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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3241
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Faculty Office
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronja Leuzinger
    "And you really don't want that."
    "Eeep..."

    It's no good. I'm such a doofus. So much for cheering her up; I just ended up offending her sincerity. And when you offend someone, it's correct to apologize.

    "S-sorry, Ms. Leuzinger. You don't need to worry. I won't ride without a helmet or eat weird berries in the woods or swim too far out into the ocean. Just gonna stick to regular risky high schooler stuff, like procrastinating on homework or making bad jokes to the faculty."

    After that, I take a sip of the coffee.

    "Oh...!"

    It's sweet. I thought it'd be bitter, but it was actually sweet. I take another sip. Hm, it really is sweet, but there's a deeper bitterness beneath it. Maybe this is what adults call a complex flavour? But to me, that just means it needs more sugar.

    "This is - plop - totally different - plop - from the stuff they have at the cafeteria. Did you - plop - bring over the beans from back home, Ms. Costa?"

    Several sugar cubes later, as I sip on Ms. Costa's delicious coffee, I gather up the strength to pay attention to the conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzana Costa
    "All I know is that he's apparently friends with one of the local movers and shakers around here - James Halloway, that is. They're close enough that the latter refers to Oceandrop as 'Daniel'... though heck if I know if that's his real name. These billionaire-types, I swear."
    "He knows Mr. Halloway? Huh, maybe they were in the same unit... or Mr. Oceandrop's a local. The end of the Hero's Journey is the return to home, after all. Some of the billionaire-types like to give back to their origin, too. Like a musician who makes it big and then donates to renovate the low-class neighbourhood they grew up in."

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronja Leuzinger
    "One strong enough that he'll drop everything and risk his life just to help a single war orphan... just like he did in Cyprus."
    "...he saved a war orphan... in Cyprus."

    I wanna know, but...

    "Geeze... you really like him, huh? If you keep this up I'll start thinking he's some kinda superhero, not a school principal. Saving those in trouble, starting a school for troubled kids, having people praise him while making a face like that... what a scary guy. What's next, he's also an award-winning action movie star?"

    I fold my arms and drop the coffee cup onto its plate.

    "Well, that's an interesting story you just hinted at. Thank you. But..."

    Stacked before me is a pile of cookies, and two teachers that couldn't be more different.

    This meeting will soon come to an end.

    Before then...

    I'll take a cookie...

    "Is it alright for me to ask? Or would it be better to hear it from Mr. Oceandrop himself?"

    And eat it.

  2. #3242
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    “Perhaps he was forced to write the reports like that, since they were meant to be read by his…’employer’ as well,” I lamented over Mercedes’ assumptions, “Whereas the rest seem to be mostly notes to himself, and...for the message, well, it probably didn’t matter that much if he didn’t stick to the typewriter.”

    Whoever he was working for would probably be mad enough just for the fact that he broke free than that he wrote the message by hand.

    “I’m more bothered by the fact that all this stuff was left here like this...but then, I guess I’m not going to complain about having clues to work with.”

    The killer could have just packed all their stuff in the suitcase, but...perhaps they were already carrying too much, or maybe they were just too unstable mentally to even consider and care about something like this.

    “Either way,” I started as I glanced at Pyry, “Based on what we know, that’s the assumption I want to make. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of other perspectives to the events, and there can’t have been too many witnesses either, so...coercing information out of the suspects feels to be the most straightforward option to confirm things.”

    I idly stared at the documents for a few more moments, before I gestured back at the ladder with my head.

    “Anyways, we should head back. There doesn’t seem to be much else here, and Gradient is up alone there while Rachel might appear any moment.”


  3. #3243
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart & Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Common Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    There was a deafening silence that followed Alexstrasza's words, what she opened up about and the thoughts she shared with the girls gathered in the common rooms. The sound of the TV felt so far away now, it was almost impossible to hear. Instead, what was left was a grave quiet, one accompanied by the different expressions on the face of those present. Indeed, even if Alexstrasza wore a smile, a shining one, the expressions around her were... different.

    Sakura Tsukioka had lifted herself up slightly from the sofa, and though she gripped the bag of ice over the top of her forehead, her eyes were now also completely focused onto Alexstrasza. It was an intense focus, but one that was marred by what looked like... confusion? Doubt? Wariness? The type of caution one often reserves to wild animals, or people who have shown they are mentally instable. It didn't look like the brunette wanted to take such a harsh look at the blonde, but at the same time... she was being careful. Because what Alexstrasza had spoken sounded much like insanity. And this was Pinefall. If she started acting like a danger to the girls in the room Sakura, as she was the oldest, clearly felt it was her duty to do something about it.

    Cesarina Feroce, on the other hand, stared slack-jawed at her friend... and on her face, was nothing but worry. Clear, honest, genuine worry about the nonsensical things that spouted out of her mouth. And could one blame her? A video tape about the death of someone? Talk about repeating a week? Talk of dying and coming back to light? To anyone's ear, it would have sounded insane. And here at Pinefall, that much was to be expected. They were all people unfit for society, people with their own scars of the mind that they couldn't just easily shake off. So, most likely, to her it looked like that mental scar of her friend was rearing its head. Yet, at the same time, Cesarina was nothing but worried about the well-being of her friend, and what hid behind that smile.

    As for Lucille Faraday? Who knows.

    Her face was unreadable, even to those around her.

    "Zaza..."

    Her voice quiet, Cesarina stood up from the armchair and walked over to where her friend was, kneeling beside her chair. Then, steeling herself and driving some determination into her mind, the green-haired girl took a hold of Alexstrasza's hands and squeezed at them tight, as if trying to calm her down - trying to encourage her to just take it easy.

    "Whatever you are feeling, whatever worries you, whatever makes you afraid... magic is not going to be the answer," Cesarina quietly, yet strongly, said. "There is no simple solution to stuff like this. No incantation or a magic wand to make it all better just like that. No bibbity-boppity-boo or a pumpkin carriage, not even a glass slipper. I know it is easier to think like there is, but... that is just not how life works, see?"

    It was a rare bout of honesty and wiseness from the usually airheaded heiress.

    "I know life can sometimes feel like it is just an ever-repeating hell, like there is some mean-spirited greater force that is out there to make our lives miserable and ruin everything... ahahaha, I sure know how that feels... but you cannot let that feeling win. Life is not in the control of anything, and sometimes... sometimes bad stuff just happens, and we cannot do anything about it," Cesarina continued. "The only thing we can do is to pick up the pieces and continue where we left off, hoping it will not happen again. And do our best to avoid getting into a situation like that thanks to our own actions."

    A small smile graced her lips.

    "And even if there is no magic word to make everything alright and sort out your feelings... we can talk through them, alright? Tackle them together. And maybe, just maybe, we can clear up that feeling, make it look so that the world is not just some inescapable prison that is about to end..."

    She was doing her best to help her friend, she really was.

    However, on the sofa, a bit aways from the duo... was Sakura Tsukioka. She watched at the sight of Alexstrasza and Cesarina, watched and weighed options in her mind... and eventually seemed to come to a decision.

    Then she looked at Lucille, and nodded her head towards the corridor.

    Clearly asking her to head out for a moment with her.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: Canseliet Clinic - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast
    Dorothy snorted loudly, so loudly that it made even 17 jump up a little.

    "Well, I can give you half a bottle of painkillers for that. Guess it would help with something?" the brunette doctor said, waving her flappy sleeves dismissively. "You really walked to a doctor's office and thought that would be enough? Geez, I know humans can be dummies at times, but this is something else I swear. If I had know that to be the case, I wouldn't have even let you in, much less bother us while we were-"

    Suddenly, a silver-haired head perked up, and a hand shot up with it.

    "W-wait!"

    Kean had jumped from his chair, wallet in hand.

    "... Add $300 to that!"

    His announcement seemed to certainly change the mood in the room. A wider smile spread to Dr. Canseliet's face, and she rubbed her sleeves together, looking like a mirthful fox that had just been presented with a juicy steak for a dinner. Or an access to the chicken coop and with the dog nowhere in sight. Humming a little, the doctor spun around on her chair and wheeled it over to the desk, where she grabbed a clipboard and a fountain pen, and started scribbling down to the form attached to the clipboard.

    "Well, that's certainly sounding much better. And I was getting confused here and all~" Dr. Canseliet chuckled. "After all, you said you two would pay for her treatment together. So for only one of you to open your wallets made me think you were making fun of me. Mm, yes yes~... I think that'll do nicely. Full treatment and all, right? All so your little bundle of maladies gets back to working condition?"

    Kean, who had been a bit pale on the face after his announcement, looked rather flabbergasted.

    "W-wait... that's enough?" he asked, his voice sounding little thin. "But that's... that's not even..."

    Dorothy Canseliet, on the other hand, looked back with an expression of curious confusion.

    "Hmm? Something wrong with that? I mean... I don't actually care about the amount of money. What matters is how much it's worth to you," she said, breaking into a wide grin that was definitely animal-like. "I'm after that feeling of something precious being lost and given to me. The metaphor of losing your wealth is much more tasty than fancy-yet-inedible paper."

    Kean sat back down on his chair and deflated, looking like he had been sucker-punched.

    "Will that be all~?" Dr. Canseliet asked, turning her attention back to Elaine.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “Yeah I guess I am. Kind of had to though. Not being good at this kind of thing meant not eating for the day at best or potentially dying at the worst. It’s part of the reason why being here isn’t so bad for me. As much hot food as I want, I don’t need to keep myself constantly alert, and I get to talk to people again.”
    Aleen looked at Vier for somewhat long, before she nodded, a smile appearing on her face.

    "H-huh, guess that makes sense! Guess that would make Pinefall sort of a luxury hotel in comparison. Huh... never really thought of it that way. Though I suppose it just means that we all come from different walks of life, huh?" the bluehead said, stammering only a bit at the beginning. "... Then again, I suppose we've all only known each other for few days, so it's no wonder we still don't know everything. Even if it's people like us who hit it right off."

    Having said that, Aleen started up the path once more, taking one step after another without too much grumbling this time. Still, the two of them did advance more cautiously this time, even the bluehead sensing her friend's hesitance when it came to the possibility of someone being up ahead. Still, the scenery around them changed slowly, the forest growing thicker and older, and the pine trees becoming more and more like waves of a deep, umber sea toppled with dark green crests. They swayed in the wind, becoming like the roiling ocean, and that ever-present sound of moving nature took over for any discussion.

    Indeed, the two girls fell silent, more or less.

    Until few minutes after, when Aleen finally spoke again... this time without looking at her friend.

    "--- Do you wanna talk about it?" she asked, quietly. "About where you came from, that is. O-or... wanna save it for later? Or never?"

    She scratched her cheek a bit awkwardly.

    "I'm not trying to pressure you, I just figured out it might help to talk and--- oh!"

    Something in the distance caught her attention, and she patted Vier on the shoulder to get her attention.

    "Look, it's Caleb after all!" the bluehead exclaimed, pointing to the top of the path. "Like I told ya!"

    Indeed, looking ahead, Aleen's intuition seemed to have been right.

    There, at the top of the path, where the overlook must have been, was the familiar sight of a beanie and rose-colored hair. Caleb was there, visible just barely, and his eyes were sharply focused onto the scenery ahead. Clearly he was just working on one of those paintings of his again, having come here to get some inspiration... though for some reason, he didn't seem exactly happy or relaxed. If anything, he seemed to be in a bad mood, his hands moving the brush with harsh, frustrated movements.

