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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3181
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "..."

    Right. Of course.

    "Should've expected that... of course they'd keep their secrets locked up tighter than an AK..."

    What to do now? There's a lock, that much is obvious. The only other entrances to the second floor are the windows, which are closed and probably also locked. We could break one, but that would cause trouble. It wouldn't do to have the faculty peer at us even more closely than they already do.

    In that case...

    I venture up the stairs and look at the lock. I pull one of my hairpins out of my pocket, stick it in the hole, fiddle around a bit, and...

    "Yep, it's a lock!"

    Didn't think it'd work, but it was worth a shot. I'm not too good at this stuff anyway. I skip back down the stares and shrug.

    "The janitor should have the keys, right? Let's ask Briggs. I still need to apologize to him anyway."

  2. #3182
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Elise frowned at the oddly well preserved locked door in the ruins of the old dining room. She gave a broken piece of a chair leg an idle kick across the floor as she considered this unexpected obstacle.

    "Considering the state of the other doors in here, either broken down or rotting off their hinges, this is an unexpected twist," said Elise approached the sturdy door.

    Just how did you survive all this time, and a monster attack? considered Elise as she inspected the door, I'd initially just assumed the door on our side was just a closet or storage room of some sort, but... the hinges here on the inside of the door. If it's supposed to be a storage room, then the door should swing out, so you'd have more space inside. Right? Although... I never really looked too carefully at this door on our side. Maybe this is a weird artifact from lazily mirrored architectural plans? That feels doubtful though.

    "You know, this just makes me more determined to get in there," said Elise to Souma, "Well, I'm not above suggesting brute force solutions, but I'd rather not break something down if we don't have to. Do you think you can, uh, finesse this open?"

    Where's that alternate universe Travis who still owes me a favour when I need him?

    "Otherwise, if you've got a pocket knife that I could borrow handy, I know an old lockpicking trick. I'd just need something with an edge that I can wedge between the door and the frame. I guess we could try and scavenge an old parring knife from the kitchen," she paused to glance in the direction of the old kitchen, "But really I'm not feeling optimistic about finding anything useful in there."

    "If nothing else," said Elise as she stared down the door, "I'm pretty sure I can get this open with a swift kick."

  3. #3183
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    "J-jeez, I come over here and spill my guts for a few minutes and you go getting all soft on me," I grumped, huffing in consternation as I looked away, "Sayin' crap like 'I'll keep you safe', get your head out of those trashy romance novels! I know you love Dr. Sexy..."

    I stamped at the ground, looking off towards where I knew that lighthouse was.

    "You should be careful, saying stuff like that. It's dangerous, pretty boy. Some people might take the wrong message, you know?"

    I scowled at him, folding my arms.

    "Anyway- god, freakin' this guy, man, making me lose my train of thought," I mumbled, then cleared my throat, "Just something some guy told me first day we got here, remember when I hopped out for that cruise with Hisa and Souma? We went up into the mountains for a view, ran into this Rosencranz guy, shoe salesman, very weird, almost certainly in the know, about a lot of things."

    I hummed, looking out to sea again, "He was the one who told me that little cuckoo thing, apparently they're good at sounding like other birds so it's a whole symbolism thing, I guess, or maybe it's literal too, who knows with this kind of stuff.

    I continued, "So if we take 'thing pretending to be other thing' into account and apply it to the general weirdness of the town, could be an oblique reference to this whole house of mirrors theory we're work-shopping."

    I adjusted the strap on my shoulder idly.

    "Last I heard if I wanted to go poke at him some more, he was shacked up at the hotel, so it's that, checking out a murder scene or trying to figure out anything about this shady, expensive doctor. Which, by the way, I figured I'd look into while I was playing truant."

    I nodded, "Got a name, got an address, don't have prices, but I'm pretty sure I can't afford them," I gave him a side-eye, "Not all of us get tax payer dollars, or dollars period."

    I grumbled to myself again, "I here there's some rich people around, maybe I'll hire myself out as a maid again," I raised an eyebrow, "You certainly seemed to enjoy that little escapade."

  4. #3184
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Lindenbrock Sea?

    “Shamballa?”

    The surface is warlike?

    “Symmes’ Holes?”

    1946?

    “Nations below?”

    It was then that Colt began to rub his forehead while Tris repeated her introduction, ‘I art a Knight of Symzonia!’ But this time she segued seamlessly into an explanation that went a bit further than what he could swallow. Colt understood a bit about geology, how the Earth’s crusts are constantly moving and they shape the face of the planet. Pushing up mountain ranges and pulling apart continents.

    This was knowledge most people were somewhat equipped with. Simple facts about the world that were just as simple to understand.

    Of course there were crazy theorists across the centuries that claimed otherwise, that the planet we live on is….

    “You’re kidding me.” He dragged his palm across his face from his forehead to his chin, pulling lips down in a frown that sprung back to normal once his hand fell to his neck. “Hollow Earth?”

    At that, Tris leaned in.

    "... Art we truly not common knowledge in thine world?"

    “… Hollow Earth is pseudoscience bordering on a conspiracy theory these days. It’s mostly a topic for, like, scifi novels and stuff.” He couldn’t help but tilt his brows at her earnestly asking that question. He’d been made to swallow some tough pills lately, but this one was on a whole other level. This was the very dirt and rocks he stood on. Literally. “And you’re telling me that those people we think are crazy, who swear up and down that there are honey-comb tunnels inside the planet, populated by descendants of ancient super-civilizations that predate all of our own, are right?”

    He slowly glanced down. Past the large weapons on Tris’ chest. A bit further down, past her exposed midriff and bellybutton. He stopped there exactly one millisecond. Then kept going, down again, past her legs. He slowed down a bit there. Only a bit. Then he reached her feet, as he stared directly down at the floorboard of Das Thulewerk and stared at it as if he could see through it, to the foundation of dirt and stone beneath.

    For a few seconds he just stared. Trying to imagine it and failing spectacularly.

    So he brought his eyes back up, and looked Tris dead on.

    “Not to be rude.” He’d need something to lubricate his throat to swallow this one. “But can you like, show me something to help me believe all that? Maybe once we’re done with our business here? Or even tonight?”


  5. #3185
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    As the one who proposed the plan to explore the second floor, it was easy to assume Prushka possessed the means to access that second floor. It is fortunate, then, that John Dove cannot feel disappointment.

    The lesson here is to refrain from holding any expectations. That way you can never be let down.

    While Prushka tries—and fails—to pick the lock blocking the path to their intended destination, John ponders as to whether to share his newfound tidbit of wisdom with his companions. These two, however, do not seem the type to appreciate it, so he keeps it to himself. Adjusting the straps of his backpack, he regards the other two and the blockade in front of them.

    “Well, if you can get keys from Mr. Briggs, then you two should go do just that. I can wait here; I think he might be more receptive like that.”

    Maybe he will take the time to verify there is nobody else around. At this time of the day, and without these two fluttering around, it should be easier to catch any stray sounds.

  6. #3186
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "The janitor should have the keys, right? Let's ask Briggs. I still need to apologize to him anyway."
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “Well, if you can get keys from Mr. Briggs, then you two should go do just that. I can wait here; I think he might be more receptive like that.”
    An odd, odd expression appeared on Ubon's face.

    "Get keys...?" She muttered, with a tone that suggested she was just remembering something.

    Then, a short grin blossomed on her lips.

    "You two slowpokes wait here! I'll get 'em in a jiffy!" Ubon exclaimed, suddenly dropping down to a sprinter's starting stance. "There's a revenge to be had here, Prushie, and I already failed once - I'm not gonna let it happen again! For realsies!"

    Then, withouth waiting for an answer or listening to any words in edgewise, Ubon lifted her butt up like she had heard the call of the man holding the starting pistol... and seconds later, the inaudible bang of the gun itself. Like a very colourful and cheerful fruitbat out of heck, she zoomed across the campus grounds, making a beeline back towards the pool building. Soon enough the only thing that Prushka and John saw from the large windows of the main building was the bopping cyan head, and even that had vanished but a moment later.

    Thus, it left the duo there.

    At the landing on top of the stairs, staring at the rough, heavy-duty wooden doors that led into the second floor. This time, they weren't ajar, nor was there a group of students gathered beneath them, trying to figure out what to do.

    Neither did John see a tiny corpse, covered by a blanket, with the ever-present shadow of Souma Nubatama guarding it.

    It was just the two of them, and silence of the building.

    ... And some distant sounds coming from the faculty office.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Kean laughed, this time more heartily, letting some warmth slip through his usual facade.

    "Well, what can I say? It was so unlike you that it was pretty hilarious," the boy said with a grin. "One of the few times I've seen you hold back your tongue, or act all subdued around your employers. So yeah, it was pretty refreshing... but eh, I think once was enough. That's not you, right? Knowing what powder keg you can be, I'd rather you'd just let loose and be who you are, instead of bottling it all up."

    It was an honest opinion, spoken with rare sort of genuine emotion that Kean seldomly showed. Perhaps catching him here, at this time, away from the rest of the school where he too put on his mask and covered up in his usual shell of cynical and sarcastic humour, had been a good thing. Someone working in the line of work he did couldn't have had much in terms of opportunities to let loose either.

    In a way, even if he had only entered here because of work, a place like Pinefall was good for Kean Loinnir.

    "... I mean, it's something unique to you. No, not just you, but to all you people. Even if you're hiding your true selves, you can't always contain them. The real you always shines through. It's not the same with... me. And my kind. We're all just like how we're meant to be, and that's that," Kean continued, his voice growing a bit darker for but a moment. "Any deviation from that is grounds for bad shit to happen. And I don't especially want to run and hide the rest of my life. Whatever 'life' even means in my case. I hear some escapees are trying to make community of their own in Australia, but who knows how well that will go? It's not like it's the first time anyone's tried, and those never went anywhere. Or anywhere good at least."

