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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #2601
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    "Oh~?"

    As expected, the sweetest bully stirred from its slumber. Could it be that Sakura couldn’t resist when she saw a hint of vulnerability, or was this just her way of showing affection? Being neither a mind-reader nor a brain surgeon, Colt could only guess if there was any deep meaning behind all of it.

    "Well, that's too bad~. After all, kids who don't clean their plates don't get to eat either the pie or the ice cream I had stashed away. After all, we lovey-dovey chefs worked so hard for all of this, it would really break our hearts if people didn't enjoy the food to their hearts content~. In fact, it might even make me so sad I won't be making my specialty snacks at the bonfire later tonight~"

    "Isn't that right, darling~?"


    Hearing that giggle, Colt didn’t need to read any minds to understand. Playing the tease is just fun. Though if the plan was to try and get him dragged in and playing along…

    If you can’t save ‘em, doom ‘em?

    Sure.

    “That’s right, dearest, I can feel myself crumbling inside, seeing all our hard work for the sake of our classmates going to waste.” Really, had Prushka expected that callout to embarrass the two? Then again, seeing as it was a ‘new’ week, the image he had toiled to establish as a boy desperate for the attention of the fairer sex had likely reset as well. “It’s such a shame, the two of us can’t possibly finish off all of this delicious pie that Avery’s was so kind as to provide for us…”

    "...Miss Tsukioka... I can help... food not go to waste..."

    Colt stole a glance at Vivienne. He hadn’t talked to her at all last time around. Or rather, he had gotten the impression that she didn’t talk to anyone at all, what with the drawings she had used to introduce herself after the bus ride.

    Was she trying to save Prushka?

    There was nothing to be gleaned from her. In a sense, it was eerie. How she was so very undeniably there, yet didn’t feel real at all. The strongest impression Colt had of her was seeing her from a distance, taking special note of her swim attire, which she had fine taste in. Though, as an astute, perfect gentleman, who was currently in very close proximity to a date of his own, Colt did not let his eyes wander. He wouldn’t repeat a Josie McLampent today, nor tomorrow, though he wouldn’t guarantee anything past that.

    "Miss Tsukioka... why... the beach? ... sorry if strange... I am... curious... but thank you... for organizing this... and you... Mister Davin... for helping her cook..."

    “We’re the same age, aren’t we? You don’t have to call me Mister… it’s kinda strange for me. Colt is fine. If you really want to be polite you can go with Colton, but I really do prefer Colt.” Being addressed directly, the boy with the ruffled hair spoke to Vivienne Bianchi for the first time. “As for why the beach…”

    Colt turned his head upward to the woman who had taken his head as an armrest seconds ago, who was now sending death threats toward the grilling trio.

    “Well I dunno why, but if you were to ask me I’d vote for a beach party too. I mean, the water is a bit cold, and it’s a bit chilly out, but the waves are calm and the beach is so pristine. And besides, the beach is the perfect place for people to loosen up and get to know each other…” As he said that, Colt noticed the can of beer that had, at some point, found its way into Sakura’s hands. The good ol’ boy half-smiled at the picturesque image of someone taking it easy. “But maybe don’t loosen up too much, Sakura.”

    "Are you two... happy? How was... cooking... working together?"

    What a heft question. Colt rubbed his chin as he thought it through. It wasn't often to be asked outright if you're happy. Especially with how his day had begun, it wasn't necessarily easy to answer.

    "Hmmm... I reckon my day started pretty terribly, but things took a turn for the better when a charming lady agreed to a beach date with me." The boy ate a french fry. "Well, it ended up not being the most date-like... date, but I'm having fun."

    Thinking about it, wasn't this a good opportunity to get to do what Ronja had told him to do? Make more friends, get to know his classmates?

    "What about you, Vivienne?"


  2. #2602
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "E-Essieeee! Turn back while you can!!" the cyanhead hollered, looking panicked. "I-If you get too close there's no going back! This place is totes dangerous, I tells you! For realsies! Absolutely super ultra dangerous! Git, git, git while you still can, girl! You're too young to see something like... gaaah, no, Essie, stay awaaaaaay~!"
    Elise pressed on, ignoring Ubon's dire warnings. She'd expected another missile strike, and she was prepared for that. This, however, was entirely different ocean based hazard, although also not an entirely unexpected one.

    She wasn't sure where exactly her plan had gone wrong. It was simple. Pyry was going to throw Ubon, she was going to catch Ubon. That's what happened last time. Then she was going to throw her back at Pyry. What changes had led to the dissolution of the appointed hour? While it was fascinating to watch the ripples of their different actions travel through time so quickly, and it gave her more hope for the future, she was disappointed she didn't get a chance to use Ubon as a projectile weapon and achieve the vengeance she'd sought, and to avenge all those fallen souls. Still, she couldn't say that she was entirely disappointed by this turn of events by any means.

    The ocean could be cold and cruel, certainly, but it also held such wonders.

    The ocean really is an amazing place, thought Elise as she admired the view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Briggs
    "Hmh? Oh, Elise right? Nice seeing you too, dude!"
    "Yeah! Hey Jake! Good to see you again too! Glad you decided to join us!"

    Okay. Now I understand why Aleen put Jake in her top three. I can't believe that our languid janitor was hiding this the entire time!

    "Oh! Remind me to ask you about a bucket sometime tomorrow, Jake," began Elise, "I'd ask you now, but that's school related for me, and work related for you, and there's no time to talk about either of those at a beach party."

    By my count, I was radioactive dust about eleven hours ago, so I am just going to enjoy the ocean, the party, and eventually the food and music, and worry about impending doom later.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "Essieeeee... I-I-I... I dunno where I'm supposed to even look anymoreeeee..."
    Elise glanced down at Ubon for a moment, who was now bawling and latched onto her mid-section.

    "There really is a lot to take in with an ocean view like this, isn't there? I guess you just sort of have to try and take in the entire panorama at once."

    "And, hey," she added with a chuckle, "It might've taken us all day, but it looks like we did finally find Jake!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyry
    "Heeeeey~! Pikkusisko~! Hisa! What'cha doing there all alone? Come on, come swimming too! I'll give you an airlift!"
    Elise managed to pull her eyes away from the scene before her and followed Pyry's gaze back up the beach where Hisa sat alone with a notebook. She looked up at the sound of Pyry's voice. Elise waved at her.

    Why is Hisa all the way over there by her- Oh. Ohhhh.. She did almost get drowned less than a day ago, I think I can understand why she might not want to go into the water right now.

    Before her thoughts could get too glum, however, Elise was distracted by Ubon climbing up her like she was some sort of ocean based tree to get a better view of John still on the shore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyry
    "You too, John! Ubon, look! John's here!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "Heeeeeey~! Johnnie! Get your butt over here~!"
    Elise started to turn to spot John herself, but found that difficult to do with Ubon using her as a watchpost.

    "G-gah! H-hey John!" said Elise with as much of a wave as she could manage with Ubon clambering over her, "The water's a bit brisk, but it's pretty refreshing!"

    Finally, there was Subaru, still struggling to navigate with the inflatable tube she found herself in. Elise suspected that it was likely fussing about Subaru's safety that led to Pyry not throwing Ubon at her at the expected moment, but found it hard to begrudge her for wanting to join the others in enjoying the ocean.

    "Don't feel bad about that inflatable tube, Subaru. Mr. Hatou and Jake are right, swimming in the ocean can be dangerous even for experienced swimmers. You don't want to take any chances if you haven't had much practice yet," said Elise.

    She felt mildly hypocritical about extolling the virtues of water safety while having Ubon climb up her in what was likely an unsafe manner.

    "We've got that big pool back up at the school, and I'd be surprised if Mr. Hatou or someone didn't offer swimming classes. It'd be a good place to practice, and we're bound to have more beach parties in the future. Besides, everyone here has probably had to wear floaties at some point."

    Except for maybe Ubon... I'm not entirely convinced that she isn't some sort of flying fish in human guise.

  3. #2603
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    ---Even as the other girl shows clear distaste for her actions, the casual movements of Liana Skye do not change, a mark perhaps, of that overwhelmingly stubborn nature that was quickly making itself apparent to those around her.

    Having moved down to the water's edge with the goal of simply interacting with the beach itself a bit, the dark-haired girl had knelt down at the water's edge, just above where the waves crashed on the shore, and had begun construction on what could have only been some form of sand-castle. It's a casual activity, she doesn't have any sort of shovel or pail, so she's forced to use her hands to give shape to the constructions, even so, she does so with all of her usual casual grace, something far removed from the brief moment of weakness that the bizarre illusion had inflicted on her moments before...

    Yes.

    It is a casual activity.

    Because she has decided not to 'get angry,' or rather...

    Quote Originally Posted by Xylia
    "Yer lanky ass bothers me just by bein' there, so scram! Ya got this whole wide beach to be 'deep' and 'poetic' on, so the hell are ya doin', parkin' over here!" Xylia grumbled, taking steps away from Liana in disgust. "I'm not interested in bein' witness to ya schlickin' to the sea or cuttin' yer wrists or whatever fucked up thing yer into, so get lost."
    ...She has simply decided not to lose to this sort of obvious attempt at riling her up?

    "Lanky?"

    Still focused on her makeshift castle -one that she is sure the other girl might come try to smash soon enough- the young woman just chuckles to herself as she lets the insult roll over her, or rather...

    "Well, I guess I am pretty tall, but hey, everyone has flaws."

    She takes it all with complete good humor.

    "Like here's another one of mine, even though someone is going out of their way to try to piss me off, I still feel the need to make sure she's doing alright, you know? Figured since I'm classmates with this person, maybe we could form some sort of working relationship, real positive dorm-mate bond maybe, but that person is being distressingly difficult right now."

    ---It's as pleasant as always, a voice that would do it's best to ensure that others are having a good time.

    All the same, it is not like she will simply roll over and accept this sort of baseless hostility from anyone either.

    It's a pleasant voice that simply says things as they are-!

    "Or better yet, just walk into yer sea and start drownin' already," Xylia spat as an addition. "'Cause if ya don't, I might do just that myself."
    "Now she's even threatening my life! Alas, even with that, I'm afraid I've already committed myself to seeing this through, I've decided I'm quite fond of this particular spot on the beach, so I think I'm going to stay here, not hurting anyone, it'll be a marvelous time, I promise."

    Although perhaps-!

    Just perhaps-!

    A bit of something else is getting through-!

    After all, Liana Skye is not a saint-!

    Putting the cheery voice aside for a moment, she sighs and shakes her head.

    "Although hey, tell you what? Let's have one real moment of interaction, something that isn't you threatening or insulting me and I'll leave you alone. Otherwise, I'm afraid you'll find I am very stubborn when it comes to this sort of thing, I won't chase you if you leave, but I will sit here building this sandcastle forever-! I'm pretty strong too -being a hero and all- so your whole "drown me in the ocean because I bothered to try to care about you" strategy might not work very well?"

    She stands up, one hand on her waist, head tilted slightly to the side.

    "So what do you say? How many insults will it be this time? If nothing else, we can bond over your poor argumentative skills."

    This was...

    Certainly a new, far more sarcastic side to Liana Skye!
    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?



  4. #2604
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Especially not after what happened. It’s not that easy to just...switch back into normal gear, you know. I want to have fun...But I’d just end up being a downer in such a crowd. There’s no enjoyment in that, not for me, not for anyone else.”
    With a hint of a mischievous grin still on his face, the boy let his hands fall against his sides... for now. The threat of tickling still hung clear in the air. Instead, the blonde boy squatted down on the sand, right next to Hisa, all the while listening to what she had to said. When she had said her piece, he let out a quiet hum, an understanding sound, and nodded.

    "Mm... I get that. Not everybody likes rowdy crowds, and that's alright. It's not like anyone's gonna hold it against you," he said with a smile. "I mean, we're all social misfits here, right? So everyone has their own thing, and I think most of us here respect that. So nobody's gonna ask you to just force yourself into big crowds. You can keep it small so you don't exhaust yourself, or just ease into it, little by little, until you're more comfortable with it."

    At the same time, the boy shot a glance towards the ocean, where the group of people had gotten into something rowdy now, what with Ubon climbing up Elise's body like some sort of insect. Just the mere sight of such nonsense caused a laugh bubble from within Pyry, and when he looked back at Hisa, that excited grin of his was back again.

    "Still... I figured that might be the cae. That you're having hard time letting loose, that is. I mean, from what you told me..." Pyry's voice grew a bit quiet. "... It was pretty harsh, right? Honestly, I'm pretty proud that you're holding up this well - I'd probably be in pieces were I in your shoes."

