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8 yrs ago
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There was a myriad of different reactions to their predicament. For some their first reaction was disbelief, for some it was amusement, and for some it was panic. They, save for the cracked gremlin who just fucked off to the trees, were processing what just happened to them. The girl that he had tried to convince to jump in released the floodgates and made her displeasure everyone's problem. The only one that seemed to have a level head in the situation was his fellow art student, Orlando. His classmate was trying to comfort the panicking blonde that was just short from rocking in place with some encouraging words that fell flat harder than when they hit the water.

That blonde kid took a page out of the angry glasses girl's page and just vented his vitriol. Victor stood there and let them him say their piece without interruption until they finished. That being said, his patience was waning from listening to them wallow in their self-pity. They did not have the luxury to just lay around on the sand waiting for someone to save them. It was better than giving up already.

He sighed frustratedly at the sorry sight before him. It wasn't like he had no sympathy for his schoolmates that fell into despair, but someone had to take the reins of the situation. At least that's what told himself. "I get it, I really do. The situation is beyond absurd, and we're all scared, but right now it's sink or swim. No one knows we're here; we don't even know where 'here' even is. The only people that can get us out of this situation is us. We can't afford to lay down and die." Victor did his best to explain to them, but it probably wouldn't work.

The only thing he could do is just stand there, waiting to see if anyone else would volunteer to explore the island. He could only hope that more would join him because this place was not normal. There was something wrong with this beach. Looking at the water for a prolonged amount of time caused a dull throbbing pain in the head and his very soul screamed to not touch it. Just where the hell were they?
It all happened so quickly. Maive stepped in between himself and the unwilling girl before it all went to pot. The girl slipped and out of pure reflex she reached out and grabbed the two, pulling them both into the water. "Mierd!" Shouted the young Frenchman before he collided with the sea's surface. Somehow, he was sinking deeper and deeper than he actually thought he would. Actually, this was impossibly deep for where they were. The light somehow was snuffed away, and he was overtaken by the darkness. Victor tried to swim upward, but no matter how hard he swam he could not break the surface. It was impossible to tell if he was even swimming in the right direction; up and down were unfamiliar concepts in the shadows.

It was cold, a sort of cold dug deeper than just his bones. He could not tell if he was falling down or floating up anymore. Maybe he wasn't? Maybe he was just floating in place in the darkness. Hell, he could not tell if his eyes were open or closed anymore and yet, there was a different nature to the darkness. The concept of himself, his very being seeped out of him like a broken fountain. Memories, wants, hopes, and dreams faded from thought.

"Who am I?" Victor wondered aloud in the darkness with the expected silence as his answer. Instead, what happened was the darkness vanished without warning and he was soaring high with no control of his trajectory. A cold fog gripped him as he flew above an endless expanse of sea. There was something exhilarating about flying, something that most of humanity could only dream of. The wind running through his hair, the rush of the velocity making his blood pump with vigor. Well, it would've been if it were not for the fact that it was this freakish fever dream.

Victor had no way of knowing how long he had been flying. It could've been minutes or even hours, but he found something strange in a day already filled with oddities; a raft with a desk with two people standing there, the waves not shifting the desk or the people with their current. He could not get a good look of their faces through the fog and height, but one of them seemed to be dressed in a blue valet uniform.

"Excuse me, but where am I?!" The young man shouted from above, but with no response. Victor gritted his teeth and shouted, "Hey! Where the hell am-"

Like a sick joke, gravity returned with a vengeance, and he plummeted towards the ocean. The last thing he saw before crashing into the surface was the icy gold eye of the valet. It was as if he was staring into the eye of another worldly being, something that was incomprehensible.

Then he sunk beneath the waves back into the familiar dark depths. Victor was left to his own thoughts though there were none. It was like it was all a dream, it had to be.

