    To stay and explain yourself is a plausible course of action. You simply recount the truth and how things occurred, though perhaps a little bit of artistic license here and there wouldn't be out of hand to make the situation less aggravating. Perhaps Vivienne as curious about hunting trophies? Simply wondering what kind of lavish life Mister Halloway had and wondering why he looked like a Bond villain?

    If only you didn't speak like a soulless robot, Vivienne.

    But then why not put on that mask? And perhaps look more suspicious as a thief or assassin in the process? Usually there is a spell that goes alongside that mask, one that changes your appearance to look like someone else... but who to mimic here? Oh yes... mimic your old self... but you can't do that, can you? And is it really worth it to trust someone like James Halloway, someone who could definitely be on the list of suspects for being responsible of the 'alarm' that had just gone off in Rachel's head?

    Vivienne writes off the idea of 'turning herself' in and cooperating, simply because it leaves too many factors out of her own control. Yet if one does not go with the flow, then one must go against it -- any other choice that she would pick now... would ultimately label her as a shady character at best and as a criminal at worst.

    It's not something so unusual for an assassin like you, is it?

    Then how to not be found out? How to make it so that there was no crime in the first place? Hide Rachel's unconscious body then yourself? Preposterous. While there is very little that is known about that Kincaid, it is definitely certain that he is the inheritor of a clan of shifters, and by association, he possesses of a powerful sense of smell. Because of that, Vivienne nor Rachel would be safe from detection no matter where they where hidden... as long as they were in this room with this Isaiah, they were bound to be found out eventually.

    Make a decision, quickly...

    The burning coals from the fireplace lights up the many trophies hung on the walls, casting sinister shadows in all directions. It is not unlike the image of dark spirits and ghosts dancing eagerly as they await the resolution of what is to come.

    What will you do Vivienne?

    Kill? That was always what you did, wasn't it?

    Be a killer.

    There can be no crime if there is no witness after all.


    For a brief moment, it is as if something that shouldn't be there was in her hand. She had prepared it, but she hadn't called it... so why was it there, staring at her? It is pure white, like the prettiest of clouds in the blue summer sky, yet at the same time, at every blink of the eye, the whiteness twirls and shifts into a despicable and formless dark. An abyss deeper than the starless night. It is a mask that is, yet isn't. It has no features, but only because the features it does have cannot be describe.

    A gift, from The Man Behind the Fire.

    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢠⠣⡑⡕⡱⡸⡀⡢⡂⢨⠀⡌
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⡕⢅⠕⢘⢜⠰⣱⢱⢱⢕⢵⠰⡱⡱⢘⡄⡎⠌⡀
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠱⡸⡸⡨⢸⢸⢈⢮⡪⣣⣣⡣⡇⣫⡺⡸⡜⡎⡢
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢱⢱⠵⢹⢸⢼⡐⡵⣝⢮⢖⢯⡪⡲⡝⠕⣝⢮⢪⢀
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⢀⠂⡮⠁⠐⠀⡀⡀⠑⢝⢮⣳⣫⢳⡙⠐⠀⡠⡀⠀⠑
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⢠⠣⠐⠀ ⭕ ⠀⠀⢪⢺⣪⢣⠀⡀ ⭕ .⠈⡈⠀⡀
    ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠐⡝⣕⢄⡀⠑⢙⠉⠁⡠⡣⢯⡪⣇⢇⢀⠀⠡⠁⠁⡠⡢⠡
    ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢑⢕⢧⣣⢐⡄⣄⡍⡎⡮⣳⢽⡸⡸⡊⣧⣢⠀⣕⠜⡌⠌
    ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠌⡪⡪⠳⣝⢞⡆⡇⡣⡯⣞⢜⡜⡄⡧⡗⡇⠣⡃⡂
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠨⢊⢜⢜⣝⣪⢪⠌⢩⢪⢃⢱⣱⢹⢪⢪⠊
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠐⠡⡑⠜⢎⢗⢕⢘⢜⢜⢜⠜⠕⠡⠡⡈
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠁⡢⢀⠈⠨⣂⡐⢅⢕⢐⠁⠡⠡⢁
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢈⠢⠀⡀⡐⡍⢪⢘⠀⠀⠡⡑⡀
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠨⢂⠀⠌⠘⢜⠘⠀⢌⠰⡈
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢑⢸⢌⢖⢠⢀⠪⡂



    'No!'

    Her soul rejects what it sees, what it has seen before and ushers Vivienne into action, lest she turn an illogical consideration into reality. There is no need for it, and while it could ensure her escape, this situation did not warrant using 'it'. No. She would only agree to such a thing only if there was no other choice... or if something had to die. No one had to die here. Violence was something that was to be avoided, not encouraged.

    Vivienne's palm opens as a different mask takes shape in her hands, one that she had used for actually the very same reason she was about to do so here 'last week'... and while it wasn't exactly at the same place, this was indeed Owl's Nest Hotel. She was also about to run away from some sort of lupine.

    The mask from the East slides onto her face, and adrenaline rushes through Vivienne's body as the 'persona' takes the reins alongside her.



    "天狗!"

    She lifts up one of the windows which gives a view of Ghostwood, overlooking a cliffside, and without any ado, jumps out of it, ephemeral black wings spreading out of her back. Vivienne however does not head down into the forest... no, she instead shoots up like a rocket. On her way up, she has a good look at what should be the window of Alex's room, and sees that Alex is still safe and sound in there. An unfelt pang of relief passes through her, alas, she cannot appreciate it in all of its nature... but there are other things more important than her emotions right now, and she wouldn't want to get swallowed in them, would she...?

    Rejoining up with Alex is probably the smartest move right now; the reporter would probably be interested in hearing about what just occurred between Vivienne and Rachel. Knocking on the window was out of question however, especially seeing knowing how Alex might react -- seeing some masked winged person staring at her in the middle of a stormy night would not be... very healthy for someone like Alex. It is for this reason that Vivienne elects to land on the roofs of Owl's Nest and search for a different method of ingress. Perhaps some other open window, unattended? A door on some balcony? It was time to search... and be quite discreet about it.

    It is indeed a shame that the weather had already soaked her from head to feet... but thankfully her flying skills were good enough, or else the winds from the storm she was being buffeted by would probably have caused an accident by now.

  7. #4467
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "That's the thing."

    Zane answer was an annoyed grunt - though not one directed towards Liana. No, these emotions were squarely aimed at the receiver in his hands.

    "I can't."

    With a frustrated sigh, he set the half-gutted receiver on the desk with a bit more force than was necessary, and leaned back in his chair, screwdriver idly clutched between his fingers. A look of exhaustion was clear on the young man's face, a look of someone who wasn't just tired of the phone not working, but also of the whole situation they found themselves in. Those were the eyes of a man who had experienced moments like this before, and it never got any better.

    "... It's not just the phonelines here at the club. It's the whole town. If I had to make a guess, all of the phones at Road's End are dead at the moment," he said, before a slightly dark smirk rose to his lips. "Makes me realize that our culprit probably didn't expect that either. Looks like we're not the only ones out of loop."

    He chuckled a bit, before massaging his temples.

    "My bro will be fine. He's a smart kid. Smarter than he lets on. Still... well. Can't fault me for being worried, right?" The redhead continued, finally gazing at Liana proper. "So that's getting me anxious, and the longer we're stuck here the worse it gets. I mean, I feel for boss and his daughter, but..."

    He grumbled something underneath his breath, before letting out another frustrated sigh.

    "--- We can't stay holed up here forever. You know that, right?"

    There was a grim sense of reality to his words.

    Though, after a bit of a pause, he raised an eyebrow at Liana and added:

    "... You're unexpectedly flashy. You know that, right?"




