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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3161
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Phew..."

    The tension leaves my body in one mighty sigh as Ubon sits up, shaking off the accident - along with a few sprays of water. Where does that energy of hers come from? I shake my head, smiling despite myself. Even when confronted with one possible consequence of following her instincts, she chooses this answer? Even though it led to her being hurt?

    "Ubon, you doofus... what if something awful happens? It's not easy to get rid of bad memories or bad feelings. They can stick around and turn into curses, just like an infected wound, and then you need to let them out or it gets all messy."

    Maybe the old me would've called that 'being an idiot who doesn't think things through'. But right now... I think it's more that Ubon Seeklun is a brave girl who isn't afraid of enjoying life.

    "Then again, a few scrapes can always be bandaged up... so hold still a minute. My instinct says to fuss over you some more and that's exactly what I'm gonna do."

    I stand and position myself behind the tanned girl, where my fingers reach out and touch her hair, gently pulling aside the strands as I feel around where she was hit for any sign of bleeding or swelling. It's probably nothing. People who can jump also know how to best fall so as not to get injured. But it never pays to be careful. It's funny though; this brings back memories of sitting in someone's lap, having my hair braided... memories I'd give an arm and a leg to go back to right now.

    As I comb through Ubon's wet hair with my fingers, more playing than examining at this point...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dove
    “I cannot even apologize for being such a boring person.”
    John Dove does the John Dove thing. What a weirdo. But he's certainly a gentle one, even when he's being rough.

    "I don't think John knows what 'boring' is." I whisper back to Ubon, while he says his bit. "But I can tell, even if he can't. If he's rude to the girls he likes... doesn't that mean he likes you?"

    Ubon's hair is just as springy as she is. As the water is brushed away it jumps up in all directions on its own. So, one at a time, I weave each tuft together into something between a braid and a dreadlock. Now she looks less like a schoolgirl in a swimsuit and more like the final boss of a delinquent gang.

    "You're so popular... first Hisa, now John. I'm getting really jealous. Should I listen to my instincts and try to keep you all for myself? Either way..."

    One thing's for certain: the me who didn't follow this doofus' advice wouldn't have been able to tell such embarrassing jokes.

    "...thanks, Ubon."

    With those words I step away, just as John does.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dove
    “…in any case, I should get going. You two have a good time.”
    I step onto the scooter, which rolls back of its own volition, driving in a wide circle... that ends with me blocking John Dove's way out, while leaning on the handlebars, arms crossed, an infectious grin having found its way onto my face.

    What, he thinks he can just leave on such a sour note?

    "Mercy was swept away by Hisa, probably to go digging around somewhere dusty. You just missed her."

    John probably wants to investigate too. So we might as well touch base while we're here.

    "Well, I wanna dig around too. There's all sorts in Road's End... but all of it seems to be leading back to the same guy. Why not dig together? It'll be more fun that way. And maybe a bit safer, too."

    All leads go to the Disembodied Man.

    "But more importantly... isn't there something you want to say, John Dove?"

  2. #3162
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “But more importantly... isn't there something you want to say, John Dove?”
    John looks down, taking in the brightness of the small girl’s grin. She has found something; she has reached somewhere, and feels herself a better person for it. Whether she is actually a better person, only time will tell. Now, is there something he wants to say?

    His right hand is straight and swift, dropping on Prushka’s forehead as a karate chop.

    “Don’t ride that thing indoors,” he scolds. “Have you already forgotten what happened a minute ago? Is ‘Imprudence’ your last name?”

    How do you say ‘Imprudence’ in fake Russian?

    “If anything, now I think I should be terrified of the idea of you ‘digging around’ on your own.” He pauses, pondering what just happened. “Then again, if this is your plan to convince people to join you in your investigation, then I would say it is resoundingly effective.”

    He nods as if in praise of what he has already decided was the little girl’s dastardly plot.

    “How unexpectedly underhanded of you, Prushka. If only Momoi were here to see this.”

    Hisa Momoi is not dead, by the way.

  3. #3163
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel, Road’s End
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Ramia snorted.

    "While the robes are pretty cute, I think I'll pass. I think we'd defeat the purpose of trying act natural if you busted out that halloween costume," she said with a slight chuckle, while her right hand finally came out of her pocket, wielding nothing. "I think I've heard enough. An attitude like that, and knowing Gertrud is one who sits at the Devil's Table... Yeah, I can see you being part of the Glass House alright. You wouldn't be the first one to gravitate towards her just 'cause she gets things done every once in a while."

    There was a certain sense of both amusement and distaste in Ramia's voice when she said the name Gertrud.

    Indeed, the Elder Crone who sat at the Devil's Table along with the rest of her brethren was the type who caused such polarizing reactions often and on purpose. Her insidious mind, combined with her ruthless demeanor when it came to getting what she wanted won her few friends, but much in terms of respect. A mage who was so laser-focused in her own desires and plans that she was willing to conquer the passivity that had become the bane of many old families was always someone newer students could relate to, even if she was cruel at times.

    And Gertrud Svensdotter was cruel.

    Not evil, but devoid of empathy.

    A very epitome of a witch of old.

    Even Anna had realized as much upon their very first meeting.

    Thanks to the words that had been said to her.


    "People are sheep, Vandemeel. Sheep pretending to be wolves. And sometimes a shepherd has to use her crook to catch them by the throat, if they are about to do something stupid and endanger her livelihood."


    "As for me..." Ramia continued, snapping Anna back from her thoughts. "The truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, yet also more boring. Metempsychosis is inherently a flawed process, after all. Think of it as, ah, making photocopies of photocopies. Reality gets awfully blurry, just as maps of the night sky became outdated as the years go by. Recycling is hardly a modern invention, Red - and liberation of soul is more about becominga aware than actually breaking free. But ah... sorry. We didn't come here to talk shop, huh? Old habits die hard, I suppose."

    Ramia sighed and scratched her head a bit awkwardl, mulling over what she should do next.

    And what she ended up doing was a bit surprising.

    Indeed, Ramia straightened her back for a moment, crossed her arms over her chest for a moment, and formed rings with her hands. Then she interlocked those rings together, creating a loop that had seemingly no end. Almost like a salute, almost like a greeting, it was a gesture that reeked of the old world, something caught through memories of someone who the dusky-skinned girl no longer was, yet always had been.

    "Yes, ἓν τὸ πᾶν, Child of Loviatar. Guess we're meeting for the first time, properly," Ramia spoke, a hint of dignity creeping into her husky voice. "And with that out of the way..."

    Dignity, which immediately faded away, revealing the same laid-back teenager from behind it.

    "... What's this about Chinese shadow theatre?"






    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast
    [BGM]

    In the light of the overcast afternoon, the abandoned part of the dormitory looked practically monochrome as Elise and Souma stepped in.

    The brunette girl experienced the strangest feeling of deja vu as she looked around the lobby, realizing now that it was practically a mirror image of the one that she tended to use every day here at Pinefall. Indeed, the only difference in the layout was that while from the common entrance the hallway turned sharply to the right, here it turned left - no doubt being part of the same corridor. Same had to be true upstairs at well, meaning that the dormitory was basically two mirrored parts stuck together and with access blocked from one to another. Otherwise, they were completely identical.

    ... Well, with the small exception of the abandoned parts of the dormitory being practically devastated.

    Everything was caked in dust, and same grey particles hung like a heavy cloak in the air. Getting just a whiff of the air inside made one want to cough, and even Souma momentarily shielded his mouth with his sleeve. Not only that, but the torn wallpapers, upturned furniture, cobwebs lining the corners and shattered fragments of glass on the floor... it gave the place a whole new identity. It was almost like stepping into a whole new world, one completely cordoned off from the regular place where the students lived.

    Or to put it in other words, it was like staring at an alternate reality of the dormitory, one that had been through an apocalypse.

    "... Quaint," Souma commented as he walked quietly past Elise.

    The boy's footfalls on the floor didn't break any of the glass here and there and barely even disturbed the dust. Souma walked all the way over to where the hallway turned, and gazed down it with a hint of curiosity in his eyes. From there, his eyes went to the staircase leading to second floor, the wall next to it completely covered in dust and grime, and then the door behind him, one that would lead to the common room in the "normal" part of the dormitory.

    But now there was no common room - and barely even a door. It was off its hinges and precariously resting against the doorframe.

    Meanwhile, the darkness behind it foretold that if there were windows there, they had been covered up.

    ".......... Well?" Souma's voice rang again, and his eye focused on Elise.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High - Parking Lot
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Muuu~"

    Gradient, apparently satisfied now that Mercedes had been thoroughly hugged, let go of the actress once she felt the pat on her head. The starlet collapsed against the car, wheezing and trying to catch her breath, while the culprit hummed a strange, alien tune and skipped over to the other side of the vehicle, popping the door open and hopping to the back seat while Hisa took the one in the front.

    The last one to climb into the car was, of course, Mercedes, who was still holding her ribs and looking not too pleased that she had to sit next to the girl who had most likely made her hourglass figure even more pronounced.

    "Like, not harmful? Yeah, dunno about that..." the actress grumbled, shooting a glare at Gradient who grinned in response. "Can't, like, remember our class having anyone this weird, so yeah - some explanations would be nice. Like, about her, that freaky hallucination, whatevah. And what we're actually doing now."