    The large hand gently patted Hisa on the shoulder, as if to encourage her.

    "And that's exactly why I'm trying to get you out there. You, me, John, others... we've got lot to do, right? Lots of tough times ahead. Now might be our only chance to really relax, enjoy ourselves and behave like, well... teenagers. Take our minds off of what's ahead, if even a little bit," the athlete continued. "It's not like we can do much exactly right now, so honestly, I think it's best if we don't worry right now either - if we worry 'bout stuff we can't do anything about, we're just stressing ourselves for nothing. Let's do what we can, when we can, and now... let's ease a bit, take it easy, and get some R&R in preparation for what's to come, yeah? That's important too. Believe me, I know."

    The hand that had descended onto Hisa's head, wet with sea water, rose upwards and plopped on top of her head, where it gave her a few gentle pats.

    "And we don't have to do it in a big, exhausting group with Ubon hollering in our ears, either," the boy added, chuckling. "If you want, we can just fool around in the sea on our own."

    The hand that had been on her head was lifted, and instead, it turned its thumb towards the sparkling ocean.

    And again, that mischievous grin rose to the boy's face.

    "Come on, I'll teach you how to do a backflip~"




    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Hey-hey, cookie! How's the grilling going? I got an order for some workin' men back on the stage, plus me, but that can wait. Couple of plates, got a Dog and some wings with a bit of watermelon on one, an' then some skewers and soda with the other, if ya please."
    The delicious sizzle of meat hitting the grill was the blonde girl's initial answer, along with absolutely enticing smells rising from said grill. The boy behind it, one Souma Nubatama, let out a quiet hum as he started preparing some sausages, along with a big patch of wings that were practically oozing with grease. With his free hand, the eyepatched boy thumbed towards a plate that had been left not far away from the grill - one that contained all sorts of fruit, including some bright red watermelon. After giving directions, that same hand grabbed few of the ready, bursting skewers from the grill and plopped them down onto a paper plate.



    "....... Heh. Sounds like a hungry lot. You included."

    Well, from the sound of it, even the cook had gotten a bit into the beach atmosphere, and was more talkative than usual.

    Though, speaking of talking...

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "So what are you three plotting over here, besides ogling pretty girls? Having a sausage party?"
    The two boys, one with blue hair and one with white, looked somewhat surprised that they had been addressed... along with somewhat surprised that someone who they had been more or less sneaking glances at had suddenly spotted them. Both Travis and Hwan were sitting on the sand not far from the grill itself, bunch of empty skewers, soda cans and paper plates next to them. It almost looked as if they were there just so they could be fed by Souma like there was a conveyor belt set up between them and the grill.

    Of the two, it was the taller and thuggish Travis who replied first. His eyes scanned Elaine up and down, before a crude grin rose to his face and he cocked an eyebrow.



    "Well, it was a sausage party... though looks like we got some visiting clam chowder now, hah!"

    Snorting and letting out a derisive bark of a laugh, Travis Gagnon was clearly being his usual annoying self. It was somewhat hard to connect him to the same guy who 17 had so easily wrapped around her tiny finger. Instead of being overly protective and downright motherly like back then, now his eyes were looking at Elaine with a look that would have earned him a slap across the face in most bars across the country. Was this truly the same person? And if it was... was this overblown delinquent behavior just a face he put on?

    Well, now that Elaine was looking at him properly... he did seem a bit odd in how he went about his lewd behavior. As in, his eyes did travel all over her body... but they also immediately skipped the actually important places.

    Almost like there had been a bit of shame in the boy that he tried to hide.




    "Hah, damn right. Eating with both eyes and mouth... the beach is good, babe~"

    That was the answer that came from Hwan's direction. The boy had been hiding a cigarette next to him, clearly trying not to let Mr. Hatou see it. Now that the overly muscular teacher's eyes weren't in this direction, the shorter boy felt confident enough to bring it to his lips and take a drag out of it. At the same time, he kept an eye on Elaine, as well as the food that Souma was preparing.

    Was he really that hungry? Judging by the amount of paper plates around him, the younger boy must've eaten a ton already.

    "What about you, Ponytail?" The Korean boy asked, grinning crudely. "What are you plotting? You got a scheming look in your eyes, after all."
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; May 6th, 2020 at 08:56 AM.

  5. #2605
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    "W-wait, helicopter? Wings? Hovercraft!? Um, calm down, this isn't sci-fi..."

    The Pink Dragon might be more popular than I am at this point... it's a strange feeling. After all, even I thought it was just a silly toy for a while. Maybe I'll let that idiot know his invention was pretty cool after all...

    "But I do wanna see if it's waterpoof... the beach looks great for surfing. Maybe even a bit of fishing when it's all clearer. Think you could install a rudder and propellers to convert it to aquatic mode, Cesarina?"

    The happy discussion of toys and dragons is suddenly interrupted by a pair of chilling voices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey Dovey Wife
    "Well, that's too bad~. After all, kids who don't clean their plates don't get to eat either the pie or the ice cream I had stashed away~ After all, we lovey-dovey chefs worked so hard for all of this, it would really break our hearts if people didn't enjoy the food to their hearts content~. In fact, it might even make me so sad I won't be making my specialty snacks at the bonfire later tonight~"
    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey Dovey
    “That’s right, dearest, I can feel myself crumbling inside, seeing all our hard work for the sake of our classmates going to waste. It’s such a shame, the two of us can’t possibly finish off all of this delicious pie that Avery’s was so kind as to provide for us…”
    "Awawawa..."

    I can feel my face burning, even as a giggle bubbles out of my lungs.

    "Bwahaha! Alright, sorry, sorry! You win! I couldn't help it; you two just looked too sweet together! I didn't realize you were actually on a date!"

    If I don't cut it out right now, this girl is gonna smother me to death in poison honey. And Colt's gonna help her do it.

    "Seriously though, this is just too much... you're not expecting me to... I won't even be able to swim, let alone sing after all this..."

    Just as the thought of having to eat all my just desserts begins to sink in, and the gleam in Sakura's eye brightens into a sharpened steel point, a savior arrives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivi
    "...Miss Tsukioka... I can help... food not go to waste..."
    "Ah, Vivi! Alright, help me out here! Here, you take half..."

    Soon the plate piled high with grilled meat and vegetables is divided in two manageable but still delicious-looking chunks.

    "And no worries, I was busy too, looks like everyone's been busy, actually..."

    Busy doing what? The way Vivi says it, they must have had a long talk of some kind. Perhaps regarding last week. In which case I can assume they both remember. So why was Hisa running off with Pyry this morning? Did she... no, I can't be sure. Gonna have to ask her myself in a bit.

    More importantly though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cesarina
    "Oh, do not worry, Prushka! You have nothing to be embarrassed about! In fact, you look downright cute in that swimsuit! Do you not agree, Zaza? Besides, if you want to get rowdy at the beach, what better outfit is there to wear?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex
    "Steps like that are the first ones towards bravery. And I do agree with Mademoiselle Feroce - you do look very cute in it. You should be proud of yourself."
    Quote Originally Posted by Sakura
    "Mm~hm! Little Prushka looks very cute! In fact, doesn't she look almost like she's ready to hunt for some lovey-dovey moments herself? How daring~!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "It is a look most befitting of a girl who can ride such a mighty beast. Such a creature's ruler would deserve respect. If Prushka desires to become mischievous, or perhaps even dangerous, I would be most happy to aid her in 'getting rowdy'."
    Oh.

    Oh...

    Is it okay?

    Is it really okay?

    Is it okay to just accept the compliments for once, about something silly like this? It's like I'm being torn in two. One part of me wants to be disgusted, but another... it's something warm and fluffy, that rises up on its own and...

    The feeling bursting out of my heart answers that question on its own.




    "T-thank you!"


    Oh, it's burning. My face is burning. Just like before, when I bore witness to Subaru's kindness, that same heat has returned, stronger than ever.

    "It's probably not the kinda party you can get rowdy at, but I'm gonna do my best!"

    It comes out as a squeak.

    Almost. Almost... it's almost like back then, this warmth...

    No, can't get distracted. Even though I want nothing more than to get swept up in the flow of this pleasant wind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrazsa
    "It is, however, a most clear night. Why, a scant week ago I could swear I was staring up at the same sky!"
    Can it be? Maybe? No, it has to be, right? She was dropping some kinda hints before, too... maybe... maybe...

    "Hah! You're right, it's like deja vu! I was at a beach like this, too... except that I wasn't brave enough to go out like this, so... nobody said those nice things..."

    Ah, geeze, what am I saying? If I keep it up, I'm going to faint of heat stroke from all the blood rushing up to my head.

    "S-sorry. Gotta eat. Before the water gets chillier..."

    As much as I'd love to stay here like this, the world will keep on moving without me. There are things that need to be done. Those in the water, Ubon, Jake, and Hisa and Pyry talking in the corner, then the intimidating stage...

    With thoughts of the future in mind, I take the first bite of today.

  6. #2606
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elise Pelltier & John Dove
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Yeah! Hey Jake! Good to see you again too! Glad you decided to join us! Oh! Remind me to ask you about a bucket sometime tomorrow, Jake. I'd ask you now, but that's school related for me, and work related for you, and there's no time to talk about either of those at a beach party."
    "Bucket?"

    Jake looked somewhat confused at the sudden request, before grinning nonchalantly and nodding.

    "Ah, right, bucket, gotcha dude," the janitor answered. "But you got it right that this ain't no time to talk about school or work... or buckets for that matter! Unless you dudes wanna build a sand castle or something. Man... Tommy would've had lots of crazy good stuff for building those things. We could've made some real sculptures and... eh, never mind. I think the only thing we need is this!"

    With that the janitor lifted up the watergun he was carrying it, playfully aiming at the teens... though his sudden move also caused him to hit Subaru's inflatable tube, sending it into a wild sping. For a moment, all those who were presented were treated to a sight of a shaggy head of hear spinning wildly on top of the waves, along with a loud sound of "Hawawawawawa!" that emerged from the poor girl... at least until Jake realized had happened, and hurried to stop the spin.

    "... These things are the work of devils..." Subaru groaned, her eyes swirling in her head. "... pure evil... hawaaa..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "There really is a lot to take in with an ocean view like this, isn't there? I guess you just sort of have to try and take in the entire panorama at once. And, hey, it might've taken us all day, but it looks like we did finally find Jake!"
    Ubon nodded surprisingly meekly, still with red cheeks and slightly dopey grin on her face.

    "O-oh yeah... we totes found Jake... ahahaha~"

    Well, there was an awkward laugh if any.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "G-gah! H-hey John! The water's a bit brisk, but it's pretty refreshing!"
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “…good evening, Mr. Briggs. I have been wrong plenty of times before, but I am confident you are not a Pinefall student.”
    Jake blinked owlishly at this rather rude statement... before bursting out into a good-natured laughter. The young man twirled around the watergun in his hands like he had been best of gunslingers, aimed it towards the blue-haired boy and pulled the trigger - scoring a hit right into the forehead of John Dove.

    As it happens, the ocean water - even when used like this - was a bit on the chillier side.

    "Got me there, dude. Guess the opportunity made me a thief, or whatever," the janitor said with a shrug. "I promised to help the dudes in the music room out with their gig - playing the bass, to be precise - and was invited down here too. So I figured, eh, what the heck - I'll go swimming as well. And, ey, here I am!"

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “Now, that I think about i... Just this morning I got the answer to an idle question that kept bothering me. You address people by diminutives; that is how I ended up as ‘Johnnie’. So I kept wondering: how would you address Hisa Momoi? Hissie? Or Mommie?”
    Ubon, still clinging to Elise, tilted her head slightly quizzically... before springing into a beaming smile.

    "Hissie, of course! Mommie would just sound weird!" the cyanhead chipperly answered, as if it had been the most logical thing in the world. "I mean, geez, Johnnie! You gotta think before you give nicknames, for realsies! Otherwise they're gonna be totes lame!"

    Then, however, a sneaky smile appeared on Ubon's face.

    "... Though then again, once she's fine with 'Hissie', I'm so gonna build up to 'Momo'...! That's just perfectly cute!"

    A slightly dangerous individual, this.

    Meanwhile Subaru, who had finally recovered from her unexpected spin, was given some sage advice by Elise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Don't feel bad about that inflatable tube, Subaru. Mr. Hatou and Jake are right, swimming in the ocean can be dangerous even for experienced swimmers. You don't want to take any chances if you haven't had much practice yet. We've got that big pool back up at the school, and I'd be surprised if Mr. Hatou or someone didn't offer swimming classes. It'd be a good place to practice, and we're bound to have more beach parties in the future. Besides, everyone here has probably had to wear floaties at some point."
    "I-I see... thank you for your k-kind words, Miss Pelltier," Subaru stammered slightly embarrassed response. "If it is something everyone has gone through, I-I guess it cannot be helped... after all, I am but a novice when it comes to swimming. Drowning like this would be far more embarrassing than this... tube."

