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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4061
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    The masked girl listened attentively to to the man's points, as well as the reaffirmation that he never really was lying... though well, Vivienne never really accused him of doing that, it was mostly Miss Vandemeel. The latter was also the one who had unwittingly instigated Vivienne to brandish her weapons... yes, when one looks at it in hindsight, the entire situation devolving into this mess was less Orion's fault and more Anna's, though of course, being from the 'future', Vivienne herself had her reasons for 'jumping the gun.'

    "Well that is a valid point, I will clearly conceded that. Trying to whisk me away from my charge without permission is quite outrageous, who would look after her if I wasn't here? Now, I may have been more reserved if Miss Vandemeel didn't honestly reveal herself and if... well, I hadn't heard of her before. Haha~!"

    Her attention shifts to Anna, and she speaks to the classmate that somehow, Vivienne has never had a conversation with before. But even if they had, this wasn't entirely 'Vivienne' speaking, was it? No, it was something far more expressive and bombastic.

    "How was that 'date' with that handsome boy Anna... what was his name, Mitchell? 'Last Week', wasn't it? A certain Winters recommended you to me after she revealed that you were most likely the one who investigated the Hospital the most... thus might be able to shed more light on the involvement of my Mother in all of this.

    Which leads us too..."

    The eyes below the mask turn back to Orion. The azure filled with the flicker of a thousand emotions swarming in an empty sea might be mesmerizing to some, but the voice and body language shows a constance of dramatism, eloquence all infused with playfulness -- as if to make sure the atmosphere isn't too stiff or solemn.

    One would here a silent 'heh' before 'Vivienne' speaks once more

    "To resolve this... divergence in our threefold exchange, following an unfortunate disagreement involving a great, unwarranted usage of hostility to resolve both the fundamental lack of trust and the unintentionally conveyed sensation of threat... I shall endeavor to bring forwards a less equivocal and obtuse presentation of the person here that I represent. Of course, one may attribute a great varying amount of conviction in verifying the veracity of the information I present..."

    ...

    She pauses for a moment, perhaps gauging the reaction of the others, or maybe realizing that she may be having a little bit too much fun. Her body is frozen like a statue, in a rather grandiose fashion that could mirror a ballet dancer's. Her right hand has is lifted up, having been moving around like a maestro's conducting its orchestra. Her feet are spaced and planted, but seem ever ready to move as she continued to lift and lower her heels while talking, no different from a ballet dancer.

    Then, one could hear an inaudible 'ah' escape from her mind as 'Vivienne' appears to gather herself.

    "...there was nothing false or inaccurate in what 'she' said. The girl below this mask truly is Vivienne Bianchi, someone's whose soul was sundered by a... tragically fortunate meeting, if such a thing can exist. She paid the price for someone else, though said price could have been higher! In a sense, she is quite the lucky girl, haha~! But yes, that name might sound familiar to you... is it because it is the one of an actress once bound for greater heights in Hollywood? Oh, or perhaps you have put your own detective skills to good use, and gathered that the same surname crops up when one looks at the names tied to a certain Gottlieb Pharmaceutical company... a company incidentally funding the local hospital! And perhaps the local school too!

    ... at any rate, why Vivienne Bianchi happens to be part of the Turnside is of little importance is it? She came to Road's End to find a 'fix' to the soul problems that are afflicting her... but instead of finding a cure, she only found more trouble. She offered a helping hand to the brilliant Journalist and Detective, Alex Terrot, in exchange of the inspector extraordinaire elucidating the mysteries! Quite a fair exchange if I may say...

    Now, is that enough for you. All of you?
    "

  2. #4062
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru Iburi
    "---- He is... a dugpa!"
    Elise looked up worriedly at Subaru, tangled up in the pine tree, as she mustered up the power to give them a warning about Hsan Kra.

    Uhg. It's my fault you're in this predicament in the first place, Subaru… Not to mention, it's going to take forever for you to get all those pine needles out of your hair…

    "I'm-I'm sorry, Subaru! Don't worry! We'll get you down from there safely!" promised Elise.

    Elise turned her attention back to the target of Subaru's accusatory finger as she considered her warning. Despite still wearing a smile, Hsan Kra seemed rather unhappy about the tree bound girl's accusation.

    Great. The left-hand path implies that Hsan Kra might be into all sorts of dangerous and nasty things. Eugh. Makes one a little bit nervous about what his intentions towards and unconscious girl might have been…

    Elise's frown deepened.

    Then again, Subaru's accusation really does seem to gotten a little under his skin. I'd expect someone who was deep into black magic like that to wear it like a badge. On the other hand, maybe he's just upset about being called out about it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    "But I'm sure we can sit down and talk this out, Mr. Lotus-guy, just a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected with some good words, yeah? Like why you're hangin' around up here, for one?"
    He knocked Subaru unconscious and stuck her in a tree, but he had the opportunity to do far worse than that if he'd wanted to…

    Elise sighed harshly.

    "I'm not feeling quite as charitable as my friend here is," began Elise, with a motion of her head towards Elaine.

    You hurt my friend, you disturbed my "nap", and I haven't forgotten that you're looking to put Vier in the 'naughty corner'.

    "You've certainly made a poor first impression to my friend you put in the tree, and I'm not happy about that at all, but if you want to explain yourself plainly, Hsan Kra, I'll hear you out."

  3. #4063
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen - Cocktail Lounge
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    The story was surprisingly short. It was at once a lot to take in, yet so very little. Having expected nothing, it was so much more than he was prepared for. There were no memories for him to compare it all to. It was a story that he had to believe to be true, so believe he did.

    The moonlit one before him would not lie to him. She, who he now called Lenore even if his mind still thought of her by another name, would have no reason to lie to him.

    It was Colt’s complete faith in her sincerity that caused the boy to feel a reverberating pang of something when the vampire looked upon him with her inhuman sorrow.

    What had happened to him, and why? It wasn’t something she could tell him. Oathbound, beholden to a certain set of rules, one such as her couldn’t simply bypass that promise made to his sister.

    "And that is all that I can reveal to you."

    “Right. I won’t ask again.” He answered her firmly. “Now that she’s gone, I can’t ask her either. But just because I won’t ask you, and I can’t ask her, doesn’t mean I’ll give up on knowing.”

    Colt tapped the side of his head.

    “I can pick this lock, with enough time, and maybe a little help. That shouldn’t be a problem, right? Your promise was between the two of you, not me.” Making clear his intent, he gave her a small, short-lived smile. “I was content before, not knowing that there was something I didn’t know. But now that I know I’m missing something, even if I don’t know what it is, I need to have it. I’m gonna find out what happened here, in this town. To her. And I’ll find out what happened to me, to us.”

    He leaned back in his chair. That small smile that had once passed by his lips was replaced with a neutral expression, one that showed nothing but that the gears in his head were turning.

    “Along the way I’ll sort out the mess in this town too. I don’t know how many ‘second’ chances I’ll get, but I’m need every single one I can get. And I’m not stubborn or conceited enough to think I can do it all alone, I’ll need help,” he thought of the people he could trust. His classmates who were experiencing this week for the second time as well as those who weren’t. Tris, who in his heart he knew needed his help as much as he needed hers. The girl sleeping beside him who he direly wished to keep out of danger. The vampire in front of him, who he owed more than a single life to, a debt he couldn’t imagine ever repaying. “So, with today being Friday, I get the feeling I’m a little on the slow side to get started on all this…”

    His voice trailed off and the small smile found its way back onto his lips.

    “Any advice for this late bloomer?”


  4. #4064
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters & Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Hsan Kra let out a soft laugh and bowed his head a little, spreading those lithe arms to the side as he did.

    "Well, while I do appreciate that you two lovely sweeties are so eager to give me the benefit of the doubt, sometimes things are exactly as they seem," the boy replied, an impish smirk playing on his lips as he faced Elise and Elaine once more. "Warms my heart to see such belief in people, especially in times that are so turbulent such as these, but ah... deary me, what'cha boy to say?"

    Putting one hand on his cheek, he stuck his tongue out for a moment in a playful way. That mischievous glint in his eyes had appeared once more, even though just for a moment - when Subaru's accusation had hit him - he had seemed to become serious. But now it was back to the persona he had displayed before... but somehow, it almost felt like it was backed by something else. Something that had arisen to match the suspicions in Elise's mind.

    "Guess I hafta be truthful about it," Hsan continued, raising his index finger. "After all, she isn't wrong - the lass up there..."

    Yet for some reason, his sudden confession sounded more like a joke than anything else.

    "I'm extremely evil. Vile, even~"

    Topped off with another chuckle.

    The situation was troublesome to say the least. Subaru might not have been hurt too badly, but she was still in a bit of a precarious position. Not only that, but this boy didn't seem like the type to freely hand over too much information about his goals... and even what he had said so far could be dubious. If he really was here after Vier, then why had he gotten involved with something that looked to be nothing but trouble? Had he really been simply worried about what he saw and it was all a big misunderstanding by the part of Subaru? Or did he have some ulterior motive after all?

    The boy's motives were as elusive as a reflection on the surface of a tranquil pool.

    "Though, let me correct your overeager friend a little bit... the official term, in this case, would be a weizza - or, a weizza-in-trainin'. So goin' and callin' lil' ol me something as dark as that seems hardly fair," Hsan Kra continued, his smile resembling that of the Cheshire Cat. "Especially since, for once in my life, I'm bein' asked to do something on the side of law and justice."

    He took a step back, setting himself into a stance of some sort that felt... flighty. Fleeting. Agile. His heels were hovering just slightly above the ground, and while he was staying relaxed, something in that poise told of him preparing his body. As if he expected that things could go wrong at any minute, and he would have to be prepared. But at the very least he wasn't making the first move.

    For now...

    "--- Like I told the cutie-patootie here, I'm just passin' by to collect on a certain naughty girl with a scar across her eye," Hsan Kra spoke again, this time looking at Elaine. "She's been up to all sorts of nasty things in the past, and apparently someone thought it was high time she would get her just desserts. So, in a way, I'm just the errand boy here, sent by grocery clerks, ufufufu~"

    That laughter, like that of a fox, was hard to trust.

  5. #4065
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain



    John does not show it on his face, but he is somewhat confused. It turns out the woman who has clung to him like a face-hugger and rubbed herself against him while climbing on his shoulders does concern herself with how others interpret her closeness. This makes absolutely no sense to him. Nevertheless, he must deal with this situation in a way agreeable to everyone, while remaining true to the behavioral patterns characteristic of “John Dove.”

    “Ah. Do excuse my lack of awareness, Ubon. I will strive to be more mindful from now onwards.”

