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Walker continued puffing on the pipe in his hands, looking back at the golem and its soulless gaze. A more egotistical man might consider it curiosity, but he suspected it was a reckoning that was beyond him. He couldn't make assumptions about what went on in that soulless head of the golem, one that spoke with countless voices including his very own, something that was disconcerting at best and downright eerie at worst. Of course, the suggestion to simply give up was made to sound like the easy alternative. Sure, it was in theory, but that didn't mean a damn thing weeks, months, or even years down the line after the eternal gnaw of guilt set in. He'd seen guilt eat men and women from the inside out, drive them to early graves, all because of one misstep that they could never have predicted at the time. "Easy as you make it sound, doubt giving up is a luxury that'll exist forever. This Spire, no matter how slowly it goes, will eventually finish its meal, consumption, whatever you want to call it. Even if its long after anyone mortal is dead and ash, nothing's forever. I may be a pessimist at times, but I try not to be a fool, even if that's a rigged coin toss most of the time."

"And be careful looking to the gutter for wisdom V, after all, our newfound acquaintance here has no doubt sized me up already and made its decision, especially given its fondness of using my own words in response." Walker didn't move from his position currently, letting the tobacco smolder in the pipe as he spoke, eyes never leaving Jasper as he spoke. There was no hatred or even distaste, despite the words and implications, he couldn't bring himself to hate a machine, a cog in a greater game being played. He knew he was playing a game with nothing in hand, and it didn't sit right with him. None of it did, and that brought out the worst in him. It usually did, and it had been quite sometime since things had sat right with him. How long, well, that wasn't something to speculate on, especially given how he had came to in those cells. At the mention of him being perfectly replaceable he shrugged idly.

"The golem isn't wrong there, and can drop the mocking use of a title granted by a dead land and deader nobility. Was a mistake to bring it up it seems. And whether I stay or not relies on one thing, and that's V. She wants me gone, I go. She wants me to stay, I stay. She's the one holding the strings, so if she thinks I have my uses out of moody episodes and general out of my element responses, well, that's her decision now isn't it?" Walker didn't think he could rightly walk away from this endeavor lightly, not even if he wanted to, which he wasn't sure yet. Even if this settlement was just like home, that threat of gnawing guilt bringing about a slow, wasting death was an unwelcome one. But ordered was another matter completely, and that was a bridge to burn when they get to it. The talk on culled ranks and press ganged prisoners brought a shake of the man's head. "Even if they try to get in the way, the most unreliable of help is that press ganged into it. Better to avoid them if they aren't keen on being useful."





"Well you are certainly good at deflecting a question bluntly, that's certain at least." Of course, between Shortstop and Snipes, neither of them offered terribly convincing or interesting answers. Shortstop had just deflected, and Snipes made some small concessions about honest work. Of course, it seemed their responses got the Boss going now, getting into the details of why being a Hunter mattered. Well now they had gone and done it, they got the old man going. Firstly, the half dozen or so that actually trusted them to do their jobs and uphold the law. Well, he exaggerated, but it was still a thought to consider. Thankless work as often as not, but what was being fought for did make up the difference in theory at least. As he continued on about it mattering to those that watched each others backs, he found himself admitting, mentally at least, that it would be nice to have an idea of how far he could rely on someone. For pay was only as good as the pay lasted, being good at something didn't mean a whole lot. Hell, neither did just wanting to be powerful for that matter. But that was neither here nor there, and during the pause that had Boss glaring at Shortstop, well not glaring, it was hard to describe that expression, he chimed in with his own musings.

"Here's a thought, Shortstop. What's it mean to be good at your job? Easy to say that's the reason, but I'd wonder if its anywhere near as easy to define beyond those two words." Whether or not Shortstop got an answer in or not before Boss continued on, well, that would be tough to focus on given the next words. Be sure that this was the life they wanted, huh? Well, he'd not have much to consider there. He'd already promised plenty, and pushed quite a bit as is, to get this far. Backing down now and going home wasn't exactly an option, even if it turned out he was going to hate this song and dance. Not that he could say that he would yet, of course, day one was a far cry from a final experience, but he stretched his legs a bit as he glanced around after the Boss seemed to get himself lost in thought again. Something was off, several somethings were off. He chattered on as he tried to pinpoint just what it was in specific.

