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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:59 am 
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Once back in the hideout, Silverblade was immediately subjected to the return of Nighthand’s presence. The man seemed oddly calm for having been away for an entire quest, but Silverblade attributed that to his time spent with his father.

What happened while I was gone?

Here.
Silverblade fed him the memories.

I see… as for what happened to me… He returned memories of his own. So. That’s what he had done… good to know.

The eye of the body faded from silver to a complete and utter black, the other of course perpetually closed with a vivid scar running over it. That eye could be opened, but no orb would lay beneath it. Something else was there, now. Something Nighthand returned with, for his own use, later on.

Knowing everything Silverblade did about the quest, he made his way for the meeting room, taking his seat at the head of the table. Raine and Sheena weren’t there, though that was hardly a surprise. Laying the two tablets out before him, one small and seemingly made of ivory, the other larger and made of stone, each with its own inscription, he proceeded to stare at them blankly. There would probably be a third, if his guess was right; something they would find in the third hub. Beyond that… he didn’t know.

Closing his eyes, he mentally composed and sent a flashmail.

Flashmail!
To: Senna, Hacorie
From: Nighthand
RE: Devil
I’m not going to publicly make a scene over your choice, but I figured I would let you know that it was probably a rash and impulsive choice. Information was lost that could possibly have been of great benefit to us all. I don’t know what we might have found out, but we shall see how it turns out for us.


How they took the message, he didn’t know, or care. After all, it only took the decision of one to impact them all, and they had to live with it.

Finally, he made his own administrative decision.

Flashmail!
To: The Party
From: Nighthand
RE: Next Mission

*Groan* Yeah I know, we just got back. We all know the third hub will be our next destination, and through the words of the Devil, we know it will be guarded by Angel. Presumably she will follow the same pattern of having four forms, so I suggest you all get some rest and stock up. We will leave in a day or two’s time, enough for everyone to get rested and take advantage of the hideout’s comforts.

Also, both tablets are in the meeting room on the table if anyone wants to take a look at them.


He shoved the tablets away from him, leaving them in the center of the table.

Quote:
First Tablet
Clue: leaninG tO thE sidE
sTgshasdeh dafwhhfofdrradf yumuokdrucwe aasdcvrythhe ladocreohtkasdgirnashtga faovrr iasgs Hgaodpaegdfauasdlga

The first tablet is small and seemingly made of ivory.
Quote:
Second Tablet
Clue: lookinG througH iT alL
TKEIN
HDYTG
ENIPY
SOSMO
ECTEU

The second tablet it larger and made of a dense, and thus heavy, stone.

With that, Sheena entered the room, holding a ball of pure yellow. Closer inspection showed it was the same sort of crystal as the blue bomb he had so recently dropped into the hub.

”This is the bomb for the final hub! Use it the same way you have before, Raine says she’s had a reasonable degree of success regarding the data she got!” She paused, and moments later, a flashmail arrived.

Flashmail~!
To: The Party!
From: Sheena~!
I remember I told you all a little about my scout trip to the hubs when we were first choosing which to go to! Well, this one has changed since we last saw it! I took another step in, but all I saw was a fence guarding some kind of mansion!


With that, she disappeared, heading off to do whatever it was she did in the hideout all day. Nighthand, feeling his body’s exhaustion of not his mind’s, headed for the barracks room. It was time to get some rest.

----------------ooc:
Posts are now Twice a Week. Here’s the deal. I expect/want two posts a week from each of you, however, as this is the first one and a trial version, I won’t be penalizing for only once a week if you can’t make it. This is, however, unless you’re consistently only posting once a week without a good excuse. I expect you to put out the effort to make two posts a week, even if sometimes you can’t always make it.

Post days will be a little different as well. Rather than a specific day, I’ll have a two-day range for posts. Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday. This is because currently I have class on Monday and Thursday, so I’m giving myself room to get it in early if I need or want to. In either case, if the post comes on a Sunday or a Wednesday, it will come later (closer to midnight rather than noon)

ICly, get some rest, stock up, do whatever training room stuff or solo preparations you need to. I plan to give it a week or two (that would be 2-4 rounds) before heading to the new field. Hopefully everyone who plans to be in the quest will be posting by the time we leave.

Let’s make this experiment a success, guys.

_________________
My items and such
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Wishlist: Any Armor or Weapons under level 50, Any Scrolls (prefer level 2+)

EXP 500/1000


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:08 pm 
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As they returned to the Hideout, Senna got the distinct air of being avoided. Not that it mattered – she barely noticed it. A sort of cursory awareness was all, rather like noting the air is a little on the cool side. She was shaking a little, and perhaps they would think it was some reaction to the chewing out two of them had given and who knew how many more would want to.

They’d be wrong of course, but that was okay. She supposed they liked their ignorance. It served their egos better to assume she felt wrong and fearful about what she’d done, or that at least she was cowed into some semblance of sense by Zan’s tirade.

Truth was, she was shaking from anger. Were they all REALLY so blind? She was furious, in a way she’d never felt before. They were surprised, fine. They were angry, fine. It was their right. But no one stopped to consider why, no, no one even stopped to ASK why, even though the answer should have been obvious.

No wonder, she was thinking. No WONDER Marionette can control us. We all see ourselves as a separate beings and it doesn’t even enter into our minds that if someone does what we don’t like, they might have a reason. Even I did it, even I’m guilty of such closed-minded thinking, and it has to stop. Huh. They claim to want information. It’s bullshit. But it’s exactly what I expected.

Phoenix’s read like a petulant child’s letter (though it was all she could do to keep from walking to him and slapping him across the face, who did he think he WAS, writing as though she might have forgotten what she owed Marionette?), but Zan’s… that was the one that almost made her laugh. Almost. As it was, she surprised herself both by not flinching away in the face of his wrath and not answering his accusations. Hadn’t she just been thinking she didn’t want to face him angry? Well, here it was… and all she did was return his gaze, stony-faced, and try not to laugh. Yeah, she thought. We’re the ones acting like children, and all you’re doing is calling names and assuming we don’t know what we’ve done. But again… she’d known that going in. She was just grateful to Hac for helping her instead of stopping her, though now he was stuck in the same boat she was. She shot him a grateful, but brief, smile and a Flashmail with one word – Thanks. No more. Doing much more than that would just let them fall into the trap of being ostracized in tandem, making their own little sub-group and fostering even more feelings of anger with the rest of them.

Which led her thoughts back around again. Zan said he expected better? That was bullshit as well. He expected her to do what he wanted. Phoenix as well she assumed. They were rather like Marionette in that regard. Though no… she had to give Marionette, at least it watched them. To an extent, it knew them. It understood their motivations to an extent that was really quite creepy.

And she realized with a start she finally had an answer to its Flashmail. Would she find it in her to fight against Marionette when the time came, or would she let herself be kept out of the fight by her own inadequacies? And the sense of what she’d done was wrapped up in that question for the first time. She and Hac had turned most of the Freedom Fighters against them striking a blow they thought was right against Marionette.

Still, she thought the answer might be different when they were face to face.

And this led to a further, chilling thought – that she might have played right into Marionette’s hands with her actions. That it expected her to finish the Devil off.

Well, if that were the case, she would accept whatever punishment the others saw fit. She might not take many actions, but she would feel like an idiot if she wasn’t willing to accept the consequences of what she’d done in every choice. That was after all why she wasn’t trying to explain herself to the others. That was why she wasn’t going to beg for forgiveness or expect trust. They had to make those decisions. She couldn’t and wouldn’t try to affect them.

The Flashmail that arrived just then came as a bit of a surprise – not in content, but in byline. Nighthand? And just as she’d gotten used to calling him Silverblade. She considered his words, then muttered to herself, “Who’s *leading* this team?” After all, Marionette seemed to be doing a good job making sure it was the answer to that question.

She might have said more or even sent a reply Flashmail, but a second Flashmail from their “leader” interrupted her with information about a tablet. She assumed it was the thing Sekai had turned over at the end. Conscious of the others in a way she hadn’t been before, she decided to go in and take a look.

Heavy and imposing, the new tablet looked like something out of a Biblical epic, covered with an assortment of letters that at first glance seemed almost random. The first one – the one from the first hub she guessed – looked a good deal smaller next to it. Its secrets were already unlocked though.

Her eyes flickered over the second tablet. Once. Twice. “The second key is tempting you,” she read aloud. The corner of her mouth quirked. That was it? There had to be more – if nothing else the patterns were interesting - but she wasn’t interested enough to worry it further. Let someone more intelligent do it.

Now, that’s unfair, you ARE being childish when you think like that, she told herself.

Bored, she wandered out to the main room and took a seat in her previous perch in a corner of the room to sort her items and consider her next step. She wouldn’t want her childish ignorance to rub off on anyone else, after all.

_________________
Senna, level 33 Long Arm (710 HP/180 SP)
Most common kit: Ichigou, Racoon Earcaps, Air Bracer, Snow Panther, Winter Coat, Graceful Book
Spells/Skills: (Critical Hit/Death) Repulse Cage, Ap Corv, Ap Vorv, Rai Rom, Rue Zot, La Repth
Click for full equipment and items
14300 (1/23)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:44 pm 
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None of the fighting the wizard had half expected had broken out. Some angry words were passed towards Hacorie and Senna, but that was the end of it. It was just as well, fighting with each other would not bring back Devil. As it were, it’s death was of little importance to them. The affair with the first two hubs was done with, all that remained was the final one. Once the group recuperated they would undoubtedly charge into the unknown. Part of the plan had been to sneak into the hubs while sporting some degree of stealth, but Marionette knew which hub they even meant to hit. There was already a boss waiting for them, much like the previous two fields. Nall and his cohorts weren’t sure how many hubs were placed around The World, but Marionette knew which ones they aimed to go at. Either that, or since the hacker observed them all, he simply was waiting to toss his guardian at whichever one they landed at. Sheena had also visited their targets prematurely to scout about so her presence might also have been detected. The whole deal was becoming quite the mess.

*****

The wave master stepped back into the hideout, or rather was warped back in as his other dealings were done. Two trips to the pawn shop, a shopping list completed at an item shop, a run through the training room, and a quick detour through the trading center made up his business for the day. Until the group departed, the caster would have no reason to leave the premises again. Why would he? The last task for the player to complete didn’t require him to step outside at all. This hideout was as much a part of The World as any other, and it would allow him to edit his character as he so desired.

Auth had spent much time in The World. There was a short, yet happier span of time in which the boy had simply seen the place as any other game, it’s complexities set aside. After he was trapped, there was the initial journeying with a group that resembled this one, although most of the occupants were quite different. Auth emerged free, attempted to tie up lose ends, and become stuck once more. Flexibility, persistence, and loyalty. Those were perhaps the best tools for surviving such a place. Flexibility of the mind allowed one to remain sane under such circumstances, while the same idea was necessary when approaching battle style. What the admins, Elites, Marionette, and anyone else threw at them varied much more than the game ever attempted to do on it’s own. Being ready for any situation was required, and in that his character was lacking. Magically, the character Rayo was set on a path of continual empowerment. All of his spiritual stats and abilities were the best they could be, given his level at least. Yet, there was little the mage could do against physically weak opponents. It was time for a change, time to draw the blood by means of sharp edges, and piercing light. Rather than simply explode energy upon his foes, Auth wished to strike through them. The boy made the appropriate mental selections to confirm the changes he wished to make, and then a familiar set of three rings circled around Rayo.

Their purpose had not been to move him, but to do so for his data. The design was almost the same as before, but there were two distinct differences. His items that were not hidden within his cloak no longer remained within the golf bag. That tote, along with it’s contents, were stored within the a small forest green crystal with the picture of his Lanceor’s wolf form etched onto it. It was only the size of a wallet at best, but spatial limitations meant little within a game world. In the place of the golf bag on his back, instead there was a quiver that matched the color of his new carrying case. The second was that the player no longer used staffs or wands, but instead bows and crossbows as well.

The second archer to grace the company was Rayo, who was still half a mage. His magic was weaker, but definitely still high up ranking wise in the freedom fighters. His blue magic was unchanged, not being a normal part of the system. Blue mage, archer… both labels applied to him equally.


ooc:
Deducted the levels, took the lv.15 archer weapon, etc. Officially class changed as of this post.

_________________
Rayo
Lv.47 Archer 745HP/311SP
Bell, the Silver Grunty of Thunder
Skills/Spells-Shocking Arrow of Voltage(30), Arrow of the Burning Stars(10), MeRai Rom(40), Rai Kruz(10), La Repth(20), Rip Maen(40), MeRai Kruz(20), GiVak Kruz(20), MeRai Don(20), Rig Saem(15)
Weapon/Armor/Book-Golden Royal Bow/Thunder Torque, Thunder Cloak, Able Ring, Ivory Greaves/Thunder Magic
Wishlist: YL Fukuoka, Stormlore, Winter Stone, Silver Grunty


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:47 pm 
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Crouched beside the Devil, Silk eyed the oncoming Longarm and Heavyblade warily – “It looks like trouble for you, bud,” muttered the Fist Fighter, slipping him a Health Drink. “I’ll do what I can, but if the two of them are bent on destroying you… I’m not sure it will be enough.” The Devil nodded, seeming to accept its fate as inevitable.

“If there’s an afterlife in this retched existence, I’ll meet you there,” whispered the creature in reedy tones.

“Back at ya. Hit me up if you can.” Judging by the creature’s surrender, Silk decided that perhaps standing in the way of the Longarm and Heavyblade’s combined assault would not be worth it anyways. If they attacked in tandem, and if the Devil had already given up, what hope did one Fist Fighter have of deflecting the impending attacks? None, really.

