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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:46 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:04 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Liminality
When all was said and done with at the end of the day, the adventures in Yamiyo's server... and the many interesting districts and opportunities it had to offer hadn't been too bad, Sekai thought to herself as she winced and continued trying to remedy the headache she'd gotten after drinking too much at the bar. She'd received a new ally, had tried to quell the turbulence in her heart over Tritoch's death by offering a prayer and her respect to the fallen enemy, and had sort of enjoyed herself despite all of the chaos.

Still... a very large part of her yearned to return to her favorite place; the cathedral in Hidden, Forbidden, Holy Ground on Delta's server. She missed the slightly melancholy air, the quiet, solemn atmosphere and the peaceful feeling that always stole her heart while she was there. But... until the flags were off... it didn't seem as if it were possible to even leave the server, much less get into contact with some other people she knew without causing a good deal of trouble.

Honey colored eyes closed and her consciousness reached deep down- a curious decent into a part of her 'self' that she'd never really become quite aware of until recently- until she reached the place her bond with Kira and December was kept. It was an interesting 'sight', though the fifteen year old girl would be hard pressed to explain what it was she was seeing if asked, and the two bonds were quite different from one another.

Visually, it looked like a faceted sphere, the center of which glowed in a soft silvery-white light with a very faint tinge of green. One section of that sphere had suddenly changed on her after she'd discovered it, moving from silvery-white to a dark, pure blue with an indigo tinge. Brushing her energy against it or even 'touching' it had brought a curious inquiry from Kira herself and had caused that section to glow with a light of its own. When December had chosen to join her after their... conflict had been resolved, another section of the crystal had changed as well. This section had turned a vibrant red-orange in color with a hint of gold on the edges. Testing that she suspected had confirmed her theory; the colored sections of the crystal represented one person she'd formed a kind of contract with and was her means of being able to contact them.

Which... gave her more questions than she felt could be answered. A visit and discussion with Ciar or Rohana would probably need to be made, and as quickly as possible, Sekai thought with a tired sigh. After all, she'd thought the contract had been made to keep Kira's presence stable and to pretty much prevent her from being attacked in the way Garvix had so long ago again.

The sound of a flashmail drove her from her inner musings and minor frustration as she read the contents, a disconcerted feeling filling her as she felt Kira and December vying for position to read with her eyes at the same time. Neither one wanted to be left out and she was pretty sure the two of them were going to need to go have some serious bonding time if they were to get along even slightly. A frown filtered over her young features as she finished reading it. Deliberately drawing out the individual who had sent Dien-san and Canti-san into a coma on the off-chance they could convince him to join their group?

'I don't like the sound of this; it's too risky.' Sekai confessed to the two women, suddenly glad of the contract between the three of them that allowed her to speak on a more private and personal level than even the 'Whisper' option in the game could provide.

Kira was the one, naturally, to respond first as she too finished reading the flashmail. It's a pretty good tactic, though, didn't Dien say that Suraisu was a backstabbing son of a bitch? Do we really want one of those in the Freedom Fighters when we don't know who we can really trust out of them to begin with? Unlike Sekai, the icy former princess had no problems declaring someone to be suspicious and generally tended not to trust anyone other than those she'd seen proven as worthy to begin with. Hell, the bond between herself and that Vak loving bastard had only been solidified because of their mutual goal of trying to get Sekai back on her feet after that incident in the beginning. She wouldn't call it mutual respect or fondness or anything... but he sure as shit was fun to tease.

Well... it does say that we'll kill him if he chooses not to join us. December pointed out pragmatically. Personally, she believed one had to observe for a little while before making a decision. After all, it was only after testing the girl-child in combat that she herself had decided that her lot in life and her blades would be much better served and put to use if thrown in with the soft hearted Archer and those she traveled with. I see no problem with at least trying to recruit him... though I wonder if those he's stabbed in the back will welcome him.

A mix of indignation and annoyance bombarded the pink haired assassin. 'Wait, where in the message does it say we'll kill him? I didn't see anything like that!' Sekai was properly scandalized and horrified by the notion of killing another human being so quickly after she'd just finished paying respects to another who'd been brought down by the Freedom Fighters' efforts.

Little one, Exasperation and an almost limited amount of strained patience, as if this weren't the first time she'd had to explain this kind of thing. What do you think 'the party can take him down' means? He has the choice to join us or be permanently taken care of. As for what that new bitch had said, Kira's tone sharpened, a cutting edge to her voice that more than signaled how displeased she was with having someone new along... much less having to share that kind of space with her little one. I don't like the idea of welcoming in a former enemy into the group; especially with what we know of him so far.

That, December could understand quite well and, though she was rather reluctant to admit it, agreed with. A soft chime of bangles clinking against one another echoed faintly as she shifted her weight and looked over the Archer's head at the slightly shorter woman glaring at her. I must admit that I am in agreement with you in this; a former enemy has the potential to remain an enemy... and he could sell information to outside sources as a double agent.

Sekai winced at the thought. Double agents... did that make her one when she'd gone behind the party's back and revived a former enemy of theirs to allow her a chance to live? Had the choice been there, and despite all he had done, the young girl realized that she probably would have even revived Devil-san too. Come to think of it, the snowy haired girl thought to herself, hadn't Dien-san been most angry with Suraisu and wanted revenge?

December caught the last bit of her thought and voiced her own thoughts on it. That is also a big possibility; they may not even wish to sincerely offer him a position to fight with us. The pained look on the girl's face didn't make her terribly happy. One of these days, the jade eyed woman thought with an internal sigh, she was going to have to sit down and explain the way this world, and likely the one outside of it if what she'd heard was correct, worked.

Kira, on the other hand, had a contemplative expression on her face as she nodded slowly. Hmm, it's basically a trap if you look at it that way. She liked traps. A lot, actually. As long as the threat was taken care of, shit worked out in their favor, and Sekai was unharmed; the Long Arm didn't particularly care how things played out. Well... let's see where this takes us, we'd better go join the others.

Sekai nodded, composing a flashmail to Dien in hopes that he would be able to dissuade that train of thought from her mind as she walked with the other two women to meet up with Demorian-san and the others.

Quote:
To: Dien
From: Sekai
Subject: Revenge...?

Umm... please forgive me for stepping out of place in asking, but... this isn't a trap, right? You and Canti-san are going to draw him out to actually offer him a place among us, aren't you? This... isn't just a roundabout way for you and Canti-san to get revenge on him for putting the both of you into a coma, right?


The flashmail sent off, the five foot nothing girl clad in green caught sight of Demorian-san's waiting form and hurried a bit to make her presence known, to let the others who were already there know that she was going to be coming along for better or for worse. 'Dien-san... please tell me we're wrong.' She thought quietly and stood, ready to follow whatever orders were issued once the plan began.

_________________
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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: Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:04 am 
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Master of Games
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
The plan was simple. Dien and Canti were the bait, hook, and line for the entire fishing trip. Their prey? Suraisu, a hacker responsible for trapping them in the game, as well as numerous other acts against the players of The World. Once, he had been a member of the Knights of War, a middle-rank Admin of little power and less authority. On a hunt gone wrong, a purge of a small group of hackers, Suraisu had been captured. Whether through willingness and persuasion, or psychological warfare and brainwashing, the man turned his back on the administration of the game, and took to a life of crime.

Dien and Canti set out to the Stitcher sector well ahead of the rest. Or rather, well after. Demorian led the majority of the party around the long way. He led them from the Gan Sector through a short quick path along the Rai Sector. From there they passed through the massive always-open gate into the Multiclass Sector. There they passed through as well, stepping into and through the Custom Class Sector and, finally, into the Stitcher Sector. For where else could Suraisu hide, with his very blood turned to metal? It was befitting him, and it was likely his home.

From there, Dien and Canti gated in. Tourists, they played, with an eye for the scenes around them. Canti looked like he would fit right in, in a few more years. Dien looked altogether too normal to hold place in the Stitcher Sector. The denizens there took their abilities to the extremes, and more often than not they would take pride in unnerving other people. Teeth filed sharp, unusual scales or fur or feathers in place of skin, bizarre colors and patterns, each trait that could possibly be expanded on, was. Nothing was sacred to these people. Here, even the boundaries of the elements frayed, and the rivalries between fire and ice, wood and earth, lightning and darkness were set aside.

The pair had a simple goal; find Suraisu. Unfortunately for them, that simple goal was far from simple when every person caught the eye. Flashes of lightning-yellow were everywhere, on players of all walks of life. Finding the scarred-skinned man, whatever color his outfit would be, would be difficult.

The pair had provided a description as best they could remember. He was tall and lithe, like a basketball player, and he wore a simple outfit to match. Yellow shoes, yellow shorts, yellow tank top, yellow eyes, yellow hair. His skin was pale and shot-through with dark streaks, like char from a lightning strike. That he was a fist fighter, preferred to use fans when not using his metal blood as a weapon, that was all extra detail that would likely not help them in the town. Still, it was good to know.

Demorian kept the group to the sidelines, well away from Canti and Dien. Those two had to steal the show. Everyone else was simply on watch duty. They had one goal; if they spotted Suraisu, or someone matching his description, to flashmail Canti and Dien with the location. They would not, should not confront him, nor would the interpose themselves if an altercation started. Not unless the pair sent a flashmail requesting aid. Only in that case would aid be given.

Of course, the best laid plans were only as good as the self-control of the players performing them. If one of the watchers couldn’t help themselves, it would devolve into improv.

For now, all was quiet. The denizens of the Stitcher Sector were leaving them alone, and they weren’t being antagonistic. All they could do was watch, and wait.

---------ooc:

Alright. Christmas is over, New Years is coming, time to get back into things.

Not much is happening right now. This is just you guys getting to the Stitcher Sector, getting posts in, and that sort of thing. If anyone spots a hint of Suraisu, I’ll let them know.

The Stitcher Sector is full of crazy buildings and crazier people. Everyone here, with the exception of the very rare normal-looking player, is absurd. Talk to me if you think an idea for a player wandering around is too outlandish, but you can probably just make your guesses and go with it. Right now there are no important landmarks in sight other than the chaos gate.

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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: Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:22 am 
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Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(He knew that it was dangerous from the start. That was why he was training himself, figuring out new ways to make use of his skills, his powers. Whatever he could manage, he could take into combat and come out alive. But let's get realistic here. Stitcher was the worst place to go. They were walking into the lion's den, and both he and Dien were doused in barbecue sauce. Twin Blade Flambe', anyone? Before they left and before they'd been told - he noticed the Flash Mail from Demorian later - we left Canti doing a kind of razor-spin thing that would've made the Tazmanian Devil jealous. Hey, it was still a game, alright? Anything could happen here, given the possibilities. As he whirled a blade around on a finger, Canti noticed Talal coming 'round, so as not to startle him. A wise decision.)

"Taking in the view, getting my bearings and putting some puzzles pieces together. Find anything interesting over in Fire?"

Canti: One of the Elites is sick. Raq was looking into that because he and I were the reason for it. There's something in the works to handle him while we're here, but that's still a long way off.

"That's great! Which Elite is this? I mean I know you said Fire but do they have a name?"

Canti: Klive. We had this gun-thing from the lab Nall was in. They'd used it to get the Twilight Items offa' him. So, when he and Royce came by, I was deliberately a distraction so Raquar could fire at one. We called it the Vegas Vindicator 'cause of the funny lever it had, and it was blown up after the first shot when we got Klive.

(She laughed, and Canti flashed a grin. He had to admit that he enjoyed that. It's too bad he was vaporized in the process, otherwise it would've been the best day ever. Still...it was progress.)

"Too bad it got blown up, you gave it such a great name after all and somehow it doesn't surprise me that you played decoy either."

Canti: I'm not the sit-still kind, even back when everything was normal. I was in a special dragon event once, taking on things WAY past my paltry level.

"Can't imagine you ever being 'paltry'. A daredevil perhaps, but never paltry."

(Canti blinks for a second, but then smirks wryly at the compliment. Aw shucks, now you got 'im all embarassed and stuff. Sort of. Talal now looked around the room, focusing on the unfamiliar details of it.)

"So, I see we have a few new additions. Do you know any of them?"

Canti: We all have to start at the bottom. Mine was just a bit cooler. Anyway...I dunno who's with Sekai, but that one...

(He pointed to the dog.)

Canti: ...is mine. His name is Shadow, and he was coded by a friend of mine.

"Is he friendly?"

Canti: Uhhh...he'll behave. I know that much. He was designed to help us, definitely. Guy's intelligent, though. Anything with reasoning power has gotta be alright.

"I'll keep my distance then. He reminds me of another creature I met once. Although they were more feline in nature. Probably it's the size and color that is the most resembling. Regardless, you must have a great friend to send you such a thing."

(You could say that, although you could also say that the investigator keeping his braindead body company was also a most devious and clever mind with some very amusing motivations. But you know what? It doesn't matter. The fact that Reyome pulled this together and somehow managed to get Shadow into Yamiyo was just plain awesome.)

Canti: A friend from on high, you could say. Don't worry. I'll just tell 'im to keep up a good friend-or-foe policy going. If nothing else, Shadow's built to follow my commands. But uhhh...careful of the Orsen Welles voice. It's kinda' creepy.

"Will do. Good to know we have another ally or at least, oh what do the military call them...friendlies? on our side. I'll let you get back to your solo sparing. Maybe I'll have to break your solo routine one of these days so you can teach me some new moves us paltry leveled people haven't learned yet."

(Now, he snerked. Talal wasn't paltry. Far from it, she was impressive for someone who hadn't gotten a feel for the whole situation yet. Truth was, even being a lower level than him, she was a creative thinker, which made her pretty cool. Besides, wasn't her level in the 20s? That was still higher than when he got roped into this mess, and he considered the time before that to be paltry.)

Canti: C'mon... I meant like...level 8. I was just getting a feel for the game at the time.

"I know."

(Just messing with him, then. Talal went and left him to his training. Nobody seemed to need any real further data from him, and later when the Flash Mail came, Canti figured it said enough. Of course, before then...he noticed Shadow get up before he was ready to head for the door.)

Canti: Where do you think you're going?

Shadow: It is my function to follow you.

Canti: It's your function to do as I say.

Shadow: But I need to come with you. It is a dangerous mission.

Canti: You're not coming with me. You hang a bobber too close to the bait, the fish get wary.

Shadow: Can I shadow you? Like the others?

Canti: Errr...uhh, yeah...I guess. Just stay out of sight if you're shadowing me, uhh Shadow.

Shadow: Excellent.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(Boy, what a mess this was turning out to be. Let's review, shall we? Canti and Dien were now entering the plaza of the Stitchers, the people who splice weirdness to themselves. This place had that Mos Esley feel to it. And before we get into any snarky comments about scum and villainy, let's just say that at Stitcher...IT CAN HAPPEN HERE! They stood looking at people that would have REALLY stuck out in a crowd...if the crowd wasn't composed of people like THEM. Canti even spotted some 'celebrities'. Let's see... There's a guy decked out like someone from Avatar. There's the Liquid Flame boss - in humanoid form, of course - from Final Fantasy 5. And...dude! TWO Skeletor lookalikes! And that's just the people that did impressions. Walking into the crowd, Canti spotted players who may well have been Egyptian Pharaohs with the animals heads...if not for the tentacles. There was a knife-eye fellow, a phosphorescent minotaur, a number of chimeras, and...Canti blinked...the head of Richard Nixon on an Elvis Presley body with dragon wings. By comparison, the dark Twin Blade was somewhat lacking. And Dien? He was the sore thumb in the crowd. No matter. As Canti looked around, he spotted a number of yellow traces, but it was totally not him. Best he try a different approach, like getting into some of the buildings 'round here that actually let people inside. These too were bizarre as hell. There was one that looked like it was a cardboard cut-out, but it was actually a graphic only, an illusion to the senses. That didn't quite take the cake, as he saw a bunch of steps leading into a shiny cloud. The Twin Blade...decided to avoid that one. He didn't like that song, anyway.)