    Suddenly, a somewhat strange smile rose to the tiny girl's face.

    "T-though, in similar sense, getting swimming lessons from Mister Hatou w-w-would be... just as embarrassing..."

    Ubon snorted loudly, and nodded her head at Subaru, looking surprisingly serious.

    "I totes get you Subbie. Totes getcha," the cyanhead said, before frowning a bit to herself and continuing, although quieter. "... Barrie? Baru? Rubbie? Hmm... tough one..."

    Jake Briggs, who had been listening this conversation, looked rather confused by it... and just punctuated the whole situation with a shrug that was aimed at John.

    Some things were best left unexplained, perhaps.




    Liana Skye
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "So what do you say? How many insults will it be this time? If nothing else, we can bond over your poor argumentative skills."
    Xylia made a fake gagging noise, followed by a wanking motion aimed at Liana. At the same time, the tiny girl rolled her eyes in a much-telling way. While Liana Skye might have been digging herself into trenches when it came to the insult artillery that was Xylia, she was also digging herself into a deeper at the same time. After all, while stubbornness might work in some cases and with some people, in the case of this dusky-skinned girl, it seemed to do more harm than good. After all, she was just as stubborn.

    She was also covered in a veil of derision as prickly as barbed wire.

    "Ugh, whatever. I guess I'll just drown myself instead. At least I don't hafta listen to yer bullshit," Xylia shot back with disgust. "Go have yer sleazy dorm-mate bond with someone else, ya goddamn creep. Preferrably that tub of hair gel or the midget helmet-head. Since that seems to be the type yer gunnin' for, ya sicko. I bet they're too stupid to realize. Since honestly, that thing 'bout workin' relationship is the cheesiest pile of shit I've heard in a while. Tell me, do the morons really fall for sappy stuff like that? Or are they just humorin' yer pathetic ass?"

    Well, that didn't seem to work.

    If anything, the amount of insults seemed to grow - almost like Xylia was just warming up, and now her verbal engines were revving up. Indeed, even on her face, one could see the rise of that petty, sadistic pleasure that came from demeaning others. For someone like Xylia, someone who like Liana who had tried to be friendly and polite was the favorite kind of target.

    "See, this here? This is 'real interaction' ya fishfinger. 'Cause ain't nobody gonna pamper yer ass with sweet words or be nice to ya just 'cause ya think ya deserve it. Real interaction starts when people see through yer bullshit, and call ya out on it," Xylia continued, smug sneer rising to her face. "And that's what got yer Victoria's Secrets twisted, no? 'Cause I ain't playin' along or kissin' yer ass - much less humorin' ya."

    The tiny girl let out a mocking hiss, almost as if she had just watched Liana get slapped.

    "Oooh, that's gotta hurt, don't it?"

  7. #2607
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin, Prushka, Alexstrasza Lockhart & Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    "Wouldn't it be better... if you just made it... a helicopter? For a plane... more inconvenient... to take off... and land..."
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "I am sorry, but I refuse, Miss Bianchi. A plane can fly, but can it pierce through the night at such monstrous speeds? Can it achieve lift-off in spite of not having wings? And most importantly, can it be, allegedly, folded in half for compact transportation? I do not believe so."
    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "W-wait, helicopter? Wings? Hovercraft!? Um, calm down, this isn't sci-fi... But I do wanna see if it's waterpoof... the beach looks great for surfing. Maybe even a bit of fishing when it's all clearer. Think you could install a rudder and propellers to convert it to aquatic mode, Cesarina?"
    Cesarina, who had been completely engrossed in her drawings, barely even lifted her head. Instead, her fingers continued working, and the "sand-blueprints" get growing larger and larger. They were now taking as big of a space as the picnic table, and the Italian heiress showed no signs of stopping. Well, supposedly everyone had their own way of having fun at the beach, and Cesarina certainly seemed to be enjoying herself...

    "Hmm? Oh, yeah, definitely a plane - not a helicopter! After all, it would be such a shame to decrease the speed, wahaha~! Rarely have I been so afraid when traveling on a scooter! It was absolutely magnificent!" Cesarina exclaimed happily. "Though, hmm... rudders and propellers... they could stack up and slide inside or under the body... hmm... but then there should be something to offset the weight of the rider... and the buoyancy is a problem... unless, of course, we just make it go fast enough and apply the same principle as water skiers..."

    This seemed to be a rather dangerous train of thought that the heiress was heading at the moment!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    "Good day so far... What about... Miss Terrot? Discovered... new things.. for your story... Le Monde? Very mysterious... town... many strange places..."
    Alex, who had been calmly watching over what was going over in the group, looked a bit surprised at the question - as if she hadn't expected Vivienne to be interested about such matters during a beach party. Still, the french girl smiled quietly and nodded. She lifted her jacket a little and showed that even now, she had her notepad hidden in the pocket of her vest.

    "I have made... some breakthroughs, I'd say," Alex answered. "Not much in terms of concrete evidence, but I am planning on doing some legwork eventually - see where that leads me. But you are right. This town... it has many mysteries it hides."

    Of course, both Vivienne and Prushka had witnessed where Alex's "legwork" had taken her.

    So hearing her speak so calmly about it felt... surreal, to say the least.

    Still, even if she wasn't dressed for the occasion, Alex looked to be - at the very least - willing to set aside her thoughts of working for the duration of the beach party, and just enjoy herself.

    "Such as this food, perhaps," Alex added, flashing a smile at Sakura. "How can simple corn taste so delicious in the right circumstances?"

    And speaking of food, it started to look like that even if Sakura was teasing Prushka, she had still gone overboard when it came to piling that food on the tiny girl's plate. After all, one should wait at least 30 minutes before going to water after eating... and in Prushka's case, had she eaten all of the stuff that was offered to her, she might have lost any chance of swimming whatsoever for today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "Bwahaha! Alright, sorry, sorry! You win! I couldn't help it; you two just looked too sweet together! I didn't realize you were actually on a date! Seriously though, this is just too much... you're not expecting me to... I won't even be able to swim, let alone sing after all this..."
    Sakura's scary smile disappeared for a moment, replaced by a genuinely warm one, and she winked at Prushka.

    "Mm, I wouldn't call this a date date, but Colt certainly promised to treat me to a nice evening, so I'm stringing him along by using that as an excuse," the brunette giggled, tousling the boy's hair again - almost like she had grown rather fond of that gesture. "And if he is on his best behavior, who knows! I might even eventually take him on a real date! Though, he's got his work cut out for him... let's see... next January, maybe?"

    Giggling again, Sakura lifted herself so that she wasn't pressing her weight onto Colt anymore and using him as an armrest. Instead, she put her hands onto Prushka and nodded - almost like granting her pardon.

    "But you're right, Prushka. Just eat what you can, and don't worry about the rest. As long as you leave some room for that pie!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    "...Miss Tsukioka... I can help... food not go to waste..."
    Hearing that, Sakura clasped her hands together.

    "Oh, that sounds even better! Come on, you two - dig in, then!"

    Well, from the looks of it, the easiest way to this woman's heart was through her cooking - or rather, expressing the intent of eating it!


    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    "Miss Tsukioka... why... the beach? ... sorry if strange... I am... curious... but thank you... for organizing this... and you... Mister Davin... for helping her cook...
    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “Well I dunno why, but if you were to ask me I’d vote for a beach party too. I mean, the water is a bit cold, and it’s a bit chilly out, but the waves are calm and the beach is so pristine. And besides, the beach is the perfect place for people to loosen up and get to know each other… But maybe don’t loosen up too much, Sakura.”
    Sakura, who had been in the middle of taking a huge swig from her Asahi-brand beer, choked for a moment and let out a rather loud series of coughs. Then, wiping her mouth, she shot a momentary glare towards Colt as if to say "Don't come between me and my fun, boy", though even that was hidden behind yet another smile soon enough.

    "W-well, why the beach? I have to agree with Colt. This really is the best place for people to mingle and just have fun. There's just something that eases up in people when they've seen each other half-naked," Sakura said and chuckled mischievously. "Not to mention, well... the summer's over, right? And that's the one thing we can't really experience together, since we'll only be here for a year."

    A momentary hint of sadness entered Sakura's face.

    "So I figured we'd deserve at least this last echo of summer, and since the weather was this fine... why the heck not!" the brunette added. "And besides... what's not to love with a beach?"

    The girl pumped her fist up and down, and took another mighty swig, emptying the rest of her can.

    "I MEAN, BEACH FRICKIN' ROCKS!"

    Well... somebody was getting loud.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    Are you two... happy? How was... cooking... working together?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    "Hmmm... I reckon my day started pretty terribly, but things took a turn for the better when a charming lady agreed to a beach date with me. Well, it ended up not being the most date-like... date, but I'm having fun."
    Letting out a quiet chuckle, Sakura patted Colt on the shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.

    "Well, I'm glad to hear that! Would've been quite the low-blow to find out you weren't enjoying yourself after all that nonsense at the parking lot," Sakura said, flashing a grin to the boy. "But to answer your question Vivienne... yeah! I'm certainly pretty happy right now! Why wouldn't I be?"

    A rather simple answer for a possibly complex question.

    Still, it was at that moment that all the compliments that Prushka had been bombarded with were taking an effect, and thus...

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "T-thank you! It's probably not the kinda party you can get rowdy at, but I'm gonna do my best!"
    Sakura Tsukioka practically melted at that reaction.

    "Awwww~!"

    Before anyone could really stop her, Prushka found herself wrapped in the sweaty, ocean-smelling hug of the brunette girl as her hands somehow managed to switch up Prushka's slice of cherry pie to a much bigger one, while also petting her defenseless head with quite the fervor... while also rocking the girl back and forth in aforementioned hug. Add on top of that rubbing her cheek against Prushka's, and Sakura was certainly exhibiting some Ubon-like tendencies at the moment.

    "Oh my gosh, you are just too cute, Prushka! That's it, you aren't allowed to have lovey-dovey moment with anyone but Big Sis!" Sakura cooed loudly, her breath smelling faintly of alcohol. "I'm taking you home~! We've got all these old dresses that Milady used to wear, and I'm gonna make you wear all of them, even the frilly and floofy ones~! Especially the frilly and floofy ones~!"

    Truly, danger was everywhere at the beach!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "It is, however, a most clear night. Why, a scant week ago I could swear I was staring up at the same sky!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "Hah! You're right, it's like deja vu! I was at a beach like this, too... except that I wasn't brave enough to go out like this, so... nobody said those nice things..."
    Cesarina, who had been concentrating fully on her drawings (they were now the size of two picnic tables put together) raised her head after hearing this, looking quizzically at Alexstrasza.

    "Oh? Were you at a beach back then too, Zaza?" Cesarina asked. "How luxurious! Oh, speaking of which, you should really put on that sunscreen I was talking about! With how pale your skin is, you will be burned in no time... and that is really a nasty experience!"

  8. #2608
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    Quote Originally Posted by Xylia
    "Oooh, that's gotta hurt, don't it?"
    "Not really."

    A simple answer.

    "I figured your answer would be the aggressive one, but you throw your insults around so easily that none of them really have sticking power anymore, you know?"

    One that follows through with what she had already "decided to do," namely...

    "If one of us is strange here, it would be you for trying to use me for your sadist thrills... What's the point of trying to get a rise out of me? Will it make your life better?"

    She won't feed into this girl's little hate loop.

    That would be counter-productive.

    Of course, the entire course of this conversation is one that is going down a path she inherently does not like, there is likely no good ending to a conversation with someone that was this inherently twisted, and yet, and yet...

    She continues to try anyway.

    ---But it's getting harder.

    Even for her, it's getting harder.

    "Does it make you feel strong? Is that what you get out of it? Do you need that feeling? Does it assure you of something? Does the idea that you somehow hurt me really thrill you? Would hurting me bring you joy? Would that make your day?"

    She's trying to understand her, but it's hard.

    She resists the urge to step forward to prove a point.

    It would be counter-productive.

    There is no reason to scare her, there is no reason to prove her own strength.

    She wants the rise.

    Don't give it to her.

