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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #2701
    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



    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru Iburi
    “Blblblblblblbllrrghl!?”
    “Miss Iburi!” John is quick to reach out to the struggling her, his voice rising to what would be the average volume of ordinary people. His sense of alarm is real, for he would never allow one of his classmates to drown in front of his eyes.

    That is just common sense. Also, he really should go get that tube, if only to be safe, and because he does not want to be accused of touching a lady inappropriately in his efforts to assist her. It’s happened before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “In that case, should I also teach you how to say what you mean? Or do you think it's fine speak so disingenuously—?”
    Miss Prushka, John Dove always says exactly what he means to say. That is kind of his deal. However, any further attempts at diffusing this exchange he finds both undesirable and unnecessary are interrupted by Subaru’s input…

    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru Iburi
    “After all... it is a bit hard to have fun in the ocean with someone who cannot even swim, is it not?”
    No…this is wrong. This is all so wrong. Yet, it is the inevitable wrongness.

    No matter how hard he tries, no matter where he goes, no matter how skillful a liar he becomes, eventually his performance fails. Sometimes his intentions are interpreted in the completely wrong way—Miss Iburi here is a lighter example of that—, or somebody like Miss Prushka shows up to reveal that he is just “going through the motions”. It is not that he lies because he likes being a liar, or because he revels in keeping his “true self” hidden from others. He lies because he does not have a “true self”, so he can only interact with others through a Frankensteinian patchwork of behavioral patterns developed by observing others.

    However, he would not offer such an explanation. This is supposed to be a party, and even he can tell that explaining his wretched nature is nowhere remotely close to “fun” or “entertaining”. The time he needs to come up with an answer he deems appropriate allows Prushka to seize the initiative and address the issue first. She goes the extra mile, setting up Miss Iburi behind her in a safer position. John offers the blonde girl a grateful nod for that, all the while wondering why he did not think of it—because his behavioral “algorithm” already decided that it would be inappropriate to engage in such closeness with Miss Iburi.

    “Miss Prushka is absolutely right, Miss Iburi,” he begins, placing himself to that the Japanese girl (princess?) can look straight at him. “If I look like I’m not ‘having fun’, believe me when I say it is not because of you, or because of Miss Prushka or anybody else.”

    It is because he cannot have “fun” or anything else with the colorless people. There was a time when he did not even acknowledge them as “people”—perhaps that is still the case, but he has become such a good liar that he can delude himself into seeing them as “people”.

    “Miss Iburi, this is a beach party, and I decided that having to use a flotation tube was no excuse to keep you out of the party,” he continues. “I will say it as many times as I have to: I incited you to act against me because I wanted you to have fun along with the others. Because I wanted you to know that you can engage in the same simple, plain fun like everybody else here. That, right here, right now, the only thing holding you back is you.”

    John Dove is not a man of empathy. He just does not have much in the way of feelings of his own, so he can only regard and react to the feelings of others.

    “Miss Iburi, I am glad you are here…”

    Not precisely correct, because John cannot feel “gladness” towards Subaru Iburi. The proper choice of words would have been “I deem it the most correct thing for you to be here like this,” but John Dove is a liar.

    “…and while it got a little bit dangerous just earlier, I am glad we had our little battle. Besides, if I really wanted ‘peace and quiet’, I would not have come to this party in the first place.”

    Which would be a shame, because he lies the ocean. Whether he always liked it, or began to like it because he met Her on a beach like this one, is inconsequential. John Dove firmly believes he likes the ocean.

    Unfortunately—perhaps inevitably—, Prushka challenges him with the worst possible question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “So. What do you really want to do?”
    John wishes he had an answer for that. Does he really want to see the world with all its colors again? While he objectively recognizes that his situation is abnormal, the very nature of his lunacy makes him accept what he currently is. He has absolutely no issue seeing a colorless world in which the only thing of authentic value in his heart is The Numinous Argent Beauty he saw on that night. However, while She gave him life and truth, She cannot—or will not—give him purpose. For ten or so years, his only direction was “towards Her”.

    “Miss Prushka, there was only one thing I’ve ever wanted, and it just so happens I got it yesterday.”

    He found Her and learned the truth of that night. Now, he has nowhere else to go, no compass to guide him.

    “There is nothing else I want. More precisely, I am unable to want anything else. That is why, regrettably, your question has no answer that would not be a lie.”

    That “regrettably”, right there, is already a lie though.

    “That’s why, if I am to give an answer nonetheless…”



    “…I guess I would like to not lie to you.”

    A simple man, with simple “wants”. That is not a bad way to live, is it?

  2. #2702
    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


    "--- So, unless you have something else to offer, I'm afraid that ends the business side of our deal."
    "..."

    Silence.

    At first, the girl can only respond to those words by not responding at all, by going quiet, uncharacteristically quiet, at the words she can recognize as a sort of test. She's got his full attention now, whatever it is he was looking at down below has become secondary in his interests, he's focusing entirely on her to see how she'll respond to this line of questioning...

    No mercy.

    Not even to highschoolers.

    Especially to highschoolers.

    She had guessed this outcome might be a possibility, but the nature of the question is one that almost causes her mind to lock up once it appears, after all...

    'How far will you go?'

    That's the question that's being asked here right?

    How far would she be willing to go if it meant finding her mom on the other side of it? That's quite the question, the act of finding her mother is an incredibly important one, it is a defining reason for why she had even shown up in this Town in the first place, and the key to a number of things that also cannot be allowed to fall through, in terms of importance, it is more or less on part with a mission to "save the world," or something of that sort of absurd nature, in other words...

    The answer to 'what would you be willing to do' should be 'anything.'

    It is that important.

    It is that important.

    It is that important.

    "..."

    Even so, she does not say anything, and that -in and of itself- is strange.

    Are you not a fake person, Liana Skye? What's the problem with just throwing yourself on the pyre to 'save the world?' That's what you want to do right? Something like this shouldn't bother you too much, after all...

    Even with this heart beating in your chest, it's not like you're not a doll, right?

    Who cares what happens to dolls.

    ---Ah, what a bizarre question, it really is tearing her up inside, because...

    Doesn't she care? Hadn't she been offended by Xylia earlier? Doesn't that sort of response reek of the personal pride something like her shouldn't have?

    She values herself.

    She doesn't value herself.

    She values herself.

    She doesn't value herself.

    It's a perpetual tug of war isn't it? You can't decide?

    Always stuck in the middle, pulled a bit one way or another on her own whims, but always returning to the middle, to the center.

    The answer should be easy, even if this is a situation you aren't used too.

    Just say 'anything.'

    That's it.

    Let him fill in the blanks.

    "..."

    ---It should be simple.

    ...But it's not.

    Defective even now, eh Liana?

    Her blank eyes regain focus, as a mind comes to a conclusion, conclusion borne from a certain weight in the pocket of her jeans.

    A birthday present from a certain doctor.

    An earnest wish for her to try to live normally as a human, that is...

    "...Well, I figured $20 wouldn't cut it."

    ...She had... Promised to try...

    To get better...

    Light of life sparks back up in eyes that had become completely hollow for a few moments, like shaking off the remnants of a bad dream...

    "Way I see it then, I can only offer two things... There should be ways for me to find her even without your help, but if I can get it... I'll take it."

    So saying, she nods, more to herself than to him, and with that...

    Whatever self-inflicted curse had been assailing her mind shatters completely.

    It will return, as it always does, but for now...

    She's kept it at bay.

    "It could be a favor for a favor... If information gathering is your thing, then I could investigate parts of the the school for you, or have your back sometime? I'm sure you'd have some trouble just waltzing in there, even at night. Would be a bad look for you..."

    Not to mention a poor idea, considering her suspicions about the student populace...

    "Or I could -and this is going to sound pretty narcissistic but bear with me here- go out with you I guess? More of an official thing than this mountaintop meeting?"

    She crosses her arms, then smiles slightly:

    "Of course that would just be a date. Don't get any funny ideas about it or anything, I'm not agreeing to anything more than that, I do have my pride," she closes one eye, "You seem to think I'm pretty, so it's fine to leverage that sort of thing right? Don't do what you're good at for free~" she winks again, "We can walk around town, you can show me around, we can go to dinner, maybe drag some skeletons out of the town's closet together, you know, good-old fashioned teenage view on romance."

    She laughs.

    "Keep it simple, right?"
    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?



  3. #2703
    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

    “Hangover remedies...eh, I doubt you can really have any scientifically proven, reliably working methods…” I said as I scratched the back of my head, “It’s a natural process that you just have to deal with.”

    With more or less everything on the grill now, and with the bacon almost ready, I started working on the main attraction - the burgers.

    “Hmmm…” I mused over what exactly I should be making for a moment, “But yeah, I mean, if hangover was such an easy thing to get around...what would stop you from going drinking every night?”

    Guess it was time to try something new.

    Taking the bowl again, I prepared a filling with lots of cheese, bacon bits, pepper, and the necessary seasoning. Then, after spreading some of it on three of the burger patties Souma had prepared, I sealed the deal by putting another patty on top of each, folding and shaping the edges slightly so that it would look like just one bigger piece of meat. The rest of the filling I spooned into the mushrooms where it would quickly melt into a hot cheesy sauce.

