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my bio was a bit too long so I trimmed it down so it's not that extra anymore woo
About Me

Don't listen to what my profile says, I haven't been here for five years (or whatever it says). I actually 'joined' on 19th Feb 2015, which makes it four years.

anyways I'm scared of people but I like role-playing so hmu and I'll try not to be too incompetent
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I leave my computer on in the middle of making a post so I can return to it when I'm done with other priorities, so if you see me online, I'm most likely not. Also a Muslim. Think that's about it. Beep boop nuggets.

Most Recent Posts

In Ex Nihilo 2 mos ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
CHERYL LUSBY


Stranger really couldn't go five minutes without kicking up some sort of fuss, could he? With an expression of resignation - for yes, she had accepted her fate, stuck with the weird alien worth what was probably a not so ridiculous amount if he really was an alien - she looked on as, instead of answering her question, Jack began blaring music from his butt. Once again, it wasn't anything she was familiar with. The alien language was one thing, but the beats and rhythm of the music were different as well. Catchy, even.

Unfortunately, the horses thought otherwise - Guinea included. The recktall horse snorted, snapping her incisors as she stamped the ground. Cheryl whapped her on the neck.

'Quit your tantrum,' she said, 'It's just music.'

'Chree-ee-ee,' said Guinea. She sounded like she was choking on her own tongue. Considering how the horse had settled down somewhat, Cheryl took that to mean that she'd pulled herself together.

In the meantime, Jack had finally collected his...musical fart item and turned the music off. 'About time, Stranger.'

'Can't you-' she started.

'
Sonarlis City Morgue. You kill them, we’ll chill them,' said Jack, talking over her words. Was he talking to his item? It seemed like it. It also seemed like he'd be doing his damn best to toss logic into the depths of nonexistence the whole time he was here.

She studied him as he talked to the item. Perhaps it was a communication device? It would make more sense. From what she could glean from his side of the conversation, he had no clue, like he did with most everything, on who he was talking to. Shocker.

Oh? Whoever was on the other side of the conversation must have said something upsetting, because Jack didn't look happy just then. He held out the item towards her, finger on his lips. She stayed quiet as a voice rang out from the item, stating a request she was far too familiar with. She listened as Jack said his response. And when Jack finally turned to her, she had nothing but a weary expression on her.

There were a lot of things she could say. Distrust - he could just as easily kill her when she had her back turned. Confusion - he could have accepted the request and do away with her while she was unaware. Frustration - why the hell did this idiot insist on being so belligerent?

She scoffed.

'Yeah, you catching up to me's as likely as a manamone dropping dead by our feet.' She fished out a gold coin from the pouch of Jack's Ridiculous Bounty and tossed it at him. 'Try to resist your swindling urges, will you? Doing that to a man in a room full of weapons isn't exactly the best idea.' She leaned against the stall's low wall, crossing her arms. 'Take longer than five minutes and I'm leaving. Falling asleep on a ride isn't the greatest way to die.'




πŸ„΄πŸ…πŸ„ΈπŸ…‚πŸ„΄πŸ„³


Dimensions were places where events took place. Sometimes, too many events took place at the same time. It got to the point when even Erised, lover of chaos, developed a system to process things in her head. A three-point system.

Point number one. Something was in the sky.

Point number two. She hadn't missed the bald, beefy dude from earlier coming their way, though why he was pissed off she couldn't care less.

Point number three. The guard in front of her looked about one second away from pissing his pants.

That was all she got before everything went to hell in a handbasket. The wind, only just calming down, kicked right back into its previous scrambling state, only a lot stronger. This wasn't the uncontrolled output of a whirlwind. This was driven force, wind pushed aside in place of something else. She shielded her eyes with her free arm - a fruitless action since she still had to blink the dirt out of her eyes. A roar pierced through the sky and the village; the thunderous sound rang in her ears and as she peered up at the sky, a grin crept onto her face.

'Not a boring place at all.'

A yell from the fleeing guard had her glancing over at him, before dismissing him entirely. She adjusted her grip on the sword she now apparently owned. Not a bad find, though she was more used to her knives. No doubt her form had swordmasters rolling in their graves. Her admiration of the weapon was cut short as more dragons showed up.

'Hup!' Fire burst out along the market stalls and Erised held her breath as she hopped to one side. The pungent stench of smoke and cooked flesh filled the air, as did the screams of the desperate, hurt, and afraid. In moments, the quiet village centre had transformed into a flustercluck of flames and terror. Despite not being a part of it all, there was a rush in her veins and a thrill in her chest; Erised let out a delighted laugh. She wanted, wanted, wanted nothing more than to jump in and sink her hands into the bloodbath. To chase after the people running around like headless chickens, to slaughter them one-by-one, watch the blood drain, hear them scream, laugh at their agony-

She punched herself.

'Relapse much?' she muttered, rubbing her sore cheek. 'Been a while since I felt that way.' Too much concentrated desire in one area here - for a dimension, it wasn't any more than was usual, but for her, it was all too easy to lose herself in the middle of it. Especially with all the uncertainty that definitely was not churning in her now.

'Then again, is it really losing myself if it's just me in the first place?'

Her contemplative line of thought was cut short by, not more dragons, but a shockwave that sent her flying onto her back. Her head cracked against the unforgiving cobblestones. Stars burst against her vision.

'Ow.' It had to have been the kid. No other kid she knew here could scream and send things flying like that. 'Stupid kids.' Could the universe start granting powers to more emotionally stable people? She sucked in some desire, enough to stop her head from throbbing, and rolled onto her side, leaning on an elbow. The market seemed quiet now, relatively speaking. The girl...was being kidnapped, of course.

'Wait, the dragons are working for the humans? Lame!' she called out, getting to her feet. As if reminded of their current situation, everyone leapt back into action - the people ran, the dragons wreaked havoc, and a guy fell out of the sky. Sword tip shoved against the ground, Erised leaned on its hilt, watching as the bald, beefy dude clambered out of the tarp. Their gazes met for a brief moment, then his attention snapped to the girl being kidnapped.

Erised straightened. She looked at the kid being taken away in the distance, looked at the bald, beefy dude, looked at the kid, then finally settled on the bald, beefy dude.

'Dammit!' she said, 'You're the protagonist, aren't you? I really wanted that horse.'