    While she talked, Pyry fired up the car and the V8 engine roared to life. The radio immediately blared alive, filling the inside of the car with first few seconds of a song. However, the boy perhaps realized that this drive was not the type where music could be listened to freely, so instead he shut the thing down and focused on taking the car out of the parking lot. Soon enough the blue vehicle had moved to the street, and there to the road, with Pyry taking a heading towards the town of Road's End.

    It was while they turned the corner to this main road that the boy finally had recovered enough that he could glance towards Hisa and raise his eyebrow a little.

    "... Where are we going, by the way?" He asked, clearly a bit confused by the presence of Mercedes while they were headed out somewhere. "I figure you have some place you wanna check out?"

    Mercedes folded her arms in the backseat (and ignored Gradient mimicking her), and nodded.

    "Yeah. Like, I'd like to hear that too," She added. "I've come plenty far on goodwill - so those promised answers would be, like, much appreciated at this point."




    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    In the end, finding Kean Loinnir was easy enough.

    The boy and his fancy green jacket stuck out like a sore thumb on the beach, and so did the thing he was working on. It's silver surface reflected what little sunlight peeked through the overcast sky, making it glimmer in similar colours. Whatever the object was, it stood on a tripod on the sands, slightly buried into the wet surface. From there began an elongated, silver shape that mostly brought to mind a telescope - only with a row of small parabolic antennae attached to it. There were also some weird long levers or switches sticking out from both ends of the instrument, ones that Kean was currently manipulating.

    Truly... what was the boy doing?

    Clearly he was working with some sort of machine, but what? Even upon seeing that, the answer didn't become clearer.

    And looking at it, 17 had no clue either, as she gave Elaine a confused glance and pointed at the boy.

    As for Kean himself...

    "... If you're gonna approach, avoid getting between the ocean and the machine," the silver-haired boy slowly called out to his friend, not taking his eyes off the gadget. "I'm in the middle of calibrating it, so your larger-than-life presence is gonna screw up my readings."

    This was not a new sight - Kean did love working with those machines of his. However, this particular gadget was completely new, something the blonde girl had not seen before. Perhaps something he had acquired only recently?

    "Plus you'll block the horizon with those hips of yours," Kean added, snorting at his own joke and flashing an impish grin while not taking his eyes off the gadget.




    Vier Wolff
    Location: Pinefall High Campus Grounds
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “I guess if you want to surprise someone, then you’ll probably get perfect points for that. However, I think it would probably be better if you had your mutual acquaintance sit this guy down at some restaurant. It would be more… polite for them and if they’re a gentleman they can’t leave an event so easily.”
    Aleen frowned for a moment and stopped walking.

    The two had made it almost all the way to the yew tree after leaving the dormitory, but now the bluehead folded her arms and tapped her feet a little bit, throwing both slightly anxious and slightly troubled glance into Vier's direction.

    "... You think?" Aleen asked, voicing her doubts. "I mean, it might be too late by now - I dunno if my friend can get him to another place. A-and even if she could, how can I even contact her this fast? It's not like mail of any kind is gonna make it, and I don't really know her phone number either... well, I guess I could call the reception and ask for her, but how would she contact him and make that change...?"

    Looking more and more troubled but this turn of events, Aleen scratched her head in frustration, trying to come up with a decision one way or another. After all, she clearly wanted to succeed in whatever she was planning, so the thought that she might have sabotazed her own plans would have weighed heavily on her mind. However, at the same time, she couldn't really change her plans easily at this point either.

    "Gaaahhh!" Alien groaned, kicking a pebble from the path into the bushes. "W-what the heck should I do, Vier?"

    At last, she turned to her friend for help.




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

    "Zaza..."

    Even Cesarina sounded worried as she listened to the questions that the blonde girl asked from all those present at the common rooms. Immediately, the atmosphere in the room had grown more somber, even sorrowful, and it weighed down heavily upon those who were present. Perhaps that was why Pyry Leijonamieli, who had been about to answer something, decided to take the chance given to him and left the room when Hisa Momoi came calling. Instead of saying anything, the boy muttered a short apology for having to leave and rose from his seat, walking over to the doorway. On his way he stopped only for a moment, and that was so he could give an encouraging pat on the shoulder of Alexstrasza.

    And that left four girls together in the depressing mood of the room.

    With Alexstrasza and Lucille exchanging words, a dialogue of hidden meanings spoken with a veil pulled over their voices to mask what they truly meant.

    Thusly, the only ones present who did not understand what was truly being discussed here were Cesarina and Sakura... but they could both sense that whatever it was, it was heavy. Even the questions asked by Alexstrasza, and the answers given by Lucille, were enough to feel like burden upon one's shoulders.

    Which was, perhaps, why Sakura suddenly answered:

    "Even if our best was not enough, it's not something we can or should blame ourselves for. There's only so much a single person can do, you know? Even if it sometimes feels like it's us alone versus the world, that doesn't mean it has to be that way. Indeed... it shouldn't be that way. Like I said, a single person can't do everything," Sakura quietly said after Lucille had spoken... and most likely, her words were meant more for her than Alexstrasza. "That's why, when our best is not enough, we need help from others. People aren't solitary creatures after all, no matter how much easier that might be."

    A quiet chuckle escaped from the brunette's lips, as if she was speaking from experience.

    "We can keep away, and thus stop hurting - but then we'll freeze to death. Or we can huddle together, risk getting hurt, and finally feel warmth," she continued. "The only way we can truly stop those close to us from dying is by never having anyone close to us in the first place. But if we want to be with those we hold dear, we have to accept that some day, they might die - just like we might die and cause pain for them."

    A soft sigh escaped the older girl's lips.

    "That's Hedgehog's Dilemma in a nutshell, I think."

    Cesarina nodded, rising up properly in her seat so she could watch her friend, and make sure she was alright.

    "Y-yeah... And, um, Zaza? What comes to death, well... that is something neither science or religion can know for sure, right? Only those who went there do know, and they are not telling. The biggest mystery of life, some say," the green-haired heiress spoke up. "It is a mystery to the point that there is really no reason to fret about it or worry about it because... well, you cannot know. Ever. That is the whole point, I guess?"

    As if to affirm her words to herself, Cesarina nodded while staring at her own hands.

    Then, her mouth turned into an encouraging smile.

    "Still... Lucille is right. You are being worried for nothing right now," she added. "It is not like somebody is going to die today and leave you behind, wahaha..."

    Her laughter was a little bit forced, but the reason was clear.

    She wanted to cheer her friend up - that was the sole, simple reason.




    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "You know, Johnnie..."

    There was a sound of wet footfalls slapping against the floor of the pool as Ubon approached John from behind, the boy having been stopped from leaving by Prushka and her scooter. While the cyanhead had listened to what both of them had said, her expression growing a bit more serious, she had yet to answer herself. Indeed, she had most likely been formulating her response, trying to put it in words properly what she wanted to make known. After all, while Ubon (or so she claimed) didn't do much in terms of thinking, she had certainly done so now.

    And the answer that she had arrived at was...

    "--- You're a dummy. You know that, right?"

    Was to say that and rap John in the back of his head gently with her knuckles.

    And then display a confident smile, one that didn't seem to care at all what John had just said about him not being the type of person Ubon wanted to surround herself with. She stood there, hands on her hips, neither angry or sad - just simply smiling at John's words and putting them aside with her mere attitude, at least when they concerned her. Just like she had called him an idiot just now.

    "I don't wanna gather lotsa specific people 'round myself, for realsies. Geez, that's way too calculated for me, y'know! I'm not smartypants enough for that. What I want is to just have fun with my friends, that's all," Ubon said, wiped her nose abit and chuckled. "I don't mind if you can't like me, or can't laugh with me. I have fun with you, Johnnie, so that's enough for me! Same with Prushie, Hizzie and everyone else. I wanna have actual people with their own opinions as my friends, y'know? Interesting or boring, smart or a dummy... who cares about that?"

    The confidence in that smile was unwavering.

    "All I wanna do is hang out with my friends - for realsies."

    Then, however, a mischievous glint appeared in that smile and it became more of a grin.

    "Though honestly, Johnnie, you'd need to learn to act on instincts too, y'know? I can just see into that noggin' of yours sometimes. Especially when you talk 'bout stuff like this. You get way too wrapped up in your problems, how you can't do this or how you can't feel that. When in the end... that stuff doesn't really matter, y'know?" Ubon continued, chuckling a bit. "You worry waaaaay too much 'bout what you can and can't do, and thinking all that stuff over. Who cares? You should just do what'cha want, when you want! It ain't more complicated than that, for realsies! And that's why you're a dummy - cause you make too big of a deal 'bout what you think."

    Having said her piece, and having given the boy a pat on the shoulder, Ubon then turned towards Prushka, wearing that infectious grin of hers once more.

    "And what's this 'bout digging 'round Road's End now? Got any places in mind for where to look and what to look?" the cyanhead asked, sounding rather curious. "That almost sounds like the beginning of an adventure!"
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; September 10th, 2020 at 12:32 PM.

