After Max had a leisurely conversation with Noel, his rumbling stomach pulled him away from the dojo. He remembered Emily's suggestion, and went on his way towards the diner; the rumbling becoming ever louder as he got closer to the soothing smell of bacon.
Upon opening the doors to the diner, he was greeted with sights both new and old. Looking to one side of the room, he spotted Mary, and she looked like she just confessed to Caora, who was clinging to Bliss as if it was the end of the world. On the other side of the room sat aleecia, but as Emily was already approaching her, Max decided to approach the only person left on their own. Another girl with a cloak wrapped around her. Intent on greeting this new girl, Max took a few steps towards her."I see you've already found the vending machine. This facility doesn't offer many kinds of food, but at least the drinks are plentiful."
A certain comforting tone under-laid Max's voice as he reached out his hand towards Rika. "I'm Max."
Once Max had turned his attention to Rika, she had sat on the floor next to the vending machine and stared up at his hand, he spoke to her as if she didn't know her way around the place, or was new here, she opened her mouth and played her tape recorder." Hello Rika, my name is Rika, good morning, good evening.
" The tape spoke for her."Been here before.
" The tape squeaked, then the words started to sound garbled."Been in the hospital before, know place, know area.
" She still didn't take his hand to shake it, only looking up at him with her good eye and closing the foggy one.
A mixture of surprise and confusion flew on max's face as Rika started talking through recorder about her being here before. this is certainly the first time he's seen Rika, so did she leave before Max arrived and came back now? or was she always there and just eluded Max all this time. Only one way to find out though."So you've been here before? Guess I won't have to explain what's going on then. that's a relief."
He gave a short smile before putting on his more usual serious expression and scanning Rika's tape recorder. "So why do you use that tape recorder to talk?"
As Max asked this, he spotted Emily closing the distance between her and the sheepish looking girl from the corner his eye.
After she wiped some beads of sweat from her forehead and composed herself, Ellie began looking around the dining hall, she noticed someone speaking with Rika and chose not to get in the middle of her conversation, she then noticed the one girl almost staring off into nothing, she had moments where she would close her eyes for long periods of time then open them for a moment, not knowing what could be wrong her, or if anything was actually wrong with her. Ellie slowly approached her and simply asked her." Are you okay?
" she then reached her hand out to the young lady but didn't touch her. "Do you need any help or do you need the Infinite doctor?
" She continued questioning the girl.
Aleecia turned her head towards the voice, trying to place the voice, but was unable to. "Oh! Um... I'm well, if that's what you're asking?"
She gripped the folds of her green sweatshirt. "Is there something you need?"
It took the girl a second before she realized she hadn't introduced herself. "I'm Aleecia. Aleecia Marvic-"
Before she could say another word, she seemed to trip over nothing and started to fall. Oh for heaven's sake!
The young girl turned to Emily, and answered her with a question, she asked Emily if she needed something before introducing herself to her, Ellie cocked her head to the side wondering if something really was wrong with her and as she started to tell the girl who she was." My name is Emi-
" The young lady seemed to had tripped over her own two feet, Ellie leaned forwards into her and caught her before she could hit the floor and hurt herself."Careful, are you sure you are okay miss Marvic?
" Ellie asked the girl bringing her back up to her feet.
The Dice Master's cheeks were redder than a newly painted firetruck as she tried to regain her balance, "Y-Yes! I'm completely healthy, just clumsy..."
After being put back on her feet, Aleecia made sure at least one hand was balanced on the back of the chair she was sitting at earlier. "Let's redo that last bit, I'm Aleecia and you are?"
She reached out a hand for a handshake.
Ellie nodded when Aleecia suggested that they re-do the last bit, she took Aleecia's hand with both of her hands and told the dice master." My name is Emily Rishimi, The infinite caretaker.
" She informed her, then the thoughts of Max asking how she was a caretaker came to the front of her mind and she explained it to her."I'm like Miss Bliss, but I mostly help sick and terminally ill people, but I'm not much of a nurse, so I help people who are disabled.
""Of course, Um... I'm the..."
She bit her lip, not wanting to speak of it, "The Infinite Dice Master. Has anything happened since you arrived? I don't remember hearing you at the last trial."
She gave the hands wrapped around hers a squeeze before letting them fall.
Once Aleecia let go, Ellie looked at the girl's eyes before telling her."Oh, I was in another game.