Canti: This place is the weirdest of the fucking weird and I...just HAD TO dip myself into it. Hooray for common sense. Too bad I don't have any...

(Haunted houses, buildings on fire, M.C. Escher places... This place was a madhouse that encompasses a whole sector. If he looked hard enough, the cast of Alice in Wonderland would show up! But nevermind that. In accordance with both the wandering and the investigating, Canti decided to check out a local dive. And when we say dive, we mean 'a shithole where people go to drink and not give a damn who shows up'. This narrowed the prospect down, as he found what looked like a proper bar-type dealy and what you'd probably call a nightclub. The difference? Well, insofar as he could make out, bars don't have decidedly big lugs standing out front, refusing entry to people. Yes, it was a club with a bouncer, and said bouncer looked to be built like a brick shithouse...or a shit brickhouse. Whichever way that works. Having had bouncer-experience, Canti decided to give that one a miss, for now, and head to the actual bar-looking bar. He could always try to gain entry later... Stepping in, he found it wasn't very crowded in here. Oh, there were some people in back, talking low, and a guy near the entrance, but let's just face it. This place reminds you of those spots in Shadowrun where the Johnson lays out the job and you haggle over price. 'Course, these guys...seemed kinda' normal compared to outside. Even the bartender, though he had some dull-brown scales. Canti stepped up to the bar and took a seat.)

Canti: What's on tap?

"What'cha want?"

Canti: Something to make the place seem more inviting without knocking me out.

(Because it's SO like Cheers in here, right? Hooray for snarkiness.)

"Fair enough."

(The bartender turned to the back wall, picked a couple unlabeled bottles, did some skillful mixing before presenting a drink that was layered in colors and swirling around. Like a rainbow!)

"To be savored."

Canti: Slainte'.

(And with an old Irish drinking toast, Canti began to sip. When a man says 'to be savored', that's what you'd better damn well do if you don't want his fist in your face a second later. Besides, given that he really had no idea what he was drinking, it was wise to take it with a degree of caution. The drink didn't so much have a taste...so much as a feeling. Sipped slowly, it felt like warmth and contentment and a full stomach, like that feeling after a good long day surrounded by friends. There was also a hint of lemony aftertaste.)

Canti: So...what's with the juggernaut in front of Club Exclusive? Don't they like customers?

(The bartender scoffed and rolled his eyes.)

"They cater to anyone who has more GP than sense. Door fee alone is ten thousand. Plus, if you look too normal, no one inside will talk to you. Not that it's worth anything anyways. It's all superficial there. A show for the newbies. Half the people inside are poorly-made AIs."

(Aye caramba! That would've been the most expensive dead-end in history! We thank'm you, heap much, O wise and powerful instincts, as well as the bit of luck that got him on speaking terms with someone around here.)

Canti: Seen enough of those, thanks. I prefer real people. At least they'll be able to tell me useful things.

"Word of the wise. Don't be prejudiced 'gainst AIs here. Some of 'em know more than you'd think, and most of 'em can kick your ass."

Canti: I'm not. I'm just remembering some of those ass-kickings. But...I dunno. Do any of 'em keep an eye on the hub of activity, or am I just wasting my time?

(This was where the guy near the doorway interjected with a loud laugh and decided to take a seat next to him, pretty much out of the blue. He was sporting the hooded assassin look, perfectly normal for The World, really.)

"You won't find shit here, kid. Nothing in the plaza but posers and wannabes. And washed-up old men, like me."

(While talking, the hooded man got his drink filled up and soon downed it. Then, he set the glass down and looked Canti straight in the blackness of his eyes. He didn't seem to be trouble, so the Twin Blade's humor remained, the drink having a fair bit to say about that anyway.)

"You want something, you best be heading off as far from the newbies as possible."

Canti: Funny. Fella I'm looking for ain't old, and he ain't green, but I understand this is his spot.

"Stitcher? Sure. Here? Nope. Like I said. No one worth anything camps out by the exit."

Canti: Heh, then I'll be seein' ya, hopefully in one piece.

(Nodding to the bartender, he stood up.)

Canti: What's the damage, yo? What do I owe?

"Just don't go do something stupid. First one's on the house."

Canti: I'll see what I can do.

(With his track record, we're better off hoping for just nothing suicidal. Taking his leave, Canti decided to penetrate further into the area. Acting on the hooded guy's info, it seemed that he would have to journey into Darkest Africa to find what he's looking for. The deeper he went into the sector, though, the fewer people were around. And those still here? Curiouser and curiouser... There was a shifting made-of-snakes man just back there a few feet, talking to someone with a skinless body and an Easter Island head. There were other signs of yellow, but he was certain they weren't Suraisu. In fact, a rather distasteful thought entered the Twin Blade's mind now. Stitcher was a splicing place, so...the Fist-Fighter could've easily gotten his appearance changed. Definitely not a good thing, to which...he hoped that wasn't the case. Otherwise, this search and this bait idea was gonna come up with big fat zeroes for a score. Incidentally, the lower amount of people here made Canti suspect...that other people knew something he didn't, like inherent properties of Danger, Will Robinson! This was a wholey-justified feeling as he stumbled upon an area with quite a few Stitcher-type lightning residents. That is, a load of people who were all zap and now shadow. And although this wasn't a big amount like the plaza, he still felt ill-at-ease around them. Canti was walking among his antithesis - or one of them - so you know he's wary now.)

Canti: So much for doing nothing stupid.

(Because walking into here, when there were a number of menacing looks flashed at him, was not the wisest course of action. The trouble was...the Twin Blade felt it was quite necessary of him to take it this far. But he wasn't gonna talk to them. They were just waiting for him to start something, and there was no way that he was gonna give them a reason to do anything now. To their credit, nobody tried anything, and Canti soon heard a distant thumping. Hark! What is it that the ears pick up? Drums? Machines? Things that go bump in the night? Seemed to be coming from a building up ahead with people near it. This was where Canti got in closer to be a fly on the wall. NOT flying, mind you. Just walking in quietly to remain unnoticed. Closer and closer and closer...and now he started to hear other noises as well. It's... Well, it's something, anyways. Hard to actually call the noise "music", but that's what it was trying to be, in a half-packed warehouse. Looked like a rave, with the way people were swinging about in there.)

Canti: Heh, must be a Chu Ishikawa concert.

(Don't ask. Just...don't. Deciding to have a look around inside, Canti found no guards, some people doing a bad imitation of Stomp, and a crowd that seemed to enjoy it. The unnerving part? Everyone here was a way-out Rai-Stitcher, some of them even appearing to be made out of lightning. There were also some people in back who noticed him, but didn't seem to do anything about him. Christ, it was a like a needle in a needle stack here... Nobody here seemed to be a lightning-charged baseball player, though. Now, Canti didn't wanna disturb these people. Their combined power could critical-death him to...ummm...death. So, he waited and watched...and wondered what would transpire.)

Canti: I am SO gonna get fried for this.

"Hey. Two fifty. Want it or not?"

(Seems he got the watchers' attention enough, namely one that looked like he'd gone Super Saiyan while on the electric chair. They had apparently been discussing something over in back - probably regarding his presence - and then one of them approached him with this offer. The winged Twin Blade didn't see what 'it' was, but given the stoned look in everyone's eyes here, he deduced that 'it' was the cause of that.)

Canti: Nah, not it. Information. You selling that?

"Nah, man. Wrong place for that. You sure? Just for you, special deal, 200."

Canti: Uh-uh. Maybe wrong place, but I think the right area. Tell me where a guy can ask stuff in proper and get results, 300.

"Deeper. Bar near the castle. Titan's Tooth."

(Money talks, but he didn't wanna talk dope. He wanted to talk other things. Give a man a little incentive to point him in the right direction...and hope for best. Canti handed over the cash to the player and then discreetly left. This was all at high-risk, but he felt that he was definitely getting somewhere. Thus, the Twin Blade dared to head further into Stitcher, allowing himself to do such strictly on the basis that he did not know how much shit he was getting into here. Fortunately, he was not completely out of his depth. There were those shadowing him, and there was the knowledge he had. A bar near the castle... What castle? The only castle he could think of was whatever place the Master of Stitcher resided in and...oh. That was probably it. Ah well, kudos to him for not getting killed in this place! Er, not yet, anyway...)

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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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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:07 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am
Posts: 114
Location: Walking the line of madness
He really had to learn, Takua thought to himself, that it was not a good idea to get horribly drunk on your first night at Yamiyo. Technically, he needed to learn that it wasn't a good idea to get drunk anywhere, but that was another matter. His head was a pulsing lump of agony that no amount of Repths could cure, and it'd be like that for another couple hours he supposed. 'People do this sort of thing for fun? Even if they know the aftermath? Good god...'

A chuckle from his right, quiet enough that it didn't cause him to cringe, but only barely so. Damn her, what the hell was Ondine so fucking happy about? Well...no, he knew the answer to that question. She was happy because he got to make an absolute ass of himself while drunk. He wanted to groan and put his head into his hands. He was actually slightly surprised that his head wasn't currently decorating the walls via a very pissed off Long Arm, considering that both he and Sekai had...well...gone a little overboard. 'And here you were thinking about how awesome it felt while you were drunk, maybe that's why they do it? Now you'd better get moving, and do watch your step, it's not like you can do something as easy as drinking food or water here and getting better.'

She sounded downright gleeful at that, and he groaned. Why did she have to be such an evil, evil person? Latching onto someone who happened to be looking his way at the moment, he hopped off the cot and walked towards the door, aware that he was walking a little more slowly than usual. That was...sadly, to be expected, considering that he couldn't fucking see. His inner ear was going crazy and there was very little he could do about it. Somehow though, he managed to move with the rest of the group, giving a slight wave to the small Archer and Long Arm that he'd gotten drunk with the...night before. Right, that was probably the best way to put it.

So many people outside. Now that he was a little calmer and not trying to react to his eyes, he was actually...more paranoid. Because his mind wasn't occupied, because he could think about the words floating through the air and what might happen in a city of a million enemies. Not that the sights of the Rai sector (good god, he had a similar element with these people? He had felt so much more at home in the Ruem sector...) and then the Uncommon District weren't distracting enough. There was so much...variety here in Yamiyo, it somehow made the rest of the graphics of The World look pretty fucking bland. But, he thought to himself with a wry smile, that was only because this was a city populated by hackers, and he'd much rather play in an area without the possibility of the architecture killing him because someone had programmed in a trap.

But nothing had prepared him for the Stitcher Sector. The sheer...variety in outfits, buildings and god only knew what else was a little much for him to talk in all at once. Happy to stop in the opening area, he sat down at one of the tables with Sekai and Kira joining him. That was when he started to use his new ability in what he thought was the best way possible. Scanning. It wasn't exactly easy since he'd only gotten his hands on this yesterday, but it certainly was good practice to jump from eye to eye, looking for anything that might resemble the guy they were looking for.

On the other hand...the conversation that December and Kira were having about whether or not the people walking by were men, women or traps was rather distracting and too much fun not to join in on.

But when Canti got up to start moving deeper into the Stitcher Sector, the Wavemaster got up too. Although it might not be perfectly along the lines of the 'plan' he didn't intend for Canti to wander deep into enemy territory without someone watching him. Of course, there was also the small problem that he himself was catching attention. A lot of it, he soon realized, as his difficulty with simply walking in a normal fashion was drawing a lot of eyes. More and more times, as he linked to a new person as he tried to keep Canti in sight and yet see where he was going himself, he found that the eyes were on him. Not good, he thought to himself, and started to check for another solution. Kira and Sekai were hanging back, not obviously with him, and that was good. Unfortunately, sitting down at any of the (empty) benches would arouse even more suspicion, but there were a few people leaning against the walls. Moving would only continue to make people stare at him, and that might ruin the plan.

An idea hit as he leaned against the wall, looking around. Maybe a few of those watchers were there for other reasons. Maybe, just maybe, a few of them were allied with Suraisu. Or were watching him for other reasons. Either way...without walking, it might be a little easier to weed those who were watching him for curiosity than for other things.

Sure enough, most of the people stopped looking at him. Which was good, because more and more of them were stopping and staring, and in this place, anything that caused people to stare probably wasn't a good thing. But...two pairs of eyes remained fixed on him, although neither of them were looking at the other. He frowned, wondering what to do. Sure, he knew now that there were people watching him for other reasons, but that didn't help him with- Ahhh, yes, there we go.

Using his newfound ability once again, he started flicking between the people who were walking past him. Which of them had a viewpoint similar to those who were watching him? After constructing the approximate place where they had to be, he started searching...and found someone hiding in the shadows of a nearby alley. The cloak that he was using to hide under looked to be utterly normal, so there had to be something else about him that would make him a Stitcher. The other spot was...a bit harder for Takua to accept. Because there wasn't anyone there that he could see. Either they were invisible, or had some sort of camouflage...or were just really, really fucking well hidden, because all he could see was the wall of a building. Mindful of these latest two threats, he shot off a flashmail.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Takua
Subject: Watchers
It would seem that moving deeper has attracted some attention. Canti, I'm trying to keep an eye on you, but I still can't move naturally yet. Two people seem to be particularly interested in me, one guy in a cloak in a nearby alley, and another one that...well, I can't see. I'm guessing that means that I've been marked by a few people, although hopefully they haven't connected me with what we're doing. Sorry if I've blown anything. Since I've attracted attention, I'll try and hang back and let anyone know if something happens.

_________________
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 Jan 04, 2010 2:02 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Taking a deep breath and with a slight curl to the corner of her mouth that to some could possibly be considered a smile but to the young girl was more of a resolved expression, Talal stood on the edge of the roof for one last moment. Her time above the safe house had been rather productive, the small girl thought to herself. She’d sorted out at least a few of the puzzles in her head, unscrambled a good portion but yet not all of her confusions and had managed out of pure and simple luck to have an opportunity to not only talk to one of the Freedom Fighters but find out that her fears that someone so high in level would mostly likely not want anything to do with such a scared and confused player such as herself, were highly unfounded. Perhaps more of her fears would turn out to be just as unfounded and a lot of her truly hoped they would as well as an even greater hope she’d find the courage within herself to test the theory as the opportunities presented themselves. To top it all off, she’d received an unexpected but yet very thoughtful gift, the gloves still held in her hands. She brushed over the soft fabric one last time with a smile and then placed them in her inventory. With that, she found her way back down to ground level and opened the solid iron door to the safe house with a helpful shove of her shoulder.

A quick survey of the room brought many things. Almost everyone had returned from their excursions, Sekai and Kira brought home a new friend or perhaps she was an old one and they simply had run into each other. There was also a rather large black dog quietly lying next to a chair near Canti. Was he a pet? Was he (or was it a she or maybe an it…even) an AI in dog form? Was he intelligent? Yet again, more questions hammered the poor girl’s mind but at least she felt these had attainable answers so she didn’t allow herself to get too worked up over them.

Canti was standing in an open area of the room twirling around his blades practicing his techniques. Talal chose to take the long way around him just so she wouldn’t surprise him and get accidentally sliced or something. She approached him from the front, watching him whirl a blade on his finger.

”You’re looking rather spry. Finally get some good rest?”

The blade stopped whirling when he heard her question. ”Oh yeah. Haven’t really gone anywhere since I was in Fire with Raquar. What’ve you been up to?”

She smiled at her fellow Twin Blade who was obviously in a fairly good mood.

”Taking in the view, getting my bearings and putting some puzzle pieces together.” She tilted her head inquisitively. ”Find anything interesting over in Fire?”

