Hidden 6 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Conscripts
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Conscripts An Atom Trying to Understand Itself

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Phillip Leonhart

Friday Morning - Evergreen Sociology Corridor

Projects, projects and projects. They are big big decorations to an engineering student's resume when he is finally out there in this working world. And in this case, Phillip's greatest achievements, as a perfect model with pretty much a dreamlike grades for an average student, along with achieving a reward for an international competition, wouldn't haul his asses into these big companies so easily. They don't care if you're a genius or not. They care if you can work for them, have the necessary experience so that they don't have to drill them into you themselves. This is something that Phillip didn't have, so he ought to take this seriously, even if there were no teachers or deadlines nagging him on.

But even if he's taking this seriously, there was no fun to enjoy.

Even if there were no obligations for him to do this project, he felt he needed to. To take this seriously and do this project properly. To get this engineering degree done, and get a job at some big shot company, make some good money and be happy with his life. That was the goal right? But he asked himself again. Would getting good money would make him happy? Now this was no philosophical debate of money equals happiness. That the man had already settled years ago with the fact that despite not meaning everything, it still played a major part, and would still be up to the person's definition of happiness and their inner desires. Is being financially successful what he truly wants in life? Or something else. Or worse, is he following engineering because he wants to, or is he following it just and only just to satisfy some people in his life?

The question hung over his head as he exited the Evergreen lab and passed the prep room for professors. To his surprise and thankfulness, his mind was given a short break when just as he was about to pass by the room, emerged one of his old teacher and now a conversational friend, Dr Brower.

"Hey Phillip! How're you doing?" He immediately greeted the moment Phillip made eye contact with him.

"I'm doing good, thank you." Phillip returned his old professor a friendly smile before he matched his pace in a casual stroll. "How's everything going?"

"Hmm. Nothing significant I'd say." He replied. "I'm still up for the schedule, a stable 9 to 5, doing the things I love: teaching philosophy to bright minds like you."

"Hah, I'd beg to differ, but thanks for your compliment." Phillip laughed a little.

"No no I'd be dishonest if I said you aren't." The professor said. "There aren't many students who were attentive enough with philosophy. Even critical thinking, one of the courses I teach up at St Paul and arguably the most practical of philosophy courses, many students were already falling asleep halfway. You being engaged in class is already a reward to me, and an achievement for you, so it's alright."

Curiosity did get people everywhere. It made him feel a little sad though that it was so underappreciated nowadays. People aren't curious in anything.

"So anyone else in particular that you've taken an interest in?" Phillip asked out of the pure curiosity he just thought about.

"Hmmm..." Brower hummed for a while, still walking across the corridor of Evergreen, browsing through his piles of lectures to find an outlier. "I do remember this guy in Sixth Form. Quite knowledgeable with these stuffs, poses some interesting questions too. Though he's a bit...weird."

Phillip's eyebrows were up.

"I usually catch him walking around the corridor multiple times while heading to my other classes. It feels like he's living his own separate world." Phillip wasn't that surprised to be honest. He was like that sometimes. However...

"Wait, is that him?" Brower tried to zoom in on the sight before him. Two guys bumped into each other, both on the floor. And one of them was the delusional conspiracy theorist Phillip had the misfortune of running into the other day. And the dude was just about to punch the other student, before something stopped him. Seriously, he could have just ended up being a delusional kid like before, and Phillip would be all than willing to dismiss it as a phase in his life. High school - people can do a lot of edgy stuffs then. But now he was trying to act violently against someone over merely bumping on him? This guy had some serious issues that need help IMMEDIATELY. This guy could be a threat to society.

"My my." On the other hand, Brower confirmed the other student's identity. Yes, it's that guy he was talking about earlier on. The professor wished internally that the guy was ok before turning over to Phillip. "Oh well, I have to head to my next class. It was nice to see you again today."

"Thanks. I hope I'll catch you in the hallway sometimes."

The two exchanged them goodbyes before Dr Brower headed the other direction down the corridor, whereas Phillip turned back to the whole commotion. The guy his former professor had mentioned was now heading down the hall toward the so called genius from St Paul. Phillip observed his somewhat passive and non-existent aura before gently giving him a brief reminder his way as he was passing by him.

"You may want to look around a little. You're spacing out."
@Nimbus
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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Savo
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Savo River City Dabber

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Alexander Furst

Confidants:: Ava (@addamas), Hat Kid, Raven? (@FalloutJack))
Whereabouts:: ???
Day:: Friday Afternoon



Just before Alex could peer around the corner, he stopped dead in his tracks and retreated just a smidgen back into the alleyway. Hoisting his head up, he squinted and pursed his lips while gradually moving towards the sound. Raising an eyebrow, he turned his head skyward, "Was that the sound of a bird," he questioned himself, barely taking notice of the sounds.

Sighing, he went back to flattening himself against the wall; the less something could see him, the better after all. As he began reaching that same location as before, the cawing gradually became louder as he swore that it sounded like human words interspersed between each resonating caw.

The pace of his breathing was picking up, though he kept each breath he took in low, creeping ever so closer until the sound of a fourth voice had completely dominated his ears. He bit his lip and blinked pivoting around with his fists up; with furrowed brows and a glare that could rip and tear through anything, the trio were greeted by a raven.

Alex blinked once more.

A talking Raven.

"Did I hit my friggin' head or something? There's no way in hell I fell asleep again, nor did I smack into something. My diets been fine, as I've been eating-," Alex began to list off every single thing he had done in the prior days, trying to make sense of this all before stopping. The fact that he had accepted that he was in a sickly green world already and that everything was as wrong as the structures that H.P. Lovecraft had "described," and had gone into a defensive mode caused him to lower his guard just a little.

"Why am I weirded out by a Raven at this point," he uttered under his breath, as if it were a curse or something as he lowered his arms. His face began to relax as he glanced at the bird with a resting bitch face as he started to slowly make his way towards it with multiple thoughts shooting through his mind.

Instead of speaking out right off the bat, he paused and leaned on the wall, trying to make sense of this all. His eyes drifted between the raven and the exit, as if in some sort of dream-like trance. "The dream... this has to be coincidental."

And as much as he wanted to believe this was all coincidental, something nipped at him in the back of his head. He had kept completely quiet all while this was transpiring, taking it all in as he began to look at it from an introspective angle. Of course, that train of thought crashed with Ava's fist against his shoulder.

At least the impact was a lot lighter, coming from her. "Thanks Ava... and, also, Raven, was it? I don't trust you in the slightest," Alex spoke up, walking in the opposite way of their supposed exit. He was unflinching as he approached the bird, glowering as his breath abated, "Coming out of no where, describing Laurence, and stating that those things go into a feeding frenzy."

But then he paused, a few centimeters away from the bird, "But all things considered, I don't think any of us have much of a choice but to trust you." He groaned, grinding his teeth while placing a hand against his temples and rubbed it, grumbling.

"Lead us to Laurence and get us out of here... and don't you dare double-cross us, got it? Oh, and explain to us a couple of things while leading us to Laurence since you're going to guide us... like, where are we and what are those "they's" you mentioned." Alex felt he had an idea in the back of his mind what those "they's" were Raven had mentioned, but he had no idea if they were like monsters from Amnesia or Silent Hill.

"Now then, walk an' talk, lets get going," he issued in a commanding tone as he whirled his index finger about.
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FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

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This was an uneasy first meeting. What had started as a bit of a shock soon settled into confusion and concern, for the most part. The boy with the hat, for his part, had tried to keep her talking, largely because he seemed unsure of the situation and wanted as much information as possible, confirming god knows what. It was hard for her to get a read on him. Ironically, the mental exercises were helping her think straight, so it's all good. When the girl decided to essentially let the situation be what it is and go with it to find Laurence, that put a little confidence into things. Alex, the last boy, was understandably suspicious, and made this fact known. He was very authoritative about it, too.

"I understand the mistrust. It's a difficult situation to deal with. There's no need to give the order, though."

She wanted to help, anyway she could. Because...now that she had her head back...she remembered seeing people being victimized by the Shadows, consumed or...much, much worse. Raven took off in place, apparently able to keep herself in the air and roughly in-place so she didn't leave people behind, like she had apparently done with Laurence.

So, Laurence, Ava, Alex, and uhh...Hat-Boy. Right. Got it.

So, she turned towards a wall, used her claws against it to get some quick lift over the lip of buildings, then swooped back down in a glide and the occasional flap to pass them and lead them away from the Charnel Place to where the alley proceeded further, saying "This way!", and needing them to keep up a pace with her doing this idle-glide. She could fly in place, but obviously that needed more energy. Raven never understood how hummingbirds had the energy for it all the time. Along the way, she started to speak to the three of them.

"Alright, this is going to be about as hard to swallow as everything else, but try to remember I've been living here a while now, so I know a thing or two. You're not in the world you know. I'm sure you figured that out, yourselves, but let me drop the other shoe: This is a world where everybody's inner-selves live, their true being. It's a world of everybody's minds, where all the creatures that speak say whatever reality their real-world counterpart really thinks and how they view the world. You could say that it mirrors the soul. I've been thinking of it as a 'Metacognitive Universe', or Metaverse, for all you Philosophy majors."

"Oh no... Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"What do you think I'm saying?"

The hat boy stopped for a second and began to sing "Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination..." in a decent impersonation of Gene Wilder. There was a snerk from Raven's direction, and she had to land and lean against a wall with one wing, covering her beak with the other to keep from laughing too hard.

"Don't joke at a time like this, Hatman."

"Hakuro."

Raven paused for a second, remembering how she'd addressed him earlier. Yeah, okay, fair point...

"Right, right...sorry."

"So, the things, then, that you're afraid of...?"

She looked at all of them seriously now.

"Everyone has a dark imagination in them, somewhere. The 'They' I mentioned are Shadows. Shadow of people, dark imaginings made manifest, living nightmares, etc. I've seen alot. You three were just about to walk into a place the more feral creatures come to hunt for prey."

Giving them a second to let that sink in, Raven soon took off again, saying "We should go. Some Shadows are worse than others." as she turned and again started a lazy flight that she was trying to keep in pace with their walking/running speed, but she would prefer that they remained swift, if they could, if they wanted to avoid the darkness... Every now and again, she would swoop up to get their bearings, though Hakuro had one question that came to mind.

"If everything here is a Shadow, what're you?"

"Not everyone's a Shadow. I mean, you've seen how easy it is to get lost in here. But as for me...I dunno. There's alot of darkness here. Maybe I'm light!"

"But you're a Raven!"

"Nobody's perfect!"

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

Elsewhere...



This place was really off. His surrounfings held twisted optical illusions and voices whispering out of thin air from...nowhere. It seemed like London, but it seemed NOT like London. The sky was wrong, the fog was weird, the distant landmarks appeared to be listing, and there was a distant banging and shouting from somewhere. All in all, not a great experience. Worse yet, any sort of...well... Okay, one might guess that they were perpetually cast in a bad light, but the truth is that they were blackness in the shape of human beings, clothing fairly normal in the dissonant picture of the normal coating the abnormal. The point is that they all appeared to be muttering themselves...and each one was traveling down an alley or down the street or into a building in EXACTLY the right speed to keep ahead and out of Romani's reach, disappearing around a corner or in a door without him discovering anything. It was almost as if an elaborate prank were being played, but if so...then half or ALL of London had to be in on it.
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Alexander Furst

Confidants:: Ava (@addamas), Hakuro, Raven (@FalloutJack))
Whereabouts:: The Metaverse?
Day:: Friday Afternoon



Alex glared at the bird before stepping back a foot or two, shrugging nonchalantly while tilting his head to the side, eyes shifting between the bird and what was behind him. Honestly, there really was no choice in the matter as he placed a hand on his hip and lifted his ear up, as if either to act as an amplifier or some form of mockery towards the bird, most likely the former. "Sure," he murmured disconnectedly.

His breathing was long, expiring and inspiring deeply as the bird flew up, beckoning to guide them in a foreign direction. Just as he took a step forward, he stopped, eyes widening as he threw his head to look behind him. "What was that?"

Alex swore he heard what sounded to be a mix of a growling grizzly or wolf combined with aspects of a child gurgling and the sounds of a car engine. The sound was alien to him as he felt the hair on his skin stand up so straight that he could probably impale someone with it. As much as it could be bizarre, this was supposedly reality right now as he strode forward, passing by Hat Boy and Ava, taking the lead.

As they traversed this landscape, their guide began talking and explaining to them things about this site, about what they've gathered from years of living here. However, as the bird continued to talk, his mind began to drift between the waking world and dreams with particular terms this bird rattled off. "Everyone's minds, huh?"

Those cards came to mind once more. He didn't understand them, at least completely at first, but maybe he dreamed that this was to come? A future premonition? As ridiculous as it sounded, he slowly began to believe it, though there was one ridiculous thing he couldn't believe as he grit his teeth and turned around to glower at Hat Boy, or rather Hakuro. He mouthed a silent "cease" to the guy before facing forward again.

Despite the short pause, the Raven was finally getting over to the "they's" they mentioned earlier. Hushed, Alex soaked up all this information as the bird spoke of "shadows," describing them as dark imaginings, nightmares, and so on. "Are they the unconscious side of us?

His eyes were glazed over for a split second, visualizing Amari and Igor, repeating the words they spoke in his head, sound by sound, articulation by articulation, before returning his attention. It seems they began squabbling over something else, but based on the explanation, the Raven to Alex was a shadow. "I wonder if their real word counterpart has some issues."

"Or maybe you're a Sun, who knows." Alex looked up the raven, studying them quizzically for a split-second before looking to the road ahead. His eyes widened for a second. A thought.