    Good enough.

    “To compensate, I will aim for closeness only with Aleen King for the rest of this outing.”

    You just said something colossally stupid, his mind complains. It sounds like a combination of Elaine Winters and his cousin Evelyn for some reason.

    “That was a joke,” he quickly ‘clarifies’, because he is an idiot.

    From Caleb Montjoy’s later expansion on the matter of his dreams, the first thing that comes to John’s mind is that he has omitted the key component that is Muse. If Caleb’s visions were connected to John’s shared experience with Winters, Vandemeel, and the others, then Muse would definitely come up. By this point, though, the fuzziness of Caleb’s experience (if he is not faking it) suggests this is a wholly different thing. Indeed, it would be foolish of John to assume Muse provides the only means to remember the previous loops. Elise Marie suggested as much through her explanation of the separation of body, mind, and soul. Ultravania’s very existence implies he must be open to the possibility of others holding their own grasp on the cyclical flow of time in Road’s End, through different means and varying degrees of accuracy and reliability.

    “Well, if you do not remember much, then there is nothing we can do about it,” he comments. An internal ESPer or an oneiromancer might be able to help, but there is a major dearth of either at this table. “I don’t know if you ever intend to share this with Vandemeel, but I do not believe her the type to make fun of you for such a thing.”

    John Dove is lying. Anna Vandemeel would most definitely tease and make fun of Caleb for something like this. However, she would also recognize it for the suspicious phenomenon that it is, and treat it accordingly.

    Well, the objective of this outing was to improve the general mood of these three. In that regard, John can at least claim a modicum of success. At least they are no longer sprawled on their chairs, moping like pets waiting for their owners to return home. Anything beyond that, he should count as a bonus.

    “Well, we’ve talked about Caleb’s unusual dreams and Inacio’s little bar outing. Do you have any mysterious or interesting events this week to share with us, Miss King?”

  6. #4066
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    I kept my calm, genial smile in opposition to his catlike one, even as my eyes narrowed at his slow droop into a ready stance.

    Careful there, buckaroo. I'm in a nasty mood.

    "Ironically," I noted, "That description isn't exactly the most helpful, if I had a nickel for every time I ran into a scar-eye girl, well, I wouldn't have enough money to buy anything decent. Maybe a gumball, so, friend, afraid you'll have to be a little more specific."

    I stretched my legs slightly, refusing to rise to his bait, "What's exactly this girl done, anyway, Mr. Errand Boy? Gotta be a big deal to send a baby wizard-saint all the way to the ass-end of the northwest, y'know? An' 'Just Desserts', eh? What's that supposed ta' mean? Forgive me for sayin' this, Mr. Man, but you're suspicious as all hell, and while you're being quite the gentleman in helping our Miss Elise up out of the muck, you have tossed little Subaru and her little friend up a tree. So I feel it's a fair enough exchange."

    I had only the barest of associations with Vier Wolff, I did not particularly like her. I thought she was a snotty bitch who liked to be passive-aggressive and territorial about what she was looking into.

    That being said, that didn't mean I'd go ahead and sell her out to some weirdo from who knows where.

    "At the very least, if this scar-girl's a danger, I feel it'd be good for all of us to know, lot of people here who could get hurt."

    That being said, I won't tolerate another wolf in girl's clothing.

    I could barely stand the one.

  7. #4067
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Manor
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Watching Gradient inevitably elicited a chuckle as I reached out and patted her head.

    “What are you even doing?”

    It was more of a rhetorical question, but then it’s not like I could expect a proper answer from her in the first place.

    Really, I should try to do something about that sooner or later. At this point, I can hardly bother Elise or Lucille with such things, but if there’s no time for that, then I would have to take the opposite approach. However she was wired, it was a possibility that she wasn’t disallowed from speaking english, it’s just that she couldn’t. In which case, teaching her may or may not work. Though…

    Wait a second.

    Sakura is here too.

    Maybe she knows enochian as well?

    “That’s...”

    The line of thought came to a halt though at the words of Pyry and Allene, and my attention was back on the more apparent matters.

    “T-that makes almost too much sense. How did I not think of that?”

    Glancing around the room again, it certainly clicked.

    “Though, there are some issues with that. For one, it’s your room now, so scouring through things would be a bit rude. It’s also getting a bit late, and we’ll have to return to the dorms eventually…”

    Least I was sure that was the case. The passage of time was certainly somewhat hard to guess in here.

    “Meanwhile, I’m...not sure if Josie would be as welcoming and cooperative as you. Not to offend your friendliness, or her in any way. For that matter, until now, I was quite convinced that the McLampets were sorta shady, considering how they wanted to suck up to the previous owner of your name, who wasn’t exactly the nicest figure, according to the rumours at least.”

    How much does she know though? Our chat earlier was interrupted way before we could get to that topic, and now we had even more on our hands.

    “That said, you wanted to say something earlier too, right? Anything on your mind?”


  8. #4068
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain

    "Hmm... McLampet, huh? Must make this thing old..."

    Hawthorn's words are nothing out of the ordinary, carrying the same sense of general smug confidence as they usually did. However, with the revelation that had been written on the paper, the atmosphere around the table had completely changed. While the aforementioned man was holding onto the pencil case, his back had straightened just a bit and his ears twitched, making him look more alert than ever. Fyrtio, who had been munching on those cookies like there was no tomorrow, missed a beat or two... but resumed eating them, trying her best to act as if everything was natural.

    "Mhm, must be. The last time any of the McLampets were attending school must have been... couple of decades ago, at least," Fyrtio answered, her voice as stern as usual, but with a new hint of steel to it. "Where did you say you found this again, Liana Skye?"

    When it came to these two, their reactions were controlled, but even so, there was ever-so-slight change in their presence, their poise, their readiness for whatever was about to happen. After all, they were people of the Turnside - and that meant they knew things such as moving statues were not out of the question. Moreover, both seemed to have a good understanding of what it could mean if the statue of Ms. Dot F. Loonwaters starterd walking on its own.

    It promised nothing good.

    But as for the third person present...?

    "That is quite the find indeed, my dear. You have sharp eyes - as sharp as my own," Agent Ferguson spoke out calmly, with no discernable change to his presence. "I have to say, you might make a good agent of the federal government one day."

    It was as if Scottie hadn't even noticed or read Liana's message... even though he most certainly had. The control he had of his own emotions and own tells was so strong, so complete that he didn't let slip even the tiniest hint that he was surprised, worried or anxious. Instead he just sat there, same as ever, slowly sipping on his whiskey and continuing the conversation like nothing had happened.

    "That being said... this is interesting enough stuff that shouldn't we, perhaps, show it to everyone? Your employer aside, Mr. Hawthorn, I remember you telling me about his daughter... Miss Sierra, was it?" Ferguson asked, eyes glancing meaningfully towards Liana. "I bet she's alone and bored out of her mind on a rainy evening like this. Inviting her to join our group might do good for her, perk her up a little bit."

    The message hidden there was clear.

    They were in a group, and in a sense, a group brought with it a sense of safety. But there was someone in this large building who was completely alone and defenseless... especially defenseless now that the shadow of the statue outside had started to move.

    And that someone was, of course...

    --- Sierra Pinkerton.




    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Dreams are just dreams, kid. As long as you don't let them be anything else, you'll do fine."

    Saying that, Billie set the glass she had been drying aside, and turned around, starting to arrange the bottles on the shelf. The tense atmosphere in the room started to dissipate a little bit, and Carrie heaved a little sigh of relief under her breath - turning back towards her glass now that the situation had passed. Even Xandra, who had been keeping a close eye out on everything, eased up a little bit and returned to her drink of choice. In other words, the barrier that Prushka had been pushing against, causing it to bend, slowly settled back to its original position... and the door stayed close.

    But just as things seemed to return back to normal, with no progress having been made...

    "... That being said, you're not the first one to talk like that. To want to put to sleep that which might be awake already," Billie suddenly said, without looking at Prushka. "I remember two kids who used to say the same thing. Remington Hartley, of course, and then that friend of hers... the Outis's kid - Angelica. The one who used to live near the western end of the town, down the street from the hospital."

    To the outside, it might have looked like the bartender was just talking irrelevant things, recounting tales that had no connection to anything important - and so did her tone of voice also suggest.

    But it was clear to Prushka that there was something more to this.

    "The latter especially... she tended to go on and on about these caves she found. Guess it had something to do with that map Tommy has. Something to do with the old Klallam people who used to live here," the muscled woman continued. "Not that I'd know anything more, and with the parents dead and the girl gone, it's not like anyone could ask her - unless they were brave and stupid enough to break into the old Outis house."

    Was that a suggestion? A warning?

    ... Both?

    Before Prushka had the time to ask anything more or even think about it further, however, she suddenly felt something soft touch the top of her head. At the same time, Ahti had started leaning forward ever so slightly. And now that she gazed upwards... yep. The boy had dozed off, soft sounds of sleepy breathing echoing between his lips. Guess that short nap he had back at her room hadn't been enough.

    ... That being said, he certainly was a weird one, using Prushka's head as a pillow while sleeping as he was sitting.

    Guess some people could sleep anywhere, huh?




    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen - Cocktail Lounge
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Advice, huh...?"

    Downing her glass, the tiny woman set it aside and steepled her fingers while leaning her elbows against the counter. She gazed into the darkness of the lounge, falling quiet for a moment. Perhaps those crimson eyes saw there something that Colt didn't, or perhaps she was simply going through the many, many memories she must have accumulated over all the years she had lived. How long had she even lived? Just how long had a creature like this been a part of the world? Or was it, like her words suggested, that she wasn't exactly a thing with a life-span like humans, but something more... something who's view of time differed greatly from that of humans?

    Who could even say?

    Would even she be able to?

    Whatever the case, after that bout of quiet, Lenore finally continued.

    "'Tis a difficult question you ask, but I shall do mine best to advice you. For now, I have a clue for you, time three. Mayhaps it will speed you on your way to the truth, or perhaps it will only serve to confuse you more... but that is a risk we have to take, right?" She asked, turning to Colt with a hint of an impish smile playing on her lips. "Thus, first of all, moppet... you would do well to meet the man who hung about the lobby earlier today, the one in the company of mine... familiar. He is a federal agent, here to investigate the death of one called Elizaveta Vyraj - a body that washed upon the shore not too long ago. 'Tis a simple guess of mine, but he may be someone you have been searching for."

    Having said that, the short-statured vampire leaned back in her stool and stretched, letting out a satisfied grunt like that was more befitting an old woman than the youth she sported with her physical body.

