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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:41 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Location: Liminality
Instability was a fickle thing. With three screaming people, four including herself, in her head, her already fragile grasp on what semblance of control she had drew nearer and nearer to slipping away entirely. They were arguing, again, about the best course of action to take. Of who of them would be the best suited for the task and even further discussions of trying to control their host directly in order to have it 'both ways'-- something that earned yet another vitriol filled raging from two of the three sides. She held their leash and yet left them unraveled; free to come, free to go-- with the exception of the latest, things had gone... awry there and she was still trying to work out just how messed up it'd gotten and how to remove it without killing one or both of them. She ignored their bickering and idly focused more on the emotions as a result from the three of them.

One blink, the din of battle silenced all too suddenly, and she stood before herself as she had never before.

Was this what the rest of them saw when they looked at her? Horror and anguish hit in a one-two punch to the gut. It was never her intention to enslave them or force them to do whatever it was she had wanted to. Her knees gave way, head bowed and shoulders slumped. They had to have more power. Needed it in order to stand a chance against the threats present and looming in the distance. Power like that would mean she'd never be afraid of the dark or the shadows again. That she could add more and more to her ranks until she had a literal army and could tear The World down and remake it in her own ideal. Some might even like it and willingly throw themselves into death to make that happen.

The look on the chained figures' faces, their body language... was she missing that in her blind determination to try... to try everything she could to get the people around her free? Since when was she so strong and confident at the cost of the feelings and personal well being of those around her? To those who had willingly placed their lives in her hands and trusted her, only to be betrayed once more? Their strength and potential limited by what she and she alone would allow?

This was the price of power?

Her clone knelt before her, reached out to brush jagged tendrils of hair out of her face with battle calloused palms and a musical chime of chains clattering against the floor. She knew, the cold, cold stare stated with frigid pity. She knew how it used to feel to be so weak and powerless and scared. Always serving at the whims and orders of someone else while her own wishes and wants remained unfulfilled, unnoticed, and utterly cast aside. But it didn't always have to be that way. She was Chosen, after all. She didn't have to be in a constant state of hopeless nothingness; she could be greater than anyone ever could have anticipated. They would remake it and it would be glorious; a digital world of peace and stability. A world where she never had to fear betrayal or abandonment ever again.

All she needed to do was reach out and accept the offered gift.

The chains didn't hurt them, the whispers came, it was for their own good. They were so reckless and wild, silly children just like she had been. They knew it was safer to obey now. To wait for her command to do as she asked them to, as they should have learned far before now and stopped underestimating and questioning her judgment. They weren't even cold, see? She could touch them and feel for herself. They might have had a leash, but it was for their safety, not anyone else's. No one would dare attack any with that collar on them ever again, not without the repercussions being far beyond anything anyone in this world could have guessed her capable of. They weren't really scared of her anyway, make no mistake of that; they just looked at her with the same respect and wariness one would come to expect of those in a seat of utmost power. It was respect earned the proper way-- the righteous way.

This, the clone seemed to say, was how true love really looked in the end; they looked at her with love.

The chains didn't bite her when they fell into her gloved hands. Bare fingers tracing the skin-warm links as though they were the pulse to... to something she had lost within herself. They were still fighting in her head. They hadn't even noticed what was in front of them, so busy arguing and bickering among themselves. All she'd have to do is say 'yes', 'okay', or even just nod her head and they'd take good care of her. She would truly, honestly be free for the first time since she began playing the stupid game.

Sekai's eyes stared, unfocused, at the length of chain lying across her palms. It could be easy. She was so tired of fighting and living in fear and this was an answer to a prayer she'd tried to keep squished down in her heart. Her fingers closed, one by one, over the length of chain and drew it taut. Wrapped it around her hands once, twice, and a third time to get a feel for their weight.

Light, airy and delicate. But unbreakable. Their strength binding and the energy flowing through them...

Disgusting.

The clone smiled at her actions. A triumphant expression fleeting on her face right before her back hit the ground with an audible thud. A jangle of chains smacking against the floor as the pale but furious Archer pinned her other self to the floor. A loop of chain wrapped around the clone's neck, tossed their prior to the tackle, and pulled tight. They bit through the cloth around her hands as she yanked up to tighten them further, wrapped the slack further to cut the clone's air supply off. Her face reddened, then purpled, and her hands clawed at Sekai's exposed skin, her face, anything she could reach to try and dissuade her.