    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Most do. Or would, rather."

    Another sip of the weird, soup-like tea.

    "... I mean, I don't meet lot of people these days. Not the wisest idea for me to head into town," Nevada continued, grimly - yet with little emotion, like it wasn't his problem. "So I stay here instead. And thus, I only meet Max. Which is for the better, I imagine."

    He spoke very matter-of-factly, almost like the whole situation didn't concern him at all... but at the same time, there was a strange lack of true coldness in him. He wasn't emotionless, far from it. Instead, it was like the older guy had simply learned to distance himself from bad things in his life... or perhaps everything in general. Aloof was perhaps the best word to use to describe him.

    Or, maybe, 'alone'.

    "As for your sister... well, can't say this or that before you give me something more than that," Nevada continued, sighing a little. "I used to have plenty of friends. I have just about none now. So there's a chance, but without knowing who she is... was, I can't say for sure. Not to mention interpersonal relationships are hardly as simple as just 'being friends' or something as mundane like that. Truth is, they're often far more complex and troublesome things."

    With a snort, the older guy took another sip of his drink, his scarred face illuminated by the bluish glow of the laptop screen.

    "--- That's why humans are awful."

    There.

    For just a moment.

    Colt could've sworn he heard an echo of someone else in the background... saying just about the exact same thing about humans as Nevada did.




    John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory – In Front of Xylia Pheme’s Room (2nd Floor, Room 119)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Nah."

    The answer was like a verbal shotgun that blasted away the words that John had thrown at the door.

    "I don't have tell ya squat, ya limp-dicked, limp-willed, limp-hearted goober, no matter how sure you sound about it," Xylia's muffled voice said over the music. "Like, huh? Why the hell would I give ya anything ya wanted? Are ya braindead? In what universe would I listen to the demands of John 'Too-Deep-For-You' Dove? Gaha, none! None whatsoever! So yeah, scram or don't, that door ain't openin' for ya! The only difference is if yer moronic ass is gonna be standin' there fer nothing!"

    A cackling laugh echoed from within the room, and for a moment the record seemed to skip - only to end up looping the same spot of second or so. "You're Out of Time!" could be heard, over and over again, making it almost sound like the machine was warning either John or Xylia. However, soon enough there was a loud bam as the girl punched her record player and the song skipped ahead again, resuming it's normal flow of lyrics and melodies.

    The girl let out a raspy-sounding cough afterwards, followed by another cackle.

    "The other goons in our class might be stupid enough to fall for yer entry-level mindgames, but ya ain't got nuthing on me. Or rather, I don't give a fuck!" Xylia continued, her screeching, mocking laughter echoing harder. "So what now? I've got no intention of engagin' ya in whatever bullshit ya got planned up, moron. What's your plan now?"

    John could practically see her sneering at him through the door.

    "Gonna 'stoop down on my level' some more? Throw in a couple more swears? Act a bit more like a bad boy?" She asked mockingly. "I mean I'm sure it's gonna work on someone - maybe get that sugar-snortin' addict all hot and bothered. But ya ain't about that are ya?"

    She paused.

    And her next words were like oil, oozing underneath the door.

    "Yer more about how different and special ya are. How hard and tragic it's to be John 'Validate Me' Dove."

  8. #4468
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "It's why I don't go into battle mode very often, the glow makes me stick out."

    She smiles, although the reality of the situation makes it harder than it would normally be...

    "But every kid dreams of having the big, flashy superpowers right? Back in Japan, there's this series called Dragon Ball, and this is... Well, it's similar to some of the stuff in there..."

    Sheepishly rubbing at her hair as she forcibly stops a nerd rant that she's pretty sure the redhead wouldn't actually understand, the young woman shifts in place a bit, the dim light surrounding her form still doing so in a slow, rhythmic fashion, the gentle 'flames' that made it up spiking and falling perfectly in time with her breathing...

    "Well, I sorta did it first, but that's neither here nor there... Not so big over here in the states..."

    She sighs.

    "You're right though, we can't just sit around here all night, it doesn't help anybody."

    "Especially if all the phone lines are down... I've gotta get back to my Aunt Dorothy's place, I'm willing to keep watching Sierra and Jack so they can stay with me... Anyone that wants to stay with me can really, but I can't leave Dorothy hanging... Not tonight."

    ---Her frown deepens.

    "Tonight is when it gets bad, or so I've been told."

    She says it plainly, simple words that the younger man can certainly read more into if he likes, before...

    "So if you're tired of being stuck, wanna help me get one of the cars ready to go?"

    She raises an eyebrow, presenting an obvious sort of solution to the young man.

    "There's vehicles in the garage right? No way someone as rich and connected as Jack doesn't have something storm worthy in his garage," She chuckles, eyes sparkling like stars for a moment, reflected light of that strange silver energy, "Turnside folk can't help themselves, our line of work means we like to make sure our stuff is hard to blow up."

    Hands come up to rest on her waist.

    "I know a thing or two about vehicles and I've heard you do too... So if we act fast, we can get everyone back into town long before night falls."
    Last edited by Airen; April 5th, 2022 at 08:15 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

  9. #4469
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "He's not a rude jerk; Ahti's just shy. And it's not just some dumb guy thing. I thought that too - and then I saw it. Jukola."

    Folding my arms, I keep my eyes on Hisa's. So she was told some of it, just what Pyry could figure out. If only it were that simple.

    "Neither Ahti nor Pyry actually want this fight. It can't be solved by talking it out. Those two have a leash around their hearts. Him and Pyry both. A chain-" Subaru Iburi's words come back to me. "-that turns men to beasts. Not just trauma, or ill will, not just a wound of the heart you can kiss better or sweep under the rug. They won't ever be free of it, no matter what either of us try to do. It would be easier to revive the dead."

    My stare is unblinking. She needs to understand.

    "If Ahti dies here, Pyry won't ever be Pyry again. If Pyry dies here, Ahti will be gone. You won't be able to heal his heart or his mind - and neither will I. That's what happens if we don't interfere - or if we step in to tip the scales."

    I won't pretend to be a mind reader, Hisa. But a part of me is very afraid of what you can do. With just a thought, Ahti might react a second too late and leave a fatal opening. The 'you' in my nightmares is very capable of doing such a thing. Especially to protect a friend.

    Even if I were to stop you from interfering, we'd be exerting too much of ourselves bickering to save those two.

    "...that's why we have to wait. And watch. For them to fight their battle. For them to protect each other and themselves. For that chain to be pulled taught. For Utujoutsi's hidden curse to surface."

    I doubt it would ever be possible otherwise. Only through their meeting can their feelings be sufficiently riled up. And we'll have to wait, no doubt, for the climax, when their feelings are burning, flaring as loudly as they possibly can.

    "And then... you'll have to get on the scooter. And, uh, hold on tight."

  10. #4470
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    My lips curved into a grin for a moment before I covered my mouth with my hand, hiding my inappropriate amusement.

    "Really, I thought you were being serious here, but...The scooter? That scooter? Me?"

    No, the world could end before I would get on that thing, together with her, and attempt to do anything serious at that.

    "No, that's just...No. But more importantly..."

    After regaining my composure, I sank my hand back into my pocket, this time, to search for something rather than just to rest it there;

    "I understand what you mean, but you can't know any of that for sure. Not the income, and not how exactly it all works. They don't either, they just resort to the one solution they know, which comes instinctually from their origin and what the commands planted into them urge them to do. But just the fact that we are here already changes the nature of that solution, and following the same notion, there are likely many other ways to solve this that we don't even know about. So no reason to act like them beating each other to death is the only way."

