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Thread: Paradise Lost (IC)

  1. #81
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Anya
    Location: Abandoned Storage Yard
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “A-ah, yes, tea!”

    Somewhat awkwardly, the man sat down and pulled his own cup in front of himself, all the while pretending that he did not even notice that the third cup with the blood was there in the first place.

    It was hard to tell whether he found the motion of his boss inviting him for tea, or the act of drinking tea more awkward, but it was obvious that he did not want to refuse, and in the end, it was still not that unpleasant of an experience.

    “Doesn’t look familiar,” he spoke up again once Anya restarted the message, “Seems kind of powerful though. Or perhaps someone very cocky.”

    That was a conclusion Anya could reach on her own as well. Though, it made sense that neither of them would really know her. The City was a big place, with countless syndicates and shady individuals, and even the more well known ones didn’t go around deliberately advertising their members. Knowing her would have been half a coincidence, even if they had a more extensive network of connections.

    “I can’t say that I like the risk this option comes with though.”

    His hand was still shaking slightly from the underlying anger as he lifted his cup to his mouth to take a big gulp of his hot tea. Then, he let out a small sigh as he put it back down.

    “But Iori told me to use my brain many times before. And if I do that, then it doesn’t necessarily sound like a trap. So…Even if we are strong, maybe it’s better not to pick a fight with everyone. It’s not just how it was back in the streets, where I could just bash anyone’s head in without a care.”

    A surprising character development for a simpleminded brute, even if he still had a very, very long way to go.

    “Still, I will make sure that everyone is ready then, so that we can do whatever you wish once you return.”

    The way he said it, there was no doubt that he would do just that, and as best as he could.

    Yet, as that seemed to be the end of the discussion regarding the matter, the man drank the rest of his tea, and took the tracker that Anya handed over to him. And looked at it very intently for a few moments.

    Only so that he would then push a button - more or less the only one - on the small device, making it immediately come to life. Then, with a satisfied look, he handed it back over to Anya.

    A rather simple device altogether, it seemed. Even its actual function seemed to be nothing more than a direction and distance indicator.

    Something that was simple enough even for her to follow, and as she did just that, eventually…

    She reached a seemingly abandoned storage yard. It was quite some distance away from their hideout, so while it was nothing that she couldn’t handle, dusk was already starting to fall by the time she got there.

    The place that the tracker seemed to be pointing towards.

    Not exactly the kind of location one would likely expect, but still…

    As she took a better look around from the outside, she could spot two things at least. Namely, a small table in the middle of the yard, illuminated by a lamp next to it, with a device similar to what she got earlier with the recording on it, and a person she couldn’t quite recognize leaning against one of the large container piles some distance away from there.




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


    Round 1, Turn 2: Soldiers of Sand!

    As someone who has faced countless of criminals and syndicate members by now, and has ended the life of most, Nana wasn’t particularly fazed by the situation, and just a fraction of a second after the remains of the tracker hit the ground she was already dashing towards the hill behind which she sensed the presence of her assailants.

    Something that didn’t take more than a moment or two either, and once reached the top of the dune, she could easily spot the two men, dressed completely in sand coloured camo clothes, trying to make their apparent escape as they were sliding down the other side of the hill.

    By far not quickly enough to escape Nana, however, and as the forcewave she sent out with a rapid slash of her sword made a long, clean cut in the sand right next to their feet, their plan to run away was clearly cut in half as well. A fact that forced them to face Nana, and along with her, her rapidly growing anger and murderous intent as well.

    A fearsome aura that took a lot by surprise and scared even more, but…

    These people likely knew what they signed up for when they set up this trap for her in the first place, so even if it incited fear in their hearts, and even if it threatened to shake their confidence, they were not going to give up so easily.

    “As if.”

    Two simple words, as one of the men pulled their handgun out and aimed it at Nana with the same motion.

    Made it clear enough that they were certainly not going to surrender, or go down without a fight.

    Which is why he didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger either, once, twice, and then a third time, in rapid succession.

    Perhaps the man was just lucky. Perhaps Nana just underestimated them, and the quick retaliation took her by surprise, but before she could even react, she could feel the painful sensation of two of the bullets burying themselves into her flesh, with at least the third passing by her and disappearing into the sand.

    Not a pleasant start to the fight, by any means.

    Though…

    To her surprise, it didn’t hurt quite as much as what she was used to. It wasn’t the first time she got shot over the years, and she already knew what it felt like to have a bullet penetrate straight through her body or lodge itself deep inside her. And yet, this time, it seemed that the bullets just lost much of their force the moment they pierced her skin and reached her flesh, although…

    It was also a lot more unpleasant in a different sense, as she got the uncanny feeling that something was still moving around briefly inside the wound, despite it being clear that the bullets were no longer in motion…

    She didn’t have much time to pay attention to that, however, as she anticipated that the other man would pull their gun as well, but just as she readied her weapon and body to evade…

    The other man instead seemed to hesitate for a moment, and instead reached into his bag to pull out a device of sorts, something that he activated with just a press of a button. Then, as a single red light blinked atop it, he pushed it against the ground, only for it to send out a weak shockwave of shorts.

    A thumper?

    But what for?

    It didn’t have any effect on Nana at least, and the only reason she could realize what it seemed to do in the first place was because she noticed the sand rippling around it the moment it let out that sort of quiet, dull sound…

    Well, whatever it was, it meant that they gave up on their opportunity to strike Nana at least.

    Round 2, Turn 1: Nana Senri!




    Chomper (Gun, Light) attacks against Nana Senri:
    1: Hit (71)! Damage inflicted: 3(Piercing) - 0 = 3 damage! ??? Status effect inflicted!
    2: Miss (29)!
    3: Hit (84)! Damage inflicted: 3(Piercing) - 0 = 3 damage! ??? Status effect inflicted, increased to two stacks!