  4. #3164
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    "They're USDA Certified," I returned, firing back without even really thinking about it, "Primo-Grade American Hips, right here, raised on a steady diet of apple pie, baseball and Dad Rock."

    I strolled up a bit closer, eyes swiveling between the device, the ocean and my friend.

    It wasn't the first time he'd whipped out some Zeerust piece of Weird Science out of his back pocket and started poking around with it, personally, while I was perfectly intelligent, I'd be the first to tell you my grasp on a lot of non-practical sciences and technology were lacking.

    While I wasn't some sheltered witch-girl from an ivory tower who barely even know what a Television was, I was not the person you would call to deal with some issues with your desktop, shall we say.

    That was always more of his job.

    So, instead of racking the admittedly shallow waters of my technological know-how, I instead put other factors to work. Focusing on why this place would be of interest, and why would he in particular be interested.

    Why would he need to investigate with some strange bit of tech like that?

    Hmm.

    What would be interesting about the ocean around here...

    Well, there was the body, for one.

    "Playing forensics over there?" I folded my arms, frowning out at the ocean, "Aside from the body I haven't heard too much of interest about the bay, except for maybe a few urban legends hither and yon."

    It was interesting, to say the least, but currently of a lower priority on my list of pressing engagements, of which one of was 'Don't Die'.

    It's typically always on there somewhere, but sort of a background sort of a given thing, you know.

    Dream or no, prophetic or time travel or whatever, it was a very real feeling brush with mortality.

    For as many as I'd danced with, I never grew fonder.

    Feh.

    "Still, figured I'd come wander out here and see what you were up to," I mused, "Figured I'd dragged you into enough of my business I'd go ahead and drag myself into yours."

    White teeth glinted in a grin.

    "Figured it was either important business stuff or you were still in a pout over me dragging you away from being social in order to do something weird."

  5. #3165
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Ow! You jerk!"

    The chop to the head was uncalled for! Why I oughta...!

    But Ubon gets revenge for me, so I'll accept it this once.

    "Hmph! I'm gonna ride where I please and if any of those grown-ups try and stop me they'll have to catch me first!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "And what's this 'bout digging 'round Road's End now? Got any places in mind for where to look and what to look? That almost sounds like the beginning of an adventure!"
    "Haha... well, that's the problem... there are way too many places to look and way too many things to look for. Did you know Road's End has a year's worth of skeletons stuffed in its closet?"

    But only a week to dig through them.

    I feel around in my backpack and fish out a slightly damp notebook, on which I've been trying to organize and narrow down possible avenues of investigation. So far it's been less than successful.

    "First there's the old saw mill... there could be anything in there. It's just a short trek through the woods. But it's dangerous and also haunted and I'm pretty sure a crazy cyclops lady is using it as her lair, so that's a nope."

    I flip the page. No way are we going there again. I still can't forget Ubon's crying face from that night.

    "Then there's the lighthouse... a whole bunch of weird stuff happens around there. Have you heard the story of the Keeper and the Sailor? It's a really sad one. Miss Beatrice knows the full song, but I only remember bits. Something about a boy and a girl in love, who were driven apart by a grinning monster... and it might even be based on a real story from a few years ago. Well, the ghost of the Sailor supposedly appears at sunset - I heard someone playing harmonica on the first night here while riding around. But he's shy, and ran off when I tried to talk to him, so I've been thinking of ways to win him over. Plus - and this is gonna sound dumb... but I had a dream the night we arrived, where this girl in a bathrobe calling herself Muse told me a really cryptic poem about it."

    I was planning on going there initially, but... it might be no good. I needed a key from Beatrice just to get in and a flashlight just to see the ghost last time. There's no way to count on that happening again. We might not even be able to enter. It might be a better idea to talk to Rachel about it first, so... the page flips again.

    "Then Hisa said something about sewers under the school... but I don't really wanna go digging around someplace that smelly without good reason."

    Flip.

    "The Owl's Nest Hotel has a library I've been wanting to go through, but it's not really what you'd call 'fun'. Mr. Halloway is there, and he's pretty cool for an adult, and Rachel Halloway is there too... And there might be some guests to talk to. Anyone who's staying in Road's End must have an interesting reason for being here."

    Flip.

    "Then there are all these other places... like did you know there's some kinda listening station up in the mountains? And a train yard? Plus there's apparently some sorta mansion on the coast... I have no idea what's there, but they're all out of town, so it might be nice to go on a trek or a hike."

    Flip.

    "There's also some kinda country club nearby... but I don't think they'd let random students in. Same for Billie's bar."

    Flip.

    "Oh right, and also, the second floor!" My voice drops to a whisper. "Hisa said there's a girl living up there in the library secretly, studying the same things we are. Like a hidden classmate or something. We could try to find her. If she's living all alone there without anyone else, it must be pretty boring, right? I know I'd go crazy if nobody knew I was there. Maybe we could be friends with her or something."

    Flip.

    "We could always just gather up some other students and go for pie. Swoop around the school, grabbing all the loners and people who we haven't talked to much, and just invite them all out for dinner, get to know each other. Avery's pie is the best."

    Flip, and... oh that's the end of the locations. It still only covers about half the mysteries I've gotten myself tangled up in, but the others aren't linked to any specific location.

    "So, uh... there's a lot, as you can see."

    I peer at the tanned girl, with a glance to John as well.

    "What do your instincts say?"

  6. #3166
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Spending the majority of the day with Tris it was almost possible to think of her just a normal girl. Sure, there were some hurdles to get there. Colt had to willfully ignore the way she spoke. Then he had to pretend that her odd ignorance of most things he considered normal was due to being sheltered beyond what could be imagined. But after twisting his mind enough to see her that way, it was almost like hanging out with a normal, ditzy blond girl with really big boobs.

    But the jovial ‘pat’ that she gave Colt’s shoulders made it impossible to think of her as normal. It almost reminded him of the man of stone, Hiroto Hatou. But that was only almost. Because it went beyond human, reminding him of the man of iron, Pyry.

    She keeps calling this the ‘surface.’ Is she from some secret gorilla civilization that lives underground or something?

    “I knew you’d like it, and I’m glad to have been right.” Playing off those thoughts, as well as the pain in his now slightly sore shoulder, Colt smiled back at her. Girls with infectious smiles, his weakness. “We can come back another time. Hopefully when there’s more stuff prepped in the back, and you can try something new.”

    So saying, he pulled his keys out and turned to his bike.

    “I guess… there’s somewhere I’d like to visit.” He glanced toward the direction of the record store turned gun store. At this point he wasn’t willing to write off the absurd basement workshop or Dora as just oddities. “Having you with me might help my odds over there.”


  7. #3167
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    The subject at hand brought the girl in dressed in blue to reflect on the matter for a bit.... well, perhaps it was less reflecting, and more thinking of how to put her thoughts forward -- her reaction to the discussion had been quite clear, a light, amused smirk, though wherever she was for or against this shift of the damsel's code was up for the others to interpret:

    "Ah, climbing trees you say? Though this was once considered not very damsel-like indeed, I do believe times have changed as it has been pointed out. We have ladies participating in all kinds of sports nowadays, do we not? What did they add recently at the Winter Olympics... Biathlon if I recall properly? I am certain that while we may not have a body as hardy as the likes of this gentleman here, some more outdoor activities leads to the strengthening of the character... " she says as she glances at Hawthorne. One may say that indeed, she had become accustomed to his rather... durable body. It was quite a personal experience, wasn't it? But even then, it didn't take much for someone to see that Hawthorne was someone who had an athlete's body.

    "Mmm, yes, though that is not to say that there are merits in going the other direction, like my upbringing. Different tools for different purposes no? If everyone was the same talks at meetings and ballrooms would get boring very quick. Hehe."

    The girl in blue snickers with a hint of delight as she looks at the gathering here -- it was rather interesting and diverse to say the least. For someone who had never met these people, of course. Vivienne then picked up on the subject of Lia's interest in stones:

    "Oh, stones? Do you fancy collecting them for the history? Or do you just appreciate their shapes? If I were to have a hobby of sorts, it would be sketching things..."

    She pulls out a sketching book of a certain brand and look which... Liana may find it very familiar. As if someone used a similar book to convey a message to her this morning. In fact, wasn't that person the very first to speak to her today after she woke up?

    "But alas my skills are not exactly to an acceptable standard for now. Perhaps I should have followed my father's advice and gone into a school of fine arts rather than acting..."

    It would happen perhaps as well that the person that talked to her was once an actress... but it would appear that the girl in blue in front of her is not interested on continuing that topic. Why did she even bring this up, one has to wonder? Her gaze shifts to the person who presumably would be the most fit of the title 'young master' here -- the girl with an eye patch.

    "Do you not have cats at home?" she asks, observing Sierra's reaction. "Perhaps this is a good day indeed. It would be an opportune time to consider getting one perhaps! Raising them is a good exercise on one's temperament, and especially on one's patience... though this one here seems to be fairly manageable. Ah, my mother had the mistake of having too many cats at home once. It's like having three extra siblings, perhaps worst."

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "But that's neither here nor there I suppose, to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?"
    "Oh my, where are our manners indeed, starting a conversation like this one randomly without introducing myself... but..."

