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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3681
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Pyry nodded.

    "Yeah, things were starting to get a bit hairy back there, so peacing out seemed like the right choice," the tall boy agreed, before glancing towards Colt. "Plus, like Colt said - after he brought up that we might wanna check up on you, Gradient was all over the idea. So, well... here we are."

    He flashed a slightly mischievous grin at the boy, almost like saying he wasn't going to let him just sweep the events leading them here under the rug. Gradient might have been the driving force, sure (especially with how she was now sticking to Hisa while hovering between her and Colt), but the brunette boy had been more or less the instigator for this switch in scenery with his suggestion.

    As for Gradient? She just let out one of her odd, hiccup-like laughs - as if she was in on the teasing joke.

    Barney Keyhoe, on the other hand, gazed at the new arrivals with slightly suspicious eye, lowering his sunglasses to take a good gander at them before pushing them back on his head and making a little theatrical bow to introduce himself.

    "--- Indeed! The name's Barney, Barney Keyhoe! Reporter for Truthspeaker Monthly and a Warrior of Truth that drives away the darkness and lies that They try to cover the world in! You could even call me a, mmm, lightbringer if you want!" The pudgy reporter said in a grandiose way, before grinning smugly once more, this time towards Colt. "And you bet your hayseed, country boy - this place is rife with mysteries to unearth! Just now I was explaining to this young lady over here about the terrible, terrible tragedy that took place here twenty-one years ago... a truly sad thing, covered up by Them and the government! Robbing the truth from the common man and any chance the families had for closure! It's heinous... absolutely heinous!"

    Looking like he was actually pissed off about the idea of these families in question not getting their closure, Barney exhaled so hard that his nostrils flared up. Pyry exchanged rather concerned glances towards both Hisa and Colt, but decided against saying anything else, instead just listening.

    "Anywho~, like I was saying, young lady, you heard me right - I found the place where they decided to bury the biggest clue about what they were doing here! Hah, 'decommissioned due to lumber industry drying up' my ass... just one look at that old train yard made it clear! Such a mound of earth can't be normal, nor were the two bones I found in that dirt! I just know there are more under there but... ah, alas. In my search for truth, I've neglected the more 'base' aspirations of human beings, and have to say I got terribly winded by just digging with my hands," Barney continued his explanation. "I was even thinking of hiring an excavator, but where would I even find one... plus even if I got that, or a group of diggers, you'd have to act fast. After all, that was where I first saw... them."

    As if to prove some point of his, Barney pointed at his camera with a fierce glint in his eyes... blocked by his unnecessary sunglasses.

    "... The lights in the sky."
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; February 21st, 2021 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #3682
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “W-wait, Mercedes and Lucille…?”

    How exactly could things go south when they could finally talk? And just in such a short while, too…

    But Prushka and Ubon were still there, weren’t they? Surely, they wouldn’t give those two any rest until they found a solution to friendship and emotion related problems that was to their liking.

    An image of Prushka, Ubon, Lucille, Mercedes and the others present sitting around the cafeteria table, holding each others’ hands and sharing their emotions through Prushka’s power popped into my mind.

    An imagine that was responsible for the ghost of a smile on my face.

    I wouldn’t have been surprised if that was actually the case...even if I could not help but think that there was something fundamentally wrong about the method. And something disturbing, perhaps.

    “I’m sure they’ll be fine, one way or another.”

    Why was Mercedes so obsessed with Lucille, at any rate?

    Patting Gradient’s head, my attention turned back to Barney, who, having finished his introduction, started up on his theories again.

    A theory that made me think that perhaps he was just a bit too fast to jump to conclusions, what with assuming that he found all the bodies of the old students just because of two bones he stumbled upon.

    “That sounds rather sloppy in many ways, doesn’t it? Hiding in plain sight would be a good way to describe it.”

    Though, there was the other detail too. The one that made me raise an eyebrow before I opened my mouth to speak again.

    “And lights in the sky? Next thing you’re going to tell me that you saw the weird silver skinned people in their rubbery clothes and glass masks too?”


  3. #3683
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    A tabloid. That’s the kind of ‘Truth’ that a name like Truthspeaker Monthly gives off. Colt had to physically restrain himself from rolling his eyes. At the very least the fat guy was drawing attention away from Pyry exposing Colt’s embarrassing concern for others.

    He gave Pyry a look, a ‘yeah have fun while you can’ look. A ‘you missed, but I won’t’ look.

    But then things got grim with talk of finding buried bones.

    The look Colt was giving Pyry changed to one of mild concern as he shifted his attention toward Hisa.

    From the looks of things she was trying to play along without sounding deeply invested or that she believed everything wholeheartedly. Is that how people from the Turnside operate?

    Somehow he felt like with an enthusiastic tabloid gossip-sponge like this Barney, that wasn’t going to do much of anything. Unless the goal was just to get through the conversation with him. Then it seemed to be working just fine. The guy seemed completely ecstatic to talk at the group, rather than to them.

    “You saying you took pictures of these ‘lights’ in the sky?” Colt asked, referencing the way the man pointed at his camera when he mentioned them. “Care to share?”

    Knowing what he did about the area, it wouldn’t hurt to see what Barney Keyhoe had. Road’s End apparently had skeletons in the closet, and from the sound of things, the train yard might have skeletons in its soil.

    One more place he’d yet to visit. One that he previously only had mild thoughts about.


  4. #3684
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “You saying you took pictures of these ‘lights’ in the sky? Care to share?”
    "W-well of course! The sheeple can't be convinced unless I provide some hard, tangible proof!" Barney replied almost instantly. "Just a moment..."

    With that, he began to rummage through the pockets of his jacket - the one underneath his raincoat - while grunting loudly. Initially he produced what seemed to be nothing but useless knick-knacks, like multiple surprisingly cutesy handkerchiefs which certainly didn't fit his style, a small bottle of pills that looked to be aspirin, receipts from various food establishments all around the USA it seemed, and a half-eaten Snickers bar that must have resided within his pockets for multiple days...

    Still, eventually, he found the pictures he was talking about in one of his many pockets (thankfully not the one with the chocolate bar had been in) and shoved three of them in Colt's hands.

    Pyry and Gradient, and even Jake, all peered at the pictures over the boy's shoulders with mixtures of genuine curiosity and preparation to be not that impressed. And as the brunette boy gazed at them as well, he certainly could feel the latter feeling wash over his mind.

    ... As expected of a paranormal tabloid reporter, the photos were blurry at best.

    They showed what must have been the night sky, with very little in the way of illumination separating it from the forest below. The hands of the cameraman (who now stood there, smugly waiting) must have been shaking for the image itself to get this distorted, and he must not have had a steady footing in the first place. Indeed, one could barely make out that it was supposed to be a picture of the night sky, taken in the forest, in the first place!

    But then again... there definitely was something else in the pictures as well.

    It wasn't completely clear but those strange white marks... they were lights, weren't they? And definitely not street-lights, considering Road's End had basically none, and only at the center of the town. But these lights... they were like those wisps of illumination one saw when gazing at the overhead lights on a freeway that passed you by as the car drove on, leaving smeared trails in your retinas - only thinner. Like slightly curving or bending streaks of flash, streaming through the night sky. They were distant and they were small, but they... definitely were there.

    --- Tiny sources of strange light that didn't seem to belong.

    ... Perhaps shooting stars?

    "A-as for their occupants, I can't say if they were silver-skinned, greys, reptilians or Venusians... I-I, well, I high-tailed it outta there the moment after I snapped my pictures! But they were definitely there! Those skyfishes - or rods as some call them - were real! Not just something my camera caught! I even heard them... distant 'foosh', 'foosh', foosh'...!" Barney continued, wiping his forehead again and drumming his thigh nervously with his fingers. "I beelined towards the town itself, left the forest behind as fast as I could, but by the time I got to an area where it was safe... ah well, they were gone. Maybe they were just there to scare me off. Yeah, yeah, they must have known I was about to expose them...!"

    With one hand clenched into a fist, Barney struck a 'heroic' image... though his other hand still nervously drummed, betraying his brave moment.

    ... Or perhaps not.

    After all, Hisa could not help but to notice something. While it wasn't a loud sound, while rain definitely muffled it, and while no normal person would have picked up on it easily... her ears were suddenly perked up when she realized something strange.

    Barney's sausage-like fingers weren't drumming just randomly.

    No, they were making patterns.

    In other words... morse code.

    ... This guy was drumming his thigh in a morse code?

    And the message he was trying to get out...?

    ..............

    Not here. Not safe.




