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Thread: Paradise Lost (IC)

  1. #1
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Paradise Lost (IC)

    Harry March
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    It was dark.

    No matter how he closed and opened his eyes, how he rubbed them or how he tried to focus, he still couldn’t see anything, just the dark emptiness.

    Then, all of a sudden, the darkness slowly started to clear up, and the image of a room came into view. A spacious, brightly lit, and fancily decorated room, one that felt oddly familiar to him, yet he couldn’t quite put his finger on it, and in a sense he was almost certain that he had never been to a place like it in his life before. Then, a sound filled the room. The soft, infectious laugh of a girl, fading in and out, sometimes barely audible and sometimes ringing clearly in his ears.

    "Harry…"

    A similarly soft voice called out to him, like a whisper carried by the wind that almost gave him goosebumps upon reaching him.

    "Harry… come!"

    He wasn’t alone in the room. As he looked up, he could see a girl standing in the middle. A girl in a beautiful white dress, although…No matter how he focused, unlike the room, the girl’s image never became clear, and remained as a mere silhouette, as an ethereal, featureless black shape. Yet, just like the room, she felt so familiar. He knew exactly who she was, for certain.

    "Come on now, Harry!"

    He stood up, and he could feel a merry laughter escape his throat, as the happy atmosphere created by the girl’s presence got to him as well. His body felt light as a feather as he took a step towards the girl, and reached out with his hand to hold onto hers. But just as their fingers were about to touch, the image of the girl flickered and wavered. By the time he blinked once, she was far away from him again, further down the room, which suddenly felt so unnaturally long. Confused, he started running towards the girl, reaching out for her again, and again, and again. The cheerful atmosphere was no more, and the room turned into what felt like an endless hallway as well, one that was dimly lit, with its cold concrete walls covered in chaotic patterns of red and black. The soft laughter was slowly replaced by an unsettling panting sound, the screams of terror, and the girl’s voice calling out his name more and more frantically.

    Yet, he just kept running.

    It had to end eventually.

    It had to.

    And surely, just when he was about to lose hope, he could feel his grasp finally tighten around something, the girl’s wrist, he hoped.

    He looked up to meet the girl’s face.

    But as he did, an ear piercing scream, mixed with the static sound that a TV without a signal made on maximum volume filled his mind, making him instinctively cover his ears to block the sound out, very much in vain. Still, he could see the girl, the black silhouette turn around, only so that for a fraction of a second he could see a nightmarish sight - a toothless, crimson grin and a pair of bloodshot, black eyes filled with madness stare back at him. He closed his eyes, and after the image of that face flashed in his mind one last time, everything faded to black as the pain in his ears became near unbearable.

    Then, he woke up.

    “Harry, wake the fuck up, come on!”

    Only so that a voice of a woman could fill his ears again. He opened his eyes, but his vision was blurry, and a throbbing headache felt to be splitting the back of his head apart. He sat up slowly, and looked around, but his muddled brain could barely put two and two together, let alone give him an idea about where he was. Most he could remember was that he was working on a case, and then…He was here.

    “Finally, I thought you croaked on me here. I would have chased you to the deepest pits of hell and haunted you for an eternity if I ended up stuck here forever because you died.”

    Who did the voice of the woman even belong to? He couldn’t even see anyone around, only…

    A corpse of a man, and dark concrete walls surrounding him on all sides, as high as he could see. A very deep pit, perhaps? Or a room of sorts? It was somewhat hard to tell.




    Kazuo Hojo
    Location: Hojo Residence
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    It was a quiet and peaceful afternoon at the Hojo Residence. The last students just left after a long day of training, and with the weekend around the corner, Kazuo had a few days of rest and relaxation to look forward to. Sumire was also gone to take care of the grocery shopping, as she promised that she would cook something delicious for the weekend. Meaning that, for the time being, he was all alone in the yard of the residence, sweeping the stone paths and packing away the training equipment, as per Sumire’s request. Certainly, while he much rather would have just leaned back, he knew quite well by now when it was best not to oppose her, if just for the sake of his own safety.

    Still, at the very least, it gave him some time to appreciate the beautiful garden that he could consider his own now.

    It was quite different from the Outskirts, where it was just nigh impossible to tame nature, which inevitably always made everything look rather “wild”, and, well, natural. Yet it was also rather unusual for the City itself, as trees and plants in general were just kind of a rarity in most parts, especially as one approached closer to the City’s center.

    Though, as beautiful as it was, it wasn’t quite perfect yet. A small, hidden paradise like this would usually come with birds, frogs, insects of all kinds and whatever else, but…those were even more scarce in a place such as the City.

    Perhaps he should visit one of those biology laboratories that work on artificially recreating animal species from the Old World, and try to buy some to spice the place up a bit more…

    “Umm…Excuse me?”

    Still, such thoughts were interrupted by a sudden voice breaking the silence, and as Kazuo turned around, he could immediately spot the source of said voice as well - that is, a young girl standing at the gate of the residence, clearly hesitant whether she should just walk inside or not.

    “Um…Hello? Is this the Hojo clan’s Residence?”

    Realizing that Kazuo noticed her, her voice became more quiet and her face was blushing slightly, making it quite obvious just how flustered she was.

    “C-can I come in to talk? I know that I might be a b-bit late, but I reeeally wanted to talk to a member of the Hojo family.”

    As she pushed the tips of her index fingers against each other in front of her chest while staring down at her feet, she only managed to look even more flustered, but she knew that there was no backing out now. Maybe she would just get rejected, and then she could run away in her embarrassment…!

    “P-pretty please?”




    Jalen Maliit Salvador
    Location: Jalen's Safehouse
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    As the creaking of the heavy garage door came to a halt when it hit the concrete floor, the stress that’s been slowly building up inside Jalen finally felt to have eased up a bit. He was safe now. He had to be. He made sure that no one tailed him there, even made a few loose circles around the place just to make sure before he rolled into the warehouse with his trusty car. It wasn’t much, really - in fact, more or less the only reason why the empty and abandoned warehouse could be referred to as “home” was thanks to his slow but steady efforts of slowly filling it up with furniture, decorations, garage tools and random junk. Yet, the more important thing was that he could consider it his own, and that only he knew about it. Or so he wanted to assume, at least.

    After double checking that the door really was sealed shut, his gaze inevitably settled on the trunk of his car, and more importantly, the huge metallic container that was lying inside it.

    He has never run into such resistance before, not over a simple delivery contract. And even when he would, it was usually just the crew of some other syndicate or a couple of peacekeepers that caught his scent by chance, during his delivery. These people, though…They were clearly expecting him. They knew when and where to wait, and judging by their numbers, they also knew what and who they were dealing with.

    Although, just what was it then, really?

    They were clearly not after him. He was good, but no one would send a small army to hunt him down. So they clearly must have been after whatever was inside the box. Something that was likely extremely valuable, judging by the effort they put into the chase. But what?

    For that matter, who were they then? He has been in business for a good while now, but it was his first time seeing cars or people like that.

    Still, the more he thought about it, the more he found himself wondering about what this all was about - and soon enough, his curiosity got the better of him. He stepped over to this car, and with a quick set of motions, without any further hesitation, he opened the trunk of his car. Then the hatch to the hidden compartment inside it. Then he flipped the lid of the container open.

    Surprisingly, it wasn’t locked. A rather strange revelation, considering that his contractor was so awfully specific about the fact that the container was not to be opened under any circumstances. It was also clear that the container was far from simple, as the lock’s latch quietly sliding out of its position was accompanied by the clicking and whirring of complex and rather delicate looking machinery, things that Jalen could hardly recognize. Still, as the lid hit the back wall of the trunk, the noises stopped as well, leaving only a funny smelling, smoke-like substance behind which quickly dispersed in the air of the warehouse.

    That, and the actual contents of the box, which were now visible to Jalen as well.

    Or…who was, rather.

    Since all he could see inside was the small frame of a person, a girl, who appeared to be sleeping.

    He blinked in confusion, as the sight took rather long to properly register in his mind. Yet as he just stared, more and more small details stuck out to him. Such as the clothing of the girl that seemed to vaguely resemble a hospital gown. Or the steel cuffs on both her arms and legs. Or the strange tattoo on her thigh and the side of her neck, which seemed to say “Z1A”.

    “Greetings!”

    It seemed that he got lost in his thoughts for too long though, as once his eyes snapped back onto the girl, he was no longer met with a sleeping face, but rather a pair of eyes staring back at him.



    “Who are you? Do you require any help?”

    The girl, seemingly quite confused and curious about her situation, tilted her head slightly to the side as she observed Jalen’s face. Then, she sat up in the container and stretched her arms above her head, revealing another “Z1A” tattoo just below her armpit, on the inner side of her arm.

    “Are you lost?” She asked as she glanced around the warehouse, “I do not seem to recall this base. How did you end up here?”




    Nana Senri
    Location: A Desert in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    The damned PDA was dead.

    Nana has been following its guidance for days now. It was what he got from the last group of people she ran into. The ones who finally seemed to have some promising information regarding what she wanted to know, although at this point it was hard to tell how much truth there actually was to their claims. The device they gave her seemed to be mostly just a tracker - although she couldn’t quite decipher how exactly it worked or what it was pointing towards - which was supposed to guide her someplace where she would be able to find out more. Yet, even after about four days, it didn’t seem to bring her anywhere, just through more and more deserted areas of the Outskirts, and now…

    The device was dead. No matter what buttons she pressed or how she hit it, it just refused to turn on. Unfortunately, her lack of knowledge regarding such devices didn’t exactly help either.

    And after hitting the back of the PDA one last time, only to be welcomed by an empty black screen again, she realized.