    She flicks open a silk fan adorned in blue and white, mirroring her dress's motifs. Hiding her visage behind it, leaving only the top half of her head starting from her eyes visible, the girl in blue looks at Liana momentarily with a playful stare, before shifting said stare towards the 'young man' next to her that had been her companion on the way to the club.

    "I think it would be better for my butler to do the introductions. Call me a traditionalist that appreciates procedures! Or perhaps I am a bit lazy... but that is part of a lady's charm sometimes, isn't it? Dames like to keep their secrets after all... though perhaps he is not as inclined as I am for these kind of games."

    Though no one could see it, the girl in blue's grin was probably quite large by now. She was having a lot of fun here, or perhaps she was just naturally a very playful individual that reveled in these kinds of meandering talks. One could imagine that she may also just lead a boring life as a member of a well-off family and fresh encounters like these instilled her with excitement and playfulness she could not show at home...

    "What about you three? Are you uh, their bodyguards? Siblings? Clients and a member of staff? Father and Mother and Daughter?"

  8. #3168
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart & Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Common Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Tracing the lines of the black tape in my hands, I listened to what others had to say. In order to examine these things, you have to examine yourself, right? Staring around a room filled with faces that I knew, but did not know, I smiled, a bitter, angry thing as I stared at the ghastly reality in front of my face.

    "In my hands," I said quietly, not looking up at the people around me, "Is a tape that was sent to me. Inside of this is the murder of one of the people in this room, by a man who doesn't wear a face."

    It is out there, even though I didn't want it to me. Like a sun shining in the sky, the stars themselves raining in a mist of darkness, it's like a light. An escape rope, to grab onto, to free myself from my own mistakes. My sins. A way out, even though I don't deserve it.

    "When the Moon told me not to," I said as my fingers gently circled the wheels inside of the tape, "I truly tried to behave differently. And yet, everything seems to be falling into place once more. Everything lines up yet again, all marching in a row to their demise without a care in the world. Even I cannot escape it, I suppose."

    Laughter burst from my lips, and a smile emerged on my face as I leaned back in the chair raising one hand above my face and staring at it. Lithe, pale fingers looked back at me, a flicker in my nails from the light. Tracing downwards, it lead to a slender hand attached to a slender wrist, all of which were so deathly pale it appears as if I could have been a ghost in a past life.

    "Two nights onwards," I informed the room in an elated tone, happiness rising in my voice, "I will also die. I will be killed by a classmate hiding their face, and die ignobly, in pain, and in sorrow. And then, I will wake up the morning after I arrived as if nothing happened. As if the previous week vanished in the wind, to never return again. Hey, Cesarina, what does it mean when you repeat something that only serves to hurt you?"

    I rolled my head to the side to stare at her, unblinking, with my hand stretched towards the sky.

    "To go through this once more... Whoever crafted this special kind of hell seems to hate me with a fervor and fire that I could never dream of achieving. It's remarkable, really. I must pretend, pretend, pretend, for five and a half days, meet people who are kind and unkind, and then am slain. I must gain things only in order to lose them, and be forced to desperately chase after them once more. Isn't it... tiring? Isn't this sort of illusion tiring to watch? Even if only now I may have broken free, how many times must it have been repeated?"

    It is more to myself then to those around me I am speaking. The way Muse had worded it, she had plucked me out of time and space and thrown me back here in order to repeat it endlessly, until I get it right. It's more of a curse then a blessing, but it makes me essentially immune to 'mistakes'. I can make countless along the way, thousands if I feel the need to, and none will harm me in the end. For in the end, I'll die.

    "Is it amusing, to watch someone struggle only to fail? Is that what that immortal beast we call 'God' is? So twisted that he would throw them into it again, once more, just to see how spectacularly she ruins it this time?"

    The people around me are all human. They all have no power, in comparison to me. I pity them for it, but I don't want to - the vast range of humanity that has been shown to me so far, it's so... Unique. Fascinating. Different every time. Every person in this room has a different experience, a different way of 'comprehending' their surroundings, in a way that an immortal never could. I am static. Stagnant. Unchanging. That is the curse of immortality; to be forever young is to be forever young. I am only interesting because I am trying to change, in spite of it. I am fighting against every instinct of my body every second. The closer these people draw to me, the more I can feel saliva drool from my mouth. To be able to pretend to such an extent is to deny yourself, and I have been denying myself for a long time. If I can go back in time, can't I just kill them all? Can't I? What would be wrong with it, right?

    I've been killed once. It's only fair, isn't it?

    "Hey, Cesarina," I said, staring at her. "I don't know what to do about these feelings I have. Are they even worth it? What's the point if I can't do anything with them? If I can't even protect a single person... am I really all that amazing?"

    I smiled, a small and fragile thing as that damned leak dropped more rain onto my face. I couldn't recall a single time in my life that I'd felt this way, that I'd felt anything at all, really. It was so new and exciting and different that...

    That...

    I just wanted it to last a little longer. Even if it was just another day, please, just a little longer would be enough. Just enough time for me to really grasp it, enough time for me to realize what all of this meant. I still don't understand so much! Love, happiness, hope, shame, lust, greed, envy -- this spectrum of existence is something I really want to see! Isn't it okay, to desire to be
    alive
    human
    ?

    I don't like people.

    They're full of flaws.

    They act badly.

    They're a cancer on the face of the planet.

    It would be better if they didn't exist.

    I don't like being.

    It's too full of suffering.

    Too full of evil.

    I don't like dying.

    It's dark.

    It's terrifying.

    It made me want to cry.

    It's dizzying, dizzying, thinking about this. It's too hard, to think about these things when I don't want to. I'm scared. I'm scared of what I'll discover about myself, even if it might be true. I'm terrified that there's a man without a face who is entirely right about me. My pretense of humanity is just that - a pretense. A fake copy of a fake thing that doesn't have any reason to exist. A mimicry so skillful that it override the original person. And what is it born from, but tragedy? But misery? But enjoyment of despair? In order to repay my debts, should I not die? Should I not be killed 105 more times?

    I suppose it's just something that will have to happen.

    "Hey, Cesarina..."



    My smile shone like the sky.

    "Do you want to see some magic?"
    Last edited by Frantic Author; September 11th, 2020 at 05:50 AM.
    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.


  9. #3169
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “Ow! You jerk!”
    “No need to react like that. It means ‘I like you’, right?”

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    “Hmph! I'm gonna ride where I please and if any of those grown-ups try and stop me they'll have to catch me first!”
    “Then please refrain from complaining when other people refuse to treat you as a responsible, mature person—ow.”

    There is no pain; it is merely a rote reaction to Ubon rapping his head. She then says a bunch of incomprehensible things. He really cannot accept that a person can live in such a carefree way. It just seems like asking for trouble. Well, maybe Ubon has indeed gotten into trouble because of that attitude, and that is precisely why she is a Pinefall student. On the other hand, she is definitely from the Turnside, so he cannot dismiss the possibility that she is here for some purpose related to that. Does this make her the best or absolute worst infiltrator?

    She is right in that he thinks a lot about things. He has to; otherwise, he would not know how to respond to anything the gray world throws at him. Does he even have ‘instincts’ beyond the biological imperative to stay alive? He is capable of engaging in coitus—this he has already verified—, but he does not feel any urgency to sire offspring. Why would he even want to become the father of a gray child?

    Just do whatever he wants? Therein lies the problem: he has no wants. At least none that he can recognize.

    “Incomprehensible,” he finally murmurs. “I do not think I will ever understand you, Ubon.”

    However…

    “…but, perhaps I do not need to. You can be yourself, and I…”

    …he will just be the only thing he can be.

    Then Prushka starts to go over her notes—John wonders why he is a little surprised that Prushka keeps notes. She has a lot to propose, so John has a lot to retort.

    “Crazy cyclops lady…”

    “A grinning monster; I see…”

    “B-Bathrobe…”

    “Sewers? Under the school?”

    “The hotel…” The Coastrises are supposedly there. That is probably not a meeting he wants to have; at least not with these two along for the ride.

    “…listening station?” Is there a military facility nearby?

    The mention of a mansion on the coast grabs his attention. Going over his mental map of the area…is that not near the point marked in the ghost’s map? Behind the bar? The country club does matter to him, nor does the bar itself.

    Of course, the second floor stirs the sea of his memories. The possibility of a girl living up there immediately beckons the sight of a dead child at the foot of the stairs. A child who was not killed by a power of the Turnside. A mundane murder, just as merciless. Who was that girl? Why did she have to die? John Dove would lie if he claimed he is not curious.

    Gathering fellow students for a meal might be useful in learning about their actions on Tuesday, but this does not feel as immediate a priority as the other things. Could it be that he is already assuming that he will die and travel back in time again next Sunday? That is a dangerous mindset, John Dove.

    In any case, checking out the mansion would be more convenient to him, but then he would have to try to lose them afterwards. Therefore…

    “I would suggest the second floor. It is the closest, after all.”

    Flawless logic.

