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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4661
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Hisa's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    [I see. Well, that is good then, mother.]

    Apparently satisfied, the invisible presence of the snake settled down a little bit.

    [Still, you sound rather unsure of yourself. Or rather, that you are full of self-doubt, both regarding your own observations and the truth that is around you,] the snake continued, it's unseen tongue hissing in the air. [True, the world around me is something I can currently only sense through the few sensations given to me, along with the information you supply to me. However, what other choice do I have but to take it as an objective truth, for the time being? To begin with, objective truth is as malleable as subjective - for true "objective truth" is impossible to achieve as long as we are not omniscient. We are still at the mercy of our own senses and what we know, no matter what. So, that being the case, I do not mind treating the information I have received so far as the turth. Surely you could have lied about the source of that sound, but at the same time, I have no way of knowing. And if I later do, I merely adjust my knowledge.]

    For a concept that was born out of someone's mind and the brainwashing instilled into it, this was a rather philosophical snake. Or perhaps that was why? For someone who had never existed outside the mindscape of other being, or even at all in the first place, the matters of the metaphysical must have been much more easily approachable.

    [And if I'm presented with a truth that I doubt, then I will doubt it. Because it does not match with what else I know. Because it sounds logically impossible. Or because of a simple "gut feeling" as humans tend to put it. Does "doubt" really need an objective truth to prop it up?] The invisible creature tilted its head curiously at Hisa. [Is it not the guestioning of truth in the first place, and ergo, opposed to it? Doubt does not need proof, truth does... or so I would see it.]

    It blinked. Hisss~

    [And if you do not have the skills or knowledge to chase a lead that you have dug up, is it not fine to ask for someone with a different set of skills for help?] The snake continued, even curiouser. [Just like how I rely on you for the time being, mother. Indeed, without you I would have no idea what the source of this pleasant sound is.]

    Lots of words for a small snake.

    But before Hisa could reply...

    Knock, knock, knock!

    A sudden sound from the door caught her attention. Someone was there. And judging by the sound of the shower having stopped, Pyry was finishing up as well.

    Soon enough a voice called out from beyond the door leading into the corridor.

    "Hey, Nancy Drew. We're, like, back~" Mercedes' unmistakeable voice lilted. "You there? Or is it, like, someone rummaging through your stuff?"




    Agent Skye
    Location: Sheriff's Department
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Oh, no."

    Rosencrantz shook his head.

    "We... are not the cuckoo."

    This send a wave of confusion rippling through the room. Scottie, who had been listening with a growing cold frown on his face glanced towards Michael, whose brow also furrowed. The two men seemed to exchange some sort of wordless conversation, while Johanna shivered a little bit and took a step back. The pressure that the young-yet-old detainee of theirs created around himself was... stiffling. Not dangerous, not frightening, but stiffling.

    It was hard to be too close to him, almost.

    "We modeled ourselves after the cuckoo we met. 21 years ago was our rebirth, in earnest. Until then, we had merely been one lost soul, wandering between two bodies. Interchangeable, unnoticeable, to the point that nobody knew where one ended and the other began - least of all us. But that all changed when we found the cuckoo... and saw the face of God."

    Letting out a rasping, shivering breath, Rosencrantz closed his eyes and seemed to fall back into some memory of yesteryear, one that made him quiver ever so slightly.

    "... It changed us. That cuckoo, that God, it changed us. I cut off my desires, my needs, but remained... within my earthly vessel. Guildenstern embraced them, that evil that men do, and sought something beyond their existence. And thus, we were separated. I, growing lesser - them, growing more. They followed the guise of the cuckoo, and through it, perfected their method of hunting," Rosencrantz continued, quietly. "We lack the God's power, we cannot take on the appearance of someone we believe to be... but since it's us, we had no need for it. Rosecrantz and Guildenstern can be anyone. Any actor. Even interchangeable. Do you know the old theater jape of such nature? Switching the actors of the two during intermission? That was our lot in life... and that is why they could so well mimic the one who perfected mimicry."

    Michael, upon hearing that, put up his hand and shook his head in momentary confusion.

    "Wait, so you're saying this... uh, cuckoo. This cuckoo and your sibling, Guildenstern, are different people?" He asked, as if making sure. "Meanwhile you are the 'other' or whatever of this Guildenstern. Correct?"

    A slow, deliberate nod from the pale man.

    "Indeed."

    He let his gaze scan the room.

    "Guildenstern can be anyone, yet they are none but themselves. And as they steal my time from me, they remain young - always fitting for their preferred hunting ground. They take on the guise that most fits them, and feed on their pleasures... until there is nothing left," Rosencrantz continued. "Our earthly origins have shifted into something else, and what remains... is the act itself."

    Scottie clicked his tongue.

    "Still, she asked you, didn't she?" The FBI agent pressed on. "Where did you two come from?"

    And in response, the shoe salesman looked at him calmly.

    "That cannot be revealed."

    The crease on Ferguson's forehead grew deeper, but nevertheless, the agent continued.

    "Then, why are you here? If Guildenstern has remained here to repeat what he always does... what about you?" He asked. "One of you murders children, taking on a different identity each time to get closer, to sow chaos, but what about you? You, who give this murderer the years they need? Why are you here, Rosencrantz?"

    The eyes of the pale man opened.

    And for the first time...

    --- They were full of righteous fury.

    "To stop Guildenstern," he spoke, his voice like a rumbling roar echoing from his throat.

  2. #4662
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Prushka's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "We've got at least three espers in this class, Alpa, and two of 'em like to poke around where they shouldn't. If you're a creep who spies on everyone, then Hisa and I are voyeurs who sniff out their friends' secrets with our sixth senses. So don't sweat it. Besides-."

    The bathroom door opens. A figure emerges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti
    "You should take her up on her offer, Imp. The brat really knows a mean spell or two."
    "Oh, finally done, Scrooge? You didn't clog the drain with all that hair, did ya? You say I smell like wet dog but the only thing my nose smells is wet ca-ca-ca-."

    My cocky rebuttal sputters to a halt. Without the steam covering everything, it's all muscles, everywhere. The only saving grace is a single towel. I know it's just Ahti, but... is it getting hot in here? Maybe this blanket was too thick after all.

    "Um. G-good job. You're doing g-great."

    Good job on what!? Being nice!? Showering properly!? What am I even saying?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpa
    "How do you feel about P---"
    "I'MGONNATAKEMYSHOWERNOW!"

    Leaping upwards (just as my heart leaps into my throat), I place myself between the abs-y Ahti and the assisting Alpa.

    "Ten minutes! No, five! Just stay there okay!? I'll be back with the first-aid stuff!"

    In an instant I throw off the blanket and run past Ahti, slamming the door behind me as I delve once more into the sea of steam.

    "...aw geeeeeeze."

    What is going on with me?

    Fishing the soap out from the sink, I sigh as I step into the shower.

    This day's just been one thing after the other...

  3. #4663
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    John remains deathly silent after reading Souma’s note. The same cannot be said of his mind.

    You are truly an idiot, Souma Nubatama, but I cannot blame you. Stuck to your role on the stage till the very end, huh.

    Regardless, what’s done is done. Souma didn’t find it in himself to be straightforward and just tell them what he learnt, so John now has to work from this bread crumb.

    “The clipping is the key.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Piece from a Journal
    ... Which means we are finally ready to go ahead. All the students are present as well. The three Coastrise siblings at the hotel, the rest at the school and dormitories - 34 in total, in other words. We have no idea how this will go down, so we are prepared to...
    Souma clearly wouldn’t mean the actual paper, or the material of which it is made of. In that case, he would have taken a clean piece of it, so that our attention wouldn’t be diverted to the text. Therefore, the ‘key’ of which he speaks rests in the words themselves.

    There is no obvious code to be found in the first, last, or regularly-counted letters of each word. It is most likely that the ‘key’ comes not from the arrangement of the letters on the text, but from the actual meaning of the words and sentences that make it. This also means it is likely safe to assume there is no value on the incomplete sentences, otherwise Souma would have torn the source of this clipping to include the sentences completely. Therefore, John reduces the potentially-valuable information to two sentences.

    All the students are present as well. The three Coastrise siblings at the hotel, the rest at the school and dormitories - 34 in total, in other words.

    However, he already knows this. There are thirty-four students—

    Suddenly, as if his brain has only processed it after an abnormally large delay, he recalls Lucille Faraday’s words—her reaction after reading the excerpt left by Souma in the faculty room.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucille Faraday
    “Thirty-four…? Twenty-nine students, the three siblings… Who are the two unaccounted for?”
    Indeed, she doesn’t know. Why does he, John Dove, know, but Lucille Faraday doesn’t?



    And then it clicks.

    It is such a brutally simple realization that John looks up, as if expecting the heavens to punish him for his gaffe.

    I…how was I so blind…? How was I so stupid…!?

    You are stupid, John Dove. You have made that plenty clear by now.

    “There are thirty-four students…yes, there are thirty-four students!” he repeats, feeling all the more embarrassed for not seeing the way out right in front of his eyes. “And they’re all here!”

    Then, he remembers he is not alone, and that the others in the room probably need help catching up with his brain.

    “I brought this up already in the dining hall earlier, but for Miss Faraday and Miss Techne, here’s the gist of it: last night, in the hospital, I had the chance to read a list of ‘patients’ in a compact disk owned by Miss Leuzinger. This list matched the students of Pinefall’s First Class, except for…”

    A few names that differed from the ones we know, but that’s not the current issue, is it?