    "If so, I think that's a bit more concerning than anything I've done... And see through my bullshit? Really? What would you know about it if it exists? You have no idea who I am, do you just assume everyone around you is trying to hurt you in some way? Are you scared of me? Is that it? Are you confused that I haven't started screaming at you yet? Or do you feel assured by it? Safe? Power Trip? Do you think I'll flip out and do something to you eventually, proving you right? Is your worldview that twisted?"

    This one is hard to understand.

    "I'm not going to hurt you, but I'm not going to bow to you or just take your bullshit either. It's that simple. All I wanted to know was if you were doing alright, but I guess that makes me some twisted creep, huh? Gotta have some ulterior motive right?"

    She sighs.

    "...Whatever. Sling as many insults at me as you like, I'm not gonna give you what you want, I'll just calmly talk back until you get bored with insulting me. Consider it my calling out of your bullshit, since that's the game we seem to be playing now."

    ...Why doesn't she just walk away?

    ...It's not that easy.
    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?



  9. #2609
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "Hah! You're right, it's like deja vu! I was at a beach like this, too... except that I wasn't brave enough to go out like this, so... nobody said those nice things..."
    Ahhh, my long lost love, a game of lies and trickery. Even behind that facade of innocence, Prushka, you cannot hide the nature of reality. It is cruel, wicked, and empty; a thing designed to take and take until there's nothing left. And yet... there's something about the air, about this place, perhaps; that eludes me - it entices me forward and pulls me from behind, like a wave of air that cannot be halted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cesarina Feroce
    "Oh? Were you at a beach back then too, Zaza?" Cesarina asked. "How luxurious! Oh, speaking of which, you should really put on that sunscreen I was talking about! With how pale your skin is, you will be burned in no time... and that is really a nasty experience!"
    "Ah, th-" I pause, tapping my lips with a finger and a pursed mouth. It is true that it is unnecessary, and yet, it is a form of 'magic', yes? This arcane thing, technology - even if its beyond me, I can still pretend with the best of them. "Thank you, Cesarina. I will most certainly put on this screen from the sun with haste."

    I had not brought any sunscreen with me, and nervously fidgeted on the bench. My bag had a book and a disturbingly labeled VHS tape. It did not contain anything that would, I suppose, be 'useful' in the grand scheme of things.

    "Haha... I don't suppose I could borrow some?"

    It is nerve-wracking, lying without lying. It rakes at my skin like claws, this form of deceit. To play games of lies is different then denying reality so utterly; for instance, the following:

    "I don't know if I would call it luxurious, Cesarina," I said with a smile and a wave of my left hand, my right still tracing lines in the wood. "The company was nice, I suppose. And the food was excellent, if a bit... exotic, I suppose for most tastes. But there's something more... intimate, wouldn't you say, about sitting at a table with our peers? It is a rather wondrous night, fit for music with a bit of mystery in the air."

    Will they sing the same song? Will they sing a song of wonders, with a little bit of magic? Or will it be a song of suffering and sorrows, with a mournful lust for a past that no longer exists? That's the duality of it, in the end - the difference between the here and now and the there and then. What is such a thing? Are we in two places at once? Are there many alternate timelines? What can change, from now until I die? What can I do, or not do, in order to change? The best answer is to just 'be', but how can I be when I don't know what it means to 'be'? It's that constant question of humanity that scurries through my head, and asks if I'm right. I can't tell, so I have to learn. And what better way to learn, then to observe these people around me. Even they're already interesting to me, now... they're just...

    Hm.

    I don't have words to describe how I relate to others. But I suppose that's for the best.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

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


  10. #2610
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    When the brunette gave him a facial warning shot, Colt fell into a tame silence. Even if she punctuated the spooky glare with a smile, it was obvious that the time to err on the side of caution had come. As things carried on around and the girls began to mingle more and more the lone boy turned his attention to his food.

    "Oh my gosh, you are just too cute, Prushka! That's it, you aren't allowed to have lovey-dovey moment with anyone but Big Sis! I'm taking you home~! We've got all these old dresses that Milady used to wear, and I'm gonna make you wear all of them, even the frilly and floofy ones~! Especially the frilly and floofy ones~!"

    Colt took a tiny sip of his orange soda. He set the can down at the picnic table, then stabbed his charred sausage with a fork and bit off the end of it. It was the right choice not to try and save Prushka. Having witnessed the futility of it, the boy had written her off as doomed, but perhaps he should have done something.

    Now it seemed that her fate was well and truly sealed.

    Lazily, he glanced around the picnic area. His eyes went from head to head. Sakura, Prushka, Vivienne, Alex, Cesarina, Alexstrasza.

    The chewing slowed. Slower, and slower, it ground to a halt. As if time had stopped. But the only thing that had stopped was his brain. Colt had noticed it before, but until now he hadn’t thought about it.

    That he was in this minute, this second, completely surrounded by girls.

    How had the Oceandrop Program ended up with such a skewed gender ratio? Were girls more prone to… he shook his head side to side. That’s a rather sexist thought, Colt Davin!

    No. He looked around the rest of the beach.. There were plenty of guys. Just none here.

    What could be the cause?

    Colt would have to explore that idea another time. Ironing out the method to getting himself surrounded by girls had to be fully explored. But for now he had more important things to worry about.

    “But really, January?” Looking thoroughly defeated, Colt turned toward Sakura. His auburn eyes peering through his now messy hair. “You can’t expect me to live that long! I’ll starve before then! I’ll perish!”

    He had the eyes of a puppy that just found out the treat bag was empty.

    “I’m like one of those birds that die of loneliness if you go too long without playing with them, y’know.”


  11. #2611
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location: End’s Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Clear Skies



    John Dove says nothing. He does nothing. Yet, his skin very much registers the feel of cold water striking his crown chakra, water then sliding shamelessly down the curves of his face. Duly noted.

    It appears the roster for the party’s music show has changed—or rather, expanded. Music does little for him, but it cannot be bad that the event will not be the exact same as last time.

    “…here you are indeed. Actually, do the locals actually swim in these waters? As in, for leisure like this?”

    It turns out Ubon does have a retort to his idle, purposeless sliver of thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon Sĕeklêun
    “I mean, geez, Johnnie! You gotta think before you give nicknames, for realsies! Otherwise they're gonna be totes lame!”
    “…is that so.”

    The boy perhaps already too used to the Thai girl’s presence salutes her with a martial artist’s bow of salutation.

    “I gratefully partake of your wisdom, O Great Sage of Nicknames.”

    Let it be noted that John Dove’s repertory of “nonstandard behavioral patterns” are of course things he has copied from others. This twisted young man still lacks a fundamental something needed to develop his own sense of humor.

    It is only at this point that John does notice to whom Elise Marie is talking.



    Hisa indeed mentioned it, but…what in tarnation happened to Subaru Iburi? Rather, why? There are changes to the stage with a new iteration of the same week, and then there is…this. Is this in any way connected to the discrepancies in her background, as mentioned by Ubon this morning?

    “Ah, um, I apologize for not greeting you just now; I honestly failed to notice you, Miss Iburi. Good evening, and do excuse my poor manners.”

    If he sounds contrite, it is because his mind is still struggling to connect this girl with the Miss Iburi from last week—the Miss Iburi he respects. However, the girls then have their own exchange, in which these two men most certainly do not belong.

    “These is wisdom in that shrug, Mr. Briggs,” replies John to the other man’s simple, yet very eloquent gesture. “Now…”

    John’s hands sway idly in the cool waters.

    “Mister Briggs, as I am sure you are aware, to pull the trigger of a gun…”



    “…means to be prepared for return fire.”

    He has no need for a gun of his own, for water accepts the grasp of even the worthless John Dove. That is why, with a determined swing of the arm, everything he can scoop with that single hand, right at Jake Briggs’ face…!

  12. #2612
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    The sharp sizzling of steam and grease from the now-cooking meats was just what I needed. It played to nostalgia and base, simpler lusts, allowing for an easy departure from my brief malaise.

    Pork, chicken, beef, and whatever else Souma had found, whatever they were in life, here they were now, distilled down to meat and fat, stored energy to be metabolized by the body.

    In essence, the residual numenic energy within whatever they once were had been prepared, rent from its identity as a living being via the harvest, seasoned and shaped in an almost ritualistic fashion and finally thrown to the kiln, to be burnt and scorched by an echo of that primordial flame of creation and destruction.

    So, I never felt much concern eating prepared meals, for once it was considered 'ready to eat' by the majority of opinion, it was no longer an animal, a plant, or whatever else it had been. It was just food.

    Delicious, delicious food.

    However, for purposes of most rituals, prepared food was mostly worthless, in the spiritual sense, it was just empty calories, what was commonly desired by most beings one may wish to seek counsel with was raw, fresh, unprepared and unshaped, the identity, the texture of it was what made it appetizing to those things. The more built upon and solid the better.

    This is the basis for why such disgusting trash as human sacrifice exists in the modern era.

    Basically, my point is that raw meat is gross and will probably give you some sort of health issue, be it either by the bacterium and diseases it already carried, or by some vengeful echo of an animal spirit.

    Or both!

    Tune in next time, no one, to expounding upon spiritual influences on modern economic theory, the most obvious being the Keynesian 'animal spirits'.

    "Oh, me?"

    I grinned impishly, rocking on my heels, playing up my covetous eyes with a faint chuckle.

    "I'm just here looking for some meat, Sakura's a sweetheart, but she just doesn't quite have what I'm looking for, y'know? So I guess you can chow down on some chowdah while I'm here, tit-for-tat and all that jazz."

    I let my eyes evaluate the scenery.

    Souma, as expected and remembered, was as glistening and defined as the slabs of meat on his grill, the faint moisture from the heat of the grill allowing a certain flushed complexion to encompass his abdominals and pectorals.

    Yes, very good.

    Travis was streamlined, built like a swimmer or a runner, all lean-cut and defined, I could see the flexion of the muscles as they tensed up from his seated position, willingly playing into his sleazy position, a leering grin not quite following the motion of his eyes.

    Hwan, however, was a compact bundle of muscle, corded and built for power, obliques, pectorals, abdominals, delts, the works. He certainly kept himself in shape, the necklace and the cancer stick combining to form a certain beach-side punk aesthetic with a little bit of a boy band hint, in contrast with Travis's punk rock.

    I clasped my hands behind my back, letting the affected lasciviousness fade, "Mostly just figured I'd poke my head over here and see what's going on, find out what beast Souma tracked down after I drove him out to the middle of nowhere last night. Give Travis an eyeful of my sweet, sweet forehead that he keeps staring at."

    I snickered.

    "Though, to be honest, I am sort of thinkin' of scoping some things out tonight, apparently there's some sort of after-hours 'courage test' thing that some people are puttin' together," I shrugged, "There's certainly a few places on my list that I'd go poke around in, been here barely 24 and I'm already wanting to do some good old fashioned trespassing."

  13. #2613
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    “Harsh is an understatement,” I laughed dryly, “Still...the more I think about it the more glad I am that...it happened. Much as I dread the same things happening again...It’s still a second chance.”

    To be with you. To make sure that you’re okay this time.

    That’s what keeps me sane. I want to tell you that, but...I already put more than enough burden and expectations on your shoulders, didn’t I…

    “And...you’re right. Even if time is ticking, I can’t just forget about everything else. Can’t just rush out there out of desperation...That would just drive me insane, sooner or later.”

    I was already kind of certain...But that’s what must have happened to Angelica, and maybe that other woman in the forest too. They were alone, desperate...and they lost sight somewhere along the way.

    With firsthand experience, it was way too easy how it could make someone spiral down towards madness.

    I let out a deep sigh - then started stretching my arms. The position I’ve been in earlier wasn’t exactly the most comfortable one for writing.

    “So...I don’t mind. Though...as much as I appreciate it, are you really okay with that? I don’t want to break you away from others. You seem to be in your element there,” I said as I started towards the growing group in the ocean once again, “I’d be okay with just being here on my own to let you have your fun.”

    Obviously, even I didn’t believe my own words, and with how convincing they sounded coming out of my mouth, I wouldn’t have been able to fool a newborn baby with them.

    Heh.

    Once upon a time I was good at hiding my emotions and true intentions, and distancing myself from everyone else...But it feels like I’ve been losing my edge there ever since I came here.

  14. #2614
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "I'm just here looking for some meat, Sakura's a sweetheart, but she just doesn't quite have what I'm looking for, y'know? So I guess you can chow down on some chowdah while I'm here, tit-for-tat and all that jazz."
    Souma chuckled quietly as he worked on the grill, wiping some of the sweat that had been forming on his forehead. The sizzle of the meat filled the air, and again, that absolutely delicious smell wafted into the air. The one-eyed boy looked like he was quite in his element when it came to cooking like this. Same could be deduced from the amount of meat he had prepared, from sausages to wings, from steaks to burger patties, and to just about anything that could be imagined.