    Why did she always sound so convinced in situations like this? Not that I knew better - but I knew that she was wrong at least, in the sense that none of us could just take such things for granted.

    "I'm not trying to get anyone killed, though. While I obviously care more about Pyry, I hardly wish for Ahti's death - and much as I would rather see him gone along with this ordeal so that we could focus on what's coming tomorrow, I know that his death wouldn't solve anything. That said..."

    Pulling the soft fabric doll shaped perfectly like Pyry out of my pocket, I held it up for Prushka to see as well.

    "This...it's not just a doll. It's...An object of vow. A phyiscal manifestation of a bond, taking shape of..."

    A significant other? The person who means the most to you? The one you love? Would not even consider saying any of those out loud, considering how they were already embarrassing enough to think about too.

    "It forms a connection. So that you can feel the other when you need it, no matter how far they are. It helps me understand, with more than just words. Ever since I've heard of those chains robbing him of his free will last week, since he explained that time before Ahti even showed up, I've been trying to understand him for who he was. So that I could tell the difference between him, and the binds controlling him."

    Looking down on the doll, a faint smile spread on my face as I squished it slightly, before putting it back into my pocket, and into safety.

    "So that I could weed it out. Just blindly prodding around wouldn't have worked. Even if it had traces while dormant, it would have taken too long to find. But now it should be possible. To free Pyry, at least. Ahti is something you will have to deal with."

  11. #4471
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa Momoi
    "So that I could weed it out. Just blindly prodding around wouldn't have worked. Even if it had traces while dormant, it would have taken too long to find. But now it should be possible. To free Pyry, at least. Ahti is something you will have to deal with."
    "That's the plan."

    Calmly, we're both careening towards the same conclusion. Funny that we've been working on the same thing all this time. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm beginning to understand Hisa.

    "That's a beautiful doll. Lot nicer than the scary one." You can see the care put into each and every stitch. "You really... care about him a lot, huh?"

    She's prideful, wants to do everything herself, and gets kinda possessive and jealous. Plus she's an incurable pessimist and a bit of a contrarian too. And she's doesn't like to show it, but she cares.

    My voice drops to a whisper. I reach out and tug on the sleeve of Hisa's hoodie.

    "...I care about Ahti too. A lot. I know what his heart is like. It's beautiful. If something happened to him, I... no, nothing will happen. I'll free him."

    Damn, we're too similar.

    "This might not be the only way. But it's the best way. It's what we have. And it'll work. I'll stake my pride as an Esper on it. When it comes to matters of the heart, the Puppy's nose is never wrong. And as for them..." I look back to the two men, staring, growling at each other. "I promise, neither of them will die. On that, I'll stake my life."

    Any moment now.

    "As for my ride..."

    I rev it. The dragon rumbles beneath my feet like a sports car, the sound of the engine nearly drowning out the two cats nearby.

    "We're gonna get in there, y'know. You navigated us with Samuel, but I'll be doing the driving this time, and we'll need to get close, fast."

    I tilt my head, and grin.

    "Or would you like a seat belt?"

  12. #4472
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Ubon's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    I puffed out some air from my nose, waving off Subaru's concerns with magnanimity, "If I was going to be inconvenienced by something I've smelled far too many times, I wouldn't be the kind of person that I am today, so it's nothing to be concerned about."

    I smiled down at her.

    "Thanks for the towel, though," I commented, removing my hat and beginning to attend to the matted mane of hair restrained beneath it, "Always good for girls to take care of their hair, in my book, I'll just have to grab my coat from the room before we head out again."

    I grimaced lightly, "Plus we'll be scooting around in a car, and not running around on foot the whole time..."

    Fucking geezer.

    I'll have my revenge!

    "Oh, speakin' of, I'd been wondering, Subaru," I said, gesturing gently at her poofy puff of hair, "Do you use any kind of product with that? Seems like it'd be a bit of a hassle to deal with on the regular, mine just kind of sprawls out and goes all over the place, gets all up in my face."

    If we got out of this situation, I'd have to find a barber.

    ...

    I rocked gently on my heels, a quiet squeaking coming from my boots as I did so, the over-sweet scent of some sort of high sugar candy brushing at the top of my mouth as Ubon approached the door.

    "Hiya Ubon, it's Elaine, Subaru, Tonkori 'n I were just coming up here and checkin' in on ya, making sure you were doing good. Things've been getting kind of rough out there, so old John-boy hit us up."

    I tilted my head back and forth, "We were thinking of getting out and hitting the road for a bit, hassling some ghosts, badgering a bunch of nordic a-holes, the usual. You interested? Girl's night out~"

    I coughed, lightly, "Or, y'know, could go hang out with Johnny over there, if you're more interested in that."

    A quiet chuckle.

  13. #4473
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory – In Front of Xylia Pheme’s Room (2nd Floor, Room 119)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Waaah…

    It comes not as a mind-blowing revelation in a critical juncture, nor as an epiphany as his life flashes before his eyes. It comes not from deadly battle, supernatural exposure, or philosophical discourse. Xylia Pheme does not get all the credit; this was merely the final step after a succession of small events and revelations and self-introspections. Nevertheless, the final, decisive flash of insight comes from the small girl’s needlessly confrontational bluntness.

    The truth does not bring him to tears, nor makes him laugh in joy. If anything, he wants to bury his face in his hands, now doubly struck by shame at the difference between the amazing (in all the right and wrong ways) people around him, while he is just so, so, so thoroughly…him.

    Indeed, at long last, John Dove has figured out John Dove.



    Uwaaaaaah…

    Now that he has self-awareness, he also has awareness of both pride and shame, and the former demands he does not show the latter.

    Spoiler:

    Yes, yes,
    I am
    you are
    a thoroughly embarrassing human being. But Xylia Pheme is wrong.
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Xylia Pheme could not be more mistaken. Do not misunderstand: John Dove is hopeless and pathetic, but not for the reasons that overly pitiful girl believes.

    Now, having found unexpected enlightenment (lol), what does John Dove do?

    Well, exactly what he’s been doing, of course. Why would knowing the reason change the course of action at all? He is who he is; he hasn’t suddenly been reborn as a wholly different person. Right now, his priority must be Xylia Pheme. This conversation, regardless of its explicit result, is of critical importance.

    For the sake of tomorrow.

    The young man stops himself from sighing because the girl on the other side would definitely take it the worst possible way. Perhaps he will never fully understand why humans keep doing what this girl is doing.

    Contradicting herself, that is.

    “Yes, yes, ‘they cannot hurt me if I hurt them first’, I get it. How often does that work out for you?”

    He had figured out as much the moment he heard she had not left her bedroom this whole time. This is just the externalization of her inner self: perpetually entrenched, never allowing herself to give, to expose even a fraction of an inch.

    How arrogant.

    “Do you go through life assuming everybody who approaches you either hates you or wants something from you?” He retorts. “You care not for my advice, but I’ll give it nonetheless: don’t be so full of yourself, Xylia Pheme, thinking the entire world cares so deeply about you.”

    Hating someone means you care for them; for what they think and feel, even if it is because you want them to feel terrible.

    “I cannot say I care nearly as much, so what little I know about you comes from what I’ve seen in class, and from what others have told me for whatever reason. On the other hand, for all you claim to ‘not give a fuck’, you’ve paid enough attention to me to profile me in your head.”

    And even she thinks he is romancing Ubon. Were he a different, more ‘normal’ person, he would be annoyed by now. Oh well.

    “I would be flattered, but that is not a thing I do. But you already know that.”

    A shrug she (probably. Hopefully.) cannot see.