That is when he felt something, a warmness that enveloped him like a swathed infant. Victor's balled up grip released, and he reached out forward without even realizing and yet he could not hope to grasp it. He knew what it was though, he knew that it was the presence of something alien to him, yet familiar at the same time. Then, that warmth turned into an inferno, raging and burning within as if it was going to incinerate him from the inside out and as soon as he opened his mouth to scream, he was welcomed with a mouthful of sand.

Victor's eyes shot open, and he pushed himself up from the sandy bank he was on and spat out the contents of his mouth with great desperation. "Ugh, I think I got some between my teeth," he complained as he stood up though just as quickly went silent as he saw that they were not in HAGAY anymore. The cold English sea was replaced with a vibrant, picturesque tropical shore ripped straight from a postcard from Hawaii. Upon inspecting himself, he was still wearing his swim trunks, so it all happened as soon as they fell into the water.

His train of thought was broken by the blood curdling scream of Sophia, who just collapsed with no warning. Like everyone else, he ran over to check on the situation though Casanova in training was already on it.

"Unfortunately so," Victor replied with Daniel with a deep sign.

His heartbeat was raging, threatening to jump out of his throat at any moment and his stomach was in tight knots. If someone was paying attention, they'd notice that his breathing had become heavy and shallow. Anxiety and dread filled him, ready to devour him with no mercy. His fists were balled up tightly until his knuckles were white, his fingers nails dug into his skin threatening to break the surface. Despite the feeling of dread, he was able to maintain his poker face.

Push it down, Victor thought desperately, Push down what's not needed. The show must go on.

Victor took a deep breath and his fists relaxed and unwound themselves. He placed a hand on Maeve's shoulder and said calmly, "It's not your fault. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

He stepped away from the group, looking at the ground for something until he picked up a relatively big stick and did a test swing. It seemed quite suitable for smacking something around if there was an angry boar or something outlandish like a polar bear on a tropical island. Actually, he may just get mauled though it made him feel better.

His attention returned to the group of stranded students. "I'm going to look around for a way back. Anyone that wants to search with me is welcome to."
@Zarkun

Jacqulyn just stared at the young man who was completely stunned or just lost at her manner of speaking. Her eyes narrowed before she developed a look of disinterest as if she saw his inexperience as a trainer and she went back to working like a bloody dervish, her face just inches away from her notes as she scribbled whatever chicken scratch her handwriting was.

The librarian sighed and said, "Uh, I'm sorry, but I should have warned you. When she gets worked up like this, she drinks a lot of coffee and well, you get this..." She motioned towards the living definition of sleep deprivation and caffeine addiction that was completely oblivious to their presence again. "Just tell her what you want. Otherwise, this conversation will just keep going in circles."

@Joshua Tamashii

The two ghosts looked up at Amelia and both nodded. They slapped the buttons on the Pokeballs and suddenly were absorbed into them in a beam of light.

They rolled once... they rolled twice...they rolled thrice!





Now with new companions in hand, Amelia continued and soon made her choice. She decided to brave the ruins.

They were sprawling for as far as the eye could see. Amelia would be able to easily figure out that this once had been a grand city with great significance to whatever society was there before. The buildings, what were left of them at least, were big and beautifully constructed from white stone that were now stained from dirt and dust from the years that wore them down. There were broken statues littered about the city. Perhaps they were once great people of history that were lost to time? It was all quite strange, really. She had never heard of a ruined city beneath the earth before and frankly, the strange lights that was essentially magic was something of a first time for her. In fact, this would be the discovery of the century though given the obstacles that were put in place, it may be that someone was trying to keep people out and whatever was in here in.

She was getting close to whatever the source of the malice was. Peeking her head around the corner, she finally would see it. Whatever it was, she had never seen anything like it before. It was a humanoid being, standing there listlessly. It had no facial features to speak of. Its entire body was pitch black and it had strange whisps of tendrils coming off it like when a droplet of ink enters water. This thing has not noticed her yet and perhaps it was better that it didn't see her.

What does she do?