  2. #82
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Nana Senri
    Location: A Desert in the Outskirts
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    Even before they said their response, once I saw them raise their gun smoothly. They went from someone that I would’ve allowed to live to the enemy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syndicate
    “As if.”
    Despite knowing where they were attacking from, I wasn’t able to dodge or parry all of the attacks like I wanted. I could blame it on luck. My own overconfidence. Their skill. This blasted sand. Regardless, I received two more gunshots than I would’ve liked. The good news was that they didn’t hurt as much as they should’ve, but they weren’t normal as I felt something move inside of my body. I didn’t know what it was, but that only encouraged me to finish the fight even faster.

    Before the second person could take a shot, I moved to evade their attacks intent on avoiding whatever underhanded bullets they were using. However, the attack never came as they dropped some kind of thumping device down into the sand. I could feel some kind of shockwave from here. I could only assume that it was meant to discourage me from rushing them to attack at close range.

    That’s when Nana Senri disappeared right in front of the Soldiers of Sand. While she was fast, surely someone would’ve still seen her move even if it was just a blur. There were no tracks in the sand. No weird optical camouflages. No phenomenon to indicate that she used a Psychoment. It was as if Nana Senri disappeared until the one who shot her sensed a giant outpouring of energy as if it was always there.

    Weak
    Yowai.


    As if declaring their attempts were useless before she unsheathed Senbonzakura to make a series of ultrafast katana slices.

    Nana Senri Wise-Up!
    HP: 44 / 50
    Fragment: 15 / 50

    Brawn: B
    Tempo: A
    Finesse: B
    Stamina: A
    Toughness: E
    Resolve: ???
    Force: C
    Essence: C
    Ego: ???

    Abilities
    Transcendence Rank A
    Type: Self

    Instead of using the Infinity Fragment to project something into the world, Nana instead uses that energy to temporarily make her sword techniques into something supernatural similar to other sword wielding fixers.

    < By entering a Transcended form, the user can empower their sword techniques in a variety of ways. The form remains in effect for 6 turns, or until the user performs 3 of their enhanced techniques. >

    Void Cut Rank E
    Type: Ranged, Target (20m)
    Damage: 4/Description
    Element: Energy

    A simple sword beam that Nana can use multiple times to harass her enemies at a distance until she closes in or used simultaneously at close range to deal even further damage.

    < A lightning fast slash with a sword that sends forth a burst of energy, slicing through the air and inflicting a sensation similar to being cut on the target. Due to the focus on speed over power, the ability only inflicts 4 Energy damage, but it can conveniently be used from a range without having to directly engage the target. >
    >>
    Technique
    Deliverance
    (Befreiung))

    Rank: A
    Cooldown: 6
    Type: Melee, Target

    Simply a hard and fast Iaido slice that is meant to deal with enemies who have heavier armor or a thicker exoskeleton. Armor penetration move.

    The Transcendence version allows Nana to strike up to all of her attacks.

    < The technique is made up of a lightning fast slash that is aimed to strike where the target's defense is the weakest, prioritizing precision over brute force. When used, one can perform an attack as normal that ignores any physical defense that the target gets from their equipment. However, the attack's damage cannot be increased past its natural limit.

    In transcendence form, this instead turns into a series of three rapid slashes where the first two attacks similarly ignore any bonus physical defense, while the last one only ignores half of it but is instead guaranteed to inflict a Light Bleeding injury. >



    Perks
    Bullet Time (C) Tempo (C) Milestone
    While arrows and especially bullets are usually too fast for the human eye to see, it feels like they slow down just ever so slightly for you, to the point that you can sometimes almost see their trajectories. You gain 1 extra evasion score against ranged projectile attacks.
    Micro Warp Drive The factory where you were created is closely associated with the makers of the warp technology, which is likely the reason why they tried to develop a branch of it that could be applicable directly to a person’s body. This device was also embedded into your body, tied closely to your Infinity Engine fragment that was responsible for running the calculations necessary for its operation. The initial experiments showed mixed results - but before the technology could be developed further, the production of machines was shut down in the factory, and with it this project was abandoned as well. Regardless, it’s still inside your body, and you were taught how to use it. With it, you can teleport short distances, but using it too frequently overheats your core, and the number of uses also seems limited before you need to wait for it to recharge. Just remember, it’s a highly experimental technology, and you have no idea how it actually works, even if you know more or less what it seems to do. Each use generates 5 Heat, and you can use it at most 5 times before you must let the Warp Core cool down.
    Perfect Flow (C) The way you move around the battlefield seems almost like a dance, an actual art of its own. You gain 1 point to your accuracy and to your evasion when fighting close quarters.
    Last edited by Kuroyuki; August 16th, 2022 at 01:29 PM.

  3. #83
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Four
    Location: Shi Association's Branch Office
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Oh, definitely. That’s just the natural order of the City, that everything gets sorted out sooner than later. I’m sure the Head would find it appropriate to intervene once they already laid waste to a few districts. That’s about the point when the problem would grow out to be considerable enough for them to make a move, I reckon. If it even reaches that point, of course.”

    The woman shrugged, and chuckled quietly.

    “If anyone other than me was aware of it in the first place, that is. But as it seems, I’m having trouble convincing even a single person about the case. What do you think would happen if I informed the Hana Association about it, or just released it to the public? Surely, they wouldn’t just chalk it up to being another one of the countless crazy conspiracy theories.”

    Realistically speaking, it did sound like a rather elaborate conspiracy theory. So what made this one any different from those then? And what made this woman any different from those deranged fools coming up with the weirdest of theories?

    Really, it was mostly just her calm and collected demeanor, and that unshakable confidence that made her stick out, but even then, what other than that was the guarantee that she wasn’t just spouting nonsense?

    “Yet all those things considered, I’m here. You can draw whatever conclusion you’d like from that.”

    A wide smile on her face, the woman turned around, and started walking towards the door.

    Didn’t she say that she was going to wait for Four’s colleagues to return?

    Well, either way, at least she wasn’t bothering her about accepting the contract anymore…




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

    “I see. A castle, and a kingdom. Old World traditions, but makes sense depending on the context. I will keep that in mind.”