In fact, the series of attacks that arrived – Senna’s spear-attack, Hac’s blade swing, and finally the spell – were executed so quickly that the Fist Fighter was only barely able to deflect Senna’s spear. The rest… well, the untimely death of a possible ally was the result. “Nuts…” spat the Fist Fighter under his breath. “He seemed like a pretty cool guy, too.”

A long silence ensued.

Then…

“Morons!” roared Zan. His face was livid with positively uncontrollable rage, and it was certainly justified. If anybody pulled his own weight with this group, it was Zan, with Rayo certainly giving the werewolf a run for his money. After battling so hard, the lycanthrope’s fury could only be described as double the effort he had poured in blood into the fight.

The subsequent tirade resulted in silencing Senna, but her face displayed defiance, not fear or cowardice. The Longarm was made of sterner stuff, but now that resolve would be put to the test, the Fist Fighter realized. She and Hac would be the object of the team’s disdain, and although Silk didn’t necessarily feel pure hate for the pair, he certainly was peeved.

Perhaps fearing that a larger conflict would erupt, Silverblade pretty much hurried things along, and before he knew it, the Fist Fighter was in the hideout. Having never been there before, Silk was nevertheless underwhelmed by the experience. There really wasn’t much to the place, and after a short survey of the area, he decided that his time would be better spent studying the tablets.

While others went their separate ways – the mage went to stock up on items, and a few others simply went to go rest in the main room – the Fist Fighter planted himself in front of the two slabs of stone and stared at them, trying to wrap his head around the seemingly incomprehensible gibberish written upon their surfaces.

Needless to say, he sat there for some time.

_________________
Level 25 Fist Fighter
Boxing Gloves | Nny Scales | Dice Gloves | Iron Anklet | Time Headband

Skills: Ap Corv, Ap Torv, GiVak Don, Ap Torma, Ap Do, Repth, Kiwami, Double Mortal Scorcher

Wishlist:
1.) Rare Foot Armor
2.) FF Belief
3.) Any stat-altering items


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:40 am 
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Return to the Hideout was bittersweet for the lycanthrope, to say the very least. Where he used to be able to come back with all worries, with all aggressions from the last quest behind him, the transport to the underground safe house in Carmina Gadelica only brought him alongside two of the players he wanted to see the least in that moment. The stony face he had been regarded with as he verbally laid into Senna spoke volumes of her stubborn ignorance, of her inability to comprehend anything of real meaning outside of the widening prejudice she seemed to have for the Freedom Fighters. Zan had allowed himself to remain unobservant of her behavior, of her attitude towards them until he had stabbed his eyes into her own and unleashed a wave of anger unlike that which he had offered singed another party member with in the past. The tunnel vision she had glared at him with showed just how narrow-minded the Long Arm was, showed for all The World how unwilling she was to see the wrong in her actions. Had the werewolf wanted her to break down and cry like the child she so obviously was within that shell of stoicism? Not at all. He expected her to take responsibility, to assume some rightful guilt. Would he have minded a complete mental breakdown? Well, no. It would have served his ego rather splendidly.

Ah well. Such was life within the Freedom Fighters. They would see the consequences for their actions later, no doubt, when the time came to face Marionette Angel. Until then he could only look through them, look past them. Anything else would have triggered him back into his anger, back into a mindset that he had actually been more than happy to leave. Was he sorry for what he had said? Hell no. Did he wish he had said it softer, more personably? Hell. No. While the rest of the group had simply stared at them like a bunch of entertained apes, Zan had said what needed to be said. The group was good for a lot of things, but not since the likes of Reinier had they been good at being blunt to those that deserved it. The Heavy Blade, it seemed, was being forced to take the position his old friend had occupied once upon a time. The Lycan made a mental note, however, to never address any hot issues like that again while in his Garou state. The Rage had been boiling, had been something that would have drawn him to do something he would have, in fact, regretted. As much as he thought the actions of the duo were childish and moronic (to put it nicely), they didn't deserve to die for it. Plus, killing them would have put the others at an unnecessary caution around him, a caution he hadn't seen them use since the first stages of his Twilight had presented themselves all that time ago. He wanted to keep that look out of their eyes and, by not cleaving Hacorie or Senna in two, he had accomplished that.

That is, if they had forgotten about the Merged.

Shaking off that thought, Zan waltzed through the threshold and out of the room that contained the swirling blue and gold Chaos Gate. The Common Room, and his infamous green couch, were greeted with a true smile, a genuine curve of his lips that put Zan at a temporary ease. The lycanthrope was a little concerned for Dien, for the Blademaster that had disappeared early on in the last quest to pursue his own ventures. Only hoping that things were going well for him, he pondered a Flashmail for the kid. Though it would subdue the worries he held (if good news was indeed returned), if he was in a particularly stressful situation, it would only serve as a distraction and a potentially fatal one at that. Plopping down on the emerald-clothed couch with a creek of leather from his trenchcoat, Zan laid his head back against the couch, arms lofting with a similar sound as he slid his arms around the back in turn, becoming the true visual epitome of relaxation. It was more or less a false presentation, his mind still busied with thoughts of his friend's safety and Senna and Hacorie's monstrous stupidity, but it still made him feel a little better. His hood drawn back as it was, the werewolf couldn't remember why he had ever been so afraid of the silver scorch scars along the right side of his face. Sure, it was unsightly, and sure, it made his left eye shift from human to wolf on an unconscious whim, but it was just an avatar. Seeing Lowen curled and helpless, butchered and sowed back together like a fucking lab rat had given him a little perspective on vanity.

As the some of the group seemed to wander into the Meeting Room, all of Zan's planned self-pity session about how he couldn't help Lowen, how he had to continue to watch her suffer, was put on hold. He'd join them, but first he needed to lose some weight in the form of clothing. The Hideout would not get the gift of a full striptease, mind you, but some things did feel awfully unnecessary at the moment. Getting to his feet, mildly upset that he hadn't had more time to break in his favorite couch again, the werewolf peeled the black leather from his body and tossed the massive trenchcoat over the back of the furniture piece. A timely removal of his charcoal combat boots had them set beside the couch in turn, stuffed full of socks he hadn't really been aware he had been wearing. Rather surprised some overbearing foot stench didn't waft into the air, the next and last to come off were his gloves, things tossed out onto the couch to join his coat as he turned himself towards the Meeting Room at last.

Not two steps into it and his mind finally made sense of what his eyes had been trying to tell him. On the back of his left hand, buried beneath his flesh during the war in Mac Anu, was an orb that had once pulsed with an eerie green power. Now it was brighter, no doubt, but sapphire, the light intense enough to shimmer of the walls of the Common Room. Though that development was new, he didn't particularly care if people saw it. What he did care about, however, was the 'M' burn he had on the top of his right hand. Already scarred over, the letter would be lynch-worthy to some in the group and would make his objections to Senna and Hacorie's actions seem based on foreign allegiances. Quick to cover it before any could have laid their eyes on it, or so he hoped, the gloves returned to his hands and his trip towards the Meeting Room was resumed.

Zan's hearing as good as it was, ignoring the panicked hammering of his heart behind the cage of his sternum was almost impossible. The worry was quickly subsiding, but it made it hard to initially focus on the going-ons in the room. The second tablet, the one Sekai had been chosen to find, was laid alongside the other that the werewolf himself had figured out not too long ago. As if to remind the group, pausing only so Senna could mutter her translations (something he'd come to later), he reiterated the meaning of the first key. "In case any had forgotten, that one comes to 'The word you are looking for is hopeful.' That could be a part of some field's keywords, but I don't think any of us could say that for sure." Said as he walked around to take a seat near the group's leaders, completely comfortable with the fact that he was tracking around barefoot. Clad only in his ash-black pants, dark green shirt and a silver, full moon necklace that swung down low from in-between his collarbone, the Heavy Blade seemed completely at ease. Whether or not he was still inches from maiming the two of the groups' currently most disliked could not be seen. As lost as Senna on what the translation of the second tablet meant, he decided instead to speak to Nighthand, someone who had been gone from them for the majority of the last quest. Only his black eye and self-sent Flashmail had tipped Zan off.

"I see you've decided to join us again. Do anything special while Silverblade was here making you look bad?" Said, of course, in mild jest, the Lycan's lips twitching in a repressed smirk.

"Not really. Nice long chat with my father, some use for this torn-out eye, that sort of thing." Par for the course, as it seemed.

The eye comment quirked Zan's brow, his smile melting away to be replaced with curiosity. "And this use would be...?"

Taking up right where Zan left off, fully anticipating the question, Nighthand continued. "...saved for later use. It's nothing big though, you probably won't notice the difference. Basically another way of having better control over my own powers."

Although the werewolf was at least partially annoyed with his fellow Heavy Blade's unwillingness to part with more information, he couldn't exactly blame him. If Zan's own Twilight had developed into something new, he would have certainly liked to wait to discuss it until it could be put to use. Something about the theatrics of it, he was sure. "If you say so, Nights. As long as you aren't taking our spells and accidentally turning them loose against us in the form of rampaging elementals, I suppose I can let you get away with keeping your mouth shut." His joking mood back, he continued. "So, is there anything Nall, Raine or Sheena could tell us about what's to come? Seeing as our other informer met an untimely and incompetent end, I was hoping for something."

"I dunno. I only just got back with you, after all. You'd have to talk to them... Raine in particular. She's been the one who knows what's going on for the most part." A nod from the lycanthrope and there was no more to be discussed, for now. He'd talk to Raine after the meeting.

At the conversation's end, the werewolf turned back to face the rest of the group, interested to hear any input on the latest artifact that they might have had. Like the Long Arm who had solved it, Zan was at a loss for its deeper meaning. Was the second keyword in the possible field they'd be piecing together be 'Tempting'? It was an option, but until they had another one of these tablets, he couldn't really be certain. An idle look to his wrists revealed the sleek, glassy black cuffs that usually resided for several inches down his wrists lacked the open and flaming emerald eye they usually held. This meant, of course, that Nulus hadn't returned to them in the transport back like Zan had assumed he would. So where was he? Feasting in the kitchen area? Could he even eat? Shrugging to himself at the questions, running fingertips absently along the closed metal eyelid on the left cuff, he decided to put his search on hold. If the Shade was terrorizing anyone, he was sure to here about it later. For now he just wanted to sit through the remainder of the meeting so he could once again sleep on his beloved couch. Though he mused a trip to the kitchen for some food or some more time spent in the Training Room, it was something to consider at another time. First the meeting. Then sleep. Then...whatever he decided Part C and so forth would be.

It was good to be back.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:30 am 
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Once Phoenix arrived back to the hideout, he noticed that Senna seemed to be a bit annoyed towards him. In comparison, she probably more pissed at Zan with his raving. The werewolf was easily becoming more like the old Phoenix who just said anything and did anything within his power. Their recent victory over the second Marionette guardian was trumped over with the sudden demise of it when valuable information was within their grasp. Without consulting the others about it, Hacorie and Senna killed the Devil without regret. With that one action, the group became splintered once again. Phoenix felt that the group was becoming closer together with their coordinated attacks on the third and fourth forms of the Marionette Devil. But now, that bond was shattered all over the place.

Before going to examine the tablets, Phoenix decided to restock on some items for the upcoming quest. Instead of using the shadow item shop, he went to the Lambda Root Town, Carmina Gadelica. The blademaster arrived at the city of lights and began to walk towards the Item Shop. As he walked to his destination, he began to talk to his guardian, Suzaku who was in her disguise form.

Kazuma-sama, are you concerned with Hacorie and Senna? They should not deserve their isolation for killing the enemy. Are not hackers just an evil enemy that should wiped off the face of the World?

No, Suzaku. Generalizations are the reason why there are wars. The admins have that mentality towards hackers and looked what happened to them. They got captured by the Elites. They thought that they could easily deal with them since they are just a mere hacker. Not only that, they even arrogantly deny their existence. That alone was the reason for their downfall. As for Hacorie and Senna, I think their alienation towards them was light compared to what could have happened. I always believed that information is power and losing that information when they killed the Devil was a blow to us. And besides Suzaku, if I wanted to kill the Devil, I would kill him after I got the information.

You have changed for the better, Kazuma-sama. You still have part of the Old Kazuma-sama in you.

Well parts of me will be always me regardless if I’m mostly good or evil. Anyway, there was still one thing that’s bothering me from the battle. It has to do with…

Kazuma-sama, there’s something going on over there.

The bird noticed that a gang of players was beating up on a rather weak looking Heavy Axeman. The players seemed to be drunk as they yelled various expletives which were followed with insults at the physical appearance of the Axeman. From what Phoenix could see, the gang consisted of three Fist Fighters and rather buff. The Fist Fighter in the middle was about to stomp on the Axeman when a rock thrown from afar knocked the player down to the ground.

“What the!” Both of the standing Fist Fighters said aloud as Phoenix walked closer to the scene. “I’m surprised that rock actually knocked that piece of crap down. You guys are pathetic if a rock was able to knock you guys down. I suggest that you guys leave this guy alone before you get hurt a lot worse than pile of blubber down there.”

The two Fist Fighters helped pick up their fallen comrade from the brick road. The three were still drunk and angrier now as they focused their attention on Phoenix. The drunks stupidly charged towards the sober and very dangerous blademaster. Phoenix saw that all three of them were going for a hard right punch. He quickly went to the group’s left side and kicked one of them to cause the other two to fall down with him. With his wind-enhanced speed, the blademaster looked down on the drunken trio and said to them.