    While working though, his singe eye glanced towards the blonde girl.

    "... Heh. Understandable," the boy replied with that silk-like voice of his. "Well... when you're ready, tell me what you want."

    A quiet, enigmatic smile broke to his face.

    "... I can recommend the burgers."

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Mostly just figured I'd poke my head over here and see what's going on, find out what beast Souma tracked down after I drove him out to the middle of nowhere last night. Give Travis an eyeful of my sweet, sweet forehead that he keeps staring at."
    Travis snorted when he heard this, making a vaguely rude gesture with his hand. He also locked his eyes with those of Elaine, almost like pushing in for a challenge of some sort, one that he wasn't willing to back down from.

    "Hah. Forehead? Dream on," the delinquent replied, crude sneer on his face. "There's no game in getting a look at what's being so blatantly dispayed. If anything, I'm just waiting for you to head out to cop an eyeful of that ass of yours."

    Well, he just straight up said it out loud.

    Even Hwan seemed a bit surprised, before bursting into a crude laugh and slapping the taller boy on the side - half to tell him to watch him, half to congratulate him on his flagrant shamelessness. Travis himself, on the other hand, simply grinned smugly, almost like he was gunning for an angry response from Elaine and looking forward to this developing into a fight or an argument. Quite typical of him. He did love rubbing people the wrong way, after all. To the point that it felt deliberate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Though, to be honest, I am sort of thinkin' of scoping some things out tonight, apparently there's some sort of after-hours 'courage test' thing that some people are puttin' together. There's certainly a few places on my list that I'd go poke around in, been here barely 24 and I'm already wanting to do some good old fashioned trespassing."
    Hwan cocked an eyebrow at that.

    "Courage test? Hah, that sounds like what the losers here would come up with. Especially since they ain't got the tools or skills to get to the really creepy places, right?" Hwan asked, elbowing Travis a bit like he was implying something. "In other words, sounds like a fricking bore, hah!"

    Souma, who had been listening in on the conversation while he prepped the two plates, shot a glance at Elaine.

    "... Just be careful where you go," he said, though he didn't sound exactly worried. "There are dangerous places around here... Heh."

    Surprisingly enough, Travis actually nodded at what the Japanese boy was saying.

    "Damn right. I bet that these idiots are gonna go spelunking somewhere without any preparations or care," he said, making a dismissive gesture at the idea. "After which they get themselves hurt and it becomes a shitty mess for us all to deal with, since nobody's looking after their sorry asses. Like, they fall through the damn floor or try to squeeze somewhere only to get caught by their hips."

    A crude laughter, accompanied by a glance towards what he had talked about, accompanied Travis's words.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “So...I don’t mind. Though...as much as I appreciate it, are you really okay with that? I don’t want to break you away from others. You seem to be in your element there. I’d be okay with just being here on my own to let you have your fun.”
    Pyry rolled his eyes with an amused snort.

    "Yeah yeah, you're not believing that even yourself, pikkusisko," he replied with a chuckle. "As grumpy and thorny as you try to appear, you like having just like any dumb teen. So come on! The water's fine, and you deserve to have some fun too!"

    Without waiting any longer, Pyry grasped a tight hold of Hisa's hand with his own and pulled her up from the sand. Then, with that same move, he began jogging towards the ocean - though keeping his stride short enough that the scarred girl could keep up with him. And so, with the blonde boy's guidance, the two of them waded into the sparkling ocean waters. As cold as it might have been on the first touch, thanks to the unrelenting shine of the sun and the heat radiating off of the sands, one could easily get used to it, especially if they kept on the move. And while the group that was not too far away from them did greet them (or rather, Ubon excitedly waved her hands after seeing Hisa in the waters), Pyry did as he promised and guided the two of them to a more secluded spot - one where the shallows of the beach started to give out, meaning that Hisa was almost up to her shoulders in the water, while for the boy.. it was barely past his navel.

    At least the water did make the ridiculous height difference even funnier.

    Still, it was a pretty good spot. There was enough shallows to simply play around and have fun, and nearby where the deeps started, one could go properly swimming or even diving. In addition, just like everywhere else on the beach, the bottom was pretty much just sand - no large stones or slimy rocks in sight.

    End's Beach was surprisingly good for some late summer fun, huh?

    "Alright, ready to give it a try?" Pyry asked, positioning his hands like they had been a stirrup for Hisa to set her foot into. "I'll make sure you get some good hang-time!"

    The boy, now back in water, was grinning infectiously from ear to ear.

    "And don't worry~! If you look like you're gonna flop on your back or on your tummy, I'll just catch you!"




    Liana Skye
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Xylia adopted a mocking expression that was clearly meant to make fun of Liana's attempts at keeping the situation serious. At the same, she flapped her hands around and started speaking in a half-assed imitation of the taller girl, somewhere between a ridiculing caricature and a cartoonish exaggeration. All in the response to what the other girl had just said.

    "Are you scared~? Are you confused~? Does my idiocy make you feel good~? Can you show me where the bad man touched you on this doll~?" Xylia mockingly repeated back to Liana, before exploding into a sneering cackle and slapping her knee. "Jesus Christ yer like a textbook example of 'em idiots who believe in self-help books! Uu~, does the fact that I'm an utter moron who can't take a hint make you feel powerful~? Does my absolute lack of balls make you laugh~? Does the fact that I try to act calm even though I'm being a passive-aggressive bitch make me the better person~?"

    Xylia stopped her mocking paradage of parodies there, instead turning back to Liana.

    The tiny girl then raised her finger to point at her own face, one that was wearing the flattest of expressions.

    "See, this? This is how fuckin' stupid ya sound," she added. "Some of the other retards in this class might fall fer it, but I ain't gonna - so ya might as well not try. See, unlike others, I don't make excuses for what I am. And I sure as hell ain't tryhard enough that I search for any person who seems even slightly troubled just so I can 'save the day' and make meself feel better like I was gettin' off on some goddamn hero complex. I mean, Christ! That's one sad, pathetic lifestyle!"

    Well, from the looks of it, the time for parodies and mocking of a different kind was over, and now it was back to just bombarding Liana with insults. Though, at the same time, they felt bit more focused now - as in, Xylia might have just let slip why she had reacted so negatively to the taller girl in the first place. The mere idea that someone would, even in a situation like the beach party, go out of their way to seek someone to "help"... well, judging by her expression, it seemed to disgust her.

    "So yeah, I sure as hell am makin' my day better by doin' this. Yer such an easy target that I could keep this goin' fer hours, bringin' up cruel truths 'bout yer loser mindset and just how desperate ya look, or how ya were clingin' to that braindead Italian earlier today like her dumbass face could give ya any semblance of purpose. I mean, face it, yer the type that goes crazy if there's no one 'round who ya can prove how 'good' and 'heroic' ya are, yeah? God, yer type is the worst. I've seen lots of hypocrites in my day, but yer kind always takes the cake," Xylia continued, her verbal assault growing larger and larger in size... as well a the feverish enjoyment in her eyes, to the point that she was actually wiping off some drool from her mouth. "And that's why yer pitiful, mewlin' tries of fightin' back are so damn funny! Kyaha, haha, kyahahaa~! 'Cause yeah, seein' yer oh-so-perfect face hurt is givin' me hella pleasure. I could just climax from this~! That's how pathetic ya are, haha, hahaha, kyahahahahaa~!"

    Well...

    ... This meeting was going down the drain, and fast.

  15. #2615
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: End's Mercy Hospital - Basement
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    The world swirled, and changed, and evaporated into a new location as the woods gave away to dull concrete and darkened corridors. All too soon your scenery had changed from the afternoon sunshine that the school bathed in into the dimly lit black of End's Mercy Hospital. You remembered this darkness. It was the similar sort that you had encountered here before, during that fateful Sunday. Though, this time, it wasn't because the hospital was empty. Oh no, you could hear the distant sounds of the place being alive somewhere up above.

    No, this time you were in the basement floor... in the murky darkness that you had left untouched last time.

    Only now, you had dove straight into it.

    All for the sake of...

    "Boooosss~!"

    Something familiar (quite literally in this case) clings to your leg as Söörik lets out a cry of relief. Your familiar is practically crying (can it even cry?) at the sight of you, and immediately puts you as a shield between itself and the terrible enemy that it came across here in the bowels of the hospital. The terrible enemy that, just for a moment, seemed to have stopped because of you teleporting straight in. In the face of impossibility, it had paused, it had stumbled and it had ceased chasing after Söörik. Of course, that was only natural. Anyone would have been given a pause by the sight of you simply materializing out of thin air.

    Yes, just about anyone.

    Which meant that the following was even weirder.

    BAP!

    Something hits you in the stomach.

    A modern broom, meant to sweep the yards of houses, looking like an oversized brush more than the typical witch's apparel.

    A very rude broom that hesitated none, and instead poked at you, as if to determine whether you were a new enemy or not.

    And on the other end, holding that broom was...

    --- Now what the heck was this?

    New Person Met!

    New Being Met!

    Wiseup!

    Sõõrik

    “I found it, Boss! Time to… err… ee….kick names and take ass?”

    A type of familiar often used by Estonian magicians called Kratt or Pisuhänd. A type of amalgamation between a nature spirit and a minor demon, the traditional method of creating these beings is to form the body out of three used bath brooms (viht/vihta) which are tied over a broom handle while using a burning coal for a heart. The contract is then actualized by offering three drops blood to the devil at a three-road crossroad at a Thursday midnight.

    In Anna’s case, swearing allegiance to the Devil is not really necessary for her to manifest a Kratt, as simply the use of her blood is sufficient for the task. Anna’s magical heritage has, however, somewhat warped the typically adversarial relation that these beings traditionally have with their creators. Usually, a kratt must be constantly given a task to do, lest they attack their creator in a fit of rage. In Sõõrik’s case, however, their relationship has bizarrely morphed into something resembling that of a leader and a subordinate, with the spirit himself refferring to Anna as “Boss” (a fact that initially embarassed her immensly, but eventually ground her down to the point of apathy).

    As a familiar, Sõõrik isn’t particularly intellegent, falling straight into the “lovable fool” category. However, he is rather animated for a Kratt, who are usually known for being rather silent in nature. Although the quality of his conversations can, at some times, leave to be desired, Anna has grown somewhat fond of his occasional antics and companionship. However, while his overall smarts may not be something to write home to, as a kratt, Sõõrik is exceptional at following singular instructions perfectly and (almost) never makes mistakes when carrying out his tasks. Naturally curious, Sõõrik has picked up a suprising amount of American “cultural lingo” when carrying out his tasks the States, an influence that Anna is not sure is beneficial for the familiar.

    It seems that the wayward familiar got his name due to his uncharacteristic love of sweets, donuts especially, which Anna usually gives him as a reward for carrying out more major tasks.






    The broom bopped Anna in the stomach. Not in a painful manner, but with a certain… insistence.

    Well, this is new.

    She really didn’t know where to start here. Out of all the weapons that had been aimed at her over the course of the last decade, she could confidently say that this was the first time she had been accosted by a broom. Well there was that one time that Lili tried smack her with that… well in any case, she never ended up going through with something like that.

    Sõõrik on the other hand seemed relatively…fine? I mean, how much could a girl with a broom do to him anyway? Actually, nevermind that. In hindsight, probably quite a lot, considering that his actual body was composed of bath brooms to begin with. Clearly shaken by being chased by this surprisingly persistent menace, the green-eyed familiar immediately raced behind her back, peeking out from behind Anna’s legs while staring timidly at his mortal enemy.

    Another bop.

    Anna let out a tired sigh, as she ran a hand through her raven hair in a motion that was filled with exasperation.

    “Aah, yeah. You know you can stop that now, right? Unfortunately, prodding me with that broom won’t make me vanish into mist or something.”

    How the hell am I going to fix this now…



    Bop-bop

    Two more pokes.

    As if to test the waters and to see if Anna really was physical.

    And when it had become clear that the raven-haired girl really was there, and not just some manifestation or illusion caused by the darkness of the room, the tiny girl frowned quite magnificently, her mouth turning into more or less an upside-down V shape. It was the look of someone who had no desire to admit defeat here and now, but more or less have to, because even if the familiar shivering behind Anna's legs was smaller than the tiny girl, Anna herself was at least twice her size... and the girl seemed to realize that as well.

    She wouldn't get very far if she tried to fight her off with that broom of hers.

    "........"

