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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4701
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Sheriff's Department
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "...Honestly."

    In the end, that single word slips from my lips before anything else. It's a word that follows silence and accompanies a sigh, an instinctive sort of noise, made with just the slightest hint of amusement, the lightest of the many emotions that have sprung to life inside of my heart.

    "That's not too surprising, you look sort of dehydrated right now, and mothering people seems to be a habit of ours..."

    Of course Rosencrantz's words -vague as they are- bring to mind many things.

    Like a theory about the identity of the pious golden-haired woman, someone who sounded an awful lot like the woman that Jack had been so infatuated with in his teenage years.

    Or one about the boy Sora had been hanging around with, one who walked in the shadow of his impending death... The words themselves were riddle-like in nature, but not hard for me to parse, not anymore, not after the fountain of double-speak a certain vampire had used with me from the very first moment I had met him at the light-house... Things like his Ships of Theseus speech, the constant comments about how I was old-fashioned, the way I had felt strangely drawn to him, hell, even the fact that someone like him had opened himself up to me -even if only a little- so quickly, a day after we met...

    Yeah...

    Some things start to make a lot more sense now that I have a bit of a different context for them.

    "Then again, none of you guys seem to be taking care of yourselves all these years later either..."

    The alumni comment is the most simple of course, obviously Stella, and now that I'm thinking about Stella some more, a thought, a simple theory as to where she might be does come to mind, but...

    No time to test it, not tonight anyway.

    "I mean look at you, you're stick-thin and still just stand around in the rain like you won't get sick."

    I rummage around in my backpack. No bottles of any sports drinks in here, I had the money for some sure, but I had never made it to any of the shops around her either, money earned, but never spent...

    Never got to try the pie either, but-

    "Here, take these, they're about a day old, but the container should have kept them relatively fresh. Having your life drained is probably pretty tiring, so something sweet should help. Sorta like getting candy after giving blood."

    -what I do have, are the few chocolate chip cookies I had saved for myself last night. Maintaining my figure meant I couldn't just eat whatever I wanted, at least not if I wasn't also running around burning through magical energy, so I only ever save a couple for myself, a little dessert, cheat time.

    That's why there's only two in the container, but hey...

    It is what it is, he's a victim too in the end, so I can extend this much of a hand to him.

    "Anyway," I stand up again, hands returning to the pockets of my black jacket, gaze moving towards the exit, "I'll find a way to deal with your... Sibling... Put down the monster of the past for good."

    My eyes darken slightly, a flicker of purple to gold, a shot of adrenaline to the system that ultimately fades back out to a restrained amethyst.

    After all, it's not just about revenge, although I won't lie and say vengeance isn't a part of it either.

    I will destroy Guildenstern.

    "But after that... Maybe we can get everyone together again," I take a step towards the door, "Seems like there's a few of us left in one form or another, maybe we can rebuild something from it? Class reunion. No reason you have to stay a shadow forever, you know?"

    I shake my head as a chuckle escapes my lips, I've been giving a lot of life advice lately, so...

    "You have a chance to live a much happier life than your sibling, who chose to be a complete monster... Don't let them keep you in the dark."

    ...With Rosencrantz, I leave him to think about that, taking another step towards the exit.

    "Anyways, time to head out."

    As for the revelation discussed by the other two...

    "Although questions of whether or not Mr. Oceandrop had a habit of jumping out of planes have suddenly entered my mind..."

    Would certainly explain where the man's money came from, but...

    It wasn't the most pressing matter right now.
    Last edited by Airen; August 9th, 2022 at 10:03 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--"

  2. #4702
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "You guys were teaming up against me, talking 'bout all that weird stuff and junk!",
    Anna burst into laughter at Shane’s sudden proclamation, even as the young boy’s controller clattered futilely on the ground.

    “Now, now, brat. No need to throw salt on us. If you truly want to win, you have to keep a cool head at all times.” Anna’s eyes held a surprisingly light-hearted twinkle in them. “An unfair loss is a loss, no matter how you ended up there. There are no takebacks in life either, so you just got to take it like a man and roll with it.”

    Well, that would be the case normally, at least. One couldn’t go back to fix the failures of the past. Often times all you could do is accept, come to terms with your losing hand, and move on.

    That was under normal circumstances, of course. In Road’s End, however…

    [T-that redhead guy came home and he looks like he's about to kill us! We're in the garage!]
    Tsk…

    A momentary wave of exasperation washed over the raven-haired girl, making the earlier light-hearted mood vanish for a brief moment.

    Really? Now he shows up? He really has the worst bloody timing as usual. Not there when you need him, but shows up when his presence is least required.

    “Well… while there aren’t any takebacks, you can get your revenge sometimes, you know.” Anna flashed an easy-going grin at the pair on the couch. “I need to head to the bathroom for a moment, so you have the perfect opportunity to get your payback without us “teaming up” on you.”

    Having said that, the witch let out a brief chuckle.

    “Though, you better have something to show for it though, y’know?”

    As Anna, walked out of the living room, leaving the eager fighting game shouts of the pair behind for a moment, the easy-going smile melted from her face, being replaced by a mixture of casual annoyance and almost tired resignation, as she made her way towards the garage.

    "I can't say that Anna's plan is working very well,"
    Yeah, yeah. I’m afraid to say that you have somewhat over-estimated exactly how eager that guy is to kill you, so some of that is on you, I’m afraid.”

    The raven-haired girl arrived in the garage like a sudden storm, completely befitting of her personality. She gave one quick glance to the gun in Zane’s hand, the tense atmosphere… and decided to completely and utterly ignore it.

    “You’re late, idiot.”

    That brief quip was all the raven-haired girl offered the hoodie-wearing Mitchell before heading deeper into the garage with nary a care in the world. Indeed, the gun might have been made of plastic for all that she cared about.

    “Well, regardless, you might want to go and cheer up that rooster fellow at one point.” Anna’s eyes flickered over to Alexstrasza’s form for a second. “Despite everything, he is super bummed out that he couldn’t have his blood-filled death battle with the blonde wonder over here, y’know? I think he’s still sulking in the kitchen at the moment.”

    “In all honesty, I can’t really approve of your selection of guardians. That punk in the kitchen puts out far too much "mad teen rage and bad decisions" energy and the other guy is too slick by a country mile, but I suppose you had your reasons. “Anna threw out an off-handed comment, even as her steps took her towards the car in the middle of the garage. “I see… so this is the Corbutt that you spoke about last time.”

    Anna’s dark ruby eyes fell on the black box in the car and the blocky words printed on its side. For a brief moment, the jacketed girl ran her fingers briefly down the surface of the stamped letters, seemingly lost in thought, her eyes transfixed on the strange object in front of her.

    “Hey Zane, tell me…. did you ever end up figuring out what you yourself wanted to do? Or are you still counting that a work in progress?”
    Last edited by Mellon; August 9th, 2022 at 07:06 PM.

  3. #4703
    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

    "Er... I guess someone... might've known about you... it's not impossible..."

    It was optimistic to think that Alpa went undiscovered last week. After all, we found her fairly easily just by exploring the locked-away second floor. Anyone could've gone up here last week and found out about her, then just kept it secret. She already mentioned someone else trying to pick the lock on the clock tower, so there's certainly someone else who went up here, even just this week.

    "So we're back where we started. Worse; there's a good chance the killer knows about you."

    The conclusion is a glum one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpa
    "... Couldn't we find who owns it? And thus, the killer?"
    What kind of situation is this, where a girl is bravely trying to solve her own murder? It's downright unfair. I wanna hug her tight and yell into the sky that it ain't fair at all.

    "...that won't work. For three reasons."

    One finger rises.

    "We don't know how the girl from 'last week' died. Hisa never mentioned it. We can assume she didn't look closely and the wound wasn't obvious, or she didn't think it important enough to mention. A gun fits best; it'd work instantly without leaving a big wound. But it could still be a knife or some kinda spell or ability. We don't know the caliber of the round or the width of the blade, and it's too late to examine a crime scene that doesn't exist anymore. So first thing to do is ask Hisa for more details and hope she performed a thorough investigation. She's right next door; it won't be hard." Looking at Alpa, though... it would be painful, wouldn't it? "You don't have to come if you don't wanna."

    The second finger rises.

    "The evidence is gone. Mémoire can sense emotional traces in whatever I touch, but only from the past. Precog isn't in my toolbox. You're alive right now, so the weapon that... y'know. If it's here, it'd be 'clean'. Besides... how many weapons are there at Pinefall? How many guns? How many swords? It's not like we can cast a spell and magically know the answer. Just finding these weapons would be a whole night's work. Now I can track something back to its owner. We can probe them for traces of murderous intent, but that only works if nothing stays hidden from us. Can your tracking spells find every single bullet and blade on campus?"

    The third, finally.

    "Even if we did find the murder weapon... I sensed a classmate's last moments, this week. Smelled blood everywhere. Saw it even. But not a trace of the one that did it in the area, or a body. Looked all night with all six senses and still found nothing. If they could hide that much from us once, what's to say they can't hide again?"

    Unlike the other two, this hurdle just can't be overcome. Haaaaah. Hope this isn't disturbing your sleep, Ahti.

    "You had a thought you didn't wanna say out loud, right? What is it? We're at the edge of our ropes here; even the most unlikely idea might help."

    Yes, at this point 'unlikely' is a good word to describe everything about the situation. Our chances of success, too, are unlikely at best.

    "A supernatural form of stealth that can fool any sense, mundane or otherwise... something like that just can't be beaten. Invisibility or imperceptibility, there's spells and artifacts for that. I'm a complete amateur with magic and even I've heard of the Helm of Hades. Even if we looked with our eyes, we could be staring at the proof and not even see-."

    It hits like a hammer to the chest. An idea. A horrible one. An awful, terrible, no-good idea.

    "...it's a supernatural form of stealth for sure. So there's a way. But it'd be like fixing a drawing by pouring bleach on it. We could tear through something way bigger than a murderer's veil."

    This weapon could smash through the Turnside itself if handled inappropriately. Even if we decide to risk it, the one who takes up this task will effectively be blinding themselves to one truth in favor of another. But, it might just work. No, at this rate it might be the only thing that can work against the shadow in our midst.

    If it's a supernatural means of hiding from detection, then you need to see past the supernatural altogether.

    I'm familiar with that, aren't I?

    A bottle of pills rests in my hands. The same one I've been taking since I was a child to dampen Mémoire to controllable levels. It's certainly not the same thing, but... could it be in the same class of drug? If so, then there's no way you didn't know, Darwin. You've been holding out on me.

    There better be something good in that care package tomorrow, or you're getting a five hour lecture when this is all over.