    With a growing curiosity in her eyes, she listened to everything that Jalen said intently, and once she was given the sufficient permission, she finally climbed out of the metal box and stretched her limbs as she stood in front of the man.

    “That’s much better. I no longer feel pain.”

    It was already obvious that she was small, but now that they were standing next to each other, it became even more evident, with the girl just barely reaching above Jalen’s stomach.

    “Still, I see. In that case, I am very grateful that you managed to keep me alive, King Jalen. And yourself, of course. I don’t think there would have been a possible outcome where I would have survived and you did not, so I cannot tell for certain, but I am sure I would have felt sad if you were to lose your life for my cause.”

    Somehow, it was hard to imagine what it would have looked like if she was feeling sad, or if she was capable of feeling sad in the first place, considering how the only emotion she has exhibited so far was faint curiosity.

    “I am afraid that I cannot give a concrete answer to your inquiries, however. I was resting for quite some time, so I am not exactly aware of who it was that hired you. Shouldn’t you know that, instead? If you have made a deal, I would assume that you have at least met the other party. Or am I wrong to assume that?”

    One could only wonder what she would think if Jalen admitted to her that he just blindly took a request from a client who refused to even show their face.

    “As for your other question, I am once again not too certain. According to my knowledge, it would be easier to list the individuals and groups that do not want to eliminate or capture me than those who do. Although if you give me another, more detailed description of the individuals that you have encountered, I might be able to provide more information.”

    Just as she finished speaking, a weird rumbling, or growling sort of noise could be heard coming from her direction, inadvertently making her look down at her stomach.

    “It would appear that I am hungry. Do you happen to store some sort of a sustenance in your kingdom that you could share with me, King Jalen? I can make an attempt to answer any other questions you might have in the meantime.”

  4. #84
    The Dragon of Dojima MssrNeko's Avatar
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    John Hong
    Location: District 13 - Connecting District Area
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Evening)


    The smell of peeled rubber burns as the sports car rounds a corner out of sight. Despite how stony she can be, Officer Hana is a speed demon behind the wheel. John wondered if it was the just the car or if she drives like that normally.

    The now alone issue answerer figures he has nothing more important to do than to investigate the crime scene. John remembers the address that Aoi gave him; the warehouse is not far from the street he is on. Popping a fresh stick of gum in his mouth John starts walking.

    The crisp fresh taste of mint helps John focus his senses like those hard-boiled detectives from the shows.

    The area is quiet.

    John sees lit shopfronts and the hum of neon “We’re Open!” signs but feels the careful gaze of hidden eyes. A hand on the windowpane and another hidden; holding a weapon or the lock of the door? The orange glow of the sun lazily nearing the edge of the horizon of the district walls. Shadows slither and swell in the creeping sunlight of the evening, dark places grabbing hold of every nook, cranny, and spot. And whatever pedestrians John sees on this sparsely populated street do not waste their time or their attention.

    John continues down the path.

    He had seen situations like this before, in late night reruns burned into his memories. Towns and neighborhoods that were hit by a wave of unnatural weather or freak natural storms. But this storm does not belong to Nature but a Man, not natural but man made. A killer whose spree of murders has completely gripped this City area like the thick tension clinging in John’s throat.

    John stops. Yellow and black tape covers the entrances and exits of the building ahead of him. The police sentries seemed to be absent, likely because of a shift change or end of the workday.

    The Warehouse. The Crime Scene. The Storm’s Eye.

    “Time to get to work,” John says with narrowed eyes. An uneasy feeling clings to his throat.

    “It’s too quiet”

    John pushes aside the tape and passes the threshold of the City and into the darkness.


    Spoiler:

  5. #85
    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)

    “Thank you very much.”

    The small machine-man bowed slightly as the Night Rider walked out of the shop, appearing genuinely thankful for the help. In his eyes, the man has already done tremendous good for his sake, and it was likely that he wouldn’t be any less grateful even if for some reason he didn’t manage to recover the supplies.

    Not that it was a possibility of course, as the Night Rider would always get the job done.

    And he would this time as well.

    Which is why he was already on top of his noble, jet black steed now. The mighty and stunning machine beast that made him whole. What was the Night Rider without his fearsome stallion that would instill fear in the hearts of those who get to hear the roaring of its engine in the middle of the night?

    Such thoughts made him feel alive.

    It can’t have been that long since his last job, and yet, he was so eager to ride again.

    Though, the fun part was yet to come still.

    For now, he was simply just approaching his destination.

    Something that seemed to be quite some distance away, as the tracker was barely showing him to be any closer even as he was going at full speed, but then…Come to think of it, he never really asked Inganui where exactly the truck was coming from, and when it got derailed. That, and the thieves could have taken it practically anywhere within the City…

    Still, at the very least, the sun that was disappearing under the horizon let the darkness slowly take over, which was ultimately his preferred work environment anyways.

    After what felt like an eternity, or at least an hour or two, he could tell that he was finally getting closer.

    Was he still in District 15? Or was this already 25 instead? Sometimes it was hard to tell, with how similar the two were around the borders at least, but regardless…

    He found himself being pointed towards one of the enormous factories that the industrialist part of the City was so well known for. One that seemed to have its own logistics center right next to it, along with a huge, walled off yard, stretching for possibly a few kilometers based on what he could see.

    Far from abandoned though, as he would notice from the lights, sounds, and altogether other signs of activity.

    The fact that the tracker was pointing in there certainly made one wonder about some things.

    Not to mention that it certainly made for an extra hurdle, long as his approach was concerned. After all, he still could have just made a beeline to the truck, but without knowing what to expect, it was certainly kind of a gamble, and giving his presence away to everyone who might have been in there right off the bat was not necessarily optimal either.




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

    “O-oh, yes sir!” Koito saluted awkwardly as she jumped to her feet at the sudden request, “One portable turbo fan! Give me thirty…no, twenty minutes!”

    Her mind already set on the task, she hurried out of the room, all the while biting her nails and staring blankly at her feet while chanting to herself as if she was repeating some occult ritual incantation.