    “…two additional names beyond the class plus the three Coastrises. One of them is ‘Alpa Bagha’, a girl with severe phobia of physical contact. She has been in hiding this whole week, in the second floor of this very building. I suspect Prushka has brought her out of her hideout, or at least she intended to do so.”

    He speaks faster than usual. As we all know by now, John Dove and Souma Nubatama are not that different. This idiot is just as excited, but he doesn’t have the ‘it’ Souma has that gives him the confidence to act on his own. Instead, he has the ‘it’ that allows him to spout bullshit in front of the likes of Ultravania.

    “The final name was unreadable, the file attached to it corrupt and inaccessible. The only thing I can say with certainty is that, in the alphabetical list, it was placed between Aleen King and Pyry Leijonamieli.”

    This is it. Here comes the realization. It is not some enlightening truth; what John has realized is the way he unknowingly obfuscated himself.

    “I…think I unconsciously assumed that any such other sources would be similarly occluded, so I gave up on that line of investigation. But there’s no reason to make such an assumption.”

    Indeed, it is that obvious.

    “There are thirty-four people recognized as ‘students.’ The bus was meant to be full,” he continues. “And there must be further records of these thirty-four people aside from that CD. And I don’t mean just grade scores; I mean basic information, contact information, health records, school budgeting, transfer papers for those of use who came from another school; maybe even observation journals and psychological profiles—the stuff that allowed them to calculate our DROP distances or whatever.”

    With that, it is time to delegate.

    “Miss Faraday, Miss Techne: please go back to the faculty room, and look for such documents. Loinnir, please go with them. Hwan, let’s see about doing the same here.”

    Fortunately, these are the two rooms in which he would expect to find such sources.

    “I don’t know if the thirty-fourth student is also the culprit, but if the murderer is indeed one of the students, the first step should be completing the list of suspects. So, let’s find this missing student.”

    John takes hold of Souma’s message; his message to him. The two boys conjectured that the hints that led them to this message were ‘too simple for Souma’, which means the Japanese boy ‘dumbed it down’ so he, John Dove, would be able to find it. How considerate of him, but why couldn’t he go the extra step and just say things straightforwardly?

    “And while we’re on it…let’s check the windows. If anybody does find Souma, please do let the others know.”

  4. #4664
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    “Roger that.” Lucille responds, before motioning for Xeni and Kean to follow. Although she doesn’t like splitting up, they are reasonably close to each other, and she’s certain Hwan could hold his own in a battle. That, and John’s revelation is delightfully simple. Look for school documentation about all of them to find this missing thirty-fourth student? Straightforward. There’s no need to delve into occultism to get the meaning behind all of that.

    Besides, those documents definitely exist—didn’t Miss Leuzinger have a psychological profile of her during that encounter in her office? Ideally, it’ll lead to something concretely tangible to discuss and plan around, instead of conjecture.

    Though, as amazing as this revelation is, she can’t help but be bothered by Souma’s words about Alexstrasza.

    I realized when I was talking to that girl, Alexstrasza. The rules of that world. It's like a game kids play at a playground.

    When you immerse yourself, you might not see the forest for the trees. Or overlook something that was always there.

    That's the problem with adhering to rules so blindly.
    Though Alexstrasza is certainly the most extreme element—a vampire with no understanding of societal norms—Souma must be talking about the Turnside. In which case, just what about being part of the Turnside prevents her from seeing clearly? Is it related to those drugs John has mentioned taking, which inhibit the supernatural somehow? If there was time, she’d ask to take them herself.

    The only way to know is to experience.

    Regardless, those are less pressing thoughts. As slim as the possibility is, Souma could still be alive, though it’s unlikely.

    “Xeni, Kean, you two search for the papers. I’ll check the windows.” A frown replaces her stern expression. If nothing else, the other two shouldn’t have to see a corpse. And maybe, there won’t be a corpse. Just someone on the brink of death.

    Something she can solve, she prays.

  5. #4665
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Agent Skye
    Location: Sheriff's Department
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    God...?

    ---She had been close, but it seemed the target was slightly off-center.

    Lightning flashes, illuminating a pale face that remains frozen somewhere between quiet contemplation and silent indignation; it's a face that goes well with the rest of her, of the arms that have been crossed against her chest to keep them busy, hands balled into fists and those fists shaking with unconscious anger, dwelling on the events of a lifetime ago, events of a sister that is also another self, of the countless lives snuffed out by the insane machinations of a monster that thrives on human evils. The idea that it does so for fun is horrifying, a crime that thrives in the nature of being a crime, of inflicting as much pain and agony and heartbreak on the victims as possible, to better feed off their suffering, it's...

    "..."

    ...Only natural that she must busy her hands elsewhere, lest the years of training fail, lest the persona of the ever-collected Eureka Agent fall away to reveal a younger sibling filled with wrath, wrath she could acknowledge now, the impulse of an avenger that tells her to right the wrongs, one way or another, but...

    The Town has an obvious Norse bend to it... A God... Is it Odin...?

    Dorothy had spoken of the victory of the invading Gods over the local spirits, so the Norse Pantheon should be the dominant one in these parts nowadays. Odin has a history of disguising himself, and his ravens "Hugin and Mugin" can sometimes be referred to as Gauts gaukr or Cuckoo, but...

    She narrows her eyes, mind spinning of it's own accord, trying to find answers in the depths of her mythology knowledge... But she had never been intrinsically linked to such things, her heritage lay in the heart of Brécilien on one side and the eastern martial traditions on the other, things that the Hikari had picked up when they had become the Hikari, travelers from the isles settling in Japan after the fall of the King, continuing to assist mankind in the modern ages... Study hall had been mostly Arthurian, some Celtic here and there, everything else from sheer experience with it, so...

    "..."

    ...Norse Myths aren't her specialization, because her family wasn't from that place... She'd used items from the mythology when she came across them (far be it from her to turn down a relic if she could get it) defeated things from their stories, but she didn't go out of her way to really delve into the culture beyond that either, at least she hadn't until meeting Dorothy, so....

    For now, just make a note of it and move on; perhaps something will come of it later? What's important in this instance is that the cuckoo is a separate entity, it may not even necessarily be Divine, but it is certainly another to add to the list of those in this town who weaponize the art of mimicry. Likely the target of this trap the shadier characters in town were getting so worked up about lately, the reason they had been brought to Pinefall in the first place it seems, as bait for some sort of supernaturally perfect imposter, still...

    If it is a God, and proves to be responsible for all of this, then...

    Fingers squeeze her own arms hard, mind spinning as it tries to come up with a feasible way to handle an incarnated divine being... The Antediluvian in town was already bad enough, and that was something closer to a demigod than an actual God, not the sort of thing you can just try and beat to death with your hands and tons of qi, those with divine blood could be pretty easily taken out like that, but...

    "..."

    She shakes her head, chasing away the thoughts, the what-ifs and the worries, because they are not things that are allowed to infect this particular persona.

    Focus on what can be done right now and to that end, in answer to a roaring voice and eyes filled with righteous fury...

    "Stop Guildenstern you say," her eyes lock back on the shoe salesman, "And how exactly do you plan to do that?"

    She asks in a tranquil, but piercing tone, keeping the icy flame deep inside of herself.

    "Is finding them something you can do? Are you able to sense where your sibling is?"

    Finally prying her hands from her arms, she retrieves her coffee and takes another sip, feeding the growing addiction in a bid to push back at the stress headache slowly building at the front of her thoughts.

    "Or see their true face beneath the mask? And what about the cuckoo? Are you trying to stop it as well?"
    Last edited by Airen; July 7th, 2022 at 06:14 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

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

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

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

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

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




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

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

  6. #4666
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    At least he had gotten a name. In a way, everything was already going better than expected.

    “Hate to hear about your family and all that, but y’know, I picked it up off the ground.” Being promised a long-lived grudge and then having shots taken at his character, Colt wasn’t as apologetic as his words came out. “That’s the big heist. Went for a walk, saw it on the ground. Honest story. Heard a real big boom, looked around the corner, there it was. It was more of a ‘finder’s keepers’ kinda thing.”

    The boy leaned back in his seat.

    “But emulating a deity, huh? Seeing the world without borders, eyes that nobody can hide from… yeah, it’s godlike.” He nodded. “I guess if that thing’s in some godly realm, it explains why I could never figure out how it worked. Took it apart, put it back together. Showed it to my pop, spent hours messing with every little dial on it. Never got anywhere. Sure, I could figure out how to use it. But how it worked, that was something else.”

    He sighed. At some point it had become a rant about the wondrous gadget and his inability to crack its code.

    “One more reason to part with it. I make, I don’t really use. If I can’t learn anything I need from it, it’s useless to me in the long run.” He scratched the back of his head. “Couldn’t even use it to peep around here anyway, the scariest girl in our class reads minds. All I’ve gotten out of it…”

    He paused.

    “Well, guess I’d have died two or three different times without it last night. A tool that could keep me alive despite Turnside folk trying to paint the walls with my brains, it really is godlike.” He scoffed. That thing really had saved his life. “Maybe it’d be in my best interests to have kept it…”

    Colt withdrew from his self-absorbed rant and met Fu’s eyes.

