Who needs pork and beans when you have porn and memes. That makes no sense but it sounded good so f*** it.
6 mos ago
When you're having a slow day, waiitng for your RP partners to post, and you think, "should I start another one?" But know you'll just burn out if you take on too much...
6 mos ago
Yes, but that's why we love cats. That and they are warm and floofy.
6 mos ago
Go outside, it's winter. You'll be cooler than cool, I promise.
Facts about me: 1. I like writing. 2. I like cats. 3. I like RWBY. (#Yangbestgril) 4. I am 25 years old. 5. I have graduated college. 6. I'm trying to get better at drawing. 7. I'm a dude. 8. I eat far too much cheese.
He'd dug his own grave in a way. Christine had talked him into this mess, and he'd assumed he'd be on the same team as her. So he'd gone and found Bak, thinking that would be his third and final teammate. Only to find that Yuuto and Vittorio, with Bak taken, had then gone to Christine who'd said yes, and so on and so forth and now he was on a team with motherfucking Thobias.
It was par for course really. Make any effort and life would without fail turn around in kick you in the mouth for daring to think anything would go your way. The validation was nice, he supposed...?
He winced as Bak fired off a volley of missiles, trying to make a big show of things. Well, she was succeeding. Bak might have been off-putting for a lot of people, but from the safety of their seats the masses loved a big, scary monster. He saw a few people glancing at him expectantly, wanting him to join the display. He indeed gave them something: his middle finger.
Play the role, right?
Speaking of Bak, she'd... confided in him about Vittorio. It had been surprising. He wasn't exactly friends with her, he just sort of knew her better than most. They'd been actual friends for maybe a week or two before she'd decided he was a disappointment. Not shocking. He was a lousy friend -- lazy and pessimistic. He was fine in a group, with other people to make up for his less than sparkling attitude, but one-on-one? Well, some days he wondered why Christine stuck around.
Regardless, what she'd told him was concerning, even for someone like him whose motto was: "I don't care." He could at least understand why Bak was worried. In the end, though, there wasn't much he could do. He'd promised, not that she'd left much room for choice, to keep an eye out and stop him if he saw him doing anything crazy. It wasn't like they could babysit him, but he'd try.
He wanted a nice, quiet night after this. If Vittorio went nuts, he'd probably be dealing with some variety of nonsense for at least a week.
. . .
Cassius just sort of smiled nervously as some of his classmates gave speeches. He had to hand it to Andreim, his speech was worthy of applause. Not many had the confidence to unprompted give a speech. Then William tried to follow suit and, in Cassius's opinion... well maybe it would have helped if he wasn't following in Andreim's wake.
It was certainly a speech that held meaning, but he couldn't say he felt super motivated by it. It was a bit awkward. Victory within the bounds of the law? Well, he supposed Mephisto's was known for cheating, not that it could usually be proven, so there was that. He guessed William wanted to take the high road.
He tried to clap for William too, but he just couldn't get into it and it turned into more of a pitying slow clap despite his best intentions. Still, just like Andreim, he'd gone and done it. He must have been motivated.
"Let's hope he's better at fighting than he is at speech giving, eh pal?" he whispered to Katherine with a whimsical smile. William was on their team after all. She looked a little distracted now that he looked at her. "By the way, you're not gonna totally lose it if we end up against that Mephisto's guy are you?" He thought he might have caught a glimpse of him earlier. Unfortunately for Kath, KOing the opponent wasn't the goal today. He wondered if maybe that's what had her preoccupied.
"Like I said, nothing's changed. I'll do my best to keep Andras safe and if that ends up helping you, so be it," Wolf told him. Like it or not, Vera had put those thoughts of his mother in his head. Maybe, deep down, with that connection drawn... he really did resent William. He'd never thought too much about William's plan. He'd sat safely on his fence, able to protect Andras and do his job without having to form an opinion.
In a way, that was still the case, but now he'd been forced to think about it.
. . . At the Tournament. . .
"My what?" Wolf's face flushed as Ria ran off. Side piece!? Wait... MEREDITH!?! Dream message or not, she'd been MIA for over a week! And now his head was spinning. Not good. He just hoped he could calm down by the time the fighting started. Fortunately, Nas didn't seem to have any thoughts on Ria's comment and helped distract him from all that.
"Y-yeah... if they stand and fight, we should win," Wolf replied. There were lots of weird abilities that could complicate his life, but if he could get and keep his hands on anyone, he'd be fine. Then the flag could be taken at leisure.
The training session had been an… interesting affair. The winning team’s princess, poor Bak, had been in a near ruinous state by the end, while the second place team was nearly unscathed as a whole. He didn’t count Annabelle’s effectively self-inflicted wounds, which had all healed on their own anyway.
Rurik’s team, however… well. Christine had done her job just fine. She’d even been one of those who’d gone after the exposed and helpless Bak. Rurik had done his ob as well… kind of. Not really. Oh, anyone he’d caught gunning for Christine had been stonewalled. Shut down entirely.
Before very long at all, they’d realized that aiming for Christine was useless. She herself was too powerful, and Rurik’s shield was just a nightmare to get past. Their only hope was an end-run to take out Vernon.
Vernon had realized just as quickly that Rurik wasn’t all that concerned about him, nor was he very good at following orders. His best bet had then been to just stick as close to Rurik and Christine as possible and be defended by proxy. Yes, he’d quite thoroughly overestimated Rurik’s ability to give a shit, Christine or not, and just as thoroughly underestimated his ability to be a spiteful little prick.
When Christine had gone off to take her shot at Bak, the team had been temporarily split up. Annabelle had known she was one of the few people that could get through Rurik’s defenses and simultaneously shrug off his attacks… And he wasn’t even allowed to attack. So, Rurik hadn’t done either. As she’d charged him, he stepped aside, and to make sure she didn’t follow him, he’d set the ground he’d been standing on to explode.
Catapulting her right into Vernon.
And that had been that.
As certain as Vernon was that Rurik’s actions had been purposeful, the guy wouldn’t admit it. At the same time, he hardly seemed upset by the outcome. It had certainly hastened his exit from the training session.
After shrugging off any admonishment or criticism aimed his way, Rurik took his leave of the area as soon as possible. The training session itself had ended up being mostly painless, but Vernon’s presence had made it distasteful enough all on its own. He just wanted to relax for the rest of the day, and hopefully with Christine for some of it.
“Hey, wait up!” A voice called after them. It was Vernon.
“Look, I already apologized,” Rurik said. Not that he’d meant it. “What more do you want?”
“Oh, it’s nothing to do with that,” Vernon replied. It was its own sort of lie. Rurik, either through negligence or ill will had humiliated Vernon. “I just thought I’d do you a favor. Clear the air if you would. I guess it’s more for Christine’s benefit, really.”
“Don’t you-” Rurik didn’t have to think all that hard to guess what he was getting at.
“Christine, my dear, did you know about Rurik’s reputation? I mean, I’ve heard it's quite prodigious in certain circles. If I had to guess, part of the reason he sleeps so much is because he’s always getting into fights! Good news is that he wins most of them, otherwise your relationship might be in jeopardy!”
“Vernon…” Rurik growled. It did nothing to stop the incoming flood.
“Oh, that’s right. He’s a bit of a gambling man it seems. His favorite wager is you! Bets your relationship on nearly every fight he gets into!” Vernon explained. “I just… got the impression you weren’t aware of all this. Figured it’d be good to get it all out in the open!”
Rurik pursed his lips. Well… he was right. Last he’d checked, Christine had never visited the little fighting ring he participated in. In fact, once he’d realized how many people were abusing it to try and get him to leave Christine, he’d tried to keep it that way. As far as he was concerned, the less she was involved in that garbage the better.
The only times it had ever come up were the two or three instances he’d actually lost and had “broken up with her”. . . for all of ten seconds before asking to get back together.
“So hey, I lost a bet and now we have to break up…” Rurik had told her. He’d then looked down at his wrist, where one might wear a watch and waited a second or two. “OK that should be good. Wanna go out with me again?” That had been the first time.
“Please don’t get mad, but it happened again. Which means I guess we have to break up again.” He sighed, feigning looking upset. It was about two months after the first time. “Damn, and we had that lunch thing planned too. Well, I don’t wanna mess up your schedule, so how about we do that anyway and we can talk about getting back together while we’re at it?”
It was hardly in the spirit of the wagers, but they’d never specified he couldn’t ask her out again right away. He’d always passed it off like he’d lost a simple bet over something like a coin-flip or something far less serious. He’d also never made it obvious just how many times it had been an issue, because he usually won, in which case there was no reason for Christine to ever hear about it.
That was the big issue. She liked fighting well enough, he doubted she’d be too mad about him getting into a lot of fights. Probably. But, now doubly so after Thobias’s scolding, the frequency of the bets made him think she might get offended. In his mind he’d only done it to shut people up… but… And then to top it all off he’d kept it from her.
And so he let out a sigh.
“Well it’s pretty much like he says,” Rurik told her. “So… you mad at me?” He offered no explanations or excuses. He’d just let it play out.
“Oh, really?” Christine responded. “Rurik getting into fights like that… I didn’t think he was that kind of guy…”
Her expression wasn’t that of anger however. Instead, it was one of curiosity and light surprise.
“I thought he would be too lazy to get into fights out of his own will,” she said to Vernon with a smile. “But betting his relationship with me… I wonder why his opponents wanted to accept such a wager… Hmm, I guess because they wanted to date me, perhaps? That explains those couple times when Rurik broke up with me. So that was the bet…”
“But really, even if Rurik broke up with me, that doesn’t mean I’m going to date them, especially when most of them are just troublemakers and perverts.”