    “Portable…needs sufficient energy source. Self generators would be too weak but burst batteries should work on short term…proper cooling for axle and rotary parts is a more pressing matter…wouldn’t want a fire. Yeah, no more explosions, not today, one explosion when there was supposed to be none is already one too much…”

    Luckily, one anxious cackle and some more mumbling about explosions later, she got too far for them to hear her anymore.

    “Well, I don’t need to look too far to be able to answer that,” Bang spoke up as he shook his head after a moment of silence, “If there was anything similar in the past, they would have already made the correlation, but there is nothing about that. I can’t recall anything like that either. Not that my head is a history book. Haven’t lived for quite as long as my appearance suggests, after all. Though, I’m sure Jordan would know.”

    He gestured towards the other man, who just shook his head in response as well.

    “Nha, there’s been a lotta shit about the smoke before, but nothing to this effect. Hell, if it was common knowledge that the smoke could cause something like that this district would have already gone down in flames by now. Something it would likely deserve either way, considering how the normal smoke can already be hellish.”

    With a sigh, he stubbed his cigarette out, then stood up and started walking towards the door as well.

    “Anyhow, I’ll prep the stuff. Should be ready by the time Koito is.”

    With that, only Ichiro and Bang were left in the room, with the latter scratching his head as he was clearly contemplating how exactly he could prove useful in this situation.

    “I dunno about Koito, but I would definitely prefer to stay,” he spoke up finally, “My rusty bones wouldn’t be of much use there. I’d just trip over and strain my back, and get my ass caught in that smoke. Not that death concerns me, but I would just be a danger for you as well afterwards.”

    As he shot an apologetic glance at Ichiro, it became quite obvious that he wasn’t really just looking for an excuse to slack off, but rather, he honestly just couldn’t see how he could be more help than bother.

    “That said, I’m sure you’ve already figured it out yourself, but some sort of an artificial tool might be immensely useful here. Which is to say, I still have my remote controller stunt car. Not a lot more than a toy, though I did fancy it up a bit. Could work if you don’t want to get yourself a flier or something.”

    In the end, it seemed that everyone was eager enough to try to contribute one way or another.

    And exactly twenty minutes later, they were more or less prepared for the trip too, with Jordan carrying a huge amount of supplies and gadgets, and Koito hauling a butchered patchwork of a rather ominous looking fan as well.

  6. #86
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Ichiro Sasaki
    Location: Peacemaker Labs
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    "YOUR JOB HERE IS JUST AS IMPORTANT, DOCTOR HERMANN! THE LAB WON'T WATCH ITSELF!"

    Sasaki begins packing as the other scientists run off to make their own preparations. It will be a rush job, this expedition, yet with time so essential they can afford no tarrying. A few samples, minimum, will be required for further analysis. After which...

    "...Bang, you are aware of our work's limitations. The scaling issue. The smoke may be just another rumour swirling around this cistern of a city, or it could be the key to a breakthrough. Our inventions must be not for Man, but Mankind. Perhaps even that telomerase-amplification therapy would work on someone besides its tester."

    He addresses his colleague in a sober way, one old man to another. Then Ichiro Sasaki slams his fist onto the table and laughs.

    "Which is to say, with our robotic janitor down for the count, you're on cleanup duty! Handle it however you want, hire a maid if you have to, just get this air breathable by the time we're back; it's bad enough we have to wear gas masks just to buy groceries. Prepare the lab for analyzing specimens; we won't be able to do much with only a field kit. And keep an eye out for that traitorous machine!"

    Stepping away, surveying the wrecked room, Sasaki gulps down the last of his health juice and thinks.

    "As for that drone idea, yes, I think I will. Shouldn't cost much to rent a flying one for a day..."

    As everyone arrives, equipment in tow, Ichiro nods to them. Jordan he'd expected to have along, but seeing Koito tagging along as well, eager to field-test her latest invention, is a welcome surprise.

    In the City, normal people do not have much sway... but the power of the human spirit is limitless.

    "WE'RE OFF! TO SEE THE WIZARD!"

  7. #87
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Aisha Asakawa
    Location: Aisha's Apartment
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    For a moment, the woman seemed taken aback by Aisha’s words, but after a moment of silence a warm smile spread on her face as she reached forward and gently tousled the girl’s hair.

    “I know you will. I never doubted that. So it was just a silly assumption - after all, I can’t afford to disappear and make the burden on your shoulders any heavier.”

    All things considered, it wasn’t any easier for Hanaelle either.

    While she never really opened up about having relatives, or said relatives disappearing during these incidents, she always claimed that the children at the orphanage were her family. And with so many of them gone, including Aisha’s sister…

    It was quite likely that she was feeling just the same as Aisha, in a sense.

    Yet they both managed to remain hopeful, and move forward, all the while clinging onto any and all possible leads or chances without giving up, even if the journey turned out to be rather shaky at times.

    “Anyhow, I shouldn’t have brought that up anyways. For what we know, the turning point is soon now, and maybe this detective will be able to help you get to the end of it.”

    Still smiling, the woman stood up and walked into the bathroom to grab a comb and the hairdryer, only to then set herself up behind Aisha who was almost done with eating.

    “I’ll do your hair once you are done, then if there is nothing else that you need, we should probably head out afterwards. I should be back at the orphanage, and you shouldn’t wait until the night falls either.”




    Marie
    Location: The Timeless Crater
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    Hajime, still teary-eyed and hyperventilating, turned to the other girl as she addressed her, although it took Marie at least another minute or two before she could calm her down enough that she could regulate her breathing and speak again.

    “M-Marie…”

    Though it seemed that the rather traumatic event left a pretty deep impact on her, so it was uncertain how long it would take for her to truly recover from it.

    “W-where are we? This…this is not how I imagined our trip would turn out like…”

    Neither of them did, most likely.

    And where they were likely would have been just as hard to tell, since even as Marie looked out the window, most she could see was…Nature.

    A rather unusual sight for city-dwellers, for sure.