    "As for clue number two..."

    She lifted two, long-clawed fingers to show to the boy.

    "Everything has a cause - ne'er forget that, bantling. If something mysterious, something dreadful happens, and if tragedy strikes, remember... someone or something caused it. Things do not merely happen on their own accord. Search for the culprit, and the mess that is this closed-off week may start to unravel itself, finally," she spoke. "Howdunnit, whydunnit, and of course, whodunnit... those are the three parts that make up a mystery, make up a crime. How something was accomplished is an obvious question. The reason for the crime is a trickier one, but never forget - if something happens, it was done for a reason. Someone achieves something with this crime, or it serves their ends in some way. A crime is hardly ever the end goal, but merely a necessary act to gain something or make something happen. Find the one who can benefit from such a crime... and you may have your whodunnit - your criminal. The one who caused the mystery in the first place."

    And then, finally, the third finger rose.

    "--- 'Tis the last piece of advice, but the most important one, so pay heed," Lenore concluded. "People and beings of all sorts... they lie. Sometimes to protect themselves, sometimes to protect someone else, sometimes to mislead you, sometimes to mislead themselves... there is no guarantee that they are truthful when you speak. So while it is good to trust people, ne'er forget that you may have been fed false information, may have been lied to. The easiest way to mask the truth is to simply paint over it with lies. So never take it for granted that someone speaks truthfully to you."

    Then, as if realizing something, the impish smile returned to that regal, lithe face. The vampire reached out and ruffled Colt's hair again, a chuckle bubbling from within her. The mirthful sound was like windchimes in the distance, and for just a moment, she seemed to relax herself and allow herself this one joke.

    "... Of course, yours truly being the sole exception. I'd have no reason or desire to lie to you, bantling," Lenore laughed. "Lies are not a thing that comes to me easily, after all. I bare my all at this world, every night."




    John Dove
    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Mysterious or interesting, huh...?"

    Aleen considered the question for a moment, leaning back on the red vinyl sofa of the booth. She gazed up at the ceiling and the old diner lights that shone there, remnants of the 50's that still somehow lived in this current day and age. The bluehead seemed to actually mull over the question properly, showing a sense of seriousness that wasn't really usual for her. Then again, despite being a bit flightly and a bit airheaded, she still seemed to be a good person underneath her rather standoffish personality, so who was to say even she couldn't have a serious moment or two every now and then?

    At least she was being more serious than Ubon who was currently squirming next to John, looking like she couldn't decide between sighing really loudly or just bonking John lightly on the head with her fist.

    "Well, maybe? Though, uh, I dunno if it's anything worth mention. It's mostly just that... is it just me or is the cafeteria like, totes weird? Like, we barely see the lunch ladies there at all, and this one afternoon I peeked in there to uh..." For a moment, a blush passed by her face. "... light snack, the whole kitchen was just... empty. I mean, sure, they might just go home early, but still you'd expect there to be a person or two there to pack things up for the day or prepare for tomorrow, right? But instead, there was no one. Not to mention, I found this weird... box."

    She patted the table, likely indicating that it had been left on one of the kitchen counters present there.

    "It had this strange logo on top and I couldn't make head or tails outta it. But then I looked at the side, and saw that there was an actual name there," the bluehead continued. "It read 'T4I'... whatever that meant. I mean, the logo was even weirder, with all the symbols just plastered atop each other. Made it look like a stylized version of... I don't even know."

    She shrugged and shook her head, indicating that even she thought the whole thing strange.

    "Think that's weird enough?" She asked, raising an eyebrow at John. "Or d'ya think they're just... I dunno, something forgotten there by the staff? I can't make heads or tails about any medical stuff, so no idea.. Oh, wait!"

    The bluehead snapper her fingers.

    "There was something else written on the box, too!" she exclaimed, suddenly looking a bit more excited now that her own 'mystery of the week' had bit more to it. "See, underneath that 'T41' there was anothe bit of text that read..."

    Aleen held an appropriately dramatic pause.

    "Mjölnir."




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Manor
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "Anything on my...?"

    Allene pondered about that for a moment, before suddenly letting out a bit of a giggle and blushing.

    "T-that was just me thinking about what to wear if we're really heading out tomorrow... o-oh, is that still on? O-or rather, I hope this whole thing didn't turn you off about the idea... oh gosh, I hope it didn't. I mean, those monsters only come out at night, so if we're going to do it during the day, t-then I'm sure we'll be alright!" the girl hurried to say, clearly afraid that the plans they had made earlier had been abruptly cancelled. "Uh, though... I t-totally understand if you're hesitant now. Gosh, I should have brought up the whole monster deal earlier, I'm sorry..."

    Pyry, who had been watching this exchange from the sidelines, cocked an eyebrow at Hisa. However, a natural chuckle then echoed from within the boy and he shook his head, making a placating hand gesture towards the worrying bluehead.

    "Eeh, I wouldn't worry about that. Right, Ougi?" Pyry asked, smirking at the scarred girl. "One or two monsters won't deter us from going outside to have some fun. And who knows, maybe we can tie that into doing some legwork and investigation as well. We've been quite good so far when it comes to combining work and having fun... catching two birds with one stone, so to speak."

    Gradient, who had clearly enjoyed the headpat and was now leaning closer to Hisa in hopes of some more, nodded enthusiastically.

    "That being said... she's got a point. Are you sure it'd be alright if we just looked around the study?" the boy continued with a question. "I mean, it is your room after all..."

    Allene, her fears having been alleviated a little bit (yet looking like she wanted to hear Hisa's answer as well) nodded.

    "Mm, it's alright! All these books are here just gathering dust, and it's not like I have that much personal stuff here! Most of my stuff I keep in my bedroom," the bluehead replied, nodding towards the half-open door. "So if it's Howard McLampet's things you're after, I bet they're somewhere around here. And, well... yeah. I know this family doesn't exactly have the best reputation. Lot of... lot of bad things happened in the town a long time ago, and from what I understand, they were our fault. But..."

    With some determination, the red-eyed girl faced those present.

    "... But that just means it's time to change that! If it's something the McLampets' caused, then the McLampets' have to also take responsibility and help fix it!" she declared. "A-and well... don't worry about Josie! I'll talk to her tomorrow, and try to be sneaky about it. I know she's sometimes a bit aloof and cold, but honestly... she's much nicer than she lets on! She worries about this town and the people in here a lot, and, well..."

    With a bit of a complicated smile, Allene stared at her feet while mumbling the rest.

    "... She's doing her best to help me as well, even though she really doesn't know how to."

  9. #4069
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Fio
    "Mhm, must be. The last time any of the McLampets were attending school must have been... couple of decades ago, at least," Fyrtio answered, her voice as stern as usual, but with a new hint of steel to it. "Where did you say you found this again, Liana Skye?"
    "Second floor of the main building, did a bit of... Unauthorized exploration a few days ago."

    She answers truthfully, well aware that it's the sort of story that may label one as a delinquent, but also aware that the key to a believable story is to simply tell the truth to others...

    ---On the part of her fellow Turnside members it was an admirable job, not a perfect deception by any means, but enough of one that she thinks they might just get away with it after all, but Scottie...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "That is quite the find indeed, my dear. You have sharp eyes - as sharp as my own," Agent Ferguson spoke out calmly, with no discernable change to his presence. "I have to say, you might make a good agent of the federal government one day."
    His was perfect.

    "Hah, you think so?"

    She laughs in a genuine way...

    It is, after all, a rather amusing statement to make...

    "Would be quite the thing to add to my resume I suppose, former idol, caretaker, knight, federal agent of the United States Government... Yeah, that could be pretty cool..."

    Would be a step down technically, considering she was already an agent of sorts.

    ---Just operated a bit higher than the federal level, a stressful job in many ways, but she couldn't say it was uninteresting, oh no, never uninteresting.

    She still wanted to know the secret of the Indigo Door after all, of course, such a thing was impossible, because the Indigo Door should never be acknowledged or interacted with in any way.

    ---But there was that curious part of her that wanted to know regardless, of course...

    These things are irrelevant to the current situation, irrelevant to Road's End itself, just the ramblings of a mind that is doing it's best to remain as cheerful and natural as always...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "That being said... this is interesting enough stuff that shouldn't we, perhaps, show it to everyone? Your employer aside, Mr. Hawthorn, I remember you telling me about his daughter... Miss Sierra, was it?" Ferguson asked, eyes glancing meaningfully towards Liana. "I bet she's alone and bored out of her mind on a rainy evening like this. Inviting her to join our group might do good for her, perk her up a little bit."
    ...Especially in the face of this, but she does it.

    "Ah yeah, you're right, she's definitely the type to get bored easy, would probably appreciate everyone's company."

    A perfectly at ease response.

    "Half of my reason for coming here today was to entertain her a bit, and heck, since my cookies seem to have gotten a unanimous glowing review, might as well see what she thinks of em, eh?"

    She stands, chuckling again:

    "It's way too early for someone her age to be going to sleep anyway, staying up late is a proud Friday night tradition~"

    Her gaze moves naturally to Hawthorne, but her eyes shouldn't have to say the necessary message.

    ---Right now.

    ---Let's go get her right now.

    Her other arm slinks down to her backpack where the last plastic jar of cookies (amidst other things) awaits, and...

    "So let's encourage a bit of healthy teenage rebellion against bedtimes, eh guys?"
    Last edited by Airen; May 1st, 2021 at 02:52 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  10. #4070
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "I see... Klallam caves, a map... and you'd need to be brave and stupid, huh?"

    Billie, I don't know what you're feeling now. My sixth sense can't reach past the counter separating us, and you're hiding your expression so that it can't be read. All that's left is to guess: What is the meaning behind your words right now? A map, a cave system, those names... Are they a warning? Leads to follow? A history lesson? Pure misdirection to keep me out of trouble? Or perhaps this is the kindness of a stranger who sees the path ahead.

    Yeah, that sounds nice. I'll believe it, then. That this is your kindness towards a nosy, annoying brat.

    Especially since... Angelica. I've not met you a single time. Only through Pyry's memories and Hisa's recollections. You're just a name with no face attached to it. Even so...

    "Angelica Outis sure is a cryptic one. So many steps ahead." Why did you leave behind that message? Did you see me there, in that room, all those months ago? Was there a reason you entrusted that remark to a stranger? Though I guess 'midget' could've been referring to Xylia or Subaru. Then is this, too, a message? Did you see that far ahead? To the rainy day where a midget would walk into a bar and ask some dumb questions? Are you speaking to me through Billie right now, just as you spoke to Hisa through Pyry? "...well, even if it's always raining on some other day, on this rainy day, I'm all out of brave and stupid."