A spray of fire shot overhead. The market was well on its way to being a bonfire. The stifling presence of smoke, blood, and charred meat hung heavy in the air. Sweat prickled on Erised's skin but its slight coolness gave no reprieve from the surrounding heat. The dragons were relentless; people were still running past. Even in their haste, they gave her a wide berth. Funny how societal propriety still stood stark in their minds even in the midst of disaster.

There were many ways she could continue on from here. Join the dragons in their havoc. Help the villagers. Chase after the girl. Erised hummed to herself, swaying back and forth. For all the desire around her, she had none right now. Not for herself, at least. This type of situation wasn't new. Did it even matter what she chose to do? After what Teresa had showed her...

Was there a point?

Her lips curled back into a snarl. Anger, a familiar friend, crawled up her chest.

'I'm having none of this. I'm not the damn robot.' Even after everything, nothing had changed. She was the same. She was the same, dammit!

She straightened up, yanking the sword off the ground and turning back to the beefy, bald dude with a considering look. Then, as another stream of fire burst close to where they were, she looked up.

'I'm getting a ride,' she said. Then she leapt. Flight - an easy thing to replicate once she got her head wrapped around the concept. Generating a gravity-defying organ, manipulating graviton particles to allow her mass to be in places it shouldn't - it was all scientific mumbo-jumbo to her but copying it from diagrams and sheets worked well enough on most Earths. This was no different. She soared through the sky, grace and dignity in her every movement as she headed for one of the dragons. Like a petal caught in the buffets of a strong wind, she ducked and dodged and twisted through the air like a seasoned natural.

That had been the plan. In truth, she'd only made it as far as the first step, only with none of the grace and dignity. She skyrocketed straight up into the sky and plummeted through the clouds, a wriggling ball of hair and uncontrolled limbs. There was no time to scream, not with the rush of wind and inertia and heat shoving against her face. Did she still have her sword? Yes, she did and she probably should try not to stab herself while flailing like this. Impaled by her own weapon of her own doing was an embarrassing first death in any dimension.

That was the problem with doing things on a whim: she just kept forgetting the important details. Like the fact that this was clearly not an Earth, that this was probably some other planet with lighter gravity, and that her ears were popping with incredible pain from the pressure.

'You absolute pie-eating moron.'




𝖀𝖕 𝖔𝖓 π–™π–π–Š π–’π–”π–šπ–“π–™π–†π–Žπ–“...


The presence of the traitor had not been missed. It would have been hard to, what with him crashing into their home like that. The khusa dragons closed in, crowding in around where the traitor lay on the narrow ledge. There weren't many places to approach the traitor, considering where he was positioned, but this was their home and the khusas' reputation for climbing ability was not for show. They were on either side of him on his ledge. Most were gathered on the edge of the cliff face high above, ready to pounce.

Fluffed-out cream feathers, black wings, red eyes; the khusas hadn't had the upper hand in the colour scheme lucky draw. Pairs of yellow horns protruded along the side of their heads and tufts of black fluff hung under their chins. The quadrupedal animals' long tails were raised up high - a display of aggression.

One stood out against from the line of khusas gathered on the lip of the cliff - not in appearance, but from his stance. The entire upper half of his body hung down the cliff, black claws embedded into the rough stone. Valen bared his fangs, a disdainful snarl escaping him.

'He's dead.'

If asked, every single khusa present would deny that they heaved a sigh of relief. As tough as the khusas were, they weren't entirely sure they'd face up to an arist.

'Dabi, tell the florets that the threat's been taken care of.' Valen sent this to the one on his right, though on a smaller channel, one that the immediately surrounding khusas could tune into. Dabi hissed softly, an expression of agreement, and turned away, marching off. His build was smaller than the average khusa but his every movement warned off underestimating him in battle.

Valen turned back to the rest of his expectant clan, backing up over the cliff's lip to stand before it.

'Everyone, clear off,' he sent on their mass channel, 'The Guards will dispose of this scum.'

'Valen, the village!' The message was sent on a private channel and Valen glanced towards the khusa on his other side. This one had a cape of black draping around the nape of his neck, fanning out around the shoulders, and drooping as a line down the front of each of his forepaws. Secor.

Valen looked towards the spot of what was flames and faint screaming at the foot of the mountain, just fast enough to catch sight of the human shooting straight up into the sky. His tail shot upwards, tense, and he released a breathy growl.

It couldn't be possible. Flight at that speed and altitude required a mastery of air magic that humans couldn't possibly have gained yet. He was aware that some were learning magic but there had been none who had made notable progress just yet. Their community may live in the mountains, preferring to stay uninvolved in the mess their land was in, but they weren't secluded. He would have known.

'Secor, go, stay low, and observe. Tell me what the situation is. Find out who that human is and what it can do, if you can,' he said. 'Do not get involved.'

Secor responded with a soft hiss, already turning away to scamper off.

'With heart, Valen,' he sent, though he didn't look back.

'With heart, Secor.' Valen glanced back at the burning village. His eyes narrowed.

A human proficient in magic? Guardian help them all.
Him

Species: Black cat (Winged)
Age: 1 year
Gender: Male

Description


Smaller than your average 1-year-old cat, he has a matted black coat, white whiskers, wide yellow eyes, and a broad, sweeping tail. His wings, tucked away on his back, are much the same as his coat. His build is lean and slight, perfect for him to dodge and run away from any predators, and his gait speaks of a cat who knows how to hunt his own food.

Personality

He grew up in a cat colony - with this background, he recognises cats as possible allies, but everything else as food or danger. He is more likely to run away or hide than to stand his ground. He doesn't want to fight. He's a cat who just wants to be safe and happy with a full belly.

Species Lore

In a time lost in history, cats were once said to have wings. It was an extension of their power, a physical manifestation of their superior blood – magic. They used to soar in the skies, hunting birds as they would mice, and using their magic to suit each their own needs. Their individual abilities ranged from the powerful, such as creating typhoons on a whim with their wings, to the whimsical, such as shedding their coat to grow an entirely different fur pattern. Magic for each cat can be different in subtle and outrageous ways and the cats have never questioned the what or how behind their blood.

These cats often lived together in colonies. However, they rarely flew together - their hunts were separate, each individual hunting for itself. Females would hunt extra prey to bring back to the colony for the kits.