    A sigh escaped the boy's lips.

    He put his hand on the machine that was ticking away, calculating the beach itself, almost like he could feel something for the gadget.

    Or rather, put himself in its shoes.

    "... If I could, I'd say I'm sometimes tired of this, you know? But I can't. And that's the exact reason I feel so, even though I shouldn't," he finally added. "For me, there's literally nothing more to life than this. I am who I'm meant to be, and that's that. It's why there's many things I'd do or say if I were a betting man..."

    A dry, humourless laugh escaped from Kean's motuh.

    "--- But I'm not."

    However, even this moment of honesty seemed to pass as quickly as it had arrived.

    Kean straightened his back, slapped his palms against his face, and exhaled. Then, with renewed vigor and look of someone who was back in work mode, he turned back towards Elaine and focused his eyes on her.

    "Anyways, enough of my whining. You had options what to do, right? Well..." Kean patted the gadget again. "This shouldn't take too long, after which it can calculate the map by itself, even if we leave it in your car. So if you're heading out somewhere, I can tag along."

    His eyes moved to stare towards the town in the distance.

    "Mysterious guy, mysterious murder scene, or mysterious doctor are all fine with me," the boy said. "You pick a place to go and I'll follow. Just like we usually do."




    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Heck, I can doeth that right now!"

    With that, Tris produced an item that she had been storing... somewhere... and walked over to Colt, pressing it into his hands. To his surprise, he had seen the object he was now holding before. Indeed, it was the same deep blue, very deep blue, piece of mineral, crystal or some sort of gem that had been filed to a perfect shape of an egg. Not only that, but the surface of the object was littered with runes that Colt had never seen before - and felt like nobody else had either. They were hardly like any foreign alphabets, ancient runic writing or even some sort of cuneiform... no, these curving shapes that rotated around each other were like alien writing from a British science fiction show from the 80's.

    Still... this translucent crystal egg was supposed to be some sort of proof?

    How?

    "There thou art! 'Tis a charm made out of ringwoodite, one that I useth to contact mine superiors!" Tris said proudly, hands on her hips. "From what I understandeth, it art not common at thine surface, no? Whereas where I art from, it art fairly common if thou knoweth where to search for it!"

    Ringwoodite?

    Wasn't that a mineral?

    Mineral formed at...

    "--- Are you two coming in to shop, or did you mean to just stay by the door talking?"

    Suddenly, a familiar voice, one that was rather high-pitched yet demanding, called out to Tris and Colt over the music.

    Well, there was only one choice who it could be.

    And indeed, as they whirled around to look, the duo saw that Frauke Wiolant had stopped her lunch halfway, and had probably been studying what the two of them were doing for few moments now. She seemed both amused and confused at the same time, so at least she wasn't angry... though at the same time, some answers were probably needed. She was a shop owner after all, and shops like Das Thulewerk weren't hang-out spots for local youth in any shape or form.

    "Or are you on some Ehespaar sight-seeing tour?" Frauke continued, flashing a sharp-toothed grin. "In that case, I'd even say I'm quite flattered that you chose Das Thulewerk as one of your destinations!"




    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

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

    For some reason, Souma stared at Elise in total silence for a moment.

    Then, an inaudible little sigh seemed to escapet he boy's lips, and he put his hand in the pocket of his black tracksuit. What he pulled out was a rather well-worn folding knife. The handle showed signs of use and passage of time, with slight grooves for fingers and markings of fingerprints etched onto it from repeatedly being held by the same hand. With terrifying ease, Souma spun the folded blade around in his fingers and aimed it at Elise, flicking the thing open.

    Only, as it flicked open, the handled ended up pointing towards the girl.

    Meanwhile, Souma held gently onto the used but well-sharpened blade.

    "... What makes you think I can, hm, lockpick?"

    ... In a sense, it was a rather good question!

    Anyways, at the very least Souma had a knife that seemed just perfect to use for a situation like this. While it was not a proper lockpick, it would go a long way in helping Elise try out the few tricks she had.

    Still... just why was he carrying around a knife like this in the first place? This didn't seem like a blade used when hunting. Maybe skinning small animals, but that's about it. And why did it look like it had been used many, many times before?

    ... And what were those tiny darker blotches on the blade and on the handle, here and there?

    Almost like something had splattered onto the metal and the wood, and despite meticulous care, they had started showing some difference in colour over the ears... since those spots tended to get splattered with the same liquid over and over again?

  7. #3187
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Location: Pyry's Car - On The Road
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast


    Hisa Momoi

    All of these topics were interlinked so tightly that it was hard to decide where to even start. In the end, no matter what I talked about first, it probably wouldn’t make that much sense until the rest was explained as well...No, it would be just confusing, probably outright freaky for someone like Mercedes.

    “Well…”

    I glanced at Pyry from the corner of my eye, considering my words for a moment.

    “First, I wanted to take a quick trip to the store to grab that book about the town. It’s pretty much on the way, so it shouldn’t take too much extra time.”

    I probably could have just asked Prushka earlier to get it for me, but...Too late for that now, and it’s probably easier this way anyways.

    “Though, the main destination is the hotel. The library there should have some books that cover...well, not exactly ordinary, everyday topics. Not to mention that it’s probably where most outsiders, including a few people I vaguely know rent rooms. Two facts that could make the place a gold mine if you’re looking for information of a certain kind.”

    I gave a long, meaningful look to Pyry.

    There wasn’t a lot I could explain without telling her about the Turnside. Without that, she would have just found it pointless, or remained skeptical about it. Besides...how could I expect her to help while lying straight into her face?

    I already considered that option multiple times in the morning, but it just sounded more and more hypocritical.

    In the end...there was no point beating around the bush.

    “Though, before I continue…”

    With a deep sigh, I shifted my body around so that I could properly look back at Mercedes.

    “Do you think that everything is as it seems? That you seeing yourself in a near death experience has a completely ordinary explanation, probably nothing more than just a freakish creation of your mind?”


    Mercedes, Pyry & Gradient

    Mercedes fell quiet. Very quiet. So did Pyry, though probably for a different reason. After all, Pyry knew where this line of question was going on - though he did seem initially surprised by the fact that Mercedes had apparently "seen" a near death experience like this... and soon enough, he put two and two together, as he gave Hisa a little glare. Almost as if trying to ask what had she done with his eyes.

    But he couldn't say anything yet, not before Mercedes answered. And eventually the starlet did.

    "... It wouldn't be the first time. Near-death experiences of sorts, hallucinations I can't, like, control. Sometimes, without a reason, I have visions and feelings of dying... dying in horrible ways in places I don't know," Mercedes quietly answered, her voice cold and emotionless. "It's not something I like to advertise, and, like, I'd appreciate it if you didn't spread it around. Gawd, I have hard enough time forgetting by drowning myself in, like, luxury and wealth. Having others talk 'bout it would be even worse."

    A whole another type of silence fell over the car after what the actress had said. Indeed, she had already hinted at it, but now the truth apparently came out... and indeed, it sounded like something a person sent to Pinefall would have.

    Visions of one's own death, ironically enough, made Mercedes fit quite well into the school.

    "... But since you're, like, asking about it... I guess there's more to it, huh?" Mercedes continued, cocking an eyebrow at Hisa. "You mentioned as much before, and like, knowing about it despite me not revealing anything... well, it's certainly suspicious or whatevah."

    Her eyes were now focused completely on the scarred girl.

    "Well?"


    Hisa Momoi

    “I…”

    I could almost feel as the landmine that I’ve been dancing on suddenly exploded under me.

    “Sorry, I’ve been pretty insensitive, huh…”

    It felt even worse than Mercedes would have assumed, since it wasn’t even that I just mentioned it to her, but even if indirectly, it was me who induced that one hallucination…

    Something that I probably shouldn’t mention for now, much as I want to be honest to her.

    “Still, this one particular hallucination...As I said, I know about it because I’ve seen that scene with my own eyes. I lived through it.”

    Each word was heavier than the last one, and I could feel the stress growing inside as I closely observed her expression.

    “I know that what I’m going to say might sound outright insane and you might think that I’m a lunatic, but...just consider that I wouldn’t have approached you of all people if my claims were completely baseless.”

    Each word, she could just snap, call me crazy, and make life harder for all of us, and all of this would be for nigh. I would have just ruined her life, and she would ruin mine.

    “I mean, would I really tell about this to the one person who could probably call me out on this to half of the world and sentence me to a mental asylum on a short notice…”

    An awkward laugh escaped my lips, but it died down just as fast as I scratched the back of my head and took a deep sigh.

    “A-anyways...I lived through the events of this week once already. I can tell...I can even show you what happened, what we’re going to learn in class tomorrow, how there’s going to be a huge storm, how…”

    How you almost died, and then what happened in the forest.

    “This place...it’s like a vicious cycle where time repeats itself, always ending with an inevitable tragedy. Some people apparently retain their memories...while some just live through it, probably over and over again, completely unaware.”

    Which makes me wonder...

    “It’s...a wild guess, but your hallucinations could be you regaining those certain memories from alternate times where you...well…”

    Once again, it was way too hard to say it out loud. How she might have died horribly many times already, in a different place, in a different time.

    “I mean, it certainly doesn’t sound ordinary. Someone doesn’t just hallucinate about things like that for no reason.”