    "We might need to use... MJOLNIR."
    Last edited by Bloble; August 9th, 2022 at 11:15 PM.

  4. #4704
    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

    "W-well, it's expected that your jeans wouldn't be good for me, I mean..."

    I glanced at Mercedes, then down on my own body, feeling somewhat guilty that my lack of features made the other girl so frustrated.

    "I don't quite compare in the...butt department. Or most departments, really."

    As I scratched my face in embarrassment, I averted my gaze to look at the sweaters she laid out on the bed instead.

    "These do look pretty nice though!" I said, without even having to lie just to not annoy her more, "I-I'm not trying to hide my face though! Not that I'm any more proud of my scars, but...I guess that's another one of the things that changed since coming here. Just that my wardrobe didn't magically change along with it."

    Not that I didn't like my wardrobe. It was a lot of simple but comfortable clothes, all quite practical and easy to move around in, and usually good for going outdoors.

    Mostly things I could use in the forest and the countryside, thinking about it.

    While pondering over which sweater looked more comfortable, and if it really was a good idea to let Mecedes handle such an impossible task, Leena spoke up, with her thoughts then followed up by Mercedes' comments as well.

    "W-well, there is nothing wrong with that, I think."

    I spoke up slowly and somewhat sheepishly, as usual giving perhaps way too much thought to the matter. In the end, it was hard to just tease the girl about it, as somehow it reminded me of myself in a way...

    "I mean...I've seen you a lot earlier this week, and in the last iteration of the week especially. But you were usually alone...and while I wouldn't say that now, back then I certainly thought that it was because you thought too highly of yourself, and that us lowly commoners weren't good enough for you. Except...in hindsight, you looked kind of lonely as well. That you didn't want to be alone, but you couldn't really approach anyone because of the image you tried to uphold. And I feel like there's certainly been enough proof to prove that you're neither the stuck-up bitch that a lot would consider you be, nor someone who wants to be left alone, just a person like any of us, yearning for friends to rely on deep inside."

    A small cough, then a moment of silence, as my lips curled into a small smile.

    "That's likely as far as I should go with analyzing the underlying emotional causes though, before I earn a punch in the face. Something that likely would have already happened if this conversation took place a week ago, under normal circumstances."

    Certainly, even now, I didn't take her for someone who could really endure sentimental talk for more than a sentence or two...

    "That said, I certainly have no regrets. And since I dragged you into this danger, especially you, Leena," I said as I glanced at the girl in question, "I'll be sure to get you through it. No matter what and how long it will take."

  5. #4705
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Nah, nothing that really caught my eye, though..."

    Hwan's eyes stopped on Oceandrop's desk. A desk on which stood numerous things, all very normal for a high school principal to have. However, among the pens and empty folders and paperweights, there was something that stood out just a little... something that the Korean boy picked up and looked in the dim light of the room. He rotated the item in his hand, gazed upon it... and frowned.

    "--- Huh. Think this is Oceandrop in his youth?" He asked. "Who do you think the chick is?"

    Handing the item - a picture frame - over to John to look, Hwan helped him pile some of the papers (the ones that looked important at least) into his backpack. Meanwhile, as John looked over at the picture, a strange sensation washed over him. Yes, the face of the man might have been much younger in the picture, but his eyes and the way he held himself... that was definitely Oceandrop, standing there with a backdrop of some jungle village behind him. And the one next to him...

    Well, they looked familiar too.


    "That being said..."

    Hwan spoke up while loading the papers.

    "There's something that still bothers me about that whole room thing, yeah?" He said, glancing at John. "I mean, dunno how much attention you paid back in the cafeteria but... that Zhou girl said it, right? That her siblings were resting in their rooms. Sure enough, Minato had his room in the first floor - that's why there was one empty one there. But if even if the sisters share a room..."

    He frowned.

    "... Then where the hell is that tiny one sleeping right now?" He voiced a troublesome question. "If their room is behind the boarded up parts of the school, then--- Oh."

    Hwan's hands stopped, gazing down at the paper he held in his hands. It looked... different.

    New.

    Like it didn't belong.

    "... What the hell is this nonsense?" The white-haired boy asked.

    And for a good reason.

    After all, what read on the paper...

    Did look like nonsense.
    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    Number 3

    I think I finally have an understanding of this loop.

    One week. It is a loop of one week, and one week only. Though even though I say one week, it is missing a day... though that day is hardly consequential I feel. Tuesday to Sunday. No Monday. My loop begins, again and again, with their arrival. One way or another, no matter what I try, I end up meeting them. And then it spirals, slowly, towards madness that overtakes them all by Sunday.

    I feel that this madness is both artificial and yet not.

    Take the fog, for instance, which covers the town on Sunday. This fog seems to hide within itself most of the local populace, leaving the class alone, separated and afraid. They'll be spurred by the paranoia of the murderous intent within them, fragment, and then shatter. By the time Sunday comes around, none will be left alive. Well... perhaps not. Some of them might survive, depending on the parameters. But that doesn't stop the loop. I'll always return to the arrival, and it all begins again. Week of growing fear, storm of paranoia, and them... fog descends, and they tear each other apart. They do it no matter what I do.

    The Sunday I write this on, I made an interesting discovery. There are insects within the fog. Not natural insects, artificial. Small robots, I'd wager. I was never too good in the subject, but I believe they may have something to do with the madness... but whether they cause it or they merely enhance it, I do not know. I know there are other factors too. Sunday's trigger, for example, is when someone is found nailed to the yew tree - just like in the legend of the Disembodied Man. But there are other factors as well, spread throughout the week. Other triggers, ones that lead towards the ruin. When these things are allowed to happen, a dead end is inevitable.

    I just have to shift through them all. Like searching for grains of gold on a beach, combing through the endless sand.

    I have nothing but time anyway.

    Still, the one I started with... was the shadow among us. The clearest and most present danger. Except... I can't find them. No matter what I do, I can't seem catch them, find enough clues or deduce the answer.

    I'm not good at this.

    For all my power, I was never any good at things like this. No matter how hard I try, it's beyond my reach.

    ... But there's one option left for me. If I simply... kill one person in the class. Kill them, and then wait and see. See if anything changes. If not, I'll merely loop back and... do it again. But to a different person. Process of elimination, That Man would have said. He would have patted me on the shoulder and told me I was doing well, being pragmatic.

    -------------- I don't wanna do it.

    I don't wanna turn into That Man.

    But what other way do I have left anymore...?





    Lucille Faraday & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Checking the pockets of Souma's tracksuit revealed... well, nothing too intriguing to be honest. He had some loose change dangling there, a receipt from Avery's Diner (for black coffee and nothing else), another one from Sue Popplewell's store (school supplies, notebooks, envelopes and... calligraphy supplies?), a simple lighter that you could buy from any gas station and a...

    ...?

    A pill? Or rather, a capsule?

    In fact, a couple of them?

    Pulling them out, Lucille looked at them in the fluorescent lights of the faculty office and saw that these things were, for some reason, familiar. Like Lucille had seen them somewhere before. They had vaguely blue-ish skin to them, and seemed to contain gel or liquid of some sort. Now, where had she seen them before...?

    "Lucille. They're here."

    Xeni's sudden voice from the doorway caught the blonde girl's attention. As she gazed into that direction, she saw that both Kean and Hwan had arrived, rejoining their group once more. Hwan was talking with Kean at the moment, perhaps explaining to him what they had found, while John had a... bunch of keys he was holding onto? What could those have been for?

    As for Xeni...

    "... Um."

    Her tired, panda-like eyes looked at the blonde girl in the room for a moment, almost lost, like she had been searching for the right words. And finally, after a slightly awkward pause, the android continued...

    "Don't force yourself."

    Huh?




    Vier
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest (?)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    A sad smile.

    Closed eyes.

    A sigh.

    And then...

    "------- You weenie."

    A combat knife fell on the forest floor and Zieg's fingers flicked Vier on the forehead.

    Zieg, or the memory of her, or the other part of Vier, stood there with her hand still grasped by the real girl - but the weapon was gone. Instead of pushing it further, the memory had dropped it to the ground, no intent in her eyes of ever having stabbed her other self in the first place. Instead, her eyes showed... pity? No, that wasn't pity. It wasn't anything as insulting as that. Rather, it was more like... empathy. Tinged with a little bit of sadness.

    But also with determination.

    "Vier? We all have to keep moving. Prisoners of time or not, every person has to keep going forward, whether they want it or not. And we all make mistakes, whether we want it or not. No matter how superhuman you try to make yourself out to be... you're not. We both know you're not. Nobody in this world is. To begin with, a human who makes no mistakes is no human at all... and even if you try to deny it, you most certainly are a human," Zieg spoke, calmly, quietly. "Killing your conflict, killing your emotions, even temporarily... it won't solve anything. In fact, it'll make things worse. It's how you got into this situation in the first place... isn't it?"

    As she spoke, the girl's arms wrapped around Vier and held her close - close enough that some imaginary warmth passed between the two of them. Like a mother holding a child, or perhaps more fittingly, like a sister holding her sibling.

    "The fight against the things you repress is something everyone does daily. We all have parts of ourselves we don't agree with. But... Vier? You won't break. I know you won't. You're stronger than you know. Much stronger. That's why it feels like you have to take the easy way out, even though there's no shortcut home. Like I said, if you fear the risk of losing, it's much easier to just lose than to try and lose... because when you try and fail, it hurts so much more," Zieg quietly spoke, petting Vier's head. "No matter how hard you try, no human can exist in a vacuum... and no human can exist alone. Not truly. Do you really think that if you erase who you are and keep away from others it'll stop them? Do you think it'll help? Has it helped so far? Vier... it's alright to lose. It's alright to fall. You can always pick yourself up from the ground and try again."

    Letting out a quiet chuckle, Zieg shook her head in the dimming, primordial forest.

    "I know you were always a pessimist, but... Vier? Sometimes life leaves you no choice," the memory spoke, a slightly mischievous smile spreading to its lips. "Sometimes you have to sink or swim."

    Suddenly, her hold of Vier got tighter.

    "And sometimes, mama birds hafta kick their baby birds outta the nest so they'll learn to fly---!"

    And then those hands, that had hugged Vier just seconds before, pulled the other girl into an over-the-shoulder Judo throw!

    The world spun in her eyes.

    The stars, the treetops and the fire.

    And in the midst of that, for a brief instance, she saw the grin of her friend.

    "--- You'll do fine, Vier. I mean, even if you try to make 'Vier Wolff' disappears, the others won't let you!"

    And then her back hit the ground.

    --- And she woke up.



    For some reason, she was dry.