    Wordlessly, the girl stared at Anna in the dimly lit corridors of the hospital. She huffed slightly, sounding like a tiny miffed cat, and folded her arms awkwardly across her chest while still trying to keep her grip on the broom that was twice her size. So, the end result was that the girl ended up swaying slightly back and forth despite trying to look imposing despite her dwarf-sized body. She would have made for a good bobblehead-toy on someone's dashboard, in all honesty.

    Still, that look on her face... it was like if she was asking if the tiny familiar belonged to Anna. In a precocious "Is this your pet?" kind of way, like she had wanted to complain.

    Though, speaking of, well, speaking...

    ".....?" The girl wordlessly tilted her head.

    Not much of a talker, this one.




    “Hmh… You’re a persistent one, aren’t you.” A small smirk, not wholly devoid of warmth, crossed Anna’s face. “Don’t seem to like losing either, right?”

    The mouth of the small girl in front of her scrunched up, clearly unwilling to take the loss she had been suddenly been forced to face. The girl even gave her two more pokes to clearly, absolutely, verify that she was a real person and not a mirage. Unfortunately for her, Anna didn’t have any intention to vanish at the moment, forcing her to face the cold hard reality that was suddenly in front of her.

    The question on the girl’s face was clear, even as she was huffing and puffing like a miniature steam train.

    Hmm… though she isn’t particularly talkative… is she mute?

    “Yeah, your guess is probably correct. This little guy here is something of a helper of mine…”

    Anna turned a bit and lowered her hand, allowing for Sõõrik to clamber up on her arm and seat himself on her shoulder. After all this time, the witch in red barely even felt his presence there. Not because of the weight, the kratt barely weighed anything, made of twigs and coal as he was. But she did distinctly remember a time where the edges and points of the branches felt rather uncomfortable on her shoulders, but these days…

    “Sorry if he ended up giving you some trouble.” Anna lightly bonked the small figure on her shoulder in a semi-admonishing way, causing the familiar to sway a bit. “He has this annoying tendency from time to time. Too many sweets perhaps, eh?”

    “In any case, allow me to introduce myself.” Anna gave the twin-tailed girl a smile before reaching out her hand towards her. “My name is Anna. Nice to meet you…?”




    Again the head tilted, though this time it flopped to the other side, just as quizzically as ever.

    From the looks of it, communication problems were about to become a real thing.

    "B-Boss, the little devil hasn't said a single thing! She just walked around one of the corners, immediately spotted me, and grabbed that blasted weapon from nowhere!" Söörik complained from your shoulder. "Demolish her! Drive her away and demolish her! She's too quiet to be sane!"

    Well, questionable opinions aside, this was... perhaps a pretty strange thing to find here, at the basement of the End's Mercy Hospital. While the question of what was down here (other than cold storage, morgue, and what-have-you) was a pressing one, and then there was the case of that other little girl you had met earlier... or rather, in that "other week". Could it be just mere coincidence that there were two individuals, both young girls around the age of 10, who were both connected to a hospital in some way?

    That sounded unlikely.

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

    Still, the stern little girl seemed wary of your hand as you reached forward. She didn't exactly back away, but just like a cat, she leaned backwards a little bit, unsure of what you were about to actually do. Then again, since she hadn't escaped yet, maybe curiosity was winning in the battle against being wary of strangers.

    But, this newfound "little devil" aside... now that you were here, you were left with a big question.

    That is...

    What now?




    Anna let out a snort of amusement at Sõõrik’s overblown description of the small girl in front of her.

    “I’m sure we’ll manage. Actually, nevermind, should you even be calling someone else a “little devil”?”

    “In any case, did you manage to find something interesting in this place before you were caught?”

    The girl was a bit hesitant, but judging from the way she was still looking at her with that interested twinkle in her eyes… Curiosity had won out over apprehension, at least for the time being. Her presence in this basement was a curiosity, however. Not a total surprise, of course, she was relatively certain there was something down here at least, but...

    She was similar to the other one, the lass she had seen and helped out on Sunday. And hadn’t Shane also mentioned something of an Asian girl his age, with jet black hair and a hospital gown? Hmm… why they would have young girls here, more than one at that. That one was a ward of Winters, but Anna had no idea how she had gotten to Pinefall to begin with. Well, she had a very general guestimate on where that happened, but…

    “Curious… Well then. Let’s have a look around, shall we?” Anna’s eyes flickered over momentarily towards the girl in front of her, a grin on her lips. “Feel free to tag along if you’re interested. I won’t stop you at least.”

    And with those words on her lips, Anna headed into the dark depths of the hospital basement.






    "Eeh, the whole thing's locked up Boss. All these nasty metal doors with no knows or handles! Just beeping square plates on the wall!" Söörik answered, still glaring tiny daggers at the girl.

    "A-and hey, that's rude, Boss! There's a difference between a devil and a devil! And you should know that!"

    These words were spoken as you headed deeper into the hospital's basement, keeping a close eye on the dark corners and the long hallways. Judging by how each of your step echoed if you weren't careful, this section of corridors itself must have spanned most of the length of the whole hospital. And judging by how brand new these things looked, they must have been built rather recently.

    Right next to you, though, you found your new "companion", quietly tip-toeing along with you. Her eyes weren't focused on the basement floor however, now... they were focused on you. Each of your moves, gestures and words were watched by a pair of curious red eyes, like someone who had never seen a person like you before - or at the very least, hadn't seen one in a very long time.

    Honestly, it was a bit like having a hungry cat following you... and carrying a mouse on your shoulder.

    One thing that also became clear quite quickly was that that Söörik hadn't been lying. There were doors here and there. Automated metal doors with no locks to open them with and sturdy-looking enough that melting through one would have most likely alerted the whole hospital to your presence. Instead of locks, they had small panels next to them where you could swipe a security card or something to get them to open up... a card that you didn't have. The panels also had slowly blinking red dots of light on them... almost like an alarm system.

    No, most definitely an alarm system.

    After all, while you had been wandering around in these empty corridors, you had realized one thing very soon...

    ...There were no security cameras anywhere.





    Hmm… this place is locked down tight, that’s for sure.

    Anna’s eyes slid over the massive doors and the elaborate looking card readers that surrounded them. This place was too suspicious. There was no way this was just a “morgue” and a basement, considering that the security topside had only been a fraction of what was in front of her now. In fact, she had a gut feeling that the hospital above might have just been a cover for what existed down here. Though what that thing might have been was completely outside of her scope. Mages wouldn’t run this type of security… well, it might have been someone from the Abbey, but even so, she would have expected some trace of magic, at least.

    No, if anything, this would be something more up the alley of Stargate or those tin cans from AMADEUS…

    And there were no cameras either, meaning that whatever happened here was something that they didn’t want to leave any trace behind. How many people in the hospital were “in” on this was another question. An alarm would have some kind of consequence of course, but…

    Well, in the end, she might have to take her luck and screw the consequences. There would have to be some type of response, of course, but it was unlikely to be instantaneous at least. And she wouldn’t have to worry too much about the traces either, since there were no cameras around. Which meant that a rapidly diving into this place after she'd triggered the alarms and then fleeing once her pursuers caught up with her would still be a possibility, at least.

    Well, she would rather not go in so loud if possible. Which meant…

    Anna turned towards the ponytailed girl with a curious light in her eyes. She was a native of this place, after all. She would probably have some way of moving about here, as well.

    “Say…” Anna gave the girl a grin as she pointed towards one of the card locks suggestively. “You wouldn’t happen to know how to get through here, would ya?”





    "....?"

    The tiny stern girl stared at Anna again with that owlish look, blinking as if she hadn't understood anything. However, contrary to how her impassive face looked, the girl then took a look at the door at one of the card locks, raised her hand, and---

    At that moment, lights started flickering on in the corridors.

    Followed by the echoes of two sets of footfalls on the staircase.

    And a distant sound of conversation:

    "I got to say... we're lucky in a morbid sort of way. If that poor girl hadn't possibly floated across the border, we'd be handling this all on our own," one voice said, though it was still far enough away that it was hard to make out. "And honestly... this is a bit above our pay-grade, stuff like this. We're just a small town, after all."

    The voice sounded like that of an adult man, rough and soldier-like.

    "Sheriff, while the Bureau wasn't sure about the possibility, The Director herself didn't discount the possibility of her being either from the Reservation to the east or from the north. As you know, that's when we step in. I'm just glad you understand that when the Bureau gets called, we're calling the shots," another voice responded the first. "I hope that you have no problem with that."

    This voice was that of an adult man, too... though oddly youthful and energetic in its cadence.

    "As I said... we're lucky to have you here," the first voice responded. "Now, let's get to the morgue. I've asked them to bring the autopsy report for us in just a minute."

    There was a sound, almost like two hands were slapped together and then rubbed - almost like someone was getting excited at the prospect of an "autopsy"... which, as a word, never meant anything good. Autopsies were often only made when the reason for death was something the police wanted to investigate... and hadn't that second voice called the first one "Sheriff"?

    "Still... that guy back there was a psychiatrist?" the second voice asked, sounding rather incredulous."

    The "Sheriff" grunted, clear disapproval in his voice.

    "Yeah... as hard as it is to believe."

    Still, as interesting as this conversation was, it brought to light an alarming fact. You were currently in the middle of the corridor, in a basement where there was no real hiding places... and those two voices sounded like they were getting to the base of the stairs really soon.

    It was time to make a quick decision.

    "....?"

    The girl next to you looked at you quizzically, no sense of panic in her eyes.




    It was as her gut feeling had suspected. From the way she raised her hand to open the door in front of them, the girl probably had a card or some way to move about in this facility. It was at that moment, when steps echoed throughout the entirety of the basement, filling the hallways with echoing words.

    Anna couldn’t help but listen to their speech even as they approached the basement. Sheriff referred to the local town cop no doubt. The other voice… “Bureau”? Didn’t this place have some sort of governmental investigation agency? FIB or FIS or something along those lines. Some dumb acronym, at least. Americans loved that shit. But they shouldn’t even be involved with something like this, unless…

    Autopsy. Which meant there was a corpse. Which in itself wasn’t totally surprising, considering the insanity that was going on, but… what was more interesting was that the cops had actually found a body in the first place. “Floated across the border” meant that they had found the corpse somewhere near the water, which might mean the river, but which in Road’s End almost assuredly meant the sea. Probably found somewhere near the beach then…

    Honestly, what she really wanted to do was send Sõõrik after them, but… his amulet had been burned to dust by her arrival. They only had one left which meant that they only had one ticket out of here and her little wooden helper wouldn’t really have a safety net to get out of here if things turned sour.

    Hmph… I would be interested to know where the hell the morgue is in this place, after all, but…

    Things were somewhat irritating as they were. The timing wasn’t really the greatest, leaving her with one of two options. Fleeing was the safe option, of course, but would leave her with nothing. The other option was riskier, of course, and potentially resulted in something annoying perhaps, but…

    With nary a glint of panic in her eyes, Anna gave a playful grin in response to the quizzical look of the ponytailed girl. An amused twinkle flickered in her eyes as she pointed the girl’s attention towards the keycard slot once more.

    “Care to help a girl out?”

    Forward or bust. If I do end up getting discovered, the cleanup will probably be a hassle, but I’m too interested now to just back out with nothing.

    A brief whisper left her lips as she spoke to the small wooden familiar resting on her shoulder.

    “Can you hide in my shadow for a moment? Just stay out of sight and follow me, okay?”





    "....?"

    The girl next to you looked at you quizzically, no sense of panic in her eyes.

    "........"

    While Söörik did as told and slinked into your shadow, the twin-tailed little girl looked at you with that impassive face once again. It really was hard to tell whether she actually understood what you were saying, or if she was merely making deductions based on your own expressions and gestures. Nevertheless, one thing became very apparent with the lights flickering on and the approaching sounds from the other end of the hallway.

    This tiny girl wasn't bothered by them in the least.

    --- As if she hadn't seen any problem with someone coming here.

    Then again, she might have been a "resident" here, but at the same time if she was some sort of weird patient or a possible subject of experiments, shouldn't she have been taught to hide in the presence of dangers?

    Well, that was a thought for another time.

    Now there was the matter of hiding.

    And what came to that, well....

    "......."

    The tiny, stern girl tip-toed over to the keycard slot and lifted her oversized sleeves towards it. She practically used them like suction cups, covering the whole thing, though you could hear a card being swiped across the slit of the machine. At the same time, a quiet beep could be heard and when the girl retracted her hands... the light in the machine had turned green.

    Immediately afterwards, the heavy metal door hissed pneumatically and slid to the side, revealing a room on the other side.

    A small room.

    A very small room.