    She was in the middle of nowhere, with no guidance to follow anymore.

    It was just sandy dunes, one after another, reaching far as she could see in any direction. The middle of the desert that she never cared - or dared - to wander into before. Though, at least the sun was slowly going down now, and while it was usually the other way around, the scorching rays disappearing under the horizon certainly made this place feel somewhat more peaceful and bearable.

    Not that it made her situation any easier.

    Still, now that the blinding sun was gone, and as she momentarily gave up on fixing the PDA, she had the chance to take a better look around at least. And while the scenery hardly changed, with the dunes being just the same as well, there were still two things that were much easier to notice in the dark.

    For one, there was a small, but bright light in the distance. A fire, or simply just a lamp perhaps - it was too hard to see from this far. Then, smoke. Just a thin column of light gray smoke, streaming upwards from somewhere only to disappear just a few meters above the ground. Except, these two things were quite far away from each other. And more importantly, any time they got out of Nana’s sight when she looked away…

    They would disappear.

    Only to reappear elsewhere.

    Just what was this about…?




    Aisha Asakawa
    Location: Aisha's Apartment
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    “Ah, Aisha, can you hand me that towel please?”

    It was one of those days. Hanaelle, the kind and caring caretaker of the orphanage that was once Aisha’s home was over at her apartment now, taking care of the usual cleaning duties which Aisha was always so eager to neglect. She already got the young woman to take out the trash while she finished hoovering and washing up, and the two of them were now in the kitchen, with the window wide open to let some of the fresh and cool breeze in, and with Aisha sitting at the table with a large glass of iced tea that the woman prepared, while she herself was busy with making the mountain of dirty dishes slowly disappear.

    “Thank you, my dear.”

    The wide, warm smile on the woman’s face as she took the towel was a reminder that even in a place such as the City there was room for unbound kindness. Perhaps too much kindness, even, as her going out of her way to help Aisha clean her apartment - and refusing to take no as an answer - was something that inevitably felt somewhat embarrassing, especially considering that Aisha was almost an adult now, and no longer just a kid.

    Though, the visits were always pleasant for different reasons as well. Really, the fact that her place would be neat and tidy for at least a week or two was far from important anyways, and it was mostly just an excuse for the two to meet, and catch up with each other about the various events that happened to either of them between two such occasions. Certainly, despite the fact that Hanaelle was no longer her caretaker, she still cared quite a lot for her and about her well being.

    “Say, Aisha…”

    Today seemed to be no different either - although the uneasiness that was easy enough to read from the woman’s voice made it obvious that at least one topic of the day was going to be regarding one of the things that she was always so reluctant to talk about.

    “Have you heard? There were supposedly new disappearances, and this time, even further away from the Wing.”

    The one topic that Aisha was most sensitive about, at that. The topic of a chain of incidents that have been happening for a while now, and which were already responsible for taking the girl’s parents and sister away from her. Which is why the woman refused to look at her as she spoke, and instead focused on diligently scrubbing a plate that was already perfectly clean for a while now.

    “Supposedly there is a new detective who came to investigate as well. I couldn’t quite catch the name, but…They are allegedly quite well known in another district. From what I gathered, they are staying at the Sweet Dreams hotel. That enormous place in the safe area, near the border.”

    Finally, as if she couldn’t keep up the act any longer, she placed the plate among the rest and let out a deep sigh, before she shot a worried glance at the young girl.

    “It’s not like any have managed to get even a step closer to solving the case, but…Maybe it’s something that would be worth checking out. Better than having nothing to follow, at least.




    Johnny Concord
    Location: A Bar in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)



    “Now, listen here, Johnny.”

    A large rocks glass, still half filled with a light brown liquid was slammed down on the counter as the man next to Johnny let out a satisfied sigh.

    “I’ve got something unusual for you here. Mission might not be so different, but the implications…”

    The man was Hermes. The messenger of the bounty hunters, or so he was known as such, who was responsible for keeping all of them updated, and relaying messages between one another when it was necessary. More importantly, he was also one of Johnny’s sources, probably one of the most reliable ones at that, as the contracts he shared with him rarely ever had complications and almost always came with particularly juicy pay-offs.

    Just like usual, he contacted the red haired man in the morning regarding the location of their meeting, which turned out to be the small western-style saloon where they were now. It certainly had a rather pleasant atmosphere, and was pretty well kept for some remote bar in the Outskirts, despite the fact that it didn’t seem to have much business. Right now, even the barman was missing, making the two of them the only living souls present, quite likely not even just in the bar, but the general area altogether. Was the place really this abandoned? Did it have something to do with their meeting? Or was it something else?

    Regardless, it certainly made the circumstances optimal for the kind of discussion Johnny was expecting to happen, and the lack of personnel certainly didn’t prevent the other man from making use of the bar’s services either - which is why there were two glasses of whiskey resting in front of them on the lacquered wood counter, and why the jukebox in the corner was blasting some random tune.

    “Well, okay, maybe even the mission is somewhat unconventional. See, it’s not really an official contract. It never was even publicly announced.”

    After taking another sip of his drink, Hermes leaned on the counter, with his chin resting atop his interlocked fingers.

    “Seems to be some hush-hush trouble that some folks tried to keep between themselves. Normally I wouldn’t have cared too much, but it seemed to be connected to some people you are quite familiar with. That slimy greaseball and his lackeys, you know.”

    Certainly, even that vague description was enough for Johnny to understand exactly who the other man was talking about. The image was etched so deep into his memory, after all…they were the exact reason for why he was where he was now, and why his life was the way it was. Something that Hermes must have been aware of as well, which is why he was just staring at him out of the corner of his eyes now, waiting in silence to see what sort of reaction the information would get out of Johnny.

    “Of course, the job is optional. Sticking your nose into their business might not be the smartest move in the end, but I wanted to see your stance on the matter at least.”
    Last edited by Cheetose; August 3rd, 2022 at 09:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Johnny Concord
    Location: A Bar in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "Hmm~?"

    If Hermes had been expecting an explosive response to that revelation, he certainly didn't get it - at least not yet.

    Johnny Concord, the brightly redheaded man sitting on a stool next to the messenger was currently a bit too busy gazing at his own reflection from the mirror on the other side of the bar counter, above the dusty shelves and their contents. He hissed quietly as he looked at his own face, turning his chin around to see the unkempt beard that had started growing again, much to his chagrin. True enough, living in the wastelands these days made it pretty much impossible to keep up any sort of grooming regimen, which in turn meant that he was quite the sight. An unkempt beard and an unkempt man.

    Though to be perfectly honest, this was how he was known these days anyways.

    None of the people he had associated with for the last few years would even recognize how he'd look without a beard or long hair.

    "That Guy, huh...?" Johnny murmured, finally leaning back in his chair, and gazing up at the ceiling. "If that bastard's involved, no wonder they wanna keep whatever it is hush-hush. Whatever he's involved with must be a bag of rotten cabbages and more. Still..."

    Johnny looked to the counter next to him as he grabbed his own glass of whiskey. There, on the counter, lay a assorted collection of bullets, large canisters, bandoliers and tools, all with a thick scent of oil hanging about them...


    Along with a massive gun.

    Like a revolver made with absolutely poorest taste in the world.

    "... If it's supposed to be hush-hush stuff, think I'll be good for a job like that?" Johnny continued with a question and a cheeky grin, both aimed at Hermes. "Sounds more like something that'll require finesse and patience, or - of all things - grace. I mean, I don't mind taking this job. You should know by now that I don't make the smartest choices. Hell, I don't mind even if it doesn't pay, hah!"

    Taking a sip of his whiskey, Johnny barked out a short, loud laugh.

    "Taking a potshot at That Guy would be a reward on its own!" He added, wild sneer clear on his face. "But like I said, if it's s something that requires being careful, you might wanna reconsider, pal. Even if you're throwing me a bone here - which I appreciate - you've got a reputation to uphold too."

    Indeed. A 'sensitive' job was an extremely bad fit...

    "And you know I don't really do the whole 'restraint' thing, right?"

    --- With the bounty hunter and outlaw known as 'Johnny the Megaton'.

  3. #3
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Harry March
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    It was dark.

    By God Harry, again? Does this plague you inflict upon yourself amuse you?

    Harry woke with a headache that could crack the skies in half. His eyes felt heavier then lead, and his body ached in places he didn't know. He let out a muffled groan as he raised an arm to cover them, the darkness not able to prevent the blinding pain in his head.

    Harry, a voice made of bells whispered, soft as the wind and lighter then air, It's certainly not polite to ignore people when they're trying to speak to you. Even if they're just in your head.

    Harry March opened his eyes and pretended like he hadn't heard anything.

    "Yeah, yeah," he said as he cracked his neck, before slapping the side of his cheek, "I'm awake, I'm awake."

    A girl, a room, a hallway and eyes.

    A girl, a room, a hallway and eyes.

    To focus on the past is a weak-minded man's ideology, a deep voice rumbled in Harry's skull, harder than steel and as rough as granite, the present is what matters. The present is what is. Do try to pay attention, Harry.

    Harry looked around the room, his eyes focusing for a moment on the corpse as he stood up, dusting off his pants and cracking his neck as he stared around the room, a hand on the side of his head as he loosened up the aches and pains that permeated through his body. A corpse and concrete - little of use to anyone with eyes, and less still to someone whose head still throbbed from whatever he'd drank the night before.

    A corpse left to rot in the middle of nowhere. Sounds familiar - right, Harry? Something we can relate to.

    Harry nodded his head, hand still against his skull as he closed his eyes for a moment, replacing it with his other hand as he arched his entire body to the opposite side, letting out a loud, obnoxious yawn.