“I suggest you quit now before I take my sword and stabbed all three of you at once. Also lay off the booze while playing. Maybe you guys get more respect.”

For some reason, the trio did not seem to want to follow Phoenix’s warning and was about to do a counterattack. The blademaster gave a blank stare to the trio as he plunged his sword through all three of them. The Fist Fighters all vanished into data as they burned the image of the stare into their tiny minds. Phoenix put his sword back into its sheath and went towards the Heavy Axeman who managed to get back up.

“I think those guys think twice about picking on you or anyone else in the near future. Are you okay?”

The Heavy Axeman looked at the blademaster in confusion and seemed to notice something odd. He pushed some buttons on his left glove and there was a flash of light surrounding the player. A moment later, the flash of light was gone and the Heavy Axeman turned into a female Twin Blade. Phoenix was not surprised by this since he experienced more bizarre than a player switching genders.

The female Twin Blade was about 5’5” with a tan body with green hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a red tank top with dark leather pants and boots. After the transformation, she noticed the blademaster’s lack of surprise and began to introduce herself.

“Thanks for saving me. I didn’t really need it but it saves me from switching in front of those drunks. From your lack of surprise, I’m guessing that you’re some type of hacker. No blademaster has that type of speed without an Ap Do enhancement. Oh, I almost forgot. My name is Honoka.”

“Actually, I’m not really a hacker. The speed enhancement is rather a long story which you probably don’t believe in. My name is Phoenix. What’s with you being a guy, anyway?”

“I just want to experience the other side of the gender barrier. I didn’t want to create a new character. So I devised a way to switch genders and classes but the male side is rather weak looking. I can’t figure out the male code after all. Somehow I managed to piss off those drunks and got into that mess. Maybe you can help me with my project?”

“Sorry, it’s better not to get involved with my life. Don’t let the admins find out about your gender-switching. Maybe we will see each other again in the future.”

With those words, Phoenix continued his way towards the shop as Honoka looked at his back with a sad face. A moment later, she was gone. Kazuma-sama, was it okay to leave that girl like that?

Probably not but I can’t have her to get involved with me. Let’s get our items and head back to the hideout.

After Phoenix got the items he needed, he headed back to the Chaos Gate. During his walk, he managed to get back to his previous thought about the last battle before the interruption with the drunks.

It seems odd that Zan was able to break free from the prison easily while Silverblade and Nall didn’t break through until the latter half of the battle. Also that coin, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a Fae item. It was too powerful. The Fae had a shield item with Xhao and doubt they would have another shield item that can also reflect the attack as well. If I’m right about my theory, Zan could be working with Marionette but I don’t have the proof to back it up. I just need one thing that can be very hard to disprove.

Kazuma-sama, the flashmail. Do you remembered the flashmail that Marionette sent to you before we back to the second hub?

Of course, Suzaku but I don’t see why that has to do with Zan being a traitor…

At that moment, a figurative light bulb went on in Phoenix’s head. Even if someone would believe him about Zan, he has not truly done anything wrong at the moment. Phoenix needed to have something ready in case if Zan is going to betray the group.

_________________
Phoenix
Level 48 Blademaster
Equipped Skills: Vak Revolver, Gan Revolver, Dek Vorv, La Repth, Juk Kruz, Rue Kruz, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot
Other Skills: Rue Kruz, Rip Synk, Rip Saem, Crack Beat, Rue Slash, Ani Slash, Gan Crack, Gan Revolver

Wish List: Phoenix's Fire, Gold Necklace
EX-Spheres: LV 3 - Overdrive, LV 3 - Curative, LV 3 - Elemental Breath


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:26 pm 
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Elevated Player
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 3:09 am
Posts: 63
Location: Wherever I'm needed.
Finally back at the hideout after such an arduous field, I knew I couldn't take any downtime quite yet. The first thing I did was minor, but important to me nonetheless. I closed my eyes and focused for a moment, then reopened them, and I was wearing the new garments I had envisioned for myself. Satisfied with the color shift and removal of my cloak, I moved on to the next thing I had to deal with. I had people to talk to, to find out what exactly had happened back there. Several key members had voted to spare the devil... and yet it only took two members, nowhere near the majority, to end his life. They had to have a reason... but what?

I decided to talk to Senna, since it had been her idea originally it seemed, whereas Hacorie had merely joined in. Always go straight for the source. I searched the hideout for the Long Arm and located her in the central room, apparently quite distracted in the corner. I approached her slowly, but with a decent amount of noise so as not to startle her.

"Senna? Can I talk to you?"

The Long Arm looked up. "Yes?"

I opened my mouth to ask my question, but then quickly thought about the situation. With most of the Freedom Fighters most likely angry at Senna, perhaps it would be better to talk to her in private. "Why don't we go somewhere else, somewhere where people aren't going to be coming in and out?"

She chuckled and got to her feet. "There a place like that in here? Lead on."

I smiled a little as she chuckled, happy to see she apparently wasn't too bent out of shape from Zan's tirade. "Let's head for the Chaos Gate area. Not likely for many people to be heading out while Nighthand is calling a meeting." I left the room and moved towards the new location with the Long Arm close behind.

"So what're we here about?" she asked.

I shifted uncomfortably now that I had begun this conversation, but I took a slow breath and moved on, hoping she wouldn't end up furious for some reason. "I figure you must have had a reason for what you did... I was just wondering if you were willing to share it."

She closed her eyes a moment in thought, then said, "Do you know the term 'teaching to the test'?"

I did, but I couldn't understand her reference at all. Was she using another meaning? I nodded to her. "That would be when a teacher teaches a class exactly what is needed to pass some sort of exam, instead of simply teaching the material and helping everyone understand, right? Or do we define it differently?"

"No, that's it,” she replied. “Did you know if students who were taught like that were confronted with a type of question they hadn't seen before, even if it was material they knew, they were momentarily stumped? They lost crucial time, especially on timed tests."

I pondered her words for but a moment before responding. "It makes sense that that would happen, yes."

She nodded. "Just so. If we'd gotten that information, it would have been like that. We would have expected things to be a certain way. And if that turned out wrong, we would have been caught flat-footed. And a second could cost us. Not to mention it wasn't a teacher giving the information, it was the enemy. Better to go in suspecting everything."

I nodded again, slowly. "That makes sense, yes. Any information can be suspect. However... it didn't bother you to kill a helpless being?"

She shrugged. "It was only helpless because Marionette intended it to be. We were meant to feel bad and spare it. As such, it was just an extension of Marionette itself."

"I suppose you're right about that, as well...." I trailed off, thinking about her words. Just an extension of Marionette? Wasn't I just an extension of Rikama? Wait... I remember everything! I was shocked for a moment, but regardless of my new knowledge, or rather old knowledge remembered, I had to continue my conversation with Senna. I took a breath and moved on. "Well, I still think the information could have been valuable,” I said, “but you had your reasons. An impulsive decision, but it could well turn out to have been the right one."

She shrugged. "It's made, either way. Thanks for taking it up with me though. Not assuming."

"You know what happens when you make an assumption. It makes an ass out of you... and the ump shuns us." I grinned at the Long Arm, happy that she had been willing to discuss things so civilly.

She laughed. "Unfortunately, we all have to make assumptions. We just check the ones we can, neh?"

"Eh." My mind wandered back to what she had said before, about the Devil being just an extension, but I quickly brushed it from my mind a second time. "You can go back to doing whatever had you so absorbed, I suppose. Sorry for bothering you." I was no longer grinning.

"Oh... alright then. See you around." She offered a brief wave.

I waved in return, not wanting to offend the long arm. "Oh, by the way, feel free to ask me if you ever need my help. It's what I'm here for." I smiled again, forgetting my troubles for a moment while I recognized my new purpose. "Let's head back together, shall we? Always nice to have a friend."

She nodded as we started walking. "Likewise. Good to meet-meet you."

"Heh. Agreed."

We walked together into the central room, and there I spotted another I wanted a word with, but a word of a different sort. Sekai was there, apparently preoccupied with something, but I had to talk to her. I walked towards her and spoke. "Hey, Sekai... I'd like to thank you."

I seemed to snap her back from something, as she blinked in surprise and looked up in confusion. "F-for what? I didn't... I mean, there was nothing in particular worth giving me your gratitude over."

I smiled warmly, trying to help her relax, and I hoped the fact that I had taken to no longer wearing my cloak would help as well. Such clothes that completely hid one's body could be, well, disconcerting. "You may not have realized it, but you did. You reminded me of who I am, of my past, of memories forgotten. You've given me back everything I've lost, all because... you gave me someone to help."

"Someone to help?" She didn't seem to know what I was talking about, tilting her head a little to one side and frowning a bit before shaking her head and giving a small but exhausted smile. "You should take care of yourself first; it isn't fun being injured and that way people won't have to worry."

Seeing her smile, I relaxed, remembering that the last time we had spoken she had been too afraid to do so. It was a good sign. "Taking care of others is what made me who I am, I'd just forgotten everything I'd gone through... which took away my identity." I thought about what I now remembered, what she had given back to me, and despite the pain of some of those memories, I was glad to have them. And also, I now knew I didn't have to dwell on them.

Her eyes darkened a bit at my words, as if she had some sort of connection with them, though I couldn't be sure. "If... if by some odd chance that speaking with one such as myself has helped you find a purpose..." She hesitated for a moment, as if searching for the right words, then continued. "Then... I wish you the best in your discovery."

I chuckled, and blinked his eyes, now a far darker shade of blue than before, nearly black. "Sekai, if you ever need my help, I'll give it to you. And if you ever want to know about my past, well... you gave it back to me. I'll be happy to tell you anything." And I truly meant it. The only two who I recalled telling anything to were Dien and Canti, and only Dien really knew everything. But if she ever decided it mattered, she could know of it.

"As generous... as your offer is, I must decline but, thank you anyway." She gave another small smile and gave a bow of thanks to show her gratitude. I chuckled, thinking about how it was amusing that she was the one who deserved thanks, but kept trying to turn it around and thank me for something.

"Well, there may be a time where you do need my help, and I do hope you'll reconsider my offer then. I'll see you."

"Please take care," she replied softly, and then retreated back to whatever thoughts she had been harboring before. I stood there for a moment, worried about her, but decided to let her deal with it herself. I had offered my help, and she had declined. I had to respect that. Hopefully she would ask for my help if she needed it later, but for now, I had one more person to speak to.

I headed for the meeting room, assuming that he would be there, trying to help out. And indeed he was there, seated in one of the many chairs in the room. I approached him and began to speak, a hint of fear in my voice. "Zan, I just need to say something. About Senna."

Still mulling over the whereabouts of the Shade, idle fingers continuing their movements over the closed metal eye on his wrist, my approach was met with a loft of his gaze and a look of instant boredom at the mention of the Long Arm's name. He gave no words, simply stared, waiting for me to proceed. I took a deep breath, not relishing the thought of possibly angering the werewolf, but I was determined to press on. "Well, I still don't agree with her,” I began, hoping my agreement with him would help to placate him some, “but... the reasons she had for doing what she did are solid enough. Just... don't make her an outsider, alright? She's not a bad person, and what's done is done. I haven't spoken to Hacorie, but same goes for him." I shifted my weight back and forth nervously, hoping Zan would at least see my point, even if he didn't think they were worthy of the tolerance I was preaching.

Zan's opinion of them seemed unwavering even as I pleaded for them, his face as passive and empty as Senna's had been when the werewolf had let her have the words he believed she deserved. Rather than offer up his own case, his own beliefs in the matter, the werewolf continued to stare at me, not a word passing between his lips. It seemed as though he didn't want to discuss the matter further, not unless I was prepared to take his side. I took a step back, fearing for at least my limbs if not my life, but I wasn't going to give up quite yet. Senna had only done exactly what she had believed was right, which was what the rest of us had been doing. She merely believed in something different. "I just... I just wanted to try. Alright? It doesn't do well to have... well, hatred between our members. We're all stuck here together, right...?" I trailed off, holding my ground, hoping Zan would at least say something to me.

There were a few seconds of tense silence before Zan replied, sounding exasperated. "I don't hate them."

I sighed in relief. Hearing those words was like... well, I had nothing to compare it to, but they were certainly wonderful things. "Just furious still, then? I guess... well, Rikama would have been too...." My eyes snapped up, realizing what I had just said. Have I told Zan? I don't think so... oh well. Too late. I quickly recomposed myself before continuing. "All I meant was... I can understand why you're angry. I was too, but... like I said, she had a reason for it." I looked at Zan again, and the fear started to come back a little. "Should I leave now, to prevent you taking off some of my skin?"

Zan gave a short laugh and smirked at me. "Whatever, kid."

That was definitely my cue to exit. Well, I tried. I moved to another chair about halfway down the table and sat, thinking about what had just passed between myself and Zan.

-------------

(OOC: Now using bolded purple for Zhao. Needed a permanent color for him :D)

_________________
Zhao's Profile

Wishlist:
Levels
Slayers
Other level 16+ Twin Blade Weapons
Cougar Bandanna
Snow Panther
Level 16+ Twin Blade Armor

Miakita hazu no tasogare ga
Konna ni kirei dato naita


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:27 am 
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Well-Oiled Machine
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:59 am
Posts: 176
Location: :noitacoL
Downtime is always more than welcome. Though everyone has their own issues to work out, either with other people or themselves, one thing is usually universal: There's nothing like relaxing after a hard quest. Given this, it's only a natural sight for the group when, from the Chaos Gate room, bounds a small, gray kitten. With laser-like focus, Kit lightly walks across the room at pace you would describe as a 'weird, relaxed, jog-walk'. While the strict guidelines of Feline Pride dictates that one cannot fully RUN for your nap pillow, Kit has a very difficult time keeping a slow pace towards said pillow. Obviously, the poor thing is anxious to relax.
With a long stretch of the claws and her tail literally pointing straight outwards, the kitten curls up into a ball and shuts her eyes. The little red pillow at the end of the couch becoming her own small cloud of fluff... fluff like marshmallow fluff... which can resemble cream.