"Say, you guys don't think anyone else got pulled in here aside from Laurence, do ya? Actually," Alex cocked his head upwards, "oy, birdy or Raven or whatever you want me to call you, is there anyone else here you've possibly forgotten about?"
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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Sync
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Sync The Wildcard

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Romaní Bogart

Strength Blares When the Candles Fade
Friday Morning, ???
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The world was mocking him, although the men and women that traversed the streets were suited, vested like normal and even energized like any other day there was a palpable sense of unease protruding their bodies. Their bodies were like shadows, and their movements where hunched and uncoordinated. Through hushed murmurs and covert lines, pacing almost mechanically towards the distance, the people seemed to have made it their effort to avoid the youth at all cost. The world seemed denser than before, every time he attempted to approach an individual, they would shimmy of the way, like a caged bird attempting to escape to the other side of it's cage. Every single molecule of his body screamed to step aside from this place, it made a catalyst for the worst case scenario. His throat felt dry, and there was certainly a sensation of burning emanating from its innards, his hand instinctively reach for his neck and began to rubbed its surface. A cold sweet began to run down his spine and he built up the courage to move his left leg forward, followed by his right, and so on.

The fog thickened, and the sounds began to rummage through the world, like a scene from a post-apocalyptic land. Screams and noises like singed metal being carved by saw's surface from time to time, the silence was eerie and the sudden burst of noises was alarming. Where in hell was he? His mind began to assemble whatever pattern he could conjure about how he got there. But nothing pop's up to mind. He woke up, he began to pack his stuff on his bag, he took the same turn... the same road towards the school. So why was it that now he felt so out of place. He picked up his phone, began to attempt to dial a few numbers when he noted his cellphone signal was out like a light. Everything seemed like the script of some horror movie, someone must've been playing some sort of game on him. But it didn't feel right. His hand placed itself again on his forehead... Images of a time began to surface, and his teeth gritted immensely. Frustration over took him, and a headache followed after.

It was becoming a problem too. There were noises and sounds peering from everywhere but if there was one thing that was truly driving him nuts, it was that distinct voice that was barely audible from somewhere. Calling out to him and a hiss, attempting to excavate his curiosity or even his attention. Romani couldn't make of what or where it came from. But it was driving him insane... His feet kept movie, attempting to reach... somewhere, anywhere.

"HEY! IS SOMEONE OUT THERE!? WHERE THE HELL AM I!?"
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Alex did not appreciate his impersonations. Ava was fairly-silent about all this, just sort of taking it all in. Yeah, it was rough, being caught in the middle of this mess, having to take all their information from a talking bird. The only good thing about this was that Raven seemed to know what she was talking about, that she spoke with confidence of the things regarding thi world and its...inhabitants. There had been things they were quickly passing by, not gaining the attention of, that were definitely not normal. Things like that made the normally ridiculous explanations, to Hakuro's mind, way more plausible. He was sure that all this and the dream were linked. He believed this because, let's just face it, he wasn't as logical a person as Alex, preferring sometimes the intuitive leap and to live with the consequences of being wrong than to stay secure in a world that only believed in readily-available evidence. That said, Alex also steered them onto another important point: Was anybody else here?

"There might be, but the four of you are the ones I've spotted, lately."

"How many others have you seen?"

"I'm not sure... I just know this isn't the first time. Remember, I've been thinking almost nothing but bird thoughts for a while. All the memories I've got are a bit jumbled."

"Then, how do you even know what you're telling us?"

"With nothing else to see but this horror show, how could I forget?"

"But you forgot the people?"

"You don't know how birds actually work, do you? Face recognition isn't exactly top priority. Gimme some time, maybe I can sift some things back into place. Right now, I'm mainly working on momentum here and I'm hoping it lasts."

She already felt bad about Laurence. It didn't help to bring up other possible failings. She didn't think there was anybody around, though...

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

Speaking of Laurence, he was still lost - of course - but on the plus side, he had avoided wide-open spaces in this peculiar farce of London, because he just didn't trust it... He hadn't even tried to call out, as something made him feel as though it would not end well if he did. There were no bearings, and the bird that he'd felt was trying to guide him was gone. He'd hesitated... That was the problem. He should've leapt at the tiny possibility that that bird was actually something he could rely upon. The whole ordeal left him in a terrible slump, almost depressed.

That feeling lasted about three seconds, and then the creature lunged for him.

He'd jumped out of the way, but it wwas only at the last second that he'd noticed something that was mantis, spider, and scorpion creeping up on him. It looked to be the size of a fully-groan mastiff, and that it could topple him like one, though the front claws were certainly the more menacing part of the thing. He backed away carefully, transfixed by not only the fact that it existed and was interested in possibly tearing his face off, but also by the mask that was the upper-half of a human skull, stretched out. The creature jumped at him, and he tried to do similar, only to trip back into a trashcan.

Alright, at least I can use this!

Scything claws stabbed at him and met with a trashcan lid, jabbing into it or scratching against it. Laurence reached back for something to throw or to club at it with, but when he felt the distinct shape of a handle...he smiled and swing it forward with all his might. A machete swing into one of the creature's claw-arms and cut into it! He had no idea what that was doing there, but he was grateful, and even moreso when it seemed like the monster wanted to get the hell out and skittered up a wall. Laurence watched it go, feeling a little better now that he'd managed against something like that, not quite settling in that this was all crazy.

However, the wake-up call was about to begin.

The spider...hadn't been afraid of him. The spider had sensed something and decided to leave. Like what? Like something further down the alleyway, something that seemed to form a puddle in the middle of the street - a large puddle - and then grow into a mound...and then a sphere...and then a floating sphere that shifted around like liquid...but seemed utterly solid at the same time. Laurence could hear a low moan from that direction. It was getting gradually louder, and overlapping with a dozen other voices, at no particular speed...except perhaps as it was getting closer... It was hovering towards him, and as it did, easily a dozen red eyes opened up, staring blankly and coldly right into his soul...

That's when Laurence ran.

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

This place was as creepy as creepy can be. All the figures were now gone, this whispering intensity seemed everywhere, and he was thoroughly lost. This neighborhood was like a ghost town, and he mighta' just seen the ghosts. Wait, no, that can't be right. There must be people around In fact, when he shouted, there was an answer!

"Over here! Over heeere!"

Aha! A voice! It sounded like a young boy's...or a girl's. Hard to tell, before puberty, sometimes. The good news with that, though, was that it had a definite direction. It was down the street and coming from an alleyway to the left. The bad news is...Romani wasn't going to like the owner of the voice, if he followed it. It was not a young boy, and it was not a young girl... It was also not gender-fluid, neutral, or any other classification you care to mention. It was an IT, and IT was some kind of horrible reptile that seemed to grow out of the confines of its natural skin...and its teeth grow out of the normal confines of its mouth. And every time it opened its mouth, a mask that looked like The Scream kept calling out.

"Over heeere!"

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

Of course, after his talk with Ashcroft, Mikhail couldn't have known that the acting principal of Evergreen Academy had one to his office specifically to pour himself a glass of something alcoholic so that he could properly boil his blood over having to deal with such people as him. No end of trouble, that's what he was. Himhail Chekhov did NOT belong here, causing the other students distress. He wanted him out...but he knew he'd never just be able to make him leave, nor did he have anything to use against him to do it 'off the books'. This was so damn hard, sometimes... He wished these people would just shrivel up and die, or someone wise to their unwanted insolence and foolishness would just take them away and make them no longer his problem.

What he didn't know was that while they would always be his problem, someone wise indeed was going to deal with this. As Ashcroft continued to glower out the window and let his imaginings take him, a thing would be happening elsewhere. Namely...

"Mikhail..."

...voices, calling out Mikhail's name. Familiar voices.

"We're all sorry, Mikhail. We want to help you..."

Alex and Philip, sounded like.

"It's alright. I managed to convince them..."

That was Merja... Where was it coming from? Outside, it seemed. Maybe a little off-campus...

"You guys are all in, then? That's great..."

Hatto-san?! Had he...? Did they all believe him...? Was it alright...? It seemed like they wanted to meet out there to discuss things. thing is, though...if Mikhail started to follow the voices, he might not notice that his surroundings were beginning to change. The ground, the sky, the architecture, or that after he had exited the school, there was now a high wooden fortress wall. By that time, though, they might've tricked him all the way through. They may've had the faces and the clothes and the voices...but they were not his friends.

They were all a lie, luring him into their clutches, and once they were his...their superior would be pleased.
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Mikhail Chekhov

Mikhail blinked, then said, "Are you... Refusing?!" as he ran after Alistair as he tried to skitter away. "And the school cafeteria has pie - What are you talking about?!" Then as Alistair continued to skitter away, "Oi, get back here?!"

But Aistair didn't listen, and to make things worse, Philip the Know-it-All was interfering! Stalking towards them, Mikhail opened his mouth to form words... Then he heard Hatto-san's words from another corridor, along with Alex, Philip, and Merja's voices. Was this a prank? Or did Hatto-san, the only person he barely trusted, actually work a miracle and get those pricks (except for Merja, she was nice) to help him?

On seeing Hatto-san - Or who he thought to be Hatto-san - together with people who looked the part of Alex, Philip, and Merja, Mikhail ran towards them, a rare smile on his lips. The hat guy had actually done it!

Waving to Hakuro, Mikhail looked at the Okinawan's face... Only to see that something was off about his expression. Then, in front of his eyes, his grudging friend and his would-be helpers transformed into monsters resembling masked, meneacing humanoids, who then rushed to grab the boy.

Joy and enthusiasm quickly changed into terror and anger as Mikhail howled his outrage, cursing and screaming.

------

They threw him in a dungeon cell, an old-style medieval hole that was meant to be cold and uncomfortable. By then, Mikhail was irate, shouting to the monsters, "How dare you do this?! Don't you know who I am? I am Mikhail Chekhov, son of Vasily Chekhov!"

But the realization was dawning that these monsters thought nothing of mortal names and social status, or at least that was what Mikhail thought. Little did he know that these monsters did care about mortal affairs, being born from the psyche of one who was obsesssed with them. Nevettheless, the cold feeling in his heart only provoked a further outburst of fear and rage.

"F***king monsters from an eldritch dimension who are probably bait for Iskeai'd heroes anyway! I'd assume that I am the hero here if not for the fact that I'm not nice enough plus there are no pretty catgirls - Or catboys waiting for me in this goddamn dimension anyway! Speaking of boys, I should have socked that kid who bumped into me and refused to buy me pie as an apology gift!"

He shook his fists at the bars of the dungeon, but found himself tiring out after several minutes of ranting and raving, only to find fresh energy for a new outburst. How dare these beasts trick him, and with what he realized was a functioning knowledge of his psyche to boot!

Luckily, the monsters had let him keep his backpack, which still had some snacks and fruit juice, so he wasn't in danger of immediately starving. However, any attempt to find cell service in this place failed, making his smartphone useless. His keychains - Ones of a Beretta Nano and a Butterfly Knife - were immediately dismissed as useless as well, and his newspaper clippings won't tug anyone's heartstrings here. So all Mikhail can do was what he did not have any patience to do - Wait.

But deep in his heart, he did worry about one other person than himself - The real Hatto-san. He knew insticnctively that the other boy cared about him, albiet too easily and foolishly in his opinion. And he guessed that the Okinawan liked him enough to care that he was gone.

And that hurt more than this humiliation.

@FalloutJack
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Merja “Mer” Aaltonen

Evergreen Gymnasium || Thursday Evening

“Maintain your distance!”

Sibella’s voice rang over the sliding and clanging in the gymnasium as fencing practice went on, the captain herself patrolling the outskirts as the various duos attempted engagements and change of engagements with their blades. While the gymnasium did its job housing the basketball team, being tall and spacious with its foldable stands, the floor had proven too slippery for proper fencing, forcing the team to resort to mats that they rolled out and cleaned up for every practice. Though the team had been requesting their own room for some time now since both the dance and cheer teams had their own practice rooms, the school had largely stayed silent. In recent years, though, they seemed to be more receptive to the idea, and just last year they said that they would be willing to look into the project provided the fencing team continued to bring in titles as they’d done.

This was, of course, only one of the reasons why Sibella was pushing the team so hard, the other being that it was her default nature. As the newly-appointed captain of the team, she was the one in charge of motivating the group when the coach wasn’t around, and her strictness went a long way to keeping the team in line when the coach wasn’t around. Mer, for one, hated to get on her bad side. She’d been on the receiving end of Sibella’s silent disapproval before, and while that was never pleasant, even worse was her penchant for—

“You. Campbell. Do you not understand how to maintain distance?”

The room stopped, turning to look at where the dark-haired captain had stopped in front of a training duo, one arm set on her hip. As her back was turned on most of the team, Mer couldn’t see her expression, but from the way Campbell cringed, Mer could guess.

“Byrne. Give me your sword.”

Sibella held out a palm towards the boy across from Campbell, who quickly turned over his blade and backed away.

“Now, everyone, distance is important. So important that it should be called common sense,” Sibella said, giving the blade a slight flick. “It’s one of the first things a fencer learns, and if you don’t keep your distance…”

She rushed forward, her sword sweeping towards Campbell, who tripped over himself in his haste to dodge her. He landed on the mat, his sword sliding away from him, and Sibella turned around, handing her sword back over to its owner.

“Your opponent gets to use that to their advantage. So, if you don’t want to get attacked off-guard, make a habit of keeping a safe distance.”

While sweeping over the team, Sibella’s eyes caught on Mer’s and stayed there, prompting Mer to nod emphatically when Sibella finished. The last thing Mer wanted to do was fall out of favor with Sibella, which was strange to even think. After all, just last year she’d been the one Sibella tended to pick on, but the now-captain seemed to have changed her mind about Mer sometime during her rise to captainship. Whatever it was that made her stop choosing Mer as her ‘training dummy,’ Mer was grateful for it.

“Continue on,” Sibella said, and the room did.


Courtyard || Friday Noon

The courtyard was spacious enough to disperse the sound of the many students that sat and chatted in it at lunch, and Mer barely registered the din of other conversations in the background as she bit into her sandwich. Next to her on the bench was Holly, who was currently picking through her pasta salad disinterestedly, glancing at the tables around them. Their other friends sat across from them and were currently engaged in some heated debate about something philosophical, which was Addison’s specialty, which meant that at the current moment he had all but set his food aside in favor of reciting some quote anyone else would have paraphrased.