    “Well, I’d rather you not kill me. Not yet at least. Seems I’ve gone and caused you enough trouble anyway, so I’ll just wash my hands clean of it.” So saying, he uncrossed his arms. “Sorry. For real. Not that it changes things, but I am sorry. I’ve learned my lesson about grabbing things that are ‘out of this world.’”

    Then, he leaned forward again.

    “And if that’s not enough, mind answering a few questions before you get payback? Like, who put the hole in your stomach? Where you’ve been since you split with Ru…?”

    His voice trailed off, lost in thought, debating what else to ask.

    In the absence of a clear decision, his mouth, the loyal but brash vanguard, charged forward.

    “Why are you a cat?”


  7. #4667
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room 305
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    Friends? Hah, what a good joke.

    "Technically, I know a few friends... but... I am not sure... where any are at the moment..."

    Prushka? Hisa? Elise? Rachel? The latter was most likely inaccessible considering what just happened... as for the others, Vivienne truly had no idea where any of these could be at. What about the beach ghost crew, or the other people she spoke to? Liana? Vier? Sakura? No... why even consider them when she had no idea where they were as well? Vivienne Bianchi is totally clueless indeed, of where to go and what to do.

    Haha! All that time spent... all those connections made... and not a single thing to show for them. Isn't that great? It's not going to end here either Vivienne Bianchi, you know it. Misfortune awaits around the corner... how exciting!

    "The school really is where we have the highest chance... of meeting people that I know are... reliable."

    How reliable? A little bit is better than nothing right? Ignore the fact that they could stab you in the back at any moment, or just find Alex extremely annoying and refuse to help! Oh, but yes... they too are bound to learn about those strange devices that puts forward the 'truth' hidden deep within everyone... aren't they? But what if it's too late?

    There is no time to sit on what ifs and what could be. There is a need to act, and so far, the suggestion to go to school would be the wisest out of all of them. Perhaps with the knowledge that the school turned into a bloodbath the last time, 'others' who had been aware of the 'past' may have taken proper measures so that such a tragedy wouldn't repeat itself.

    Extremely optimistic, are we not? Or should I say, hopelessly stupid?

    "The people who I know are all... a bit noisy, but they should be willing to help. Better than being in a hostile place. Speaking about... your contact... how is she doing?"

    Vivienne Bianchi and Xeni Techne had not parted on best of terms, indeed...

    "And... is there some sinister Norse-related thing going on?"

    That was a very specific instruction from Alex. Vivienne could only help to wonder as to the reason behind her not wanting anything to do with Norse-related businesses...

  8. #4668
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    I snorted, "Heh, 'Outis'. So we're looking for a family that all go ahead and call themselves a fake name, which makes it a real name, but it's fake."

    I rolled my eyes, "Thanks for the classical education, Pop."

    I'd make a crack about it being mostly useless but it actually came up depressingly often because the Turnside is full of history-fellating weirdos.

    "Or, alternatively, those Owl costumes, might be hanging around somewhere on the grounds, something to hustle up the crowd for when we all come back together, I guess."

    Then, I looked up at the revealed words on the wall.

    "'Sans thou wretched fire', without your damned fire."

    I looked up at it blankly.

    "Yeah, uh, I guess I'll keep them in mind," I paused, tilting my head, "It looks incomplete, part of a sentence or something someone said."

    I took a moment to tug out my notebook and scribbled them down, tilting my head back and forth.

    "What's it written in, anyway?"

  9. #4669
    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Augusta Tremolo
    "He came in to the room we were in, and I think he expected to see just Zaza - and when it was John who answered the door, he had a knee-jerk reaction? Really seemed like a man who's been living on the edge for quite a while, never allowing himself a moment of peace. But, then, like I said, that Ubon girl got really angry and they had a momentary tussle. I mean, you were there too, Travis. Got anything to add?"
    "That's a bit of a relief, really. John knew I was looking for Devon, and I was worried he might've almost been hurt on my account."

    Sounds like he's been having a rough couple of weeks, or more. I wonder what made him drop off the radar in the first place? Was it hearing that Father Milani intended for him to work with me? He was apprehensive enough about meeting me at the hospital to leave. Was the news that I was coming to work with him enough to make him drop contact or is there still more at play?

    "So, wait? He was there to meet Alexstraza? How did he become acquainted with her, of all our classmates?" asked Elise, "For that matter… Alexstraza was at the hospital to see Cesarina, are you a friend of hers too then, or a mutual acquaintance of Alexstraza?"

    There was a momentary pause in their discussion as Travis seemed to take a moment to put his thoughts in order that let Elise catch a few words from the other table.

    Gottlieb.

    There was that name again.

    So they're looking for something here? The frustrating part of eavesdropping on a conversation is you often lack the full context, and the people involved have no reason to provide it to you. Still... Elaine said that she found the hospital seemingly empty and abandoned tonight. I thought something terrible might've happened there, but what if they sent out their whole goon squad, plus everyone else they could get to go looking for That Thing tonight? speculated Elise, If they know other people are trying to find That Thing they might want to throw everything they've got at making sure they find it first.

    She frowned as she considered that matte-black folder the man in black had handed over to the Winter Brother.

    Blueprints? Trajectory? What are they trying to build here? A rocket ship? wondered Elise.

    Her hand twitched. It'd be easy for her to grab that folder and take a look at its contents, find out what they were for, and maybe glean some insight into just what those three were up to now that it was out of sight.

    There's no way he wouldn't notice if that folder suddenly went missing though. Even in a big coat like that. This isn't exactly a small object we're trying to nick here, is it? thought Elise, Besides, do we even want to intervene like that? Is that even a good idea? He probably needs those blueprints for whatever it is.

    Travis spoke up, snapping Elise's attention back to her table and away from the black folder tucked away inside Elaine's brother's coat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Gagnon
    "That 'Moose' we were searching for... that's my sister, Nora. The only blood relative I have left. And the only clue I have left for locating our mentors, and... parents for a while: Suzume Bianchi and Shouko Hikari. They're all somewhere in this town, I know it. But where, I have no goddamn clue..."
    "Wait, Suzume Bianchi? Like Vivienne's mom? She'd mentioned that she'd found that her mother was involved with Road's End. Much to her surprise, she wasn't aware of that when she got here. Didn't know that she was in town either," said Elise, "Does-does Vivienne know about you, for that matter?"

    Given Vivienne, and what little I know about her mother, it sounds to me like Travis was probably doomed to get drawn into the Turnside sooner or later. He might not have had to work quite as hard as he did to get here as he thought he did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Gagnon
    "And yeah, I've had these... weird dreams. I barely remember any of them. But I do remember standing out in the rain with you, getting soaked yet being stubborn... I also remember getting annoyed that a goody-two-shoes like you stuck around, even though you had clearly better stuff to do. So I refused to call it quits even though it was clear Nora wouldn't show up, just to see how long it would take for you to snap and get angry with me. But you never did."

    "Talk about being a little shit, huh?"
    Elise nodded along as Travis described a dream about a Friday night that had, but hadn't happened.

    "That sounds like last Friday evening alright. I've heard that all our memories are out there in the collective unconscious. I hadn't considered the possibility, but I suppose it should be possible for someone to connect with them in their dreams like that."

    That's how it sounded like Little Nemo would've done it, although... more lucidly. I wonder… I thought that maybe the soul was the vehicle for retaining our memories of last week, but what if that's not quite the case? What if all of our memories are just out there in the collective unconscious, and it's our connection with Muse in her grove in the Forest of Unconscious that allows us to regain them completely? We literally just dreamed of the previous week on Tuesday night, which is how we remember it, and then get woken up by It Feels Like the First Time on Wednesday morning? Doesn't have that dream-like quality to it, but maybe that's again because of Muse's connection? Meanwhile, everyone else only get fragments of their experiences in their dreams? wondered Elise, Or maybe only the ones that really matter to them?

    She thought back to that night in the rain with Travis, and the subsequent visit to Avery's Diner. Dealing with Travis that night had been a challenge, but he had softened his edge somewhat by the end of the evening, hadn't he?

    I-I didn't realize how much that evening had been an impact on Travis. I wanted his help with breaking into the boarded up section of the dormitories at the time, sure, but I stuck with him because I wanted to help. I couldn't help but be a little sympathetic to someone trying to find someone else in this town. Not to mention I was more than a little worried that his Moose might've been a danger to him. His sister, Nora, eh? No wonder he wants to help Elaine find her brother too.

    "Oh, you were a trial alright," agreed Elise, "But I wasn't about to leave you out to dry. Or, well, get more soaked as the case was. Like I said though, I offered to keep an eye for your Moose, Nora, and I'll add your mentors to that too. If I find out anything on any of them, I'll be sure to pass that on to you, whatever the circumstances might be."

    Could be another day. Could be another week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Gagnon
    "... Were detailed in the MKUltra document."
    Elise groaned.

    "Of course. Seems kind of obvious given how involved the company with his name is with the Oceandrop Program and everything around here. Wasn't MKUltra mostly about mind control and LSD though? Although, I guess I can see how some of the techniques they used might be applicable if you're trying to alter people's view of reality to conform to a different paradigm?"

    She sighed to herself.

    "Oh, and speaking of trying to find people in this small town, what are we going to do about Elaine's brother?" asked Elise in a hushed tone, "We've got a lead or two we might be able to help point her towards him, but that's not much. It's not like we can just grab him and deliver him straight to Elaine, no matter how tempting that might be. I'm not sure if Elaine would appreciate that, for one, but I know for sure that Ms. Boulders would not approve of it. Think we should make contact and introduce ourselves?"