"'fraid your stuck with me Boss, won't speak for the others. Not the quitting type, ain't no fun that way. Though, I have to say..." He paused as it finally clicked. A number of the previous onlookers were rooting around, not leaving with scrap, looking for things? Given Boss had found that sturdy length of pipe in one pile alone, he had to wonder if this was part two of some test. Second, he noticed what had been bugging him. Heavily tinted windows, those hadn't been that way the whole time, had they? No, he figured he would have noticed that sooner. Not rare, but they normally didn't transition like that in his memory and experiences at least. Even with the scrap Atlesian 'bots hanging around giving a reminder of things past. "It's a neat trick to shift the tint over there while no one was paying attention. What's the game plan now, Boss, test number two already?"
"And it is often enough such men and methods do not get credit unless the powers that be have an agenda to fulfill." Of course was absolutely brimming full of questions and it seemed they would be idling here on the bridge for the time being. Leaning on one of the sturdier looking railings, Walker produced his pipe and self lighting match, lighting the tobacco in the pipe and puffing on it lightly, blowing the odd ring out away from those he was currently with. It was a common habit in Istvargrad, but that didn't mean it was appreciated among these two. Not that he was certain the golem even had the faculties to actually smell anything, which might be a boon depending on what came crawling out of Kaath's little bolt hole. He'd rationalized that they were far from the first, and stored that information for future use while listening to the chatter continued. Of which he was completely, thoroughly, and utterly lost on. It was Mage prattle, though the term Avatar wasn't lost on the man. Given the displays that Kite had made, being above pesky mortals like him was hardly surprising, though if he had an inkling of what the mage prattle was about he might understand a bit more. He never claimed to be a smart man, but he was feeling the pains of a rough and tumble life versus an academic one currently. Not that he didn't like to think he was well spoken and street smart, but this was the territory of book smarts and, well, those damned Mages.

The next part about the Pact of Want was, well, complete and utter nonsense. Just like everything else so far, so par for the course. Walker pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes as he processed, letting wisps of tobacco smoke waft from the pipe as he processed the information. Spire was eating this world, and this one being devoured was...borrowing their time to try and protect itself from this Spire. The whole talk on Entropy wasn't something he was going to keep track of, but burning off a parasite? That was something he could get behind. Even if he was doing so through no real say of his own in the matter. The talk of the bridges history didn't help much either, though his attention did perk up a bit at the mention of how they were selected. In a rush, in a panic, and in desperation, and that got a laugh out of the man. Always the last resort, a pick of desperation and spite in the face of impossible odds. Was that really his lot in life then, to be the one that no one wants to turn to and everyone has to? "I suspected desperation before, but to the point that a pair of humans would be next in line for this grand ol' endeavor after trying better odds with Kaath and her tier of warriors, wisemen, fools and cons? That's good. That's downright funny, even, after all. No one dies comfortable, and not many more get a dignified end either. That's just life, or whatever passes for it these days."