    Liana Skye
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "That's what I got. Strike any chords in you?"
    Ferguson nodded, though he stayed silent - as he had for the past few minutes. He had been listening on Liana's musings with clear focus, clear curiosity, taking in all that the girl was saying without interrupting her once. He was clearly the type to enjoy hearing other people ruminate, draw their own conclusions and make their theories. The type of older gentleman who would listen to any flight of fancy he heard with a smile, and take it seriously. Perhaps even encourage it, and in case of theories, nudge things towards the correct track if he thought he had a better answer.

    ... Perhaps a bit of a trickster-type mentor, if one were to put it in literary terms.

    "Hmm... perhaps! So if you happen upon a local folkloric creature, and a snappy dresser, you may hear the sound of someone who is not who you think it is? Perhaps this 'wendigo' you speak of, perhaps something else... but in any case, someone who fools you with their cry. But on the other hand, there might not be anyone there, and in the end, if was only you yourself who spoke to yourself... a trick that tricks the one who performs it. A form of deluding yourself? Making you believe in someone who actually isnt' there?" Scottie wondered aloud, stroking his chin deep in thought. "That is not a bad idea... but what it means, I certainly can't say. Maybe I should speak to someone more knowledgeable about the folklore of this region. Perhaps this university student you spoke of, though at the same time, hmm... I would bet my cane that the eldest of this town would know even more."

    With a bit of a chuckle, Agent Ferguson shifted his stance on his seat and lifted his back, now supporting himself with his cane. It was hard to say, but perhaps there was something wrong with his right leg. He definitely was being careful of it, and he even gripped his cane with his right hand, first and foremost.

    "That being said, it certainly gives a new spin on the other thing that this strange shoe-salesman said to me - this man who called himself Guildenstern," he continued. "After all, he said..."

    The paused for a moment.

    "'Just like a cuckoo's cry to other birds, names make us mistake strangers to loved ones.'"

    After repeating that, a somewhat subdued - yet still excited - grin broke through the face of this silver fox.

    "I have to say, it's starting to sound like quite the mystery novel, isn't it?"

  5. #3685
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "I have to say, it's starting to sound like quite the mystery novel, isn't it?"
    "A little bit!"

    She laughs.

    Of course, it's simply another mystery in a town full of mysteries, enigmatic words from a shoe salesman -this Rosencrantz- that she is beginning to believe she might just need to chase down at some point, but whose existence merely adds another notch on the web, someone she probably won't be able to get too in time, considering that time itself was quickly winding down to the apparent doomsday...

    What to do?

    Who to talk with?

    How to solve the problem in the time remaining?

    All questions that exist in the back of her mind from time to time, but ones that must not be allowed to linger for too long; splitting your attention amongst too many things would simply lead to solving nothing, but...

    I've always been a bit too curious for my own good, really...

    ...As always, she pushes those thoughts to the side for now.

    Focus on the current moment, and to that end:

    "So let's see, might as well analyze this one too... Names make us mistake strangers for loved ones."

    A pause.

    Bit of a depressing saying...

    But not a very long one, not nearly as long as her rumination on the earlier poem, because...

    This one simply seems more obvious at it's core.

    "That one... Well, names are a major part of how we identify others. If someone were to take the name of someone you were looking for, someone you were desperate to find and hadn't seen in awhile, it might be possible to trick them into believing you are that person... It's more than a little twisted, preys on people's emotions and is all around cruel, but... To give an example..."

    Her voice lowers slightly, and the arm she had been resting her head on returns to the table.

    "I haven't seen my mom in awhile, so if someone know who "Hikari Shouko" was, dressed up as her, learned enough of her mannerisms, it might be possible to trick me for a bit, I'd want to believe I found her after all, although..."

    A pause, as her expression darkens ever so slightly.

    "Looking at it a different way... Perhaps it's simply a way of saying that even loved ones can change over time? You knew someone a long time ago, parted ways, and then meet again say... Twenty years later. They still have the same name, they're still technically the same person, but would you be able to recognize them right away? People have a tendency to change over time, so if you stay apart for long enough, it's possible they could become a "stranger" to you, even if they were family once..."

    She shakes her head.

    It's simply an uncomfortable truth of connections, it's very possible for people to drift apart over time.
    Especially if you go your separate ways for awhile.

    "Although in that case, you simply have to find a way to reconnect once more... Although that's not always possible, I suppose."

    But family perseveres... Or at least it's supposed to...

    And with this, she sighs, straightens her posture once more, and...

    "...Is your leg hurting you, by the way? Do you need help standing?"
    Last edited by Airen; Today at 02:04 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  6. #3686
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Sheeple?

    Colt shot Barney a far from friendly look at his choice of word. He had something he wanted to say, but that thought got distracted as he watched the undignified display of Barney Keyhoe pillaging his own pockets. Junk, weird handkerchiefs, literal garbage, half-eaten chocolate…

    By the time the pictures were thrust into his hands, Colt was frowning at all of it.

    Before taking any grip of the pictures he checked the backs to make sure there wasn’t anything sticky on it that would get on his hands.

    Only after making certain that they were clean did Colt actually look at them.

    The boy from the South felt himself infected with a deeper disappointment than he was expecting.

    Dark, blurry, shaky photographs that wouldn’t convince anybody with even the slightest bit of healthy skepticism in their heart. It took a few seconds of analyzing to even recognize what he was looking at as a picture of the night sky, and only after he managed to reach that conclusion did he even start to think about the key details.

    Those being the streaks of light that the photographs appeared to have captured streaking across the sky.

    About two weeks ago he probably would have just considered the pictures fake, some sort of elaborate setup to go with whatever hoax he planned to write up in his little tabloid. Knowing that there existed a supernatural world adjacent to his own daily life tinted his view on the pictures. Especially if the photos were taken in Road’s End, a place neck-deep in the Turnside…

    “Sheesh,” holding the photos in his left hand Colt flicked the corners with the fingers of his right hand dismissively. “If I’m a sheeple, you’re a clown, man. Fooshing lights in the sky spooked you so hard you couldn’t get a single decent shot?”

    The contents of the photos or how much Barney might know didn’t change the fact that he’d decided to make his first impression by calling Colt a sheeple.

    The boy pushed the photos back to the man.

    “Dig up a coyote’s snack out on the train tracks and think you’ve found a mass burial site, spot some shooting stars and he thinks he’s been visited by men from Mars. Yeeeaah,” Colt turned to Jake. “I think Mr. Keyhoe here should leave. Mr. Oceandrop wouldn’t appreciate sleazy tabloid snoops hanging around here.”
    Last edited by Spinach; February 22nd, 2021 at 10:19 AM.


  7. #3687
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria - Milton's Letter
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Elise Pelltier

    "Uh, hello? Er, wait. Is this thing on?"




    Prushka

    “Yep!”

    The response comes immediately, highlighting something odd. Compared to what one might imagine as traditional telepathy, the clear transfer of thoughts from one mind to another, this particular connection feels… primitive. Elise does not receive Prushka’s response as words; instead it takes the form of a clump of feelings that she is suddenly aware of, which her mind instinctively recognizes as not belonging to her. Feelings of affirmation and acceptance, rough broad strokes which when taken together form a fuzzy ‘yes’.

    Presumably, her own probes were received and interpreted the same way. That is; the uncertainty, anxiety, and curiosity beneath the words.

    Even after the ‘yes’ fades away, the awareness remains. The awareness of a faint, fuzzy mess beside her that her brain tries to interpret in many ways; as colours, temperatures, shapes, sounds, and even smells. A temporary sixth sense that doesn’t quite fit.

    “Think of yourself as a lake,” a subsequent thought comes through from Prushka, tinged in reassurance. Unformed, fuzzy, it paints a pastel picture in her mind that is eventually understood as words, like an amateur translation of a foreign language or a caption to a painting written for the blind. “Your surface feelings, those hidden beneath, and the ones that sit at the bottom. The currents flow, changing things, bringing sentiments up and burying others deeper. They’re emotions, not thoughts. The stuff out of which thoughts are made, I guess. All I’ve done is create a river between us. It’s shallow, so… only what’s on the surface will pass through. You can also control what you send, to an extent, or break it at any time.”

    There is a pause, as Elise senses the feelings in the other lake churning, into… concern. An image of a familiar face.

    “Are you worried about Lucille?”




    Elise Pelltier

    The lake metaphor was helpful. Water, tides, currents, the ebb and flow. That was something that was easy for Elise to wrap her head around. Her mind was just a nice, calm, peaceful lake with something lurking in its depths watching intently with its innumerable eyes.

    Maybe it wasn't as quite as peaceful as she'd like to imagine it to be.

    She felt Prushka's concern for Lucille as it coalesced into a thought.

    Elise sent an affirmative response along the shallow river between them.