  10. #4670
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Hisa's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "You're not entirely getting the point," Hisa said as she scratched the back of her head, "But well, it's kind of hard to put these things into words. And you'd likely have an even harder time, considering that you can't entirely understand human emotions. Though, more importantly...it doesn't even matter all that much in the end. We'll hopefully get through things one way or another, no matter what."

    Grumbling about it certainly doesn't lead to anything.

    "Anyways, on a less serious note---"

    The knock on the door immediately distracted my attention and made me forget what I wanted to say. However, the voice that followed the knocks brought a sense of relief as well, putting an end to the weird sort of anxiety that I've been feeling ever since we got back.

    "Yeah, I'm just looting the place," I answered more loudly so that the people outside the room would hear as well, "Feel free to join, there's a whole lotta goodies in here."

    For a moment, as if reminded of something, my eyes jumped onto the bathroom door. Though...Since Pyry had his clothes in there, it would certainly be fine. Were the circumstances different, it would have been just a bit more inconvenient...

    "We can continue this discussion later," I whispered to the snake doll as my gaze turned back to it, "But I'll leave you out here so that you can listen to the rain."

  11. #4671
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Prushka's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    The shower is good. The shower doesn't ask awkward questions, nor does it seem too blockheaded to realize some obvious stuff.

    Indeed, after a day like this, a hot shower might have been just what the doctor ordered.

    Still, at the same time, the day was just about to become the night, and when the night came, the darkness of Road's End would once again rear its ugly, dangerous head. Who even knew what was going to happen this time? During the week that never existed, something terrible had definitely went down between Saturday and Sunday, considering how active that thing haunting their dreams had become. And more than that...

    --- Sunday was almost here.

    The week was almost at an end.

    Had they even found a way out of this mess? What if the loop would start all over again? Would Pyry and Ahti return back to their old selves? Would Alpa forget the real friends she had made so far?

    ... Strangely enough, while the latter was still a big question mark, the former idle thought...

    It almost felt like there was no reason to worry about it.

    Almost like some sort of puzzle piece had clicked in place, and would no longer budge. It was a strange feeling, but still, a reassuring one.

    "... Wait, did she just compliment me on my showering?"

    Ahti's muffled voice could be heard through the door and the shower.

    "I, um... I think she did. Maybe she thought you were very clean?"

    And Alpa responded.

    --- Maybe it was too early to feel reassured about anything yet.




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

    "C... CAT!?"

    Uh oh.

    That might have been the wrong term to use.

    "I'm a tiger, èr bǎi wǔ! A T-I-G-E-R! A weretiger to be exact! How on heaven and earth do you see me as a cat! What part of this accursed fur, these hideous claws, this monstrous tail or these unseemly claws look like a cat to you!" Fu roared, looking again like she might just jump out of the bed and strangle Colt right then and there. "A hereditary curse, passed onto us by our ancestors greed, it has made us into monsters... and you have the gall to call it something cute like a cat! Gaaaahhh, this is why I hate insensitive shǎquē like you! You have no decency nor do you have any intelligence!"

    Well... that certainly seemed to have got her going.

    Honestly, it was good that she was more or less bound to her bed. Colt would have most likely gotten a full-on throttling by now if she wasn't. It was an unfortunate combination of the girl's personality - and clear pride, despite her situation - and his magnificent ability to put a foot in his mouth no matter what the situation. Coming together, it was like a powder keg waiting to explode.

    Though, speaking of which, Fu suddenly yanked her blanket aside and showed Colt her patched up, bandaged stomach. One that still looked rather worrisome.

    "Just like that jiāngshī! That lying undead told me to follow the signal of the transmitter when it activated, that it would bring me to the thief who stole the Nail from us - only to fnd a trap waiting for me! And then you, Colton Davin, arrived to laugh at me!" She pointed an accusing claw at him. "So don't act like you don't know, you're in cahoots with him, aren't you!"

    The glare she threw his way was rather magnificent. Too bad it was aimed at him.

    "Just like how your story of just 'finding' the Nail reeks of fish! I know what happened that night - I heard!" She continued. "You broke into our compound, defeated our guards, stole the Nail and flew away! If that is your understanding of 'finding' something, I question your morals wholeheartedly!"

    She finally crossed her arms to harrumph - only to wince in pain and whimper under her breath.

    "I-I question them in any case...!" Fu tried to mask that momentary weakness.




    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room 305
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "The Kincaids."

    Alex's answer was blunt. She was focused on packing up whatever stuff she could, while also throwing paranoid glances towards the door - and the corridor beyond it. It was like she was expecting to hear running footsteps outside at any second.

    "... They're descendant from Norse vikings. Directly, even. Some sorta religious cult that's survived since the days they still wore horned helmets. And what Ramia Ramalsaqr said yesterday... she got it wrong. It's the other way around. They didn't start from Minnesota. They started from here - from Road's End. I'm sure of that now," the reporter continued, grimly. "So any place with norse connotations will be directly tied to them. Including that fake bronze statue up on the overlook. I almost had a heart-attack when I checked it out earlier this week. Talk about hiding things in plain sight..."

    Muttering to herself, Alex finished packing her suitcase and snapped it shut. Then she walked over to one the drawers and unlocked with her key. After pulling it open, she started fishing out the things from the inside... namely, a combat knife, a handgun and a couple of magazines. She stashed those weapons inside her coat, perhaps exposing why she favored such a bulky winter coat in the first place. It definitely worked well in hiding such illegal things.

    "Anyways, my contact is a he. Barney Keyhoe, to be exact. He's a crazy conspiracy theorist, but he has his uses, even for such a rotund man," Alex replied, turning to face Vivienne. "You remember, right? Yesterday, he was supposed to meet us at the library, but that Orion guy came in his stead. Guess they're working together... or something."

    Wait. Right, Orion's partner, Barney Keyhoe...

    So could that mean that the man who was in Orion's room had been...?

    "All that nonsense afterwards almost made me forget it, but... listen," Alex turned to look at Vivienne with intense eyes. "The Kincaids are up to something. They have been for the longest time. And it's something to do with you Turnside types. When they were... recruiting... back in France - and other places too - they weren't only looking for new members to join their ranks. They were also looking something specific. Specific people. Ones that would react differently to being turned into werewolves. I..."

    For a moment, Alex hesitated.

    Then, she pulled up her sleeve...

    --- And revealed a gruesome scar tissue covering a good patch of her right arm, and what looked to be a shard of bone or claw stuck to it.

    "... I was one of those candidates. Daniel Kincaid got to know me, made me lower my defenses, got to know my weaknesses... and then they sprung their trap. My mother was killed, I was..." For a moment, a look of deep-seated trauma and pain flashed across Alex's face, before she wiped it away with a cold mask she usually wore. "... Well, after Daniel had his fun, they tried to make me into one of them. I don't... remember exactly what happened, but when I came to, I was lying naked in a ditch some miles away from Bayeux. Ever since then I've tried to get find them. Tried to get my revenge. And for that, I've found three leads."

    She lifted her index finger.

    "First. The Kincaids were based in Road's End. Though they have a huge compound in Minnesota, which was led by Daniel Kincaid, their ancestral home is here in Road's End," she explained. "That's why I got myself noticed by the Pinefall Project - so I could be here without suspicion."

    She lifted her middle finger.

    "Second. The Kincaids are, or were, after specific individuals - people they'd turn into their kind, but who would be... different," she continued. "Daniel spoke like it was a matter of compability. And I know they were searching for individuals like that - with the 'right blood' like Daniel said to his underlings. What blood that is, I don't know... but I'm willing to bet the answer will be here, at Road's End."

    Finally, she raised her ring finger.

    "Third. That's not the only thing they were after. They also wanted to find 'The Girl In Blue'. That's the second part of whatever they are planning," the reporter explained. "That's what the folder from yesterday was. Information about her. Apparently this Girl In Blue also went by 'Patient Zero' and was moved around a lot by the US Air Force in the 40's - into places like the Spokane Air Technical Service Command. Barney had made the connection between the two because, apparently, they had been both rumoured to be at a ship known as Ourang Medan. A bit of a stretch, but it gave me something to work with. Only... the Air Force seemed to lose this Patient Zero, and I have no idea what happened to her afterwards, or who she even was. I guess that's why the Kincaids are also looking for her."

    Closing her hand into a fist, Alex also pulled down her sleeve and walked over to her suitcase, which she picked up. The reporter then made her way to the door and listened for a moment through it, trying to see if they were still safe. When things seemed clear, she glanced back towards Vivienne.

    "... What I'm trying to say is, the Kincaids are planning something. And considering their past, each location that has ties to their norse past may be dangerous. You, since you're a member of the Turnside, should have even better idea of those dangers than I do," Alex continued, putting an end to her rare moment of honesty. "So we best steer away from those places, at least until we know more about what they're after. For example, just what sort of blood they hunt for..."

    Shaking her head, the girl checked that her gun was still in place under her jacket, and opened the door to the corridor.

    "Let's go. At this point, the school is as safe as any place - if not even more so."




    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Damned if I know."

    Joshua snorted.

    "It's stuck there for a good, good while, and can only be seen when exposed to two things. Either these gadget lights that the Outis girl and her friend, Remington, realized to use," the spirit said and gestured towards the various old UV lights that had been scattered around the room. "So whatever the paint or liquid used, it's been around for a good while. I can see it just fine, but like I said, you who are living need either these..."