    I can't know. To fully comprehend the mind of someone who exists in the dimension above ours is impossible by normal means. To guess at their intentions would be even more foolhardy. The only one who might understand what Angelica Outis was thinking is Hisa Momoi. And right now she's probably...

    "Ah."

    The sound of Ahti's breathing has changed. As has the pressure on my head.

    I glance up, and confirm it with my own eyes. He looks calm, sleeping like this.

    "Geeze... you went overboard, huh?"

    I reach up and pat Ahti's head. It's a bit awkward now. He's probably really tired. So am I, frankly. It's a miracle the fatigue from last night hasn't hit me. Maybe that rest in the nurse's office was enough. But for Ahti to be so exhausted that he could fall asleep here... is it the opposite? Is he only sleeping because he's finally comfortable?




    "Billie. Carrie. Thanks. It was fun. The drinks and stories were nice too."


    It's about time then. If you're going to sleep, you should sleep in a proper bed.

    "Next time I'll have some stories of my own! This current batch of Pinefall kids hasn't been in town for long, so we don't have much to tell yet... but give us some time. We'll catch up to our predecessors soon enough. And then we'll blast right past 'em!"

    I take out my wallet and start counting bills. It's time to pay the tab.

    "For now, though... Mr. Knight needs some rest."

  11. #4071
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Elise glanced back up at Subaru. Tangled as she was in the branches of the pine tree, it seemed like she wasn't at risk of falling out of the tree any time soon. Not unless she started to struggle to free herself, which seemed unlikely given her current state.

    It'll probably be a bit tricky getting her down safely, but at least she's not in immediate danger of falling out of the tree.

    She looked back over at Hsan Kra, who remained as elusive as ever.

    Vile, even, Hsan? It's hard to take an admission of guilt like that seriously, thought Elise, Then again, just because he seemed to have made a joke about it, it doesn't mean that he wasn't serious. Uhg.

    Elise turned her attention inward as she tried to get an impression of the demon's opinion of Hsan Kra and found it snickering.

    Of course, I'm sure this entire situation is hilarious when you're not the one who has to deal with Shin Hsan Kra.

    She sighed to herself and rubbed her temples.

    [You were paying more attention than I was earlier. Did you catch what happened between Hsan and Subaru?] asked Elise to the demon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Hsan Kra
    "--- Like I told the cutie-patootie here, I'm just passin' by to collect on a certain naughty girl with a scar across her eye. She's been up to all sorts of nasty things in the past, and apparently someone thought it was high time she would get her just desserts. So, in a way, I'm just the errand boy here, sent by grocery clerks, ufufufu~"
    "Sent by grocery store clerks? What did the scar-eyed girl do then? Shoplift a cake?" grumbled Elise, "Ms. Winters is right, if you think your scar-eyed girl is here, and that she might be a danger, this really does sound like something you should tell us about."

    I'm also not terribly keen on the idea of letting some random stranger put a classmate in their 'naughty corner' on flimsy pretenses, and scant evidence.

  12. #4072
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain



    “Mjollneer…? By any chance…”

    Reaching for his ever-present sketchbook, John writes the name of the Norse god’s signature weapon on a blank page.

    “Would this be the proper spelling of the word, Aleen?”

    Even John does not know why he keeps switching between “Aleen” and “Miss King.” Perhaps he is not confident of the proper distance he should put between himself and this girl. By the way, John knows better than to correct her pronunciation of the word—that is just an invitation to mockery and wedgies and all sorts of bothersome things.

    ‘Mjölnir’ and ‘T4I’, and a weird logo, probably belonging to Gottlieb Pharmaceuticals. Naturally, John recalls the morning’s discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    “Saturday…I went into town, had a meeting with the deputy, she’s a friend, mentioned some leads about that doctor who I went and saw ‘yesterday’, this is kind of confusing, and not terribly much about my brother, aside from anything lead to follow up which I was annoyed by, but not too terribly so, went over some stuff we found on the girl, ID card mentioned she was part of some project, done by an MAFB and a T4I, T41, maybe. Called her DDS Sample Case #17.”

    “She mentioned dealings with Taiwan that a Howard McLampet was involved in, so perhaps she’s connected with that sort of thing, but in any case, she confirmed the T41 linkage, referred to a doctor who helped with the recent upgrade of End’s Mercy, a Dr. Suzume Bianchi of Gottlieb Pharma.”
    John has only used the cafeteria at lunchtime. Naturally, he has noticed the scarcity of cafeteria staff, but has not thought much of it—there are not that many students in the first place. However, if an (apparently) ordinary person like Aleen King finds it unusual, then he should consider it such.

    Where does ‘Mjölnir’ fit in all this? It does not follow the usual naming sense of pharmaceutical products. A code name? For the chemical, or perhaps for its intended recipient? From the mythical point of view, Thor’s hammer was not only a symbol of strength, but also a tool for sanctifying or hallowing an object—such as Baldr’s ship—or an event—such as a marriage, a funeral, or an oath between men. In Iceland, Thor’s hammer was represented with a swastika, which is a solar symbol, suggesting that Icelandic Thor was not only the bringing of lightning and thunder (and therefore rain), but also the bringer of sunshine. Whether any of this is related to the label on Aleen’s mysterious box is anybody’s guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramia Ramalsaqr
    “A child held in the local hospital who produces a nerve-agent within her, DDS, T41 and Gottlieb Pharmaceutics, along with Suzume Bianchi…”
    Elaine suggested MAFB referred to ‘Montauk Air Force Base’, but was that really the name of that facility? On the other hand, there are other unknown terms, such as ‘T4I’.

    “That is indeed very unusual and mysterious, in any case. I hope you do not mind me asking a few more questions. For starters, are you confident it read ‘T4I’? Could it have been ‘T41’ instead, for example?”

    And then there is ‘DDS’…wait.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    “As for DDS, John, that was something on girlie's ID Card too, I don't know anything about what it could really be, but SDD is 'Shared Delusional Disorder', Folie à deux, if you prefer the Français. Heh, maybe DDS is the opposite or something.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroto Hatou
    “No. John Dove's yet to exhibit any signs of dyschronometria.”
    …Dyschronometric Delusional Syndrome, perhaps?

    Rather than the meaning of all those terms, the more relevant question is “why was the box there?” If it was indeed a pharmaceutical product, then should it not have been delivered to the infirmary? Unless…it is a substance meant to be included in the food provided to the students. John remembers Lucille Faraday’s words about Sae Min offering her some sort of pill. However, grinded such capsules and mixing them with the food would change the flavor and texture of the meals, would it not? Unless the capsules were some sort of flavorless gel, taking such things into consideration. Furthermore, what would the purpose of this medicine be? Is it meant to remove, or induce some sort of neurological effect, such as dyschronometria? Are these the efforts of somebody using scientific research to fight against a widespread anomaly in temporal perception? Or perhaps the weapons of those creating that very anomaly?

    This is all pointless conjecture; he cannot get anywhere like this. However, it is important to dwell on such things. It is a Vandemeel said—their enemies are not vague figures like the Disembodied Man and ‘Dot F. Loonwaters’. The enemies are definitely concrete, real people, who have created this cage of perception through means either scientific or magical.

    To make things worse, it is already the weekend, so he will not be able to question the faculty on this matter.

    A sudden tenseness of his body brings John’s attention to himself, and he stops to look at his raised right fist over the table. Looking unsure of what he is staring at, John relaxes the hand and lets it fall gently back on the table.

    Was I about to hit the table in frustration…?

    That is unusual—it is not as if John is a stranger to frustration, but he has never been one to express it so…overtly.

    What…is happening to me?

    John does not allow himself to dwell on this any further. He has to go over every single word Aleen King said, and extract as much information as possible.

    “Actually, on what day did you find this box, again?”

    There is a certain discrepancy in something the girl in front of him said. To his knowledge, Aleen King does not know enough to connect ‘T4I’ with Gottlieb Pharma. In that case…

    “Also, what exactly gave you the impression that the box was ‘medical stuff’? Did you manage to look at its contents, or was there some sort of label?”

    After that, he turns to his other classmates, lowering his voice just in case, to keep the conversation inside this booth.

    “I apologize beforehand if I am being overly rude, but may I ask if any of you is currently under medication, or have you entered a medication regime as part of joining Pinefall?”

  13. #4073
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters & Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    As the rain fell over the forested area behind Pinefall's main building, Hsan Kra's eyes scanned both Elise and Elaine, taking stock of them and seeming mulling over a question that had started to form in the boy's mind. Despite his insistence, he didn't seem too keen on escalating this situation or turning it into something troublesome.. if anything, other than the deal with Subaru, he had done quite a lot of talking - as if to placate the two girls.

    Maybe, in a sense, his confrontation with the tiny shrine maiden had been de-escalating a dangerous situation as well.

    "D-do not... do not trust him... his... spiritual presence is... wrong," Subaru wheezed from the branches, still pointing her finger at the boy. "He is walking on the underside of... a path... using a back door to reach something he should... not!"

    Hsan, upon hearing this, clicked his tongue and shook his head.

    "Well, can't say you got me pegged wrong there, lass. Then again... there's more than one way to skin a cat. Or a hare, perhaps, in this case?" He said while giving a mischievous wink to the two girls on the ground. "But very well... sure. While I need to jet in a tick or two, I suppose I have time to explain a little bit. After all, my evil ways know no bounds~! Now that my dastardly plan that I tried to inflicting upon you, Elise, has failed, it's time I weaved a web of confusin' words to befuddle the minds of you both, ufufufu~"

    With that, he put a hand over his face, gazing at the two between his fingers, adopting a strange sort of pose that was rather similar to a Hindu statue.

    ... Clearly, it was just for dramatic flair.

    "--- That scar-eye girl is a killer, you know? Killed a whole lotta people. Not sayin' some of them didn't deserve it, but others didn't," Hsan Kra started. "She killed, and chances are, she'll kill again. And the ones grievin' after those lost are angry, angry lot... with one person in particular extremely angry. See, she killed him... or thought she did. But he lived, against all odds. And now he wants to have a little heart-to-heart with Miss Murderer. And not only that, but she's hardly who she says she is... an impostor is not a wrong word to use here. At least, that's what the fellow that I'm goin' to meet in a bit used to describe her."

    While his tone was flighty as ever, making it seem like he was making light of the whole situation, that look in Kra's eyes... he was dead serious. Not only that, he wanted the girls to know that he was serious. He wanted them to be careful around this person. In other words... he wanted to make sure they took his advice to heart.