    Polite as always. Your comrades would be ashamed at the state you've put yourself into. Where is the man whose boots were so thin they knew this City like it spoke to him? Did he forget the sounds the pavement makes when it whispers the truth?

    "We're certainly not rotting here, lady," Harry said out loud, arching his back like a cat before shrugging out his body and shaking his head, blinking a few times as he settled into a normal position with a lazy grin on his face. "No rest for the living, right?"

    "Now then," he said, taking a few steps forwards towards the center of the room as he looked around, "What are we working with here?"

    Caskets and sighs, she whispered, Like the night of your father's funeral.

    Fire and screams, he said stoicly, Like the night of your mother's passing.

    Really, he was hoping the newest addition to his head was more useful then the rest.
    Last edited by Frantic Author; August 2nd, 2022 at 06:15 PM.
    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.


  4. #4
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Kazuo Hojo
    Location: Hojo Residence
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    ---He moves.

    With effortless grace and finesse, the young man travels up and down stone paths without thinking too much about the task at hand at all, thoughts immersed in the all-too-silent nature of the world around himself. He still wasn't used to it, the lack of fauna in a world exploring with flora, the lack of sounds from other sorts of life... The chirping of birds or the roars of predators, without the students, without Sumire, this paradise in the heart of an all-too-artificial World simply feels far too silent.

    And yet, that discomfort flows through him as it always does.

    It will simply be temporary.

    Whether he uses his recently acquired funds to restore life's more natural ambience to this far-too-small world, or simply waits for Sumire to return, the silence will be broken eventually. Of course, it is not like he truly minds the quiet either, there is a certain peace with just existing in the world around oneself, to really get into the art of relaxation and take a nap under one of the trees perhaps?

    Certainly it was tempting.

    Out in the Outskirts, taking a nap under a tree was always an act that the world cut short; be it giant birds, bears with far too many heads, or bizarre lizards with far too many teeth, something was always around to cut short the peace one might find in the land of dreams...

    In that sense, the city certainly had it's perks.

    Alas, there was no time to sleep. Sumire had told him to clean and so clean he would, to do otherwise would simply tempt fate, after all, retainer or not, Sumire had a way of making things painful for him if he were too lazy. She would suddenly hand him a training sword, stating that he had lost his way and to prepare himself, and he would soon come to regret not taking the ten minutes to do the dishes, or, in this case...

    Sweep and clear.

    It's meditative, in a sense.

    He had moved here for her anyway, and they had always shared the chores, so there was no real reason to be disobedient from the start.

    Of course, life has a way of throwing out little curve balls at times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mysterious Girl
    “Um…Hello? Is this the Hojo clan’s Residence?”
    Kazuo stops in place. The broom that had been so effortlessly dancing stops, coming to lean against the ground instead as he stops to regard this new voice.

    This too was new, having this many human visitors.

    In the outskirts, such visits went either very well or very very poorly... Here in the City, it seemed most interactions between people capped off at a solid neutral, nevertheless, after he listens to her speak...

    "Feel free."

    He smiles at her, the usual stoic face turning to a handsome smile.

    It's a younger girl, blonde, nervous, fidgeting with her fingers.

    "If it's a member of the family you're looking for, you found one." He chuckles to himself, shaking the broom a bit in his hand as he draws the conversation towards it, "I'm Kazuo Hojo. I know I might not look it, considering the broom and the manual labor, but I am in fact some sort of noble... Or so I've been told."

    His tone is amused, meant to make the girl feel a bit less nervous, a bit more comfortable with approaching the estate. Of course, the amusement carries a bit of self-deprecation as well, after all...

    There was another reason he had chosen to clean everything himself, beyond simple tradition, namely-!

    -The robot!

    --The bizarre cleaning robot that he had bought to help around the house-!

    ---He couldn't figure out how to turn it on, and was too prideful to ask-!


    "So yes, feel free to approach the estate. Like most dojos we have an open door policy... So long as you do not intend to harm anyone, anyway."

    He raises an eyebrow here, but the chuckle that follows makes it clear he doesn't actually think that's what she's doing. Of course, at the same time...

    His stance has no weak points.

    It never does.

    A natural guard that holds no matter what he's doing.

    "Of course, the lateness of the hour may even work in your favor, depending on your business," he says, beginning to sweep once more in order to get the last of it, "My retainer has promised a fantastic dinner when she returns, one of her infinite talents. Quite an unfair human really."

    Yes.

    The suited man...

    Seems to be a much warmer person than he might look at a glance...

    "So what can I do for you? Ms...?"
    Last edited by Airen; August 2nd, 2022 at 09:33 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

  5. #5
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Aisha Asakawa
    Location: Aisha's Apartment
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    A long, inaudible sigh escapes from the girl's mouth as she sits at the table, watching the white-haired woman serenely take care of the chores, an act that fittingly goes with her nun-like outfit. In the meanwhile, the girl herself is barefoot, wearing a baggy shirt that barely fits her and with unkempt hair. The divide between them is clear, like heaven and hell... and much to her shame and chagrin, this is a situation Asakawa Aisha often finds herself in.

    'Why did I even agree to give her a set of spare keys...' she wonders while resignedly sipping some iced tea.

    it was little bit less than two years ago, when Aisha had moved out of the orphanage to come live here, gain a semblance of independence. Alas, Hanaelle Aeterna, the doting caretaker who had raised Aisha since the latter went to Hoffnung Orphanage... did not think that Aisha was ready for adult life; thus she visited Aisha on a near bi-weekly basis, and still does to this day. Hanaelle does consider Aisha to be her foster daughter, and with such overflowing love and charity, the caring 'Mother' is not so easily dissuaded from letting her daughter go and brave the world of adulthood by herself...

    Well...

    Truth to be told, Asakawa Aisha is a lazy bum.

    And a bit clumsy when it comes to most things.

    But she just likes to thing that she is 'efficient'. She'll just stack the room with garbage and cartons until she can't anymore, and when that time comes, then it will actually be worth her time to take care of it all in one swoop! Deal with everything in one go, minimal effort with maximum reward... that is how her motto is supposed to be, but alas, reality is often disappointing...

    Even if Aisha recognizes her failings to a degree, and her pride as a human being urges her to try to fix her bad habits... there is the fact that less than a month ago she forgot her purse in her jacket, and the coins which fell out broke the washing machine down. Then there was that other time when she tried to make a chocolate cake and instead nearly set the whole block on fire. Was that even baking soda that she used back then...?

    Still, no matter how much she complains about Hanaelle being here... be it directly to the kind woman, or as mental note, it would be a lie to say that Aisha isn't happy to see her. Far from it. Her caretaker's presence brings Aisha great comfort. Her soft, loving and selfless character always remind Aisha that even though this world is a terrible sh**hole... not all of it is rotten. Just like Hanaelle herself used to tell them that at the orphanage: 'in the end, there is light in the darkness.'

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanaelle
    “Have you heard? There were supposedly new disappearances, and this time, even further away from the Wing.”
    "...huh? No I have not."

    In an instant, the lethargic Aisha's sits up from her half-hearted leaning position and straightens her posture. Her tired, unfocused eyes narrow and glimmer with awareness. This is not normal talk, rather, the topic here is related to something which Aisha takes very seriously, one can say even that it is what has defined her choice to become a fixer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanaelle
    “Supposedly there is a new detective who came to investigate as well. I couldn’t quite catch the name, but…They are allegedly quite well known in another district. From what I gathered, they are staying at the Sweet Dreams hotel. That enormous place in the safe area, near the border.”
    “It’s not like any have managed to get even a step closer to solving the case, but… Maybe it’s something that would be worth checking out. Better than having nothing to follow, at least.
    "Yeah... haven't had that many leads recently."

    Ebisu Salvage Co.
    hasn't really asked for her in the past month, and it looked like it was going to stay this way for while longer. From what Aisha had heard, the Office was busy with something that didn't require her skillset. This meant that for the duration of that work drought, the 'intelligence sharing' agreement Aisha and the Office had wasn't going to be of much use.

    "I guess I should go check out that detective or something. Maybe offer to help? Who knows, they might want some bodyguard, especially if they'll go snooping around in District 12. Thanks for telling me and uhm... for the usual stuff. You really shouldn't you know, I can take care of myself!"

    Alas, Aisha does not sound very convincing when she looks like she's just woken up. She in fact, did just wake up not too long ago, having slept through five alarms, Hanaelle sneaking into the apartment, and most of the time she spent cleaning the place up. To wake Aisha up, it took a hoover sucking out the crumbs of pizza that fell in her hair last night.

    Certainly, having your hair pulled by some vacuum monster is a very convincing way to come to your senses.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; August 2nd, 2022 at 06:16 PM.

  6. #6
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Ichiro Sasaki
    Location: Peacemaker Labs
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Yo Bossman, have you heard?”

    It was a pretty ordinary day at the laboratory. Just like usual, the members of Ichiro’s small team were working on their individual assignments and projects, while Ichiro himself had all the time for his own research. Of course, the small size of the crew made for a much more relaxed atmosphere than what one would be used to at a huge corporation, which is also what gave room to the conversation that was just about to start. Though, of course, while some chatter was okay, Ichiro couldn’t help but wonder when Jordan would finally address him more respectfully…

    “The smoke. You know, outside. It’s annoying as is, even if those advanced filtration masks do actual miracles. Like, y’see, it just makes me wonder sometimes that I had it so well back in the slums. Never had to worry about always having a mask ready to avoid being suffocated from smoke while just trying to walk down some street. Though well, I’m not saying anything new here.”

    Realizing that he was drifting further and further from the original point he was trying to make, Jordan smirked apologetically as he scratched the back of his head.

