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/qst/ - Quests

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From the darkness, a fist swings at you.


A loud, fleshy, sound. One of meat smashing into meat, one filled with sweat and pain, bounces through your eardrum and plays it’s way through your auditory systems and ends in your brain.

That sound ringing in your ear, it must be the sound of you getting a hard punch to the chin, knocking you off-balance.

“Don’t you get it yet!? You’re completely ------ --- ------- -----!” A collection of sounds you think you might be some-kind of taunt or insult ring out, but you can’t hear it anymore.

Perhaps because your brain is rattling in your skull.

Or perhaps because you don’t care to recognize the sounds your attacker is making as human anymore.

As your head flies back, you can’t help but stare up into the light as it flashes over your head, time seems to slow as the blinding shine above hits you as your head raises to meet it.

When did it come to this? When did your life reach the point where you lost your right to accomplish anything but looking up and staring at the light? It reminds you a little of the sun smiling down upon you. But you can't smile back.

For now, in this moment, all you can feel is unfettered, undirected rage.

However, in spite of that. In this situation, in this moment, you have never felt more alive.

However, in spite of that. In this situation, in this moment, you have never felt the spark of your life burn more brightly.

Why is it only when your life teeters on the brink that you feel so clear-headed and normal?

You can’t quite define the feeling, it’s only times like these where, crowned by pain and suffering, as your mind threatens to be toppled by the pressure, that your mind is finally at peace with itself.

This certainly isn’t the first time you’ve felt like this. You’d hope you’d never end up feeling this way ever again, but life just has this funny way of screwing up any plan you come up.

But that’s not case, life isn’t screwing with you at all, you know that.

Because you know life doesn’t care.
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Or maybe it would be accurate to call it the universe, fate, time, existence, the human condition.

Life, the universe, fate, God, determination, the future, society.

Whatever collection of letters you use to describe it, it doesn’t care about you enough to screw with you, it’s not even in active ignorance.

It’s out-right passive indifference.

To say such things is just passing the blame off for your failures to some arbitrary force so you don’t have to take responsibility for yourself.

In the grandness of life and everything that happens within it, saying that life is trying to screw you over is supremely arrogant. Why? Because you’re making the assumption that you’re important enough for life to screw with.

You heard someone say those words once, they were uttered right before the greatest disaster of your life. You can’t remember who right now, and you really don’t care.

The only reason you’re even remembering all this right now is to make sure of one thing before you do what you’re about to do.

You want to make sure, that no matter how dark and horrible it may, all of your actions are of your own causing, of your own mishap and accomplishment.

Your every virtue and sin are something you brought upon yourself and not something life brought for you.

Because thinking otherwise would be simply arrogant.

With that confirmed, the light above disappears.

You grab unto the darkness in front of you and swing at it with all the force in your arm. If darkness threatens to take away your life again, then you’ll just do what you did last time.

You’ll free yourself from this prison of darkness and paint the whole thing in your colors, even if it means painting the whole damn thing black.
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Welcome back man, nice to see you safe
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>4 days prior


“-And that basically sums up all the reasons why I think this Spaghetti needs fixing.” You end your rant at Ivorai and her plate of amazing, yet utterly horrifying art.

“I see. So, you don’t object to my brilliant idea. But you believe I need to be careful in which art I choose to portray?” She summarizes.

“Now you’re getting it.” You confirm.

“I see, yes, that’s exactly the kind of criticism I’m looking for. I will have to sacrifice a few of my beautiful dishes. But as long as the people come to appreciate the amazing combination of delicious food and grandiose art, I’ll gladly toss away a few dishes.” She says with a satisfied smile.

Oh man that was close, you choose your words very carefully to ensure she got your meaning, she’s pretty cute, but that glaring look in her eyes honestly makes you shake in your boots.

“You’ve very clearly got an admiration for art and a love of people’s happiness. Not unlike myself. But clearly unlike this plebeian.” She turns a glare Vanilla’s way.

Vanilla nimbly balances her fork on one finger, showing clear boredom and hunger. Once she’s called out by Ivorai, she flips the fork into the air, grabs mid-fall and stabs it into the wooden counter, burying it deep inside.

Vanilla quickly returns Ivorai’s glare, “You can call me a pleb all you want, doesn’t change the fact that you still have yet to feed me Ms.Hippe Hipster. I came here to eat my dinner, not admire it.” She states bluntly.

You’d usually call such a reaction way too extreme, but you might have been that pissed if you came out to eat and once you get your food, not only couldn’t you eat it, but now you have to wait even longer to get served better food.

So in a way, her rage is understandable, but you wonder if Ivorai can see as well as you do…
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Your answer comes quickly as a broad smile takes Ivorai’s face, “You have no sense of aesthetic, but your sense of reasoning is undeniable, fine then!” She turns around and grabs something behind her.

“It seems the saying the customer is always right has more merit than it seems. Since the chef’s recommendations have been unsatisfying, then I’ll allow you to choose for yourself!” She exclaims as she slaps two menus unto the counter.

Vanilla opens up the menu in front of her and speaks, “So you’re finally gonna take my advice and serve me some food that won’t give me nightmares?” She asks.

“it’s your friend’s advice that I’m taking. Not yours." She counters.

"Be thankful, this is the one and only time I’ll throw away a good meal and replace it with another. This is a once in a lifetime experience. How about some gratitude for this hipster?” She says as she folds her arms.

“At least you can admit it. Don’t worry, you’ll get your gratitude when I’ve got a full tummy. Now let me check through this menu…” She states as she starts to peruse the food selection.

You figure you should do the same as you open your own.

Upon opening the plastic booklet, you’re pleasantly surprised to see page after page of nice sounding foods with some interesting names.

The catalog has foods from everywhere, Kukan’yu, Mimbo, Jappon, Yorbia, Begreosse Union and every nation state within the Federation of Ochima and all of Azia.

What will you order?

>Something local, Let’s go for Kukan’yu food.

>Something unorthodox, Let’s go for Azian food.