@CitrusArms

Stella was soon brought to what looked like a lounge area and really, the interior really was not that much better. The once beautifully patterned wallpaper was peeling, exposing the wooden walls behind it. The furniture and paintings, perhaps a prime example of elegance and beauty in the past, were dull and covered in a thick layer of dust with a dire need of restoration. Even the floorboards moaned as if longing for the sweet release of death. Really, it was a question of how anyone could live in such a state of disrepair for so long.

"Ah, there's no need for that my dear. I will be moving in with my daughter soon and the local government will renovate this place into a sort of museum." The elderly man said as he wheeled himself over to a porcelain tea set that looked like they were the only well-maintained thing in the house. It looked like he was about to have tea when Stella knocked at his door.

"Please, sit." He motioned her to sit on whatever chair she wished. She was handed a cup of tea and upon sipping it, she found that it was quite a fragrant, yet delicate black tea with a tinge of sweetness that was natural to it.

Whatever conversation that they make, the older gentleman said, "You're a trainer, correct? I know it's sudden, but would you mind listening to an old man's request?"
The threat of disappearing? Who heard of it? Certainly not this group of kids who were walking around the city streets after a fun session of karaoke. Kauro was chatting and laughing with his group of friends, talking about latest celebrity news, fads, and gossip. After zoning out like he had done so previously back on campus, he was making a concerted effort to be involved and make sure no one suspected his behavior though his sharp eyes were looking for any sign of the strange figure rumored to be about. Everything felt so normal, and yet he could not shake the feeling that there was something wrong.

The sound of a heartbeat shook his body, except it wasn't his. It did not feel like it was his. Somehow, it was as if he could feel the heartbeat of the world itself. It was sickening. His very being seemed to scream in repulsion against the violation of nature.

Was it him or were the voices of his friends starting to lag, not matching the movements of their mouth? Were they moving just slower than they typically would? "Hey, what are you guys...?" His friends were suddenly still. No, it wasn't just them; it was the world. There was no breeze, no sound, or warmth. There was an unnatural stillness to the world though the only one that could move right now was himself.

Kauro looked up to see that the evening sky had been replaced by a blanket of black with only the light of an impossibly large moon to guide his path. He stepped forward to find that the silence was broken by the spatter of a puddle.

"The heck did I...?" Looking down, he quickly realized that what he stepped in was not water, but a pool of blood that stained his shoes. The color left his face, and he quickly surveyed his surroundings. Blood painted every corner he could see, and the buildings were dark and featureless, casting strange purple shadows. Were they really buildings or were they just part of the land itself?

The heartbeat grew louder and louder, beating his eardrums relentlessly. Then, he saw it. The damn thing that stood at the heart of the mystery; that tower piercing into the moonlit abyss. He took a step forward towards it, as if by sheer compulsion when he heard something behind him rushing closer in. Kauro turned back and at that moment, the world turned back to normal. No, it would be more accurate to say that he was back in his own world, or if his theory of Strange Gospel was to be believed, the point of time he was supposed to be in. It was hard to tell.

He was staring back at the group of friends who were just walking as if nothing had happened. Kauro had fallen behind from the group though it had gone noticed as one of them turned back and said, "Hey, you good? You look a bit pale."

Quick to regain composure, he offered a reassuring smile and said, "Um, I'm fine. I just remembered that I needed to pick something up from the supermarket. I'll catch you guys later."

They said their goodbyes and Kauro was left standing there, watching them go off into the distance. That charming grin was superseded by one of excitement with an almost crazed look in his eyes. Instead of the heartbeat from before, he could feel his own rise with his ever increase elation.

"Things have gotten very, very interesting," said Kauro with a chuckle. Now he was more determined than ever to solve this case. All that was left was the matter of surviving it.


Ugh
To say that Victor was surprised to see what would typically be a rather lonesome boathouse be occupied by several people just loitering around wouldn't be incorrect though at the same time he really was not. They were not random faces either; they were the same people that he met during the icebreaker that went disastrously last week. He was starting to get a better idea of what was going on. Well, either that or there were hidden cameras everywhere and he was about to be made of a fool of for the whole world to see.