    "H-huh... is he talking with someone?"

    Aleen's second question was also to the point. From the looks of it, Caleb was either muttering to himself... or having a conversation with someone that the girls didn't yet see.




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

    "The ammo? Of course~! Right over here!"

    With a proud grin (it looked like Colt's words about her being both a genius and a maniac had made her practically walk in the air), Frauke headed over to one of the shelves and pulled open a large metal drawer. From inside, a veritable wonderland of ammunition goodness was revealed. Clearly marked boxes of handcrafted slugs, all made for Die Zauberflöte and just for Die Zauberflöte. However, while normally Colt would have seen each differently-colored box be that of a different ammunition maker, this time they were all marked with a symbol and a word... a strange word. Fire? Lightning? Sanguine? Azoth? What even were half this stuff?

    "Slugs for each elemental type those strebern at Prague have discovered so far, hand-made by yours truly," Frauke explained, puffing her non-existant chest with pride. "Of course, since they're such rare commodity, that'll be $20 a pop... but they're guaranteed to pack a punch, and are effective as Hölle against those weak to that element."

    Tris, who had been listening in on the conversation and admiring the guns on her own (though she didn't seem to get their allure - instead she just stared at them with slight confusion as to what they were supposed to even do) walked over to the shelf where Frauke was showing off the ammunition and let out a quiet whistle. She then elbowed Colt softly to the side to get his attention, and nodded towards the boxes.

    "T'art truth in what she speaketh," she said. "'Tis a clear feeling of elemental affinity I felteth in these things... art they possibly containingeth an artificial soul to achieveth such strength?"

    Frauke simply grinned mysteriously, flashling those pearly whites of a shark with full pride.

    Still, while Colt was pouring over the possibilities that came with the ammunition, the owner of Das Thulewerk glanced back towards the wall of guns... and especially the revolver that had been separated from the rest by it's own protective box. A frown came over her face momentarily, and she folded her arms against her chest, glaring at the thing.

    "As for that, well... it's a replica. But not in the sense that you'd think. It's a replica of an Arcana Relic, a Treasure Device. Of a terribly powerful gun from my homeland... or rather, it's ammuniton. Seven Bullets of the Devil, each one guaranteed to find its mark and hit what you want... but also bring you to ruin. For you see, all the bullets must be shot, and they will be, even if you try to avoid it," Frauke explained, her voice far more serious than before. "And when you shoot the last bullet, it will take what you love the most and cast you down into the pits of Hell... so far into the despair, that you'll never find your way out. For the first six bullets are guided by your wishes, but the last one belongs to the Devil."

    For some reason, the workshop felt cold now.

    Like there was something terrible in the air.

    Frauke turned towards Colt, her eyes holding within them a storm, and her voice now booming.

    "For it is the bullet of Samiel - The Black Huntsman. And so be it - By the gates of hell. Tomorrow he or you."

    Silence reigned.

    One ended, eventually, by the sigh of the small shop-owner.

    "... I do not sell it. I loan it for those who are desperate and in need of power. The last owner was a young girl of this town, years ago... when I had just arrived here," Frauke concluded. "The freeshooter, they called her, ironically... But guess it was in her blood. For even her name was Remington."




    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Faculty Office
    Phase: Evening Phase (THU)
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "Geeze... you really like him, huh? If you keep this up I'll start thinking he's some kinda superhero, not a school principal. Saving those in trouble, starting a school for troubled kids, having people praise him while making a face like that... what a scary guy. What's next, he's also an award-winning action movie star?"
    Ronja Leuzinger blinked in surprise... and then, completely uncharacteristically of her, huffed loudly and turned slightly away from Prushka in her seat. There was something odd, almost like a bit of redness on her cheeks, and she coughed very matter-of-factly and loudly into her balled fist. Then, as if to calm herself down from whatever was happening, she took the cup of coffee (though the whole cup was quivering) and brought it to her lips, sipping at it loudly and almost angrily before slamming the whole thing back to the table.

    "W-what nonsense! He's just our employer, and that's it. I have no further personal feelings towards him, and even suggesting it would be ridiculous. If anything, I have far more to say in regards to his bad habits than his good ones. Like that overbearing positivity, or those numbskull ideas of his, or the way he thinks that his stories are the most interesting thing in the world, or how he laughs way too loudly, or, or..." Ms. Leuzinger spoke, sounding rather high-strung all of a sudden. "... B-bah, fact of the matter is, he's nowhere near as praiseworthy as you might think!"

    Suzana Costa let out a loud snort and rolled her eyes... though luckily it seemed that Ronja had failed to hear this, because otherwise she might have tried to strangle her coworker right then and there. Having survived this retribution, the blue-haired teacher looked at Prushka, and the cup of coffee in her hands... and wiggled her eyebrows a little while glancing at Ronja in a meaningful way.

    "Well, setting Mr. Oceandrop's good and bad sides aside..." Suzana spoke, smirking like a cat. "I did indeed bring the beans from my home. I took to raising some and experimenting with them on my off time, and now it's a hobby I can't seem to get rid of. Though... I suppose that you can't really taste the full strength of their aroma, what with having drowned your coffee in sugar."

    She chuckled quietly, taking a sip from her own cup.

    "And what comes to the orphan from Cyprus... I don't think it's our place to tell," Suzana then said, growing a bit more serious. "You should most likely ask Mr. Oceandrop. Or, of course. You could ask the girl herself. Though she's hard to get into a proper heart-to-heart, as---"

    Suddenly.

    The door of the faculty office flew open.

    "H-HIYA PRUSHIE!"

    And for some reason, a completely beet-red Ubon stood in the doorway, sweating slightly.

    The sight was so out of the left field, that even the two teachers had their eyes widened a little bit, like this was the last thing they had been expecting.

    "E-err, you coming? I got the thingie!" Ubon exclaimed, louder than usual. "A-a-and Johnnie's here too, so we're all ready to go! For realsies!"

    Then, as if just realizing the small girl wasn't the only one in the room, Ubon turned her wild-eyed stared towards the teachers.

    "Oh, hi Ms. L! Hi Ms. C!"

    Both nodded warily back, not sure what to make of this.




    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Hypostatic Bar "Noumenon"
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Unknown

    Philoclea smiled, amused.

    "Yes, you could liken us to international waters in that sense. If anything, we are the international waters of sea of unconscious, the part of kollektives Unbewusstes that belongs to no one. It is here that our Master build this little safe haven, in order to guide and strengthen souls that had been caught in similar situations as Master once had, too," the bartender explained calmly. "That, in turn, ties to what Mimesis and Diegesis would have been doing here, were this a normal situation. They are, ah... experts when it comes to forming the potential and experience of oneself, and the strength of one's existence gained from being observed strongly, in terms of emotion, by those around oneself. They used that power to strengthen the person's soul so that they may face the challenges ahead better prepared."

    Philoclea glanced over to one of the leather couches, especially the one that was in the corner. There, a single round table stood as if waiting for someone's return. A single ashtray sat on top of it, with a half-smoked cigar still smoldering over there, and next to it, a large, thick tome lay unopened. Perhaps they were belongings of those two that Philoclea talked about.

    "But, as said, in this case we have been supplanted by another, similar phenomena to ourselves. Perhaps it is the fault of the location? Well, whatever the case, it seems that your soul and potential are already being cared for by another, so there is nothing to worry about," the bartender continued. "As for your other questions, well..."

    Philoclea's eyes glanced towards the exit, and she frowned slightly.

    "Since you came across us while trying to access this door - a door that beheld no secrets or importance, yet you gave it one - I suppose we have become tied to this door in particular for now. I may be able to open other access points in the future if needed, but for now, I think that door should serve us well," she explained. "As for exiting, unfortunately you lack the power to exit at any other time than the exact moment you entered. Such is the nature of untime. To exit in another point in time would take strength you do not yet possess. Our Master might be able to make it possible, but ah..."

    Philoclea's eyes darted around the room. Past the leather couches, past the tables, past the lonely arcade machine and the pinball machine, and straight to a door.

    Door that read: VIP.

    "... Master likes to impose a challenge upon those who would seek an audience. And while it is impossible to die here, and you would simply return here as if nothing had happened, I cannot advice trying that challenge. It is exceedingly hard contest of wills and strength, comparable to the most powerful beings that involved in your world out there," the bartender concluded. "Of course, since you will not lose anything but perhaps your pride if you are that sort, I will not stop you either. If I had to give put it in easily answerable terms..."

    For a moment, Philoclea's eyes howered over at the arcade machine and slightly mischievous smile spread to her face, one reflected from the wine glass she was drying.

    "--- Consider it a slightly unfair bonus stage, meant to test oneself."




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

    Only a couple of minutes later, and the group of Hisa, Pyry and Mercedes had returned to the library proper. The papers and other clues and evidence had been stashed in Hisa's backpack, and right now Pyry was busy shutting the trapdoor and moving the table once more on top of it. Soon enough it didn't even look like anything was out of place, though there was still a slight scent of dust hanging in the air. Luckily this was a library, so that sort of smell wouldn't have been out of the question.

    Once he was done and had settled the tome on top of the desk, Pyry folded his arms and looked over at Hisa (who was currently being accosted by Gradient, who was showing her a book about sports cars she had found from somewhere). The look on the boy's face was rather grim, and he was clearly still thinking about what they had found downstairs.

    "... Think we should really jump straight into interrogating suspects? 'Coerce' isn't exactly a term I like. Especially if there's still a chance that we're missing something, or we might be wrong, threatening someone is just... I dunno. Shouldn't we at least try a sneakier way before?" the blonde youth asked. "I mean, I get that what we found down there suggests there's dangerous stuff going on, but at the same time... hrm."

    He fell silent for a moment, searching for the right words... before finally finding them.

    "I think the biggest problem we have now is the guy who lived there - not the owner of this hotel. 'Cause frankly, he seems like more of a threat. And kind of a lunatic."

    Suddenly, there was a loud snap of fingers.

    Mercedes, who had been pacing around with a frown on her face, looked at Pyry while wearing a rather devil-like grin. She pointed her index finger at the boy like a gun, and nodded.

    "That's it. That's, like, what was bothering me. The fact that the guy was obviously, like, totally unhinged."

    Looks like the starlet had figured something out.

    She walked over to where the rest of the group was, and rapped her knuckled against Hisa's backpack where the evidence was.

    "Both those handwritten papers were, like, to-tally clear about that. No doubt they've been written by the same bag of rage," the actress said. "But the reports about the activities of the McLampets were, like, cold... clinical. Professional. Not overcome by emotion at all. That's what bothered me about it. Cause it can mean one of two things."

    Mercedes lifted her extended index finger up.

    "First... there's two authors here. Like, one writes the reports, one writes the angry messages. The suitcase could've been used to, like, transport the messages from one to another," she explained her reasoning, before lifting another hand and another index finger. "Or two..."

    Her face became serious, and her eyes narrowed.

    "... Our little murderer's got, like, a way to bring down the heat and calm themself. Drugs, meditation, late night TV, who knows... but they can switch between those two modes," she said. "And that could mean they could, like, blend into the populace real easy. They could hide amidst populace and look no less normal than any Joe or Sally. Like..."

    Mercedes glanced upwards, towards the rest of the hotel, and all the people in it.

    "... They could be anyone in this town, and we would have no idea."