  10. #3170
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Pinefall High Campus Grounds
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    After I said my advice, Aleen started slowing down in her pace until eventually she stopped walking. It didn’t take any scanning or ESP to guess that my advice caused Aleen to realize how surprising and potentially disastrous her plan could’ve been. My only issue was where we stopped. The Yew Tree. While I wasn’t going to show any negative or telling responses, I would rather not be by it. So I tried to have Aleen decide quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "... You think? I mean, it might be too late by now - I dunno if my friend can get him to another place. A-and even if she could, how can I even contact her this fast? It's not like mail of any kind is gonna make it, and I don't really know her phone number either... well, I guess I could call the reception and ask for her, but how would she contact him and make that change...? W-what the heck should I do, Vier?"
    I should have stayed quiet when she mentioned her plan to meet someone. I should have tried to keep things as predictable as possible as I have been doing. I was figuratively juggling everyone’s lives with my decisions to try and keep things predictable until Saturday. It's something simple. All I had to do was lie until it became the truth.

    “You don’t need to meet him today now do you? If you don’t, then there’s always another day to make a great impression with them. A setback is just a delay of something good. And well if you have to meet him today. You already have so many different ideas on how to try and fix the issue. Also I could be entirely wrong, maybe they won’t be negatively surprised. ...Just be prepared in case they do.”

    Yet, I couldn’t force myself to do that with Aleen... Or at very least, the last time I did it I ended up regretting. In hindsight, I don't think I would've changed much if it wasn't for Aleen and Muse. I probably would have stayed as the same manipulative person who just accepted that she would disappear from everyone's memories. So as a result... I couldn't lie to Aleen when she clearly wanted help.

    “Since I think you really want to impress him, I think we should try calling your friend to try and schedule a more formal meeting. Maybe even get them to recommend a good local place to eat at...”

    My smile becomes a bit more devious.

    “Might even be a good dry run for when you do go out on a date. So when the time comes you can look cool and confident in front of them, instead of dithering around in what to order. Granted I wouldn’t mind my date panicking cutely.”

    After I got my quick joking prod at Aleen, I started moving myself in the direction of the closest phone unless Aleen decides to go into town anyways.

  11. #3171
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Still, figured I'd come wander out here and see what you were up to. Figured I'd dragged you into enough of my business I'd go ahead and drag myself into yours. Figured it was either important business stuff or you were still in a pout over me dragging you away from being social in order to do something weird."
    Kean chuckled a little bit at those words, though refrained from answering immediately. Instead, he fiddled a bit more with the levers of the machine he was working on, adjusting the parabolic antennae so that they were all pointing towards the ocean, but at different angles. Then, finally, he let out a satisfied sigh and wiped his hands on his clothes. Finally, he turned to face his friend, flashing a dry smile at both her and 17.

    "Well, I won't look the gift-horse in the mouth - mostly because I know I'd just be getting myself into more trouble by refusing you," Kean answered. "It's not as important business as taking care of that bundle of mysteries over there, but eh... it's why I was asked to come here."

    A momentary pause, then...

    "... But thanks. I appreciate the help."

    Kean looked away, awkward scratching his cheek.

    "A-anyways, this isn't forensics - not for humans at least. I'm making a three-dimensional map of the area using radio waves and triangulation and all sorts other scientific systems your USDA Certified hips probably won't get. If you want me to make it simple, I'm bouncing radio waves off of everything I can find in this area and constructing the image that's built as a result in this machine, revealing even stuff that would be hidden from the naked eye," Kean explained, making vague gestures towards the gadget. "I've been wanting to do this since I've arrived here. The order from above was to see if there's anything wonky about Road's End and its surroundings itself, and, well... it's just a feeling I get. Call it intuition or instincts, but if I were a betting man I'd say there's something off about this whole place. But I'm not. Still..."

    Kean's eyes focused onto the horizon, and with his free hand, he flicked the gadget he had laid on the sand on, making it hum quietly and light up in white glimmer.

    "... There's something wrong with the horizon in here. I'm sure of it."

    Another bout of silence, one that stretched for ten seconds or more, during which the only thing that filled the soundscape of the beach were the distant seagulls and the quiet sound of the machine.

    However, it was soon ended when Kean suddenly whirled around, looking at Elaine with an expression of both doubt and a bit of shock.

    "Wait, did I hear that right? There was a body here?"




    Liana Skye & Adelaide Cheshire
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Alex chuckled quietly to her gloved hand and made a faint nod once again to the direction of the trio. Then she put her hand over her chest and performed a little introductory bow, a perfect example of butler-like conduct. To Adelaide, it might have been a bit surprising to see. After all, while it was already hard to carry oneself like a completely different person, it was a completely other thing to exhibit skills and gestures often brought only by years of training and experience. Perhaps Alex had worked as a butler of some sort before? It was hard to say.

    However, for now it served their interests.

    "Indeed that would fall within my purview. This here is Lady Adelaide Alvena Cheshire, a direct relative of the late and magnanimous Meredith family and their hope for rekindling that same philanthropistic passion. And I am her humble butler, Norman Nadeau - serving her ladyship for over seven years now," Alex introduced the duo. "We are unexpected guests of Mr. Jack Pinkerton here, south of the border, and on, ah... let's say, 'sabbatical' and leave it that."

    It was quite the grand introduction, yet the words flowed from mouth of Alex without any stammering or signs of insecurity. Instead, she was as confident as she could be, melding perfectly into her role as a male butler with dashing looks and confident attitude, serving his lady with a wry, dry sense of humour brought about only by years of getting to know the person and her quirks.

    Indeed, it was a lie that was easy enough to buy, to the point of almost wanting it to be true.

    Hawthorne, at least, seemed not surprised by it - if anything, his expression showed that he had expected something like this. He switched his stare from Alex to Adelaide, back again to Alex, and finally to the girl in the poofy dress. He then took a drag from his shortening cigarette, but was careful as to not let the smoke be blown over the duo - thus showing a bit of manners that he was usually missing.

    "Well, how do you do? That's a lot of fancy words for something as simple as introductions," Hawthorne replied with a bit of a smirk. "But guess that makes sense. After all, you're just the type of people bossman likes to invite to his roach motel. As for us, well..."

    Without missing a beat, the tall man stood up and threw his cigarette to the ground, crushing it under his foot. Then, following that, he stepped forward and set his hand on Liana's shoulder, gently tugging her slightly closer. At the same time, a smug grin rose to his face, an expression he only showed the girl before turning towards the noble duo, wearing nothing but a smile.

    "As for us, well, you got us! I'm Hawthorne Skye, and this here is my young and beautiful wife, Liana!" the man spoke up, lying through his teeth. "And indeed that would be the apple of our eye - our dear daughter Sierra Skye! Doesn't she look just like her mother~?"

    A silence fell over the courtyard, almost as if air itself had been sucker-punched and was now recovering.

    The air stood still, and Hawthorne's grin widened as he waited for the reactions.

    And the first one to react... was Sierra.

    "Liana..." the eyepatched girl started, lifting up Zee. "... Can I throw this at him?"

    She presented the cat like a projectile weapon.




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

    The idea that she might be useful to Colt wherever they were going was, apparently, enough for Tris. She practically pushed the boy to be on his way, following him with an excited look in her eyes. It was like a dog waiting to do a good job and be praised, and the only thing that was missing was a wagging tail. As it turned out, finding the record store turned gunstore for the second time was relatively easy. Having Tommy's directions commited to memory, Colt found the place rather quickly, and the old sign that still hung above the wall told that they had indeed come to the right place. The windows were empty of merchandise, of course, and there didn't seem to be much in the way of lights on inside, though some signs of live were still visible. Of course, Colt knew that this was all just a facade, and the place was practically bustling with life. Thus, knowing that his knock would go unanswered, the boy went ahead and pushed the doors open.

    And what was inside was still hard to get used to.

    First of all, the music.

    Blasting from speakers so loudly that it was hard to hear your own thoughts, though somehow the brick walls of the building kept any of it from leaking to outside.

    What was even more bizarre than the volume, however, was the style of the song itself.

    Patriotism from another country was not something you expected to hear when walking to a (former) record store in a small American town.

    Then there was, of course, was the place itself.

    Even though it had been record store in the past, now no traces of that could be seen inside the former shop. Instead the place had adopted the look of some sort of workshop or a garage, with doors leading further into the building being the only reprieve form the otherwise cluttered and almost claustrophobic appearance of the place. Everything smelled of motor oil, gleaming repair instruments shone on the wall and even a brick-like computer, hooked to many wires, whirred and sputtered on one of the tables. Cardboard boxes full of nuts and bolts and assorted mechanical parts were everywhere, stacked in haphazard towers that looked to be teetering on the edge of falling.

    Indeed, it was not the type of interior decoration anyone could have expected.

    And to crown this all off, there was the sight of Frauke Wiolant sitting by her workbench, some sort of unfinished project still strewn about the surface of the thing while a small nook had been cleaned up for the lunch she was eating (Bratwurt, coleslaw and kartoffelsalat, with a large metal tankard of what looked like weißbier). The tiny woman was munching happily away, humming to the song and sometimes using her fork like it had been a baton of a field marshal. Indeed, she seemed so content with her dinner and the song that was blasting through the building that she hadn't even realized that someone had entered her shop.

    Tris, on the other hand, stared at this strange scene with her arms folded across her chest.