With the ability to fly, these cats upped their mating game. Males were forced to chase after the females in-flight. They depended on the grace, speed, or style of their flight patterns to impress the females and once successful, the females would allow themselves to be caught for mating. If males caught females before successfully impressing them, the females would react aggressively and the chase would either end in a fight or the females touching down and running away from the males on the ground - this signals the definite end of the mating attempt.
*

a Ρ•ΠΌall, Ρ•leepy Ρ‚own



In a world not too different from our own, there is a small, sleepy town. There is work, there is school, but life goes slow in this small, sleepy town. Friendly residents, leisurely travellers, everyone here takes their sweet time getting through the day. Why hurry? In this small, sleepy town, there's no rush.

Even when strange things happen.

Of course, there are no strange things in this small, sleepy town. If there were any, they'd be gladly welcome here. Don't worry your pretty head about it. There is nothing to worry about in this small, sleepy town. And speaking of welcomes...

This is a small, sleepy town known as Squarespace. Don't mind the winged black cat in the sky. Do remember to responsibly dispose all chewing gum wrappers. (No, really. We are a small, sleepy town, but we will find any and all irresponsible gum chewers and educate them by demonstrating proper disposal techniques.) Don't alarm our residents if you spot anything strange. Remember, strange things are welcome here.

Most importantly, do enjoy your stay.

*
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... what?

Cold. The small black cat in the sky shivered, then sneezed, the action throwing him off for two heart-stopping seconds. Then he righted himself, every flap of his wings sending another bite of ice through him.

He dived down between two weird big things, touched down on the dirt, then shook himself. Water was nice, but being covered with it in the cold definitely was not. In the darkness of the narrow space he was in - which smelled of earth, some other cat's pee, and general mustiness - he sat, enjoying the quiet. It was well-deserved, considering what had transpired just moments before, but! This space was warmer than the sky had been and there was no one to disturb him here, so he was content to sit, and stay, and soak up what little respite he could get.

After 10 minutes of alternating between laying down and cleaning off his damp fur, however, the cat decided that this warm space was still not a familiar space. Unfamiliar meant unknown and unknown meant different and different meant...

He got up and stretched, his feathers drooping as his wings flared out. Wandering to the mouth of the warm space, he started sniffing the tall, cornered things walling him in.

Outside was strange. A black, long strip in the middle of the ground, perpendicular to him, and it smelt strongly of... something. He didn't know what. There were more big things in a neat row beyond the strip, each a uniform shape with triangle tops. Yet, despite their bland similarities, each big thing seemed to have their differences. Small things that made each of them unique.

Like the smells. From the big thing on his right - and indeed he had discerned that he was between the same big things as the ones across the strip - the scents were stale, telling him that no one had been there in a while. But the one on the left had fresh scents wafting towards him - food! He wasn't hungry, but the smell had his senses tingling anyway. Meat, something sweet, and something he couldn't identify but still smelt like food. Despite it all, he stayed where he was, tail twitching irritably. These tantalising scents weren't enough to push away the same familiar scent that lingered in all the big things, the strip, and the space he was in: humans.

He was in predator territory. Now what?




Ron

'Typical. Not a snowflake in sight and the weather still manages to freeze us half to death.'

Ron was a man of average looks, with a scruffy beard, light brown hair that parted nicely down the middle, and a sandstone frontier jacket. He was also a man who itched for a cigarette. Instead, he kept his hands on the table, fiddling with the corner of his folded newspaper. Sure, he was on the outdoor patio of the Ink Cafe, but they were strict about their no-smoking policy. Besides, he hated disappointing Karen.

'Here's your coffee.' Speak of the devil. He smiled back at Karen, a lovely lady in her mid-twenties, as she set down his mug, steam lazily rising above it. As always, she looked positively charming, even in the cafe's uniform purple dress. Especially in the cafe's uniform purple dress. It bore more resemblance to a coat now, though - an adjustment for the colder weather.

'Thanks, Karen,' he said, reaching to shift the mug closer to himself. Then, just as she made to turn away, he blurted out, 'You... growing your hair out?'

She turned to face him fully, raising an eyebrow. Then she jerked her head to the side, reaching up to tentatively card her fingers through her ponytail. It was short, its end barely brushing her shoulder, but it was longer than the auburn bobcut it had been before.

'It's not bad, is it?' she said. A little crease of worry appeared between her brows and she shifted on her feet.

'No, no!' said Ron, 'It's, uh, it's just new, is all. It looks fine.' At her uncertain expression, he continued, 'Really! It's a nice change.'

'Well... if you say so.' Her gaze drifted downwards to the table and something must have caught her attention because she perked up then, her smile lighting up her face and in turn, Ron's short life.

'Cute!'

'Yeah, you are,' said Ron, amused.

Her cheeks reddened. 'No! I-I mean, thank you!' She shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut for a moment as if to clear her thoughts. When she opened her eyes, her gaze was resolutely pinned to the newspaper on the table as she tapped on it. 'I meant the newspaper, Ron.'

Still grinning, he propped up the newspaper. The headline screamed back at him, 'WINGED BLACK CAT SPOTTED IN THE SKY'. A picture of a smudged black dot against the sky's pale backdrop accompanied the words, but there was only the vaguest outline of what could possibly be wings extended on either side of the small figure. He glanced at the article below, skimming over the sentences.

'This morning it says.' News always did travel fast in Squarespace. He looked back up at Karen. 'You think it's real? Picture doesn't exactly show a cat. Could be a bird for all we know.'

'Ron, this is the news, not sensationalised trash like Everyday. Besides, if it were real, it'd be cute to think about, wouldn't it?' The distant jingle of bells, signifying a patron's entrance, caught her attention and she turned on her heel, flashing him a quick apologetic smile. 'Gotta go! Have a nice day, you.'

He shook his head at the exchange, smiling to himself. Lifting his coffee mug to his lips, he took a long moment to savour his liquid nirvana. Just another thing he loved about Ink Cafe. Good, free coffee if he bought a newspaper from them. That was basically one-third the usual price. He'd asked Karen once if it impacted the cafe badly - it had to, it was in no way a sound business practice - but she'd only shaken her head and pressed a finger to her lips. His heart throbbed at the thought of her.

Still...

'A flying cat,' he muttered, 'Well, I'll be.'


*

And so the winter season in Squarespace begins.
K I M B E V E R I D G E

β–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒ
Location | The campgrounds on Red Rock Canyon
Interacting with | Emi @NeoAJ, AJ @TootsiePop
Mentions | Jules @Vox

β–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒβ–ƒ


Sudden pressure. Additional warmth. External sensation. Kim knew what this was.