    “Ah, but don’t get me wrong; I do get it. Why you would do something like that. I do something very similar, to be honest.”

    Well, it is not as if John Dove hoped for anything in particular. There are two ways to ensure you will achieve anything you want. You can plan a series of steps and successfully complete all of them. Alternatively, do the opposite and work from the assumption that you will always fail, planning so that your complete and utter failure leads to the desired result.

    Guess which one’s the John Dove way.

    “Anyway, I don’t need you to open the door to accomplish my purpose here, but before I do that, I will ask you a question. Perhaps you will surprise me, and find it in yourself to indulge me on this one, if only because you’d rather I shut up and leave all the sooner.”

    Whether she answers or not—hell, even if she does the unthinkable and opens the door to shoot him with a needle gun or whatever—, he will get what he wants. Just like he has done throughout this whole seemingly fruitless exchange. Because he planned under the assumption that she would never listen to him.

    Why would she? He is not one of the strong.

    One of those she so desperately wishes she were.

    “What would happen if, let’s say, somebody brought down this door in front of me?”

    No matter her answer, Xylia Pheme is already doing exactly as he wants.

  14. #4474
    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Watching the storm roll in for a second time was just as exciting as it had been the first time. Although, Elise admitted, it had been nicer when she'd watched it from the warmth and safety of her dorm room, rather than actually being out in the storm. She felt her footsteps hasten as the rain poured down, the wind picked up, lightning flashed through the sky, and the thunder roared around her.

    More worringly, she knew from experience that the storm was just getting started. The worst was yet to come.

    Getting back to the dormitories later is going to be fun... thought Elise, That's a problem for me to worry about later, and right now I've already got enough to worry about...

    She briefly wondered if making her way out here had been a mistake. If she shouldn't have been better going back to the dormitories with Lucille and preparing for tomorrow. She cast that thought aside. She'd come this far already. Her destination, Big Boy's Gas Station, was in sight. It wasn't much further yet. It was too late to turn back now.

    She passed over a puddle. The reflection in it not entirely her own. The demon seemed every bit as cheerful as she'd been the first time she'd watched the storm as it hummed a certain favourite tune of its. It was almost like having a song stuck in her head, but not quite.

    She reached another puddle and paused. A small part of her wanted to stomp in the puddle, and not just because it would be fun.

    [Hey... LBJ?] prodded Elise as she looked down at the reflection in the puddle, [You heard what Samuel said about our situation after Lucille and I told him about the time loop, right? How he thought it sounded like it was intended to be a punishment.]

    A horrible punishment, Samuel had called it. A terrible fate forced upon them all.

    Elise looked up from the puddle and at the stormy sky overheard.

    [You're from Hell.]

    Named demons had to come from somewhere. Hers purportedly ruled in Hell as a President, and commanded sixty-six legions of demons.

    [That'd make you something of an expert on the matter of eternal punishment, right?]

    Elise looked back down at the puddle.

    [What do you think?] asked Elise.

  15. #4475
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Get...in there?"

    I sigh again as I rub my temples with a hand, the idea of dashing into the clash of two people like that with a wonky pink scooter sounding all too ridiculous for my mind to handle.

    "I don't like advertising it, but I don't exactly have to touch people to make my powers work. The length of this building...might be a bit of a stretch, but to operate from outside the range of whatever mess they can make should be easy enough."

    What was the point of risking 'getting in there', then? If they were to accidentally hit either of us, the situation would be just as bad. Not that Prushka had this alternative. At least, I hoped that she wouldn't want to resort to something like that if she had the option to do it from further away. Would I just let her go alone, then? Wouldn't that be safer anyways?

    "But we'll see. For now we should give them some room, and I have her to take care of too anyways." I said, gesturing towards Gradient who was still waiting on the sides not too far from Pyry.

  16. #4476
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High School
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Lucille feels guilty about tracking this much water into the dorms, but there are more important things to deal with. Besides, maybe she looks more unhinged if she barges into the room they’re keeping the shapeshifter like this? It’s not as if she looks intimidating, so maybe she needs every advantage she gets. Then again, wasn’t threatening their life (even if those were empty threats) usually sufficient enough?

    Ah, but she’d rather not resort to that. The ideal was that they’d peacefully chat, the shapeshifter ends up being a nice person, and everything would be sunshine and rainbows. Completely unrealistic, but she could hope for the best, right? No need to do anything abhorrent. Not that she really minded those things, anything in His Name, but she felt other people would find it rather problematic she resorted to those means.

    She stumbles through the abandoned dorms, awkwardly moving debris away as she finally arrives at her location. Cautiously eyeing the ofuda on the door, Lucille can’t help but wonder if this type of syncretism was merely perverting people’s understanding of His Will. Then again, she’s currently holding onto a pagan spear, so who is she to judge? They’d probably have her head for this, but did it really matter how people understood Him, as long as they got the gist of things?

    Lucille gently takes the ofuda off the door, before knocking on it pointlessly. It’d be weird if the person inside could actually respond, wouldn’t it? Mere reflex, she guesses. Opening the door, Lucille slips the ofuda back on as she slips in, ready to be face to face with their newest guest.

    “Having a lovely time?”

  17. #4477
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "--- That's why humans are awful."

    A strange sense of déjà vu. The silhouette of someone else, larger yet smaller, overlapped with Nevada’s when he said those words. Colt could swear that he heard another voice alongside the one-eyed man’s, a girl’s.

    Who was it again, the one who said that? Why had he heard it before, as if the one in front of him was mimicking the other that was on the tip of his tongue, the forefront of his mind.

    “Hmm…” Colt scratched the back of his head. It wouldn’t get out of his mind. “Well, I’m no expert on friends or people. I’m about the opposite of you, I reckon. ‘Cause before now, I haven’t really had anyone I would call my ‘friend’ too readily, but now I’ve got a few.”

    Colt let out a sigh.

    “Even then, who knows if ‘friend’ is the right word for most of them. I agree on that, it ain’t never simple enough to just sum a person up as ‘my friend’.”

    Putting it that way, what was a friend? Someone you liked, or someone you could trust? What do you do for a friend, and how far are you supposed to go? When does a friendship start, when does it end? Why?

    Every question had a potential answer, and every answer gave rise to another question.

    Perhaps it was best to think of friends… as two people that wanted to be friends. Whether they said it or not.

    At the least, he had someone like that.

    “Well, once you put it that way, I guess only you could tell me if you were ‘friends’ with Remington D-” He paused. “Hartley.”


  18. #4478
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    By the time Vier was done with her camouflaged shelter, she was soaked to the bone and chilled to the core.

    This rain, this storm... it wasn't like any regular one.

    If anything, it brought the sort of cold with it that latched onto someone with clammy skeletal hands and started squeezing, tighter and tighter, until they could barely breathe. So even if fatigue was expected when the girl finally slipped under the protective canopy of her shelter, she quickly realized that this was more than just having to deal with the after-effects of a particularly nasty weather. No, this was definitely a more sinister type of exhaustion. Perhaps the forest, perhaps something else, was in here, slowly sapping her strength and making her eyelids feel heavy...

    --- No. Her instincts warned her that if she were to fall asleep here, she would wake up come next week... if even that.

    Dreaming in Road's end was already dangerous. To do so at Ghostwood was akin to throwing yourself into the raging rapids.

    Suddenly.

    A terrible ripping noise echoed through the untamed forest.

    The horrifyingly powerful wind had grabbed a hold of a large branch of a nearby tree, and with a sickening snap, it ripped it off and sent it hurtling to the ground. The massive branch hit the mattress of pine needless and moss with a loud crash... only meters away from Vier's shelter. And what followed was... well, not silence, but the equivalent of it. Just the howling gales and the furious rain.