    Still, she could recognize a small river next to them - which was likely responsible for stopping them - and by the looks of it they were surrounded by hills and forests all around…

    Which direction did they come from, even? With all the spinning and rolling, it was really easy to lose one’s sense of direction, and the car didn’t seem to leave any lasting marks on the environment.

    She could also spot some sort of a ruin in the distance, probably one of those that she already heard about earlier. Although, the stormcloud that was blotting out the sun also made it much harder to see too far.

    “What are w-we going to do now, Marie? They said there were mo…monsters in here, so how are we going to get out?”

    There certainly was one colossal monster at least, although judging by how nothing has happened for a short while now, perhaps it just didn’t care about them anymore. Hopefully, at least. While Marie could take care of a lot of things, something like that was definitely out of her league. Out of most people’s league, really.

    Just what exactly was that, to begin with?

    “Are you two okay?”

    Her thoughts were interrupted by a voice and the cabin’s door sliding open, and as she turned around, she could see two girls standing at the door.

    “Can you walk? Do you need medical attention? We were planning on leaving in just a moment, so you should come with us.”

    The shorter of the two, the one with a worried expression, stepped over to them with a first-aid kit in her hands to see if they needed any help.

    “Yeah, that was one hell of a tumble and we made so much so much noise, it’s a miracle we survived. Though if we want to keep it that way, we gotta move soon, because if there really are monsters here, then we certainly got their attention.”

    Meanwhile, the other one - a Fixer, judging by the large rifle on her back - tried to appear rather calm and collected, although the nervous glances she shot backwards over her shoulder from time to time gave her away just the same.

    “H-hey, don’t scare them like that!” Said the pink haired girl as she gave the other a reprimanding look.

    “I’m just making sure that they are aware of the situation we are in! Anyways, you coming then?”




    Johnny Concord
    Location: Outskirts, Shouko's Home
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    “He didn’t say all that much, truth to be told.”

    The girl didn’t seem to be too concerned at any rate, as she lied down and switched on what turned out to be a portable gaming device of sorts.

    “Just asked me to make sure that you don’t get carried away. Personal stuff always hits different, overwrites logic and all that jazz.”

    There was probably some truth to that, even if no one would ever really admit about themselves.

    “Though he told me way too little altogether, to be fair. If I didn’t know better by now that he usually doesn’t ask for stuff if it’s not important, then I likely would have refused.”

    The girl pulled her legs up as she crossed them, and judging by the sounds that were coming out of the device, she actually started playing some sort of a game, soon focusing on it so much that even the tip of her tongue was sticking out a bit from time to time. Rather disrespectful altogether, considering how she gave little attention to Johnny, but then they weren’t on the job, and she mentioned that the information from Hermes might still take a bit to arrive. That, and she still didn’t completely ignore him, at least when she didn’t seem to be at some sort of an important part.

    But the music was a banger, at least?

    Not necessarily Johnny’s style, not to mention that he didn’t know all that much about games anyways.

    Maybe it was also one of those Old World games that they managed to recreate somehow?

    At first glance there always seemed to be a pretty big difference in style between the creations of the two cultures, even though the City has been taking a lot of inspiration from the Old World.

    “Anyhow, you know how to cook, right? There’s some steak and stuff in the kitchen. Just don’t make too big of a mess because you’re cleaning up.”

    She gestured towards one of the side rooms with her head, which indeed seemed to be a rather well equipped kitchen, at least for a portable home like this. And based on her comment from earlier, the fridge must have been packed to the brim with all sorts of food…

    Food that needed to be cooked, though, meaning that in reality she was hardly giving any sort of a luxurious treatment to her guest.

    Of course, until just a bit ago, she wasn’t even certain if he would show up, so in a sense it was understandable that she didn’t go out of her way to prepare a meal for him.

    However, just as he was about to head there, they could both hear it.

    The sound of someone knocking on the hatch.

    A moment later, the music stopped as well, as Shouko put the game console down next to her.

    “I don’t recall any other guests that were supposed to show up today.”

    As the initial surprise faded from her expression, the girl instead looked genuinely annoyed about the fact that there seemed to be someone other than the two of them out here in the middle of nowhere, someone who was now banging on her door instead.

    “Didn’t you notice anyone tailing you earlier? Can’t see how anyone could have just randomly stumbled upon this location otherwise.”

  8. #88
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Marie
    Location: The Timeless Crater
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    The moment Hajime came out of her shock and started hyperventilating, Marie brought the black-haired girl into her arms, one hand gently patting her back while she whispered reassurances to her friend.

    It was more of a natural reaction than anything else; she had faced many crying children in the past ten years, and this usually worked pretty well to calm them down, so her body started moving before her mind could catch up. And while Hajime isn't exactly a child, they'd just been through a rather terrifying ordeal, so hopefully her action wouldn't be out of place.

    Still, her brows furrowed a tiny bit as a heavy feeling settled on her chest - a feeling that she identified as 'guilt' - because Hajime wouldn't be in this situation had she went alone as she initially suggested. Perhaps she should have been more assertive, more careful instead of getting swept away by the prospect of a trip with a friend...

    But that was all in the past; there's nothing that she could do to change it now. What she should focus on is the present, because she needs to be a pillar that Hajime can lean on, and she couldn't show any weakness lest her friend panic.

    Being naturally dull and inexpressive can come in handy, sometimes.

    Marie released the hug after Hajime calmed down, though she still held the other girl's hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hajime
    "M-Marie... W-where are we? This…this is not how I imagined our trip would turn out like…”
    She glanced at the window in response to the inquiry; a small river, hills and forests surrounding them, and a ruin in the distance... It's hard to believe they're still in the City and not the Outskirts.

    She had no idea where they are right now.

    "...I don't know." She answered honestly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hajime
    “What are w-we going to do now, Marie? They said there were mo…monsters in here, so how are we going to get out?”
    "It's okay, Hajime... it's going to be okay. We're going to get back home, and I'll protect you from any monsters that might come... so you don't need to worry too much." Her expression softened just a tiny bit as her hand gently made circles on Hajime's palm to help reassure and calm her down. "But first, we need to get off this train. A journey begins with a single step, after all."