"Mmm... Mew... (Mmm... Milk...)" The kitten mutters as her whiskers drop lightly, sleep taking over from there.

One could argue that Lighteria's entrance is even less obtrusive.

Truth be told, he came through the Chaos Gate first. So while Kit leisurely walked to her favorite pillow, Lighteria spent the first thirty seconds of post-chaos gate reanimation in utter fear of walking into the room. Apparently his character had recently traveled with the group into yet another dangerous place... only this time it hadn't been him. While the timid twin blade is SURE that his friends... comrades.. whatever you call them will completely understand the situation he was in previously, the Girl's words of "I may have... ticked a few people off." still ring in his head for some reason as a deep worry. After all, his timid nature never really allowed for him to get very close with anyone specifically in the group. And while he did get along very well with a few people and looked up to others, some still could be very cold. And while Lighteria understood that one does tend to get numb after a while of being trapped in this game, it doesn't make what he'll have to do next any easier.

The group deserves an explanation.

At the very least, they have to understand that it wasn't HIM in his body last time, but rather someone else. Though it may seem like an unlikely scenario, stranger things have happened... to this group especially. And while Lighteria is confident they'll believe him, he's really not that confident in his ability to get everything he's thinking out of his mouth. After all, the situation was so complex, what with the disappearance, the disparate personas, whatever that girl meant by 'that other twin blade is a dick'... there's really so much to explain... But he would hate to bore them, or talk so much they stop listening... but then again, they need an explanation! There's got to be a good way to explain everything, right? Maybe just take it all from square one? Start at the beginning?

Mew mew. Mew meow meow... Mew mew meow. (Oh boy. He's doing the hiding thing... I'd better help out.)

Truly, there is only one thing in The World Kit is more loyal to than her naps. With Lighteria rightfully afraid of confronting the group, the kitten had kept her eye open for him as she lied down. She knows full-well by now what he's thinking when he starts wringing his hands and biting his lip. This situation requires Feline Intervention. Thus, with great personal effort, the kitten descends off of her pillow and leaps onto the tallest table in the Commons.

"Attention everyone!" Kit suddenly calls out in a voice you would expect to hear from a 5-year old girl running for president. "As some might have guessed, Lighteria was NOT himself during the past two days. His body was swapped with someone else’s. But he's back now and has something to say."

Kit looks towards the chaos gate room expectantly. Anyone else looking over would see Lighteria's face... completely pale from his own kitten putting him on the spot like that. There's an awkward pause as the twin blade's thoughts snap to the realization of the urgency of him needing to speak. He gasps to himself and stumbles out of the gate room, nearly tripping over his own feet. Kit groans a little to herself, an anime-style sweat drop falling off the back of her head. The twin blade coughs lightly and fiddles with his hands, looking at the common room in general, a bit dumbstruck.

"Ahh.. er... ..Ah-..."
Gah! Just SAY something!!
"AH! I'msorryIdon'tknowwhathappenedlastdungeonbutitwasn'tmeeandImbacknow!"

...

"Mew. (Oy.)"

The twin blade coughs and scratches his head.

"S-sorry. ...I hope I... didn't cause too much trouble." He stammers out, lightly bowing as he shuffles meekly towards the couch to sit down and try to stop shaking. Kit lets out a breath and sighs, hopping down from the table to get back onto her pillow.

_________________
Lv. 37 Twin Blade (180 SP)
Weapon: Rashou (Thunder Coil- 30, Suvi Lei- 20, Mumyn Lei- 30) (Life Drain)
Armor: Holy Tree Mail (Juk Kruz- 20) - Scarab Earring (La Repth- 20, Rip Maen- 40) - Time Sandals (Ap Do- 15) - Forest Gloves (Juk Kruz- 20)
GP: 14384

Wish list (In order of priority): Angel halo accessory, chibi angel wings, Bone Armor, Professional

Lighteria: "Obsessively updating my profile since Fri Oct 01, 2004 7:10 pm"


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:10 am 
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Ikkitousen

Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:30 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Here and there.
"MORONS."

Feeling his blade slide into the monster’s stomach, Hacorie heard it...he heard the anger voiced by the Heavy Blade of almost if not equal calabur. Even though he was fairly far across the room, the half wolf sounded as if it could be coming from any angle. Slowly twisting his blade a couple of times, Hacorie pulled the Oceanic Aura from the monster; in all reality he just hoped the Marionette Devil would have a great and powerful death sequence, followed up by a witty comment, and finished with Hacorie and Senna’s decision to be praised. However, he knew it was truly a dream. A dream which no one except the two who committed the crime could understand. Their intentions were the purest of heart, but it seemed differing opinions were the causes of the great confrontation which would follow. Even though the team had just recently shown they could work as a single unit, there were still lingering and noticeable feelings of paranoia and reluctancy to trust the judgement of certain characters’ actions. It was just a stroke of luck in which the team was coherent in the previous battle; it showed when set with a goal unable to be reached by a single unit. The group can forget their own misconceptions about one another. If only that was the case after a battle reached its climax and conclusion.

Even though Hacorie and Senna had defied what the majority of the group had wanted to do, they were not even given a chance to input their own words. Zan just seemed to continue on and on spouting a bunch of nonsense which only made Hac feel the semi wolf was being hypocritical. After all, the opposing Heavy Blade was yelling and acting as if it were ready to attack at any given moment, and the vulgar words it was emitting showed he was nothing but a teenager; one who had yet to grow up and come to realize the true situation. “You are the true child Zan...” Hacorie whispered as he turned his head toward Senna who was sporting a solemn look: a look which showed no remorse for her actions; this one look was what she needed to express because if there was any hesitant or scared nature she would have certainly broken down emotionally and played right into Zan’s hands. His speech not only gave the impression that only one answer was obtainable, but it also seemed to be provoking. He criticized, to a high degree, the two who had acted on their own instincts. The character could not come to realize he was the one who was truly making a fool out of the group.

Before Hacorie and Senna could even condone their own actions to the group, Nighthand stepped in as a mediator of sorts to assure nothing would rip the single thread which held the team together at the moment. We’re done here. Let’s go home. Even though he did not let out a tone of disgust or angst toward the two, he still said nothing about it. Well, the truth was that no one really said anything, besides Zan. They just all seemed to have the same look of awe in their faces as a small glimmer of anger appeared in their eyes. It was not what they wanted; they wanted the information on the Marionette Angel, but now and forever the information was gone and there was nothing they could do about it. Even if they killed the two off for their rebel actions, there was no way to get back the valuable evidence that was lost, but it also seemed none of them looked at the repercussions of their actions. If they trusted in the devil, it could have strayed them into a trap, warned the Marionette Angel, or even could have come back in the fight with the Marionette Angel to fight against the party once more. If the group had been given accurate information and the Angel had four forms, it would be quite hard for the party of multi-leveled characters to survive the onslaught of two multi-staged monsters. One by one, the party listened to the words of the leader who had been gone most of the dungeon run and gated out. However, Hacorie was the single player to remain. He needed a bit more time to think on the entire matter at hand.

“It seems that I have been backed into a corner...” he said to himself as he finally sheathed his sword and let it disperse into his inventory. Slowly, he began to pace back and fourth leaving behind four steps before turning around and repeating the process. His thoughts were all scattered, but they all seemed to have one obvious core: the after effects of Senna and his rash actions. It seems the group will not trust us for a long while now. We have doomed our very existence in the Freedom Fighters. We only did what was righteous, but it seems everyone else has turned on us for doing just that. I cannot believe the imbalance in all of our thought processes. I see things in one perspective, but others in another. Even though my opinion on the matter was opposite of the others...does that make it wrong? If I have opinions which seem to be different from someone else, is that wrong? Should we all be the same? Should we be more like...programs without thoughts who do only what they are told? If one of the strongest in the group gives a command, should we follow it if we do not think that is the correct and best decision? Everyone of these answers is...Fuck no! We have brains, why when we use them are we condemned? I am not afraid of that damn werewolf or anyone in the group for that matter!

“They are just a bunch of power hungry controllers who cannot see past their own greed! Why did I even come back!? This is just as before, nothing has changed! Everyone is too afraid to voice their opinions, but even if they did...they would be ignored! No more....NO MORE I SAY!” Hacorie yelled out loud following the monologue which seemed to conceal some true feeling for his previous absence from the group. As the despair and anger poured from his soul, the hand of the Heavy Blade began to tense up as his fingers slowly curled, forming a ball shape. Shifting his feet, he used his hips to turn his upper body to face the same direction his feet had moved to. While doing this, he thrust his hand forward as he turned. Now facing forward, he watched as his hand struck the nearest wall, leaving a slightly concave dent in the wall. After a second passed, his hand dropped to his side and remained limp as his breathing began to slow after the adrenaline had stopped pumping in mass amounts. Taking one last deep breath, the character closed his eyes and dropped his head. The three massive rings appeared in seconds and whisked him back to the hideout where everyone was waiting.

Feeling the pressure of air as well as the atmosphere change dramatically, the Heavy Blade opened his eyes to only be met with sound of the rings dropping him in the hidden place under Carmina Gadalica. Standing in place, the Heavy Blade began to look around, but it was easy to see that no one was at the Chaos Gate as a welcoming committee (even though two figures were walking toward it: Zhao and Senna). It was funny for the thought to even cross Hac’s mind because he knew if anything, the group would be waiting to pound some sense into him. Since no one was waiting to try and consol him on the entire matter which had previously occurred. There were only a few possibilities to explain where everyone was. The first would be an obvious ploy children would create to annoy someone: they were ignoring the fact Hac or Senna even existed. The latter of the two, and most probable, would conclude the group was inspecting the second tablet which the archer called Sekai had picked up in the battle with the Marionette Devil. Even though Hac had payed no attention to her Flashmail, he did notice she was the one who obtained it; it was likely it was a key to getting to the real Marionette. Since all was based on conjecture post-death of the Devil; it was just a premature presumption.

After taking only one single step, a pair of Flashmails let themselves be known in the character’s inbox by the normal means; the annoying chimes; This one sound left the Heavy Blade with a feeling of remorse. He had not even been able to rest since getting back from his alone time; the quest really had taken so much stamina, and it had not been properly regenerated yet. Dropping his head his slowly opened the first one while looking at the sender: Nighthand, the leader. Actually, both of these Flashmails were from the level fifty Heavy Blade of the Freedom Fighters. However, Hacorie was very disturbed with the contents of the initial Flashmail. It was more or less scolding the two’s actions; Nighthand was telling them what they did was wrong on so many levels, but he was not going to publicly put anyone down. Hacorie began to contemplate on why...Why would Nighthand want to keep everything so secretive? Maybe it was because he did not want Hacorie and Senna to leave the Freedom Fighters after another ‘Zan scene’ occurred. Of course it could just be his nature, but either way Hacorie wanted to know the true feelings of what the leader thought. He wanted to know if Nighthand understood why they chose their actions over the others’ sought out plan.

Not stopping as he read, the character continued the path until he reached the meeting room where everyone seemed to be gathering at the moment. Atop the central table laid two of the tablets the group had received. One was from the first and one from the second, and it was only to be expected that a third and final stone would be at the third and final hub. Hac began to ponder on each of the tablets, but before he could even finish the first one: Zan spoke up to reveal the answer to the party. Of course, he had already figured it out before Hacorie came back into the group, but it still ruined Hac’s entire thought process. Before he could even shift a glance over to the second one, a third chime hit his ears. Oh! That is right, I forgot to open the second Nighthand one too, but that can wait. This one is from Senna.... Scanning the contents of the Flashmail, a unseen smile crossed the cloaked figured face as he shot a peaceful looking glance toward the Long Arm who seemed to just be getting back with the Twin Blade name Zhao; if eyes could look peaceful since the illuminating glow the eyes let off would be all she could see of the character’s face. Reversing exactly one mail in the inbox, Hacorie was relieved to see it was addressed to the entire party. It just said the normal after quest ideals such as stock up and rest before they had to head out to the final hub in a matter of days. Good...we are wasting no time then...

Glancing over the room carefully, the Heavy Blade seemed to be looking for a certain character to talk to. His fists slowly began to tense up once more as from left to right he switched from character to character to find the one. Hmm...now who does he....ahh that would be a simple answer...usually he is talking to Nighthand.... Just as the Heavy Blade had thought, he looked toward the head of the table to see the level fifty leader accompanied by Nall, a few others, and the one whom he wanted to talk to: Zan. A churning began to form in the stomach of the Heavy Blade as he noticed an empty seat directly beside his fellow Heavy Blade. Pace by pace, Hacorie began to make his way over, hands beginning to shake on the way. Am I...afraid?....No...I have to stay strong! I must not show fear to those who are looking for fear... Swallowing a small amount of spit, the character released his clenched hands with a flick. The shaking had stopped; he was ready to talk to the person who had almost lost control in the last field due to the actions of the two characters named Hacorie and Senna. Even though they were acting on instincts...maybe Zan could relate to the same type deal? After all, humans and animals are only separated by small needs. They both have to fight to survive; it is survival of the fittest. Pulling out the empty chair, Hacorie sat and turned toward Zan. A small silence seemed to occur before Hacorie finally said something.