Pain flared in her hands and face with every pull. She deserved it. She deserved every last mark she earned from this one as she bore down harder and kept her eyes on the face of her mirror image. Nothing this bitch could do to her would hurt as much as the way she'd almost given in. The way she'd almost betrayed them all in a moment of weakness and exhaustion just to fulfill her own sick need for safety and security. Selling them all and herself for that one stupid reason. It was so contemptibly and irrefutably human of her that she couldn't hardly stand looking at her own traitorous face as a result.

"I should have done this properly the first time," She snarled, the first words she'd spoken in quite some time. "you are everything I utterly loathe in humanity-- and I know that's what I am to you as well."

The attempts to break free faltered little by little, an ugly mottled appearance and bulging, red eyed monstrosity to replace the cool, composed-- the idealized version-- self of before. Keeping a tight grip, she leaned back, sweat dripping down her back and face. "GiGan Zot."

The earth trembled. Spires rose sharply and pierced again. And again. And again. The spell pierced through armor. Rattled the chains to the triad half-shadowed... and unmoving behind her 'better' self.

"GiGan Zot."

Again.

"GiGan Zot!" Shriller this time, choked with tears of shame and fury. The chained still didn't move to defend the self she was killing. The one she held down and ensured the stone spikes punched through time and time again. Didn't matter where; arm, leg, stomach, chest, throat, skull. The ruin of the body beneath her did not matter so long as it did, in fact, die.

Those in her head, immaterial and free, were abruptly silent. Shocked at the ugly hate rippling through their shared conscious. And, like their own counterparts, watched while their own seized control over her own reflection and set about destroying it in the most personal manner possible.

She stopped only when the chains stopped jerking to anything but her spells. When she could hear nothing but her own ragged half-sobs and felt no pulse, no life, in the monstrosity of her own solidified reflection. She rose, swayed in place, and wiped the blood from her face as best she could. The remnants of the chains fell from her bloodied hands to clatter against the floor. Drew her bow back and fired directly into the mess of blood, bone, and brain matter.

"A lie wrapped in truth is still a lie." Her head lifted and she glared at Elite and his hateful power. He'd gutted her and nearly gotten his way. She would never, ever forgive herself for that moment of weakness and temptation. "Nothing about your offer is going to solve what's really wrong with us and wrong in this world; that's why none of us look happy."

"This fear and insecurity of mine isn't going to disappear if I control people." Sekai drew the bowstring back once more to the curve of her chin and held it steady. Green light grew brighter and brighter still as she prepared a particularly special arrow for the Elite in front of her. "And nothing you've offered them is going to fix why they're fighting in the first place."

_________________
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Name: Sekai
Level: 54
EXP: 0000/1000
Class: Archer
Clan: Army of Darkness
HP: 835
SP: 347

Currently Equipped:

Einherjar: Kira, December, Zorya

Head: Bat Earrings (Ola Repth 40, Rip Maen 40)
Body: Saint Cross (Rue Zot 10, RaJuk Zot 30)
Arm: Protect Ring (Ap Vorma 15, MeJuk Kruz 20)
Leg: Ninja Anklet (BiVak Rom 20, GiGan Zot 30)
Add-Ons: Forestlore, Wood Magic (permanently raised Wood Offense/Defense by +3 total)

Wishlist: Levels, Summon: Wood, Archer Weapons, Light Armor


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:35 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am
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Location: Walking the line of madness
Takua stood still, disbelieving as he looked at the figure that stood across from him. A man, tall and proud, clad in an ever changing set of masks that shivered and wavered with the power that rolled from it. Not a boy, frightened and jumping at every shadow. A man, who could stand against the darkness of his fears.

He wouldn't have believed it for a thousand years. He was only fucking seventeen years old...well okay, maybe eighteen now. That figure wasn't him. That was someone else, something else, not something the Wavemaster could be. That was what he was trying to tell himself as he stared at the man, almost afraid to move in case the image shattered.

He'd known that the Elites would be able to give a devil's bargain, but he wasn't aware until that very moment of how tempting it really was. To see your own form given power and set high above you, to see what you could become if all you did was say yes. Because it would be his power, not the power of the people around him. He couldn't be betrayed by it, couldn't lose it. It would be his own for good. He could finally rely on himself to face off against all his darkest nightmares and nothing could ever hurt him again.

