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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3281
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex
    "... That man is suspicious, don't you think?" She asked quietly. "Not a typical country club quest - not by a long shot."


    "Indeed he is not, but then we may have appeared rather suspicious in their eyes as well... even if they didn't show it, out of courtesy."

    There was no real way to tell how much these three had grasped concerning the true identity behind 'the Lady and her Butler'. Liana seemed to have understood who 'Adelaide' really was, but that was more of a modus operandi to have her 'assist' the two in entering the club without too much trouble. Hopefully she would vouch for their genuineness, and help with making this 'visit' of the establishment as fruitful as possible.

    But on to what Alex had asked:

    "Hmmm, but yes, I have a hunch that the matchbox we found could have belonged to that man back there... albeit it could entirely be someone's else too. There is also the possibility that the matchbox had been deposited there the day before... either by him or someone different. Throwing garbage into bushes, while not very proper, isn't something that most of the people on this earth are against when they are too lazy to find a dustbin..."

    Adelaide speaks as she adjusts her dress, making sure that dust and unwanted pleats are taken care of properly. After all, she should be matching the scene that Alex was trying to have them convey -- it was no good if all actors were not following the script properly.

    "... but yes, he is indeed very suspicious. You could call this some sort of lady's intuition, perhaps? Though should we go off such outlandish and unscientific hints, who knows..."

    A short pause as she looks at Alex eye to eye. The air of jest and pleasantries evaporates for an instant, leaving behind a pair of eyes not dissimilar to a more familiar emotionless girl...

    "Do you... have plans other than proceeding further into the club... and looking for more clues?"


    Would they stick to the original idea, or had they seen enough already? Adelaide Chesire would be fine with continuing, having no idea of who Hawthorne really was, but unfortunately, while Vivienne Bianchi was not supposed to be here, her knowledge could not be ignored no matter how hard 'Adelaide' tried -- the knowledge that there was someone who acted as a hired gun of sorts and would not hesitate to point his gun towards them. Eventually, she should tell Liana about this, and perhaps enlighten her on this 'loop' subject.

  2. #3282
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta'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 Liana
    "But I don't really have much else to do at the moment, so if your task is taking care of Sierra, I'll help out. I for one have a soft spot for the princess types, as a Knight, it's sort of my duty to assist them, you know? ...Although if you two don't have any plans for the evening, I suppose I really am a bit interested in that tour."
    Hawthorne chuckled and stood up from fountain's edge, dusting off his pants.

    "Well, we certainly had nothing of the sort," the man said, shooting a lopsided grin towards Sierra. "If anything, giving a tour to you eases our day too... after all, without anything to do, we'd be left with no other option than just lazing around on the yard and getting into shenanigans. Princess here is exceptionally good at shenanigans after all, and wherever she goes, they follow."

    Sierra, hearing that, stomped her feet in indignation. Afterwards she let out a rather magnificent "Hmph!" and stuck her nose up, marching away from the duo and towards the corner of the grandiose building, where the stone-paved path led towards what seemed to be gardens. All-in-all, the pout on the girl's face was rather precocious, and more than a little cute, but just one look at it told that just outright saying it might have made her blow a casket.

    And that was not a good idea considering the girl was still armed with a cat.

    "I'm no princess, I'm a heiress!" Sierra proclaimed loudly, protesting the term affixed to her. "And once I take over from Daddy, I'm gonna fire both of you! Fire, you hear!"

    With these words of indignation still streaming from her lips, the girl marched around the corner with a loud harrumph, leaving both Liana and Hawthorne behind.

    The older man chuckled and scratched the back of his head, shooting a conspiratorial grin to Liana.

    "Well, shall we? Unfortunately I can't promise nothing but meticulously cared for shrubbery and a pool nobody ever swims in, but I suppose that's something," he said, putting his hands in his pockets and starting towards the direction where Sierra had disappeared to. "And if little miss heiress keeps her distance, I suppose you can ask your questions too, if you're in a hurry... or if something's up. Though, judging by how easy you're taking it, it doesn't like trouble."

    As the two walked, Hawthorne stayed silent for a moment... before his smile suddenly gained a degree of warmth as he gazed after the younger girl.

    "... Also, good for you, taking her antics in a stride. Little miss heiress is a handful, and sometimes I worry for bossman. Being a single dad isn't easy... especially when your daughter is a spitting image of your childhood sweetheart," he added with a quieter tone. "She doesn't say it, but I think she needs some people closer to her in age. Y'know, actual friends. Not old smelly men like me and bossman."

    The man chuckled gruffly, running his fingers through his friends.

    "Makes sure she doesn't grow up crooked."





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

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelaide
    "Do you... have plans other than proceeding further into the club... and looking for more clues?"
    Alex chortled as they stepped through the doors of the country club, with the always-ready butler holding the door open so that his lady could pass first.

    "Well, I do have some ideas," he said, smirk playing momentarily on his lips. "Just follow my lead, and act as if you own the place."

    With that, the two of them had entered the building, and found out that the opulent fashion sense did not stop simply at the exterior. Checkered black-and-white floor, a red carpet that led all the way from the front door to the massive, grand staircase leading to the upper floors. The large window and the skylight above illuminated the foyer, creating off-white patterns against the walls and the floor. The two wings of the building spread to the right and left, with two smaller sun rooms for reading this morning's papers and just enjoying the time after that day's activities. The hallways leading from the sun rooms became twisting corridors that disappeared around corners, with sturdy doors at regular intervals. Everywhere, a false sense of olden days hung like a heavy cloak, and without a speck of dust dancing in the air. Whoever owned this place certainly made sure it stayed in tip-top condition.

    Still... it was awfully empty. The only person around the foyer was the receptionist behind his desk, and even he only gave a passing glance to the duo before returning back to whatever writing work he was doing.

    Alex, on the other hand, took in the design of the place and heaved what sounded like a relieved sigh, almost like an overworked butler who had just gotten back from a "hike" with his lady... though, at the same time, Adelaide could hear him also sniff the air quite distinctively. What was he trying to smell? There were no real, proper fragrances here, other than that of an faux-old building, and that off... Oh.

    Ah, yesh, the distinct smell of tobacco that seemed to come from the eastern wing.

    "If you'll excuse me..."

    Alex quietly, softly said that as he approached the reception and snatched a box of matches from the wicker basket that was waiting there. Looking at it, the whole thing was filled to the brim with them, most likely to be used by customers who needed them, or as small memories from their visits to the country club. Having taken one box (and having been ignored by the receptionist completely), Alex made a little gesture towards the eastern wing, inviting Adelaide to walk with her.

    And once the two of them were in the corridor, out of the hearing range of the receptionist in the lobby...

    "Now then," Alex said, gazing a bit at the box between her fingers. "Let's see what sort of smoking room this place has, milady. Who knows? They might have even been kind enough to mark the seats reserved for regular patrons, which in turn would let us figure out who smokes what and if they're in the habit of forgetting their own lighter."

    The butler wiggled his eyebrows a little bit.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “Are you trying to gather some courage with all that talking? Let’s get going; we don’t need our feet to talk.”
    Ubon giggled as she locked the door and handed the keys to Prushka for safe-keeping.

    "Don'cha worry, Prushie! We can encourage each other - for realsies!" she chirped, grabbing a tight hold of Prushka's smaller hand while leaving her right hand free. "That way if either of us gets spooked, the other one'll be there for support!"

    That happy smile then turned mischievous and little dangerous as she looked after John, staring at his receding back as he walked forward towards the double-doors at the other end of the long corridor.

    "And in case Johnnie gets spooked, we can just let him run into our arms..." Ubon added, before flashing a wink to Prushka. "Or just pull the targeted one out of the way, leaving him to fend for himself! After all, you shouldn't talk tough if you ain't tough!"

    Laughing heartedly Ubon started skipping ahead, half-dragging Prushka after her. A quiet song, a hum, came from her lips as she started catching up to John. It sounded like something straight from the 80's, maybe Genesis or Phil Collins - an odd choice for this moment. But at the very least her mood had definitely improved after that little hiccup at the faculty lounge, and she seemed to be getting into this little adventure, the enthusiasm Prushka had shown being absorbed by the cyanhead and radiated outwards in turn. In no time at all they had caught up with the boy, and soon the trio reached the intersection from where the east and west wings of the school spread out, the hallways being mirror images of those one floor down. Meanwhile, the corridor ahead did not end in doors that led outside, but rather, a pair of heavy duty double doors that seemed almost straight out of some mystery novel. Old, tough and no doubt locked - holding some sort of secrets within them.

    Then again, if one thought about the blueprints of this school, it must have led to the clock tower of Pinefall - that's all.

    "... Huh, lookit that," Ubon suddenly said, pointing to the left. "Footprints!"

    And the girl wasn't wrong.

    There, a series of clear footprints could be seen in the dust, coming from one of the classrooms with half-closed door. The footprints walked up to another door and disappeared inside - only to come back out and head to the next door. In a form of a square, these footprints went from one door to another, eventually returning to the one they had come from... only to start the loop once more.

    Had someone just walked in circles, repeating the same four rooms in here?

    And wait... John couldn't be sure, but that door where the footprints seemed to start...

    --- Wasn't that the classroom Liana had visited last night? By climbing through the window?

    "Oh and... huh," Ubon continued, now pointing to the other end of the hallway heading left from the intersection. "... Err, guys? What's that?"

    Her confusion was clear.

    After all, at the end of the hallway, where it turned like the letter L, was something... something written on the wall.

    Written red so old and dry it was almost black.




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Doesn't ring a single bell, but it does sound vaguely familiar. Though, to be honest, Bianchi stands out, I'm somewhat acquainted with a girl by that name."
    Dr. Canseliet frowned momentarily, chewing on her lip as if she was deep in thought.

    "A girl... well, Dr. Bianchi certainly seemed like a married woman. She had one of those rings that you humans are so fond of - one held in the Witching Finger. Or, is it the other one? I can never remember," Dorothy said, giggling quietly into her massive sleeve. "Perhaps you should ask her about it, then. If you're insistent on getting to the bottom of whatever's troubling this little bundle of maladies here."

    Having said that, the doctor picked up something else from her drawer and rolled her chair closer to the bed, where the dazed 17 still sat. With a swift move, Dorothy plopped whatever she had gotten from the drawer into the girl's mouth... and the item in question turned out to be a Tootsie pop. Slowly but surely life and energy started to re-enter the girl's eyes, and she stared at the candy in her mouth with growing surprise - and growing delight, once she realized just how sweet it was.

    Indeed, from the looks of it, the girl had the same sweet-tooth as before.

    "Still, do be careful, dear," Dr. Canseliet continued turning her attention back to Elaine while leaning on her knees. "If it is as I suspect, and this DDS is a syndrome of sorts, it should not be contagious... but you can never know. Human mind is a fragile thing. You've heard of a folie à deux, have you not? One never knows what sort of nasty curve-ball the life can throw at you. Associating with this girl might, in the worst case scenario, end up harmful to you as well..."

    The aloof smile on the woman's face turned into a mischievous smirk.

    "--- Or your boyfriend here."

    Kean, who had been drinking from his water bottle at the most unfortunate timing, nearly choked on the water and descended into a hacking cough that seemed to do nothing but delight the twisted doctor.