“He’s at it again,” Holly said, spearing a piece of pasta with her fork. “I really thought he’d change before his final year, but nope.”

“Addison still really likes philosophy,” Mer said, taking another bite of her sandwich.

Holly rolled her eyes. “And you’re still deflecting. I wasn’t talking about his love for philosophy, I was talking about his rambling, and you know that.”

She sighed, pushing the piece of pasta off her fork in favor for a piece of carrot. “Well, some things never change, like my mom’s supremely unhealthy pasta salad. Is it too much to ask that she buy whole wheat? Or lay off the butter?”

“She might think it tastes better that way,” Mer tried.

“And she’s lucky I’m still living at home. I can’t wait for when I can graduate and move.”

The bell rang, signalling the end of lunch, and the shuffle of Evergreen students packing up for class broke out.

“Say, Mer, you have Roscoe right? For psych?” Holly asked.

Mer looked up from where she was stuffing her lunchbox into her bag. “Yeah, why?”

“Well, funny thing, I heard from a friend that some girl a couple years ago got suspended because of him. Apparently she called him a creep or something. ”

“Creep?”

“Crazy, right? I never had him, but from what I’ve heard he’s pretty cool.”

“Yeah, he’s pretty cool,” Mer echoed as she slowly zipped up her bag.

“Well, thought I’d bring it up because it was interesting. See you tomorrow,” Holly said, leaving with a wave.

“See you,” Mer said, waving as well. Then, adjusting her backpack strap, she headed to class, a frown on her face.


Courtyard || Friday Afternoon

Mer spent her afternoon, as usual, somewhere on campus studying as she waited for fencing practice. Though she used to dislike the time slot her sport occupied, she’d gradually gotten used to it, and now she was even thankful for it. While it made heading home a hassle, having practice later in the day encouraged her to stay at school longer, and she found herself naturally inclined to spend that time doing homework and studying. That she had people around her at all times motivated her to keep her focus, and Mer was pretty sure that the afternoon was now when she was most productive.

Currently, Mer was looking over her notes for chemistry, trying to piece together the necessary bullets to solve the homework problem she was stuck on. She flipped a page, flipped back, then sighed, sitting back on the bench and looking around. Maybe she’d take a walk and refill her water bottle.

A pair of familiar silhouettes caught her eye, and she paused, staring. From the height difference and pale hair, they looked to be Alex and Ava, since those were traits Mer tended to associate with the duo. However, the two were gone the next moment, having turned the corner, and Mer dismissed the thought. There was no reason for them to head to the school offices, after all.

The appearance of a fedora-wearing boy, though, took Mer aback, and she watched as he too disappeared around the corner. Judging by his pace, it seemed like he was following the two that turned the corner earlier, and though Mer wasn’t sure that those two were Ava and Alex, she was pretty sure that there was only one boy who sported a fedora at Evergreen, and she’d met him on Monday with Ava and Alex.

Packing up her stuff quickly, she rose, heading towards the corner all three had turned. She had a whole afternoon of time, after all, so a little break here couldn’t hurt.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Savo
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Savo River City Dabber

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Alexander Furst

Confidants:: Ava (@addamas), Hakuro, Laurence, Raven (@FalloutJack))
Whereabouts:: The Metaverse?
Day:: Friday Afternoon



Alex did his best to suppress his grumbling, but the answer he received was more bickering between Hakuro and the Raven which prompted him to roll his eyes, before shifting them from side to side like a pendulum. He swore the mist was getting thicker and the miasma was threatening to smother him, but worst of all, those sounds were getting worse and caused a shiver to go down his spine.

Peering behind him, he glanced to Ava, trying to reassure her, but she was eerily quiet this whole time, causing him to uncomfortably divert his attention away from the girl. He felt his stomach knotting up as he bit his lip, feeling that he would go mad if he didn't interject between their babbling, as something else was bothering him.

"I'm having more and more second thoughts about following you right now," Alex muttered offhandedly, nearly veering into another route before grunting and forcing himself back onto the path the bird was leading them on. Of course, part of him was a little thankful about not deviating because the boy swore he heard what sounded to be like slurping and nasally breathing getting louder and louder.

What he heard next was what sounded to be the mashing and grinding of teeth with the lingering sounds of paper and cloth being torn, followed by an oozing splat, which sounded more like something being spat at a wall as opposed to falling on the ground. Thankfully before they could even get familiar with whatever might of been behind them, they reached the opposite end of the alleyway before sharply talking a left onto a sidewalk.

"Sooooo, uh, Ava," he muttered, keeping an eye on the bird for a second before bending his head back to look at the deathly silent girl and frowned and rolled it like a pendulum as they ran before facing forward again. "This is going to sound absolutely stupid, but are ya doin' alright?"

While he awaited a response from someone who wasn’t going to probably bicker with him, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye were what looked to be three shadowy humans walking towards the group from the other side of the road. While he did make out the shape, he bit his tongue and was more the happier for it as he witnessed some indescribable creatures that had the shape of a humanoid, but that’s where all the similarities ended. Alex shuddered at the way their ashen limbs contorted and twisted, like some sort of writhing burn victim, all of them had different shapes, with the only defining feature being how they were shambling and the creepy theater masks they had.

Alex thought they began changing their direction, eyes widening as they began shuffling towards them, only for the three of them to stare behind them and back at them, choosing to ignore them as both groups left each other behind. He didn’t know what to make of it.

Nor did he know what to make of the silhouette of another humanoid scrambling madly towards them, catching glimpse of the shape of its head, feet, arms, and so on. The only thing that stood out was the strange shape of one of its arms and the fact it was elongated to the point where Alex began imagining of some berserk shadow with a scythe for an arm chasing those other strange shadows down.

He couldn't muse on it for long as the assailant was closing in on them! There wasn't exactly much around to help him, much less to block the assault, so Alex did the next best thing by jumping out of the way... only looking like an idiot when he finally saw who it was through the sickly green mist - Laurence, but with a machete.

He wasn't going to question where he even managed to find a machete as this whole run came to a screeching halt as he sprinted by them all. "Laurence, hey, wait damnit," Alex shouted out, pivoting and reaching out to where the slightly taller boy was running.

"You know, something is telling me we should probably follow his example."
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Sync
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Sync The Wildcard

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Romaní Bogart
Strength Blares When the Candles Fade
Friday Morning, ???
theme




The horrid facet of its mien peered from the darkness. It's scaly figure and howled gestures sent shivers through Romaní's spine, finding himself trembling before the visage of a creature standing in tow of something more than idle conversation. There was a sense of malice with each step it took out of the alleys, a dreaded sense of danger which bellowed Romaní for an escape. But his feet were jammed, as if his commands were interrupted by the fear which permeated from his very self. After a few more step, perhaps instinct kicked in and finally his fight-or-flight capabilities awakened. His feet kicked the earth beneath his heel and he rushed away from the entity as fast as he could. However, in this world, his constitution seemed to have been fading... He felt as if his lungs couldn't carry the fatigue as well as he hoped they could. After a brief moment of running, his legs were already burning, his knees felt aching, chest started to tightened. His physical attributes weren't this horrid! He knew he could at least reach the next few streets without feeling too fatigued, but running now was triggering something which weakened him further beyond his understanding. His breathing became heavier, sustaining air was becoming a problem so Romaní was left with his only device of travel- Panic.

Shifting between lanes and moving uncontrollably before what seems to be a distortion of a world which didn't want him there, everything and everyone was in their own little world, perhaps escaping, perhaps eluding to something else. But reality struck with force, when he began to subtle his movements, and the snarl of a creature peered itself from the seams, tracking him without pause, this time unafraid to demonstrate it's capabilities. It's teeth exposed, sharp as knives ready to pounce at its prey, in this place, Romaní had traversed a great distance... into shadows, an alley without noting. Regret overcame him, he could feel the icy grip of death get closer. This has to be a nightmare! It has to be! He ran again, trying to pull whatever ounce of strength, he attempted to escape. The monster didn't seem fazed, in fact, perhaps some facet of his being enjoyed the hunt, he waited a couple of seconds before delivering his speed on to the surface of this chase before long he had shortened the gap considerably, extending its arm and swiping inches away from Romaní's head, the boy was able to evade, just barely with a clumsy tumble, lowering his head and shifting his direction. The creature had went over his head, quickly regaining posture. Taunting him with its presence, almost welcoming the hunt.

Romaní continued, his legs were giving out, he pushed on some trashcans and boards along the way, as if to create an obstacle to ward his chaser but it was to no avail, the creature would either seamlessly leap over them, or crash it away with its strength. Soon, Romaní found himself in a dead end. Three walls halting his progress. Tall, dark and hopelessly evident that this was the end. Attempting to retreat, the creature stood at the end, slouched forward and hunched. Tongue out, licking its lips at the meal presented before it. There was an oozing darkness which dripped out it like tar, Romaní did not make sense of it, backed against the wall like a mice before the cat. Each step was slow and calculated, and this creature was now singing its victories. What a way to go...

Romaní's feet finally gave out, his hands and feet met with the fatigue generated through this entire endeavor. His memories began to play again, only this time they painted a much clearer picture. A moment in particular shone through, however. Like as though he was once again in that same moment from before. Five other men, a damaged child, pain coursing through his entire system. His face had just been dealt a heavy blow and through the blurred image was a man standing in the center, above him, with a bat covered in blood. Right behind him was a girl who seemed to have been weeping for awhile. Right...

This was that girl who ran away... I was about to take her to the hospital after running away from home. This people were...


She was part of a gang, you see. The story began to unfold before him as he met himself with betrayal. Moments after they went to get something to drink, heating them from the cold night she suggested they take a walk. The two did, Romaní didn't feel the need to push her to do something she didn't want to immediately. Allowing her some comfort and they talked. The two talked through the night, attempting to excavate some hidden gem but the only thing he found was a bunch of people, attempting to steal from him. Yes, her trauma was real, yes her situation was real... but she seemed to have valued her status here more than her time with Romaní, before he knew it, he was standing before two things. A bad time, and a worse time. Disgust began channel at the epicenter of his core, he didn't know how to distinguish one thing for the other, but before long he took a deep breath and smiled.

"I guess I was too naive, to think that I could save everyone..."

The kids were getting impatient, and the Romaní was getting reckless. They shortened the gap, grabbed him by his collar and Romaní head butted him. Causing him to reel back, before long the kids were getting into a fight. And as you can very well tell, the odd were not in his favor. He got beaten, he attempted to hold his own, but as one punch landed, three more made contact with Romaní's skin. Before long they played cheap, and a bat was thrown into the mix. When he woke up, it was the afternoon of the next day. His head felt an immense amount pain and he was alone in a white room, a needle feeding him a bronze liquid while a machine kept his vitals in check. A bandage was covering the majority of his face, and he felt like crying.

He felt hopeless and unneeded. Felt as if though none of his actions mattered. He felt so little in a world which offered so much. There was uncertainty on his frail soul. Like a broken mirror, it only displayed fragments of a broken image. He should've expected it, of course. Although she was young, she was still a stranger. But he couldn't sit idly by and allow something so terrible to happen. His scar was a testament of this... and now. At this very moment he felt such as well.

He was so small compared to the monster before him. About to be devoured, with no witnesses in hand. Unable to contact anyone or anything. Unable to tell his parents that he loved him, without being able to contact anyone who was important. There he stood before his fate realizing how little he has done, how few he has accomplished. How his life up until now was built around misfortunes and how he couldn't alleviate a single soul from their pain. He couldn't achieve greatness so that he could aid his family out of the rut they were in. He couldn't save that girl from the unfortunate pain that had befallen her. He couldn't stop the scuffle in the library, he just gave someone a cup of coffee because he admired her honesty and kindness...

What did he do throughout his life? Everything felt so worthless at this point. And as fear subsided, tears began to fall before his demise. He lived as he died, a hopeless man doing nothing. And his only accomplishment was surviving long enough for natural selection to finally decide to take him away. Perhaps he would be lucky and meet himself in heaven, or be reincarnated as someone with much more ability, much more strength. As he finally released all hope, a dawning sense of the inevitable struck him. And he wasn't able to do much other than to allow it to happen, wishing that his end would be a swift one. As the creature shortened the gap, and its hands clutched itself onto Romaní's neck, utilizing the wall, scarping his back long its surface. Noting that the life has been washed away entirely from the youth's eyes.

"How disappointing." he spoke between snarls and laughter. "Other's would continue to fight, but you just gave up halfway. Well, you did your best. Too bad it just wasn't enough." He couldn't breathe, the tightening of this monster's grip became stronger, for one last attempt... he grabbed to its arm, trying to free himself from its clutches. But it wasn't enough, he looked up, at this bleak sky and haunting atmosphere. He wasn't even given the luxury of a death under the beautiful stars...


THEME

We have to learn to cradle those who stand before us.


A voice finally reached him, that distant clatter which rummage the back of his head finally spoke to him. A clear as day, the light before the darkness. A soothing tone which engulfed Romaní in a sense of... strength.

A world we understood broken can mend the strongest of allies. Withing the very distinction of humanity births the crude pieces which intertwines our roots to the same tree.


It's booming voice rooted something out of core, the voice began to reach onto his very essence, and now the struggling become much fiercer, the creature before him too in shock, noting the resistance had developed into more than just insipid wails, but more into calculated risks, its grip was failing it quickly attempting to end it by using both hands to strangle whatever force was left out of the boys life. It wasn't about to let some crazy burst of strength to halt its meal. Romaní breath was beginning to search for an escape, he could feel his lungs about to pop, he needed something to release him.

Bear the fruit of the ally which condemned the world, surface the ideal of true unity, and handle it with care like a loving father. There are no shortcuts in life, there are no sources of truth, the is only good and bad and you shall follow accordingly. As the key who opens the gates of heaven, channel the soul and expose the world's true nature. Call me fourth!