    Mercedes, Pyry & Gradient

    Mercedes snorted.

    "You'd be surprised. Human brain is, like, all sorts of jacked up. A ball of fat and salt sitting in fluids that drives around a suit of flesh, muscle and bone," she replied, folding her arms again with a wry smile of sarcasm on her face. "It doesn't, like, need any fancy reasons to go all weirdo and start projecting fake deaths straight into your mind or whatevah."

    With those words, it almost felt like she was disregarding what Hisa had said before, shoving aside the theory of looping world and memories resurfacing through these loops and thus causing the delusions that the starlet was having. Even Pyry looked like he believed the actress to have already shot down what Hisa was trying to tell, and was prepared to speak himself...

    --- But before he did, Mercedes's own words cut the silence in the car once more.

    "Still. It's not, like, the craziest thing I've heard. The world is a weird place after all. And even if I said you were crazy, you'd have still, like, correctly guessed what was happening with my head back there, even if you weren't present. That's gotta count for something or whatevah," she continued. "And you're right. Like, I don't think either you or your boytoy would be stupid enough to try to, like, fool me like this. I'd end your social lives faster than you'd believe if you did."

    A cold sort of smile floated across the starlet's face, showing that she wasn't even joking. And knowing what sort of connections she had, she could probably get that done, no problem.

    "And if you are trying to, like, pull my leg, the fastest way to see your true motives is for me to go along with this. So yeah, alright. Let's say you're right and this place, this Road's End, is somewhere where time repeats itself or whatever. It ends in a tragedy and, like, only few people remember the previous times. A bit too scifi for me, but I can work with it," the starlet spoke. "First of all, why? Got any knowledge of why something so, like, fantastical would be happening? Or what sorta Gandalf the Grey would be behind it? Or is that why you, like, came to ask for my help - to figure it out?"

    Mercedes's eyes were focused solely on Hisa once more, and she seemed to be studying both her expressions and her eyes, trying to see through anything that could be lies or signs of insanity. Yet at the same time, the actress was focused on what was being said, ready to listen.

    "Second, I've been seeing these hallucinations, like, all my life. Though I've got a near-eidetic memory. Would that affect it?" Mercedes continued. "Or is that unknown as well? And lastly..."

    Her eyes narrowed.

    "What do you mean you can show me what happened?"


    Hisa Momoi

    "I have a theory, but I hardly have any guesses about who could be the cause of it," I explained with carefully measured words, "It might as well be beyond one person, or even a whole organization, and is more of a natural phenomenon caused by the world itself."

    Whatever or whoever it was, it wasn't all that important right now anyways.

    "Still...no, I'm not that much of an optimist to hope that any of us in the class especially would be able to just solve this mystery so easily," I continued, "I'm not even sure if there is a point. I have a feeling that this mystery will unfold on its own when the time comes."

    Hesitant for a moment, I glanced back at Pyry.

    There were things I wanted to ask from him as well, but it was hardly possible with Mercedes' listening on.

    Of course, I could always just...

    "It might be a bit late to ask," went the message through the mental link, "But you don't mind if I talk about this to Mercedes, do you?"

    In the meantime, not more than a few moments later, my focus was back on Mercedes - and as the confirmation came, I spoke up again.

    "What I wanted you to help with was to investigate the...'building blocks' of this mystery. Since this town...really, it's nothing but mysteries. Even this whole Oceandrop Project and us being here, doesn't it just make you wonder?"

    It was probably one of the biggest mysteries of all, since at this point I could hardly believe that it was just a coincidence, or a completely honest attempt to just help out social outcasts...especially with how many of these seemed to be naturally involved with the supernatural.

    "I know a few things already, but before talking about that..." I said as I glanced at Pyry again, "I think another crazy claim is in order."

    "What if I told you that Gandalf existing wouldn’t be quite as abnormal as you’d think? Or that not all psychics you see on TV bending spoons or whatever are just bogus lunatics?”

    Of course, most of them were, but that wasn’t really the point now.

    “Similarly, how I can show you is like that. I’m a person in whose existence you wouldn’t normally believe in.”

    “Of course, unlike maniacs who happen to be completely ordinary, I can actually prove myself, if you want a demonstration.” I added quickly, as if trying to prove a point.

    Of course, if she didn’t want to believe me, she could deem me as crazy regardless of what claims I make, so perhaps it wasn’t even necessary.



    Mercedes, Pyry & Gradient

    Mercedes was quiet for a while, mulling over the proposal and thinking it over. One could practically see the hundreds of gears in her hear slowly spinning, clicking away at the thought of being given a concrete proof. While for just about any human, the thought of being given a confirmation about the existence of supernatural would have been enticing, to the point of being irresistable, for some reason... the same sort of feeling wasn't here. If anything, Mercedes's expression grew quieter and quieter, until...

    "Nah. That's fine."

    She simply answered.

    "Like, whether or not you're telling the truth isn't important here. Whether this is, like, a genuine request for help about a mystery relating to the supenatural, or like, a nonsensical plot to get at me somehow, well... I can't get further without trusting your word on this, right?" Mercedes asked, a wry smile spreading to her face once more. "Either way, if I wanna get, like, to the bottom of this all I gotta do is believe what you say. That's all there is to it. And if time, like, comes that I need a proof or whatevah, I know who to ask."

    Then.

    Just for a moment.

    Her face became much colder, and the look in her eyes showed a bit of sadness seeping through that she clearly wasn't aware of, even herself.

    "And if this way of showing me is, like, done in a similar way... like projecting images to my mind or whatevah... I'm gonna pass on that too," the starlet continued, quieter. "My mind's the only place I haven't sullied some way yet. It's the one place where I'm untouchable - so it's sanctity is the thing I care most about. I mean, like... I've used all sorts of nasty ways, and sold my looks, just to climb to the top... but my mind's the thing I haven't sold, or surrendered."

    An iron will of determination was mixed in with the sadness now.

    "And I am to keep it that way. No matter what."

    It was like a girl holding onto her last bastion of innocence in a cruel world she lived in.


    Hisa Momoi

    “Mm,” I nodded with an equally serious expression, “Understood.”

    “That said, while I know it’s going to sound sickening or something...If you need help with something, you can always ask,” I said awkwardly as I scratched my cheek, “after what happened, and seeing you almost die, I can hardly treat you like the bitch you are projecting yourself to be.”

    Indeed, a small part of me still wanted to forget and hate her for how she was trying to be on the surface. However she was beneath the surface, she was still purposefully trying to be a spiteful and vile person, but…

    Moment by moment, that feeling was fading and even if it might have been smarter to go along with her act, I could hardly get myself to play pretend with her.

    “This side of the world opens up many possibilities, and while I might not look the part, but I’m quite knowledgeable when it comes to certain topics. Especially about the body and the brain.”

    Boasting about this to Mercedes, even if it was just the truth felt slightly embarrassing, and I was quite sure that under different circumstances she would have called me out for it.

    In the end, while I could look past her attitude, it was still difficult to come on terms with that certain kind of charisma she had.

    “Anyways, about the investigation…”

    Looking away for a moment, I reach into my bag to pull out a small notebook, but halfway through the motion I realize something.

    “...I would just show you my notebook, but I remembered that it’s encrypted.”

    Regardless, I dropped the notebook into my lap and flipped it to one of the pages that was filled with writing and drawings at some point.

    “I guess I’ll just read, since we still have time. Which is to say...first, there is the McLampets…”

    I flipped back and forth some pages for a few moments before I started talking, thoroughly explaining every detail I knew about to Mercedes.

    “...of course, some parts are still shrouded in mystery, but there are some leads to get started on...and considering how they feel like the…’center of attention’ with how many things seem to revolve around them, I think it would be a worthwhile attempt.”



    Mercedes, Pyry & Gradient

    "Well... like, first of all, I think we gotta set aside whether or not Aleen's the heiress or not. It's likely, but since she seems to be in the dark as much as we are, well... not useful info right now," Mercedes started, having listened to the explanation. "The real question is, why are, like, all these people so creepy about this Girl in Blue or whatevah? If it affects whole town, then it's gotta be something that they all wanna keep, like, a secret. If it doesn't affect younger people, like this Rachel, then it's totes only a secret to older locals. We gotta narrow our search down like this, get it? And eventually, we got our group - and it's that much easier to ferret out the secret."

    Still, having said that, Mercedes snorted.

    "That being said, there's only two real power-players here at Road's End - the McLampet family and Mr. Oceandrop. Former's got influence, latter's got money, and they're both tied to this place. Whatever secret the logging family's got, it's gonna be, like, important I'd bet."

    While Hisa talked, Mercedes had leaned forward, leaning her elbows to her thighs and steepling her fingers infront of her face, softly resting her head against that. A hyper-focused glint had appeared in her eyes, and her face was uncharacteristically serious.

    Clearly, now that the topic had shifted to the mysteries at hand, the actress had switched gears.

    "And then there's, like, all those disappearances and deaths. Though I'm willing to bet they're murders or whatevah. There's no such thing as bad luck - someone caused the misfortune of the McLampets, and there's only one reason this person would. Like, the misfortune of McLampets meant their own fortune. All we gotta do figure out is who got the most to win from that," Mercedes continued. "... Though I'd love to get a look at those case files and autopsy reports. Think your, like, spoon-bending powers could get us those? From sheriff's department and End's Mercy, that is."

    A bit of a smirk crossed the starlet's face.

    "Well, thought for later," she added. "A-ny-ways... continue."


    Hisa Momoi

    “Not sure about spoon bending, but if I wanted to be nasty...it shouldn’t be that difficult,” I explained with a hint of amusement in my voice, “I have my morals, but I’m willing to make compromises for something like this, especially since it still wouldn’t harm anyone.”