    That had been close...

    Way too close.

    Had the wind focused on a different direction, or had Vier built her shelter at a different angle...

    --- Maybe it was a reminder. Of what she had gotten herself into.

    But then again...

    ... Wasn't that what you wanted?

    To work alone, to stay alone, to be alone?

    At least you got your wish.

    Vier Wolff...?




    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    The rain was harsh.

    The winds were harsher.

    The violence of the storm was only really apparent when you were in the middle of it, and right now, Vivienne Bianchi bore the full brunt of it. Perching atop the tall hotel, she had no cover from the trees or other buildings - instead, the gales hit her with their full strength, nearly causing her to topple over. Her natural instincts went to balance her, but as her light feet spread across the roof tiles to get a better grip, she found herself slipping. The tiles were wet with rain, and in an instant, her world tumbled forward, the scenery of the nearby forest swirling with that of the gunship grey clouds above.

    --- However, mere half a second later, her hands struck the roof too, and she had regained her balance.

    She had stumbled, but she had remained on top of things.

    Now it was only a matter of moving much more carefully. Even if she had to inch across the roof. This wetness was... dangerous. One wrong move, and she would slip over the edge and plummet to the ground... and whether her soaked wings were fast enough to save her was anyone's guess.

    Still.

    Regaining her balance was only the first thing to do.

    There was still the matter of finding an alternate way in, one that didn't involve getting caught by James Halloway or giving Alex a heart-attack.

    --- The cerulean eyes scanned downwards at the walls of the hotel the best they could.

    If there was an open window, there should have been a sign of some sort - a break in the rain where it did not hit the glass pane, a shift in the shadows and lighting around one of the parts of the wall, maybe even the curtains fluttering out of the window slightly thanks to the rain and...

    --- There!

    She almost missed it at first, but after focusing her eyes for a moment, Vivienne was able to see it.

    Those were definitely curtains flapping through an open window due to the draft. And looking at that third floor window closer, hanging her head over the edge of the roof, she was able to see that the thing had most certainly been pulled up. But as for any occupants in the room...

    .... Hm?

    Hmm?

    Focusing her ears, was that slight sound that Vivienne heard over the rain and thunder...

    ... Loud snoring?

    And more than that, that face reflected on the open window, depicting a man sitting on a floor with his head against his chest and his hands in what looked to be a vague meditative pose...



    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Zane nodded.

    "There's the vehicle that your classmate apparently hotwired last night. Or so the bluehead over there said," Zane responded, nodding towards Aleen. "As for boss' garage... there's definitely something there. Stuff that would work. And I know where he keeps most of his stuff. The only thing that's missing was the Harley..."

    The redheaded boy frowned for a moment.

    "... Hawthorn must have stashed it somewhere nearby beforehand. It was his in the first place."

    Wait... the vampire owned a Harley? As in, the motorcycle? He had never mentioned that... then again, he did seem like the type who would like bikes. Especially big, dangerous-looking ones. And with his get-up, it was easy enough to imagine him driving around in one, though... if he had stashed his ride somewhere near the country club, would that mean he would be back for it at some point?

    It was hard to say. And a touchy topic to think about.

    "Still. There's 9 of us. We'll need at least two cars. I'll be headed back to my place... but I can drop some people off at the same time. Not all the way to Pinefall, but at least to the clinic," Zane continued, his sharp eyes watching Liana. "If you're staying there too, I'd suggest you, boss and Sierra at least in the car I drive. The rest can pile in the other car. Unless one more wants to come with us."

    He paused for a moment, thinking.

    "... It might be best to bring boss to the clinic, yeah. Canseliet will know what to do," he mumbled. "I might have some tools to remove silver at my place, but nothing of her caliber. The pay though..."

    For some reason, he seemed to grimace.

    "... Best not for me to be around. I don't want to put my brother down as a payment," he said with a stern smirk. "Or the contents of my garage."




    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Ubon's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "F-fueh!?"

    Ubon Sĕeklêun certainly made the most wonderful sounds if you pressed her buttons just right.

    Flaring a little pink on her cheeks, the cyanhead seemed to be taken by surprise by the sudden question regarding a certain male classmate of theirs who was also up and about on his business. She hastily gazed around the corridor as if to see if John had heard, and gave a small sigh of relief only after realizing that wasn't the case. Then, with a cute pout on her face, Ubon turned her attention back to Elaine.

    "T-that's just mean Ellie! You totes gave me a heart attack there, for realsies!" The girl responded. "B-besides, it's not like me and Johnnie are like that, y'know! We just... we just, uh, hang out a lot together! I mean, you know how that guy is, right? He's totes so wrapped up in his own worries and thoughts that sometimes he needs a good verbal bonk on the head to clear him up! And sometimes a physical one!"

    Then, as if thinking about these had caused some grey clouds to appear in her mind, Ubon's face fell a little bit.

    "Besides... it's not like Johnnie even thinks about that sorta stuff. I know, for realsies. If anything, it'd just be a bother to him and what he's really focused on... who he's really focused on. I mean, ahahaha... that guy's got it so bad for a certain lunar lady, I'd feel bad anyone trying to compete! Ahahaha... ha..." Ubon continued, her smile and laugh sounding just a tiny bit sad. "So, um, it's more like... y'know. I'm sticking with him 'cause he'd be totally useless without someone to help him out. And I'm fine with that, totes am! I'd rather be useful to him than a bother!"

    Another somewhat weird chuckle elicited from the girl's mouth as she scratched the back of her head.

    "Geez, why's everyone misunderstanding this stuff anyways...?"

    Of course, that laugh didn't quite help. If anything, it took Ubon a couple seconds to realize just how awkward she had made the atmosphere - awkward enough that even Tonkori couldn't break it.

    Thus, she seemed to pull the verbal handbrake as hard as she could to drift into another topic.

    "A-anyways, totes more importantly! Yeah, Subbie!" Ubon verbally stumbled forward. "I've been thinking about that too! Like, how do you get your hair to be so... poofy? I wanna have a wild do like that myself, too!"

    She opened the door completely and leaned out, now eye-to-eye with very flustered Subaru.

    "Teeeell meeee~!"

    For a second or two, Subaru's eyes sought rescue from Elaine, only to find none. After all, the blonde girl had asked the very same question just moments before. Therefore, after coughing into her balled-up fist very matter-of-factly, the tiny shrine maiden gathered her bearings enough to respond.

    "W-well, um... I... I do not actually use anything special? Or rather, I do not use anything?" Subaru asked, looking a bit confused. "The mountain water back home, especially in the rivers, is very pure and untainted, so it makes for perfect bathing water. I cannot say the same for the showers in this place, b-but I am sure I shall get used to them as well! Even if I miss baths..."

    Tonkori let out a whine that sounded like an agreement.

    "As for the shape of my hair, well... if I had to take a guess, it is something I inherited from my father? He has a similar style after all," Subaru continued. "Unlike my mother, of course, whose hair is beautifully long, straight and silken, and more brown than black."

    Upon hearing that, Ubon pretented to click her tongue and snap her fingers in frustration.

    "Ah, dangit! So it's hereditary... shucks!"

    Afterwards, with a grin that was far more her usual style, the cyanhead turned to look at Elaine.

    "So, uh, anyways... what's up, Ellie? What was that about hassling nordic badgers?" She asked. "Sounds a bit mean but also kinda fun, so uh... I'm in?"

    She blinked at the blonde girl with a goofy smile.