    “Though...well, if you want to rid of something like that, I can always help. I have my own ways.”

    It was a lot easier for me to do so, in a sense. Directly manipulating certain things inside the body was a lot more effective and efficient than trying to solve things with outside effects.

    Mostly just came down to knowing what strings I had to pull and what buttons to push.

    “And eh, you, not gentle and sensitive? Please,” I said without any hint of teasing or joking in my voice, “You’re soft like a marshmallow under that rock hard surface. No need to be ashamed about it.”

    Gesturing towards him with the grill fork, I continued the lecture, but with my lips curling into a warm smile now.

    “Not sure about idiot either. You seem to know a lot about a whole bunch of stuff, and you likely have more common sense than me or Angelica. What should I call myself then?”

    I chuckled, then turned back towards the grill.

    “If I were to call you an idiot, it would only be because you just refuse to rely on others and act on your own way too often. But long as that can be fixed, you’re a perfectly smart guy.”

    Slowly, things were starting to come together on the grill - though, if I’ll have more time, I could probably prepare some additional stuff. Maybe for later, or for tomorrow.

    Certainly would rather eat this than Sakura’s sandwiches.

    What was the breakfast even in the cafeteria tomorrow?

    Hmm…

    “Still...well, I can throw lots of questions at you. Say...got any siblings? How's the countryside in Finland? How did you end up in the fighting business? You know, stuff like that.”

  4. #2704
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Ahhh, it's cold.

    The sunscreen, while the words are warm. It's a nice feeling, so I smile.


    "Ooh, that sounds great!" She exclaimed. "What do you say, Zaza? Should we go swimming? I also have an inflatable beach ball with me if you want to play a game!"
    I spat out some of the sunscreen as it ran down my face, feeling a shiver run down my spine as Cesarina's hands worked their way over my body. This was.... well... I had never had anyone help me put on sunscreen before. My hair felt wet, even though there was no water in the air. W-was this normal?

    Normal people are terrifying.

    As she began to work her way towards my thighs, I knew this had to stop almost immediately.

    "I-I... that s-s-s-sounds... excellent!" My voice cracked and I darted away from Cesarina, debating if it was worth using magic to hide the redness in my cheeks. "Yes! A beach ball! Splendid! Now that I am prepared for the rays of the sun--"

    There was a loud squelching sound as I took a step. My already pale skin was covered by white, giving me the look of the deceased.

    "Cesarina! I have arrived at a most cunning idea! What if we were to become ghosts?"
    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.


  5. #2705
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vivienne Bianchi & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    "Do you... not like swimming? Or... people seeing your skin? Before... I too was... a bit shy... about this kind of stuff... but I told myself... if I want to become an actress... and be like a Bond Girl... I should be... a little bit less ashamed of myself... I think... like Miss Lockheart said... we should seize the day... besides... you can report on how... the water on this side of America is... maybe like... the beaches in Marseilles? Nice? Perhaps... more like Normandy..."
    As Alex Terrot sighed, the look on the face of the reporter was a... difficult one. While she clearly appreciated the fact that the tables had turned, and now Vivienne was the one fussing over her classmate, it was also clear that Alex wasn't exactly a fan of this idea. No, more than that, she shivered as bit as she watched the ocean and the people there... a pained look appearing when she gazed upon people like Colt Davin, John Dove or Souma Nubatama.

    Pained... and terrified look. Though the fear lasted only for a second before she squashed it under her willpower, driving the emotion off from her face.

    "I am... sorry, Mademoiselle. It's not that I'm shy, or that I don't like swimming. However, to let myself be seen like that, in front of these people, it just... I simply can't do it. I know it would make for a good coverage, maybe a nice travel log, but at the same time... I just can't do it," Alex spoke, hugging her own body with an uncomfortable look on her face. "Apologies. But the idea of showing my skin before those men, it just... makes me sick to my stomach. To the point that I want to vomit. Even if they act innocent... I cannot trust them."

    The seriousness with which the young woman spoke of these things was an undeniable one... and it shed light, even if just a little bit, to the underlying reasons why the girl might be at Pinefall.

    After all, she didn't look like she was joking. The mere idea made her face grow pale and to sweat bullets.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vivienne
    "Maybe if... you just remove your shoes, and roll up your trousers a bit... we can go and walk in the water? Good for... digestion..."
    Hearing this, a relieved look appeared on Alex's face.

    "Y-yes, that would be... I'd like that. Some sort of other activity would be fine," she said, wiping her forehead a bit. "Just a moment and I'll get rid of these shoes. Then we can head out."

    But, just as Alex was starting to do that, it seemed that Alexstrasza Lockhart had finally reached her limit when it came to Cesarina's earnest and naive, yet wholly dangerous, way of applying the sunscreen. After, the blonde girl jumped with quite the speed, catching everyone - including Cesarina - by surprise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "I-I... that s-s-s-sounds... excellent! Yes! A beach ball! Splendid! Now that I am prepared for the rays of the sun-- Cesarina! I have arrived at a most cunning idea! What if we were to become ghosts?"
    Cesarina blinked at that, hands still oozing with the sunscreen (in the end, she had used half a bottle just on Alexstrasza). She put a finger to her chin, looking like she was considering the proposition and what it meant... but after some thinking, the Italian heiress could only tilt her head quizzically at her friend, unable to quite comprehend what she was suggesting. And she wasn't the only one. Even Alex, who had been listening to this sudden conversation, looked rather confused.

    "E-errm... Ghosts, Zaza? What do you mean by that?" Cesarina asked, confused. "I mean, I do not mind if you want to do something else than play beachvolley, but being ghosts just sounds... well, a bit silly, wahahaa~!"

    Jumping up from the sand, Cesarina patted the sand off her legs... and immediately sprayed the sunscreen everywhere. Alex Terrot let out a amused hum at that, and cocked an eyebrow at the two.

    "Indeed - ghosts at a sunny beach sounds a bit of a hard concept to work with," the reporter commented. "Though if we threw a white sheet over Mademoiselle Bianchi here, I think she would make an excellent ghost."

    Cesarina clasped her hands together (letting out a squelching sound thanks to the goo)... though, her excitement quickly died down.

    "Hmm, but we do not have white sheets..." the green-haired girl said, before snapping her fingers suddenly. "Oh! What if we use one of these white-and-red picnic blankets?"

    Alex Terrot glanced towards Vivienne... almost like she was considering the idea.

    "A P-Picnic Ghost..." the reporter murmured, trying hard to fight against a small, amused smile.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Keany, if I went and threw all the people who mildly inconvenienced me into the ocean, I'd never get to sleep. Besides, you're salty enough as is, ya green-blooded hobgoblin."
    Kean snorted and made a vaguely rude gesture towards Elaine.

    "Yeah? Well, if you did that to everyone who inconvenienced you, I'd have to get in line - because you'd be throwing yourself into the ocean a couple of dozen times before you'd even get to me," the silver-haired boy shot back, while munching on his meal. "Besides, Inacio here would protect me, right? Use some of that Latino charm to distract her long enough for me to get some distance between us."

    Inacio, who had been trying to focus on his food as well, let out a sigh. A very heavy and very deep sigh. Not to mention that the expression on his face practically screamed of "don't involve me in this."

    "How about nobody throws anyone in the ocean?" the musician asked. "I'm sure we can all agree that it's not a fate any of us wants."

    Kean rolled his eyes, grumbled something about Mercedes deserving it under his breath, but still dug back into his food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "But yeah, Mercedes, I was already in the mood to gussy somebody up, and they found a lot of excuses to be somewhere else whenever I came around. Thought she'd at least appreciate it after that little business this morning, poor girl. I'm no stranger to nightmares, but that one sounded like a real bad time. Dreaming about things that are going to happen, hmph. Seems to be a trend going around, too, for that matter, but I've only got two on the radar. As far as I know, they might've had their brains poked out by some shady government types while we were all sleeping or something."
    "Yeah, like, that makes sense. 'Cause this place is totally some bootleg Monster Study, and we're all, like, being poked and prodded in our heads each and every night. That's, like, much more believable than, say, people being stressed 'cause they're in a strange, new place," Mercedes said before snorting derisively and rolling her eyes. "Save me the Coast to Coast AM, girl. It's not like we haven't got, like, enough ri-di-culous rumours flying about."

    Still, while she was being her usual prickly self, Mercedes's eyes did follow where Elaine had been looking... and when she saw Lucille Faraday sitting there, her body froze a little bit. Mercedes stared at the blonde girl, clearly trying to think of what she should do, judging by how she was slightly biting her lip.

    Eventually, she relented with a sigh, and made a dismissive gesture with her hand.

    "Whatevah. I'm in no mood to argue with midgets," the starlet said while throwing one last glare to Kean. "Instead, I guess I'll go see what the hell is, like, eating up my main girl. Make, like, something useful out of this boring party."

    Giving a lazy wave of goodbye, the actress started towards the group of Lucille and those around her... though only after few steps, she stopped. Instead, she looked over her should, back towards Elaine. The look in Mercedes's eyes was as cold and hard as it always was, the look of someone who saw pretty much everything the world did around her as a challenge.

    But this time, a hint of an amused smirk appeared on that face, too.