    Also, rain wasn't falling on her, even though she could hear it. In fact, as Vier's eyes fluttered open, she realized that the storm was pounding on a wooden roof above her and rattling windows somewhere nearby. A bolt of lightning streaked across the sky somewhere in the distance, illuminating the darkness, before returning back to the shadows of the approaching night. At the same time, the sound of a crackling fireplace returned to her ears... except this one was somewhere close.

    And for some reason, she could still smell coffee.

    "Hm. Finally up, eh?"

    A voice called out to Vier. As she lifted her head in response to it, she saw that she'd been stuffed inside a sleeping bag while still in her clothes... though for some reason her clothes were all dry now - and slightly warm, like they had been in a windtunnel.

    Still, putting that aside, she lifted her head from the floor and towards the voice and the smell of coffee, and did indeed see a fireplace that had a happy little fire going on in it. Along with a kettle of coffee that was brewing over it. And in the light of that fireplace...




    "Rise and shine, sweetheart."

    She saw someone familiar.





    Anna Vandemeel & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Garage
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Hearing those words, Zane seemed to shiver a little... and slowly, the hand that been holding the gun was lowered. Indeed, it fell flat against his body, almost like all strength had been driven from the young man's body. In a way, it was almost a miracle that the weapon didn't clatter to the ground. Ramia let out a tiny sigh of relief under her breath, but then her eyes hardened. She gazed at the vehicle, the machine in there, and at Anna... and finally at Zane.

    The redhead, on the other hand, could only lift his head, revealing his tired - so very tired - eyes from under his hood... and show a sad, small smile.

    "... I did. But... it's something that takes some time. In fact, it's going to take a very long time, I fear. But I can't stop now," he said, quietly, like a confession. "I got this far. So I have to see this through, as much for my sake... as for others."

    Letting a long, drawn out breath escape from his body, Zane took a good look at the trio gathered in the garage. First, his eyes fell upon Ramia.

    "--- You can stop focusing on that spell. I'm not gonna hurt anyone. Not anymore. I'm..." He paused, looking at the gun in his hand, and let out a bitter chuckle. "... I'm all bark, if I'm honest. Bluff."

    Then, his eyes turned towards Alexstrasza.

    "As for you, vampire... I wouldn't suggest meeting up with Lane. Not yet. He's... not easy to get along with, I know. But we all have our excuses to how we act. But if you kill him here and now..." Zane's eyes, just for a moment, glanced towards the town and the rain. "... You'll invite yourself a death you can't avoid. And make someone innocent in all of this very, very sad."

    And then, finally, the boy looked at Anna.

    Really looked at her.

    "... You weren't meant to see this. None of you were. But I feel like what's going on in this town is more messed up than I could have ever imagined," he spoke, almost like a criminal admitting to his crimes. "And with things like this, I'm starting to doubt it more and more whether I can fix any of this anymore..."

    Still.

    Even so.

    That grim look... finally became a faint smile again.

    "... But, in some weird way..." He spoke. "I'm still glad you showed up today. Even if I'm late with that dinner."

    There was a pause.

    A pregnant pause.

    And then the redhead added.

    "--- I did bring some pizza though. You gals hungry?"




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

    Alex frowned.

    "Prushka... right, the tiny one. If she really is that emotional, we might want to scratch her off the list," the reporter said. "Emotions invite trouble, invite mistakes... and worst of all, give rise to subjective facts. Still, those others..."

    Her lockpicks danced within the mechasnism.

    "Hisa Momoi and Vier Wolff do seem like good candidates though. From what little I saw on the bus, they didn't seem to have much intention of letting such things bother them. If anything, they looked more like myself," the reporter continued. "But... we'll start with going through the campus, seeing who is still around, and making our decisions based on that. No matter the situation, being careful with our approach is of utmost importance. If we don't, we might..."

    Click!

    Finally, the lock clicked and the door was opened. Alex immediately pulled the metal door open, revealing the simple staircase running up and down behind it. Satisfied, she looked over her shoulder at Vivienne. At first it looked like she was about to say something perhaps sarcastic, or meant to simply double-check if the other girl had taken everything she needed to.

    But instead...

    "... You might think of me heartless. That might be so. But it's not like I want to be," Alex, quite suddenly, admitted. "This is just... the only way I know how to act. Without this, without the chase... I'd be nothing. I barely know how to live anymore outside of this. So, if I come across as cold or callous, I..."

    She bit her lip, just for a moment.

    "... I want you to know that it's nothing personal."

    And then, after a momentary pause more.

    "And one other thing..." she said, locking her gaze straight with Vivienne's. "I don't think you're nearly as emotionless as you think, Mademoiselle Bianchi. It might be gone from your mind and your face, but your body language..."

    Her eyes narrowed a bit.

    "I think it tells me the emotions you're feeling quite clearly."

    Wait... what?




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

    "Mm. And I'll have your back too, you know!"

    Smiling from ear to ear, and not in a nervous way that she would have done before, Leena pumped her fist and dove back to looking through the clothing. Finally she emerged with what looked to be rather nice-looking varsity jacket and some more jeans that she began to try on. Meanwhile a pile of clothing (fancy flannel shirts and such) that was meant for To-Totesh was growing ever higher next to her. Even Mercedes added a few of her own suggestions to the mix.

    "You got it, like, hundred-percent right though," the starlet commented with a grin, though she looked still a tiny bit embarrassed. "If you continued that mushy talk, Nancy, I'd have just slugged you whether I broke a nail or not!"

    She cackled a bit, before calming down and swaying silently back and forth on the bed.

    "... But guess you got, like, me a bit figured out. I don't hate anyone. Not really. I just know who I am and how I'm supposed to act or whatevah. But even then, it's not like, like, I think anyone's worse 'cause of what sorta role they have. Hm. Roles..." She paused for a moment, a distant look in her eyes. "... Guess that's one of mom's lessons or whatevah that stuck with me. Everybody's got a role, and you're supposed to play it to a T... or the like. Like, puh-leaaaze bitch, I know that much. But she, like, took it even farther, yeah? Really made it sink. That I shouldn't reach outside my role, or else I'm gonna mess everything up and just ruin myself."

    She glanced at her room, at Leena going through her clothes drawer and Hisa picking between the sweaters... and flashed a rare, genuine smile.

    "Wonder what she'd, like, say now? I think I'm pretty far from my usual role or whatevs," the starlet admitted. "Hah, I think she'd blow a casket, come to think of it! Should tell her after we get outta here. I mean..."

    Mercedes snorted.

    "Never seen her get mad. Like, not even once."

    Then, heaving a little sigh, the actress turned to properly look at Hisa once more, and the clothes she was holding.

    "Also, like, you should totes go with the black sweater. It goes well with your hair," she adviced. "Or the white one. Gives it a bit of contrast, yeah? Plus if you have, like, black jackets you use outside, that'd make for a nice color combo."

  6. #4706
    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



    Most certainly, John Dove does recognize the young woman in the picture.
    Spoiler:
    Despite only seeing her in the bus and at the time of their arrival, her startingly unique appearance did leave an impression in his mind. Now, what does this mean…?

    John’s thoughts are pulled away from the picture by Hwan Bin’s additional commentary on the matter of the Coastrises’ lodging. Finally, he does get what the Korean is trying to say. Before he can share his own thoughts, however, they get further diverted by Hwan’s last discovery. While it does not make sense to him, John Dove can see it for what it is right away.

    Ah, what a foolish, pitiful girl.

    He can think that because he, too, is foolish and pitiful.

    “I see…I, I guess I keep assuming things and making an ass out of myself,” comments the boy utterly deprived of comedic skill. “Since it feels like everybody has been roaming around the ‘secret’ sections of the campus, I guess I assumed the Coastrises had taken their room over there, or perhaps that Yeong Hui is looking after her brother in his room, but…”

    Yeah, that does not quite click.

    “The Coastrises arrived earlier this time. Where have they been staying? We just accepted that the teachers gave them rooms, but…would this be related to the ‘mismatched’ area of the dorms you mentioned? Whatever the case, it is clear those siblings have been keeping things from us.”

    On the previous week, he did not press on squeezing information out of them because his “behavioral protocol” urged him to be “tactful” in front of those siblings he had just met and who were clearly on the defensive, especially Minato. He really should have; at the very least he should have gotten the name of their father, perhaps suggesting that would allow him and the others to help them find him.

    Really, isn’t that weird? Some guy who apparently has a habit of sleeping around, gathers his three children who just so happen to be supernatural—and all of them with different abilities, furthermore—and sends them to this school? Are they really his children? Was their conception really as “frivolous” as they made it out to be?

    However…

    “But that’s not enough to start mistrusting them,” he declares. “If we start assuming everybody who is keeping secrets from us is an enemy, then we’re falling into the real enemy’s game.”

    John Dove shakes her head with unusual assertiveness.

    “If I can’t trust every single person who is keeping secrets from me, I would have no choice but to lock myself in my room and talk to nobody.”

    At this, he shoots a half-smile at his fellow classmate.

    “I mean, there’re also things you have not told me, right, Hwan Bin?” He shrugs. “I think I would rather do things the presumedly American way, and label my classmates innocent until proved otherwise. That just seems…a healthier way to live. And I will be holding to that, if you will excuse me.”

    John takes the page of Ultra’s journal before the other boy can stop him. Perhaps as if to divert the current situation, he then focuses on the picture.

    “I do know a girl who looks exactly like this one. The girl in question, I’ve been told, is currently in the hospital morgue. The problem with that is that the girl I know, Elizaveta Vyraj, looks the same apparent age as the one in this picture.”

    “Considering the background and Mister Oceandrop’s appearance, would you say Vietnam? This picture is at least twenty years old. That’s too long for Elizaveta Vyraj to not change in the slightest. Well, Alexstrasza did claim that Elizaveta was a vampire, so there’s that. Now, what was a young Mister Oceandrop doing with a vampire clad in Soviet military trappings? Really, there is no such thing as an innocent person in this stage, is there?”

    Well, that was clear from the moment he read that note all but declaring that he and his classmates are being used as bait to capture something.

    If Elizaveta was a starving vampire who escaped imprisonment only to find an ignominious death, then what? Did Oceandrop betray her and hand her over to her captors? Was she a willing subject who came to regret her decision? Or perhaps Oceandrop was the one who came to regret her situation and helped her regain her freedom?

    Oceandrop is obviously working with Gottlieb and the US military, but just how many secret ideas and plans were the corners of that triangle keeping from each other?

    Now…what if Elizaveta Vyraj was not a vampire at all? If John pretended that he did not learn Alexstrasza’s and Elise Marie’s information on the woman, then what conclusions would he reach from this picture?