    John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory – In Front of Xylia Pheme’s Room (2nd Floor, Room 119)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    A sudden silence.

    An unexpected silence.

    ... A silence that definitely did not fit the usual MO of Xylia Pheme.

    John Dove can hear the song from the record player still blare on, at least for a few seconds, before it starts to fade away... and yet no new song comes on. Instead, there's just the absolute silence, only occasionally broken by sounds from the distance (which, ironically enough, sounds to be Ubon's usual antics) and the ticking of the clock on the wall. However, just as it has started to seem that Xylia has, instead of engaging, just went ahead and given John the silent treatment...

    "I-I..."

    She stammers.

    For the first time during this whole conversation, Xylia Pheme stammers, as if she did not have an angry, vulgar retort to everything that was thrown her way. Instead, she actually sounds unsure, or perhaps... anxious.

    Had John's question hit an unexpected mark? Or was it something else he said?

    "... I'd hurt them. I have to hurt them. E-easy for ya to say, 'full of myself'... Ya dunno anything 'bout the world," Xylia's voice comes out, but this time... it almost sounds powerless, exhausted... driven to a corner with no escape. "Everybody in this world wants to hurt ya. One way or another. Hell, even without meanin' to. It's cuz everybody, in their heart of hearts, has the same main goal... their own survival. Even at the expense of others."

    Those were bitter, bitter words - spoken with a voice that was almost quivering.

    "This world, it's... it's full of beasts. And unless ya turn into a beast yerself, then..." She paused, unable to find the right words. "But it hurts. I keep lockin' doors, but they're never enough. It still keeps hurtin'. There's just no end to it. Do ya really thinks it's just some stupid arrogance? E-even I, if I could, would... I would wanna... I mean..."

    Sniffle. An actual sniffle.

    Followed by the sound of the girl wiping her face with her arm.

    "I wanna..."

    She stammers yet again.

    "J-John Dove, I..."

    Why?

    "I-I..."

    Why?

    "..... GYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!"

    Ah, of course.

    --- Because Xylia Pheme was holding herself back from howling like a hyena.

    The absolutely mocking, shit-eating laughter roared from the room, unable to be contained anymore. There was a loud bang as a chair fell backwards, followed by what could only be the sounds of the girl rolling on the floor, holding her stomach and kicking the air (and the furniture) as she did. Not a shred of decency, mercy or any sort of sympathy could be heard from that sound. It was the sound of pure joy, pure glee, at the expense of others... and in this case, it was caused by this extremely juvenile bit of acting that the girl had pulled.

    Eventually, after good twenty seconds or so, the girl finally managed to calm herself down.

    "Daaaaammn! Oh man, oh man...! Yer just the most precocious little shit I've ever heard!" Xylia cackled as she climbed up from the floor. "I mean, what the hell!? 'Don’t be so full of yourself, Xylia Pheme, thinking the entire world cares so deeply about you.' 'I would be flattered, but that is not a thing I do. But you already know that.' 'I don’t need you to open the door to accomplish my purpose here'."

    Ah yes.

    The time-old tactic of mimicking someone's way, but making it sound way too annoying and way too idiotic.

    The favorite weapon of playground bullies trying to get a rise out of you.

    "Gyahahahaha~! That's the most asinine shit I've ever heard! Do ya talk like that all naturally, or are ya just so delusional ya think it's impressive?" Xylia continued her mocking. "I mean, hell, if yer the type to psychoanalyze everything and shit, guess it makes sense! Gotta get that pompous know-it-all air going, to balance out that inferiority complex! Gwaha! Isn't that how it always is? That ya can hear it from how people talk? Guess that'd make you an easy payday for a shrink or two, hah! Still, oh Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ..."

    Ah, here it comes again.

    The "John Dove A La Xylia Pheme" voice.

    “Yes, yes, ‘they cannot hurt me if I hurt them first’, I get it. How often does that work out for you?”

    Did she just slam against the door just to sneer at him through the wood? It sounds like she did.

    "Gwahahahahahaa---! Too bad, boyo, I'm not interested at all if anyone tries to hurt me! Been there, done that! See, what I want is to kick pompous little pricks like ya to the curb! Can't grind those balls to the asphalt since ya ain't got ones, hah!" She cackled, voice now much closer - just behind the door. "Though since yer throwing around all that super-judgemental shit 'n stuff, here's a question for ya instead!"

    She rapidly tapped the surface of the door with her knuckles, almost like a drum roll.

    "Do ya like doin' that, John Dove?"

    She asked, her voice slithering.

    "Bein' all contradictory?"




    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    The whistle died on the lips of the reflection as it gazed back on Elise. There was a deep, searching gaze in those blue eyes that were so much like her own, but not quite - a stark difference was till visible, even though this preferred form of the demon borrowed so much from her. Perhaps that was what it made it more unsettling in a way. LBJ could have chose any sort of monstrous form, but for some reason... it had decided to stick with Elise's own - only warped slightly.

    Not only that, but it's attitude over this week had been... off.

    When was the last time the demon had mocked him with nightmares?

    [... Are you sure you really want to ask that question, Girl?] LBJ replied, raising an eyebrow in the reflection. [Do you really want to get into a talk about the possible existence of what you humans refer to as 'Hell'? Are you absolutely certain that's knowledge you want on your plate?]

    ... It may have had a point there.

    Some truths were best left unknown.

    [Well... be that as it may, when we're talking about this place - this loop you believe in,] LBJ continued looking around its reflected world. [Ha... hahahaha. Well, we're not in the Valley of Hinnom, if that's what you're asking. No, the nature of this phenomena, and the eyes I sometimes feel upon us... they're not actively hostile. It's a cruel fate to be sure, but I don't think it's meant to punish us. The purpose of this phenomena lies elsewhere, in doing something else.]

    There was a definite 'but' there, waiting.

    [However, Girl... you've felt it too, haven't you? There's another presence here. In this closed-off world. One that is using it to its own advantage to enact suffering, pain and yes... perhaps punishment upon us all. To drive a wedge between what you mortals call bonds and to break them, to sow seeds of hatred between you all, and to then spend an eternity watching your anguish, over and over again. Really, Hell is other people,] LBJ said, its eyes narrowing with fury. [It's like a virus... or perhaps a parasite. It has hijacked part of this looping world for its own twisted amusement... and it's enjoying the suffering of you lot. A thing after my own heart, hah...]

    Despite saying such a thing, there was no respect or amusement in LBJ's voice.

    No, it sounded like the being was furious.

    The oozing hatred for whatever or whoever was toying with them was palpable, enough to cause steam to rise out of the puddle.

    And unlike Elise, that reflection was clenching its hands into fists, so hard the knuckles had turned white.

    [Really...]

    LBJ hissed.

    [--- They've forgotten the meaning of Sheol Fear.]

    Like it was wanting payback.




    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High - Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Something shifted in the darkness of the abandoned dorm room.

    There was not much in terms of light here. After all, the lightbulbs and electricity were nowhere to be found. And though sunlight did stream through the barred windows and its wooden planks, right now there was not much of that to go around either. The stormy clouds had blocked up the whole sky, meaning that what pale light made it here was grey and unpleasant. Not only that, but there was nothing to shield the room from the wind that slithered in, or the cold of the rain that battered against the walls.

    Perhaps that was why someone (clearly Sakura) had left a thick blanket for the "prisoner" of the room - one they had wrapped themselves in quite snuggly.

    No, not just a blanket. There was a half-eaten sandwich resting on a plate, set on the floor. One of Sakura's specials, the type of monstrosities that could have fed a whole village at once. There was also a bottle of water with an ease-of-access cap. Looks like Lucille's servant had thought just about everything. Natural for someone like her, probably, but that didn't change the fact that this room was a rather horrible place to spend an entire day in.