>Something classic, Let’s go for Yorbian food.
>>Something classic, Let’s go for Yorbian food.
>>Something unorthodox, Let’s go for Azian food.
>Something unorthodox, Let’s go for Azian food.

>Food from the east!

You’ve never really eaten anything other than Yorbian food, and even then, you didn’t leave Yorknew that much, so you’ve only really eaten Sahertan food.

You’ve always wondered what food on the other side of the world tasted like, time to give it a go.

You turn over to the category describing the various regions of the Azian regions, Ahinca, Nidia, Haibland and Jappon.

Though Jappon is a bit of a weird addition to this category as it’s nowhere near Azia, though the Japponese people are genetically proven to be Azian, so they’re counted among the Azian peoples.

Which drives your curiosity, the foods you saw in those Japponese cartoons always looked so delicious on screen, made you always wonder what they really tasted like.

Once you reach the page with Japponese foods on it, you see quite a number of strange sounding foods:

Spicy-Flamingo style Takoyaki, Ardha-minced Ikura Donburi salmon and rice, Ballroom Tonkatsu

These names confuse you greatly, but that probably means they taste good, so you keep reading though these strangely dance-based cuisine.

You keep browsing through the strange names until you find one that really catches your eye:

Waltzing Odori-don of the 8 steps

You catch Ivorai’s attention and point your finger to the dish in question, “By waltz, you mean it will dance on my tongue, right? I’ll take this one.” You state.

“Oh, it will dance for you, it will be like a ballroom blitz across your taste buds.” She states as she takes your order down on a notepad.

“Now, what do you desire, Ms.Pleb?” She asks.

“It’s Vanilla! And I’ll have…The Classic All-Yorbian chicken soup. There’s no way in hell you can screw up chicken soup, right?” She asks with a hint of fear in her voice.

“Beg your pardon? I’ve never failed to make a good meal, I’ve been feeding people since I got tall enough to reach the stove-top without stool. The only thing failing here are your taste buds.” She counters.

“You may just be right, but I wouldn’t know since I haven’t gotten to eat yet. Can you fix that now by the way? I’m a few more belly rumbles away from reaching for my own kitchen knife.” She threatens.

“Calm yourself. I’ll imbue the very spirt of the Yorbian people into that soup. It will be like eating freedom in a bowl!” She exclaims as she turns around and gets to work.

She moves off through a door to her right and disappears into kitchen to complete your orders. Leaving you alone at the counter with Vanilla.
After Ivorai disappears into the kitchen, Vanilla goes quiet and goes to stare down at the counter. Trying to bide her stomach for the wait.

She clearly doesn’t seem intent on talking herself, meaning it’s probably best you strike up the conversation yourself.

Although, you get the feeling that if you talk with Vanilla, you’re going to have to commit in-order to get anything out of her, that might take some time, and this first day is coming to a close soon, might be best to save it for tomorrow…

What will you do?

>Talk to Vanilla now

>Wait for the food then leave
>Talk to Vanilla now
We promised Landon and the sooner we do it the better
>Talk to Vanilla now
"You realize if you had used a bit of tact you'd have eaten by now yeah? "
>>Talk to Vanilla now

>It's time for a talk.

You decide that if there’s anytime to crack this hardcase, it’s now, “You feeling satisfied now? You’re about to get a bowl filled with Yorbian pride. You can't hate that right?” You ask

“The pride of Yorbia huh? Don’t know if I’m too happy about that…” She whispers to herself

“Hm? Got a problem with the U.S.Y?” You ask.

“Hmph, who doesn’t by this point? But personally, not really. Just thinking of Yorbia bring back memories of my homeland.” She states.

“Your homeland? Now that I think about it, I’ve never really asked you about where you come from or why you even want to be hunter did I?” You ask.

“Well, if we’re being plainly honest, that’s cuz you and me can’t stand each other, right? Only senseless idiots would talk to people they hate.” She states.

“Can’t argue there. No point beating around the bush, I do I have a mild hatred for you and your self-centered crap.” You admit.

“Then why this shitty dinner date? If you can’t stand me, why come out and talk to me?” She asks.

“A certain creepster with a pension for bad jokes asked me to give you a chance and I heeded his advice.” You profess.

“That damn deviant must think he’s cupid or something for trying to play match-maker for a mis-match like this. Where does he get off? Other than back-alleys I mean.” She quips

“Him and a notorious sweetheart have been telling me not to judge your book by it’s cover. So, I’ve come to take an in-depth read of who you really are Vanilla.”

“Woah, even Pinky’s running her lips now. I really need to step up my bullying game if she still thinks she can talk about me behind my back.” Vanilla says with a strangely happy smile.

“With all this talk about you, can’t really blame me for some curiosity. Tell me Vanilla, are you actually the bitch I think you are?” you ask
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She brings one her long, slender legs on-top of the other as she reaches into her red jacket and pulls out a box of cigarettes, she looks around to find a nearby coaster and pulls it close.

She quickly lights one up, takes a hit and speaks, “You must be bipolar. First thing this morning you were half-way to knocking my ass flat before Pinky blocked you. Now you want me to show you what a gracious lady I am? You seriously confuse me man.” She says as smoke leaks out her breath.

“Can I take that as a yes?” You ask.

“I’ll tell you whatever you want. I don’t really care if you think I’m a bitch or not. But I need something to distract me from my hunger while that hippie gets me some food.” She states.

“Good answer.” You state with a smile.

“So, what do you wanna know?” She asks.

>What do you ask?

>Why do you want to be a Hunter?

>Any traits or personality quirks?

>Where are you from?

>What’s your beef with Yorbia?
>>Why do you want to be a Hunter?

>Why do you want to be a Hunter?
"And no money is not a good answer. People can get rich without this death trap of an exam."
>Where are you from?
>Why do you want to be a Hunter?

>Why do you want to be a Hunter?
“Let’s start off with an easy one. Why are you taking the Hunter Exam?” You ask.

“Money. Next question.” She answers quickly.

“Whoa, I know I said easy, but that didn’t mean you can just give a one word answer.” You counter.