"ARCADIA"

Eyes glimmered in a shining hue of yellow, a manifestation of power grew through his source and a weapon manifested on his hand, a gun and a pendulum, quickly, his hand reached to this creature's face, and pulled the trigger without much pause. The canon blew off its shot, cause the creature to reel and scream in pain, howling out its agony for the world to see, a seem of its tar left in the hands hands and neck of Romaní clothes, his eyes still luminescent, bright gold with the essence of power radiating from his core, the pendulum fell, demonstrating its golden hue, illuminated through glimmers of shimmering light. The creature lunged towards its target, but before he knew it was ensnared in the pendulum's grip. Now the tables had turned, and its neck was at the mercy of this young boy's power.

"W-what are you!?"

"How disappointing. You did your best... Too bad it just wasn't enough." without a single ounce of mercy, he pulled on the string and its neck popped once twice, three times before the light of its eyes faded. His body now laying on the floor, slowly dispersing into a puddle or tar, and then disappearing completely. Romaní eyes shifted back to its original hue, and a gasp escaped him. He began to cough excessively, and a sense of guilt poured onto him.

"Did... Did I just-- killed a man?"

He didn't know if that thing was man or monster, but he reacted accordingly to his instinct, he didn't know what really happened. But in his hand was a gun and a pendulum. What was this weird nightmare, and who was that voice just now!? He needed to move, please someone get him out of there.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by addamas
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addamas Trust me, I'm a liar

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For a while now, Ava had been quiet. It’s not like she lost her voice or had her head in the clouds, she just didn’t know what to say. They were running around through the city, but it wasn’t their city, and every second she had to spend there was a second too much.

Even as Alex spoke to her, she could do nothing but nod to his questions. She was honestly impressed by how casually Alexander and Hakuro dealt with the situation as even when Ava suggested to go after laurence, it was just to keep her mind focused; it felt like her brain would explode if anything else showed up to question her entire existence.

And of course, right as she thought that, Alex dove to the floor followed by the shimmer of what had to be Laurence running straight past them. That was it, they’d hit rock bottom, if you looked really close, you could even see the smoke leaving Ava’s ears as she looked at the boys with dumbstruck eyes.

“A-are we sure that was Laurence? He didn’t see us? Uh, he must’ve been running for a reason right?” She quickly responded to Alex before looking where Laurence came from, hoping that nothing would appear.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by FalloutJack
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FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

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It was hard to tell if Romani killed a man or not, because there had been this groan or a sigh, and that had been human, but the form...the form had been horrifying to behold. He didn't know what he killed, or where he was, because this wasn't London. At least...it was like no London that HE knew of. There was fog all around, the air tasted funny, Big Ben was listing to the left in the distance...and yet it also felt like reality. That fight had certainly been real. Romani would feel that he was on the edge of something, that there was something there that he could almost reach out to. He had suddenly become armed and dangerous enough to fight, and he certainly hadn't had these weapons to begin with. It was almost as if...

It was like he called them to him in his time of need, right out of thin air.

This was too weird...but he had to go. There was another feeling, a sense like...he knew there was somewhere he must go, somewhere safe. Somewhere in this world, there was a place he could go. Downtown, where all the lights are bright? Hard to tell, and he didn't even have a direction yet, but he needed to leave and find this place, because...

"Mommy? Are you there?"

"Come out and play!"

"Mooommyyy!"


...there were more. They weren't as close as the first creature, but like distant wolves howling to each other, they were in the vicinity...and they were on the hunt!

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

Hah, you think Alex and Hakuro are handling this well. It was more like the situation was so crazy that the only way not to panic or get lost forever was to just go with it and hope for best. As they moved on, they saw some things. Some of them were just shadowy people with yellow or red or green lights for eyes, say, while others were masked monstrosities, preying upon others, and then there was this one frantic figure that ran right up to them and- Holy shit, that was Laurence! Both Alex and Raven called after him, but he was moving too fast. He looked...like something had really freaked him out, more than some of the figures that he'd shoved aside, including at least one of them. There was a little bit of confusion as to whether to follow him or not, but...

"That was him, and he IS moving in the right direction."

"Also...that."

Hakuro had looked back to see what the boy might've been running from, and he no longer looked unshaken. In fact, Mr. Bond, he looked shaken AND stirred. He had done so just in time to see one of the shadow people fall back as a heavy black limb came out of the mist and smashed it flat! The limb retracted and...oh, they could see the horror approaching. The limb was sucked back into this hovering black mass of dense blackness, and as it came into view, a number of red-blaring eyes opened and they could all hear faint moans growing steadily louder, both from its direction AND in their own heads. Raven seemed to twitch in mid-flight.



"Get moving! RIGHT NOW!"

Right! Back to the running, with Raven leading them ahead in the mist to get where they were going! They knew that that thing was in pursuit, as the voices seemed to persist in the back of their minds. They came to a turn now, which Raven was about to turn to, but she heard footsteps moving down another direction!

"Laurence! Laurence, this way!!"

She wasn't sure he had heard. Quickly, she stopped on top of the wall and pointed her wing down an alleyway.

"All of you, it's that way, a straight shot and down the stairs. It can't follow you down, so don't worry, once you're there. I have to catch him and get him to head the right way. Don't wait for us! Just go! I promise I'll bring him back!"

And with that, she flew off to get the other student, to make up for the mistake shed' made before. Alex, Ava, and Hakuro had a direction to take, and a dark enemy in hot pursuit. They had no time if this thing was on their heels, but...if they looked down that way, they could see...I'm sorry, it looked like a humanoid figure had shaken itself apart to become a series of small hideous blobs... What the fuck? Either way, the path seemed blocked, but the way Raven had something fairly Hulk-sized slamming about.

"Okay, I think I can parkour this, but I dunno about you guys."

Were they trapped? What the hell were they going to DO?

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

And in the meantime...things had not gone well for Mikhail, either. The figures had all been speaking with their voices and even using their faces, but...it was a paper-thin disguise, at best...and it was not the best. In fact, the illusion had been far worse, as they had all - as one - removed masks of dead flesh to reveal jovial green masks with sickening leers and empty eyes. Almost immediately, four flintlock pistols had been pointed, and these 'men' grabbed him, dragging him away like a dead weight. Of course, he had shown that he was very much alive by protesting the whole way, but they paid him no heed. The lot of them appeared to be dressed in a colonial period uniform, as in that of some sort of army which wore dark clothes and vests with black hats. They laughed coldly at his protests, and then finally, one of them spoke, but not to him and not in the voice of anyone he knew. It was more a distorted dead man's rattle, saying...

"Ah...here we are."

They had lured him out into the open, into the world of the shadow through a distortion caused by the Metaverse, and now they had dragged him along to...but this was the edge of the school grounds, wasn't it? What could be here that...? Oh... That's not the school at all. No...that was a goddamn fortress.



It was huge, made of stone with heavy wooden doors and many stakes around it to prevent easy climbing or escape or really ladders. It had to be several stories, plus parapet with patrolmen walking along. The doors were opened, and inside Mikhail saw something akin to a gentleman's hunting lodge, mansion, and military outpost in one. Decorative trophies - thankfully, no humans - were along the walls in places. Once they were inside, one of the men who'd grabbed him said "Inform the General! We have ourselves another one!", followed by other uniformed figures letting out a victorious cry as they dragged him away...down into the basement dungeon. There...things were far less gentlemanly. Good god... ALL the torture devices of the old age, some of them being used on people, even as they passed to the cell area. Mikhail was tossed inside and the bars locked. If he protested then, they only laughed and left him alone.



There would be a long wait, and perhaps a few distant moans in the interim, but eventually...the door to the cellblock - of which he was in the furthest cell from - creaked its way open...and someone stepped inside. A man had come, walking towards him, reading from what looked like a large hardback bible. Mikhail could not see his face from the angle, but he was in uniform as well. He too dressed darkly and wore a white vest, and in his unoccupied hand he held a spear that looked like its headpiece was a big sharpened cross! He also wore a strange medal on his chest and a black hat like the others, with a crucafix flanked by two pentagrams on its front. As he spoke...

"In the name of the Lord thy God, all those who are wicked in His sight shall be put to the sword. For in His mercy, we are saved, but..."

...that voice! It couldn't be...! He slammed the book shut and glared at Mikhail with evil yellow eyes.

"...none shall suffer a witch in their midst."

Ashcroft...
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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Letter Bee Filipino RPer

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Mikhail Chekhov

Mikhail's first reaction at learning the (presumed) identity of his tormentor was to begin another angry rant, even as his eyes betrayed the shock and fear that would normally come with such a revelation.

"Excuse me, I'm the Witch?!" Mikhail said to 'Ashcroft' (the quotation marks were if this was another impostor after all - No possibility can be set aside right now), "You're the one using some hocus-pocus bullshit to transport people to your own Medieval Torture Dungeon! And those pentagrams, no real pious man would bear them beside a crucifix!"

Then the full implications of 'Ashcroft's' words hit him. "Wait a second... You're referring to my efforts to reproduce that poison, aren't you? How did you find out about that, you prick?! And how did you know about Hak - Hatto-san and find out enough to use him to lure me?!"

Roused to new fury, Mikhail would shout, "You've been stalking Hatto-san and who knows how many students as well! And knowing how much of an uptight goose you are, I know you'd want to hurt him!" He grasped the bars of his dungeon cell tighter. "Well let me make this clear, you fucking loser hypocrite - I am not going to be intimidated by you and your damn empty threats! I will escape this place and expose the truth about you before you even..." He trailed off as more implications of more words hit him, "You genuinely do want to hurt and kill Hatto-san! And me! You fucking bastard son of a bitch, you're not going to take me down so easily!"

He drew back a few steps, observing 'Ashcroft's' spear and the hand that held it in the torchlight, before gazing around at his minions. "I am Mikhail Chekhov, son of Vasily Chekhov! It'll take more than weird spears and torture implements to kill me!" Granted, that wasn't true at the very least, but he had to bluster. "So give it your best shot - Unless of course, there was a reason your minions didn't tear me apart right away, or stick me into those torture machines?"

A sudden realization of more plausibilities, "You're turning me into bait of some sort, right? Or are assembling a 'collection' of students you don't like so you can torture and kill them all at once! Well it won't work, your plans won't work!"
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by The Jest
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The Jest Professional Nice Guy

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Tyler Blackmore




Black smoke above his head,
with cracks of sky; not blue, but red.
Beneath his feet: the scorched earth
Plagued by the fiery dead.

Atop ruined scrapers of the sky,
He could hear the screams as people die.
Not of they, but of mullet barrels
as legions of bullets pass him by.

Behind him amassed a faceless corps,
Their bullet-ridden bodies piling upon the faceless floor
Gave way the path to their faceless batallion;
A familiar face lurking at their core.

He turned again to his front,
An army of faces on the hunt.
The Faces battled the faceless,
as his own face took the brunt.

He looked down to his feet of clay,
His hands of stone burning and decayed,
Artillery thunder heard in the distance,
and he aims it at the fray.

Then he heard the voice of Nate,
Then he heard the cries of Kate,
Then he heard screams of his own,
And screamed himself with all his hate.

Never again, and again he meets his fate.






Evergreen Accomodations, Tuesday Morning


His whole body made a jolt, as if it was shocked with electricity as his eyes shot open and his shirtless upper body bent upwards, gasping for breath in a cold sweat. It took the dirt-silver haired boy about five seconds before he realized what happened.

It was a dream...


It was that dream...


He took a deep breath and sigh that the worst was over now. ...How long has it been since that dream haunted his nightmares still? After a while one would think they'd be used to it, but Tyler envies the insomniacs; unhealthy as it is. If not for the fact that his body and mind are always in need of slumber, he'd drink cups of coffee every night. The very thought of closing his eyes and then being forced out of mind - or pulled too far inwards, depending on how you look at it - and into a realm beyond your understanding or control is terrifying enough as it is. But when that dream is the same nightmare over and over again, those same sights and sounds that plague his mind ad eternum, it's enough to consider forcing insomnia upon himself anyways, health be damned.

With another deep breath, and wiping the sweat from his face, he took a look at the time.

It was early, too early, the clock didn't even make the alarm yet. Part of him wanted to drop back down and get some more rest, but the last thing he wants is the possibility to go back to that dream again. Deciding it was best to just stay up, he rubbed the sand from his eye and got off his bed - wearing a dark-green pair of shorts - giving himself a good stretch before looking outside his window. His room was a small one-bed suite with, for the most part, no decorations or anything particularly unique to his room, save only an framed picture on the counter beneath a flat-screen TV.

The picture itself was a happy memory of smiling faces when he was a kid, that of a small him wearing a green camo cargo jacket over a white shirt, unbuttoned to show said shirt, having both his brother and sister, both identical twins by the looks of their faces - the boy with short brown hair, a black T-shirt and brown-jeans and giving off an energetic grin to his right and the girl with medium-length, a rose-colored dress and wearing a lighter and softer smile to his left - wrapped by the neck around his arms and giving off a large grin and a wink of his left eye. Behind them were his parents - a lady in her late-thirties with a modest build and fair Caucasian skin, dressed in a nurse's outfit with brown haired wrapped in a bun under a nurse's cap, and eyes of emeralds as radiant as her smile, and a man looking around the same age as the woman with a moderate muscular build, short black hair and blue-eyes, a commando-green beret in his hands as he gives a restrained smile of his own - and his uncle, relatively older than his father by a few years, his face starting to show early signs of age and having a larger build than him with hazel eyes and a large bushy black mustache nearly covering his mouth completely and hiding a less-subdued smile, the same commando-green beret on his head hiding a sleeked head of medium-length black hair. Both his father and his uncle were wearing a decorative green military uniform, both with some medals attached to the lapel - and his uncle having a number more than his father. This was a photo taken from one of his parents anniversaries, not that he remembers which one. It should be noted that the glass case has a crack near the bottom of the frame, likely due to accidentally dropping it while moving into this room.