Ever since Christine entered Mephisto, she had been attracting quite the attention from the hornier male students. Since it was Mephisto, so a lot of students were troublemakers, there weren’t any shortage of boys trying to grope her breasts or look up her panties. Every day she had to repel them and assert her dominance. Only after that then the harassment lessened, she got the “Snow Princess” moniker, and she was accepted as one of the student council members.
Rurik wasn’t one of those boys, which made Christine appreciate him.
“Well… it was mostly them making the bet and me accepting,” he clarified. And then she basically said for him exactly why. He hadn’t seen much risk in it. How likely had Christine been to drop him for one of them just because he lost? Apparently, as he’d suspected, not very.
“So, that everything then?” Rurik asked Vernon. He could see the tension in the boy’s face. Clearly he’d expected at least somewhat more explosive results by blowing Rurik’s little “secret” into the open.
“Well… yes. I suppose it is,” Vernon replied, far less energetic than he had been when he’d first approached. “Enjoy the rest of your day.” Somehow Rurik doubted he meant that.
He waited silently for a moment as Vernon left and then he turned back to Christine.
“So… I mean I get that finding out I was getting into fights isn’t really bad in your eyes… but as far as everything else goes… we’re good?” he asked her, now that they didn’t have the prying eyes of a witness.
“Yeah, we’re good!” Christine replied brightly. “Although I really prefer you to win in those matches. I would be troubled if they win and they actually decide to come to me and ask me to go out with them.”
Rurik did have to wonder why none of those people he’d lost to had ever gone up to Christine. Perhaps they just felt too awkward trying to ask out a girl who still had a boyfriend, even if they’d just managed to beat up that boyfriend. After all, if they’d truly though they’d had a chance, they probably wouldn’t have bothered with him in the first place.
“Well, don’t worry, I don't plan on that ever being a problem.” Today pretty much sealed it. Thobias had told him to cut all that nonsense out, but now he had his own definite reason to stop. He figured he’d still get into the odd fight here and there, but he’d be leaving Christine out of it. “And besides, I think I’ve already beaten most of the people who wanna go out with you anyway.” Some days it felt like he’d literally blasted his way through half the school…
To be fair, not all of them had been gunning for Christine. Some had just really, really wanted to fight and a punch to the jaw shut them up faster than trying to talk them out of it.
“By the way, Rurik…” Christine suddenly changed the topic of the conversation. “Are you going to participate in this year’s tournament? It’s okay if you don’t want to. I’m just asking, that’s all,”
Christine secretly thought that he might be a little more motivated for the tournament as he had been doing fights all this time.
It was a good thing Rurik didn’t smile often to begin with because he’d have certainly stopped then. The tournament. He had completely forgotten that was a thing. He’d even glossed over the fact that that was why there had been a training session. Of course Christine was gonna bring it up.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” he told her. “You go to something like that and people start having expectations of you and it’s a lot more hassle than just a few street fights here and there.” If he won, then he had to progress further and keep fighting, and if he lost then everyone would give him that disappointed look… like last time. No, it was best if he just stayed out of it to begin with.
“Alright then,” Christine responded, sounding slightly disappointed. “If you don’t want to, that’s fine with me.”
“Right…” Good, no pressure then. He then patted his pants pockets as if he was looking for something. “Ah. I think I forgot something. I’ll catch up with you.” And with that, he turned on his heel and jogged back they way they’d came.
Meanwhile, Vernon had rounded up his two lackeys and was making his way toward one of the exits to the school. A sudden, sharp whistle got his attention. He turned his head to see Rurik, standing by a large rock, placed decoratively next to a tree.
“What does this idiot want n-” And suddenly the rock jumped five feet into the air and Rurik slammed his palm against it, sending it flying at Vernon. His eyes went wide. But no, there was no way he’d go through with this. It’d be diverted or something at the last second. Rurik wasn’t insane enough to throw a rock that big at someone!
Yes, Vernon would call the fools bluff and stand his ground!
“BOSS! WATCH OUT!” Not that he got a say in the matter. His henchmen tackled him off his feet and threw him clear of the rock. He then new two things. One, he was lying face first on the concrete walkway, covered in dirt, and two… the rock hadn’t stopped and totally would have hit him. He looked up in time to see Rurik walking away whilst giving Vernon a middle-finger salute.
A short time later, Rurik jogged back over to Christine.
“Sorry about that,” he said. “Did you hear that crashing? Bak must have found someone to discipline on her way… to wherever the hell she was going.” Where even did Bak go at the end of the day? He realized he had no idea. But then he paused for a moment and took a breath. “But actually that was me throwing rocks at Vernon because he made me mad,” he admitted. “Don’t worry, he’s fine.” Unfortunately.
He’d gotten lucky this time, but this whole awkward situation had spawned from him keeping things from Christine. A bit more honesty was called for, he decided. Well, at least with her.
. . . A Few Weeks Later . . .
She’d said it was fine with her if he didn’t participate, but she had kept dropping not so subtle hints ever since that she wanted him to join. After all, she was going to participate and wouldn’t it be so fun to be on the same team? And yeah, that had also told him it was going to be a team event. He wouldn’t have to do all the work alone, but that meant even more disappointed looks if he even threw a fight. Eventually he’d been worn down, like a stone eroded by water, and agreed. But they still needed a third teammate.
Vernon? Make it the same team as during training? He barely even entertained that thought. Annabelle would probably actually say yes, but also screw that. Thobias? Considerably more potential, but he still didn’t exactly like Thobias. Win or lose, he’d prefer this to be as painless as possible. Maybe that weird ninja guy, he had been useful before, and apparently was a student. He’d participated in training after all.
But how the hell did one go about finding a ninja? That was sort of there thing after all -- not being found.
He grimaced. He only really knew one other person well enough to ask.
And that was how he’d wound up going to Bak of all people...
There was a bit of silence as they took in the information overload that William had just dumped on them. Then, finally,it broke. Slowly at first, but a shattering seemed imminent.
Clap... clap... clap...
Vera slowly clapped, something about it making the hair on the back of Wolf's neck stand up. He had a bad feeling about this. She looked too calm.
"A narcissist? But one who uses his narcissism it to fuel good deeds. Well, it's certainly something a narcissist might say," Vera told him. "So, now we're bringing back the dead to manipulate people? Gotta say, I'm impressed. I mean, really, I'm starting to lose track of who the bad guy is here!" She smirked and leaned toward William. Truly, she did almost appreciate how devious it was. She hadn't expected it from him. But at the end of the day, it was still the same plan, just with a new motive. "That's fucked up." Slowly though, the smirk faded and her usual, cold disdain came back.
So now William wanted to bring back Galbrek's dead brother? The whole thing was stupid and opened up a can of worms she thought was best left closed, but that... that rubbed her the wrong way for a completely different reason. William had devised a plan to bring back the dead, and this was what he was choosing to do with it?
. . . A Few Days Ago . . .
In a strange turn of events, Vera had shown up at Wolf's house and invited him to get lunch with her. It was really later in the day than lunchtime, but she'd waited til' he was done training with his father for the day. To no one's surprise, she had an ulterior motive. They ate mostly in silence, but as the food began to dry up, she finally spoke.
"So... what were you two talking about?" she asked him.
". . . what?" Wolf needed more context for that one.
"You and Meredith. She loses her shit and kicks me out, then drags me back in and loses her shit even more. What were you two talking about?" Vera scowled. "It feels like you're keeping secrets from me."
"She was just worried about me-"
"Why?" Vera asked. "If she was worried that means something is going on. Why don't I know this?" She didn't like not knowing things. "I mean, I was the one who had bad things happen to them, but you're the one who gets coddled?"
"No- Well..." She wasn't wrong, technically. He let out a long, tired sigh. "You know everything that happened. It's just between not being there for you and my mother's portrait, I wasn't in the best place. That's what really set her off too."
"The portrait? I mean, I get it. It's a nasty thing to do, but... all that?" Vera asked. "You know, you never talk about her. I know she's dead, but... still seems weird. I feel like I should have heard something by now." There must be something there. Wolf wasn't that old, so neither could his mother have been. That and the silence said something.
"It's... hard to think about her..." Wolf admitted. "She was great, but... with all the good memories still comes the bad."
"Bad? But she was great?" The implications were a bit concerning.
"Yeah. She was strong. Kinda strict, but always there. Looking back... she put everything she had into being a mother. But... it's just that..." His face fell into his hands for a moment. When his hands fell away, he looked more distant. "She died in front of me." There, it was out there for her to know.
Vera began shifting uncomfortably. She was regretting asking. "Like... in a hospital?"
Her face turned pale. "Oh." She swallowed and looked away. "OK." And that was all she could think to say.
. . . Day Before The Tournament . . .
Disapproval wasn't a strong enough word. Disgust was closer. Hate was probably becoming more worthy by the second. Vera stared at William as if he were less than an insect.
"Don't worry, William, I wouldn't call you a narcissist," she said, no longer even projecting sarcasm. She was stone cold serious. "There's so many more relevant options. Idiot. Fool. Insane. It takes that mix of things to come up with such a ridiculous plan and then double down on it. You know, I was willing to just sit back and watch it all happen. Not my problem either way it turns out, but now?" Her hands slammed down onto the table they sat at and she pushed herself to her feet. "You do remember who he is and what he's done right? And now he gets his brother back if you have your way?"
She lifted her arm and looked at her wrist. She waited for a few seconds. "Bam. Someone else just died. In fact, a few people probably have since we got here. Coulda been old age, coulda been murder. You wanna stop tragedies from happening? Well guess what, you officially suck at it. You're a failure. No ones death is any more or less tragic than any other, and there's almost always someone left behind missing them!" she snarled, face twisting up.