" The memory of Quill and Mason came to the front of her mind."Rika and a couple of the others were there. Sadly someone took the life of another and once we finished the trial we were here.
" She explained, Quill's execution flashed in her mind, every moment." Nothing really happened to me as I arrived here, everyone here is very friendly, if it were not for the being trapped part and someone dying, this wouldn't really be all to bad.
Aleecia opened her eyes briefly again, thinking back to when she could actually see the face of the person she was talking to. But it was far too bright in the room and she shut them quickly, scrunching at the pain the light brought. "I understand completely..."
Sounds replayed in her head of the time of Shona's and lucas's deaths. Honestly, I've been in a coma for a while so I wasn't able to witness the latest trial. A small worry plagued her mind as she remembered she didn't even know who was dead. "So you were in another game with Rika? It's nice to know she had people like you at her side."
She heard sounds of a tape recorder at the other end of the room and smiled, knowing that her friend was close.
"It was unfortunate what happened to Mason, Quill tried to pin the murder onto Rika and make us kill her, her reason for doing it was to get ahead or to escape. I don't know why she didn't want to murder Mason, I can't really remember, maybe even to hide something.
" She stopped speaking abruptly then recomposed herself and tried to change the subject, she noticed that the girl was in pain when she closed her eyes." Are your eyes okay?
" She asked." Is there something wrong with your eyes?
" She almost reached out to touch the girl's face but stopped herself before she could touch Aleecia's face feeling it to be rude to touch someone's face without permission.
At the sound of her previous acquaintances, Aleecia started to tremble, "M-Mason?"
Her complexion grew pale as porcelain and she slowly sank back into the chair. "He's dead...?"
Memories sprang from the back of her mind. Mason needing that caffeine fix, him swiping a sandwich from Felix. The time that no one was killing anyone, the time... When everyone had at least a little more trust in each other. Quill was a name she had heard, but never much interacted with. The woman had been known as the Infinite Model, but there's was no way Aleecia could put a face to a name. "That's... Very sad."
She gripped hard onto her sweatshirt, trying to keep her eyes from dripping and biting her lip hard.
Shortly after, the Caretaker brought up her eyes, she straightened a little, "My eyes? I've not been able to really see out of them since I was twelve. Something's wrong with my brain, an aneurysm."
She pushed a stray hair away from her face. How bad did her hair look today anyway? She had never been able to properly take care of it. Her cheeks heated up again.
Ellie couldn't control herself, once she heard the girl was blind, or had trouble seeing, she pulled Aleecia into a hug and rubbed her head as she hugged her, she almost shed a tear for Aleecia's condition."It's unfair how life can be to people sometimes.
" She brushed the back of Aleecia's head again feeling upset for the young lady's lack of sight." If you need anything, or have trouble with anything, I will always try to help.
" She told Aleecia." And don't feel as if you're a burden, because it's my job to help people who have a disability and can't do certain things. Aleecia I will always try to help you.
Aleecia's cheeks became much more red when she was suddenly embraced in a hug. While it was a happy feeling to be embraced by another, she couldn't exactly breathe. For the first few moments, Aleecia was just happy to be hugged, but then instinct kicked in and she started to struggle.
After Felix answered any questions that Lucy asked, he was promptly released from her servitude, and thrown out the door. Still a bit overwhelmed by Lucy's sudden interrogation, he was stumbling through the hallways, aiming to grab a bite and meet more new people; hopefully a bit tamer.
It took longer than it should have taken to reach the diner, but once inside, he already spotted a new face. taking a deep breath of courage, Felix started striding towards the blue haired lady. But upon closer inspection, the woman seemed to be holding someone, Felix couldn't quite make out who it was because she was facing away from him; but a slight surprise took hold of Felix as he got close enough to recognize who the woman was holding. It was Aleecia, and it didn't look like Aleecia was enjoying the hug, in fact she seemed to be trying to escape the woman's grip. Not realizing the mortal peril that Aleecia found herself in, Felix casually walked up to them before asking:"Uhm, excuse me lady, I think you might be smothering my friend there."
A single finger pointed towards Aleecia's struggle.
The moment when Ellie noticed what she was doing, someone pointed it out to her and she quickly brought the blind girl from her chest and fixed her hair." I'm sorry Aleecia, I didn't know that you were in there.