  4. #3244
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Canseliet Clinic - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast

    My professional demeanor took a dent at her snort of derision, and I couldn't stop myself from drooping ever so slightly.

    Was this the plight of the working class, to be bullied by white-collar child thieves about their lack of money...

    Truly, Fae were a blight upon mankind.

    Well, whatever.

    It's fine, right?

    It's fine.

    Still, at that look of raw, pleasured satisfaction on the thing's- no, the doctor's face, for a brief, fleeting moment, a silent growl rumbled in my chest.

    That certain look was one I had seen before, and a cavalcade of memories danced in my mind's eye, good and ill both.

    Attachments, emotions, the ephemeral, unsurprising that a creature from the spirit world would disdain actual, physical currency for this sort of exchange.

    It's why I focused on what the dollars represented, but in the end, their value is transient, a stand-in for true barter.

    I suppose I should've taken it as a courtesy she did not simply demand my first-born.

    Perhaps we both know something of diplomacy.

    But I took a slow breath, shoved them into the corner where they belonged during business time, and coughed a bit to clear my throat.

    It wouldn't do to so obviously sound like a snarling animal defending its territory.

    "Yes, Doctor Canseliet, that should be all, thank you."

    My hand had found its way to Kean's shoulder, squeezing slightly.

    I will show you courtesy, Doctor, and I will show you respect.

    This is your household, and I have been invited in, so I will behave myself.

    No matter how much I wish to do otherwise.

    I treasure what few possessions I have too closely, for they were gifts.

    The thing I am most willing to give is something I place far less value on than most people, I think.

  5. #3245
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Frauke put an end to the silence she imposed with a sigh, but Colt’s own silence carried on. Her last words snatched the air from his lungs, the sight from his eyes. All the world that he could see disappeared, leaving only the black revolver with the spiral barrel.

    When that name reached his ears…


    "Whaaat~? You're sulking again? Oh alright, c'mere you..."


    That long forgotten voice trapped in a locked away memory echoed in his thoughts again, for just a fraction of a second.

    Freeshooter. Free. The opposite of whatever he was, caged in this repeated week.

    The boy inhaled deeply, forcing himself to breathe manually. But his eyes stayed locked on the gun.

    “In her blood, huh…?” Colt broke his silence. He stared firmly at the encased gun, behind his eyes was a painful whirlpool of questions. There was so much he should know that he didn’t. He might never get back the things behind that wall in his mind. But there was one thing he was certain of, after putting a crack in that wall. After peering through it, at what he’d lost. “Well, it’s in mine too.”

    If he couldn’t get those things from behind that lock, he would get them from this town.

    He ripped his eyes from the display and turned to the shop-owner.

    “We skipped the introductions, but this is Tristellia, or just Tris for short, and I’m Colt.” Colt’s hand gestured toward Tris as he offered her name, then back to himself. “Sorry to change the subject, but…”

    The words of Frauke returned to his mind.

    'I loan it for those who are desperate and in need of power.'

    “What happened here, in this town, to Remington? To make her need a weapon like that…” The teenager tried to keep a blank expression, but the grim answers he expected manifested in his eyes. In his voice, which felt like it might crack. “What did this place do to my sister?”


  6. #3246
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Common Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Lucille Faraday wishes everything were simple.

    Elaine is not a simple matter, Elise is not a simple matter, and now Alexstrasza is not a simple matter. Truthfully, she wonders if it is right to feel pity for these sorts of scenarios. Seeing Alexstrasza like this, lamenting about the fact she can’t protect what she holds dear—it’s painfully relatable. She understands, but Alexstrasza is undoubtedly a beast that has caused the same sort of agony to many others. Such is her nature.

    Where does she draw the line between redeemable and irredeemable?

    It’s so hard to tell.

    In the end, the only thing she can understand is that Alexstrasza’s affection is genuine—enough to continue rambling about things that should very well be approached delicately, lest the world offer its sort of discretion instead. That sort of unhinged desperation was born of a noble emotion, or so she’d like to think. It was not enough for Lucille to think Cesarina was in good hands, but enough to think that it was better than nothing.

    May the Lord forgive her for what she is about to do.

    “I know it might be impossible for you, but take a moment to reflect, Alexstrasza,” she says. Her tone is calm, like someone giving a lecture, despite the character of her words. “Action without thought is careless. If you act like a headless chicken, you’ll just scare off the person you want to protect, or even worse hurt them through negligence.”

    What is the point of her lecturing someone about these things? It’s merely hypocritical words, from one disgrace to another. But she prays Alexstrasza listens, for the friend she is so dramatically prattling on about. If those words are true.

    “And, if you are going to show off some parlor tricks, mind being discreet? Magicians should make it difficult for people to learn their secrets, you know. They get into plenty of trouble if that’s not the case.” Despite how Lucille tries to play it off as genuine advice, there is an underlying severity to her words. Alexstrasza should know how the world works. If not, then Cesarina has been a dead woman walking from day one, which is not a pleasant thought for Lucille to deal with at the moment.

    Finally, Lucille decides to take Sakura’s offer to leave the room. There is plenty she has to discuss about with her, and her only, and more decisions she will come to regret as the days pass. She owes Sakura a real explanation for the other day.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  7. #3247
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "... Think she's getting herself into trouble? That girl's way too curious and obsessed for her own good..."
    “Of course. I thought that much was bloody obvious, no? With all her Miss Marple antics, I’d be surprised if she wasn’t rummaging in someone's closet, looking for some buried skeleton or another.” Anna’s irritated sigh filled the silence between the two of them for a moment before she continued. “You can’t kick over a pebble in this place without it having some connection to the Turnside, nevermind digging up old secrets from shifty-looking Indians.”

    Though if she was supposed to stay at the Spade Queen…

    “Well, I didn’t see her this morning at the country club, at least. I went over to that place to scope it out, but all I ended up finding were some suspicious-looking military folks. Think she’s here to meet someone?”

    Either way, the presence of the pair in the room was an eyesore. On one hand, dragging the uninitiated into the dealings of the Turnside was always a mess. And if things got out of hand, they would drag everyone here into it. And on the other hand, if that Indian-looking girl was involved with the Turnside, that would mean pulling in another complication in its own right.

    Having a three-way standoff here was… inadvisable, for a multitude of reasons.

    Opening up her mind once more, Anna addressed her familiar who was still a bit behind them in the distance.

    “Any chance you can go over there and make out what they’re talking about? I get the feeling they’ll clam up if either I or Ramia get too close to them.”

    Having finished her brief chat with Sõõrik, Anna turned back towards Ramia.

    “Hmm… how do you think we should do this? Wait for him to finish or the room to thin out and see if we can get close to our brooding pudding-eater while he’s alone, or should we strike when the iron is hot and we still have the chance to unbalance him?”

    “I don’t think things will devolve into a straight-out fight here, what with other people around, so we should be fine, but…” Another sigh and a small shake of her head. “…Can never tell with folks from our side. He might as well decide to take everyone here hostage if we push him about too hard."

  8. #3248
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School – Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon Sĕeklêun
    “E-err, you coming? I got the thingie! A-a-and Johnnie's here too, so we're all ready to go! For realsies!”
    “Ow.”

    Why does his forehead hurt all of a sudden? Rather, why is his hand on his forehead?

    No, wait, this is his fault. He said it just a while ago.

    “Right. Communication. It is important.”

    But, seriously, does she not realize that what they are doing is something the teachers likely would not approve of? Will they be able to open that door unnoticed now?

    In any case, she announced him, so he might as well.

    With hands in pockets, he follows Ubon’s footsteps, leaning over her shoulder to look inside the teacher’s lounge.

    “Yes, it appears I am here as well. Good evening.”

    Prushka sure is taking it easy, even settling down to enjoy a cup of coffee. He hopes she knows a way to get on their original plan without drawing their attention and/or suspicion. John could probably lie his way out of it on his own, but he doubts he can do anything about the two ladies with him. Especially when one of them cannot lie if her life depended on it.

  9. #3249
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart & Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Common Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    My smile remains on my face, pristine and delighted in a way I have not felt since I was a little girl. But then the words come, and then reality crashes into my fantasy like a brick through stained glass. God does not care, but for the suffering of the unfortunate.

    "Zaza..."

    "Whatever you are feeling, whatever worries you, whatever makes you afraid... magic is not going to be the answer. There is no simple solution to stuff like this. No incantation or a magic wand to make it all better just like that. No bibbity-boppity-boo or a pumpkin carriage, not even a glass slipper. I know it is easier to think like there is, but... that is just not how life works, see?"
    Haha. It's a joke, isn't it? A joke, a joke, a joke? It's just a play on words, a delightful misdirection that I didn't foresee, right? It's not really going to happen this way, right? Ahhh, it's my first year all over again. Don't show weakness. Don't hesitate. Don't blink. Don't break. Don't stop. The answer, Cesarina Feroce, is in front of me. The answer is always there, it breathes in my blood, it bathes in my soul, it eats at my mind. Sorcery. Magic. The arcane. What is the response to an arcane danger? An arcane solution. A fabrication to stop it, at all costs. A lie crafted to deceive reality from itself, for that is what it means to be a spellcaster, a wizard, a witch, or whichever of the tens of thousands of descriptors that exist can be utilized to say.

    "I know life can sometimes feel like it is just an ever-repeating hell, like there is some mean-spirited greater force that is out there to make our lives miserable and ruin everything... ahahaha, I sure know how that feels... but you cannot let that feeling win. Life is not in the control of anything, and sometimes... sometimes bad stuff just happens, and we cannot do anything about it," Cesarina continued. "The only thing we can do is to pick up the pieces and continue where we left off, hoping it will not happen again. And do our best to avoid getting into a situation like that thanks to our own actions."
    I smiled through the leak running water across my face, as I looked at Cesarina Feroce, whose ideals - so beautiful and free, so brilliant in their design and yet inherently flawed - have infested themselves in my gut like a blade. It's pierced me through to my core, and I'm horrified by it, by it, by it. I don't want it. I don't want it. I don't want it. I want to laugh in delight and howl in pain, nothing more and nothing less. I want to break and be broken, to carve until there is nothing left to be carved.

    "And even if there is no magic word to make everything alright and sort out your feelings... we can talk through them, alright? Tackle them together. And maybe, just maybe, we can clear up that feeling, make it look so that the world is not just some inescapable prison that is about to end..."
    "Cesarina, I... Th-thank y-you, b-b-but...."

    I was told, when I was very little, that if I was ever in danger, or suffering, all I would have to do is cry for help, and someone would save me. That others were the thing that kept those quintessential 'human' traits inside of you, that without them you vanish.

    What a joke.

    Please! I shout, into a void composed of garbage and sin, Please help me!

    But nobody came.

    If you ask others for help, they will simply leave. If you enforce your misfortune onto other people, they will move on. That is the reality of humankind; this thing I want to be. How can I become garbage? How can I seek, lust, and crave to become the same thing as garbage? What is the purpose, in being 'trash', like the rest of this lot? To flee from danger, to seek refuge in our lack of self, to find abundance in others - is that what it means, this simple falsehood known as 'humanity'? Ahh...

    I'm tired.

    I'm so, so very tired.