Physical contact.

'Emi-' she started, attempting to draw away from her friend, but Emilia kept on talking right over her. Kim shuffled, discomfited, but Emilia was far too close for her to pull away completely. 'It was the shoulder touch earlier, wasn't it? What else could it have been? I should never have-'

'...not thinking about that fucking asshole Brandon!'

What.

Kim could only stare at Emi in disbelief as she continued her rant, babbling about seemingly everything she had on her mind. Emi getting heated over something was one thing, but the profanity peppered in like sesame seeds on a burger bun was... well, it hadn't even been a thing before.

Then Emi leaned in close, draping over Kim as if Kim was some kind of seat cushion. Kim was not a seat cushion. She did not, now or ever, want to be a seat cushion. As if to mock her nonexistent desire, Emi's arm, brushing along Kim as it slipped from its place across her shoulders, snagged on her earpiece's wires and succeeded in pulling out one earbud and dislodging the other so it hung tentatively on the shell of her ear.

'That's it.'

'Emilia.' Kim's tone, sharpened with ice, snapped against the space Emi's voice had previously taken up. 'You're in my space. Let go of me. Please.'

Nate and Val seemed to be MIA, Umbra was... well, Kim wasn't sure, and Sami pre-occupied with his thoughts for the future. At the present moment, Jules seemed to be the best option for help. She opened her mouth to call out to him-

Then stiffened.

Craning her neck, she blinked at the Gearhead kneeling behind them. She hadn't heard what he'd said, exactly, but she'd caught the sound of a whisper.

'Oh, it's you.' Strained from the prolonged physical contact, her voice came out tenser than intended. Not exactly a snap, but it wasn't a warm welcome either. If Emilia would just let go already, maybe Kim could find it in herself to feel bad about it. As it was, she just really wanted Emi to release her.

Preferably in the next second.
In Ex Nihilo 3 mos ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
TW: A poorly-written fight scene.
EDIT: Drastic edit to the second section due to continuity mistake.
CHERYL LUSBY


Jack. One syllable. It was its simpleness that stood out to Cheryl, more than its unusual nature. Names like that weren't common in Nihilo - it was possible that he was using an alias.

'You will bring the outworlder.'

Or not. Either that kind of name was common from whatever shithole place he'd crawled out of or his actual name was weirder and he was attempting to use a version that people could actually pronounce. Come to think of it, if Jack really was from another world, didn't that make him an alien? It wasn't far-fetched, considering what she knew about the antarean dragons. Still... the concept was strange to think about it.

'Forget it. I can worry about it in the morning.'

Naturally, the universe decided to spit in her face as soon as the thought came. A wave of magic-no, not magic, magic didn't feel like this, what was this power-crashed through her and she stiffened, halting her steps. She barely managed to suppress her shudder, if only because of her muscles locking up, instinct telling her to get the flame away from whatever the hell-behind her-

Death.

Without an inch of hesitation, she twisted around on her heel, unsheathed her knife, and stopped its tip a centimetre before it could pierce Jack's throat.

'You listen carefully,' she growled. Piper, shifting a little at the movement, only wrapped his tail around her neck, chuffing softly in his sleep. 'I don't give a flying flame what the deal is with your strange magic, but if you don't get it under control and you hurt one of us, I'm taking off your flaming head. So get it under control.' Then, because she felt like it, 'Dipmeat.'

Whether Jack responded or not, Cheryl paid him no more mind. She turned back towards the stable, shoving her knife back into its sheath. She didn't stomp - that wasted energy and she was far too tired for that. Her steps were brisk, considerably speedier than they had been before her outburst. Anger, frustration; these were better fuel for energy than any amount of jump juice could be.

As she approached a particular stall, however, her frustration melted away somewhat. Guinea hissed, a sound that sounded like a cross between a spit and something coming out of her throat - her means of a friendly greeting.

Guinea was a horse of... remarkable build. Her skin - indeed, her body featured no coat - was a dusty grey in the moonlight's pale light and the only hair she had stuck up in haphazard, clumped tufts of mane that stretched halfway down her neck and drooped sadly along the tip of her tail. A horn curved up from her forehead, rings of tiny little spikes peeking out along the way, and met a pointy end. A set of two smaller horns jutted out on each of her cheeks, though they pointed to the front instead of the sides, a slight outward bend to them. Her cloven hooves featured a similar bend. Her eyes seemed sunken, almost pupils in their entirety. However, a closer look would show that she indeed had sclera; the sunken appearance was an affect of dim lighting. Her most prominent feature was her mouth. Her teeth reached forward, incisors serving as her lips whenever she closed her mouth.

Overall, the immediate image she might give a person at a passing glance was a drowned rat in the form of a horse.

Cheryl closed in, within perfect distance of having her head bitten off by those incisors.

'How you doing, Guinea?' she said, patting Guinea idly along her neck. Guinea opened her mouth, strands of saliva stretching wide between her teeth with some drops dribbling over, and let out another hissing gargle. Cheryl looked up at the sound of a distant inhuman shriek, her gaze sparing the distance a second before settling on Jack's face. Upon spotting his expression, she smirked.

'Welcome to Nihilo, stranger,' she said. 'Just another Tosus night for us murderers.' She checked the saddle, her sparse belongings - never could be too sure, considering her reputation. 'You ridden a horse before, Jack?'




πŸ„΄πŸ„½πŸ…ƒπŸ„΄πŸ… πŸ…ƒπŸ„·πŸ„΄ πŸ„ΎπŸ…„πŸ…ƒπŸ…‚πŸ„ΈπŸ„³πŸ„΄πŸ…


By the side of the grimy road leading to Sonarlis, a child appeared. There was no dramatic flash of magic or mystical sounds. She simply appeared, stumbling a couple steps forward as if touching down from a jump and having the inertia of it pushing her forward. Her legs folded and she sat on her knees with a thump, her stricken gaze pinned to the dirt.

'Hhh, hhh.'

Judging from appearance alone, the girl seemed to be around 11 or 12 years of age. Dark, unruly locks spilled around her shoulders, their length reaching the middle of her back. She wore a loose orange t-shirt with sleeves ending in the middle of her upper arms. Beneath those sleeves, another set of dark brown sleeves creeped out, hugging her arms as they disappeared into the space beneath her black leather gloves. Black shorts with a yellow stripe going down on either side and a pair of scuffed sneakers completed the look.