" She laughed nervously." Like I told you before if you ever need anything just come to me or call for me and I'll do my best to give you a hand.
" She told the young lady.
The poor girl took a few shaky breaths before looking up at Ellie. "Oh, um, alright, thank you muchly?"
She turned her head towards the new voice and tried to identify it. Again, while the girl had been awake, most of her time had been spent in her room, and her memory wasn't the best. He called her his friend... But she couldn't exactly, "F-Felix?"
She asked hesitantly, she could very well be wrong."In the flesh. I hope I didn't interrupt a touching moment, but it looked like you we're kinda suffocating sooo..."
Felix jokingly said before turning towards Ellie. "No offense of course."
" Sorry again.
" She apologized to Aleecia." It's just when people have horrible things happen to them I just feel compelled to hug them so they can feel better about what happened to them, and it's just unfair what happened to Aleecia.
" When the Felix fellow mentioned touching moment she didn't really get it." Touching moment?
" "I'm okay with hugs, just maybe not the suffocating kind,"
she let out a little laugh. "How are you Felix? It's been a while!"
She stood up again, feeling bad that she was sitting while the rest of them stood. But she kept her hand on the back rest of the chair again, just in case she tripped over nothing again."I'd say I was doing great, but...these last few days have been a rollercoaster. one day we're blowing up a carnage chassis, the next we're fighting for our lives in a trial. It can be...overwhelming."
even though the subject material was very sad, Felix managed to stay relatively positive because of something. "But don't you worry Alli-"
Before he could say another word, Aleecia came closer and grasped his hand. "Felix... I know that this may be hard but... who died in the last trial?"
Her eyebrows knitted and she gave his hand a little squeeze.
A sudden gloomy feeling grabbed hold of Felix. For Aleecia to act like this out of the blue, it was paralyzing. If Aleecia hadn't asked that question, Felix's cheeks might've turned red, but right now, it was fortunate that Aleecia couldn't see Felix, because his face completely turned pale."Wha...well.
" A knob in Felix's throat prevented him from talking normally, but after swallowing a few times, he imagined that just spouting it out would be easier. "E-Eri-I mean, Shaun...killed Marianne."
She started to sink, still gripping onto Felix's hand, Aleecia pulled him to the floor. "Shaun... But... bu-but that's impossible..."
She was trembling uncontrollably, "How could someone so pure and sweet do such a thing, even Caora accepted him?"
She wasn't speaking in Felix's direction anymore, but more towards the air. "Quill, Shaun, I-I don't understand it. Why? What is so important that you would snuff out another person's life?"
She held onto Felix's hand for dear life as a headache started again.
Seeing Aleecia like that was extremely soul crushing, and Felix began to regret ever telling her. But all he could do was go along with her, down to the floor, and down the road to despair."Haha, you said it. If we knew what made them tick, we wouldn't have to go through stuff like this in the first place. Perhaps, people are just...Cruel."
he said as he took grip of Aleecia's hand.
Ellie could feel the despair both of them were going through, she knew the feeling they were having and stepped in." Guys, I know the situation looks bleak, with the people we lost and the trust we lost. But we can't keep dwelling on the past, we need to keep moving forwards and learn from our mistakes, what Davis want from us is for us to fall into despair, don't give him what he wants, keep hope within your hearts and live on for the people who died here.
" She told the both of them, she didn't really know what Davis wanted, but keeping up morale would be for the better here, the last thing the would need is for someone to be like Quill and feel desperate enough to take the life of someone else.
" We need to make sure nobody else dies.
" She told the two."[color]To make sure that Davis doesn't get what he wants, to make sure that hope will reign true.[/color]" She started to sound a bit cheesy with her words.
Felix felt a bit embarrassed, having someone that he doesn't even know comforting him so much, but maybe that's why it worked. still holding on to Aleecia's hand, he started to get the two of them up while remembering the
plan."You're totally right, I know it damn hurts, but we have to keep going. It's the least we can do for those who died. And although I'm never killing anyone, we're still getting out of here, right?"
Aleecia came up with Felix, still clutching his hand. A few tears had slipped from her closed eyes and she moved to quickly clear them, "I-I won't let him get what he wants!"
She gave a small grimace, hoping it come off as a good enough smile, "Am I doing it right?"
Ellie wiped away a tear from Aleecia's cheek before telling her." Yeah, you're doing it right.
A real smile slipped onto her face, "Good."