    "Still, if it's Big Pharma you're after, there's also another source of information in this town," Dorothy added, glancing outside the window. "Of course, they're ah... quite a bit more possessive of their files and contacts than yours truly. But that's the way secretive, high-tech hospitals tend to operate, no? You humans love your lies and secrets, after all."




    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Nurse's Office
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    She did not answer.

    Still letting out that incessant sound, Cesarina kept flailing from one side to another, her muscles contracting and expanding, tightening and loosing up, causing her arms to take the most gruesome stances and shapes - ones that humans shouldn't be capable of. It was hard to watch, even for someone as desensitized as a student of Scholomance. There was always a difference between physical trauma caused by a clear source, a clear outside influence or power. A clear cause and effect. But this... this was internal violence coming from within the girl. It was like the girl's body had turned against her.

    And when there was no something like a puppeteer or a mind-controller to blame, a clear source of evil, that was a sobering, uncomfortable thought.

    Still, even through that involuntary movement, those spasms and the seizure that had taken hold of her whole being, Cesarina...

    "------"

    Alexstrasza was almost sure that she could see the girl smiling at her.

    Even while she was frothing from the mouth, she was smiling at her.

    Almost like saying thank you.

    Almost like wanting to admonish the blonde for saying silly things.

    ... In other words, in a rather Cesarina-like way.

    "Alright Lockhart, good work - now move," Ms. Leuzinger suddenly announced from behind Alexstrasza, pushing the girl aside and taking a spot besides the bed. "You can look away if you're uncomfortable with this. It will last but a moment."

    With that, the pink-haired nurse's left hand suddenly shot out. It was like a snake that caught a hold of Cesarina's shoulder, and with enough force to make the bed creak, she pushed the girl against the soft surface, effectively stopping her movement completely for few seconds. In that same moment, her right hand rose, and she leaned her head in, catching something in her mouth - something she had held within that right hand. Moments later she spat out a long and thin cap and raised that right hand again - revealing it had been holding a hypodermic needle. The tip of the needle shone in the artificial light streaming down from the ceiling. It was like the edge of a blade, sharp like a knife, and dripping with something faintly blue.

    "Now hold still Ms. Feroce---!" Ronja Leuzinger grunted.

    --- And pushed the hypodermic needle into the girl's arm, pushing the plunger down.

    On that same instant, a distant voice, a shout, could be heard from the faculty lounge - along with Suzana Costa's hurrying step.

    "She's on her way!" the teacher shouted. "Should be here in a few minutes!"

    Wait... someone was coming?

    For Cesarina?




    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Girls' Bathroom
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucille
    “Put him down on that road…”
    Sakura's eyes hardened.

    Her left hand clenched into a fist, and for a moment, pure anger flashed in those usually kind eyes. Not anger or fury directed at Lucille... but at the Subaru from a time that did not exist anymore. The brunette knew how fragile the girl before her was. She had been with Lucille every step of the way, watch her grow, watch her learn, and watch her stumble and shatter... and she had been there to help her pick up whatever pieces yet remained. It had been a hard and long road to glue together any sense of self-worth into the blonde girl, and even now, it was almost non-existent.

    Therefore, for someone so callously to try to shatter the girl again...

    ... Even though Sakura did not know Subaru of that time, and could never reach her again, she was not going to forgive her.

    Ever.

    Even beyond time and space, that emotion would last.

    "That's nonsense."

    Bluntly, curtly, and as if speaking ultimate truth, Sakura said that.

    She took few, three steps, catching up to where Lucille was... and without waiting for an okay, she spread her arms and caught the younger girl in a hug. In moments like this, it was her nature as the elder sister that shone through the best - not the personality she played up as a joke, but her true, genuine feelings that had grown over the years. The responsibility she felt towards the girl in her arms, and the familial love she had within her.

    "You did no such thing," Sakura continued, her voice allowing no objections or interruptions. "What happened to Michael was not the fault of anyone else but that monster who attacked him. He was a warrior of the Church, and a young man who knew the risks of our Duty - he would not blame anyone, especially not you. Not after the hell you went through to try to rescue him. Tell me, Milady - do you really believe Michael was such a petty and selfish man, someone with such a weak soul, that they would curse you for something that was not your fault?"

    Sakura tightened her grip, like she was refusing to let go until at least some of the belief she had in her was transferred to Lucille.

    "What that Subaru told you was nothing more than excuses and lies... something the monsters always tell..." Sakura continued, her voice harsh and cold, to the point it sounded like she was hardening her heart to ice. "They blame others, they blame us, they blame the world, for the tragedies they cause, and then act like they're above it..."

    Suddenly.

    Sakura's face twisted in momentary pain.

    Like a migraine that had assaulted her.

    "--- They sob and cry on the ground, begging for their lives, but the moment the tables turn, the moment they could show the mercy they begged for, they instead grow arrogant and cruel, and wish nothing but pain upon us...!"

    Like she was seeing a memory that didn't belong to her, and was now gnawing at her mind.

    "You did nothing wrong, Lucy. And if the world tries to make it seem like you did, I will fight that whole world if I must," Sakura said in a pained hiss, yet with eyes like steel. "The one at fault is this dark world that does nothing but take, takes until we're empty and dead... and then crushes our bodies beneath our feet."

    The eyes of the brunette kunoichi met themselves in the window of the bathroom, and for a moment, it looked like she was making a promise to herself.

    Or an oath.

    "Thus, I won't let anyone say that you were at fault... no matter if it's Alexstrasza Lockhart, Subaru Iburi..." Sakura quietly promised. "... Or even Michael Lowgate."




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

    A gentle smile played on Frauke's lips.

    "Don't mention it, kid. I couldn't rightly keep this to myself, not after realizing who you are," the shop-owner answered, sitting back on her seat and taking a swig from her beer stein. "You deserve to know about your Schwester, just like anyone does. Though, even if I say that, it's not like I'm the best person to tell about her. If you want more details, you should talk to Remington's friends... those who remain anyway."

    While she had started that out with a kind tone, towards the end Frauke's mood dropped once again. No doubt the reason was her memories, ones that wormed their way back again from the depths of her mind, when the topic had become about the brown-haired girl and her group of friends. Still, the tiny woman shook her head, once, twice, and drove away those clouds from her mind, at least for a moment. Perhaps she didn't want to show Colt that kind of face, perhaps she just didn't want it affect her job - one that she was supposed to perform right now. The answer was unclear.

    But at the very least there was an excuse to focus on other things now that Colt had redirected his attention back to the ammunition, and invited Tris to help her.

    A request the blonde girl answered to quite happily.

    "Hmm, elements, huh? Le me see'eth..." Tris started, pouring over the boxes and their labels. "Well, Light art the most obviouseth choice when it cometh to the things of darkness and shadow. After all, 'tis natural for them to fear that which maketh them smaller.... t-though, in some cases, it art possibleth that 'tis also maketh them strongeth. Verily, shadows may fade or grow dependingeth of the light. So, uh... m-mayhaps?"

    Tris awkwardly scratched the back of her head and let out a sheepish laugh... before spotting another box and excitedly pointed at it.

    "T-there! T'art Holy element! That art great when it cometh to dealingeth with those creatures of the night that suckereth blood!" She exclaimed, proudly putting her hands on her hips, puffing her chest and nodding. "I knoweth that the agents of thy holy organizations, as well as ours, useth that element exclusively! As for others, well... dost thou know moreth of this giant? What art it's composition? Genetic make-up? Form it appeareth as? It dependeth heavily upon that."

    Rubbing her chin, Tris looked once more at the rows upon rows of boxes and the slugs within them.

    "And maybeth sanguine for suckers of blood as well..."

    Frauke shot a deadpan look at the girl.

    "Fräulein, vampiric creatures grow stronger as they ingested blood - that is their whole deal," she said dryly. "I wouldn't suggest that."

    Another bout of sheepish laugh, another awkward bout of scratching, followed by Tris staring at her own feet in an embarrassed way.

    "O-oh, right, that art true..."




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “If you think we’re here to just bother you then I’m going to have to disappoint you. We were just having a nice walk through the woods and decided to see the view from the overlook since we heard it was a nice spot. Which it actually is… Your painting looks pretty spot on to me. What do you think Aleen?”
    Aleen looked absolutely grateful as Vier threw her a verbal lifesaver, one she could cling onto and climb back above the water after accidentally falling into the depths thanks to her blunder when greeting the rose-haired boy. With a hasty nod of her head, she turned towards the painting and let out an impressed whistle of her own, mimicking what Vier had just done.

    "Y-yeah! It's pretty darn good! I can totes see the minute details over here! L-like, see, you can even see a glimpse of the pool building over there!" Aleen said, pointing at a specific spot in the painting. "You really got some skills, Caleb! Man, I wish I could paint this well too... but nah, all I can do is scribbles and chicken scratches in my notebooks."

    She punctuated her words with a sigh - and almost immediately, a different sort of sigh escaped from Caleb's lips in turn.

    He wearily looked at the two girls, frown still adoring his face.

    Indeed, while Vier had managed to save the conversation from the worst possible outcome out of the gates, it still looked like an uphill battle. The boy was not in a good mood, and getting him into one was most likely impossible - at least during just one meeting like this. But that didn't seem to deter the bluehead. If anything, Aleen looked more ready than ever after seeing the way Caleb's eyes looked.

    "... No need to butter my ass up. I know it looks like crap," Caleb grunted, angrily drawing another line into the cracked sky. "Just a nightmare I put onto a canvas because I couldn't sleep on it. Most artists would sing of joy for such a cliched inspiration, but really... who wants to see something like this?"

    He stared at the scenery, and the destroyed sky, with clear hatred.

    "It's just sad. It's just miserable. And the fact that it's right makes it even worse," the rose-haired boy continued with a quiet, frustrated tone. "Somehow, some way, for things to look like this... I dunno. It's like the town was meant to look like this in my head. And that's what makes it the worst."

    He let his right hand, which still held the brush, fall against his body.

    "... What sort of person looks at this and thinks it's how things are supposed to be?" Caleb asked, not looking at either Vier or Aleen. "A miserable git, that's who."

    He grinded his teeth together in clear anger that was solely directed at himself.

    "A miserable git who ruins the lives of people just because they insult someone he admired just moments ago."

    What... what was he even talking about at this point?




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

    That confident, restrained smile yet again played on Philoclea's lips.

    "You can bring as many friends as you want, if you wish to give it a go. In fact, I'd advice you to do so, unless you are exceedingly confident in your own abilities," the bartender answered, switching to dry yet another glass. "As for the door, well... right now, the door you have chosen is the entrance given only to you. After all, you were the one to give a meaning to such door without meaning before. If you want, however, you can certainly bring another person to this door and share that meaning, allowing them access - or they can find their own way, their own entrance, on their own."

    She chuckled quietly, that husky voice filling the bar with its melodious sound that mixed into the tranquil, smooth and suave music that was playing in the background at a subdued volume. It was a pleasant enough sound, and combined with her already jazz-singer like appearance and demeanor, it wouldn't have been an exaggeration to think that part of the charm of the place came from the woman manning the bar counter.

    Though, at the same time, those stars swirling in her eyes... it was quite hard to look directly into them.

    "Of course, as I said before, if it is required I can open up an entrance to a more... easily accessible location. Give it some thought, if that is required," she added.

    Having said that, Philoclea took the three glasses she had dried and started setting them back under the counter, after which she turned around to rearrange some of the shelves filled to the brim with colourful bottles of alcohol.