    “No, point is, there was some report yesterday about some particularly thick cloud of smoke entirely surrounding some factory in some alley in the backstreets. Though that’s still not so unusual, no. What’s freaky is that some people supposedly tried to walk through it as usual, probably thinking that it was just normal smoke. But those people never came out of the smoke. Not the same, at least.”

    Reaching into his pocket, the man pulled out a single cigarette and a lighter, and only continued his explanation after he exhaled the first puff of smoke from his lit cig.

    “The smoke morphed them. Didn’t see any pictures, but the report said they came out as monsters. Fixers had to deal with them, but they didn’t dare to go into the smoke yet. Which is still there, and makes some wonder what exactly is in the factory, and what happened to its crew. Of course, some fanatics are already claiming that this is the first sign to the start of some glorious evolution, or something.”

    He was about to say something still, but just as he was about to open his mouth…

    “GYAAAAAAH!”

    A loud scream that seemed to convey a mix of exasperation and panic could be heard, and moments later a powerful explosion felt to have shaken the whole building. A girl, presumably Koito, crashed into the wall of the hallway a bit further down, most likely as a result of the shockwave that sent her flying straight out of the room she was in before.

    More than that, the sound of roaring flames could be heard coming from the same direction, and it was likely only a matter of time before smoke would start pouring out of the room like an avalanche.

    Perhaps it wasn’t such an ordinary day.




    Marie
    Location: Child Error Orphanage
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Marie, Marie!”

    There was never a boring moment at the Child’s Error orphanage. It was already that way back when Marie joined the project many years ago as a caretaker - back when it was still just starting out, and there were just way too many things to take care of for way too few people. And it was busy now as well, although at this point it was more because of how the project ģrew out to be something that brought the whole City together. Which, for a place as large as the City, meant that it gave a new home to countless of lost children, something that inevitably meant tons of work for the caretakers as well. This is why Marie was pretty much a permanent resident of the orphanage as well, with most of her days spent taking care of the children.

    Today was no different either. At least, not until now. It was already afternoon, just past lunchtime, which meant that most of the kids were done with their classes for the day, and were now playing outside in the small park in the orphanage’s yard. As such, Marie was also outside, sitting on one of the benches under the sun, absentmindedly watching the children play.

    A moment of peace that always proved to be pleasant, and what usually allowed her to spend some time on her hobbies as well.

    Of course…Just like how there was never a boring moment at the orphanage, there never was an entirely peaceful moment in Marie’s life either.

    The twitching of her fingers that became especially noticeable when she let herself get too relaxed was always there to remind her of that.

    But maybe it will pass eventually.

    Not to mention that one of the other caretakers who knew about her problem told her that they knew someone who could maybe help her, and that they would get back to her once they remembered who exactly it was.

    Until then, all she could do was to endure.

    Though, that wasn’t even that important for now. Marie’s biggest problem for the time being was simply just the small boy tugging at the hem of her skirt, while pointing somewhere with his other hand, likely gesturing her to look as well.

    And as Marie’s eyes followed the direction he was pointing towards…

    She noticed two figures standing at the large gate of the orphanage, one quite visibly complaining to the other.

    “There could be hundreds, if not thousands of children out there! There have been sightings of people reappearing, but no one is even lifting a finger!”

    With her attention on the conversation, she could catch quite a few words - that were exchanged rather loudly to begin with - and it didn’t take too long for her to figure either that one of the two people was Hajime, the owner of the orphanage, while the other was Shinji, a caretaker that she was not all that familiar with.

    “I know, Shinji, but some things are just out of our reach. It’s just too dangerous. How could I allow any of you to risk your lives for such a cause?”

    How intriguing.




    John Hong
    Location: Aoi's Office, SanPol HQ
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Hello, John.”

    The voice of a woman welcomed John as he entered the small, dimly lit office. She was sitting at the desk, with her back turned to him as she seemed to be busy with searching through the countless drawers - each filled to the brim with documents - which decorated the entire wall behind the desk. Still, as he stepped in and closed the door behind himself, she turned around and threw a large stack of folders and other documents on her desk, all the while exhaling a large puff of smoke that, with no chance of escaping the room, drifted up towards the ceiling where it was slowly starting to form a cloudy layer.

    “You’re likely wondering why I asked you in. Wasn’t too detailed about the request, I suppose, so let’s cut to the chase now. Take a seat, would you?”

    Her message certainly wasn’t too detailed. In fact, saying that she went into any detail at all would have been a blatant lie. All it was was the words “office” “ 15:00” “job” and “urgent” chained together, not even forming a proper sentence…Regardless, he was here now, and he was quite eager to sit as well, if just so to avoid having to breathe the cigarette smoke that would soon threaten to be around his head’s height too.

    “Now, I’m not going to bore you with the details, but to understand the context you should know that SanPol doesn’t only exist in this district. While we, along with the peacekeepers and some other divisions make up for the main headquarters, there are many smaller branches scattered across the City as well. They generally operate on their own, separately from us. Really, it’s altogether a pretty superficial connection. Still, in some cases, usually when a problem becomes too big for them to handle, they forward their cases to us, the main HQ.”

    The woman stopped her explanation as she lifted her cigarette to her mouth and inhaled slowly, only to send another large puff of smoke off towards the ceiling shortly after.

    “Which is what happened now as well. Unfortunately, not much is actually known about the case, other than someone there is massacring detectives and officers en masse, and that this individual seems to be backed by some unknown syndicate. The higher-ups gave permission for me to head out today and prepare a better preliminary analysis of the situation. Fellows there are really messy with their reports. Which is where you come into play as well.”

    Another, much longer moment of silence as the woman held the cigarette smoke inside for a while, before slowly exhaling again.

    “Investigation might not be your strongest point, but finding people and beating information out of them is something you should be more familiar with. And you are not actually from the police, which is an upside here by default. Though…”

    Before continuing, the woman leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms in front of her chest, with her observant but rather emotionless gaze now resting on the man’s face.

    “I want to hear what you think first. I have some evidence to show, but if you are not on board with this plan, then it would be against the rules for me to leak any more information out regarding the case.”

  7. #7
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Marie
    Location: Child Error Orphanage
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    Today is a wonderfully clear and sunny day.

    As a caretaker, Marie spends the majority of her time with the children - whether it's teaching, playing or caring for them - and she enjoys it. But this time of the day, when the children are playing outside just after their classes and lunch, is perhaps her favorite time of the day; Sometimes she'd be content to simply watch the children laughing and smiling as they play, basking under the sun; other times their cheer and laughter serves as a background music as she reads a book or tend to the flowers around the orphanage. But whatever the case, it never fails to make her chest feel warm, for this is the fruit of her labor... a tangible proof that she manages to share the warmth that she felt to the children.

    Unfortunately, she could never allow herself to fully relax these days. Her twitching fingers are a constant reminder that she should never let her guard down, lest she risk losing control over her body.

    "Marie! Marie!"

    Thankfully, she was not left alone with her thoughts for long; Albert calling for her name as he tugs on the hem of her skirt brought her attention to the curious scene unfolding at the gate. Now interested to find out more, she turns her attention back to the boy, and making sure to control her hand and fingers, Marie carefully and gently pats the boy's head.

    Just like always, her face remained as expressionless as ever, but the gesture manages to convey her fondness and gratitude.

    "Thank you for bringing that to my attention, Albert." She nods as she stands up, removing her hand from his head. "You can go back to your friends now."

    She only starts walking to the gate after making sure that the boy is back with his friends.

    "Hajime. Shinji." She greeted them as to not startle them, looking from her friend to her fellow caretaker with a mildly inquisitive look. "I overheard something about children reappearing...? What is going on?"

    A pause.

    "...I can help look for children and bring them here, if that's what you need."
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  8. #8
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Johnny Concord
    Location: A Bar in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "Don't worry, I know how you work by now."

    Hermes couldn't help but smirk as he waved his hand dismissively, before taking another sip of his whiskey.

    "If the job wasn't fitting for you, I wouldn't have seeked you out with it in the first place. I mean, it's mostly just the case itself that they didn't want to leak out to the public. The "sweep it under the rug before someone notices the mess on the floor" kind of deal. Something that is arguably rather easy to pull off out here in the Outskirts."

    His words made quite a lot of sense. After all, while the reach of the law was quite long, the highest authorities only really concerned themselves with things if intervention was absolutely necessary, while the smaller offices and organizations usually had their hands full with just the things that were going on inside the City. And even in there, crime and corruption wasn't exactly rare, so it only made sense that the further someone went from the City, the less likely it was that they would get caught, and noticed in general. A fact that made especially the outer areas of the Outskirts a perfect breeding ground for illegal activities of all kinds, even if it had its obvious downsides as well.

    "So how you deal with it is up to you. It's more like throwing a wrench into their plans rather than getting an actual job done, anyways. Though--- oh damn."

    The absolute silence that took over for a moment made Johnny think that something was wrong - and something indeed was. Just not in the sense that he thought. And Hermes was already on his way to take care of the problem, as he quickly stood up from his chair and walked over to the corner of the saloon...

    To put another coin into the jukebox.

    "Hmm..."

    So that a moment later, a different song could fill the air of the bar.

    "That will do. Anyways, what was I saying..."

    Then, he walked back to the counter and sat down again, his attention now back on Johnny.

    "While you don't really have to be sneaky, it's still best not to go in with guns blazing. If you give yourself away immediately, then they will likely be after you right away, especially considering your past ties. Still..."

    As if he found the thought amusing, he let out a chuckle before finishing the rest of his drink.

    "You needn't worry about my reputation. They have no way of knowing that I am in any way connected to this, and I've no intentions of helping with anything more than just the information that I am sharing here. And the meeting that I arranged you for a bit later with someone else that could help."