"So a guy who you admit is a threat to us gets his family back because it suits you? Well fuck you! You don't even know what you're asking!" At this point she was openly shouting. That sinking feeling in Wolf's stomach was only getting worse as he watched in shocked silence. She'd reamed him the first time he'd brought this up, like scolding a child, but somehow Vera seemed almost personally offended this time. "Why should we sit here and listen you go on about bringing back someone else's family when we could be missing our own!?"
That cemented it then. Wolf knew exactly what she was getting at. Part of him was in disbelief, but it made sense in a way. She'd just found out about his mother, however many fine details she was lacking. And then here she was hearing William talking about resurrecting someone for Galbrek. He wasn't happy to hear it either, but now that Vera had said that... he couldn't get the thought out of his mind. His mother. The possibility of resurrection.
Vera began to walk away, but as she passed by William she stopped, hands balling into fists so hard her arms shook. She spun on her heel, lifting her hand up.
"Vera!" Wolf's own hand shot out to grab her wrist before she could hit him. "It's OK."
"No it's not!" Vera pulled away. Honestly, he'd never seen her this upset, not like this. "Fuck..." This time she left quietly, but she'd already made more than enough noise.
When she was out of earshot, Wolf took a deep breath.
"Look... I'm not gonna sit here and tell you everything is fine and that Vera's just being how she is," Wolf said to William. "But nothing has changed. It doesn't matter if I agree with you. It's up to Andras, but I'll tell you clearly now. If she goes, so do I. I have no stake in your plan."
With that, he could only wait and let Andras speak.
"Ah, well this may be a training exercise, but as I'm sure you heard, it involves plenty of fighting. So no worries there," Vernon said to her. "We do need a third person or no matter what Rurik decides, we'll be disqualified. You'll join us won't you?"
"Well see I don't like training or fighting all that much," Rurik said. Ironic for someone whose unofficial nickname was 'King of the Ring' in a certain circle. OK, so deep down he didn't hate fighting, but in this case it sounded like a huge pain in the ass. Teams? Vernon? He really wanted to pass on all that.
"Really? Not what I've heard." Vernon smirked at him knowingly.
"Well you must have heard wrong," Rurik sighed. Well, really it was debatable but Christine didn't need to hear about it! "Ugh, whatever. Fine. If Christine is in then... whatever. Just for today." He crossed his now thoroughly twisted arms.
"Excellent. There's a few strange rules, but basically one of us is the princess, aka the leader, but cannot fight. Then there is a defender and an attacker," Vernon explained for Rurik who had missed the earlier explanation. "Since I've drawn us together and Christine would prefer a more active role, I suppose I'll be leader."
"Sure thing, princess," Rurik rolled his eyes, earning a scowl from Vernon. He'd walked right into that one. "I'll... play defense I guess," he decided after a few moments of thinking. Christine was usually more stationary, but her powers could wreak havoc on offense just as well as on defense. Rurik figured, however, that defense was probably that role that would allow him to do the least amount of work... And if Christine wanted to fight, well, "That leaves attacking for you, if that's all right," he said to Christine. Of course none of it mattered if Christine didn't want to participate.
And if she backed out, well, that wasn't his fault and with any luck Vernon would keep his damn mouth shut. And then he could get the hell away from this mess.
“Nice try, Vernon… but people outside school aren’t allowed. This is only for Mephisto students.” Suzume had said.
And so Vernon, glaring at his two cronies, was at a loss as to what he could do...
"Gah, if you idiots had just shown up in proper uniforms!" He was already busted, what did it matter if anyone heard his now foiled plans.
"Hi." All three jumped at Annabelle's sudden interruption. He hadn't even seen her walk over. He'd seen her arrive with Gabrielle and some other poor student they'd abducted to be their third, but...
"What do you want?" Vernon frowned.
"Couldn't help but to overhear your problem. I have a suggestion," she said. "Sounds you need to grab yourself a new teammate."
"Yes, I'll just go pluck a few from the nearest classroom like you did," Vernon rolled his eyes. "It's not that easy!"
"True. That only works because we're special," Belle admitted. "But I had someone more specific in mind. You see, we have a lovely visitor in the form of the esteemed Christine. Go grab her boyfriend Rurik, and things just might fall into place for you."
"You... want me to grab that lazy idiot?" Vernon raised an eyebrow. "Even if I wanted to, why would he help me?"
"So short sighted! I already laid it out for you, put the pieces together!" Belle scoffed and shook her head. "Don't you think Christine would be delighted for him to show up to training?"
"I don't really ca-" And finally it clicked. If he got Rurik, Christine might switch from observer to participant. Rurik might want to just slack off and leave, but maybe he'd be inclined to stick around because of Christine! "Well, it's worth a try. You two! Go fetch Rurik!"
"On it!" the female of the pair nodded.
"Be right back!" the second saluted. The two ran off... only to return ten seconds later. "What does he look like?"
Vernon pinched the bridge of his nose. Somehow he'd totally forgotten about that. Belle meanwhile looked about ready to fall over laughing. She managed to stay on her feet, stumbling over to the two dunces and giving them a description and even places to look for him.
Vernon could only hope that this time they wouldn't somehow fuck it up. But he should have know better.
When they came back, they indeed had found Rurik. Except they seemed to have basically dragged him there by force, with his hands bound behind his back and everything. He looked less than pleased to be there.
Vernon's jaw dropped as Anabelle fell into hysterics in the background. He almost began admonishing his cohorts, but then just shut his mouth and sighed. He'd just let this one happen.
"Hey boss, we found him!" they announced... and then...
The ropes binding Rurik's hands together burst apart and he then lifted his hands, one to the side of each of the idiots' faces. BLAM! And the two were blasted away, flying off until they crashed into the first solid object they came across.
Vernon glanced at the two crumpled heaps that had been his lackeys. ". . . they really deserved that," he muttered to himself. Maybe once they slept off the headaches they'd be smarter. Unlikely, though.
"So... I take it you're behind all this?" Rurik said, slipping his hands into his pockets. Strangely, the jacket he almost always wore was in tatters, being held together by half a dozen patches, but still frayed around the edges. Well, strange to anyone who hadn't seen his scuffle with Thobias.
"Sorry... what was your name again?" Rurik blinked.
". . . excuse me?" Vernon had to do a double take. Was this guy serious? "We're both on the council!"
"Vernon!" said boy barked.
"Right, so, Vernon," Rurik said. "The fuck?"
Vernon took a breath, taking the moment recompose himself, "Well you see, Rurik, we have a little training session about to start he- Hey! Don't walk away from me while I'm talking!" So much for composing himself.
"Not interested!" Rurik shouted over his shoulder, still making his way to the exit.
"And here I thought you liked a challenge," Vernon called after him.
"You got the wrong guy."
"Not even when there are stakes to be had?" That got Rurik to stop, even if just for a moment. He turned to look at Vernon, who simply pointed in Christine's direction.
"Really...?" Rurik grumbled. "How do you eve-" And that was when he noticed Annabelle, who gave him a sly wink. "That... utter... bitch!"
"So what do you say? Go along nicely and we'll keep your little habit under wraps," Vernon didn't mince words.
Rurik had to think about it for a moment, but then he just shrugged and turned again to leave anyway. He could talk all he wanted. Rurik would just deal with the aftermath later, and he had a feeling it wouldn't be nearly so dramatic as Vernon hoped.
"Oh Christine!" Vernon called out, causing Rurik to flinch. OK, so maybe he was a little anxious. "Rurik here can't seem to decide if he wants to join us for training or not. Care to weigh in? You do have so much more influence over him than I."
Rurik spun around to face Vernon once more, now struggling to keep his face neutral.
"I'm home!" Wolf called out as he stepped into his house. "Dad... why is the door gone?" It was later in the day now, but even in the fading light it was hard to miss an entire part of the house having been removed.
"Welcome back, son. Indeed, some things transpired while you were out," his father strode into the main room. "I'll-"
While his father spoke, Wolf's gaze wandered over to his mother's portrait. He saw the graffiti upon it. For a moment the rest of the world faded away, becoming muffled and colorless. All that he could really hear was a dull roaring in his ears, broken up occasionally only by his own accelerating heartbeat. Something clawed at the back of his mind, trying to unbury itself, and his vision began to blur- no, the room seemed to be shaking.
And then it stopped.
His father pulled the portrait from the wall, turning it over and removing the painting from the frame and rolling it up.
"Huh, what are y-"
"You're right, Wolfram. There's no point in leaving it up in its current state," the man said. "I'll have to get a suitable replacement. I don't know that it can be repaired."
"So, uh..." Wolf shook his head, feeling like he'd just been suddenly woken up from a deep sleep. He realized his palms hurt and looked down to see he'd nearly torn them open from clenching his fists so hard. "What happened, exactly?"
"There was a break-in of a sort. Your girl and a friend of hers came here seeking shelter, but I was out at the time. The assailants followed them in and apparently decided to add vandalism to their list of crimes," his father explained.
"What?!" Wolf pulled out his phone. He'd received a message earlier, but hadn't been in a position to read it. Indeed it was from Vera. He didn't even bother reading it. "Is she OK?!"
"For the most part, yes. I got them both back to Victor's safely."
"I-I need to-"
"Yes, of course. Go," Guntram urged him and Wolf wasted no time, turning on his heel and dashing back out of the house.
. . .
Vera stepped outside, having finally received a response from Wolf. She saw him walking over to her nervously.
"Y-you're OK!" Wolf was relieved to see it with his own eyes, but there was still that sinking feeling in his chest. He knew better than to expect a happy reunion.