    Two images appeared, one of the scene Elise was looking at right now, of a sulking Mercedes West hovering around Lucille, and another of Lucille slumped against a wall in the dormitory kitchen eating from a container of ice cream.

    "Yes, I'm worried about Lucille. Both right now, and in general," replied Elise.

    A swift series of images flowed by, one of Sakura and Elise talking to each other alone in a dark and dreary classroom, another of Lucille, Sakura, Subaru and Tonkori conversing with her in her dorm room, Lucile talking to Elise by the fountain late at night, images of Jake, Tommy, the person on the front cover of End of the Road: A Guide to Road's End and its History stitched together into a single image, Remington Hartley's gravestone (1971-1987), an image of a handsome doctor wearing cowboy boots with a comatose patient, and a picture of End's Mercy Hospital.

    "Sakura and I are trying to help Lucille with a problem of hers. Lucille suggested asking you for help with part of it. She trusts you. There's someone at the hospital who might be able to help us, but he's in a coma right now. Samuel Lowgate, he was part of Pinefall's last class, right before the school was shut down. They ran into a monster in the forest. One of them was killed, but he was injured by a monster in the forest, and was hospitalized. He's been at End's Mercy Hospital ever since then. Do you think you might be able to help him?"

    An image of Gradient and some strange writing scrolled by.

    "Lucille's following another lead right now."




    Prushka

    Elise can sense her message sparking turmoil. The lake that is Prushka is disturbed by the revelations. Confused. Curious. Overwhelmed. Weary. Unsure. All in turn and at once, as the water churns and emotions clash against each other. She clearly had no idea about the majority of what Elise had shared. What familiarity is there is apparent: there is an echo of another moment, of hands held, of Lucille’s arms wrapping around her shoulders as tears are shed and a traumatic story is shared. A story of death, of violence, of Subaru, and more. In addition, there is a feeling that says “Really?” as if more is being piled onto an already overfilled plate.

    It takes more than a few seconds to receive something resembling a definite response. During that time the water slowly settles. At one point Prushka even distracts herself from deep thought; the crunchy sound of her chewing on a piece of bacon transmits to the lake as contentment that smooths out rough patches, stabilizing the surface of the water. She looks around the table, eyes brushing over the others sitting there. Faint feelings pop up on each one; respect for Mercedes, worry for Colt, awe for Tris, ironclad trust for Hwan, desperate affection for Ubon, and heartache when passing over Pyry and the place where Hisa had been sitting. Finally her gaze returns to her plate.

    “I don’t know if I can help this Samuel Lowgate,” is Prushka’s response, tinged with regret and uncertainty. The scenario she’s being asked to aid in is an unfamiliar one. There are no tools in her repertoire she knows would help a man who’s been in a coma for several years.

    A pause. For a moment the lake is still.

    Then Prushka looks up. At Bacon Mountain. The sight of the impossible obstacle that no human being could possibly eat by themselves fills her with determination.

    “But I’ll try.”

    Her gaze turns to Lucille in the real world, who is currently in the middle of what looks to be an awkward discussion with Mercedes West.

    “...should we help her here, too? You’re friends, right?”




    Elise Pelltier

    More memories rushed by. Elise filled with fear and dread only for it all to be suddenly replaced by immense relief when Lucille answered. Lucille was eating ice cream while Elise scrubbed her hands and then made sandwiches for them in the dormitory kitchen. Lucille and Elise conversing together at night by the fountain. Lucille and Elise walking to the Store's End and Post with John Dove. Lucille and Elise together in her dorm room while waiting for others to join them. While the memories ran a gamut of emotions: fear, sadness, sorrow, relief, and joy, but Elise was always glad that Lucille was there even if she often wished for better circumstances.

    "She's a friend of mine too. We've got a lot in common-"

    An image of Prushka, Vier, and Hisa together flashed by.

    "-and I've been thankful for her support, but…"

    The lake that was Elise fell silent for a moment as it considered how to express herself. Ultimately a feeling of wistfulness and regret emerged.

    "...we haven't really had a chance to talk about anything other than business, which is understandable given our circumstances, but I think that Lucille has a hard time taking time for herself."

    An image of a wounded Mercedes in the Girl's Locker Room, and an anatomical model skeleton in Lucille's closet.

    "She blames herself for a lot of things that aren't her fault, so I'm not surprised that she's been avoiding Mercedes after last week…"

    In the real world, Elise glanced back to Lucille and Mercedes with trepidation. She made a mental note to join forces with Mercedes and conspire against Lucille with her. For friendship.

    An image of a spaceship orbiting a planet, the U.S.S. Enterprise. It observed the inhabitants of the planet, studying them, but did not interfere in their development.

    "I want to do something, but I'm not sure if interfering here would be a wise choice on our behalf, or a welcome one. We should probably keep an eye on them for now, see how Mercedes reacts, and interfere only if necessary, or an opportunity presents itself."

    A memory of Mercedes, wearing a much more practical white turtleneck, cargo pants, and a black jacket with a fur-lined hood. She placed her hand on Lucille's shoulder and gave her an encouraging pat before they parted ways. Unmistakably sad that her friend had chosen not to renew her friendship with the starlet.

    Afterall, hadn't she done the same? The only difference being that Mercedes didn't remember the circumstances under which they met each other.

    An image of the wounded Mercedes returned, this time surrounded in a warm, soft glow as her wounds began to heal.

    "I've got some healing power myself, but I'm not sure if it'll be enough to help Samuel."

    Memories churned just beneath the surface of the lake that was Elise, but went no further. They stayed there because they were not the sort of thing one would want to think about at breakfast. Failure and the inability to save herself and others. Miraculous healing powers were great, and yet, somehow, never quite enough.

    The lake settled for a moment, as Elise considered the next part. She considered the mountain of bacon looming over them and wished all her problems were so delicious. It considered what Prushka had shared of her. She was Lucille's friend too. She knew of her sorrow and pain. She knew of the fate of the Other Subaru. She'd agreed to help. She should know the rest.

    She should know what exactly she was getting herself into.

    The lake that was Elise apologized for the unpleasant knowledge it had to share, and increasing the load on her plate with something so unpalatable. A warning for what trouble may lie ahead and the full scope of Lucille's problems.

    The surface of the lake that was Elise began to boil as another image emerged. Anger and frustration bubbled forth along with sympathy and fear as the image took form. It was Lucille, surrounded by ashes, seemingly unaware of the crimson shadow looming behind her, hanging over her, with its hand wrapped around her throat, seeking to strangle her.

    "Lucille's being haunted by the spirit of an old comrade of hers. He blames her for his death, and claims that she betrayed and abandoned him, even though she did nothing of the sort. It wants her to suffer, and drive her to misfortune," warned the lake that was Elise.

    An image of the Other Subaru from the previous week, by the yew tree. A blanket shrouded figure lay nearby. The Other Subaru was filled with rage, ready to lash out at the first target that presented itself. It was paired with a counterpoint, a more optimistic memory of the current Subaru and Lucille in Elise's dorm room. Lucille sitting on the edge of Elise's bed, and Subaru, holding her hands, as she forgave her for her actions against her counterpart from the previous loop.

    "He's the one who set the Other Subaru against Lucille last week, and set up their tragic encounter. The current Subaru (Crazy Hairs) has already encountered his spirit."

    Another memory of the Other Subaru and Elise by the yew tree. The memory of a tense conversation between the two of them, and a sudden violent impulse to do harm to her.

    "We're pretty sure it tried to get me to hurt Subaru and help set her against Lucille."

    The lake that was Elise sighed as the steam rose up from it, and it began to cool.




    Prushka

    “Fuuuuuuuuuuu.”

    The emotion of ‘anger’ is easy enough to recognize. It’s one Elise is feeling a bit of herself, after all. This particular flavour of it is even more familiar than usual.

    Yes, the other lake is steaming as well. And that steam is forming an image. A girl with her arms crossed, nails dug in, expression caught between a frown and a grin.

    Righteous fury.
    A white-hot anger born of certainty. Of faith, in most cases. Of knowledge that a wrong has been committed and there is strength and will aplenty to correct it. A burning desire to smite evil.

    “I see.” The images, the impressions that Elise had sent over are recreated as Prushka sorts through them. They are different. Not twisted, but reinterpreted; this form of telepathy cannot be called precise. What comes out is a dramatized, fairy-tale-like narrative. “So Lucille Faraday is a nice girl, who feels guilty about things that aren’t her fault and tries to hide her own feelings for the sake of others. This mass of regrets and resentment twisted that gentle Subaru for its own purposes, and now it’s trying to do the same...”