He'd have a perfect view of the London sunrise, from his room if not for the tall buildings. However, based on the darkened colors of the current sky, it was still VERY early in the morning. With that in mind, he grabbed a bottle of iced coffee - he could have kept it in the lounge fridge, but... people have a habit of taking whatever he puts in there, and besides that, it's far easier to have it near his bed to just wake up, crack open and drink - and drink it he did. He immediately went to take a shower afterwards, needing to prepare for another day of school while washing the cold sweat off him. It was also a good time to wash away the thoughts of his dream, putting his focus entirely on what he was studying last night for his psychology class, and recalling what still needed to be done for his Philosophy class.

By the time he got back out, rays of golden light from the morning sun was shining through the window, as a part of the sun has risen enough to break through the London buildings and give light to his room; must have been in there for quite a while. As he got dressed up in his what he chooses as his uniform, his grey pants, sky-blue T-shirt over a white dress shirt and complete with a yellow tie, a towel still on his silver hair, he walked over to the window to take a good look at the courtyard and academy.

...Only to come across a peculiar sight happening just below him. It seems a lot of students were gathered around a single tree in the courtyard. Why? Well, upon close inspection it seemed there was a kid who climbed atop it and won't get down...Wait, he recognizes him by his signature.

"...Hat?" The boy thought. Yes, it was indeed the new kid Hakoda on top the tree, or "Hat" as Tyler simply calls him, he seems to have a similar Japanese nickname, and is never seen without that hat on his head, therefore "Hat"'s as good a name to call him as any. Still, what was he doing up there? More importantly, ...Why was everyone stopping what they were doing to just stare at the hatted boy? Sure, a boy up on a tree is unorthodox at best, but with a small crowd this particularly interested in a boy on a tree, one would assume a car crashed into it, or that the Hatted one shot a gun in the air or something. Was this really worth the attention it was getting?

Even more bizarre, some of those faces he could see were very familiar ones. There was the bookworm Laurence who was sitting by the very same tree, reading his book as if nothing's happening. There was Merja and her college friend Ava, and as if by clockwork, eventually that scary guy, Alex, showed up and...seemed to be talking, no, more like arguing with Hat, ...and getting more and more frustrated at him by the second. Just when things weren't odd enough, in comes a face Tyler recognized as essentially the "Golden Boy of St. Paul and Evergreen", Philip Leonhart. What in the world was he doing around here? The courtyard connected Evergreen and St. Paul, so at first glance, it didn't seem like that big of a deal. But it looked like Phillip came from the direction of Evergreen, the school he already graduated from. He also noticed students like Alistair who just looked at the situation and decided to walk away... the normal response to something like this.

Needless to say, this sparked Tyler's curiosity, and looking at the time on his alarm, it was just about time to head out to class anyways. So he placed his materials in his bag and walked out of the room. By the time he got outside though, it seems the whole scenario resolved itself and everyone was heading to their classes. At first Tyler was somewhat shocked, his eyebrows raised as he blinked a couple of times, before he gave a smile and a quick chuckle to himself.

"Story of my life..." He thought. Without a word, he walked towards Evergreen, ready to begin his day like any other.




Evergreen Library, Thursday Afternoon


Tuesday and Wednesday were essentially normal, not much happening outside the norm. The rest of Tuesday nothing spectacular happened, and on Wednesday a few bullies decided it was a good day to start messing with him again, most likely because they had nothing better to do. Still, he steeled himself and as usual let them have it on him until being helped up by a certain someone.

Still somewhat bruised from yesterday's scuffle, he decided to use today to study up for Psychology and Philosophy classes, since the mid-terms seemed just around the corner. Not wanting to bother anyone else nor be bothered by anyone else, Tyler walked up to the second floor of the Library - an area not normally used for studying compared to the first floor - to do his work.

Little did he know that despite his effort to go away from distractions, another big distraction was happening just below, as he heard a familiar voice coming from the first floor...a voice and its lack of subtlety he recognized anywhere... It'd be fine, he'd have consider it another normal case of him doing his usual "search-and-retrieve" mission across the campus, if not for the mention of a "Finn Girl".

"Oh no..."

Tyler got up from his chair and walked towards the balcony of the second floor, and looking down at the others. Much to his dismay, it was exactly as he thought: Mikhail Chekov - or "Mik" as Tyler knows him by - was trying to talk Merja into helping him on his mission. Tyler knew all too well what Mik was trying to have people do for him, and also knew what his true intentions were for the antidote and poison he was talking about. This was nothing new; he's been at this ever since the school year started, and never had much luck with it, which was to be expected considering just how much Mik was asking for.

What was particularly embarrassing in this case however... was that Tyler couldn't help but wonder if him heading for Merja was his fault. For just yesterday, Mik was the one who helped essentially swat away the bullies that were harming him, and he, as usual, was asking Tyler afterwards if he had someone in mind who could help him out. It was Tyler who pointed Merja out to him, but that was only to help him find better help among those she knows, since she had an entire study group for A-level Biology, and certainly would know friends in Chemistry. He didn't think Mik would actually have her be the one to help out. He must be getting either really desperate, really impatient, or both. He even went so far as to explain to her his life story and provide "proof" for his efforts.

"Oh no, not the Tabloid again..."

Yes, Mik's story was very far-fetched, like something out of a spy thriller, and Tyler understands that that Tabloid was the only picture proof he had for it, the only thing he had to prove that it's real. But the pulps had an infamous reputation for having ridiculous stories that were unbelievable and just documented for the sake of baiting unsuspecting buyers. Thus, if anything, using it to prove his case makes his story even more far-fetched and unbelievable.

That said, Merja seemed to take it far better than everyone else he tried this with, it even looked like she legitimately believed him. ...It's just a shame how easy it is for Tyler to see that Mik was indeed manipulating her as a means to an end.

Sure enough like Tuesday with the tree-hat incident, the conversation were drawing familiar faces in like moths to a flame, albeit significantly less than last time. This time it was just Laurence - who of course would be in a Library at this time, it only makes sense for a bookworm like him - Romani this time - who came in apparently looking for Laurence - and Al-... Uh oh.

In one corner, there's Mik, someone who these days is known to be relatively aggressive and hostile towards people who don't believe his story in the slightest...which is not a very hard thing to do. In the other corner there's Alex, someone who Tyler knows is hostile just from his attempted conversation with him. Like two tsunamis, these two aggressive waves just came into conflict and has begun to crash into each other, with poor Merja, Laurence, and Romani right in the middle, about to be flooded.

Sure enough, Alex called Mik out like Tyler thought he would, and Mik responded as Tyler thought he would. Laurence seemed to try and make things easier, and Romani, who apparently was looking for Laurence, made the smart decision to stay out of this, giving Merja a cup of coffee as an apology.

Fortunately, both Alexander and Mik were essentially on holy ground, the Library where such things as conflict is not tolerated, and he could hear the voice of someone he didn't recognize, step out from a study room Tyler couldn't see from his angle he was in, and essentially stopped the fight from happening. That's when he heard Mik mention the name of the voice, "Philip Leonhart". The boy genius is here in Evergreen again? Not that he believes that Philip isn't welcomed, but surely there must be a library of some kind in St. Paul that's better than this one. Maybe smaller, but probably with more stuff to his liking he'd imagine.

By the sound of things, as soon as Philip stepped out, he could hear Mik talking to him about how he wanted his help. Tyler made a sigh of relief; it seems Mik stopped putting focus on Merja and instead on someone who might actually be eligible to help him. ...Too bad Philip didn't sound like he was having any of it. He could tell by the tone of the genius' voice that he was getting really irritated at Mik, shooting him down with logic after logic before seemingly walking away. Mik walking away as well in a huff.

"Ambition without knowledge..." Philips words, unbeknownst to Philip himself, hit home with Tyler as well. Albeit in a different, if not outright reverse way. He returned to his chair, thinking about the conversation, thinking about that last line in particular.

If Ambition without knowledge is like a bird without wings, then what's knowledge without ambition? Just the wings of a bird. A bird's wings are often wanted by many, but hold them in your hand and they still won't let you fly, not like they would for birds. Wings are useless without the bird to make them fly. Knowledge is useless without a goal, without ambition, without purpose to give it shape.

...Was that why Philip came here? He's renowned as a genius so he has plenty of knowledge, so could it be that he's looking for ambition of his own? If so, they may not be so different in spite of Leonhart's superior intellect. ...Tyler, too, has knowledge but no reason to use it.

...Not anymore...

Tyler felt pressure in his frontal lobe as he thought about it, his vision distorting; his mind was trying to remember, and it was enough to make him press his face against his hand, clenching it as if in pain. He closed his eyes, the landscape of his dream in his mind's eye, the echoes of the past in his mind's ear...

He shook his head, even slapped himself a few times, and eventually the feelings subsided as he put his focus back into his books, reading profusely from it, studying every page.

Eventually he took a deep breath and sighed, before grabbing his stuff and returning back to his room, ready to call it a day.




School Accomodation hallway, Thursday Afternoon


After the Library debacle, when he felt it was time to leave himself, he took a walk back to the accommodations, weary of anyone trying gunning to attack him yet again. Good news was, no such thing happened this time around, he was able to walk from the Library to the Dorms without any hassle.

Bad news was that none other than Alex, Merja, and the rest of their Biology Study Group was hanging out in the lounge performing their studies. It must be for the Midterms, but this presents a problem either way. Tyler was already made clear that his pacifistic (or cowardly) ways is enough to get on Alexander's bad side. Moreover, Mik irritated him just an hour or so ago in the Library. Who knows what'll happen if he winds up walking anywhere near Alex's line of sight. Sure, his friends might tame him, but he'd rather not have them perform such a struggle over someone like himself.

Thus, not taking any chances, he decided to walk around to the opposite side of the accommodations in order to reach the stair well without getting into contact with the Biology group. Making a quick dash around the building, he walked in, and indeed headed for the stairwell and was heading up. ...Or at least he was going to, but he then overheard the study group in the lounge. Nothing particularly of note, but just... the fact that they were enjoying themselves. Hearing them, with a gentle smile on his face, he quietly put down his bag so as to not let them hear him, and sat down on the step. Well, more like laid on it, lying his back on the wall and a laid his leg on a part on the step he was on, while the other leg was on the floor. Then he simply laid his head gently on the wall, eyes closed and that gentle smile still on his face, cathartic and relaxed as he listened to them. He knew the others have likely gone back into their dorms or aren't coming back for a while, so he hopes he has the luck to not encounter somebody who wants to get up or down the steps and ask him to move, blowing his cover.

Tyler never really liked parties, but he liked being in one. He didn't like taking parts in the festivities, but he loved observing others enjoying it from afar. Perhaps it's the sense that he thinks himself not worthy, or maybe it was just his uncle's teachings that echo in his head. Maybe it was both, causing a sense of perpetual anxiety, but either way, he can't ever truly bring himself to be a part of a group of people that are not a part of the family that he knows. Even so, something about listening to others, about others having a good time even if it's without him, makes him feel good about himself. It felt relaxing; listening to other people laughing and making jokes was akin to listening to music. It lets him...keep to himself while enjoying the joys of social activity, a positive sense of invisibility that creates the best of both worlds. It's something, he feels, would be the mutual feelings of an ever watching guardian angel.

In particular, he was happy that the Library incident from earlier today was all but forgotten by Merj and Alex. Of course, the very thought that the scary man was hanging out comfortably with people and possibly enjoying himself was enough to satisfy him. Even someone like that has people he can be around, friends with energy, humor, and kindness. Even if he himself doesn't seem like he's enjoying their company, maybe, just maybe, they're just what someone like him needs.

Once he felt the Study Group was over, he quietly grabbed his bag, slowly getting up and quietly walking up the steps to his room without raising suspicion that he was ever there.

After what's happened to him yesterday, after the shit that happened in the library, he needed this...




Evergreen Grammar School, Sociology Hallway, Friday Morning


Today felt like quite a busy day for Tyler. He needed to go to his classes, prepare for Midterms, (PE's gonna be a bitch, he just knows it...) and even before that, it seems Vice-Principal - or rather "Acting-Principal" if he heard the news right - Ashcroft wants to go through some kind of mid-term evaluation of particular students. Most likely, it was to check up on them and see if they're still doing what's needed to stay in this school.

It wasn't all that surprising for Tyler; this IS a private school for selected individuals of particularly advanced minds, after all. It made sense that they'd need to evaluate the students every now and then to make sure they were still qualified to be here. That said, it is questionable that he's only evaluating particular students as oppose to the whole school. It'd make sense for someone like himself to be needing evaluation, since he feels he's not doing as good lately as he feels he should be, there's definite aspects of his learning and himself he feels he needs to improve. It'd also make sense for people like Mik or Hat to be evaluated, considering the attention their actions unwittingly made. While he completely understands Mik's desperation, and it's likely Hat only wanted to have a little fun, and probably isn't too used to the way of things here since he's a transfer student, in the end, they have caused a disruption of the student body.

But Laurence was to be evaluated later on? Laurence? He's not exactly a social get-together type, yes. But to Tyler's knowledge, he's an upstanding student and does a remarkable job, if Philosophy class is anything to consider. If Mr. Ashcroft was going to pick select students, why pick him?

Before he could think on it anymore, he spotted yet another event that just happened: Firstly he spotted Ashcroft as he walked past a boy and taking a turn towards another hallway, it seems his own evaluation will have to wait. Just then, however, it seemed Mik bumped into the boy Ashcroft passed by, a junior student by the looks of it. To make matters worse, he was then about to punch the boy in the face. Tyler was about to step in at that point to stop him, but it seemed Mik hesitated and instead got him right back up, Tyler sighing in relief at Mik suddenly coming to his senses. He then noticed Philip once again. He's still here? Plus he seemed to be speaking with Dr. Brower, the Philosophy teacher...that is, until the incident with Alistair and Mik, in which case he once again stepped in.