”One of the Elites is sick. Raq was looking to that because he and I were the reason for that. There’s something in the works to handle him while we’re here, but that’s still a long way off.”

Canti hadn’t been here nearly as long as, say, Nighthand…but he’d done some things, no doubt. Hearing about the sick Elite perked her interest though as well as the fact that it sounded like the group was going to continue the work that Canti and Raq had started. She was hoping for sooner rather than later if they did, only because she was already starting to get cabin fever which was kinda funny since it never bothered her to be holed up alone in her apartment for long periods. The logical guess was that it was due to having to share such a small space with so many people and that number had already grown by two and they hadn’t even been there for more than a couple of days. No matter, she began scrolling through the list of Elite names that Nighthand had given her and realized she didn’t know which names went with which elements.

”That’s great! Which Elite is this? I mean, I know you said Fire but do they have a name?”

She worded that kind of stupidly, of course they had a name but Canti knew what she meant and was quick to answer along with a short story of his own. Talal was starting to like the stories. They helped put the pieces together better than just a download of information.

”Klive. We had this gun-thing from the lab Nall was in. They’d used it to get the Twilight Items offa’ him. So, when he and Royce came by, I was deliberately a distraction so Raquar could fire at one. We called it the Vegas Vindicator ‘cause of the funny lever it had, and it was blown up after the first shot when we got Klive.”

Talal laughed. ”Too bad it got blown up, you gave it such a great name after all and somehow, it doesn’t surprise me that you played decoy either.”

Her thoughts trailed for a split second wondering if it was being a male and danger went hand in hand or just mere coincidences. So far, with those that she met they were more than kind of going hand in hand. Her thoughts were halted so she could listen to what her fellow Twin Blade had to say.

”I’m not the sit-still kind, even back when everything was normal. I was in a special dragon event, taking on things WAY past my paltry level.”

The word ‘paltry’ caught the girls’ funny bone for some reason and she just couldn’t seem to find a way around not giving him a little razzing. ”Can’t imagine you ever being ‘paltry’. A dare devil perhaps but never paltry.” She paused briefly taking another look around the room. ”So, I see we have a few new additions. Do you know any of them?”

”We all have to start at the bottom. Mine was just a bit cooler. Anyway…I dunno who’s with Sekai, but that one…” Canti pointed at the large black dog. ”…is mine. His name is Shadow, and he was coded by a friend of mine.”

Confusion returned and she was sure it was slightly showing on her expressions, but Talal did her best to push it aside. If they couldn’t message anyone outside the server, how did Canti’s friend find him to give him such a gift? Her distaste for hackers was still extremely strong but if they could create such an animal and it helped them rather than work against them, she would probably have to give the hackers as a whole a little slack. Then again, they were just people after all so that slack would be given on a case by case basis.

”Is he friendly?”

Canti’s expressions looked confused as well but if she was reading him correctly, it was confusion at her question and how to answer it not anything else. More like maybe Shadow didn’t come with an owner’s manual so the two of them were still getting to know one another.

”Uhhh…he’ll behave. I know that much. He was designed to help us, definitely. Guy’s intelligent, though. Anything with reasoning power has gotte be alright.”

Well that gave her confirmation of a couple of questions at least. He was there to help. Shadow was a ‘he’ and Canti was still getting to know him and what he was capable of. That could be both good and bad but it seemed that Canti had a handle on things so she would just use her own common sense. The large creature reminder her a bit of the Nimirja, other than the whole part where they were more like cats and Shadow was a dog; a minor technicality.

”I’ll keep my distance then. He reminds me of another creature I met once. Although they were more feline in nature. Probably it’s the size and color that is the most resembling. Regardless, you must have a great friend to send you such a thing.” She simply smiled at her fellow Twin Blade trying hard to push aside some sudden memories of the kinds of friends she thought she had once upon a time.

”A friend from on high, you could say. Don’t worry. I’ll just tell ‘im to keep up a good friend-or-foe policy going. If nothing else, Shadow’s built to follow my commands. But uhhh…careful of the Orsen Welles voice. It’s kinda’ creepy.”

”Will do. Good to know we have another ally or at least, oh what do the military call them…friendlies? on our side. I’ll let you get back to your solo sparing.” Okay, that was enough of the serious business type talk. Talal changed her tone back to one a little more upbeat and playful. ”Maybe I’ll have to break your solo routine one of these days so you can teach me some new moves us paltry leveled people haven’t learned yet.”

At that she grinned having amused herself with her own words which on occasion was pretty sad but in this case, amusement always fit when you were razzing someone and it also helped keep things level if said person didn’t know or couldn’t tell that they were being razzed. Canti snerked.

”C’mon… I mean like…level 8. I was just getting a feel for the game.”

Talal couldn’t hold it in anymore and giggled at the dark clad Twin Blade as she turned away leaving him to his preparations. ”I know.”

Looking over towards her Wavemaster friend, she noticed that the rags she had placed on his eyes were gone, his position had changed and his eyes no longer looked scorched and welded shut. Either her rags had helped by pure luck or someone else figured out what to do. Knowing a rag doused in water and health drinks probably couldn’t have healed him to this extent in such a short amount of time, the latter was probably more likely. He still had his eyes shut but his head was moving about, almost as if he were trying to get a better position to listen in on what was going on around him. Still, the girl approached slowly and a bit hesitantly. Part of her was afraid to speak to him while the other part just wanted confirmation that he was okay. Finally, she overcame her fear and spoke softly.

”Hey there. It’s good to see you moving around again. Have you been awake long?”

He smiled lightly, replying somewhat louder than her voice was. ”No, only a few minutes or so.”


Ahh, well then…Good Morning? Although, I’m not sure whether it’s day or night at the moment actually. Something interesting about Yamiyo you see, it’s perpetually nighttime outside. I’ve been on the roof for quite a while hoping to catch a good sunrise until I finally figured it out.”


Takua joined her in a chuckle and then he winced. She felt bad for him having to go through everything he was having to endure.

”Morning sounds about right…after all, you don’t go out drinking in the middle of the day, do you? There’s a warning for you, you still get a hangover in The World.”

Almost instantly, she went from feeling bad for him to rather confused, surprised and a little befuddled. ”You’ve been out? And drinking? And you’ve got a hangover? But you just said…” Talal took a deep breath, not wanting to allow herself to overreact to the situation. ”Wow! I guess I was up there longer than I thought. Well, I’ll let you rest. I just wanted to say hello. Let me know if there’s anything I can get you although it might take some devious trading in the bazaar to find some aspirin.”

He blinked, but so fast that she couldn’t see his eyes and then responded somewhat apologetically before she could get up and leave his bedside.

”Oh, I first broke out of my coma several hours ago in the doctor’s office, getting my face repaired. He couldn’t do much for my eyes, Twilight has that covered apparently. So I wandered the Bazaar, found the Ruem district, and got myself utterly drunk with Sekai, Kira and…December I think her name is. Then I came back here and passed the hell out again.”

Another question answered. Maybe all this was just a giant smack in the face that if she just listened more and asked less, people would just offer answers to her questions. An apology for her earlier tone was warranted though. ”I see. Well, I’m just glad you were able to find some help and that you’re feeling better. When I left, you were still in a coma so I’m sorry if I sounded a bit surprised to hear about your adventures. I really hadn’t thought I’d been up there that long, but at least it gave me time to sort things out a little. By the sound of things this Twilight stuff is rather powerful.”

Takua muttered something under his breath so faintly that she couldn’t hear what it was before he responded wryly. ”Yeah, you can say that. Right now, I can see through what other people see, not my own eyes. Supposedly, that’ll get fixed eventually, but for now, I have to learn how to fight all over again.”

She smiled softly and understood how he must feel but there was no way she was going to allow him to start wallowing in his own misery. All that would lead to was a downward spiral and she couldn’t bear to see him do that to himself. ”It could have been worse? You could have been rendered completely blind with no way or hope to ever see again and have to learn how to fight without ever seeing your enemy at all. Listen, I know it will be hard for you, but…I also know you’ll get through it and probably with a new amount of flair on some old moves.”

He chuckled slightly, which made her happy she said what she had and hoped the chuckle wasn’t just for her benefit but a true feeling. It didn’t last long though and he was frowning a little again. ”Oh I know I’ll get through it, but…well, I won’t exactly be very accurate and I won’t be able to survive as easily. It also means that I won’t be able to walk very well for a bit.” He smiled at the last one. He’d already had adventures wandering around Yamiyo with difficulty finding his way, it’d be fun all the time until he got used to it.

”Meh. So you’ll just look drunk all the time.” She laughed. ”Don’t worry, your other senses will kick in, or at least that’s what I’ve always read. As far as the aiming goes, spells are never right on perfect anyway. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.”

There was an odd flicker across his face that vanished just as soon as it came, so swiftly it almost wasn’t there at all. ”Right, I’ll keep that in mind.”

Instinctively, she grabbed his hand, briefly squeezing her fingers softly around his in a reassurance. ”Have faith in yourself. I do! Get some rest, oh and here…try on of these.” She let go of his hand and placed a Pure Water in it. ”I’ve always heard drinking water is good for hangovers. Don’t know if it’ll work but… I’ll be around if you need anything. Just ask, okay?”

He nodded and thanked her. Talal stood up and walked over to an empty cot hoping to catch a little sleep. Now that she had come to terms with at least a few things, she hoped it would allow her to relax a little. Unfortunately, the ping of a flashmail sounded just as she managed to get comfortable. The group was to mobilize soon and help Canti find Suraisu. Talal was glad the whole group would be going, strength in numbers and all that. The plan was set out fairly clearly and it didn’t surprise her a bit that he was once again playing the dare devil.

The majority of the group which entailed the onlookers set out and followed Demorian around through a couple of gates and sectors before reaching their destination. The main point of course was to arrive separately from Dien and Canti as well as utilize the long worm like route they took to spread out so that no one would realize they were all there as a group.

Once they finally arrived at the Stitcher sector, Talal could see why a group effort was a much better idea. The players that hung out here were the most obvious having taken their looks and most likely their skills as well to the max of any concept that could be created or thought of. It immediately made the girl feel very insecure since her extremely overly normal appearance probably stuck out like bulls eye in the center of a white backdrop. She really needed to make some changes but it would have to wait for later.

She walked along the streets keeping one eye on the mission and the other on everything else; the buildings, the streets, the eyes that tended to fixate on the slight girl as she walked by. Yup, she was way too normal for this place, but then again she’d seen a few normal ones scattered here and there so with any luck, they’d just right her off to the old saying of ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Sure she had a few tricks up her sleeve but hopefully no one would go testing to see how many that might be.

Canti on the other hand decided to stop for a drink. There wasn’t much around that would constitute her stopping other than a pile of boulders next to a wall. Taking a seat on the boulder she slowly started fiddling with her hair pulling it back into a braid. If this ended in a fight, she wanted to be ready. When he got up she waited for a bit longer so the timing wasn’t so spot on but she was thankful to be on the move. Apparently she had chosen the wrong boulder to sit on having got hit on way too many times for her to count. That’s it, the next corner tent vendor she found, she was going to find something to make her look a little less normal. For now, she decided to put on her traveling cape. That at least might hide some of it.

_________________
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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 Post subject: Part 2
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:09 am 
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Location: The "Who's Online List," Stalking People...
Time blurred. Not that it ever moved at a steady pace, but when you’re acting on instinct, you tend to be able to be asleep even while you’re awake. To Dien, it was like getting in a car and waking up at your destination without remembering how you got there. Kinda freaky, but at this point, the blademaster didn’t care. There were three flashmails that sat in his inbox, and the first two detailed a plan to catch Suraisu.

“That might just cheer me up,” he said, deleting the first two. He was bait, but if the bait is looking for the fish, the fish will show up faster. Well maybe. In his current state, there wasn’t anything he could really do to Suraisu – he estimated the man’s level to be at least ten above his own at last count, and if he was following the same leveling curve, then they’d still be a good 30 levels apart. That was one-hit-kill range – even if the man so much as sneezed at him.

Still, a fight would be a good way to clear his system—and who knew? Maybe he’d get the chance to enact his revenge. He had learned how to fight more effectively since then, though without any added abilities, he’d be hard-pressed to compete. Hell, he didn’t even know what the scarred basketball player’s real powers were. Killing him would be no easy thing.

There was one more message in his inbox: this one from Sekai. At this point, he honestly didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t tell her that he planned on killing the man if they met, but just thinking about it…no, there was no way to lie to her. So the message just went unanswered, and the blademaster awoke from scanning through messages.

When he awoke, there was one building that caught his eyes amidst the night air. Mirrors and shards of mirrors painted over its surface, and he approached an open archway that was the most obvious entrance. The light from within poured out onto the street invitingly (if anything could be called inviting in this district), and the blademaster wandered in. It was a bar of sorts, and the people actually looked relatively normal, compared to what was outside. He took a seat at the bar, reading the dark neon sign, “Million Years Bad Luck.”

“How promising,” he said with something mildly resembling a smirk, catching the attention of the bartender. He was an interesting man: a strange cross between a gambler in a pin suit and a clown. The illegitimate love-child of the Riddler and Harley Quinn. Though compared to the rest of the crowd in the bar, he was…normal.

“I took it down because it attracted too many thrill-seekers.” The bartender replied, and pulled out a glass. “What’cha want?”

“Something hard,” Dien answered, “had a shit-day, and I need something to distract me.”

“How conscious do you want to be an hour from now?”

“Conscious enough to fight a guy who might be twice my level,” he said, pausing for a moment, “which I need to ask you about after I’ve got my drink.”

“Chat away. Fair warning though, I only sell alcohol, not fights.” Or other things, his tone implied. “Here.” He slides a thin orange liquid across the bar. “3% per glass. Drink to 100% and you’re out.”

Dien grabbed the vial and, after a grunt that might have been a chuckle, downed the thing. He hadn’t expected the burn on the way down; but that much meant it was strong stuff. Money wasn’t really a problem, so he slid it back. “I’ll have another,” he said, figuring going into a fight a bit tipsy was not necessarily a bad thing. He did know a fighter who actually took advantage of it. “And if not you, who should I talk to about finding the bastard I’m looking for?” The glass was filled and returned.

“No idea, really. People come and go like flies on a carcass around here. Finding people who know people who know the right people is hard enough.” Well that was just the news he wanted to hear.

“So you wouldn’t know a pale wannabe basketball player with black char marks everywhere who has metal for blood?” Dien asked, downing the next glass and sliding it back.

“Can’t say I have such a regular patron, no.”

“Know any bars around here that might?” That’d probably be a good start.

“Good luck. There’s more bars than people, sometimes it seems like.”

“Thanks,” he said, “what do I owe you?”

“Fifty a glass, ‘tis all.”

Dien nodded, depositing a 500-GP token on the counter. “Keep the change,” he said, and made his way out into the street. At this point, the blademaster got the idea that he’d need to follow someone in order to get a better asking point. Picking bars at random was not going to help him find the bastard that tricked him into being trapped. So it was best to try and follow someone to a bar that might be slightly more helpful. Lightning elemental was the best way to go, and immediately outside of the bar, he spotted three candidates for his sleuthing.

The first was a guy in a lab-coat. Nothing too extraordinary there, save for the sparking studs and other bits of metal that were speckled over the thing. Option two was a buff shirtless guy who was literally brimming with energy. Rust-colored sparks shot out into the night sky, dimly illuminating the air around him and giving a very curious cosmetic effect overall. The third option was a decaying woman in a decaying yellow ball-gown; like Belle had been bitten by a zombie and this was the result. He didn’t have long to decide, so given his current powerless state, he figured that his best bet was the zombie girl.