    “I know it might be impossible for you, but take a moment to reflect, Alexstrasza. Action without thought is careless. If you act like a headless chicken, you’ll just scare off the person you want to protect, or even worse hurt them through negligence. And, if you are going to show off some parlor tricks, mind being discreet? Magicians should make it difficult for people to learn their secrets, you know. They get into plenty of trouble if that’s not the case.”
    The glancing blow of Lucille's words run through my mind and bring me to a halt. She knows. She knows. She knows. I watch her back as she leaves, knowing that if I had a heart it would beat, beat, beat like a drum, drum, drum. My smile stays pierced to my face as if it was glued there, and I look at Cesarina, with wide, empty eyes.

    "Lucille is right, isn't she?" I said, twirling my hair around a finger as I looked at the video on my lap. "A magician should never reveal her secrets, but one cannot live with only secrets. It is sad, yes? I tire of it. I am tiring of secrets. I am despairing of lies. I am damning of deceptions."

    I smiled, bright and dangerously wide, my eyes glittering in the shadows hidden by the lines of my face.

    "I do not lie. I do not exaggerate. I do not deceive. I simply tell the truth, the truth as it demands to be told."

    I stared into her eyes with a blank expression, unblinking and unmoving as I looked at the girl who was my first friend. Cesarine Feroce was kind. She was dangerously kind. She was a danger to herself, while I was a danger to those around me. It is a difference, a difference of ability.

    People are trash. Garbage. Waste baskets with barely the thinnest pretense of a human feature.

    Who cares if they all die?

    What am I supposed to do about it? They don't care to speak to me, so why must I care to aid them? These small demons with their small troubles and their inconveniences; don't they only strive to damn me? Aside from those at my side, why do anything? If I call for help, does anyone come to save me?

    Of course not.

    Even those that do are only there out of some sick sense of self-satisfaction. To see me again, does the dog even remember? Does she? I can't tell. I can't tell anything anymore. What is the difference between Pinefall and Scholomance? What is the difference between the academy for the elite and the academy for the deranged? I've started to realize what it is.

    Nothing!

    They're the same place!

    Apart from a handful, I wouldn't lift a finger if they were on fire and I could conjure water!

    Who cares about them? Others? Do they care for me? Do they bother with me? Of course not! Other people despise me! So why...

    Why even try anymore...? What purpose does it serve, to debase myself in this way, to let myself fall so far from my height, just to try to be like them? To 'have friends', as I was told? To 'open up to others', as was suggested to me?

    The instant I do, they leave. Is such a thing a surprise? No; my expectations were simply too high. I have to lower them to what one can expect from the wastebin known as 'the human species'. Not even as friendly as the spider that lived in my room! Not as helpful as the man who taught me! Not as creative as the masters of the past!

    Next time~ I hope that the assassin carves out my eyes~ And then eats my entrails and dismembers my thighs~ Maybe forgives me for being alive~

    Lucille was right, this line I am walking along is across razor wire on bare feet. A single misstep and I will die, much like the Moon warned me in advance.

    "Cesarina, do you want to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity?" I asked the girl in a quiet voice, fraught with an emotion I couldn't describe. "To see something truly unique, that can only be viewed a single time?"

    I stared at her with wide, empty eyes, video tape still in my grasp. My heart is fragile. My mind is frail. I hate this. I hate this feeling, this feeling of weakness. Of being treated like I'm glass when my fears are entirely reasonable. Well then, if I'm so 'unreasonable' then I'll just prove it the hard way. I'll prove it the only way I know how.

    Magic is real, because I am real. My soul is stained in spellcraft, my self is written in sorceries. I will teach Cesarina Feroce about the one thing I love more then anything in the world, because she taught me about something she loves. It's only fair, right? It's not selfish right? It's not? Okay! Thank you!

    If my heart could beat, it would pound.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  10. #3250
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Faculty Office
    Phase: Evening Phase (THU)
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronja
    "W-what nonsense! He's just our employer, and that's it. I have no further personal feelings towards him, and even suggesting it would be ridiculous."
    "Oh?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronja
    "If anything, I have far more to say in regards to his bad habits than his good ones. Like that overbearing positivity, or those numbskull ideas of his, or the way he thinks that his stories are the most interesting thing in the world, or how he laughs way too loudly, or, or..."
    "Oho?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronja
    "... B-bah, fact of the matter is, he's nowhere near as praiseworthy as you might think!"
    "Mmhm, I see, I see."

    I have to nod and agree. Any other option, like letting out even the smallest giggle or smile, will lead to certain death. Even Ms. Costa recognizes that, as adorable as Ms. Leuzinger is being right now, it's best to not push things any further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzana Costa
    "I did indeed bring the beans from my home. I took to raising some and experimenting with them on my off time, and now it's a hobby I can't seem to get rid of. Though... I suppose that you can't really taste the full strength of their aroma, what with having drowned your coffee in sugar."
    "E-eh? But, if you don't put in anything it's bitter, right?"

    Adults can drink coffee without cream and sugar? How is that possible? Where did they learn this power?

    And why does it feel like I just labeled myself a child with that comment?

    As Ms. Costa continues on to explain about this mysterious orphan, right before she can say who it is...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "H-HIYA PRUSHIE!"
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “Yes, it appears I am here as well. Good evening.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "E-err, you coming? I got the thingie! A-a-and Johnnie's here too, so we're all ready to go! For realsies!"
    The rescue squad is here!

    "Ah, right!"

    The time just flew by without realizing.

    "Thanks for everything, Ms. Leuzinger, Ms. Costa. We've gotta go now. To do something totally responsible, one hundred percent safe, and not careless or dumb at all. As for that girl you're talking about... if she's who I think she is, then she's not that bad. Or maybe Ms. Avery's pies are just tasty enough to get on anyone's good side."

    I rise from my seat, gently deposit the cup on the table, and skip back around to Ubon and John's sides.

    "Um, one last thing. If I wanna talk to one of you again, or Mr. Oceandrop, like on the weekend or something, where could I find you?"

  11. #3251
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School – Main Building
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    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “Um, one last thing. If I wanna talk to one of you again, or Mr. Oceandrop, like on the weekend or something, where could I find you?”
    “…yes, that is a good question,” John quickly adds, still standing behind Ubon, his head visible over and behind her shoulder. “I have some questions I would like to ask Miss Sae Min after today’s lecture, so I was hoping for the opportunity to meet her outside of classes in the near future, hopefully on the upcoming days.”

    About half of that sentence is lies.

    Only then does he catch the scent of the recently brewed coffee.

    “A pleasant aroma,” he muses. “Colombian?”

    He is probably wrong—no, he is almost definitely wrong, considering the nationality of one of the teachers in the room, but the purpose of that question is, of course, not the satisfaction of curiosity he utterly lacks. He is attempting to diffuse the discussion, to make the waters a bit murkier, to perhaps push the teacher’s thoughts away from “what are these three up to?” by engaging in idle chitchat. Now that he thinks about it, Thailand also produces coffee, does it not?

    “By the way, do you drink coffee, Ubon?”

    John idly wonders if Prushka is going to share about this “girl” they have been talking about. Could it be that the teachers are aware of the child in the second floor? Do they see nothing strange or wrong with this arrangement? There is a story here, although it may not be one he needs to know.

  12. #3252
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Hypostatic Bar "Noumenon"
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Unknown


    Quote Originally Posted by Philoclea
    "Yes, you could liken us to international waters in that sense. If anything, we are the international waters of sea of unconscious, the part of kollektives Unbewusstes that belongs to no one. It is here that our Master build this little safe haven, in order to guide and strengthen souls that had been caught in similar situations as Master once had, too. That, in turn, ties to what Mimesis and Diegesis would have been doing here, were this a normal situation. They are, ah... experts when it comes to forming the potential and experience of oneself, and the strength of one's existence gained from being observed strongly, in terms of emotion, by those around oneself. They used that power to strengthen the person's soul so that they may face the challenges ahead better prepared."
    Didn't Muse say that she was formed from our experiences, possibilities, and relationships? It sounds a lot like the same sort of thing. I can't say I've heard of anything like this before though...

    "Huh, that does sound fascinating. Any idea where I might be able to find Diegesis or Mimesis? I'd be curious to learn more about how this whole potential and soul strengthening process works," asked Elise, "Also, do you know what your Master's situation was like? Or is that the sort of story I'd need to hear directly from him? For that matter, how did you end up working in a hypostatic bar?"

    "Anyway~!" Elise grinned mischievously as she took hold of the stem of the cocktail glass and raised the glass to Philoclea, "Cheers! Here's to the seas that belong to no one!"

    Is the sea different from the forest? thought Elise as she took a final moment to admire the mint julep Philoclea had prepared for her, and considered the green mint leaves serving as a garnish, Are they just different metaphors of the same thing, or is there some vast kollektives Unbewusstes world with its own seas and forests?

    Elise took a nervous sip for the glass.

    She paused, and blinked.

    I've had some beer and few bottles of communion wine, but nothing that tastes like this before!

    "Oh, wow! This is incredible!" exclaimed Elise, "I didn't know that anything, uhm, alcoholic, could actually taste this good. Thank you, Philoclea!"

    She took another careful sip from her glass. She shot a glance back towards the leather couch in the corner, and the large tome and still smouldering cigar in the ashtray on the round table before it. It looked almost like the owners of those items had just left, and seemed like they intended to return any minute, rather than having apparently left on a vacation. Of course, given untime, it was possible they could do both.

    So leaving here and arriving at a different time than you left is possible, but not something I can do. Correction: not something I can do yet. thought Elise excitedly.

    She looked up towards the VIP door, and the challenge that Philoclea said lay beyond it.

    "A slightly unfair bonus stage, eh? That's actually kind of tempting, but running in there without my full kit seems ill-advised. Also, from my perspective, I died a few days ago, and even with a safety net, I'm not really in the mood to try that again just yet. Give me a few days. Maybe."

    Elise stared into her drink, and briefly considered the impending doom on the horizon, coming with the storm, as well as that all-consuming light that was her final moments. She pushed that aside and considered another matter relating to Muse, and the forests and seas of the unconscious.

    ...as they walk freely in the Forest of Unconscious, it is only them who could hunt down your lost memories... recalled Elise.

    "Say, from your vantage point out here in the collective unconscious, you wouldn't happen to have noticed anyone wandering around freely out there?" asked Elise.

  13. #3253
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "H-huh, guess that makes sense! Guess that would make Pinefall sort of a luxury hotel in comparison. Huh... never really thought of it that way. Though I suppose it just means that we all come from different walks of life, huh? ... Then again, I suppose we've all only known each other for few days, so it's no wonder we still don't know everything. Even if it's people like us who hit it right off."
    “What, you thought I just enjoyed dressing in old and worn clothes? I would like newer clothes as well too. Probably would still be the same drab color though. I don't think bright colors would fit me too well.”

    I gave a quick joke before smiling lightly. As the silence grew as we walked cautiously through the forest, I started thinking. Yeah… We did hit it off quickly, but then we broke off just as quickly last week. It was just that fragile. All it took was an acquaintance dying and me detaching myself to handle the situation… And the rest was history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "--- Do you wanna talk about it? About where you came from, that is. O-or... wanna save it for later? Or never? I'm not trying to pressure you, I just figured out it might help to talk and--- oh!"
    I thought over it briefly before saying something.

    “Well as you can guess from my accent, I was born in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany. Well I guess that was West Germany at the time. When I was really really young, my parents left me somewhere and never came back. So I ended up being a street rat for a bit until eventually someone found me. Then eventually this place taught me how to survive in the wilderness. I ended up leaving that place after a disagreement in how I wanted to live my life. Until eventually I ended up in Sweden hunting animals for food and rescuing a person or two.”