    And as she worked, she listened to Elise's musings and questions, waiting patiently for her to finish.

    Thus, once the coast was clear, the bartender took a bottle of what looked like bright blue liquid and turned around, looking the brunette straight in the eyes.

    "That is what dreams are, yes. Your soul is detached from your physical self, and for a moment, you can cross the boundaries between a waking world and that of unconscious. What ifs, could haves and maybes are spread out to you, and beneath them is the massive ocean that we are within right now. Or, in some cases, it is like a forest. It... rather depends on the cognition of the people in question," Philoclea calmly answered. "In most cases, your dreams are portals and pools between worlds, ones that allow you to see things that may have been, if things went differently - or even offer tributes of knowledge from the future. But beneath that, at the bottom of everyone's minds, this pool of subconscious is... well, it is much more difficult to reach. In order to do so, you would have to have the will and power to exert absolute control over your dreaming self - something which not many are capable of."

    Well, that was a... sort of an answer?

    She certainly liked being cryptic whenever she could, to the point of spouting things that sounded vaguely more like philosophy than metaphysics of a realm like this.

    Still...

    "As for whether you are really here or not, whether you are dreaming or not..."

    The smile on Philoclea's face gained a hint of mischievousness.

    "--- Does that matter?"




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “And what do you mean by Jake acting weird? Is he normally not the goofy, laid-back guy he is trying to be now?”
    Rachel made a bit of a difficult face, an expression that seemed to say she didn't know exactly what she found wrong with her friend.

    "That's not it. He's always been a doofus and a dork, but... I dunno. You ever know a person that seems act in some way just because they feel like they should? Or because it's expected of them?" Rachel asked, leveling a questioning look at the scarred girl. "It's a bit like that. It feels as if Jake knows he's supposed to be laid-back goofball of the group, the role he had back then as well, and because everyone expects him to be like that, he does exactly that. But sometimes, just sometimes when I see him out in town, I can see someone else... a man that's the result of what happened, not what was before. And he's looking out from beneath that facade and screaming in frustration because he can't be himself. Or... or something like that."

    A slight blush spread to Rachel's face and she grinned sheepishly, folding her arms across her chest as if she was trying to adapt back into a more professional frame of mind. The heiress of the hotel, not a young woman who had just gone and spoke of such weird things of her friend, speaking about their inner depths and who they were and who they weren't.

    "Let's just say that sometimes I think it feels like Jake wants to act unlike himself, but the pressure from the people around him doesn't let him," the redhead concluded. "It's... hard to explain, really. I'm not good at abstract stuff like this."

    Well, she was a rather straight-forward young woman, at least based on the interactions Hisa and the rest had had with her so far.

    "As for outsiders, well, that's not exactly it either. See, this nincompoop over here..." Rachel reached out and ruffled Gradient's hair, who let out a pleased sound in response. "... She was with us for years. Most of the high school, really. But these guys, they showed up during the last year, right before our graduation, and we didn't know them for too long. Still, they were good friends with us, and just about the same age, so... eh."

    Rachel shrugged, almost as if she knew herself how that sounded.

    "It was different time than now, really. Kids played all day long outside, and parents didn't bat an eyelid. And if some weirdo we hadn't seen before wanted to join our group, why not? As long as they were good people," the redhead explained. "But let's see... first there was Patricia. She was this hyperactive goofball who came to the town with her parents. Probably some sort of project over here or up at Southern Interior. She had nothing but time in her hands, so she spent it by going on random adventures with us. I mean... we made it a point to not ask questions if one of us didn't want to share. That's just how things went. We had fun together, and didn't care about where everyone was or if they had something heavy on their minds. Of course, if someone had and shared it, we did what we could to help but, ah... w-well, at least Patricia never did. She was just happy to be included."

    It sounded rather absurd way of being friends, but then again, everyone was different. And judging by Rachel's expression and tone of voice, she had nothing if not good memories of the day from her youth.

    "As for the other gal, she was a different beast alright... always butting heads with Remington. Was a bit of a folklore nut from what I understood, and she came here to study something or other for her book - or so she said. Who knows if that was true," Rachel continued. "But yeah, she was the type that was like a big sister, but also as stubborn as a mule, so when she met another girl with natural authority like Remmie, well... they ended up competing more than once, let's just say that. "

    The older girl chuckled warmly at her memories.

    "Yeah, Angelica was pretty bullheaded underneath that calm and graceful exterior."

    Suddenly.

    A sound.

    --- The noise of a book clattering to the floor from the hands of a boy who had been flipping through it.

    Pyry stared at Rachel with eyes wide open and face completely pale.

  3. #3283
    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


    Composition? Shadows. Genetic make-up? Misery. Form it appeareth as? Huge. Colt mulled over the question some more, trying to nail at least one productive answer. The thing that had lumbered from the forest’s edge and into the storm was one of his primary motivations to seek something more than just the pistol he found at the Junk Garage. Nailing it with a heavy dose of whatever medicine it hated most would be great.

    But before he could arrive at anything useful, the exchange between Tris and Frauke caught his attention.

    "And maybeth sanguine for suckers of blood as well..."

    "Fräulein, vampiric creatures grow stronger as they ingested blood - that is their whole deal," she said dryly. "I wouldn't suggest that."

    "O-oh, right, that art true..."


    The whole thing served as a good reminder that he was asking Tris for technical advice. Sure, the blond obviously eclipsed his knowledge of the reflection of reality called the Turnside. But compared to her peers on that side of the world…

    What was it she had said last night?

    “Alas, research has never beeneth strong suit of mine... 'Tis why I am here in the first place. Mine grades were too low, and with the holidays approaching, I wereth sent over here to the sticks to maketh up for my shortcomings along with a partner of mine..."

    He tried not to grimace at the theoretical scenario where he took her advice and blasted vampire steroids into his mosquito friend.

    “I’ll be passing on the ‘Sanguine.’ These Holy ones sound promising though.” Frauke hadn’t shot down that suggestion, so it likely held water. He took five and set them on the counter. “So ‘Light’ is a gamble?”

    The teenager rubbed his chin, eyeballing the rest of the boxes and dividing them into categories in his head.

    Category A, things labelled with words he knew and could almost guess what it meant in the context of shooting something with it.

    Metal, Ice, Lightning, Fire, Plasma, Nuclear, Air, Sound, Water.

    Category B, things labelled with words he knew but couldn’t begin to guess what it meant to shoot it at something.

    Gravity, Holy, Wood, Melancholic, Curse, Soul, Decay, Darkness, Light, Life, Earth, Phlegm, Force.

    Category C, what in tarnation even is that word?

    Azoth, Mana, Aether, Eitr, Alkahest, Prana, Yliaster, Choleric, Sanguine.

    “C is out…” Colt mumbled to himself, deleting the choices from his shopping list. “Hmm…”

    Slowly, one by one, Colt began to pull out the ones that he wanted. By this point the selection process was hardly one founded on expertise. He was merely grabbing what sounded good.

    In addition to the five ‘Holy’ slugs, now laid out and selected for purchase were two Nuclear slugs, two Metal slugs, two Lightning slugs. His choices from category A, those that felt sensical.

    Then he began to grab more. These from category B, lining them up separately from the rest.

    “I’ve mostly made up my mind, but first,” Colt pointed at the ammo from category B one by one. One Gravity slug, one Decay slug, one Force slug, and one Soul slug. “Mind giving me the rundown on these?”


  4. #3284
    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 Sierra
    "I'm no princess, I'm a heiress!" Sierra proclaimed loudly, protesting the term affixed to her. "And once I take over from Daddy, I'm gonna fire both of you! Fire, you hear!"
    ---The sound of it makes her want to giggle, a childish indignation that almost comes across as nostalgic. Of course, since the girl is armed with Zee, the act of giggling at a cute sight -or even calling that sight cute- could result in a rather disastrous turn of events, after all...

    Zee is a cat.

    Just because he was her pet... Didn't mean he wouldn't claw her just the same as anyone else if he was thrown, hell, he might find some bizarre vindication in it over a perceived slight...

    Best not to risk it.

    So she suppresses the giggle, the warm memories that flash unbidden into her head, of a town and a building far away from here, and-

    "Well, if I can be fired, guess that means I've been hired, huh?"

    -returns Hawthorne's grin with a whisper and a grin of her own, before the journey begins in earnest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne
    "Well, shall we? Unfortunately I can't promise nothing but meticulously cared for shrubbery and a pool nobody ever swims in, but I suppose that's something," he said, putting his hands in his pockets and starting towards the direction where Sierra had disappeared to. "And if little miss heiress keeps her distance, I suppose you can ask your questions too, if you're in a hurry... or if something's up. Though, judging by how easy you're taking it, it doesn't like trouble."
    "...Well, some things are potentially a bit worrying I guess, but I'm not really the type to panic over what ifs... Besides, meticulously cared for shrubbery can be cool, especially if it's like... What was the word for it... Topiary?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne
    "... Also, good for you, taking her antics in a stride. Little miss heiress is a handful, and sometimes I worry for bossman. Being a single dad isn't easy... especially when your daughter is a spitting image of your childhood sweetheart," he added with a quieter tone. "She doesn't say it, but I think she needs some people closer to her in age. Y'know, actual friends. Not old smelly men like me and bossman."
    Of course, when it comes to this...

    "I'm used to taking care of kids, she seems like a good one."

    ...Well, Sierra seems a bit too old to be playing with a doll, but...

    Well, she wouldn't mind giving it a try.

    "I'll do my best to bring some youth into her life, although you don't seem that old~"

    A sing-song answer.

    ...She'd been doing that a lot more lately.

    Strange.

    Ah well...

    She lowers her voice.

    "But the spitting image of the childhood sweetheart huh? If the only people she can hang around with are you and her dad... Guess there's no mom around?"

    Such questions would be a bit of a landmine if addressed to the girl in question, but...

    Ah...

    Here she was again, preparing herself to dive headfirst into other people's problems.

    Well, she sort of enjoyed it, so...

    Why not.
    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?



  5. #3285
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School – Main Building (Second Floor)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon Sĕeklêun
    “After all, you shouldn't talk tough if you ain't tough!”
    …talk tough? He is not “taking tough.” He knows for a fact that he has not adjusted his speech patterns to what he knows from experience is “talking tough.” After all, that is not a personality feature his conflict-avoiding self chooses to use often.

    Well, as long as Ubon is in a good mood, the absurdities that come out of her mouth are of little relevance.

    “More importantly, did you only get the keys for that one door? Think you can open these?” John wonders, vaguely pointing towards the big doors in front of him.

    Splitting here might be worth some consideration. Let us be honest: John is not the most suitable person for getting in the good graces of that mysterious, second-floor-dwelling child. He is just fine knowing that the girl is safe and in good hands. He might be more useful investigating someplace else.

    His musing is interrupted by Ubon’s finding. Footprints following a closed pattern—exploration? A first instance of investigative labor, keeping close to an escape route just in case. It is likely he is looking at the traces of Skye’s efforts last night—the size seems to match, but then again, there is nothing unusual about Liana Skye’s shoe size, so that single parameter is not enough to make a decisive conclusion. They still could belong to anybody. John will work with the assumption that these are Skye’s footsteps, while remaining open to the possibility otherwise.