    Another self of me in a world where I happen to be a villain would probably love a mission like this, and would likely consider it a cakewalk.

    Wouldn’t even bother to disagree with them, knowing the nature of my power.

    “Still, even without the reports, there are a few more cases that I’m aware of...Most of which seem to be tied to the Disembodied Man. A local myth that is...likely not really just a myth.”

    Flipping a few more pages, I stopped at one of the few pages that seemed to be a lot more packed than the rest.

    Then, once again, the bizarre storytime started.

    “He seems to be one of the key figures, and also the most mysterious one. Though...hardly the only one.”

    As I flipped through the notebook, I mentioned a few more cases to Mercedes, and at the same time Pyry too.

    Like the incidents at the school, and how a few of these cases seem to have a strange resemblance with each other.

    Or the strange case of Gradient.

    Or...

    "Reminds me, do you happen to have a brother, or a relative? Prushka babbled something about running into someone who looks like you...like a cat, I suppose? I couldn't get too much out of her."

    A message meant only for Pyry, while at the same time my gaze was still on Mercedes, explaining something wholly different.

    “She was here with Jake’s class when she was smaller, though she doesn’t seem to remember everything,” I said after I gestured towards the girl in question with my head, “worst of all, she only seems to be able to communicate through enochian.”



    Mercedes, Pyry & Gradient

    "Enochian... girl, I can't help you there. I mean, I could offer, like, all kinda explanations from mental trauma to some sorta disorder or whatevah, but I don't think that'll go far. This sounds like the type of problem you have at, like, in that world of Gandalfs and spoon-benders," Mercedes replied with a shrug, a devilish grin forming on her face for a moment. "Though, hm... gone for quite a while then... do you have, like, any idea how old she looked back then? Could always check if her age matches with how many years it's been."

    There was something a bit sarcastic in the way the starlet raised her eyebrow.

    "To make sure whether she's been in, like, cold sleep or just hiding somewhere this whole time."

    Gradient, who had been listening in on the conversation, pouted quite magnificently with her cheeks puffed out, letting out a rebellious "Nnnnn~" as she did.

    "Though that, like, applies to this 'Disembodied Man' stuff as well. Pretty sure that's nothing but a legend. I mean... would some man in a suit really be traipsing in the woods for that long or whatever? More logical option is that it's, like, some guy who co-opted the legend for their own use. Maybe couple of people across the years," Mercedes then continued. "It's the biggest scapecoat this town has, so a little bit of creativity creates a pretty a nice smokescreen for whatever crime you committed. Hearing that, at least I'd use if it I wanted to do something criminal over here."

    A dry chuckle escaped the starlet's lips.

    "As for the rest... well, few things come to mind immediately. Like, what about the person who wrote that diary? It's been only about, like, thirty years. She should still be alive. Know any locals who fit that age range?" Mercedes asked. "And if our dear janitor is tight-lipped about what went down, we might wanna, like, interview the other survivors or whatever..."

    That devil-like grin widened.

    "... Or find us some local newspapers from that time."

    Meanwhile, Pyry had cocked an eyebrow at the sudden question that came through the mental link.

    [No, I'm the only child, and my dad ain't really around anymore... so I doubt it's anyone with blood-relations to me. And even if they were, I doubt they'd be here. I mean, this is sorta far away from Finland, right?] the boy replied, sounding a bit confused.

    Then, out of nowhere, he frowned in a sort-of-upset way.

    [Also, hey! So just because someone looks a bit like a cat, they might be my relative? I'm not even a cat! I'm a lion!]


    Hisa Momoi

    "Lions are big cats in a sense, aren’t they," I replied through the mental link, "Either way, you're from Finland too, and knowing this place, would it really be surprising for someone to be here from the other corner of the world?"

    Even just a look at our class and one could see that there were people from literally everywhere across the globe. Would hardly be a surprise if that was the case for some of the outsiders too...

    "Old friends then, maybe a nemesis? Someone who holds strong enough emotions against you that they would come so far, whether positive or negative? Could just be a coincidence as well, but I'd still rule out any possibilities we can."

    In the meantime, Mercedes shared her view on the various subjects once more. As expected, she was quite skeptical about the supernatural nature of the incidents, but...that wasn’t necessarily bad. It gave a different light to things, a perspective that I might have been just as blind to as she was to the Turnside.

    Well…

    Sort of, at least.

    It would have been dumb of me to just rule out the ordinary solutions by default, after all.

    “That was the plan,” I nodded, “Scour the library for old and unusual stuff, and see if there is anyone who is worthwhile talking to there. The daughter of the hotel’s owner for one, since she was supposedly in school with Jake as well.”

    As Mercedes said, the other ‘survivors’ are hopefully more open about the topic than Jake is.

    “Regarding the diary...honestly, I barely know anything about the townspeople. Finding the diary and then tracking back to the owner based on that would probably be easier…”

    I shrugged slightly, somewhat unsure about this matter.

    “Or just to keep an eye out for middle aged women, I suppose.”

    My only guess for now would have been the owner of the diner, who probably more or less fit the criteria, but...isn’t there already the case of her husband?

    “At any rate, I don’t doubt that there might be ordinary criminals thrown into the mix who hide their deeds behind these myths, but...well, that would make me even curious of their motives, and what exactly they have against us.”



    Mercedes, Pyry & Gradient

    Mercedes rubbed her chin against her steepled hands.

    "... Maybe, like, nothing at all. Only some might. It's just our view of things that makes it seem everything's aimed at us. In some sense, we might be, I dunno, collateral? Some stuff might affect us, like, accidentally and we take it as a direct move against us or whatevah," she mused, before shaking her head a little. "Nah. Too early to say. I'm gonna need more info, more detailed info, before I can say anything, like, for sure."

    With that, the starlet leaned back on the backseat and let out a quite sight. The incredible focus from her eyes had disappeared for now, meaning that she had most likely switched most of her thinking to a subconscious mode.

    "Let's see if the library has any newspapers, and from how long ago. Sometimes even, like, what's left unpublished can say a lot 'bout the paper, and the people writing it," Mercedes added. "And interview that heiress. Like, she's gotta know something. Maybe try shoving the weirdo next to me in her face, see if that elicits a reaction or whatevah."

    Gradient frowned a little at the actress and folded her arms.

    "Nnnnn...."

    Meanwhile Pyry, who had been silent after the last bit of mental dialogue, let out a quiet hum as he slowed down the car and began to park it. Judging from his expression, he was still mulling over what Hisa had revealed to him, about the possibility of someone who knew him being here, and them having strong enough emotions to have come here solely because of him. And with how easy the boy's expressions were to read...

    --- He certainly didn't seem to enjoy the idea, that was for sure.

    "Alright, we're here," the blonde athlete spoke up, breaking his silence. "Owl's Nest Hotel."

    Indeed, one glance out of the windows of the vehicle told that they had arrived. Mercedes snorted.

    "Then, lead the way, Nancy Drew," she said to Hisa with a hint of a grin, and exited the vehicle.


    Hisa Momoi

    "Please," I started as I opened the car's door, "I'd be happy if I was even just half as perfect or talented as Nancy."

    But before I stepped out of the car as well, I glanced back at Pyry who was still silently mulling over his thoughts.

    "You okay?"I asked through the mental link while giving him a worried expression, "You went really quiet. Is there someone like that you can think of?"

    I was hoping that my assumptions would be wrong, and that he would just immediately confirm that there wasn't even anyone like that to worry about. But his expression, and this silence...it pretty much told me otherwise.

    "Don't worry, even if someone is here for you, I'll protect you," I continued jokingly while flexing a little, "They'll have to go through this bod first."

    With a smirk, I turn back towards the open door and hop out of the car, catching up with Mercedes.

    The sight of the huge hotel comes into view - a place I probably should have already visited last time.

    Tearing my eyes away from the building, I turn to Gradient. Patting her head, I check her 'disguise' - which was, of course, not too much. Still, it was likely enough so that someone who knew her wouldn't immediately recognize her.

    "Let's go in, I suppose." I said, after finally turning back towards the hotel.
    Last edited by Cheetose; September 15th, 2020 at 02:30 PM.

  8. #3188
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Pinefall High Campus Grounds
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    After a little bit of thinking, Aleen finally made her decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "... Oh, alright then! Let's call it off! You've totes got a point, Vier. Ain't no reason to hurry with this and risk ruining it all. Since this is sorta important, I should go 'bout it as smart as I can. A-and... well, thinking about it, inviting that guy to a diner or something serves both to put him at ease and make it harder for him to cheese it. So, uh... yeah. Let's do that. I'll let my contact know, and we'll reschedule the plan for a later day. Sucks for him since he's now at town for no reason but all, but... eh, he deserves it. A bit of a walk 'bout town never did anything bad for anyone!”
    “Oh right. If they don’t pick up the phone at the hotel, I could always deliver the message for you tomorrow morning when I go to work for a bit… Also just make sure to not mention that when you finally meet him. I can’t imagine that ending well if you do.”

    Almost immediately Aleen’s mood improved and she was back to the same old idiot. To be honest, her happiness was fairly infectious as I couldn’t help but feel a slight tug of my lips upward. While walking towards the faculty, she suddenly turned around to face me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Though... huh. Guess that frees up my afternoon, huh? Any suggestions what we should do? Though, uh... maybe avoid the town, just in case, ahaha… Getting out of here wouldn't be bad, though. I mean, we're stuck at school enough during the day, right? Though I can't say about to panic or dither, wherever we go. So don't get too disappointed."
    My smile became a bit more strained as I thought. Despite my words earlier on being decisive and coming across as experienced in this matter, it was only useful if you knew the area well. Every time, I was guarding VIPs at a social event or at a public event, I was given as much information as I wanted and needed to fulfill my job.