    A daughter. A daughter who happened to inherit her mother’s looks almost entirely. The dead girl in the morgue would be the daughter of the two in the picture. It would be a reasonable idea, before jumping to things like immortal creatures, cloning, homunculi, or robots built in the image of a specific woman.

    Inevitably, John’s gaze falls on the diary page still in his hand.

    …or Moonchildren.

    The story, “Moonchild,” was first published in 1929, but it is believed Crowley wrote it much earlier. Furthermore, Aleister Crowley did lose two baby daughters: his firstborn Lilith in 1906, and Anne Leah in 1920. It is also known from his own journals that the latter loss affected him considerably.

    Was that it? Did Master Therion attempt to craft an ideal daughter to replace the ones lost to their mortal feebleness?

    …enough. Didn’t I just admit I’m over-assuming things?

    In his pursuit of his beloved savior, John soaked himself in occultism. In his current environment, he is letting all that previously worthless knowledge shape his thinking processes perhaps a little too much…no; perhaps it is the other way around: in his longing to give meaning to his efforts of the past ten years, he is trying to make use of that worthless knowledge as often as possible.

    That might just be the case.

    “Anyway, the only conclusion to be made here is that ‘Mister Oceandrop has an old connection with Elizaveta Vyraj’. I can’t make any further conjectures.”

    Really, why was she the one in the bus in the previous loop? And, if she has a connection with the school principal, what about Xylia Pheme, then?

    Mister Oceandrop, Elizaveta, and Xylia—there’s another triangle there to be deciphered.

    “Let’s go.”


    *** ***


    Back at the faculty room, Hwan Bin is quick to approach Kean. John leaves him to that—the Korean will probably make a better job of sharing their findings than he ever could. Instead, John quickly walks the length of the room to reach the corpse.

    Souma Nubatama is dead.

    If not even this fool of a man can overcome their enemy, then what hope does he have?

    Unceremoniously, John kneels and reaches for his left eyelid, raising it just enough to reveal what a part of him always knew he would find behind it. It makes him sigh.

    “Really, a fool to the very end,” he mutters as he lets the eyelid fall back to its now eternal resting place. There is something like fondness in his voice. And sadness, too.

    Actors and liars should be scary, like Mercedes West or Ubon, not plain stupid like this awkward fool who just doesn’t know how to deal with other people. Souma Nubatama is just as pitiful as Ultra.

    If this idiot claimed to understand so much, why couldn’t he then help everybody else understand as well? No, he had to stick to his performance. How insufferable. How relatable. It makes John angry at himself for not being able to feel angry at this stupid man.

    …no. You did try to help, in your own, stupid way, right?

    Now it is up to them to work with what little Souma left them, in his own brand of obtuseness to match the Turnside’s.

    “Turns out our mysterious unknown student has a room in the boarded-up section of the girls’ dorms. Not the only one, even,” he says, dangling the keys he has claimed for the sake of their investigation. “We also got some important-looking papers that hopefully we’ll be able to go through later, but I’d say our next best plan is checking out this Room #2-121.”

    However…

    “Well, you can go ahead and do that. I have to give Souma his proper rest.”

    Souma asked, after all. He asked him, John Dove.

    And he won’t be the person who denies a man a last wish so simple and mundane.

    Doing this in the rain is going to be the worst. But let’s look at look with a more positive light: maybe he’ll be able to get along with Elaine Winters better after he goes through the Elaine Winters Rain Night Burial Experience.

  7. #4707
    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

    "Right then, Beatrice," I marked the housekeeper's name down, "Or this Allene character if we're wanting to go poke up around the McLampet place, then go sniff around the Halloway's at their place, the hotel, right? Owl's-"

    A pause.

    "Swear to god if those damned owl costumes are packed away there..."

    I grumbled irritably.

    "Or we can go and bang on the Kincaids' door, which is..."

    ...

    "Well, it's an option, I suppose, no stone unturned and all that," I scratched at my cheek, "There's certainly some questions I wouldn't mind asking them."

    Let's see, what else, what else...

    I flipped through my note pages doggedly, scowling at my lacking note-taking for this week.

    Well, whatever, going to have to sit through and think it all onto the pages before tomorrow.

    Not that it'll matter, but it'll matter to me!

    "Uh, oh, by the way, boss, there happen to be some caves around here? Probably flooded out right about now, but I heard that some people like to squat in them."

  8. #4708
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest (?)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    As I saw Zieg sigh, I decided to close my eyes as I knew the slightest pressure from her would send it straight through my throat. All she would need to do next to make my death as painless as possible would be to do a swift cutting option to my spine so I receive as little pain receptor signals to my brain. This was all just an assisted suicide. A death of a personality to ensure the next “Vier” can function better and immediately. The me of now and even the next me doesn’t have time to waver even in this endless loop. So to increase the odds of survival for “me”. For my classmates. For this town. Vier needs to function now so that she can do something productive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zieg
    "------- You weenie."
    Instead of instant death, I heard my knife drop to the forest floor with a dull twang. I opened my eyes to see Zieg look at me with empathy. She never intended to stab me. No, it would be more accurate to say that there was never a chase for her to stab me. If it was just the positive side of “me” then there was a good chance I would’ve been stabbed. But Zieg wouldn’t stab me. No, I’m positive she wouldn’t kill me even if I wanted it like now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zieg
    "Vier? We all have to keep moving. Prisoners of time or not, every person has to keep going forward, whether they want it or not. And we all make mistakes, whether we want it or not. No matter how superhuman you try to make yourself out to be... you're not. We both know you're not. Nobody in this world is. To begin with, a human who makes no mistakes is no human at all... and even if you try to deny it, you most certainly are a human. Killing your conflict, killing your emotions, even temporarily... it won't solve anything. In fact, it'll make things worse. It's how you got into this situation in the first place... isn't it?"
    That’s when Zieg hugged me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zieg
    "The fight against the things you repress is something everyone does daily. We all have parts of ourselves we don't agree with. But... Vier? You won't break. I know you won't. You're stronger than you know. Much stronger. That's why it feels like you have to take the easy way out, even though there's no shortcut home. Like I said, if you fear the risk of losing, it's much easier to just lose than to try and lose... because when you try and fail, it hurts so much more. No matter how hard you try, no human can exist in a vacuum... and no human can exist alone. Not truly. Do you really think that if you erase who you are and keep away from others it'll stop them? Do you think it'll help? Has it helped so far? Vier... it's alright to lose. It's alright to fall. You can always pick yourself up from the ground and try again. I know you were always a pessimist, but... Vier? Sometimes life leaves you no choice. Sometimes you have to sink or swim. And sometimes, mama birds hafta kick their baby birds outta the nest so they'll learn to fly---!"
    That’s when I noticed that her hug grow tighter and into the perfect CQC judo throw. Even now that I was expecting it, it was too late to do anything but be thrown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zieg
    "--- You'll do fine, Vier. I mean, even if you try to make 'Vier Wolff' disappears, the others won't let you!"
    If only. Because once this week ends, Vier Wolff will be forgotten by most people anyways…

    When I woke up, I was dry. Despite the patter of rain in the background and the fact that I was still in the forest still. I wasn’t wet in the slightest. I was underneath a wooden roof. However, this wooden roof wasn’t the one that I made as there were windows rattling and the area I was in was much more comfortable… Also there was the new smell of coffee in the area. Something I wouldn’t do because the smell would’ve given me off immediately. If that didn’t give it away, then the sleeping bag did.

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "Hm. Finally up, eh?"
    Despite me trying not to seem like I had woke up yet, a familiar voice seemed to greet me. Seeing no point in acting anymore, I opened my eyes to see Lobo Currumpaw casually in front of the fireplace next to a kettle of coffee.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Currumpaw
    "Rise and shine, sweetheart."
    “I don’t see much shine right now but thank you for finding me.”

    I got out of the sleeping bag and got closer to the fireplace and kettle of coffee.

    “So where exactly did you find me? Because I’m not exactly sure where or how I managed to tear your card…”

    I finally sat down and quietly looked at the fire.

    “Also sorry it wasn’t exactly what I promised…”

  9. #4709
    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


    "Don't force yourself."
    “I’ll be fine,” Lucille says offhandedly, as if dismissing a pointless concern. Is it Xeni’s faith that needs affirmation, or her own? Faith must be strong, Lucille knows, so she’ll patch her own with anything that can fill in the cracks. A beacon that inspires cannot be dimly lit.

    John and the others come by, with a brief explanation about where this mystery student could be—a boarded up room in the girl’s dorms. Simple enough. What does shock Lucille though, is his sudden declaration. Then again, the time is hardly pressing any more. There is no chance to save Souma, and the impending clock of Sunday is as vague as can be. Now that so much has changed, can anything be predicted?

    “Well, you can go ahead and do that. I have to give Souma his proper rest.”
    “I’ll help,” Lucille offers, because this is just how she is. She will partake in pain, because it is her penance. Her duty. Maybe she’ll get brushed off and she’ll have to push through, but the thought of John burying Souma in this hellish storm alone is dismal and uncomfortable for her sensibilities. Even if she did not know Souma very well, if it’s John’s wish to bury him so quickly, so be it.

    She clenches her fist, before feeling the pills in her hand. Right, these. Her loot, as it were. Lucille is certain they are familiar. The kind Miss Min wished for her to take? Better to double check with John, just in case. He, after all, seemed to have been actively prying into the mysteries of the school.

    “Before that, Souma—he had these on him,” Lucille forces out in a rush, showing the pills in her hand. “Is this the drug you mentioned earlier?”

  10. #4710
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Mercedes' Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "You know..."

    It wasn't the first time she mentioned her mom, so what she said wasn't really anything new. Not in its contents, at least. What was new was the perspective, the context that it came up in, which is why it got me thinking, and why I didn't just shrug it off with a joke, or some encouragement like last time.

    "I might just be overthinking things, especially considering our earlier discussion, but like...What if this role she mentioned had absolutely nothing to do with your role in society? Or maybe even if it did, what if its true implication was regarding your role in all this? This whole mystery surrounding this town?"

    I rubbed my chin as I savoured the words, to get a feel of how much sense they made when they were spoken out loud, compared to just being wild thoughts in my mind.

    And in a sense, they certainly sounded reasonable, even if it was hard to get a grasp on why and how exactly.

    "After all, it's clear that she is simply just a concerned mother who wanted to help their kid get used to society, considering her apparent involvement with those strange crystal things I mentioned, for one. To begin with, the whole premise of the school is just a big fat lie, something that was likely used to lure us in and deceive us so that we would act accordingly, and normally. And then all the other details, the elaborate lies, the past that people can't seem to let go and which they try to reenact..."