Whether Walker was genuinely amused or just coping, well, that wasn't something he was going to elaborate on. Rather, V seemed to take this leadership thing quite literally and start asking questions on how to, shall they say, Slay the Spire. The mention of an army got a snort from the man, he'd seen what armies could do against that oncoming nothingness, and it was a whole lot of nothing. A lot of bloody struggle, plenty of violence and honor in last stands, if you believed in that sort of thing, but this wasn't the work armies were meant for. No, if this Spire was going to be dealt with, it wasn't going to be by legions of soldiers and generals, fools and corpses alike. It was the damned few who played at being Heroes that would have to do this one, or, well, die trying. As everyone of them before had, or wish they had he would suspect. Her attention on Kite was curious, and she seemed hurt that she'd been just what Kite happened across, like a late night and the good company had already been bought up. "Doesn't rightly matter now, does it V? You're here, chosen whether by desperation or lack of options, in the footsteps of how many others before you, and you took the mantle of glorious leader. I'd focus on that, compartmentalizing works wonders. And, frankly, even if the answer would change your stance, not like there's much practical alternative. Could throw yourself into the drink down there, sure, but that wouldn't be much worth after walking over on here already. Besides, your not shouldering this alone, even if we don't see eye to eye. Don't need to either, we got work to do, we can brawl out those differences after its said and done. Or we die before then and its a moot point."
Walking and talking, that was something he could work with, and not just because the name he'd taken to using was Walker. Rather than interrupt the golem's manner of speaking, he focused on gathering information, both the openly given and that hidden between the lines, figuratively speaking. V was the puller of strings and the talker, while he was apparently the muscle and fighter. Well, given what he has seen so far, he couldn't argue that thinking too much. K was going to be in trouble apparently, being outside the...Spire? That was where they used to be he supposed, though whatever unnatural space that had been, given a certain bastarding abomination apparently living there and acting as a guardian of sorts that they had to promptly flee from. One could only stab so many heads and fend off so many hands, and it brought a brief, dark expression before returning to guarded neutrality.

Talk about the matter of Kaath, who was apparently the Lord Madame, had her own issues. To the surprise of no one, there wasn't a person here who didn't have their own issues was what he was seeing so far. Jasper Lanes was not his real name, but his assumed name and would be answering the spirit of the question as well. Kaath chose a life of recluse and walking her own path. He could respect that, though as they entered the next leg of the trip, he had to note the sheer difference of environment that had been going on. From strange prison space, to cave, to now rolling path through a forest that was full of vines and strange wildlife. Wildlife beyond rats, dogs, cats and other critters that made their homes in the cityscape of Istvargrad, not...whatever those things crawling along at times could be seen. Of course, well enough couldn't be left alone and Jasper spoke up again, more addressing Walker's original remarks.

Of course the reminder that whatever...Keepah was apparently drew power from true names, but that was another perk towards not using his proper name. As Jasper spoke, the focus on true names made him glance at the golem as it continued speaking, this time shifting into another voice completely, which was likely something he would never quite get used to anytime soon. Captain Walker it was then, apparently, though the mention of a game already being afoot got a snort from the man. Oh no, there would be no wild games just yet, not if he could help it at any rate. There was far too little known about the game and far too much at stake, that much was readily apparent. Desperation, bent rules already, and general mystery meant even if every question he had got a straight answer, he wouldn't be completely out of the woods. Literally or metaphorically. "Oh no, games now would be like playing a foreign game of cards, in the dark. And the dealer is always smiling. Far too little is known to be making those kind of gambles yet."

The explanation of the goon who had been spotted was part of a bunch of poachers. Ah, criminals, that was a predictable bunch. Dishonest types, you would know what they were doing, it was the honest ones you needed to keep a sharper eye on. Kaath was recorded going off about the 'dishonest work' of the lot. Knives and bows, dirty close in work when the ambush didn't work. Add some poison into the mix and you could nail some nasty marks with that kind of kit. Still, he could tell the local opinion on the bunch was negative, to say the least. Stealing credit, being general parasites, and otherwise being barely tolerated. Likely didn't have the manpower to run them off, or they did serve enough of a purpose to at least tolerate the overall presence of. Poachers meant supplies from animals and the like, or at least nailing the ones too big for solo work. Nevermind the trouble that this Cart-Dragger was outright trouble instead of subtle trouble. "Sounds like a wonderful bunch, plenty of people who will be able to get along swimmingly and with no trouble what so ever."