    “Something to do… Well I guess I have some ideas, but… I’m not sure if they’re your kind of thing. Like I think hiking would be fun, but I used to be a lot more physical,” I thought a bit more before continuing, “Hmm… This might be a little risky, but we could always do some studying at Avery’s while eating some food. It’s not in the middle of town and he probably won’t stop by since you said your contact told him to walk around today.”

    I sheepishly grin before continuing even further.

    “Despite all of my talk earlier, I’m actually hopeless at planning this kind of thing... And I mostly just let my only friend decide what we were doing for the most part. And if I tried planning, I feel like I need to know the area extensively before I feel comfortable with it... So if you have a better idea… I’m all ears.”

    Despite everything, I actually used to be even worse when it came to socializing. I kind of knew how to plan… hanging out. It was in theory easy to do. Just find something you both enjoy. However with the current stipulations and my knowledge of the town… I didn’t exactly know what Aleen and I would both enjoy.

  9. #3189
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    I was quiet as Kean spoke, listening to what he had to say.

    It really was good for him, to be here in this place, where he could take a step back (if only a small one) from what bound him and those like him to where they were in life. To grow beyond what was a normal, purpose-focused existence, and in that way, I am grateful to Oceandrop.

    For people like him, like a lot of people here, I supposed. They'd been chained to that other side of the world, stuck away with people, places and things that had known only that side of the world for so long they'd become blind to anything else.

    In this place, they were allowed to be human, for lack of a better term. Instead of hunting down enemies of the state, you could splash around in the water, and sing silly songs with your friends instead of locking yourself away in a study for the next hundred years, figuring out inapplicable answers to problems that can't be solved.

    I could appreciate that, and I always would.

    People deserved to be happy and live lives that cherished one another.

    It seems like almost everyone's been living behind these shells, shields and skins we wear to protect ourselves from not only the other side, but the world in general. Suffering is not unique to those that dwell in the shadows.

    But...

    I sighed, then smiled at him.

    I wonder how it looked, in that moment?

    Sad? Tired? Angry?

    Probably all three.

    "I'll probably go scope out the spook house tonight, might get a little reading in while I'm waiting on you, while I'm at it."

    I stretched a bit, "Probably go check out this doctor lady, go feel thoroughly bullied on the state of my wallet."

    The moment was passing, a moment of somewhat manufactured vulnerability.

    I started speaking without thinking.

    It was a truth that Elaine Winters had held in her heart.

    "Every part of me that exists in the world, right now, is one that I allow to be presented."

    It was one she hated.

    "Everything you see, this hat-"

    I took it off, brandishing it angrily.

    "My attitude, the hokey scarf, it's all fake, a dream of something I'd like to be, but can't be anymore."

    "Because it was taken from me, like so many other things. I no longer have a choice, all I can do is push it along, and avoid the obvious answer that stares me in the face, pretending it isn't there every time I wake up in the middle of the night."

    My hands hurt from where I'd been clenching them.

    I shook my head.

    "Every moment, of every day, I feel like I'm walking on eggshells, like the world is made out of glass. Like I could just reach out and touch it in the wrong place and it all comes crashing apart."

    A girl, screaming and bleeding and crying in the rain.

    A girl, choking on her own blood as the blade left her body.

    A girl, alone with two corpses, who played at being a hero.

    But she wasn't.

    Not really.

    Heroes could protect things, had things behind them they had to protect, that was what made them strong.

    All monsters could do is kill, everywhere they went, people died.

    "So, it makes me happy, it really does," I said sincerely, "When I see people allowed, and allowing themselves to relax, to connect, to grow as people, as human beings, I feel great when I see it."

    "But..."

    My jaw clenched.

    "I can't allow myself that. Because while inside of a lot of people is someone hurt, who needs help, and I understand that, I try and help where I can."

    My face felt dull.

    "But what's hurt inside me isn't anything human."

    "And now I've got someone to look after, and I have to constantly cling to other people, because I'm terrified, I'm terrified of what I might do, what I have done."

    I stood there in silence, for a moment.

    Then I put my hat back on my head, cleared my throat, sniffed a bit, and settled back on my heels.

    "So. There, now you don't have to feel bad, because now I've whined too, you big baby."

    My eyes felt a bit itchy, so I rubbed at them.

    "Just a couple of whiners out bitching by the ocean."

    I reached down and tousled the little one's hair, smirking down at her, "What about you, got any grievances you wanna air? Quality of the food? The way I kick and roll around and steal all the blankets?"

  10. #3190
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel, Road’s End
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Old memories washed through her like a wave. For a brief moment, the scene in her memories played out almost as if it was real life. The forest clearing was replaced by a dimly lit room, permeated by what could only be described as a faint smell of damp herbs and the ever-present hint of ozone.

    There was no doubt that Gertrud Svensdotter was a person without even a shred of compassion.

    That in itself already excluded the two of them from ever truly seeing eye to eye. After all, it wouldn’t be that inaccurate to say that her own worldview stemmed from the fact that that she cared too much. Regardless of their differences, however, Anna could respect the woman. At least she had the drive to do something. To move forward in some respect at least, even if that motion was largely driven by pure self-interest.

    …an aspect which, as mentioned previously, was largely missing from the rest of Devil’s Table.

    "I think I've heard enough. An attitude like that, and knowing Gertrud is one who sits at the Devil's Table... Yeah, I can see you being part of the Glass House alright. You wouldn't be the first one to gravitate towards her just 'cause she gets things done every once in a while."
    A brief flash of irritation washed through her, as Anna’s mind snapped back to the present and she could finally make out the slight hints of disapproval in Ramia’s tone. No doubt the middle-eastern alchemist had already categorized her as some type of follower or underling of that shepherdess. This is why she hated talking about the Crones. Everyone, even those outside of the Coven, always categorized relations in the Glass House in regards to factions and followers. In reality, as far as she was concerned, if all the Crones were dragged out and burned to death tomorrow, Anna herself would hardly shed a tear. That included Svensdotter and her ilk.

    Hell, she might even give an eager hand, given the circumstances.

    There was a reason she’d burned every single letter they’d sent her. She had no intention in playing any of their shitty games, nor get dragged to this damn nowhere of a town.

    No doubt that if those hags hadn’t gotten Primacelcius involved, Anna would still be at the Orloj, throwing their “summons” straight into the trash where they belonged.

    "... What's this about Chinese shadow theatre?"
    Hmh? Oh, that. Pretty much just what I said.”

    “There is a trio of siblings at the Hotel. They call themselves “Coastrises”, though whether or not that’s just a random alias or not, I have no idea.”

    Anna’s voice took on more of a calm, introspective note. Despite the mess the trio, or duo to be more precise, got her in the last time they met, she didn’t particularly hold a grudge for what happened back at the hospital. She knew the allure of that type of mindless rage and vengeance all too well. A tragedy brought forth by the meddling of others and mental stress.

    But that didn’t mean that she could just have them run amok like this. What happened back then could easily repeat itself.

    And like hell was she going to have the rug pulled out underneath her twice.

    “One of those siblings is a mystic that dabbles in Zhĭyĭngxì. She’s using shadow-based familiars to scope out the campus. From the looks of it, it’s based on some type of interpretation of shendao – she’s using joss paper as the spiritual cores for her summons.”

    “Not too difficult to take care of, all things considered. From the looks of it, the physical structure of their manifestation is rather brittle so almost any type of damage can degrade the array. They come in numbers though. In packs of five or so… and considering how disposable they seem, I wouldn’t be surprised to run into a lot more.”

    “They also capable of pelleting you with a barrage of curses. Not too high in power by themselves, but considering their number…” Anna flashed Ramia a cheeky grin. “A thousand pebbles might be more dangerous than a single big rock, wouldn’t you say?”

    The Estonian witch let out a small yawn, causing the wooden stick in the corner of her mouth flick upwards in a brief motion.

    “No idea on the two others… though I suspect the sourpuss-looking swordsman might be from my neck of the woods. But that’s just a suspicion of mine, nothing more.”

    "In any case, they're hauled up inside the dorms, waiting, of more likely, preparing for something."
    Last edited by Mellon; September 15th, 2020 at 04:55 PM.

  11. #3191
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    In the blink of an eye, Ubon is gone, swearing up and down that she'll get the keys, and also revenge for some reason.

    ...good luck. Briggs may be forgiven, but he isn't out of the woods just yet. Please take revenge for yesterday, Ubon! Even if it's just a wet sock, that'll be enough!

    As I watch her disappear in the distance like a blue blur, I glance at John Dove again. What's he thinking now? I stopped him on a whim earlier, but he probably has somewhere he'd prefer to be. Or does he not believe his preferences exist? Well, at the very least we can catch up on a few things.

    "Ubon knows, sorta."

    Knowing her, she's either not thinking about it at all, or has already thought about it and decided to shelve the issue for now.

    "I had a talk with Hisa. We shared some info and... cleared things up."

    Is that how to describe it? Cleared up? Well, it's not exactly crystal clear. I still can't agree with her actions, especially regarding Mercedes and Pyry, and I'd be lying if I said some part of me wasn't still mad about yesterday... but the water between us is clear enough that we can work together. Clear enough that I can trust her. Clear enough that I still want to be her friend. As for those other awful feelings... they can sit at the bottom of my heart and rot for all that they matter right now. I'll deal with them when lives aren't on the line.