"Hey Zan..." he said in a low and almost silent tone as his eyes stared directly at the Heavy Blade. There was no drooping to the floor, but instead they were steady and focused only on him; he showed no fear even though fright did linger beneath the surface of his skin. The voice seemed to be so silent because Hacorie was swallowing his own anger and pride to see if he could patch things up the most annoyed member of the group. If he could do that...it would be amazing. "...I know my actions were...deceitful to say the least, but will you at least...hear me out?" He continued after a brief pause. Thoughts began to move about his mind wondering if Zan would pay no attention, or if he would comeback with a smartass and witty comment. If the latter of the two were to happen, the outcome could vary depending on the future aspects of the conversation, but if the two remained calm...it would be a sight only meant for those of soar eyes. Could these two actually talk to one another peacefully after the barrage of insults one had dictated to the other? There was only one way to actually figure the answer out: wait.

Zan’s eyes moved and met his own, but something was different about the Heavy Blade. It seemed that no anger were behind these blue colored spheres, but instead they just seemed to depict a sense of... “I do not really feel like talking to you so leave me alone or I will rip your fucking gut out mate.”

"Just as I thought..." Hacorie said in an untone not meant to be heard. Slowly, he began to push the chair back, turning his body the rest of the way while pushing up with his hands. One hand rested on the desk, and the other one sat on the back of the chair. However, before he took a step, his azure eyes began to illuminate even brighter. The fierce anger within him was not going to subside until some answer was given. "Look! Are you just going to act like nothing you said happened?! Well it did and I will not just stand here and be ignored by someone who is trying to be an elitist! You could, at least, give a verbal response." Hacorie called while slamming his hands back onto the table.

Even after the onslaught of provocative verbal actions, the response from the werewolf remained unchanged. It was nil. He seemed to not have any interest in what Hacorie was saying. The blue clad Heavy Blade was simply being ignored through and through. Zan’s eyes just seemed to look straight through him, as if Hacorie was invisible.

"Still nothing eh..." Hacorie started while taking a flashback to the whole scene until he continued. "Ah...I understand now...You acted on your own emotions to cause a scene. You called us childish for our actions while you stood their spouting words of hypocrisy. Well if you really want to act like the children you compared us to...then fine, but I will stand here until you listen. I will be the adult and try to work this out.” Hacorie finished while still staring the werewolf boy down. ...even if a seventeen year child is what I truly am...

Even after vaguely pointing out the flaw in Zan’s previous attack on the two, he still said nothing. Everything Hacorie was saying was simply going one ear and out the other. In all actuality it was most likely not even going in an ear; it was going either around the ears and head or in the total opposite direction.

It began to come back...it all started once again. His hands tightly clenched themselves into balls of fists as vein lines began to reveal themselves on his arms. The tension even made the leather gloves make a sound as they closed. This feeling was something in which had occurred after everyone but Hacorie exited the field previously: extreme anger. Maybe this was what Zan felt as his hopes and dreams of obtaining information on the Marionette Angel were stabbed right before his very eyes. What am I TO DO!?! Should I fall into his plot and actually strike the cocky ass bastard? Should I be the one who’s resolve is violence? No...NO..NO...but what if....no... "Do you really wish me to result in violence? Are you trying to make my anger rise that much? Will fighting actually resolve this difference, which has come between us two Freedom Fighters?"

It seemed that the latest of Hac’s words finally reached their destination for Zan actually payed him brief attention and graced the presence of everyone around with his voice....a voice which was filled with laughter. "You and me? You actually think, little boy, that you would make me break any sort of sweat? Oh, the dream world you live in. Do us both a favor and shut the fuck up about this. You and Senna made your brash decision and I made it clear you knew how I felt about it. That isn't going to change. Whatever respect I had for you is nil now." As the laughter in his voice diminished to a small chuckle here and there, Zan spoke one final time to his fellow Heavy Blade. "Continue to rant and throw a fit at your hearts content, but I'm done discussing this with you."

With a smirk, Hacorie intently listened to the wolf who finally responded to his own speech. "I see...so you do think you are better than me? I guess it is to be that way for someone who feels threatened by another of equal or greater power. If given the opportunity...I would appreciate the chance to actually mach duel you, but of course you will deny my request with the response of -'I do not owe you anything; So just hahaha leave.'- You underestimate me too much...that is the true thing to laugh about. You, Zan, know nothing of POWER." Hacorie said as he fingered the movements of tipping a hat to the other Heavy Blade as he finally backed up to the wall. The smile still remained on his face and would for many minutes to come.

Even though he had not been able to tell his side of the story, Hac still was thrilled that he got a few words from the character, but one thought still lingered in his mind, and since a verbal response would not be received, he sent it through a Flashmail instead.

Flashmail
To: Zan
From: Hacorie
I know one day the time will come for us to fight...I will be ready for that day Zan so bring your all.

End Flashmail


Just as the Flashmail was sent, the strange acting Lighteria character’s pet Kit roared throughout the room. Attention everyone! "As some might have guessed, Lighteria was NOT himself during the past two days. His body was swapped with someone else’s. But he's back now and has something to say." After jumbling a few audible noises, the Twin Blade spoke up in a hasty voice. "AH! I'msorryIdon'tknowwhathappenedlastdungeonbutitwasn'tmeeandImbacknow!" Followed by a cough, one last sentence is spoken by Lighteria. “"S-sorry. ...I hope I... didn't cause too much trouble.”

Haha, well if it was not you....how would you have caused trouble? Hacorie mentally spoke as he bobbed his head up and down.

I wonder what else Nights has to say...I need some sleep....

_________________
Hacorie
Level 36 Heavy Blade
Gold: 21237

Equips
Oceanic Aura/Sharktooth-Ice Helm-Winter Coat-
Shiva's Rings-Bondage Pants
---Water Magic, BL Yokohama

Wishlist:
Level Meh Up
Weapons: Sakabatou/Rock n Roll/Peace Blade
Body: Knight's Armor
Other: Earthlore/Feng Shui
--------Water/Earth Scrolls


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:28 pm
Posts: 150
Calm. She was sure she’d get bent out of shape when she went to talk with Zhao, sure that she’d lose her cool, but she didn’t, everything was just… calm. And she thought, if he’d asked any other way, if he’d approached any other way, it might have been different. But… no. Everything was rational. And she was pleased to find that at the end of the conversation, he didn’t seem to regard her as a fruitcake for her decision – and further, didn’t seem to bother him if she considered him a friend.

Life was full of surprises.

Though it shamed her a little. He didn’t act on what he assumed, he asked. And she wasn’t doing the same thing. There was at least one case in which she was acting on actions which might well have good reason or be unintentional. That needed to be rectified, she thought. Especially now. She and Hac were on the group shit list (or maybe just Zan’s… in which case maybe it didn’t matter) and it was of utmost importance to be honest with those it was likely she could still count on. So, next time she saw him…

She was just about to follow Zhao out of the room when the portal began to glow a little more than traditional. Senna stepped back against the wall to be out of the way as someone gated in.

Who…

As the form solidified, she recognized him. Phoenix. Talk about coincidence. Or if you weren’t the sort to trust in coincidence, then this was just meant to happen. Either way, she needed to seize the moment – even if she wasn’t quite sure how to start.

"Hey. Uh.. Phoenix? Do you have a second?"

"Yeah, sure. What's up?"

Senna felt suddenly aware that he might not want to be bothered by this sort of thing after being out, wherever he had been (and out was coming to be a Very Bad Word in her vocabulary, since the first layover in the Hideout.) but pressed ahead doggedly. It would be worse to have wasted someone else’s time for no use whatsoever.

"Uh.. well, I wanted to.. Jeeze, just say it, Sen. Sometimes, the way you've spoken about or to me has felt... condescending. And I don't think you mean it, but I think I may have been... unfair to you because of it. And I wanted to apologize."

There, it was out. And to her mild but happy surprise, it was answered rather neutrally. "Thanks for the apology. Perhaps I was a bit condescending to you but I have been through a lot. I experienced many bad things ever since I became infected with the Twilight. Let me show you something."

She nodded her head, unsure what to expect of this. Lifting his short to show a scarred torso, however, was not it at all. She winced at the sight.

These scars are everywhere on my midsection,” he said. “ No healing spell can remove them. They remind me of my own darkness."

And what did one say to that, really? Unsure, she asked the first question that came to mind. "Oh. How did that happen? If the question's not too forward, if so..."

She let the rest trail off. She didn’t want to be a pry, but it didn’t seem he took her for one. "It happened shortly after my initial infection,” he said. “They were scars from my previous battles. They all appeared at once and made me knocked out from the pain."

"I learned later that my infection was deliberate. I was an experiment. I came close from either dying or losing my own soul many times. I don't want that to happen to anyone else."

People did this sort of thing to other people on purpose? Senna found herself feeling mildly ill. Even as angry as she was at Marionette, she never once thought her imprisonment here was on purpose. On purpose as in programmed maybe, but not targeted to her specifically. But to know it was in some cases, in his case… that explained some things.

Hence the warning..." she murmured, thinking of their first encounter.

"Yeah... anyway, there's something I need to go through with someone. Since you're here, maybe you will like to hear it but needs to be in private though."

Senna’s thoughts were so wrapped up in the conversation they’d had – the idea that people could do such terrible things to one another on purpose, with intent – that this abrupt change of direction caught her off-guard, as she’d explained to Zhao.

Covering her momentary confusion with a small laugh, she said, “You sure you want to trust my judgment?"

"Actually, I think I need someone with little attachment to the group. Most of the older members would probably think I'm crazy with what I'm going about to speculate. Also my past actions makes it hard for them to completely trust me."

There was a question in there that she wanted to ask, but she’d already pried enough. Tamping that thought to the back of her mind, she instead said, "If you're sure. But is there a private place around here? This is the quietest room I've found in the Hideout, at least."

"Maybe not here but there's an entire root town to hide in."

Instinctively Senna glanced around to see if Canti was anywhere nearby. She didn’t want to worry him, especially after the state he’d been in at the end of the last field. Well, at least this time she wasn’t going alone. And he was right – that was the place to find a more private location.

"Good point. Lead on? I’m afraid I know next to nothing about this root city."

Funny, I just came from there. Let's go."

Carmina Gadelica remained one of the most lovely locations she’d visited in The World, but Senna had never taken the time to explore it. Apparently, Phoenix had, as he led them unerringly through some back ways which eventually led to the rooftops overlooking the colorful, brightly-lit city.

As she stared down, taking in the sights, Phoenix said, "Nobody should find us up here. Great view isn't it?"

"No kidding,” she replied, taking her eyes off the landscape with great difficulty and looking at Phoenix. “This has got to be one of the prettiest places they made in The World."

"Yeah, I think so. But back to business I suppose. Ever since the battle with the Marionette Devil, there has been something bothering me about it. It has to do with Zan's involvement in it. I'm not talking about that creature he became."

Senna was on instant alert at this. After the ending of the last field trip the Freedom Fighters had taken, she wasn’t sure she could look at anything Zan was doing or saying objectively. Still, she tried to think back. Odd? "I'm not sure what you mean. That shielding ability he had?"

"Yeah, that was one aspect,” he said. “It was quite odd that he had that coin with him. If I remember correctly, there was only five Fae sisters excluding Eien. So how he came to have that coin?"

Senna shrugged, looking over the city again. "I'm... not sure, actually. I suppose he could have had a fight on the other side of that door he got us through. It is kind of weird though."

She hadn’t actually given the matter much thought. Marionette had provided a number of items to the group through the fae though, so why not one more? Phoenix had the benefit of experience though, and if he thought something was odd… well, maybe she ought to listen instead of just opposing.

"The coin wasn't the weirdest thing to me,” he continued. “It was his entrance into the final battle. Isn't it strange that he was able to break free so quickly while our two most powerful members had a very hard time in breaking free?"

"I... yeah. I just figured since Marionette obviously wanted us winning that fight, it decided sidelining all three of them would be trouble. But why Zan?"

"Exactly my point. Remember my plea to stop the battle with Primal,” Senna winced at that. “Marionette doesn't care if we win or lose. We aren't worthy if we lose. I doubt Marionette would make such a weak prison for Zan given his intelligence network. I know I don't have real proof but I'm pretty sure about one thing."

Some part of her dreaded where this was going. "What's that?"

"Zan is probably in league with Marionette because of that fact about Zan's prison."

She wasn’t sure what exactly she’d expected, but this was not it. Zan? The guy seemed to be a mental case half the time, but in bed with the enemy? He seemed too loyal to certain members of the group for that.

"My bird remind me of a flashmail that I got from Marionette before we left for the second hub again,” Phoenix continued. "That flashmail contain information that no one could have known except for me and only because it happened to me while I was unconscious. "If Marionette knows something like that from my mind, it would be quite easy to figure out that Zan is freaking powerful."

"Yeah, but in league?” It was hard to credence, yet it was obvious Phoenix firmly believed it, and he did have the benefit of experience. Senna was struggling to come to terms with this suspicion. “I may not like him, but he seems determined to protect you guys. Marionette's crafty, but it just sounds hard to believe. Zan helping it..."

I know,” Phoenix acknowledged. “But in betraying people, the first rule is to appear that you're helping the people you're betraying."