...He seemed to be doing that a lot lately. First, he was there when Hat was in that tree, then in the Library he was there to tell off Mik, and now here, likely about to tell off Mik once more. All while being a St. Paul student as oppose to Evergreen. He knows that the two schools are connected and even neighbors, but it's still very peculiar how often he's seen the boy genius here as oppose to the college. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with that, but it did honestly spark up curiosity in Tyler's mind for the rather enigmatic genius.

In any case, everything looked like it was about to go through the same thing that happened yesterday all over again... Then, something happened Tyler could never have predicted. Mik looked towards another corridor, seemingly distracted, by something Tyler never noticed.



When Mik's focused on something, it takes a lot to pull him out of that focus. Yet now he looked ...off. It was like Mik saw a ghost or something, and without a single word, he just... ran off all of a sudden, like something over there caught his attention. Worried, Tyler made a run for the path Mik was on.

"Sorryabouthimbeinglikethathaveagreatdayandhiprofessor!" Tyler said quickly to Philip and Alistair, and a quick greeting to Dr. Brower, as he ran off to where ever Mik went.

However, by the time he got to where Mik last was, he was gone.

...Strange...This area was basically the closest thing this school has to a dead-end. It was an open area so he might have went somewhere else, but based on how fast the two were going, he should have at least seen him in the distance.

Hopefully he isn't getting himself into trouble, but unfortunately there's not much he can do right now but hope for the best. Besides, it's Mik, or at least this present-day Mik, he's confident he can get back home safely. With that in mind, he walked back the way he came and headed for the Vice-Principal's office to start his day, hopefully Ashcroft's already back at his office by the time he gets there.




Downtown London, Friday Afternoon




After school, Tyler decided to take a walk into the great city of London for a bit...He just needed to be away from it all for the moment, especially after his own meeting with Ashcroft. He couldn't even focus like he should have when he was in classes because of that.

If one was to take the conversation they had out of context, they would say that it went exceedingly well. Ashcroft praised him for his hard work, as well as his lineage, being the son and nephew of two war heroes and a skilled nurse, and he seemed worried about him, what with the bullying. But something about the way he spoke, the state of his room, how he seems to refer to other students as an infection, or treating them as non-citizens, ...everything about what he said rubbed him the wrong way, and by the look in his eyes, he was serious about all of it. Even the concern for his well-being felt less because Ashcroft cared about him, and more like he's a fancy trophy on a pedestal that he didn't want to see get broken.

Did Laurence have this same feeling when he got in there? Did Mik? No, by how he sounded, he definitely treated Mik horribly in there due to his Russian nature.

Speaking of which, what happened to Mik? He still can't wrap his head around that reaction he suddenly made, and now he still couldn't find him anywhere. Where in the world could he have gone?

As he thought about this, he looked up for a moment. Sure enough as it so happens, there was Alistair, the boy Mik collided with a while ago. Part of Tyler wanted to essentially turn the other way and walk somewhere else, not wanting to actually interact with anyone. ...But no, Mik and him collided together, and worse still, Mik was about ready to punch the boy in the face, ran off without apologizing, and now is nowhere to be seen. ...It was up to him to apologize - ACTUALLY apologize this time unlike what he did this morning - in his stead. After all, the least he could do for Mik was make sure there's no hard feelings. ...While he's at it, he should probably find Philip, and do the same...hard as that may be.

But no, he must first focus on the now! With that, he strengthened his resolve, and walked over to the boy.

"...Umm, Hello there. You're a student from Evergreen, yes? ...My name is Tyler Blackmore, an upper sixth at Evergreen as well. I...umm, I'm sorry for coming up to you out of the blue like this, but that boy who ran into you a while ago was a friend of mine. I wanted to apologize about that incident in his stead. ...I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive him. He... he wasn't always like that." He said to him.

@Typical @FalloutJack @addamas @Nimbus @Sync @KenjuGuy @Letter Bee @Savo
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Savo
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Savo River City Dabber

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Alexander Furst

Confidants:: Ava (@addamas), Hakuro, Raven (@FalloutJack))
Whereabouts:: The Metaverse
Day:: Friday Afternoon



Alex was dumbstruck at the figure, eyes slowly widening as he bit his lower lip; currently just a silhouette in the sickly green fog, it did nothing to diminish the terror of the unknown with its strange, bizarre shape that was paradoxical and alien to them, something that should exist outside of reality. Befitting for a place such as this as Alex began to tremble just a bit, "Yeah, and I think we found the reason why."

Everything in his body was telling him to move as the incongruous, strangely shaped horror drew near, smashing a similar, fleeing shape that he saw earlier into a fine mush just a couple of meters away from him. Alex tensed up as the way he heard that creature squish was nauseating and splattered a bit onto his shoes.

A knot was forming in his stomach as the boy finally took a step back in tandem with the creature who retracted its ghastly limb, before its full body pierced through the fog. That semi-unfettered boy who entered into this strange world was now full on shaking, flustered by this shadowy creatures appearance as his heart beat erratically.

"Oh FUCK this!" Yeah, the Raven didn't have to tell him twice as a shadow appeared overhead as he pivoted around, tightly grabbing Ava's wrist before giving rough tug to pull her along, yanking her and taking himself out of the danger zone as a malformed hand with faces on its fingers crashed down where they once stood. With that done, he began booking it with the other two, letting go of the younger girls wrist once he felt she was fleeing an not stunned from the scene.

While they were back to scrambling and running away, Alex always kept his eye on the alien being, always watching the way it squirm, each twisting tendril of a limb and way the faces contorted, well, lets just say they weren't supposed to look that way. It was something that constantly inspired fear in his heart and kept him running with the others for what felt like an eternity, even though it was most likely less than a minute.

Suddenly, the bird scrawked instructions for them, to head down this alleyway and take some stairs down. Despite how frantic this situation was, he was able to connect that she was directing them down into the depths of a metro station. What he couldn't do was retort right now, nothing snarky or thought provoking, stating his distrust, nothing of that on his mind.

Alex, in his panic, didn't even think, just did, and funneled into the alley with the others as the beast closed in behind them and the bird departed on her own. From the outset, it looked like they were home free.

But the figure standing at the end showed them otherwise as it slowly began to melt and disfigure into small, teardrop blobs that splattered onto the pavement with an eerie plop before levitating a little off the ground before distorting. All of them had a mish-mash of human features that looked out of place, wherever they were.

As they came to a pause, Hakuro made some comment about parkour or some shit, but Alex just blocked that out and began scanning for something he could use, anything.

And then, he saw it. An opportunity. Bending his knees, Alex kept keen eye on one of the trashcans off to the side "We don't have time for maybes, only absolutes! If we can't get around them, then-"

Alex broke into a sprint, leaving the two behind him, straight on a collision course with those ominous, patterned slimy drops, "I'll just make a way for us!" If anything, Alex would probably consider this a stupid plan later and attempt to think up better things to do, but right now, he only really saw this as their best option.

He had to take this into his own hands as he snatched up a lid and held it up like a shield, staring down those blobs with a fearsome mien, gritting his teeth as his eyes grew sharp and burned. "Out of our way," he roared, slamming into two or three of the blobs that swarmed the area like wasps, causing a few of them to back off before looking to descend upon him.

While he did manage to break through and open the way up, this offered a new can of worms - the fact that he was surrounded by these things. More over, while his senses were still heightened, backing up would probably cause him to bring these things to Ava and Hakuro. Even more so, it looked like he only really provoked them and not harm them too much, as evidenced by those three blobs sloughing off his now bent makeshift shield and reforming.

...!

Alex blinked.

A sharp pain cascaded through abdomen and to the rest of his body as he felt the air being knocked out of his lungs, followed by a hard thud to the ground. His head was shaking as he was surrounded by these swarm of blobs, hovering around him like hornets. Dizzy. He was shaking even more profusely as he struggled to get up a bit, only to see some of these things slobbering tongues and the fact that one of them had attached to him.

He clicked the roof of his tongue and grit his teeth, "Get the hell off of me!" His other hand shot towards the blob, sinking in as his fingers dug into it. Using the strength he could, he worked to wrench the thing off and toss it to the side, but it was ineffective as a few more rushed in. He couldn't think right now and his instincts took over, adrenaline gushing through his arteries and veins as he quickly rolled over, nearly avoiding getting doggy piled on as a few of the swarm instead slapped and slammed onto the street.

The entrance to the metro station became clearer, yet so far away as he began getting his thoughts somewhat straight, "Bloody hell, I wish I had a gun, weapon, something, anything right about now!"

As he looked up, more of the swarm was looking too assault him as they buzzed and shot themselves towards the downed Alex, who instead rolled backwards to avoid them and to try and regain his footing, only to stumble back a bit once was on his own two feet again, but that wasn't enough as another rushed him down. On reaction, Alex went to swat it away, only to watch as what he countered with wasn't the dented trashcan lid and instead the barrel of a Thompson submachine gun.

This left him more confused, befuddled than anything right at this moment, but he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially right now when he was under attack. Taking aim at the swarm, Alex pulled the trigger.

TATATATATATATATATATATATA!

And the bullets flew, some missing, others penetrating, but it was enough to cause some of these things to hiss and groan before backing off; a few even began merging back with one another. However, Alex, in this moment didn't bother questioning anything else, didn't bother commenting on the absurdity of this all. The pain felt real, what he felt was real, this gun despite being lighter than what he went out to shoot with for some strange reason felt real.

And what was especially real was the fact that these creatures were completely distracted by Alex at the moment, as he continued to spray and pray.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Conscripts
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Merja “Mer” Aaltonen & Phillip Leonhart

Evergreen Hallway || Friday Afternoon


It took Mer about a minute and a half to pack up her stuff and head towards where she saw the fedora-wearing boy disappear. Frankly, it was rather amusing that the time and place she’d first see him again was after school at some random corner rather than between classes during school in the main hallway. She wasn’t about to complain, though, just smile about the coincidences as she walked over.

Turning the corner, she expected to see some sort of confrontation happening because that’s what Alex would probably do if he saw Hakuro again, Ava or not. Instead, she found herself staring at a very familiar boy, and it took her a moment to place him. Another moment and she realized that he was looking at her, and she swallowed, then smiled and waved hesitantly.

“Hi Phillip!” she said, walking over. When he didn’t immediately respond, she jumped at filling the silence.

“It’s Mer, from the library? Nice to see you again, and I hope your day’s going well. But, by the way, did you happen to see Alex and Ava pass by? Or a boy in a fedora?”



He’d seen enough stupid people for one day.

Mikhail’s sudden disappearance did just go right above his head the moment Phillip had that thought. As he turned around the corner, he pondered to what he needed to do for the next upcoming days. Assignment 2 for ENSC? Well, he already laid the groundwork. All it takes now is a file to compile them all. Not so difficult, he could do it tomorrow or the day after.

While he circulated the thought, he turned the corner, to be suddenly greeted by someone. Someone he didn’t know? She definitely wasn’t among his social circle. But her rather joyous smile and nervous wave, and the fact that she uttered his name like she was his childhood friend, made him have second revisions. That height, and her distinguished sky blue irises. It was a recall to his misfortune the other day at the library. But hey, at least she wasn’t a part of it.

”Hello.” He waved back, though much less enthusiastic and more curious. His fame seemed to carry on a little further than he had anticipated. ”Yeah, I remember you, thanks.”

And she asked about Alex and Ava. She probably didn’t realize that he didn’t know those two. But the guy with a fedora? A sight to be witnessed at Evergreen. Though unfortunately…

”Sorry, I don’t seem to recall Alex and Ava in my list of acquaintances. I probably know the fedora kid, but I don’t know where he is as well.”



“Oh, sorry, um.”

She floundered for a second, mentally questioning herself about how she could forget something so simple. Of course Phillip didn’t know Ava, and of course she shouldn’t have expected him to remember who Alex was.

“Um, Alex, he was there at the library? I think he introduced himself before you arrived, but he’s the boy who left with me. He, um, isn’t angry all the time, though, and I hope he didn’t upset you or anything. He just got pretty… worked up that day.”

She smiled apologetically.

“And alright. Huh. This is a pretty long hallway...”

Trailing off as she leaned to one side, she looked down the empty hall, a frown on her face. Maybe if the Asian boy ran? But for Phillip to miss him, he’d have to be a pretty quiet runner, and as Phillip had said, he didn’t tend to blend in.

Still, nothing else made sense, and Mer dropped her frown. “Well, I guess I missed them,” she said, sighing. “Back to studying it is.”

She paused, glancing at what Phillip was carrying. Then, after a moment of consideration as she pressed her lips together, Mer decided she’d go out on a limb today. After all, Phillip seemed like a reasonable person, if not nice, and being near him and his accomplishments would probably encourage her to focus.

“Um, by the way, are you headed to the library? I usually go there after school, so do you want to study together?” she asked, then backpedaled. “Well, not together together, but near each other. Having people around me tends to encourage me to stay focused,” she said, smiling sheepishly.



Hmm. Strange or not. He didn’t see that guy either. Oh well, who knows where they are.

Mer then proceeded to ask Phillip on a study together. Feels kind of odd to be studying with someone he only knew for like a glance. But she was nice when she asked, so it’s a little difficult to reject. After all, he wasn’t in anything urgent, just dicking around in Evergreen recently.

”Hmm, if you insist…”

Maybe he could finish that assignment for good, then he could have the entire week for himself.

And so they departed towards the library together. On the way, Phillip’s curiosity continued to grow as he walked alongside the Finnish girl.

”Say...how do you get acquainted with that guy Mikhail? Did he pressure you for whatever he’s doing?”



Mer perked up at the yes, beaming. Fear of rejection was one of the many reasons why she didn’t ask people to study together, but it seemed that Phillip really was a nice person.

“Great,” she said, hoping she didn’t sound too delighted. It’d been so long since she made a friend she’d almost doubted if she could.