And this moment was when he discovered something he'd never really known about himself.

He wanted power.

He wanted to stand at the peak. He wanted to find control over his life, to stand above everyone else. Not to lord it over them, not to bend them to his will. But to be there, an unsurpassable mountain they would have to look up to. A legend who could roam The World as he wanted, unconstrained and filled with might.

Takua's hands clenched as he looked at that clone, practically unaware of what was going on nearby. The whispers were cloaking him, smothering him, begging for him not to reach out and take that power. Telling him that it was a trap, a trick...even if it was the only way for him to be safe. But could Melzas be trusted? Was it a trap with a way to control him hidden inside? Who cared! With enough power even he could depose of Melzas and throw off those chains, right...?

But...

But the more he thought about that vision of himself standing at the summit, the hollower it felt.

He wouldn't have earned it at all. Simply...given the power to stand above others instead of earning it for himself. There wasn't a legend in that, wasn't inspiration in that. Just luck, just bowing his head to lick someone's shoe and beg for scraps. He'd be nothing in the end and he knew it. And power...given by others, could be taken away by others.

And he realized as he sighed, there was one other problem.

He'd hate himself. Hate himself for giving in, for abandoning his friends and comrades. For giving up a path back to the real world, for treatment. No matter how much he wanted it, everything he'd ever been taught as a child told him that he couldn't say yes to this. If he did, was he any different from the Elites or the Masters that he fought against in the Eventide Crescendo? Would he too accept the cold experiments on children just to find greater and greater power? Even if he never did it, would he step in if someone else was? What if that person was the subordinate of another Elite?

Takua took a breath in, his deadened eyes opening as he stared sightlessly at his shadow self, and let it out again.

“Vulcan Rf.”

The fire god came crashing down on the shadow and boiled it alive as Takua added on more spells, his lips curled back into a snarl as he chugged on an Artisan Soul. No, that could not be him. No matter the temptation, he swore to himself, he wouldn't let himself do that. If the torture of innocents was the price of power, then he'd rather die. Even if it was here and now, even if his darkest nightmares came true, he couldn't do it.

Only when the other figure of himself knelt, burnt and expiring, did he turned to Melzas.

“Even if you did give me power, it wouldn't be mine. It'd be yours. Nothing I've earned, nothing I bled for.” His staff tapped on the floor, a burning glyph spreading across the icy ground, and his tone turned just as cold as Melzas' own power, “I've seen what you do with that power. And I refuse. Even alone in the dark, I can't do what you condone. Your power can't give me what I want, can't give me freedom or pride.”

“I will not lick your boots.”

_________________
Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
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Wishlist: Levels, Stun Rod, Hag's Wand, Ex-Level, Ex-Spheres, and Heh Heh Heh, Myth: Demiurge, FL Fukuoka


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:30 am 
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Ikkitousen
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She had forgotten how painful it was to ghost and to have ones’ head sliced off was an experience she didn’t care to relive. Needless to say, the group did what they do and the attacks continued. Once the spells began to complete, it was a matter of waiting for the smoke to clear to view the finally damage dealt and regain her health once revived.

Melzas was indeed injured and now all those subtle movements of Raine’s had become apparent, leaving the female twin blade quite impressed. The room filled with talk of ultimatums and all Talal could think of was here we go again. But Melzas had other plans and soon the room was filled with twice as many Freedom Fighters as there were before the fight even started.

Standing beside her was a replica of herself only…different. Better. More in tuned with her Twilight than Talal could even imagine at this stage. She was…refined, cold, hardened. Her outfit more fitting of her Twilight. Bells attached to gloves and her sash yet none of them made a sound. This Talal was able to have her Twilight turned on at all times without affecting her. No signs of struggling concentration, no fatigue, no headaches, no trouble. It was beautiful and where she hoped to be in the near future.

Wait, all she had to do was accept Melzas’s offer and this could be her right now. This instant. Carefree and fully in charge of her Twilight. The added perk of joining the Elites instead of fighting against them meant, no more fighting. Her escape would be truly an escape. Fun, relaxing, no worries of having to work to survive or whether her family cared if she was even alive. She could live here, in The World, forever.