    "As for you, tomboy - natural confidence. Like, that's what you need. That's even bigger than what you'll get with, like, genes or dieting. When you, like, actively flaunt your stuff, you come across as desperate and, like, hesitant and try-hard. If you're just, like, actually confident in your looks, to the point that you don't think it or whatevah, it's a whole different thing. People don't see you, like, because you make them see - they see you 'cause that's just who you are," Mercedes explained, delivering some unexpected advice. "Oh, and stick to those colours. Like, blue and gold look hella good on you. The least you can do as someone who's, like, my opposite according to cliches is to look damn good while being one."

    The smirk grew in size.

    "Makes it, like way better to take you down."

    And with that, the actress was off, leaving the trio to the stage.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “And eh, you, not gentle and sensitive? Please. You’re soft like a marshmallow under that rock hard surface. No need to be ashamed about it.”
    Pyry let out a strange sound, almost like he was momentarily choking on something.

    "H-hey!" he protested, trying to frown but not quite pulling it off. "You might be trying to compliment me here, pikkusisko, but that ain't exactly something a guy wants to hear! B-besides, I wouldn't go as far as a marshmallow! That's just... that's just too fluffy!"

    What a weird thing to complain about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Not sure about idiot either. You seem to know a lot about a whole bunch of stuff, and you likely have more common sense than me or Angelica. What should I call myself then? If I were to call you an idiot, it would only be because you just refuse to rely on others and act on your own way too often. But long as that can be fixed, you’re a perfectly smart guy.”
    Hearing how Hisa's speech continued, Pyry grumbled a little bit of something, and then awkwardly scratched his cheek... almost like he was trying not to blush.

    "Yeah, well... both you siblings are the type that thinks first and acts later. I'm the opposite. Of course, you're also the type that tends to think too much... hah. Guess that's why you're both the kind of girls that need to be looked out for, at least in my books. You need someone to balance you out, or you'll be overthinking everything and getting nothing done," he replied, a hint of a grin playing on his face... at least until he continued. "A-and, it's not like I can help that last thing, y'know. That's how I was made to be. Partly because of my personality, but partly because... eh, you know. That stuff."

    It was a dilemma to be sure.

    After all, the boy was who he was because he had the urge to make sure that everybody around him was safe, and to use his own body to protect others wherever he could. In short, he was the type who always put others before himself, no matter the cost. In some sense, a darker sense, it was like an instinct or a compulsion he couldn't help, couldn't control... which was why he sometimes did things that nobody else would have.

    But at the same time, it was part of his personality. Because, after all, if Pyry Leijonamieli hadn't been ready to protect a complete strange just because they asked for help...

    ... Would he have been Pyry Leijonamieli at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Still...well, I can throw lots of questions at you. Say...got any siblings? How's the countryside in Finland? How did you end up in the fighting business? You know, stuff like that.”
    Pyry blinked in surprise, and a look of relief washed over him - clearly thanks to the changing of the topic to a lighter one.

    "Siblings, eh? Nah. I'm the only child. Lived with my dad over in Lapland - that's the northenmost part, above the Arctic Circle - and spend my days herding reindeer mostly. See, the countryside is a bit different over there than it's in the south. No big fields of wheat or barley. Just whole lotta fen, blockfields and inselberg plain. Though in the winter, everything's covered in snow and then it's nothing but white as far as the eye can see, to the point even trees get covered up by the stuff and disappear under the snowbanks. We lived near Lake Inari, so I got good at skating, skiing, snowmobile racing, you name it... loved sports when I was a kid. Heck, I wanted to be an ice hockey player when I was a kid. All the brats in the area did," Pyry started explaining, a nostalgic smile rising to his face as he explained of his home. "Dad was a doctor and a shaman. Yeah, I know, 'shaman'. But the thing is, out the in the north... people still sorta believe in that stuff. And he was good at what he did. Saved a lot of people during his career. Though, it was also through his colleagues that... they... sorta heard about me. You know, the guys who made me who I am today."

    Pyry pursed his lips, a somewhat difficult expression rising to his face.

    "That's how I got into the MMA business too. Started with unsanctioned fights in the bars of Rovaniemi, and from there it was to Soviet Union - sorry, Russia - and all around Europe. It was kind of a "testing phase" once they got me ready, having trawled all over the Baltic Sea for the pieces.I mean, like I said, I liked it too... was a good way to take out my youthful aggression," Pyry spoke, clearly going through good and bad memories. "I mean, made some pretty good friends on the way too. Ryssät loved to take me to sauna and try to compete with me on who could stay the longest, or wrestling, or stuff like that... Hah. Bunch of loonies, those guys."

    Suddenly, the boy's nostalgic descend deep into his memories was cut, when his nose sniffed the air and he turned his attention towards the grill. An excited glint appeared in the blonde athlete's eyes.

    "Hold up... what are you cooking there, pikkusisko? That smells goddamn amazing!"

  6. #2706
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “How are you… so fast? I need a handicap! Maybe I should have encouraged you to drink a bit more…!”
    Sakura giggled merrily, her head bopping out of the water.

    "Oh~? This is fast for you? But~, I'm still holding back quite much!" the brunette laughed teasingly. "If anything, I'm already giving you a handicap, Colt! Besides, I haven't drank that much~! Not yet anyway... will have to see once I get back to the beach itself! Who knows, I might need someone to help me walk back to the dorms~"

    Still laughing, the girl decided to hold back on the speed for a moment, instead gently diving backwards and floating on her back across the waves, simply taking in the joy of the moment, the bright shine of the evening sun that was dyeing the world in colours of bright golden and orange, and the sound of relaxing and refreshing waves that kept carrying the lot of them. In this moment, it wasn't hard to see why the young woman was so happy. After all, after everyone was thrust into this weird new situation, in a weird new location and with a weird new school, to be able to relax like this... it must have felt good.

    Though, judging by the satisfied sigh that Sakura let out, there must have been a bit more to it than that.

    "You know... I have to thank you, Colt. For this. For helping me out today," Sakura said, her voice having suddenly grown more calm and grateful. "I try not to show it, but... I've been stressed out lately. What with Milady moving here, what with having to hide myself among the students. It's not easy, this job of mine, and while I wouldn't change it for the world... even I can get tired and exhausted."

    Still floating on her back, Sakura reached out upwards, towards the evening sky, with a smile on her face.

    "So being able to relax like this... it's a rare treat for me."

    The truth of those words was evident from her tone.




    John Dove & Prushka
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “That’s why, if I am to give an answer nonetheless… I guess I would like to not lie to you.”
    Subaru, who had been quite taken by surprise by all of the things that had happened, watched John silently. The messy-haired girl had been absolutely beet red after Prushka had decided to give her a piggyback ride in order to counter her inability to swim, saying stuff that she was too heavy and Prushka would get tired and what would others think of her if they saw Miss Prushka treat her like this, would she not seem like a small child? Well, be that as it may, the complaints had stopped when words from both John and Prusha had started about how she was not being a burden, and that they both wanted her to be there. Well, that is, the complaints had stopped, but at that point the defeated shrine maiden had been so red she might has well have been boiling in the water.

    This all came to and end, however, when Prushka had targeted John again, pressing forward with her words. Judging by the look that the priestess had had back then, she had agreed with the smaller girl's words. Her face grew more serious, and she was practically staring a hole through the boy, even though she was being carried by Prushka in a rather silly manner.

    Hence why it was not a surprise that she had grown silent when John had replied... a reply that didn't seem to sit well with the tiny girl.

    After all...

    "Um, excuse me for a moment, Miss Prushka..." Subaru suddenly said as she started squirming at the back of the other girl. "Please hold steady for just a moment."

    Then, showing surprising nimbleness, the girl started lifting her up from Prushka's back and setting herself so that she was standing on her shoulders instead of riding piggyback. Once Subaru had gotten both feet up, she no longer used her arms to balance herself. Instead she rose up to her full height (which wasn't much, she was barely at John's eye-level) and reached forward... catching John's head, one hand on each cheek.

    The stern stare that Subaru gave the boy was something to behold.

    "Now, um, listen here, Mister Dove. Listen to what I have to say, not as simple Subaru Iburi, but as the Child of Gods," the girl started, making sure that John couldn't look away. "You are not an animal. W-well, as in the sense, that you are not a slave to your instincts and your needs. Your needs are not something you can control - the need for food, the need for sleep, the need for a pack. Those are all instinctual needs that animals, and even humans to an extent, have. However, and this is important, Mister Dove... you should never mistake needs for wants."

    The stare of those big eyes was completely serious, and for just a moment, John saw something familiar... that sense of grace and grand will that had been in the girl back on the week that never existed - that moment in the rain-licked forest, where she had been more a Child of Gods than Subaru Iburi. However, in this case, that look was tempered with humility of a human, not just the boundless wisdom of a deity.

    "Our wants are not something that just come out of nowhere. They are nothing but abstractions we set for ourselves. Unlike needs, wants are not necessary for our survival - they do not come from our biology," Subaru continued. "A human can, certainly, live their whole life without wanting for anything, only needing. But on the contrary, a human who would only want, and not need, would be a monster. But even here, the balance is what is truly important. What I am trying to say, O' Child of Man, is this..."

    Subaru drew a deep breath... and for a moment, her countenance truly felt like that of an Imperial Princess and a Priestess.