Walker's sarcasm was apparent, though eventually they came along to a bridge that was both well made and looked fairly recent, as far as architecture would reveal at any rate, and it was a welcome sign indeed. Civilization that wasn't the inside of a prison cell, although he couldn't say he was going to be completely pleased to see bridges anymore, given his last memories of Istvargrad were a certain bloody last stand on a bridge. Still, he could see the water from the bridge, so that was an improvement instead of just being a massive drop off into a night fueled abyss. Or, by that point, not so much night as it was whatever impending doom had been approaching. It wasn't worth remembering, not when there was still work to be done. Walker kept his senses sharp and focused as he could, looking around and expecting trouble to show up at any moment, even with how pleasant it looked at a glance. "Building on top of the old, good to see that's nothing new. Literally as well as figuratively."
"Lord? Oh no, no no no. I am not any sort of nobility. If you need a title, Walker will suffice. Or Captain, if your unreasonably a stickler of formality," Walker as no fan of formalities, let alone nobility, even though the situation was different, Walker had no intention of allowing for being even mistaken for nobility. Still, hearing his own voice repeated back to him was disconcerting at best, outright unnerving at worst. Of course, he had V trying to console him about not needing to be 100% when in a team. Quite the opposite, he couldn't afford not to be completely on point whenever with a group, he can't avoid letting down his team, even if it was a tense one like this, and he mentioned as such. "You say that, but if you are working as a team, you can't afford to relax and not give your all for your team. Especially where I am from, you don't let anyone who trusts you on a team down.""

What concerned Walker was Jasper, even though that wasn't his name what so ever. He knew full well a 'I can't speak the truth' situation when he heard one, and given the words and struggles that their newfound guide had, it was patently clear they were under unusual restrictions. Something enforced beyond just words, probably some damned mage trickery. Given the repeated words in his own voice, that much was very well apparent. Doubly so when they started talking in Kaath's voice, that confirmed a link between the two. What that meant in the long run, well, he didn't have the luxury of being able to question right now. Odds were this one would end up being trouble in some degree or another, though Walker wouldn't openly admit it. Still, Kite seemed to begrudgingly accept the help from Jasper that would indicate they would be playing nice for now at any rate.

"Time and Place V, we don't have the luxury of twenty questions right now. They wouldn't offer to help if they intended to just slaughter them. We already had one goon leg it, who knows how much help he is dragging into this mess. J tries to leg it, we'll snag him and get answers as we need it." Walker was being pragmatic right now, and while the cave had plenty of cover for asking questions, out in the middle of the woods was not the place. Walker would continue scanning and straining for any signs of trouble, unwittingly true to his assigned title of Lord Protector. He was the muscle, quote unquote it seemed, it was his job to focus on the pragmatics. Pragmatic meant dragging answers out of Jasper later rather than now. That being said, odds were such a plan was not easy, not being able to betray whatever compulsion was in place would be difficult at best. Save that for down the line as it were, he could work on getting answers then. But with too many approaches? Need to keep alert for trouble ahead.
"Right, I guess we're just going to reassemble this golem. Can't believe I am wishing we had one of the mage quarter madmen here right now..." Of course, being on edge, Walker turned towards the direction he heard the sound from, easy to miss as it was, hands returning to rest on his concealed weapons as he scanned, dead still, even pausing his breath to strain his hearing just that slight much more. Letting out a slow exhale after he confirmed that nothing was about to jump them or come immediately barreling out of the woods, he glanced back over towards V as she was going about starting to help the golem. It seemed to register it's limbs were being handled, and started rattling off instructions before going into a loop again. That would have been all fine and well except for the sudden panicking man screaming about getting something off. Of course, Walker wasn't going to just wait and watch, both his hands filled with steel in the blink of an eye, dagger in the off hand and his arming sword in the right.

Panicking about being accosted by some...hand? Right, the golem's parts seemed to be scattered pretty far around the area, and the use of a rather compact handbow to send it reeling before the individual fled rather quickly. Resheathing his weapons as the man fled, Walker muttered out loud to no one in particular. "Handbows, useful until you have to reload the damn things. I'll keep watch for any more interlopers, sound off if you need any help with....whatever is going on under that tapestry." Walker wasn't keen on handling strange golem parts that seemed to be capable of self articulation and movement, leave that to someone who had a handle on the magic nonsense. It was an odd feeling being in deep woods like this, it reminded him of the early days of the invasion that felt like a lifetime ago at this point, when they were out at the edges of the city sprawl that was his former home. Even as his eyes warily scanned the surroundings and ears kept straining for the slightest indication of what might be approaching.