    Room lined with shelves that were full of latex gloves, detergent, buckets, mops, cleaning fluids and rags.

    ... and a veritable array of brooms stacked up in one corner.

    ".....!"

    The tiny girl puffed her chest, looking somewhat smug about herself at this reveal.

    The reveal... of a completely normal cleaning closet behind such a heavy-security door.

    What.




    Well, this hadn’t been quite what she’d suspected…

    Behind the massive card reader and sinister-looking security door was… a broom closet? At least that was the first thought that came to her mind as she glanced at the oodles of detergent, gloves, and brooms on display. No doubt this was where the little girl had come to “arm herself” earlier, judging by the similar make of the brooms, at least.

    And while a small pang of disappointment shot through her at the, rather underwhelming, sight, this development was fine itself in her own right. At the very least, she now had a place to hide. And the level of security was, again, suspicious in its own right. Broom cupboards that required an access card to enter?

    Giving the small puffed-up girl a small smile, Anna made her way into the small detergent-filled room, pausing only for a second to talk to her familiar.

    “Sõõrik. Can you keep an eye out on those two? I’m interested in what they’re talking about and where they’re going. Don’t get too close however, okay?”

    At the very least, she would need to know when those two had moved past so that she could continue with her exploration without stumbling across the pair by accident. Until they passed however, she had a moment of respite.

    As the small familiar slipped through the now-closed door, Anna turned towards the small girl who’d accompanied her.

    “Thanks for the help.” Anna’s smile was filled with gratitude as she momentarily patted the smaller girl on the head in a surprisingly endearing fashion. “Though this place… I imagine it's your work, right? Must take a lot of effort to keep this place more or less clean. People rarely appreciate the effort that goes into these things as well...”

    Her eyes moved over the orderly and stacked shelves and a certain glint of appreciation could be seen flickering in the depths of her ruby eyes.





    "........."

    As per usual, the girl said nothing.

    Indeed, she barely even reacted to her head being pet, though just like before, she was initially wary of the movement. However, immediately afterwards, while you were still speaking and while Söörik was about to slink out of the broom closet, the girl took a step... and tip-toed inside. Before anything more could be said, the mechanical door slid shut, leaving the two of you in the dimly lit cleaning closet, and with Söörik outside of it.

    "Err... g-got it, Boss! Just a moment!" Söörik spoke to your mind. "Lessee... there's two guys here... both pretty tall, and one with brown hair and a gold star! The other has silver hair and a walking stick!"

    Well, that certainly sounded like the Sheriff and... someone else?

    "The silver-hair guy is now asking the gold star guy about the local trees... sycamore trees! He looks really excited for some reason! N-now he's saying he wants something called auto topsy rhea port!" the commentary continued through the familiar's link. "A-and now... now they gold star guy said the girl's corpse is over here, and they're going into this room... one of the metal door rooms! There's some brown-haired guy with a white coat inside! And the place smells like graveyard and soap!"

    Well, that was both helpful and unhelpful. But at least it helped pass the time while hiding here in the broom closet with the girl.

    Speaking of which...

    ... Wasn't she sticking pretty close to you now?

    As in, practically hugging your leg with how close she was, leaning her tiny head against you? And why did she look so satisfied, almost as if she was gonna start purring?





    A-and now... now they gold star guy said the girl's corpse is over here, and they're going into this room... one of the metal door rooms! There's some brown-haired guy with a white coat inside! And the place smells like graveyard and soap!"
    That would most likely be the coroner and the room smelling of graves and soap must have been the morgue. It should be something to check out, but… she had no idea how long they’d stay there. If it was a thorough report, it could take up to an hour. Perhaps even longer.

    Well, for the time being, the hallways should be empty at least.

    Her eyes fell over to the ponytailed girl, who had now scooted herself up to Anna and was now almost hugging her leg while leaning her head against her. Good mood rolled off the broom-wielding girl in waves. The sight brought a small smile on Anna’s face, but a small glint of pain was also mixed into her expression. For her to react like this, so fast, must have meant that she hadn’t gotten any positive reinforcement from anyone in a while. She had seen some kids act like this back at the orphanage, just after they had arrived, by taking a shine to anyone who happened to say something kind to them, but…

    Sigh. What’s with Road’s End and all the hurt kids here. Shane, that raven-haired girl, this lass…

    In any case, thinking about that would have to come a bit later. Well, there was the question of whether she’d even do any thinking about this matter or just impulsively decide to do something as usual.

    Anna let out a small snort of amusement as she gave one final pat to the girl next to her and addressed her with a small grin.

    “Well then. Shall we get back on the road with our adventure? Plenty of stuff still to see in this place, I imagine.”





    Over the course of next 20 or more minutes, you became painfully aware of two important facts.

    First was that Söörik, as good as he was, couldn't eavesdrop through the solid metal door. The morgue had been easily found, now that two people had gone in there... and from the looks of it, you had made a right decision when it came to hiding. It was right at the end of that same hallway where you had been just moments earlier. Had you had tried staying in the shadows behind a corner or something, you would have most certainly been noticed.

    And the second painful fact was...

    ... The little girl next to you wasn't the master key that you were hoping for.

    Not only had she looked confused at you when you had started gesturing towards other keycard locks, but once you had gotten her to repeat what she did with the first... it became apparent that her card didn't grant access to these doors. In fact, it didn't grant access to any of the doors that were down here - other than the one that led to the broom closet.

    ... In a way, it made sense.

    After all, a little girl would be rarely handed out a keycard for all the facilities in a hospital's high security basement. And since you had met her with a broom in her hands, she was, most likely, here just to actually clean the place up. Maybe that's why she hadn't looked so worried about people approaching this place, either. She was just a part-time tiny cleaning lady of this place.

    Still, you had burned up precious time, and the minutes kept ticking on. The Sheriff and this other person wouldn't be at the morgue for forever. And right now, the basement itself was starting to look like a dead end, and a wasted trip...

    Well, wasted apart from the fact that you now had a young girl nuzzling your side quite affectionately. Those headpats had really worked wonders regarding her attitude...





    Hmm… a dead-end, huh.

    Or that was the conclusion she had reached after twenty minutes of aimless wandering in this high security “bunker”, for the lack of a better word. The lass’s card only opened the broom cupboard, that much was certain at least, since the rest of the doors remained stubbornly locked. There was always the possibility of trying to force her way through, but… she was more inclined to do something during the night.

    When this overtly affectionate ponytailed girl wasn’t around, at least. Getting her mixed up in some crossfire when she inevitably tripped the alarm and was forced to blast her way out of this place left a slightly bitter taste in her mouth.

    But the more she thought about it, the more bizarre her presence here was. Who the hell makes a kid clean up a high-security basement? If anything, this would have seemed like a gig Zane would have picked up. But she reminded her too much of the other girl. That one was also quiet and didn’t speak much. Approximately the same age as well. And that was discounting perhaps the most important factor.

    That girl was in this very hospital, after all. Maybe not in the basement, but…

    Well, in any case, her search had, at least for the time being reached its natural end. If she was to come back to this place, it would be with… louder intentions next time. That or maybe she could drag Gagnon back to this place again. Didn’t end up that great last time, but that really didn’t have much to do with this place. More with the… elements that followed them.

    Having finished with that train of thought, Anna’s eyes fell on the girl who was now nuzzling her side affectionately.

    What am I going to do with you, though…


    All things considered, it seemed like she wouldn’t have to deal with her as she would have with normal witnesses, at least. She didn’t seem particularly communicative and most likely would not pass on the distortion as it was, either. Well, there were some risks… In any case, setting that aside, Anna still wasn’t sure what she should do with her. A part of her wanted to take the smaller girl with her as she left, but the other lass clearly had some sort of medical respiratory condition. One that ended up being terminal, in fact. She could have something of the sort as well. Of course, she would be able to cure a fair number of conditions using her magic, but…

    …she didn’t know enough about the circumstances in play here. Blind interference may end up cocking things up even worse.

    More info, huh?

    “Sõõrik, can I ask you to check something for me? Can you check out that raven-haired brat on the 4th floor? I’m interested in what’s going on there.”

    Anna paused for a bit before letting out a small teasing chuckle at the familiar.

    “Though before you go… Make up with the lass here, will you?” Anna rustled the girl’s hair a bit. “You see? She’s not too bad once you get to know her. Still a bit quiet, but friendly nevertheless.”

    “And who knows?” Anna’s eyes flickered over to the locked doors for a moment, and a hint of seriousness crept into her tone. “You might end up back in these hallways at one point.”

    "Better not to get chased by a broom next time, eh?"





    "... Fiiiiine."

    Looking like he really didn't want to, but your serious glare was enough to convince him, Söörik slid down to the floor and set himself face to face with the tiny girl - tiny girl who was eyeing him with the most suspicious pair of eyes. The tiny familiar lifted up its "hand" for something like a shake, a move that was accompanied by something that sounded like a mumbled apology. It wasn't much, but at least it was a start... and honestly, if the familiar hadn't listened to you, that might have made things even worse.

    Still, the girl... simply stared at the hand.

    And stared.

    And stared.

    And continued to stare.

    "U-uhm, Boss, I don't this is gonna w---WHOA!"

    Before the familiar had any real time to react, he suddenly found himself being patted on the head by a tiny hand... in a manner much similar as to what Anna had done to the girl herself. It was, of course, a bit awkward considering the creature was made out of bath brooms, but at the very least the girl had decided to agree to a truce of sorts. And even though Söörik tried to hide it, he clearly didn't mind being patted like that - at all.

    Having done her part of it, the girl stepped back, put her hands to her hips, and nodded with a satisfied - if a bit smug - face. Did she count this as her victory?

    "A-anyways, I'll contact you soon Boss! Just a moment!"

    And with that, the familiar was off, heading towards the upper floors and to where he had sensed the other black-haired girl that was being held here.

    In other words, you and your tiny accomplice now had to wait here in the basement... and hope that the door to the morgue wouldn't open unexpectedly, busting you now that you had gotten this far on your excursion.

    --- About 10 slightly nerve-wracking minutes later, you could hear Söörik's voice in your head.

    "Uhh... tiny problem, Boss! I... I found the girl... she's in a room that had some people in there, so I waited for them to leave..." the familiar started. "... So I got here to take a look at her, but... but I dunno how she's doing. Can't read all these beeping white boxes with black windows!"

    A bit of hesitation, then.

    "... But she looks like she's sleeping, with all sorts of medicine hoses connected to her body..."

    Even Söörik sounded slightly worried.




    Anna let out a small chuckle at the scene between the small girl and her, now suddenly somewhat embarrassed, familiar. The girl had spunk, that much was certain. Her self-assuredness was almost endearing in its purity. All things considered, these two might actually get along reasonably fine and just got off with the wrong foot… or end of a broom, to be more precise.

    And lo and behold, ten minutes later…

    "... But she looks like she's sleeping, with all sorts of medicine hoses connected to her body..."
    Hmm… tranquilized. Probably for some sort of procedure, but… there was still the question of why she ran away in the first place if all she was getting was medical treatment. Of course, there was the chance that she had sudden panic attack upon waking up, which caused her to leave. Or perhaps she was simply broken out by someone and then left to her own devices. Shane had met her, that much for sure, and so had Winters but…

    She had no way to confirm anything right now. She couldn’t sneak to the fourth floor even if she wanted to. It was too early in the day and the hospital would be working at a full shift. But if she was to find some clarity about what the hell happened to this girl… or will happen, she’ll need to move with relative haste. If things go as they were planned, she’d end up outside in the next couple of days. For a moment, her mind fell back on Sunday.

    … and this hospital will be dead empty due to this “Dr. Satel.”

    “Thanks. Come back down, I’ll be waiting for you in the broom closet.”


    Another couple minutes later, the familiar came waddling down into the broom closet, where Anna and her small ponytailed compatriot had set up their momentary base. As the familiar clambered back on her shoulder, Anna turned towards the small girl.

    “Well now. Unfortunately, it seems that our little escapade will need to come to an end for the time being.” Anna gave one final head pat to the small girl in front of her, rustling her hair playfully, as a small murmur left her lips. “Kõik mis alustad tuleb lõpuni viia...”

    “But who knows, eh? You might see me much earlier than you think.” A soft chuckle left her lips for a moment, as Anna turned back towards Sõõrik. “Actually… can you keep her company for a couple of hours? Not much should happen during this beach party, so things should be relatively quiet on that end, at least.”

    And its probably for the best to keep an eye on this place for the time being…





    "F-fine.. I guess I can stick around, Boss..."