    "From the looks of it, all the strings in Road's End seem to be leading back to the guy you met. The McLampets, the Keeper and the Sailor, the murders, Elizaveta... it's all headed there. Has to be. Coincidence can't come close to explaining everything going on this week. So it should be fine to pull on any of them. But, uh... if you wanna pull on a different one, that's fine. Sorry for stopping you earlier. I'm sorta just..."

    Just what? Making it up as I go along? Clinging to anyone nearby for support?

    "...huh, is that the faculty office?"

    The teachers are suspect number one, but I barely know a thing about them. Even Hisa was clueless. Sae Min alone is suspicious, so the others are likely just as bad. This might be a chance to eavesdrop on their conversation. Of course, it's also a chance for them to discover what we're doing and get us in trouble.

    I look at John.

    "..."

    Yeah, screw that. The subtle approach never gets anything done.

    With a squeeze of a stress ball, the Dragon parks itself against a nearby locker, and I step towards the sound of distant voices.

  12. #3192
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    The interior of Owl's Nest Hotel was quiet as the overcast sky outside as the group stepped in. There didn't seem to be much in terms of business right now, thought that only made sense. Afternoon like this was hardly when new customers rolled in, and those that were already booked were either enjoying their dinner in the hall or simply lounging their day away, here or while visiting the town. Thus the only ones to greet Hisa and the others at the lobby were the old carvings of owls that were plastered all over the entrance walls - their soulless, wooden eyes following movement of every person who entered.

    Even Gradient made a slightly uncomfortable noise as she passed by those carvings.

    Pyry, who had taken the lead with Hisa, didn't seem too fazed, though. Instead, he looked at the girl in a moment of silence... before quietly shaking his head, as if driving away some unpleasant thoughts, and chuckled.

    "Alright... I'll be counting on that 'bod' of yours if I need to," he said with a grin. "Maybe I'll just carry you around and use you as a shield if I need to? Seems like something that might work..."

    Finally, the awkwardness from the car was evaporating a little bit, as well as the troubled look on the boy's face.

    Still, while the hotel was more or less empty and while the dusty air with a hint of wooden, pine-like scent in it stood rather still, there were few people in the lobby. Two, to be exact. Behind the counter, leaning in her chair with her arms folded and a slightly confused expression on her face, was a young woman that Hisa had already hear about. Rachel Halloway, her name was. That flaming red hair was unmistakeable. She was, perhaps, manning the reception as part of her duties as the supposed heir to this small-town hotel but right now, it wasn't a customer she was serving...

    No. It was someone who, perhaps, had had the same idea as Hisa and the others.

    Even Mercedes raised an eyebrow as she saw who was talking with Rachel.

    "Well... guess we're not, like, the first, huh?" The starlet asked quietly.

    Indeed, the one who was interviewing Rachel was someone rather familiar.

    Someone from their class.

    That is...

    --- Alex Terrot.

    "So, would you say your uncle and Howard McLampet were close?" Alex asked the redhead, scribbling something down on her notepad while she was talking. "From what I understand, they worked at Air Technical Service Command in Spokane together, did they not? And kept close contact even afterwards?"

    Rachel, looking slightly worried, nodded.

    "Y-yeah, I think so? That blockhead of an uncle never really talks about it, but so I understand," the redhead answered. "What about it?"

    Alex chewed on her lip for a moment, pausing in her questions... and then pressed on, ever forward.

    "Is it true, then, that they both collaborated with a third individual to fund a school once they had 'struck gold' here at Road's End, so to speak?" the reporter asked. "A school that is nowadays known as Pinefall High School?"

    Rachel could only stare dumbfoundedly at the other girl... and shrug her shoulders.

    "You know... I have no idea."




    Vier Wolff
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    In the end, Aleen had agreed that going for a walk ("Not a hike, my legs can't do hiking!") in the many trails of the Ghostwood National Forest was the best idea. Going to Avery's was still risky, even if the risk was lower than on the streets, and as the bluehead put it, getting some fresh air wasn't a bad idea. So, after trying to make a call from the faculty office and getting no answer (Vier would apparently have to deliver a message tomorrow), the two of them had gotten some bikes and headed off to the other side of the town.

    To the place where the last markings of civilization ended, and where the true wilderness of the Pacific Northwest began.

    "Bah... you know, this forest could use some booming logging industry, right?" Aleen complained as the two of them headed up one of the many trails climbing up the slopes of the White Pine Mountain. "Get some technology in here, cut down proper paths at least, instead of these -goddammit!- root-covered ant paths that are totes tripping you up all the time!"

    Well, she had a point in what she was saying.

    Sort of.

    The paths that crisscrossed around the Ghostwood were not the best kept, and indeed many of the paths were nothing more than animal trails that humans had eventually started using too. Roots of old trees stuck out from within the packed dirt, making it easy to almost stumble over, like Aleen had many times. And at few points, the path dived through a thicket of pine trees or something with equally sharp needles, making it quite the experience for someone not used to such scenery.

    And even if someone was used to places like these, like Aleen apparently was (though she tried to hide it), that didn't mean they necessarily liked them.

    Of course, there was also much to appreciate in this place. The fresh air, the smell of nature, the wondrous scenery that spread out in all directions - an untouched woods that were still as thick and mysterious as they were before humans had arrived. It was easy enough to see how stories of the forest snatching up those caught unawares could be born, along with the legends of the Klallam people.

    "I hope the overlook isn't far away... I'd love to rest my legs," Aleen murmured, taking a swig from the water bottle she was carrying. "Plus it's got an actually amazing view! O-or so I've heard!"

    Indeed, after a good while of walking (not hiking) the two had gotten pretty close to the overlook... though at the same time, Vier had started noticing something about the trail they were using.

    That being, they weren't the only one using it.

    Somebody had left relatively fresh footprints into the dirt, and they were headed in the same direction as they were right now.

    Did that mean somebody was up ahead...?




    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "What about you, got any grievances you wanna air? Quality of the food? The way I kick and roll around and steal all the blankets?"
    17 tilted her head, looking at the two with an expression that hinted at some confusion, yet at the same time some understanding. She may not have understood the language they were speaking, but she could read the mood well enough to know something about what was going on, and what was being asked from her... and thus, she flashed a grin at Elaine, as if answering her smirk with a cheeky opinion of her own.

    Of course she couldn't speak it, but the intent was there - enough to make Kean chuckled as well.

    "Oh yeah, I feel you 'Steph'," the boy answered with a wry grin. "She really is the worst when it comes to that, huh? Just try camping out with her sometime - she'll even steal your sleeping bag and kick you out of the tent, all in her sleep. Geez, I feel sorry for whoever's gonna be sharing a bed with her in the future, once she decides to settle down... if she ever does, hah!"

    Letting out a goofy laugh, Kean started working on his machine again. From the looks of it, the data-collecting was almost done, meaning they could head out soon enough. While his hands worked, however, the silver-haired boy started talking once more.

    "The thing's almost finished, so shall we head out? We can combine the mights of our wallets to see if we can defeat that rumoured doctor. I mean, don't underestimate working for the government - it has it's perks," Kean said, wiggling his eyebrows. "Besides, no matter how screwy a doctor, I think our combined charm can earn us a good little discount on the services, right?"

    With that, he turned to look back at the sunset, as if he was finishing talking...

    ... Though he did add one more thing.

    "--- And don't worry. I'm sure that one day, you can allow yourself all that you're missing once again."

    Wind blew, harshly, from the direction of the ocean.

    What the boy said after that was caught by it, disappearing into the sky without anyone but him hearing it.

    Though his face was... oddly emotionless. And his eyes were pure steel.

    Determined for something.

    Almost as if the words he had spoken, but which Elaine had not heard, were:

    "... I'll make sure of it."

    But instead, the boy simply started packing up the machine, with the usual, slightly smug smile on his face.




    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Ramia folded her arms and hummed quietly, having listened to the explanation.

    "How reasonable are they? If it's a trio, then I'd wager they're used to fighting together, having abilities that complement each other - so if things come down to it, we might want to try to separate them... though honestly, I'd like to avoid that altogether," the mercenary said. "Fighting between people from our side is rarely productive. That's one thing I always remember. Unlike normal people, who only fight because they have need for something, our brethren fight for more esoteric reasons. Reasons nobody should be really fighting for."

    It certainly sounded like she was speaking from experience. Indeed, Ramia must have had quite the experience when it came to battlefields thanks to her being a child-soldier... and if Anna's deduction was right, she must have also had plenty of experience when it came to the conflicts of the Turnside. Perhaps that was why a certain sense of tiredness appeared in the dusky-skinned girl's eyes when she spoke of confrontation like that.

    "Think they'll agree to a parley? I'd like to at least here what the goobers are up to, and why they're spying on the school, before making any rash decisions? I'd imagine if it's a traditional mystic like your description suggests, they'd honor the old rules. Dunno about the other two, of course," Ramia continued. "Still, a bunch of siblings... a coven maybe? Though they hardly have similar ones in the Far East as we've got here. Oh crap, I hope we aren't dealing with dugpas, that would be the worst..."

    Some sort of old memory seemed to surface within the mercenary, and she shuddered with disgust.

    "Anyways... what do you think?" She finally asked. "Should we try to parley with them, see if we can figure out how crazy or sane they are? Figure out why they're keeping an eye out on the school?"
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; September 16th, 2020 at 10:32 AM.

  13. #3193
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    “H-hello?” I said awkwardly as I cleared my throat, “Sorry for interrupting, but we’re free to come in, right? Was wondering if we could visit the library.”