Her name was Erised.

'Hhh.'

Her gloved hands were tight fists on her lap. Her teeth clenched so hard, they creaked.

'You coward.'

She lifted her fist and slammed it down into the dirt - an impulsive action. Ignoring the pain, she growled, closed her eyes, then huffed a sigh. It was so easy, acting on anger, but so tiring. Still, most other negative, less aggressive, emotions were pests she could hardly be bothered to deal with. Anger was familiar, comfortable. Invulnerable, in a way.

Forget it. She was here now, wherever "here" was. All she knew was that she'd stepped into a dimension that wasn't the one she'd just run away from.

'Can I even call that running? I didn't step into the place.' She got up, dusting off her pants. 'Whatever. Far as I'm concerned, there's no reason I can't stay here a bit. Can't be that different from all the rest. So long as they got the good stuff, I'm down.'

The sun inched its way up the pale sky, a few puffy clouds idly drifting by. Morning. The temperature wasn't too bad: not too warm, not too chilly. She stretched, wriggling her toes and rolling her wrists. Her core vessel's forms were always similar, but it never really felt the same in each different dimension she stepped into.

'Let's see...' she said aloud, peering at the nearest sign - a huge board held up by two posts, letters scratched into it. 'Sonarlis, huh?' She looked past the sign and towards the village that lay beyond the river's bridge. It seemed to be in the middle of waking up for the day. People were milling around, doing boring people things, and wearing... tunics. Erised wrinkled her nose. What, were they in the Dark Ages or something?

A glance around showed her that the road she was standing by lead off into the forest - this seemed to be the closest she'd get to civilisation. She squinted into the distance behind the village, shielding her eyes as she looked upwards at the mountain looming over it. If things got too boring, she could always climb it or something. Movement at the edge of her vision caught her attention and she shifted her gaze to the left of the mountain.

'...Huh.' A pale pink circle slowly, but surely, making its way across the sky. A moon, most likely. At the rate it was going, the moon would drop right over the horizon and disappear before the day was out.

'Godspeed, little guy,' she said, shooting off a two-fingered salute to the pink blob.

Grinning, she set off. As she crossed the bridge and wandered into the village, leaving the sound of burbling water behind her, she didn't miss the eyes of the villagers darting towards her as she waltzed in. Instead of meeting their gazes, she raised her arms, crossed them behind her head, and continued walking, flippancy in every step. The marketplace ahead of her was a clustered bundle of stalls crammed together, people sleepily setting up shop. Some were already waiting at their stalls, presumably for customers.

'
Ey, sulchir. Sulchir!'

Erised paused, turning her head to look over at what seemed to be the village stables, her arms still behind her head. Some guy, with a tunic like all the rest, standing by the closest stall was staring at her, frowning. Her gaze met his, then immediately skipped over to the beast whose bridle the man was holding. It was a horse - she could recognise its equine form easily enough - but the haggard, grey strands of its mane drooped down almost to its hooves. It seemed to be built more for power than for speed, its bulky form featuring a smooth black coat. Its eyes were pools of murky, empty bluish-white fog - no sclera in them.

They were pretty to look at, Erised thought.

'
Sulchir! Su ta oudier?'

'Huh, what?' said Erised, shifting her attention back to the tunic guy.

'
Quia forisu partibus non circum ambulant mico... tilla?!' he sputtered, waving his hands up and down like he was having a seizure.

'Whoa, hey, slow down, buddy, I can't understand anything you just said,' said Erised. She leaned back, still not fully facing him. 'I'm guessing you can't understand me either, can you?'

Tunic guy's face reddened to that of a ripe tomato and his flailing only increased further, much to her amusement. '
Postul su vosa retam et vade in domumus, iu venis!'

'You know, the only word I caught was "in",' said Erised. At this point, she'd gathered what he'd wanted; his Desire was screaming much louder than he was. Her attire must be taboo in this place because wow, that was way too much desperation for a change of clothes.

The guy looked as if he was about to explode in the next moment and Erised tilted her head, lips quirked in a cocky grin.

When the explosion came, however, it was not from him. A surge of power caught her off-guard and she stumbled a step sideways, arms stubbornly staying in place behind her head. The tunic man tumbled right onto his butt, only letting go of the horse's bridle when it had been pulled to its limit and snapped away from his grip. The creature jerked its head away from the man, a deep growl that did not sound like a horse emanating from its throat.

Erised raised her eyebrows, glancing over to where the power surge had come from. It wasn't hard to spot the raging whirlwind towering over the squat buildings and the gazebos of the marketplace, though she couldn't see its base from where she stood. She whistled, eyeing the bits of produce and small barrels caught in the snags of the whirlwind. The gazebos themselves struggled to stay on the ground.

'Bet you your horse we got a main protagonist here!' she called to the tunic guy over the whistling wind. He didn't reply, shaking on the ground, his eyes glued to the direction of the whirlwind.

'Got myself a free horse,' muttered Erised, grinning away as she approached the edge of the marketplace. The pressure of the power surge pushed against her, but she pushed back just as hard. It was only raw power, after all. Uncontrolled, unrefined power - could be as deadly as an atomic bomb or a water balloon, depending on the user.

Then, just as she turned the corner, the power surge stopped. This also meant the whirlwind fell apart, collapsing into itself and sending out one final blast of wind sweeping over the market. The nearest row of gazebos gave up, their supports snapping and the tarps fluttering to the ground, draping over people too shocked to move. The crates, barrels, and produce previously spinning in the sky finally bent to the whims of gravity, aggressively decorating the cobblestone street with smashed up wood and battered produce. Erised sidestepped a barrel, then reached out her hand to snatch what looked like a tomato from the air.

'Watch your head,' she called out to a woman, who seemed too shaken to think about looking up, and gave an empathetic wince as a rectangular fruit, the size of a watermelon, promptly crashed on her head. That was a concussion, for sure.

She turned her attention to the source of all the commotion. A little girl - kind of looked like her nonexistent age - a beefy dude, and some guard. 'I bet it's the kid who did all that. Why is it always the kids with all the crazy powers?' She bit into the tomato in her palm, then spat it back out on the cobblestone street. Strong, sour taste. Definitely not a tomato.

'
Su! Sulchir!'