All of these thoughts showed on her face as a blank contemplating stare. A stare that at times would drift over to look at Canti with an almost ‘I’m Sorry’ expression and then she would look to Shadow and the rest of the group. She’d made her decision. It was too tempting and she wished Canti would come with her and stay in The World. Before her mouth could open, Canti was arguing with Melzas. To be honest, most of it fell as background noise on semi-deaf ears, the female Twin Blade too lost in her own mind to follow the breadcrumbs of the conversation. All until he raised his voice, yelling at both Melzas and his dark clone. It broke her from her ponderings forcing her to listen to the rest of the argument. Between his final “GOOD” and then listening and watching Sekai and Takua go through a similar mental struggle but then destroy their clones in a very violent manner, she could see she was odd man out and perhaps skewed in her train of thought.

Her head shook from side to side slowly. “As tempting as it is for me and you may all think me weak for saying that, I can’t accept this offer. There is a life waiting for me outside this world.” She looked directly at Canti. “It might not always be fun or carefree but what is life without a bit of a challenge thrown in. That’s really what brought us all here to The World in the first place, a new challenge. The reasoning or need for that challenge differs from person to person, but the end need is still the same.”

She backed away from her clone and moved closer to Shadow, setting a hand on the hounds large shoulder idly petting him like an actual dog more for her own comfort than his.

_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.
***************************************
Talal
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Level 39 (0/1000 EXP) Twin Blade

Weapons/Armor: Mukuro (Swirling Dark, Dark Dance), Ice Hunter Cap (Repth), Wristbands (Juk Rom), Fishing Gloves (Rue Kruz), Wyrm Hide (Gan Don), Snow Panther (Ap Vorv)

Wish List: Scrolls, Tarot Cards, and Armor higher than level 30.


Last edited by Talal on Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:44 pm 
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Maoh had, for the most part, been on standby on the sidelines, throwing out support where he could. Even as a cat, he had enough handicaps stocked against him just from inexperience in fighting battles like this. What levels of power were these guys toting anyway? Throwing around spells, traps and alike that seemed to just outright break the rules of the game he had, at least for a while, enjoyed before becoming trapped within it? He thought back briefly to the encounters in the tower thus far, his run ins with death prior, and he found himself tugging at the collar around his neck from Xenobia.

Free lives were a nice thing to have. A very nice thing as far as insurance went. Especially if this seemed to play hard and fast with the rules of ‘you die in the game, you die in real life’. That seemed to be how serious the stakes were all things considered. Maoh had given up trying to retrieve the sword stuck in the ice too; there was no point trying to get a weapon he couldn’t use either; apparently his chosen job had been changed to better suit his more feline persuasion, perhaps a mercy for not having opposable thumbs anymore.

The room went red with fire, and soon to follow it was gone, the ‘boss’ still, and it seemed as though they’d won? With that being the case, Maoh looked around for the treasure chest, or at the very least started to ponder what sort of boon he could get out of this guy. If Xenobia was willing to play nice and give him something to stave off the threat of death; maybe Melzas could too. After all, the rest of the party couldn’t blame him for wanting to ensure his own survival, right? As if answering his thoughts, all hell broke loose.

Icy pillars arose and formed… Maoh wasn’t exactly sure what they were in specific, but to describe them as beefed up versions of themselves was accurate. Maoh looked up at what greeted him, some dark furred champ of fisty-cuffs if there ever was one. By comparison, he looked as his hands, now paws, and the tattered remains of the red clothes he’d been with since character creation. Granted, they weren’t exactly the same, but they weren’t tailor made or at least whole like the figure before him. He looked around to the others, all fighting their demons, and listened in as to what each of them said in turn.

It was… almost like the climax of a video game. Those self-righteous speeches by the protagonists about to ascend to the highest peak of the world to slay god. Spouting nonsense about self-pride and getting out of here and the lives they lead. Maoh shook his head; were they… blind? Had they been tricked after being stuck for god knows how long? What logic had they kept moving forward? Canti talked of freedom, but you can’t have freedom without life. Sekai talked about humanity, and he hardly qualified as a cat now, especially with no guarantee that they’d even make it back for him to be human again. Fear and insecurity was only going to continue while the threat of death lingered, and the more barricades thrown in front of that, the better. Takua’s sentiment, apparently, went much the same. When Talal said her peace and made her decision, Maoh looked at Raine, Melzas, and then his copy.