    In the end I decided to mostly tell the truth. Not the whole truth because a normal person like Aleen would just think I was making it all up. Abandoned as a kid? Okay. Ended up learning how to survive from someone? Okay. Leaving them due to a disagreement? Sounds like your typical teenager rebellion. I might have understated who taught me to survive and who I was on the run from. While technically, I’m not an active threat to Germany and its NATO allies. I’m effectively the equivalent of someone saying a “missing bomb isn’t a threat.”

    “...Well I guess that’s a quick abridged summary of my life. If I really went into detail, I imagine we would be here for a few hours. So just let me know if you do.”

    I paused because I knew Aleen didn’t want to talk about her past. I didn’t exactly talk about my past to try and force her. I just didn’t particularly care who knew my Turnside-washed version of my life. The only dangerous piece of information that I gave was the fact that I lived in Sweden which was the last known location of my 404th Fireteam. I just let the conversation flow. If she picks up, then she picks up if not. Well we're almost at the outlook anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Look, it's Caleb after all! Like I told ya!"
    “I guess you were right after all. It was Caleb.”

    I almost let our presence be known until I noticed that something was off about Caleb Montjoy. Despite this being an opportune place for him to relax and draw to his heart’s content, he was irritated at something. What I didn't know at first but as I took in more and more information my eyes widened once I realized why. This was surprising to say the least.

    Caleb and ???
    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Montjoy
    "... I don't care what they think. After all that bickering and throwing shade at each other, they all needed to get a reality check. If I had to use Ubon to do so, then so be it. Besides, if they didn't hear it from someone like her, they wouldn't have cared."
    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "And did it work?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Montjoy
    "Hmph. Nope. I think they're all still acting like petulent children. As long as they can't look past their personal preferences, past who they like and who they don't, they might as well be running around blind. Something's going on in this town, and that whole lot is just making it more difficult to find out what."
    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "Hah... I think you have a point there. Ha, haha, hahahaha...."


    "H-huh... is he talking with someone?"

    “He’s probably just thinking to himself. I mean do you see anyone out there?”

    Normally, if you don’t see something that’s worth worrying about that’s good right? I tend to think the opposite. If I can’t see something yet I feel like something is there… Something is very wrong. Case in point, Gabi Bahkauv and his mother. Subaru Iburi and her God. Now Caleb Montjoy and Lobo the King of Currumpaw. That's right. I barely managed to make out Caleb Montjoy and the local "watchdog" of the town talking to each other. How are they doing it right now in front of me is a good question. But after Lobo managed to somehow sneak up on me and his casual stoppage of rain "last week", I could only assume it was some stealth spell.

    “Anyways I think we should leave him alone, he doesn’t look exactly the most happy right now. He might’ve gone this way just to get some alone time after all. But if you think you can cheer him up, I’ll follow your lead.”

    If not, I can only hope Caleb Montjoy and Lobo aren't feeling especially bloodthirsty today. Because one of them would be an issue while defending Aleen. Both? At best, I can delay them so Aleen can get away.

  14. #3254
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    “Cars are fascinating, aren’t they,” I mused as I peeked into the book Gradient brought over, “Having to strictly adhere to the laws of the world and still being able to create such things is why science is amazing. The truly deserved fruit of intense work and effort.”

    Quite different from something like magic.

    Where does that work and effort go when you can just practically do anything and create small scale miracles that laugh in the face of laws and rules?

    I observed Gradient quietly as Pyry and Mercedes began to talk, lamenting over their words for a few moments before I decided to speak up.

    “You misunderstood me a bit, didn’t you?”

    My eyes locked onto Pyry first, in an attempt to clear up the confusion.

    “I had no intentions of threatening anyone. I have more refined methods of acquiring information,” I said as I tapped my temple as if trying to make a point, “And while talking to the owner would probably reveal plenty of things, we could as well just look for whom I suspect to be the person who lived down there.”

    My glance shifted to Mercedes;

    “Which is to say...I really don’t want to go with the option that ‘it can be just about anyone’. It’s really hard to get started with that and chances are that we’d just have to wait and see for something to happen. Having to rely on blind luck like that is just...unnerving.”

    Wait and see…

    It was a hard thing to do when one had so little time.

    “At any rate, we can hardly make the next step from here. For now, it would be better to just look for any books. Speaking of which…”

    Taking a step back towards the table, I gestured towards the big book on it with my head.

    “Just the people who’ve checked books out, and the books in question are already sort of interesting. Especially since Vier is on the list too…”

    After a moment of hesitation, I looked at Pyry again;

    “And Angelica as well.”


  15. #3255
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Canseliet Clinic - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Mm, alright~"

    The inhuman doctor hummed at those words, and watched with that creepy smile as Kean sat back down, his agitation and confusion dissipated by the hand on his shoulder.

    "Let's have a look at you then, darling..."

    With that, the Dr. Canseliet set aside the clipboard she had been writing on, and scooted closer to the bed with her chair. Her other hand patted that side of the bed, inviting 17 closer, while the other reached out for some sort of... tool... from the nearby drawer. It looked like a mix of an otoscope and a stethoscope, with a little bit of microscope sprinkled in. Not only that, but it was made from some sort of argent yet colourless metal, and was apparently very light despite it's relative size, judging by how easily the doctor handled it. While humming some unknown tune, Dorothy then leaned in closer towards 17 (who was looking rather weirded out right now) and whispered something...

    Elaine could feel the hair at the back of her neck stand up, and her skin rise into goosebumps.

    What was this?

    Some sort of incantation?

    No, this almost felt like...

    ... Magic as language?

    --- Well, whatever it did, it didn't seem to be harmful.

    If anything, 17 just started to look a bit drowsy, and suddenly followed the doctor's nonverbal gestures to a T, turning her heard so that the inhuman expert could take a closer look inside her ear. From there (and after sanitizing the tip of the tool), Dr. Canseliet moved to the mouth, then the eyes, then fingertips, then the upper torso and even tested the girl's arm strength.

    The only time the humming came to a halt was when she took a look at the scar on 17's back. The sound stopped, and for a moment, a look of something like anger or rage flashed in the eyes of the aloof doctor. It was cold and it was old, like the rustling of leaves outside in a harsh wind.

    "... This is why I can't stand you humans," Dorothy muttered, tracing the line of the scar gently. "How you can treat your most precious creations this way I will never be able to understand..."

    Eventually however, the doctor tore away her eyes from the scar, and glanced towards Elaine. Her expression was back to normal, though her attitude still remained (surprisingly enough) on the more professional side.

    "Most of her current health issues come from the fact that she's been extremely malnourished. Almost as if she's been drip fed for years, and as if her muscles have been artificially stimulated and massaged in order to avoid atrophy. Her growth is, shall I say, extremely stunted..." the woman spoke, narrowing her eyes a bit at the blonde. "Where did you find this girl... and do you know how old she is?"




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “What happened here, in this town, to Remington? To make her need a weapon like that… What did this place do to my sister?”
    The reaction was not immediate. Frauke had been assembling some of the boxes of ammunition to the table for better viewing. However, as she listened to Colt's words, as she processed them, her movements became slower and slower, until the point that they had stopped completely. She remained in silence, her eyes turning towards Colt as if she was having hard time believing what she was hearing... or if she didn't want to believe it. However, there was no stopping what was already happening, and eventually Frauke's eyes were locked to those of Colt.

    And there was silence.

    Stretching silence.

    With the shop-owner looking at the boy as if she saw him now, for the first time.

    "Your... sister...?" Frauke said, with voice akin to whisper.

    And Tris, watching from the sidelines, held her breath, like she knew that not interrupting was the best thing she could do right now.

    Slow steps took Frauke all the way to Colt, and suddenly the boy found himself accosted by the much shorter woman. She seemed to be studying his face, his hair and his eyes... and slowly but surely, a light of dawning realization lit up on her face.

    "Teufel auch... Now that I look at you... it's like you're a spitting image of her. Not in face, but with that fire in your eyes... but how...?" Frauke muttered. "No... no, that's not important. But if you're here, well... natürlich, you want to know of your sister. What went down here, and what caused her... well. I... I'm not the best one to tell the story, but I can tell you as much as I know, anyways. Of the guitar-picking, gun-slinging, free-shooting nature girl of Road's End. A girl who loved this town more than anyone."

    Frauke, brow furrowed and looking more serious than she had been before, walked over to her seat and sat down, heaving a quiet sigh as she did. She recollected her thoughts for a moment, and it was the sort of silence that wasn't easily broken. During that, Tris glanced towards Colt with clear concern in her eyes. The girl must have been unsure if she should have been here to listen to this, and if she was, what she should have done.

    But before she could come to any decision, Frauke started.

    "--- Remington Hartley was part of the last batch of kids who studied at Pinefall, before you lot came. Before that Mr. Oceandrop turned it into the big project it's now, and when it was instead just a small-town high school with not enough students to its name. That's some... what, seven years ago, now? There were ten of the young knuckleheads, from what I remember. Jake, the reliable big brother to everyone. Tommy, the sensitive guy too afraid to tell he was scared when going to rough. Samuel, the brooding oddball and a poet. Rachel, the fiery little princess of the group. Devon, the thoughtful dreamer always ready to help. Nevada, the runt of the litter with lot of anger and to much to prove. Eliya, the strange girl who worldlessly followed everyone around, only making a noise here or there. Albert, the boy with infinite curiosity and not always enough sense to stop before it's too late. Max, the true definition of tomboy and the girl who works as the local ranger these days. Plus those two strange hangers-on they had, and, well..."

    A smile of remembrance, quiet one, spread to Frauke's face.

    "Then there was the leader of that ragtab bunch of kids. The big boss of the rascals, Remington Hartley. Always ready for adventure, always ready for a little trouble, and taking it all with a grin and a laugh. Oh, but don't think she was an airhead or anything. If going got tough, she got tougher. Heh, reminds me... one of the two outsider friends they made was this another girl with silver hair. She was a proud one alright... and thus butted heads with Remington almost every single day," Frauke chuckled gnetly. "But yeah... she was something alright. Full of life, every single day. And she loved this place so much. Every tree, every mountain, every wave."

    The eyes of the shop-owner were directed outside.

    "... From what I remember, she said she wanted to love it enough for both hers and her brother's share."




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “And Angelica as well.”
    At those words, the boy went pale.

    For a honest second, he actually looked shocked enough to go pale.

    Not because he had was especially surprised that their mutual friend's name was found here... but because he seemed to be, just for a moment, afraid. Almost like, for a momen,t that name caused some sort of reaction in him. However, surprisingly quickly he was able to regain the control of his expression, and instead suppressed it with a frown. Frown that was aimed at the book where said names were.

    "... Really? Here? Angelica?" Pyry asked, sounding a bit quiet as he walked over to the book... and after reading the latest page, his eyes went wide. "... Shit. You weren't kidding. And that's not even an old marking... that's a recent one. Relatively recent one. If the rules are as strict as the book suggests, heck... that could have been written like, a month ago. Or even earlier?"

    The boy whirled around on his heels, looking straight at Hisa.