“You asked me why I’m taking the Hunter Exam, I answered money. What else do you want? A long-winded explanation of my motivations and desires? You’re barking up the wrong tree.” She says as she takes another hit of her cigarette.

“Can’t fault that logic. Fine, then let me ask what you need the money for? Do you have a dying little brother or something?” You ask.

“My family’s dead. I need the money for a project.” She answers quickly again.

“Oh…Damn, sorry to hear that.” You apologize.

“It’s not like I care anyway.” She brushes off the issue like ash off her cigarette.

“Well, okay then. What’s this project you’re working on? Something for world peace?” You want to ask what she means by ‘it’s not like I care’, but you can already see yourself regretting that so you move on.

“None of your fucking business. You’re lucky I’m even telling you I have a project I’m working on.” She answers bluntly.

You sigh, “Yeah, thanks.” Oh boy, you knew she wouldn’t give you an inch you haven’t fought tooth and nail for, but this is just brutal.

“As for whether it will bring about world peace or not…” She taps at the side of her head, as if to knock the information out of it.

“Maybe. Can’t say that’s the main aim or anything, but there’s a good chance of that being a side-effect.” She answers.

“And if I ask what you mean by that…” You purpose.

She brings up her middle finger with her free hand, “This will be your answer.” She says with a smile.

“Got it…” This is so much fun…

“Got any other dumb questions?” She asks

What do you ask?

>Why don’t you care about your family?

>Any traits or personality quirks?

>Where are you from?

>What’s your beef with Yorbia?
>>Where are you from?
>Where are you from?

You have no idea how bad I wanna ask about her family but we should save that for later

>So, where are you from?
“So, where’s your homeland?” you ask.

“Are you sure you want to be asking that as a proud Yorbian citizen? The answer might not please you.” She asks.

“Yorbians don’t tend to care what your origins are. The only ones who do are the old, grump-ass ones that still weary from all the wars we’ve fought over the years.” You state.

“And which camp do you fall in?” she asks.

“The I don’t care one. I hate individuals, not people. And I’m already pretty close to hating you, so I doubt telling me your homeland will make me hate you more.” You state.

“Hmph, I guess that’s a good answer.” She says as she taps her finger against the butt of her cigarette to knock off the ash.

“I’m from Begreosse. The Begreosse Union.” She answers.

“Ah, now I see why you were on my case about the Yorbian thing…” You trail off.

Yorbia has seen a lot of wars over her years as a country, but The Begreosse conflict is a particular strong memory, And an extra sour one at that.

“Were you alive during that mess?” you ask.

“I was born in 1972, the war started 1968, what do you think? Not only was I alive, I lived in that fucking mess.” She answers.

That’s even worse, if she was born just 4 years after the war started, that means she spent the first 20 years of her life embroiled in that hellish conflict, since the war didn’t end till 1987, when you were 12.

“I can see why you’re not too big a fan of Yorbia, considering what happened…” You dodge around the main topic.

“You mean the nuke? Yeah, that sucked.” But she brought it up anyway.

“….” You can’t really find the words to talk about that.

“What? When it comes to international politics, you don’t got any banter? Say whatever the hell you want, it’s not like you or I started that war. Hell, in a way, we’re both victims of our countries fucking up, I don’t mind discussing that mess.” She encourages.

“You’re cool with the weirdest shit you know that? You hate talking about yourself, but cool with talking about the death of millions of your own people with someone who’s a citizen of the country that ended them.” You state.

“It’s not like I knew them personally, why should I care about the deaths of millions of people I don’t know? That happens pretty much every-day all over the world, you don’t see me or anyone else crying over them." She states.

"That kind of sympathy sounds unhealthy to me.” She declares.

“Well, if it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t bother me. Thanks for answering the question.”

“No problem. So what else do you want to know?” She says as she goes back to enjoying her smokes.

What do you ask?

>Why don’t you care about your family?

>Any traits or personality quirks?
I'm going to eat while this choice pends. So it might take a while before the next post.
>Why don’t you care about your family?
>Why don’t you care about your family
This'll be the last post before I sleep, sorry

I'll try and make what comes when you wake up worth it then.


>Why don't you care about your family?

“So, what’s the story with you and your family? They abuse you as a child? Druggies? Are you an orphan?” You guess.

“What do you care?” She asks.

“You don’t casually say ‘My family’s dead’ and follow that up with, “It’s not like I care’ without me wondering what they did to you for you to say that.” You state

“Makes senses.” She agrees with a nod of her head.

“Well then answer, what tragic-ass backstory you got? Give me your worst, nothing fazes me anymore.” You declare.

She smiles at you as she speaks, “My mother was a loving nurse and My dad was badass solider who loved me to death. We were one big happy family until they died when I was 10.” She answers.

You feel very fazed, “What? That doesn’t even begin to explain anything. You grew up with a happy, healthy family? Why don't you care about them?” you ask.

“Hey, don’t get me wrong. It’s like I don’t care about them all, quite the opposite actually, I love with all my heart. Real tragedy they passed away. I just don’t care that it happened.” She says nonchalantly with a puff of her cigarette.

“I can’t tell if you’re fucking with me or not. If someone you love passed away, don’t you feel sadness, or grief over the fact that you won’t see them again? You sound like you couldn’t give a hot shit about them.” you state.

“Man, you don’t know when to shut do you? I already answered you. I said I cared about them when they were alive. But they died. Sucks, it really does. But why should I care for the dead? If cry ‘Mommy! Daddy! I miss you!’ do you think they’ll hear me?” She asks.

“The answer is Hell no by the way, cause dead people don’t hear. They don’t speak. They don’t do anything but rot till they turn to ash. Why should I care about ash? Should I cry when my cigarette turns to ash? Because I can’t smoke it anymore?” She asks, she pushes the cigarette against the coaster, mashing the remainder of the stick away and leaves it there.

She knocks another cigarette out of packet and picks it up with her mouth, “Easy answer. No. If lose one cigarette, I take out another one, toss the last one....” She lights her second stick just like that.

“And focus on the one I’ve got now. That’s how I live my life. Can’t let the dead weigh you down. focus on the living and those who will live in the future. That’s a philosophy for life.” She says as she lights up her new cigarette.