“I accept your offer.” That’s all he needed to say, holding out a paw to the duplicate before him. In his mind, the logic worked out that he’d potentially become an Elite of his own right, get one of those funky items they needed to get out, and effectively get to play both sides if he needed to absolutely swap allegiances again. Granted, this was purely a decision made out of his interest in survival; hardly business, but they’d surely understand, right? Unlike the others, he didn’t have powers, he was just a cat that hit things with his body. He didn’t have a flashy sword, or really any powerful magic. But this, this would level the playing field for sure.

_________________
Maoh l Lvl. %h l EXP: ????/1000 l HP: ???/??? l SP: ???/???
GP: 31,541


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:15 pm 
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Maoh, through exposure to hackers and powers beyond his control, had been struggling in the form of a cat, and not even a battle cat. In retrospect, it seemed somewhat unsurprising that Melzas’ final offer would catch someone in its net. When the cat-player spoke, accepting the offer, it was as if lightning struck the party.

Melzas, trapped though he was, made a small and satisfied noise. Sekai, long past the point of breaking, immediately released a powerful arrow, striking the cat in the head and bowling him over. Canti whirled and shouted at the feline, though his words were lost when the powerful summon Takua unleashed filled the room with the roar of fire.

For his part, Maoh was bathed in a blue-white light, immediately upon his acceptance. The arrow, the fire, and something added to the chaos by Nighthand – another spell, probably – drowned out the bluish light and it cut off.

Maoh rose to his feet, bewildered but not dead. The strikes hurt, of course, but he survived, something that he could say quite rarely. Across the room, Melzas made another small noise, and a flare of pure white light radiated from where he stood.

Turning, the group could see Melzas slumping slowly to the ground. Raine, before him, had her wand plunged through his skeletal chest. Her light faded out, and the elite fell to the floor, finally lifeless.

“Oh. Good. Hooray for him being dead I guess. Go team?” Maoh attempted humor to lift the situation, but all he received was silence and glares.

For his part, Nighthand felt some measure of relief. Melzas had been one of the most active of the elites in terms of hunting them down, and his future sight ability had been a thorn in their side for a long, long time. Maoh, well, that was a problem they could deal with much more easily. He started to approach the body of the elite, but Raine raised a hand to stop him.

Carefully, Raine moved around the area, tapping her mines with her wand. Each faded away when tapped, no longer a danger to anyone. Nighthand wondered silently just how bad it would have been to step on one, and was somewhat glad he didn’t find out the hard way.

Finally, after a moment of tension, Raine finished removing her traps. Her gaze moved back and forth between the cat and the fallen elite, glaring at each in turn, before finally sighing.

“We stopped it, I think. Most of it. I’d have to do some digging to be sure, but I don’t think the corruption took over.”

Seemingly dismissing any threat from the cat – and indicating subtly for Nighthand to keep an eye out for trouble – Raine set about working at Melzas’ corpse. They had come here to either recruit or defeat him, but there was still the problem of extracting the Eye of Disillusion and recovering it for their side. Twilight Items needed careful treatment, even from one as familiar with them as Raine.

_________________
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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: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Ikkitousen
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She watched as of all the people in their party declined the offer except for Maoh. Mere seconds elapsed before the room once again erupted in spells and Twilight, all centered around Maoh. Retalitory attacks for his decision. Talal stood there completely put back by the attacks upon one of their own. Sure, he had only been with the group a short time and by level, he also hadn’t been in The World that long either. He’d found the attentions of an Elite long before he should have.

The attacks stopped, white and blue light alike, fire and smoke all cleared leaving a very curious sight. Melzas dead, Raine’s wand shoved through his chest and Maoh, who should have been ghosted and possibly completely just dead, was not. In fact, he was still standing and by appearances, without a scratch on him. Raine cleaned up her mines and she and Nighthand both seemed weary but okay with Maoh’s current status and being the highest level members of their group, that was good enough for Talal. A look to Sekai, Takua and even Canti though made Talal uneasy. Canti had just been a verbal assault, but the Archer and Wavemaster had exploded into an all flames in, nuke now ask questions later mode. The Twinblade unsure if they were still in said mode but she couldn’t just stand by anymore and watch another attack without at least some form of information to go on to justify attacking one of their own.

Letting go of the hound and giving him a couple of pats, Talal moved swiftly over in front of Maoh, essentially putting herself between the cat and the rest of the group, blades drawn and turned to them after a quick scan of his character to see any changed stats, which were confusing at best. “What the hell guys? He’s one of us!” She would protect him, or suffer the same fate of whatever the group chose to inflict upon him. SHE could have been HIM. Almost was. Would they have done the same to her or was it just because he was new and…..expendable?