At Phillip’s question as they walked, Mer furrowed her brows. She knew that he didn’t get the best impression of Mikhail in the library, and she didn’t want to upset him, but she didn’t want to make Mikhail seem like a bad person either. As someone with a strong personality, Mikhail had made a poor first impression in the library, and Mer knew how hard it was for people to look past that. Frankly, she’d been nervous talking to Alex at first too, and she’d been correct in giving him the benefit of the doubt.

“Oh, he, um, he—he didn’t pressure me,” Mer said, stumbling over her words, then realizing that her stumbling wasn’t helping her case and stumbling even more as a result.

Taking a breath to think over her words, she tried again.

“I met Mikhail that day in the library too. He’s in my chemistry class, so I guess he thought I could help him.”

She shrugged, then looked at Phillip, frowning. “Did you decide to help him though? Trying to make an antidote—I don’t think he’d be able to manage that alone.”



He probably did…

Ayyyy. He had already emphasized it enough, but that Russian kid really needed some help. Not scheme-wise, however. That ‘plan’ of his whether you can actually call it that, was so horribly constructed that he didn’t know if the greatest mind of this era could even salvage it.

”No” Phillip replied bluntly to her question, initially unaware of the frown she wore on her face that he may have gotten it worse. But he soon realized that attitude.

”I just find it too poorly thought out. Even if I can afford to look past his victim mentality, I did not find an ounce of groundedness in whatever he’s trying to do.” He tried to sound like he had a reason instead. Well he did have reasons. It’s just that the mentioning of Mikhail and his craziness seemed to have triggered some wires on his head to respond crudely to whatever he says. ”I could list out a hundred thing he hadn’t considered, but I think you probably could figure it out.”

He probably should turn back before he got too worked up on that guy.

”Anyway, no more about that guy, if you don’t mind.” Phillip quickly switched topics.




Mer nodded slowly as she listened to Phillip. His reasoning made sense, and she couldn’t fault him for his decision, however badly she felt for Mikhail. After all, Mikhail had outlined a rather ambitious plan, and frankly Mer doubted if he even had access to anyone who could help them, much less be able to approach them and ask. Maybe it was for the best that Mikhail was getting rejected early since he’d be able to change tracks before he got too invested. Considering his strong personality, Mer figured he’d be able to bounce back. He’d been through worse and lived, and that attested to his resilience.

“Alright,” she said quickly when Phillip closed the conversation on Mikhail. They walked in silence for a few seconds after, and she racked her brain for something to say. Asking about his homework was an option, but that was liable to be a dead end if he started talking about concepts she didn’t understand. So, ideally she’d ask about something non-intrusive and easy to keep up with.

“You, um, won competitions, right? How are those? Are you thinking to enter more?” she asked.




Competitions. Well, that was his prime indeed. A truly fun times. Funnily enough at the time he didn’t really think that his achievement would have given him that much of a reputation. He thought he just won something cool, and nothing else. A silver medal, at the time he felt like a sportsman, participating in the Olympics and winning those medals for his country. Well, it is that, just less muscles and more brains.

”Yeah, I did win those. If you’ve heard Physics Olympiad before. If not, then it’s just the Olympics, but for academics instead of sports.” He explained. ”I got second place, apparently a huge deal for the country. The press coverage was a little claustrophobic I would say, but at least I got a nice medal.”

But from that point on was the time he was plunged into a series of ‘press it until it deflates’ moments. Once people knew him, they continued to ask him many things out of him. Things that got transparent in the misconceptions of geniuses in a commoner’s eye. Things that now made him turn against the things he once loved.

He sighed as he was to answer her next questions. ”Well, no plans on that. That was for high-schoolers. I don’t know much about adult competitions, but in honesty...I’m kind of just looking at a more normal life after that.”

He just didn’t know the fire deep within him.



“No, but that sounds really cool,” Mer said, eyes wide as Phillip spoke. He seemed to be rather familiar with explaining the subject, and Mer picked up trace amounts of exasperation around the topic, which told her she’d do well in not asking too many surface questions about it. Save the simple questions for later when she could look them up and all that.

“That’s understandable. You’ve already done a lot,” Mer said when Phillip cited his desire for normalcy. To be honest, she couldn’t imagine how someone so smart could lead a normal life since they could do so much so easily, but she supposed she was thinking too much of it. She was looking at the situation through her own lens: the lens of someone normal, of someone who struggled with school. She couldn’t imagine pushing herself to compete in intellectual Olympics, and she probably wasn’t imagining the situation in its entirety either.

As they sat down at the library, pulling out their materials, Mer felt relieved that she could finally let the silence sit. Though she’d enjoyed talking to Phillip, trying to keep the awkwardness from settling in as they walked had taken a chunk out of her energy reserves, and she still had work to get through.

“Good luck,” she said as she picked up her pen. “Hopefully we get everything done.”
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Romaní Bogart

Strength Blares When the Candles Fade
Friday, ???
theme




His breath finally caught up to him, his eyes stared at the mess left behind by the creature whom just moments ago, he had snapped it's neck in a frenzy he was unbeknownst to. The irises returned to their natural hue, and the sounds or more creatures began to surface from the darkness. What happened today was a testament of a world he was utterly sure resembled hell. The moment he-- disposed of one of them, the others would soon rally behind in attempts to not only feast, but to sustain the threat of the mice that bit the eye of the cat. The pendulum vanished as soon as it arrived, along with the gun... What was that all now? He couldn't dilly-dally on the thought, his feet kicked the concrete beneath his heel, turned and left the area as soon as the voices began to churn for an audience to please them. Romaní had no sense of direction, but he knew that, although different this place resembled London to some extent, the world swallowed by darkness and oddly shaped enigma's was all that differed it from the everyday monotonous streets and building of the London he knew.

A clone to some extent, if set clone began to molt and rot before the very eyes of society. Or more so, the more Romaní thought, it was as if it was a bleak mirror of the world he knew. A stained image of the reality which consumes what the world knows to be true, but hides it behind its midst. He shook of the thought, that didn't matter at the moment! He needed to get out, and if there was an in somewhere, the out had to be close to a source of incredible energy... or at least he could come to such a conclusion since mostly every cliché would, at some juncture, lead him to such a thought. Soon, as if answering his doubts a tremble came to his feet.

"The school..."

Before he knew it, his feet dragged him to the most notable location. Almost instinctively, muscle memory even, he arrived at the area he spent the most time in as he could witness the shift between one image and the next. The visage began to distort, grossly so, into a fortress. The shape began to increase and increase, shifting before his very eyes and turning into something else entirely. Before he knew it, the school was now a medieval-war-castle. Out of the seams, a voice, thunderous and demanding... The source held in its hand a book, and he rose his hands up in reverence, witnessing the skies, gleaming to it as if questioning its very existence, or perhaps even suggesting to give reason to what already exist. Romaní would even say it was majestic, in the gloom of what this world was, the source gave life to an undead world, but the ominous sense of malice overtook the area and blanketed it on its source. This place... if there was an exit, it was certainly here.

Soon after, he noticed. Something about the man there were others around, others like him. He needed to find answer and quick. Was that-- Ashcroft? Why was he gowning such clothing? Why did the school shift so drastically? Honestly at this point, nothing that made sense existed, so the abnormal had turned into a common entity, Romaní was less surprised and more interested, if there was an out, it had to be somewhere close or within this point. He turned, in hopes that this "Ashcroft" didn't notice his presence, and he began to survey the surroundings. There must be an escape, somewhere...
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Nimbus
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The Sociology Corridor, Evergreen Grammar School
Friday Morning


Motion all around. A boy approaches from the right – Isn’t that that person who – and says something about him “spacing out,” tone gentle. Then another, portside, darting through in a flurry of words – “himbeinglikethathavea –” that he can hardly catch. Alistair’s head swivels back and forth, mind snatching up everything it can as it strains to analyse and assimilate everything while still reverberating from the events of moments before.

For a moment, he halts, putting a hand to his temple and rubbing it in firm, circular motions. Alistair breathes, compartmentalising.

He gives a nod and a half-smile to the blue-haired boy alongside him. Then he turns forward once more – and flees.

Wimbledon Park Tube Station, Arthur Road, Wimbledon
Friday Afternoon


Alistair emerges into an irregularly breeze from behind the station’s threshold, the clouds parted to let the golden glow of the Sun pass, shining from its home low in the sky. He lets the corners of his mouth rise, a fine mist glazing his vision as he turns down the relatively quiet street. He holds onto some level of awareness, just enough to let him perceive the lack of traffic and step quickly across the road, but lets it go thereafter.

He needs peace and contemplation, after this morning’s events. No sense in concentrating a part of his mind away from that.

His gaze wanders down the track whence he came, his feet carrying him over the bridge above it, before a line of not-quite-regular houses in reds and whites occupies it as he turns onto the helpfully marked Home Park Road. He smiles idly at that. Appropriate… Joins of the few places of this city where I can feel like it.

A few people pass him by as he ambles down the lane – someone walking their dog, a small, wiry, bouncy creature that wags more intensely as he passes by; a group of kids that rush through on scooters, far too focussed on their own games to pay him attention – and in doing so are noted by Alistair, somewhere in his subconscious. They stir his mind, its currents now melding, now separating. The same, too, can be said of the iron-spiked gates to his right as they glint in the sunshine; the wave of the trees to his left, all increasingly bare aside from the resilient pines; the slight irregularities of the pavement beneath his feet. From his subconscious, like the motions of the Earth’s ferrous core, they energise the layer above.

And as he enters Wimbledon Park, with its playground filled with eager children running this way and that, its rustling oaks, ashes and willows and the paths weaving between them, its glassy lake populated with geese, its golfers and (of course) its tennis players, there is more than enough to provide all the mental stimulation for a good couple of hours of thought.

Wimbledon Suburbs, Wimbledon
About half an hour later


…right – you’re going to have to make rules to keep those people’s preferences in check. “That means a group of people making rules…” Alistair frowns, letting out a sustained puff of air through his nostrils. And those people are obviously going to be those charismatic ones. There isn’t a stable system here.

He sighs, that train of thought coming to an end alongside the crunch of shoes on gravel, replaced now by the low slap of those shoes against tarmac. The roads here are much like the ones on the other side of the park, a little shabby but well-built and serviceable, though the homes and driveways are larger and the pavements smaller and less frequent – like the people, in that last regard at least.

That’s the core problem with Utilitarianism… No account for human imperfections. If you try to apply it to a society you inevitably fail because the system can’t deal with the complexity. If you try to apply it to yourself, then you can’t deal with that complexity. Just too much unpredictability. He purses his lips. Though I suppose it’s more me trying to force it into doing something that the people working on it weren’t…

Huh… Case in point.


From the other side of the pavement corner comes striding a boy – the boy, the one with silver-white hair whose speech he’d barely caught in the earlier tumult at school, having apparently sighted him a few seconds before. Caught more than a little off guard, Alistair slows, then halts mid-step, seemingly frozen. There he waits.

Thus, it is the other boy who speaks first. “…Umm, hello there. You’re a student from Evergreen, yes? …My name is Tyler Blackmore, an upper sixth at Evergreen as well. I…umm, I’m sorry for coming up to you out of the blue like this, but that boy who ran into you a while ago was a friend of mine. I wanted to apologize about that incident in his stead. …I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive him. He… he wasn't always like that.”

Alistair blinks once, twice, mind unprepared and therefore sluggish to adjust to the new topic. “I… I hadn’t thought much about it yet,” he answers honestly. Finally, old channels open, long-forgotten social protocol clicking into place. “I’m Alistair, Parton – Lower Sixth. Thanks…” He considers, new knowledge melding with old knowledge and ideas, then nods. “You don’t need to apologise, though. If I judged someone for things happening to them that they didn’t see coming or doing something with results they didn’t intend…” He smiles weakly. “Well, if you work out how to predict them, I’d love to know. Otherwise, you don’t need to worry – I can carry on.”
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by addamas
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To her absolute regret, when she looked to where Laurence came from, her gaze met with something putrid. As if a blizzard flew through her, Ava froze on the spot, unable to take her eyes of the crimson eyes that whispered into her ears. The way it moved was lucid, and it’s tentacle like limbs were abhorrent to look at, it was too much for Ava’s mind to register it all.

But there was one word that tightened her grip on reality, Fuck! and along with it, came a tug on the arm to which she could do nothing but follow. She tried her hardest not to look back, instead focusing on who gripped her hand. As frantic as their running was, Ava could see Alex and Hakuro clearly, and the raven wasn’t far ahead either; for however small, it reassured her to see them active and alive. Once the adrenaline kicked in, she let go of Alex as she felt like she could run past them easily, but the bird had other plans.

A single glance down into the tunnels was enough to let her take a step back. Why the bird wanted them to head into the metro tunnel was one thing, but their one guide was about to leave them alone with these monsters. If it wasn’t for the panic, she would’ve begged the raven to stay, but she could hear the moans behind her getting closer, and the metro was just as frightening; they were really in deep shit now.

...

But that wasn’t like her at all. Scary things happen all the time, and the only way to handle them is by facing them and headbutting them with all you’ve got! Ava took a deep breath, and broadened her shoulders to intimidate whatever came at her. And she wasn’t alone either, she could depend on Hakuro and Alex. Speaking of Alex, he seemed to have a plan of his own as he charged off towards some creepy balls…

“Alex!?”

She frantically stepped forward, edging her toes on the top stairs, but her legs didn’t carry her further. She looked back towards Hakuro, and back down again as she swallowed her fear. That idiot ran straight into those monsters and of course it didn’t work. He was already rolling across the floor to dodge whatever things were attacking him, but she couldn’t watch as her friend was being torn apart.

Shit! She screamed as she ran down towards Alex. But nary a few feet from him, she stopped dead in her tracks as Alex started shooting at them with a tommy gun? “What the!? Where did you-Eek!” With the sound of her scream, her foot kicked one of the blobs as it jumped at her leg, sending it flying into another blob.