    Regardless, is there a reason for this specific circuit…? Was it only to stay close to the window, or did she find something that made her take this specific route?

    “Ubon,” he calls out. It is time to verify Lucille Faraday’s testimony. “Did something happen last night, when you were exploring the outbuilding with Faraday? I ask because I remembered several sets of footprints I found outside last night. I suspect some of those belong to Faraday and you.”

    After another (wistful?) glance at the big double doors, he walks towards the origin point of the footprints, the classroom where, according to last night, he should find an empty owl costume and an open window. A glance from the door should be enough to verify this.

    “The library is probably the other way,” John posits after Ubon points out yet another thing. As for that text on the wall at the end of the hallway…

    “Please remember why you are here, ladies,” John counters. “I believe there is a child you wish to help?”

    He makes a pause to (pretend to) think for a moment.

    “My apologies, I am getting ahead of myself. However, I do think you should focus on this mystery child. It seems like it should be a priority. If you are so curious about all…this,” he then says, gesturing towards the footprints and the end of the hallway. “Let me take a look while you two go ahead to the library. I can always catch up with you later and tell you what I find.”

  6. #3286
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase (THU)
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "Don'cha worry, Prushie! We can encourage each other - for realsies! That way if either of us gets spooked, the other one'll be there for support!"
    "I-I won't get spooked that easily! But if I do, I'll rely on you... so you can rely on me too, okay?" I squeeze Ubon's hand, and my voice drops just a little bit, almost to a whisper. "And, um, if you're really really scared, or wanna talk without talking, or feel weird, or anything like that... just squeeze my hand real hard, okay?"

    "And that goes for you too, John Dove! Putting on a tough act is forbidden. Please cry and scream if you're scared!"

    There's no real reason to giggle like this. It's not as if I'm overjoyed. The jab wasn't a particularly good one either, and this place isn't that interesting or anything. It's just that, well, when Ubon is happy, she's too happy, and some of that feeling leaks out onto everyone around her.

    As we approach the intersection, I'm afforded a view of what's down each of the halls, and the double doors as well. These must guard the way to the clock tower.

    I reach out with my free hand, brush the tip of a finger against the solid door, and...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon
    "... Huh, lookit that. Footprints!"
    "Ah." Her prompt pulls me away from the doors, the month-old killing intent baked into the wood leaving a tingling in my fingers.

    Footsteps. So they are. Going back and forth, back and forth continuously between these four rooms, leaving clear tracks in the otherwise dusty corridor.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dove
    “My apologies, I am getting ahead of myself. However, I do think you should focus on this mystery child. It seems like it should be a priority. If you are so curious about all…this. Let me take a look while you two go ahead to the library. I can always catch up with you later and tell you what I find.”
    "C'mon, John. Haven't you ever seen Scooby Doo? The monster always jumps out after the gang splits up. We should stick together unless there's no other option."

    John Dove is, to my knowledge, a mundane human. If he's a part of the Turnside like myself or Ubon, he hasn't shown any signs of it. And with what I just felt from that door... this floor might not be safe after all. Especially not for a human that has no way to fight back against the supernatural. And y'know, John, when I said I'd never put a friend in danger if I could help it... that means you too.

    "Besides, something's fishy. Those only lead from the rooms to each other. There's no trail that breaks the loop. So either whoever made those tracks is still in there, or we've got a nasty surprise waiting for us. And while you could go read that message... I can sniff out who made it and when." I tap my nose. "Same for the footprints. Maybe it's the mystery child that left them."

    "So let's go together. It'll only be a minute at most; the ghost of the second floor can wait that long."

    I pause, and then...

    "Hehe... or do you just want us to not see your knees shaking?"

  7. #3287
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High School – Main Building (Second Floor)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast



    “…I see. I should be more aware of the fact that your ‘abilities’ extend beyond shoving unasked-for emotions inside other people.”

    If she really can do as she claims, then her presence is undeniably useful in any investigative context.

    “As for the footprints, they can also imply that their owner left by other means—like jumping out of a window,” he adds, his thumb pointing at the nearest door. “But anyway, let’s take a look at that wall.”

    Ubon still hasn’t answered his questions, though; neither about last night nor about the key to those big doors just behind them. For now, he will keep an eye on the rooms on either side, on the windows, and on any other traces of Liana Skye’s activities the previous night.

  8. #3288
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Evening Phase (THU)
    Date: 08.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    "H-hey, don't put it like that... I can't do anything a regular song couldn't. You don't accuse David Bowie of making you sad after listening to Space Oddity, do you?"

    Still, John has a point. The windows are an option. In fact, they might be the primary entrance or exit point, given how nobody's touched the doorknobs where we entered in the past two weeks.

    "Alright, we'll look at the wall real quick and go back the other way. If you wanna stay and check these rooms out... at least yell real loud if something happens, okay?"

  9. #3289
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "... But do what comes naturally to you. I'll follow your lead. For now."
    Anna only let out a small grunt in response, even as her eyes remained fixed on the boy sitting in the distance. The dusky-skinned adventurer was right in that folks mired in the supernatural usually hated dealing with mundane witnesses of all stripes. It was a hassle even for those whose moral compass had fundamentally shifted away from the scope of ethics. Granted, if one just killed everyone on the scene it wouldn’t be an issue, but…

    Baaah, I’m overthinking it. No point in getting mired in hypotheticals.

    The conversation between the blonde and the Indian girl was also relatively interesting, albeit seemingly touching an awkward spot for both of them. Paranormal investigators chasing down old leads. Great. As if there weren’t enough busybodies poking around already. As for the rest…

    Therian cults, huh?

    The witch in red gave a brief shake of her head, even as she started moving towards Minato’s table. Another topic she would need to dig into later, it would seem. But priorities were priorities. Her current task came first.

    Minato Coastrise was just in the middle of finishing his last bowl of pudding when Anna arrived, her eyebrow set in a half-amused, half-questioning arc.

    “I see that the pudding here is well worth the price of a room alone. Though do be careful of all that sugar. Rots your teeth and all that jazz.” As she pulled out one of the chairs, a hint of a question entered her voice. “May I?”

    Without even bothering to wait for a response from the surly-looking boy, the Estonian witch seated herself down with a smile, almost as if she considered his answer to her question was always going to be positive… or, perhaps likelier, that his response was, in actuality, utterly irrelevant for the dark-haired magician.

    Having seated herself down across the table from Minato, she continued speaking.

    “Oh, I haven’t introduced myself, haven’t I? I’m Anna and the white-haired lass with the charming smile over there…” Her hand pointed briefly towards the Libyan mercenary. "…is Ramia.”

    “I’ll go straight to the point for both of our sakes. Why the hell are you and your sisters poking around about Pinefall?” Anna gave the boy in front of her a casual smile, though a certain edge lurked underneath the polite façade. “You see… I’m not a terrible fan of playing with shadows and as one "professional" to another, I thought I’d come and at least give you guys a chance to explain yourselves.”

    The slight hint of steel in Anna’s voice made it clear that she would get those explanations from the boy in front of her one way or another.

  10. #3290
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Nurse's Office
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    She did not answer.

    Still letting out that incessant sound, Cesarina kept flailing from one side to another, her muscles contracting and expanding, tightening and loosing up, causing her arms to take the most gruesome stances and shapes - ones that humans shouldn't be capable of. It was hard to watch, even for someone as desensitized as a student of Scholomance. There was always a difference between physical trauma caused by a clear source, a clear outside influence or power. A clear cause and effect. But this... this was internal violence coming from within the girl. It was like the girl's body had turned against her.

    And when there was no something like a puppeteer or a mind-controller to blame, a clear source of evil, that was a sobering, uncomfortable thought.

    Still, even through that involuntary movement, those spasms and the seizure that had taken hold of her whole being, Cesarina...

    "------"

    Alexstrasza was almost sure that she could see the girl smiling at her.

    Even while she was frothing from the mouth, she was smiling at her.

    Why are you smiling?

    Stop it. Don't. I'm not worth that much. It's not right, for you to smile when I've done absolutely nothing but hurt you. It's not fair, for me to be sitting here and you to be lying down there, Cesarina. It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair.

    "Alright Lockhart, good work - now move, you can look away if you're uncomfortable with this. It will last but a moment."
    My eyes do not blink. I watch as Ronja Leuzinger stabs Cesarina with a needle. I am here. I am present. I am here.

    This place, Pinefall... Is it kind or just? I can't tell at all. It's that kind of existential breaking point that is impossible to examine without outside assistance. This blur of how reality is, how the world works - this world that traps people inside themselves, this world that demands so much from those inside of it and gives nothing, this world of pain and suffering and misery and emptiness and sorrow and sadness and despair and tragedy and hopelessness and fakery and a hundred million other words that I cannot bring to mind right now.

    I look at Cesarina, and my eyes to one of the professors - Costa, I believe - as she says someone is coming.

    Ah. This was a mistake, yes? After all, as I sit still with bright eyes and a winning smile, there is one thing that is sure in my head.

    "My apologies..." I say, glancing at the school nurse. "But who's coming to get Cesarina?"

    This school is filled with liars. The innately deceitful is what I could think of my fellow students as, if I were so ill-inclined. But this -- it's inacceptable. I refuse it. To let Cesarina out of my sight would be... It would be... Tch.

    There's something ill-fitting sitting in my gut. If they come to take Cesarina, then I'll just follow them. It's not like they can possibly deny me, right? After all, I'm simply worried for my... for my...

    Huh.

    Yeah, I guess that's fine, isn't it Cesarina?

    I'm simply worried for my best friend. That's all.
    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.


  11. #3291
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    While Aleen and I praised his detailed art and tried to raise his mood. I could tell his mood was anything but elevated. While he wasn’t angry at our appearance anymore, it seems like he’s merely redirected his emotions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Montjoy
    "... No need to butter my ass up. I know it looks like crap. Just a nightmare I put onto a canvas because I couldn't sleep on it. Most artists would sing of joy for such a cliched inspiration, but really... who wants to see something like this? It's just sad. It's just miserable. And the fact that it's right makes it even worse. Somehow, some way, for things to look like this... I dunno. It's like the town was meant to look like this in my head. And that's what makes it the worst."
    I let Caleb Montjoy go ahead and vent. If I interrupted him mid-rant, I might have missed what might be troubling him further. If I was capable of mind-reading him, I would’ve tried to smooth it over based off of his thoughts and my own conjectures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Montjoy
    "... What sort of person looks at this and thinks it's how things are supposed to be? A miserable git, that's who. A miserable git who ruins the lives of people just because they insult someone he admired just moments ago."
    Art that looks accurate but looks nightmarish, and self anger after a moment of weakness. The first worried me due to it being the result of a nightmare. I was normally skeptical about dreams or nightmares but meeting Muse in one… Made me more receptive to that possibility that Caleb was getting some sort of premonition or slight remembrance of last week via his dreams. The second bit, I could only speculate it was in relation to whatever ‘childish thing’ happened last night.

    “Ever heard of Der Schrei der Natur or better known as The Scream? The world and the people in it are drawn in a weird distorted way. Despite that weirdness, many art critics and gallery viewers like looking at and praising The Scream immensely. Edvard Munch was celebrated for this work and its nature. So I fail to see why I should see this painting or its artist negatively despite its theme. The painting looks aesthetically pleasing to me and I can only praise it. Meanwhile, I can say that I don't particularly care for any of the Der Shrei der Natur.”