    It can't have been warm, even with a blanet.

    "..........."

    A wordless grunt echoed from the prisoner as she sat up. While her shackles made it harder, it wasn't impossible - and it seemed that she wanted to look Lucille in the eye now that she was in the room. A pair of blue eyes stared at the blonde girl, big black bags underneath them that made the girl look almost like a panda. Her hair was rough-looking, somewhere between wheat and concrete, and judging by the state of her clothes, she hadn't changed them since last night.

    The girl, that "Minato Coastrise" from last night stared at Lucille for a good five seconds in complete silence.

    "... All things considering. Guess it could be worse," she grunted out in a rough voice. "Sandwich was good. Thanks to chef. Blanket too."

    What a weird way of speaking - almost robotic in a way.

    Then again, wasn't she...?

    "Is it time. For judgement then?"

    The girl hung her head for a moment.

    Then, a sigh escaped her lips.

    "For what it's worth."


    "... I'm so sorry. I really am."

    Even through her monotone voice, genuine shame shone through.




    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Lightning roared somewhere in the distance.

    "Remington..."

    The rain fell harder.

    "... Hartley."

    Nevada's voice, as damaged as it was, came out more as a raspy whisper than a true response to Colt's words. As the boy studied the face of the older man, he saw... well, he saw practically nothing. Or rather, he saw no true reaction. That single functional eye simple gazed downwards, taking in the sight of the table's wood grain like it had been the most interesting thing in the world. Silence, a very awkward one, stretched further and further, the ticking of the clock somewhere in the room, beginning to grow louder in the ears of both men.

    Silently, wordlessly, Nevada raised his left hand and placed it on his cheek, absent-mindedly drawing a finger across the scars there, as if remembering where they had come from. They were horrific sight to be sure. Even without the other things he had talked about, they alone would have explained why Nevada never ventured into the town, instead leaving it all to Max. But as to how he had gotten them, Colt could only guess... and the man wasn't speaking.

    Even if, judging by his distant gaze, he was thinking back to that day right now.

    More silence.

    Longer silence.

    It refused to end.

    "............"

    Finally, Nevada laid his left hand on the table, and put down the right one as well, setting down his cup of tea on a coaster from Big Boy's. His single eye came out of his stupor and slowly, like a reawakeninig glacier, he returned to the world of the living - the world of present. His attention shifted back to Colt, and for another uncomfortable, silent half-minute, he studied the boy's face, his expression, and most importantly... his eyes.

    Like he was searching for someone there.

    But as for Nevada himself... his face betrayed no emotion. Just distance. Monotone distance that nothing could touch.

    "I see."

    He finally replied.

    "... Yes. I knew Remington Hartley," he continued after a pause. "We were friends."

    Aside from the long pause before, the question did not seem to have affected him at all.

    "You look a lot like her."

    Except...

    ... even Colt could notice that Nevada's hands were shivering, like he was trying to suppress a terrible memory with all his might.




    Hisa Momoi & Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "....... Yeah. It's time."

    Pyry's voice rang out clear and strong. It was still his, despite the beastly undertone. That of a being wholly different lying in wait underneath.

    He nodded towards Hisa... and Ahti echoed his gesture, though his was aimed towards Prushka.

    "Time to move to the sidelines, Imp. We're running out of time."

    With that, the two boys began to move.

    Ahti from the doors, Pyry from the back wall. Their feet echoed loudly on the old, worn wooden flooring of the mill - each step causing a loud crack. Miasma of mana surged around them, exhaled from their eyes - white confronting gold. Their shadows grew harsher on the walls of the old building, taking shapes of mythological beasts that stalked each other, fangs and claws bared. The manes of these two beasts flared up, becoming like crowns of two opposing kings set against each other... yet, at the same time, the way they reflected one another - in more ways than one - it was almost as if two halves of the same coin had finally joined together.

    As the two youths reached Hisa and Prushka, the two girls could finally see it.

    Despite their individual differences, the faces of these two... they were more alike than they had first realized. Not in structure or features, but rather... in the internal scars they bore. They had both been forged from the fires of the same hell, and thus, they were brothers in ways that they did not want to admit.

    "... Once I'll let go, it's gonna be hard to control myself. So when that happens, it's up to you two," Pyry quietly said as he put hand on Hisa's shoulder - clearly struggling not to use too much force. "Hisa... I'll hardly be myself anymore. But don't for one minute doubt I'll forget you, deep down. So even if it comes to that... don't hesitate to jump into the eye of the maelstrom. I won't let you get hurt."

    And as he spoke, the other boy, his reflection, opened his mouth as well.

    "You've handled me at my worst already... I doubt this'll be much different. So, I know you can do it. Both of you," Ahti growled against his instinct, gently laying hand atop Prushka's head - as much for his own sake as for hers. "I-... Prushka. Just so you know. It'll be ugly, what we'll become. So if it's possible, I want you to keep your distance when you do it. If you get hurt for my sake... this won't be worth it. Don't do anything stupid... please."

    Thus, the parting words of sorts were spoken. As if by a signal shared only between them, the two boys then moved their eyes, away from the girls at their sides... and over to the ones across the small space between them.

    And each nodded to them.

    Pyry to Prushka --- For even if he did not remember her, he understood her compassion.

    Ahti to Hisa --- For even if he did not know her well, he respected her power.

    And then, together, the boys gently pushed the girls away, sent them back towards the people who were waiting - Hisa towards Gradient, Prushka towards Alpa.

    "Nnnn.... tuuu..."

    Gradient, upon Hisa reaching her, took a step forward and took the girl's hand in her own. The shine of worry was clear as day on the strange girl's face - not just for Hisa, but for the whole situation at large. Just from her face, it was agonizingly clear that never before had the girl wanted to be able to say words of encouragement more than now, despite the language that had been robbed from her.

    But she couldn't. So instead, she squeezed Hisa's hand as hard as she could, as if to drive her own energies into her, to do what little she could to help out in what was about to happen.

    "Tuuu... geeehh..... teeee.... rrrrr....!"

    Or, just perhaps...

    And on the other end of the mill...

    "P-Prushka... what is... what is about to happen...?" Alpa asked quietly, gazing at the brewing battlefield that was the center of the mill. "Everyone is so sure that they have to fight, and y-yet... nobody seems to want this."

    Her mouth was a thin line of anxiousness.

    "... Is there really no other way?"

    And her eyes were looking at the smaller girl with a clear question.

    "Or, d-do... do you have a plan? The two of you?"

    And as these thoughts were voiced, at the center of the mill, far away from both parties...

    --- The Brothers Lionheart finally regarded each other properly.

    "Aapo..." Ahti growled, his eye glaring a hole through his opponent. "... I've finally found you. I've finally caught up to you. You won't be escaping any longer...!"

    The golden maned boy's eyes narrowed, while his nails grew into claws.

    "The name's Pyry. And unfortunately, Timo, I haven't been running away. I didn't even know that anyone was pursuing me," he coolly replied, coldness seeping into his tone. "So I don't know what sort of phantom of that pile of rubble you are, but... I intend to find out."

    Fangs in the darkness.

    "The name's Ahti. And of course you didn't. You never wanted to look back, did you? All you did was run, run, as fast as you could. Ran away from that hell, leaving the rest of us to rot...!" The white mane'd boy replied, bitterness clinging to every word. "You were too focused enjoying the sweet life stole for yourself that you never even looked back to what you left behind, those who were forced to suffer twice as much because of your rebellion---!"