    Harry March
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "Well, you don't seem to be quite awake yet to me, you dimwit. I'm still in the ground here, and only the Devil knows what I'm going to do if you end up stepping on me somehow."

    The ground...?

    But...corpses don't talk. The voice was too lively for that. Besides, it was a woman's voice, not a man's, and the corpse on the floor was clearly a man. Still, the voice did seem to be coming from that direction, and judging by the rather heated tone, it was unlikely that the woman the voice belonged to was just playing a prank on him.

    "Don't you realize that you are missing something from your head? Or did the hole that those assholes carved into the back of your skull make it feel complete?"

    Missing...from his head...?

    "What we are dealing with here is an extremely shitty situation though, Sherlock. You got knocked out and then some absolute jerkwad threw you into this pit. No clue how you even survived, it's like fiftysomething meters deep at least, and literally just flat concrete all the way."

    That was certainly a mystery. Even with the other corpse there on the ground, it should have been impossible for him to survive a fall from that height.

    "Which is to say, I doubt that you're getting out of here without me. So if you want to avoid being an actual rotting corpse soon, then chop chop."

  9. #9
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Johnny Concord
    Location: A Bar in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "Not guns blazing? Aw, man..."

    Johnny clicked his tongue and, for a moment, pretended to look downcast at the idea. However, just as quickly his grin broke through and he cackled at the little show. While he did, he took a hold of his gun and opened up the massive chamber, looking through the canisters that had been set up inside, checking them for any leaks or chipping. As he did, he shot a sideways glance at Hermes.

    "Well, I think I'll manage. I mean, I am pretty good at throwing a wrench into anyone's plans," he said with a cackle. "Just point me in the right direction and gimme an idea what to expect, and I'll figure something out. A good explosion's worth nothing if the fuse sucks ass - or worse yet, is wet. So yeah, I'm game."

    He paused for a moment to take a swig of the whiskey, before snorting.

    "Though you already knew I would be, Speed Racer, hah! Dunno why you even bothered to phrase it as a question..."

    Once he was done checking his gun, Johnny slapped the chamber back into place, twirled it around for few rotations and then pushed the gun away from eyes and minds by stuffing it into the massive holster hidden underneath his equally massive jacket. After that, he fished out a pack of Junkyard Dog cigarettes from his pocket and lit one up - all the while collecting the rest of the tools and things that were spread on the table. It was almost like he was about to head out already, spurred by the idea of pissing in the cereals of That Guy.

    Yeah, he was definitely salivating at the thought already.

    "That being said, what meeting? Someone else with a bone to pick with these dudes?" Johnny continued, question clear on his face. "This better just be information, pal."

    He grimaced a bit.

    "You know I don't do Team-Ups."

  10. #10
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Harry March
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    Dimwit? Top of your class in the academy? The man who the streets know? While your exit from the force was embarrassing for all involved Harry, I would not advise a fool.

    Harry looked around with bleary eyes squinting and then blinking rapidly to see if it would salvage the damnable darkness. How would he even step on the voice anyways?

    "Can't see too much of anything right now," he said, tapping the side of his head, "and my head's still pounding like a fifty-seven year old whiskey."

    There are quite a few things wrong with your head Harry, a woman whispered, but they're not the sort things you can tell others about, right?

    The ground was talking to him, with a woman's voice. Harry's head throbbed, and he felt around his face - his nose was in place, his mouth was attached, when he opened and felt around all of his teeth were still in it, and when he reached up and brushed the soft skin of his eyelids -

    Something is missing from our face. What is it?

    It's important, but why?

    His face felt empty, like an armor he'd been wearing had been lost. A shield between him and the world, a gift from something he didn't know.

    Of course. We bear a gift, Harry, a man rumbled, a girl, a room, a hallway, eyes, and a gift.

    "Tch."

    Harry clicked his tongue, crossing his arms.

    Perfect vision but we're fumbling in the dark for sunglasses, a young woman's voice said with aching longing, even in the dark, all you crave is oblivion.

    Corpses don't talk. But his sunglasses did.

    "Light up or something," he said as he opened his eyes fully, "Let's try and avoid the risk of me stepping on you."
    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. #11
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Night Rider
    Location: Inganui's Gadgetry
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Hmm…Well, I don’t know pal.”

    The mononote, but always depressed sounding voice of Inganui broke the silence as he looked up from his workshop bench, on which Ulysses’ armor was laid out.

    “I don’t know much about stuff like this. It’s…very spiritual. A concept that is rather hard for me to grasp as of late. All I have talent for is machine parts and other kinds of lifeless junk.”

    The multiple layers of steel frames and magnification lenses retracted back into Inganui’s machine skull as he finished his work on the armor, and gestured to the other man that he was free to take it now. While he was always rather pessimistic about everything and claimed that he could not do anything about it, he was at least still exceptionally good at hammering out the small dents and scrapes on the armor without fault every time, which, even now, made it look as good as if it was new.

    “So even if I am quite ashamed to admit, you really are just wasting your time here with that. There should be other people in the City who are a lot more useful than me. For example…”

    While trying to think, he lifted his mechanical arm to his chin to rub it slowly, but unlike with a normal human, it only led to an unpleasant screeching sound as metal brushed against metal.

    “Hm. Have you tried “KEY”? That woman who runs the Esper shop. She is very smart with things like that. Also kind. She tried to help me too.”

    It wasn’t exactly difficult to get on the same page with him regarding who he meant. After all, especially Espers have heard about her once in their lives from some source.

    “Ah. A different matter, though, if you are already here.”

    Whatever he wanted to say, it was clear that he was somewhat embarrassed about it. While it would have been hard for it to show on his face, the little motions and gestures that he was making made the fact rather clear.

    “My shipment of mechanical parts and generator cores was stolen by someone. Probably a syndicate, but I wouldn’t know. It was a lot of goods, and I’m not really successful enough to just pay for it again out of my pocket.”

    The small red eyes sitting deep inside his skull seemed so very tired for a moment as he let out a sigh - clearly wishing that he wouldn’t have anything to do with it at all.

    “I asked a Fixer office but they just laughed and said that they couldn’t do anything about it. Suggested that I should just be more careful next time, but I don't really know what I was supposed to do about it. Not really now that it happened, anyways.”

    Another exasperated sigh escaped his mouth as he threw himself into his chair in front of the workbench, and after some searching in one of its drawers, he finally pulled out a small object which looked like a PDA:

    “I had a tracker with the goods though. So if you would be kind enough to help me, then this should lead you there.”




    Kazuo Hojo
    Location: Hojo Residence
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "A-ah! W-well, they...They just call me Shiro."

    It took a moment for the girl to react. It seemed that, despite it just being the natural order of things, she didn't expect the man to answer, or make himself look so approachable. Still, as she realized that she was zoning off, she couldn't help but giggle embarrassedly as she scratched her cheek with her index.

    "A-and thank you! I would love to have a closer look then!"

    Of course, once she fought her embarrassment off, it became obvious that she was more than happy with Kazuo's answer, as she cheerfully strolled past the gate and down the stone pathway towards the center of the yard.

    "Ah."

    But then, she passed the tall cleaning robot that was just buzzing quietly next to the path, which seemed to make her wonder about something.

    "If you have this, then why do you bother with the cleaning? Do you want me to show you how to use it? Or is it like some, important training regimen? To make someone more diligent or something? Yeah, that must be it!"

    It seemed that she was so enthusiastic now that without even waiting for Kazuo to reply, she answered her own question, and whether or not it was right, she seemed perfectly satisfied and amazed with it.

    "Ah, but that's not even important! See, I heard that this place was shutting down because all the Hojos died over the years without anyone left to carry the family traditions. It was kind of big new around this neighbourhood."

    Was it now?

    Well, it's not like Kazuo would know - after all, he hardly bothered with any of his family's stuff after he ended up in the Outskirts, and even now that he was back, he was mostly just dealing with the aftermath. Which, until now at least, seemed to be utterly peaceful, as no one other than this girl has ever even brought up anything regarding his family's past deals.

    Though, at the very least, it didn't seem like the matter was brought up for unpleasant reasons, so that was a relief.

    "Then, I heard recently that it was open again, but I didn't quite catch if it was some new stuff or if someone from the Hojos was really back. So today I finally gathered the courage to check it out."

    As she explained, she crouched down next to the robot and started teasingly prodding it with her finger, eliciting angry sounding beeps out of the machine that was, much to Kazuo's surprise, clearly active. Could it be...Could it be that it has been watching him clear the yard all this time...?

    "See, I'm kind of fascinated with tradition keeping families like yours. So I always wanted to hear more about your history, and maybe see how good I was at your famed style, but like...By the time I made up my mind, your family just disappeared, so I was kind of sad. But now that another opportunity seemed to show once more, I didn't want to miss it again."
    Last edited by Cheetose; August 3rd, 2022 at 01:00 PM.

  12. #12
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Ichiro Sasaki
    Location: Peacemaker Labs
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    "HOW EXCITING."

    The chair creaks and groans as Ichiro Sasaki rises from his seat. The heavyset man's eyes glimmer beneath a wild mane of unkempt hair, made fiercer by the red light from Jordan's lighter that illuminates the dim room. As attested to by the many vials and beakers of strange liquid lining the shelves and fume hoods, Ichiro does his best work in the twilight.

    He shakes Jordan's hand furiously.

    "You've done well to tell me. This strange smoke spewing factory is surely the work of our rivals, or worse, amateurs. For it to offend even your tobacco-riddled lungs, Doctor Jordan, it must be a foul smog indeed!" The tattooed man might not technically be a doctor, but Ichiro Sasaki doesn't sweat the small stuff. He reaches across the room and starts rummaging along the wall. "The cancer clouds of this damned district continue to plague us. Now you say people see evolution in this mutagenic mist!?"