    The image of Lucille that had existed in Prushka’s heart was vague. It had merely been that of ‘a girl who was kind to me, and seems to be a bit too humble’. Now that image is being redrawn in real time, using the new pigments provided by Elise. In the end, she ends up looking quite saintly. Almost as saintly as Subaru, who is even closer to Prushka’s heart.

    “Haha. As expected of a human!”

    Anger is usually something to be feared, a weapon that unnerves the wielder as much as it does the opponent. But this anger is familiar. Comfortable. Paired hand-in-hand with confidence. An indignant blade Prushka has wielded all her life, against any awful humans unfortunate enough to provoke it.

    “Alright, Elise. I’ll give you a two-for-one. First, convincing this would-be saint to stop smothering her own feelings. Then we’ll see about giving a ‘spark’ to Mr. Sleeping Beauty and getting him out of bed. I’m no healer, but I’ve been told I’m loud enough to wake the dead.”

    In the real world, Prushka hands over her notebook to Colt Davin. A move she herself considers risky, but the confidence in her heart urges her to make anyway.

    “And then… well.”

    A bit of impish curiosity.

    “I’ve always wanted to punch a ghost.”

    The anger hardens into resolve. Now it’d be almost impossible to talk Prushka out of this mission, compared to the earlier goal of convincing her to join in.

    Still, an image forms again. Of a small, smiling girl with way-too-fluffy hair.

    “Subaru’s in on this, right? I wanted to protect her, leave her out of the mess. She was nice to me… but if she’s involved, then we ought to talk to her too. Maybe move to her table?”




    Elise Pelltier

    A memory of Prushka shielding her from an oncoming intercontinental ballistic missile.

    "Ah! Thank you very much, Prushka! Your help is much appreciated."

    A memory of Elise, and Lucille in Elise's dorm room. There's a quiet knock on the door. Elise answers it, revealing Sakura and a nervous looking Subaru on the other side. Elise motioned for them to enter.

    "Subaru's in the loop on this, we talked to her last night. She knows about Lucille, and we told her about last week, and… what happened to the Other Subaru."

    The memory of a tense moment between Elise and the Other Subaru by the yew tree surfaced again. It shifted to some time before that. Elise had fallen asleep on the couch in the Dormitory Common Room. She was slowly waking up as a wistful and forlorn song played on the PA when suddenly Subaru's scream tore through the haze, and Elise was suddenly very, very awake as she stumbled off the couch and raced towards the source of the scream. Finally, she replayed the memory of Lucille sitting on the edge of Elise's bed, and Subaru, holding her hands.

    "Subaru didn't approve of what the Other Subaru did, but understands what might have set her on that course. I think we're on track for avoiding that particular tragedy," said the lake that was Elise as she thought about the Subaru that is, "She knows the true nature of the spirit that's been haunting Lucille, and it was Cesarina's death that pushed her over the edge. I don't think he'll be able to manipulate her like that again. I'm feeling hopeful that we've managed to avoid that particular tragedy."

    Had they? She wasn't sure, but she felt confident that Alexstrasza would protect her friend.

    An image from a cartoon. A group of teenagers chasing a ghost. Or, possibly, a group of teenagers being chased by a ghost. It was hard to tell.

    "Punching a ghost can be difficult, since most ghosts are imperceptible most of the time. Unless you've got some sort of supernatural power that lets you see ghosts and spirits-"

    An image of the wild haired Subaru appeared.

    "-or an item of some sort that lets you detect them, you pretty much have to wait for them to show themselves. That only happens if they want to let you see them, or if there's a behavior or action they're forced to repeat because of whatever unfinished business is keeping them from moving on to the afterlife. Which can make punching them very, very difficult."

    Maybe if you just swung wildly at the air repeatedly? You'd probably hit something eventually.

    "While punching the spirit haunting Lucille would be immensely satisfying, there's an extra complication. You see…"

    An image of a white tower with a baleful light shining at its peak as it stood by the ocean began to take shape, but was immediately washed away by images of a great sailing ship, underground caverns, a group of three explorers climbing down the mouth of an extinct volcano and into the depths of the Earth, a subterranean sea, and a plesiosaur. A memory of Elise in a library staring at a book, feeling distressed, and confused as she wasn't able to make any sense of it because she hadn't slept in days.

    "That's nothing but a mash-up of different stories about exploring some vast underground world. Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery, Voyage au centre de la Terre... This doesn't make any sense, but…"

    The lake that was Elise found itself utterly fascinated by whatever weird story Tristellia was living in and was clearly radiating such.

    With Tris' assumption that Prushka was some sort of underground pygmy, another memory of the lake that was Elise came to the surface. Elise and Travis together in the rain. Travis explained that he called Elise a chipmunk because she had brown hair, was small, squeaked a lot, and stuffed her face with food.

    "I'm so sorry, Prushka," apologized Elise, feeling sympathetic to her plight.




    Prushka

    “.........”

    No words are needed to describe what Prushka is feeling right now. Not in the least because, in the physical world, she is trembling like a leaf in the wind and slowly deflating like a balloon that’s just had a hole poked in it.

    It’s difficult to lie through a connection like this. One would need to be able to control their emotions, no easy feat for a human. So rather than a simple “thanks, Elise, but it’s fine”, the impression Prushka sends over is more of a tired “it’s not fine”.

    It’s not fine that this strange big-boobed girl is so clearly making everything up, nor that she’s seemingly swallowing her own lie. It’s not fine that her accidental barb stings more than it should; images flash by of growing disappointment and dread, staring at a medical growth chart, watching as the line that should’ve been steadily going up stays horizontal as years pass by.

    But in a sense, it is fine, because these feelings are rather dull. Cool, even. Not something that would get her really mad or anything. Accepting the offered sympathy, Prushka prepares to deliver a cold lecture - before a notebook is returned to her, and she looks into it, and Elise is flooded with giddy joy.

    “He knows! Colt knows!” The wave of good feelings immediately drowns out any sadness, and the waters shift and churn again.

    Temperamental. Even by most normal standards, the girl with whom Elise is conversing is the kind who is all-too-influenced by whatever she happens to be feeling at the moment. Her mood swings from happy to sad and back in an instant.

    “We’ll form a team!” she shouts jubilantly, as she boisterously matches Tris’ boasts. A team in matching uniforms, maybe piloting a -zord of some sort. “Subaru and Colt can join in! And Lucille! And, and then we’ll kick that Disembodied Man’s-!”

    The sound of a hand slamming on the table blasts away the girl’s short-lived happiness.

    “Oh no.”

    A heartbeat passes.

    “Oh no.”

    Lucille retaliates in kind, and panic sets in.

    “Oh no no no no no.”

    Once more the mood shifts. Plummets. The lake that is Prushka shakes with each word as if there’s a hurricane nearby.

    She sends over something, and here the limitations of this strange ESP become clear. Because it doesn’t match up in the slightest. In the land of emotions, it’s difficult to lie, even to yourself.

    “This has to happen,” Prushka tries to say, but the feeling that comes through is “This cannot continue.”

    The mind and the will say one thing. The heart reaches for another. The end result is chaos.

    Images flash by. Desperate recollections of desperate times. Pyry storming off from a group, Hisa tearfully chasing after him. Ubon’s face twisted by rage and sadness, a fist flying towards her face. A bloody snowstorm from which emerges a creature that cannot be comprehended.

    “They shouldn’t have been friends in the first place. They live in different worlds.” Prushka tells Elise. “How we feel about it can’t matter. Lucille is doing the right thing.”

    But what she really means is: “It matters. It matters! Their feelings matter more than anything! Lucille’s acting like a big dumb idiot! She’s not thinking about how Mercedes feels at all! We can’t let things get worse! We have to help! I don’t know how, but we have to!”

    No, even more than that. As shirts are seized, words are said, and the tension rises rapidly towards the breaking point, the fuse approaching the point of no return and no one able to put it out, and the connection wavers and wobbles, one wish comes through:

    “I don’t want her to cry again-!”




    Elise Pelltier

    The giddy joy she felt from Prushka was gone in an instant. Her own fascination and horror at whatever strange reality Tristellia Sem Zoirvit hailed from was forgotten. The words of a sneering voice that whispered in her ear as it watched Lucille from the darkness rippled through the lake, like a shark just beneath the surface.

    That girl is haunted by a vengeful spirit - it hangs upon her shoulders like a crimson shadow, always trying to strangle her, always driving her to misfortune. Before she deals with it, everything she touches will turn to ash. Everything.