    While Söörik tried to play up his grumpiness as much as he could, the familiar couldn't exactly act as sour as he wanted to. Mostly because the moment he had arrived into the broom closet, he had been scooped up like an oversized housecat, and was now in the arms of the impassive girl, slowly being petted like the aforementioned animal. Indeed, from the looks of it, these two would get along just fine now... though the ease at which this girl had "tamed" your familiar might have been slightly concerning.

    She really was a wilful little girl, huh?

    "........."

    Still, perhaps the girl was sensing, or understanding, what you were about to do... because after receiving that one final headpat, she nodded solemnly and then waved goodbye, her other tiny arm still tightly clutching the familiar. But, nevertheless, time was ticking and you needed to head out now...

    --- Even if you would most likely return here at some point.




    Anna let out a laugh at the sight of Sõõrik being treated like a wooden housecat. Despite everything, he was a “beast” of the Turnside, after all, even if that term might have been slightly overblown, considering the context. Regardless, there were not many who would treat him like this… for a multitude of reasons. Many in the Orloj considered familiars as naught but mindless puppets, after all. So in that way, her earnestness towards Sõõrik was endearing for Anna to see.

    In the end, it might have simply an expression of her isolation, but…

    Kindness is kindness, no matter the reasons behind it.

    “Hah.” Anna gave the small girl’s cheek one last rub as she started to vanish in a sea of emerald roots and vines. “Careful now. I do want him back, you know?”

    And with a final lazy chuckle, Anna Vandemeel vanished from the basement of End’s Mercy, leaving behind only a handful of ash and the smell of burnt tree bark.

    Last edited by Mellon; May 6th, 2020 at 01:31 PM.

  16. #2616
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    This time around, Lucille Faraday is properly dressed for the beach. She considers it a small compromise considering band practice allowed her to dodge both Elaine and Sakura. Still, as Lucille adjusts the hoodie she brought to cover up, she can’t help but feel self-conscious. Regardless of their intentions, Elaine and Sakura had sown doubt into the mind of the girl that normally didn’t care.

    Taking a quick look around, she wonders why Sakura and Colt were at the food tables if they were having a date. Wasn’t that something you did alone? And honestly, she’d feel awkward if she showed up to grab something to eat. That was intruding, wasn’t it?

    Lucille instead makes her way over to where Caleb, Vier, and Aleen are, remembering the last time around, she had a dreadfully unfinished conversation due to her own need to meddle. And said meddling didn’t work out anyway, so Lucille prays whatever is going on between Liana and Xylia doesn’t become messy.

    "... Have you ever wanted to be a model?"
    Lucille isn’t sure if she can really imagine Vier as a model, and judging by the other girl’s no nonsense attitude, she’d refuse on principle.

    Still, it wouldn’t hurt to rib her a little?

    “I think she’s like a doll,” Lucille pipes up as she arrives, waving hello. The technical truth leaves her lips like a genuine compliment.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  17. #2617
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    Hoh? Are you challenging me, Cannuckerstan?

    "Oh please," I scoffed, grinning in challenge, "Ain't nothing that can keep these babies in check, my hips are so bad they're on the FBI's Most Wanted."

    I shimmied in place, smiling a smug-ass smirk.

    "Walls'd have to be made of something harder'n steel to outpower these girls, haha!"

    These crude remarks, delivered almost without any shame, made me a bit nostalgic, it felt comfortable, in a way. Was a bit of a step up from talking about farts and making dumb-ass jokes all the time, but the essence of an excess of testosterone still gave a whiff of that cramped car and a certain pair of knuckleheads.

    "But yeah, whole world's dangerous, this place especially, very much so after dark," I frowned, "Never know if some grumpy mother-hubbard's gonna try to take a potshot at you for 'doing what you're not supposed to', especially if ya aren't quiet or delicate about getting into wherever."

    I wasn't too concerned about either of those, if I wanted to get someplace, there wasn't very much that could dissuade me.

    "Part of me wants to go along just to make sure people aren't going to be a pack of retards and go smack-talk some lunatic tree-fondler with a 45 and then I have to haul their sorry-asses out of the fire before they get themselves messed up."

    I shrugged, "Only one place I'm a little interested in scoping out right now, and I don't think there's much there, least not right now. It's that or go traipsing around in the woods, looking for trouble."

    Good place to find trouble, the woods. They're certainly never boring.

    "After all, the thing I was interested in happened a few months ago, even if a murder scene might be spooky enough for some of these thrill-seekers."
    Last edited by Mormarth; May 6th, 2020 at 04:53 PM.

  18. #2618
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Entering the cold water gave me goosebumps all over my body, and I could feel my breathing become sharper and heart beat much faster - if just for a few moments. It didn’t take too long to get used to the water, even if it’s been quite a while since I could take a dip like this. Though, even back then it was a hot spring, and not the cold ocean…

    I shot a gaze towards the others in the ocean, and noticed Ubon waving towards us - so I waved back at her, if just out of courtesy. Would have been rude not to. She’s been so cheerful and open all the time, even if I couldn’t entirely stand her presence, it felt nice that she was looking out for others like that.

    As we reached further, and deeper into the ocean, I once again had to realize how stupidly tall Pyry was - just a few more meters in and I’d be completely swallowed by the water, meanwhile most of his upper body was still not even in the water.

    “Mhm, I don’t mind giving it a try, but don’t expect miracles,” I smiled at him coyly, “so I’ll be relying on you.”

    Of course, this was exactly where I could shine. I wasn’t exactly strong or tough, not any more than any other ordinary person of my age. There was no way that I was going to impress anyone at all in that aspect. But this...even if I still probably didn’t even come close to someone like Ubon, my agility was, if just a bit, something that I was proud of.

    Except that I wasn’t sure what to expect from Pyry’s “space shot”, or what exactly I was expected to do.

    I walked-paddled my way to Pyry, and while supporting my weight on his shoulders with my arms, I raised my foot to stand on his hands.

    I took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly - then met Pyry’s eyes with my own and gave him a smile.

    “Ready for take off.”

    But what came next I wasn’t necessarily ready for. Pyry propelled me into the air with such force that I could feel the chill wind immediately dry off any water I had on my skin, and by the time I came to my senses and looked down, I was probably already 10, maybe even 15 meters up in the air.

    I could feel a chill run down my spine.

    He really wasn’t kidding.

    Just splashing into the water from this high could hurt quite a bit…

    But I couldn’t really afford that.

    It was my time to show off to Pyry, even if it really wasn’t all that impressive.

    Before I reach the turning point, I extend my arms in front of myself while straightening, and stretching my body - to make my profile as small as possible.

    Then, as I started falling…

    I didn’t even really think through what I wanted to do.

    My body acted instinctively - and with how fast I expected the fall to be, I figured I wouldn’t have had much time to think anyways.

    After a twist, I opened my eyes to see Pyry, and the surface of the ocean coming closer and closer - but my body already moved into a somersault.

    Rather, it was me getting closer and closer.

    And another somersault…

    With how dangerously close the water was now, I straightened out my body once more - just in time as my fingertips, arms, head, then a moment later my whole body splashed into the water.

    I took a few moments to just stay under the water - feel how my heart was beating so fast it could burst out of my chest.

    Then, as I could feel that I was running out of air, I surfaced.

    “Well...how was that?” I said with a smirk, but in the end, I can’t even really tell what I was doing up in the air.

  19. #2619
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Hmph… A bit livelier than last time, now is it?

    It hadn’t taken long for Anna to make her way to the beach in the end. Just a quick check back at her room and that was more or less it before she was already on her way towards the End’s Beach. Though by the time she had made it there, the party had more or less already started and most people were grouped up in their various little groups. Well, she was a bit late, all things considered. Her little excursion to End’s Mercy had taken a bit longer than she had initially planned.

    Should be okay though. I did tell Ramia I might end up a bit late, after all.

    Unlike most people, Anna hadn’t particularly bothered to change her attire much. If she was particularly honest… she really didn’t care much about it. She had no intention to swim last time, and she had none this time. All she was, at the moment, looking for was to laze about a bit, not much more. Things were going to get much more stressful as the days passed, after all. It was unlikely she’d have a chance like this in quite a while. And when it came to everyone else… they could do whatever the hell they wanted, as far as she was concerned.

    Maybe I’ll sit on the beachfront again once they start playing the music. That was pretty nice last time. Away from all the ruckus.

    Most folks had splintered into their own little pockets. Caleb was with King, Faraday, and Wolff. From the looks of it, he hadn’t managed to give the blue-haired girl the slip quite yet. Well, perhaps things would play out differently this time? Winters, Travis, Bin, and Nubatama were around the Grill, for their part, chatting about something or another. That in itself was another thing she needed to deal with at some point, but…

    Aah, it can wait for the time being.

    So instead, she made her way towards the bonfire in the middle of the smack in the middle of their little party site. Her steps towards there filled her with a peculiar sense of déjà vu. After all, they were identical to the steps she had taken during her first time here… albeit the crowd was a bit different.

    “Yo, Indiana. Gabi.” Anna let out a lazy yawn and a stretch as she arrived near the bonfire. “What’s up?”
    Last edited by Mellon; May 6th, 2020 at 03:05 PM.

  20. #2620
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    ---She had been wrong, completely wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "I figured your answer would be the aggressive one, but you throw your insults around so easily that none of them really have sticking power anymore, you know?"
    She had steeled herself after the first wave for everything that would follow, sure that she would be able to handle whatever was thrown her way, unwilling to relent or retreat in the face of someone that shouldn't be that big a problem, that shouldn't be able to rile her up so much, and yet...

    "..."

    At first, she just stares.

    There are a lot of words being thrown her way, words that she had went out of her way to listen to closely, hoping perhaps, to find a clue to solve this horrendous interaction before it can deteriorate any further, but instead...

    All she gets are words that hit a bit too close to home.

    Was this girl reading her mind?

    Her first instinct is simple suspicion, the idea that something that should not be happening is happening, a thought enhanced by the appearance of that bizarre illusion earlier, of a sun she had thought she had shaken off...

    Had there been something more to that illusion?

    Was she reading her thoughts somehow?

    Or was she simply that easy to read?

    "..."

    Hands clench and unclench, but she does her best to persist throughout it all, even so...

    She's listened to far too much of it.

    Now the words are storming around inside of her head, like a virus, an echo of something horrible that she didn't want to think about, that she had put behind her, and yet...

    ---That was strange, wasn't it?

    Instead of going to have fun at the part, she had wandered off to try to play the hero for someone else, going out of her way to seek it out like some sort of obsessive compulsion, sticking her nose where it doesn't belong all for the sake of making the scene "perfect."

    ...No, that's a lie.

    It's because you just want people to accept you right?

    Everyone likes a hero.

    Useful people don't get thrown away.

    Isn't that right?

    You won't even walk away from a bratty, petty kid, because a part of you still thinks you can turn this around and get her on your side.

    Still pleading with humans not to abandon you.

    ---That is pretty pathetic.

    ---It's a crack, the sound of glass breaking apart inside of her mind, because there's just enough truth in those words that one can't ignore them without going into complete denial, yes-

    Her heart thuds in her chest.

    Relentlessly.

    Constantly.

    It's not pounding any faster than normal, but the sound of it now...

    It's shredding her thoughts apart.

    ---Because that's not all of it, no-

    "..."

    -isn't she faking something, now that she thinks about it?

    It's just not something she can easily let go of, after all...

    ...If she lets go of that...

    What is left of her...?

    "...You."

    Her voice is quiet.

    "...You won't be able to survive that way. Only looking at those sorts of truths... That's not right... People are more than just their worst parts."

    A lot of things have fallen away.

    A dim anger remains, but...

    If it's thrown against her like this...

    Is it really right to deny it?

    "If you put it like that, I guess I am pretty pathetic in some ways. There's something wrong with me. I know that."

    Parts of her are fake, she knows that too, even so...

    Even so...

    Even so...

    "But even if you're right about some things..."

    She steps forward, towards the girl, and...

    "Don't call Cesarina a dumbass. I might be broken, so you can say whatever you want about me, I won't fight you over that, but..."

    ...her more tired gaze becomes a glare...

    "At least she and the others are trying to get better, sitting over here thinking you're superior because you don't make excuses for how awful you are? You're actually the worst sort of human there is, thinking that just because you know the truth about yourself, that means everything you do is okay, because at least you're not making excuses about it."

    She shakes her head, and even as bad as she feels now...

    She still feels some pity for the person in front of her.

    ...But that glare remains very real.

    "You're not as enlightened as you think you are, just an awful person that's satisfied with the fact that they're awful, reveling in it because at least you 'don't make excuses about it' right? That's about as pathetic as me."
    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?



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