    Her eyes were locked to those of John.

    "... We are not granted our wants by anything from the outside, or within. They do not appear from somewhere unbeknowst to us. Our wants are simply something we must decide for ourselves. What you spoke of just now did not sound like a want... it sounded like a need. And that is why you might be mistaken. Even you are not someone without wants. However, you must decide on what you want to feel that want."

    A gentle, almost mother-like smile spread to Subaru's face.

    "--- And the only one who can decide what you want, is you yourself, O' Child of Man."




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "...Well, I figured $20 wouldn't cut it. Way I see it then, I can only offer two things... There should be ways for me to find her even without your help, but if I can get it... I'll take it. It could be a favor for a favor... If information gathering is your thing, then I could investigate parts of the the school for you, or have your back sometime? I'm sure you'd have some trouble just waltzing in there, even at night. Would be a bad look for you..."
    The man known as Hawthorne cocked an eyebrow at the suggestion, his eyes still carefully studying Liana's expressions and gestures. Even his strange ears twitched, as if he was taking note of the tone of his voice. Still, judging by the body language of this enigmatic man... he was certainly interested in this proposal. After all, he seemed to be some sort of information gatherer or broker - and having access to a place he usually would not would certainly be tempting.

    As for the other option...

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "Or I could -and this is going to sound pretty narcissistic but bear with me here- go out with you I guess? More of an official thing than this mountaintop meeting? Of course that would just be a date. Don't get any funny ideas about it or anything, I'm not agreeing to anything more than that, I do have my pride. You seem to think I'm pretty, so it's fine to leverage that sort of thing right? Don't do what you're good at for free~ We can walk around town, you can show me around, we can go to dinner, maybe drag some skeletons out of the town's closet together, you know, good-old fashioned teenage view on romance. Keep it simple, right?"
    "Snrk..."

    The man let out a strange sound.

    He pinched the bridge of his nose.

    He let out a sigh that was hard to say whether it was a positive or a negative one.

    And then...

    --- He threw his head back in howling laughter.

    "Gahahahahahaa! Oh, hah, hahaha! Truly, you've hit the nail on the head! Hah! I mean, it's just logical. And everyone would probably agree. Truly, your mind has gotten a good grasp of the worth and value of things," Hawthorn laughed, before smirking at Liana. "Indeed, an access to a heavily watched-over school for its secrets, or going on a date with you... two options that are exactly equal in value! Ahahahahahaa!"

    While his laughter may have been crude, the mysterious man seemed genuinely amused by what Liana had suggested. Indeed, he couldn't stop laughing for a good while, showing just how positively he had been surprised by this curve ball that he had not expected. And as subdued and often sarcastic his grin had been, at least at this very moment, Hawthorn was showing a much more genuine version of it.

    Perhaps a reward of its own type for witty thinking.

    "Hah! Both brazen and shameless! Really, you'd go on a date with a guy just to gather information on your mother. Haha, ahahaha... Truly, I think I should start be a bit afraid here. After all, it seems you're much more dangerous than I initially gave you credit for," Hawthorn said as he stood up from his leaning position, and walked over to the girl, hands in his pocket. "Maybe I'm being read like an open book here..."

    The black-haired man had stopped right in front of Liana, towering above her who was sitting on the rock. The sun threw harsh shadows over the pair as the man narrowed his eyes a bit, but kept that same crude, amused and sort of shameless crooked grin that was plastered on his face.

    "--- Fine. I'll accept your offer. My help for a date with a beauty. After all, it sounds ridiculous enough that it might just be useful," Hawthorn finally said, sealing the deal. "However... just that won't be enough. See, there's one more thing out of this date that I want."

    Something felt chilly.

    Perhaps the shadows had gotten longer thanks to the man being so close now.

    Or maybe it was just that Hawthorn himself was somehow... cold.

    Cold like those calculating, narrowed eyes and the stern, darkened expression that he was now wearing.

    Something felt a bit wrong.

    A chill up the spine.

    "As in, when we're on this date... what I want to do... what I want to do to you..." Hawthorn spoke quietly, softly, dangerously, while slowly leaning closer to Liana's face. "... I want to be able to do it when I want, and without any complaints from you. Even if you feel like crying, I don't want to hear it. Unless you accept and give me the right to do that, the deal is off."

    He was close now.

    Very close.

    "... What I want to do to you..."

    His voice was a silk-like whisper.

    His head was right next to her.

    Almost like a predatory animal about to strike.

    And he said...
    "--- Is to call you Skye."

    Thus said Hawthorn, with a shameless, teasing grin on his face like a chronic prankster who had just caught yet another victim, hook, line and sinker...

    ... And who was now waiting for the reaction with almost childish glee.

  7. #2707
    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


    “Hmm, I don’t think you have to thank me, but I suppose I don’t mind if you do… even if I don’t think you really should, either.” Colt scratched his cheek, looking to the side. “’Cause, well, I don’t think in my case you’d call it stress, maybe you could, I dunno, but…”

    Just a while ago he had such an easy time admitting something far more embarrassing, in front of a far larger crowd. Yet strangely, Colt was having trouble getting words out of his mouth. The lull in the fun, the serenity of the moment after all the excitement and play. It felt different, but it also felt important enough to say. Even if it was a struggle.

    “I think I appreciate you more today than you realize. All that beach setup earlier, and going even further back to this morning, well,” over time the boy’s eyes found their way back to Sakura, eventually following the path of her outstretched arm. “It’s a relief to be able to take my mind off things I’d rather not have to think about, let alone deal with.”

    Thinking back to how the whole date had gone, from shaky start to its questionable status as a ‘date’ at all, Colt gave a short laugh.

    “So how about I thank you back, and we call the score even?” Colt waded over to where Sakura was floating, and glanced down at her, smiling back. “So you’re welcome, and thank you.”

    Saying so, Colt folded his arms. The thought of trying to make a last minute sneak attack on the girl passed his mind… but aside from ruining the moment, somehow he felt positive that it just wouldn’t work.

    “But if this is a treat for you,” he glanced out at the sea, “I wouldn’t mind treating you again.”


  8. #2708
    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


    "Mm, yeah, for sure. Vier's the scary type who doesn't actually say her threats out loud, but instead just sorta leaves the hidden meaning behind her words hanging in the air," Aleen responded vaguely, narrowed eyes still glued to Lucille. "So yeah, while she might not technically walk all over people, she makes them lie down on the ground themselves by making it seem like if they don't, some totes horrible stuff's gonna happen to them. Like geez, I can only feel sorry for any guys she gets the hots on, hmph!"
    Ah. She really could see that scary image. Although, now that this was brought up so vividly… Lucille was left wondering what exactly Vier did with Aleen that gave this girl such a drastic impression. Did Vier actually threaten someone or something?

    If so… Aleen’s complaints were probably well-founded, even if it was just a product of Vier’s personality. Or was upbringing a better way to put it?

    “I’m sure Vier wouldn’t be like that when it mattered,” Lucille says, but she isn’t sure if what she is saying is anywhere close to the truth. Rather, this Vier and that Vier were like night and day. Which of them were the real one?

    "Still, hmmm~..." Aleen let out, narrowing her eyes at the blonde once more. "... Can't help but to notice you sure like cozying up to Caleb, huh? That's pretty forward of you, Lucille~"
    “Huh?”

    Feeling pressured by Aleen King’s unceasing glare, Lucille scrambles to think about the meaning of the other girl’s words. What exactly is she being forward about? She’s just sitting next to him, isn’t she? How else is she supposed to get a better look at his artwork?



    It takes a moment, but that critical act of Lucille Faraday using her brain cells results in her face turning bright red.

    “OhmygoshI’msosorry,” she apologizes to Caleb, riddled with embarrassment that she has repeated something similar to their time on the bus. “Was I bothering you? It’s fine to tell me if I’m too close, promise!”

    There is one problem, however.

    Despite everything Lucille has just said, she hasn’t moved an inch.
    [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

  9. #2709
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dove
    “That’s why, if I am to give an answer nonetheless… I guess I would like to not lie to you.”
    "..."

    Disgusting.

    Yes, this is certainly the most human person I have met in Road's End. John Dove is so wrapped up in his own machinations that he cannot see past them and has lost sight of his own heart. Or is it the opposite, as he claims? Are his own feelings so unacceptable that he has pushed them away, concealing his true desires because he fears and detests them? Or perhaps it is neither. Perhaps it is the third possibility... one that exists on the other side of common sense. Certainly, however, regardless of the cause behind it, he is...




    "John Dove, you are truly a *BURBLE* person to *ABGLRBL*."


    Hm. That didn't come out right. How come?

    Oh, that's why. Was the water always this deep? Or did I suddenly get shorter? It's nearly up to my nose now. Perhaps it's because I'm slowly sinking into the sand. My shoulders have become a tad bit heavier all of a sudden..

    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru
    "Um, excuse me for a moment, Miss Prushka... Please hold steady for just a moment."
    Wait a sec, Subaru! You can't just use my shoulders as a - oh fine, fine, I get it, you have to say something cool... alright, I'll be the lower half this time...

    "BRBRBLBL..."