    As if on cue, two girls then appeared at the door, offering help and company; Marie is relieved to see that one of them is a fixer who can help her keep Hajime (and maybe the pink-haired girl?) safe, even if that relief failed to show on her face. So she gives a quick nod, mouthing a "We're fine, please give us a moment" before turning her attention back to Hajime.

    "...Can you walk, Hajime? Do you need help?" She asked softly as she picked their bags from the floor. "You can be honest with me. If you can't stand just yet, then I can carry you... for a while, at least."

    Hajime is quite petite, so carrying her shouldn't be a problem.
    Last edited by palad1n; August 18th, 2022 at 10:45 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


  9. #89
    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)

    It wasn’t his first time holding or firing a gun, so even as his hand shook, even as he panicked slightly, he still managed to line the sight of the gun up with his target, and as his finger moved on the trigger, his vision became sharper than ever for just a fraction of a second as he was pulled back to reality and forced to focus on the man in front of him for that moment.

    What he didn’t expect, however, was that the gun in his hands wasn’t just a usual single fire pistol. Rather, he could count at least four bullets fired in a quick succession, and while the first one hit exactly what he wanted, the sudden and unexpected recoil drove his hand upwards, making the second one miss, then the third one just barely graze the rope the crane was holding on to lift the container…

    And then, the last one hit the same rope straight on, making it snap with a loud, nasty sound, and as one could expect…

    Without anything holding the crate in the air, the gravity made it accelerate towards the ground, like an unstoppable force, and before anyone could react, a horrible, spine chilling sound made it evident exactly when it crushed a human body under itself as it reached the ground.

    Though by then, Harry was already sprinting towards the door, doing his best not to run into any of the stacks of containers of trip over something.

    “Holy shit Harry, what the fuck was that?”

    The somewhat shocked voice of his sunglasses barely even registered in his mind, just the same as how the man behind him screaming his lungs out sounded so distant and dull as well.

    By the time he reached the door, and peered into the hallway that lay beyond it, his headache was returning as well. Even stronger than before, feeling almost like something was splitting his skull in half again. Instinctively, he reached for the back of his head with a hand while bending over slightly as his body tensed up from the pain, and by the time he could open his eyes again, it felt like the room in front of him changed completely.

    It was just like in his dream before, with the walls all around painted with symbols, images and altogether incomprehensible stuff, their fluorescent colors of all kinds being the only light in the dark.

    “Harry…”

    He could hear the voice of the woman again.

    But why?

    How was this even happening?

    “Harry, quick! Run!”

    There was no laugh this time, or cheer in her voice. Just sheer panic, and a sense of urgency as she called out to the man.

    Before he even realized, he was already running down the hallway. Or was he just dreaming again? Maybe he was still just standing at the door of the warehouse. Or maybe the warehouse was just a dream as well…

    Still, he was running for now, following the shadowy figure, corner after corner, his growing headache and blurry vision making it immensely hard to figure where he was even going.

    “Harry, duck!”

    By the time the voice would ring in his ears, he had already dropped to the ground, countless bullets flying over and past him, bullets that likely would have torn straight through his body was he still standing. He glanced back over his shoulder as he stood back up, only to realize that there were others chasing after him. Shadowy figures, similar to the woman, except their white skulls were staring clearly at him with their depthless eyes.

    He could only run, faster than before, but even as he managed to shake his pursuers down, more would appear, again and again, hunting him like predatory beasts would hunt their prey. In fact, every glimpse he managed to catch of them, the more they looked like actual beasts, rather than humans, which only made it more unsettling somehow…

    However, paying too much attention to them turned out to be a mistake, as it distracted him from where he was going, so much that he was too late to realize when one of them appeared from the front, only to tackle him and wrestle him to the ground.

    He could hear the scream of the woman, but by then his consciousness already started to fade as the shadow punched him in the gut and pressed him against the ground with its full weight, wrapping its hands around his neck in an attempt to strangle him.

    Another shadow approached quickly, far as he could tell with his vision slowly fading out, but not one with a skull. It was the woman he was trying to catch up to until now, and as she reached them she kicked his assailant straight in the head, making his grasp on Harry’s throat loosen up, releasing him from the embrace of the darkness as well.

    His vision cleared up for a moment, and as he blinked, the scene shifted back to what he assumed to be reality, making the image of the shadowy woman who was struggling to beat up the strange creature shift as well. She was no longer just a shadow, but rather, an actual woman, someone he couldn’t quite recognize, with a weird bluish glow to her, something that made her feel not exactly real still.

    The image would shift, from real to that dreamlike shadow world and back over and over again, the flashing colors and the visual stimulation making the pain in his head unbearable. The last thing he could remember before finally passing out was that someone lifted him to his feet, but he wasn’t really in control of his body by then, which is likely why the sounds, the words coming out of someone’s mouth didn’t quite register in his mind either.

    At least there were no dreams this time.

    Just nothing.

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

    He came to, however long after, his vision clearing up slowly, allowing him to take in his surroundings bit by bit.

    At least his head didn’t hurt that much anymore, even if there was still sort of a dull, pulsating sensation at the back of it.

    The cold, hard surface against his back made him certain that he was leaning against a wall, and the natural, although rather dim lights hinted at him no longer being underground. Though, the absolute lack of noise of any sort of activity meant that he was still someplace that was quite abandoned.

    That’s what he thought at least, until he spotted the only person that seemed to be around. The woman from before, sitting on the ground in front of him with a somewhat worried expression on her face.

    “Finally awake, huh.”

    Her gaze settled on Harry as she noticed that he regained consciousness, as her lips curled into a smirk.

    “Feels like we’ve already been in this situation today. Certainly not the best day we’ve been through.”

    Was she actually real then?

    No…

    The more Harry looked, and as his mind cleared up, he realized. Maybe at some point it was real, but right now, it was more like an optical illusion, or a projection of sorts. Something that was enough to trick his perception, until the realization hit, after which it became quite obvious. That the woman wasn’t really there, but rather, that she seemed to be in the lens of his sunglasses.