Normally one might be tempted to light up his pipe, something he sorely missed doing right now to be honest, but that wasn't a luxury Walker was willing to indulge right now. Tobacco smoke stood out in a place that wasn't terribly civilized, such as the woods, and would also leave a hand occupied and unable to draw weapons quickly while not providing any real benefit outside of soothing his nerves that, while frayed currently, would hold up still. He kept his back to the side of the cave entrance just in case a certain someone suddenly showed up again and stormed out, he would very much rather not be in the direct path of that one. Still, he figured that having someone on watch while V handled the golem was smarter than two people fiddling with sentient golem parts, doubly so with someone stumbling through the clearing long enough to demonstrate small, fast weapons were present before fleeing. Better to be ready for trouble, as best as he could be ready at least.
Kaath had either no further answers, or none further to share. Either way, there wasn't much he could do to force or even coerce that angle any further. Whether he felt fully inclined to believe or not was irrelevant, since it seemed that the combination of events finally managed to, at least briefly, push the gypsy over the edge, however briefly in her rage. Took a bit of doing, apparently, but it was good to know it was there, in a manner of speaking. Of course she began babbling on about, well, complete nonsense, which was what his life seemed to be now. Awakening, probably much like he had, to this Kite bombarding her with mental images, a second one showing up, the two fighting only for the first, the current he had to assume, to survive though badly injured. Perhaps that explained the lack of communication initially, going through whatever passed for a recovery period for Kite? Too many unknowns, but that wasn't going to change anytime soon and, frankly, he could only process so much mentally before needing a break. Of course Kaath flew into a rage all of her own again, though before Walker could decide either way, Kite seemed to resolve that problem in its own unique way.

The weapon seemed to drag and weigh itself down to the point of being unusable, though the way it clattered after the fact spoke that no such thing had changed. That would imply that Kaath instead had been weighed down to the point of appearing to be barely fit to move on ones own, let alone fight as viciously as he suspected the woman capable of. And, with a muttered word, was gone, the sword resting on the ground. Some unseen conversation had transpired between the two, though whatever Kite had questioned had clearly set the woman off. Well there goes that, the scoundrel mused as he removed a hand from under his cloak, having been resting on the dagger, and producing his pipe instead. "It doesn't feel like your lying, so either I've simply gone mad and this is the dying hallucinations of a broken corpse, or interestingly bad remains the course. Let's save the...psychic? Psychic images retelling for later, especially with the muscle now gone and us...."

Of course, Kite interrupted the meandering words of Walker with clinking fingers and a chiming bell, and once again the man found himself thoroughly disconcerted and thrown off his stride. Swirling wind and the burning away of...parchment he supposed, to a person, to a beast, burning away shadow only for the display to end and the sounds, and light, of the entrance opening up seemed to also smash pottery of some variety and a strange, new voice was heard. Kite glanced at them, deliberately avoiding the sword, and while Walker briefly considered it, there was no way he'd be able to put a weapon of that size to use, not properly. He wasn't one of the enforcer brutes after all. "As many questions as I have, more so now, seems the time for talk in here is done. No way to go but out of the cave, it seems..."

Walker would fall in step behind this Kite, unsure about the being as ever, pulling his cloak just a bit more securely around his shoulders before putting the pipe away, having simply fiddled with it idly while the last moments passed within the cave. He assumed that the fortune telling assassin would follow along as well, coming out into a rather green, bright forest. Well this was an interesting development, he hadn't seen a full forest since the first skirmishes at the edge of the old maps. It wasn't something he was exactly comfortable with, but compared to what had been going on, it was the most normal thing he'd seen yet and he would have accepted that if not for the voice and, well, boots wriggling on their own. Ok, so they had Kite, the fortune teller, now this...whatever it was trying to act as an escort after being smashed to pieces. A sentient golem of some variety? Walker was very thoroughly out of his element there.