    With a whir and a clunk a bright red fire extinguisher lands in Ichiro Sasaki's left hand. He holds it up triumphantly and beckons Jordan to follow as he strides out of the room, caught between fury, focus, and fascination.

    "Fools are so ready to believe in nonsense. Even though there is no evidence - nay, because there is no evidence to support it! How could any aerosol suspension possibly facilitate stable change in the genome merely through skin and lung absorption? Impossible! Preposterous! The nucleic acid would mutate before it ever reached its target merely from airborne contaminants! Not to mention the fallout from uncontrolled spread! It simply cannot be done reliably!"

    The doctor huffs, now in the hallway staring at the dizzy researcher who just crashed against the wall and the flames crackling in the doorway.

    He suddenly smiles like a gleeful child.

    "Or perhaps it can be done...? A two or three-fold viral envelope? Directed nanomachines? Maybe even using Mana to stabilize the smoke long-term? We'll need to get a sample, won't we...? How exciting. Prepare a kit, Doctor Jordan! And PPE!"

    Armed with the extinguisher, Ichiro marches happily down the hall, stopping at the flaming door.

    "Excellent work, Doctor Hasegawa." The scientist nods to the dazed woman, even as he offers her a hand up. "I see you've achieved EXPLOSIVE results. A fortunate day indeed!"
    Last edited by Bloble; August 4th, 2022 at 01:47 AM.

  13. #13
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Kazuo Hojo
    Location: Hojo Residence
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiro
    "If you have this, then why do you bother with the cleaning? Do you want me to show you how to use it? Or is it like some, important training regimen? To make someone more diligent or something? Yeah, that must be it!"
    "Exactly."

    Lies Kazuo just as easily as he breathes, a single determined nod punctuating his absolute agreement with the Shiro's words.

    "It is important to do things oneself sometimes, lest you let your skills atrophy away."

    Stepping forward to follow after the blonde (who he is quite sure is so lost in her own enthusiasm that she's only half hearing him) the young man smiles at the simple joy she seems to take in prodding a certain cleaning robot with a finger, before his gaze flickers over to focus on said cleaning robot, robot that was apparently quite active, active enough to get out of the house, active enough to approach the front gates, and apparently active enough to simply observe him doing it's job for it, that strange buzzing noise he was so unused to permeating the otherwise quiet air of the dojo's gardens...

    Yes.

    He frowns at the strange device, as if he could see laughter in it's nonexistent eyes, hear it in the quiet buzzing sounds-!

    '...Well played, buzzing one.'


    He mouths to the still unfamiliar being, of course it's specs and mechanics escape him, but surely it has to be able to see things somehow right?

    It's apparently quite the willful device too, considering it never acts up when Sumire tells it to do things-! But no, the fault is his own, being unable to hear it's approach was a flaw in his own perceptions, the strange cylinder device had certainly defeated him today, but he would learn to command it properly as a Lord soon enough-!

    Or something like that-!

    At the very least, he wouldn't save it from Shiro's poking-!

    "Fascinated with tradition keepers, huh?" Moving from his silent acknowledgement of a robot's victory back to the questions posed to him by the young woman, the man leans ever so slightly on his broom. "Well if you wanted to hear about the Hojo's, I suppose this would be the place for it."

    He had heard the other members of the family had been dying out for one reason or another of course, but he hadn't expected it to be so-called big news, then again, it wasn't like he had put too much stock in those sorts of things out in the Outskirts anyway, news was of a different sort out there, given in the form of abandoned campsites and bloodstained scenes just as often as words passed from one human to another.

    "We're old blood, very old blood, old even in the time of the Old World. Once Shikken of the Kamakura Shogunate, renowned military leaders of Japan, we were eventually overthrown and well..." Here he pauses, mouth twitching for a moment towards a frown, before ultimately drifting back to a calm smile. "...The Hojo clan has had it's... How to say... Ups and downs over the centuries."

    The young man chuckles, shaking his head as if to also shake away some unpleasant feelings.

    "The family never stopped trying to get their power and status back through any means they could... And I guess we succeeded a little bit in the end, considering all of the money they were able to pour into this place."

    He straightens his back. The talk of the family history always brings to mind shards of fragmented memories that are quite unpleasant, thus...

    He shifts the topic ever so slightly.

    "But putting the family history aside, you have an interest in the Hojo sword style as well?" Here he raises an eyebrow again, regarding girl and robot both with a calm smile gone warm, a bit of a newfound excited sparkle in his eyes. "Are you a wandering Onna-musha of some sort? An aspiring one? Simply curious about such things?"

    A pause, then:

    "I don't mind taking on students of any type, so long as they put honest effort into their studies."
    Last edited by Airen; August 3rd, 2022 at 02:14 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

  14. #14
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Anya
    Location: Blood Matrix Hideout
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “I’m sure that by now you realized that you are missing something.”

    The all too realistic image of a woman appeared in front of Anya as she pressed the button on the device she received earlier. If she wasn’t standing atop the table that the device was resting on, one likely would have found it rather hard to tell that something was off, and that she wasn’t real. Though, of course, for Anya it was obvious enough that it was just a recorded message, even if the technology used for it was surprisingly advanced.

    “You got too confident for your own good. You thought that you could just barge into the giants’ playground, and play according to your own rules while disregarding everyone else? Well, maybe you might want to think again.”

    Anya had no idea who this woman actually was. Still, looking at her, and her style, she got the feeling that she wasn’t exactly a Fixer, or anyone from that side. It was more likely that she was from some sort of a syndicate. A powerful one, probably.

    Would be an explanation that would line up more logically with the reason behind this whole ordeal as well. After all, the reason why she was listening to this message, and why she received it in the first place…

    It was because she really was missing something.

    Something that presumably this person stole from her.

    Or rather, someone.

    Iori - Anya’s loyal officer, who has been missing since yesterday now.

    “Not that I really see the point of wiping you and your gang out, and sending you back deep under the ground where you belong. Not for now, at least. Still it was about time for someone to teach you a lesson. Which is why I took your captain…or whatever you even call them. Don’t worry, she is alive. I don’t kill my guests, not while they still have a purpose.”

    The woman took the cigarette holder with the cigarette out of her mouth, and placed it down somewhere, presumably on a tray on her own table which did not show up in the message. Still, the momentary silence gave Anya a chance to focus on her appearance again. To focus on that intense stare, which seemed both bored and somewhat indifferent, yet full of power. In fact, the way she looked altogether just made it feel like she was radiating power and status, and more than that, she seemed to be well aware of her position - with that confidence just further enhancing that effect.

    “However, if you want it to stay that way, then you will have to prove your worth. And just to show you how generous I am, I set up a number of different challenges for you so that you can do just that. You will find the tracker next to the projector.”

    Ah…so that’s what the other device was.

    “Oh, and go alone. We’re all playing a fair game here, so I’ll be really disappointed if I catch you cheating. And I can see everything. So I’ll certainly notice if you try anything funny. Now, have a pleasant day, little vampire.”

    With that, the projection ended, and Anya was left alone in the silence that once again took over the lounge. Though, she could sense that at least a few of her underlings were trying to listen in on what was happening from the hallway and the rooms around.




    Aisha Asakawa
    Location: Aisha's Apartment
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "You say that every time, and yet, is the state of your flat ever any different?"

    She asks, but her question is more of a rhetorical one, as both of them know just exactly the answer to it.

    "It's just not good for you, you know. When you are surrounded by dirt and garbage, it just makes you more and more lazy and lethargic, and just in general, it creates a really bad atmosphere to live in. Not just for yourself, but for others as well. Guests that you might invite. Or, who knows, a boyfriend perhaps, since you are already in that age!"

    Her last words especially were accompanied by a playful, teasing smile, so much that even her eyes seemed to be smiling as she glanced back at Aisha.

    "Besides, procrastrination, and letting things pile up just leads to situations like this, and God knows that at this point anyone would just end up drowning in their own garbage before they'd put in the effort to clean such a mess up. Which is why it is best to just take care of whatever mess you've made right after you made it, and then keeping your place clean will never take more than a few moments at a time. Not to mention that it helps to develop some healthy habits that can be applied to other aspects of your life as well."

    As she finished drying off the last plate as well, Hanaelle carefully put everything back into their respective shelves, and then took one last look around the kitchen - which was now so neat and tidy altogether that one would have likely found it to be a sin to touch anything and distrupt this absolute state of harmony.

    Then, she sat down on the other side of the table, facing Aisha.

    "However, I get the feeling that this is indeed all my fault."

    And buried her face into her hands, suddenly seeming as if she was in actual distress.

    "Who else but the mother and the teacher of a child is to blame if they are unable to take proper care of themselves? Clearly, I should have taught you better, but perhaps I am just bad influence, or perhaps I was just too indolent and inattentive while raising you..."

    The quiet sobs and the tears in the corner of her eyes made it seem like that she was actually being serious. She couldn't have been this good of an actor, at least.

    Last edited by Cheetose; August 3rd, 2022 at 03:23 PM.

  15. #15
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Marie
    Location: Child Error Orphanage
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "Ah, Marie, that's not...How did you even..."

    Hajime's already serious expression grew even more worried as Marie's appeared, so much that she couldn't even find the words as she just held her hand to her face while staring nervously at the other two.

    "Oh, good, if someone, then you might be able to convince her!"

    Shinji spoke up instead, still looking rather restless even as he crossed his arms in front of his chest.