    He then paused, and glanced towards the top of the lighthouse above them.

    "... Or wait until moonlight hits it through the broken windows," he explained. "For some reason, that seems to do the same thing - even though, as that Outis girl said back then, moonlight is hardly similar to these."

    He patted the blacklight in his hands, and Ubon - of all people - hummed and nodded.

    "Yeppers. Moonlight is just reflected sunlight after all," she spoke quietly. "Though there are totes some differences, like the lower colour temperature of the moon when compared to sun. The amount of UV rays is also different thanks the subdued intensity, plus all sorta other yada yada... for realsies."

    Both Subaru and Sakura turned to look at Ubon like she had grown a second head, causing the cyan-haired girl to blush a little and laugh sheepishly.

    "W-what! I totes have some subjects I'm good at! Plus that sorta stuff is neat, especially when you think about photos and art and stuff, y'know?" She defended herself. "S-so, I was just thinking aloud what I could prattle off the top of my head."

    Subaru, upon hearing that nodded.

    "But then, does this mean that UV light and moonlight have nothing in common?" She asked. "Why does the message show in both of them, then?"

    The cyanhead hummed, rubbed her chin and narrowed her eyes to a comical point.

    "Well, uhh... are we sure these things really are blacklights?" She asked, picking up one of the flashlights and shining it on the message. "Maybe they just totes look like them?"

    The older brunette of the group followed the beam of light and saw the message once more. And while the two younger girls were thinking about the lights, she seemed to focus on the message itself.

    "... You're right, Elaine. It does seem off," she finally said, voicing her thoughts. "It's not even grammatically correct. 'SANS THOU WRETCHED FIRE'. It would make more sense if they had used 'thine' or 'thy'. If it's talking to the fire itself, it still seems... weird. There's just something about it that I can't put my finger on. Sans thou wretched fire, sans thou wretched fire... Rats. I'm sure I've ran into oddly wrong sentences like this before, ones that are similarly grammatically just barely passable. But where...?"

    Ubon, upon hearing that, tilted her head at the rest of the girls.

    "Maybe it's a worldplay?" She asked, shrugging her shoulders. "Maybe you're supposed to switch the words into 'Fire Thou Wretched Sans' and it's a message to us to fire someone named Sans! Or maybe it's one of those things where you need to subsitute letters to others?"

    Sakura's eyebrows rose towards her hairline.

    "A cipher? Maybe... but maybe not..." She rubbed her chin again. "I'm not that good at ciphers, but for some reason this feels vaguely familiar..."




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

    Travis groaned a little.

    "You're too nice of a person, Chipmunk. Especially for your own good..."

    What was he referring to? The fact that she had decided to stick with him in the week that never was? The fact that he didn't see the connection between MKULTRA and Pinefall? Or the idea that they would approach Elaine's brother so casually?

    ... Maybe all of them?

    "--- First, about MKULTRA. Yeah, the mind control part and drugs are what's been in the pages released so far. But believe me, they've still got a lot hidden under a lock and key. Stuff that I can see now ties straight into that Mjolnir-drug and DDS," the thug-like boy answered in an equally hushed voice. "Second, you've got already way too much on your plate. Don't worry about me or my messed up family situation. There are other things, more important things, you should focus on, right?"

    For some reason the boy seemed almost a bit angry that she had so eagerly promised to help him out in that regard.

    "... And that's another thing. No, Vivienne doesn't know. And she won't ever find out, if I can just help it," Travis added a bit grumpily. "That girl's been through enough from what I can tell. She doesn't need to know what a mess of a foster brother she has. Best that she focuses on the things important to her and her future - just like you should, Chipmunk."

    Hearing that, Auggie giggled a little, as if amused by Travis' attitude.

    "He's like an ornery hedgehog, isn't he?" The green-haired girl asked with a grin from Elise. "Oh, speaking of which - I guess you could say that I'm sort of friends with Zaza? One-sided friends, she doesn't really now that much about me. And what comes to Cesarina, I'm more of a... well, family is not the right word, but guess you could say I'm one side of the same die? So while I haven't had that much time with Zaza, it's Cesarina who thinks of her as her dear friend. But I do care for her, even if only by association. Not as much as Devon probably does. See, Nerina told me that Alexstrasza actually saved his life - cast a healing spell on him when he stumbled into the hospital half-dead. In return he let her drink his blood. Which sounds sort of intimate, when I say it out loud?"

    For some reason, Travis' eyebrows shot towards his hairline.

    "Wait, that blonde moron did what!?" He exclaimed, before realizing he was too loud. "Urgh, I can't believe it... then again, something as ridiculous as that sounds exactly like her..."

    Well now, it sounded like Travis had gotten a bit closer to Alexstrasza as well.

    "Anyways, most importantly..." Travis leaned forward, his voice a whisper. "I don't think going up to those people is a good idea. They seem a bit too secretive for that. Instead, I was thinking..."

    He glanced towards the door.

    "... Why don't we follow them, or at least Elaine's brother, when they finally head out? See what the hell they're up to."




    Agent Skye
    Location: Sheriff's Department
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Rosencrantz drew a deep breath, and laid his hands atop each other. His eyes, ones that had seen much - both in good and in bad - gazed at the group, and odds shadows and distant darkness swirled in them. It was like looking at something that was not fully human, yet also so umistakenly one that it was almost blinding. Even through his appearance of a man robbed of his time, he still seemed... powerful. Not frail, but sturdy.

    No matter that he shivered.

    "The Cuckoo... is irrelevant to me. Perhaps not to Guildenstern. No, it was they who endangered it in the first place. Or, perhaps it's best to say... alarmed it," he spoke, slowly. "In the first place, the Cuckoo is older than either of us. It has been here for the longest, longest time. It flew here, across the midnight spaces, and found a nest which to inhabit - and thus this town became its home."

    Those mysterious eyes switched to gaze at Scottie, who unblinkingly stared back. The agent even leaned closer, as if he was reading something within their depths... and then he suddenly opened his mouth to speak. Just like Rosencrantz did.

    The two of them, the stranger and the agent, chanted in unison a rhyme which seemed to darken the room.

    "A man who came here from the woods, a shout of a silver fall. In the house of amber light, It sees us all. Break away from within that Eye, escape from the umbra sea. The Mad whispers it again: Stars, fall for me."

    And when they finished, a silence reigned in the conference room.

    Only to be, eventually, broken by Rosencrantz himself.

    "... Only the few and rare can see through Guildenstern's act. See what they truly are, puzzle out their true nature. The Gifted..." He glanced at Scottie, before then staring, unblinking, at Liana. "--- And the Damned."

    Hearing that, the agent frowned.

    "But then, where are they?" He asked. "You said you wanted to stop them - can you then help us? We both want the same thing."

    Heaving another deep breath, the shoe salesman gazed upon the clock on the wall. A little past 11pm. Night was already here. In other words, Liana might have been one of the few students still remaining outside, with most of them having returned... if they had returned at all. Then, having made sure of the time, the young-yet-old, old-yet-young man closed his eyes, steadied his breathing, and seemed to concentrate...

    --- Or perhaps cast his mind further into town.

    "... For 21 years now. They are stalking, yet again, at the same place. Their favorite hunting ground," he whispered. "A group of large houses, surrounded by trees. Each one carries scars of the past, but puts on a brave face for their new occupants. Occupants in rooms that are so much alike, yet painted over by what they brought."

    A tense silence fell over the room as gears turned in everyone's heads.




    John Dove & Lucille Faraday

    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "A 34th student..."

    Hwan muttered that under his breath as he moved to the nearest shelf full of official-looking documents. It was like the idea was taking its time to sunk in - and perhaps for a good reason. So far, they had had their fair share of surprise students. The Coastrise Siblings were an unique surprise to say the least on the week that never existed - though the Korean boy would have only known about their strange appearance on this week. Then there was the matter of Alpa, and although nobody else but John had witnessed her out of this room, they had taken his words as gospel. Besides, these two cases were easy enough to rationalize. Three of the students weren't here to start with, while one was hiding.

    But then what about the last missing student?

    How had they yet to notice someone like that?

    What did it even mean in this case that they were a student? Alpa, although hiding, had "attended" classes in her own unique way. The Coastrise Siblings had kept themselves at an arm's length. Then what of this Final Student? Were they hiding as well? If they kept completely out of sight, did that even count as a student? If it did, where were they hiding?

    Or, was it like Souma had implied? That you would miss the forest from the trees, or overlook something that was always there?

    ... What did it even mean in this case?

    "Wait. If we count the Coastrises and this Alpa chick, that means we have 34 students in total. And if their name was between Aleen King and Pyry Leijonamieli, that would mean they're..." Hwan suddenly said, thinking out loud. "... Student number 17, right? Let's see here..."

    The white-haired boy started yanking folders out of the shelf, but after looking through few of them, he seemed to realize that they weren't student profiles. Indeed, the only things inside seemed to be finances of the school or somesuch. Thus, instead, he knelt down closer to the floor, where there were few drawers, opened them up, and...

    "--- Oh. Jackpot."

    Motioning John to come closer, Hwan pointed into the drawer. It had small boxes inside them - 34 in total, from the looks of it. Each one had been fitted with a key that had a small numbler plate attached to them. In other words...

    "Our spare keys. For our rooms," Hwan grinned, glint in his eyes. "Which means #17 is..."