>Trait learned! Vanilla is a Textbook Sociopath. (Questionable)

How do you respond?

>That’s terrible, how can you write you parents off like that?

>I can’t disagree with you, but isn’t that a bit cold?

>You’ve got a point, Maybe I should start living by that philosophy.
>The dead live on in the memories of the people who knew them. If you threw all that away... not my place to judge.
I was more or less about to write this so it's got my vote

>The dead live on in the memories of the people who knew them. If you threw all that away... not my place to judge.

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"The dead live on in the memories of the people who knew them. If you threw all that away... not my place to judge." You state.

"You still sound like you're judging a little though." Vanilla counters.

"No, I mean it. Your philosophy isn't wrong, with the lives we live, not wanting to be held down by the deaths of others, even those you love, isn't wrong, it not even cold. It's a reasonable way to live." You explain.

"Then you agree with my philosophy?" she asks.

"I didn't say that. it's reasonable to not carry the burden of those who have died, but that doesn't mean I have to be reasonable." You state.

"What does that mean?" she asks.

"I don't carry the memory of who died because I have too, but because I want to carry them.It's my way of ensuring their lives never go to waste and my way....of atoning." You answer.

"Atoning? How many dead people are you carrying on your back?" She asks.

"...More then I'd like to admit." You state.

She gives you a curious look, egging you on to continue, but once she sees you have no intention of talking, she blows out a stream of smoke and speaks.

"Whatever man, I wasn't trying to say anything, just a bit of banter you know. You live your life, I live mine, at least you aren't a judgmental prick or anything." She states.

"Glad you think so." You move on.

"So then, you got anything else you like to ask me?" She asks.

"A ton of stuff really, so how we do a bit of a lighting round. Just tell me everything about yourself." You purpose.

“If you’re looking for weakness, you’re playing a dead-man’s game. The only thing you’ll get from me is a very popular f-word and a swift kick to the balls.” She counters.

“Do I seem like the kind guy who walk up and ask you for something I could exploit? I know we don’t know each other, but you can’t just write me off like that.” You state.

“Yes, I can. Where does it say I can’t just tell you to fuck off and stop asking me personal questions?” She asks.

“Chapter 10, verse 11-12 of the Holy book of common manners and basic human decency, it reads: ‘Thou shall not be cunt to your fellow man and brush him off when asked a common question.’ Amen.” You counter.

“Eh, I’m not a believer.” She says as she takes a hit of her cigarette.

“Can you just answer the damn question already?” you demand.
“Fine, since you won’t stop being a prick about it.” She taps at her temples and starts thinking.

“Well, you already know I make my own weapons. Just like Pinky, I’m a weapon developer. I can put out guns, swords, electronics, explosives and even vehicles like a baker with good wheat and flour, so long as I’ve got a good oven and proper ingredients on hand.” She states.

“Where’d you learn-“

“Don’t fucking ask, I’d have to kill you.” She cuts you off.

“That ain’t the first time I’ve heard that. You said the same thing after you started tossing explosive knives at that behemoth. Why exactly is that a bad question?” you ask.

She puffs out a couple of rings of smoke and speaks, “I work for people that would send a squad of nice men in black suits to your doorstep to pick you up for a nice field trip to your local landfill.” She answers.

“Unlike Pinky who does her business through proper channels, I sell my goods through…Improper distribution chains. Yeah, let’s call It that.” She says with a smile.

Oh, she’s an arms dealer. You'd be surprised, but to be honest, you were expecting worse.

“Well, we’ve all got to make the money somehow right?” you dodge confronting her on that, fucking with arms dealers is the last thing you want to do.

She closes her one good eye and smiles to you, “Now there’s a good boy, so you can be understanding. Maybe we can make this work.”

“What else?” you ask

“Hmmm, I’m good at pissing people off.” She says with a smile.

“Tell me something I don’t know.” You order.

“No, it’s my thing. I’m a professional at making people mad. I could turn a trained monk into a frothing mess of curses and insults.” She explains.

“Now why would you want to do that?” you ask.

“Angry people are easy to predict. Makes it good for controlling their movements, also for ensuring that they can’t out-think me." She explains.

"That’s also something I’m proud of, I can out-wit anyone and everyone I fight.” She brags.

“Are you saying you’re smarter than everyone? Cause I’d beg to differ.” You counter.

“Not smarter. More tactical. I know things about warfare and controlling fights that most people don’t live long enough to tell others.” She explains.

>Trait learned! Vanilla is a Guerilla Fighter! (Confirmed)
Considering the ways she got to you in that train battle and manipulated your actions, she’s not lying, “Anything else you want to get off your chest?” you ask.

“hmmm, I like to think I’m pretty fast on my feet. Plus, I’m great with guns and explosives, though I like to keep with my knife most times.” She lists off.

>Trait learned! Vanilla is an Acrobatic Fighter!(Questionable)

>Trait learned! Vanilla is an Firearms expert!(Confirmed)

>Trait learned! Vanilla is an Explosives expert!(Confirmed)

You don’t know about that fast on her feet part, but since she’s arms dealer, she probably knows her way around a gun and you saw how well she handles bombs, so she’s telling the truth there,

“That all?” you ask.

“That’s all I’m willing to tell you. Anything more is classified.” She states.

“What organization’s got jurisdiction on your life secrets?” you ask.

“The G.F.A” She answers.

“Who?” you ask.

“The Get. Fucked. Agency.” She answers.

“Ah, got it. I’ll be sure to pay them a visit to discuss their shitty naming skills while I’m asking about you.” You state with a sneer.
Well that basically sums up everything you can ask her without taking any real risk. There is one issue bothering you though, aside from the fact that she’s an arms dealer that is.

It’s the fact that she’s from Begreosse, and more specifically, she’s a Begreosse conflict survivor.

The Begreosse conflict was the worst conflict in U.S.Y history.

Begreosse is split into two regions, west and east.