Following someone without being noticed is complicated business. It’s a combination of remaining unnoticeable, staying out of sight, keeping up with your target, and not drawing attention to yourself. Dien had only ever seen it practiced in the movies, and while he may have believed himself to be a natural at it, this girl likely picked him up after the first five minutes. Her wandering seemed aimless, though the further they went, the less crowded the streets were. At one point, he had to stop and wonder if she actually knew he was following her (which she no doubt did), and he subconsciously grabbed the hilt of his weapon. Still, curiosity begged him on, and he continued following her. It was possible that she was an AI, or that she was leading him into a trap, but if either was the case he’d find out soon enough.

Finally, another fifteen minutes later, she turned abruptly into an alley. It was deliberate, and Dien hesitated for a brief moment before turning in to follow her. Why he was surprised when he found the alley to be empty and a dead end, he would never be able to tell you, but he was. Turning about found the girl to have appeared behind him somehow, looking somewhat annoyed that she’d picked up a new stalker. Still, he was glad that he’d picked her over one of the other two at this point: one of them would have probably fried him before he could get a word in edgewise.

“Well that’s disappointing,” Dien remarked, casually leaning against the wall. “Though I suppose I might as well just ask; do you know a lying sonofabitch who goes by the name, ‘Suraisu?’” She let out a sigh.

“No. Though that answers why you were following me.” She had a bit of a lisp which, in different circumstances, might have been kind of cute, but from where they stood, she was blocking the blademaster’s exit. Fortunately, there were no weapons on her as of yet, so he was able to stand down just that much more.

“And here I thought I was being sneaky,” he said. “Any idea where I might be able to start looking?” She stood quiet for a minute, and he raised an eyebrow. Finally, she responded by pointing further into the sector; a place he didn’t really want to go, but if it meant finding Suraisu, it just might be worth it.

“Find the castle. Someone there could perhaps tell you”

“Thanks,” he said, digging out a coin pouch with a full 500 GP, “you’ve given me the first helpful lead I’ve gotten.” He tossed it to her, and it landed at her feet. Not another moment, and she was gone, money-bag and all. With a sigh, he pushed off the wall and began moving deeper into the sector.

Aren’t you going to PM the rest of the group? Danielle asked, breaking her silence though she already could guess his answer. He was trying to act independently, because unlike everyone else, he didn’t want to give the sparky bastard the chance to come to his senses. Already he could see the scene playing out in his mind; he finds Suraisu and attacks. He wouldn’t send a PM to his group telling them that their target was found—no, he’d tell them that Suraisu had attacked him after he tried to talk sense into him. Then, even if he lost the fight, the heavier hitters like Demorian and Nighthand would come in and put him to rest. There wouldn’t even be a chance for him to state his defense.

And all for trapping him in this damned World.

_________________
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Wishlist: EXP, Ends of Earth, Armor with Status Effects


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:52 pm 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:04 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Liminality
Journeying to the Stitcher Sector proved to be, if nothing else, solemn and tense. Sekai took it as an omen for ill times ahead and quietly observed those around her with Kira and December at her side. The two tall women in spiritual form flanking her would probably look intimidating to normal players... but those who could fall under said category were probably few and extremely far between. Once there, they quietly moved into position and began waiting, watching for the signs of anyone fitting the description of this Suraisu individual.

However, things weren't going terribly well on the patient end; Kira was getting restless with nothing to do but watch- clearly not in an observational mood- and had begun looking for something to entertain herself with. Which, to Sekai's undying embarrassment, had turned into a game between her two 'guardians' to see who could best categorize the players who walked around them into one of three groups.

“Trap.” Kira commented to the taller pink haired pain in the ass beside her, amber eyes glinting in hidden mirth as she watched the player saunter on past with a rather exaggerated walk in six inch blood red heels that spat.. flames or sparks, she wasn't sure which, with every step. Short, spikey black hair with bright red streaks that glowed every third step and skin that had... strange red lines that also glowed... and a distinctively slender, misleadingly lithe form that could be either a very girly man, or a rather flat chested, handsome woman.

December's eyes narrowed at the character and finally responded to the guess made by the other woman. “Hm... most unfortunately, I must agree. But the one across the street going into that building is most certainly female.” Said player was... something out of a claymation flick. Mouth stitched closed in a lewd looking smile, four piercings on each eyebrow, six in ears that'd been cut to look like some twisted form of elf ears, and seven lip piercings; studs and rings alike. They were freakishly tall and thin, dressed in pinstripes with nothing but bone for hands and fingers.

All three took a moment to really... absorb how unique that seemed to be, and also how much of a bad idea it must have been until they saw the book beneath 'her' arm. “...well, that'd explain it.” She muttered under her breath with a quirked eyebrow as the woman bent beneath the doorframe and disappeared into said building.

The game, in short, was called “Male, Female or Trap” and had been rather creatively thought of after about the third private question Kira'd been asked by Sekai on whether or not one could tell the gender of the individuals- a lot of them, anyways, some were obvious enough. While it served to entertain the AI... possibly any of the party who was within earshot or who had good enough hearing to catch on to what was being said in the low, hushed voices of the two, it wasn't failing to embarrass the living hell out of the short little white haired Archer stuck in between the two of them.

But, while those two amused each other in their deductions and arguments, Sekai continued awaiting a response from her flashmail to Dien, the longer the amount of time passing by, the bigger the knot in her stomach became. Unsettled and needing... something, she didn't know what exactly, the fifteen year old girl sent a message off to the other player in the plan... in hopes that he might answer in a way she found favorable.

Quote:
To: Canti
From: Sekai
Subject: Suraisu


Umm... please forgive me for stepping out of place in asking, but... this isn't a trap, is it? You and Dien-san are going to draw him out to actually offer him a place among us, aren't you? This... isn't just a roundabout way for the two of you to get revenge on him for putting the both of you into a coma, right?


She knew Kira and December's stances on it, couldn't agree with it and found herself returning to the anxiety coursing through her like a sickening poison. If it was for revenge, if they were planning on killing him, on taking him out of the picture once and for all... like they'd had to with so many others, some she was aware of, some that she wasn't... she wasn't sure what she was going to do. It hurt to think about and the young girl quietly retreated a little further, leaning wearily against the closest wall with her arms wrapped loosely around her stomach.

'I don't... I don't like this.' Her honey colored eyes darkened as she stared at the ground in front of her. 'I don't like this. I don't want to kill anymore. I don't want to have the blood of more people on my hands, I'll... already be punished by God for whom I have killed and have helped kill.' Said hands began trembling, tightening over her hips as she bit her lower lip in agitation. No matter how long it'd take her to get out of this world, she would be carrying the price of her sin for the rest of her life.

It didn't matter that it was a killing based on the need to survive; she had done it with anger in her heart at least once and that alone was unforgivable, almost more so than the very act of taking a life itself.

'Dien-san... don't do it, you don't understand the burden it'll place on you.' Sekai thought to herself, closing her eyes as the faint twinge of concern began to filter through the bonds she'd established between herself and the two AI who had stilled their chattering and game for the time being to come check on her. 'Don't do it...'

_________________
Image

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: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Master of Games
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Initially, Demorian had tried to keep an eye on everyone. His thought had been that everyone should at least stay within view of each other, though traveling in a mass towards the center of the sector would probably attract attention. He swiftly found that each player had a mind of his or her own, in some cases multiple minds, and trying to keep them in check just made his face find his palm. Like herding cats.

While Dien was directed in his own fashion to the castle of the ruler of the Stitchers, Canti was given slightly more specific directions. He was told to go to a notorious and seedy bar known as the Titan’s Tooth, located near the castle. Both found their destinations leading them deeper and deeper into the sector, and Demorian chose to follow Canti, keeping an eye on the man. He trusted Dien to keep himself out of trouble, or at least have the sense to call for backup. Canti would, in his book, be more likely to start a scuffle he couldn’t handle.

The Titan’s Tooth, as it turned out, looked exactly like its name. It was a giant fang sticking up from the ground, virtually swarming with people, a hub of activity beyond anything else nearby. It looked at home there, though, in the shadow of the castle.

The Stitcher Castle, home of the Patchwork King, looked like it had been designed by someone with severe ADD. It had walls of stone and wood and steel and fire, in patches and sections, with gaps and holes and places that looked like they were covered in battle scars. It had towers and bridges and flags, some portions floating and seemingly inaccessible. Another tower was made of glass of a million different shades, pulsing slowly with light. Yet another was an ever-changing motley of colors, the shades of the elements pulsing over its surface. Even as a player watched, bits and pieces of the castle would change.

No one went near the castle itself. The Patchwork King was notorious for his mood swings; one day a trespasser would be greeted as a guest, given rewards unlike any they had known before. The next man to enter might find himself dismembered before he knew what happened. Another might find a wall on every side when he moved, until there was no longer an exit and they were left to rot.

All of these rumors, all of this knowledge, was picked up on the way by the pair directed to their destinations. The only thing they didn’t know; where was Suraisu? The thunder-themed fist fighter had so far shown no hint of his presence, if he was even present at all. One might begin to wonder; the computer had said Suraisu’s last known location was the Stitcher Sector, but how long ago was that record? Was he even still here?

So far, there was only one way to find out. Demorian watched from the shadows as Canti drew close to the Titan’s Tooth, and Dien, somewhere on his own, approached the castle.

Meanwhile, Takua was growing every more worried; there was someone watching him, he knew because he could see them watching him through their eyes. He just couldn’t find them. The other person who had been eyeing him had lost interest and faded away into the Sector, but this invisible stalker was still present. Who were they, and what did they want with the wavemaster?

------ooc: I mostly just assume you two went to the places you were directed to. The bits about the Patchwork King and the various unseemly fates his visitors meet you both picked up somewhere along the way, either overheard conversations or asking in a bar or whatever.

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Wishlist: Any Armor or Weapons under level 50, Any Scrolls (prefer level 2+)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:59 am 
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Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(He was given a place and a direction. No problem. This was gonna work. So, as Canti began to see just how far down the rabbit hole went, we now divert our attention to...Shadow. He was doing his job, as per orders. However, he had been taking his orders a bit more literally. You see, other people were following Canti more directly, keeping him in sight, but the devil-hound kept him in scent instead. We don't need eyes to find our quarry, says the monsters of the land. Many of them didn't have eyes, so it made an eerie sort of sense. In Shadow's case, the nose knows. Unless you could cover up the trail of an entire player profile engrained into the consciousness of the hellhound, you couldn't actually get him off the trail. It was a shame that similar information was unavailable regarding Suraisu himself. If Canti had managed something of that course, the dog would home in on him like a...like a...hmmm. Well, a homing-thingy. Sorry, but can you blame him? Literary exposition was not ranked high in his programming. In any case, the Bogie was in the right direction. He'd spotted Talal earlier during her rest-break and certainly took notice of...Demorian. How curious. There was a sign of- No. Orders. Following the master. Now, back to Canti's perspective... He was again marveling at the territory as he headed for the all-too-apparent castle with the raggedy look. Titan's Tooth would be near it and...oh, hang on. He had Flash Mail. The Twin Blade looked to see who it was from and his eyes sank. You know how Batman does it with solid-white eyes? Same principle, but black. Why? Because it was from...)

Canti: Sekai...

(There was a certain regret in Canti's mind regarding her, about a point of argument in Angel's mansion, over the matter of killing their enemies, the people who tried to murder them and certainly worked for those who put them down in this place, caught in The World like a web. Still...he didn't like how that conversation turned out, and he felt it might've hurt her.)

Quote:
To: Canti
From: Sekai
Subject: Suraisu

Umm... please forgive me for stepping out of place in asking, but... this isn't a trap, is it? You and Dien-san are going to draw him out to actually offer him a place among us, aren't you? This... isn't just a roundabout way for the two of you to get revenge on him for putting the both of you into a coma, right?


(This was alot different from the message from Takua, a progress report on his attempts to shadow him. It took all of a minute to decide how this was going to go. He wasn't a kill-crazy nutjob, and he didn't want Suraisu dead anymore than the man wanted to be dead himself.)

Quote:
TO: Sekai
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: RE: Suraisu

No, not anymore. I've been giving it alot of thought. I don't want to be his enemy. I'm out here to reel him in if I can. You can't expect me to sit around like a dunce if he attacks, but this isn't about revenge.

Oh, and...sorry about what I said in the mansion. I know I was a little harsh.


(It took a bit of a while for a return message to come in. During that time, Canti wondered...why would Sekai message him about this, after the plan was already being put into motion? She could've ask him at any time. It might've been because it was his idea and that maybe made him 'leader' for the moment, but it didn't seem like that. Had it been because they'd spoken on this before? The timing of this message, plus the content, just stuck in the Twin Blade's mind for now, like some instinct was telling him he was missing something. The reply came back...)

Quote:
To: Canti
From: Sekai
Subject: RE: RE: Suraisu

I'm...glad to hear that, more than I can truly express. There's self-defense...and there's laying a trap for someone without the intention of negotiation. I dislike the latter immensely, it just doesn't seem fair...as childish as that may indeed sound. It sounds self-centered of me, and I am very likely stepping far out of place in my opinion, but, I don't want to kill anymore. Not more than we have to, anyway. With Tritoch-san...it was unavoidable, that much is clear. But if there are others that can be reasoned with, even a little, I would like to try doing so before deciding to permanently seal their fates. It's a heavy...heavy feeling, to know that you are the cause, or one of them, for the reason someone outside this world will not be waking up any longer.

Oh, um...please pay it no mind. I wasn't ever angry or really upset over it so, um, there's no need to apologize. It's okay.


(He was outside Titan's Tooth now. It was really a tooth, fanged, with some blood maybe coming out of it. It was also huge. Canti had the inclination to call it Club Snagglepuss, but...someone would hate him for that.)

Quote:
TO: Sekai
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: Suraisu

I understand. This was the reason I decided on this mission. I needed to find out, more than anything, what his story is. I needed remove any doubt, one way or another.


Quote:
To: Canti
From: Sekai
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Suraisu

I understand, I think. Let's hope that his answer is favorable and nothing bad will come of this.


Canti: So do I, Sekai. So do I.

(That being done, the Twin Blade checked out the state of the Titan's Tooth. Big place, lots of capacity, and no bouncers. He walked right in like he owned the place. Nobody stopped him. Awe-to-the-freakin'-some. As far as he could tell, the place was almost full up. Not many places to sit, but there were some table spots and at least one at the bar. Since tables were - at least to him - more for groups, Canti took a seat at the bar itself. He'd had some personal bar experience. You could tell by the way he'd gotten himself all the way out here like this. Looking around, he didn't see anything or anyone out of the ordinary. That is, nobody in Stitcher - Population: Wacky - was giving him the funny eye. Cool. Meanwhile, the bartender was not making any attempts to see him through, so Canti put two fingers in his mouth and whistled loudly.)

Canti: Yo! This ain't a time to be sober. Little help here?

(That got a reaction, once he was done serving a couple folks. How do ya drink with a mantis-head? We had a couple of Zorak look-alikes here. Anyway, the bartender came over.)

"What would you like?"

Canti: Something with zing and a side-order of information.

(Drink came easy and he received something reddish-brown that tasted spicy. Information probably wouldn't come in a bad of saltines, so the bartender was awaiting further comment. Canti nodded in approval of the El Ka-Zing he ordered. Next time, he'd have to find out what El Ka-Bong is like.)

Canti: If I were to ask how or where ta' find a missing person, would I get help or thrown ass-first out the door?

"Depends who you talk to. Tell me three facts about this player."

Canti: Alright. He's a lightning-oriented dude, he's made up like a baseball player, and he replaced his blood with metal.