    Worry, fear, and frustration swirled in the lake that was Elise. A pang of regret at relaying those words to Lucille gripped her. Lucille had clearly taken them to heart. Sakura, staring at her hands in an empty, dimly lit and silent classroom. Silent despite the rain pounding incessantly on the windows. Her hands curled into fists. The memory of Mercedes and Lucille, together, as Mercedes gave Lucille an encouraging pat before they parted ways, never to meet again, returned to her mind. It grew more painful the longer she dwelled on it. The memory of an injured and scarred Mercedes, struggling to breath. Mercedes grabbed Elise and gave her a grateful, once-in-a-lifetime hug. Elise, in the forest, struggling to stand as the shadow of an armoured colossus loomed over her as she told Mercedes to run. Lucille, John, and Elise walking to the End's Store and Post.

    The memory of Vivienne wearing an venetian mask with gold and silver engravings and decorated with colourful feathers. She tells a tale of Alex Terrot, and her quest for the truth, which led her only to madness and her doom, only this time Mercedes plays the role of the investigator.

    "Oh, no. She thinks she can save her by avoiding her, or driving her away, but if anything she's doing the opposite."

    Prushka's one wish rang out clearly to her through the shallow river that connected them. She returned the sentiment. Lucille had shed enough tears for herself and others.

    Lucille and Elise were in the locker room. Fear gripped Elise's heart as Lucille introduced herself. She told her everything braced herself for an admonishment that never came, much to her relief. She felt like she'd been drowning and someone finally tossed her a rope. Elise and Lucille together in the dormitory kitchen. Elise was making sandwiches. There was a light of conviction that returned to Lucille's eyes as they promised each other to make sure that no one else has a bad night like theirs.

    "I don't want her to cry again either," agreed Elise.

    Although I'm sure we all still have plenty of tears left to shed before this is all over.

    With that, Elise stood and-

  8. #3688
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    As Barney - after what seemed to be an eternity of searching through the contents of his seemingly endless pockets - handed over some of the photos he took, I could not help but look a little disappointed. Though, to begin with, I did not expect all that much from hastily taken photos of rapidly moving objects in the middle of the night.

    Yes, I should have taken a wholly different approach to this to begin with.

    Passing the photos along, my eyes lock onto Barney, and I reach out towards his mind.

    And as he talks, his thoughts resonate with his words in my mind, supplementing them with even more detail in the form of images and other sensations. Images that, being the products of his thoughts and memories, are much clearer than what he could ever take with a camera. There, a similar scene shows, as he gazes upon the night sky, and strange lights streak through it in rather well defined directions, one after another. A fact that certainly made them feel unnatural. Unfortunately, that was about as much I could make out - whether or not the image was clear, it was still too dark and the things were still too far.

    Still, at the very least, it convinced me that he wasn’t just talking nonsense.

    The same could not be said about Colt, however.

    He seemed to be quite skeptical, not to mention openly hostile towards the reporter. Of course, I could very well understand the sentiment. Was it not for his usefulness, I would likely treat him quite differently as well.

    But if I had to choose between interacting with a conceited reporter for some tabloid and letting information that could help us avert a great tragedy slide, then it was obvious what I was going to pick.

    The harsh words that Colt threw at Barney sparked up his mind as he was reminded of the events once more. The night sky, followed by the sight of the large, now grassy mound he was standing in front of. The great effort as he started digging into it, deeper and deeper, until he spotted something. Bones that very much resembled human bones in size and shape. Legs or arms, perhaps. But before he could dig any deeper, he gazed up at the sky again, and then the lights appeared.

    There were also some other thoughts. He was worried that we would be overheard, that cameras were watching. He was worried that we wouldn’t notice the message he was trying to convey with his tapping.

    In our defense, it really was hard to hear it in this rain. Besides, if someone had the ability to overhear us even with the heavy rain masking the sounds, they would likely notice his coded message too.

    In the end, the best I could muster was a blank expression at the turn things were starting to take.

    “Come on Colt, there’s no need to be so harsh. It’s a surprise that he had the presence of mind to take a picture in the first place. Would you even have done that if it were you snooping around some shady place in the middle of the night, getting spooked by strange lights?”

    After contemplating for a moment, I reached into my backpack and pulled out my notebook and a pen. Then, after flipping to an empty page, I started scribbling at a fast pace.

    “Besides, I’m sure we can come to an agreement with Mr. Keyhoe and have him leave the school alone for now. I mean, it would seem that there are plenty way more interesting things to investigate out there, instead of just taking photos of debatable legality of the school and infuriating many in the process.”

    Having finished writing, I turned the notebook around and pushed it towards Barney along with the pen. At the same time, still connected to his mind, I gave it a careful nudge, so as to make sure that he can make sense out of things.

    “Wouldn’t you say so?” I asked, with my gaze resting on the reporter once more.

    The message:


  9. #3689
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Kitchen
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "I've got it! I just won't let them die!"
    Potemkin returned that new-found conviction with a lopsided grin.

    "Well well. That certainly sounds like a tough job. Not something just any old bloke could do," she replied, cackling. "Good thing that you're strong, then. For once in your life, you have something you can actually use that strength of yours for. Just like those you tried to emulate. They all became strong for a reason - because they wanted to do something they couldn't while weak."

    Her arm raised.

    Her finger raised.

    And it was pointed straight at the blonde girl.

    "--- Guess this is finally yours!"

    The mood of the room had changed almost completely. Gone was the oppressive atmosphere from before, the thorny words of Potemkin shredding the past and the choices made, the flames and their dancing shadows, even the argument that was the crux of this all. Instead it had been replaced with a new sort of light, a flare-like beacon in the darkness, a new fire that had erupted from the smoldering embers that everything had been reduced to... and in that light, it was possible to see a new path leading forward. A path that led to somewhere completely unknown, and very unlike the straight and unchanging road that had been walked before. This road was twsting dirt path that had no guarantees and no one could say where it led...

    ... But it was a path that Alexstrasza Lockhart hadn't even considered before.

    "Just keep that determination, and you'll go further - beyond what you've seen now. Didn't that scaly one say it, back in the day? This sort of thing is the type of strength you can't get from books, no matter how much you study. So let loose a little and instead of running away, charge right into the heart of the storm... and maybe, just maybe, that'll break down these barriers around me, too," Potemkin laughed and laughed. "A-ha-ha-haa~! That'll be a day! When there's nothing for me to embody, and you've taken it all back to yourself! Guess that'll be the rebirth of a whole new Alexstrasza Lockhart!"

    With laughter still on her lips, Potemkin pressed a finger against her chin and snickered, looking at the blonde girl in a weird way.

    She was still the same sort of mocking, teasing monochrome creature... but the tone of it certainly felt different.

    "... Who knows? Keep that attitude up and stop treating those you want to keep alive like they're alien creatures, and maybe you'll need some of this stuff pretty soon," she said, sounding like she was looking forward to something. "'Cause the way I see it, if you head out for that 'date' this afternoon while in this mindset..."

    A predatory smile appeared on Potemkin's face, wide as ever.

    "--- That thug-life boy won't know what hit him!"




    Liana Skye
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "...Is your leg hurting you, by the way? Do you need help standing?"
    Ferguson simply smiled.

    "No, that is quite alright. But thank you, my dear."

    With that, he finally stood up from his seat, using his cane masterfully to fix his balance while being slightly careful with his right leg. It clearly wasn't a case where he didn't want to put too much pressure on it, but stayed careful of it all the same... perhaps an old wound? One that would still hurt if he put his foot down properly? Well, whatever the case, he was capable of getting around quite fine even with a cane. It was hard to say what his age was, considering the man had aged like a fine wine, but he seemed rather spry still. Still, the agent threw on his coat, straightened it, and then turned back towards the girl.

    "Still, I'm afraid this is where I must leave you. Work calls, and you've certainly given me a lot to think about, and lot to do. Indeed... whether it's a case of mistaken identity, or how people change... I'm starting to think that that shoe salesman might be worth interviewing again. Among other things. I swear, the more I look into this, the stranger this case - and this town - are starting to feel," Scottie said. "You'd do well to keep your wits about you too, my dear. And as I said, no unnecessary risks. I've heard enough regarding the Oceandrop Program, including the fact that the students seem to be quite daredevils when it comes to certain stuff... just keep a cool head when needed. And don't be afraid to question things and think them through. When you shine a light upon something the second time, it might show itself, well, in a different light."

    He chuckled a bit at his joke, and left some money on the table to pay for his breakfast. Then he started making his way towards the lobby.

    Only to turn around after a few steps.

    "For example, I wonder..."

    He paused, clearly hesitating to put his thoughts into words.

    "Considering what we just talked about..."

    Yet, he eventually did exactly that.

    "... Was the body we found on the beach Elizaveta Vyraj in the first place?" He muttered. "And not just someone who looks like her...?"

    And with that, FBI Special Agent Ferguson said his warm goodbyes and started making his way out of the dining area.