    Roars in the storm.

    "What...? What the hell are you talking about?" Pyry's eyes narrowed. "I destroyed that place! I laid waste to Jukola! There's nothing remaining of the Copper Mountain of Sariola, or the Nine Locks! I don't know where you came from or where you were made, but we're not the products of the same abyss! That thing sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea by the time we were done!"

    Claws in the snow.

    "No! No! You destroyed nothing! It's still there, even to this day--!" Ahti roared, a full brunt of anger thrown against Pyry's face, because he had no one else to accuse. "You merely made them angry, more focused, more cruel...! And so they got to work, they based each and every chain off the ones they made for you, for absolute control! Our minds were never our own! Yes, our! Aapo, Pyry, brother...! There's full seven now! Just like they planned!"

    Two young lions confronting each other.

    "No... that's not... possible..." Pyry stammered, before fury started twisting his face. "You're lying...! Don't get me wrong, Timo, Ahti, brother... I do feel sorry for you. Sorry for what you had to go through! But I won't let you take it out on me, or the ones I love! If you're unable to let go of that pain, that darkness, that's on you! Not me! Don't blame me for your own fate!"

    Two brothers in a maelstorm of emotions, grudges and brainwashing.

    "I'm not here to blame you, you bastard...!" Ahti roared, his eye flaring up with mana. "I'm here to ask you and one question only... why didn't you save any of us!?"

    It was a conflict that would explode into a conflagration at any second now.

  19. #4479
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti Jalopuera
    "You've handled me at my worst already... I doubt this'll be much different. So, I know you can do it. Both of you. I-... Prushka. Just so you know. It'll be ugly, what we'll become. So if it's possible, I want you to keep your distance when you do it. If you get hurt for my sake... this won't be worth it. Don't do anything stupid... please."
    "Ahti..."

    The boy struggling against his own feelings lays his hand on my head one more time, and I can't find it in me to complain. This might, after all, be the last time we talk.

    "...you idiot. I'm gonna do more than something stupid. By the end of this..." I'll be the one begging you not to hate me.

    But it's too late. I'm talking to thin air, because he's already gone. Both of them are.

    We can only watch now. Watch, and wait, and hope.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpa
    "P-Prushka... what is... what is about to happen...? Everyone is so sure that they have to fight, and y-yet... nobody seems to want this."
    "...someone wanted it. He's not here, but he made it so."

    I pat the owl suit on the shoulder, because the girl inside it is beyond reach.

    "I'm... not sure they have to fight, Alpa. They could avoid each other. Maybe forever. Might be easier, never meeting. But when I asked them about it, Pyry and Ahti said the same thing."

    Hisa had a point, earlier. There must certainly be other ways of resolving this problem. Perhaps this one is wrong. Perhaps we're all making a mistake. Perhaps I should run in there and drag those two apart with every ounce of strength I can muster. Perhaps we are leading them to their deaths. Perhaps this is exactly what the doctor wanted. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

    "I... know what those two want. What their hearts want, even if they never said it out loud. They want to meet. To talk. Like brothers, or friends, or just two human beings. And to do that, they have to hurt each other."

    Perhaps Alpa's own isolationist stance makes sense, when put up against what's happening here. Other people can be painful, can't they?

    "This is why humans are awful."

    The world is bitter indeed. Its logic can be cruel and unjust. Against that logic, against Hisa's "perhaps", all I can bring to bear are my instincts. What's the plan here? Nothing more and nothing less than what it's always been: to follow my feelings, wherever they may lead. And right now my heart is leading me to those two. To the Brothers Lionheart.

    "That's why they need us. It'll turn out alright in the end. Because we're here."
    Last edited by Bloble; April 10th, 2022 at 09:17 AM.

  20. #4480
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Zane
    "... Best not for me to be around. I don't want to put my brother down as a payment," he said with a stern smirk. "Or the contents of my garage."
    "Heh..."

    A chuckle slips from her lips at the boy's words, her brilliant violet eyes locked sharply on his own, irreverent to the light shimmering around the both of them.

    "Yes, I shudder to think what she'd do with either of them... On one hand, she's a bit of a slave driver, making the youth organize bottled curses, so the kid brother would be in trouble, but on the other..."

    She smirks, in an amused sort of way.

    "I don't think she has the right license for those sorts of machines either... What would a Fae even do with one, I wonder?"

    It's a genuine question, asked aloud because nothing really surprises her anymore; from the youth's casual disregard of supernatural phenomena, to his constant hints -but never confirmations- that his nature was a similar one to her own, well...

    She snorts.

    "She'd probably crash it, honestly."

    At this point, none of it really shocks her.

    "But yeah, I figured I'd stay at the clinic for the night," reaching into her back pocket, the young woman retrieves a lavender (naturally) hair tie from her jeans, gathering up her hair in one hand as practiced motions slowly work the threads into a simple ponytail, "I promised both Thorne and Jack that I'd look out for Sierra, so that's the primary mission at this point. I'd like to be around to protect Dorothy too, if it comes to that..."

    These words flow easily from the girl, they follow her own internal logic of course, even without the promises chaining her to the task, her own codes mean that she puts children above everyone else, however...

    But a Harley...

    ...When it comes to Thorne, or rather, hearing herself mention his name, her own expression becomes hard to define beyond a vague sense of...

    Pain?

    Certainly, the fact that he had run off with more or less zero warning was hurtful on it's own, throw in the bold-faced lies and deceit from last night and that pain only grows, even still...

    ---It's dwarfed by a simple desire to ensure he's alright.

    She had planned to keep her friends close come the apparent doomsday, close enough that she could feasibly protect them, but now...

    Someone was missing, and the situation had become complex.

    Still... It's not like waiting for him here on a maybe seemed like it would work either, maybe doubling back after taking Sierra and Jack to the Clinic or something would work, but she'd need a third vehicle for her own personal use and...

    "..."

    If she's wrong and he doesn't show up, and something happened to Jack and Sierra while she was away, then she'd fail on two fronts...

    Was she willing to take that big a gamble?

    "..."

    Perhaps realizing she's looking a bit too gloomy, or rather momentarily lost, the girl shakes her head a bit to clear it before starting forward once more, after all...

    She doesn't even know all the pieces she has to work with yet.

    "I also figure it'd be a bit easier to accommodate everyone in that part of town, we might not be able to get everyone in the clinic, and auntie would definitely get annoyed with me if I did, but the hotel is also right up the hill... Scottie is staying there, so the group could probably be split into two if necessary, meet up in the morning. There's some stuff that's worth looking into at the hotel too, like last night's culprit's room... I know the room number. If we split into two groups, one of them could handle that... Although that'd be up to everyone else, of course."

    Her frown deepens, although this one is mostly in thought...

    "But beyond any hypothetical investigations, from what I can tell, the place has some weird wards on it... It probably won't be entirely safe, but I don't think there's a single place in town that's entirely safe."

    Her eyes, which had been drifting down towards the ground as she considered the situation, snap back up to Zane after a moment, this time filled with a hint of... Curiosity?

    Or perhaps simple worry?

    "But you say you're going back to your place? Will that be alright with just you and your brother?"

    Of course there is the -probable- thing in the garage to worry about, but considering the apparent time loop nature of all of this, well...

    If it was broken (and she figured it was almost certainly broken) there was no fixing it in what time remained to...

    Anyone, really.

    "Where do you live at? Somewhere away from town? You don't have to isolate so hard, you know?"

    Was she talking about this particular situation? Or just in general?

    Her vaguely concerned face doesn't give either answer away.
    Last edited by Airen; April 9th, 2022 at 05:08 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

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