_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.
***************************************
Talal
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Level 39 (0/1000 EXP) Twin Blade

Weapons/Armor: Mukuro (Swirling Dark, Dark Dance), Ice Hunter Cap (Repth), Wristbands (Juk Rom), Fishing Gloves (Rue Kruz), Wyrm Hide (Gan Don), Snow Panther (Ap Vorv)

Wish List: Scrolls, Tarot Cards, and Armor higher than level 30.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:27 am 
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(So! Things did not go exactly according to plan... They had a dead Ice Elite and a living team, but they had a small problem, more literally than figuratively. Though Talal had not taken the deal, nor Sekai or Takua or any of the older Freedom Fighters, especially after his outburst, the cat in the room had. Maoh had accepted the offer for power from Melzas, and then Mel had been quickly executed. Also, right as Canti was shouting his own variation on 'What The Hell, Hero?', there was a more direct reaction from some of the others. The arrow was loosed even as he was speaking, so that it traveled from bow to Maoh in Canti's mid-sentence, where he was saying you can't trust the someone Melzas. Even the Elites that were working with them were a dubious connection, especially Xenobia. This was taking the One Ring, swearing your allegiance to Palpatinee, and helping Jafar rule Agrabah. And that is why Sekai shot at him...while Takua tried his hand at nuking him. Maoh had crossed a line, ignoring everything that everyone said and what was at stake. Canti would've been severely broken up if Talal had taken the deal, and it looked as though she almost did, but thankfully she had pulled back. Speaking of which, when the smoke cleared and Maoh was observed to be alive while Melzas was dead, she was now standing in the path of anyone who wanted to attack him further.)

“What the hell guys? He’s one of us!”

(Canti's call-out against Maoh for being an utter moron was lost in the explosions, and then his eyes widened as Talal got between the others and Maoh, who was surprisingly unharmed. The winged Twin Blade didn't want her right in the middle of it...but since nobody was attempting to shoot through her and Maoh wasn't being particularly evil, he didn't have to take drastic action. He did walk up to Talal, though.)

Canti: I understand why, but this might not be the right time to test Sekai's marksmanship.

(She could've been all ready with another shot lined up - Uhh, check that. She DID have another arrow ready. - and released by the time Talal passed between the two. Sekai wouldn't be able to stop it once it started, so it was lucky that she hadn't fired anything more. That would've put Canti in a bad position, and most-likely arrow-shot. He now looked over to the Bogie, to Shadow, who HAD moved to defend Talal.)

Canti: Shadow, inspect Maoh. I wanna know if he smells like drugs, firearms, or Elite powers like Melzas.

(The demon dog would be able to do the last one, at least. He'd picked up on Mel's icy scent. Tracing its influence and strength on the cat would not be beyond his capabilities. The devil hound stepped over and began to sniff the cat player now. Talal frowned and spoke while this was going on.)

“I am well aware of her marksmanship but the moment we turn on each other, we have already lost not just the fight but the war.”

(The lady Twin Blade and the Archer began to argue over whether Maoh was really part of the team now as Maoh was rather uncomfortable about being inspected by a drug-sniffer dog. He also chimed in with the argument in question, but for the moment Canti was tuning him out in favor of listening to Shadow's take on his current condition. Arguments aside, this was going to give them results they could deal with, and-)

Shadow: He does smell of fire in his arms.

Canti: That- I didn't mean- Just focus on the last one, please.

Shadow: Melzas smells of everywhere here. Maoh smells of burnt cat.

Canti: ...why do you even know that smell?

My bad. I've had a number of unusual investigations before this one.

(Now is not the time to be mentioning things like that, Rey. It makes your line of work sound stranger then need-be. Shadow reported he might be stronger, but there wasn't anything obviously evil about him. Sekai was outright calling him traitor for taking the deal and Maoh was claiming ignorance to any notion that he could even know that this was bad. That...seemed more than a little dubious to Canti. It was less like Maoh didn't understand and more like he just didn't want to be accused. It was like a kid resenting being called a cookie thief while his mouth was full. It just didn't work! For the moment, Raine and Nighthand were staying out of this. It was just as well. Canti felt his brain wanting to jump out and smack the cat around with its frontal lobes. Sekai had a point about things being possibly wrong with him because of the deal, Talal was right to ask for some solidarity or at least cooler heads, Maoh was...understandably ignorant of situations. They'd certainly tried to get him on the same page, but he was still his own player, his own person. Because he was new, there was no way to gauge his motivations, so it was even hard to tell if he was just lying like hell, either. Finally, Canti got into this mess.)