(This was, to date, the best way to describe Suraisu in brief. Seriously, he was all about baseball, lightning, and the metal blood. How or why he did that, Canti did not know. The bartender said "There. Talk to Sandrew.", pointing to a man in mottled browns, looking alot like a badger...with wings on his head. He was laughing and drinking with four other dudes with similar looks. The Twin Blade was about to say he didn't need no stinking badgers, thought better of it, muttering "Skip it." before pointing to his finished drink and saying "Tab?". Bartender-approved, he headed on over to the badger group. There was a similar problem of badgers to consider, when you thought about it. A bunch of weird similar-dressed guys laughing at a table? Surely, we're not meddling with A Clockwork Orange, are we? If he saw one hint of milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom...he would be out the door before you could hum the opening bars to good old Ludwig Van. Being that not the case, he dared to talk to Sandrew and his three droogs, at great risk of incurring a bit of the ultra-violence.)

Canti: Hey, could I persuade you to talk business for a sec?

(His merriment was too great to look threatening and he took no posture in defense of Canti's own presence. Also, the Clockwork Orange jokes abruptly ceased in the wake of serious business.)

"Sure, what's up?"

Canti: Lookin' for a particular bloke with a thing for lightning. Baseball player look, metal blood? Hearing you might be of help there.

"Hmm... Sounds familiar. Not her, no, who was it... Right! That guy. Yeah! That guy. What was his name... Burisu? Surabo? Something? Anyways. I know 'em."

Canti: Suraisu. Alright. What can you tell me? And...

(He gave him a careful glare, the penetrating kind that says 'I wasn't born yesterday'.)

Canti: ...what am I gonna have to pay for this?

"Buy me a drink, and I'll tell ya."

(He drained his and waved another from the bartender, pointing at Canti. Seems he had no real choice in the matter, now. But seriously, if he was able to get this going on the price of a freakin' bar tab, that...was serious good fortune. There was alot you could screw up in this sector, such as with the many stories behind the Patchwork King. You'd probably have to be insane to invoke the master of the land, which actually put into perspective what he and Raquar tried to do. Of course, the Vak Master wasn't in, and possibly wasn't crazy either. We'll find that out later.)

"Not that I know much. Tell ya what."

(He suddenly went silent. That's...not a good sign.)

Canti: There's something ugly behind this, isn't there?

"What? Oh, no. Well, yes. Always something ugly in Yamiyo. Something wicked this way comes and all that. Okay! He loves to hang out at this bar down the way. Here, I'll draw you a map."

(Said map was scribbled on a napkin with a noted amount of stains on the thing, but it was entirely servicable in the act of directing him forthwith to the place of goings-on. That is, the next piece of the puzzle was in place. However...the pause had bothered him. There was always a catch, you see. And while this one wasn't Catch-22, it was probably relevent enough to warrant some concern.)

Canti: Someone else asking after him? Bad debt? Giant chicken? What?

"Oh, nothing really. Maybe a giant chicken. Depends how you slice it, I suppose. He won't be like you remember him though, I'd wager. He's washed-up, that guy."

Canti: Interesting...

(Turning away, Canti headed over to the bar to receive the confirmation of his damages. The bartender offered him a smile. Obviously, ole' Sandrew had been in the information racket a while and had learned to put it to his partying ways. Namely, that drink was 99-times the worth of Canti's own, which had been a mere 10 GP. The sheepish look on his face was preious. Fortunately, he had a thousand on hand, thus preventing him from being held up on a mere technicality. And, consulting the napkin-map, he was on his way. Doing so led him to the place, but at that moment...there was a commotion coming from down the way. Pocketing the napkin, the Twin Blade headed in that direction only after a small deliberation. It could've been anything, but he was concerned that it was either one of his own or Suraisu. The bar could wait, unless it was gonna explode in the next few minutes. What he sees is...a badly-wounded pedestrian, and a commotion moving further on. Someone was running for some reason. Canti gave chase and...soon caught up with the runner after getting out onto another street. It was Dien!)

Canti: Dien? What the hell is he doing?

(It may interest those here to know that Canti sorta' missed there being some kinda' Flash Mail that Dien supposedly sent. He was too focused on napkin-search to pay that kind of attention. Or in the chase. Or whatever. He was kicking something like a dumpster now. Call him crazy, but Canti didn't like whatever approach the Blademaster was cooking up. After his own clever-as-hell way of getting in here like this, it was a little annoying to find him running around with his sword going whackity-whack. This was suppose to be one of the most dangerous areas around. So, you can understand the degree of attitude in the Twin Blade's Batman-like suddenly-be-right-behind-you routine and asking...)

Canti: Did I miss something?

(Ah, but Dien's rage was inmistakable. He was pissed off, royally-so.)

"Suraisu... That bastard fucking got away."

(And now, Sekai's Flash Mail was beginning to make alot more sense. Why would she ask, if she didn't suspect that one of them would want revenge? Hell, Canti was the obvious pick. He was the one that obsessively looked for the guy during his time off, inquired the most about him. This was his plan, even. But it wasn't just that, was it? Sekai was always concerned. What if...someone was acting on their own here? What if someone broke the silent runnings and the luring out of this guy to get a piece of him? No... He had no proof. He didn't even know what Sekai was really thinking. He only had a suspicion...)

Canti: Tell me what happened.

"Exactly what I said in the flashmail. I tried to talk him over, but when he recognized me, he hit me once and ran. I'm heading back to the bar where I found him, see if I can't find anyone who might know where he would have gone."

(He cracked his neck and swung his sword to remove...fleshy substances from his sword, something that stuck to it during...he-did-not-know-what. Canti followed him, of course. His thoughts were increasing in sudden worry. If he'd been there a moment sooner, he would've seen what happened. The little bits of data showing up here were not giving him any comfort at all.)

Canti: Couldn't get a word in edge-wise, huh? Who'd you hit? Gotta learn more... Gotta find out if it's the truth...

"Bystander. He exploded after Suraisu pulled him into the sword's path to block it - I think I might have hurt him a little bit."

Canti: I see...and ew. Let's go back to this bar, then. See if we can't approach him in a way that doesn't involve others or sudden attacks. Seems he won't come to us now. Probably thinks we're out to mangle 'im.

(Yes, this DID sound like Canti was saying something, making implications. It was up to Dien if he wanted to rise to the occasion. He didn't, though. Of course, he could've been innocent, but a few things were nagging him now. All things in the world being what they are, Suraisu was still probably more powerful. That being the case, why didn't Dien explode? No offense, Dien, but you not being dead is a fair argument for the defense. Anyway...)

"Probably best to let you do the talking then, though he might be a bit more freaked out by all the super-darkness-themed-ness you've got going on than anything else..."

Canti: I'm no more danger than he is to me. He's got my weakness as much as I do his. Besides, I didn't make these powers happen that way. Talk to my evil personification of the virus on that one. Actually, on second thought, don't.

(He stepped into the bar and ummm...uh oh. Not only was this a lightning-and-metal-themed bar with a bunch of people with similar everything to Suraisu, but these people weren't looking too happy, especially the bartender at Dien. Actually, that might've been at them both. This was not a friendly place to be and Canti was having his Star Wars 'bad feeling' right about now. He told Dien to stay there and approached the bartender himself.)

Canti: If it's not too much trouble, could you tell me about Suraisu?

"Look, I don't know what you're up to, but I don't want anything to do with it."

Canti: Ah shit. I'm not 'up to' anything. At least point me in the direction of someone willing and able.

(He put his glass down on the bar hard enough to crack the glass.)

"No. You should leave."

"Canti, maybe we should listen to the man. I don't think anyone here would be willing to help us out..."

Canti: No shit, Sherlock. I'm in a bar full of lightning near where you did SOMETHING and I just pissed off the bartender. I should most definitely leave. Alright. If he shows up again, tell 'im...I only wanted to help.

(Despondent Canti is despondent. He headed out the door, not looking very pleased. He just wanted out of there before one of them fired something at him. Now, he knew what it was like to walk into a racist bar. This was, however, where Dien came in - or out - with an oddity of his own, stating that he had another lead to work on. He was holding a Suraisu doll. You know, this wasn't really a time for voodoo, or in fact Neil Gaiman books. The Other Suraisu wasn't going to go sew buttons on his eyes. Nevertheless, confusion thy name is Canti.)

Canti: What in the huh?

"Long story, but this thing gave me one more direction to track out - I just found the Blades before I could."

Canti: Please tell me that isn't one of Demorian's jokes.

"No, I went to see the king of this town, and he gave me this. When I get closer to a place Suraisu hangs out, it gets warmer. I got to this intersection and the doll gave me two possible directions: I just got lucky enough to take the one that led me to Suraisu."

(They were at a crossroads, in more ways than one. Literally, there was this place that the doll had led them now, and then there was him and Dien. He was almost certain that Dien had screwed up this mission seriously, maybe twice now. Alot depended on the growing suspicion Canti was getting, but if it did then...both first contact was flubbed up, and that indirectly led to not finding anything out at the one lead that he had gotten himself, without contacting Mr. Mxyzptlk.)

Canti: You went to see the Patchwork King? Christ, I got this far on bar-hopping...

(This was when a literal tall, dark stranger came in, stepping in behind them and leaning over between 'em to talk.)

"You won't find him where that will lead you."

Canti: Er, hi. As in really high. Who're you and what the fuck, mate? What's your deal?

"Suffice to say, I hate that man. He will flee to a haunt so old that doll won't find it. He seeks refuge in the Raio Sector."

(Witness Canti's eyes as they go from confusion to shock to tightly-shut-and-mortified.)

Canti: What? Oh no... Not that. God dammit dammit! Thanks alot, pal. I went from 'needle in a needle-stack' to something far worse. Can nothing ever be easy around here?

(Also bear witness to the fact that the Phantom of the Opera was gone before he'd reached the cussing part. Opening his eyes again produced a "Buh?" sort of expression, and then he settled into grand-deluxe irritation. Raio Sector... Not fucking Raio Sector... You don't ask Superman to walk into a Kyptonite mine, do you? Okay, maybe you do, but that's because he's Superman! Canti was Batman! Highly-destructible, yet awesome! You don't tell him to walk into a high-radiation zone unprotected! Bleedin' hell...)

"That was odd."

Canti: Yeah, that wasn't disturbing in the slightest. Man, I was liking this place, but now I'm just pissed.

(This was going to reflect very badly on his everything. Where to start? Well, let's go with contacting Demorian and then setting things in motion for this.)

Quote:
TO: Demorian
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Highly important.

I hope you've been watching, because it's an ugly picture from where I stand. I'm not certain, but I think Dien may be acting on his own. If you'd seen his face, you might think so too. I don't know what he did. I didn't see anything, but there are doubts, which is why I'm only talking to you here.

Our chance to meet Suraisu here is gone. He ran off, 'curiously' not killing Dien in the process. Make of that what you will. The confrontation probably ruined my one lead - that bar - and now this doll-thing Dien got from the Patchwork King also won't help, as a 12-foot black guardian told us he was going to Raio Sector.

My advice: We continue and be extra-fucking-careful. Keep a good eye on Dien, and watch out for Mr. Dark-And-Gruesome. He rubs me the wrong way, like maybe his sudden impromptu help-out was to make use of the living bait already out here and doing stuff. Remember, we're only here to get at Suraisu to get him on our side first, before the fight-part. I need to find out the truth, all of it, and I don't need Dien maybe-fucking-it-up.

Tell the others what you like, but I still wanna go. I haven't even lifted a knife yet.


(That sent, there was one more thing to put into place. He will know the truth of it, no matter what.)

Canti: Shadow, can you hear me?

Shadow: As easily as being in the same room, master.

Canti: New orders. You will follow Dien, overtly or covertly. I don't care, but do not let him out of your sight. If he spots Suraisu before I do and attacks, you will stop him. And you will DEFINITELY tell me immediately if he does so THE MOMENT it happens.

Shadow: Profile "Dien" accepted and locked into memory.

Canti: Good boy.

_________________
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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 Post subject: Part 3
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:06 am 
Offline
Exalted Player
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 1:59 am
Posts: 226
Location: The "Who's Online List," Stalking People...
(OOC: Note, this all takes place before Canti’s post.)

It looked hacked. That was the only way Dien could describe it as he approached the “castle.” Even from a distance, he had seen some of the various pieces and spires stretching skyward, and as he asked players about it, he learned that the building’s occupant was just as unstable as the building itself. The wiser players avoided the building, not wanting to chance fate, but for a man with a vendetta like Dien’s, there was not a chance he could let fate stop him.

There were any number of gaps in the walls of the castle—at least ten within eyeshot, another five of which were accessible by foot, though no one went in or came out. It was exactly as he’d heard described, and he stood at what he ventured was the entrance. Granted, it was really the largest, most stable gap he found, so he was still finding it hard to work up the nerve to go through. Danielle had long since stopped talking to him, probably wanting no part in his ludicrous plan. That thought gave him pause for a moment, his conscious making a last-ditch effort to get his attention. Was it really so wrong to take another man’s life? No, Suraisu couldn’t be called a man. That lying bastard was no more than a pathetic dog who had swapped a human existence for a monster’s. Who knew how many players it had trapped within the confines of this game? Death would be just, almost an easy punishment for the man who had committed so much atrocity.

So, with a controlled exhale, he made his way in. Here the wall appeared to be made of some kind of thick wax paper; the entrance he was going through was slowly burning outward, but it appeared that the material was actually growing inward as well, creating a very curious aesthetic. Drops of the smoldering material fell off every now and then, but they were easy enough to avoid, and with a slight charge he was in.

Of course the scenery changed immediately, leaving him standing in the midst of what could best be described as a patchwork forest. Plants and parts of plants of every size and shape extended across varying kinds of landscape for a few hundred yards—though thankfully, the doorway was still behind him. Dien drew his sword and began to make his way forward through the underbrush, being careful not to damage it, but moving it aside as need be. It was slightly disorienting to move leaves out of his face only to have the branch some fifteen feet away move as though they were still attached, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

The trip across went smoothly, at least until he reached what he presumed to be the end. A tree he’d been moving to move around decided to take the courteous route and move for him, and in doing so it revealed a closed golden door. He sheathed his sword and thanked the tree (and why not?), before approaching this new obstacle. First manner of business was the handle, and the blademaster cautiously wrapped his digits around it. Before he could twist, though, an odd sensation struck him. The door was warm; the kind of unexpected, comfortable warmth you get when, without looking, you place your hand on a spot that’s been sitting in the sun. Of course he pulled back, looking quizzically at the thing. It was…odd. But then what did he expect? He was in the home of one he’d heard described as mad. So he gripped it again, this time a bit more prepared, and opened the door.

Inside was another setting entirely, which the blademaster was beginning to grow accustomed to. It was a long hallway made of cinderblocks with pipes along both walls that hissed noisily with the steam they likely contained. It was unnaturally narrow and poorly lit, though oddly enough the floor was lined with a thick carpet, there were golden handrails along the walls, and it smelled almost like popcorn. A bit creepy, but nothing too dangerous at first glimpse, so Dien made his way through.

What it was with these people and their infinite passageways, he didn’t know, but this one seemed to stretch forever. It turned at sharp corners, it wound around long bends, it ramped up and dove down, but it just kept going. At one point, Dien thought he heard something behind him and checked over his shoulder only to find the way he’d just come through closed off. Well that was handy—now he had to go through with it. So he moved on, continuing through the linear maze until he wound up at what some would call a dead end.

Cinderblock, railing, and pipes all vanished, leaving him on a bridge several stories off the ground. There was no door behind him, and no door on the other side of the bridge. He was literally stuck between two floating boulders, and the only obvious exit was down. Still, the bridge had yet been crossed, and this blademaster wasn’t going to give up that easily. Keeping his eyes on the ground, he began to walk slowly forward, checking the bridge over for consistency, smoothness, and any sign of change as he went across. Of course there was no change over the majority of the bridge, but when he was within spitting distance of the other side, something happened.