    “Maybe have a few words with you.” I added, my gaze locked onto the redhead.

    It was rather curious that Alex was already here, considering her circumstances. Based on what Vivienne explained, it was quite certain that she was working with someone who could disguise themselves as her and take part in the classes while she spent most of her time at the hotel. That would likely make this specific Alex the real one, but…

    It was somewhat unsure, considering how she probably had just enough time to make it here before us even without a car. Though, it would also seem that she’s been here for more than just a few minutes…

    Either way, I couldn’t really interrogate her right here in the middle of the hallway like this.

    As I closed the distance, I greeted Alex with a gesture of the head, then looked back at Rachel.

    “We’re new here, so I hope a little assistance is not too much to ask for?”


  14. #3194
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School – Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Ubon leaves faster than anybody can say anything about it. Off she goes, apparently to get the keys and some sort of ‘revenge’. Please do not add to our list of troubles, Miss Sĕeklêun.

    On the other hand, this leaves him alone with The One Known Only as Prushka. Time for Mister John Dove to show his prowess at making conversation; the result of years of careful human observation.

    “So…you one of those genius kids that skips a bunch of years, or just growth-stunted? I think there are treatments for that. ‘Growth hormones’ and the like.”

    What a pro.

    Prushka, however, brings up a slightly troublesome topic. One that quickly dispels the boy’s insensitive attempt at “lightheartedness.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “Ubon knows, sorta. I had a talk with Hisa. We shared some info and...cleared things up.”
    “…good,” he says coldly. He means it, though—it is objectively a good thing. Naturally, Momoi and Prushka being able to work together with any degree of amicability is better than the opposite. “As for Ubon ‘knowing’…do you mean the repeated week, or the Turnside as a whole?”

    Not that it really matters by this point, probably. On the other hand…

    “…what does that mean for Ubon, then? Are you counting her as a combat asset if you have to face enemies from the Turnside? You say that she ‘knows’, but what I would like to know is what you and Momoi expect will happen ‘because she knows’.”

    He catches himself, wondering why his voice came out a little heated, sort of.

    “…no. It is a pointless question; do excuse me. I cannot stop either of you from telling anything to anybody. It is none of my business, as long as you believe you are doing the right thing.”

    She says other things that make him think back of that moment on that Sunday that no longer was. The finale, the moment only he and Mercedes West bore witness to. In that moment, when he stood in front of the Disembodied Man, nothing came to mind.

    He could not recognize that…entity. He could not identify it as an angel or a demon, as a fairy or a goblin, as a god, as an alien or even as a human. John Dove acknowledges that as his failure. It was a unique opportunity, yet he achieved nothing.

    No big surprise there, right?

    He said he was done with being pulled around by the Turnside, yet nothing has changed. Even worse, now he can only see the Turnside in everything and everybody else.

    Focus, John Dove. Your head is the only thing that could possibly be of use in these circumstances, so use it properly.

    “The Disembodied Man…whether it is an actual being with a mind of its own, or some sort of curse made manifest, there has to be an intellect governing its actions, whether its own or somebody else’s. Yes…if we are going to track it down, it has to be through the mark it has left on this place.”

    The McLampets and those connected with their deaths. The missing loggers. The last class of the former Pinefall. Maybe Miss Popplewell’s family as well.

    “It is important to know what happened here, at this school, when it was still a local institution. Therefore, I have no issue with staying here. But, sooner or later, we will have to go to other people, ask them questions.”

    By “other people”, he means “the locals.”

    “Questions that will probably make them uncomfortable.”

    Wherever there is a secret, there is somebody very much interested in keeping it a secret.

    Prushka is then drawn towards the sounds coming from, most likely, the faculty office. It is good to know that the teachers do not vanish into the ether at the end of classes. On the other hand, it will be a problem if they do some sort of patrolling while we are trying our intrusion into the higher levels. John can see the girl’s intent the moment her eyes look up at him. However, he will not move after her, because of the primacy of manners.

    It would not do for Ubon to return to an empty staircase.

    “Prushka,” he calls out before she gets too far. “Try to learn anything about where they reside, and about their schedules for the weekend. Anything that hints as to their whereabouts on Sunday.”

  15. #3195
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Rachel Halloway blinked in surprise at being suddenly addressed by even more people. Alex Terrot, on the other hand, didn't seem too surprised to see some of her classmates at Owl's Nest. Instead, it was almost like she had been expecting someone else to take a gander at the hotel's library. She simply nodded a quiet greeting to the quarter and stepped little to the side, allowing Hisa and the others to talk with Rachel properly.

    "T-the library? Oh, sure, that's fine. It's free to the public after all," she replied, flashing a short smile. "Just take the stairs to the basement floor, and it's the third door on your right - can't miss it. Before the intersection in the hallway. Though, like my blockhead of an uncle likes to warn people, try not to wander into the other areas. Those are for employees only."

    Pyry and Mercedes both glanced towards the stairs, and indeed they winded downwards to lower floors where the basement must have laid. It was a bit of a strange place for a library, but then again it was not as if there was a proper one here in this town. Or perhaps there had been, but it was now closed.

    "Checking out books is pretty easy. If there's this Canadian bookworm there, you can ask from her. If not, the book where you mark down what you're checking out has also instructions written on it. Just find a big-ass tome set in one of the corners, and you have your manual," Rachel continued her explanation. "As for talking with me, well... that's fine, I guess? Though this girl was here before, so..."

    Alex hummed and shook her head with a hint of a smile.

    "That's alright. I was almost finished anyways," she said, before glancing at the group. "Though I wonder... what is a strange group like yours out here to ask about? Planning on renting a room for a weekend get-together?"

    Mercedes snorted a little, apparently amused by something she saw when looking at Alex.

    "I'd imagine the reason's the same as yours," she shot back with a smirk. "We got, like, curious."

    Alex frowned slightly.




    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast
    [BGM]

    Leaving John behind, Prushka advanced boldly towards the door to the faculty office that laid not too far away from the staircase that led up to the second floor landing and the locked door that had stumped them. As she got closer, the voices coming from inside seemed to become clearer and clearer. It wasn't exactly an argument that was going on, but something of a conversation that was bit louder than normal - bit more filled with emotion than normal. And the two participants of the conversation were also easily recognizable.

    Ronja Leuzinger - the school nurse.

    Suzana Costa - the social studies teacher.

    And it seemed to be the latter who was the leading force in this conversation.

    "Are you serious? He already showed signs of it?" Miss Costa asked, her voice sounding a bit harsh. "That's early - very early. Are you sure it's not just a fluke?"

    There was a quiet sigh, one that sounded rather exasperated.

    "I'm merely reporting what was told to me. If you doubt it, go check it yourself. I'm not here to hold your hand for you," Miss Leuzinger answered coldly. "Keep an eye out for him in the class, you'll probably see what I mean. Not that you aren't keeping a way too close eye on your students."

    The grinding of teeth and the frustrated groan must have come from Suzana Costa.

    "I-I'm just trying to get them to loosen up, that's all! Make them feel more at home, have them have a good old guffaw at the overly sultry teacher, you know?" She responded, sounding like she was defending her honor... though after a small pause, her tone grew back to more even and serious. "... Still, that's why I'm asking. Considering the situation, one would think he'd show more signs, like falling asleep in the middle of the class, or showing up late, or... well, you know."

    Another sigh from Ronja, this time one that was most likely accompanied by her shaking her head.

    "It's not that simple. The 24-hour circadian rhythm is sustained by different biological system. Normally it would be combined with cerebellar ataxia, but in this case... who knows? We're working with completely different sort of ruleset, one we barely know. And it's just one of the symptoms. Ideally, I'd want to find some excuse to bring him to End's Mercy to run some tests, but it's hard without raising suspicions..." Miss Leuzinger said. "So all I can do is to write it all down and hope my notes serve as enough data for them."

    Another bout of silence, accompanied by the sound of Suzana Costa's shoes clicking against the floor as she walked over to a chair and sat down.

    "I hope you're keeping those papers out of sight from the students, by the way?" the blue-haired teacher commented dryly. "Principal will have our hide if someone sees them."

    Ronja Leuzinger simply chuckled.

    "Don't worry. I have them under lock and key."

    Well... it really seemed like something was being discussed at the faculty office. However, getting closer or staying at a listening distance wouldn't work for too long, not unless Prushka properly hid herself. Otherwise, she would be most likely spotted soon, and this conversation would come to a close...

  16. #3196
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School – Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dove
    “So…you one of those genius kids that skips a bunch of years, or just growth-stunted? I think there are treatments for that. ‘Growth hormones’ and the like.”
    "Both. I'm sixteen."

    Is that John Dove's modus operandi? Diving headfirst into insensitivity to inflame people's spirits? What a gallant guy.

    "Some magic pills that make you taller sound wonderful right about now. Maybe they'd even have 'Eat Me' written on them."

    But there's no easy solution to this. Just like there's no way to snap my fingers and suddenly make Vivi and John feel things normally again.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “As for Ubon ‘knowing’…do you mean the repeated week, or the Turnside as a whole?
    "Bit of both, but not the whole thing. If she wants to know more I'll tell her, but she hasn't asked..."

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    …what does that mean for Ubon, then? Are you counting her as a combat asset if you have to face enemies from the Turnside? You say that she ‘knows’, but what I would like to know is what you and Momoi expect will happen ‘because she knows’.”
    I stop, halfway through stepping forward, and glance back at John Dove.

    "...combat asset?"

    Is that what he's been thinking of? Maybe I misjudged him.