    Reenact...

    Yeah.

    "From the perspective of some, this might all just seem like a play, with the stage being this town, and the actors being us, and whoever else we might not know about. Carefully hand picked actors, if you think about it, because the world for sure has a lot more problematic people to pick students from. Which of course begets the obvious question, but I'm starting to think that the answer is clear, as it is us who seem to have ties of all sorts to this town. Of course, it also makes one wonder who exactly would be delusional and arrogant enough to pretend that it was that way, and assign roles to us. Real life is hardly just a play that runs based on some individual's script that everyone must obey."

    Inevitably, I was reminded of the doctor from back the hospital, and a sour, unpleasant taste filled my mouth as I swallowed my anger back down.

    "Of course, it's all just a moot point considering that an actor can hardly do their part if they aren't given a role and lines, but then...As a human who knows not much of the supernatural, maybe your role all along was to keep your distance from all of it, just the same as how you kept your distance from us. Except, by doing latter you failed former too, and considering the tragedy this would all end with, it's not hard to imagine that it could ruin anyone."

    Just need to take myself as an example.

    It was still hard to believe that I could get through the first few days after we looped around, but then, the stress was still there, only just that I tried to distract myself from it. That, and evidently, someone who was already broken could only be shattered further into even more pieces, but that didn't hurt quite as much as a whole breaking into many...

    "Not that I could really agree with that, even if it was referring to that. Neither with the messing up part, nor with not being able to endure it."

    I shrugged.

    "Mad theories aside, wouldn't she be proud instead, rather than angry?"

    Trying to figure this mother-daughter relationship was way too difficult even while disregarding all the other shady circumstances.
    Last edited by Cheetose; August 15th, 2022 at 06:29 AM.

  11. #4711
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "......"

    Wow, that was a frown and a half. And curiously enough, it was different from the previous, hostile expressions that Fu had thrown Colt's way. This time it looked more like a big sister who was about to give their younger sibling a verbal lashing for acting tough when there was clearly something wrong... but then the girl caught herself, heaved a heavy sigh and sunk down into her bed, gingerly avoiding brushing her ribs too much to the surface.

    "Where to find me...?" She asked, sounding both confused and nursing a hint of a migraine. "I don't know what you mean by that but..."

    She paused for a moment, thinking it over while staring at the ceiling.

    "... After we got separated by an attack of that one-eyed giant, I emerged from the sewers at the base of the cliffs, at the beach. From there I hid in the lighthouse for the day, though some... locals, perhaps, found me. I saw them camping out on the beach, and then they nearly caught me at the lighthouse. I would have been caught had I not jumped back into the ocean," she told Colt. "From there I swam back to the sewer entrance and camped there for the night. Next day I spent tracing my steps in the sewers, trying to find Ru... but I only found some even older tunnels. One of them led me to what looked like a holding cell, hidden underneath some statue or another."

    She frowned a little bit.

    "There was also a rose garden and a big building. It was there that I met the vampire," she continued explaining. "Friday I spent trying to look for any clues about Ru in town. However, considering my accursed body, I could hardly show myself. So I stuck to the shadows, the rooftops, and abandoned buildings - of which there were many. That night I slept at the fisherwoman's place, near the ocean. She knew the vampire, after all. Then, next day, I figured I'd do it again, despite the weather... but that's when the tracker that the vampire gave me started beeping."

    She turned to look Colt over her glasses, an eyebrow raised quizzically.

    "Is that detailed enough for you?"




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

    "Oh?"

    Ferguson let out a an amusedly surprised sound and raised his eyebrow at Liana.

    "You as well?" He asked with a hint of a grin. "If anything, I'm starting to question whether or not this principal of yours has more daredevil-like traits than we realized? There are hints here, after all..."

    Though, almost immediately, he narrowed his eyes.

    "Not to mention, I would certainly want to hear about the 'grudge' he supposedly has..."

    With that, the two of them - along with the sheriff and his deputy - headed out of the conference room, ready to journey to the Pinefall High and finally confront the darkness that lay there in wait. However, as they did, the lights of the conference room behind them flickered. Just for a moment, just briefly, but long enough for everyone's attention to turn back to...

    --- Rosencrantz.

    Who sat there, in his chair, staring deep into the cookies that Liana had given to him. Staring at them as if he could have seen something else there, something only he knew, something that was hidden from view and only spoken of in whispers.

    "... A class reunion? Perhaps that is in the works already," the man whispered. "It is a habit of the world, after all. It abhors asymmetry, and poetry runs in its veins during moments such as this. When something is wrong, when events need to be realigned and secured, what is born is almost like a tale. No detail is unimportant, nothing is wasted. Like a gun of Chekhov. That is simply how these things are. It repeats, what crimes we have done in the past come to light, and at the end, we all must pay the price for our sins. Call it fate or karma, or the World itself... it shall come."

    Outside, lighting crashed across the sky.

    The thunder shook the town.

    "The Mad whispers it again..."

    And Rosencrantz...

    "Stars... Fall for Me."

    Smiled.


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

    Liana Skye: Friendship Rank Raised!











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

    "...MJOLNIR? B-but, that's..."

    Alpa didn't need to finish her sentence. The implication of the act itself was enough to conjure up what the worried look on her face meant. After all, they knew of the effects of the drug... and with an effect like that, this wasn't just a case of whether one was afraid or not. To someone like a church warrior or a mystic, the power of MJOLNIR might have been bearable. They often walked with one foot in reality, after all. But what of those whose very birth was rooted in Turnside? What of espers, mages, androids and their ilk? It would be almost like denying that very birth.

    What would the world look like? Could they even function?

    It was a question that Alpa, certainly, didn't seem to want to find an answer to.

    And thus, instead...

    "N-no! You're not to eat one of them! W-we should consider our other options first!" Alpa hurried to say, as if to switch the topic completely. "F-for example, well... that idea you spoke of before..."

    --- Right. The idea that Alpa had not put into words.

    For what reason?

    "... This might come across as... egotistical. But what if... what half of the reason why the murderer displayed the body so brazenly on Sunday was to also draw me out?" She suggested. "My camp is heavily fortified, and w-while not the greatest fighter, I feel that I am rather formidable in that second floor, thanks to my preparations. T-therefore, if there was something in that second floor the murderer wanted, or wanted to gain access to, then they would need to deal with me, especially if I had the chance of knowing their true colours."

    She paused, looking a bit down.

    "So, such a horrific display might have also served to... draw me out of my fortress. To deal with me, the knowledge I have, and to open a route for them and whatever there could be in the second floor," she concluded, before looking at Prushka. "I-I mean, it sounds a bit far-fetched but..."

    The girl fiddled her thumbs.

    "... What do you think?"




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

    "Caves?"

    Joshua cocked an eyebrow.

    "Well, now that you mention it, there are. Sort of," he answered. "Right below this cliff, in fact. The caves sorta get covered by the high tide, but even so you can still swim there if you don't mind getting soaked. During the low tide, though, you'll only have your shoes get wet. Anyways, they were made into the town's sewers long ago, so be prepared for... interesting smells if you wanna spelunk there."

    The spirit rubbed his chin, thinking further.

    "... Now that I think about it, the government went and renovated lot of those tunnels, the natural ones and the sewers, during the war. Made them into something they could use," he continued. "Could never really check what on earth they were up to, but knowing how governments work and what sort of times those were, I think we can make some educated guesses what those tunnels contain."

    Of all the people, it was Subaru who looked troubled by those knews. She frowned, and as if sensing her partner's distress, Tonkori pressed her head against the tiny shaman's leg. Grateful, Subaru scratched the dog behind the ear and looked at the other girls.

    "World War 2 era tunnels... Those could contain all manner of things. In fact, if they are anything like the tunnels we have back in my country, they could even contain dangerous things. Ordnance, ammo depot, equipment..." She listed some grave possibilities. "In fact, thinking of it, Road's End is a port town. If they had tunnels that led out to the sea and piers attached, they could have handled and stored all manner of items that the government wanted to keep out of sight - both the enemies' and their own citizen."

    Ubon's eyes shot wide.

    "W-wait!" The cyanhead squeaked. "Are you saying there might be bombs underneath there!? Is this whole thing that there's bombs below the town and they'll totes s'plode by the end of the week!? Blast everything, including us, to smithereens!?"

    Sakura rolled her eyes a bit and groaned.

    "I doubt they have actual nukes hidden underneath Road's End," she said... before frowning to herself, and at the thought. "... I pray that they do not have nukes hidden under Road's End."

    Joshua cackled at the conversation, before looking back at Elaine.

    "Well, whatever's there, I doubt those military tunnels take up the whole space either. So you'll have the sewers, the tunnels, and finally... the lava caves. See, back in the day, White Pine Mountain and Blue Tail Peak were active volcanos - carved tubes all around this land, far beneath the dirt and stone," he explained. "The Klallam, from what I understand, saw them as a holy place - place which lead from the world of man to the world of spirits. And its on that treshold that they build their most holy site, where they recorded their legends..."

    The red and green eyes narrowed.

    "--- The Petroglyph Cave."




    Vier
    Location: Hunter's Shack
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Feh."

    Lobo scoffed as he threw in another firewood, causing the flames to momentarily shine brighter.

    "... Apologizing for having to send an SOS? What an uncute woman," he grunted, glancing at Vier. "Sure, I thrive in my battles, but I'm not a bastard enough to take offense to that. If anything, I'll just get more annoyed if you show me a moping face like that. Tch..."

    Clicking his tongue in annoyance, Lobo took the kettle from the fire and started pouring the coffee in a spartan-looking, cheap metal cup. There was another right next to it, though of different make and colour, meaning it was probably meant for Vier. They, ironically enough, fit the look of the place the two were in right now. It was an abandoned shack of some sort, a small one with a single room, though luckily sturdy enough to withstand the howling winds outside. And the fireplace was a godsent considering that...

    Huh.

    Right.

    For some reason Vier was dry and mostly clean?

    "I found you in Ghostwood, buried under a bunch of branches and sticks. Not sure what happened, but looks like that shelter of your collapsed on top of you when a big branch fell from above, probably knocking you out cold. Good thing you ripped that card when you did, might have died because of the elements otherwise," the green-haired warrior continued sternly. "... Speaking of which, the hell were you even doing in such a place alone? Haven't you listened to the townspeople at all? Why did you think all those lumberjacks went and disappeared in the past, huh?"

    Filling Vier's cup with coffee, he thrust it in front of her while taking a sip from his own.

    Immediately, the man grimaced.

    "Terrible..."

    Indeed, the coffee looked as blacker than the night outside.