    I let that sink in and let Aleen add whatever she wanted to say as well before addressing the second part of Caleb Montjoy’s issue.

    “As for being a miserable git… Wouldn’t you be angrier or more sad at a person not defending the person they respect without some attempt to stop it? Sometimes you need to stop it immediately and it doesn't go exactly right. Alternatively, you wait too long and its too late to actually solve the issue. But at least, they tried to fix it even if things didn't go perfectly. Nothing is worse than just being a bystander or being apathetic. So I wouldn't call that person a miserable git for ruining other people's lives, but I would just say... They're just a person who messed up while trying to fix the situation. The miserable git is someone who can improve the situation yet they let it happen anyway.”

  12. #3292
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    “Huh…”

    I guess it was just another addition to the pile of secrets that Angelica never ended up talking about.

    “She was already here that long ago?”

    I was quite aware that she was from America - but I never would have guessed that she’s ever been here...Well, for any other reasons than this whole incident, that is.

    “See...Angelica was my sister...sort of,” I started somewhat reluctantly as I scratched my cheek, “She took me in a bit more than six years ago...Probably around the same time she left from here. We lived together until this year, but then she disappeared because of...well, reasons.”

    Mentioning the monster we ran into was likely not necessary to get my point through, in the end.

    “I’ve been trying to find her, but...it’s not that easy. Did she do anything worth mentioning back then? And speaking of which, have you met her since then?”

    I saw her name in the book,” I continued as I gestured towards the big book on the table, “I assume that’s not an entry from seven years ago?”

    I could only hope that it wasn’t. That would have been quite the turn off, especially now after it seemed like a thread we could follow to her appeared.

    “But I suppose she isn’t staying here either?”


  13. #3293
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Road's End - Das Thulewerk
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “I’ve mostly made up my mind, but first, mind giving me the rundown on these?”
    Tris sweated softly as she stared at the slugs that Colt had laid out and asked a question about. Indeed, she looked almost like a student in a classroom suddenly put on a spot, being asked about some equation or another on the blackboard while she herself hadn't been listening at all, instead napping or reading a magazine in secret. Then again, judging from what the girl had said before and how she acted... she probably had been that sort of student in whatever Turnside school she went to.

    Did Turnside even have schools?

    "These kinder,huh?"

    Luckily, Frauke Wiolant was there to take over and save the day.

    "Well... I'm no der Philosoph, but I know a little bit about the elemental theory - through osmosis, mostly. In a nutshell, as decreed by the Masters of Hesiod's Heroic Age and Beyond, all things in this world have an arche. Think of it as a..." Frauke searched for the right word for a moment, vaguely gesturing with her metal hands. "Beginning? Start? Point of origin? It's somewhat hard word to translate. All in all, it's the source of action behind everything in the world - the meaning of life, in a way. You do this, you do that, you live your life as you because that is what your arche is. Some mages spend centuries trying to map out the simplest form how to describe a single arche, which even then can most often only be transcribed as a complex three-dimensional map of sorts that's more of a slice of apeiron flowing out of it than... eugh, sorry. It really gets quite philosophical after that, and I'm not the right person to make that any more understandable."

    Frauke laughed with some self-derision and sat on the table where Colt had set the slugs, folding her arms and peering down at the ammunition.

    "In short, that arche is more often than not coloured by some element - not in a literal sense of course. But symbolism is everything in Turnside, to the point it affects nomos - the Laws of Reality - to a point. This goes as far as to affect powerful items too... or slugs made specifically to mimic the attributes and 'colours' of specific elements," Frauke said with a smug grin. "Now let's see here..."

    Frauke picked up the slugs Colt had picked up, one-by-one, and started explaining.

    "Gravity here... it's one of the more recent elements discovered and codified - just this century, in fact. Rather hard to master, though. In most applications it's meant to control attractions between objects, increase and decrease of pressure upon targets, even for flying or locking something in place. Think of it as a variation of celestial movements. Meanwhile Decay is a bit of a... nasty one. Another word for it is the death of objects both physical and metaphysical. To end them and to hasten that end, bringing everything to a conclusion of sorts," Frauke said, showing each slug to Colt while talking abot it. "Next we have is Force. In this case, it is akin to kinetic energy, momentum, the element of movement in other words. One thing affecting another and the physical activity that things both living and inanimate exhibit. And last, well... it's the Soul."

    Frauke reached out, and poked Colt in the chest gently with her finger.

    "Where 'you' reside. One of the trinity that make up you, along with Body and Mind. Source of spiritual power, where paths of power of various things such as mana are stored, consciousness of every living beyond and what makes you more than just another animal," she finished up. "The strength of the soul is the strength of your existence, your imprint upon this world. Nothing more and nothing less."

    There was a long silence that followed...

    ... One eventually broken by Frauke's chuckle.

    "There's a reason why mages and mystics who study these things are collectively known as Philosophers."




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "But the spitting image of the childhood sweetheart huh? If the only people she can hang around with are you and her dad... Guess there's no mom around?"
    Hawthorne shook his head, and for a moment, the look in his eyes grew harsher. He was watching ahead, where Sierra was already stomping away, towards the well-maintained garden behind the large building. A tranquil pool that certainly looked untouched had been set to the middle of the backyard of the country club, and from around it, a veritable maze of flowers beds, hedge fences and carefully trimmed bushes spread out. No doubt quite a lot of money had been sank into this project, and whoever took care of it was doing a great job.

    "Not that I know of. Bossman never talks about a wife or a mistress... or heck, even a lover. Well, not that I would ask him. But he's a chatty drunk, and sometimes drinks to quiet the demons that rear their heads every now and then," Hawthorne quietly answered, not wanting the girl ahead to overhear them. "... I haven't been around him long enough either to know. See, I met him a few years back through a mutual acquaintance. Bit before he started building this place. And while little lady was around by that time already, well..."

    A difficult expression passed by the man's face, and he rubbed his chin.

    "... Never saw any other member of their family. Not even in pictures," he continued. "Plus, there's... some weird rumours that some of the older servants of his like to talk about. Some claim that there never was any mother or wife - just that bossman disappeared somewhere for months about ten years ago, and when he came back, he had a baby with him. That baby eventually grew up to be little lady over there."

    He put his hands in his pockets and nodded towards the distant back of Sierra.

    "Well, not that I'd be surprised if he adopted or something. Bossman's always been weird. He's the type that's still hung up about a girl from his own teenage years. You know the type," Hawthorne continued, though his sarcastic tone felt like it contained some sort of self-irony, almost like he was also making fun of himself. "Apparently, it was some local girl he got to know while visiting here in his youth. Guess she must've been some lass, to have left such a lasting impression. And, well, to have your daughter look exactly like that person, it must be... tough."

    Hawthorne chuckled quietly under his breath.

    "But still, to name his kid 'Lucille' after that girl is a bit..."




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

    "Mm, sorry," Ubon answered, shrugging her shoulders apologetically. "That's the only key Briggsie gave to me, for realsies. I mean, we could always try to just bust through with brawn but..."

    She glanced at the heavy-duty doors for a moment... and then let out a sheepish giggle.

    "Or maybe not. I think we'd need someone like Pyrrie to knock those off the hinges," she continued, settling into a step with Prushka and John. "But sure! Let's check the creepy wall message before we visit the library kid. We don't wanna leave anything suspicious unchecked, right?"

    And thus, the trio started towards the back end of the corridor leading to the left - towards west if one looked at the whole building from top-down view. Their footsteps in the darkness didn't echo quite as loudly as one would have thought, most likely thanks to the thick layer of dust caking the floor. As the group passed by the four doors where someone had apparently spent quite a while walking in literal circles for no discernable reason, Ubon peered at them in confusion and sniffed... but apparently didn't find anything too suspicious and just shrugged her shoulders.

    "Smells a bit like a burning wire," she simply commented. "Also, oh! Yeaaaah, about those footprints outside... that's us."

    Ubon grinned awkwardly and scratched the back of her head.

    "Me and Lucie were in the old outbuilding and it had these creepy owl costumes in storage... you remember, the ones the marching band used on first day? W-well, one of them started totes moving - for realsies! And when we gave chase, it ran away! It made a beeline over to the backyard of the school, but when we got there... well, nothing," Ubon explained, gesturing with her hands about something just disappearing into thin air. "The tracks just stopped like the owl costume had hit a wall, and in the dark we had no other good clues! And it was starting to get late, so then we just decided to head back to the meeting spot and... w-well, you know what happened."

    Ubon hung her head for a moment, looking a bit down... when suddenly, out of nowhere, she seemed to remember something. The cyanhead snapped her fingers and momentarily let go of Prushka's hands, instead starting to rummage through her backpack with a big grin on her face.

    "Oh right! Lucie found these old yearbooks in the outbuilding! They were pretty interesting!" Ubon exclaimed. "And meanwhile, I found... this!"

    What the girl pulled out of the backpack, and presented to John and Prushka... was a picture.

    An old and faded picture of some vaguely familiar faces.

    The picture.

    "Pretty neat, huh?" Ubon asked, all smiles. "And we were able to put some names to those faces, too! See, they were.... O-oh. Err, guys? That text..."

    Ubon's expression fell as she pointed at the dark red text that they had finally reached, one painted onto the wall where the corridor turned and headed to the end of the hallway.

    Big bold letters.

    Written in both hurry and with fervor.

    Almost like someone had painted them in their last, desperate act of defiance.


    Words that read...
    WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE





    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Nurse's Office
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    In just a few seconds, the spasms seemed to quiet down.

    The flailing came to a halt.

    The seizure started to settle down.

    Just like that, with whatever Ronja Leuzinger had used, Cesarina's state had certainly taken a turn for the better... though her eyes were still moving wildly and not of her own volition, while her breathing was ragged and her forehead caked with sweat - to the point she looked like she was experiencing one hell of a fever. Looking both satisfied and not quite happy with the results, the nurse pulled back and tossed the hypodermic needle into the sink. Then, and only then, she allowed herself a momentary sigh of relief and sat down on her chair, eyes still focused on the green-haired student.

    Though she had heard Alexstrasza's question.

    "We have a few... liaisons that work between us and End's Mercy. These ones are specifically focused on Ms. Feroce's case. Her condition is severe, and all-in-all, we do not know about it as much as we wished we did. Therefore, some extra precautions have been set regarding her," Ms. Leuzinger answered curtly, though aftewards she finally gave the blonde girl a slightly encouraging look. "It's nothing to worry about. This is not the first time Ms. Stentato has done this, and she knows how to help Ms. Feroce even better than we do. Though, moving onto another subject..."

    Folding her arms and crossing her legs, Ronja Leuzinger turned in her chair so that she was now looking straight at Alexstrasza, and settled a rather firm and authoritative look onto the girl.

    "... Her episode has come a little early. Tell me, Ms. Lockhart, did something happen to set this off?" she asked, sounding serious. "Any specific, clear event that could have caused her to react as such?"




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

    As it turned out, this sort of surprise attack and getting straight to the point was, perhaps, the best call.

    Or at the very least, it seemed to take Minato Coastrise completely by surprise, and catch him off-guard to the point that he didn't even realize what was going on at first.