A crack resounded in his ears, and the bridge began to break apart beneath him, crumbling and utterly collapsing. His adrenaline spiked, but the debris distanced itself from him before disappearing entirely, leaving him standing on thin air. When he looked up, he was almost startled to see a man standing across from him. He was tall, and abnormally handsome for someone in this game. In fact, the only flaw was the scars from stitches that had been used to sew the various pieces of his body together. His clothing was of a similar fashion; elegant and classy, yet broken, torn, and spliced into one unit. Neither spoke a word for a moment, before Dien broke the silence.

“Maybe you can help me,” he began, adjusting to a more casual stance as he ignored the mind-altering reality that surrounded him, “I’m looking for someone.”

“Yes, I know.” He grinned, and it was a pretty hideous thing, despite his perfect teeth, lips, and just about everything else. There was just something unsettling about it. “Yet you came here rather than to the Tooth, where everyone else looks.” He gestured, and there, some distance away, was a giant tooth.

“I was told to come here,” Dien replied, slightly more at ease, “and after figuring out that this is where the king of the Stitcher sector lives, I agreed that I would probably get better results here than I would at some decrepit bar.” He gave a wry smile before continuing. “So was I right?”

The man’s smile only grew, widening further and further until it spread literally from ear to ear. Too many teeth, Dien thought, though wasn’t put off by it. “You are correct, sir!” He finally said, before letting the smile fade as he looked out over the city. “Here.” He produced a small doll and handed it to Dien. Closer inspection revealed that it was a mirror image of Suraisu, and when the blademaster looked up, the man said, “Warmer and colder!” He grinned again, and then they were on the ground. “See if you can find him now.”

“Thanks,” Dien said, nodding to the man. The doll was cold to the touch, so he figured that meant that it would get warmer and warmer the closer he got to Suraisu, “I owe you one.”

“That…you do.” He said, his voice deeper than before and carrying a much more serious tone. At that, he disappeared, and Dien was left right on the street where he had been before entering the castle—as though nothing had happened at all, only he was up one opposable Suraisu action figure. Turning about revealed the truth of his initial assessment, and he began to follow it.

At first it was really quite clear the direction he had to go. Intersections and cross-streets were all dealt with by the statue, its warmth clearly dictating the way to go to get to Suraisu. Of course the blademaster didn’t know which way he was going according to it, but based on the map he’d been building in his mind, it was getting closer to the heart of the sector. Minutes passed, until eventually, Dien was left at a crossroads that he honestly couldn’t tell which way the statue was directing him. Both right and left felt the same, though he was considerably warmer than when he’d started.

It was a choice, and thanks to the success of one rule he’d held to, his response was almost dictated. When confronted with a choice of direction, always take the leftmost path first, and so left he went. The statue continued getting warmer, almost to the point where it was too hot to hold, and he was left at an oddly nondescript building made of rusted metal. Its door was ajar, and Dien could feel his pulse quickening as he pushed it open.

What he found was an empty room with a thin coat of dust, looking as though it hadn’t been used in quite some time. There were a few metal chairs along the wall, and a closet proved to hold a diverse supply of Fist Fighter weapons. Yeah, this was his living space alright, though the dust and lack of use demonstrated how unused it was.

He’s not here, Danielle thought to him, what now?

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” The blademaster recited, turning and exiting the makeshift apartment without so much as a second thought, leaving the door blatantly open such that whoever could use his stash would have free access—passive aggression at its finest, to be sure. Just the same, he made his way back up the street, passing the alley of origin and continuing on with the statue. By this point, there was almost no way to discern the right way anymore; it was so hot that he couldn’t pick up on the subtle differences it provided. Another intersection provided him with two choices, and once again he chose left.

Along this road, he found a bar that seemed to have Suraisu written all over it. The building itself was a strange sort of quicksilver metal with arcs of electricity coursing over the whole surface, with an element at the peak that reminded him in some ways of the tower they’d fought through. In a moment, he relived the whole event, from the crippling experiences within the tower to the fierce battles that they waged, to the word search in the dungeon, and ultimately, to this man’s betrayal and Dien’s entrapment. It was a vicious cycle, and it gave him all the resolve he needed to march into the bar.

The place was popular, to say the least. There were more filled tables than not, and the bar was about half full. By this point, the effigy in his hand was glowing red hot, and he stood in the doorway. No one so much as gave him a second glance, despite how…normal he was. From here, though, everyone seemed to have abilities that matched Suraisu’s, at least in style. Picking him out might be a bit tough for someone who had no clue who he was, but the blademaster remembered his face vividly.

Finally, he found the most viable candidate in the room. His skin was more charred than the Suraisu he remembered, and he seemed a bit older, but it was definitely him. Dien’s fist clenched around the doll, nearly breaking the thing under its weight. It took every ounce of restraint he had not to run him through right there. It would be over quickly. He wouldn’t get to hear the man begging for his life and wallowing in self-pity and worthless apologies. There would be no gratification in such a swift death. He closed his eyes and exhaled slowly. The man needed to be drawn out from his kind, where loyalty posed too great a threat to the would-be assassin.

Dien approached from behind, careful not to act suspicious or draw more attention to himself than he already had. Suraisu was seated at the bar, and the blademaster stood behind him for a moment, still fighting the temptation to behead the man where he sat. Then at once, the storm of rage was gone; focused instead into a cool, powerful, collected stream. To Dien, it was all a blur. He gently reached forward and tapped his target on the shoulder.

What,” he barked into his drink, taking another swig as though he had regrets.

“Meet me outside, asshole.” Dien barked, spinning quickly about and knocking his shoulder into the man, causing him to spill his drink all over himself. It had been his intent to be out the door by the time Suraisu recovered, but a quick tug on his shoulder spun him around again, and he met face to face with the fist fighter. The look in his eyes was curious, as though he thought the blademaster familiar, but couldn’t place it. All at once a look of recognition washed over him, and his eyes widened.

Shit,” he said. Without another moment’s hesitation, he leapt high over the bar and booked it out one of the bar’s back doors. The blademaster was quick to follow, changing swords and muttering an Ap Do as he began his pursuit. Suraisu was likely twice his level, and was of a class that was much faster than his own. If he ran, Dien was going to need every bit of help he could get in order to re-balance the scales.

The alley was small, and Suraisu was quick to jump up the walls like some kind of monkey. Dien only smirked, pulling out the doll he’d received and beginning to move along the alley. But…the doll was growing colder, and only when he turned back to face the bar did it warm up again. Swearing, he followed the fist fighter’s path onto the rooftops. He was a few buildings away, running at a steady clip and leaping the gaps between them as though he’d done it a hundred times before. Still, he was within spell range, so Dien swapped equipment.

It had been a long time since he’d focused so hard on a single spell, but from the moment he uttered the name “Vulcan,” he watched as his rage was personified, traveling toward his target in one solid fiery bolt, with all the speed and power of lightning. He was sure it was going to hit, but at just the last second Suraisu dropped into an alleyway, the spell causing irreparable damage to the almost biological structure it slammed into in his stead. Dien swore again, casting a Rig Geam and taking full advantage of the Ap Do to book it to the very alley and follow Suraisu down.

At this point, the blademaster realized exactly what Suraisu was doing: he was making a break for the populated areas and, most likely, the Chaos Gate. If he got there, everything would be ruined, and this realization struck new power into Dien’s feet as he ran, trying to keep up with the man. One hand retrieved an Ani Kruz scroll from his inventory and it was activated. But Suraisu, either sensing the danger or feeling the darkness element coming his way, pulled a stranger into the spell’s target in his place. Dien winced slightly, but ultimately paid it no mind. That pull had cost Suraisu a slight bit of time, and he had every intention of capitalizing on that mistake. Of course, it would have helped if the guy wasn’t so damn good at running away. Dien let out another swear and kept after him, who was now outside of spell range.

And what was your plan again?” Danielle asked, sitting cross-legged and floating along through the air next to him like some kind of disenchanted genie.

“Oh shut up,” he said, pulling out his sword and slicing through her incorporeal being. She only smiled wryly.

All I’m saying is that if you don’t kill him or stop him now, you probably won’t get that chance.” She paused, leaning her head forward to look down after him as her body’s image faded through various player models completely unbeknownst to them. “Oh and look, he’s getting away.

The glance Dien shot at her was enough to get her to go back into seclusion within his character data, despite how correct she was. He needed to do something, or else he would never get this chance again. One tactic played itself through his mind: the only way he’d be able to stop Suraisu at this range. He swapped swords, pulling out his Demon Killer and beginning to activate one of its two skills. “Ani Revolver!” he shouted, spinning about once to let the darkness energy build over the blade before releasing it from his grip. It flew through the air like a black and purple disk of doom, heading straight for the small of Suraisu’s back.

He dodged again, this time pulling another passer-by into the sword’s path. Only this time, when the weapon collided with him, he exploded, sending molten man goo across the whole area. Dien swore, but quickly set to composing a flashmail. There was still a chance to get people to kill Suraisu.

Quote:
From: Dien
To: Freedom Fighters
Re: Suraisu
Message: Hey guys, I found Suraisu at a bar and, after trying to talk him onto our team, was beaten away before he started running. I’ve given chase, but I’m losing him. I’m just about positive he’s heading for the Chaos Gate, though, so if you see him, stop or kill him. I don’t think he’s interested in joining us.


And at that, he swore, slowing to a walk to approach the location of his sword in the midst of still molten man goo.

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Wishlist: EXP, Ends of Earth, Armor with Status Effects


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:46 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am
Posts: 114
Location: Walking the line of madness
The Wavemaster was not feeling terribly happy at the moment. His efforts at following Canti were being met with considerable success...although, so far, that didn't seem to be doing much in the way of anything constructive. The other part that he wasn't happy about was that he'd apparently picked up some kind of watcher, who was very interested in him. Unfortunately, all of his attempts to see who this might be had failed...and he wasn't feeling particularly good about this.

Also unfortunately, it seemed that Canti wasn't having much luck in finding this Suraisu character. He frowned...and opened his flashmail to Sekai and Kira, wondering what kind of response he was going to get from this. It was a little reckless to attempt to go and find who this person was, but so like his paranoia...and it was completely and utterly like him to distrust his supposed allies. He didn't like this, not one bit, and he disliked trying to recruit a former enemy even more. It would be so easy for the man to pretend to join and then sell them out, and who was to say that this whole thing wasn't just some kind of guise for something else?

Quote:
To: Sekai, Kira
From: Takua
Subject: Watcher and Mission
I'd like you two to watch me while I try and find this person who's got their eye on me. I don't like it, and it's pissing me off. There's no need to get violent yet...but I also don't want to vanish down some dark alley and get myself killed.

Second, why exactly are we trying to find this guy? It seems...stupid or reckless from my view, although I'm a little biased. The risks of finding Suraisu seem to outweigh the benefits.


It didn't take very long for Sekai to respond, something that he was grateful for as he followed Canti into the deeper parts of the district. There was definitely a trip into a bar, during which Takua leaned on the wall outside of it, grateful that he could still see what the hell was going on inside of it.

Quote:
To: Takua
From: Sekai
Subject: RE: Watcher and Mission

Okay, please let us know if we need to strike, we'll do what we can. If anyone kills you, we will get them and return the courtesy.

Um... that is true, to an extent. But Suraisu-san may have a good insight and information into what we need. He could be very useful as an ally too, just like Demorian-san. And, um, Demorian-san was an enemy too, at one point, but he's proven himself to be trustworthy.


Quote:
To: Sekai
From: Takua
Subject: RE: RE: Watcher and Mission
Sounds good.

And that's part of the problem I suppose.  We have very little reason to trust him, apparently he got Dien and Canti into a coma or something?  They'd be the last people I'd expect to want him on the team.  And yet now we want to confront him and turn him.  Sounds like a bad idea, opens us up to him spying on us and ratting us out to the Elites for a pretty hefty reward.


Quote:
To: Takua
From: Sekai
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Watcher and Mission
I... don't know. We didn't have any reason to trust Demorian-san... and I don't think Suraisu-san is doing very well here, either. I asked Canti-san about his motives... and I believe him when he says he wants to get him on our side. Dien-san... he hasn't responded. I'm worried.


Quote:
To: Sekai
From: Takua
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Watcher and Mission
Noted.  Canti still hasn't found the guy, but I don't know where Dien is and I'm not close enough to link to him too.  I'll just keep an open mind and an open eye.


Shortly after that flurry of flashmails, another one arrived from Dien. He sighed...and considered his options. So, their op was blown by whatever Dien had done, be it intentional or otherwise. In addition, Suraisu was running...and Takua wasn't exactly in the best position to catch him at all. Instead, he waited for Canti to come out and head in the direction where...coincidentally, Dien was.

The Wavemaster was very happy that his vantage point from behind them, without actually being there, allowed him to see what the hell was going on through Canti's eyes. A few things were very, very evident even after a small look at Dien or the bar. Something was up, and nobody liked what Dien had done. That was enough to make him suspicious as to what the Blademaster had done. Even as he looked for his own watcher, he wondered how many other people were wondering what they were doing here...or if this was even a good idea. What would Dien gain from killing Suraisu anyways? A sense of revenge? Was that it? Or was there something else going on here that he wasn't thinking of. Was this some sort of trap to get them to go somewhere? Dammit, he needed to not be paranoid, for all he knew, Dien was really trying to follow the plan and things had just gone to hell. Sure, that was reasonable.

Except that Dien had said that he'd been beaten away in his flashmail, and there wasn't a scratch on him.

Turning away from the bar, Takua started walking directly towards his stalker, moving until he was so close that he could almost reach out and touch them...before the view shifted, and there he was again. Shrugging to himself, and feeling a little bit of a chill go down his spine, he simply adjusted course, wondering if this was going to get him killed and hoping that Sekai and Kira would be around if he did. Again, just before he got to that area, it shifted again. Muttering, he simply followed it...and found that he was being led into an alleyway.

Feeling rather stupid for following, he did anyways, stopping at the entrance of the alleyway and looking down it. Nothing at all, or at least nothing in particular. He spoke into the alleyway, watching himself speak. "What do you want from me?" The only response was silence, so he moved into the alley, walking slowly and stopping just outside of what would probably be sword range...only to suddenly have a glimpse of his back. Fuck, the person had gotten between him and his freedom. Turning around, he repeated his question. This time, he got a faint chuckle that sounded distinctly female...and then his vision began to degrade. This woman, whoever she was, was closing her eyes. Awww fuck. Takua managed not to swear, and then used his Ruem Wings to launch him upwards towards the sky and out of the alley.

It was a little difficult, not to see where he was going from his perspective, but he was managing...at least until the woman blinked repeatedly and started shaking her head from side to side. That turned his vision into a jumbled mess, and right after he got over her head, he flew right into the fucking wall. Well then, that hadn't been a smart idea. It showed to be even less of a good idea when he felt what was distinctly a whip wrap around his leg and pull him back to the floor. But now, as he looked at himself (looking a little dazed while he was at it too) he could finally see a crystalline whip in a tanned hand. Actually, that was braided crystal fiber...and it looked horribly sharp as well. As in, sharp enough to have taken off his leg, should she have felt like it. Feeling like bringing this point up, and wondering why she hadn't (not that his imagination was helping), he decided to speak up.

"Okay, so you could have taken off my leg.  Any particular reason why not?"

She giggled, a fairly pleasant sound. Would she be insane like a Stitcher or be fairly normal? "No reason.  You're silly." 

Well no shit he was silly, or looked like it. He was fucking half-blind, and the only reason he wasn't fully blind was because Twilight had already said hi. "Thank you, it's mostly because I'm blind.  I suppose I do stand out and look quite silly while walking, don't I?"