One side is Begreosse Republic and the other side is the Central Begreosse Union. The two sides are in perpetual conflict, always at odds with one another, even today, after the war and peace has been made between the two, the two nations citizens aren’t allowed over each other’s borders, they’ll be arrested without the proper passport or identification or shot on sight if they cross the border.

It wasn’t always like that though, before it was called the Begreosse Union, it was just Begreosse.

The political schism didn’t appear till around 1952, when a prominent political leader, Tenmay Robio, to the west of the country decided that they wanted to follow in the footsteps of another, nearby prosperous nation.

That nation, being the Federation of Ochima. This leader wanted to fundamentally change the constitution to match many policies of Ochima and take on a similar government structure to that of Ochima, that type being Noocracy.

This naturally lead to a massive conflict in parliament, one Tenmay wouldn’t easily win.

That is, until he got support from Ochima, who promised new trade routes and better relations in exchange for giving the new type of government a try.

The deal was too sweet for any politician to give up on, so Tenmay quickly rose to even greater heights, gaining many more followers and even support from the public who admired Ochima’s size and power.

Internal conflict was inevitable, the principles of Noocracy went directly against the basic idea of Democracy and individual freedom. Those who continued to want Begreosse as a Republic fought against those who wanted to change the constitution.

It started out as a series of debates that were never really settled, so eventually, people started getting tired of talking, and moved to physical action.
Riots and public unrest spread throughout the nation, people were fighting in the streets and soon enough the politicians joined them, moving to hire assassins and attempting to ruin anyone who would fight against their policies.

Within just 10 years, what started as an idea, quickly became civil war. The nation was split between the east, which called itself the Begreosse Republic and the west, which called itself New Begreosse.

Now comes the real issue, previously, the Untied States of Yorbia was allied to the whole of Begreosse, now had to choose whether to cut the deal off, or pick a side to support.

Trade with Begreosse was of great value to the U.S.Y, they’re a primary trader of natural gas, extremely high quality, too valuable for the U.S.Y to give up. So they were forced to make a choice.

And naturally, being a republic itself, it choose the east side, which meant they had to go to war with the west side.

And what a war it was.

Over 72,316 U.S.S soldiers were killed in conflict, 31,296 injured and well over 100,000 missing in action that still haven’t been found to this day. Totaling up, that means somewhere over 203,612 U.S.S soldiers were either crippled in combat, or just never made it back in the first place.

But that’s nothing compared to the causalities on the Begreosse side.

What was the number again? Something in the 700,000s? And that’s just the military costs, the amount of innocent causalities were never recorded and after the bombs starting dropping, that could bring the number well into the 1,000,000s.

For Vanilla to have lived through that humanitarian crisis of a war, it suddenly makes sense, why she has an almost psychopathic lack of sympathy. The amount of death she must have seen…

Do you want to talk to her about it? It might be the key to learning who Vanilla truly is, but then, asking her about such a thing is…

What will you do?

>Ask about Begreosse

>Just wait for the food to finish
So which side did your Dad fight for?
>Ask about Begreosse
If she doesn't want to talk about she doesnt have to

>Time for war talk.

If you’re really gonna commit to this, there’s no getting around asking uncomfortable questions, that’s just what it means to want to make friends with someone. At least, that's what you think.

With that in mind, you beg the question, “So, what was it like?”

“What was what like?” she asks back

“What was Begreosse like? During the war I mean.” You clarify.

She gives you wry look, “The hell are you asking about that for? Didn’t you learn about it in school?” She asks.

“I want to hear your experience. Plus I never went to school.” You answer.

“Well if you’re asking a survivor that kind of question, I’m not surprised you’ve never seen the inside of a classroom. The first thing they teach you in a proper school is manners. Not that the Yorbian education system has proper schools, but you get the point.” She counters.

“You’re dodging the question. If it hurts too much to answer, just tell me so I can drop it.” You state.

Vanilla laughs, “Hurts too much? ‘Oh, it was the worst! Just like hell on earth! I’ve got PTSD and shit from the memories and stuff!’ is that what you’re expecting me to say? Like some sad-sack stick in the mud? Sorry, no pity parties here." She guesses.

"Sorry, No tragic backstory to be found, you’re asking the wrong woman if you want to see me get all mopey and shit.” She counters.

“Are you telling you feel nothing from your experience in the war? You were a civilian right? The things you must have seen, I can't even imagine…”

“You mean like seeing my country getting burned down by their own country men? Or my parents getting turned to swiss cheese by squads of gunmen? Or perhaps the nuke I personally bore witness to?” She starts listing off.

“What? That’s…” You can’t find words to describe all of that at once.

“Terrible? Heart-breaking? PTSD-inducing? I’ve heard it all, lived through it too, got over at the end. That’s the thing about life. It throws so much shit at you that you just get used to it.” She says with a causal puff of her cigarette.

“At first you’re like ‘This stinks! Why do I have to deal with this garbage!? Why does life hate me!?’, but after volley after volley of shit gets lobbed at you, eventually, the shit doesn’t stink as bad, and then you realize, you got used to swimming through pools of shit. And then finally, you realize that there was nothing but shit in the first place, that maybe, you were even shit yourself and that’s why life was giving you nothing but shit in the first place." She explains
"That’s my life in a nutshell.” She ends her tirade.

“So, you’re…used to living through hell?” you ask.

“Hell doesn’t even begin to describe it! At least in hell, you know why you’re in it! With my life, I used to ask every single day, ‘God, why!? What have done!? What can I do better!? Why do you hate me!?’. But once again, I just stopped asking and plainly stopped caring after awhile.” She answers.

“….” This is already getting hard to hear.

“Now you clam up? Don’t bitch out on me after you started the talk. Go ahead, ask me whatever. I’ll tell you my whole life story, so you just lose interest and fuck off already.” She states.


What will you ask about?

>What was your early life like?

>What do you mean by ‘personally witnessed the nuke dropping’?

>What were your parents like?
>What do you mean by ‘personally witnessed the nuke dropping’?
>You have an awful lot of hair for being that close to a radioactive pile. Or some damn good fake hair. not too mention eyes that work. Unless they are cybernetics, how?