    The boy could only stare dumbfounded at Anna and Ramia as they took seats at the table, and continue staring as Anna started batting those questions towards him, one-by-one. Slowly but surely, the spoon he had in his hand which he had used as a weapon against the bowls of pudding in front of him clattered quietly to the table. The boy's jaw hung slightly open like he had forgotten how to use it, and growing confusion was brewing in his eyes. Not just any sort of confusion, however, but clear and genuine one. Up close like this, caught off-guard, he didn't seem to have much in terms of a poker face. Instead, he let his emotions display on his face clearly, and right now, there was nothing but befuddlement in his mind.

    It was far cry from the ornery, angry young man that had visited their school in the previous iteration of the week.

    Or the merciless, grief-filled agent of vengeance that had assaulted Anna after that.

    No, if anything, right now Minato Coastrise looked much more like his age.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna
    “You see… I’m not a terrible fan of playing with shadows and as one "professional" to another, I thought I’d come and at least give you guys a chance to explain yourselves.”
    "..............."

    Unable to formulate an answer immediately, Minato glanced towards the half-eaten pudding at the table and slowly moved it aside. He also grabbed a hold of the spoon and set it in the bowl. Then, with the gears in his head finally starting to turn, the boy leaned back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest, staring at Anna from under his unruly bangs (a common detail of all the siblings) - first with that same confusion, with ironing it away with something closer to a glare.

    That staring contest continued for a while, good twenty seconds even, before the boy finally clicked his tongue and turned his eyes away.

    "... Hmph. Whatever," he eloquently replied, scoffing at the whole introduction and interrogation.

    At least... for a moment.

    Beecause fifteen seconds later, he seemed to realize the whole gist of what Anna had said and shook his head, turning back towards the girl with a raised eyebrow and disbelief on his face.

    "--- Wait. Zhou is doing what?"




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “As for being a miserable git… Wouldn’t you be angrier or more sad at a person not defending the person they respect without some attempt to stop it? Sometimes you need to stop it immediately and it doesn't go exactly right. Alternatively, you wait too long and its too late to actually solve the issue. But at least, they tried to fix it even if things didn't go perfectly. Nothing is worse than just being a bystander or being apathetic. So I wouldn't call that person a miserable git for ruining other people's lives, but I would just say... They're just a person who messed up while trying to fix the situation. The miserable git is someone who can improve the situation yet they let it happen anyway.”
    Caleb grunted and added another violently drawn line into his painting - this one something like pure blue or a colour close to it, streaking through the shattering sky towards the town that laid below. He stared at the image with self-loathing just oozing out of his every pore. In a sense, it was easy enough to guess where he was coming from, and what had caused this... but the extent of which it seemed to eat at him was a bit surprising.

    Until, of course, one remembered that despite his apparent maturity and calm demeanor, at the end of the day Caleb was still a youth, a young man at the end of his teenage years.

    Just like everybody at Pinefall, someone not exactly too experienced in the emotional turmoils of life.

    In that light, his actions started making much more sense.

    --- It was something that had become known lately as "angsting".

    "Yeah, well... in trying to fix it, I just made it worse. I wanted to let that airhead talk some sense into them, but then she flew off the handle and... I should've known something like that could happen. I roped someone else to give those I thought as arguing jerks their just desserts, thinking it'd let them feel for a moment what it's like to listen to them... and it just blew up in my face. I... it's not like I wanted that. Ubon didn't deserve that. And as annoying the others were being, neither did they," Caleb spoke in response, half-muttering his words while pulling his beanie over his face. "And now, the situation's even worse. And I don't know how to fix it. Because last time I tried, it got us into this mess. So instead I'm here, taking it out on my canvas."

    Aleen, her eyes full of worry, glanced towards Vier. In that glance there seemed to be a question. The bluehead didn't seem to have idea how to break the boy out of his funk, but she wasn't going to let that stop her. That desire to help, even if she didn't know how to or had the power to do so, was an integral part of Aleen and what made her who she was, after all.

    It was rather ironic, considering what the boy had just said.

    "Caleb..." Aleen murmured. "... It's not the end of the world. And just worrying 'bout it yourself ain't gonna help, right?"

    The last bit was addressed at Vier.

    Caleb, on the other hand, simply snorted and returned to look at his painting, a sort of dryly amused smirk on his face.

    "Yeah," the boy replied. "The only thing it's gotten me so far is Vier here giving an arts history lesson... to me of all people."

    He raised his eyebrow a bit sarcastically at the scarred girl.




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

    Rachel's eyebrows shot towards her hairline.

    "W-wait, really? You know Angelica? That's..." she stammered a bit, scratching the back of her head slowly. "... Quite the coincidence, huh? Nah, even for a coincidence, that feels a bit..."

    The redhead rose from her makeshift seat and started pacing around the room, one had rubbing her chin and clenched in a soft fist. Her eyes were focusedly staring at the floor of the library, but they were looking somewhere beyond it - into her memories of those times seven years ago, and the silver-haired girl she had known back then. Meanwhile, Mercedes had walked over to the tome where Hisa had seen Angelica's name, anticipating that it might be needed. Gradient stood next to the scarred girl, worriedly gazing at her pacing older friend. And Pyry... Pyry simply stood there, dumbfounded, and looking oddly worried.

    Like he was starting to feel a little regretful that they had come here to Owl's Nest.

    "... Seven years ago she leaves town, becomes your sister, and then after six or so years disappears...? And you come back here, where she used to hang out?" Rachel murmured to herself, looking rather suspicious. "That's... that sounds more than just a coincidence. Angelica was always a mysterious gal, and she always liked to make all sorts of weird plans, so... I guess this wouldn't be impossible for her. But at the same time..."

    Pyry sighed and leaned against one of the shelves, folding his arms.

    "--- She's changed," he simply grunted, earning a confused look from Rachel. "From what you and Hisa here know her as. She's... become different."

    A momentary, awkward silence, after which Rachel nodded in some sort of understanding.

    "I-I see... I guess we can't count out that possibility then, huh?" she asked from no one in particular, before focusing her gaze back to Hisa. "A-anyways, anything worth mentioning? Well, hm, let's see... she loved adventuring around the town, looking for weird places and odd books and what-not. I think she had similar love of mystery as Remmie did. Both were interested in the Devil's Dishes, at least until the day when... y'know. Everything bad possible went down. I think she also had some place to stay that wasn't Owl's Nest, since I never saw her around here, really, though... wait what? You saw her name? In a book?"

    Mercedes, already prepared, tossed the tome to Rachel who quickly leafed through the pages until she got to the final entry - the final entry which rather clearly read: "Angelica Outis" in it. The redheaded heiress stared at those words, her eyes widening and her mouth starting to hang open, as if some sort of dawning realization started to creep up on her.

    Finally, she tore away her eyes from the page and looked straight at Hisa.

    "... I never really made the connection, but... while I personally didn't ring that person up, I know someone did. Probably my uncle. But, the point is..." she started, swallowed, and continued. "... I'm pretty sure I've seen the name 'Ms. Outis' as one of our current guests."

    And then, she slammed the book shut with force.

    "--- And if we go to the reception, I can check in which room she is."

  14. #3294
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Hypostatic Bar "Noumenon"
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Unknown


    Quote Originally Posted by Philoclea
    "--- Does that matter?"
    "Well..." began Elise, answering Philoclea's mischievous smile with one of her own, "If this is a dream, then wouldn't that mean that you only serve spirits here?"

    Philoclea said that time doesn't pass outside while you're here, that you can't die here, that you can will yourself here while dreaming (theoretically), and that the whole bar is actually located somewhere in the collective unconscious. The simplest explanation would be that this is actually like a dream, rather than me actually being here physically. Of course, there's an easy way to check for that. Like Philoclea said, dreams are when the soul detaches itself from the body. The demon, meanwhile, is bound to my body and mind, not my soul, and I know it can't access my dreams, so...

    Elise took a moment to search for her all too familiar connection to the demon, and found it missing. She froze, searching deeper for her otherwise constant companion and found nothing.

    Oh. I was expecting that, but I wasn't actually expecting that. thought Elise, I've gotten so damn use to that thing being in the back of my mind that it feels weird that it's gone. Well, it'd be more accurate to say that it's not gone, I'm gone, it's just still there, and it's just not here.

    She blinked as she looked about the bar.

    I just never expected to have this sort of distance between myself and the demon outside of Muse's clearing in the forest and maybe whatever peace and quiet I could eke out of a dream… I never expect I'd find a place where I can go, the demon can't follow me. Let alone one where I can bring my friends, and get a drink.

    Elise glanced down at her drink, and found herself wishing that there was still more mint julep in her glass right now.

    Of course, it's important to remember this isn't a solution, only a reprieve. Like Philoclea said, I'm going to return to real time at the same time I left. If I tried to stay here, I'd never actually get anything done. Never mind the one drink limit. Still, it does mean I've got access to a place where I can talk to people without the chance of the demon listening in. That alone is a game changer.

    Elise's attention snapped back to Philoclea as she pulled herself out of her thoughts, even as the back of her mind still considered the possibilities Hypostatic Bar "Noumenon" had just granted her.

    "More seriously though, I think it both matters and doesn't, if that makes any sense. Most people aren't aware that they're dreaming until after they wake up. That's the hard part of lucid dreaming, being aware that you're in a dream, isn't it? I imagine that also applies to exerting control over your dreaming self. Still, if you can't tell that there's a difference, then is there really any difference?" asked Elise rhetorically as she picked up her glass and took another sip of her drink, "Otherwise, I think it's mostly just wondering if you get drunk in a dream, do you have a hangover in real life."

    "Anyway, any sage bartenderly advice for a troubled student?"

  15. #3295
    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


    "...Like a bit much, huh?"

    Gaze fixed for a moment on the aggressively retreating form of Sierra, the voice Liana uses in an attempt to finish Hawthorne's thought is just as quiet as the man's, quiet and soft, lacking the usual energy the girl seems to sometimes forcibly inject into everything, indeed...

    It's a thoughtful voice, the quiet, contemplative one that she normally doesn't let others hear...

    "Can't be that healthy to obsess over the past like that, but..."

    She shakes her head, and lets out a low, almost self-deprecating laugh...

    "I suppose that's something everyone does from time to time."

    It's an interesting enough story... A mysterious heiress without an apparent mother, one who seemingly looks just like the lost love of her father, a bizarre sort of coincidence, the sort of thing one might even call a twist of fate, although whether one would call that fate cruel or not, well...

    In her opinion it probably was, but that was just her opinion...

    "...And tough... Yeah, that sort of thing would definitely be tough," her voice getting a bit somber at this, the girl shakes her head from side to side for a moment, a preemptive attempt to shake away certain thoughts, "Reminded of someone you lost by the way someone else looks, that's... Yeah, that'd be tough... Tough on em both actually... Hell, tough might be too light a word..."

    ...Yeah. Always wondered if that might be why she... Well, no no, no need to think too much on that.

    "But I guess it's sort of a romantic idea too, if you squint a bit."

    So saying, the girl elbowed Thorne lightly, the more usual grin crossing her face.

    Although...

    'Lucille' huh...

    ...Probably a coincidence.

    "Sounded like you were talking a bit from personal experience though, you got a childhood crush you never got over? Some girl next door type perhaps?"

    It's mostly a joking poke made out of curiosity, and is quickly followed with...

    "But really... I figured an heiress might at least have a maid to look after her, are all the servants guys? Everyone just older?"

    She frowns for a moment, then...