    --- Just because he didn't want someone else getting caught in a dangerous problem like this.

    "In other words, that lady's the type to not bat an eyelid before she puts a bullet to the back of your head. No matter if you're her comrade, teammate or even..."

    A cold wind blew through the clearing.

    "... A friend."




    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994
    Weather: Rain

    "Yeah... let's go do just that."

    Hawthorn offered a smug grin, but through it, Liana could see that even he was worried about the young heiress of the country club. Thus, after getting a nod from both Fyrtio and Scottie, the two of them stood up and headed towards the eastern wing of the second floor. Hawthorn knew where he was going, and mumbled something about the offices and private rooms being that way. However, as they walked, his eyes kept - instinctively - darting towards the reflections in the windows. He tried his best to keep his face impassive and without a shade of worry on it, but the movement of his eyes... it revealed all.

    And not without reason. As Liana hurried after the man, she saw, from the corner of her eye, a shadow flitting about the garden, hiding in the dark, dark rain. It moved after them, appearing only for short, scant moments in the beams of light filtered through the massive windows of the lobby. Again, she did not see the actual statue moving, but instead, simply the dark trail it left.

    But that was enough.

    Even Liana could feel the sound of her heart beating fast as Hawthorn threw open the door, and the two of them entered a long corridor dotted by doors on both sides.

    "... Her room is at the far end, right next to her father's office," the man mumbled as he picked up the pace a little bit. "Most of these rooms are for personal guests and the like... even mine is over there."

    He pointed a door at the center of the corridor that they quickly passed.

    "Though... haven't really seen anyone else here, other than myself," he continued. "Might be because I only tend to head out during the night, but at the same time... I dunno. I just have this gut-feeling that the rest of them are empty."

    The footfalls on the cold, waxed floor echoed like distant drums and Liana and her companion hurried on forward. They hadn't actually broken into a run, but the brisk pace they kept as they ventured forward was a sign that worry and anxiety had began to weight on the hearts of both. Whatever the plans of the shadow outside, there was no one more defenseless in this building right about now than Sierra. And if that dark trail of Ms. Dot F. Loonwaters realized that too... well. It was better not to think about it. Best to just forge on ahead and get her to safety as soon as possible.

    ... Or, at least that was the idea.

    However.

    When Hawthorn and Liana finally arrived to her door, they both saw... it was slightly ajar.

    "... That's odd. She never forgets to close the door and the curtains when she sleeps," the man muttered as he pressed his hand against the door. "Because of the nightmares, obviously. So..."

    His right hand reached for his pocket, and grasped something metallic hidden in the folds of his jacket. His eyes then told Liana to prepare herself for whatever may have awaited on the other side of that door. Once both of them had taken half-a-second to mentally put up their dukes and focus on what might happen when the door was opened... Hawthorn finally let out a little grunt.

    "--- Here we go."

    With that, the man pushed the door open violently, slamming it against the wall and stepping into the room with his eyes scanning in every direction.

    At that moment... many things happened at once.

    --- Liana heard Hawthorn let out a surprised sound.

    --- The girl also saw, for a split-second, a completely empty room of a preteen with the curtains having been pulled heavily over the windows.

    --- Then, the sound of shattering glass entered the ears of both... but not from this room.

    --- It was followed by a hysteric scream.

    --- A scream of a voice they both recognized.

    --- Sierra.

    "........!?" Hawthorn cursed under his breath, whirling around on his heels. "The office...!"

    There was no time to hesitate. Without even really thinking about it, Hawthorn bolted out of the room and grabbed Liana by the hand, bulleting down the corridor that continued to the right. There, a lone door sat at the middle of an otherwise blank wall dotted with all sorts of paintings of most bizarre landscapes. But there was no time to pay heed to them. Instead the two investigators rushed towards the office door, a heavy, wooden thing that could have most likely taken few hits from a battering ram and still stood tall. The metal reinforcements suggested as much.

    Just two seconds. It took them all two seconds to reach the door at the breakneck speed that they had accelerated to. On the third second, Hawthorn realized that the door had been locked. Without wasting another fraction, he pulled his hand free from his pocket, revealing a gleaming, white handgun that shone in the darkness of the room. With that same move, he aimed it at the lock of the door and pulled the trigger.

    A massive bang echoed in the corridor, followed by a loud crash as Hawthorn's boot collided with the door, kicking it open.

    And what lay on the other side...

    Was a sight to make one's blood curdle.

    A massive office, befitting of the owner of this place.

    Yet... it was completely abandoned.

    Abandoned save for a single figure at the center of it. A young girl on her knees, staring ahead with fear, terror and desperation written on her crying face. Sierra Pinkerton, who was staring at the state the room was in.

    The massive window that now lay broken, the fragments of glass having rained down upon the girl and the room as a whole.

    The long, winding scars on the wooden desk and the broken chair sat behind it.

    But most of all...



    The crimson veil that the room had been painted with.

    The smell of fresh blood rose to high heavens, and even the rain invading the room through the broken window couldn't wash it away.

    The howling wind was loud, louder than the battering of the droplets hammering away at the interior.

    But even above that, Liana could hear one more thing...

    One, unmistakeable thing...

    --- The shrill laughter of a woman.



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


    Liana Skye: Friendship Rank Raised!









    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Mercedes's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    The clock ticked on.

    The rain outside continued to trickle against the windows.

    The steady breathing of Mercedes West was the only sound that truly entered Lucille's ears as her eyes slowly fluttered close.

    ... The warmth of that hand was real, and the way it gripped back told that the starlet wasn't going to let go. Not now, and not whenever her friend would try to do something that the path she had chosen led her to. Today, Lucille had been on the receiving end of self-sacrifice, and whether or not that had caused something to be shaken within her mind... well, that was only for her to know. Only she knew of her convictions, of the choices she would make, but if she chose a path that Mercedes would deem wrong... the starlet would tell her - and would try to oppose her.

    Because, just like Sakura - the one person who had stood by Lucille through all of her life - Mercedes had seen what road Lucille was walking... and wanted to guide her away from it.

    Because just like Lucille couldn't bear anyone else to get hurt within her watch, there were now others who could not bear for her to get hurt instead.

    And all the while, shadow of a specter, a memory the blonde girl thought she had left behind, lingered - now stronger than ever.

    Yet, for some reason, just as Lucille was about to fall asleep, she saw a picture... a hand-drawn picture.

    Of herself, next to a lighthouse.

    One drawn by Caleb Montjoy.

    ... Whatever happened to that picture?

    And why did she think about it right now, on the cusp of sleep?

    The answer may have been lost, however, as it was at that moment the darkness overtook Lucille Faraday...

    --- And she fell asleep.


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

    Lucille Faraday: Friendship Rank Raised!





    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Both Billie and Carrie smiled at Prushka's words, and the bartender nodded.

    "You kids be safe out there. It's already getting dark, and the rain isn't making things any easier. Looks like it's gonna be a storm this weekend - may be best to bunker down and wait for it to pass," the musclebound woman replied with a hint of a grin. "Dunno how it is back where the lot of you come from, but up here the storms can uproot trees and make the ocean turbulent like a mystery author's mind - so don't go spelunking when the darn thing hits the town, y'hear?"

    Carrie, upon hearing that, let out a little sigh and finished the rest of her drink.

    "I swear, I can't wait for winter. This autumn weather is something else..." she mumbled, rising up from her stool. "Makes me not want to head out since it's just rain, rain and more rain - and hostile winds after any sorry soul foolish enough to venture outside."

    With that, the woman lit up a cigarette and walked over to the beaten-up jukebox, starting to browse through it's selection. Finally she apparently found something as she inserted a few coins and pushed a few buttons. The machinery came alive, and soon enough a record could be seen spinning inside with the help of mechanical arms, getting ready to be played.

    Billie snorted.

    "You wouldn't go outside even if the sun was shining, would you?" He asked. "Rather, you'd just melt on that counter, complaining how hot it was!"

    With that, he turned back towards the group of youngsters who were making their leave. Ahti had achieved some sort of half-awake state, and was now standing next to Xandra who had pulled her jacket on. Though... for some reason the boy had decided to keep holding on Prushka, now carrying her around like some sort of oversized teddy bear.

    Some surprising sides were revealed of the usually stand-offish boy when he got sleepy-drunk, huh?

    "Anyways, you make sure that everyone gets to bed safe and sound, alright?" Billie said to Prushka, before looking at Ahti with a chuckle. "And you, Mr. Knight - better wake up properly when you get outside. You've got two ladies to look after, especially now that it's getting dark! Show some backbone, eh?"

    To the surprise of most around the bar, Ahti replied drowsily, but with clear focus in his voice.

    "Mm, yeah... I'll keep her safe. Promised myself that," he said, and after a little pause, added: "And Xandra, too."

    And with that, the group was off, back towards the rain and the campus grounds that awaited on the other side of town.

    With a song from the jukebox to speed them on their way...



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

    Prushka: Friendship Rank Raised!








    John Dove
    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Some rather awkward glances were thrown about the table, with everyone looking at each other in a sort of sheepish way. And no wonder. The question that John had asked was a rather personal one. Then again, with the group having gotten a little better at interacting with each other, and becoming more familiar with each other, it didn't seem that he had crossed a line this time. And after a bit more of that tense silence, eventually some answers started trickling down.

    Caleb simply nodded, though he didn't go further to specify what sort of medication he was taking. Inacio, on the other hand, shook his head - though judging by the look in his eyes, he had probably thought about it at some point in his life. Aleen muttered something about having to take something to calm down her headaches at times, but whether she meant simply painkillers or something stronger, it was hard to say.

    And as for Ubon...

    "U-uhm..." the cyanhead stammered, looking rather ashamed all of a sudden and avoiding eye contact with the boy next to her. "I... I do take some, um... ADHD medication... Sometimes..."

    Rarely had Ubon spoken with such a tiny voice, or looked so tiny - like she simply wanted to hide herself from John, along with the words she had spoken. Perhaps this was a sore spot that John had accidentally stumbled upon, or perhaps... perhaps Ubon was simply afraid that John would think less of her after such a thing was revealed. And judging by her obvious body language, the latter was most likely the case.

    But before John could properly comment on that, Aleen pushed on - perhaps in an attempt to take the pressure of the other girl.

    "And, uh... lessee... starting from the beginning," she said, grabbing the sketchbook on the table and a couple of pens. "The logo I saw it... looked something like, hmm... like this."