Senna had no answer for that, and apparently none was needed. After a few seconds thoughtful silence, Phoenix said, "As I said, I have no definite proof. Just keep be aware of anything weird from him."

That she could do, she thought. Keep an eye out? "I'll... I'll keep an eye out. See if I see anything. If I do, I'll let you know."

And that seemed to be enough. "Thanks. Let's go back to the hideout."

Simple way to close the conversation, and the return was quick and silent. For Senna’s part, at least, Phoenix had given her a lot to think about.

_________________
Senna, level 33 Long Arm (710 HP/180 SP)
Most common kit: Ichigou, Racoon Earcaps, Air Bracer, Snow Panther, Winter Coat, Graceful Book
Spells/Skills: (Critical Hit/Death) Repulse Cage, Ap Corv, Ap Vorv, Rai Rom, Rue Zot, La Repth
Click for full equipment and items
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(When he had fallen asleep in the dungeon, his strength simply having quit on him at the time, Canti did not dream. Well, not at first. He fell into a total blackout of the mind and everything else. It was like being in a torpor. Ah, but that didn't matter to him, not while he was out cold. He could rest easy, knowing that he would be alright. In fact, he hadn't even been aware that he'd been killed in battle and brought back in a hurry when they were still dealing with the Marionette Devil. He didn't see it begging for its life and he didn't see Senna and Hacorie kill it. He had, however, felt its passing. A thrum in the darkness, a roar ceased. Were these monsters of Marionette's mere puppets only? Or were they more? The Hub was destroyed and he felt nothing of it, and felt nothing further until after they returned to base. Once there, he did dream, starting with a feeling of being suspended in water, or perhaps atop something that he simply couldn't feel, and then a continuous beeping sound was ringing through his ear. It was regular, constant. Beep....beep....beep....beep.... He felt light, and background noise. Someone was sitting nearby, watching him. Canti's eyes shot open and he sat bolt upright in bed.)

Canti: I'm awake!!

(Nothing... Just a dream. He wasn't in the hospital, waking up from his coma. He was in the room of their hideout used to rest for a while. He was nowhere near any possibility of being awake, and the explicatives that followed could probably be heard from AT LEAST outside the room. Afterward, Canti checked himself out. No visible problems with his sprite body, rather...nothing more than the usual. Apparently, he'd gone up a few levels, gotten some stuff while he was out. Not bad, just... He'd rather have been shot out of this game than simply antied-up for a while. This wasn't gonna do him any good. He needed more stuff, stronger materials so he could kick a little more ass than normal. And that meant he had to go...shopping! He didn't want to, but since he'd been kinda' shocked into consciousness here, there wasn't much of a choice. On the way, he'd felt the annoying blink of Flash Mails winking at him. Heading for the store area, though, he needed a moment to just...check on something.)

Canti: Hey ummm...Rey?

Hmmm? Yes, what is it?

Canti: Did...did I ever almost wake up? Like...even for a moment?

What brought this on?

Canti: Just answer the question.

(There was a pause, then...)

No, I'm afraid not.

Canti: I see... You sound tired.

It's the job. It drains you.

Canti: Sorry to bother you. Go get some rest. We're not doing anything for at least a couple hours.

(He felt somewhat dejected by all this. To be so close to being awake, or thinking he was awake, and then for it to be snatched away so cruely by the powers that be... It was a little much. Canti wanted out of this game. It was a good game, but he was meant to play it from the outside, where there was a log out button and everything was safe, so long as he saved his data. Checking out his inventory, though, Canti's mood changed somewhat when he realized that his little exercise and winnings from the Hub mission had jumped him six levels and gotten him some decent footwear and nice pair of wicked blades called Magatsu. Cool... There was one thing, though. He needed some other good stuff to increase both his arsenal and his defense. Dependent on speed alone, he'd gotten far, but now he had the right lever AND cash-flow to get some decent armor, hence his purchase of Wyrm Scale and a Fire Bracer to go with the Iron Anklet item he'd gotten. Ah well... At least he'd be able to kill more efficiently. Still, there was something of a longing in Canti's heart, so he began to whistle "Sweet Home Chicago", leaving the store area and entering the main section of the hideout.)

"Canti? Hey, Canti, you're looking...a hell of a lot better. How're you feeling?"

(He paused in mid-whistle, looking over to the source of the voice. His mood was still kinda' so-so, but starting to brighten up now. In fact, a friendly face was just what he needed. It was Senna who had called over to him. If there was anyone on this crew that put his mind at ease, it was her.)

Canti: Rested, I guess. Kinda' woke abruptly. Bad dream.

(She sort of half-smiled at him.)

"Glad you woke up from it then. Especially around here. Who knows what dreams may do. But, at least there's ice cream."

Canti: Eh... The ice cream isn't real, and that Lighteria guy still got brain-freeze. Plus...I dreamt I was awake.

"Awake awake? Like, real-world awake?"

(There was brief glare in which his black eyes conveyed a more serious tone for a moment, then he just nodded.)

Canti: Yeah...

(It really hurt to be thinking he was awake! And more than that, there was the problem of...if he was awake, could he still help his friends in here or was he lost to them? Well, he was still here for now, so there was no answering that one. Not now... Noticing the slight frown on Senna's face, he knew that she caught at least an iota of how that effected him.)

"There's too make ways that can be a nightmare. Ugh. I'm sorry, you probably don't want to be talking about this."

Canti: I'd rather not, no.

(He paused, then...)

Canti: So, what happened while we were out? I'm guessing we won, toasted the Hub, all that fun stuff?

"And now you're getting into things I'd rather not talk about, but...ah well. The Devil stopped fighting and pleaded for its life in exchange for information. Hac and I killed it. We're not too popular right now."

(This produced a look of confusion in Canti's expression. The monsters working for Marionette sure did act strangely...)

Canti: Begging for its life? Sounds like a trick to me.

(She nodded in agreement. Those guys were tricky, after all, like with Primal, for instance. Did anyone happen to even notice that the latest boss-character was easier than the last? They were getting better at this... Either that or the Devil was designed worse. Either way, tempting them into something tricky sounded like devilry to him. Senna had Canti's back on this issue.)

"Sounded like a trap to me. But...whatever. It's done now. Maybe we doomed us all. Maybe not."

Canti: Not hardly. It's all a part of that guy's game. He wants us to make it through. His puppets are better off dead, anyhow.

"I agree. And now, it's over, we move on. Though, actually...there's a weird question I want to ask. Unrelated."

Canti: Huh? Sure. Ask away. I'm not goin' anywhere.

"On that last field, did anything weird happen to your ghost when you got killed that you remember?"

Canti: Like...when?

(They all died at least a few times, and he wasn't even aware that he'd died while out cold either.)

"Eh, nevermind. I think I was just imagining things anyhow. That place was weird"

Canti: Aw, c'mon... Don't leave me out of the loop. What happened?

(She gestured vaguely at the air.)

"Nothing really, it just went...gray. The room went gray and you all disappeared, just for a few seconds. God, that sounds really weird when I say it out loud."

Canti: Might be something only you saw. I had plenty of hallucinations from even before I fell under.

"Ah. Well...I guess I'll be happy. If the worst thing I see is empty rooms, I guess I'm doing pretty good, huh?"

Canti: Much better than anything I ever got. 'Course I think it may have to do with the virus. I dunno...

"Anyway. I am glad to see you back. You had me worried for a while. And I think the Freedom Fighters need you in commission neh? Air support?"

(Canti snerked at the comment.)

Canti: I guess they do. Hope they don't need it forever, 'cause I didn't exactly enlist.

(He pauses in thought, then...with a look of some concern...)

Canti: Worried, though... How come? I wasn't in any real danger, was I?

"No more than the rest of us. But you were so out of it. I knew you said you were just tired, but..you know...in here, you never know."

Canti: I see... Well...don't worry. I don't plan on dying easy. Not after all this.

"No, I'd expect not. But..."

(Her tone sounded apologetic now.)

"Hey, can I catch you again later? I need to restock before I forget. Don't wanna be caught flat-footed."

Canti: No problem. According to the mail, we're not heading off for at least a couple hours, and I'm staying put until then.

"Okay then. See you around."

(Canti let her go as he pulled up his flashmail menu again, looking over the stuff again. He'd been doing so when Senna called him over, just enough to know that Nighthand was back in himself and that the next mission was a ways away, so far. He was just thinking if there were any messages he could send when he heard...)

"Attention everyone!"

(Kit was suddenly grabbing the attention of...well...everyone.)

"As some might have guessed, Lighteria was NOT himself during the past two days. His body was swapped with someone else’s. But he's back now and has something to say."

(What...the hell?! Okay...he knew that, and he was sure that Zan had made everyone aware of that, but...what the hell was going on? Was he on vacation? Did he have a foreign-exchange program? How the heck did he go body-hopping and why with a bitchy girl from who-knows-where?! Hopefully, the now-frantically-apologetic guy standing there would be able to shed a few lights on the questions brewing in Canti's mind. But first...well...the poor guy's probably been stuck in the other sex in the real world. He DID NOT need to be riddled with holes at this time. So...Canti jjust stepped over to the 'new' Lighteria and got his attention.)

Canti: So, you're the real Lighteria? That's a relief... That girl you switched around with was a real bitch. Name's Canti, by the way. I got 'inducted' into the ranks while you were...ummm...out.

_________________
I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.


Last edited by Lord Canti on Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:08 pm 
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Once the bowman was satisfied with the feel of the modifications to his sprite, he took to target practice. The game would allow for a certain degree of finesse, and it wasn’t as if Auth had never used a bow before, but this was different. The boy didn’t want to try out his bow for the first time against hackers without well understanding how it worked. The training room was occupied at the moment, and he had already borrowed that space enough earlier. Firing even a single salvo could end poorly if the wrong person got in the way. Given how high the tension was, Rayo had heard some bickering, shooting off someone’s ear would not do to improve their situation. Such an action would be doubly harmful in the field of battle itself, more than one scenario had played through his mind.

The former wavemaster headed to the gate and eventually made his way to the Theta server. So long as he didn’t take part in the art of blue magic, nothing should be anymore amiss than simply shopping. His practice involved nothing outside of the bounds of the game, perfectly legit. The archer had considered fishing as his training method, but after weighing his options, Dun Loireag was his chosen place. There was a small patch of grass with plenty of stones behind the shops. It was out of sight, but most importantly away from any noise. One could concentrate and focus there.

Raising his silver tinted bow, his left hand instinctively reached into the quiver for an arrow, and with much less focus than a spell, an arrow was formed. Arrow designs seemed to be unique to the individual, but this was already known to him. The design was available at a customization screen, and seemed quick and easy to change. Since it was not necessary to physically enter the changes, the arrow could take whatever color he chose. It was basically useless, but not completely. There were ways to take advantage of that. Signals for example.

For the moment, the piercing device took the form of a green, though much brighter shade than the quiver. The boy pulled back, held, and released. It was a good feeling, perhaps more involved than the rituals that were commonplace to him. Experimenting, the archer did not let his hand stray far from the bowstring, maintaining considerable distance from the quiver itself. Yet, once willed, the arrow appeared. It was not actually necessary to use the quiver if one did not want to, but was there for design. Empty glass bottles used as health drinks at one point, stones falling off the edge, verifying maximum length of flight for an arrow… there was so much one could do.


*****

His practice was done, and Auth wandered back through the hideout, ending up standing before the tablets various people had mentioned earlier. Instead of trying his own hand at what were obviously riddles, the archer found it prudent to learn what had been discovered already, and the initial answer suggested a no.

"Has anyone figured out the answers to these riddles, or at least what questions the possible answers would be for?"

"Heh... you'd think that people would try to put more stock into these things, but so far I'm the only one whose even bothered to look at them."

The lone fist fighter answered. Maybe the others already considered the riddle, but Rayo wouldn’t know until later. He did leave the hideout far too many times that day already.

"I wonder if it's worth the time... this information is being given in such a roundabout way. It's a riddle as is, and to attain the answer, the Devil was offering help to begin with. It makes me wonder if solving it on our own will have any value."

"Yeah, I see what you mean... but I don't have anything better to do... the only people I know here just pissed me off by killing the Devil. I'm Silk, by the way."

Yet another who was angry over the recent incident, irritating. The information wasn’t theirs, but the bowman had gotten over it already. Easy come, easy go. Why were so many people acting more bothered by Senna and Hacorie over the death of a mutual enemy than Marionette, the Elites, and the coma itself? Were they just focusing on the two players because they were the only ones close enough to lash out against?[/I]

"My name is Rayo. A pleasure to meet you under better circumstances. I was wondering who exactly the fist fighter was who went on defense."

"Yeah, that was me. I didn't have any lightning spells to really be effective, so I figured I would just soak up hits for ya. Pretty impressive display, I might add."

"Thanks. Your flaming fist combo looked like it would have been impressive had things been a bit different. Unfortunately I won't be using any level four spells for a while now, so keep that in one in your memory if you ever have to fight a wavemaster."

"Huh? What do you mean by that?"

Rayo lifted up the bow he’d tested earlier and gestured to both it and the quiver on his back. He almost summoned up an arrow, but resisted the urge.

"I've just changed my class to that of an archer since our last battle. It should prove more effective in the events to come."

"Good God... I completely failed to notice. Well congratulations, man. I hope it works out for you."

Then the topic changed. Smalltalk was over with and Silk was getting excited and into what he was saying. If the Devil assassination was his main concern, this did little to reinforce that.