    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Barney Keyhoe squinted at the piece of paper that had been given to him, looking at it like he had initially no idea what it was supposed to be. Jake and Pyry seemed to echo his confusion, as they exchanged quizzical glances. However, thanks to the man's own deductive abilities and a helpful nudge from another mind now linked to him, in just a short few moments a sort of dawning realization shone through his sunglasses. In that moment, it was like the man had found a new toy... no, nothing as crude as that - it was like he had found a new sibling, someone who shared his enthusiasm in finding out the mysteries of the world. And that someone was none other than Hisa Momoi. Of course Barney quickly hid that expression behind his usual smugness as he stuffed the paper into his pocket (along with everything else), but when he turned back to the group, there was a hint in his tone that his impression of them had changed.

    "W-well, well, you're right, I suppose! I've gotten my fair share of pictures and, as said, I'm a law-abiding citizen! I don't want to take pictures of youngsters just trying to enjoy their school-life! I think I can leave it alone for now, as you suggested," the man said, grinning slightly, before changing his attention to Colt. "And what comes to you, rude young man, I'll have you know that photography is surprisingly hard when you're about to be assaulted by extraterrestrial lifeforms! I'd much rather avoid getting probed or having microchips implanted into my skull, thank you very much! The fact that I got any pictures at all was a miracle!"

    The mention of probing seemed to amuse both Pyry and Jake quite a bit, as they held back barely hidden snickers. Still, Barney either didn't care or didn't hear them - instead, he pushed forward, attention now back to Hisa. Gradient, on the other hand, kept looking at all that was happening with a sort of confusion that small children often got when their parents talked about things that went way over their heads.

    Not that some of the stuff this sunglasses-wearing man spoke didn't go over everyone's heads.

    "There's much to do, after all! I have yet to interview a certain kind old lady who promised me an exclusive earlier this week! Why, she's one of the oldest residents here, so if anyone knows about the truth - the real truth - around here, it must be her. There's especially a certain picture I want to get her opinion on... one of the bigger possible scoops, if it turns out I'm right," Barney continued. "Why, I'd say it's even bigger than those silvery ghosts that they say are coming from Mt. Rainier! I bet they're after the stolen tech, why else would they be here? Hiding in the shadows and only moving at night, then congregating underneath that big neon sigh of a restaurant... bah, just gives me the shivers, thinking about it."

    Even though he was wearing his sunglasses, it was clear that the man was giving Hisa a big old wink behind them - so unsubtle it was almost comical. Perhaps this was his idea of being sneaky even though Hisa had tried to imply there was no need to... but at the very least, he had pivoted his opinion on what topics he could discuss, at least for now.

    "That being said..."

    Barney suddenly looked a bit nervous - properly nervous - as he glanced around campus grounds in the rain. He paid special attention to woods, scanning their perimeter as if to see if someone was there. Then, only after making sure of... whatever he was making sure of, he turned back to the group as a whole and lowered his voice.

    "... Has any of you heard of a person named Indrid Cold wandering around town? Asking questions?"

    --- Where did this come from?

  10. #3690
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "In that case, someone is breaking the Knox rules Scottie."

    She smiles.

    Those words the only ones she gives to the agent as she waves goodbye, finding herself alone at the table, and thus, alone with her thoughts once more...

    Not that the Knox rules weren't broken from the start... Or worth much of anything anyway.

    Stories are more interesting with a bit of fantasy to them.


    So she thinks.

    She thinks as her body moves, gathering plates and dishes with the same unconscious grace she uses for everything else; it's the mark of someone who is used to doing housework, or perhaps simply working in the kitchen, but it's one she does with little fanfare, just humming a little tune to herself... An accompaniment of sorts, to go along with the gentle drumming of the rain.

    This weather is good nap weather...

    Of course, the coffee wouldn't allow such things; drinking it had been much like kicking her fatigue to the curb and running it over with a car, so the next few hours seemed set, but...

    Again, the question appears.

    What to do?

    ---The Agent's insistence that she not be reckless has her rethinking her plan; it had seemed simple enough at first thought, just go up to Mr. Oceandrop in his office and find some way to pick his mind about Elizaveta... There were a few methods she could think of that wouldn't seem too far-fetched, or out of place, but...

    Supernatural murders were anxiety inducing...

    It meant someone was going way out of their way to cover it up, make it complicated, especially if the body on the beach was simply a doppelganger... What did that mean then?

    That Elizaveta herself could be the culprit?

    Possible.

    If the body isn't hers, then the location and motives of the real one become suspect... Of course, one could fight against this theory by saying that real Elizaveta was simply kidnapped, but that didn't help matters either, nothing got any clearer, so...

    What should she do?

    Oceandrop could be in on it, the sheer amount of supernatural students in the school couldn't be an accident; poking around about a murder he clearly didn't want to talk about might be a good way to get herself killed before Sunday even got here... In the worst case, she'd either be killed immediately or later on since the school -her current effective base- would effectively become compromised... Of course, it's also not like the school was the only place to find a student list, perhaps she could look at the hospital...?

    Hospital...

    That's right, she needed to check on Cesarina too...

    "...Hah..."

    She sighs.

    There's a lot of troubles piling up on her mind... Perhaps she should just stick to the original plan for the day for now and then take it from there?

    "..."

    She'd think it over some more on her shift.

    It was almost time to put on her perfect waitress smile, it'd been awhile, but she was pretty sure she still had that one down-!

    Much simpler than supernatural mysterious in this nexus of a town...

    You really owe me for this one #1, lot of extra work is popping up...

    At this rate the world is going to implode from a dozen different things.


    She stands.

    Things were complicated, so much more complicated than usual that it was frankly insane, but that was alright.

    One thing at a time.

    She'll succeed in the end, that is what she does, believing otherwise dooms you to failure from the start.

    So...

    "Let's see... Guess I should find out where all this goes huh...?"

    And her uniform.

    If she was going to do the job, she was going to do the job right.

    Idol pride and all...
    Last edited by Airen; Yesterday at 09:42 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  11. #3691
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    I’m rude?” Colt responded in an incredulous tone. In just a few seconds Barney had made it clear that he was one of those types. The ones who are completely aware of what is inappropriate but can never apply that to themselves. “I’m pretty sure ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ is kindergarten curriculum, bub, and if you go calling people sheeple as soon as they ask you a question, maybe you shouldn’t be surprised when they respond in kind.”

    If he wasn’t so annoyed by the man Colt might have joined the others in chuckling at him. They boy had little love for those blind to the fact that they reap what they sow.

    Likely owed to the fact that he himself was of that sort, and just like opposites attract, likes repel.

    Even so, Colt wasn’t unaware of the sudden shift in attitude when Barney turned toward a final parting question. He had been showing some nervous tics already, but there was a shift to apparent nervousness.

    “I’ve never heard of an Indrid around here. Never even heard of that kind of name... ever.” Even as annoyed as he was, he still answered, then glanced to both of his classmates as well as Jake. “Does that name ring a bell for either of you?”


  12. #3692
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Was it not for the circumstances, I likely would have wanted to lecture Barney about how it was a lot more likely that he would get abducted, or just outright neutralized by the government or one of the many supernatural organizations than to get probed and inserted with chips by aliens. Or attacked by some monster. Or struck by lighting. Or hit by a stray meteor.

    But perhaps it was best to leave him to his delusions.

    In the end, it was not like I could prove his assumptions wrong, and even though he could not prove them right either, and however low the chances were, it would have been ignorant of me to just outright deny such things.

    Instead, I just kept listening, both to his words and his mind, latter giving some clarification to the former. Quite fortunate, perhaps, as if it wasn’t for that I likely would have failed to make the connection between his description of ‘silvery ghosts’ and the beings that our native american friend mentioned as well last night.

    On the other hand, most of what it achieved was to make my confusion grow. What exactly was the deal with these silvery, rubber clothed people after all? Why are they hiding behind restaurants, what do they have to do with the strange lights Barney mentioned, and why do they want the trumpet?

    Lastly, a name was mentioned, with an image of a man associated with it in his mind.

    “Is the man actually called Indrid Cold, or did you just name him that because he creeped you out with his grinning?” I asked as I tilted my head slightly, “There’s a big difference, after all. Still, I assume he was asking questions from you then?”

    Quite curious.


  13. #3693
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Excuse me, boy, what? I never called you specifically a sheeple!"

    Barney, instead of pressing on with the topic that was much more important, decided to address Colt's complaints with a hint of indignation. He huffed a little, folding his arms across his broad chest and looked at the boy through his sunglasses like he was actually offended by the accusation. Indeed, it did seem like the actions of someone who felt like they were wrongly accused... no matter the actual truth.