    "...Hmm, I might be needed more than I thought... Must not have had any mom cooked meals growing up either... That's no good... Although I'm a bit young to do the mom thing, maybe I could manage something if I had a kitchen..."

    ...Seems to come to some startling thoughts all on her own...
    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. #3296
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Canseliet Clinic - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THURS)
    Weather: Overcast


    "I'm pretty sure most married woman carry their rings on their fourth finger," I said idly, twitching my left one demonstratively, "For the vena amoris, I'm told. Which is a bit out-dated, anatomically-speaking, but such is culture."

    In any case, to get details on this Bianchi character, we'd either have to ask Vivi herself, or possibly ask Travis, he seems medically clued-in, at least.

    Then I smiled a bit.

    It wasn't a particularly happy, or joyful smile, merely one acknowledging the circumstances that one is in.

    "A folie à deux, you say? Hmph, that'd be a Shared Delusion Disorder, not DDS," I chuckled, "Maybe it's the opposite, instead of sharing one delusion we all get our own, isolating ones."

    I sighed.

    "Sounds kinda sad to me," I said glumly, "A whole bunch of people suffering alone, wouldn't wish that on anyone."

    A shrug.

    "But according to some people, that's life, I suppose."

    And the hospital again, of course. Well, might be I've got some options for investigating that front, besides my charming good looks.

    A smile, more genuine this time, twitched on my face, "Anyway, I'm not generally in the business of abandoning people, though, Doctor. Especially when I'd probably be better off for doing so."

    I can't do anything...

    It hurts everywhere.

    Help...

    It's stirring me up inside.

    He kisses me. There's blood on his lips.

    Help me...

    "Maybe that's my delusion?"

  17. #3297
    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


    “Don’t worry about being the right person to make philosophy understandable.” The young man let out a chuckle of his own. “Because I’m not the right guy to make philosophy understandable to. This arche business, a point of origin, and the definition of the soul, well…”

    He scratched the back of his head.

    “That’s a bit much for me. If someone ever puts up a blueprint for these questions of deeper meaning and where things come from, why things happen, maybe it’ll stop going over my head.” Colt took the soul slug and held it up, inspecting it. “Though I reckon that, in a sense, you have a blueprint for this little ‘soul’ right here, don’cha?”

    Again he laughed, then glanced at the rest of the selection.

    “Well, philosophical what-fors and all that aside, I think I get it now. I appreciate it.” From his pocket was produced a leather wallet. Stuffed full of the modern golds and silvers that Tris’ eyes had lit up at the mention of over breakfast. “I’ll take ‘em all.”

    He turned to Tris.

    “Since we’re here, anything you want?”

    He already expected a no. After all the showboating of her knightliness, Colt couldn’t imagine the blonde showing any disloyalty to her sword. After all, a knight and a sword just went together.

    But it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    “Don’t be shy.”


  18. #3298
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Nurse's Office
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast


    "Anything... that set her off?" I asked, tilting my head with a frown, my finger tapping against my cheek. "Hm..."

    Oh. Well there is one thing. Or a few, I suppose - not that Cesarina even bothered to believe me, but it was rather unbelievable. Although, she seemed to be somehow very... cognizant, in spite of her inability to move. Did she see what I did? Oh dear. I wanted to show her something interesting, but simply moving from one place to another isn't terribly interesting. Maybe I should have gone about it another way...

    Wait.

    Oh.

    "Yes! I can think of one!" I said, smiling happily. "I believe the only thing that could be at fault is, well, me!"

    I broke Cesarina. This is the obvious answer, as she was looking at me - well, at my empty hand. In her eyes, I was holding something, something she wanted me to put down. What was it? What did Cesarina See that I couldn't? Staring suspiciously at my hand, I poked at it several times, but it did not change form in any way. There was no reveal of the secrets that Cesarina apparently saw in it.

    "She told me to put something down, but I had nothing in my hand. She seemed afraid - not of me, but of this mysterious thing that I couldn't see," I said, staring at my hand. "I don't know what it was, but it was clearly real to her. What's attached itself to me, Professor Leuzinger?"

    I looked up at her with empty eyes.

    "Cesarina wouldn't lie to me. She wouldn't. So what does she see in my hand that's so terrifying?" I held up my hand, completely empty. "My hand is empty, but Cesarina said I had to 'put that down'. I can't put anything down with an empty hand, so what did she see me holding that frightened her so?"

    Can Cesarina see across time? Through realities? Was it something as simple as an overlay of 'what I could have done' versus 'what actually happened'? Or was it something more sinister? Cesarina was a strange person, and...

    Some secrets are only for yourself.

    I'm tired of secrets still. The ones I hold sit on my back like an anvil, dragging my spine upright to look Leuzinger in the eyes. What did Cesarina see in me, that made her so scared? I suppose in fairness I am... a bit terrifying. But it's not on purpose! That's what makes it fine! My Teacher said so, and he wouldn't lie to me, w-would he?

    I clicked my teeth, a frown starting to furrow my brow. This was starting to look like one of those godforsaken mysteries I've been hearing so much about.
    Last edited by Frantic Author; October 16th, 2020 at 08:18 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.


  19. #3299
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    “I guess it’s worth checking,” I nodded at Rachel, “Though I have a feeling that we’ll hardly see any of her in the coming days.”

    It was already thursday...which meant that some things were already set into motion, and the weekend was upon us now. Surely, she wouldn’t just sit around in a hotel room…

    But then, I wonder...what exactly has she done last week?

    “You don’t need people to check in daily to keep up their room reservations, do you?”

    I tilted my head slightly as I kept observing Rachel. I had no idea how hotels worked, but in my mind it would have made sense that they’d have some rules to prevent rooms from being reserved while there is no one staying in them.

    “Still, are there many other outsiders staying here at the hotel too then? I was meant to talk to some people, but...Suppose I’m bad at organizing, since I forgot to ask for some important details to find them,” I explained to Rachel, “There was, err...Carrie Lakes, then a man called Rosencrantz, and...err, for the last one, I don’t even have the name, unfortunately.”

    I scratched the back of my head awkwardly, trying to think back about the letter I found before coming here.

    The “X” sign was hardly a tell - it could have been nothing much at all, since the original receiver could probably tell who the sender was just based on the context, but…

    Well, there can’t be too many names that start with X, so if it has anything to do with that, then it shouldn’t be that hard to find.

    “The letter they sent was signed with an ‘X’, so that didn’t tell me much,” I continued my explanation to Rachel, “But from what I got, they must have been here for quite a few months now, if not more. Probably someone who is quite old...Must be well over their 50s, I think.”

    Knowing who the letter was for...I couldn’t help but create the mental image of a grumpy, old - but surprisingly fit - man with grizzled, unkempt hair for the sender. Probably accompanied by a lot of old fashioned, borderline weird stuff, considering how they were likely one of the old generation mages.

    “Maybe a man? Probably acting quite paranoid?”

    There was a bit too much guesswork involved here, so my hopes weren’t exactly too high regarding this matter.


  20. #3300
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Hypostatic Bar "Noumenon"
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Unknown

    Quote Originally Posted by Elise
    "Anyway, any sage bartenderly advice for a troubled student?"
    Philoclea, having finished her tasks for now, quietly put her hand on her chin and thought about the question, silent contemplation clear on her face. At the same time, the quiet music echoing from nowhere in particular had started to grow more and more quiet, perhaps announcing that the time for Elise's departure was approaching - perfectly timed with the amount of drink she had left in her glass. The purple neon lights glimmered in the dimly lit establishment like stars in the night sky, and for a moment, the whole place seemed to come to a halt as the inhuman woman formed her answer.

    And when she finally had done that, Philoclea's eyes locked with those of Elise.

    "Well, I suppose my advice would be the same as if you were a regular, normal patron of this establishment. Your troubles are your own, and a place beyond the waking world, sunk in the deep unconscious and populated by imaginary beings is hardly some place to rely on for proper answers. We are, if anything, a reflection of those who visit us - the only answers you'll find here are those that are already inside you, as it were," the bartender calmly replied, her husky voice strong and firm. "If you want true answers - answers that can help you beyond your own capabilities..."

    The expression on Philoclea's face turned into an encouring smile, like she had been a teacher watching over Elise, and knew that the brunette girl would do just fine out there if she tried.

    "... Well, just talk to other people. Confide in those around you, and those you feel you can trust," she continued. "As it is, people cannot do everything on their own. That's why there are others. So, as cliched as it may appear initially... going out and making a few friends is always helpful. And who knows? Even the strangest, or most stand-offish of humanity can have something important to offer if they are given a chance. Though, I suppose you already have an inkling of that. Something tells me you have seen the duality of man in action, and somewhat recently... at least from your point of view."

    Well, depending on what Philoclea meant, there might have been multiple memories that fit those words.

    "As for anything else, well..."

    Suddenly, a bit of a mischievous glint appeared in the bartender's eyes, and her smile widened.

    "--- As it is, we do serve something else than spirits here," Philoclea said, patting something under the desk. "We also have some macadamia nuts for those who want something salty to go with their cocktails~"

    Was she...

    Was she making a joke?




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "But really... I figured an heiress might at least have a maid to look after her, are all the servants guys? Everyone just older? ...Hmm, I might be needed more than I thought... Must not have had any mom cooked meals growing up either... That's no good... Although I'm a bit young to do the mom thing, maybe I could manage something if I had a kitchen..."
    Hawthorn snorted in amusement.

    "Well, there's certainly a pretty well-stocked kitchen if you want to give it a try. Of course, they also got a bunch of world-class chefs here, but hey - I'm sure the love you put into the food will make up for the difference in skill. Isn't that how it always plays out in stories?" he replied with a shameless grin on his face as the two passed by the tranquil pool. "As for little lady's servants, well... she's been taken care of by those who are in here. But, they're just employees, nothing more than that. Bossman is with her as much as he can, but he's a busy guy - enough to be a father in some comedy adventure film with a family-friendly aesop. Plus, you've seen how she is."

    Stopping for a moment at the edge of the pool, Hawthorne looked towards the distant back of Sierra, who had just stopped by one of the flowerbeds to show it off to Zee, bringing the cat close enough to sniff at the plants. The colourful mound of sage, zinnias and pink carnations spread everywhere, and each of the flowers had been given enough care that it had blossomed to its utmost. And while it was somewhat impossible to see it from the ground, judging by how the colours were arranged, it might have produced some sort of pattern when viewed from above.

    Like the second floor balcony that overlooked both the pool and the garden - and looked awfully like the balcony of the building's master bedroom.

    "Growing up like that, she thinks she's gotta be independent. Wants to handle everything on her own and not get help from anyone. That, and she's absolutely horrid at making friends," Hawthorne continued, before chuckling quietly. "... Not that there's many friends to make around here. From what I understand, there are no other girls her age in this whole town. So no wonder little lady feels alone. Because, well... she pretty much is."

    As simple as that.

    A girl like Sierra could hardly make any friends if there weren't any. Everyone around her was simply older than her, and there wasn't much that could be done about that.

    Sometimes things just were that way.

    "As for me, though..."

    Hawthorne's sudden voice interrupted the moment of silence. The tall man was still standing with his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, staring into the depths of the unmoving pool. This tranquil, it was hard to see that there was even any water in the pool, and had it not been for the few autumn leaves floating on the surface, it might as well have been just empty air.