    “You okay, Harry?”

    And the voice was just the same as what he would hear from his sunglasses before. Whatever that meant…

  10. #90
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Harry March
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Night)

    It's not a crime to kill criminals, Harry, a woman whispered in his ears as his vision came back together.

    He could still hear the scream.

    To carry the weight of a sin, you must have a strong mind, Harry.

    He didn't know the gun would shoot that way. It was just supposed to wound the guy. Make his escape a little easier, a little safer. He didn't want to kill anybody.

    Is it not you who pulled the trigger? Kidnappers do not deserve your mercy. Do you wish to be experimented upon so badly?

    Harry closed his eyes for a moment, and breathed.

    "Long day, and the same things keep repeating," he said to the woman in his sunglasses, "who knows? Maybe the next time some guy'll steal a gun and kill me."

    You're not allowed to die, Harry, she said with worry in her voice, you can't die! We chose you!

    Harry didn't want to be chosen by whatever was in his head. His memory felt like a sieve, constantly slipping away from him, constantly avoiding the most basic questions, never with any answer for the simplest things. A basic picture, a primer on who he was - it was smoke and ash. All that remained of whoever Harry had been before was erased, replaced with a girl, a room, a hallway, a door, and eyes.

    A hallway that he'd seen again. And faces like death chasing after him. Or was that another dream? Fantasy and reality -- the two things were starting to blur together in Harry's mind, a kaleidoscope that couldn't be unraveled.

    We are real, Harry, a voice boomed in his soul, The truth is more disturbed then any fiction could hope to be.

    But the woman in the sunglasses was real. She was real, not just a voice in Harry's head. She wasn't something he'd invented, and she wasn't a ghost from his dreams. She was real.

    "Didn't realize you could become corporeal," he said with a drawl as he opened one eye, looking at the woman on the ground in front of him, a lazy smile on his face as he dragged his legs in, cracking his neck, "I certainly wasn't the one fighting shadows. You all right, shades? No cracks, yeah?"

    You know, Harry, a woman said quietly, just because we're in your head doesn't mean we're not real.

    "What was that towards the end? I'm not really sure what exactly happened."

    We came, we saw, we conquered. We fought and bled for our triumph, as all men should, a man said with approval.

    We left something behind that we'll never get back. Even if we don't know what it is, or if we even had it before we woke up for the first time, it'll never return, a woman said with sadness.

    Harry tried to forget the scream. It was hard. Almost impossible, really. It was trapped in his mind like a rat, constantly pawing at the corners of his consciousness to make itself known, a ringing that wouldn't go away.

    "How'd we even get out of there?"
    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. #91
    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)



    Aisha wasn't sure what to add after revealing her earnest thoughts to Hanaelle, in the end electing to nod at Hanaelle's suggestion and not keep her waiting. Scarfing down whatever was left on the plate, then wiping her mouth clean, Aisha proceeded to get herself seated on the chair. She had already dried her hair to a degree, but of course, being herself, Aisha considered 'moist but not dripping with water' dry enough. While from time to time this was alright, hair is usually kept in a healthy state by drying it properly then applying conditioner on it, especially hair as long as hers.

    Perhaps someday she'd put more effort in that kind of healthcare, but today was not the day... and Hanaelle was here to fix her hair up anyways.

    It's always pleasant to have someone take care of your hair, especially when their hands are as soft and dexterous as Hanaelle's. The fingers combing between the strands, untying the knots; the brush organizing the disheveled ensemble into a straight and orderly fashion... it feels as if a heavy weight is lifted from your head, clearing away all weariness and discomfort.

    All in all, it is a most pleasant experience. So pleasant that Aisha feels like she could fall asleep again but... she knows better than that. Indeed, as Hanaelle had said, Aisha would have to hurry since dusk wasn't too far off. Meeting that detective and sorting things out before the curfew would be ideal.

    Still, before she forgot, there was something Aisha should do.

    Even if technically this was all against Aisha's will...

    Even if Aisha always said 'she'd be fine' by herself...

    Even if saying these kinds of things made Aisha embarrassed because she felt like a child...

    "Hey... uhm... th-thanks for everything. I... mean it."

    It wasn't just a thank you to Hanaelle for what she had done today, rather, it was a thank you for everything she had done since she decided to take care of these two lost kids who had been orphaned. It wasn't often that she thanked people from the bottom of her heart... and she knew that she could be quite distant and stand-offish in her desires to act strong and independent.

    There is no sign of the headstrong delinquent in the weak voice, however. It is rather the voice of a timid soul not very sure if she is expressing her gratitude properly.

  12. #92
    屍鬼 Ghoul SnowSpartan's Avatar
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    Night Rider
    Location: ???
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Night)

    The streets roar in warning of the incoming bounty hunter. With flames shooting behind him, the specter gives the very image of a demonic rider. A demonic horseman. Tonight, the Night Rider is on the hunt.

    The noise, the open road, the very air itself calls to him. Iris isn’t the only one who is excited for this trip. Out here, he can leave his concerns behind. Here, until his time runs out, is where he belongs.

    “Enjoying the fresh air, Iris? Not so stuffy out here under the open sky. If only the view weren’t so dull.”

    Speaking to his comrade, Night Rider faintly regards the buildings passing by. The same old lifeless factory buildings of district 15. Or maybe 25, at this point. He’s not sure how far they’ve gone. It’s possible that they already passed over into that district. Not deep enough to make much of a difference for this trip yet. Too far in, though, and he’ll have to keep an eye out for troubles from the wilderness.

    The tracker starts moving more significantly, indicating that Night Rider’s close. At least the thieves didn’t take the shipment out in the wilderness for some godforsaken reason. He would’ve had to question their sanity at that point.

    The specter will have to be careful now that he’s close. He doesn’t want to accidentally run right into the thieves. Best to know what he’s dealing with before he engages them.