"I'd say its unfortunate I'm no healer, but it doesn't look like that would do that voice any good. No blood, no bone, and far too clean of damage for anything flesh and blood. Right, I think whatever this is might be our second best bet, affiliated with our angry acquaintance from in there as they may be. Any ideas how to expedite the process besides just handling unknown golem components and hoping for the best? All assuming that the moment it has recovered it doesn't immediately set upon us..." Despite the claims of being hearing impaired, Walker was not keen on speaking terribly loudly, especially given this could all be just some ruse as he had openly mused. He had focused himself back on business, in spite of the fact he was very much wishing he could drink himself into a coma right now. Barring any better ideas or input, he would seriously consider at least trying to expedite this recovery process.





So that was that, for now, Veloce, with a flick of his wrist, compacted his weapon into its portable state, and hooked it onto his belt, though it was out of sight now given the hooks were on the back of his trousers. Returning his hands to his coat pockets, the easy going smile remained faintly in place while Boss chattered on about evaluations and such. Shortstop got the worst of it, figuratively speaking, the man continuing to drill that whole teamwork angle of a, well, team of huntsman! Not much to be said for Snipes or himself though, apparently, then again he wasn't exactly in a position most of that back and forth to really get stuck in proper so he wasn't going to sweat it too much. Boss probably would have plenty to chatter on about as things progressed. Better teamplay but work was needed on aura enhancement. Right, that, though he offered a light shrug and remarked as a whole now that the man was done on the evaluation part of the spiel. "I suppose that means Shortstop needs to not take 'stepping stones to greatness' quite as literally in the future, eh?"

Why'd they want to become Hunters? Well, now that was an interesting question and, despite his first gut instinct being 'lie through his teeth', of course Mr. Ego beat him to prattling on about power and something about the facts of life in this lovely waste they called home. Oh, and killing Grimm and seeing someplace that wasn't all sand all the time. Veloce grinned a bit at that remark, seems Mr. Ego really did double down on his general demeanor after all. Hated the idea of power coming from spiteful survival, but hated Grimm even more. Rather roundabout way of going 'gotta kick ALL the ass', but Veloce wasn't going to mince words about it. "What, you don't love what we have the most of? The fact its course, rough, and gets everywhere? Can't imagine not wanting to live with it all day!"

"Now, as for me, normally this would be the part where I spin some bullshit fairy tale story about how I was bailed out from bandits at a young age by a huntsman passing through, mentoring while he was around, and following in his footsteps since in spite of the folks thinking it was a damn fool venture. That the old man of a Huntsman had gone and left some young buck starry eyed and eager to take on the world. But, since Boss said no fairy tales or bullshit, I regret to inform you its true. Got bailed out by a Huntsman and I intend to make good on that, and give the folks back home something to chew on instead of their own disbelief." Veloce, of course, made the whole thing sound ridiculous given his tone, doubly so given the fact that Auron had flat out said no bullshit or stories, but left just enough of a tone of bemusement that the other huntsman to be could find it unbelievable and he was just being a ridiculous Faunus making a mild mockery of the whole song and dance again. He shot Auron a loose grin, telling the honest truth in spite of his tone and general demeanor, and closed with one more remark.

"Either way, this first day sure beats the hell out of that awful 'Introduce yourself and one interesting fact' song and dance, eh?"
Walker had not been deft enough to drag Kite out of the way, well, that wasn't entirely honest. Something was off, about all of this, even more so than a man far too deep in over his head already. Someone was lying, possibly multiple someones, well, frankly, pretty much all of them had to be lying at this point, to some degree. Either by omission, not filling in all the details, or more worryingly, flat out spinning a story. Between V, K, and now Kaath throwing out a line on the story being shite at V, the expression on the man's face was guarded once more as he analyzed the situation. Kaath couldn't get a hit in, not on Kite, nor on V when, he assumed, the formerly masked individual had gone and protected her as well. That put those two in their own corner, Kaath was in her own now as well, and that left him to decide loyalties now. And, frankly, if it wasn't for the fact he was a dead man if he didn't pick sides this would have been one of those 'far outside my pond' situations. "Right, things went from bad to interestingly bad rather quickly. Seems we've reached a crossroad of bullshit, as an old friend would put it."