    He fished out the key, only to look confused for a moment.

    "... Huh? Room... #2-121?" He spoke the number aloud. "... The hell does that mean?"

    Meanwhile, one door over at the faculty office, Xeni and Kean had started poring over the contents of the various cabinets and desks of the teachers - anywhere that they thought there might be a clue about this mysterious 34th student. Rustling of paper and grumbled curses from Kean broke the silence as Lucille, on the other hand, made her way towards the windows on the other side of the room. She peered into the darkness of the campus area and the forest beyond it, gazed into the utter blackness of the night slowly taking over the evening. It would be 9pm soon, meaning that things would get even darker - and it was already bad because of the storm.

    But.

    Speaking of which...

    --------------!

    A sudden crash of lightning illuminated the deep, dense forests of Washington state. A crack of pure natural force tore across the sky in a bolt of blue. The thundering roar that came afterwards rattled the room for a moment, and caused Xeni to jump and Kean to look up from what he was reading.

    But in the light of that bolt of lightning, Lucille saw it.

    There.

    On the ground.

    Just on the other side of the window.

    Set right against the wall below the window, making it hard to see.

    ... Was Souma Nubatama.

    His single eye staring into nothing, empty.

    His clothes soaked with rain.

    And his throat...

    ---- Slashed.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Hisa's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Although the snake did not say anything, a feeling of quiet gratitude seemed to radiate from it. The creature did indeed seem to enjoy the sound of rain very much, which might have made it the only being in Road's End right now to have such feelings.

    At the same time, the door finally opened, revealing a familiar-looking duo behind it. Mercedes West and Allene McLampet, both soaked from head to toe and looking like they had tossed about by the storm, judging by the leaves on their hair and mud on their clothes. Allene even let out a loud, cute sneeze as they entered the room - while Mercedes just rolled her eyes and grinned at Hisa.

    "That wardrobe ain't, like, worth a penny so just focus on whatevah money she has," she joked, before clicking her tongue. "... Anyways, jokes aside, it's good to see that you're still, like, in one pi---"

    That's as far as she got.

    "Muuuu~!"

    Because on that moment, a bizarre-sounding rocket bounded from Hisa's bed over to Mercedes and caught her in a tight bear hug, driving the air out of the actress' lungs.

    "Gggkkk---! Stop it, damn it, like, you bizarre weirdo...! I'm, like, totes not for hugging...!" Mercedes wheezed, trying to separate herself from Gradient's affections. "Let gooooo---!"

    Allene, on the other hand, shook some water from her hair and grinned rather widely.

    "Wow, hot dog! That was some weather out there! Though I guess it's just part and parcel for the autumn, huh?" She commented, before looking at Hisa. "Still, like Mercy said, it's ever so good to see that everyone's safe!"

    Mercedes didn't seem to appreciate the nickname ("That's, like, so not my name...!") but was in no position to retort as Allene looked around.

    "Though, gosh... where's Pyry? Did something... s-something happen with him?" The blue-haired girl asked. "Did he..."

    Luckily, her worry did not last long.

    "Oh, don't worry about me! I'm just fine!" Came the familiar voice from behind the bathroom door. "I'm just getting dressed up to avoid any nasty misunderstandings when I step outta the shower."

    Allene blinked at that revelation.

    "Getting dressed? So that means he's... oh. O-oh!"

    For a moment the girl looked a bit flustered and red on her cheeks, but pushed forward despite the embarrassment.

    "S-so, sounds like everything went well then? Hot dog!" Allene commented, before looking at Mercedes. "We had a bit of success as well! You wanna tell 'em, Mercy, or should I?"

    Mercedes let out a groan and flailed her arms in vain.

    "I can't breathe---!"

  12. #4672
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Agent Skye
    Location: Sheriff's Department
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "..."

    The young woman sighs to herself at the riddle, even though the answer comes to mind in the span of a single heartbeat. It's a sigh that appears because of the obvious answer and what it represents, an ever-delayed reunion that she had intended to put off for as long as possible, especially considering all of the recent revelations about her own nature.

    "...Don't think too hard about it guys, it can only really be two places."

    She sets down her coffee cup again, letting stiff muscles stretch as she extends her arms out and over her head in an attempt to get the blood flowing properly again... It's a nonchalant movement, one unaffected by the words the man had spoken to her and her alone, of her upcoming damnation, that is...

    Of her death at some point tomorrow.

    Considering the circumstances with Zane, it was probably going to happen; the only way he would have been able to speak to her as he did was if they met again in some future loop, if he was moving backwards while she was moving forwards, a mass of distorted lines that are the norm when it comes to interactions with time travelers, with her job in general, and well...

    Time isn't as straightforward as people like to believe it is, really, time was more like...

    A big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

    Not that she wasn't going to struggle.

    It was possible she simply survived Sunday and woke back up earlier in the week, there was nothing saying the loop and death were connected after all, simply heavy implications that such a thing was true.

    "Either the hotel or the school buildings, most likely the school buildings." She sighs again and crosses her arms, voice clear and calm in the otherwise silent room, "We've already established Guildenstern's favorite prey are younger people, Road's End doesn't have too many children in it naturally, so of course it's going to be stalking the school buildings right about now. Fits the description too, favorite hunting ground would be a place he's hunted before, the massacre from twenty-one years ago is probably his favorite place... A real fond memory of his."

    She grunts.

    "Sick bastard..."

    Another shake of the head, before she sits up again more properly, staring at Rosencrantz with violet eyes and steepled hands, chin resting atop interlaced fingers, her voice calling out again, the disgust in it fading to the now familiar calm.

    "The buildings were home to the massacre, so they could be said to have been scarred by the event. Both dormitories and hotels are filled with close-to-identical rooms because of their nature, but when you think of younger people you think of students, and with students you think more of dorms than hotels," she gestures lazily at the air around her, "Students are also more likely to decorate their rooms with stuff from home, painted over by the things they brought in other words."

    Another sigh.

    "Another problem to add to the list, first I lose track of Colt, Vier and Hawthorne, and now a serial killer is actively running around the school posing as a student."

    She stands up, hands naturally returning to the pockets of her jacket.

    "This 'being damned' nonsense too... That's a joke if I've ever heard one, a ridiculous fate. Meant only to be broken."

    She states that part firmly, staring right at Rosencrantz, before...

    "Anyway..."

    ...She turns her gaze back to the others.

    "What does everyone think? Does my logic on the answer hold up? Or does someone have one they think fits better?"
    Exodus (Complete)

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

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

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

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

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




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

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

  13. #4673
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "Hmm."

    I tilted my head, "Maybe if it's reflected sunlight, that means its a reflected message as well? Reversed, possibly."

    "So 'nstead of being Sans thou wretched fire, it'd be something like 'With your blessed fire?' or 'With your wretched fire'? 'Holy water'?"

    A shrug, "It's an idea, anyway, gotta use moon logic for moon stuff. Wretched fire doesn't sound that familiar, but the opposite is, ah, a bit more."

    I scratched my chin, "Sound more familiar to you, Sakura?"

    There was a long, slow pause.

    Then a frown, "Wait, hold on."

    I reached into my jacket pocket and wrote down the bizarre sentence in my notebook, tapping it with my pen.

    "Yeah, I think it might be an anagram, or something."

    I took a few moments to pace around the floor of the lighthouse, muttering under my breath.

    "Watcher, no, stars, no..."

    Tap, tap, tap.

    "...Sword? No, not that..."

    Tap, tap, tap.

    "Saw, no, stars... No, there's stuff left..."

    Tap.

    "Stares... meet?"

    I looked around frowning.

    "Starers and the lighthouse..."

    I blinked.

    "The statues, we gotta find out where they intersect."
    Last edited by Mormarth; July 13th, 2022 at 07:23 PM.

  14. #4674
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "C... CAT!?"

    The premonition of a storm.

    "I'm a tiger, èr bǎi wǔ! A T-I-G-E-R! A weretiger to be exact!”

    Colt reeled back from the outcry, putting distance between himself and Fu as though she were a raging fire scorching his cheeks. Were it not for her bedridden state, gaining distance wouldn’t have been enough. Only a full retreat could have saved the boy who thought too little and spoke too much.

    But thanks to her injury, Fu’s small explosion amounted to little damage. The most of it was done to…

    "I-I question them in any case...!”

    Fu herself. Both to her body and her pride.

    “Where do I even start…” The boy scratched the back of his head. “I guess first thing’s first… a tiger’s a kinda cat, y’know? Just a really big one.”

    Was it really such an insult for a tiger-person, a weretiger ‘to be exact,’ to be called a cat? Would a real tiger, one that could understand English, be just as upset to be called a cat?

    “And what reeks of fish is the idea that I broke into anywhere, defeated anybody, and stole anything. Have you taken a second to think about what you’re saying? I’m a normal human. I can’t do any magic or swing around swords that look like giant lumps of iron, I can’t sprint down the hall in the blink of an eye or kick through walls.” To demonstrate, Colt held his arms out to show there was nothing extraordinary about him. "I don’t even need to tell you I can’t fly.”

    He sighed.

    “And have I laughed at you a single time?”

    A lying undead. One who lead Fu right into a trap, one which intersected with Colt.

    “I know that undead though. Hawthorn. A classmate and I were going after him when we… well, I, bumped into you. I think Vier stuck to the task at hand. She’s probably still out in the storm…”

    Alone. Without him. Without anyone. Stuck in the rain with the sun soon to set.