Canti: Maoh, you are a dumbass. You could have had your mind ripped to shreds with the so-called promise of power. Didn't we all have a nice little talk with the master manipulator, who has - without question - enslaved people? Why would you think the guy who CAN'T be convinced to help us would offer something like power without a hitch? If you come out of this uncorrupted, it will be a miracle. As it stands, if you're not treacherous, you need a serious blow to the head to get some common sense back into it. Never. Believe. The Obviously Evil Guy.

(There was a pause as he looked to Shadow and the devil hound looked back with an eye-ridge arched.)

Canti: Okay, yes, I AM aware of the irony, but I'm not actually a bad guy. Never turned on anyone.

(Sekai was, understandably, still not calm.)

"You chose to come with us; that means you became responsible for more lives than just your own. Things have gone awry, why else do you think you're quite literally failing at giving me a reason not to eliminate you myself?"

"Because the rules. You can't just eliminate me. So long as I'm in a party, I can't be perma-killed, right? Assuming what Takua said back in Xenobia's Tower was correct? If you're not the party, then I'm afraid you're shit outta luck on that front unless you can boot me from it yourself; even then that's only one obstacle in your way."

Canti: Maoh, you know that if you're ghosted and nobody resurrects you, you're basically just a prisoner then, right?

"Already have that covered, too. Thanks to Xenobia."

(The Twin Blade just deadpanned at him now.)

Canti: You're not immortal. Stop acting like it. We just killed your benefactor, so now isn't the time to be giving us reasons why they've got your back. Nobody with any sense trusts Xenobia. Even she will tell you that. You think you've got things handled. I say you'll end up as Darth Felonius, and it'll suck.

(Maoh returned fire with his own deadpanning...somehow...with his cat face.)

"I'm not claiming to be immortal, but I am getting out of here alive, and that's all that matters to me. No idea who Darth Felonius is though. Besides, we killed Melzas, not Xenobia; as far as I'm concerned the creepy ice guy can stay dead and I can keep these rad powers."

(Okay, now Canti wasn't sure which made him angrier, that Maoh didn't get the point or that he didn't get the pun he made. Here, Nighthand finally weighed in. Hard to tell if he was gonna lay down the law or not here. Nights never really tried to keep the team properly together, but he also wouldn't approve of anyone going to the other side and ending up their enemy.)

"And what powers are those, anyway? Looks like you got a bit stronger, but you certainly didn't turn into that weird cat-hulk."

"Oh, uh... Cards on the table, I don't know. If you could see my stats now though. Yeesh. Something's going on."

(And it was at this point that Talal lost it, because she suddenly shouted at Maoh for getting Sekai even more pissed and basically unleached the fury of a Falcon Punch! Honestly, Canti wanted to hold up a scorecard, but now really wasn't the time. Talal was properly mad at a number of them, for lashing out when they have their own problems to contend with when Nighthand and Raine were chill. Well, for his part, the dark Twin Blade was calling Maoh out because it was still dumb. I mean, they all have the Twilight Virus in them here, and the Elites have it worse, in their own way. Compounding their problems was NOT a good idea. These facts came to light as Sekai and Takua both argued their own points of view on the matter. Even Takua was surprisingly agitated, when he was suppose to be their chill Wavemaster.)

"Are we overlooking the fact that he's trying to accept power from the people we're trying to kill? That seems like the last place to look for that kind of power, or for them to actually give it to him without any strings attached! So at that point he's stupid, desperate, traitorous, or a mix of the three. And frankly we're two for three at this point."

(He pointed over at Canti now.)

"As he said, never believe the obviously evil- has definitely enslaved people- to say NOTHING of what their minions have done- bastard!"

(The Wavemaster had to take a moment to calm himself down after that particular outburst. Things were rough for Tak, what with the blindness and forced alternate perspectives. At any rate, he finished up with much more ease in his voice.)

"Especially when, unlike what he thinks, he's probably not the only person to pay the price for his 'Faustian' bargain if the devil comes to get his due."