"Yup!" Which was when her voice changed, right after another giggle. Now it was deeper, rougher, more masculine. And it was coming from her...although it sure as hell didn't sound like it was. "She felt something attach to her, and felt she had to watch it.  She's a playful soul, really."

Uhh...what? So...when he linked to other people, they could feel it? OH! Well, maybe that explained why everyone was staring at him when he was walking, it was because they all felt like he was watching them or something like that. A nice little note to think about...which meant that Canti should have been able to feel what he was doing earlier. Shit. "Oooh, okay, my apologies then.  I, uh, see through other people for the time being.  I didn't know that it made a sensation when I did it."

"Was everyone staring at you?  No?  Probably it doesn't."  It switched back to the first voice, that cute little female one. "We're special!" And back again, sounding a little annoyed right now. "Ugh.  Don't interrupt me, woman." "But you're so cute when you're flustered!" "Ugh.  She's right, however.  We're sensitive."

So...definitely another headcase with two or more personalities, or perhaps another AI/Human combo. Well shit, how many of those were going around? ell...not everyone, but a lot of people were.  Point taken though, I'll try and be more discreet about it.  Sorry about that.”

"What's your naaaaame?"

He hesitated. He didn't really want to give it out, but she could just target him if she really wanted to find out...and if he lied, she'd know if she did it that way. Fuck, screwed if he made her mad, she still had a grip on his leg, the corded crystal continuing its deadly promise. Might as well give it out and hope that he never ran into her again. "It's Takua, yours?"

"Maaaary!" There was a giggle, and then the second voice again. "Vapid whore.  If only I had been stuck with someone with half a wit." "You're just jealous I'm so pretty!"

Right. And this was what he got for poking around. Someone who was definitely insane and wanted to play with him. Perhaps he'd leave well enough alone in the future...although, unfortunately, his paranoia wasn't making that thought very likely. "Well Mary and...whoever your companion is, it was nice to meet you.  Do you need anything else from me?"

"Maaaaybe!" "I should fight you." "But he's so adorable!" "Hmph.  A little blood never hurt anyone.  Just what drew it."

No...he did not want to have a fight now, especially since they seemed mostly amicable. Well, at least the girl was. "I can assure you that I enjoy having all of my blood currently in my veins, I'm not quite in the mood for fighting with a Whipmistress, let alone anyone else.  Now, why would you need to fight me?  I'm sorry if I bugged you, I was merely trying to move, and your continued watching...rather disturbed me."

"See?  He's so cute!" "I don't care.  Whoever you are, if you can put up a fight, you're -" "Worth fighting!" Mary finished it, maybe she had heard it way too much.  "You always say that...  why do you fight so much?"  "We've been over that.  Shush." "I don't wanna!" The whip unwrapped from around his leg and pulled back, freeing him from their control.  "You can go!"  The hand that he could see twitched as if it were barely under control, but the other voice didn't speak at all. Violent was it. Well then, maybe it was a very good thing that he was getting out of here now.

"Ah, thank you very much.  Maybe I'll see you around some time!"  Takua got up and walked past them...and then nearly stumbled when the woman turned to watch him walk away, obviously checking him out while she was doing so. What. The. Hell?! Finding Sekai and Kira nearby, watching the entire thing, he muttered to them both as he passed them by, hoping that at least Kira would find some amusment in it. “I just got checked out by a Whipmistress in Yamiyo. Dear lord why is it always me?”

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Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:28 pm 
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Master of Games
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Quote:
TO: Demorian
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Highly important.

I hope you've been watching, because it's an ugly picture from where I stand. I'm not certain, but I think Dien may be acting on his own. If you'd seen his face, you might think so too. I don't know what he did. I didn't see anything, but there are doubts, which is why I'm only talking to you here.

Our chance to meet Suraisu here is gone. He ran off, 'curiously' not killing Dien in the process. Make of that what you will. The confrontation probably ruined my one lead - that bar - and now this doll-thing Dien got from the Patchwork King also won't help, as a 12-foot black guardian told us he was going to Raio Sector.

My advice: We continue and be extra-fucking-careful. Keep a good eye on Dien, and watch out for Mr. Dark-And-Gruesome. He rubs me the wrong way, like maybe his sudden impromptu help-out was to make use of the living bait already out here and doing stuff. Remember, we're only here to get at Suraisu to get him on our side first, before the fight-part. I need to find out the truth, all of it, and I don't need Dien maybe-fucking-it-up.

Tell the others what you like, but I still wanna go. I haven't even lifted a knife yet.


Quote:
To: Canti
From: Demorian
Subject: RE: Highly important.

I was watching you, so I’ve seen what you’ve seen. Dien has grown somewhat different from what he used to be; my knowledge from Marionette no longer paints an accurate picture. I can’t speak for his motives.

That black figure that spoke to you is a face I recognize, however. He used to be prominent in the Anid sector before transferring to the Stitchers, where he managed to antagonize everyone who had an association with Raio. What he told you is likely true; he has no love for Suraisu, that is certain.

I’ll trust you to handle yourself appropriately and I’ll keep an eye on Dien.

Looks like we’re destined for Raio.


Quote:
To: Everyone
From: Demorian
Subject: The chase

I looks as though we’ve flushed out our prey. Anyone watching the chaos gate keep an eye out for him. Alternatively he may head through the custom class and multiclass sectors and enter the Raio sector manually. Someone should head there to cut him off. Dien, Canti, let me know which way you’re heading. Everyone else stay on your toes and be ready to move.



---------------ooc:
Quick and dirty post but it should get the job done. I know I’ve been not-all-there for a while, my bad, but I haven’t abandoned things. Being poor and jobless and dealing with household stresses takes up a lot of time. Quite different from being jobless and not poor.

Dien you need to either dig up your old scripting or do some new scripting and get that sidequest done for. Even if my away message is up, I check periodically, so drop me a line when you have time to script. The same goes for everyone else; just because my message is up doesn’t mean I’m definitely not there; I just might be in and out making dinner or doing chores or working on an article.

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 Post subject: Part 4
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:48 pm 
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Exalted Player
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 1:59 am
Posts: 226
Location: The "Who's Online List," Stalking People...
It didn’t take long for things to get awkward. Canti showed up only moments after Dien lost track of Suraisu, and much to the chagrin of his resident AI, not only did the twinblade suspect Dien of foul play, but a message went out letting Demorian know of this plan. Of course she wasn’t about to tell him that, but after Mr. Tall, Dark, and Ugly decided to let them in on his whereabouts, Canti took off. It was a race of sorts; first person to find Suraisu was the winner, and got their prize.

At first, there had been another AI tracking them, but very quickly it returned to whence it came. Danielle imagined it was probably a program from someone else in the group, tasked with tracking them until it was needed elsewhere, but the blademaster remained blissfully unaware of that.

So where to now?” she asked, recalling the map of Yamiyo she’d picked up from the prison tower. The answer was obvious, especially with Dien as hell-bent on killing Suraisu as he was.

“We follow him,” Dien replied, “only we’re taking the long road. Can’t afford to be seen by anyone from our group—especially not after that encounter.” So that was back to the entrance of the sector, and making his way by foot to the elemental district. That was at least half a mile’s walk. That explained why he activated another Ap Do before proceeding.

Why Suraisu had turned into the target of his rage was anybody’s guess—it made more sense to him to blame Zan for his state, or Leek, or Xenobia, or maybe even Royce or Nall, but Danielle had to agree with Canti in this; the man seemed innocent. There was something else, too. She hadn’t noticed it before, but there was a strange sequence growing into the banks of Dien’s code. Of course she’d written it off as some new development of the biological Twilight, but that didn’t stop her being concerned about it. Closer examination showed that it wasn’t active, but beyond that she couldn’t really tell what it was supposed to do. If she showed it to the former hacker, she was sure he’d be able to decipher it, but there would be no luck even trying to get him to pay attention, so she let it rest.

It wasn’t long before Dien had made his way into the Rai sector. He stood out here, but not nearly as much as Canti would, which would make getting around quite a bit easier for him.

What’ll you do if you find him?” Danielle asked, “I mean, even with how much you’ve leveled up, you can’t be much more than half his level—and you’re alone.

“You don’t have to remind me of the facts,” Dien retorted aloud, spotting the tallest building in the area and making his way towards it, “even if I can’t kill him, I’m going to do whatever I can to leave my mark.” It was then that she noticed something particularly curious; at the thought of not killing Suraisu, the script she’d found kicked into gear, and his thoughts…changed slightly. And as they changed, the purpose of the script became clear: it was a berserker module. Not quite as nefarious as some other pieces of scripting she’d caught in the void between fields and servers, but it was definitely enough to change his behavior. He literally wasn’t himself.

“Why the sudden silence?” he asked.

Nothing,” she replied, “I was just considering the likelihood of you—us surviving this ordeal.

“You can stop that now,” he half-retorted, half-commanded. If she hadn’t had reason to ignore him before, she did now.

A brief conversation with a shopkeeper revealed much. Dien was trying to get in touch with the Rai king, and to see if he could help locate Suraisu. Of course as he learned, the only way to see the Rai king was to fight the Rai king, and without any twilight powers, to fight the Rai king was to die. This shopkeeper seemed particularly enamored with his combat ability, which did not bode well for the blademaster’s chances at getting information out of him. Just the same, the place to challenge him was in the massive arena pit in front of his castle, and entering that pit was always taken as a challenge.

For a moment, Danielle read thoughts of hesitation in Dien’s mind, but just as she expected, the script activated and sent those thoughts scampering in the face of its determination. It wasn’t even his determination anymore, which was the scary part. This thing, whatever it was, was going to march her carrier straight to his death, which would also mean her own.

Dien, I need to show you something.” Danielle finally said as they began to approach the pit.

“Unless it’s some weakness you’ve found in Suraisu, it can wait.” The blademaster spoke. Why she had expected to be able to get through to him, she didn’t know, but she had to try again.

Jed, listen.” Given names usually carried more weight. “I’ve discovered something in your code—it’s changing you, and I don’t think it has your best interests in mind.” At that moment, whatever this script was kicked into full gear, and the hacker was silent for a full minute before opening his mouth again.

“Did you have something to show me or not, Danielle?” he interrogated, and the AI was simply shocked. It was as though he hadn’t even heard what she’d said, like the thoughts in his mind had been completely overruled and eradicated. If it could wipe out thoughts, what could it do to her? This thing was smart, and knew to preserve its own existence, so if she wanted to fight it, she’d have to outsmart it.

Finally they arrived at the pit. And that’s what it was: a deep pit with a steep grade on the walls, lined with various metallic pieces to make fights more interesting. And here was the greater tension. Going into the pit and facing the king posed a serious question to Dien, and as he pondered it, Danielle could see the script acting in full gear. Going into the pit meant almost certain death, but if, on the other hand, he could at least get this king to agree to talk, then he would be able to find Suraisu and get the drop on him. The chances of that happening were minute at best – one in a million, and even then only on the luckiest of days, but it was enough to keep him there, standing on the brim and staring at the combat grounds below.

It was then that he saw. Standing some fifty yards away and directly across the pit was Suraisu, who bore a look of shock at seeing Dien there, as well. A million thoughts rushed through his mind, but only one stroke of genius struck Danielle. If anyone could get Dien to listen, it would be Suraisu. Considerable effort was put into projecting across such a long distance, almost to the point where she had to completely detach, though by some miracle she was able to retain the original connection.

She appeared behind him, and he spun upon hearing her footstep, waving a hand through her before glaring back at the blademaster. Of course Dien was equally befuddled by this sudden betrayal, and he cried out, beginning to run around the edge of the pit to get to where they were. Suraisu strafed, keeping himself diametrically opposed to the man and ignoring the girl behind him.

You’re Suraisu," she said matter-of-factly. “I actually need your help.

Why?

Dien’s…” she begins, running along with him, “how do I put this? I need you to fight him and win.

Easy. But why?

He’s consumed with rage,” she replied, shooting a glare back across the arena, “I’ve never seen him this mad, and the only way he’ll get it out of his system is if he fights you.” Danielle pauses, circling in front of Suraisu. “His mind is inebriated with thoughts of revenge. If you beat him…maybe he’ll give up on it.” She smiled as though remembering something fondly, stepping out of his way as he continued to strafe across from Dien. “I’d rather him be depressed than angry.

If I beat him, he’ll be dead." he said, looking across at Dien. “Unless he’s improved significantly since back then.

About thirty levels,” she replied. “Though he recently gave up his powers to help a friend.” There was no need to tell him about the code at play in him.

So no, then. Very well.” He shouted across to Dien, “In the pit!” and leapt into the arena. The blademaster followed suit, and Danielle noticed something Suraisu probably wouldn’t have; he was wearing the boots that Nighthand had given him. For his sake, she hoped that it would be enough. As soon as they hit the bottom, Dien bolted forward. If anything, this fight would be over and decided quickly.

_________________
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Wishlist: EXP, Ends of Earth, Armor with Status Effects


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:52 am 
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Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
OOC: This post takes place at approximately the same time as Dien's.

IC>>>>>

My knowledge from Marionette no longer paints an accurate picture...

(Imagine Canti's shock for just a second. It's bad enough he has suspicions that Dien is acting independently and no longer in the mission parameters. It's a whole 'nother thing to hear that someone like Demorian finds him different from usual... Dammit, Dien, did Suraisu really bother you that much? For Canti's credit, he was able to get over this schick. The revenge bit failed and he wasn't going to go mad over this. Why was the rational guy doing this? He couldn't figure him out, and that's why he had it so that Shadow could watch over him. Wait...Shadow? Okay, the Twin Blade almost hit himself for not realizing this sooner, and Demorian received a Flashmail none too soon regarding why.)

Quote:
TO: Demorian
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: I'm an idiot!

For crying out loud, I have a bloodhound! He found this place by homing in on ME. Do you have some kind of data profile on Suraisu, something you can upload to me?


(The Bogie had tracked him down from a different server, perceiving this one - an otherwise inaccessable area - as soon as he set foot in it. There was absolutely no way for Suraisu to avoid him of the dog could do that. The one crimp in the plan was that he needed a 'scent' to work with or else it's just alot of guesswork. After all, he was a dog, not a miracle worker. This was only possible because he was designed for it. Canti was beginning to like this pet more and more.)

Quote:
TO: Canti
FROM: Demorian
SUBJECT: RE I'm an idiot!

Unfortunately once he was defeated by Nall, Marionette lost track of him for some time. Any data file I have would be out of date and possibly useless. However, I'll look around through my cache to check. Don't get your hopes up too high; I don't have access to Marionette anymore. If I don't find anything I'll see if I can dig up something residual from where you guys spotted him.


(That was fine by him. He told Demorian to go to it, and that he was making all speed for Raio. He never should've let Dien in on this... It was obviously too much for him. Instructing Shadow to abandon watching him and follow, Canti took off literally. He spread his wings, used a Speed Charm, and went moving immediately out of Stitcher. Barely off the ground, the dark Twin Blade seemed to only be a little ways off the ground, touching down only to quickly maneuver around other people and damn them if they tried to interfere with him doing it. Nobody did. Equally, nobody stopped the hellhound of significant bulk that followed, bounding after the guy with Ap Do engaged. They both made the Chaos Gate without incident, and just as Shadow was arriving in the Raio Sector by Canti's side...flashmail!)

Quote:
TO: Canti
FROM: Demorian
SUBJECT: File

Nothing comes up in my caches. Could still be something there, but nothing I can do to dig them up right now. I did, however, manage to recover a hint of his data around that bar. He frequented it enough that I could pull it out, and cross-referenced it with the doll Dien was given. Here.