    “… On her own. Because I pulled outta the chase.”

    Colt fell into silence, eyes downcast. There was more he wanted to say, but the guilt creeping up from his heart washed away those thoughts.


  15. #4675
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Prushka's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    It's comforting.

    The water pounding against my back, the steam rising, the dull roar all around me, it's like being wrapped in a big violent hug that won't let go until everything is sorted out. Everything was such a huge mess today. Aches and pains are drawn out by the water and the heat and then washed away, dissolved one by one by the flow of water, leaving behind a lighter soul.

    Yes, aches and pains. Those that I've been pushing back all this time without really stopping to think about them. Like the pain of Elizaveta Vyraj's demise. Like the aching emptiness of knowing that Snow is avoiding me. Like the promise of an assassin around some hidden corner. Like the imperceptible murderer who killed Gabi. Like the chained wolf running around in the woods. Like the one-eyed monster lurking in the town's subconscious. Like the murderous undead feeding on the populace. Like the text file whose cold words could turn all into delusion. Like the cold emptiness of most of the dorm rooms. Like the phantom pain in my eye that should be gone, yet promises to return in my dreams tonight. Like the unanswered questions floating by. Like Sunday just about to arrive. Like death, almost here.

    Like this mess we haven't even come close to finding a way out of.

    At some point the water is not enough. These problems can't be washed away so easily. The drain is clogged with uncertainty and anxiety. Even the rising steam is cold, freezing everything until I am shivering, head against the wall and eyes screwed shut as those outside talk about silly things that feel so, so far away.

    It's not comforting anymore. It's cold and lonely in here. There's naught but fear to be found in solitude. Nowhere feels safe anymore, not even my own room.

    Only two spots of warmth remain, and one is a faint ember in a bullet found in an empty grave. The other, nearby, shines brightly like the moon on a warm night. Something to cling to in the darkness. He'll be here no matter what, a small voice says. When Ahti's here, there's nothing to worry about. Hopefully he doesn't mind.

    "D-done!"

    I pushing open the door after donning a fluffy bathrobe. There's no real first aid kit to be found here. We'll have to make do with painkillers, boiled water, and strips of sliced and sterilized fabric from the bedding and towels.

    "Alright, l-lie on your stomach. L-let's get you all patched up, and g-give Alpa a rundown on the situation while we're at it!"

    It's fine. So long as we stay moving and stay together, those thoughts surely won't catch up.

  16. #4676
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Hisa's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "He was just showering, since...Well, let's just say that you are practically perfectly clean compared to the state he was in," I said as my attention shifted back from the bathroom door to the two girls, "Wrestling in the mud is apparently an important part of settling disputes between two men."

    It was still hard not to find their way of trying to solve their problems silly, even in hindsight.

    "Now---"

    Gradient immediately latching onto Mercedes was certainly a sight, and while there could have been some amusement to be found in letting her struggle...

    "Gradient, please, don't squeeze the life out of her just yet," I stepped closer to lightly tug on the girl's shoulders, "There are enough things out there trying to achieve the same through less gentle means."

    Just a few more pats, and it should be enough to free her once more.

    "Anyways, I guess everything turned out okay on our end. Would be a long story to tell, but...I think the matter is settled for the time being."

    But was it permanently settled, then? If another loop was to happen, to go through all that again...Even without that, there would be so many other things to repeat, so many people to start out with as strangers again.

    "Glad to hear that you are okay too, though. Was starting to get a bit worried, especially after I realized that while you had some tools to contact me, it wasn't exactly the case the other way around."

    My lips curled into a faint smile as my eyes rested on the two girls in front of me.

    A week, or a loop ago, I would never have guessed that I would be happy to see Mercedes, but...Some things change in unexpected ways, I suppose.

    "So..."

    As a moment of relative quiet settled in, the general attention was instead directed at the heavy, and wet sounding footsteps coming from the hallway, and getting closer and closer.

    "Well, I have a guess who that is. Anyways, don't you want to dry yourselves and sit down for a moment before going too much into detail?"

  17. #4677
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Agent Skye
    Location: Sheriff's Department
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "... I think it does."

    Scottie was the first one to speak. He looked over to Lia and gave her an acknowledging nod, even a little bit of a calming smile, as if telling her wordlessly to focus on only one thing at a time - and to leave rest of her worries for when she could do something about them. Was it just intuition, or had the girl's thoughts been so clear on her face? Both were a possibility, considering how perceptive the agent was.

    "If for nothing else, then because 'buildings' is a plural. And as far as I know, the hotel is only one building - unlike the multitude at the campus area," Scottie spoke, and it was hard to tell if he was joking. "I also happen to agree with Miss Skye's deduction regarding the profile of our killer. If their aim are the youth of the area, then the school is a far better choice. Not to mention..."

    His eyes turned back to Rosencrantz.

    "You did say they were stealing your time so they would fit in with their prey, did you not?"

    The old-yet-young man simply nodded in agreement.

    "Thus, it seems like we are looking for someone among the students," Scottie continued and turned to the sheriff. "Michael, do you have any files on hand regarding the Pinefall students?"

    The sheriff frowned a little bit, and then shook his head.

    "I'm afraid not. Oceandrop Program's been real hush-hush about their students, didn't give us but the bare minimum of information," he admitted. "If we want a better look, we would have to do a search on the premises, but... Scottie. You know as well as I do that we won't get a warrant based on this. Even if I do believe that it's true. It'll never fly with the higher ups."

    An almost mischievous smile rose to the lips of the FBI agent.

    "Then it's best that they won't catch us, no?" He asked, before turning to Liana. "I'd say it's high time we pay your school a little visit. We can't afford to wait for Guildenstern to strike first."

    Yes... perhaps it was time.

    Things were starting to be clear now, at least regarding this.

    One of the youths at Pinefall wasn't who they said they were.

    They were Guildenstern.
    And that would mean...


    One of them was the culprit.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Statues...?"

    This seemed to confuse the group of girls for a moment. Subaru and Ubon looked at each other, with especially the latter looking especially confounded. However, Sakura seemed to put two and two together, as she glanced towards the message on the wall, then at what Elaine had just written down, and then towards Joshua - who looked back at them with a raised eyebrow.

    "Wait... the statues we were just talking about?" The brunette asked. "The old man and the two ravens? The ones that tied back to the pagan beliefs of the norse people?"

    Immediately, she put a finger to her chin, the gears in her heads turning rapidly.

    "If the old man's statue is at the overlook, the other statue was at the McLampet estate, and the final one was..." He frowned a little, glancing at the spirit. "The final one was...?"

    "Well, it used to be at your school house," Joshua snorted. "Right where that damned clock tower now is."

    The older brunette snapped her fingers.

    "The outlook, the school and the McLampet estate... where they stares touch... so each one was looking at a certain direction, and where those 'stares' touched, then..." He looked up at the once message once more. "... But then, what?"

    She put to words the big question hanging over everyone's heads.

    "... What is in that spot?"




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

    "H-hey..."

    Instead of launching back with a another batch of caustic verbal abuse, a sort of conflicted look appeared on Fu's face. Clearly she was still mad at Colt, and not too ready to forgive him... but at the same time, as someone who had just moments ago been worried sick about someone else (and still was, even though they had been reassured of their safety), seeing the boy like this clearly made a pang of empathy ring in her chest.

    One which she couldn't ignore, from the looks of it.

    "... I'm sure they're fine. If they were leading the chase, they're experienced, right? I'm sure they won't be foolish enough to led astray by the forest," Fu, surprisingly, tried to reassure Colt in turn. "That undead is slippery, but not too smart. Besides... if... if you're a normal human as you said, there's only so much you could have done. If anything, you might have made the situation worse by being there."

    Two emotions were clearly fighting for dominance on Fu's face. On one hand, she wanted to pat the boy on the shoulder... and on the other, she still wanted to smack him across the face.

    At least, until some sort of realization seemed to dawn upon her.

    One that made her face go a bit pale.

    "Wait..."

    She half-whispered.

    "You say you're a normal human but... you also said that you took apart the Profound Nail? You disassembled what your kind calls the Bileygr, and then you... just put it back together?" The girl continued, in utter disbelief. "And it... it worked just fine afterwards? Even after you took it apart? Just..."

    Now, shock ruled over the face of the tiger-girl.

    "... Just what on earth...?"




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

    "Hmh?"

    Ahti looked a bit confused at way Prushka was speaking, and the speed with which she emerged from the bathroom. From there, his gaze seemed to take in her form as a whole, with a messed up hair straight from the shower, and the fluffy bathrobe she had cocooned herself in... and for some reason, he seemed to be fighting back either a grin or a smile. In other words, the mangy cat was trying to hide his smirking, but not doing a very good job at it!

    "Alright, fine, fine..." Ahti grunted as he sat down on the bed. "At least this time I don't have to get myself burnt by you to the point I lose consciousness."

    He snorted at that, though Alpa seemed to have questions regarding such a reveal. Still, Ahti did as was told, and laid on his stomach on Prushka's bed. As he did, he drew a deep breath and let his head hit the pillow as well, a whole lot of tension leaving his scarred body. It was actually somewhat surprising. Sure enough, the boy had managed to relax before, but it had always felt like he was moments away from pouncing onto some other text.

    Now, for the first time in perhaps ever, Ahti seemed to be completely content where he was... to the point he might just fall asleep if he relaxed any more.