    "It's about the kids of District 20, Marie. The ones who lived in that huge area that just practically disappeared after they royally messed something up. The part that's quarantined now, with much of it taken over by the wilderness."

    That particular incident was something that Marie heard about as well. In fact, it was something that caused such an uproar that literally everyone in the City heard about it within a day or two of it happening, and it was still a topic that came up quite frequently for one reason or another. An event that, due to its nature, also ended up being the central point of many conspiracy theories, to the point that long as those were concerned, it was likely the most popular topic of the last few decades at least.

    A miscalculated attempt to erase District 1 from existence, and throw the whole City into turmoil.

    An overestimated plan to wipe out the whole City.

    A test for some even more destructive weapon, disguised as some incident.

    A step in a certain Shiro Makishima's grand plan, whatever exactly that was.

    And many other similar, and not so similar assumptions, most which have - perhaps fortunately - eluded Marie so far.

    “Recently some details were leaked out that revealed that the incident never really ended, and that the effect which caused it in the first place is still very much active within the quarantine zone,” Shinji continued, his apprehensive gaze resting on Marie, “It causes these weird temporal distortions. Or at least, that’s what the guy who observed them called them. Sometimes it makes the things that disappeared reappear randomly. Buildings, vehicles, people. And sometimes they seem to remain. Except that…”

    “Except that the place is still just as dangerous!”

    Finally, Hajime spoke up again, sounding a lot less patient and just as worried as before.

    “It’s a quarantine area for a reason! They confirmed the sightings of the same monsters that can be found in the wilderness as well! And these temporal distortions! What can make people reappear, could as well just make even more of them disappear! There is a reason why T Corp is not putting more effort into their investigations either!”

    However, Shinji did not seem to be any more discouraged by Hajime’s concerns. If something, he just seemed to grow even more zealous.

    “That’s just because they don’t care! They only care about their technological advancements, just like any other corporation. What even is the death of millions of ordinary and insignificant people to them? A necessary sacrifice, is what they would likely call it.”

    “But—”

    “It’s up to us to act. No one else is going to save those children who find themselves back in our time, alone and surrounded by monsters, not if we refuse to act as well. Right, Marie?”

    With the question directed at her, two pairs of eyes turned towards Marie as well, both hoping for different things.




    Johnny Concord
    Location: A Bar in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Formalities. That’s how I tend to refer to them,” Hermes answered with a smirk, “It’s only appropriate to go through them one by one and in order. Otherwise, certain assumptions might just come through as offensive.”

    Getting up from his seat as well, Hermes walked over to the other side of the counter, and turned to look at the many shelves on the wall behind it, all packed with bottles of different shapes and sizes, containing just about any kind of booze one could think of.

    “Still, I’m on the mindset that it’s best to learn as much as you can about your clients and partners, and do make those assumptions. After all, planning things takes time. Delivering those plans doubly so. Cutting down on those extra hours is just necessary, when you have an occupation such as mine.”

    After finishing the thought, he was quietly contemplating something still - but after just a few more moments, he seemed to have come to a conclusion, and lifted two bottles off one of the shelves, only to then hand them over to Johnny afterwards. Another bottle of whiskey - bourbon, this time - and a bottle of what seemed to be chili flavored vodka.

    “For the road. Never hurts to have something to sip on while sitting around the campfire.”

    That, he was probably quite right about.

    “Now, of course, I know that you prefer to work alone. That’s how most of our kind operate, really. But if I didn’t think it was necessary, I wouldn’t have recommended it in the first place. You’re going to a dangerous place, Johnny. Having some backup never hurts. Someone to pull your ass out of the fire if things go wrong.”

    He said it himself. For most bounty hunters, it was just natural that they worked alone. If two of them teamed up, it was more than likely that they would just be interfering with each other, and slowing each other down.

    And that wasn’t even talking about the pride that most men had, which was pretty much always against relying on someone in any way in a fight.

    Though, he also spoke some sense, and there was logic in the claim that more people always meant more resources to work with…

    “Though, it’s up to you. Here’s the tracker for the meeting place,” He said as he handed a small device over to Johnny, “You’re supposed to be there in 2 hours. Live with it or ignore it, it doesn’t really matter. I told the person in question that you might now show up, so in the worst case scenario, they will just be slightly annoyed over the pointless trip.”

    He shrugged, then continued on with his explanation.

    “As for actual details on the job, most I know for the time being is that they were conducting some experiment, but something went wrong and they lost connection with their scientists. Supposed to be some hidden facility in the wilderness, but I got the coordinates for that at least. Though, will likely have some more information later. I’ll forward you a proper report once you are already on your way there.”

  16. #16
    The Dragon of Dojima MssrNeko's Avatar
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    John Hong
    Location: Aoi's Office, SanPol HQ
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    Today is not a good day for John, or few weeks for that matter.

    Many cases that he had taken did not pan out. One case of a missing person had turned up dead ten districts out from their home address. Another case concerned a dangerous hit-and-run was snatched by a minor Fixer group. Other cases just fell through the cracks like sand through John's fingers. He needed a job as soon as possible and Aoi was ready to give one to him.

    John wrinkles his nose as he reclines in his chair, as far away from the hazy smoke above. The smell of tobacco assaults John's sinuses with the fury unlike that of a monk in fervent prayer. The self-proclaimed Problem Solver coughs as he begins to talk.

    "So, what you're saying is that you want me to dress up like triple-A meat and jump towards the darkest alley and see what bites?"

    A bit harsh but John is not ignorant to the dangers of The City. Like the eye of a hurricane the further a person steps away from District One, the closest that person is to danger. Some districts' danger quotients skyrocket exponentially like a dump truck of mint tablets dropping its load into a soft drink lake. And the results vary wildly from simple Syndicate and gang wars to the terrifying "District Twelve Incident" and L Corporation's disappearance. SanPol's problem with this serial killer is like a drop in the bucket in the ocean that The City undergoes every day.

    And in this cramped smoky office John is being asked to scoop out that drop with a teaspoon.

    John clears his throat again before Hana could respond.

    "I expect extra for worker's comp and the sudden call, Hana," the self-nicknamed bounty hunter declares as he leans forward to listen to Hana.

    John's previous work with Hana didn't cause him to distrust her current request. She has the emotional range of a plank of wood, but she paid well and her checks did not bounce. He has no reason not to take her job. And besides...

    John was tired of eating cup of noodles for the past 5 days straight.

    Spoiler:

  17. #17
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Marie
    Location: Child Error Orphanage
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    "...Please calm down, you two."

    They are getting too heated up right now, which won't do any good in a situation like this. Having a cool head is paramount in order to make the best informed decision and to not fall prey to impulsive urges or the heat of the moment, and it's at times like this that Marie is quite thankful to her rather dull disposition. Hopefully seeing her remaining calm can influence the two of them as well...

    "Shinji has a point. If not us, then nobody will move to save those children... and they must be going through a terrifying ordeal right now, if this is true." She looked at Hajime as she said this, knowing that her friend's fears and concern came because she cares not only for the children, but also the caretakers, something that Marie greatly cherish and appreciates; it's nice to have someone be concerned for her well-being. But at the same time, sometimes risk is inevitable, and inaction won't save anyone.

    "But... Hajime's concern is well-placed as well." She turned to face Shinji. "Being reckless in trying to save them would accomplish nothing if we end up being victims ourselves... there must be a valid reason why the place is still quarantined after all."

    His heart is in the right place, but being overzealous won't help anyone. Being careful is important, else they're just throwing their lives away... if not worse.

    "Both of you has a point... so I have a proposition." She looks at them, two people who cares but expresses it in different ways, trying to make them see reason by taking a middle road. "I can go to District 20 to gather some information and observe how things are going. Determine just how dangerous it is and discern the nature of things. If there are too many risks, then we'll postpone and try to come up with a solution... if not, then we can start planning on saving the children."

    She tilts her head, looking at both Hajime and Shinji with the same neutral and calm expression as her fingers twitch. "...Any objections?"
    Last edited by palad1n; August 3rd, 2022 at 07:45 PM.
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  18. #18
    屍鬼 Ghoul SnowSpartan's Avatar
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    Night Rider
    Location: Inganui's Gadgetry
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Something spiritual, eh? Guess that explains the package. Well, thanks for giving her a look for me. I’ll have to go and see what “KEY” thinks.”

    So saying, the man known as Night Rider begins strapping his armor back on. He considers KEY as he throws the leather jacket over his shoulders. Night Rider doubts there’s an esper who hasn’t heard of her. Comes with the territory of being the owner of the most prominent esper shop in the city. He pulls on a glove. Night Rider himself hadn’t met her. If he ever needs something, Inganui’s usually able to provide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inganui View Post
    “Ah. A different matter, though, if you are already here.”

    “My shipment of mechanical parts and generator cores was stolen by someone. Probably a syndicate, but I wouldn’t know. It was a lot of goods, and I’m not really successful enough to just pay for it again out of my pocket.”
    The man formerly known as Ulysses narrows his eyes, pausing his movements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inganui View Post
    “I asked a Fixer office but they just laughed and said that they couldn’t do anything about it. Suggested that I should just be more careful next time, but I don't really know what I was supposed to do about it. Not really now that it happened, anyways.”

    “I had a tracker with the goods though. So if you would be kind enough to help me, then this should lead you there.”
    The bounty hunter starts on his boots, calmly nodding at the troubled craftsman.

    “Well, we can’t have that. I might be needing those parts for my next repairs. If you’ve got a tracker, then I’ll return your shipment before the day’s over.”

    The Night Rider, a bounty hunter with a certain reputation. It’s been said that once he has located his target, they are already doomed. Looking down into the dark visor of the black helmet in his hands, Night Rider smiles. Seems like he’ll have something to do tonight.