    "I meant that I needed picture to convince the sheeple, since they wouldn't believe me otherwise! Truth is hard to accept when you've been brainwashed by Them! Just because I showed you the pictures doesn't mean I thought you were one!" He continued, huffing and puffing. "How crude, thinking I would just insult someone out of nowhere like that! I'm not one of those government suits who think they can do whatever they want with the civilians, honestly..."

    Still grumbling under his breath, Barney digged through his pockets once more... and suddenly emerged with that half-eaten Snickers-bar, which he then promptly offered to Colt.

    "Still, if my words offended you, boy - here! An offering of peace from one seeker of truth to another!"

    ... At least he was trying to make amends?

    "Y-you know, dudes, that's all fine and good, but uh..." Jake, who had entered the conversation, gave Barney a quizzical look. "What was that about... who was it, Indrid Cold? Who's that?"

    Immediately, Barney's face grew darker. He motioned for everyone to get a bit closer and to keep their voices down. Then, and only then - once the rain had masked their presence more than before, he started talking once more... all the while keeping an eye out for their surroundings. Such blatant nervousness and paranoia was enough to make the others rather jumpy, to the point that Gradient was now holding onto the hands of both Hisa and Colt, while Pyry scanned the woods with his eyes and sniffed the air just in case. Even Jake seemed somewhat nervous.

    And through Hisa's connection to the sunglasses-wearing man's mind, she could see more pictures of a suited man, veiled by shadows, with only a big, wide, unnatural grin visible - one so wide that it almost cut their face in half.

    "... What I mean by Indrid Cold is that Indrid Cold. The one and only Smiling Man. Or, the Grinning Man, or whatever you want to call him. Or, well, it could be one of his associates like Karl Ando or Demo Hassan, but... I think it's him. The original one. Young lady here seems like she knows, but to cut a long story short, he - or it - is a mysterious stranger sighted in West Virginia. The first major sightings happened around 1966, but there have been others... quite a few over the years, documented cases as well. Some in West Virginia, some elsewhere, some as close as Seattle! They say that this West Virginia Grinner, well... he's not a human. Not really. Even though he looks like one," Barney started. "They say he looks like a tall human, and is sometimes described as having a metallic suit - sometimes not. He smells strange, like rotting eggs, and change his appearance if needed. They say that he wears a maniacal grin all the time, and moves in a dancing, janky sort of way - very unnatural. That and he either chases after people, or asks them the weirdest questions - questions that make it seem like he doesn't understand humanity at all..."

    The more he spoke with that raspy, quiet voice of his, the more the atmosphere at the rainy campus grounds seemed to change. While he was merely reporting what he had heard, Barney clearly had gift in the story-telling department - he knew what tone of voice to use, how to build tension and even how to make the listeners hang onto his words. Even if the didn't try to do it, he was making it feel like at any moment, one of them would spot such a man - such a grinning man - staring at them from some dark corner.

    "Still... I've been hearing things - alarming things, now that I've been in this town. Whispers here and there, rumours spoken with hushed voices... of a creature that matches that description. A grinning human, speaking in unnatural way, jankily making their way through the streets to ask questions from others. Appearing and disappearing without warning... almost like a phantom, or something else out of this world," Barney continued. "And the darnedest thing is, those who speak of such things, who have met this creature... they can't seem to remember if that meeting was real or a dream. Just like the Lilly Family Case in Pleasant Point, West Virginia, where the Grinning Man appeared in the dreams of the daughter."

    Barney paused for a moment to look over his shoulder... but since he saw nothing there, he sighed a little bit and turned back to the group.

    "I dunno why Indrid Cold is here at Road's End, I really don't. There are theories that he might be an alien, or that he works for the Men in Black and thus, Them, but... something's up. Especially since... he seems to be interested in one, certain thing," Barney said, patting his breast-pocket nervously. "He's after information about one individual that seems be a taboo subject in this town. That is..."

    He paused, this time without theatrics.

    "... The Girl In Blue."

  14. #3694
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    “Uh,” Colt put up both hands like some sort of barrier. A protective field to keep the half-eaten Snickers away. “No thanks, I’m good.”

    The peace offering seemed genuine, even if it was honestly more offensive than what had bothered Colt in the first place. So with a sigh, Colt relented.

    “My bad. I don’t do well when I think people are picking a fight. So, sorry.”

    Colt was about to offer the rotund man some advice on being more careful with what he said when Jake interjected. Seeing the topic mostly worth leaving be, he let it die and let Barney explain himself.

    At some point Gradient took hold of his hand again, and he gave her a glance. The high-strung paranoia of Barney was clearly influencing her. The boy flashed her a smile and gave the hand a squeeze.

    At the same time Barney began to describe the ‘Indrid Cold’ he inquired about. He listed names that Colt didn’t recognize, incidents, trying to increase the credibility of his assertions. Most likely, working in tabloids, it was a preemptive defense mechanism he had developed. The man probably couldn’t open his mouth without getting a skeptical comment or two, or three. Or fifteen.

    A wide grin, dressed in a suit, a strange way of talking, moves in a dancing, janky, unnatural way…

    ".dnarb taht ,wonk uoY .setteragic fo dnarb taht kcab gnignirb s'eh ekil skool tuB"

    He grinned like a wide crescent moon and raised his glass of cerulean spirit.

    A phantom-like man, those who meet him can’t remember if it was real or a dream.

    With a wide smile, the dwarf took few steps forward and his arms moved, suddenly accelerating him into a janky dance to the tune of the song. His movements were off, choppy, almost like an animated cartoon from the 1920's, and while his legs bent backwards, his arms did so forwards. Flashing light, like that of a camera in some dark corner, pierced the redness and made it hard to look straight at the man. Even while the Songbird walked

    Memories began to bubble up to the surface of Colt’s mind.

    He wasn’t tall. No, he was like a dwarf. Nor did he smell. But… in many ways, the description lined up. Terrifyingly so.

    But the Man-In-Between never asked him about a Girl in Blue.

    Still…

    “Do those people who’ve met him mention a chevron lounge?”


  15. #3695
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Sometimes he does this, sometimes he does that, sometimes he smells, sometimes he changes his appearance. Whispers here and there. Rumours. People who can’t even really remember if it happened.

    Of course.

    Nothing concrete, just a bunch of assumptions and contradicting details.

    “Grinning Man? Chevron Lounge? Is that like the Chevron Cabin?”

    My puzzled expression was accompanied by a growing frustration, and I knew that soon enough I would be completely and perfectly fed up with conspiracy theories, urban legends and wild assumptions.

    I had more than enough problems to deal with than to have all this boggle my mind as well. While they sounded interesting, I certainly had no time to follow clues hinted by wild theories that might lead to nowhere at all.

    “And what’s so interesting about the Girl In Blue?”

    The last name, especially, came up so many times already. Of course, it’s not like anyone seemed to know anything about it.


  16. #3696
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “And what’s so interesting about the Girl In Blue?”
    "It's the taboo of the town."

    This time it wasn't Barney who answered... but Jake. Standing there, holding his umbrella, he gazed at both Colt and Hisa in a meaningful way... almost like he was expecting that they had heard of this term already. Perhaps he considered that, since everyone certainly seemed curious in the First Class, they would have run across the subject in some other context.

    "... The Girl In Blue. The girl nobody wants to talk about - or even acknowledge. That alone makes it interesting... a topic nobody wants brought up. Some think it's referring to the unseen heiress of the McLampet family, but I dunno..." the janitor replied, biting his lip a little bit. "... Something about that doesn't add up to me. They grumble about the heiress just fine, so her being that taboo is just... unlikely. Maybe it's a conflict of two stories that are getting wrapped together, and maybe that Girl In Blue is someone else connected to the McLampet family... maybe that's why they don't wanna mention her. There's a lot of strange about the fate of the McLampets after all."

    Jake shook his head, as if to drive away his own paranoia.

    "Sorry, I don't know much more than that, dudes. Just... I remember once, when we were visiting Rachel's place back when we were kids. There was this painting at the personal quarters of the Halloways... it was covered, but I think Nevada lifted up the cloth a little bit, and we all saw it depicted him and some woman... but I don't think it was Mrs. Halloway," Jake continued, dredging up memories. "Afterwards, Mr. Halloway got super mad at us and chased us off, but I wonder... there can only be so many mysterious women in one town, right? Maybe we should have taken a better look back then..."

    It looked like the janitor was about to end his story, but it was at that moment that Barney stepped in once more.