>Nuclear make-over

also aren't nukes in hunter verse called rose bombs?
That's a specific nuke named after the rose-like cloud it leaves in its wake
>“Chapter 10, verse 11-12 of the Holy book of common manners and basic human decency, it reads: ‘Thou shall not be cunt to your fellow man and brush him off when asked a common question.’ Amen.” You counter.

>“The G.F.A” She answers.
>“Who?” you ask.
>“The Get. Fucked. Agency.” She answers.
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"Okay, first, what do you mean by you 'personally witnessed' a nuke dropping? Don't take this as a compliment, but you look great for someone who saw a nuclear blast up close and personal." You ask.

"If I was close enough to get my face melted enough from the radiation, I wouldn't be talking to you right now. I wasn't up close, but it certainly saw it myself." She states.

"Even if you weren't close enough to be effected by the radioactivity, seeing a nuclear blast with your naked eye would cause you to go blind- Wait a minute." You suddenly understand something.

"Oh? More perceptive then you look. You're exactly right about that going blind part." She puts her hand to her left eye and lifts up her eye-patch.

"Oh...." Once you see it, you understand.

Her other eye is a milky shade of white, a sign of complete blindness, "Bet you thought there was just a hole or something on the other side of this flap, nope! Still there, just doesn't work like it used to." She jokes.

"So you weren't joking. The Nuke that was dropped in 1987, you personally saw it. But why only 1 eye?" you ask.

"That's a long, long story. I was traveling with some guards, we got attacked on our way to a safe place, I was the only survivor, but my right eye was injured and wouldn't open without some medical help." She starts.

"I made some distance, enough to escape a nuke it seems, but not enough to escape looking at it. From the hill overlooking one of the central military cities, I saw that beast of a bomb drop with my left eye, which was the final thing I ever bore witness too with it." She explains.

"So your right eye's fine because it was shut tight when the bomb dropped and you were far enough away that you didn't melt like a pile of ice cream." You summarize.

"Well, I got a shit-ton of rashes that I needed immediate treatment a few surgeries for, also had to flee the country the same month, so it wasn't just the eye, but most of me is still natural and of course, beautiful." She brags

"I can't believe you're taking almost getting nuked so causally..." You state with astonishment.

"You say that like I shouldn't. I saw a nuke and survived, how many people can say that, huh?" She says with a laugh.

"I can't believe the people I have to deal with in this test..." You state with exasperation.

"And I can't believe I'm still dealing with you, but I am. So let's move on, what else did you want to ask?" She questions.

What will you ask?

>What was your early life like?

>What were your parents like?
>What were your parents like?
>What was your early life like?
I'm more intrested in her than her parents
Rolled 2 (1d2)


Seems we have to flip a coin on this one again.


2-Early life
You know what, might take me a second, but I can combine these options.

“What were parents like, you were born during the war, so I guess you didn't see them much?” You ask.

"Nah, I saw them plenty, in the beginning anyway." She states.

"How?" you ask.

“People who don’t live through wars don’t know this, but most wars aren’t fought constantly, every firefight or invasion came weeks, if not months after the other. The major non-stop conflict they portray on the news or in movies doesn't happen in wars. Or at least not in the beginning." She explains

"In the first 10 years of the war, no one would really even notice a war was going on until one of their towns or villages were the ones getting attacked. I lived in a city called Dirgenside.” She begins.

“Nice, upper-class place. Mother was a nurse, she was such a good lady, she loved the world and everyone in it, well educated and played with me everyday she wasn’t off helping doctors save lives. A true humanitarian. Needless to say, I loved her to death.” She describes.

“The one I saw less of was my dad, proud fighter in the Begreosse military. Cause of the war, he couldn’t be home half as often as Mom, but damn if he wasn’t lucky to get put in the reserve corps, so he found the time to pop in and stay home for a few days.” She continues.

“He’s the one who taught me how to fight by the way, he also had a thing for knives and tossing them around. Said he only ever did as a parlor trick to impress his army mates, but with aim that deadly, something tells me he wasn’t just showing his army buddies that nice trick.” She finishes.

“So the war never really reached you?" You ask.

"In the beginning, I said. Of course it reached me. It reached every corner of the country." She states.

“Dirgenside was a costal city far to the east. Considering most skirmishes were focused on the central border, the war never really reached us at first. It all seemed so far away..." She states.

"That was, until a little over 10 years after the war starting getting bad, and the west side starting getting serious.” She says with a dark look in her eyes.

“Begreosse is a small place, fights were always concentrated in the same place, around the borders, the west side had stronger forces, but we could chokehold them because we always knew where they were coming from.” She explains.

“That was, until the air forces got involved.” She says with a heavy puff of her smoker.

"What does that mean?" you ask, slight worry in your voice.

“Begreosse is small, but packed with resources. Steel, oil, gunpowder and uranium. It made supplying the military easy. But guess where those supplylines were concentrated?” She asks.

“….!” It takes you a second, but surprised expression on your face tells her you figured it out quickly.

“Ding, ding! That’s right, the coast!” She exclaims with a sarcastic clap.
“Oh god…” You know exactly what that means, if the you're fighting a war in stalemate, then you need to take radical tactics to cut off their main way of re-supply. Easiest way of doing that is cutting supply lines, usually by destroying roads or enacting scorched earth operations with their lands.

But since they couldn’t enter from the land or through the sea…

“They burned us from the air.” She finishes your thought.

“That’s fucking terrible.” You say without thinking.

“War is fucking terrible.” She agrees.

“It all happened way too fast. Just lazing about in home one day when the entire city starts blaring alarms. I knew it was the sound of an incoming attack, in school, they taught us to be prepared for it to start blaring whenever the enemy got the best of us and we needed to evacuate.” She begins.

“I wasn’t prepared at all of course, none of us were. By the time I nearly pissed the sheets on my bed, my mother rushed in with my father in tow. We grabbed all the essentials, food, water, some easily carried sheets and we got the fuck out of the city.”