    Stared at it hard, looking surprisingly confused.

    Then, without missing a beat, she turned to look at Colt by her side and...

    "O-oh? Dost thou haveth nazis at the surface, too?"

    ... Asked a rather weird question.




    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Ubon stared slack-jawed at Prushka, her eyes slightly swimming in her head. Most likely the sheer amount of information that had been presented had caused a traffic jam in her brain, and now she was slowly trying untangle that mess like it had been the Rush Hour boardgame, one piece at a time. She mouthed word after another, going from lighthouse to sewers, from hotel to train yard, from listening station to the second floor. In a hint of irony, the girl who had spoken up about the useful of instincts and acting without thinking too much now found herself stumped for a good while thanks to that same thinking.

    Still, even Ubon's gears eventually started moving again, and her mind cleared of the traffic jam.

    And when it did, she put a finger to her lip, a thoughtful expression appearing to her face.

    "Umm, that's not a bad idea, Johnnie? I-I mean, making a new friend might be nice! Plus if someone's stuck on the second floor, I betcha they're lonely - for realsies," the cyanhead gave her opinion. "Though, uh, an unknown mansion sounds pretty mysterious too! Maybe we should invite the girl from the second floor to investigate that place with us!"

    Chewing on her lip a bit, Ubon then folded her arms across her chest and closed her eyes, slight frown adorning her cheerful face.

    "Though, hmm, maybe we should bring her something... y'know, like a branch of olives? Though not actual olives, those are a bit yucky, right? Maybe... ice cream? Candy? Do we have candy?" Ubon asked, looking at both John and Prushka. "B-but the idea was that we could bring her something that'd make her trust us and show us we ain't bad guys, y'know!"

    Looking rather proud of her suggestion, like it had been an amazing plan, Ubon nodded confidently...

    ... Only for her expression to become a bit sheepish right afterwards.

    "Also, uh... what's a listening station?"




    Vier Wolff
    Location: Pinefall High Campus Grounds
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    A bit more hasty thinking, combined with chewing her lip and rocking on the balls of her feet, back and forth.

    A bit more wavering between going and staying, sticking with her plan or listening to Vier's advise.

    A bit more hesitation, along with realization that making the wrong choice might doom her plans.

    And finally...

    "... Oh, alright then! Let's call it off!" Aleen announced, turning in a huff towards Vier. "You've totes got a point, Vier. Ain't no reason to hurry with this and risk ruining it all. Since this is sorta important, I should go 'bout it as smart as I can. A-and... well, thinking about it, inviting that guy to a diner or something serves both to put him at ease and make it harder for him to cheese it. So, uh... yeah. Let's do that."

    The bluehead nodded, having made her decision.

    "I'll let my contact know, and we'll reschedule the plan for a later day. Sucks for him since he's now at town for no reason but all, but... eh, he deserves it," Aleen said, and grinned a bit mischievously. "A bit of a walk 'bout town never did anything bad for anyone!"

    Well, from the looks of it, that matter was now decided. Aleen's mood had taken a turn for the better, and she hurried after Vier, apparently ready to put the new plan in action and use the phone in the faculty room to phone her contact. However, as the duo walked side-by-side, a momentary thoughtful expression came over Aleen's face, and she turned towards her friend.

    "Though... huh. Guess that frees up my afternoon, huh? Any suggestions what we should do? Though, uh... maybe avoid the town, just in case, ahaha..." she said, laughing sheepishly. "Getting out of here wouldn't be bad, though. I mean, we're stuck at school enough during the day, right?"

    A familiar, cheerful smile spread to the bluehead's face... though the way she raised her eyebrow afterwards was a bit dangerous.

    "Though I can't say about to panic or dither, wherever we go," she added with a snort. "So don't get too disappointed."

  12. #3172
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    I nodded, frowning a bit, "Yeah, I'm guessing they found it yesterday, probably early in the day. I don't know very much, but there was a break-in at the hospital yesterday, around about where they were keeping it on ice in the morgue. Guessing it had something to do with why they were in a real tizzy last night."

    I paused.

    "Well, aside from the obvious."

    I twitched a shoulder in a shrug, "Couldn't get much else from her besides that, Sheriff's got it on a gag, and I already pushed my luck with looking into something else, which I was intending to look into last night, but, things happen."

    I patted the bag slung over my shoulder, strolling up next to him, careful to not interrupt the waves on their path.

    "Radar mapping and stuff, hm? Going to be using that stuff they used in the Gulf, too? Satelites, right," I gave him a look, "I'm untrained, not unknowing, and I'd hazard a guess I've got more meat up here than you, poindexter."

    I swept my gaze over the horizon, frowning a bit, "But you're right. I mean, you don't have to be using the EM Spectrum to tell that this place is fucky as all get out. Way too much weirdness, you'd think we're parked in the middle of the Oregon Triangle instead of some podunk logging town in the Washington sticks."

    I tapped one booted foot on the sand, scowling a bit.

    "Bringing a bunch of young idiots with our own baggage is just adding to the pile, dunno what Oceandrop's thinking, trying to set the whole place on fire?" I shook my head, "Way too many Christ-kissers for fights to not start breaking out, lotta old grudges simmering around, seems like most of everyone has an agenda being here, me an' you included."

    I chuffed to myself, resting a hand reassuringly on my young charge's head.

    "Granted, mine's pretty harmless, scout's honor. S'why I'm so upfront about it, self-employment has its perks. But I don't have to come in looking for a fight to end up in one, intentionally or otherwise."

    I shook my head, "Seems like everyone's on edge, waiting for something to light the fuse, this place doesn't help."

    My lip curled, "Stinks of secrets."

  13. #3173
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "See? Told you it ain't easy!"

    If even Ubon is having trouble with all those possibilities, that actually makes me feel a bit better about myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "Also, uh... what's a listening station?"
    "It's a military thing, Ubon. An installation to monitor radio and microwaves and other forms of communication in the area. You might've heard of SHAMROCK or ECHELON? It's one of the NSA's pet projects; those creeps have stations all over the globe, monitoring communications and uploading it all to their satellites. Usually they're set up in more populated areas, not a small town like this. Basically..."

    How do I put this?

    "It listens. To anything nearby. Like uh, Road's End. But only like phone calls and such, usually, so you don't need to worry about the government perving on you in the shower or anything."

    I'm not too surprised that they've got one nearby. Road's End seems like a magnet to draw in the Turnside. And it explains why I was allowed to come here; those voyeurs wouldn't want me out of sight after what happened last time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "Though, hmm, maybe we should bring her something... y'know, like a branch of olives? Though not actual olives, those are a bit yucky, right? Maybe... ice cream? Candy? Do we have candy? B-but the idea was that we could bring her something that'd make her trust us and show us we ain't bad guys, y'know!"
    "The second floor it is! You're both right. Let's see if we can make another friend! But it'll be tough... a present could just as easily be taken as a bribe, couldn't it? The sort of person that tries to win you over with a gift probably can't do it any other way. So t-there's no need to..."

    Oh who am I kidding? Ubon's got a point. Someone who stays hidden needs to be lured out. They need a reason. Maybe if this mystery student is keeping herself hidden, she's too shy to do things like buy candy for herself. It's easy enough to nick some extra food here or there, but shopping is another story. Which means her idea might actually be genius. In fact...

    "..."

    Despair fills my heart. Utter sadness.

    "...candy."

    Why? Why did it have to be that?

    "..."

    I reach out and dig into my bag. There, at the very bottom, is...



    "I... I've always wanted to try one... so I bought it at lunch... but if that's w-what it takes..."


    Why, God, must you be so cruel?

  14. #3174
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Of all the familiar sights in this week of repeated sights, this one stood out. It was a complete recreation of the last time he had visited, the only difference that he was escorting (being escorted by) a different beauty. He’d traded legs for tits, and frills that gave him thrills for… whatever he’d describe Tris’ clothes as.

    In fact, it all so strongly mirrored the last week that it was possible to just forget that there ever had been “another” week. It was seeing this sight that he truly felt that he was reliving time he’d experienced once before.

    Though now Frauke Wiolant was not conducting the music with a gun, but rather with a fork. Said fork was tethered to the lunch that had her occupied, seemingly unaware that she had customers.

    Colt smirked at that, but the smirk on his face quickly, suddenly…

    "O-oh? Dost thou haveth nazis at the surface, too?"

    Disappeared.

    “H-hey! OhshitIshouldn’tyell… Tris, you can’t just go call someone a nazi because they’re German. That’s like, actually kinda messed up.” Catching his raised voice, Colt leaned closer to the girl and spoke to her in a raised whisper, enough to reach over the music but soft enough that hopefully, Frauke would stay unaware of them. For now. “And what’s all this about the ‘surface?’ This is the state of Washington, y’know. State as in, within the United States. Of America.”

    Sternly correcting the blonde, Colt shook his head.

    “Legitimate nazis are kinda… not much of a thing. Not anymore. World War II and all that.”


  15. #3175
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Quote Originally Posted by Adelaide
    "But alas my skills are not exactly to an acceptable standard for now. Perhaps I should have followed my father's advice and gone into a school of fine arts rather than acting..."
    "I see."