  10. #2710
    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

    "And we'll be sure not to overtax your boundless wisdom. After all, if we forced you to talk any more about this stuff, forget fainting from exhaustion... you might get bashful for people seeing through you!"

    "......... don't want to....... make her embarrassed....."
    Anna raised a wry eyebrow at the pair’s attempt at teasing even as the girl in red opened another can of soda with her remaining free hand. If the jacketed girl felt any embarrassment over the situation, none of it was evident on her face, as she took a gulp of soda, while still lazing about at her log seat.

    “You better not. You know how hard it is to get boundless wisdom these days?” Anna gave a slight shrug with the can in her hand, a wry smile on her lips. “In the olden times you could just get rid of one eye, drink from a well, or screw up cooking a salmon and be over and done with it, but nowadays it’s a complete pain in the arse.”

    Softie, huh? Its been a while since anyone said something like that to my face.

    It wasn’t wholly incorrect, but… it was a bit of a misunderstanding. After all, she hadn’t spoken up because of camaraderie, friendship, or anything of the sort. These types of overt distortions just… irritated her. It was simply who she was. Seeing people whose perspective had been broken by this unfair world irritated her, more than anything else. So she couldn’t help but try and fix things. She tried it last time with Caleb’s moronic treatment of women, she tried to open up Gabi’s shell in the morning, and she tried to fix Ramia’s bizarre self-worth issues now.

    Hmph… Perhaps it’s a bit ironic for me to expect to try and “fix” things. Breaking things is more my forte. Then again, destroying things is also a type of “solution”, I guess.

    After all, some things can’t really be fixed. Only rebuilt.

    “But fine, let's move on to another topic then.” A mysterious glint appeared in her eyes, as Anna gave the pair a playful grin. “Have you guys heard all the weird rumors about this place?”

    “Last night someone was playing his creepy harmonica at the lighthouse. Heard it myself, actually. Could hear it from across the entire town. Apparently, there is also a shadowy figure that stands mysteriously top of the lighthouse, warning everyone to stay away from the ghosts that lurk inside.”

    “And then there is a bunch of other stuff.”

    “A bronze statue in the middle of the forest with an ominous poem that no-one knows about. Ghost students who wander the schoolhouse at night. The tale of the missing lumber heiress who’s cursed the town as vengeance for her dead family. A secret government lab at End’s Mercy that is experimenting on alien biology.”

    A humorous laugh escaped Anna’s lips for a second.

    “That last one is pretty wild though, isn’t it?”
    Last edited by Mellon; May 12th, 2020 at 02:29 PM.

  11. #2711
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Montjoy
    "Indeed. As much as you try to hide it, you do have a rather strong personality. I'm sure Aleen has taken the full brunt of it. After all, the two of you have been joined at the hip while we've been here, no? So she'd be the first target whenever you wanted to bul... tease someone."
    While Lucille took the route of neutrality, Caleb Montjoy agreed with Aleen on my disposition to tease people. However, you could argue that those who are neutral are only useful to the current winning group so Lucille was technically also against me. My only ally was the little one who I was pampering carefully with my hands. Tonkori was smart that was for sure, but I’m not sure how much she was paying attention at this time. I was truly without allies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Mm, yeah, for sure. Vier's the scary type who doesn't actually say her threats out loud, but instead just sorta leaves the hidden meaning behind her words hanging in the air. So yeah, while she might not technically walk all over people, she makes them lie down on the ground themselves by making it seem like if they don't, some totes horrible stuff's gonna happen to them. Like geez, I can only feel sorry for any guys she gets the hots on, hmph!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucille
    “I’m sure Vier wouldn’t be like that when it mattered.”
    Or could Lucille actually be an ally? Was she attempting to be truly neutral in the world like Switzerland?

    “I was only trying to broaden your social circle a little bit… If I don’t force the issue, you would’ve let your first impression stop you from trying to talk to Cathie.”

    I wasn’t lying, I did plan on doing that so that Aleen would be more comfortable talking to other people and hammering the fact that first impressions were deceiving. What I didn’t mention was the fact that at the time, I was planning on manipulating her at the time and it was a small bit of payback for the rude first impression that she gave me. Also by manipulating my words and intent a little bit, I sound as if I was only trying to look out for Aleen in a weird roundabout way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Still, hmmm~..." Aleen let out, narrowing her eyes at the blonde once more. "... Can't help but to notice you sure like cozying up to Caleb, huh? That's pretty forward of you, Lucille~"
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucille
    “Huh?”
    However, that still wasn’t Aleen’s biggest issue seeing as how she wasn’t staring at me with a smug look on her face to celebrate her reversal in my face. No even now, she was still staring at Lucille and Caleb Montjoy’s positions with suspicion and jealousy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucille
    “OhmygoshI’msosorry. Was I bothering you? It’s fine to tell me if I’m too close, promise!”
    Lucille’s words were alright and what I expected of someone who was by accident uncomfortably close to someone in proximity. However… Her actions told a different story. Lucille Faraday hasn't moved a single muscle from her position despite being beet red in the face. At this point, I think I can be allowed to intervene in this case. I stopped petting Tonkori briefly and looked at her in the eye before leaving.

    “I’ll be back to pet you in a little bit... Need to fix something real quick.”

    So I stood up and moved Lucille away from Caleb Montjoy just enough for them to both have some elbow room. I did take the opportunity to look at Caleb’s drawing. I wonder what he was drawing...

  12. #2712
    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



    Ah, she really is Miss Iburi. That is, there was no doubt about it, unexplained new look notwithstanding, but…this here, is indeed the person he met on that rainy evening. A good person.

    A person he would admire were he capable of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru Iburi
    “---And the only one who can decide what you want, is you yourself, O' Child of Man.”
    He cannot look away. Even if she did not hold him, he would not look away. The last time a girl held his face like this, he had sex with that girl. As far as he is aware of, that girl is still alive. She was one of the lucky ones, he guesses.

    A need…Miss Iburi is probably right. All this time, he has been driven by a need. To relieve the experience of that night, to meet the person that made everything in the world look bland and colorless by comparison. It was not a wish made by John Dove, but an urge engraved in the foundation of what was left of him after his soul was blasted away into smithereens by her eyes. She is the only one with color, meaning, and value. This was not something decided by John Dove, yet it resides within him and defines him.

    He is not in love with Her. Even his admission of Her indescribable beauty is not his own opinion, but a “truth” enforced upon him by his lunacy. At least so he thinks. Whether it is the effect of his madness or a sincere opinion based on his tastes, it does not really matter in the end. It is the only way he can think.

    It is not as if he can just go and say it, though. “I looked at the brood of the Black Moon in the eyes, and now the only thing in my heart is She.” Those words will not leave his mouth.

    To change is impossible. At least, it feels impossible. Trying to think about “what he wants” only fills him with the memory of that moonlit night, and the urge to bask in that vision of unparalleled beauty. He is rational enough to place “the things he has to do” above that mindless urge, which is what allows him to attend classes and this party instead of chasing after Ubon’s clue like a madman. He can do it because he knows there is nothing at the end of that road. She made it clear enough when they talked, with only the still-warm corpses of Elaine and Ramalsaqr as witnesses. There is nothing he can do for her, and nothing she can do for him.

    Therefore, those words have no perceivable effect. Effectively, there is nothing he can give Miss Prushka and Miss Iburi in exchange for their good will and their words of concern. Even if his rational mind acknowledges the things they say, even if he accepts the need to move forward and become a different person…he cannot do anything about the vision of perfection that wrecked his soul.

    He is so broken that he is wholly satisfied being broken. However, with the sight of the smiling Subaru Iburi filling his eyes, a part of him cannot help but wonder what she would make him feel if he were a normal person. The lack of an answer brings a curious, unexpected ache in his chest. John feels like he needs to apologize to her, but cannot begin to comprehend why.

    “Miss Iburi…I don’t know…no.” He manages to shake his head between the girl’s feeble hold. “I do not think I can be the person you believe I should be, but…”

    He smiles, or at least he believes he smiles. The corners of his eyes normally do not itch when he smiles, but he quickly brushes away those unnecessary sensations.


    “…if you stay like this you’re going to make me want to kiss you.”

    Before she can say or do anything, his hands grab her by her thin waist, pulling her off Prushka’s shoulders and gently back into the water.

    “Not to speak ill of Miss Prushka’s strength, but I would rather avoid further risks,” he adds, making sure not to let go of the dark-haired girl until he is sure she is properly floating on her own. “I am not an animal, indeed, and Miss Prushka is not a beast of burden, either.”

    It is a strange scene, this one. However, the mental alarm is no longer blaring, and he is no longer wary of a verbal confrontation. He is at ease, just as he has always been when embraced by the ocean waters.

    “Thank you, Miss Iburi, Miss Prushka. I…I don’t think those words can change me, but I am glad to hear them from you. I am glad you are the kinds of people who would say such words to someone like me.”

    These are, of course, rote words of appreciation. It is only common sense to respond to a positive gesture in like manner. There is no authentic “gladness”. There is no gratitude in his heart. These two girls are still colorless, their faces barely registering in the gray sea of thoughts, illuminated by wicked moonlight.

    Nothing has changed. If it were that easy, he would have been “healed” years ago.

    However, if only this time, he wants to believe that these would have been the authentic, sincere feelings, actions, and words, of the “real” John Dove.