    "... Anyways, just rest for a bit and you should be find. I cleaned and dried up your clothes while I was at it. Didn't make sense to throw you wet and shivering into that sleeping bag," Lobo added, a crude little smirk on his lips. "And before you ask, no. I didn't strip you. It's not like you've got anything interesting under there anyways. Besides, this is much more convenient."

    With a mumble and a flicker of his fingers, the spearman caused a warm, soft gust of breeze to envelope Vier for the briefest of moments.

    Ah, right...

    Magic.

    "Anyways, drink up. You look like shit."




    John Dove & Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Not alone. You won't."

    A surprisingly firm voice said so behind Lucille. As the group turned to look, they saw Xeni Techne standing there, her hands balled into fists and a look of actual determination in her eternally fatigued eyes.

    What had it been? Had it been the almost casual way with which Lucille dismissed her concern? Was it simply the tone of voice the girl had used? Was it because something in Lucille's actions had struck a nerve with the artificial girl? Or was it because she could somehow see what sort of perfected image the inquisitor was trying to protect, and that caused annoyance to flare up within Xeni?

    Perhaps. Or perhaps it was all of them.

    One thing was for sure, however. The way Xeni now looked at Lucille... it was like someone who was reminded of someone else they had met - and that memory caused vague anger to bubble on the surface.

    Only, that anger was aimed at Xeni herself, not towards Lucille.

    "Yeaaaahhh, gotta agree with her," Hwan added, stepping next to the rest of the group and flashing a crude grin at the blonde girl. "I mean, if we let you two dig a hole, it'll take till next week with those noodle arms of yours. I'm gonna be helping out with this too, so there's some sense to all of this."

    Kean, following after the Korean boy, also nodded.

    "I agree. With telekinesis, we should be done in a decent enough time," he said. "Not to mention, we will want to be fast. If one of the other groups returned and saw us burying dead Souma... well, we'd be playing straight into the culprit's hands."

    He grimaced at the mere thought.

    "In other words, this is just ripe for misunderstandings that'll get us all killed, get it?"

    Meanwhile, as John gazed at the medicine that Lucille held in her hands for him to inspect, a wave of realization and recognizition did wash over him. That slightly shiny surface, that blue tint of the thing, the shape of the capsule...

    --- There was no mistaking it.


    That was definitely T4I MJOLNIR.



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

    "My role in... all of this? In... Road's End...?"

    For once, it seemed that Mercedes West was left without a witty retort or a sarcastic remark.

    Indeed, the starlet had never been the type of person to be left speechless, no matter what sort of revelation was brought before her. However, for once, an eerie silence followed the thought sinking in. Mercedes sat on her bed, finger on her chin, staring at nothing ahead of her while a thousand thoughts seemed to be running through her head, the gears grinding furiously. Her eyes swiveled in every which direction, like the girl had been shifting through countless grains of sand, trying to comprehend and understand what this could mean to her existence as a whole.

    After all, she was someone who had made herself fit into the mould of her choosing, despite her natural gifts laying elsewhere. She had become something that she saw herself as needing to be, instead of purely what she wanted to be. To her, that place in society and in the hierarchy of people had been everything... so now, when a possibility of things being different was presented to her...

    It was like she didn't know what to do.

    "..... Hah."

    Or, at the very least, she didn't know for a while.

    Not until she thought it through.

    "So, like, in other words... if that were true, I'd be throwing away the script and ad-libbing all I want just by associating with you, instead of staying on my lonesome? Hah, like, puh-leeeaze! That's what I do on the set anyways! Directors and writers are so bad at coming up with coherent plots and dialogue anyways! Like, nonsensical twists, obscure motivations, threads that go nowhere... Hah! Haha! It'd be no different from, like, dealing with those like how I usually do!" Mercedes finally said and cackled, a familiar sneer forming onto her face. "And what's, like, totes better is the fact that by bucking the trend here means I can just do whatevah the hell I want - the way I want it anyways."

    The actress' eyes turned to Hisa, and a fire seemed to have started to burn in them.

    "Say, Nancy... The more I, like, think about it, the more I think you might have something here," she said with an evil grin. "Like, all these connections we have to Road's End, our whole class, it can't be coincidence. More like, it feels like we were specifically chosen because of those. Maybe it was, like, in hopes of making sure we'd act like they planned or whatevah? Play our roles. Except... those roles ain't fitting us. We're going off-script, and that's totes throwing a monkey wrench into whatevah they're planning. In fact... what if it, like, ties into that other thing we heard about? Y'know: capturing that thing you talked about?"

    Looking like a shark that had just smelled blood in the water, Mercedes jumped up from the bed.

    "When I started, like, calling you Nancy Drew, I was just trying to mess with you... but guess that shows me," the actress laughed. "You turned out to be one after all. Still, if there's, like, merit to this possibility, what we need right now... is information."

    And with that, her eyes snapped over to Leena - who was standing on the other side of the bed, holding a mountain of clothes in her arms.

    "Yeppers! I think we should gather up and let everybody know what we found out about the vikings that came here long ago!" The bluehead said with a grin of her own. "I mean, hot dog! It does sorta feel like a big step forward, doesn't it?"

    She then glanced at the clothes in her arms, and laughed a little sheepishly.

    "... Plus we should probably get To-Totesh some dry clothes before she actually catches a cold, right?"

  12. #4712
    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

    "...right, MJOLNIR isn't an option."

    Only someone as insane as John Dove could willingly ingest such a substance after knowing what it is. I'm willing to do many things, even die for someone if it comes to that, but denying my own existence and being shackled to a mere five senses is a prospect so terrifying that it makes Utujoutsi's darkness seem like a mere shadow.

    So let's return to the other subject. Alpa clearly prefers it as well; her own death must be much more palatable than that drug.

    "If there's something up on the second floor worth opposing you for, it would be the clock tower. You said you heard someone trying and failing to open the doors but couldn't identify who, even with your remote viewing. I took a 'reading' of the doors before I met you and got something. It was an emotion from about a month back... murderous intent. Cold and focused, like a glacier. An unfamiliar signature, not like any of the 'scents' I gathered from the student body."

    I dismissed it at the time as a secondary concern, but it could be something serious.

    "Jake said his keys didn't open those doors and he couldn't get in there even seven years ago, but that the teachers could maybe open them - Mr. Mao in particular. So they're definitely suspicious. I don't think Ms. Leuzinger would do that, but the others... adults are good at lying. Jake also said the Mitchells made something that was up there, some sort of clock face. Not sure what that'd be worth."

    There's clearly something up there at least. Something that would lead to a murder created just to draw out a single girl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpa
    "... What do you think?"
    No, that's ridiculous.

    "There's no way, Alpa." By instinct, as if scolding a sibling, I stretch out my hand to flick her in the forehead... but stop at the last moment. "You're not responsible for that mess. Don't even think about it that way. If it drew you out it must've just been a bonus."

    Consider other directions, right this instant.

    "Let's talk to Hisa and check out the clock tower doors right now. The person that tried to get in was recent, right? Memoire should be able to pick 'em up. We can start there."

    We can. That would mean leaving this room though. Let's set aside Ahti, who needs protection right now. The girl in front of me is acting stronger than ever, but she's still the same scared person as before, isn't she? She's been dodging around it, so there's no choice but to address it directly now.

    I lay down my hand on the bed. Not touching hers, but close enough that we can at least feel each other's warmth.

    "...Alpa. You're really brave, you know that? Are you sure it's okay? All this, everything that's happening, are you really okay with it? If I were in your position right now, I..."

    I wouldn't even be able to move forward.

  13. #4713
    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 folded my arms, frowning, "Well, there's certainly a whole bunch of shady shit buried around this joint, and if there's war-time stuff, wouldn't be surprised if those Montauk fellows dipped their noses in there, not to mention the wonder-kraut last night and her giant friend..."

    I grumbled under my breath, "And there's that damned petroglyph cave again, Oceandrop was there, he found secrets, knowledge. The Map of Time. Heavy shit."

    Then I looked over my shoulder at Ubon, "Ah, don't worry about any bombs too much, don't think we're in any danger of this joint going kaboom."

    I tilted my head, "Not til the supervolcanoes go up, but that's beyond the realm of things I'm concerned about right now. Things rooting around and scuttling around this joint in the sewers is, well, now that I know more about it, it's not terribly surprising."

    I snorted, "Only bombs you gotta worry about are Ub-ombs, heh."

    Hmm...

    A shrug, "Don't reckon anyone brought a change of clothes? I'm not too concerned about getting wet, strong swimmer, too. But..."

    It's probably wiser to at least tell everyone where I'm going to go charging off too before I go set off a hornet's nest.

    I drummed my fingers on one arm.

    "So, we got this Beatrice lady, the Allene girl, the nooks and crannies under the town, probably starting with the caves over yonder, Owl's Nest, and..."

    I felt my expression darken, "The Kincaids."

  14. #4714
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Mercedes' Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Still feels like a tease, considering how I'm far from being able to live up to such a title," I scratched the back of my head awkwardly, "More often than not it feels like I'm progressing backwards or sideways, and that's just investigation talents concerned. I'd have to steal your looks and whatnot if I wanted to have a shot at the rest of the character."

    Certainly, if I was a perfect and talented detective then I'd be gradually and confidently solving the case, not just drifting wherever the waves took me...

    "Though...that's probable as well, just no idea how exactly that's supposed to work yet. Aside from that, I certainly share that view. Maybe I'm here because I was part of someone's plan, but I certainly have no intentions playing their game."

    Unless that exactly was my role, and I was only just getting back on track now.

    "Anyhow, let's hurry up then, before we empty the entire wardrobe," I noted with a smile as the topic shifted away from worrying theories again, "We can get that hot cocoa, start the storytime, then maybe decide how we want to tackle the night."

  15. #4715
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Hmm..."

    Auggie leaned back in her chair a little bit, rubbing her chin in a thinking manner.

    "I wonder~? In a way it does sound like a lot of fun, but then again..." She furrowed her brow a little bit, looking straight at Elise and Travis. "Wouldn't I just be getting in the way of you two? You know..."

    Wait, what did she even mean by that? Even Travis looked a bit confused.

    "Huh?" The thug-like boy put his thoughts into words. "What the hell's that s'posed to mean?"

    In a very frank manner, the green-haired Italian gestured towards the two of them.

    "Well, I mean, wouldn't I be just a third wheel in that group? Or are you two in a situation where it's sort of awkward and you need a chaperone?"

    Travis, for a moment, looked like he'd been sucker-punched - hit under the belt in a way that left him both gasping for breath but also unable to believe that somebody had the audacity to even do so. Then, after taking few seconds to recover... the boy leaned on the table with his elbows and rubbed his temples, a grumbling growl echoing from somewhere deep within him.