"No thanks to you. But yes, I'm in one piece," she told him, crossing her arms.
"I can't keep doing this, Wolf!" Her brow furrowed as she gave him a harsh glare. "It's your job to protect her, not mine. I can't even do anything anyway! You need to be there!"
"She's practically a prisoner here! She can't leave without some fucking creepy ass doll trying to drag her off somewhere! If she needs to go somewhere, then you show up! Got it?!" Vera commanded.
"Well, that's why I-"
"What good is your stupid training if you're not even around to use it!" she snapped. "Whatever you're doing, you cut it short and move your ass over here! I'm sick of being in the firing line to cover for you!" She stomped over to him and jabbed him in the chest with her index finger. "GOT IT!?"
"Y... yes..." He nodded, feeling his body tremble.
"You need to fix this! This isn't over when the job is. Just because whatever stupid plan William has is done, doesn't mean the people trying to kidnap her will be! So I suggest you get rid of them sooner rather than later!"
"I... don't know. How would I even do that?" He agreed, to be fair. Andras was a friend, not just a job. He'd have loved to get rid of the problem, but short of murder... how?
"Well I suggest you figure that out." Vera seemed ready to leave it at that and just walk away, but Wolf grabbed her wrist.
"Vera... I... I'm sorry."
She quickly pulled away, seeming offended that he'd dare touch her, "You should be." She took another few steps away and then stopped. "So what had you so busy?"
Wolf flinched. This wasn't going to help his case, ". . . one of William's stupid plans."
The silence that followed said a lot.
"I see," Vera finally spoke. "And?"
"There was an old building filled with bloodthirsty, mutated animals..." He explained. It sounded especially ridiculous saying it out loud, but the truth was what it was.
"Well, you survived. So good for you." Vera still wouldn't even look at him.
"Yeah... I guess." Wolf lifted a hand to his ribs, where the giant horse creature had kicked him. He felt like mentioning how close he'd come to not surviving wouldn't even phase Vera. Part of him was scared to find out if he was right. A big part of him, apparently.
He couldn't bring himself to speak up.
"Goodnight," Vera said, dismissively of course, and all Wolf could do was watch her walk back into the house. He knew he was free to follow her. No one would stop him. Most would even welcome him.
But instead he just wandered over to a nearby stone wall and slide down to sit against it. Speaking of getting kicked by a giant, fire-breathing horse, running there had actually hurt quite a bit. After Vera's dressing down, he wondered if maybe he deserved it...
Vera entered the Blackgate household a little later in the day. They had a day off from dealing with William, so Vera had gotten a day off from babysitting Andras. Recent events in mind, she supposed she really didn’t mind the girl’s company… but almost nothing was enjoyable for two weeks straight, and she wasn’t sure she liked Andras that much.
So, the previous night, she’d let herself go home, figuring she’d pick things up the next afternoon. She ran into Anna first, and asked if Andras was up yet. The kid just shrugged. Useless.
Well, the demon who only pretended to be a demon in a house filled with demons tended to sleep later, so she was probably still sleeping. It was hit-or-miss at this time of day. She knocked on the guest room door, and got no response. She carefully opened the door and saw a small lump laying in the bed Andras was using.
It was eerily still and not quite right in shape. She stared for a moment, thinking her eyes might be messing with her. Nope, still not right. Tip-toeing over, she gently poked Andras’s very, very soft shoulder.
“You little shit…” Vera snarled and whipped the sheets off. Pillows. “SERIOUSLY!?” she screeched. It meant only one thing. No one pulled a stunt like this unless they were sneaking around behind people's’ backs! She’d gone off on her own.
She, who was being hunted by killer doll people, had gone off on her own! For all she knew, even Seth could be out for revenge! He was a bit of a coward, so that was less likely, but the point was that Andras had enemies.
She quickly pulled out her phone, swiping through the screens almost but certainly not frantically until she found Andras’s number. She’d just had to be cute and put her under World’s Worst Demon instead of taking advantage of the fact that both her real and fake name began with an “A”.
Andras’s phone vibrated in her bag. Without thinking, Andras had already begun to answer it. “This is-”
‘Wait. I was supposed to be sneaking out.’ Andras froze mid-greeting. ‘I can’t be just answering my phone like this! I’m an idiot!’
Very quickly changing her voice to an impression of a gruff store manager, Andras continued. “Joe’s Meat Shop. Whatchyu want.”
Vera was surprised, but only for a moment, by the voice that answered. However, if the brat honestly thought Vera hadn’t noticed her almost answer it in her own voice, she was sadly mistaken.
“Oh, hi, yes. I’ll have a ham and cheese sandwich with a side of WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU, DAMMIT?! What kind of idiot runs off alone when people are trying to kidnap them?!” Vera’s harsh yell would have peaked out the phone’s mic. “I better know where I’m going in five seconds or so help me!”
Andras almost dropped her phone from the sudden yelling. “I-I was just heading out to the library… You know, a friendly neighborhood library…” Andras said weakly, and added, “D-Did you want any books?”
“Sure,” Vera said curtly as she attempted to compose herself and immediately headed back out. “How about a book on knot tying, so I can tie you down! Or maybe one on welding so I can put you in a cage! I just… What the hell were you thinking!?” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “L-look, just stay put, in a crowd, and keep talking to me so I know no one’s grabbed you! I’m on my way…” She didn’t even want to think of what Wolf would do if he found out Andras got taken on her watch. It would be humiliating! Her, Vera Goh, being scolded by Wolf of all people!
“I-I don’t think there are any welding books at the library, Vera…” Andras muttered. “Though, there probably are knot tying books. I don’t really want to go back in, though, I was just being nice and offering…”
Vera didn’t bother resisting the urge to sigh tiredly, but soon enough she was able to hang up the phone. Andras had probably just picked the library because she was a nerd who liked libraries, but Vera had allowed it since it wasn’t too terribly far from the Blackgate household. She quickly stormed over to Andras and grabbed her face in one hand, squishing her cheeks. She turned her head this way and that, looking her over as if she’d just pulled her out of a burning car and not just had her run off to… read.
Once she was done giving Andras the world’s most disapproving look, she let go and let out a long breath.
“Well I suppose you’re still in one piece and not in some creepy dollmaker’s dungeon, so that’s… something,” Vera crossed her arms.
Andras let out a low chuckle, crossing her arms. “A demon like me would never be caught by something as mundane as a dollmaker. Your fears were clearly misplaced.”
“Really, even if it’s a demon whose dolls can shoot lasers?” Vera scowled. “They almost got you last time! Twice!” She held up two fingers for emphasis. “Do you know how much shit I’d have to deal with if they actually got you? I can’t believe you’d be so selfish as to just run off!” And the old familiar bubbling anger began to rise up. The same one that happened every time someone didn’t just quietly fall in line and listen. She clenched her teeth and for a moment was just silent. “And besides… I still owe you a night out that doesn’t get crashed by drug dealing exes.”
‘Ah. I knew I screwed up, but I guess she was taking this really seriously…’ Andras felt a little embarrassed. However, she was also interested by Vera’s last comment. ‘Maybe…’
Andras leaned forward, close to Vera, with an innocent-as-possible smile. “Oh, so you were worried about me, huh?” Andras always wondered what Vera would do if she tried this.
Vera’s eyes snapped wide at the suggestion but then she squinted and her mouth scrunched into a tight frown. The girl was just asking for it now!
Vera soon once more had Andras’s face trapped, this time sandwiched between both her palms, mercilessly squishing her cheeks and giving her a fish-face.
“Oh who the hell would be worried by a delusional little shit like you!” Vera growled, still tormenting the girl as she spoke. “I-... I wouldn’t… GRR!” She’d never been much for lying, but… Why the hell did she even have to worry about lying? She was just some burden Wolf had dropped in her lap! At least…
She finally let go once she figured Andras had had enough, “If you’re done being a pest, I should be bringing you back! I’m not exactly a bodyguard you know! I can’t protect you from those things!” She felt a pang in her chest at the words. It was just an obvious fact, but…
‘Ah, so that’s what happens when I do that.’ Andras thought, as she gingerly touched her cheeks. However, Vera’s response overall OTHER than the physical attack was… ‘Well, it wasn’t technically positive, but I feel happy about it, somehow.’ Andras mused to herself.
Andras eventually managed to work a smile back onto her face, after some effort. “Don’t worry. We’re not that far from the house, and I’ve got some responses to anyone who wants to get in between us.” Andras confidently flashed the pentagram on the back of her hand, as if to show proof of her magical enhancement. After a moment, Andras spoke up again in a lower voice, “That being said, I’ve been considering carrying that divine spear of mine around nowadays. You didn’t happen to bring it with you, did you?” Andras’s eye looked Vera up and down.
“Yeah, it’s right here in my purse,” Vera spoke deadpan. “Obviously I was too busy trying to find you to worry about remembering something like that!” She then clamped her mouth shut. That had been a bit more straightforward than she’d liked. And in hindsight, as weird as walking into town with a golden spear would have been, it would have been a nice safety cushion. “Let’s just go…” She grabbed Andras’s wrist, ready to literally drag her back.
Andras followed along with Vera’s guiding grip. If Andras was feeling more reckless, she might have tried to poke fun at Vera’s apparent concern, but she didn’t want her cheeks to be assaulted any further. “I was going to head home right now anyway!” Andras huffed.
The dolls came to a halt as Adam motioned for the remaining dolls to stop in their tracks, Fegin had not yet departed with Celine and something had caught his attention up ahead.
"What's the matter big brother~?" Eve asked in a curious manner, trying to be polite yet at the same time condescending.