She looked up, tossing the not-tomato aside. The guard was approaching her now. The kid and beefy dude stayed where they were, discussing among themselves.

''Sup, royal guard?' Rocking on her heels, hands folded behind her back, Erised eyed him, her usual smirk plastered on her face. Decked out in red armour and a tight grip on his sword hilt, he seemed like the type of self-righteous pieface Erised liked to punch.

'
Visetr norno in propriis sutamic farsiea pesalir suae velit,' he sniffed, looking down his nose at her. 'Ite in domumus. Murtae.'

There was no room for argument in his tone. Erised maintained her gaze, still rocking back and forth on her heels. Still smirking away.

At her lack of response, the guard's eyes flashed and his face contorted into an ugly mass of wrinkles - rage. In one swift movement, he drew out his sword and had its tip pointed at her throat.

'
Norno harent tempus kad agat inposesler brats sirilis su,' hissed the guard, 'Indisgrus es te suyet et conspectu omnium, vos-'

'Nope.' Erised grabbed hold of the sword's tip, ignoring the sharp pain when it bit through her glove and into her skin. She yanked the sword out of the guard's grip, loosened with surprise, and her other hand grabbed hold of its hilt. The guard glanced at his empty hand, then back at her, wide-eyed. He had only time to flinch when the tip of his own sword came to rest lightly against his throat.

Erised cocked her head, flexing her free hand. Despite the cut, no blood flowed from it. Already, the slit in the glove was knitting back together and, presumably, the cut beneath it as well.

'Still can't understand you, pal.'
K I M B E V E R I D G E

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Location | The campgrounds on Red Rock Canyon
Interacting with | Sami @BrutalBx, Rando hitchhiker @BeastofDestiny, Emi @NeoAJ, Umbra @Severance, Val @Dirty Pretty Lies, Jules @Vox, Nate @spooner
Mentions | Matt @Legion02, AJ @TootsiePop

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β™ͺ In the gallows or the ghetto,
In the town or the meadow. β™ͺ

Relentless was the summer heat - they hadn't felt much of it during the ride either due to the air-conditioned interiors for the enclosed cars or, in Kim's case, the wind whipping by Matt's hoodless ride. Trudging up the canyon, though? Whole other story. Despite this, Kim hadn't minded it much. The warmth of the sun against her back was no more different than the times it beat down on her in her leisure hikes with Jules. She only wished she could've changed into clothes more suitable for the hike, but they'd been left in her suitcase, which was under her bunk bed on Sami's RV, which now sat somewhere in Victorville.

The ride here had been uneventful. Matt had been gracious enough to let Kim to hitch a ride in his car. Kim had no interest in cars and no substantial knowledge about them for her opinion to hold any real weight, but the sleek design of Matt's car was definitely something she could appreciate.

Then Matt stepped on the gas pedal and Kim was dearly glad for the seatbelt habit her mum had drilled into her all her life. Good God, how had Matt gotten his driving license?! That was not a safe way to drive! Still, as the car sped by the minutes, the landscape all but a blur, her shock faded and a burst of laughter escaped her. Too focussed on beating the devil's speed limit, Matt was hardly good company for small talk - but then again, neither was Kim most times. With adrenaline in her veins and her mind abuzz, she relaxed in her seat and let the wind and the music take her.

β™ͺ In the billows, even over the sun,
Every end of a time is another begun. β™ͺ

That was then. Now, the air sat still around her, her hair more or less a bird's nest from the wind's earlier tousling, and she stared back at the glare of her phone. Her fingers tapped against its back, though they didn't follow along with the beat of the song playing in her ears. A tuneless tapping, with only frustration in their movements.

At least she had her messenger bag. Slightly sticky in her hand was the leftover crumpled packaging of the Mars bar, which she'd eaten in Matt's car. It had been a little melted - Matt must've been hanging onto it for a while. Her earbuds were back on and even now, sitting round the campfire, she made no move to remove them.

She'd kept her parents updated, as they'd made her promise to in exchange for letting her go on this trip. Needless to say, her mum was worried, especially with how things were at the moment. Asking if she was fine, if the tow truck service she'd gotten was trustworthy, if the road trip had been a good idea at all. The usual questioning.

Why didn't you take your suitcase with you?
Mom


You should've checked the tow truck service reviews. Who knows what they could do with your things?
Mom


Do you need us to come fetch you?
Mom

The last message stared back at her, a silent accusation. Kim's expression was one of flippancy, schooled neutral boredom which she'd achieved through years of practice. Yet, instead of typing out a message, her fingers continued to tap their tuneless beat on the back of her phone.

This was ridiculous. Her mum was just worried. Kim shouldn't be worked up about this. No-what was she saying? She wasn't worked up about this.

β™ͺ You understand, mechanical hands are the ruler of everything. β™ͺ

The sound of Sami's voice had her looking up, placing her phone screen-down on her lap. She smirked at his enthusiasm, an expression that leaned towards bewilderment at AJ's disgruntled follow-up offer. Even if such a place seemed like a spare bedroom to him, it was a generous, unnecessary offer. She opened her mouth to thank AJ, but the subsequent arrival of a... hitchhiker, she should say, stayed the words. She closed her mouth, eyeing the stranger during the brief conversation between him and AJ.

β™ͺ Ruler of everything. β™ͺ

Then AJ walked off, leaving the Gearheads, the Misfits, and one random dude sitting together around the campfire. Kim lifted a hand in greeting to the hitchhiker. Then she took up her phone, firing off a quick text to her mum.

Nah. Don't worry abt it.

Locking her phone, she shoved it back into her messenger bag. It was easier to ignore any forthcoming notifications when she didn't have it vibrating in her back pant pocket.

'So how about it?' she asked, glancing around the others. 'The Bellagio?'

β™ͺ I'm the ruler of everything in the end. β™ͺ
In Ex Nihilo 4 mos ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
PIPER & CHERYL LUSBY


'-And don’t worry, my little friend, I don’t know exactly what’s spooked you, but stick with me and I won’t let you get hurt. We good?'

Piper might like Jack, but he was still a dragon and no matter his size, he was no hatchling. He sniffed, turning his nose up at Jack as he fetched the coin he'd left on the table.

'I appreciate that, but I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.' Despite the statement, he wordlessly accepted Jack's offer of a shoulder ride. Slinking around his neck, Piper stepped onto Jack's right shoulder, then shook himself. He started picking at his canine teeth; there was a splinter of bone wedged somewhere in there.