    With that, the bluehead began some furious scribbling... and as it turned out, she happened to be a pretty good artist - though not a trained one. Perhaps she was the type to spend most of her time in class doodling in her notebook? Well, whatever the reason, slowly the logo that Aleen had witnessed began to form on the page, with the girl even using different shades masterfully to bring out the way that the symbols had been superimposed unto each other. Once that was done, she began sketching some letters underneath it, writing out the word she had seen on the box.

    Finally, once she had finished, Aleen turned the sketchbook around so John could look at her handiwork.

    It certainly felt... manufactured. Like it was meant to be almost brand-like.

    "And yeah... I'm pretty sure that's an I?"

    Aleen tapped the picture with her finger.

    "I mean, I didn't see that it had that little hook... ehh, what'cha callit... anyways, that little hook thing that you use to differentiate 1 from I, usually," the girl explained. "So yeah, I'd say it's T4I? Or what, have you seen it before? I-I mean, I could be mistaken, but that does look like an I, doesn't it? Anyways, it was on Wednesday. You know, before the beach party?"

    She looked at both Caleb and Inacio, as if searching for reassuring comments. The boys took a good look at the picture, then at each other, and finally... the simply shrugged. It was rather hard to tell from the picture alone, after all.

    "And, uh... t-the reason why I knew it was medical stuff, weeeeell..." Aleen started, squirming on her seat somewhat suspiciously. "That's, I mean, when I saw the thing, I couldn't kinda sorta help it..."

    Suddenly the girl's head swiveled around and she scanned the diner with her eyes. The other customers didn't seem to pay them no heed, however, and even Avery Walker (currently solving the daily crossword puzzle at the counter) simply offered a small, delighted smile in return. Satisfied that nobody was eavesdropping on the group, Aleen leaned in closer, managing to make herself look infinitely more suspicious in the process.

    At least she continued with a hushed whisper, making sure nobody outside their booth could hear her words.

    "... Well, I had to see for myself, right?" Aleen asked with a tone that sounded like she was trying to justify her actions. "Anyone would get suspicious, right? Right? So, uh, I found these bottles inside, and inside the bottles..."

    She put her hand in her pocket, and when she pulled it out...




    "Were these..."

    She showed something like a capsule in her hand.

    Caleb and Inacio, seeing the strange thing that nearly radiated a mysterious aura, glanced at each other and...

    "--- I'll give you $20 if you take that."

    The rose-haired artist's words caused the musician to roll his eyes.
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; May 2nd, 2021 at 06:19 PM.

  14. #4074
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Library
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Doubt anything else about me that you will, but never doubt my words to the fairer sex.
    Charming.” The eye-roll coming in response from the witch in red was truly something to behold. “There is nothing as trustworthy as a man who goes around telling every woman “I would never lie to you.”, after all.”

    Despite saying that, Anna did not move to engage Orion. After all, her intention from the start had only been to apply mental pressure. To threaten and put him off his game. If she had truly been gunning for a fight as the man was so apt to suggest, she would have struck immediately at the first chance. After all, dragging things out like this only gave him more time to prepare.

    The dropped knife was a nice gesture in theory, but immaterial in reality. She had already been struck by one foe who had been capable of telekinetically controlling his weapon and there was no insurance that the slick-talking man didn’t have more of these knives at hand. No, in fact, at this point she would be more surprised if it was the only weapon he had.

    Based on Orion’s personality, there would be no way he wouldn’t have some sort of alternative way out in mind, on the off chance that everything went to hell in a handbasket. He was nowhere naïve enough to sell her on that particular tidbit.

    Besides…. no-one immersed in the supernatural was truly ever disarmed, after all.

    "How was that 'date' with that handsome boy Anna... what was his name, Mitchell? 'Last Week', wasn't it? A certain Winters recommended you to me after she revealed that you were most likely the one who investigated the Hospital the most... thus might be able to shed more light on the involvement of my Mother in all of this.
    Winters, last week, and Zane. Well, she could definitely see the point that the, now masked, Vivienne was making. While normally she might have complaints about Elaine telling others about her, without letting Anna herself know… well, unlike with the man in front of her, she was willing to trust Winters on this front. She either didn’t have the time or there was a reason she hadn’t told her earlier. Both of which were acceptable explanations, as far as she was concerned.

    The witch in red had used both of them herself, after all.

    “Mhm. Not sure how much I can tell you in addition to what Winters can tell you, but… massive high-tech locked basement complexes with no surveillance cameras, small girls hooked up to ten million tubes and drugged up with suspicious shit, a security force more fitting for a military installation than a hospital, Gottlieb, and all this DDS crap.”

    “More shady shit going on in that place than one can shake a stick at, that much is certain. Wouldn’t be surprised if this dear Patient Zero factored into this some way or another either.”

    One. I'm not in the habit of killing people without reason. Much less acting like an assassin. But if you really want to judge me based on a vile stereotype, then sure, go ahead - be my guest.
    “I have run into a couple of assassins in the past, but I have yet to meet an assassin who killed without a reason.“

    “Money, loyalty, sense of duty, politics, vengeance – they all have a reason of some description. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any need to distinguish them just from your garden variety murderers.”

    “Besides, all stereotypes start from a glimmer of truth somewhere, wouldn’t you say?" A dry chuckle escaped from her lips. "I'll be the first to admit that there is definitely a basis for all the shit they say about mages."

    Again, there was something about his wording that rubbed her the wrong way. Almost as if he was dancing around the topic to stay in the range of “technically” correct for some reason. Instead of just plainly stating, “I am not here to hurt or harm anyone.”, it was all cloaked in obfuscation and plausible deniability.

    It was almost as if it was some internal “logic” or self-imposed restriction that the man in front of her needed to follow for him to function properly.

    His statement would still be correct if he had a reason to kill someone, after all. And there was no need to “act like an assassin” if you were one.

    Even the fingers he held up to emphasize his point, gave off the feeling as if it was a gesture to misdirect and keep them preoccupied. For a brief moment, Anna’s eyes flickered away from Orion and towards the knife still laying on the floor, confirming that it remained still on the ground. Off to the side, Ramia was trying to signal something with her eyes, but what it was and where it was aimed at, Anna couldn’t quite make out. It could have been a signal for her to back down or it could have been a warning towards something. Both were equally as likely. If it was something she had missed, then all Anna could do was rely on Ramia and her sense of the situation.

    “But sure, I’ll bite. As Vivi over there has alluded to… My name is Anna, Anna Vandemeel.” Her tone was casual, but the sharpness in her body language went nowhere. “I presume I don’t need to state my affiliation, right? You’ve seem figured that much out already, based on your words, no?”

    “As for what I am doing here… let's just say, I have a marked interest in unraveling the Turnside mess that this blasted town has gotten itself mired into… and I’d also prefer if my classmates didn’t end up dying willy-nilly to complete Turnside strangers who seemingly pop up from nowhere, eh?”

    “Especially ones who seem to have their finger in the pie around these parts, eh?”

    “But hey, I’m willing to let bygones be bygones. I just have a quick question. Let's say it's to soothe my rampant suspicion and my… desire to turn this into a bloody deathmatch, was it?” Anna’s eyes moved from the curved knife still laying on the floor back towards Orion. “You neither came to this place to harm anyone nor have any intention to harm anyone here at this moment, right?”

    “Just a simple "No, I had or have no intention to harm anyone." will do. No need for anything else or any elaboration.” Anna tilted her head in a surprisingly disarming manner with an amused smile. “You wouldn’t lie to a member of the fairer sex, now would you?”
    Last edited by Mellon; May 3rd, 2021 at 06:39 AM.

  15. #4075
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "..."

    A pair of emeralds glinted in the rain, wreathed in faint shadow.

    "...Sounds like a real piece of bad news, sorry to hear you haven't been able to find her," I commiserated, "Almost seems like the most difficult thing to find whatever you happen to be looking for, but I suppose that's how life is. S'why we got other people to ask, I suppose."

    I found myself smiling, and it felt strange on my face, not quite right, "Course, then if you go and ask someone else, how do you know you got the right answer? Is there even a right answer to begin with at all? What is right, anyway..."

    I mumbled idly to myself, "But ah, let me think, scar-girl, real ice-bitch type, lying liar who lies, pretends even when it's obvious..."

    I scratched my cheek, "Hm, might've run into someone like that in passing, didn't exactly point a gun in my face, but got the distinct impression she would've done it if she could've gotten away with it, we weren't the most friendly. It was up by that rundown old shack on the edge of town, was lookin' into somethin' or other. Probably something to do with that disgusting lying filth-ridden scum-sucker of a ghost who was hanging around there, looking for suckers."

    I shrugged, "Maybe try up there? Might put you on the trail, things of that type tend to hang out together, after all. Or kill each other."

  16. #4076
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain



    What a strange pill. It is as colorless as everything else, but it almost seems to…glow.

    “That does indeed look more like the letter ‘I’,” John idly comments, agreeing with Aleen even if he is not really thinking about the logo anymore. He is all about the pill on her lovely hand right now.

    Looking at it, John comes up with an idea. It is an absurd idea—reckless, potentially suicidal and outright stupid. Nevertheless, it is an idea. From another person, it would seem to be insanity born of desperation. However, it is a plan born of John Dove’s own wicked logic.

    As one of the powerless ones, if he wants to achieve anything, he must be willing to be bolder, more daring. He needs to take even greater risks than those with power.

    Therefore, it was inevitable. The hidden “principle” that pushes John Dove forward does not allow him to turn his back to this unique, convenient, utterly bonkers opportunity.

    Not allowing any of the other four even the chance to think of stopping him, John takes the pill and slips it into his mouth. A second later, he is flushing it down his throat with a helping of Coke. He looks almost pleased with himself when he puts the empty glass back on the table.

    “Thank you very much for your honesty, guys. I asked because I wanted to know if the Pinefall faculty had at any point encouraged you to take any kind of medicine,” he explains as if he had not just done something utterly reckless. “Mister Oceandrop must have a number of sponsors, and the presence of a new, top-of-the-line private hospital right by the school suggests a degree of involvement of medical and/or pharmaceutical companies. We cannot dismiss the possibility that this whole project may also be intended to be an opportunity to test new medicines and therapies.”

    He idly calls Mrs. Walker to request the bill. Assuming the worst-case scenario, he only has about 15 minutes tops before the substance achieves the necessary concentration in his bloodstream.

    “Now, considering that I have consumed an unknown, suspicious substance, and that the school’s infirmary is already closed by this time, it would probably be wise of me to stop by the hospital, just to be safe, wouldn’t it?”

    Yes, this is all the for sake of “an excuse.” Of course, experiencing the effect of the pill also makes for valuable information, but the main objective is “having a reason to visit the hospital at this late hour.”