  13. #2713
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies


    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Briggs
    "Got it, dude. If it's the life-guard's orders, I'll be sure to sit my butt down and just take it easy for a moment... Maybe I should take a moment to think how to get back at that Torpedo Midget. You don't just mess with Jake the Drake like that and get away with it, mufufufu..."
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon Seeklêun
    "Mm, I think Jakkie here's more to the point than he thinks, for realsies! I mean... you'd make a pretty awesome lifeguard, Essie - totes for realsies! You got the strength, you got the brains, and you know how to look after others... it's like you were made to save people! I can totes see you running all slow-mo on the beach, wearing one of those red swimsuits!"
    "Thanks, Ubon!"

    Elise Pelltier the Lifeguard, eh? I could keep people safe on the beaches by day, and fight supernatural evil by night. That-that actually does sound kind of cool. It shouldn't be hard to get my lifeguard certification, although I'd probably need to talk to Mr. Hatou about that... for that matter... isn't this supposed to be his job?

    Elise glanced over at Jake, sitting on the beach as he plotted and schemed to reclaim his crown as King of Water Combat from Prushka, and then over to Ubon who was beaming at her.

    You know what? I think I needed this. I thought I needed to throw Ubon back at Pyry to make myself feel better by fulfilling some unfulfilled regret from the last time I was at this beach party, but you know what? This was better, thought Elise with a contented sigh, Ubon's right, I'm here to save people, and... well that didn't work out so well on Sunday, did it? Sure, I helped Mercedes, but I nearly got her and four other people killed in the process. Hisa and I helped Pyry, but some jerk in an arts and crafts nightmare unwound that in less than an instant. And then Hisa- well... that was that. This time, I helped Jake, no one got hurt. It's-it's nice to finally get a solid win in for a change. This time around is already shaping up for the better!

    That said, I'd still like to try throwing Ubon, but that's not out of some weird past regret and chip on my shoulder, but because I think Ubon would have a lot of fun.

    Then, without warning, someone spoke up directly behind her.
    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubata
    "......... Don't worry. I'll help."
    Too close. Way too close.

    Instinctively, Elise spun on her heels in the sand to face the voice behind her. This confirmed that, yes, Souma Nubata was standing right behind her. There he was. Wearing nothing but his eye patch and a speedo that left little to the imagine. That left nothing to the imagination. There was nothing for her imagination to do here. There nothing for Elise's imagination to do here so it left and went on vacation instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubata
    "....... I was going for a... swim... anyway............ Heh."
    "S-souma, right? I'm Elise. Nice to meet you!"

    Souma was in the main building during my second memory lapse... I wonder if he remembers anything? Probably not. I don't think anyone would want to get that close to me if they saw me that bloodstained and crazy.

    Elise took a moment to consider Souma.

    Or... maybe that's a good reason to be that close.

    "Yeah! Let's-let's get back out there and make sure everyone's okay. C'mon, Ubon! Glad to have your help too, Souma!" said Elise as she looked for a way around Souma and back to the ocean, "Jake, make sure your revenge isn't too disproportionate!"

  14. #2714
    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


    Hm, natural confidence, huh?

    Well, that's what I'm trying to work on. It's why I volunteered, it's why I'm poking my head out so often, and it's why I asked for help.

    Hell, it's why I asked her for advice.

    "I'll be sure to keep myself in the navy blue and gold, then," I called after her, "It'd be a shame if I didn't make things interesting for you!"

    I looked after her as she advanced up the beach, towards the small group huddled up around each other, sacrificed for the sake of others.

    Rest in peace.

    Then I turned back towards the stage, taking a seat next to my own plate.

    "At last, there is peace in the valley. Mission Accomplished, gentlemen."

    I took a bow, "No need to thank me, just doing my job, helping out people in need when something big and scary comes around."

    I was silent for a moment, then snorted, chuckling to myself.

    "Just figured I'd come and give you a hand, Keany, after I had my fun with the boys over yonder. Plus save poor Inacio from having to deal with you two screaming at each other."

    I snatched up one of my burgers, looking at him over it for a moment, a more somber expression coming to my face, tinting my smile.

    "Just like always, Kean Loinnir, I've got your back, like I know you've got mine."

    I opened my mouth to take a bite, then paused for a moment, looking up at the pair of them.

    "Either of you two got any plans for the evening? Was hearing some hoopla about some test of courage or something," I shrugged, "Figured I'd at least poke my nose around and see if anyone's got anything more interesting than an old murder scene."

    Then I took my bite.

  15. #2715
    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

    “W-well, grilled food, of course?”

    He’s been sitting there all this time - was it really such a surprise?

    “Should be ready soon enough now, so...you’ll see.”

    Least everything should be ready by the time Souma is back.

    Well, he’ll probably take more than what he said.

    “Still...endless snowy fields, huh,” I smirked, “Must have been quite beautiful. Never had the chance to be up north for winters, even if we’ve been quite a few places with Angelica.”

    I frowned as I thought back about it.

    “Too many in fact. Sometimes I just woke up and went to take a walk, only to realize that we were someplace else. Often not even knowing where were we.”

    I shrugged.

    “Now I kind of wish that Angelica took me up there as well. Honestly...Not even sure why she kept you a secret.”

    It still hurt quite a bit, even if I accepted it by now. Even if I knew that things just seemed to be this way, no matter who or what. Everyone has their secrets, things that you never learn about no matter how close you think you are to them. And then, when you end up finding something out from someone else…

    “Was it the other way around, I certainly would have boasted about you to her. Though...Now that you mention the Soviet Union too, you’re a few years older than what you claim to be, don’t you?”

    She had that sort of relationship with Angelica, and if he was already in the fighting business when it was still the Soviet Union…

    “23, 24 at least?” I wondered, “Guess it gives a different light to you calling me little sister.”

    Well, I guess it makes sense. Isn’t too hard to imagine a relic like his to have such an effect. Just like how it’s almost impossible to...destroy his body, I guess it also makes him age slower, at least.

    If it doesn’t just outright stop him from aging and make him immortal.

    Hope not, at least.

    “I...I hope I’m not too young for you though? Don’t want to weird you out, or make you feel awkward, really.”

  16. #2716
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna
    “That last one is pretty wild though, isn’t it?”
    Ramia snorted, an amused chuckle bubbling from within her..

    "Wait, seriously? There's rumours about aliens in the hospital? That's... that's kinda wild, yeah," the dusky-skinned girl replied, grinning from ear to ear. "I did hear about the lumber heiress, though didn't know she was supposed to be dead and cursing this whole place. Just that she was missing. Though... guess they might as well be the same thing, huh?"

    Judging by the way that Ramia took this everything with a grin and a hearty laughter, she didn't seem too concerned with the rumours. Then again, the rumours that Anna had rattled off were all rather out there - the typical types that would be passed among students during sleep overs, hiding under blankets and with only flashlights to illuminate them. In other words, the type that didn't come across exactly as believable, at least in a situation like this.

    What with the evening sun shining at full force, and a relaxed beach atmosphere everywhere.

    "Oh, I did see some stuff in the brochure about the statue, too. That's supposed to be somewhere around the overlook, yeah?" Ramia asked, rubbing her chin. "Might be fun to go investigate it at some point. What do you say, Gabi? You wanna spelunking there one of these... err... Gabi? Dude?"

    Ramia cocked an eyebrow as her stare switched to the androgynous boy... who was now shivering quietly while hugging his own body, eyes locked towards his own feet that were quivering in the sand.

    ".......... ghosts...... I don't like...... ghosts..." Gabi muttered, even quieter than usual. "...... I don't.... wanna go to a school..... with ghost students......"

    Ramia snorted again, though she tried to hide her amusement while glancing towards Anna.

    "Uh oh, looks like you made a boy cry~" Ramia said with a sing-song voice, before turning towards Gabi. "Oh come on, relax! They're just your typical urban legends. Nothing to be afraid of. The only monsters in the closet are the ones made up by your own imagination!"

    Ramia quietly gestured towards Anna to help her salvage the situation.




    Vier Wolff & Lucille Faraday
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucille
    “OhmygoshI’msosorry! Was I bothering you? It’s fine to tell me if I’m too close, promise!”
    Caleb chuckled a bit awkwardly, trying his best to look everywhere but towards Lucille.

    "It's fine. No harm done," the boy answered curtly. "I was just... slightly surprised. Based on yesterday, that is. Since you didn't seem like the type to, you know, be comfortable this close with a b---"

    Caleb's words died right in his mouth as something a bit absurd proceeded to happen. Vier simply walked between the two of them who had been sitting there, and pushed the youngsters apart like an overly strict Christian mother in a church. This left just about everyone at the scene speechless. Caleb, who had been working on his picture (which now included all three of them, Vier, Aleen and Lucille at the beach) didn't know what to say, and was left opening and closing his mouth like a dying wish. Tonkori let out a small doggie-sized sigh and put her front paw against her forehead.

    And as for Aleen...

    ... She had buried her face in her hands, looking bright red up to the tip of her ears.

    With a curled up pose that seemed to just scream how embarrassed she was thanks to her friend.

    But while this awkward silence could have continued for quite a while...

    --- It came to a crashing, dangerous halt.