(Directly below the message was a blinking button, a clicky. It was to a file with random letters and numbers as its name. Pressing it transformed the information into what looked like a scrap of yellow fabric. Yes! This was exactly what he needed. It was a small start, really, but ultimately perfect for Shadow. He handed it over to him and the dog's jaws clamped shut on it, much to the Twin Blade's surprise. Yikes! Didn't have to go that far... Anyway, with the information processing, Shadow's eyes would pick up the guy's trail in the form of some rather glowy footsteps. As they were at the main entrance to Raio, having simply taken the central Chaos Gate from Stitcher directly to her, it was as good a place as any to start. However, they did not immediately find anything...)

Quote:
TO: Canti
FROM: Talal
SUBJECT: Location

I lost track of you at the bars so I followed Dien instead. I lost him too after awhile and stopped to get my bearings. I think I'm near the castle of Stitcher sector but not really sure to be honest. I was just bulldozed by some guy in a really big hurry though. I think it might have been the man you're looking for. He was going towards the gate and I was going to give chase but then I caught sight of Dien just before he passed by the corner of a building about a block away. He's not following this other guy and from what I can tell, not going for the gate either like his flashmail said. I'm very confused. My gut says to stick with Dien so I'm going to try and catch up to him, and hope it really is him. I'll know for sure when I catch up to him. If it is him, I'll continue distanced surveillance in case he runs into Suraisu again and needs assistance. Where are you? Do you see anyone else around you? Have you found Suraisu?


(For the record, it hadn't been Canti or Shadow that'd bumped past Talal at warp speed. They would've known and so would have she. Still giving a bit of a search in the general area, Canti replied to her.)

Quote:
TO: Talal
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Hunting

Keeping an eye on Dien is fine. The search just changed venue and I'm using Shadow to track him down. I'm in Raio now, acting on a tip from a big ugly. Don't worry. Demorian knows what I'm up to and I'm sure Takua's still on my tail. Think I could feel his presence.


(This wasn't a joke. Takua had been in his head to use his eyes before and he could definitely sense it, or thought he had. It was a curious sensation, being looked through. Well, in any case, there was no immediate trace of Suraisu. Could he have missed it somehow? No no no...THAT'S not it. Of course! This is Raio! The map says that this place connects to Stitcher via Multi-Class! The guy could've legged it the whole way! Canti and Shadow began to head for the Raio/Multi-Class doorway, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. Next to nobody really cared what he was doing, even though he stuck out like a sore thumb and a sore thumb's dog. He wasn't bothering them, though, so no worries...probably. Reckless though Canti may be, he wasn't necessarily stupid. Here or that spot in Stitcher, he was the fish right out of water. Then...)

Shadow: Data signature located. Due...this way.

Canti: What, really? I see, well...next time say 'East' or something.

(The demon dog shrugged. He'd found footprints, dammit. From the side-entrance to deeper into the sector, they were moving at a fair clip, as though some running had been done. Yes, running. That sounded about right. Yes, of course. Running from Dien, of no one else. And like Mr. Anid said, he's gone hiding somewhere old in Raio. That would indicate deep in this place. So, with a 'Here we go again' feeling, Canti ordered Shadow to follow, both of them wary as they went further in. One does not simply waltz into Mordor. You end up, more than likely, dancing the Charlie Foxtrot. Uhhh...don't ask. Anyway, following these tracks weren't too incredibly hard. It's just a couple of places he got muddled about before emerging again. Finally, they lead to a doorway and stop. Rather, a sheetmetal door made to be slid aside mounted on a building of rusty metal walls. It is otherwise complete non-descript. Okay then, taking extreme caution here, Canti is on one side of the doorway and Shadow is on another. Fearing a paranoid death-bolt flying out the door or something, they're out of the way as he knocks in the manner of 'Shave and a Haircut'. And...nothing happens. Canti facepalms.)

Canti: Of course. Why would he?

(Okay, knocking again, followed by the call of...)

Canti: Non-threatening messanger. Hello?

(...the WORST british accent ever. Still no response. Is he waiting in ambush? Has to be home. No tracks leading away. He checked with Shadow and found that there was nothing else here other than the trail of 'I ran in here like a motherfucker'. Huh. Well, the door looks like it's able to be used from out here, not locked or anything. Fine then.)

Canti: Well, either shoot me or back up. I'm not here for a fight, but I am coming in.

(He did so, but alternatively decided to duck, just in case. In case he took up Canti's offer to be shot, this would be the wise course of action. Of course, nothing opened fire. The first room was bare stone walls and a floor covered in straw. Completely empty. The young man and the dog decided to search the other rooms, ultimately making a circuit of the place. They came here to the right address and found no welcoming committee. That was strange, to say the least. Heh, they didn't have long to search, though. The second room was an intricate web of chains and shackles, bare stone for all surfaces, with a small altar in the center. The footsteps were all over the floor, as if he'd paced around and hurried in and out several times. However, he was still there; shackled to the wall. Suraisu was directly before him. There was...a look of confusion on Canti's face, then...)

Canti: Dr. Livingstone, I presume. What the fuck, mate?

(This was just a joke he'd been saving for the end of the search. After all, Canti had looked longer than anyone. It seemed only fair to wisecrack about it. One problem, though. Why in the hell was he shackled in his own place? Errr...that is...if this WAS his own place. Suraisu was, however, completely unconscious.)

Canti: Oh, right. Not conscious.

(Canti sighed. This looked bad. It looked wrong.)

Canti: Okay, come on out. I know he didn't do this himself.

(Waiting for some indication, to himself or Shadow, that they were not alone. Nothing. There was a third room, but it had only a bed and a large tub. That's it.)

Canti: No? Alright...

(Wary that there could still be a trap of some kind, Canti charged a sniper-shot of the Darkness Flame and fired it specifically to break the shackle, not Suraisu. The fact that it was a penetration charge and not exploding would indicate the obvious course. The aim was not to kill. This was either for Suraisu to determine or any watchers, should either be possible. The chain sparked, but seemed resistant to damage. To an attack like that? Ka-damn... Canti looked at his finger.)

Canti: That...should've worked, actually. Wow. Shadow, keep an eye out for anything.

(As he dog put himself on guard duty, there was a groan from the lightning rod of a baseball player. So, he was recovering? Seemed he'd been stirred by that attack. Canti waited to see if he'd bring himself out of it, but it didn't seem like that would be the case. He pulled out a Health Drink then...)

Canti: Come on, we haven't got time to wait. This is a bad scene no matter how you cut it.

(...and used it. This had a decent effect. After a moment, his eyes began to open.)

Canti: Now, this isn't what it looks like. I just wanna say that up front. Whatever it is, I didn't do it.

(No response from Dr. Livingstone. He just glared at him.)

Canti: Not talking? Fine. I'll start. You see, I'm not mad anymore. I use to be, but I got over it. Because I get it, alright? I know the scoop, and I'm not here to blow your brains out. I have no idea what's going on right now, but this is how it is.

(Yup, still not talking. However, this was starting to take on a bad sign. He was almost completely awake and his glare was full of malice. Just mailce; no recognition, no thoughtfulness, nothing but a bloodlust... Canti blinked.)

Canti: Uhh, Suraisu? You in there? Hellooo!

(This was where Han Solo needs to say "I've got a bad feeling about this.", because umm...yeah. Bad feeling. Without another moment's hesitation, Canti backed up a step and sent a flashmail over to Demorian.)

Quote:
TO: Demorian
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Got 'im!

Demorian, I found him. Something is wrong. He's chained to a wall and lookin' at me like I'm a piece of meat. Can you home in on my location? I don't wanna take my eyes off of him. I can have Shadow find you if necessary.


(He was just getting a return FM saying that he'd have to give up watching Dien to do so...when the Twin Blade heard a sound he would probably have nightmares about. Those chains groaned in protest as they were pulled and then popped right off all of a sudden. Shadow tensed, and so did Canti actually, as Suraisu stood up, chains wrapping around him less like restraints and more like weapons and armor...)

Canti: Oh no.

(No sooner had he sent a message to Demorian again - "FUCKING HURRY! HE'S LOOSE!" - than another one came in. This one was from Talal, though, and it was entirely relevent as well.)

Quote:
TO: Canti
FROM: Talal
SUBJECT: Found Him!

Followed Dien to the Rai sector. He's entered into some sort of pit fight. Basically a big hole lined with spikes. He's fighting Suraisu! Bring the gang and hurry.


Canti: WHAT?!

Quote:
TO: Talal
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: RE Found Him!

Say what?! But I've got 'im here in front of me and he's Hulked out! What the hell is going on?!


(Nevermind that now. Canti backed away a significant portion as Shadow let off a howl of paralysis at Suraisu now. Dien fighting Suraisu in a pit? What kind of bullshit is this? The Twin Blade didn't know, but like HELL he was gonna die here before finding out. He had to handle this, somehow... If this was Suraisu, then he had get him under control. He wasn't going to just outright kill the guy if he didn't have to.)

Canti: C'mon, man. I didn't come here for this! I wanted to help! I'm not like Dien!

TO!

BE!

CONTINUED!!!

_________________
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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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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
The confrontations were beginning, but where was everyone?

Dien traced Suraisu through the twists and turns of the city, eventually ending up at an arena that only Nighthand and Demorian would find familiar. Demorian because he knew the place, knew the area. Nighthand because he had witnessed a fight there once before. It was one of the two great arenas in Yamiyo. Not the ring in the Bazaar, where the party had been forced to fight to Garaa’s pleasure. No, it was the ring in the Raio sector, where the Thunder Master held sway.

Meanwhile Canti, too, traced Suraisu. Only this time, when he found him, it wasn’t in a ring. The small cramped apartment would make a complicated battleground. Canti was a type that liked to maneuver, liked to fly, and neither of those options were readily available to him. Meanwhile his opponent, Suraisu in chains, seemed to be using those chains as an extension of himself. Logical, if his powers did indeed include a manipulation of metal beyond his blood. Those weapons wreathed the room in a complicated web, that would make avoiding them all but impossible.

In both battles, Suraisu made his move.

Dien bolted forward, his speed supernatural. Suraisu could barely track him visually. The blademaster seemed to have a preternatural knowledge of where Suraisu was; he moved in a circle, but the blademaster followed instantly. His reactions were attuned to their very peak, but his eyes were unfocused, lost. Suraisu didn’t know what was going on. This was far from the Dien that had chased him out of the bar. This Dien would have caught him quickly.

Suraisu growled and grunted, slight pain moving across his body as he readied himself for combat. A pair of foot-long claws erupted from the backs of his hands, bright silver metal forming, molten then solid, more than emerging like hidden blades. His skin was torn, but bloodless. More accurately, the metal was his blood. Another blade emerged from each elbow, jutting back along his arm. Smaller spikes emerged from knees and shins, more designed to puncture and tear than to slice.

Dien didn’t even seem to notice, his unsettling speed and his uncanny reactions making it hard for Suraisu to judge when he would arrive. The arena was large, but he only had perhaps another second.

That second passed in a flurry of motion. Suraisu dropped into a half-crouch, ready to either spring away or spring into the attack, as the situation required. His face was a mixture of enjoyment and wariness; he liked to battle, and it had been a while since he fought, but this was a battle beyond the toy fights he held in this very arena. This man wanted his life, and those were stakes Suraisu was no longer used to.

Dien’s arrival was a puff of dust from the arena floor and the shining arc of a blade slicing full down at the fist fighter. The blade jarred off and slid down Suraisu’s claws, swinging into the dirt. Instantly his leg rose and kicked, impacting full into Dien’s stomach. The many tiny blades dug in and tore, the force of the kick sending the blademaster back a full six feet. He didn’t even try to block. He bled, but didn’t acknowledge the bleeding. He was wounded, yet didn’t heal. He didn’t even notice. Suraisu grew worried.

Fire erupted around the fist fighter, obscuring his view and keeping him put. Dodging wouldn’t be helpful, Dien seemed to know exactly where he was at all times. The damage was minor enough, a simple Vak Rom.

The flames parted in an instant and Dien came through, the fire licking at his clothing, drying and curling the haggard strings of flesh from his torn stomach. His sword was down, and brought up, and Suraisu took a glancing blow in the arm. It knocked him off balanced, and he stumbled back, barely managing to stop himself. He dug into the ground, small claws of metal ejecting from the bottoms of his feet to give him traction. He struck a runner’s pose, about to leap into action.

Dien’s charge was relentless, his sword up for a thrust into the heart or the throat. He thrust, and Suraisu lunged, and both blows struck home. Suraisu felt the blade pierce his shoulder, in and out, and closed the distance immediately. His own claws dug into the already-wounded gullet of the blademaster, and he twisted, ripping his fist out before spinning around and pulling back. The blade slid out of his shoulder, leaving a hole that slowly oozed liquid quicksilver until it sealed up. Suraisu’s form wavered, but he struck a combat pose.

Dien backed into the wall, the spikes grazing through his flesh as he kicked off it, gaining some air and some speed, flying at Suraisu with his blade brandished. Suraisu rolled to the side, his blade deforming as they encountered the ground to keep him from cutting himself or getting stuck. Dien followed immediately, blow after blow raining at his opponent. The fist fighter did all he could to block each slash as it came, but they came fast and hard, and he was having difficulty keeping up. That female AI had said he traded in his powers to help a friend, and only gained thirty levels. That would have kept him at least thirty still below Suraisu, but this relentless power made the gap seem much smaller. What was going on?

In a move almost too fast to catch, Dien switched blades, and an Ani Slash erupted in a burst of darkness. Unprepared, the blow caught Suraisu full on, shearing through his defensive claw and streaking across his chest. Suraisu reeled, silver blood splashing the ground at his feet. What was this power the blademaster wielded?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Meanwhile in Canti’s corner of the world, the chain-clad fist fighter advanced slowly and menacingly. The bloodhound howled out a cry that would chill the blood and stop any normal man in his tracks, but this metal-bound monstrosity kept his slow advance, chains from his wrist shackles dragging the ground.

One chain snaked up, and with a flick of the arm, was cracked like a whip at Canti. He was far enough away that he dodged to the side in time, but the second chain-snap was only hastily blocked by a blade. The bloodhound’s huge paw batted a third chain swipe out of the air, stamping down and keeping the chain in place on the ground. The chained Suraisu yanked, but couldn’t pull it free. However, that kept the dog from interfering with another chain, whipped at Canti’s face.

Merrows, specifically Merrows Ch, came out of nowhere and the explosion of water energy sent the chain writhing back the way it had come. It acted beyond a simple whip; as if the damage had hurt it.

“Looks like everything’s a mess, need a hand?” Came a voice from the entryway. Canti noticed, now that he had time to notice, that telltale feeling of Takua’s vision using his own eyes. The wavemaster’s intervention came at just the right time.

The chain-clad monstrosity seemed to reel for a moment, and the pair took that moment to ready themselves for the battle to come. This wouldn’t be easy, but it’d be easier together than alone.

If only they could figure out what was going on.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Demorian, conflicting information from each of the people he was supposed to watch over filling his inbox, was at a loss. What did Suraisu do that he could be in two places at once?

To add to the confusing mix of flashmails, another arrived. This time, from a name he didn’t recognize. The contents, however, he knew he needed to act on, and that prevented him from stepping in on either fight.

A quick Flashmail exchange happened on the sidelines of the pit where Dien fought and Talal watched. Important information was exchanged, including a few choice details about Demorian himself and the location of their temporary hideout.

If he was right, that information would lead to huge advancements in their situation. If he was wrong, the Elites would come down in force and eradicate them once and for all. He could only hope Nighthand would be able to handle himself if it came to that. No one else was home, so to speak.

Another message came in. Their meeting with the Fire Master was confirmed.

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