At Jack's request, he said nothing. As long as Jack did nothing short of actually harming Cheryl, Piper wasn't interested. Actually, Cheryl might be pissed if he did do anything to help, so he was better off not doing anything at all. So when Cheryl came into view, exhaustion apparent in every step, his only frustration was the stupid bone wedged in his teeth.


The only reason Cheryl hadn't straight-up punched the prick when turning around was the bundle of white on his shoulders. Her heart thudding, she took a step back, lowering her fists. God, she must really be out of it if she was letting that dancing fool, of all people, to sneak up on her.

'It's-' was all she managed to say before Stranger shot off a tirade of words towards her. Her expression couldn't decide if it wanted to be annoyed, tired, or disbelief at how much meat the world wanted to fling on her tonight, and ultimately decided to remain unchanged through it all. By the time Stranger finished, her hands were by her side, relaxed. Despite this, she was all too aware of the hilt of her knife brushing against her forearm. She exhaled. Then her gaze shifted towards Piper and she lifted an eyebrow. He stopped picking at his teeth, white pupils darting back at her.

'
It's true-' he started, then stopped when her eyebrow dropped back down in exasperation. 'Oh. Sorry.' With a flap of his wings and a push against Jack's shoulder, Piper settled back down on Cheryl's, handing her the unused silver coin before curling himself around the back of her neck. Cheryl returned her gaze to Stranger, stuffing the coin into her pocket as she pondered. Honestly? She had only one conclusion.

'This idiot has no clue what he's doing.'

Really? Of all the people in the entire village, he decided that a bounty hunter - one who was assigned to bring him in, no less - was the most fit person to help him out? Really? It was like the universe wanted to stick them together. She was trying to do him a favour by avoiding him, but apparently she was the ungrateful one here!

'Flaming-fine. Fine. You want me to bring him in? You got it. He's more than eager to walk himself to your damned doorstep, anyway.'

She was too flaming tired for any more of this meat. If he was going to keep turning up like a rusty coin, then she might as well guide him or whatever that damned cloaked figure wanted her to do. She'd tried to be nice, tried to distance herself, but sure, let's bother the bounty hunter who'd just gotten framed for a murder she actually didn't do for once and was going to be executed for after doing the monarchy's damn dirty work for years!

She took a breath.

'You talk too damn much. Learn to summarise.' She turned away, shoving her hands into her pockets. 'And give your daughter some credit. If you want to find her alive, you better stop believing all that alone and scared crap.'

Derisive cackles. Small, thin, yet precise hands. Hunger. It lay gnawing at her belly, in her eyes, and they could see it, they could all see it, but no help was coming. No help ever came. Surrounded by people, but still by herself. She was alone.

But she wasn't afraid.


Deep in her pockets, her hands clenched into tight fists, odds and ends rubbing against her skin. Ah yes, the night had already all but gone to hell, why not add in bringing up old memories that had no business revisiting her? She was doing fine, more than fine, she hadn't been, wasn't like that anymore. Was stronger than that pathetic, skinny twig.

'Flaming idiot. Stop thinking about it.'

At least Stranger wasn't a shitty dad. He had that going for him.

She yawned as she set off, her teeth clacking together as her mouth snapped shut. The stables were just up ahead, a little over to the right of the town's southern entrance - a crumbling stone bridge built over the river. Soft rumbles wandered into her right ear. Piper had fallen asleep, snuggled up against her neck. Without looking back, she spoke up.

'You got a name or do I have to keep calling you Stranger in my head?'




𝔒𝔫 𝔱π”₯𝔒 𝔬𝔱π”₯𝔒𝔯 𝔰𝔦𝔑𝔒 𝔬𝔣 π”–π”¬π”«π”žπ”―π”©π”¦π”°...


At the edge of a graveyard, a young boy was digging a grave.

He'd been at it for a while, if the depth of the grave was any indication. The cool night air did nothing for the sweat beading at his temple, dripping down the side of his face. Another grunt, another shove, and the cycle of dirt being flung out of the ground continued.

'Well, you've been working hard.' The boy paused, the end of his shovel scraping harshly against the dirt. He looked up at the curly-haired man standing behind him, peering down at the freshly dug grave.

'Is it deep enough?' asked the boy.

'For a grave?' said the man. The boy nodded, eagerly expectant. 'No.'

The boy scowled. Without bothering with a response, he lifted the shovel again.

'Put that away, kid. Let me help out.'

'I can do it.'

'Kid-'

'I can do it!'

A hand landed on the boy's shoulder and he flinched. He bowed his head.

'I have to do it,' he whispered, 'I failed her.'

'Doesn't mean you have to tire yourself out doing a job meant for four able-bodied, trained men.' The man patted the boy's shoulders. 'Put the shovel away.'

Defeated, the boy nodded. He stepped aside, letting the shovel drop to the ground. The man reached within his cloak, his fingertips pressing against a smooth, cold surface. His other hand reached towards the half-dug grave, clenched into a fist.

'I call on your power in my time of aid,' he muttered, 'help me do what requires more than the strength I possess. With the strength of Earth-' His fist flicked open, spreading his fingers. Visible in the pale moonlight, wisps of purple, tinted with brown, escaped his skin, focussed streams slipping off his fingers. 'Move.'

As if pushed down by some invisible force, the grave sunk deep into the appropriate depth. Beside it, the mound of earth the boy had dug up rose, as if something had expanded within it and was pushing out. The man drew his hand out from his cloak, clapping his hands to dust off dirt that wasn't there.

'Now,' he said, turning to the gaping boy, 'let's put her in, shall we?'

There wasn't much ceremony to it. They buried her, the boy had his moment, and soon, the man and the boy were off. The man didn't look at the boy, even when he heard sniffling beside him. The path they walked was tucked behind a line of buildings. On their other side, the greenery thickened into a group of trees and the ground sloped upwards. Not far beyond the trees, it steeped into the mountain the town was backed against.

'Where are-' said the boy. His voice was rough. He cleared his throat. Then tried again. 'Where are we going?'

'Like I told you. To get justice for your mother,' said the man.

'But where are we going?'

'To my carriage.'

'You have a carriage?' A pause. 'Are you rich?'

'Me? Not on your life!' the man chuckled. 'I'm just a humble man, looking for his humble earnings.'