    "Like, the hell do you think you're doing to my main girl, punk?"

    It was a sharp, sudden hostility that flared up like an aura right behind Vier. Looking back, she saw that just behind her, a bit too close for comfort, was Mercedes West... and judging by her outright hostile expression, she wasn't the least bit happy. In fact, she looked ready to administer such a verbal beatdown that it might have warranted calling the FBI to deal with.

    All because Vier had touched Lucille and physically moved her.

    --- Exactly because Vier had gotten physical with the starlet's friend.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "At last, there is peace in the valley. Mission Accomplished, gentlemen. No need to thank me, just doing my job, helping out people in need when something big and scary comes around. Just figured I'd come and give you a hand, Keany, after I had my fun with the boys over yonder. Plus save poor Inacio from having to deal with you two screaming at each other. Just like always, Kean Loinnir, I've got your back, like I know you've got mine."
    Kean looked at Elaine for a moment... before an involuntary smile rose to the boy's lips and he shook his head in an amused way, shrugging as he did.

    "... You're such a dork, Blondie. You don't have to come out and say it, you know. It's bit too embarrassing to my tastes if you start getting all mushy when there's witnesses present," the boy said and nodded towards Inacio. "You sure you didn't have anything to drink while you were there, adoring the marbled meat present at the butcher's window?"

    Inacio chuckled gently at the whole thing and sat down as well to the edge of the stage, patting Kean on the shoulder.

    "I doubt it. Winters seems quite aware of her actions. If anything, I'm willing to bet she simply didn't want you to have a sour taste left in your mouth. You were rather agitated just now," the musician said. "And it's nothing to be embarrassed about. If anything, having someone you trust that much is something to be proud of. I wish I had someone I could trust my back to in that way."

    Kean fell silent once more... before sighing and lifting his hands up, as if surrendering to Elaine.

    "Man, fine, fine... Thanks, Blondie. You saved my face from being scratched to hell by that howler monkey," Kean said, grinning slightly again. "If you ever get into a cat-fight with her... and if I were a betting man, I'd say you will. But I'm not. Anyways, if and when you get into one, I'll have your back too. You know... yelling you vague advice from the distance, trying not to draw her ire to myself."

    The boy cackled at that, focusing back on his food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Either of you two got any plans for the evening? Was hearing some hoopla about some test of courage or something. Figured I'd at least poke my nose around and see if anyone's got anything more interesting than an old murder scene."
    Inacio hummed, rubbing his chin.

    "Well, the test of courage was a fun idea, even if I say so myself. I'll most likely take part in it. Plus, I think Momoi's idea for it was good," the musician answered. "After all, she proposed that we divide into groups, and make two trips. First is to hide some sort of item to a specific location, and the second one is to find the item hidden by another group, in another location. It becomes a bit of a competition that way."

    Kean nodded, mouth full of meat that he kept munching on.

    "Yeah, as long as that Lucille-girl doesn't bring actual money into this. I mean, if I were a betting man... eh, you know the rest," the boy said, making a dismissive gesture with his other hand. "Anyways, might as well take part in it. Might be a nice change of pace. Plus nothing say's summer than having a frightened girl cling to your arm thanks to couple of spooky, creaky floorboards, hah."

    Then the eyes of the silver-haired boy flanced towards Elaine, and a teasing smirk appeared on his face.

    "--- Remind me to bribe the judge, though, so I went get group with you, Blondie. The only time you'd be clinging to my arm would be when you're going for an arm-lock."




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “I...I hope I’m not too young for you though? Don’t want to weird you out, or make you feel awkward, really.”
    Pyry had an awkward, slightly bit-into-a-lemon-and-now-I-regret-it type of expression on his face, and he tried his best to not look Hisa in the eyes. Instead, he stared at his own feet, and scratched his cheek, trying to think of how he should respond to that. Indeed, it didn't seem like he had problem with Hisa herself, rather the problem was... with him.

    "E-ehm, well, see... I... I try not to think about it. I'm honestly not totally sure how my aging goes. All I know is I age slower than most," Pyry finally admitted. "Doesn't feel like it affects my mind, though. I'm the same dork as I was before. Plus, it's... well, it's not like my brains are ringing some sorta warning bells in my head about hanging out with you. Guess it takes actual physical growth to recognize as you, y'know, properly younger."

    This seemed to be a rather awkward subject for the boy to talk about.

    And in a way, it made sense.

    After all, if he really did age slower as Hisa had suspected, he must have realized that him hanging out in a company like this might seem creepy if one looked at the pure numbers. Yet at the same time, his brain didn't feel that way, so there was a big disconnect there. And as a result, Pyry just tried to ignore the whole thing and not think about it. Because if he did, he might have just fried his brain.

    It did make him blush though.

    "B-but yeah... I was... I was born in the, uh, 70's, so guess I'm a bit older than you guys that way," Pyry finally continued. "Makes me about the same range as Ange, see. We were in the same class back when she was playing a transfer student at Inari. Still though... I wonder why she didn't tell about me to you, too. I mean, she talked a lot about you. Couldn't shut up, in fact."

    A bit of a warm, teasing smile spread to the boy's lips as he looked at Hisa.

    "It's like every accomplishment you made filled her with some sorta motherly pride. Some letters she sent were nothing but gushing about you," Pyry continued. "Though... I suppose that makes it even weirder that she kept you in the dark."

    Pyry was silent for a moment, rubbing his chin and narrowing his eyes at the sky.

    "Do you... do you think she did it on purpose? Cause she knew that something like this was gonna happen?"

  17. #2717
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: End’s Beach

    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994
    Weather: Clear Skies

    "Bwah!"

    I am freed from the encroaching depths as the weight disappears from my shoulders. Finally, once more, I can surface and take a breath of air.

    And, now that I'm free...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dove
    “I am not an animal, indeed, and Miss Prushka is not a beast of burden, either.”
    "Take this-!"

    A splash of water scatters across John Dove's smarmy face. In that instant, I maneuver around and stand between him and Subaru, hugging her close as the other hand flashes forward, pointing accusingly.

    "Not an animal!? You've got that right! You're not even a bug! You're the absolute worst kind of human!"

    I heard them! Those smooth words! Gross! Gross! Disgusting! Unforgivable! Even if he apologized a million times it would still be unforgivable!

    "Don't you let those wounded eyes charm, you, Subaru! He's just saying all that stuff to look cool! None of it is sincere in the least!"

    Yes.

    None of it is sincere. Or rather, it is all equally sincere, because...

    Someone has taken hold of John Dove's 'need'. And it has been holding on for so long that it might as well be a part of him.

    I can't deny it. Not when the nature of his abnormality has been made so clear. Not when his cry for help echoes so loudly and openly across the waves.




    "I'll forgive you, John Dove. And I'll even accept that insultingly insincere gratitude. But I won't forgive whoever did this to you; a heart isn't something to be kept under lock and key. If it's kept in the dark, it'll wither away into nothing, crying out in pain the whole time."


    Geeze... I didn't expect another one. But that's Road's End for you. All of us are broken somehow, and it's up to us to fix each other.

    And I will fix this idiot, just like I'll fix Vivi and Pyry and every misbegotten fool unfortunate enough to cross my path and beg for help.

    "Besides... Subaru's right. Humans don't live according to their needs; they are creatures of want. Even a person deprived of absolutely everything that makes them themselves will find a source of want to keep them going. That, I can guarantee. Nobody can survive in this world just eating and sleeping. So regardless of what you need, that you ran into yesterday... your need didn't bring you out here. It didn't force you to do anything. It didn't make you swim or to play or help Subaru. Even if it's just a half-assed performance of friendship, a parody of self-pity, or a phoned-in cry for help, some part of you wanted it. Otherwise, if there was no want, you wouldn't have acted in the first place. That's what separates a human from a machine or a beast; they're the only creature capable of putting want over need."

    It feels somewhat strange to be paraphrasing these words... especially when Subaru herself told them to me, just last week, over too-sweet coffee... but now I feel like I can almost understand them.

    You're a good person, Subaru. That's why you want to help this awful human before you.

    I'll help him too, then. If only so I can find out where he's truly awful after all.

    Thus, I stare John Dove in his placid eyes.

    "So, to the little dancing spark of 'want' behind that doofy looking face... don't get cocky. 'Cus I see you. And one of these days, I'll drag you out past those lies you've hidden in and force you to apologize for real."

    ...

    Oh. There it is, floating by. There was no need to look for Subaru's flotation tube after all; it came right back on its own.

  18. #2718
    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


    ---And thus she wins.

    If there was a way to see cheer around a person in the form of musical notes, then the air around Liana Skye would be filled to the brim with them in spite of the man's teasing words.

    Because she wins.

    It had certainly been shameless in a sense, and it had absolutely been brazen, but she was the sort of person who could call herself a superhero to others out loud and not flinch, thus something like this was simple-! She was far more driven than people gave her credit for, and it's not like the guy wasn't interesting enough for her to want to befriend more anyway, so it was a victory amongst victories-!

    There are some people you can only defeat if you are brazen and a bit shameless-!

    Tiptoeing around things can take far too long-!

    Yes.

    She's cheerful about it for a number of reasons.