“Shoot them, shoot them!”
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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Mik & Ty


A collab with @The Jest


Wednesday Morning, 2 days ago.


Another morning, another nightmare waking him up in a cold sweat, all relatively clockwork at this point. As he did his business and got dressed, Tyler looked out the window once more to notice nothing peculiar this time around. It seems after that tree stunt from Hat, the rest of yesterday was essentially back to normal; nothing more interesting happened the whole day and today seems like it will be just as promising of nothing.

That is, of course, right until he got himself out the door, and promptly decked in the face by a fist that looked to be the size of his head. It almost looked like one of those prank videos you see online, where someone is walking out the door only to by something slammed in their face, be it pie, a boot to the head, or in this case, a fist to the face. As Tyler was knocked to the ground by this, feeling the left side of his gums bleeding a little, and left cheek absorbing most of the hit and was rubbed by his hand, he couldn’t help but wonder what they would have done if he didn’t walk out this particular door, would they have hit someone else in the face in his stead? God help them if it was ever Alex.

Ah yes, “they”... particularly it was a group of three boys around Tyler’s own age, looking at the downed Tyler with a shit-eating grin on their faces, two of the spectators laughing that their “prank” worked as well as it did.

These two in particular didn’t really have anything to differentiate them with others, or even each other for that matter, they were both quite scrawny, they both had brown hair, though one’s about shoulder-length and the other looked short-enough to be buzzed, the shoulder-lengthed one having green eyes, the buzzed one having hazel eyes, both had a relatively samey choice of clothes, barely making it into the school uniform with an unbuttoned dress overshirt and a white shirt, not quite a dress shirt, and black jeans masquerading as black dress pants with brown shoes. Clearly neither of them seemed to belong here, likely borrowing their clothes from their parents since they seemed to big for it themselves. It seemed more likely that either their parents somehow got them here through their influence alone, or they don’t actually belong in Evergreen and just came to this campus to fuck with Tyler. Based on their appearance, most likely the latter.

The leading one, however, this one was clearly the leader of the trio, with his greased up short blonde hair and those glossy sky blue eyes, bright enough that Tyler swore he could see them glow in the dark. He was all dressed up in a yellow, a fucking tacky as hell yellow set of dress clothes and a black tie, a white dress shirt, and a pair of black leather shoes - one of which were now pressed against Tyler’s chest - looking like a millionnaire bee. While the other two looked like they didn’t belong there, this one looked like he either got here through money or because he’s smarter than he looks and clearly wants to be a fucking peacock about it.

“Howdy, ‘Private’...” The leading boy simply said to him with a sickeningly snarky smile. While the other two had grins like they thought they could get away with this, this guy had a small but confident smile; he knows he can get away with this.

Oh… He- -cough- Hey William...” Tyler said, somewhat wheezing due to the blonde-haired boy’s - William’s - foot pressed against his lungs, attempting to give a soft smile to him as he rubbed his cheek, which surprisingly has yet to swollen or bruise.

“We missed you yesterday, ‘sir’, we couldn’t find you anywhere. We were really feeling down too.”

Is that so? Tha-that’s strange, I didn’t change my route through the school any… Oh, right, that was the day Hat-san wasstandingonatree...” As soon as Tyler mentioned Hat, the boy compressed his lungs further with his foot as he leaned on his knee, causing Tyler to go high-pitched and raspy with his voice at the end, before William relieved some of the pressure.

“Ah-ah, no excuses soldier, you should know better than to make excuses like that, didn’t they teach you that in boot camp? All that matters is that you weren’t there when we needed you, so now, we’re gonna need to let off more steam than we usually do, especially with fucking mid-terms coming up. School life’s such a bitch, isn’t it Private? Well, no need to worry...it’ll be done before you KNOW IT!” William said, finally letting his foot off Tyler’s chest only to then kick it to his abdomen, the other two simply watched with delight like they were watching some sort of brutal sport.

---

Suddenly, William and his gang would be interrupted by a loud shout.

“HEY! WHAT ARE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS DOING?!” The shout came from a small-ish young man who, despite his thin build, radiated anger and malice and threats of cruelty. Walking towards William, the young man in question, Mikhail Chekhov, reared up and said, “Didn’t I tell you to keep away from Tyler, you asshole?! Or are you just deaf?!”

His eyes glinted blue as he glared at William and his crew. “Stay. Away. From. Tyler. Shoo!”

Mikhail might be small, but he was willing to take on much bigger kids than he was. He was smart, he was agile, and he knew how to take the best advantage of both. If Tyler was at stake, he’d gladly take the risk of getting beaten up himself - It’s not like the chance to get a good hit in was easy to pass up, after all. William was just that much of an asshole.

---

Immediately William looked over to the boy, and just as immediately gave out an “Ugh” in annoyance as he rolled his eyes.

“And in comes Comrad Freakshow to ruin the fun like clockwork...” William said with a venomous disdain for Mikhail, a look of irritation on his face where Mikhail would have likely wanted fear as he walked over to him. William’s two goons, however, did step back away from the little Russian. They’ve had enough black eyes to know not to fuck with the little punk if they don’t absolutely have to or be ordered to.

William on the other hand…

“You know, I did hear you say something like that, but I just figured you actually meant it in reverse like the little red menace you are. ...Lost in Translation I guess...” God, that superior smirk on his face as he said this...It was like he was outright daring the little Russian boy to take a swing at him, course his goons knew from experience that he’d be inclined to do just that. Either William somehow didn’t get that message, or he just didn’t care that much.

---

In response, Mikhail fought dirty. And by fought dirty, he gave William a full kick on the balls, the tip of his shoe directed at such a point that even if Will wore a codpiece, he’d feel the impact. Then when the bully was distracted, whether by Mikhail’s attempt or said attempt succeeding, Mikhail would rain punches at him, each individually weak but collectively enough to wear down even the strongest defense a schoolyard bully can make.

And yes, Mikhail would target William’s face, too.

---

Whether it was because he’s seen him pull this kind of shit before, or was the unfortunate victim of Mikhail’s little ball buster before, William quickly reacted by grabbing the foot with his hands.

He was going to say something snarky, such as “Gonna have to try better than that”, but was immediately interrupted by Mikhail’s second move. See, since both his hands grabbing at Mikhail’s shoe, nothing was there to keep his face from protection, and so William was now the one decked in the face...and repeatedly so. While William tried his best to protect his face from Mikhail’s weak but constant barrage - not too hard to do, but it was more a matter of endurance than anything - the other two, Ed and Moe, nodded to each other and tried to grab at Mikhail, knowing full well they’ll likely be victims of his punches yet again. But they weren’t anything, if not loyal to William.

While this was happening, Tyler was catching his breath, wanting to stop this fight, but needing to essentially recover himself for a few minutes. He wasn’t a stranger to beat-downs and his trained up body kept the damage at a minimum compared to what it could be… but it still hurt like a bitch and pain was something he couldn’t rush naturally to relieve. Still, slowly but surely, he was beginning to get back up.

---

“Heh!” Mikhail said as he drew back… Only to take off his backpack and swing it at all three bullies in one single sweep, hoping to smack William, Ed, and Moe in the face. Should he succeed, Mikhail then prepared to say, “Learned your lesson yet, assholes?! Now either get out or we can keep this going forever!”

If he somehow failed, well, the backpack can be used as an improvised weapon a second time…

---

Well, needless to say it worked...well, ⅔ worked, anyways. While William was still on the ground, unwittingly ducking over the backpack, Ed and Moe, unfortunately, were not so lucky, and were probably thrown to the ground as a result. The three got up from the ground, Ed and Moe signalled William to come with them as they consequently bolted. William, rubbing the blood off his mouth, gave a quick smirk looking at Mikhail, before giving an annoyed look as he stared at his suit, now with a small splotch of red from his blood, not enough by a long shot to warrant concern for his well-being, but enough to be noticeable and warrant attention.

“...Got guts as always, you little Soviet shit, I’d say I like that, but thanks to it, I got a little of your red on me now. You know how hard it is to dry-clean this fucking thing? ...We’ll pick this up some other time, ‘Private’. Consider yourself dismissed for now. As for you, ‘Comrad’, this ain’t over by a long shot...oh but it will be. You never belonged in this place and now, mark my words, your days here are numbered, we’ll see what the Vice-Principal has to say about this. ...I’ll drink some vodka in memory.” He said. Although he had a tone that was calm, the words spewed from his mouth oozed with a subtle hatred for them both, immediately dusting himself off and following the other two.

Umm… I’m sorry about this, Mik… I didn’t mean for you to get involved again.” Tyler said immediately afterwards, looking at the ground, as if in shame.

---

Mikhail, in response, was tempted to shout at Tyler, even though he knew it’d be ineffective. So he said, “Tyler. You can stand up for yourself.” He wanted to shout and scream at his friend to regrow his spine, but he’d done it enough times to know it won’t work. “Why don’t you stand up for yourself? You are capable of doing so.”

Then, in a flash of inspired sadism, Mikhail continued, “What happened to Nate and Kate wasn’t your fault - Not completely. And quite frankly, they’d be less proud of you than they were before now that you’re no longer defending yourself, much less others. In fact,” he said bitterly, “They probably think it’s their fault you’re such a wuss now.”

---

Tyler made a jolt at first when he heard Mik yell at him, as if stricken by a jumpscare, but eventually his demeanor returned to its usual depressed self. He couldn’t say much of anything to Mik; deep down, he knew Mik was right. There was a time long ago - or at least it feels so long ago now - that Tyler took shit from no one, and was indeed the one that was the first to solve matters with violence. He kept his own against guys his own size, and some guys even bigger than himself at times, and while he stopped the training he did, he still has the strength he used to, and probably didn’t have to take the bullying like he did.

But that time passed him by, his days of violence were over, and he wanted it to stay that way.

...But Mik, he just had to say the last thing. At the mere mention of Nate and Kate, his body made another jolt, this one stronger as he gasped. His eyes widened as he looked at towards the ground, and his hands clenched into fists, his entire body twitched, making a small, barely noticeable vibration across the whole of his being. He could feel his heart as it started to beat irregularly, and it was taking every fiber of his being to keep calm and repress the echoes...His mind was returning to the dream, his body could feel the wind like the shockwave of an imaginary blast...and that was the last thing he wanted right now.

Mikhail intended to hit him hard.... Well, Mission Accomplished. Those words he said, the mere reminder of that day, ...it hurt far worse than any of the punches or kicks he experienced today. Grabbing at his right arm and squeezing tight, he took a deep breath, and closed his eyes.

...Yeah, they probably would be, huh? Even when they’re finally cleared for visitors, I’ll be too embarrassed to go to them... ” He had a nervous smile on his face, trying to look alright with what was said, but the look in his eyes told a different story, and the nervous smile devolved into a small one, filled with sorrow, as he looked to the ground.

I...I know they’d be sad to see me like this, and I know I can’t keep living as a punching bag for others forever. But… I have to believe there’s another answer besides violence to solve those problems, I don’t want to cause any more conflicts and hurt people again...Is there anything else you wanted? I don’t think you came this way by coincidence.” He asked Mik, seemingly wanting to change the subject desperately.

---

“I came to see if you’re safe,” Mikhail blurted out. “Someone needs to protect you.”

A sigh, “But that said, there is something else I want to talk to you about — I need someone who can help me access laboratory equipment and laboratory mice in order to try and make an attempt at… You know.”

It was unspoken, what Mikhail wanted a laboratory for. Both of them knew.

“Do you know anyone who can help?” the boy said in a surprisingly mild voice.

---

...Oh dear.

Mik was vague about what he wanted, but Tyler already knows all too well what he’s talking about. It’s been a certain something he’s been ever since he reunited with him. He can’t say he was too surprised that Mik would ask for someone to help him with his “laboratory project”, but it’s still something that made Tyler feel uneasy. It’s hard to say he can’t understand how Mik feels, he lost his father after all, and in a horrible way no less from what he heard. He also understands Mik’s… “hesitation” to seeing adult experts about something like this, and so his willingness to gun for really intelligent students as opposed to the masterfully intelligent scientists. ...That being said, he’s been going about this since school started, the fact he now has to ask Tyler, who isn’t in any scientific classes, speaks volumes about Mik’s luck so far...

On the one hand, he had reservations about calling someone out to essentially be Mik’s “lab partner”, knowing what it would mean. He knows how this usually plays out, and he’d rather not let it happen again for both Mik and his potential partner’s sake.

On the other hand: He may yell at him more if he refused, and he’d go right back into enlisting someone else to help him with his lab anyways, with the same song-and-dance routine Mik has effectively nailed down at this point.

Needless to say, the choice was clear enough. But who comes to mind? He’s never been in any of the science classes that could help him…

But he did know who might, but…

...Well, ...umm, there’s a girl in my class who might be able to help find access to other lab students. I think her name was, umm, Merja. She has a study group for her biology class she seems to be with most of the time, there might be people she knows who could help you out.” Tyler responded. He does feel bad just calling out the finnish girl like this to Mik, but maybe things won’t be so bad if she gives him directions to who he could talk to. She seems like a kind but reasonable woman, thus from what he’s seen of her, she might be willing to cooperate with Mik on that front. Tyler can only hope it doesn’t go too deep.

I, umm, hope that helps. ...The first bell’s about to ring; we should probably get to classes soon. ...Thanks for helping me again, Mik. ...Stay safe.” He said with a small awkward smile, as he then walks off towards Evergreen, waving to his friend.

---

Mikhail smiled and gave a genuine wave, saying, “You too. You deserve it.”

He then turned to go as well.

Present Day


The wait for Ashcroft to do anything was long, long enough for Mikhail to remember that Hakuro/Hatto-san wasn’t his only friend. Tyler was there too, and while he was less at risk than Hatto-san, and would probably be less bullied by Ashcroft due to being a model student, Mikhail still had to ask, in a milder voice than usual, “Tyler. You won’t hurt him, right? He’s done nothing except impress you without trying - Be your model student. So you won't hurt him, even if you hurt me?”
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