    "That's not all, my boy. See, I think this Girl In Blue is more important than just some old spooky tale. I was talking with this... colleague of mine, who's also working in this town. And while I was gathering my own info, I stumbled upon something related to this Girl In Blue. When I told them, we got into talking about her and... at one point, this colleague of mine slipped," Barney explained. "They didn't call her the Girl In Blue, though they quickly corrected themselves. Instead, they call her..."

    Barney pushed up the sunglasses on his nose.

    "... Patient Zero."

    A very odd term, a clinical and unfitting for what should have been a small-town urban legend.

    Having said that, Barney turned towards Colt and shook his head.

    "As for Chevron Lounge or Chevron Cabin... can't say I've heard the term. All I know is that some people have apparently seen this Grinning Monster, though they don't know if they were dreaming or awake, and it asked them questions about said Girl In Blue. The details were hazy too... many didn't even remember where they met it," Barney said and let out a slightly frustrated sigh. "All I got was 'it might have been in the woods' from some of them. That's why I've been trying to gather more information discreetly..."

    ... Not that he was doing a really discreet job, was he?

  17. #3697
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    When Kajal Omkara tilted her head towards me after I asked for an explanation, I wasn’t sure what that meant. Muse told me to contact “with the one who hurt me and his sister” so I was pretty sure the Omkaras were who I was looking for. Jayesh Omkaras previously hurt me. He had his sister Kajal Omkara.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Yes? That's why you came to us. Right? You have heard of us. And that's why you sought us out. Despite... the natural fear... that comes with..."
    I watched Kajal Omkara strike some kind of weird pose again. I was used to some weird interactions with those from the Turnside, but this was starting to become ridiculous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... Paranormal."
    The second, she referred to it. I realized what was probably going on right now. They were… most likely normal ghost hunters. People who sought out the Turnside for various reasons such as money, fame, or even curiosity. Normally, I would try to stop them right here for their safety. While Jayesh Omkara can handle himself against a specialist like me, he wouldn’t be able to handle the more bizarre occupants like Lobo. His sister, Kajal Omkara, was a total mystery and I could only assume she was about as capable as her brother.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... No need to hide it. You heard it from Aleen, right? We're the experts... the phantom-whisperer siblings... the true spiritfacers… The handsome brother and the cute sister... in other words... We're the Omkara Ghost Hunters."
    ...I’ve been getting too used to all of the abnormally high Turnside population. In this week alone, I’ve found out about two to three times the amount of Turnside personnel compared to last week. Actually in hindsight, I was probably expecting them to be like everyone else due to the fact that Jayesh Omkara nailed me with a stronger than usual kick and that Muse recommended that I search them out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajal Omkara
    "... And you're here to ask us to find your friend's ghost... right?"
    “...Actually, a different friend of mine cryptically recommended me to find the Omkaras to find my friend. Aleen coincidentally wanted me to deliver a letter to you and well here I am." I give a little hesitant laugh at the coincidence "But… I do need your help in finding my friend. So how exactly do you go about the process? Should I start by describing her?”

    ...Let’s not mention to them that she’s not dead or a ghost. Unless, Zieg has started haunting radios of all things as a ghost. But at the moment, all I can do is trust Muse to steer me in the right direction.

  18. #3698
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    “Maybe, Elise,” Lucille says slowly, almost dispassionately, “Maybe that’s true.”

    Her words certainly have a point, Lucille cannot deny that. But she wants to reject those words. Because in her heart, she doesn’t think they're always true. Intent, preparations, numbers, they all matter, because of course they do. Still…

    “But, you know, after working together we all split up—and it isn’t as if Vier and I could do anything for Aleen.”

    These are all, excuses, really, to cover up the matter at hand. Lucille Faraday is someone who wants to do everything by herself, not because she thinks it is correct, but because she thinks it eases the burden on others. But she can’t forget Aleen’s death all the same, an error born from well-intentioned negligence. It’s better if they all left.

    Some people are just as stubborn as her, it seems.

    She doesn’t move when Prushka hugs her. “Can’t help anyone?” It’s already true. She just promises people pleasant lies in the hopes they can rise the next morning. An empty beacon of hope, full of false light.

    “Ubon,” Lucille finally says, “let her go.”

    She’s more afraid of Ubon dealing lasting damage than Mercedes, but she has no idea how to defuse the situation. Truthfully, if Mercedes beat her to a pulp, she wouldn’t care, but Ubon certainly does. If Mercedes is the kind of person that can find catharsis after violence, what is she to deny it, especially if she is the target?

    “As your friend, I’d like for you not to be hurt over something so avoidable,” Lucille says to Mercedes, her tone with a faked flippance. “That’s what this entire conversation is about.”

    Unfortunately, this was looking less avoidable and more inevitable.

    “Alright. You and me, let’s just skip class, and take this business out of everyone’s hair. You can try lecturing me about it and see if I’ll crack. Deal?”

    Well, if they both wanted to be stubborn, they might as well push it to the limit.

  19. #3699
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    From there Barney and Jake went on about the ‘Girl In Blue.’ It was a new topic for Colt. Yet another skeleton in the community closet of Road’s End, so it would seem. Though when the topic of the McLampents came up, he recalled that woman dressed in blue he met at St Diane’s.

    She certainly fit the description, but he wouldn’t call a grown woman such as she a girl.

    Colt idly paid attention, thinking about the color blue. About the Chevron Lounge. The Blue Flamingo. The Cognate. The smiling dwarf. The drink he had been served…

    Those thoughts stirred while Jake spoke, until certain names were mentioned.

    Rachel. Nevada.

    … Jake.

    How could he have been so slow?

    The Girl In Blue left his thoughts. One more mystery of Road’s End couldn’t compare to something so personal. Patient Zero? It didn’t matter. Barney admitted that he didn’t know anything about the Chevron Lounge, but that didn’t matter anymore either. A cabin in the woods? Also irrelevant.

    “Hey Jake,” Colt turned from Barney to the janitor. The reporter was no longer even in his thoughts. His snooping and hinting around the happenings of Road’s End were a faraway concern. “This all reminds me of something, can we talk for a bit?”

    He’d made a bit of an effort to avoid Jake in the past. The janitor hadn’t left the best of impressions when Colt first met him. Perhaps that was unfair, judging him for things outside of his proper responsibilities.

    “It’s about Remington Hartley. You knew her, right?”
    Last edited by Spinach; Today at 07:38 PM.


  20. #3700
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Kitchen
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Overcast


    Where am I going? It's not really clear, any longer. I can't see two feet in front of my face. It's like blindness, coating my entire existence. And yet...

    Isn't that really exciting!?!

    "No, seriously Potemkin," I said, waggling a finger with a frown. "Travis is far too proper to be interested in the likes of me. I am, after all, a bit horrible, no?"

    I tilted my head to the side, biting my lip.

    "So... I have to show him... that I... that I... Care... about him? Because... We're friends? Yes! I'll tell him a few secrets, and then he'll tell me a few of his! And then we will have a bond."

    I looked expectantly at the other part of me, trying to puzzle something out.

    It's an experiment, in a way. Let's try on this coat, because our other coats weren't working. They were stained, useless, and totally ignorant. Admittedly, I am also stained, useless, and totally ignorant in this as well. I'll probably spill tons of things I didn't want to on this path. Maybe even things I didn't know.

    "And... And... I should write a letter! To teacher! To show that I am improving!"

    There were many things I had to do. People I had to speak with, beings I had to inform. In the grand scheme of immortality, I was barely a vestige. A spec of a spec on an immense tapestry that we refer to as existence. Those older and wiser then I by far roamed this plane, and while they were oft despairing of their progeny, they were usually delighted to see their improvement. After all, even if it took 2000 years... It's still their blood that runs through these veins of mine.

    Hm... I frowned, biting my lip as I propped up my right arm with my left, pressing a finger against my cheek while I thought. This new knowledge was a gift, in a way. From me, 10 years ago. But is it really that big of a change? That big of a difference? Or in the end, am I just the same? Making the same mistakes on the strings, just with different notes. It's so frustrating grappling with new information. But my ancestor was apparently roaming these parts as it was. If I was really confused, couldn't I simply ask for their opinion? Admittedly, I was but a child, and a disappointing one. It was probably best to put it out of mind for now. If my ancestor so deigned to grace me with their appearance, I would naturally kneel to their expertise. My cunning is slim, and my wisdom even slimmer. Even if I want to make sure that none of the people I care for die, can I really do it? Isn't that a totally impossible task?

    Whatever. Impossibilities are meaningless until they're more concrete.

    "And I have to speak to Mercedes - Oooooh, and John! Actually, I should probably speak to more people in general. Potemkin, I'm starting to realize something..."

    I looked at her with a growing sensation of horror.

    "Do I... do I not have many friends?"
    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.


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