    Soon enough, the target comes into view. A large factory, an offshoot building and a larger yard. All with clear signs of activity. This is the place.

    How curious. Not just anybody gets access to such a factory.

    Slowly, the motorcycle comes to a halt. Night Rider cuts off the engine, letting the silence of the night envelop him.

    With a grunt, the specter hops off his motorcycle. He’s in no rush, and there’s no guarantee that there aren't civilians still working at the factory. The thieves could have stached the vehicle here and then blended in. There is also the possibility of this being the work of an organized group. And a criminal group that has enough power to hold a factory of this size could be a syndicate. Night Rider’s had enough of syndicates to last a lifetime. Iris too.

    Best to know what he’s dealing with, first. Reaching around to grab both handlebars, he starts walking the motorcycle to the walled yard. Any direct entrances will be heavily guarded, so he’s going to take a less expected manner of entrance. Night Rider strolls along the fence, until he finds the spot he’s looking for. An area where there isn’t any significant window coverage from the buildings within.

    Night Rider turns to face the walled fence. This is where he’ll enter. This fence is no obstacle to him. His road through is open, nothing can get in his way. Indeed, as the Night Rider steps forward, the wall begins to part. As if it were bending to his very will.

    [The Road is Open: Active]

    The wall closes behind him as the specter walks the motorcycle past the fence. Night Rider looks down at the tracker resting on the seat. Now, he needs to find that truck. Whichever wall that’s closest to it.

    The dark specter and his pitch-black motorcycle approach the factory under the cover of night. A blatant approach, strolling through the vast yard. The faint movements of the factory’s residents carry on, in contrast to the approaching danger.

    “Let the hunt begin.”

    Wise Up

    Abilities

    The Road is Open
    Rank: C
    Casting Cost: 4
    Type: Self

    To Night Rider, there are no obstacles in his way. His road is open, and he will not be impeded. For the turn, all obstacles in Night Rider’s way no longer exist. If there’s a wall in the way, a hole opens up for Night Rider. If there’s a person, they are forcefully moved to the side.

    [It is possible to keep whatever obstacle the ability cleared open for turns past the first one as well, in which case an amount of strain equal to the casting cost is generated without the need to actually cast the ability. The ability also applies to beings in the user's way, in which case, they have to pass a fairly difficult check to avoid being shoved to the side. For the duration the user cannot be slowed down, and any attempts to stop them would be considerably less efficient. This aspect of the ability is only retained for the turn in which it was casted.]


  13. #93
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Anya
    Location: Abandoned Storage Yard
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

    “Good day to you.”

    Anya’s words carried to some distance away, towards the person leaning against the container, the only presence other than hers here. She smiled towards them, a very pure, very naïve smile.

    For some reason people seemed to be terrified when she smiled at them like that, but all she meant to do was to be nice. Above everything else, one must always be polite. It was more of a Thumb principle, but perhaps due to her nature as a vampire, Anya tended to be rather fussy about manners.

    Much to her subordinates’ dismay. Alas.

    Despite the fact that it was dusk, she still kept her parasol up as she approached the table, paying no mind to the person. A greeting was all they merited so far. Only once she was there, did her parasol close with a click.

    It had been a bit of a trek to get here. Somewhat annoying, but transportation was a bit of a weakness for the Blood Matrix, usually she had to depend on one of her subordinates’ vehicles, but given the prompt to come alone, it wasn’t convenient to do so. Rather more than just ‘somewhat’ annoying, but evidently the mastermind had accounted for that detail.

    Thankfully, there hadn’t been any incidents on the road. Usually, someone dressed as fancily as Anya did had no business traipsing around the Backstreets. One could say that her very outfit was asking for trouble. But the District 12’s inhabitants had to develop quite the survival instinct as of late. Most wouldn’t recognize her, but one look at her black nails was enough to make most would-be assailants go for another target.

    Quite convenient, that. As her erstwhile minion had pointed out not too long ago, she couldn’t just kill anyone without a care. Not when she kind of made a business out of criminal activities. Would be rather, unsportsmanlike to do crimes for free. Iori’s teachings, of course.

    Well, enough of that. She took the device, and having already familiarized herself with it, she pressed the button to start the recorded message that surely awaited there. Let’s get this done with.


    quotes
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1984 View Post
    Besides, I don't see what's so terrible about looting anyway. It's only property, they're not actually harming anyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by lantzblades View Post
    when I say hero I don't mean hero in the spirit sense. I mean a morally grounded, good natured person who doesn't slaughter innocent people. No such person exists in the Nasuverse.
    [00:12] <~Katie> i can't defy my origin
    [00:12] <~Katie> of gay memes

    [16:15] <~Katie> lesbians has always been my gimmick and i will exploit it to the fullest

    [22:56] <@Sei> airen is pegging hero this time
    [22:56] <@Sei> for once airen isn't the uke
    [22:56] <@Kuroyuki> I thought Air was the Woman in the Relationship?
    [22:56] <@Airen> Yeah I kinda thought I was the girl too!

  14. #94
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Four
    Location: Shi Association's Branch Office
    Date: Beginning of the End - Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)


    Aiya. What a pain this woman is.

    Four has not heard many people speak like the woman in front of her—unshakably confident. Many people, she has come to believe, rely on hiding their expression, not their tone. Even the most confident liars let their voice waver, as their thoughts weave nuggets of truth between the lies. But whoever is here is utterly confident, and not in the manner of a rabid conspiracist.

    A conspiracist would go on and on about their points, but this woman has been nothing but awfully curt. Perhaps too much so. If others thought like how Four did, she would have been taken seriously by someone with less suspicion. The way she swivels to turn around, one last offer for her to take the bait…

    Disgusting. Has there ever been an ounce of sincerity in the lady’s actions? Four will not bite. If she wants a coworker, she can ask a coworker.

    Four’s cane slides across the floor, bumping into the chair behind the receptionist’s desk. A hand grasps the back of the chair, and she takes a seat. She may as well wait for the next coworker to come in, give them friendly advice. Maybe they’d learn to appreciate her a bit more.

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