'But you know magic.'

'Doesn't make me any less humble.'

The boy sounded like he didn't agree with that, but he didn't argue and the man didn't push his point. They lapsed back into silence. A minute later, the boy spoke again.

'You know my name,' the boy said, a minute later. The man nodded, though it was lost in the darkness. Tristan, son of the late Elena. 'The beginnings of a tragic history.' Not much different than most people's backgrounds, really. This world was harsh to the young, unforgiving to the naive, and utterly shitty to the innocent. The poor struggled, the rich pretended to struggle, and the dragons were callous in the face of it all. Survival required more than toughness. It demanded sacrifice. Not much. Just a piece of yourself that you'd never regain, tossed into the hungry mouth of this cruel world.

Not much at all.

'What about it?'

'Tell me yours,' said Tristan.

'Bob.'

'What?'

'That's my name.'

'That's a weird name.'

'Your face is weird,' said Bob. Light flickered in the distance and the silhouette of a carriage stood out from the shadows. He grinned. 'Don't worry, kid. You'll see justice served soon enough.'

They reached the carriage and Tristan stared at the cloaked carriage driver. He shifted his feet, teeth worrying his bottom lip.

'Tristan,' said Bob. He knelt down, meeting the boy's eyes. 'Do you trust me?'

Tristan stared back at him, wide eyes glistening in the firelight. He glanced away.

'I miss Mum,' he said.

'I know.' Bob sighed. 'Tristan, I know we haven't known each other long, but I've done nothing but help you, right?' Tristan nodded. 'Then trust me. My friends in the carriage will take care of you.'

Realisation bloomed in Tristan's eyes. 'You're not coming?'

'I have other things to do. Important things that all have to do with catching your mother's murderer.' At Tristan's protests, Bob placed his hands on the boy's shoulders, gripping them tightly. 'Please, Tristan. You have to be brave. If not for me, then for her.'

Tristan fell silent, his lips pressing into a thin line.

'Okay,' he said, his voice small. 'I'll go.'

'Good.' Bob reached up, ruffling the boy's hair. 'I'll see you around, yeah?'

Tristan nodded. He started to turn, hesitated, then seemed to steel himself. Bob watched as Tristan climbed into the carriage, then rose to his feet. He glanced at the driver and nodded. The carriage went off into the night, its torches lighting its way. Left alone in the moonlight, a sigh escaped Bob's lips.

'Lying to kids,' he muttered. He shook his head, a smirk colouring his lips. 'You're the worst, "Bob".'

As easily as a snake might shed its skin, the man discarded the name from his mind. He turned around, eyeing the night sky.

Now to deliver Sancho's report.
K I M B E V E R I D G E

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Location | Ditch somewhere near...Bell Mountain? Why, thank you, dear GPS.
Interacting with | Emi @NeoAC, Umbra @Syn, Generic tow truck service person
Mentions | Matt @Legion02

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Kim hummed, giving Emi's shoulder a slight squeeze before dropping her hand. Emi's current emotional state was concerning, of course, but the relief at knowing that Emi wasn't physically hurt from the crash stood out a little more.

'You're gonna dehydrate from all those tears, under this sun,' she said. 'Wanna go back in the shade, at least?' She still didn't really recognise the guy other than as an obvious Gearhead, but judging from Emi's reaction, she knew him well - and not entirely in a positive way if he was able to set her off crying again with his presence.

Sudden movement jerked her from her thoughts and she had no time to react as Umbra came flying out of nowhere and slapped Emi. 'Bit overkill there.' Then again, maybe Emi needed something like that for the moment. Going over everything that happened in the past was normal, but she was only going to suffer at this rate. It wasn't worth it. Not when Brandon was probably hitting up some girl without a single thought for Emi.

She raised her eyebrows when Umbra turned to her, though more out of acknowledgement than surprise.

'That'd be him offering,' she said, gesturing to Matt. He was offering two chocolate bars now, instead of one. How generous. She watched as he walked away, pulling on a cigarette. At least she didn't have to deal with him now. That was one possible crisis averted.

Of course, the universe listened to her thoughts and thoughtfully decided that they needed more drama. The shouting that arose from the front of the RV only made her sigh and the sound of bodies hitting the ground made her wish she'd saved her sigh for that instead. Good thing Jules was intervening because Kim was going nowhere near that mess. Matt seemed to have the same idea, walking over only when Jules and another Gearhead girl had pulled the two hotheads apart.

'Right,' she said uncertainly, more to herself than anyone else. She took her phone from her pant pocket, then turned to the two next to her. Emi'd be safe - more or less - in Umbra's hands so it seemed an appropriate time to actually do something about the situation. 'I'm calling a tow truck. We can probably get one from Victorville.' They'd passed it a while ago, but it was still closer than Barstow. Rising and unlocking her phone as she went, she uttered out, 'Save some for me if there's dark chocolate in there.' then went a little ways away.

At least the reception was on. Bless that sweet, sweet 4G.
K I M B E V E R I D G E

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Location | Ditch in the middle of sandy nowhere
Interacting with | Sami @BrutalBx, AJ @TootsiePop, Matt @Legion02, Emi @NeoAC

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'Looks to me like someone else did the fucking up this time round,' said Kim. Her expression remained indifferent, but her gaze lingered on AJ longer than was necessary as she said the words. 'I'm sure we'll figure something out. In the meantime, I'll go do crash control.’ She gestured towards Emi with those last two words.

Come to think of it, the others hadn't left the van yet either. If they didn't emerge soon, she'd have to check on them too. As she moved towards Emi, she caught sight of Monica and quirked her lips up into a small smile, but did nothing else. She had a crying Emi on her hands - and it looked like someone else had similar ideas too.

β€˜Talk about candy from a stranger.’

He seemed vaguely familiar, for a reason that wasn’t just because of Gearheads. Kim couldn’t quite put her finger to it. Putting the thought aside for the moment, she squatted next to Emi, placing a tentative hand on her shoulder. While she wasn’t stingy about giving out physical affections herself, it tended to give others the idea that she was welcome to those – so she usually didn’t. This was Emi, however, and Kim may be more reserved than most, but she wasn’t about to put her personal preferences over her friend.

Completely ignoring the chocolate bar in their direction, Kim waited till Emi’s wailing had calmed down (somewhat).

β€˜Better?’ she said. β€˜You hurt anywhere?’
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