Once the situation with Emily, Aleecia and Felix met it's end, Rika turned back to Max standing over her, she remembered what he asked her earlier, he asked her what the recorder was for, instead of reversing the tape back to explain it, she decided to let him know the other way. Rika opened her mouth and tried to speak to him, her mouth moved like everyone else's but what came out wasn't, a series of groans and moans slipped from her damaged lips, it was nothing close to words and none of it could be understood, but she knew that by now, he'd understand why she'd use a recorder to talk, nobody would understand zombie tier levels of moans and groans.
While Max was startled by Rika's groans at first, he quickly realized that the poor girl lost her ability to speak, most likely related to the numerous burns on her face."I see, that must be rough."
Max tried to comfort the girl, before eyeing the recorder once more. "You know, we've got a lot of high-tech speech equipment at the force, surely there are better alternatives to that old tape recorder?"
When Max said it must've been rough, Rika almost glared at him, it was more than rough for somebody like herself, she couldn't go back to the way her life originally was and lost her father, "rough" wasn't a good enough word to describe what happened to her. then the infinite cop decided to tell her that they have high tech speech stuff at the force, and there could be better things she could use instead of the recorder, Rika bit the corner of the recorder before pressing the play button and opening her soda." Force is where?!
" A female voice asked."Your police force isn't here to he-
" Rika dropped the recorder on the floor and the recording stopped playing before some of the tape peeled back and it almost came apart. "Careful!"
Max instinctively reached out to try and catch the recorder, but it had already reached the floor. Crouching down, Max started scanning the recorder from multiple angles. "Looks like it's still intact, I think."
He picked up the recorder and gave it a last glance before giving it back to Rika. "What I meant was; If we have such good speech devices at the old fashioned force, who like to use walkie-talkies and radios to this day, surely an infinite like yourself would have no trouble getting your hands on one."
Rika took back her recorder before drinking some of her soda, she listened to Mac as he told her of the recording devices and radios, Rika didn't really care for the other device and played something on her recorder." Recorder has importance.
" it played. "Aah, could've guessed. But if that recorder is so important to you, shouldn't you keep it a bit more safe. It could fall, but also break; we wouldn't want that, would we?"
She pressed the play button and held it up."Already broken.
" her burned fingers traced the cracks along the plastic body of the device, then showed Max."It's not broken, if it was, you couldn't talk to me like you do now. But tell you what-"
Max pulled a leather strap out of his pocket and presented it to Rika with that ever serious expression. "This is solid leather, won't tear easily. If we tie the ends of this strap to the recorder, you can hang it around your neck so it won't ever fall. How's that sound?"
Having a disability in a situation like this, which was already no place for children, Max felt a need to help the poor girl; because seeing her like this, unable to speak through normal means, was not just.
Rika took the strap and shook it around, she wrapped the leather strap around her neck and held it up above her head slightly choking herself in the process, then stuck out her tongue out, like a cartoon character being choked, then acted as if she was struggling for air before let the strap drop. Max mentioned having it around her neck and claimed it wasn't broken, in her last trial with Quill the thing was broken and is still kinda broken, the idea he had seemed kinda stupid to Rika, having the device around her neck at all times could be a choking hazard, something or someone get a hold of it and it chokes her to death slowly."No.
" She denied the leather strap from him."Aah, that's...I get that you'd fear being choked to death, but I'm not planning on letting that happen to you, to anyone; I am a police officer after all."
He spoke with confidence before bowing forward to pick up the leather strap and standing back up. "Well, if you don't want it, I'll hold on to it till you do."
"But people have died already.
" She played on her recorder, she brought up how someone had already died before she arrived, or after she arrived." Morgue has bodies of people from here.
" She brought up the corpses of the others who died."Not good.
""No, not good indeed."
The way Rika was talking, it seemed as if she had no confidence or hope that everyone would all get out together. While Max knew better then to expect such things, it was still disheartening to hear a child say it. "But please don't give up on us, I know trusting people in this scenario is tough, but I promise you, distrusting everyone is worse."
" Rika stood up and dusted off her cloak, she turned away from the infinite cop and walked away from him, not wishing to continue the conversation.
Despite Max's best attempts, it looked like Rika was not going to listen. Perhaps time, was the only cure for her. and she would only have the time to cure, if they found a way out of this tomb.
But first, food was in order.