    Liana smiles slightly at this, the flicker of her eyes going up from a certain familiar looking sketch book to refocus on the figure of the girl in blue.

    "Well, I don't think you should be too hard on yourself when it comes to matters of art... Such things are an expression of oneself after all, so there's value enough even in 'flawed' images, so long as you put your feelings into it."

    The value of art is ultimately subjective after all, beauty in the eye of the beholder and all that-!

    "For instance, when it comes to matters of the arts I guess you could say I'm a musician? There was an impromptu concert just the other night at the local beach, where I discovered that I was bit rusty from a lack of practice."

    Of course, her performance had still been acceptable... In Hawthorne's opinion she had even been the best, but his opinion was probably biased, and she could certainly think of a few things she could have done to improve the show, but...

    It was what it was; she had had fun with it regardless.

    "But it was still fun, the audience seemed to like it too... You just have to throw yourself out there sometimes, even if you feel like your art might be 'bad.'"

    Of course, this seems somewhat like a tangent, and perhaps it is, since she doesn't seem intent on pursuing this branch of topic any further, falling silent when the butler begins his introduction, and...

    ---Adelaide.

    ---Adelaide Cheshire.

    A name that keeps appearing to her over and over again, the name of the person whose 'place' she had seemingly taken inside of this 'phenomena,' in other words...

    A person whose existence is... Curious.

    Yes.

    That's a good word, curious.

    It doesn't quite line up with what she knew about the other 'replacement,' and thus becomes a questionable statement that again draws her attention to the girl in blue, but...

    These thoughts too, come to a bit of a swift end, because-

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthorne
    "As for us, well, you got us! I'm Hawthorne Skye, and this here is my young and beautiful wife, Liana!" the man spoke up, lying through his teeth. "And indeed that would be the apple of our eye - our dear daughter Sierra Skye! Doesn't she look just like her mother~?"
    -the air is rent asunder with an absurdity.

    One that requires all of her attention to properly deal with-!

    "..."

    At first, she doesn't actually know what to say-!

    There are a number of possible statements that go shooting through her mind, from going along with the absurd statement for the sole purpose of turning this entire situation back on Thorne (letting him get too much momentum going would be potentially disastrous for her after all), to tactical silence, or a tastefully done correction and everything in between, but-

    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra
    "Liana..." the eyepatched girl started, lifting up Zee. "... Can I throw this at him?"
    -Sierra seems to come to a decision first, slowly raising the figure of a Zee that shows only a hint of interest at the sudden change in his height before going back to his usual 'can't be bothered' laziness, large eyes gazing at the man that instinct may have him suddenly attacking, but...

    "...No. You shouldn't throw cats Sierra, it wouldn't be fair to Zee."

    Pets are not for throwing after all... Of course, Zee might do some damage if thrown -about as much as any cat that has suddenly been tossed at someone- but poor Zee certainly did not deserve that sort of thing, even if the target may or may not have the scratch marks coming-!

    "The key to deal with Thorne here is to deny him the first gut-reaction. He's a bit of a bully, remember? We'll just have to come up with something later to get even~"

    She had come prepared for these sorts of swerves this time-!

    She could do it-!

    "Although..."

    For once...

    Yes, for once...

    A hint of a smug smile comes to her own face...

    "Using my last name huh? Can't do that until you name a gun after me~"

    A pause...

    "Although Hawthorne Skye doesn't sound too bad I guess~ But my surname was always cool."

    And a wink.

    That's right-!

    Attack!

    Attack!

    She turns away, back to the more noble duo...

    "He wasn't wrong about my name though, I'm Liana Skye. I have a number of different titles as it were, but in my current state, I suppose you could say that I'm something of a retainer myself, a Knightess sworn to the defense of the Feroce Family, if I may be so romantic in my use of words... Although I suppose I dabble in some maid-like duties from time to time as well."

    ---It's not a lie.

    Really, the only truly questionable part...

    Was that she didn't let Cesarina pay her for it...

    "Milady is not here with me today, but these two are new friends of mine."

    She leaves it at that.
    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?



  16. #3176
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Kean chuckled.

    "Everywhere in the world stinks of secrets - that's just how it goes. Though, if the stink is especially bad, well... I'm trusting your nose on this one. You were always good at sniffing out stuff like this," he replied with a lame joke. "But you're right. I've got that feeling too. The ways that some people look at each other here... it's like everyone's having a hard time to trust anybody, almost like they're waiting to be betrayed."

    He shook his head, a stern expression rising to his face. The boy then put one hand on his hip, gazing at the town in the opposite direction of the horizon. Meanwhile his right hand absent-mindedly reached out and patted 17 on the head, as the girl had finally stopped hiding behind Elaine's legs. It was like on some natural, instinctive level he had already gotten used to the child's presence.

    "And not just the school, either. The town too. Old scars run deep in this place, and us being here isn't helping," he continued. "I've seen the way some of the old people here look at us, and it's bloody telling they don't want us here. Then again, even if we were nothing but a school of the worst truants and delinquents from 'round the world, I couldn't blame them. Oceandrop's big sack of dollary-doos can only buy so much goodwill."

    He paused for a moment, and let out a little sigh.

    "... Yet ironically enough, even though he's the head honcho here I get the feeling that Oceandrop might be the only teacher we have who's on the up-and-up. Just one look at his face tells me he's genuine 'bout his wish to help us," the silver-haired boy said. "Whether he knows or not what sorta powder-keg he's created, well... that's still a mystery, even to me. But when we add people like Sae Min, who are definitely overqualified to teach maths here, well... it's all a bit suspect to me. And that's why it's so confusing."

    With that, Kean back towards his machine and looked at the green LCD screen that was displaying a series of numbers changing dizzyingly fast.

    "Though I'm not sure if it's just the fault of old grudges, people with fast trigger fingers and rampant paranoia appearing from within and without," he said, quietly, barely audible over the waves of the beach. "... I think this town, this place, might have something to do with it too. Almost like it's affecting us all."

    He glanced back towards Elaine, the humour from his eyes now gone as he got down to business.

    "You spoke of Oregon Triangle before. Well... you might've been more right than you realized. You know of magnetic hills right? And how 95% of them are pure bullcrap, while some are usually the sign of some Turnside nonsense?" Kean asked. "If that's the case... ever been to one of those traveling funfairs with mirror houses and other things that make you dizzy? Ran across something Ames Room?"

    A momentary, pregnant pause.

    "... Because I'm theorizing that's sort of what Road's End is. And that's why it's putting us all on edge, subconsciously."




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

    "Oh but they totally art!"

    Tris complaint was accompanied by her pouting and puffing her cheeks with hands at her hips - a rather adorable showcase for a topic that really didn't deserve it. She looked like she was actually a bit miffed that Colt didn't believe her. Luckily enough, the music seemed to be loud enough that Frauke had yet to realize that there were others here, thanks to one of the shelves blocking the duo from her field of vision more or less.

    "Last I heard, they hath taken the easter coast of the Lidenbrock Sea! The people of Shamballa art startingeth to get rather cross with them and their attacks with out-dated weaponry, from what I understandeth," Tris answered like it was something she had heard in the news. "Of course they art naught but a nuisance, but even a nuisance art annoying when it persisteth. I doth think we should have listened to Lady Blavatsky back all those years ago..."

    Well, this conversation was taking an unexpected direction.

    Especially because Tris looked to be 100% serious about this.

    "Though, perhaps it maketh sense. Thee of the surface art quite warlike, so mayhaps though eradicateth them before? We hath yet to began such extreme methods, though I tinketh that they art considering it. See, they arriveth through one of the eastern Symmes' Holes on... I believeth it wouldst be'eth the year 1946 of thine calendar?" Tris explained. "From that point onwards, they hath tried to build a kingdom of their own, but the nations below haveth not recognized them, for reasons obvious."

    It was only then that the blonde girl seemed to realize something, as dawning understanding lighted up her eyes, and she snapped her eyes excitedly - like someone who had just learned that two plus two did indeed make four.

    "Oh! Right! Of course! Thou must hath not heard me beforeth. As I sayeth, Colt - I art a Knight of Symzonia! A proud nation for what thou wouldst call the, uh... 'crust' or 'mantle' of this planet? Thou mayeth have thine nation situated at the top of this continent, but we art truly 'in' it - much more than thee!" Tris exclaimed bit smugly, looking rather pleased with her joke. "'Tis sometimes hard to say whether or not thou surface dwellers art in the know of us. Sometimes we hath the odd sea captain or scientist of thine world passing through, and they all seemeth rather confident in their knowledge of us existing. Meanwhile we barely knoweth anything of thee and thine world! The lack of pressure maketh exploration rather difficult at times, see."

    Looking a bit troubled, and somewhat saddened, Tris then leaned a little closer.

    "... Art we truly not common knowledge in thine world?"

  17. #3177
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Pool
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Prushka takes to answering Ubon’s question before John can, and perhaps with a lot more detail than he would have bothered sharing with her.

    “Yes, it is as she says. It is a military thing, for intelligence and espionage. Not the kind of thing we should be messing with.”

    A flash of a strange visit to “the future” fills his mind for a moment, but he shoves that away until a time when he can make more sense of it.