    "Listen here you moron...!" He started, sounding like he was ready to begin a litany of insults.

    Augusta, on the other hand, grinned at Elise.

    "Oh, and Cesarina's doing fine!" She added. "She's had some malfunctions lately, but nothing a proper cooling period wouldn't handle! To begin with, the problem was that her mind began to overheat and caused a cascade effect of failures in the rest of her body. It looks pretty violent, but isn't nearly as bad as it seems."

    ... Well that was an odd way to talk about someone being sick.

  16. #4716
    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



    …well, if more people help, he can finish faster. He would be a fool to reject them. And Loinnir made a very good point, about avoiding misunderstandings.

    "...alright, then. Let us do that. Now, more importantly…"

    Even without the ability to recognize colors, John can very much recognize the unique…sparkles (in lack of a better world) that add to the glossiness of whatever material the capsule in front of him is made of. This is indeed “Mjolnir’, or at least a capsule made to look identical to it. And Souma had it in his possession. Was he consuming it? Or was it merely one of the findings of his investigation?

    Whatever the case, John Dove makes his choice.

    Before anybody can think of stopping him, John Dove picks up the capsule and brings it close to his mouth. Instead of consuming it, however, he raising his free hand in a halting gesture.

    “Before any of you says anything, please listen to me.”

    This might be a sign of the boy’s growth, that he did not selfishly and one-sidedly swallow the pill straight away.

    “This probably isn’t what Souma meant, but he had a point: the fact that most of us are inextricably connected to the Turnside might be limiting the ways we look at our current challenges. If this drug can really disconnect a person from the supernatural, then it might allow us a new perspective. It might help us perceive and understand things we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

    His firm, cold eyes move from person to person.

    “I do not have any supernatural powers. I was not trained by any secret groups or doctrines, nor do I possess any artificial body parts. I am a plain, ordinary human, which makes me the safest option to take this pill, as no element of my individuality will be challenged by its apparent effect.”

    John then looks at the pill, its unnatural glittering bringing a frown to his face. Is this really just a mixture of chemicals, or is the pill supernatural in itself?

    No, if the source of the pill is indeed the child Elaine Winters calls ‘Stephanie’, or some other human subject, then there’s no point in such a question in the first place.

    “I have already consumed this pill before, so I know it can also elicit attentional and perceptual failure. But that’s fine,” he continues, looking back up at his classmates. “I am willing to entrust myself to you. If I do this,” he says, waving the pill in his hand. “I will trust your minds and your senses will catch what I fail to catch, so that I might notice something that can only be noticed with this pill.”

    His eyes finally rest on Lucille right in front of him. It is definitely very unfair of him, but he does it because he already has a grasp of the kind of person she is. She will take the heaviest burden, because she believes that is as it should be. Therefore, if he wants to go ahead with this, he must challenge her.

    “So, what’ll be?” He questions. “Are you willing to trust me? Are you willing to let me trust you?”

  17. #4717
    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

    "I..."

    For a moment, Alpa hesitated. From her face, it was clear that she was not nearly as fine as she was acting. In fact, the revelations she had experienced, the things she had seen, the thoughts she was now having... they must have made her absolutely terrified. Yet at the same time, she was pushing forward and she was forcing herself to calm down, to not give into the panic. Although shy and unsure, there was a certain inner strength in the girl - much like the mountains she called her homeland.

    "... I-I'd be lying if I said I was. It's not that death scares me... I've lived my whole life next to death. Rather, it's this situation, a-and how it seems to be more than that... and how there's just blanket of pure malice that s-seems to cover the whole town already," Alpa finally spoke... only to then shake her head. "... But I can't allow that t-to slow me down. I have to keep putting one foot after another. I have to keep doing my best. See, Prushka..."

    She turned to look at the other girl.

    "I-I've lived at the mountains my whole life. There, in that wilderness, the worst mistake you can make is not, well, the mistake itself. It's to... it's to never learn from that mistake. It's to stay on the ground when you fall. It's to not dust yourself off and try again," she continued. "If you make a fatal mistake, that's it. G-game over. But if you survive, yet refuse to learn from it, r-refuse to take that chance and do better next time... it's the same as giving up. And nature is not going to hold your hand at that point."

    Her eyes gazed out into the storm, as if she could see what she spoke of in the bolts of lightning.

    "... This world has little patience for fools. But even less so for proud fools."

    The wind howled.

    "So, um... that's why I wanna do what I can, as long as I'm alive. As long as I'm alive, I-I can make a difference. It won't help anyone... least of all myself... if I get p-paralyzed by fear," the girl added, scratching her cheek a bit sheepishly. "I can do that once I'm safe. Once everybody is safe. So it's not a m-matter of bravery, but..."

    A sad little smile crowned the girl's face.

    "... Pragmatism, I suppose?"




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

    "O-oh, if you wanna go for night swim, I can totes come with!"

    Ubon's hand shot up and the girl smiled widely... only to let it drop seconds later as an expression akin to a frown took over.

    "Though, um... you sure you wanna do that Ellie? I mean, it's raining cats and dogs right now, for realsies, and with all the thunder and lightning too, it's just..." She hesitated for a moment, rubbing her bicep awkwardly. "Swimming into a possibly flooded sewer might be a superduper bad idea, yeah? Even if you are strong..."

    Sakura nodded at the cyanhead's words. It seemed that she wasn't exactly a fan of the idea of Elaine braving the waves right now either.

    "Well, I'm not going to stop you but... is now really the right time to do it?" She asked, looking worried. "While I wouldn't mind finding more about these sewers, going from the ocean-side entrance seems risky right now. Plus... if I'm honest, I'm a bit worried about what's happening at the school right now. If anything, I'd like to at least return there for the moment to check things out, see if milady has returned yet."

    Subaru and Tonkori looked at each other, and both shivered a little.

    "Umm... I-I do not think I am quite the adept swimmer enough to follow you, Miss Winters," the tiny shaman admitted, blushing in embarrassment. "I did need one of those floating rings back during the beach party after all, so jumping into that raging sea seems like a quick way to get pulled beneath the waves..."

    While the short girl fidgeted with her fingers and shuffled her feet, Ubon walked up to her and put her hands on her shoudlers encouragingly. Meanwhile Sakura rubbed her chin, deep in thought regarding the current situation.

    "... While I don't like the idea, splitting the group would cover the most ground. I have a quick way to contact Hisa, who should be able to help with the things regarding Beatrice and Allene. But as for the rest... for Owl's Nest, Kincaids and the sewers, well..." She groaned a little and rubbed her temples. "If we want to check each one out tonight, we might need to pick our poison, depending on who's the best for what."

    Finally, the older girl turned to look at Elaine.

    "What do you think? Is it too risky? And is the risk worth the reward?" She asked. "In all honesty, you are the one with the most complete picture of what's going on, so I would defer to your judgement."

    Both Ubon and Subaru nodded quietly, while Joshua simply watched over the unfolding scene.




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

    Not too long after, the group had reunited once more at Hisa's room.

    The trio who had been braving the storm had switched up clothes, with Leena and To-Totesh being wrapped up in comfortable looking sweaters and sweatpants - the latter which managed to still somehow be relatively fashionable, thanks to being from Mercedes' wardrobe. The starlet herself had also put on a fresh shirt and a pair of pants, and with everyone who needed having taken a shower, things had certainly gotten better.

    What also made things better was the large cup of fresh cocoa with marshmallows that everyone was holding.

    "She insisted on marshmallows," Pyry offered a short explanation and nodded towards Gradient.

    The strange girl smiled from ear to ear and slurped down on her drink quiet happily.

    Still, the room's atmosphere had gotten quite different, considering how many people were now inhabiting it. Everyone had managed to relax a little after a very tiring day, and most faces had a sense of incoming sleepiness clear on them. The warm lights of the room contrasted well agains the darkness and the raging storm outside, with the trampling rain against the windows offering a good background noise for the conversation.

    "Well, to start with..."

    Leena, after taking a swig of her own hot cocoa, began.

    "We arrived at the Junk Garage not long after we separated from you guys. And though we initially meant to just knock on the door and talk to Tommy Horse, turned out he wasn't home!" The bluehead explained. "At that moment we were like gosh, what're we gonna do now? That's when Mercedes here went and opened the front door with her hairpin! Isn't that gosh darn amazing or what!"

    The starlet awkwardly scratched her cheek.

    "... It was, like, a totes simple lock," she commented. "Anybody could have done that."

    "Well, even then, we got inside thanks to that! It was all dark and stuff so we had to put on the lights. The whole place was full of all sortsa junk so while To-Totesh wanted to shift through that, we eventually limited ourselves to looking just for the records about the past we talked about," Leena continued. "We did eventually find them upstairs, in Tommy's room I suppose? At least it looked like it was his personal room. There were some drawers and one safe even Mercedes couldn't open, but at least the drawers didn't contain anything important."

    To-Totesh nodded.

    "Guns. And ammo. Plus maintenance tools," the native girl said and tapped her head. "I scanned the drawers, made sure we didn't miss anything. After all, To-Totesh is smart."

    Mercedes snorted.

    "Turns out her 'scan' bot doesn't work on things like that safe though. Like, it still bothers me, but we couldn't do anything about it, so..." She gestured towards Leena. "Instead we grabbed all the Klallam documents we could find or whatevah."

    The bluehaired girl nodded excitedly in response and opened up her backpack. From there, she dug up a bundle that looked like it contained a bunch of old letters, notes and even a few logbooks and journals.

    "We tried to make some sense of them when on our way back, so to start with..."

    Leena lifted a finger up and got an almost mischievous look on her face.

    "... Did you know that, apparently, some sort of massive disaster happened in the area where vikings lived? The sun turned black, flames reached for the heaven, rivers of lava flowed... gosh, it almost sounds like a massive volcanic eruption, sometime before the year AD 1000!" She asked, sounding very excited. "The records aren't very clear, but from what the Klallam understood, whatever had happened had affected the foreigners in a very, very major way. I-I have to admit though, I'm no expert in Norse history, so I'm not sure what it could have been..."

    Pyry grunted.

    "Maybe the eruption of Eldgjá? It's a volcano in Iceland. Around 930s... I think... it erupted more violently than it has ever in modern times," he suggested. "That would totally match that description, no?"

    To-Totesh, on the other hand, frowned.

    "That... or Ragnarök."

    "W-well, whatever the case, it seemed liket that was the catalyst of the vikings coming here. They arrived sometime after AD 1000, a bit after when other vikings started occupying Newfoundland," Leena continued her explanation. "Or so I presume, anyways. According to some of the texts here, they sailed through the ice and freezeing temperatures in the north, carrying their boats across the fields and forests when they needed to. Because, well... because they apparently had to come here?"