    “I suppose getting your shipment back will cover the costs of looking over and repairing Iris here?”

    It would cover much more than that, no doubt. But, Night Rider’s off duty right now. He’s just going to pick up something for a friend. No need to charge Inganui for that.

    Night Rider finally places the helmet back on his head, fixing it in place. That’s better. Without the helmet on, Night Rider gets uncomfortable. A profound sense that something is wrong will permeate his being. Everything feels right again once the helmet passes over his face, hiding it from view.

    “What do you say, Iris? Ready to go for a ride?”

  19. #19
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Harry March
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Excuse me? I’m not a goddamn lamp or something. That’s pretty much the same as me asking you to grow wings and fly out of this hellhole.”

    There was truth to her words.

    Even if they were still unnecessarily snarky.

    Though, what then? Harry was not getting any closer to finding the sunglasses while just standing around with his arms crossed, and he wasn’t suddenly going to be able to see in the dark either. At the same time, the clock was ticking, and who knew how much time he had before someone would check up on him, and possibly put another dent on the back of his skull?

    “On your knees, Harry.”

    …What?

    “Get on all fours so that you do not crush me even accidentally. Then turn 29 degrees to the right and slide your right hand forwards on the ground. You're gonna have to stretch a bit, since I’ll be about 1.63 meters away from you.”

    Well, it seemed that at least she could perfectly see in the dark. Certainly made for a rather tricky situation, where one could see but not move, while the other could only move, but not see…

    “And hurry up. There are people around.”

    With the fact pointed out, and as silence settled in once more, Harry could hear it as well. Footsteps, very distant footsteps, probably muffled quite a bit by the thick walls around him. However, they weren’t even really coming from above, where one would expect it from in the case of a pit like this. Rather, it was coming from the side, although with the given circumstances it was somewhat difficult to pinpoint the exact direction…

    At any rate, it almost certainly meant that there was no time to waste.




    Ichiro Sasaki
    Location: Peacemaker Labs
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “That’s what I immediately thought as well!” Jordan exclaimed as he jogged alongside Ichiro, “While it’s probably to do with mutation, that’s far from what we consider evolution! To begin with it’s far from controlled, and it’s unpredictable. If it’s just a completely random process with seemingly no similarities and patterns regarding similar individuals or humans as a species, then what even is its worth? Purposeless, uncertain evolution just for the sake of mutating our current selves is just madness!”

    As they ran past another fire extinguisher, the man stopped for a second to quickly grab it off the wall, and with the same motion put on his filtration mask as well, before catching up to Ichiro again.

    “Though that’s just how it is with some people. They can be so desperate to find something to believe in that they just snap the moment an ideal they can relate to surfaces. Like that sect where they purposely radiate themselves in various ways because they believe that the more cancer cells in their bodies the closer they are to redemption, or some shit. Place can be freaky, dude.”

    As the rather inappropriately timed conversation went on, the two eventually reached the room in front of which Koito was lying, only to stop at the door for a moment.

    Bless whoever had the idea of adding an emergency air tight door that would automatically go into lockdown mode if its sensor was triggered, since the normal door was most definitely blasted off its hinges due to the explosion.

    Though, why the hell couldn’t they add some automated fire extinguishing system then?

    Such poor design. A man can certainly not trust anyone but himself when planning their own laboratory.

    “I-it wasn’t meant to explode! T-that stupid thing!”

    The girl responded, apparently more annoyed than shocked - or hurt - by the events.

    “I-I was merely just tinkering with its insides like usual, trying to reverse engineer its brain that allowed such a…such a primitive piece of junk to operate on an unnaturally high level of intelligence, and then…”

    Flailing her arms above her head, she was clearly trying to gesticulate some sort of an explosive effect.

    KAPOOOW! It just beeped angrily at me then blew up! When it wasn’t even turned on!”

    “The fuck? You mean that cleaning robot?” Commented Jordan, “How the hell could that create an explosion like this?”

    One could only wonder.

    However, there was no time for idle chatter.

    It was time to be heroes, and to save the laboratory from its inevitable destruction!




    Kazuo Hojo
    Location: Hojo Residence
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Oooh! I knew it! How wise! As expected from a member of the Hojo clan…”

    Either the girl was too naive to see through Kazuo’s blatant lie, or she was just too impressed with it all to even care about it in the first place. Or perhaps both - and honestly, looking at the girl, even that didn’t sound too unlikely.

    However, aside from the girl…

    The cleaning robot certainly seemed to be very well aware of the truth…

    Which is why, as it subtly shifted its cylindrical body around, so that the small slit behind which a camera, its “eye” was sitting was facing Kazuo, he could have sworn that he saw something…

    But no, that was just impossible. Relatively advanced piece of technology or not, it was still just a piece of technology, an emotionless device.

    “That long of a history, huh?”

    Still, as the man started briefly explaining his family’s history, the girl stopped prodding the machine as well, so that she could properly pay attention. Which is why she was now sitting with her legs crossed on the stone pavement, with the robot, once again looking perfectly lifeless, standing still next to her.

    “Kamakura Shogunate…That’s like, 13th century Japan, isn’t it? I learned some Old World history, but books can be unreliable. Some people just make up all kinds of stories so that they can sell the books at a high price, and since it can be very hard to confirm historical accuracy, they can usually get away with it.”

    Of course - those kinds of people. He heard about them from Sumire. Scammers, were they? There were people like that in the Outskirts too, though there they usually tried to trick one out of all their valuables or even their lives, meanwhile…These kinds of scammers just tried to make profit with false advertisement and dishonest services at the expense of others.

    Immoral or not, sometimes it was just surprising how people could come up with such cunning methods to make a living, instead of just turning to honest work or good old murder and stealing.

    “Still, that’s so cool! You know how like, our history is so disconnected from the Old World, even if we try to replicate a lot of stuff, so like…Someone who has ties that go all the way back before the City existed is so intriguing! And so real, unlike all those posers who try to preach about traditions when their bloodline barely goes back a few generations!”

    So there were people like that too, huh?

    “Oh, did you come from someplace else, then? It does sound like you aren’t from around here. Are there other Hojos in the City too? Also, you should totally check the secret library then! I heard it was under the dojo’s main building, with the entrance hidden to most, only meant to be found by a true Hojo!”

    Now, hold on a second…

    Just how…

    “As for me, well, haha…” The girl continued, speaking faster and faster with more and more enthusiasm, not even giving a chance for Kazuo to think or react, “Calling me an Onna-musha would be an overstatement. They are too cool compared to me, but like…I’m pretty good with weapons, but I don’t really have my style. And I always looked up to traditional arts, so I figured that if I ever learned one it would be like one of those!”

  20. #20
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Kazuo Hojo
    Location: Hojo Residence
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    "..."

    For a moment, the man says nothing at all in response to the increasingly excited girl, one who was showing hints of information to which even he was unaware... Of course, if the family was as big a deal in this neighborhood as everyone seemed to think it was, then it was certainly plausible that rumors about them would circulate, that is how such things often happen, even in the Outskirts, of course...

    Rumors in the Outskirts could also easily lead one to their death, so placing stock in such things is always a risky matter, best done with caution, lest you find your life being cut short at the hands of a bandit's blade, nevertheless...

    "...Yes. I suppose you could say I'm not from the City."

    After that heartbeat of silence, in which he finds himself pondering exactly who this girl really is, he decides to answer some of her questions regardless.

    "My generation was... Troubled... Or so says my retainer, I can't remember the specifics of exactly what happened in my childhood very well, I was rather young." He shrugs here, moving the broom until it was directly in front of him like a placed staff, resting both hands upon it in the pose of a patient teacher. "Young and sickly. Naturally, a family that places such huge emphasis on bloodlines doesn't take weaker heirs very well, and I wound up in the Outskirts for most of my life, I'm... Rather new to all of this City life, there's a lot more people here than I'm used to, all with rather complicated motives."

    He chuckles, purposefully brushing past most of the darkness and fog of the childhood years.

    "Much more complicated than the beasts from back home, but it's an interesting enough place, very... Artificial in comparison yes, but never disinteresting, the things the people here are able to make are quite fascinating, if a little more dangerous than is probably wise."

    It feels a bit like talking to his students, of course the topic is only rarely himself, even more rarely is it someone who seems to know more than he does in some ways...

    Still-!

    "As for how many of us are left..." He frowns, eyes clouding up with thought, although his gaze remains fixed on both girl and robot. "Of my generation... I think it might just be me nowadays. Some of the elders are still alive I'm sure, and I'm pretty certain our branch families continue to flourish, but of the main house I assume it's just me, unless some of my older siblings are hiding somewhere for some reason... Which isn't... Impossible I suppose."

    He shrugs.

    "Even if they are though, I was brought here to be the inheritor. Rules of the bloodline means it has to be someone from the main house, or something silly like that, I was never too fussed about the blood purity nonsense they all love to go on about, downsides of a traditionalist family." Another chuckle, the tapping of a broom handle against the ground. "Might explain this... What did you say? Secret library?"

    He gestures vaguely at the dojo.

    "The Hojo Clan are exactly the type to blood-seal something like that so only a member of the main house could open it, it wouldn't shock me in the slightest."

    That being said...

    "That said... Where did you hear of such things anyway?"

    Her knowledge of such things is a little odd...

    Those sorts of rumors can be quite dangerous, if people were going around talking about hidden libraries they'd probably get the idea of lost treasures in their heads and some of those would inevitably get the idea to try and take those valuables away, and that often leads to violence...

    Best to figure out exactly what is being said out on the streets.
    Last edited by Airen; August 4th, 2022 at 09:56 AM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

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