    "Well, I don't mind..." The boy muttered into the pillow. "You always take good care of me, Imp, so I'm not expecting that to change. Do as you please..."

    Wait.

    Why was Alpa looking like that?

    Like she was also very much trying to hide a grin!?

    Why was everyone looking so smug tonight...!




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Hisa's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Ahahaha... gosh..."

    Allene, upon hearing the sloshing bootsteps from the corridor, looked rather sheepish and glanced into that direction. Meanwhile Gradient, finally let go of Mercedes, though judging by that mischievous glint in the strange girl's eyes... had she done it on purpose? Had she understood that such a greeting would have certainly been the most horrible option for the starlet, and thus...

    ... What a worrisome development about the usually innocent girl.

    Still, there was no time to think on that more. While Mercedes gathered her bearings, the door to Hisa's room swung open once more... and something absolutely miserable stood in the doorway. Something miserable, dripping with water and looking like she had been mud-wrestling with an alligator herself. Both Mercedes and Allene nearly choked in laughter upon seeing the sight, a knee-jerk reaction that told they had been howling in laughter about it for a good while already - but seeing it once more had brought it back.

    Yes, the third girl of the group, To-Totesh... she was back as well.

    And she looked like an absolute mess, who was holding back frustrated tears with a magnificent pout.

    "S-stop... stop laughing already!" The native girl complained when she saw Allene's and Mercedes' reactions. "It's not funny! It's not!"

    Mercedes, still cackling, wiped the corners of her eyes.

    "Like, dream on, girl! You looked so smug when you hid under that cropduster, while we had to, like, squat in the rain!" She retorted. "Who would've known the puddle underneath it was actually as deep as, like, the Crater Lake!"

    Even Allene was still trying to stiffle her giggles.

    "O-oh gosh, I'm so sorry...! I-I shouldn't laugh, but, but...!" She guffawed. "You even bragged how smart you were being...!"

    The pout on the native girl's face grew even more magnificent.

    "... T-To-Totesh is smart! Smarter than you two dumbos, ever!" She replied. "It was j-just a... just a momenta-a-a-a-ACHOOO!"

    Oh wow, that was quite the sneeze.

    "Well, like, jokes aside..." Mercedes continued, managing to calm herself down as she addressed Hisa once more. "Mind letting the girl borrow your shower or whatevah? After your guy's out. I'll fetch this mudstomper some, like, fresh and dry clothes. Maybe some for us too."

    Allene chuckled awkwardly.

    "Yeah, I wouldn't mind that either..." the bluehead admitted. "We might have been partially successful, but it took some sneaking about in the rain. I hope I didn't catch a cold... Oh!"

    Suddenly Allene clasped her hands together excitedly and looked at Hisa.

    "We should make some hot cocoa while we wait for others! There was a kitchen here, right?"

  18. #4678
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    “Besides... if... if you're a normal human as you said, there's only so much you could have done. If anything, you might have made the situation worse by being there."

    Was that excuse good enough to justify leaving Vier on her own? Was saving a life, one which he may have another chance to save next time, a good enough excuse? Why was that the word his thoughts turned to, “excuse?”

    As if it wasn’t a valid reason. Just a deflection of responsibility.

    After all, the plan relied on his being a normal human. Being normal is no excuse for inaction, and normal isn’t a synonym for incapable.

    In a way, Fu’s words only made the guilt worse. But she was right that Vier had some sort of experience. Colt couldn’t be sure what her story was, but somewhere in there the girl called Vier is caught between being a soldier and a machine. She acted fast, rationally. Seemingly without emotion Vier chose the ‘right’ course of action and stuck to it. In that sense, perhaps she was better off going after Hawthorn alone.

    If.

    Only if, she really could act without emotion.

    "Wait... You say you're a normal human but...”

    Colt pulled himself out of his thoughts. He had made his choice. Vier made hers. There was no guarantee that either was right. So the boy could only accept it, stick with it, and stop thinking about it as best he could.

    “You also said that you took apart the Profound Nail? You disassembled what your kind calls the Bileygr, and then you... just put it back together? And it... it worked just fine afterwards? Even after you took it apart? Just..."

    Looking back up, Colt saw utter disbelief mixed with confusion on Fu’s face.

    Perhaps taking apart that scope and putting it back together, all in one fully functional piece, was not as normal as Colt treated it.

    "... Just what on earth...?"

    “I have a uhh… talent, I guess. An inclination. For that sorta stuff. Just ‘cause I’m normal doesn’t mean I’m incapable.” Colt answered as best he could, borrowing his own previous thoughts to explain himself. “Really, to me doing that kinda thing is normal. What was odd is that I could never figure out why it worked. That was a first for me.”

    Modesty didn’t come easy when it came to describing talent, but he tried his best. Colt didn’t want to come off as gloating.

    But he didn’t want to outright say “it was easy, and I did it more than once.”

    “I guess it being some sorta God-technology explains why I can’t figure that out, but it’s still technology, it’s still an optic. That might not be my exact specialty, but it’s still familiar enough.” He recalled the process, and its multiple repetitions. “After I figured out how those dials worked, I started to think it’s some sorta top secret military telescopic optronic something or other, but the wiring in there doesn’t make sense. Then there’s all sortsa stuff in there I’ve never seen before. And I can’t even figure out what material the lens is made of either.”

    He rubbed his chin, now thinking much more intently about the scope again.


  19. #4679
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Prushka's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "W-what's so funny?"

    Is it my hair? I didn't have time to brush it because Ahti takes priority. And because I didn't wanna be alone in there for a second longer.

    Well, whatever! Time to wipe that smile off your faces.

    "Now don't get too comfortable, Alpa; you're helping. Cut this spare bedsheet into strips and soak them in the sink; I've filled it with hot water and a bit of disinfectant. I'll get these wounds covered in the mean time. Ahti, tell me where and how it hurts, okay? There might be some stuff stuck in the back wounds you couldn't get, so it might sting a little as I clean 'em."

    Ahti looks so relaxed, though, lying there like that... it'd be mean to disturb his sleep, wouldn't it? He's just had one of the most tumultuous days of his life. Plus he looks so adorable all relaxed like that...

    "I'll, um, try to be gentle," I relent, voice dropping to a soft whisper that won't hurt his ears. "Get some rest. You've earned it, Ahti."

    In my hands is a swab and some solution. Before me is a handsome back riddled with scars and wounds. Outside is the cold night, patiently waiting for its turn.

    Time to work.

    "So, Alpa, it started with this dream, of a girl called Muse..."

  20. #4680
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    “I’d say the meaning is obvious,” John replies to Hwan Bin’s confusion regarding the key now in his hand. “Somebody has an assigned room in the boarded-up section of the girls’ dorms.”

    Somebody who has always been here. It cannot have outright replaced someone else, because that would mess up the count. So, has somebody been impersonating another, or maybe even multiple students from time to time? John Dove cannot track every single classmate the whole time, so he has no way to tell if a person has been seen in multiple locations at the same or impossibly close times.

    “Well, if there’s nothing else of note in here, it seems we have our next destination laid out for us. Now, let me take a look…”

    As the Korean said, these are spare keys for the dorms’ bedrooms. Nothing unusual there, except…

    “Second floor, #120. This one’s for the Coastrise sisters. But, that’s in the blocked-off section, isn’t it? Why was the room separated from the rest, if they were expecting them to be here just like everybody else?”

    That’s a little too conspicuous for a mere planning mistake. Something’s really off about that.

    Anyway, John pockets the key, because why the hell not. If it comes to that, he will apologize to Zhou and Yeong-Hui for any invasions of privacy this might lead to.

    “Now, this is good and all, but there’s got to be more,” he continues. “And as far as I can tell, we’re not in a hurry unless Lucille and the others call for us.”

    He walks around Mr. Oceandrop’s desk, placing it between himself and his classmate.

    “Or unless you’re the culprit and decide this is your chance to take me out, but assuming you’ve been with Loinnir the whole time, I’d say I’m more of a suspect of attacking Souma than you are.”

    Unless Hwan and Loinnir are covering for each other, of course.

    John has no way to account for the culprit coming from outside, only for those in the campus within the time frame of the attack. John knows he is innocent, and he deems it safe to assume Hwan Bin and Kean Loinnir are as well. The suspects are those who were on their own at some point between the two boys’ last encounter with Souma, and their current intrusion in the main building. Meaning, the missing Inacio, Sakura, and Ubon.

    Xylia could be counted as well, from the time John ended his conversation with her, but…her window of action is rather limited, and unless she chose a very roundabout route, it is very likely she would have been seen by somebody on her way to this building.

    Were Elaine and Miss Iburi together the whole time? If not, they too are suspects. John would trust Elaine Winters to be clean and on the good side, but what about the Japanese girl? Souma did seem to know her background.

    There’s also the Coastrises. They only have Zhou’s word that the other two are resting in their room. John would be hard pressed to believe someone like Yeong-Hui could lay a hand on Souma, but then again, magic.

    Stop. There’s not enough information.

    “Anyway, there’s plenty of important-looking paperwork here, so let’s try to find anything of note. We’re not just looking for this missing student. We need to know more about the Pinefall project, the people involved in it beyond the school’s faculty, and their goals that obviously go beyond ‘rehabilitating us’ or whatever. Absurdly enough, we have other problems aside from somebody in the guise of a classmate out to kill us.”

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