(Things were starting to come together now, it sseemed, or at least it was starting to move in that direction. It wasn't that Maoh was a monster. He didn't have a clue what he was doing. The point that Canti had been trying to get across was that the cat player had done something REALLY stupid, and he should both recognize that and be wary of the fact, because it could harm them all. THAT was the point. Canti looked over at Maoh now and...wow... Talal knocked his punk ass OUT! God damn! Well, this was perfect.)

Canti: Shadow, sit.

Shadow: Okay.

(Shadow sat on him. Great! Now, he could concentrate on what everyone was saying and not have to worry about him doing anything. Canti wasn't even commenting right now, because he didn't want in the middle of the current argument, and because Takua was frankly doing it for him. This might turn out to be a good day, after all! Talal was reasoning for giving Maoh a chance to work things out, as Sekai had to with her alters, her extras from within. That wouldn't be unreasonable...but Sekai had gotten into some accident with them, not asked to be a conglomerate inside her head. Canti listened to this until he heard some muffled protests from the now-awake Maoh and Shadow paying him no heed vis-a-vis the whole 'sitting on him' thing. Maoh didn't have the mass to contend with Shadow, nor the levels. Canti looked over at the struggling cat with a smirk on his face.)

Canti: Have we learned our lesson about making deals with pure evil?

(As Maoh strained against pushing Shadow off him, he quipped back. "Evil is... A matter of... Perspective!" Still, he found himself thoroughly under dog butt. The winged Twin Blade felt that he could handle this so much calmer now, with him like that. He wasn't going to be a threat. Not like this! Still, there was still a point to be made... He had to learn.)

Canti: But our foe adopts the classical perspective of evil, complete with foul corruption, mind control, AND backstabbing. There's no question of their position.

"Well someone should've thought to fill the new guy in on all the nitty gritty details before letting him decide what seemed like a good deal and then get chewed out for it."

Canti: Aren't you a cat because of one of them? I thought that would make it kind of obvious.

"You say that as if you haven't had friends mess with your phone background or Facebook profile picture when you left your thing unguarded. Why wouldn't that just be an escalation of that?"

Canti: I dunno what friends you've had, but that shit never happened to me.

(Even when he had friends.)

"Yeah, well. Harmless pranks. Now get your dog off me!"

(Maoh began his struggle anew, but Canti wasn't having it.)

Canti: I'm not letting you up until you admit that accepting a deal from the icy Skeletor who wanted to kill us was a terrible idea, and that you're not gonna do anything like that again because we thought you'd become a monster who'd try and kill us.

(That was going to be a bit of a tall order, since he started arguing with Sekai again. Honestly, Canti wished that Shadow could fart JUST ONCE. He - a guy who was crazy enough to say 'Yes' to a man with a skull for a face - ALSO seemed to think that the puppet of their potential selves that Melzas had been showing them was suppose to be opposition! And he still kept struggling, despite the fact that he could hear Shadow's claws clamp down on the floor. Not a chance in hell, cat-boy. Canti continued to call him out on all of this, and Maoh was less than appreciative of it. He also threatened to burn Shadow's ass.)

Canti: Good luck. Shadow shares my stats. You weren't thinking clearly, just like you aren't now. You can't DO things like this. You'll put people in Jeopardy, and then it'll be 'Total Party Wipes for 500, Alex'. I get that you don't like your form, but that isn't the way and you know it.

(Maoh was going to argue further, but suddenly he cut off as...well...he vanished! Shadow's rear hit the floor with a soft thud and the canine looked back with confusion. Canti stared at this sudden occurrance.)

Canti: Okay...that was new.

(The cat had appeared a few feet away and...HERE WE GO AGAIN! Sekai and Takua attacked and...nothing connected. Interference from the senior staff. Nighthand was finally getting off his ass about this, but...hey! He wasn't party-killing! He'd just been teaching him a lesson! Canti said so as Nighthand continued in his lecture. The Twin Blade crossed his arms in irritation as the dark warrior man used his examples in the wrong way. Yeah, yeah, it makes sense to let Raine and Sheena check him out. He wasn't arguing that. He was pointing out the common sense rule. And he did so know evil from good. Suraisu was a pawn. He may not have even known what he was doing, and he also failed, since it was that battle in Mac Anu that'd crossed him over. At least he acknowledged the actual point, himself. Maoh needed to start thinking before he acted...and especially before he spoke.)

_________________
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.


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