    "Do you... do you think she's here? In this hotel? I-I mean, if she's borrowing books here she... she might be, right? And as an outsider, this would be one of the first places to look for a decent lodging. Crap... we can't just go knocking on every door out there, even if we had the time..." A difficult expression rose to the boy's face, and he began pacing around the room, arms folded. "Maybe... maybe we can do with what you suggested regarding the person living down there. If you could rummage around Rachel's or the owner's brain for just a moment, see if anyone who looks like Angelica has come in. Or... maybe if we distract Rachel at the reception somehow and one of us goes through the books, see who has checked in and who has checked out. You're good at remembering, right Mercedes? Maybe you can---"

    Mercedes silenced the now-rambling youth with her raised hand and frown. Gradient, still near Hisa, glanced at the scarred girl with worried eyes. This revelation had clearly put Pyry off his game for a moment, shaking his usual confidence. Why? Was the thought of Angelica being possibly near enough to cause him to grow panicked? Why was that?

    "Slam the brakes, big guy. Like, don't go charging off just yet," Mercedes responded, rolling her eyes. "I dunno who the hell this Angelica or whatevah is supposed to be, but, like, chillax. One thing at the time. I take it she's someone important, yeah?"

    The last words were directed at Hisa, instead of the boy.

    "Well, setting her aside for the minute..." Mercedes continued after she had gotten her answer. "You're, like, totally right, Hisa. If the person from downstairs's someone who could be anyone, it's almost impossible to search for someone like that, yeah? That's the worst kinda starting point for, like, any investigation. We gotta narrow the playing field. Like, profile this guy. And we got few hints from the writings, yeah. Plus there's also, like, those crumbled journal pages..."

    Mercedes nodded towards Hisa's backpack, before walking over to the tome where the names of those who had visited the library were present.

    "... Now combine that with what you just said. Like, here. See this book that Vier Wolff checked out?" Mercedes pointed to one particular line in the tome. "'Journal of S.'. Like, I don't like believing in coincidences, but... that was definitely unfinished journal pages in that drawer. And S.? That could mean lots of names, but... remember the name we saw downstairs? Снег. That's Russian, and if we put it in Latin alphabets..."

    Mercedes held a dramatic little pause, before a wicked smirk rose to her face.

    "... That'd be 'Sneg.'. Snow. Stars with an S."

    She chuckled a bit to herself.

    "Like, it might be a complete coincidence... but I don't like coincidences. Makes life much harder. Still, whatever it is, it's still just one of the ways we can narrow the playing field," the actress continued. "The other one would be... baiting. As in, like, drawing out a reaction from the culprit that no innocent people would make. And for that we have the perfect weapon or whatevah right there, in your backpack."

    The smirk was now a full-blown evil grin.

    "All we gotta do is---"

    "Nnnnn!"

    Sudden noise from Gradient caught everyone's attention, and the way she kept yanking the sleeve of Hisa's shirt certainly broke the flow of the conversation. When all eyes were on her, the strange girl pointed at the door leading out of the library, and the corridor that laid behind that wooden surface. For a moment nobody could really figure out what had gotten Gradient so agitated... but then they all heard a set of quick footfalls, echoing in the hallway.

    "Is that Rachel...?" Mercedes mumbled, rubbing her chin, before she glanced back to Hisa. "How do you wanna, like, proceed with her?"

  16. #3256
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    “She’s...quite important, though unfortunately I have my doubts about her staying in the hotel,” I explained to Mercedes as I scratched my cheek, “I want to find her as well, but I doubt it would be that easy. Still, if she was around, then Rachel should know, and that’s already a start.”

    As Mercedes kept talking, I rubbed my chin absentmindedly while contemplating her words, before I eventually looked at her with a smirk.

    “See, this is why I said that you’d be a great asset,” I said as the smirk grown wider, “Hardly you could find anyone else who speaks russian for some reason and can make that connection in an instant, among other things.”

    There was a lot more behind that than just common sense.

    “At any rate...that’s easy enough to confirm if we check with Vier. It doesn’t sound too unlikely, considering that he had plenty of time to write something like that... and this being a ragtag collection of random literature, it wouldn’t even really feel out of place.”

    If the guy down there really worked for the owner, then there certainly are plenty of reasons for why that book could be there.

    “Still, that’s not even the only weirdness. Just look at the other people,” I continued as I gestured towards the big book again,” Military catalogs? Afterlife and ghosts? Those physics books? That’s hardly literature for a teenager in a town in the middle of nowhere. Even I wouldn’t read some of that, and it’s kind of my thing.”

    I sighed as I tore my eyes away from the book, shaking my head slightly in disapproval;

    “Really, it just further raises my suspicion about the townsfolk.”

    Before the conversation could go anywhere else, Gradient suddenly started tugging at my shirt - and moments later, it became obvious why.

    “Well…”

    Just like Mercedes said, it was likely Rachel arriving.

    I glanced at the two, then back at the door leading to the stairs.

    “There’s plenty of stuff to ask from her, but we can probably just go in whatever order. So maybe tell her about Gradient first,” I explained as I gestured towards the girl in question, “Then we can ask about Angelica, and whatever else comes after that.”

    “I think that works?” I said, while looking back and forth between Mercedes and Pyry.


  17. #3257
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Canseliet Clinic - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast


    As the doctor moved forward to begin her examination, I patted my now less-rattled looking companion on the shoulder and eased back, observing the diagnosis with some interest.

    I tilted my head slightly at her instrument of choice, recognizing what seemed like a bizarre fusion of a couple of instruments I had seen in my admittedly brief encounters with practicing physicians, then squinted slightly at the material, frowning a bit.

    Hm.

    Must've been expensive.

    What actually raised my hackles was the working she used, some method of magery beyond my glorified parlor tricks and underhanded curses, something natural (or unnatural, rather) and quite old.

    Some sort of suggestion, perhaps. Because the skittish girl suddenly was a bit sleepy looking but acquiesced easily enough to the doctor's direction.

    I grunted a bit, shifting my weight from foot to foot uncomfortably.

    I had never liked mental interference, I doubted if I ever would, but my opinion is secondary, ranting and raving about the sanctity of the human mind, while easy to do for me, was unhelpful to the extreme and would do nothing to further my interests.

    Plus it was a bit rude to go mouthing off when you're being helped, so I remained silent apart from my brief discomfort.

    I continued my observation of the doctor at work, nodding grimly at her arrival at the scarification on her back, something easing in my neck at the sight of what I could see as cold anger.

    It was never right to harm a child.

    Ever.

    I blinked as the doctor turned back towards us, that harsh flash of anger passing as swiftly as a brisk wind in the fall, giving her thoughts crisply and professionally as any physician I'd come to know.

    "Drip-fed, massaged for atrophy, hm," I folded my arms, frowning gently, "Comatose, maybe? Couldn't move very much at least. Stunted growth..."

    My eyes narrowed in thought, tapping a finger against my arm as I followed my line of logic.

    Why had she been there, what were they doing...

    How old was she?

    Formosan...

    "Found her in the woods," I began, "Hiding in a treehouse, must've escaped from that hospital judging by the gown she was wearing, I'd wager they weren't pleased she was gone by the amount of goons they had out in the woods, she only speaks some form of Formosan, bunch of endangered, if not outright extinct languages from pre-Mandarin Taiwan, so, takin all that into account..."

    I shrugged expansively.

    "I'm going to hazard a guess older than what she appears as."

  18. #3258
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    In the end, Sakura didn't take Lucille too far from the common rooms. Instead, after taking a look around the corridors, she decided to make a beeline to the girls' common bathrooms, where the the notion of privacy was much higher than out in the open. After making casually sure that the two of them hadn't been followed, the brunette gave a nod of acknowledgement to her employer and locked the door from the inside, making sure that nobody could accidentally walk in on their little conversation.

    When Sakura turned around, face straight to Lucille, the kind and caring older sister had been shunted aside, along with the fatigue and headache from last night.

    Instead, the cold eyes of a soldier stared straight at Lucille - eyes of someone who had been trained and molded into battle and espionage.

    A Hidden Blade of the Church.

    "... What do you make of that, Milady?" Sakura asked with a quiet voice. "I have been keeping an eye out for few individuals that could possibly be related to the Turnside, but Alexstrasza... she's hard to make heads or tails of. Either she is one of those types that has been kept in isolation from the real world, and grew up wholly on the Turnside and thus, are unable to adjust to the differences... or then her high Drop Distance is not just for show. Ironically enough, I could mark her down either as a lunatic or a member of our side of the world."

    A momentary, dry smirk wavered on her lips.

    "Of course, the line between those two is sometimes non-existent."

    However, after that small bout of humourless humour, the eyes of the Faraday Family's assassin once again gained back their steel.

    "But what interests me the most is the fac that she... speaks of things that I have heard of before. Or rather, very similar things. Things related to yesterday morning, to be exact," Sakura pressed on, bringing up the topic that Lucille knew would be brought up again. "There's some... frightening similarities to what she just said, and what you said yesterday, Milady. At first I was willing to sweep yesterday's ramblings under the rug as something caused by homesickness, or stress, or combination of both along with the new environment but... tell me, Milady."

    Those eyes narrowed, and there was a hint of authority in the tone Sakura used.

    "What is going on in here?"




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna
    “Well, I didn’t see her this morning at the country club, at least. I went over to that place to scope it out, but all I ended up finding were some suspicious-looking military folks. Think she’s here to meet someone?”
    Ramia rubbed her chin... but in the end, could only shrug her shoulders.

    "The only guess I could make is that she's here to actually meet Alex," the dusky-skinned mercenary replied. "After all, it doesn't seem that Alex is pressuring her for answers... if anything, four-eyes is being patient with our intrepid reporter. Either she's the cool-as-cucumber type, or she already knows what to expect from this meeting, and has prepared accordingly. One or the other..."

    Another shrug followed, but this time the vague meaning of the gesture was more clear. Ramia was simply announcing that without getting any closer, without getting an ear in on the conversation, she couldn't say much more. Hence why, after watching the duo a little bit more, the eyes of the mercenary were drawn back to the lone boy, still devouring those puddings. Minato Coastrise had not budged from his seat, staying rooted where he was... and most likely, would stay rooted for quite a few moments more. This allowed the duo of Ramia and Anna bit more time to think.

    Or in Anna's case, give an order to her familiar.

    [I-I'll try my bestest, Boss!] Söörik announced, slowly weaving his way through the dining hall towards the table. [Just a moment here...]

    The natural wards that came with this building, most likely the product of both the native symbols carved into the walls to act as part of the architecture and whatever masonic blessings had been given the foundations themselves, made the little familiar's job tougher than it should have been. Söörik was clearly having hard time navigating in this building, which slowed him down considerably. He had also been on the move for most of the day thanks to Anna's previous orders, and fatigue must have been building up for him.

    ... Most likely the tiny devil was getting to a point where pushing him even further would be risky.

    Fatigued and exhausted, he was bound to make a careless mistake at some point. Miss a beat, miss a step, and then he would be in trouble.

    But for now, as if by a big helping of luck, he managed to get into position, and soon started broadcasting the conversation going on straight into Anna's ear, acting out both parts of the dialogue.

    Conversation between two girls
    Alex: "Um... could you repeat that?"

    Foreign Girl: "It's as I said. We're paranormal investigators. Both me. And my brother. Something wrong with that?"

    Alex: "N-no, none whatsoever... so, the reason why you came to Road's End was...?"

    Foreign Girl: "Confidential. Suffice to say, we are investigating. The incident from couple of decades ago. Boss lost someone there."

    Alex: "That one... what was it? Group suicide? Some sort of cult ritual? A serial murder?"

    Foreign Girl: "We don't know. Nobody does. Or, those who do, don't tell."

    Alex: "I see..."