    Some of them are serious -her mission was important and this was a decent first step- and some of them are a bit more silly -she was happy someone was sincerely complimenting her looks- yes...

    ---She might have more boyish interests, but she still had some pride in her looks after all-!

    If she could successfully barter for something with those looks alone, well then damn, it was a compliment even she couldn't easily ignore-!

    So it's natural to be happy about it.

    Especially because it seemed her belief in the man's better nature had been rewarded a bit-!

    And then, the moment she files the man away from the 'potentially shark' designation to 'probably harmless' he-

    "--- Fine. I'll accept your offer. My help for a date with a beauty. After all, it sounds ridiculous enough that it might just be useful," Hawthorn finally said, sealing the deal. "However... just that won't be enough. See, there's one more thing out of this date that I want."
    -steps a bit closer.

    Close enough that she exists in his shadow, looking up at him with mild surprise, the mark of someone who had cleanly let their guard down-!



    "Eh?"

    Perhaps that is why her words are less clever than before?

    Normally she was a bit more witty, or at the very least a hell of a lot more verbose, but-!

    For some reason!

    "As in, when we're on this date... what I want to do... what I want to do to you..."
    Her brain seems to have shut down as he approaches her-!

    "Huh? W-What are you doing? Kabedon-"

    Or at the very least it's having problems working correctly! If he had touched her perhaps her more defensive instincts would have kicked in, but as it is, it seems that a partial flustered shutdown is the answer-!

    "... I want to be able to do it when I want, and without any complaints from you."
    "noseriouslywhatareyoutalkingabout-"

    She's talking faster, and her breathing is a bit off!

    He's getting closer.

    His voice is a whisper, designed to make her struggle harder to hear him, to really listen to every syllable and she does without thinking about it and-

    In that instant.

    It might become clear.

    On the attack, Liana Skye is powerful enough socially, she's the sort that's more used to dealing out these sorts of social attacks on others -she wasn't above teasing princess types herself- but when she's on the receiving end of it, when she's not calling the shots and leading the assault... Could it be...

    That she gets flustered?

    She doesn't know how to properly handle the defensive side?

    Ironic-!

    "Even if you feel like crying, I don't want to hear it. Unless you accept and give me the right to do that, the deal is off."
    "C-Crying?"

    W-What would make her cry?!

    "... What I want to do to you..."
    "nowaitseriouslymyheartisn'treadyforthisrightn ow-"

    "--- Is to call you Skye."
    "...Eh?"

    Her ramblings stop short at the end, as she stares up at someone who was radiating a surprisingly boyish energy...

    "..."

    She opens her mouth to say something, perhaps to explain her remarkably innocent reaction?

    Nothing comes out.

    She tries again, and this time manages to make a strange, almost strangled sound, then-

    "..."

    -she closes her eyes, as if hoping to reset the situation, but the flushed face is a bit harder to make disappear.

    Even so, attempt it anyway.

    Now.

    Reset her expression.

    Good.

    Pretend the last twenty seconds did not happen, and-

    "Sure."

    -that's the way Liana, strong voice, never talk about that way-too-maidenly moment of yours again-!

    "So long as I can call you Thorne."

    Negotiations?

    Negotiations.
    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?



  19. #2719
    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


    I paused for a brief moment, wait, that was right.

    They were there at the meeting...

    I chewed on my burger for a few moments more, looking chagrined, then swallowed.

    "Sounds like me alright, either an arm-lock or I'm about to use you like a bludgeon. But you won't have to worry about that, friendo. I've got my own little escapade planned, so don't go getting into any trouble."

    A fiendish grin flickered across my face.

    "I'm not going to be there to hold your hand this time~"

    I chortled merrily, making exaggerated kissy-noises with my lips.

    Then, chuckling a bit more, I brought the now half-finished burg up towards my face again, frowning over the taste, "But, yeah. Got something I need to check out- and don't go stressing yourself out now. I've already got a chaperone, unless you think I need a responsible adult there."

    Personally, I wouldn't mind it if he was. Hwan seemed like a professional, but Kean'd had my back in some bad places, so I'd feel good having him there. But, he's got to live his own life, so I'll leave it to him.

    I continued devouring this portion of my meal with relish.

    Still needed to get to the spicy portion, after all. I'll let my old friend have that one to lord over me.

  20. #2720
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove, Prushka, Elise Pelltier & Colt Davin
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 07.09.1994 (WED)
    Weather: Clear Skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "S-souma, right? I'm Elise. Nice to meet you!"
    The eyepatch-wearing boy glanced towards the brunette next to him... and looked amused for some reason.

    "...... Indeed. I am Souma. And you are Elise," he answered with that quiet, silk-like voice. "... It is nice to make your.... acquaintance..."

    The way he worded that made it almost feel like he had meant something else, but it was quite hard to say what he had then meant. Indeed, it was quite hard to think about anything right now. Even Jake Briggs seemed to be choking as he was holding back laughter thanks to Elise's squeaky reaction, while Ubon... well, Ubon was being her own, usual self. As in, she was wildly gesturing something, thinking that Souma couldn't see, and mouthing the word "buttocks" over and over again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Yeah! Let's-let's get back out there and make sure everyone's okay. C'mon, Ubon! Glad to have your help too, Souma! Jake, make sure your revenge isn't too disproportionate!"
    "Ey-yo, lesdo this!" Ubon said, pumping her fist up and down. "Time to save Prushie from Johnnie... or Johnnie from Prushie... or maybe Subbie caught in the middle of this all! I dunno, bwahaha!"

    With Jake giving them a lazy wave as a send-off and promising not to go overboard with his plan for revenge, the trio jogged towards the water, now more determined than ever to keep things from escalating... but unfortunately, it seemed that things were escalating all the same. After all, while Ubon and Elise ran at a normal speed, Souma ran like a goddamn Olympic sprinter. Without making any noise whatsover. Indeed, while the two girls found that their feet make sloppy and floppy sounds as they struck the wet sand, Souma was just... silent. As if someone had muted all the noises coming from him.

    And the way he ran too... It was just absurd.

    As was the fact that with him speeding ahead of them like that, both girls were treated to the sight of his steel-firm buttocks raising and lowering like pistons, in a rapid rhythm that came from his running speed.

    "----------!"

    And then he dove, like a knife, straight into the water... and disappeared beneath the waves.

    Though they could see his form approach the trio of John, Prushka and Subaru like a torpedo, heading ther straight as a bullet.

    "Err, Essie... what are... what are those three doing now?" Ubon asked, now that they almost within reach, and approaching the group just a bit lagging of Souma. "And why is Prushie holding Subbie like... omigosh... omigooooosh... that is totes the cutest thing I've ever seen~!"

    Despite the squeeing of her lifeguard partner, Elise could see that she hadn't been wrong.

    For some reason, there seemed to be some sort of confrontation going on between John Dove and Prushka. John was standing in the water, just like Prushka... only Prushka was holding onto Subaru Iburi, whose whole body was more or less glowing red. Her eyes were swirling in her head rapidly, and she had gone completely limp, forcing Prushka to struggle to keep her above the water. The tiny shrine maiden also seemed to be quivering. In other words, she was the textbook example of someone suffering both from ultimate form of embarrassment and a sudden heatstroke.

    "S-Subbie?! What's wrong!?" Ubon hollered.

    In response, Subaru's head bobbled around uncontrollably.

    "Hauuuu...."

    There was no response.

    It's just a corpse.

    ----------- And at that exact moment, Souma Nubatama made himself known once more.

    By rising silently and swiftly and completely unexpectedly from between the two girls and John. Rising from the waters to his full height so that he was standing right in front of the boy, staring him straight in the face and with that strange smile fixated on his face. Standing awkwardly close thanks to the small amount of space between John and Prushka. Though... while John had it awkward, Prushka had it even worse. Because while John was treated to the sight of Souma's front side rising from the water, Prushka got a look at... the back side.

    And his backside.

    Which was now right in front of her face, in all its speedo-clad tightness.

    Just justting there, dripping water.

    ... And this all was witnessed by Sakura Tsukioka and Colt Davin, who were having their moment nearby.

    Sakura, who had been listening to Colt's words with warm smile on her face, even righting herself in the water so she could look him in the face as she talked... and who was now standing there, arms folded across her chest, looking at the mayhem that was happening not far from them. Mayhem that was pretty much what they had been doing just moments before, only on a grander scale. Mayhem that Sakura had been trying to avoid earlier today when she wasn't so tipsy.

    However, now, she looked at the scene... and smile widely.

    With that same smile on her face, she waded over to Colt and somewhat leaned against him, using his shoulder as an arm-rest while shielding her eyes with the other hand, gazing at what was going on.

    "You know... if you can arrange me this sort of treat again, I'm sold. I haven't felt this cheerful and carefree in a while," the brunette said with a smirk. "Just the atmosphere here... it's just what I need. So yeah, we're even, but if you can manage to recreate this even later, then... hmm..."

    That smirk widened and Sakura glanced towards Colt teasingly.

    "... I'll move that second date to November already."

    Then, after giggling at the boy's expression, Sakura turned her attention to the group John and Prushka, Subaru and Souma, Ubon and Elise. Putting her hand to her mouth like a megaphone, she let out a surprisingly loud yell.

    "Heeeeeeey! You guys need help over there?"

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