"Hey, you notice how crappy the teamwork is? I mean, sure we had our moments, but overall, it felt like a pretty ramshackle affair. People were left wide open plenty of times -- had we fought against an intelligent boss instead of a cocky, bloodthirsty monster, we would've been torn apart! I don't really know enough people to suggest actual practices and the like... ...but I bet if at least you and I teamed up in these fights... y'know, watched each others backs... we could really make a difference. Who knows, perhaps other people would follow suit, and the team as a whole could really take off."

"Sounds fine by me. I tried that a while ago, ages back with the former version of this group. Unfortunately, not everyone is still alive today. Saying team might be too strong a word, we're more of an association of similarly hindered players. We all have our own dreams, plans, and tactics or lack thereof, and for many the others just happen to be walking the same path for now. I'll try to fight alongside you to the best of my ability, just don't mind the names I come up with for tactics."

"Initiate the Picard Maneuver!"

Was he actually trying to reference something? At first he thought he just shouted out random gibberish, but ‘Picard’ was from Star Trek, wasn’t it? Maybe Rayo could just open up a hole in the next person to walk through the room to pretend he initiated said maneuver, and then the awkward silence would end. Sadly, no one moved into his line of sight fast enough.

_________________
Rayo
Lv.47 Archer 745HP/311SP
Bell, the Silver Grunty of Thunder
Skills/Spells-Shocking Arrow of Voltage(30), Arrow of the Burning Stars(10), MeRai Rom(40), Rai Kruz(10), La Repth(20), Rip Maen(40), MeRai Kruz(20), GiVak Kruz(20), MeRai Don(20), Rig Saem(15)
Weapon/Armor/Book-Golden Royal Bow/Thunder Torque, Thunder Cloak, Able Ring, Ivory Greaves/Thunder Magic
Wishlist: YL Fukuoka, Stormlore, Winter Stone, Silver Grunty


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:15 pm 
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Location: UNKNOWN ERROR, please try again later
Innocent incarnate: the morals, thoughts, and everything else good that resided within Reinier now had its own form. He still had objections to leaving his other half alone within the confines of the Negative Frame, but he had to admit that Salvius and Delotia were right. No powers and a heart full of evil would lead to no good if he were let free to roam.

The boy sat near the Chaos Gate of Mac Anu, simply watching people enter and leave the root town to their own affairs. The area was simply a melting pot of emotions: happy parties left to do dungeon adventures, sad and broken men and women hobbled away from the gate, defeated. Every now and then, a person of indifference would wander by, so set in his ways that nothing around them could possibly matter. Reinier swayed back and forth, content with life and all of his problems. This sense of freedom he had gained was over whelming, and quite possibly intoxicating.

The boy leaped to his feet, his wings outspread and fluttering gallantly, as began a trek to peer in to the river. He stood up on the tips of his toes to be able to peer in to the river. He got a good grip over the railing of the bridge, and pulled himself forward and to absorb his surroundings through the water's serene grace. And there he was, true as day, a separate entity. The outward appearance of a fourteen year old boy shone brightly in the river's reflection. His silver, disheveled hair seemed to glow within the river's own brilliance. Softer facial features and radiant emeralds for eyes to take the place of his older features. A long sleeve button down collared shirt, with the black suit jacket over it. It felt like his old blue suit, but this one fit much better. Black slacks with a golden belt buckle in the shape of a diamond, with the number “seven” written in Japanese.

“So, where do we go next? What was that place you were talking about again, um... er... Please forgive me, but I can't recall your name still... I'm sorry... what is it?” Reinier softly spoke in to his necklace. The golden chain that hung around his neck, with a smoothly cut topaz stone the size of his thumb, dangling just above the boy's sternum. The stone seemed to jerk about angrily, but soon calmed down.

Abraxas. The name. Is. Abraxas. But I can let you off for now... The main thing now is our next move. We should go back to the Lambda Server, and meet up with the Freedom Fighters. Do you remember how to use the Chaos Gate?

Reinier cringed and attempted to find the words to explain to his companion he didn't. “Um... I can wing it... Sorry Abbers...” The boy spoke to his necklace. A few passer byers gave Reinier unusual looks due to the fact it appeared like he was having a conversation with himself. He wandered up to the Chaos Gate, and waved. “Hi!” Reinier said to the Gate. His necklace twitched once more.

All you need to say is “Lambda Server” or “To the Lambda Server.” Either works...

“To the Lambda Server, please!” Reinier called out. With a twitch of the necklace, three golden rings shot over Reinier's body. Within seconds, Reinier found himself in a pearl white room. He blinked a few times, and scratched his head. He still needed to get the hang of things, but it was unusual to be in such a cramped space. He took a few cautious steps forward, a bit of sadness in his face visible, and peered around the room.

A boy in a jacket with a hood down walked in to Reinier. “Oh! Um... hi! I'm Reinier!” the boy said as he outstretched his hand. The iron cross like ring glinted as it caught a ray of light, the amber tear stone in the middle still glowing slightly. “I was wondering if you know where to find the... uh... my friend called them the 'Freedom Fighters.'”

Zan, lost in his determination to find Nulus, blinked at the sudden bump of his friend. Blinking not only at the face he hadn't seen in a while, but at the questions, the Lycan's serious face broke into a smile that was followed with a very accusational finger pointed in Reinier's direction. "Ah, ah. You got me. What's up, hombre? The hell you been?"

Reinier blinked, taken back by the sudden surge of kindness. The people he had run in to so far were not as nice as he would have hoped for. “Um... hombre? What's that mean? Is everyone in this... server... as nice as you are? Cus this is a lot better then the last one I was at!” A smile broke across Reinier's face.

Zan's smile faultered a touch, simmering down to a general smirk of amusement. That too left his face when what he was looking at finally dawned on him. Who the hell had been fucking with Photoshop and jerking off to Lolita porn when they made redid his avatar? "Wait...what the hell happened to you? What hacker butchered your character data like that?" Concern was in his glacial eyes (the left randomly shifting into the amber of a wolf from time to time), but the truth hadn't yet struck him.

Reinier was taken aback, and didn't quite know what to say to this. He scratched the side of his face, and turned his head to the side. “Um... Have we met before...?” Reinier attempted to be as polite as possible. He smiled, and said, “Not that it matters or anything if have or haven't! We can still be friends. But um... I really must be finding these... uh... 'Freedom Fighters,' whoever they are... They sound like a fun group.”

That's Zan! He's your friend you idiot! He IS a... nevermind...”

The werewolf didn't like this game anymore. This being, of course, probably because it didn't seem like much of one at this point. What had happened to him? "Yea...sure. Sounds like a plan. Here's what we're going to do, you take a seat on one of these couches and I'll get someone who can help you, okay?"

Reinier nodded and wandered over to the area where the man had pointed. He hopped in to a seat, and began kicking his feet in an alternating fashion. He swayed back and forth, waiting for someone to pass by so he could talk. He wondered why he enjoyed speaking to new people so much, but it didn't bother him too much as long as both people ended up having fun in the end.

Reinier, getting quite bored of this, stood up to wander about. He wandered around until he found himself in a long room with a single table, with a man huddled over two tablets. He stood next to the man, and pointed at the larger tablet. “What's this?” Reinier asked.

"There you are. Sekai found it while we battled one of Marionette's guardians. It's a riddle of some sort, though I know not whether it is meant to aid us for the third hub or something different," said the archer.

Reinier blinked, scratched his head, and turned to him. “Um... not a word of that made sense. Is everyone here as weird as you?” the boy smiled as he said this, and peered around the room. It was pretty roomy, but everything in this area felt so... sterile...

“Have you forgotten about the hubs we attacked? Marionette is their protector, and Sekai is an archer that's joined up with us."

Reinier nodded gently to himself, and gave the man a pat on the back. “Not really, but I'm going to go talk to that Zan kid again... he seemed fun... Thank you for your help, sir!” And with that, he wandered out of the room with the tablets and about the server until he found the man in the hoodie. “Heeeeey!” he yelled, waving his hands about, “Mr. Zaaaan!” And with that, he ran over to the man. “What's a 'Marionette,' and a 'Sekai?'”

Murmurring under his breath, too fixated on finding Nulus, he did his best to give the amnesia-stricken would-be Reinier a friendly face. "Marionette is a...boss monster and Sekai's a member of our group, of the Freedom Fighters."

Reinier nodded. “Ohhh... that makes sense.... I think... Who else is a Freedom Fighter? My draahhhaaa-friend said I should look for them. Are you looking for someone? Need some help? Oh hey! We could help each other! That'd be fun, right?” He looked at Zan, and nodded.

The lycanthrope, having already delivering a message to Nighthand and the others who needed to know, found his frustration for the pointless situation mounting. "Everyone in this place is a Freedom Fighter. And no, I don't need any help. Just stay put in this place and you'll get your answers." With that, and a half-assed parting smile, he was gone.

Reinier blinked, and scratched the top of his head. He shrugged and wandered back to the place where the man had pointed in the start of his adventure. The boy wandered back to his chair, and began to sway back and forth once more. He looked down at his ring, then down to his sword, and nodded. As long as he still had all his items, he would be well off.

A new character came in to view. The man seemed pretty intense, but that was most likely by the fact he wore a cape and had a scar down the side of his cheek. He began to speak to Reinier, "That's new... So. You don't know who you are, yet we do. Man these personality switches get crazy... Have any explanation?"

Reinier shook his head side to side. “I remember waking up, seeing a red-haired demon named Reinier, and a few friends taking me away. We didn't talk too much, because they had other things to do, but next thing I knew I was in the... um... Delta... place... And my necklace talks! He says his name's 'Abraxas.' I like to call him Abbers. He told me to go to the Lambda Server... I think that's here... and find the Freedom Fighters. He told me not to tell anyone about him or the fact I have powers... er...” and with that, Reinier fell silent.

Nighthand let out a smile. "Keep that in mind, but those of us here know both of those already. Because of him, and your powers, you're basically a wanted character. People would call you a hacker and you'd be caught and killed. Bad for us all around, basically." He paused, pondering what next to say. At this point, Raine is visible standing in a doorway

"I dunno exactly what happened, but that red-haired demon and you are probably the same person. Different sides of the same coin, and whatnot. Hmm... I suppose there's no harm in having you come along with us."

Reinier scratched the top of his head. He was thoroughly perplexed, but he enjoyed the company of this man. “They would kill me just for existing...? Who is 'they' anyway? And where are we going? To another one of those hub things that one guy talked about? Can I take Abbers with me? What's your name?” He simply let the questions fly.

"Aren't you the innocent one... 'They' are the game Admins, or the real Hackers. Basically anyone who isn't one of us. Yes, we're going to another of those hub things. Yes, the dragon can come, he'll probably stand a better chance than any of us at keeping you out of trouble... and I'm Nighthand. Now, some things you may or may not grasp. First: You're a human being trapped inside a video game while your body is in a coma in the real world. No one on the outside knows you're in here, or would believe if you told them. The company that makes the game, and the game's Admins, don't acknowledge the problem or the Hackers. Hackers are what did this to you, and to the rest of us. We all, for the most part, have some kind of power. We're on a quest to kill the Hackers and take their stuff, namely, the special items that when all gathered together could possibly form a way out of the game for us, allowing us to return to the real world. You're basically only possibly safe with us, but safer than you would be elsewhere. Kay?"

No answer. Nighthand had managed to put the boy to sleep. He had been through a lot, though, so it was understandable. He would probably be safest, and least annoying to the others, if he stayed in this one spot asleep. He probably wouldn't even be able to fathom the quest he was about to embark on, anyways.

_________________
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Image
Reinier's Wishlist: Sakabatou|Sharktooth
Abraxas' Wishlist: Complementry|Summon
The Hack's Wishlist: Wall lvl 2


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:16 am 
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The discussion in the Meeting Room seemed to have settled around the tablets and their possible meanings and, throughout verbal pesterings from Hacorie and Zhao, the werewolf hadn't been able to take his mind off of where Nulus had disappeared to. The wonderings came in the form of a sort of selfish panic, the Heavy Blade paranoid that the Shade had gotten himself lost in the Cultural City and was being hunted down by Administrators at that very moment. Though that in and of itself seemed to be genuine concern, Zan found his mind coming back to the question of Nulus' deletion. If he was gone, if his Twilight was no longer keeping the PVM subdued...would it come back? Would that illness return and hinder him so readily as it had during the fight with Primal back in the first Hub? The more the thought about, the more Zan simply didn't want to be sitting down in a stuffy room with a whole bunch of people tapping their chin about encoded slabs of whatever. Determined to give the Shade a verbal lashing if he had been stupid enough to go above ground, Zan lifted himself from the cushy seat and made his way back to the Common Room.

After a rather...interesting...interaction with the mind warped Reinier and a quick Flashmail to Nighthand, Raine and Senna that requested they look into fixing the problem, the werewolf's search was resumed. Deciding not to be completely pessimistic quite yet, Zan went room to room looking for his comrade. He doubted that Nulus needed to sleep, but he doubted even more than he needed to eat. It was with this logic that the Barracks were visited first. Nowhere in the fairly sizable room floated the seven foot and something odd inch Shade. To be expected. Ignoring any who might have been staying in the room, Zan continued his search in the last place he would have expected to find his target. Again, he was right. The Kitchen, though filled with a number of particularly appetizing aromas, wafted nothing in the sensory form of Nulus. Still doubting that his partner would be stupid enough to go into Carmina Gadelica alone, let alone that he was even able to without Zan, the werewolf found an edge of genuine worry creep in, one that wasn't associated with the reinstallation of the Plures Vultus Mortis onto his character data. It was a little nauseating to think that he cared about the thing's safety, that he was sincerely wondering if Nulus' precarious anchoring to The World's main file had finally severed and sent him back to madness and purgatory in the Shadow.