    Foreign Girl: "Do you know it?"

    Alex: "... A bit."

    Foreign Girl: "Oh."

    Alex: "... A therian cult that toyed with me and my mother spoke of it."

    Foreign Girl: "I didn't ask."

    It was at that point that listening in on the conversation was starting to feel a bit awkward, which was why it was perhaps best to change the subject...

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna
    “Hmm… how do you think we should do this? Wait for him to finish or the room to thin out and see if we can get close to our brooding pudding-eater while he’s alone, or should we strike when the iron is hot and we still have the chance to unbalance him? I don’t think things will devolve into a straight-out fight here, what with other people around, so we should be fine, but… Can never tell with folks from our side. He might as well decide to take everyone here hostage if we push him about too hard."
    Ramia hummed for a moment, mulling over the possibilities. Then, she folded her arms across her chest, and nodded to herself.

    "If it was just me, I'd simply walk over there and sit down at the table. No pretenses, no attempts at being coy or ambush him. If it's a talk we want, best we do it openly with him," she said. "Out in the open like this, it's a situation where we're basically both without one hand always on the handle of our weapons. With so many witnesses, we'd all be in trouble... and that's a good deterrence for any violence. Those acclimated to Turnside hate unnecessary headaches that comes with normal witnesses."

    Afterwards, she grinned somewhat dryly, and looked back at Anna.

    "... But do what comes natural to you. I'll follow your lead. For now."




    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Common Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "Cesarina, do you want to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity? To see something truly unique, that can only be viewed a single time?"
    Silence.

    A long silence.

    Cesarina, still kneeling besides Alexstrasza's chair stared at her friend with a strange expression. It was an expression full of that same worry, filled with that same encouragement that she tried to share with her blonde comrade. An expression of someone who truly, genuinely, wanted to help but lacked the experience and the knowledge to know how to. Indeed, at the end of the day, Cesarina Feroce was still a child. Well, saying she was a child would have been too much. She was a youth, a teenager, and in her short life she hadn't experienced that much, hadn't been put face to face with situations like this so she could have found the perfect words to say.

    So she struggled to find the right answer, wracked her brains as hard as she could, to take some of that great knowledge she had and put it to use here. But unfortunately no amount of theoretical knowledge of machinery and physics could help her here.

    So the gears in her head were left spinning in the empty air.

    Thus, the first thing she did... was the only thing she did.

    And that was when different sort of worry entered Cesarina's eyes.

    "Zaza... I will see whatever you want to show me. If it is important, of course I want to see it if you are willing to share. Though... I do think that in order to be friends, it is not necessary to share all your secrets. Everybody has secrets, even me, but that does not mean I want to share all of them. But that makes nobody a bad friend. Some secrets are for yourself only, and there is nothing to be ashamed about that," Cesarina spoke, her voice now stronger. "So yes, I will watch whatever you want to show me, but... but before that, Zaza..."

    Her eyes glanced towards Alexstrasza's hand.

    "... You need to put that down, Zaza. Please."

    Huh?

    What was she talking about?

    She wasn't looking at the hand holding the videotape. No, Cesarina was looking at Alexstrasza's other, empty hand. With eyes that were glazed over and empty. Wth those eyes, what did she see there? What made her voice sound worried like that, worried as if she was worried for the safety of herself and of her friend? Why, when there was nothing in that hand, had Cesarina looked at it like that?

    It was incomprehensible.

    "Zaza, I... I..."

    Cesarina stuttered.

    "I-I... I..."

    She stammered.

    "I... I... I... I... I... I..."

    Like a skipping record, the sound refused to stop.

    "I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I-"

    No, the sound just kept getting faster and faster.

    "I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I!"

    And when Alexstrasza finally realized that something was wrong, it was already happening.

    "I---------------------------!"

    Repeating that same sound over and over again, Cesarina's eyes rolled to the back of her head and she collapsed into a heap on the floor, convulsing violently. Her arms and legs flailed around uncontrollably, in different directions and with wild speeds, making her look like she was possessed. At the same time, her head kept banging against the carpet and those eyes that showed only their whites were rapidly spinning in her head. Foam started to form at her mouth and spill out of it, like it had been steam from an overheating machine.

    Just like that.

    The moment was broken.

    Just like, out of nowhere... Cesarina Feroce became broken.

    And started violently convulsing on the floor, at the feet of her friend.




    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Faculty Office
    Phase: Evening Phase (THU)
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    Suzana Costa, apparently rather pleased thanks to the interest in her coffee beans, smiled a bit smugly and puffed her chest.

    "Unfortunately, you'd get only half the points for that answer, Mr. Dove," the blue-haired teacher said, adding in a mischievous wink she often used against the boys of the class. "The rest is a s-e-c-r-e-t...❤~! Oh, but if you're ever interested in solving this little mystery, you're more than welcome to join us here at the faculty room. Ronja and I often spend an hour or two here after school, catching up on all the paperwork, and I work my little magic with my coffee... so if it's teachers you want to catch, you'll certainly find us here most days~"

    That playful tone was certainly quite different from what she had used when talking to Prushka. If anything, it was like as if John's appearance had flipped some sort of switch inside the woman, and she had suddenly turned teasing and coy. Prushka, who had been made privy to this being some sort of role the teacher liked to play to break the ice, saw first-hand just how natural and smooth the transition was.

    Of course, there were other people in the room too, and they had not been made aware of this.

    Which was, perhaps, why Ubon looked so unimpressed and frowning when John directed the next question to her.

    "Nope. Can't drink coffee. Would be too much and I'd fly off the handle. For realsies."

    ... Even her tone of voice was dour and curt right now!

    --- Thankfully, Ronja Leuzinger spoke up, relieving the trio of this awkward situation.

    "Well, if you want to speak to us after school, there are few options. As Ms. Costa implied, us two are mostly here after school. I, however, can sometimes also be found in my office. Same goes with Ms. Min and Mr. Oceandrop. They have their own offices where they can be reached in the mornings and after school. The rest vary, but can be often found around the main building unless they have something urgent to attend," Ronja explained. "And if you need to reach us during weekends, our phone numbers can be found there, on the wall. You can call them to arrange a meeting, if you need one."

    There was a hint of sternness in that voice, as well as Ronja Leuzinger's eyes as she continued talking.

    "As you can probably understand, we cannot exactly share where we live that easily. This school is a rather special case, and our Principal has reminded us that for everyone's safety, the personal abodes of the staff should be kept mostly undisclosed. Not because we don't trust you but... just in case," Ms. Leuzinger continued. "There are, after all, times that such information could make a troubled student come into a decision they could regret later."

    An awkward silence fell afterwards... but soon it was brushed away, as a hint of a smile graced Leuzinger's lips.

    "But personally, I think I can let you three know that I live just down the road from the school. In the newer residential area, before the railroad tracks. Just look for the red house on the Maple Street, you cannot miss it," she said, before a mischievous glint appeared in her eye. "Meanwhile, Ms. Costa here is my unwanted neighbour."

    A coffee cup was slammed against the table in protest.

    "H-hey!" the blue-haired teacher exclaimed...

    ... And Ronja actually chuckled in response, hiding the amused sound with her hand.



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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “Anyways I think we should leave him alone, he doesn’t look exactly the most happy right now. He might’ve gone this way just to get some alone time after all. But if you think you can cheer him up, I’ll follow your lead.”
    Aleen chewed her lower lip for a moment, mulling over the choice before her.

    "I... I do wanna hear more about you Vier. Who you are, what you like to do, what you plan on doing after school, dreams, past, all that stuff friends know of each other. I really do. And eventually... I wanna be able to share stuff about myself too. And I know walking around here, hiking, would be a good place to do it, but..." She hesitated for a moment, before shaking her head as if to drive away the uncertainty. "... That's Caleb, you know? H-he's our classmate, and we're here to heal as a group, right? So if he's having a bad day... if he's feeling down... then we should at least try to help him, right?"

    The bluehead glanced at Vier, and a strange sort of smile, both warm and sad, played on her lips.

    "I mean... I'd totes like someone to do that for me," she added. "Wouldn't you?"

    And with that Aleen started marching up the hill, not even bothering to mask her presence or quiet her steps. She simply headed straight towards the boy they saw in distance, with clearly only one thought in her brain. To cheer up a classmate who might have been having hard time. And judging from her expression, Aleen would have done it even if it hadn't been Caleb, the guy she had an obvious crush on. No matter who it would have been out of their class, she would have marched that hill up just the same, resolved to do her best for their sake - at least as much as she could.

    Because that was just how Aleen King rolled.

    Soon enough, the top of the mountain path came visible, and with it, the overlook itself. The view was, as usual, breath-taking. Even with the overcast sky, from here one could see all across the landscape. The mountainous forests that spread as far as the eye could see, the town of Road's End nestled in between, snuggling against the coastline like only a former fishing town would. The steep cliffs that were near the End's Beach, and the beach itself, where the party of last night had happened. The lighthouse with its glinting top, a white giant braving the waves and early morning mists of the area. And then, beyond that, the school that had become so familiar to Vier thanks to the repetition of time, and all the buildings surrounding it. All that and so much more spread out like a three-dimensional map, making it truly a spectacular location to view the town of Road's End and its surrounding areas.

    And at the overlook itself, and the stone sight-seeing platform built on it?

    That was where Caleb Montjoy was.

    And though the other person that had been talking, Lobo - The King of Currumpaw, could have been just covered by the steep incline of the path that Vier and Aleen had been walking... he was, as expected, nowhere to be seen.

    Instead it was just Caleb, with his wooden easel stand set so that he could watch the scenery while painting upon the white canvas that was spread out before him.

    Indeed, a painting had already started to form there. From the looks of it, this time it was an oil-painting, instead of the typical sketches that Caleb had done so far.

    And it certainly was depicting the town of Road's End, surrounded by deep, midnight blue world where no lights, not even stars, were visible. Only...

    Only...

    For some reason, the sky looked almost as if it had been shattered, and something white and luminescent was streaking down from those skies, heading straight into the town and the mountains.

    All while watched by what looked like a strange black shape or a symbol set upon one of the two peaks that dominated the scenery of Road's Peak.

    "Aleen... Vier..."

    Caleb's voice was a bit hoarse as he turned to face the girls, not so much greeting them as he was merely acknowledging their existence. And immediately, it became clear why he was speaking with such a raspy tone.

    Those eyebags and the redness of his eyes...

    Was Caleb suffering from fatigue? And had he been crying not too long ago?

    "What are you two doing here?" Caleb asked brusquely, narrowing his eyes at them. "Can't you see I'm trying to work?"

    Aleen, unprepared for such a curt and rude reply, took an involuntary step back.

    "O-oh, um, that is..."

    The girl could only stammer under the glare of Caleb's tired eyes.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “There’s plenty of stuff to ask from her, but we can probably just go in whatever order. So maybe tell her about Gradient first. Then we can ask about Angelica, and whatever else comes after that. I think that works?”
    Pyry thought about it... and nodded.

    "Yeah. Best keep it to one topic at a time, and start with the biggest surprise," he said, before a smile passed by his face. "And who knows? Maybe reuniting her with an old friend makes her more talkative, like it did with Jake."

    It was certainly a possibility.

    The actress on the other hand...

    Mercedes let out a bit of a nasty laugh, shrugging her shoulders and running her fingers through her hair in her usual, haughty way... though now, having spent some time with the girl, it was easy enough to see that there was plenty of self-irony thrown into the mix. It was like she both believed in her own view of herself, but also made fun of it at the same time.