    Well, autumn leaves and the sight of Hawthorne's reflection staring right back at him.

    "... It's nothing that glamorous. Or fun. Just... I had friends once. Hard to believe, yeah I know, but I did. Lots of friends," the man said, his voice more serious than it usually was - and quieter. "Well, they're not around anymore. The only one that's left is me. And even that's a bit suspect. How much of me is even left at this point, anyhow. But hey, that's life sometimes."

    Although he played it off with humour towards the end, there was a strong undercurrent of bitterness in his voice that he couldn't hide.

    "--- Yeah. That's just life."




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

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "Maybe that's my delusion?"
    "Hah."

    A weird sort of grin spread to Dorothy Canseliet's face as she heard Elaine's question. The inhuman doctor stared at both her and the boy next to her (who was still trying to recover from his accidental inhalation of water), one eye aimed at each of them. The expression on the woman's face was both amused but also... something else. Pity? Jeer? Elation? Mockery? It was truly hard to make out, and maybe that was the point. In that sense, it only strengthened the idea of how different this woman was from humans, to the point that even her facial expressions were strange.

    But her words weren't.

    "That's certainly a delusion you humans share. You can't leave well enough alone, you stubbornly stick to what you deem as right, you refuse to buckle when it'd be wiser to do so... your tendencies of 'doing the right thing' are borderline suicidal - especially for a race whose death is permanent once it comes. It would be funny if it also wasn't so sad," the doctor answered, grinning from ear-to-ear. "Though... I can't say I dislike that attitude. It makes you always so entertaining to watch! Struggling of the humanity is, in itself, like the greatest play of them all."

    A contemplative look appeared on Dorothy's face, almost as if she was remembering something.

    "How did he put it again...? Ah, yes," the doctor said, glancing outside through the window. "'All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.' A rather fitting metaphor, is it not?"

    She chuckled to herself. Meanwhile, 17 had apparently finally regained her bearings, as she looked at Elaine with a confused question in her eyes. Kean, on the other hand, was staring at the doctor with some sort of slight disbelief - like he had realized something but didn't exactly want to bring it up now, instead just quietly thinking about it and how absurd it sounded.

    Then again, absurd was a good term to describe this woman before them.

    "But in any case - I can treat the symptoms I can recognize now. Enhance her muscle growth and strengthen her body, so that the tiny little heart in her chest doesn't just give up altogether. Should be enough to let her function normally, as you do," Dr. Canseliet finally said. "However, unless I can run some more tests, or you bring me some more information, I don't think I can do anything more than that. Whatever's ailing this girl at a fundamental level is bigger than just some muscle atrophy and a weak body."

    The doctor's eyes were now focused on the girl still sitting on the bed, enjoying her tootsie pop.

    "Big enough that it makes even someone like me feel uneasy."




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

    "W-wait, I couldsn't possibly ask for---"

    Predictably, at the mere suggestion that she would choose something too caused Tris to grow as red as a tomato, and she hastily waved her hands to shoot down the idea. The flustered reaction could have been seen coming from a mile away, and in that sense, the blonde girl did not disappoint. If anything, judging by the look on her face, the girl had been dreading that something like this might come up, and now her worst nightmares were here.

    She had already, after all, had Colt pay for the meal at the diner.

    Perhaps the integrity of the knight's honour was at line here, what with her supposed charge wanting to pay for everything.

    "'T-Tis a very kind suggestioneth, but I-I art afraid I must refuseth!" Tris hastily replied. "T'wouldst not be right, p-plus I hath my sword alreadieth, and truth to be toldeth, I couldst not even useth most of othe weaponry displayeth here! S-so, while I art appreciativeth of the thought, I'm afraid I must declineth! Apologies!"

    The stammering response was comedic enough that it made even Frauke, who had been simply watching from the sidelines, burst out in laughter. The tiny shop-owner howled at the sight, which made Tris blush even harder and try to hide her face with her bangs and by staring at the floor. Indeed, despite her boisterous nature, perhaps this knightness was not that good with being the center of attention.

    Still, once she had recovered from her brief period of guffawing, the still-grinnng Frauke turned back towards Colt.

    "So this ammunition, plus Die Zauberflöte? You sure you don't wanna stock up on more slugs?" she asked, folding her arms and arching an eyebrow at the boy. "And if you can't find something that's just what you need right now, I can always plan something new with Dora. Lord knows she's been without a proper project recently, just twiddling her thumbs downstairs..."

    A somewhat dark look passed by the tiny shop-owner's face.

    "... And that's some thumb-twiddling, alright..."




    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Nurse's Office
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 08.09.1994 (THU)
    Weather: Overcast

    "......."

    Ronja Leuzinger did not answer immediately. Instead, she used her chair to scoot over to her desk and opened up one of the drawers. Eyes and expression quiet and stern, she took out some sort of form that she started to fill out. The only sound that filled the room for a while was Cesarina's ragged breathing, and the scribbling of Leuzinger's pen. Only once did the nurse stop her writing, glancing at Alexstrasza over her shoulder. Those eyes seemed to bore into the blonde girl, searching for something... and then, just for a moment, flit towards the empty hand she had showed. However, it didn't last long - just as quickly the older woman was once again writing.

    And that awkward silence continued for quite a while.

    All the way until Ronja Leuzinger had finished whatever it was she did, and set aside both the paper and the pen.

    "It might have been nothing - or it might have been something. A fear may have triggered Ms. Feroce's seizure, but I doubt that alone could have been the cause. Indeed, I doubt very much that you, Ms. Lockhart, could have done anything alone to bring about this reaction," Ronja finally spoke up, gesturing towards Cesarina. "So, first of all, I would advice you to put to rest any thoughts of being at fault for this, or your friend's plight in general. I'll listen to no such nonsense here."

    The glare that Ms. Leuzinger leveled at Alexstrasza was stern, accepting no "buts".

    "Still... an empty hand? I wonder..." Ronja muttered afterwards mostly to herself, rubbing her chin. "... The lesson today was mostly metaphorical, and meant to be nothing but a thought exercise, yet at the same time... oh rats."

    Heaving a little sigh, the nurse once again looked at Alexstrasza.

    "Ms. Lockhart, forgive me if this is a bit of a personal question, but..." her eyebrows furrowed. "Have you ever... been medicated? Back at your old school? Or rather, before you came to Pinefall. There's something we have here that might be able to help your situation and give you a clearer view, but it's not something I want to force on the students. The idea is that---"

    Suddenly.

    The door to the nurse's office slammed open.

    Hard.

    --- And someone strode in with all the swagger and confidence in the world.

    "Where is she?"

    The older woman seemed to pay no attention to Alexstrasza as she entered the room, filling the whole place with her presence. At the same time, her eyes passed by Ronja Leuzinger just momentarily, and even the question was thrown up in the air like she expected an immediate answer. The clothes she wore were like a military parade uniform, along with the rather ridiculous cloak that was set on her shoulders. In her left hand she was holding what could only be a rose, while the other... well, it was on her hips, just strengthening the assertive image of a noble, or perhaps a militaristic aristocrat, who had made an appearance.

    Ronja Leuzinger frowned at the sight of the woman, before catching herself.

    "... Right there, Ms. Stentato."

    The tall woman's eyes scanned the room, finally spotting Cesarina. A satisfied smile spread to her face... at least for a moment. It was gone just as fast when she finally laid eyes upon Alexstrasza - and certainly didn't seem to like what she was witnessing.

    "What is that doing here?" The woman named Ms. Stentato asked, pointing her elegant finger at the blonde. "You have an assistant now?"

    Ronja shook her head.

    "No, that would be the friend who found her like this, Alexstrasza Lockhart," she replied. "Ms. Lockhart, this would be the person I was referring to earlier..."

    The unknown woman turned towards Alexstrasza, gazing down upon her by the bridge of her nose.

    "--- Tiberia Stentato."

    The woman in question scoffed coldly.

    "Charmed, I'm sure," she said.

    New Person Met!





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

    "And older, possibly paranoid man..."

    Rachel tapped her chin with her finger, thinking about Hisa's description.

    "Well, I can't think of anyone off the top of my head right now... but that sounds like someone who'd be friends with my uncle. There are certain guests he handles personally, some of them staying in the VIP rooms where normal guests don't go," she explained, frowning at the idea. "That means they could be off the books, so to speak, but hmm... if we just had access to my uncle's personal records, I bet they'd show up there."

    Mercedes, who had been listening from the sidelines, arched an eyebrow.

    "Like, no offense or anything but man... you're getting into this, huh?" she asked with a wry grin. "It's only been a while, but like, you're already thinking of breaking into your uncle's secret books and whatevah. That's a bit of a fast leap to take, no?"

    Rachel blinked owlishly and in surprise at the comment... but soon enough, a slight blush spread to her face, and she awkwardly scratched her cheek while a sheepish giggle bubbled forth from within her.

    "W-well... I mean, it's been a while. Back in the day, me and my friends used to tackle all sorts of mysteries. We spelunked everywhere, from the abandoned sections of our school to the depths of Ghostwood - and anything in-between. I dunno, what with you guys showing that same gusto, bringing Eliya back, and finding all this..." A goofy sort of grin spread to Rachel's face. "... I guess it just feels like I'm back in those days - in a good way! I've been bored outta my mind in this town anyways, so feels good to get involved in something like this again."

    Gradient nodded at that, patting Hisa on the shoulder as if implying 'that's our leader, as usual!'.

    "Muuu~!" the strange girl exclaimed.

    Rachel chuckled in response, before gesturing everyone to follow her.

    "Anyways, we can talk while we walk. Let's have a look at those books, shall we?"

    With that, the group headed out old library, with Pyry (who had been rather quiet so far) closing the door behind him... after giving one look towards the secret trapdoor and the hidden room that laid beneath it. They settled into a brisk but calm walk, with Hisa and Rachel taking the lead, and everyone else trailing behind. As they walked, the redhead heiress continued her explanation from before, and answered the few questions Hisa had had.

    "When it comes to room reservations, as long as the customer's paid for the days upfront, we usually let them do as they like. The only 'check-up' we have is the daily room service and cleaning, but a customer can opt out of that if they so wish. Meaning that in a theory, if Angelica was here, she could have stayed cooped up in her room without any of the staff really noticing - other than the one who checked her in," Rachel explained while the group walked down the corridor. "I know, I know, we should probably move to modern times and get a computer to the reception, but eh..."

    She made a disgruntled face and shrugged her shoulders.

    "... My uncle's a complete blockhead, so his stubborness is our misery."

    Having aired some of her grievances, the girl then continued.

    "Still, if you're looking for specific people, I can certainly help with that. Our book-keeping, despite being old, is clear and concise, so it shouldn't take too long to find specific names," Rachel said with a confident smile. "Especially if we have a hunch about when they might have checked in."

    As the group reached the staircase and started climbing up towards the main floor, Pyry hastened his steps a bit and settled into a pace where he was right by Hisa's side. The boy had been silent for a while, and while his face was still a little pale, there was quiet, growing sense of determination in it.

    "... What do you think?" he asked quietly from Hisa. "If it really is Ange... what are we going to do? Are we gonna try talking to her? Capture her? Grill her for some answers?"

    With a bit of a miserable look peeking through in his eyes, the boy turned his head away and sighed.

    "I don't even know how I'm supposed to feel about the possibility..."

    It really seemed to be gnawing him up on inside.

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