“We made it out just as the bombs starting dropping. I got to watch as the city I called home was turned into a napalm field, the smell of burning asphalt and the bodies of those who weren’t half as lucky as me blew with the winds I ran with and never left me.” She states.

“….” This isn’t getting any easier to listen too.

“That basically sums up the early stuff. Nothing major there. Let’s move on.” She states.

“The destruction of your home and all the people you knew sounds pretty major.”

“Did I say everyone I knew died? Corpse smell sucks, but Mom and Dad were still alive, and we weren’t the only ones who got away. There was this kid, his was…Douglas? Yeah, Jerry Douglas.” She reminisces.

“He and a few other kids and teachers from my school also managed to get out alive. It was a real blessing to younger me, thinking that my friends died had me crying my eyes out until we found them all…” She says looking away from you.

“It’s hard to imagine you crying.” You cut-in.

“Why? Cause I’ve only got one working tear duct?” She questions.

“No, because you don’t seem like the type that would cry for someone else.” You answer.

“Yeah, the me right now probably would just written them off as dead and kept walking. But back then, I was a big softie, kinda like Pinky in a way, thinking about people dying and suffering, that hurt more than being hurt myself.” She explains.
“Kinda wish you kept that sentiment till now. Might have saved us both a ton of trouble.” You jest, now she’s gonna come at and say something like, ‘What do you mean? Of course I’m still caring, I just don’t care for you.’.

She looks down at the counter and takes a slow drag of her cigarette, “Yeah, couldn’t agree more. Maybe if I had more of a heart, things would’ve been different.” She concedes as a slow stream of smoke pours from her mouth.

“Huh? No sarcastic quip? What’s wrong?” You ask, legitimately concerned.

“Do you like getting made fun of you freak? I’m just not in the mood to play Cunty Mccoldbitch right now.” She states.

“…I see.”

“What else do you want to hear? Seems that hippie is fully intent on making us sit on our asses.”

>What next?

>How exactly did your parents die?

>How did you survive the war?
>How did you survive the war?
>How did you survive the war?

>War survival.

"So, you escaped the bombing, but the war made it's way to the coast, which means you couldn't hide in another coastal town. So how'd you survive from there?" You ask.

“My father dodged enlistment to the frontlines like the plague. He managed to stay in reserves until the war reached us personally, however, he did hear that our government was losing the war and were getting desperate.” She begins.

“We could chokehold and stalemate all we wanted. It didn’t change the fact that we were being invaded from next door and the other guys were better equipped and had more men then we did. Eventually, they were going to break through and all of us would’ve been dead.”

“That’s when the people started to take matters into their own hands. Militias started rising up everywhere, people were getting guns from somewhere and fighting to protect themselves where the government couldn’t do it for them." She states.

"Worst part is, the government encouraged it all. That’s how you really know you’re losing the war.” She states.

“That doesn’t explain how you survived it all. In fact, it makes it sound like you were more likely to die.” You try and cut to the chase.

“Don’t rush me, I wouldn’t tell you all of this if it didn’t pertain to the issue. Now, there was one militia in particular that stood out among the rest. The Begreosse Freedom Fighters or BFF.” She continues.

You giggle to yourself, “That’s good naming sense, make your militia sound like a true friend to the people.”

“Yeah, they were anything but our friends though." She starts.

"They were the first militia to rise up and the one with the best track record. They defended most of the most populated and costal cities. They put themselves up as the protectors of the people, and with the government failing, the people ate that shit up.” She explains.

“But from the way you phrase, they weren’t nearly the heroes or best friends they made themselves out to be?” you guess.

“Ding ding! That makes two right answers now, you’re impressing me! They certainly weren't our best friends, but they were forever.” She says happily.
“If you’ve ever dealt with a militia that manages to last longer than a couple of months, you’ll know that they always get big heads over their own glory." She starts.

"Just because a couple of civilians manage to defend themselves, they think every civilian is suddenly trustworthy with a gun. Turns out, that kind of trusts lets thugs and murderers think they can put their skills to real work.” She explains.

“Soon enough, the BFF was filled with unsavory-types. They used their titles to take advantage of certain privileges. First it was having first dibs on medical supplies and food, bit extreme, but people were happy to thank their saviors.”

“Then it moved unto taking peoples belongings. Clothes, valuables, water and even their houses. ‘Nesscary contributions to the fight for Begreosse freedom’ they called it." She escalates.

"Then soon enough, they stated taking people’s money, taxing people as payment for the fighters risking their lives to protect the people.” She lists off.

“After they got tired of finding bullshit reasons to take people’s stuff. They just dropped the formalities and started threatening anyone who didn’t comply to their demands, if you dared try to defend yourself, you were branded an Anti-democratic traitor and imprisoned or murdered. And of course, your stuff was taken.” She explains.

“That’s fucking terrible. But not uncommon among that kind of situation. Things like that pop-up all the time across all war-torn countries.” You state.

“Exactly. But here’s where the little history lesson gets dark. So, with my dad being a government solider and my mom being a nurse, the government should naturally be protecting us, right?” She asks.

“That’s the most logical conclusion.” You state.

“Exactly what my dad thought. So, after our escape, he tried to get in contact with his superiors to get a pick up for me and mom. Thing was all communications had been cut-off at the coast, signal jamming’s a bitch you know." She jokes.

"So my Dad had two options, what do you think they were?” She asks.

You try to think from the perspective of a lone solider guiding children and un-trained civilians, “I’d have to move to the closet military encampment and try and get in contact with my superiors through my allies.” You purpose.

“Ding-Ding! There’s the first option. But too bad! Every major encampment and base along the coast has been bombed or is in the process of being bombed with high tech aircrafts!" She exclaims excitedly, like this terrible story is some kind of game.

"Now tell me, if you can’t run to your friends, what other option do you have?” She asks.

>What do you say?

>Try and escape the country from the airport.

>Try to find a safe location to contact my superiors.

>Find other allies to escort me to a safe location.

>I don’t know.
>Get my family to a safe spot and then move from there.
Gonna have to leave this choice till tomorrow, can't stay up late if I want to ensure these threads run smoothly. So I'm leaving this choice open until tomorrow.
Thanks for running
Forgot to vote
>Try and escape the country from the airport.
>Try and escape the country from the airport.
I'm back and ready to keep going!