    "Hah. Like I said, I hate coincidences. That's why I, like, eliminate them whenever I consider theories," she said. "Of course, I'm not, like, saying it's the path to right answers or whatevah - far from it. But it allows moving forward. And even the best theories are, like, always adjusted on the fly. There's only so much armchair detective I can play. Sometimes it's just fun to fly by the seat of my $700 Baby Phat hotpants."

    She punctuated that with a wicked wink and another laugh.

    From the looks of it... Mercedes was beginning to enjoy herself. Even the half-serious, somewhat-confrontational dialogue she kept spinning with Hisa only worked to cause her enjoyment.

    It was a side of the starlet that Hisa had only seen a glimpse during the first week.

    "But you're, like, right. Plenty of suspicious people in there... maybe all worth checking out. And especially those books... well. I don't lie when I say I'm smart, and from what I gather, you and that Italian purse dog are up here in the same leagues. But, like, even if we've got the brains, understanding those books ain't the matter of grey cells... it's a matter of having studied stuff like that for decades. Makes one wonder if he's really borrowing them for himself," Mercedes added quietly, listening to the approaching footfalls. "But there's another thing there. Like, everybody's written where they can be reached or whatevah, right? Well... this Angelica of yours didn't leave that info. So either she gave the owner of the slip and rused him out of few books, or..."

    The handle of the library's door started turning, the mechanism clicking loudly.

    "--- She didn't need to give the info, because the owner, like, knew where to reach her already."

    That was as much as Mercedes was able to say, before the door to the library was swung open with some force, as if to signal the slight irritation of whoever was stepping inside. Though, as it turned out, it wasn't some random person or a whoever, but a rather familiar head of fiery red hair upon the crown of a twenty-something years old woman, looking a bit haggard and like she had been in a bit of an argument.

    Rachel Halloway had arrived, as promised. And when she saw the group that had gathered, she forced out an apologetic smile and raised her hand.

    "S-sorry about that, my uncle decided to be as stubborn as ever so I had to resort to being loud... but eventually even that block of stone gave up," she explained as she entered the room. "Hopefully you guys didn't grow too bored while waiting. Again, my bad, and to repay you I can---"

    That was as much as Rachel spoke.

    Or rather...

    That was as far as she got.

    In a sense, Gradient had been holding herself back rather well during the initial meeting at the lobby of the hotel. She had stuck to the sidelines, keeping her hood up and practically burying herself into the slightly big and poofy hoodie. Of course, she had been staring intently at Rachel the whole time they had been there, practically drilling a hole through that red head with her gaze. She had been like a dog that was shown a treat, and then told to sit and wait until they would earn it.

    So, in that sense, what happened now was somewhat understandable.

    After all, Hisa had said the magic words.

    "So maybe tell her about Gradient first."

    She hadn't specified who should tell Rachel about Gradient. Naturally, the idea had been for either her to take reigns of the conversation herself, or for Mercedes or even Pyry to start it up, and ease the hotel heiress into the revelation.

    But Gradient had other ideas.

    She wasn't going to ease Rachel into anything.

    "MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!"

    Well.

    She was going to ease Rachel into a full-blown football tackle so fast the redhead had no hope of dodging or blocking it.

    "Heuuuuuughhh!?"

    In an instant, Gradient had crossed the small distance from one side of the room to the other and jumped forward, arms spread into something horrifying between a hug and a crash. She struck Rachel's midsection with high speeds, and the momentary expression that rose to the target's face informed that poor Rachel's lunch was most likely trying very hard to escape back up thanks to the impact. However, the momentum of the strange girl was too much, and the two of them were thrown backwards, with Gradient wrapping her arms around Rachel's manhandled midsection as they collided with the floor, resounding thud and crash resonating with the small space.

    In short.

    Rachel Halloway was now laying flat on her back, sprawled on the floor, with all-too happy Gradient hugging her and letting out excited noises of reunion.

    The hotel heiress, on the other hand, stared at the ceiling with her eyes nearly bulging out of her head, and red colour rapidly spreading across her face.

    The countdown to explosion was inevitable.

    Three.

    Two.

    On---

    "WHAT THE HELL IS THE BIG IDEA YOU NINCOMPOOP!? I HAVE GOOD MIND TO SWAT YOU UPSIDE THE HEAD YOU LITTLE---"

    The indignant roar died on the lips of the redhead when her angry face only met the beaming smile of Gradient, a grin that could have melted the heart of most orneriest and brusquest of tough guys.

    "Wha... buh... that's..." Rachel stammered, not capable of producing a coherent sound. "E... Eli..."

    Gradient chirped cheerfully in response, and squeezed tighter.

    Rachel, on the other hand, turned to look at the rest of the group, bug-eyed, and pointed at the girl right now clinging to her body.

    "E-E-Eliya!?" She questioned loudly, as if seeking some sort of confirmation she wasn't hallucinating the whole thing. "What!? WHAT!?"

    Mercedes, on the other hand, was too busy burying her face in her hands to see this.

    And Pyry had nearly doubled over in laughter.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: Canseliet Clinic - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast

    "That would be my guess, yes."

    Dr. Canseliet said that as she lifted one of the listless arms of the sleepy girl, gently touching the muscles underneath the skin like she had been a raccoon washing it's dinner by the river. That disturbing mental image aside, she seemed to know what she was doing, as she eventually let out a satisfied grunt and gently placed that arm back against the body of the sitting girl.

    "It's impossible to say how much, however. Or, at the very least, I would need more time~" Dorothy continued, turning her attention back to Elaine. "To get as close as possible, I would like to check the repetitive nucleotide sequences, her telomeres, for how much they have been shortened. But... unfortunately, I don't think you have the time for something as extensive as that right now. The fact of the matter is, she's most likely older than she appears. By how much... that's impossible to say. Especially if we take existences like our own into account."

    The inhuman doctor gave a much-telling look to both Elaine and Kean and, funnily enough, towards herself.

    It was like she didn't even try to bother acting like a human anymore.

    "That being said... I do remember hearing something, back in the day. Regarding Taiwan and nearby areas, that is..." Dorothy continued, flapping her oversized sleeves with a thoughtful frown on her face. "The former patriarch of this town, that is, Sir Howard McLampet, used to travel those waters back in the days. In human times this would be... the late 1940's, I suppose. Thanks to his influence, some of those ships as they were coming to USA used Road's End as a refueling station and a place to rest. It is one of the reasons why the lighthouse is such a major fixture of the town's landscape. Now, I'm not suggesting this girl is as old as that, but... it's one of the few connections to that area I can think of this town having. Or rather, Sir Howard McLampet having."

    Kean raised an eyebrow and glanced at Elaine... though not because of this strange tale. Most likely, he was wondering about the strange way that Dr. Canseliet referred the former head of the McLampet family with. Sir. A term reserved for knights and those that have been knighted... at least usually. But, even if that was not the case here, one thing was clear... the way this inhuman creature spoke of Howard McLampet, it was clear that she had been impressed by him. Or rather, she spoke of his name with respect. Something that she had not shown once since Elaine had arrived here.

    "But, let's see now..."

    Suddenly, Dr. Canseliet reached forward and caught 17's arm again. This time, she raised it gently so that the hand and its fingers were facing towards her... and then, out of nowhere seemingly, she pulled out a thin and silver-like needle that she used to prick the index finger of the girl. While 17 made no sound of pain, the momentary flicker in her half-closed eyelids told that the doctor really had done just that, as did the droplet of red that appeared to the tip of that finger not soon after.

    Droplet that the doctor then licked away, tasting it like it had been some sort of wine.

    "Oh... oh my... that's a heavy dosage of drugs still running in her system... it's a small wonder the girl can even function as well as she does," Dr. Canseliet said, smacking her lips over and over. "And what's that...? Ice? No... Nerve agents? What is this...? And is her body producing that naturally...?"

    Covering her mouth with her large sleeve, the doctor stared at the drowsy little girl sitting on the bed, and frowned.

    "Just what are you, dear...?"

  19. #3259
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    “That’s what I meant earlier by the ‘thing I wanted to show you’, I guess,” I said as I scratched the back of my head, “Though it came out of the bag earlier than I expected, and in quite an explosive manner.”

    Knowing how she behaved with Jake, I suppose it was to be expected, but somehow it felt like she was even more excited about seeing Rachel. At the very least, that’s what the scene in front of me suggested.

    “We talked to Jake already, so we sort of know the vague outlines of the story. At the same time, I can’t really provide an explanation for why or how she is back after she disappeared, unfortunately. I don’t know that much about her circumstances yet.”

    Talking to someone who was lying on the ground while being hugged and squeezed by an overly enthusiastic girl felt weird somehow.

    “I was just wondering if you could maybe tell us more about the times back then, since Jake was extremely tight lipped about things. Guess he was quite traumatized by the events, but at the same time, not saying anything is hardly any help.”


  20. #3260
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    "Teufel auch... Now that I look at you... it's like you're a spitting image of her. Not in face, but with that fire in your eyes... but how...?"

    Hearing those words it dawned on Colt what Tommy had meant at the diner, that this was not the first time someone in Road’s End was comparing him to Remington.

    "No... no, that's not important. But if you're here, well... natürlich, you want to know of your sister. What went down here, and what caused her... well. I... I'm not the best one to tell the story, but I can tell you as much as I know, anyways. Of the guitar-picking, gun-slinging, free-shooting nature girl of Road's End. A girl who loved this town more than anyone."

    Colt nodded. Then he shifted toward the girl glancing at him. It was obvious she felt out of place, that she was worried the conversation might be a private affair that she shouldn’t be intruding on. It almost looked like she was asking permission to sit on, or to be asked to leave. Or to do something.

    So to relieve her of the burden of that decision, Colt spoke to her in a soft voice.

    “It’s fine, Tris.”

    "--- Remington Hartley was part of the last batch of kids who studied at Pinefall, before you lot came.”

    Those words were meant to make her feel better about whatever she might end up deciding to do, but just as soon as Colt said them Frauke began.

    Jake, Tommy, Samuel, Rachel, Devon, Nevada, Eliya, Albert, Max, two more, as well as Remington Hartley.

    Hartley… it made sense that she might not be Remington ‘Davin’ to some. That must be the family that adopted her. But there were at least a few out there who knew Remington ‘Davin.’ Such as…

    "--- Yer not worthy of Remington Davin's name."

    Hearing Frauke speak so highly of her… Colt couldn’t find it within himself to rebuke that accusation drug out of his memories.

    While Colt capitulated to memories inherited through time, Frauke chuckled at her recollection of his sister.

    "But yeah... she was something alright. Full of life, every single day. And she loved this place so much. Every tree, every mountain, every wave. ... From what I remember, she said she wanted to love it enough for both hers and her brother's share."

    “My share…?” Without thinking, Colt repeated those words. “She remembered me…”

    Colt’s voice got quiet.

    “Of course she did…”

    So only he had his past taken away. Only he had forgotten.

    There were too many things he felt at that realization. Relief, that she hadn’t been made to live without knowing where she came from as he had. Regret, that she’d always kept him in her thoughts while he had lived as though she didn’t exist. But most of all, sadness. That he would never get the chance to share those feelings with her.

    “But if she was so happy here, so full of love for everything in this town, then I don’t get it.” He turned toward the black gun in its case. “What the hell drove her to need something like that?”


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