"I am about to find out.... follow me, all of you." Adam beckoned the three other dolls to follow, with Eve joining right behind him, followed in turn by Celine with Fegin guarding the rear.
Up ahead Adam then saw a familiar sight. The girl whom master Galbrek had wanted to get. She was out there with someone and on their own. It would have baffled Adam, would he had known the meaning of the word. "It's the girl the master wants. Andras. Change of plans. We are going to capture her, show your loyalty to master Galbrek and aid. He will surely reward us all well."
Celine looked troubled, nothing was going as she wanted. She still had the number that Celestine had given to him. But she had no phone to call with, neither could she see any phone booth. Even if she would have seen one, would she had been able to get there and live long enough to make the actual call. Then the possibility of once again falling under Celestine's hands. Stuck in between two different evils as far as she saw it.
She petted the rat she carried with her, now being the only one she could really trust would not be out to kill her. For now though she had to go with the other dolls, if the chance would present itself she had to run. Adam nodded his head to Fegin and Eve. "You two.. move up and draw their attention and keep them from spotting the rest of us. They've seen us before but not you two."
"Wiieoow... that's kinda smart. What would I know? I am just a jester." Fegin tipped an imaginary hat to Adam before moving forwards with Eve. Leaving Adam and Celine behind a corner, where the two could later flank the two girls.
"Good someday! What a fancy meetin' and greetin' a pair of fair ladies out here. Don't you agree, Eve'y dear?" Fegin gave Andras and Vera an overly ambiguous bowing motion.
"Very so~" Eve licked her artificial lips.
"Oh no! Dread and doom, I am left in such a gloom. This lady here be Andras the brave, the powerful, the attractive! How could I not see this being so?"
"My brother is a little bit on the flamboyant side. Do forgive him~" Eve stepped closer towards the two young women, biting her lower lip as it was starting to curl up into a smile.
"Autographs! Oh goodness me, please grace us with your fine mark on a humble piece of paper! To be donated to help all the poor orphans!" Fegin placed his hand on his chest and dramatized believably how sad it was. While those two dolls were busy with their own thing, Adam and Celine had snuck around a building and have arrived to the sides of the two young women. Giving them a good flanking position.
It didn’t take more than two seconds for Vera’s blood to run cold. Andras being famous enough for people to want her autograph? For a second, it had been laughable. Then she realized that the odds were against them that this was in any way innocent. It probably helped that she’d pretty much been in panic mode since she’d realized Andras had run off.
“Sorry, you probably have the wrong person. We’re very busy, please excuse us,” she spoke hastily, her hand clamping down on Andras’s wrist like a vice to the point of being painful. She needed to get the message across and hope the girl was actually paying attention for once.
“Ow ow!” Andras winced. Even she could tell that Vera had very quickly changed her tone with these newcomers confronting them. As much as Andras DID want to give out an autograph, she felt it necessary to stick with Vera’s lead - Especially after all the worry she caused already.
Andras’s lack of excitement over an autograph gave Vera the slightest bit of relief. She quickly turned away from the two and hurried off in a new direction with Andras in tow. They had the smallest window of safety right now -- witnesses. In a city where every other person could potentially spew flames, kidnappings in broad daylight were dangerous. But that safety was limited. If they stuck around, the crowds would eventually disperse or their enemies would have time to come up with a plan, their pray just sitting and waiting for them to figure things out.
But the only two safe havens that Vera could potentially reach sat in private neighborhoods, with plenty of empty streets. Head deeper into the city, and there would be empty alleyways to be dragged into. No, there was no easy way out of this.
Vera tugged Andras closer and leaned toward her ear, “Get that angel of yours ready, now!” she whispered. They were bound to run out of luck, and probably sooner than she’d like. They were gonna need a buffer.
As the two young women had begun to move so did the two dolls which had approached them, the first to act was Eve who energized her whip as she'd put it into her hand, flinging it out aiming to latch around Andras throat, seeking to hold her back and apply pain from the energy surging through it. While the hula hoop carrying jester doll jumped up into the air using his ring as a helping tool to make the jump, he flew over the two girls and landed on his feet. Not flawlessly but decently.
"'Fraid we cannot let you pass without meeting our benefactor." The jester offered a playful smile as the ring he held unto began to light up in purple energy. "Willingly or not you will come with us."
Adam and Celine had also moved forwards, Adam had shot dark shards of energy right in front of Vera, seeking to stop their advance forwards while Celine had moved further up. "Stop! Two of my siblings have died because of you.. don't make more die. Surrender..." Celine said in a grave tone of voice.
It had to have been more instinct and reflexes than anything else. As Vera had pulled Andras in, she’d turned her head and out of the corner of her eye…
“Shit!” She pushed Andras’s head down just before the whip reached her, but cried out as the whip instead raked across her shoulder. She had to bite her lip against the pain, and could do nothing more as the dolls surrounded them. “I don’t care if all of you die, you fucking monster!” Vera shouted at the doll. “You’re trying to kidnap people!”
Now she could only hope Andras could do something again...
“Vera!” Andras shouted as Vera saved her from the whip. Andras heard Vera’s cry of pain. Calling her cards to her hand, she quickly analyzed the situation.
‘I’ve got to create an opening, and get my angel over here too…’ Choosing a card in her hand, she took a breath and cast it. Throwing the pinpoint of light directly towards Eve, it burst into a shadowy substance that wrapped around her arm, manifesting itself as a heavy ball and chain.
Andras had instructed the angel to look for her signs of casting from above, so she hoped that it would have seen her at this point. “Let’s go, Vera!” Andras grabbed Vera and started running, hoping that the weakening enchantment would let them get past the doll.
Eve blinked, the girl had ducked away from her whip and instead slashed the other over the shoulder. She readied her whip once more but stopped as she saw a bright light, which then turned into a shadowy substance. She was creeped out, what was this?
It attached itself to her and suddenly she felt a deep push through her entire form,, her legs broke by the ankles, then she was thrown down at full force, her arm first and then the rest of her body. She was pressed against the ground and felt her body begin to press in on itself, she gritted her teeth before screaming out in terror. "Ahhhh-! Help... me... please.."
She felt her body beginning to form cracks over it, artificial tears filling up in her eyes as she closed them tightly, then a sound in the air as her arm was torn apart. she waited for the crack that wound break her body into pieces, but it did not come. The hula hoop ring sliced over her arm up by her shoulder and severed the link with the dark spell.
Leaving her face down against the ground but no longer pressing against it. The entirety of the spell had caused the dolls to freeze for a moment, until Fegin had sprung into action to aid his fellow doll. Quickly moving up to lift her up in her broken state.
Celine stood still, not patting the rat in her possession nor aiding. She felt fear. True fear. Was this what their creator wanted to obtain? Such a horrible power. Adam looked to his fellow dolls before he gritted his teeth together. "We are-"
Fegin interfered and threw Eve's battered body into Celine's hands. "You know what to do." He winked before he flipped backwards. "Let's go Adam." He nodded towards the young women. Something about the jester bothered Adam, but he could not pinpoint what it was. The two began to chase after Andras and Vera.
Vera swallowed hard against the pained sounds as they ran off. She hadn’t seen that one coming. Somehow she felt a little guilty for saying she was OK with all of them dying now. It was easy to say until they started begging. However, those thoughts were left behind almost as soon as they’d entered her mind. She had bigger problems to worry about.
She quickly directed Andras which way to run. They needed to go to the closes safe-haven, and they needed to not run in a straight line and be found too quickly again. That said, there were only so many twists and turns they could take without just wasting time or going the complete wrong way.
They reached a house that Andras wouldn’t recognize. In fact, Andras likely would have been quite lost for some time now. Vera stumbled through the arched gateway of the house and through the courtyard. It had never felt quite so long before, just trying to reach the door before they were capture.
A raven, perched on the tall, stone walls began screeching its fool head off, as if angrily shouting at the two girls. Somehow this amplified the feeling Vera had in her spine, as if a knife was just hovering there the whole time.
She grabbed the door and pulled. Nothing. It held fast.
“LOCKED?!” Vera’s heart sank. If the door was locked, that meant no one was home. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” She dug in her purse and pulled out a key. The door mercifully opened quickly enough and she shoved Andras inside before following and locking it behind them.
But it was just a door. It was just a house. Without anyone home, it was nothing so special.
“Dammit, Guntram…” Vera panted, clutching at her shoulder. “Shit, that means Wolf isn’t here either!” She just sort of stumbled deeper into the room. It was a large room, with numerous portraits hanging from the walls, some with little tables on the floor beneath, holding some sort of artifact that might have belonged to them. The rest of the floor was empty. No furniture to sit at, and the tables that were there were too full to hold one’s belongings.
Most noteworthy was one portrait, larger than the rest, of a woman. Below it, its table might as well have been a shrine. On the wall beneath the portrait was a sword in a glass case. There seemed nothing there that could help them all that much, unless they suddenly learned how to use one of the various, antique weapons lying about.
“Oh!” Andras stared at the portrait, only managing that much in between gasps of air. After some time, she finally managed to speak up further. “W-Where are we, exactly? And who is this?” Andras gestured to the painting. Rearranging her cards, she quickly added, “How valuable is this house to you?”
“It’s Wolf’s house. Don’t get too excited, because that one is his mother. He doesn’t talk about her much… and judging by the shrine, I assume she’s dead.” Vera frowned. Her next question was a tad concerning. “Err, less than our lives, but considering Wolf’s dead mother has a shrine in here, I’m pretty sure his father might kill you if you mess it up.” Not to mention she didn’t like the odds of them standing and fighting. It had worked out last time, but that only left that at Andras with a 50% win rate against these things.