    The girls make a decision: the second floor it is. There is something over there that stirs his interest a little; perhaps this is his chance to take a look. As for some sort of peace offering, well…

    “…I’ve got Warheads,” he mutters to the empty air before turning away from the other two. “Anyway, we might as well get moving. Ubon still needs to change out of that swimsuit.”

  18. #3178
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    "Optical illusions, tricking and lying and such, huh..."

    I frowned as I remembered words I'd heard some time ago.

    "Like a cuckoo's call, makes us think weird, right?"

    Keeps coming back to you, Rosencrantz.

    There was a moment of silence for a brief, fleeting moment, the sea breeze carrying the constantly unpleasant aroma of dead fish.

    "See Him in the woods standing tall,

    and you may hear a cuckoo's call,

    but know that there is no cuckoo,

    for in the end there's only you."

    I recited the little ditty he'd spouted off, a dark look on my face, arms folding tightly against my chest as I frowned around.

    "Keeps coming back to that damned thing, like I thought," I stated grimly, "That small town folktale, the 'Disembodied Man', it's like a black hole, everything's being sucked into this place, things that shouldn't be all clustered in one place, can hardly swing a cat without hitting a conspiracy," I grumbled.

    "Everything about this place is wrong, feel like I'm having a stroke, everything looks right and makes sense but doesn't at the same time, like we're all staring at a fun house mirror, and after a while that's all you see. Distorted people everywhere, no one communicating right, like it's being shunted and twisted."

    I went silent again, thinking, then spoke up again.

    "It's going to go bad, I know it. Like a bunch of blindfolded gorillas being poked with sticks, doesn't even help that I think people have started to cotton on, might even make it worse."

    I sighed, then shook my head.

    "Well, whatever. Just gotta keep doing what we're doing, right? No point fretting about things you can't effect, focus on what's in your grasp and work from there," I said, half to myself.

    I could tell I was getting stressed, so I fell back on old reliable things.

    Thought patterns, tools, spells.

    People.

    Even if it wouldn't work in the end.

  19. #3179
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    Elise blinked as her eyes readjusted themselves to the dim light inside the old, boarded up section of the dormitory. She smiled excitedly as her eyes darted about, taking in the strange, alternate reality of the old dormitory around her.

    It's like some sort of mirror universe in here... thought Elise as she observed the seemingly inverse design of the alternate lobby.

    Or maybe next Monday... she thought as she considered the devastation around her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souma Nubata
    ".......... Well?"
    "We're looking for a cupboard with some old metal paint tubes outside it," explained Elise as she looked for any clear signs of Pyry and Hisa's passage through the debris strew floor.

    Hm… they covered their tracks pretty well... thought Elise as she observed her own trail through the dust and glass, and noted the complete lack of any trace of Souma's passage on his part, Okay, I'm really starting to see what Hisa meant with Souma not being part of reality.

    "My friend's directions were a little vague, they were in here in the dark, after all," explained Elise as she slipped past Souma.

    She peered through the broken door leading to what would be the common room. Much like the rest of the forbidden section of the dormitory so far, the common room was the same long abandoned, decaying mess. However, it was dark, not only were the windows here boarded tightly shut, but it looked like the room's curtains had been stapled to them, leaving the room nearly lightless had the door not begun to fail and fall off its hinges. While much of the room's furniture was broken and strewn about, there was a lone surviving brown armchair in the middle of the room, its back towards her. Elise half-expected to find a goatee'd John Dove sitting there, staring at the dark and long broken television facing the chair, to complete the illusion of this mirrored reality she'd wandered into.

    "Still, the cupboard we're looking for is upstairs," said Elise motioning to the stairs as she turned away from the common room door and back to Souma, "In one of the dorm rooms, near the end of the hall. If you don't mind though, I'd like to make a few stops along the way while we're nosing around in here."

    Elise looked up towards where the dining room would be.

    "If they've got the same layout as our side of the dormitory, I kinda want to see what that locked room beyond the dining room looks like."

  20. #3180
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    About twenty minutes later, the plan had become a reality. Ubon had skipped over to the lockers to change her clothes, and returned in another one of her sporty-yet-colorful outfits. From there, the group had went to recover whatever tools and items they needed (perhaps, including, John's War Heads) to brave this new task. They had gathered at the entrance of the dormitory soon after, and from there, had moved towards the main building...

    ... And now, here they were.

    Staring at the large, reddish-hued building towering above them, it was easy enough to feel the age of the school pressing down on them. It had stood there longer than they had been here, longer than even Jake and his class had been here, built many decades ago for a town that was bustling with life and money - and yet had become a ghost of itself all these years later. Now the school felt almost like a gravestone or a monument to those years gone by, and they were inhabiting such a solemn place, day after day.

    No wonder that something as strange as this looping, tragic week had happened.

    "So, uh... what's our plan then?" Ubon asked, looking at both Prushka and John. "We gonna march right in and say hello? Go 'round each corner with a white flag and waving the candy? Make lotsa noise so they know we're coming?"

    Indeed, there were quite a few ways they could do this, but it was hard to say which one was the best.

    And more than that...

    "And uh... how're we gonna get rid of that lock at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor?" Ubon added.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: End's Beach
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Yeah..." Kean said quietly, calibrating his gadget some more. "... That's all we can do, isn't it? Just do what we always do, tackle this like we always do, and try to make it out alive, right? It's like that Mercedes says... we all got our own roles to play, and if we deviate from them, that invites trouble. Not that I completely agree with the sentiment but sometimes it's best to do what we're good at."

    A ghost of a smirk played on the boy's face as he turned around, facing his friend once more.

    "And we're pretty good at what we do, aren't we? Have survived so far."

    Putting it in words made it easy to realize just how true it was. They had come a long way, both Elaine and Kean, and they had changed along the way. When they had first met during that Dullahan case, Kean had been much more reserved, bitter and with a barbed tongue that lashed out at almost anyone. But over time he had mellowed out, mostly thanks to Elaine's influence and now he was what stood before her - here, on these foreign sands.

    "I dunno about this Disembodied Man, but if it's a local folktale, it's gotta be based on something. They always are. And while books may know a lot, there's something I learned from you - local golden oldies know even more. And even better, they have first hand information. So if it's something like that we should watch out for, I'd say we should search for the oldest people in town and ask about it from them," Kean said, sharing his thoughts on the matter. "As for cuckoos, well... uh, I gotta admit, I know nothing about birds. Or animals in general. Is there something special about them, or their cry? That bit of poem certainly makes it feel like so."

    The silver-haired boy chuckled a bit.

    "Guess this is as usual, huh? You were always the one with the knack about myths and folklore, while I worked the machines," he said, laughing quietly. "Guess that's the good thing about routine, no?"

    Then, a rush of silence, only disturbed by the wind that blowed through the beach.

    And the waves crashing against the sands.

    And in the distance, the sounds of some birds in the forest, flitting about in the autumn air.

    And finally...

    "... You know, even if it gets bad... I've got your back. Always have, always will," Kean suddenly said, locking his eyes with Elaine's. "I can see that your hunches are already stressing you out, so I figured I should make that clear. You've always stood by me, and I'll return the favor. So don't worry so much. I might be a twig compared to you, but..."

    A sheepish grin played on his face.

    "Even I can keep you safe every once in a while," he finished.

    Then, as if realizing something, Kean's smile turned gentler and he patted 17 on the head again.

    "And you too, munchin. Don't you worry none," he added, and got a big beaming smile in return. "I'll look out for both of you."




    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Old Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    As it turned out, Souma was more or less simply along for the ride, and had no problems with making few stops while looking for the cupboard or closet that Elise was talking about.

    The duo climbed upstairs without venturing too far into the first floor, avoiding some broken down planks that created pitfalls of sorts as they made their way upwards. As they ascended, the creaking of wood underneath Elise's feet was clear, but for Souma, it was like he had weighed nothing and was wearing woolen socks. The only sound came from his own clothes, and even then it was hard to make out. Had the boy not walked right in front of her, the brunette might not have heard him at all.

    The second floor was just like the first one. Full of signs of decay and years gone past, with everything broken or breaking down. Dust hang in the air as thick carpets, and there was even less light here than in the first floor. Some of the doors were off their hinges, revealing the rooms behind them, while others had been broken apart... though not perhaps by time. Either the wood had given out eventually, or then, once upon a time, they had suffered some heavy blows.

    Whatever the case, those rooms could be checked out later.

    Now, the important thing was the dining room, and the door beyond it.

    And what was there, was...

    ... Another reflection.

    The dining room's layout was almost identical to the one they had in the proper dormitories, though the tables and the broken chairs were of course much older, and the wood had long since become fragile and grey. Debris and dust caked the floor, and one could leave their footprints easily in it. Due to the sparsity of, well, everything in the room, however, one glance was enough to make one realize there was nothing there.

    With the exception of the door that Elise was looking for.

    Door that was still there... still stood strong and closed.

    A basic, wooden door that had stood the test of time unlike its brethren.

    ".......... Huh."

    And which was locked, as Souma found out when he tried to open it.

    Then, without missing a beat, the one-eyed boy turned around to look at Elise, as if asking what to do now.

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