    "Don't even joke around about that. Ubon's my friend and I'm not putting her in danger if I can help it. That's all. Hisa might say something different, but I'm sure she feels the same."

    Who does this guy think he is, talking so coldly?

    He's just - oh.

    Oh, of course.

    I reach up and pat the boy's elbow reassuringly.

    "Nobody's an 'asset'. You don't have to worry. I want to protect everyone too. If you don't believe my words, you can ask my heart."

    It's a shame he can't see his own face right now. John Dove's missing out on a really gallant expression. What a good friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “Try to learn anything about where they reside, and about their schedules for the weekend. Anything that hints as to their whereabouts on Sunday.”
    "...mmhm."

    I nod, and my steps quiet down.

    I can at least approach silently before knocking on the door. Surprising adults might be fun in its own way.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    Huh. Well this is something.

    A boy in our class showing symptoms of something sleep-related? Could it be related to Dot... no, if it's a student, they're not local. This must be something different.

    I don't know much about any of my classmates. Not enough to pinpoint who they're talking about. But just these scraps are more than enough.

    End's Mercy. Running tests, under Mr. Oceandrop's nose. Collecting data. Sounds sketchy, even at a glance.

    Will those two stink? Or is it possible that they're just concerned about a trouble student?

    Ms. Leutzinger is supposedly a nurse. She should follow the Nightingale pledge... but a promise from a stranger has never been a guarantee of anything.

    There's only one way to find out more.

    As I approach the door my footsteps lighten, sounds muffling as an unearthly calm fills my heart.

  17. #3197
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    “This thing again?” Colt held up the egg-shaped crystal, made out of what Tris called ‘ringwoodite.’ He tilted his head, squinting at the runic shapes that ran all along its surface. The boy was not the ‘rocks and minerals’ kind of nerd, the sort that enter Science Olympiad and actually win because they could recite the name of every geologic structure on the planet like living encyclopedias. But he vaguely, somewhat, slightly felt like he miiiight have heard that word before. “Hmmm…”

    He spun it around between his fingers.

    “I’m gonna have to do some…” His eyes traced a set of runes on the ringwoodite charm, distracting him for a few seconds before he shook his head and snapped back to the moment. “Reading, and stuff. About all this.”

    And to look up some more about ringwoodite.

    What a peculiar name.

    "--- Are you two coming in to shop, or did you mean to just stay by the door talking? Or are you on some Ehespaar sight-seeing tour? In that case, I'd even say I'm quite flattered that you chose Das Thulewerk as one of your destinations!"

    Suddenly, Colt turned to the voice of the one he had come here to see. That’s right. He had more earthly, or rather, surface-earthly business to attend to at Das Thulewerk. What insane civilizations do or don’t live beneath the dirt had not much to do with that.

    The boy returned the crystal egg to its owner.

    “Ah, yeah, sorry about that, sorry. We’re not here for any, eh… ehespa…” The foreign word, already forgotten as quickly as it’d met his ears, never managed to make it off Colt’s lips. That eccentricity of talking like a movie stereotype of a German, lapsing into her native tongue at random, was as charming as it was difficult to keep up with. “We’re not sight-seeing.”

    He glanced around, eyes tracing the walls and the countertops and the floors. How would he do this?

    “I’m here to,” he tried to run it all through his head. Remember how it went last time. How can Frauke Wiolant and Thulewerk serve you today… Custom-order kinder… Das Thulewerk Originals… “To browse. I have a bit of a pest problem. The kind that one of your Originals might be able to solve.”

    The face of that handsome man who stunk of gunpowder and tobacco, brandishing his black revolver, passed through Colt’s mind.

    Along with those fangs glistening in the light of the moon.

    A very bad mosquito problem.


  18. #3198
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End’s Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast


    “Hm, maybe someday,” I said, noncommittally, “Lots to do, people to meet, things to punch between now and then.”

    Was that it, I considered to myself, quietly. Just kicking the can down the road to be solved at a later time, like I’d just finished saying?

    Or was it another little half-lie to avoid admitting I had no idea how to solve the issue?

    I’d spent years digging through tomes and treatises alike, tried dozens of methods.

    None of the cases were quite like mine.

    But hey, my knowledge certainly wasn’t absolute. Could be there’s something I missed.

    Or something I’m avoiding on purpose.

    The image of a pale shadow in the edge of my vision undulated in my memory and I carefully suppressed the flinch that came so often with it.

    Well, it can’t be helped.

    For right now, like I said, I’ve got more important things to worry about.

    Focus on what I could control, right?

    “Just make sure you don’t go doing anything crazy, hm? That’s my job. I’ll be hurt if you go and do something like that, you know?”

    I smiled at him, the wind blowing my hair behind me, fanning outward as if in the wake of something much larger.

    “Now come on, if you compliment me more I might let you decide what we’re listening to while I use that speed-reading you’ve got on hand to churn out some deets on this spooky house.”

    In the wake of the world, I’d be blown about, churned up, but only I could decide to stop walking.

    So, I wouldn’t.

    Was it pride? Perhaps.

    Maybe all of my approaches to this ideal were wrong, and in the end, I was incompatible with what I wanted to do.

    But, really-

    Just because it was incorrect, it didn’t mean it was wrong.

  19. #3199
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    "Oh my..."

    It would appear that this man was indeed a most spirited Jester... but weren't most men jesters of sorts? Creatures with brazen confidence that would attempt the most daring forms of comedy, often at the expanse of the one they were trying to entertain in the first place. Did they always hope that their lack of reservation would be excused if we found their jest amusing enough to outweigh the embarrassment it caused? A conflicting matter that has divided the opinion of ladies to this day.

    Still, such foolishness and willingness to expose oneself to the wrath of a woman was to a degree, endearing. While Hawthorne's joke appears to have incensed Miss Sierra, the Knightess, Liana Skye seems to have taken it in stride and is now launching a counterattack of her own... or perhaps diverting the discussion from that matter would be a better way to describe her approach?

    Before speaking more on that subject however, Adelaide Chimes in on the idea of using Zee as a projectile.

    "Throwing cats is not a very good way to improve your relationship with them, thus I would follow the owner's advice, Miss Sierra. Though one may feel frustration towards playful jests like Sir Hawthorne's here, may I suggest that we keep our dignity as civilized ladies and not let wrath or vengeance take the best of us."

    Having given her advice, she folds back the blue silk fan she had used as a pseudo-mask and puts it away. Adelaide then holds the edges of her dress and curtsies to the trio before her -- 'Norman' had introduced her, but the introductions had been startled a bit by Hawthorne's playful twist of their relationship... thus she never really had the opportunity to perform a lady's formal greeting.

    "It is a pleasure to meet you. Though perhaps we may dispense of these formalities if they bother you? I am aware that many find such mannerisms slightly too gauche nowadays."

    A light smile draws itself on her lips, or well, it has always been there, hasn't it been? Perhaps the fact that she is having a nice chat with seemingly unknown strangers has sufficed to brighten her day, but rather than a smile of thankfulness or gratitude, this bears more the allure of a chesire smile... well, 'Chesire' is her surname, is it not?

    "Oh, Knightess? Would you happen to have an Epee or some sort of uniform for that? Knighthood is quite a rarity nowadays, and it is even rarer to find women answering its call... I would have expected Mister Hawthorne to be the Knight here, of some sorts..."

    She does not sound surprised, instead one could easily liken her investment in discovering the trio before her to a bemused visitor's at a zoo... though of course, she isn't being rude or anything.

    Adelaide turns to Hawthorne specifically, telling him:

    "It would appear that your romantic notions have been repealed for now, Mister Hawthorne. I believe however that she has not closed the door for you however, rather, she would appear to be suggesting that you reconsider your method of entry. Though perhaps... an apology is owned to Miss Sierra before she throws something worst than a cat at you. Still, Miss Liana mentioned something about naming a gun after her -- are you a gunsmith of sorts? Your sense of humor surely is as explosive as gunpowder!"

    Hah.

  20. #3200
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Souma flicked his folding knife open, and offered the handle to Elise. She took hold of the offered knife, matching her hand to the well worn marks of Souma's hand on the handle as she did so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubata
    "... What makes you think I can, hm, lockpick?"
    "Eh, I thought I'd ask just in case. Never know what unexpected skills someone at our school might have," replied Elise, "Thought I'd ask before we tried battering down the door."

    She took a moment to inspect the knife she was now holding. Her eyes lingering on the stains on the blade.

    I'm used to seeing this sort of discolouration on a blade that's been the victim of poor maintenance, but this thing has been very well cared for, thought Elise as she looked over the knife in her hands, That's probably staining from blood, and this knife has definitely seen a lot of use. That raises the very obvious question of just what has Souma been using this knife for so frequently? I'm going to hope it's his favourite cooking knife and not dwell deeply on the thought at this moment. That said, Hisa might just have a field day examining this thing.

    "That's a nice edge on here," said Elise as she looked over the blade, "I promise I'll be careful with it."

    Elise carefully wedged the blade between the door and the frame, positioning it above the latchbolt. It would only take a few whispered words, and the petty lock that tried to keep her out of the room beyond the door would be gone. Still, she hesitated in the presence of her quiet classmate.

    "This-this might take a minute," said Elise as she frowned for a moment as she pretended to be fiddling with the knife and the lock, "Back at the beach, when we first met and you offered to help Ubon and I rescue John, Prushka and Subaru…"

    ...... Indeed. I am Souma. And you are Elise... It is nice to make your.... acquaintance...

    "...It sounded like you wanted to say more there, but I, uh, kinda didn't quite, uh, catch it."

    I was definitely not distracted by anything at that time. At all.

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