“OK, I… I have an idea. It’s stupid but it might save us…” Vera swallowed hard. “How lucky do you feel?”
Andras briefly thought over the previous events. Weighing getting free ice cream against being attacked by dolls, she figured… “Can I answer that after you tell me your plan?”
Adam had forcefully made his way after the two girls, keeping them within sight but out of reach. Some bystanders had decided to give chase after the tall doll in order to apprehend him but the doll had other plans, thus toppled over a few neatly placed fruit-stands causing a large ruckus in an alley. The other doll, Fegin on the other hand, had jumped up unto the nearby roofs and ran after the girls in that way. Less hindered but a bit more risky if one didn’t watch ones steps well. Both of the dolls ultimately saw the girls enter a house and close the door behind them.
Adam looked up as he heard a slight ‘beep’ sound. The jester-like doll had jumped up on top of a lamp post and used that as a viewing platform, placing one hand above his eyes and the other holding unto his hula hoop ring.
“Fun fun. Looks like the missuses decided to enter the house. Should we be proper unwanted guests or?” Fegin turned to look down to Adam who was partly dirty from tomatoes and various fruits that had gotten in his path.
“I will look for another entrance or window and enter through it. You take the main door, clown.” “Horrible! Simply horrible! I am so unappreciated for my particular set of talents, have you ever seen any jester like me before, Adam?” The doll smiled as he jumped down to inspect the house closer.
“Yes.” Adam answered. “Our master redecorated his face after some ill placed words.”
“Oh that’s not good at all! Not good at all! So why not quit? Send in your leave application to our holy benefactor!” Fegin did a jump forwards to look at the main door, like a curious cat looking over an area it should totally not be in.
“Watch your mouth or I will make you pay for it. I will not allow anyone to betray master G-” Adam paused and remembered something his master had told him. That William person was able to find out things which had been said by others, revealing his master’s name in a place like this would be disastrous for him.
“Enter.” Adam simply said as he walked around to look for another door or neatly placed window to break into.
Fegin on the other hand went up to the main door, felt the handle and turned it down. Locked. “Oh dang, why must it always be locked. Why can’t they just leave all doors open. It’s not like they don’t want visitors right Adam? Adam? Oh… right.” He coughed gently into his hand before knocking on the door.
Vera jumped at the knock at the door. How… polite. She carefully inched over to it to look who was there. Guntram had a number of friends, all good fighters. Maybe it was someone who could help. But one glance revealed it to be one of the freakish dolls. Seriously, why the jester appearance? They were already inherently disturbing enough.
“Forget it, let’s just go!” Vera rushed back over to Andras, leading her through the house to a side entrance. It was another courtyard, only reachable through the house. This one also had a gateway, but it led back behind the house. All that was back there was forest and a small mountain, barely more than an oversized hill. “So… um… this could be my worst idea ever, but… I don’t suppose I can just ask you to trust me?” she said to Andras. She had no idea what was out there, just that Wolf had told her that it was the one thing she had to listen to him about. Never, ever go into the woods behind the house.
It was dangerous.
Andras looked over into the woods. ‘Maybe she knows something I don’t… This doesn’t seem like ‘worst idea ever’ material.’
Fegin had waited but none had answered the door, he tapped his beeping boots against the ground. “Just rotten luck is all, typically typic.” He tilted his head from side to side. “Oh well!” Before he raised the hula hoop ring above his head and made four slicing motions around the door edges, then poking at it with his free hand, causing it to fall in. “Roomservice!” He peeked around but saw none but was met with a painting of a knight or so it appeared. Something had to be done about that, she didn’t look right at all.
Fegin fetched a color pen from his pocket, where had he found it? Who knows. Perhaps his master would not find his. Fegin jumped up on a dresser or table, whichever was closest to it and then began his work. Adding a mustache and chin beard was just what it needed. He gave his masterpiece a look before putting the pen back and resuming his search, finding a second entry point. “Oho? Sneaky little rabbits.” He clapped his hand on his chest.
On the other end of the house, Adam had seen the two girls exit through some inner courtyard of the building. He watched them for a bit before giving chase, making his presence discreet if he could. Moving from trees to bushes to rocks, whatever was about to give him cover.
On the other hand, this was no time for idle discussions. Andras nodded, and said plainly, “I trust you.” Partially to reassure her, and partially to potentially give another signal for her angel, Andras manifested her cards at the ready. “Let’s go.”
Vera took a deep breath, hoping Andras wouldn’t regret that. She led Andras into the woods. There was a path, about three people wide, cut into the landscape. Tall walls of earth and roots surrounded it, ending just above their heads. It was as if they were walking beneath the forest, rather than through it.
The trail stretched on longer than one might have expected, leading toward the hill’s peak. However, before they even reached much of an incline, there was a rustling in the forest. Vera came to a dead halt, motioning for Andras to do the same.
She’d expected perhaps the danger was at the destination, or that it was just a lie to keep her away. Was there actually something out here? There was a bit of a slope cut into the side of the path ahead, and the rustling became crashing as a furry shape tumbled down it and onto the path ahead. It was a small dog? No… a wolf?
It was a baby wolf. The actual animal, of course.
It righted itself and then planted its feet, lowering itself and growling as viciously as a wolf pup could. It had the strangest eyes...
“You’ve… got to be kidding me…” Vera stared at it. There was something familiar about it, but that was important. This wasn’t helpful. What would it do, bite at their ankles and make them into a chew toy? But then the one or two nature documentaries she’d seen as a kid came back to her. Where there was a baby, there was a parent not far off.
Something landed behind them. There was a softness to it, but also a weight. Like a massive object landing upon a cushion. The two girls would feel breath on the back of their necks.
Vera felt herself begin to shake and she slowly turned around. It was white, with only occasional patches of grey mottling its coarse fur. There was something wrong about it: its eyes seemed to burn, one of its monstrous eyes even having two pupils, and its teeth barely fit in its mouth. Most horrifying was the fact that its shoulders were up to Vera’s chest. It just completely dwarfed poor Andras. It turned its muzzle up, mere centimeters from Vera’s face.
It bared its fangs, a low growl coming from it that could be felt through the ground below them.
“P-please… w-we aren’t here to trespass…” She knew next to nothing about these creatures, save that she’d been told they existed. She just wish she’d been told they were the reason this forest was dangerous! She knew they were smart, but could they understand her? Judging by the fact that it was still growling at her, she had reason to doubt this.
It sniffed at her, and then it turned to sniff at Andras. Terror turned to horror as its mouth began to gape open, growling turning to a vicious snarl.
“No!” Vera stuck her arm out, barring its path to the girl. “I-I’m here to protect her!” The wolf’s gaze snapped back to Vera, the fury clear in its eyes. It barked at her, and took a step forward, as if to ask how dare she confront it.
Vera felt her legs give and she shrunk down to her knees, the beast staring down at her…
Andras was taken aback. ‘She’s going to such a length?! Amazing…’ Vera had some serious courage, to stand up to something like that despite everything.
Adam had stalked the girls through the wilderness, getting all manner of moss, branches and thorns over his artificial body and clothing. But nothing was going to stop him from completing the mission which was going to bring him closer to his master. The thing he needed to do.
The girls had been stopped further ahead by some form of beast. Adam believed it was known as a wolf. Master Galbrek had allowed Darla to watch some form of documentary regarding it. But it didn’t matter much to Adam, it was now both aiding and obstructing him. It was keeping the girls still but potentially harming Andras which he sought to capture. If she would be deeply wounded or killed then his master would not forgive him. Thus the creature had to be-
He suddenly felt something on his shoulder, a quick yet firm thing, like a paw of some great beast. Adam turned to look at what it was. That damn clown. Fegin had caught up with him somehow.
“Found ya. Ya really should train on sneaking, I saw you from far away…” He said in a hushed voice, then looked ahead to the two girls. “Now that’s a problem.”
Adam gave Fegin an annoyed look and then said in a serious tone. “Yes. I shall take it out…”
The tall doll stood up and stepped forwards, raising his both hands to unleash a barrage of dark purple shards of magic towards the fur clad beast. Fegin at the same moment let out a slight noise and began to run forwards trying to get to Andras and Vera, his steps now causing beeping sounds. “Outta! Heya fancy meeting you out ‘ere, ‘fraid we got a schedule to pass so mind to tag along?” Fegin gave a smirk with a slightly carefree look to his face, despite the really bad situation they were in.
The wolf’s ears suddenly perked up and turned. This was followed by the whole beast suddenly throwing itself aside and skidding to a stop a few feet away. A second later shards of energy struck the ground where it had stood.
This was followed by… beeping? What? Oh, the damn creepy clown doll.
The wolf was already mad, but then… it inhaled. Its nostrils suddenly flared and it gave two more quick sniffs of the air. In an instant, its lips pulled back and thick ropes of drool began to leak from its mouth. Its eyes had gone wide and it let out a ferocious roar like no proper wolf should have ever been able to.
Vera had seemed to set it on edge and Andras’s presence had seemed to upset it. But now, something about these intruders had sent it into a mad rage. It seemed any moment now it would-
Everything screeched to a halt as the dolls shoes began rapidly beeping… as the wolf pup had latched on and begun chewing at them. Apparently the beeping had gotten its attention.
The painted doll had peeked down to his boots at the sight of a wolf pup chewing on his flawless boots. He made a pouty face and quickly leaned down to pick it up with his free hand before whistling over to it’s apparent parent. “Yohoo! Who's a good pup? Oh you are! Who's a bad bitch? You are!” Fegin went from looking at the pup to it’s mother, whistling to get the attention of the mother before starting to run with the pup in hand. His boots beeping along his fast stride.