It would be untrue to claim that this was not the least bit awkward. The only people that he was somewhat familiar with were Maive and Orlando due to the fact that they were on the same academic track though they really did not interact with each other. Let's be real, no one ever likes to be forced into a group with people that they don't know and be told to get along and sing bloody Kumbaya like they were lifelong friends. Hell, he could barely remember everyone else's name and for some damn reason the awkward silence was broken by the sound of chips being crunched by a girl on the dock house roof that oozed with smugness. Still, he maintained that calm, charismatic composure as he stood straight with confidence as to not break the illusion even if this whole endeavor was going to be an absolute waste of time.

There was not much conversation to be had besides them asking if they knew what was going on. The thing that filled the silence besides the sounds of corn chips being decimated was the sea kissed breeze and the crashing of waves against the pier. No one seemed too keen to make much small talk, which was fine with Victor. The sooner that whatever event Sofia had in store for them ended, the better.

Well, he got his wish. The door to the boathouse swung open with great vigor as if it was on cue and out the girl came from the proverbial backstage. Victor had actually already anticipated that she was already in there, mainly because of how theatrical the note and map they all received were presented. Sophia had already been planning to surprise them and the only hiding spot on the pier was the boathouse. It was only a matter of time that she reared her church-youth leader head. At least this was sans outdated pop-culture references.

His fears were correct though. They were going to have to jump into that icy cold English water. Did his sister not tell him knowing that he would absolutely hate it? Now he was thankful that he left his watch and piercings back in his room.

"This is going to be a brisk dip," said Victor as he tossed his jacket off and just as he was about to take his shirt off, his head was buried by Verity's clothes that was haphazardly tossed from above. No one could see it, but his eye twitched in annoyance, and he muttered some curse words in French before he grabbed the clothes and threw them to the side. If he were petty, he would have tossed them into the water.

He sighed and just continued to undress himself to show that he was wearing dark blue swim trunks underneath. Victor also cut a pretty fit figure himself. His figure was lean, yet with obvious muscular definition that looked like it was suited for endurance, strength, and movement though there was an aesthetic beauty and elegance to it that was different from the average athlete and weightlifter. One could tell from looking at him that there was real dedication to maintaining that level of fitness.

Everyone was resigned to their fate of jumping into the cold waters, all except for this brown-haired girl. She kicked up a storm of protest and he really couldn't blame her.

"It's really fine if you don't want to. No one can force you after all," said Victor as he was folding his clothes. "But that's really a wrong point of view to have. Think of it as taking a chance on something, like a first step to being who you want to be. Besides, I'll lend you my shirt if you need a change, so you don't really have a reason to say no," he said with a playful smirk. If he was going to go into the water, then he sure was going to make sure he wasn't going to go down alone.
@Lunarlord34@Sanguine Rose
To say that Nolan was underwhelmed by the display of magic from Adelyn was an understatement. The power that she displayed only just raised the hair on his arm, like when someone rubs a balloon on someone and build up static electricity. Adelyn did not even do it on purpose, it was just on reflex from Nolan messing with her and honestly, it was a bit weak even for her. For someone that kept boasting about herself, she was considerably weaker if static was the only thing she could muster when being made a mockery of. If it were him, he would've made his warning leave more of a mark both figuratively and literally.

He was just about to tell her off for such a weak response when he felt her hands push against his chest and attempted to push him though their weight difference and her dainty arms only made her fall on the ground. Adelyn's over the top reaction was not what he expected. Well, he expected a verbal lashing though her flustered behavior was completely unforeseen though one would not be able to tell from the blank expression that typically was on his face. If anything, that kind of reaction was way too familiar for him.