    An excuse to go to where Alexstrazsa Lockhart and Cesarina Feroce should be.

    “Let us hope it is no big deal and I just end up with twenty extra bucks in my pocket tomorrow. And let me thank you for bringing this matter to the table, Aleen. It could be nothing important in the end, but I believe we all should be aware of this nonetheless. I certainly intend to ask Miss Leuzinger about it as soon as I can.”

    With that, John deems it is time to disengage himself from this meeting. Not before one last thing, though.

    “Now, before I leave, it appears I need to scold the silly girl to my side.”

    Following those words, John turns his body to look properly at the Thai girl who is trying too hard to make herself smaller.

    “Ubon, why are you acting like your words are going to make me look down on you? I mean, you are right to a degree: anything you say or do will offend someone somewhere. But I recommend against being the kind of person who lets such a thing paralyze you.”

    As if to further make his point in the most inconsiderate way possible, the King of Hypocrites, John Dove, flicks Ubon’s temple holding almost nothing back.

    “Besides, why do you even think me the kind of person who would care about something like that? We’ve only known each other for a few days, but I thought you had figured out at least that much.”

    John Dove has been in therapy for the good part of ten years. He is no stranger to extensive medication regimes.

    “I mean, we’re all here because there’s something ‘wrong’ with us. Please give us some credit as fellow ‘misfits of society’.”

    After that, John carefully and elegantly wipes his mouth with a napkin.

    “I guess I should deal with the bill and get going. As the one who extended the invitation, allow me to do the courteous thing and pay for the ladies as well. I place my confidence on Inacio’s and Caleb’s ability to afford their own bills.”

    John Dove has the unenviable ability to be polite and rude in the same sentence.

    “I asked Mrs. Walker for a portion of pie to go; I would be grateful if you take it with you and store it in the kitchen’s refrigerator in my stead. Now, if you want to stay here, I understand—if anything, I would encourage it. It is raining ‘cats and dogs’ out there, as they say. Otherwise…well, I guess we can walk together part of the way.”

  17. #4077
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Elise glanced up at Subaru, feeling increasingly guilty that her friend was still stuck up in the pine tree. She looked back at Hsan Kra and listened to him as he elaborated on why he was searching for the Scar-Eyed Girl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Hsan Kra
    "In other words, that lady's the type to not bat an eyelid before she puts a bullet to the back of your head. No matter if you're her comrade, teammate or even... a friend."
    Elise shivered as a chill wind blew through the clearing.

    "It's a little unsettling to think that there might be someone like that hanging around here. Thanks for the heads up, Hsan Kra, I'll be careful, keep an eye open for this Scar-Eyed Girl, and I'll be sure watch my back."

    Like John said, we're also facing our combined supernatural history. Sounds like the Scar-Eyed Girl's past isn't going to let her get away from it very easily.

    Elise frowned to herself as she considered her own supernatural history, and her recent discussion with the demon.

    I liked to think that all of my problems were in my head, but it seems like they're a lot bigger than that... Someone is hunting us, and we're hunting something... We just don't know it yet...

    She spared a thought for the knight in black on the other side of the board, with whom she was on a collision course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine Winters
    "But ah, let me think, scar-girl, real ice-bitch type, lying liar who lies, pretends even when it's obvious..."

    "Hm, might've run into someone like that in passing, didn't exactly point a gun in my face, but got the distinct impression she would've done it if she could've gotten away with it, we weren't the most friendly. It was up by that rundown old shack on the edge of town, was lookin' into somethin' or other. Probably something to do with that disgusting lying filth-ridden scum-sucker of a ghost who was hanging around there, looking for suckers. Maybe try up there? Might put you on the trail, things of that type tend to hang out together, after all. Or kill each other."
    Elise glanced nervously at Elaine, Yikes. That sounds like a lot of vitriol. Or, rather, Viertriol given the subject.

    "Was that the Ramshack? I'm not sure if I want to believe every spooky story I've heard about the place, least of all the ones about ghosts, but I did hear one of the locals say something about there having been a murder there not too long ago," said Elise worriedly, "Do you think that might be connected to this Scar-Eyed Girl?"

    I knew they bumped into each other at the Ramshack last night, but I didn't think it got that tense. Absolutely appropriate reaction for Michael Lowgate though.

    Elise thought back to their lunchtime discussion, and the plans for their nighttime outing, which included both Elaine and Vier.

    Hm, maybe we should reconsider some of tonight's plans just in case?

  18. #4078
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen - Cocktail Lounge
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    After offering the first piece of advice, Lenore stretched out in her stool, with the dignity and poise of an elderly cat, stuck in the body of a moonlit-painted kitten.

    “The feds are investigating Elizaveta? That’s odd. Most people don’t even remember she exists, those that do seem to be like myself, repeating this week, or a nutty, rich vet who remembers her from ‘Nam…” In the absence left by the vampire’s seemingly satisfying stretch, Colt answered the advice with his own musings. “But man, Hawthorn is with you? I guess, maybe, I can sorta see why he’d be so eager to put a bullet in my skull.”

    A dark night, many moons ago, returned to his thoughts. Colt could still smell the smoke and gunpowder, and the disdain in the voice of the lesser vampire. He had called Lenore a monster…

    Unforgivable.

    Worse even than pointing a gun at his head or any of the other accusations that the older man had leveled at him.

    "As for clue number two..."

    But that could be settled another day, as the archmage called for his attention, and silence, with a pair of raised fingers. His eyes settled in on her nails, claws which glistened with the pale light filtering in through the window.

    Colt nodded along. Howdunnit, whydunnit, whodunnit. The boy wasn’t in particular a fan of mysteries, but he was familiar with the ideas.

    A third finger was raised without giving Colt any room to comment on the second piece of advice.

    "--- 'Tis the last piece of advice, but the most important one, so pay heed. People and beings of all sorts... they lie. Sometimes to protect themselves, sometimes to protect someone else, sometimes to mislead you, sometimes to mislead themselves... there is no guarantee that they are truthful when you speak. So while it is good to trust people, ne'er forget that you may have been fed false information, may have been lied to. The easiest way to mask the truth is to simply paint over it with lies. So never take it for granted that someone speaks truthfully to you."

    Suddenly, the small of stature vampire reached out with a smile Colt couldn’t offer any resistance to and played with his hair, tossing it about and filling the boy with nostalgia.

    "... Of course, yours truly being the sole exception. I'd have no reason or desire to lie to you, bantling. Lies are not a thing that comes to me easily, after all. I bare my all at this world, every night."

    Colt smiled back.

    “You don’t gotta tell me twice. Or even once, y’know. I know you wouldn’t bother with lying to me if you ever had to.” He remembered the mother, a local in this town, that had warned him of trusting too easily. How great the contrast was between her eyes, haunted yet also haunting, when he compared them to those before him, which beheld him with the closest thing he knew to maternal joy. “I always try my best to take everything with a grain of salt. But with this Turnside mess falling into my lap I’ve had to take a few too many things at face value…”

    Saying so, something lit up. A light turned on in Colt’s head, reminding him of something important.

    “Speaking of Turnside messes, uh… you remember that woman who talked to you through,” Colt pulled from his pocket the faded locket. “This? Dr. Canseliet. She uh… I have to pay her for treating a friend, and she’s not interested in money. In fact, all I think she’s interested in is making payment as big of a pain as possible… but anyway…”

    His voice trailed off.

    This was something he was used to. In fact, it wasn’t something he knew how to do at all. Asking a parental figure for something important? How many times had he done that?

    Never.

    “She sorta told me I should ask you about paying her back.”


  19. #4079
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel & Vivianne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Library
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Of all the anal things..."

    For the first time, Orion seemed to showcase some frustration with Anna's mule-headed stubborness regarding his intentions - the boy even rolled his eyes at the last question the witch in red asked her. Then, finally letting his hands fall against his sides, he put them at his hips and shot her a poignant stare.

    "No. I'm not here to hurt anybody. I'm here to deliver information for Barney, a man who I respect," Orion continued, gesturing towards the papers that lay scattered at Alex's feet. "The information that your little friend over there asked for. And no, neither am I here to harm anyone, or painlessly kill anyone either. Unlike you, apparently, I have qualms about just straight up killing people - as any sane person would have. And before you ask, I'm not here to abduct anyone or something else like that either. Though I suppose it doesn't matter how specific I am. Since you seem to be so convinced that I'm just a bad guy here, nothing I say or do here would matter - you would just move your goalposts again."

    Letting out a tiny sigh, Orion lifted his hands and shrugged slightly, as if to say that he was getting a bit tired of this conversation. Then, without any sudden moves but without moving overly slowly either, he bend down and picked up the knife from the ground, slipping it back to the folds of his clothing. Having done that, he turned back towards Vivienne and offered a far more relaxed smile to the now-talkative girl.

    "And that's quite enough. I didn't mean that you should go as far as to divulge personal reasons as to why you're here and such, but I'm glad you trust me that much. I admit I'm not that familiar with the name, but then again, I don't keep up with movies or popular culture in general," Orion said and flashed a momentary sarcastic grin. "Still... I have to say, being this verbose is certainly a difference. Not a bad one, but a difference nonetheless. The whole 'quiet and mysterious' thing was pretty fresh, but I can't say I dislike this side of you either. Though perhaps I best not to follow this line of thinking further. As you said, trying to whisk you away from your charge is pretty bad manners from me, right? Speaking of which..."

    The young man's attention turned to Alex, who was still down on the floor. He squatted down and put on his best peaceful, calming expression as he addressed the reporter.

    "Are you alright there, Miss Terrot? Hopefully all this nonsense hasn't been too much for you to deal with?" He asked. "I know all of this might have come as a bit of a surprise, but, well... you know what they say. It's best not to cry over spilt milk. Or rather, if you are too surprised and paralyzed because of it, you might end up getting trampled in the confusion. So chin up and if you have to, fake it till you make it."

    Alex, surprised that someone was addressing her, blinked at the boy... and finally nodded ever so slightly.

    "A-ahh... yes. U-understood," she said, finally starting to break out from her stupor. "A-and yes, I'm alright, though... I have many... many questions."

    That earned a laugh from Orion.

    "I bet you do. Though I suppose I'll leave that to the good ladies gathered here already," the young man responded and stood up, dusting off his clothes. "I'm not exactly good at the whole introductory spiel to Turnside, so with that..."

    Having said that, Orion gave a little nod to the group of girls in the library - a signal of goodbye - and turned around to leave.

    But before he had even taken three steps...

    "W-wait!"