    She gestured towards the Road's End outside the window.

    "They knew that something they were looking for was in Washington... something important that they now needed, after that disaster in their homeland. Something so important they wouldn't stop until they reached this area."

    Hearing that, Pyry let out a quiet whistle.

    "... That's some damn stubborn vikings."

  18. #4718
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier
    Location: Hunter's Shack
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Currumpaw
    “Feh... Apologizing for having to send an SOS? What an uncute woman. Sure, I thrive in my battles, but I'm not a bastard enough to take offense to that. If anything, I'll just get more annoyed if you show me a moping face like that. Tch..."
    “If you wanted a cute princess to rescue, then maybe you should defend some of my classmates… I typically don’t need rescuing unless it’s related to combat.”

    However the more I learned about my classmates, the more I learned that many of them didn’t need protecting. The people that came to mind that needed protection were Aleen, Colt Davin, John Dove, Mercedes West, and maybe Xylia Pheme. Even if I expanded the parameters to the inhabitants of this town, there were a ridiculous amount of people who were a part of the Turnside or could handle themselves against it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Currumpaw
    "I found you in Ghostwood, buried under a bunch of branches and sticks. Not sure what happened, but looks like that shelter of your collapsed on top of you when a big branch fell from above, probably knocking you out cold. Good thing you ripped that card when you did, might have died because of the elements otherwise."
    “...I ripped the card when I was knocked out cold by a branch falling on top of my shelter?”

    There were several fallacies in that statement. Especially when you consider the location of where the card was originally located before I ripped it. First, if the branch fell atop of me and knocked me unconscious, then I wouldn’t have torn the card. If I died due to the elements, I would accept that outcome. My skills weren’t up to par. However, I ripped that card because I was facing a Turnside threat that I couldn’t deal with. Second, the physical location of the card was in my chest rig and given that I was laying down during that timeframe. Reaching that card and then pulling it out with a tree branch on top of my head is very unlikely. Either I would have to shimmy it out slowly while laying on my chest or roll over on my back to pull out quickly and rip it.

    “...If I was merely hit by a tree branch, I wouldn’t have ripped it. I would’ve tried to bandage myself or fix the shelter I was in. Because I can handle it, if I didn’t then I didn’t. But the weird thing is that I remember that branch you’re talking about missing. After it missed, I was placed in an unnaturally dark, cold facsimile of the forest. No matter what I did, it made sure that any victory I did was minute. A fire? Had to constantly be nursed to provide a modicum of heat. The darkness was unnaturally too deep? I couldn’t see with Black Tech or my personal abilities. However, that was where it messed up. I could accept dying because I wasn’t good enough to live. I wouldn’t waste your card to save myself from a predicament I can save myself from. It showed me that the world I was in was fake. A facsimile of the forest I was in. That’s when I tore your card.”

    It really did mess up. I would’ve let the cold and darkness kill me if it didn’t show me that the world wasn’t real. If it placed a little more effort, a little more detail work. Where I could see into the darkness and see the forest outside my little hole, I would’ve frantically worked on my fire even as the darkness and cold strangled me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Currumpaw
    "... Speaking of which, the hell were you even doing in such a place alone? Haven't you listened to the townspeople at all? Why did you think all those lumberjacks went and disappeared in the past, huh?"
    “Originally, I wasn’t alone. I was tracking down Hawthorn with one of my classmates Colt Davin. He left after he decided to tend to a person wounded by a trap. As for why I was tracking down Hawthorn… He used me to do his dirty work, manipulated me at my lowest, and quite possibly allowed the events last night that resulted in a fatality. Combined with the fact that he is a capable combatant, he needs to be taken in or eliminated…”

    The verdict was leaning more towards elimination than taking in. I could subdue a normal trained person with some effort. Subduing another Turnside inhabitant was the equivalent of signing my own death wish. Assuming he did surrender, I would have to worry about him coercing someone from his restraints like Liana or Sierra Pinkerton.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Currumpaw
    "Terrible… Anyways, just rest for a bit and you should be find. I cleaned and dried up your clothes while I was at it. Didn't make sense to throw you wet and shivering into that sleeping bag."
    I took the proffered cup. It wasn’t anything good or bad compared to last time. It was most likely just coffee that he found in the area. However, as I took a sip of the coffee. It wasn’t raining into our cups. It lacked any powdered creamer or sugar. It was good enough.

    “I wouldn’t normally rest while he’s out there… But at this point, I would be running into a storm without any tracks. I’m apathetic to weather, but I’m not dumb enough to do a wild goose chase.” I took another calm sip of the coffee. “I’m assuming you used aero magic to dry me off?”

    That was rhetorical. I had seen that he had some skill with air magic. At the very least, he was strong enough to shelter an entire building from rain and make the temperature warm and comfortable. I continued drinking my coffee nonchalantly until.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Currumpaw
    “And before you ask, no. I didn't strip you. It's not like you've got anything interesting under there anyways. Besides, this is much more convenient.”
    I glared at Lobo Currumpaw unsure if I should be thankful that I didn’t arouse his attention while I was at my weakest or if I should be insulted that I wasn’t ‘interesting enough’ for him to entertain the thought. I considered hitting him for that crude comment but I was thankful that he did save me from the forest. Instead I…

    “...I’ll let that comment pass, but I want a refill.”

    While trying not to crush this cup and throw it at his face...

  19. #4719
    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

    "Pragmatism, huh? Still sounds like bravery to me. Ms. Beatrice said so."

    Yep, Alpa Bagha is certainly a brave girl. Still a doofus though.

    Everything Alpa said is what I've been trying to do all week. Delay, put it off until there's breathing room, do what needs to be done, pick yourself up and don't dwell on despair. From the sound of it, she's also way better at it, too. After all, between the two of us, she hasn't shed a single tear, hasn't needed to be picked up, hasn't had to rely on anyone just to get through the day.

    "Y'know, at first the reason John and Ubon and I went up those stairs was 'cus I thought you needed help or protection. That was totally wrong, though; you're strong, Alpa. Way stronger than me. I couldn't even take one step forward when I was alone."

    Which is why I reach for the television remote.

    "But! For friends, words like 'fool' and 'pragmatist' don't matter! They have infinite patience for each other's weaknesses!"

    I shuffle closer, still just barely respecting her boundaries.

    "We're stuck in here while Ahti snoozes. And we're not gonna get any further just by theorizing stuff. So let's take a bit. Just a bit of time, before tomorrow. 'Cus feelings don't care about facts, and you can't keep 'em bottled up forever. If we set the volume down real low and sit next to each other by the TV, we might still be able to hear it. What do you say? I'll even put a blanket between us so we don't accidentally get touchy feely. How about it, Ms. Pragmatist?"

  20. #4720
    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


    Vivienne tilted her head at Alex's remark. Her eyes observe Alex, as if trying to pierce the meaning of her words.

    Yet it's not that hard really, to understand what Alex meant.

    She knew that she was not an empty vessel, but she also knew that she wasn't something complete. It was the same kind of discussion as she had with Prushka. Emotions come to her, but she cannot process them like a normal person. They are no different from instructions to her from a distant, uninvolved source. She merely follows them, because it is natural to do so, because that is how a 'living' person would be. That is how 'she' would be, how Vivienne Bianchi before the 'incident' would act.

    Or was that really the case?

    A plethora of things Vivienne has done now, are different from what the old Vivienne would have done, as she acknowledges herself sometimes.

    The 'old' Vivienne, most importantly, would have never walked down this path.

    Indeed, it is because when logic takes precedence over emotions, things such as ideals, passion and hope take second place to cold and hard results. What Vivienne sought would not be achieved via merely staying at home and continuing her old life. No, she had to step deep into the Turnside, and please enough people till someone was interested enough to help her.

    Still, that decision...

    ...in the end she never was really satisfied with it.

    It trampled upon the principles of who she was, and what point is there to retrieve the past, if the present will alter it in unspeakable ways?

    Vivienne always thought about that subconsciously, and it made her extremely, or at least, it gave her the instruction to feel anger, but because of the status of her soul, it was just that, a suggestion.

    However, since she had come here, since Muse had given her this mysterious spark that had helped her overcome her broken soul... and since she had prepared that 'thing'... the suggestions had become much more.

    No longer fleeting, no longer a faint noise in the background, but instead a ravenous storm that assaulted her at every turn.

    "..."

    All the comments about her not seeming no emotionless, culminating in the one made by Alex here, it made her definitely acknowledge that she had changed to a degree after coming here.

    However, such a change had negatives of its own, even if they had helped her share memorable experiences, such as on the beach, and perhaps the sleepover 'last' week. The negative was that now, she could not control herself anymore, when the 'suggestions' of anger welled and threatened to drown her into crimson fury.

    All these years of unheeded frustration, paired with what had happened so far in this place...

    ...was perhaps what might become the drop which would cause the cup to overflow.

    Yet. Even if it overtakes her, Vivienne knows that she cannot lose control, because to surrender would simply be selfish... and most of all, it would be an even greater crime than what she's done so far. She has sufficiently sullied the legacy of her past self, she will not suffer to sully it further.

    Vivienne finally nods at Alex, breaking her contemplative silence. Though her voice is deadpan, her usually dead eyes reflect something approximating the emotion of... regret.

    "You... maybe be correct. A lot of things have happened since I came here... It's been one week for you... but two weeks for me... and I even died. I do not feel much about it... as expected... but certainly... something has changed."

    Vivienne walks past Alex, but does not descend the staircase. These steps, they were rather symbolic, if one considered them the mirror of the 'hell' the pair were going to descend into. Vivienne knew that things were going to go south very soon, if not here, then by the evening or tomorrow morning, at the very latest.

    "And... I understand you. Maybe. I also, trample on the honest dreams and ideals of 'Vivienne Bianchi', because I want results. She would never have accepted... what I have become. A killer. No matter if I do it to 'keep the world safe'. We both know... what it entails... 'to preserve peace'. 'To keep the status quo'."


    She turns to face Alex, and this time, Vivienne's eyes hint at what vaguely resembles... gentle compassion. Alex could perhaps even imagine a soft smile on her lips.

    "... but I don't think you are that heartless either. Just that some of it was... carved out. Broken. A bit like me. If you were truly heartless, you would not be standing here and talking to me about all these things. If there is... a chance that I can be fixed... then you definitely can be patched too."

    A reason to live different than revenge, something that could replace the all-consuming fire which threatened to engulf Alex... well, that was a bit of a silly and romantic idea, but what about Love? Hmmm... Vivienne would have to think about it.

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