"No, you're right. That was inappropriate of me. My apologies, Adelyn." He admitted to her though it was about impossible to get a read on him. The expression his face did not even change; those cold eyes of his were piercing through her very being. It was hard to tell if this man was being genuine with his apology or if he was just saying it to appease her.

Before Adelyn could even accept his apology or even question if it was real, another party member joined the fray. It was the ever-bubbly water mage that just had the best timing, but absolutely could not read the mood though he really did not have the heart to be mean to her. Not like he could anyway. His body slightly tensed up from her approaching them and his eyes were just averted enough from hers. For someone that had great power, he really was terrible in social situations where he had to deal with those of the opposite sex his age.

He hemmed and hawed as he tried to pick his words carefully. "Uh, I won't deny her talent, but I wish she performed outside. Loud noises and indoor spaces do not mesh well with me." Like that wasn't obvious to anyone who saw him just now. God, the young man just looked uncomfortable and out of place. Nolan did not even notice the evil eye that Adelyn gave him.
Another day of school ended, but let's be honest, no one really cared about what was happening around the school these days with the rumors circulating about disappearances and a strange man being seen about town at night. At the heart of it all though was Strange Gospel, something that no one was entirely sure what it was. Well, it was an app, but the purpose or even the origin was dubious. An app that that showed someone the future that was now feared to be the source of various missing cases throughout the damn city and who knows where else. Still, it sounded like a work of fiction, a rumor that someone made up and posted on the web.

Life has a funny way of being though. The sick twist is that it was real, and Hattori Kauro found himself stuck in this mess. One way or another he found the app or more accurately, the app found him. He knew that there was something greater than what the rumors because he had seen what he assumed to be a potential future. If the design of the app was to show the future, then the next logical step would be that the second video showed him a bleak, terrifying future. The next question is the purpose of the app. No, the purpose isn't to just show the future; it was to communicate though to what end was beyond Kauro. However, he did have one working theory about where the abductees were taken. They were most likely in that tower that he saw in the video.

The sensation to solve something beyond mortal comprehension was a thrill that one would have difficulty to describe, but he was also not stupid. He only had two weeks to solve this mystery or else he was going to disappear just like everyone else who had made contact with this app. Ruin was creeping around the corner, ready to draw Kauro down with all the other victims, but he was going to be a step ahead. He had to be.

These were the kind of thoughts he had when walking down the school corridor with his friends. He was completely dead to the world, his eyes glazed over, and his ears deafened to the conversation going around him though over time he could almost hear his name being called. Well, that was until a girl just shouted into his ear. Kauro almost jumped from his skin, which was pretty unusual for him given how used to jumpscares he was and turned to look at the group.

"Yo Kauro! What're you zoning out for? We've called you out like five times!" One of them said, a girl with long black hair.

The truth was that he had not told anyone in his friend group that he used the app. The last thing he wanted to do was make any of them worry. Kauro smiled and said, "My bad, my bad. Just lost in thought. So, what's the plan?"

Someone else from the group piped up. "We're thinking Karaoke to blow off some steam. Things have been way too tense at school recently with everything that's happened."

"Sounds like fun. I'll just text my aunt to let her know that I'll be out late," said Kauro as he whipped his phone out. Going out with his friends wasn't the entire reason why he was so keen on this. He needed an excuse to go around and look for whatever the hell that mysterious figure popping in and out of town. Of course, finding it was an incredible risk because it could be the thing responsible for the kidnappings, or it could be his ticket out. It was his only lead given how little information he had.

With all that in mind, he exited the campus with his school friends and made their way through the town.
If there was a constant in the chaos and uncertainty of the great universe and whatever was beyond the veil from human comprehension, it is that the sun exists merely as a concept in the UK. One had to have faith that it was actually there behind the curtain of grey that so frequently encompassed the island nation, and that tune certainly had not changed for today as Victor looked out the bus window up at the sky. Only two hours ago he was back in sunny, vibrant Marseille and now he was on his way towards his new boarding school neighboring the quaint South England city of Harbour. On the bus, he made polite conversation with the other student passengers, flashing that Hollywood smile of his as he introduced himself. There were some when they learned who his parents were that made the usual requests about getting them their autographs and so on, to which he responded with a playful, "Maybe" and a wink.