Adam’s attention went to Fegin for a moment and watched what the big wolf like creature would do, he was prepared to use another barrage of dark energy shards. Right now his power was far greater than it had been before, if these would hit it would hurt it. The power master Galbrek have bestowed to him, his most loyal and determined servant. A sense of pride filled him.
If Fegin could lead the beast away he would have the opening he needed to subdue the girls or so he thought. They seemed to be out of tricks. This is for you, Lord Galbrek
Adam prepared himself for what would come.
Vera couldn’t imagine that running off with a something like that wolf’s baby could ever be a good idea, but the gravity of the situation soon became apparent when the wolf bolted after him. At the speed it took off, it would catch up quickly, but that still left them wide open to the other doll. But, if it was just one, maybe Andras would be OK. If only she was actually a factor in this fight, then they’d definitely win… but as it was, she was about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
One of the dolls distracted the wolf, leaving it between the two of them and a single doll. Of course, that was hardly a fair evaluation, considering that it was a Demon Lady of Despair versus a mere doll. Andras laughed to herself lightly, a card rising from her hand and glowing white. “Knight of Rath, hear my voice, and break the lines of darkness!” Her summon chant materialized her spell. From the card burst an armored knight, mounted upon a horse.
“Clear our path!” Andras commanded, and the knight charged towards Adam, holding its sword in a reversed grip.
Adam kept his both hands raised and as the knight materialized from Andras’ summoning, he changed his target to it. A knight who would try break the lines of darkness as her chant went. The tall doll narrowed his eyes and focused.
“This is for the one whom I respect and love, the one whom gave me a new life as a homunculus! This is for Lord Galbrek!” He unleashed his barrage of purple shards of magic towards the approaching knight.
A distance away Fegin was running and cutting down any tree close to him using his hula hoop ring, causing it to fall behind him to hinder or possibly fall over the large beast, buying a bit of time until he finally took a leap up on a tree stump and up unto a large branch on a tree, a fair distance from the ground, still with the pup in his other hand. “Oof. That was… stressful. Bad dog. Stay. Stay.”
He looked briefly at the pup, making sure the bigger creature saw it. All he had to do now was to buy a bit of time for Adam to get out of there with the target.
The wolf eventually wised up, breaking off from following directly behind. One of the trees had come close to crushing it, right when it had been inches from tearing Fegin in half. Again, it was moments away, snarling and flying through the air just as Fegin leapt, its fur brushing the heels of his boots as it sailed past.
It turned back, circling the tree once and then stopping. It reared its head back and howled. It was a low, droning howl, one befitting its twisted appearance. The whole forest seemed to tremble. The pup in Fegin's arms squirmed and joined in chorus, though not as deafeningly loud.
The issue that may have presented itself to Fegin was when the chorus was joined by something a little bigger. Two more howls echoed through the forest in response to the first. Then… the wolf charged off, out of sight.
For a moment.
The next thing Fegin knew it stormed back onto the scene, jumping, rebounding off a tree, and then up toward his branch, jaws clamping down on the branch. It was only a question of what would occur first, the branch snapping off the tree, or Fegin being shaken loose.
Adam’s attack may have hurt a lesser knight, but Andras’s summon was specifically trained to endure attacks while charging. The shards clashed against the paladin’s armor, but his horse continued galloping forward, and it bore down upon Adam. The paladin swiftly struck at the doll with his sword as it passed him, slashing the doll with his sword. Rearing around, the paladin turned back to face his opponent after his charge.
Andras grabbed Vera’s wrist, which was the opposite of what was usual so far. “Vera. The doll’s wounded, and the other one ran off. Now’s our chance to run!”
“Wh- Huh?!” Vera was all for getting far away from the dolls, but somehow going farther down the path just seemed… almost as bad. Her fears were founded, but not before the path began to wind up the hill, leaving them quite deep into the old forest.
They rounded a corner to see another giant wolf sitting there. This one had long, dark, stringy fur that left its eyes almost completely hidden and gave the impression it had a beard. And, whereas the first wolf looked like it might have just had birth defects, this one was clearly not normal. It had two rows of short horns sticking out of the fur on its head.
It sat there, like a guardian monolith, halting their advance. Just like the first, the forest’s silence was soon broken by a low rumbling as it began to growl. And then another, white like the first, but without the spots to mar its fur. It also seemed a bit smaller, perhaps younger, but this ones fangs were so long they stuck out when its mouth was closed. They were trapped between the two.
The shaggy one stood, stalking toward them as the second circled, as if they were trying to herd the girls out of the forest. It was merely a question of if they could safely turn their backs without being set upon… and how patient the wolves were.
And if it was even safe to head back yet.
Andras gripped Vera’s hand. “D-Do you have a plan?” She said, her voice shaking with fear.
“W-w-walk backwards… don’t make any sudden moves… and hope they aren’t hungry…” Vera really hadn’t thought things through this far ahead. Mutant wolves hadn’t been part of her plan. They were bred for a purpose, and killing them wasn’t it, but that didn’t mean they weren’t still vicious and plenty able to do so.
Their harrowing, uneasy retreat went on for about a minute. The longest minute of Vera’s life. It seemed it might work, that showing they would leave the forest was enough to keep the wolves from attacking.
But then their path was blocked off. The first wolf was back, seeming to have reclaimed the pup from the clownish doll. They could no longer advance in any direction. They hadn’t exactly been able to finish, err, negotiating with the first wolf either, and no doubt it was in a truly foul mood.
Then, an oddly familiar noise. The screeching caws of a raven as a large, black bird soared past, unusually low. It seemed to distract the wolves, and then a high pitched whistle rang through the forest.
And suddenly, just like that, they backed off. All three with pup in tow, albeit with noticeable reluctance, loped off into the forest.
“OK…” Vera said breathlessly, on the verge of hyperventilating. “J-just go! Go!” she urged and took advantage of the sudden clear path.
Halfway back, the man Vera had been looking for in the first place greeted them, though it wasn’t with a smile.
“Vera!? My goodness, what are you girls doing out here!? You could have been killed!” His face was taught and his lips pressed tightly together. “Well, judging by the fact that my door is in pieces, you must have had a reason. Come, it’s safe enough now. You can explain inside…”
Adam had quickly dashed to the side and moved past the knight, withdrawing from the area. The cut the knight had made was causing his dark purple power to begin to leak out, he placed one hand over the wound as if to prevent it from leaking out as much.
Gritting his teeth but realizing this battle was lost, he began to run off, dashing behind a couple of trees and making his way back the same way he came. Hearing some noises in the distance, likely more of those beasts and possibly the knight following him. He didn't stay to find out but ran as fast as he could. Taking advantage in his inhuman physique, that he never gets tired. He could make it if he kept running with the advantage he currently had. Fegin had to find his own way out.
The jester had just managed to raise his hula hoop ring above his head when the large beast lunged for the branch he stood on, grappling unto a partly decapitated branch a little bit further up, before he decided it was time to move, he pulled himself up on the partly decapitated branch and took a leap to another tree, with a branch further down, before sliding down the tree, holding unto the wolf pup in one hand and then flinging it like a flying bowling ball towards the larger one.
That would distract it for a bit he thought, and ran quickly, slicing down a few trees along his way, causing them to fall down to obscure his path.
He was faster than Adam, tougher and more endurable. He flung himself acrobatically over some of the trees which fell to the sides or in front of him due to his cutting, most fell backwards though.
While he might had been able to kill such a creature he pondered on the morals of doing so. They were likely only defending their home and they were not part of the mission they had accepted. Even so he couldn't lower his guard until he was fully out of the forest.
Andras sat in the house, still shaken up considerably. ‘This is not helping my fear of dogs at all…’ She stuck close to Vera, as if leaving her would suddenly cause the wolves to come back.
Clearing her throat, Andras eventually spoke up to introduce herself. “H-Hello… My name is And- Er… Alexandria Sova. Me and Vera had been… Well…” Andras trailed off, not sure what to say exactly. Given the situation, even something like using her demon name seemed rash. Andras shot a look at Vera as if to ask for her to explain it for her.
Vera took a deep breath and explained the situation to Guntram, allowing him to bandage her shoulder while she did so. She was getting sick of being hurt because of the whole Andras situation, but she couldn’t find it in herself to blame the girl. She couldn’t even say she and Andras were even. Andras had pretty much come to her own rescue in the end.
“So… it is most likely the work of this… Galbrek?” Guntram sighed. “Children these days.”
“I… can’t swear that he’s the master these dolls keep talking about, but I don’t think him being there the first time is a coincidence,” Vera told him.
“Hm. A lack of evidence then. Well, I suggest you lie low for a bit. Rash action has been the cause of most of this grief, I imagine,” he spoke, leading the girls back to the main room. He suddenly whistled loudly, the same whistle that had warded off the wolves before.
He stood, staring at the defiled portrait of Wolf’s mother -- his wife.
“And yet… I don’t think I’ll be staying silent.” His arms were folded behind his back, but Vera could see his knuckles turning white. “There is a line.”
The sound of hard nails on a wooden floor echoed into the room.
“Yes, come in. You may as well see what they did to her,” Guntram said, but it was unclear to who. And then the white wolf with the odd eye walked in, just barely able to fit its broad shoulders through the doorways. Vera scurried back at the sight of it, clinging fearfully to Andras. “Have you calmed down then?” Guntram asked the wolf.
The beast wandered over and sat, almost politely, before the defiled portrait. It stared at it, as if transfixed in reverence.
“No need to be so afraid girls, he won’t harm you while I’m here. They know to be on their best behavior in this house,” he told them.