The man's tone was as guarded as his expression, and the observant would note he was keeping everyone in his line of sight right now, which fortunately and unfortunately included the entrance. V and Kite knew something well beyond him, not surprising since the two of them were already in an understanding when he first came to. Kaath was seeing that something was wrong, and previous chatter had pretty much revealed that, well, this wasn't normal. This was very much not normal, and given the general abnormality thus far? Not normal by her standards was bad news. Of course, he couldn't exactly trust Kaath much more either, even given their prior interactions before the others awoke, but right now? He was finding himself more on her side than he was the ones that sprung him by sole virtue of the upfront honesty, as much as he read it at least.

"So! Way I'm seeing things right now, somethings off, way off, and that is coming from me. Kaath, you previously mentioned Kites, plural, and mentioned a whole gaggle of fantastical races coming through, some more conducive to helping than others, but something is getting increasingly desperate, first warning bell. Desperation means sloppy, and taking bigger risks with bending the rules, and that isn't even accounting for the fact that whatever this figure is can dispatch so many Kites. Secondly, that whole stunt with the...whatever the hell magic you call that, Kite. Third, in no particular order, the little get together itself. V, what the hell is going on? No more bullshit, when a native is calling you out for the shit your peddling smelling especially awful, it concerns a fellow. You were already up and moving with Kite when you sprung me, so that's Spite knows how much time to have gotten a story together." Despite the open suspicions of V and Kite, and their ulterior motives, Walker was not openly aggressive or even hostile. He was keeping a level head as best he could, as much as one could expect, metaphorically speaking, a drowning man with no land or help in sight to keep a calm head and not flail into the depths. Coupled with his memories prior to the...fucking nothingness that was the end of his home, and, well, even a patient man begins to lose his patience. Still, he couldn't afford to simply lash out, which meant doing some legwork and digging out what truth he could find.





With the other two closing in, Shortstop and Mr. Ego, Veloce couldn't just open up and expect not to at least clip one of them. Buckshot was a hell of a thing like that, so he kept monitoring for an opening. He hated sitting back, but with the pipe still in action even three of them engaging was no promise that they wouldn't get slapped about. He snorted in response to the mention of boomerangs being cool and cheaper than bullets. Well he couldn't just let that affront to his shotgun go unchallenged, and as Snipes put a round into the pipe and destroyed it, that was going to no doubt create just the opening he needed. He grinned as he flapped and dove in low and fast, only touching down scant inches from the bayonet getting buried into the side of their instructor and fired point blank, sending him hurdling and the Raven faunus straightened up, what could be charitably referred to as a shit eating grin on his face as he glanced over at Mr. Ego and racked the slide of his weapon in the sudden silence, disrupting it where the cheering and jeering had been before.

"And that, my sandy friend, is my humble rebuttal to your stance on boomerangs." Veloce began reloading while he watched the Boss get back up on one knee, the almost wheeze not lost on him as he casually reloaded, working the action again and loading one more shell and the easy smile remaining on his face, having gone from shit eating to generally enjoying himself. He reached up to give a half salute, half flick of the hat towards Snipes up on the overhang who had shot the pipe and overall created the chance for the rest of them to get in close and launch him as cleanly as they had. Well, he had, but he wasn't going to discount the fact the other two had been instrumental in making that gap happen. Good thing too, he'd been getting bored just looking for an opening and probably would have launched in before too long. Still, he addressed Auron now, having stepped forward to the fore of the group.

"So is this the part where you break out the real weapon and lay down the hurt Boss, or are we going to stop trying to not get the shit too harshly kicked out of us?" Veloce used his free hand to brush some of the dust off his coat, having gotten a thin coating from diving through the cloud he had kicked up earlier while addressing their instructor. Of course he couldn't be arsed to exactly use the terms dictated before, and he very well may end up paying for it, but he wasn't going to try and change who he was. He was also under no disillusion that the veteran Huntsman had been deliberately handicapping himself with a pipe and still could handle half of them attacking with relative ease. Still, it was a game of wait and see now, see what the Boss had in mind, mainly if they were still going to keep butting heads for the amusement of those present (and probably getting a feel for what each of them was capable of), or if the man had something else in mind now that they had reached a relative lull in the sparring.
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