    Alex Terrot, having had fire finally lit up under her, rose up to her feet and directed and intense look towards the back of the young man. She was clutching some of the papers in her hands, and something in her eyes was starting to feel close to desperation. What was this sudden surge of emotion that had welled up inside her? Did it have to do with what had been written in the notes? Or just something Orion said in general?

    The youth seemed as confused as everyone else as he looked over his shoulder at the report.

    "Yes...?"

    After catching her breath for a moment, Alex's focus intensified.

    "This report... I understand it, more or less. However... what about the other thing?" She asked, sounding more serious than before. "Did Barney have anything regarding that? You know... about Daniel Kincaid?"

    The question hung in the air like some fragile thing, and Orion...

    Showed a rare face that was both stern and serious.

    "I think you already know your answer, Miss Terrot," he answered. "Daniel Kincaid is dead. He's been buried for years. In other words, your lust for revenge... it's all for nothing."

    Upon hearing that, Alex - with a suddenly empty look in her eyes - collapsed against the nearby bookshelf, seeking support from it.

    However, at the same time, Ramia's eyebrows jumped towards her hairline.

    "Kincaid...?" The mercenary mumbled, as if recognizing the name.

  20. #4080
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters & Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "An abandoned shack at the edge of town, and an ornery ghost you say...?"

    Hsan Kra's smile deepened a little bit and he narrowed his fox-like eyes at the two girls.

    "I suppose that is where I shall try next, then. Mind you, while she might not be there herself, as you said, tall, blonde and beautiful, I might catch her trail there. Would be better than nothing, at least," the boy answered in his usual way, relaxing that pose he had adapted before. "I've been runnin' around enough to know that I'm not gettin' anywhere by blindly wanderin' 'round town. So I thank you for the advice, and hope that it bears some fruit as well."

    As the boy switched out of his strange, tantric pose, he relaxed his body altogether - as if dispelling some sort of tension he had been carrying around this whole conversation. And while Subaru's glare from the branches above still was quite intense, he did not let him bother him anymore. Instead he let out a soft chuckle and took a few steps back, making his way back towards the forest where he had come from.

    "And if it were to so happen that I would run into this ghost of yours, I'll see if I can't do anything about it," Hsan added. "After all, if he's the reason to put such wrinkles of stress over your face, sounds like he truly is a no-good son of the devil. Would only be courteous of me since I've been helped out this much by the two of you."

    Then, finally, the violet-haired boy performed a graceful bow that had not a shred of sarcasm to it - just actual respect that was almost at odds with his otherwise shifty personality.

    "Thus, here I think is where our paths will separate. If I were to remain any longer, I'm pretty sure your lovely friend up the tree will regain enough of her consciousness to shoot me with those dreadful arrows of hers," Hsan Kra spoke, chuckling softly yet again. "I must say that it was a pleasure to meet both of you, and while I wish that I had more time to spare, unfortunately I'll have to be headin' to this meetin' with my employer. He's the impatient sort, see. So, ta-ta~! And do be careful out there, it's a dreadful weather in a dreadful little town..."

    Having said his peace, the youth turned around and started towards the forest, light spring to his step and effortless movement coming to him almost naturally. However, at the very last moment, he stopped mid-stride, looked back over his shoulder and locked his eyes with those of Elise.

    And another mysterious grin sprung to his lips.

    "Oh, and to put your mind at ease, Elise, I wasn't plannin' on anything untoward. Vile as I may be, I was simply concerned for a fellow human being," he said... before letting out another 'ufufu~' and continuing. "Well... that and I figured it would perhaps get me in the good graces of a cute girl~"

    He followed that with a wink.

    And then, the young man disappeared into the forest while humming a foreign tune, soon disappearing from the view altogether, as if he had been nothing but a mirage...


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


    Elise Marie Pelltier: Friendship Rank Raised!



    Elaine Winters: Friendship Rank Raised!








    John Dove
    Location: Avery’s Dinner
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Johnnie..."

    While the rest of the group gawked at horror and amazement at the boy's frankly insane move of swallowing the unknown capsule without moment's hesitation, Ubon didn't even seem to properly realize it. Instead she gazed up at the boy, eyes slightly wide at his words. A simple acceptance like that had seemingly shook her at her core. Perhaps the girl carried with her the sort of trauma that wasn't quite clear from the outside. Well, that much was obvious, but sometimes the depth of it was surprising. Extremely afraid to be alone, and terrified of bein ostracized for who she was... beneath the bubbling smile of Ubon Sĕeklêun lay a far more complex creature than many gave her credit for.

    "Mm... y-yeah, I think you're right!" Ubon declared as the group stood up from the table. "You're way too awkward and strange guy to care about that, ain'cha? Yup, that's who Johnnie Dove is! A weirdo guy who puts way more weight on some strange rumoured weirdness than... well... that stuff! For realsies!"

    A giggle bubbling from her lips, Ubon reached forward and grasped John by the arm, intertwining her own with his and clinging onto him in a clearly exaggerated way. That mischievous grin on her face couldn't be mistaken about - she was teasing him, as usual. But in a warm way, that showed just how much she had appreciated those words. Yes, while the girl probably always kept in mind the conversation the two had had about John's emotions and how he operated mostly on logic... it seemed that the cyanhead could still be genuinely thankful for these moments.

    It was such a sight that even Avery Walker was hiding her laughter behind the newspaper, and Aleen (patting the now-even-more flabbergasted Inacio and Caleb on the shoulders) smiled impishly at the scene displayed before her.

    "Yeah, he's quite the guy, that John Dove," the bluehead replied. "Does crazy things like takes a pill who could cause who-knows-what, just to sate his curiosity, devours cherry pie like a champ, and even pays for the girls in his company... man, Ubon. If you hadn't called dibs, I might have gone for that myself~"

    Chuckling in a way that told she was just joking, Aleen walked after the duo. Caleb and Inacio, still shocked from all that had transpired, shook themselves out of the stupor and hurried to pay for their own parts. Afterwards the pie was packed away into a take-out box, and it was the rose-haired artist that ended up having to carry it. However, while those two were scampering after the rest of the group, Ubon and John had reached the exit of the diner with Aleen in tow, and...

    "Come on, boys, hurry it up!" Aleen chuckled as she looked back at the duo. "We've got a daredevil to get to his next destination, you know? Clock's ticking~"

    Continuing with that teasing voice and stare (especially towards Caleb), the bluehead then seemed to have a devilish idea. She reached forward and caught John's other arm, the one not being used by Ubon at the moment, and copied the girl, wrapping her own arm around it. Then she grinned at Ubon while wiggling her eyebrows.

    "Mind if I make use of this, Miss Sĕeklêun? Just till we get to the hospital," she asked in an overly official voice. "I figured our brave adventurer would need some support on the way there."

    Ubon giggled at that, performing a theatrical nod.

    "Why of course, Miss King! By all means!" She replied, before glancing mischievously at John. "I'm sure he appreciates having a flower in each hand~"

    With her position now secured, Aleen looked back at the two boys whose expressions were nothing more than question marks at this point.

    "Come on boys, time's a wasting~!"

    And with that, John Dove was marched out of the diner with Aleen and Ubon wrapped around his arms, both giggling like a couple of idiots who were playing the greatest practical joke of all time.

    What did they even find so funny in this...?


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

    John Dove: Friendship Rank Raised!










    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen - Cocktail Lounge
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "That accursed noble...!"

    For the first time, something akin to genuine frustration slipped through Lenore's otherwise regal bearing. The tiny vampire leaned against the table with her elbows, burying her face in her hands for a moment and rubbing her temples as if trying to dissipate an incoming migraine. From the reflection in the glass bottles, Colt could see her grinding her teeth together, showing off those pearly whites and the elongated fangs in a way that she normally did not. They were the teeth of a beast, one that was designed to hunt humanity.

    --- She truly was a vampire.

    A strange thought to have at this point, but it came to the boy naturally as he saw those teeth so visible.

    "I see... 'tis not a surprise that she would shoulder the responsibility to me now that she saw the chance. Deals with the fae, those of the Other Fabric, are their bread and butter - the way they interact with this world, for 'tis the only way they know how to. Their... default function, as 'twere," Lenore eventually replied, lifting her head and gazing at Colt with those crimson eyes. "But, I presume 'twas for a good cause that you used her services. It was, mayhaps, for a short time, but I raised no fool. So whatever the cause, it must have been a worthy enough cause."

    While the boy could see a hint of almsot teenager-like annoyance rippling underneath those vermillion irises, at least it wasn't aimed at him. If anything, the vampire looked like she wanted to have a stern word or perhaps a bit of a bout with a certain smiling doctor who barely hid her inhuman nature. In a way, the sight was strange, foreign look for the aristocratic vampire, but at the same time... it made her feel much more human. Almost as if Colt got a glimpse of who Lenore was underneath her veneer of the Moon's Authority.

    --- She was also very human.

    Another strange thought, but perhaps not an unwelcome one.

    "... Fine. Here. You may bring her this. I do not necessarily want to give this to her, 'tis a piece of myself in a way, but at the same time..." Lenore started, pulling out something from within the folds of her clothes. "... 'Tis also precious enough that it should be enough for that greedy fairy. Take it, and care for it well. And if Buzz asks, you do not have it."

    Putting her hand over Colt's, Lenore set something into his waiting palm. It was... a rock. A rock of strange shade of grey, one that felt almost like a sponge to the touch, in a way. While it was hard and solid like a rock, there was also an odd lack of weight to it, and looking at the stone, it seemed to have some sort of bubble-like holes scattered here and there. Perhaps the rock itself was halfway hollow like that? Well, whatever the case, it was still just a rock... though, now that the boy had it, he realized there was something wrapped around the rock.

    A strip of cloth, tied around the stone like a string on a birthday present. A strip of both red and blue. Was this...

    ... Was this from an old and slightly-ragged American flag?

    --- What was this thing?

    "Now then, I presume 'tis time that we adjourned this meeting of ours," Lenore continued, looking away from the strange gift he had given to Colt as if she did not want to think about it anymore. "The night draws near, and unfortunately, I've places to be. There is also the matter of this young whiffet here."

    The crimson eyes, for a moment, gazed at Cathie's sleeping form with a hint of warmth in them.

    "You should get her to a more comfortable place to sleep. I have this feeling that it was mayhaps a rather exhausting day for her, in many ways," the vampire spokek. "Though I do wonder if taking her home is the wisest option. If her mother were to see you bring her unconscious daughter to her step, much less catch you trying to sneak her back into her room..."

    An impish grin, crowned by fangs, flashed towards the boy - along with amused vermillion gaze.

    "... 'Tis a situation even I may not be able to save you from."

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