With no where else to look in the Hideout, Zan made the reluctant, pseudo-trek to the Chaos Gate, preparing to go out into the city to find that which had been lost. Needless to say, Zan wasn't at all surprised to find Nulus skulking around the gate's swirl of gold and sapphire. It was, after all, the last place he had gone to and it seemed only right that that was exactly where the son of a bitch would be. Unlike his partner, however, Nulus seemed very much surprised to have the company, jumping at the Heavy Blade's sudden emergence into the small room. Whatever the Shade had been fidgeting with in his hand previous to Zan's entrance clattered upon the floor with the sound of a rolling marble, a marble that stopped when its path merged with the presence of the Lycan's bare foot. Glancing down at the object, Zan couldn't help but be reminded of the orb that currently pulsed in the top of his left hand. The sphere at his foot was slightly larger, true, but otherwise they could have been mistaken for the same thing in the right light. This theory was quickly shattered when he realized that it didn't just look dark because of the patch of shadow Zan was currently standing in, but because it was pitch black. Even as the player bent down to get it, Nulus continued to do nothing.

Half-way through his arms descent, a smoky, purplish spark flared to life inside the black glass of the marble and suddenly it wasn't on the ground, but flying into his exposed forearm. The pain that followed as it tried to fuse into his flesh, the arm itself driven to a fit of unthinkably fast convulsions, was nothing compared to the sheer weight of Zan's confusion. What had happened? What had Nulus found and what in the hell was it doing to his left arm? If the werewolf wasn't busy panicking, trying to pry the thing out of his skin with a trembling hand, he might have noticed the Ani Runes that were streaming along his flesh like exposed code. If he wasn't panicking. The fact that he so blatantly was, however, prevented him from taking note of this peculiarity and it was only when the small sphere decided it gave up and simply dropped to the floor with a pleasant clatter that Zan could think again. A loft of a great clawed hand and the object simply zoomed into Nulus' open palm. The silence that followed wasn't so much out of anger and pain but confusion from the both of them. Whatever had just happened, whatever significance it held was masterfully eluding the duo. Deciding to be the first to break their silence, Zan started with the most obvious question.

"What in the hell, man?" Simple, but to the point.

Nulus paused, seeming to consider his words. "Ever since we became the Merged again and split for a second time...I've been hearing this whisper in the back of my head. Every time I'd try harder to listen to it it'd only seem to get farther away, more scrambled. Though I couldn't get words, I knew why it had come." A pause. "I recognized something in the Merged's actions, in the way he loved to hurt, to be hurt. I saw that in myself."

"Yea, huggge shock there, Captain Duh." Already Zan was bored with this. He wished he hadn't come looking for the Shade who, in the end, had just been playing with marbles and musing about how evil he was.

"Shut the hell up and let me finish, asshole." When Zan didn't say anything, he proceeded. "I saw it in myself and yet I realized it wasn't who I really was. The Merged's enjoyment of sadism came from sheer, pure love of seeing suffering and destruction. It took my own darkness and amplified it as a part of itself, made it its own. My sadism comes from hate and the need for shallow revenge for my imprisonment, for the purpose of my creation in the first place."

Zan was no longer smirking in amusement at the revelations given to him, the Heavy Blade finding himself honestly confused. Had that voice, whoever or whatever it was, really shown Nulus something about himself? All of the usual sneering and jeering from the Shade was lost as he spoke. Their was a sort of pleading in the emerald flame of his wolven eyes, something that almost demanded Zan do something about the situation. Despite that, however, Nulus seemed determined still to talk his way through the ponderings in his own head. The lycanthrope could relate. Sometimes simply vocalizing a troubling problem out loud opened up paths, opened up avenues you hadn't been able to consider before in silence. That said, silence is what followed. That look in the First's eyes, the emotions filtering across their bond, it was unsettling. It demanded a response, demanded that a lightbulb erupt over Zan's head. Even if the Lycan couldn't manage that, and he very well couldn't, Nulus seemed to actually be waiting for an okay to proceed along the mental trail, like he couldn't go on unless someone told him he wasn't crazy. All of the Shade's past insensitivities came to min, made ignoring him seem almost appealing, but Zan was never one to be able to turn away real suffering to any degree.

"Okay...go on. I'm listening." And that was all it took. Relief in the Shade's posture was a sudden flare of composure.

"Well...though I am a notably morbid individual and my sense of humor could be referred to as 'wrong' and 'inappropriate'-" To which Zan laughed. "-my connection to you has given me a rooted dislike in watching the suffering of others." The Lycan tried to ignore that he had thought the same thing about himself not moments before. "So, though I didn't mind ripping the Marionette Devil to pieces, I did mind the fact that the Merged was pondering dissecting Rayo and Canti and everyone else at the same time just to listen to them scream and watch them bleed." Zan shuddered, he remembered. "I had been thinking about all of this up until we left and when we came back here, a message came up that told me I can acquired a new spell sphere. The voice in my head was gone, but I could feel the presence that he been there now in this." The Shade held up the orb. "And if the babble in my head was coming from whoever has put a piece of themselves into that orb..."

"...then the orb itself should tell you who played therapist for you if you use it." Zan had thought he had stumbled upon the punch line, but Nulus shook his head.

"No, I don't need to use it. I know what spell resides inside of it."

The darkness. The spark of lavender life and smoke inside of it. Zan knew before the word even left Nulus' mouth.

"Wryneck." The implications were gargantuan, but a little too much to try and simply swallow down.

"So...let me get this straight. One of the world's elemental gods saw fit to teach you something about yourself and splice a piece of its essence into a spell orb? That's what you think?" Zan could feel the Shade frowning.

"Something like that, yes."

The werewolf laughed, but his curiosity was getting the best of him. "Say that's true, what was so special about you? Don't get me wrong, you can hold your own in a fight easy, but why would Wryneck - or some avatar or incarnation of his - pick you out and decide to whisper these little revelations to you? It seems too random."

To Zan's surprise, Nulus nodded, like he had gone through the same thought line. "Right, I wondered that too. But...then I realized that the moment the Wryneck Sphere had appeared, my Wave changed." The confused crease of Zan's brow brought explanation. "Most people in The World have affiliations with a particular Wave or Waves. It could just be because they use particular spells a lot or find some other backwards reasons like they're souls are just so tortured or 'FIRE'S COOL', but the fact remains. Mine had, because of my once-form as the First, been loosely tied to Juk, to Krake. I think, and it's just a theory, that Wryneck's attention came from the fact that my alignment came out of reflex rather than actual connection and he/it could feel I just needed a judge to be complacent within his purview. Maybe I just heard a voice and all of this is a huge fucking coincidence, too. I really don't know." Though words told of frustration, Nulus actually seemed content to sit with his theory.

"I'm sorry, but the darkness Wave doesn't sound like one that would want to make you realize suffering isn't your cup of tea." It was a good point, wasn't it?

"Maybe Wryneck isn't all about that gothic dystopia bullshit people associate it with. Maybe there's something beyond the evil you would just assume darkness has." He paused. "After all, doesn't even the most welcoming of woods have its nightfall?"

And with that...Zan seemed fairly content to leave the subject alone. All he needed to know was that Nulus was different, that he wouldn't just be shuffling through Zan's memories to watch Lowen suffer anymore. Maybe, just maybe, it would make the Merged a different kind of creature in turn. Despite all the questions and maybes, despite the fact that Nulus' cloak stayed that dark green and his eyes continued to burn emerald in the pitch black of his hood's shadows, the werewolf was content to let the subject be. He had the Shade back and, with a thought, his partner was again vanished and anchored within the obsidian cuffs at his wrists, the metal eyelids shooting open to reveal the flaming eyes of his comrade that had been lacking before. With an interesting end to a mundane search, Zan headed back to the Meeting Room and resumed his place at the table.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:44 am 
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After talking to Senna about his thoughts on Zan, Phoenix was doing some reflection on his way back to the hideout. Talking to Senna made me feel better a bit. I need to bide my time a bit before I can make my move. Make a better case first before making the next move is the best way to go about this.

Kazuma-sama, shouldn’t we looked at those tablets?

Suzaku chimed in with a good point which the blademaster agreed with her. Phoenix was originally going to do that before Senna catching him as he came back to the hideout. It was a good diversion nonetheless. After managing his way back to the Chaos Gate, he suddenly decided to go on a quick detour to the pawn shop since he needed to trade off some outdated equipment before going back to the hideout.

After his trip to the pawn shop, Phoenix finally went back to the hideout with his new items in hand. Without a second thought, he walked into the meeting room and saw Rayo looking at the tablets. He decided to greet him and have a chat for a bit but then he was caught off-guard by the blue mage’s new getup.

"Hey Ray... what's with the bow? What happened with being a mage?"

"I've been thinking about what we have to face, and magic alone won't cut it from here on out. With this I can become stronger and more able than I was before. My magic won't be quite as good as before, but I'll adjust."

"I see. Somehow I feel that we aren't a true party without a mage anymore. So figure out the tablets yet?"

"I've glanced over them, but since I haven't come up with more than a word here and there, I don't believe I'm even on the right track."

Phoenix was a bit surprised that Rayo has not figured out the tablets. He thought that tactical geniuses are supposed to be good in solving riddles. The blademaster learned something new and went back to the conversation.

"Didn't Zan figure out the first one? Which I think went something like 'The word you are looking for is hopeful.'"

"No one tells me these things... So the riddle becomes a new riddle or is 'hopeful' the only important part?"

Before Phoenix could answer Rayo’s question, Suzaku once again chimed in with her thoughts.

Kazuma-sama, from looking at the first tablet and the clue; I was able to figure out how Zan solved it. Just take the italicized letters in order to get the answer. I am working out the second one right now.

Phoenix continued his conversation with the blue archer.

"Don't know but it sounds like a keyword. Since there are three tablets, I'm guessing that they contain the keywords to Marionette's hideout. Also I think I figure out how Zan solved the first one."

"With better riddle solving skills than myself. I have no talent for this type of puzzle."

"Since the clue was leaning to the side, it was meant to focus on the italicized letters alone. So taking out all the italicized letters leave us with the answer.”

Kazuma-sama, the second one has to be read in a certain way. It says ‘The second key is tempting you.’

“Now the second one I'm not quite sure of but I think if you read it in a certain way, it says, 'The second key is tempting you.'"

Within a moment, the blademaster realized that he should give credit to where it deserves to.

"It also helps to have a pet who knows a bit as well."

"I noticed the italicized part, but I didn't get beyond that. Unfortunately for me, all my pet can do is bite. She doesn't provide sagely knowledge. It looks like between you and Zan we'll get the tablets under control at least though, that's good."

Phoenix felt kind of embarrassed by that statement before continuing on. "I myself personally probably couldn't figure it out. So how do you feel about Hacorie and Senna? If I wanted to kill the Devil, I would have waited after he gave the information."

"If we had played it like that, couldn't Marionette simply have reprogrammed Angel? The information might have helped, but I won't fault them for killing our enemies. Their intention wasn't malicious towards us, but probably to protect us from the Devil taking another stab at us."

Phoenix felt that Rayo’s point about Hacorie and Senna was probably more of the general consensus among the group except maybe for Zan. He felt that they will be fine in a short time.

"Yeah, I agreed with that. I don't think Marionette would reprogram Angel though. It's a game to him. He wouldn't change the parameters because it would be unfair to us. Besides Angel is going to be tough even if he reprogrammed it."

"Well, under that scenario we would have 'cheated' at the game, so then it would be his or her place to punish us for it. At least that's how I think Marionette would operate. Having never met the hacker, it makes an analysis all the harder. Regardless of what Angel can do, I'll make sure it goes down. After all, that's my duty."

Phoenix was reminded about Rayo’s change of class and thought of something funny about it as the blademaster himself had the same thought but in the opposite direction.

"I realized something funny now. You decided to get more physical power while I got some equipment that allow me to cast some level two spells. You thought that your magic alone wasn't enough while I thought that my physical power wasn't enough. We do think alike, Rayo. I'm going to get some rest now. See you later."

Phoenix began to walk away from Rayo and the meeting room when the former blue mage said something to him.

"Take it easy. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. No bigger than any other recently, but we will be risking our lives."

The blademaster stopped for a second and turned his head towards Rayo and said this to him.

"Don't we risk our lives every time we go on a mission? Take care."

Phoenix walked away from the meeting room and went into the barracks. He was pretty tired at this point since he really has not rested since his life and death battle within his own mind. He plotted himself to a bed and immediately collapsed. For the first time in a very long time, Phoenix began to dream of something good but the same could not be said to Suzaku. The guardian seemed to disturb by a voice who kept on saying the same thing.

Your time will come soon for the truth to be revealed… Yui.

What was that? Who’s Yui? That thought continued to bother Suzaku throughout the night.

_________________
Phoenix
Level 48 Blademaster
Equipped Skills: Vak Revolver, Gan Revolver, Dek Vorv, La Repth, Juk Kruz, Rue Kruz, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot
Other Skills: Rue Kruz, Rip Synk, Rip Saem, Crack Beat, Rue Slash, Ani Slash, Gan Crack, Gan Revolver

Wish List: Phoenix's Fire, Gold Necklace
EX-Spheres: LV 3 - Overdrive, LV 3 - Curative, LV 3 - Elemental Breath


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