Andras instinctively edged away from the newcomer. No amount of reassurance would not have her on edge after what she had experienced previously. Now that most of the danger had passed, she had lost her adrenaline kick. Pressing up against Vera, she inched away from the wolf. “N-Not scared at all, sir.” Andras managed to mumble. “What exactly are… They?” She gestured toward it.
“What? You’ve never seen a wolf before?” Guntram raised an eyebrow. There was a silent pause and Vera just smiled nervously, assuming it was some sort of attempt at humor. “Right, I suppose this isn’t the time for levity.” He sighed and turned to face them directly. “Well, the ancient evil may have been driven back, and the great lines of defenses rendered mostly unnecessary, the veil was left… thin in some places.
While remnants still occasionally leak into this world, they are rarely any real threat. In the world we live in now, even school children can push them back. However, the host of demons may also take advantage of these weaknesses. The gods in all their power are not omniscient, there is evil that can shield itself from their gaze.” It seemed he was going to give them the long version.
“Now, there are those who hunt demons. My wife… her family fought alongside wolves. In time, their lineage grew so engorged on their blood and corruption that they… changed.” He gestured to the example before them, and then to the portrait. “The monster that lays slain in that picture is what happens when instead of gaining a hunger for that corruption, it takes over. It was as much her job to slay them as it was to raise them.” He shook his head and then looked at Vera. “That side of them is why they’re so well suited for the job, but it also makes them incredibly dangerous. I imagine the only reason he didn’t attack you immediately is because you spend so much time around us, he probably felt he recognized you. Still, if he hadn’t let out that war cry, I might not have returned in time.”
Vera wondered if something in that story explained why the wolf had reacted so violently to the presence of the dolls…
“Well, umm, Andras has been staying with the Blackgates for safekeeping… Do you think you could get us there?” Vera asked.
“Ah, yes, Wolfram told me as much. Hard to find a place safer than that.” He looked away for a moment. “This house should have been just as safe. You have my apologies that I wasn’t here,” he told them. “So yes, I will happily escort you back.”
The great wolf looked over its shoulder at him.
“I assure you, I will deal with this.” It continued to stare. “No, I’m afraid I cannot bring you with me.” It lowered its head, whatever spell the portrait had seemingly cast over it now broken. It then trudged off, presumably back to the forest.
Andras let out a sigh of relief, now that the wolf had gone. She also realized how much she was pressing against Vera, and quickly scooted away without looking at her. “I don’t think… I’ll take a trip to the library alone again. I’m sorry, Vera.” Andras stood up after some thought. “I’ve also got something to attend to, right now…”
‘The knight I summoned, and the angel… I almost forgot about them.’ She walked back outside. ‘Agh, how am I going to keep the knight around?! The angel at least can fly and stay out of people’s view.’ Andras scratched her head.
Summoning her cards and having them hover around her, she provided a beacon of light for her summons to congregate towards. Andras didn’t have to wait long before the knight emerged from the forest path. She began to instruct the knight for what to do. “Okay, I’m going to lead you to the Vigilante’s base, and hopefully you can stay there and help out anyone who has a job… Ah. Stay here until I come back for you.”
The angel that Andras had summoned had finally found her. Turning to the angel, Andras took a bit of a scolding tone, wagging her finger at the heavenly being. “You need to follow me more closely next time! I know I said to stay high up to keep suspicion away, but you’ve got to be able to track me. Stick around more from now on, and if anyone sees you, evade them before circling back to where I am. And keep an eye out for my cards!” Andras emphasized her point by having her cards do a quick spin around her. “Stay close when me and Vera return home. I’m not sure when I’ll leave the house next time, but I’ll give a signal when I do.”
With that, Andras dismissed the angel with a wave of her hand. ‘Okay, we’ll have to stop at the Vigilante headquarters again… Hopefully it’ll be fine.’ She thought as she walked back into the house.
“Now that I’ve sorted that out…” Andras trailed off.
‘I hope he wasn’t watching me out there… He could probably see me talking with an angel from any of the windows in the house!’ Andras hadn’t considered that somebody probably would be watching her consult with her summons.
Guntram raised an eyebrow at the sight of the girl conversing with her… things. He clearly had been caught off guard by Andras’s capabilities.
“You… have an interesting friend,” he said to Vera. “She seems to be scolding an angel. Never thought I’d say that.”
“I don’t think she knows you can see her. Do me a favor and pretend like you didn’t,” Vera requested with a sigh..
“What’s this? Considering other people’s feelings? How unusually nice of you,” Guntram smirked.
“Wh-!?” Vera puffed her cheeks out. “I can be nice! I’m always nice to you!” she insisted.
“No, you’re polite. There’s a difference.” Those few words and the lack of hesitation behind them shut her down instantly. Well of course she was polite to him, he was the kind of person who demanded respect just by existing, like Victor, who she not so coincidentally was also very “polite” with.
And thus their exchange ended just as Andras walked back into the room.
“All set then?” the man asked Andras, not giving any indications that he had or had not seen anything.
“Well, it might be necessary to stop at the Vigilante’s base to-” Andras caught herself from saying something about the knight she summoned,’ “-report that Vera’s job is going well!” Andras gave a warm smile towards Vera. “Isn’t it?”
Vera was silent a moment. Andras was making it real hard to be so considerate.
“Well, it’s more like I’m doing Wolf’s job for him while he’s busy,” she let a little venom creep into her voice. If Wolf had actually been around today, none of this would have been a problem! “Great’s probably a strong word, but last I checked you and William haven’t been flayed alive, so sure. Everything is peachy.”
“I see. Well, I’d be a terrible father if I didn’t know where my son did business, so I’m quite aware of where that is. Not too terrible of a detour I suppose.” He gave Vera a sly wink as he continued to play along, causing her to grimace slightly.
“Let’s get going then. My shoulder hurts and I’m tired.”
And so go they did. Vera wasn’t sure how the hell Andras hid an entire horse with mounted knight on the way back, but she did it. Well, they could make out the clip-clop of hooves on pavement in the distance, but they just acted like they couldn’t.
Vera figured that Andras had earned the right to keep her pride fully intact.
Finally, some time later, Andras’s torture was ended as they stopped by the Vigilante outpost and then Guntram later bid them farewell after a short chat with Victor. Vera found it strange that he didn’t mention anything about the portrait or the break-in, but perhaps he wanted to deal with it on his own.
It was at this point Vera took advantage of the ability to get Andras alone.
“We need to talk… I’m acting like your babysitter, but you’re the one who can actually fight,” Vera told her. “A little awkward, don’t you think?”
Andras fidgeted in her seat a little. “W-Well, it’s just the nature of the job, isn’t it? Technically, at least…”
“Andras, you know I’m not really a Vigilante. I just follow around my boyfriend because watching him get mauled by a rabid raccoon is hilarious.” Usually the little odd jobs they did were so boring she could pass out on her feet, but sometimes… “Point is, it’s not my job. The other point is that all I can do is try to keep you out of trouble. The second trouble finds you, there’s not much I can do…” She absentmindedly rubbed at her aching shoulder. “And if they’re bold enough to go for you in broad daylight with witnesses, there’s even less I can do. You have to be more careful.”
She was silent for a moment, looking down at her feet, “I don’t need you on my conscience.”
Andras was taken a little off guard, but she felt that everything that had happened today had definitely proven Vera right. Getting herself in trouble meant problems for everyone else… Especially for Vera, who wasn’t even technically on the job. Andras sniffled a little. ‘I’ve put her through a lot today… All for some books?!’
Andras suddenly hugged Vera. “I’m sooooorry!!” Andras cried. “I wasn’t thinking at all and I screwed everything up…”
Vera flinched at the sudden hug. She was never gonna be used to that. All she could do was awkwardly pat her on the head. Eventually though she decided she wanted her personal space back and pried the girl off. Most people wouldn’t even make it to eventually, so Andras was lucky.
“You really did,” Vera said bluntly. “But… the most important part of screwing up is what you do to make it right. I figure you did OK.” Vera almost managed a full smile to punctuate her words. “You know, I said by the end of this we might be ‘besties’. Keep impressing me and you might actually make it that long.” She didn’t let Andras get a word in though. In true Vera fashion, she dropped the bomb and then went to make her escape. She booped Andras on the nose to keep her off guard and then stood.
“Anyway, Wolf wasn’t around when I needed him, so I figure he’s earned himself a long, angry text.. Or maybe I should be passive-aggressive and make him sweat… Hmmm,” she mused to herself as she walked out of the room.
‘Did… Did she just boop my nose...?’ Andras thought. Stunned for a moment, she began to lean backwards until she plopped onto the guest room’s bed. ‘I should be mad, but…’ Andras yawned. ‘We might be besties, so… Maybe it’s not all bad.’ With that as her last thought, Andras fell into a long nap.
Facts about me:
1. I like writing.
2. I like cats.
3. I like RWBY. (#Yangbestgril)
4. I am 25 years old.
5. I have graduated college.
6. I'm trying to get better at drawing.
7. I'm a dude.
8. I eat far too much cheese.
Various, relevant links:
<div style="white-space:pre-wrap;">Facts about me:<br>1. I like writing.<br>2. I like cats.<br>3. I like RWBY. (#Yangbestgril)<br>4. I am 25 years old.<br>5. I have graduated college.<br>6. I'm trying to get better at drawing.<br>7. I'm a dude.<br>8. I eat far too much cheese.<br><br>Various, relevant links:<br><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" href="https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1700005/KillamriX88">https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1700005/KillamriX88</a><br><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" href="http://x88-art.deviantart.com/">http://x88-art.deviantart.com/</a><br><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" href="https://www.tumblr.com/blog/killamrix88">https://www.tumblr.com/blog/killamrix88</a></div>