Eventually, the bus would slowly crept to a stop outside where the academy was. Victor stepped out and took a deep breath of the crisp ocean air before he got a cart provided by the school and wheeled his belongings to his dorm where he unloaded boxes filled with various objects. There was no time to unpack at the moment though; apparently, he was scheduled to go to some sort of icebreaker with a small group of students and while he did not need to go, it was better to at least give it a chance. That was a mistake.

The icebreaker and the Titanic both had one thing in common: they both sunk, except the captain of this icebreaker did not go down with the ship. Still, he flashed that award winning smile and introduced himself to the rest of the group, or at least whoever was still there. Victor glanced around the room to see any familiar faces to no avail. Actually, that was not entirely true. The one face he did recognize was that of Maive, though that was because of the viral video of her singing with an incredible set of pipes. It really was a small world.

Soon, he was back in his room and was welcomed by the boxes he had stacked about the place. Victor hung his jacket up and rolled his sleeves up as he got to work. It took some time, but eventually he had his room setup. His room was organized but filled to almost the brim with his own belongings. The walls of his room were covered with posters of various stage plays and movie posters, such as West Side Story, Cabaret, Rent, Moonlight, Casablanca along with a selection of music posters of musicians and bands like Kishi Bashi, Rayleigh Richie, Bon Iver, and Charles Mingus. The one family photo that he brought with him was put on his bedside in a black frame. Then there his collection of books neatly organized by categories. He brought his own electric keyboard and microphone, which he could connect to his gaming rig that he brought from home, which also had music production programs. Of course, he brought his headphones because it was just proper etiquette to not subject neighbors to the sounds of raging metal music, demons screaming, and gunshots from his computer. He even brought a rug with a modern geometric pattern on it because why not?

Victor's first week of classes went well. The things that they were talking about is many of the classes were things that he was already knowledgeable of because this was what he grew up with. Overall, it was an easy week for him though he got the feeling that things were going to ramp up soon. The real challenge though wasn't going to be the classes though; it was the drama club. The first thing he did when he heard that he extracurriculars were now available was to sign up with the HATS, the Harbour Academy Theatrical Society. With auditions Victor kept himself busy by working out in the gym to keep his physique maintained, practice dancing, and of course made sure to keep practicing his singing with great fervor. He needed everything to be perfect. No one was going to outdo him in effort or talent, even if he was just a freshman against those with seniority.

Beyond classes and clubs, Victor was a social butterfly; he took advantage of his natural charisma and charm to easily catch the attention and 'befriend' many of his classmates and those around him. It probably helped that he was easy on the eyes and that his parents were celebrities within the acting world. His popularity was ever growing, and he was starting to assert himself within the school's hierarchy.

It was all set to be a normal year and that thought alone would jinx it. Something odd came by to his own surprise, something that would set off a series of unforeseen events.

Victor woke up, his arms outstretched as yawned as he rose out of bed. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes as he placed his bare feet on the floor when he noticed a clump of paper by his door. Curious, he walked over and picked it up to see that it was an origami of a frog and upon unfolding it revealed a message and a map.

"A message with no sender?" mused Victor. This could not have possibly been from that Sophia girl from the icebreaker and if it was anyone that he actually knew then they would have texted him like a normal person. Also, why bring a towel? They surely weren't going to swim in the water, right?

He struggled a bit to focus on the classes for the day. Victor had been more fixated on what the purpose of the letter was and who it was sent by. If it was Sophia, then the letter itself would've probably been designed to be colorful and friendly, not a frog origami containing a letter with less than ten words and a map with no signature.

After a lackluster day of classes, he found himself heading towards the docks with a towel draped over his shoulder. He was not sure what to expect though he was going to get his answer soon.
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