>Try and escape through the airport

With communications down and every city on the coast being a hot zone, then the government can't be relied on and trying to find a safe zone is just asking for trouble, thus the best course of action is...

"Go to the airport and escape the country." You answer.

"Bzzzzzzzzzzzt" She sounds out.

"What? That's wrong?" you ask.

"If the coast is getting bombed, then that means we had no air defense to keep them from getting to the coast in the first place. If they could level an entire city without trouble, then of course they'd bomb the airports before anyone had a chance to run away." She explains.

"That's horrible, what point is there in cutting off civilian escape routes?" you ask.

"Two reasons: 1. if one of the civilians happen to be a journal that documented the various war crimes happening, don't you think that would lead to a call for international aid?" She suggests.

"Well yeah, but the U.S.Y was already involved, it's not like the whole world didn't know already." You state.

"The world may have known of the war, but that doesn't mean they know what's happening in the war, that's what the purpose was, along with The second reason." She states.

"Which is?" you ask.

"2. If anyone from east side escaped, the invasion would have been a failure." She states.

"What? Why do the lives of civilians matter when you're trying to take over a country?" You ask.

"It's one of the tenants of Ochima's brand of Noocracy. Ethic cleansing." She answers.

"You can't be serious..." You state.

"Oh but I am, it's Ochima's expert opinion that if a set of people are adamant in not accepting your ways, that it means that they must be exterminated, no survivors, only when all the dissenters have been slaughtered, will you have achieved true harmony." She states.

What the hell can of government encourages wiping out entire Ethnicities, no wonder people rioted over that insanity, even you'd fight against such insane ideas.

"Now think, there's no escape for civilians, not through the sea and not through the air. What else can we do?" She questions.

You take a second to run it over in your head again.

If you think it through, the only real option is finding new allies, isn't it?

if the military bases, supply lines and even the airports are being bombed, then there's no other choice.

With signal jamming cutting down any nearby communication channels, there’s no telling where the next safe location even is, it be possible to look and survive on my own, but not while escorting untrained civilians, they wouldn’t survive more than 3 days on foot.

So, the only answer is… “Ask the BFF for assistance.” You state.

She grins a devious smile, “Damn, you really are a smart bastard. On the money, that’s exactly right. With no other options, My father moved us to the nearest BFF controlled city and asked for an escort to across the border.” She compliments.
“So, he was forced to enlist the help of thugs.” You state.

“Not exactly. I talk a lot of shit about the majority of BFF, but my Dad’s a smart man, er, was a smart man, sorry." She corrects.

"He asked the assistance old friend of his to hook him up with an escort with more legitimate Freedom Fighters. It wasn’t easy though, the entire thing had to be kept a secret. The main body of BFF wouldn’t forgive fighters being used for something that wasn’t looting or intimidation.” She explains.

“So, the plan was to have them take us across the border and masquerade us as West Begreosse citizens-“

“Wait, what happened to trying to contract the government?” you ask.

“Turns out my Dad’s assumption about the airports was on the money. The government was officially no help to anyone and especially not us. So, we decided to go to our enemies for help instead.” She explains.

“We got passports, I.D’s, false citizenships. Everything we need to buy the first ticket out of the country. We moved out the same day, but that’s when shit got wild." She states.

"You see, someone ratted us out to the main BFF body and got us caught while we were closing in on the border.” She answers.

“What the fuck? Who would do that?” you ask.

“So, you remember Jerry? Course you remember Jerry. Sweetest little kid alive, he and his family lived next door to mine and we used to play together as kids, his Mom used to give me food and his dad used to show me around his badass firearms collection. And if I’m allowed to get embarrassing with you here, I think I may have had a crush on the little shit.”She gives a background.

“That’s nice, but why are you telling me about that? I thought you were going to tell me who the traitor was-Oh” you figure it out half-way through your question

“Yep.” She states.

“Oh, you can’t be serious…”

“Dead. So, turns out, Jerry and his folks were sure that the plan would never work, but they didn’t want to lose the protection of an escort. So they tattled to the locals in exchange for the permanent protection of BFF.”

“What the hell is wrong with that brat? He was getting a route out of the country, why do something so stupid?” you ask in frustration.

“Exactly what my father my asked him when we were surrounded by a bunch of angry soldiers with their fingers on the triggers. Wanna know what his answer was?” She asks.

“Even if I say no, you’ll tell me right?”

“Now you’re starting to get me. ‘Because I didn’t want anyone to die crossing the border’ he said.”
“What? That’s fucking stupid. If he didn’t want that, why tell the people that are almost sure to kill you for testing them? Sounds like bullshit he told himself so he wouldn’t feel guilty about being a rat.” You ask.

“That almost part is what Jerry was betting on.” She answers.

“Huh?” You blurt out angrily.

“Those scumbags were almost sure to kill us. When you think about it, the plan Dad came up with was risky as hell, there was no telling if the passports or I.Ds were good enough to trick the Western military. And if we got caught, then what? Fight our way through to the airport? No way, we’d be treated as spies, tortured, then killed.” She explains.

“You have a point, but so what? It’s better than taking a chance staying in that hellhole.” You counter.

“What are you, my Dad’s fucking spirit animal? That’s word for word what he shouted at Jerry’s family as they tried to explain themselves.” She states.

“Because it makes no damn sense. How does reporting you make you any safer than just running away?” You ask.

“Because there was a chance BFF wouldn’t kill us. That’s what Jerry bet on.” She counters.


“If the border plan failed, there was a 100% chance that we would be killed, painfully too. With BFF we had, what? A 80-70% chance as being killed as traitors. That’s still a good 30% chance that we would be forgiven taken back to the cities they were defending.”

“That’s just…” you can’t find the words to argue.

“Cowardly? Yeah. Jerry was a coward. But he was caring coward. The words he told us, they weren’t lies to himself or us. It was the full truth, he betrayed us because he wanted to ensure our safety." She explains.

"He didn’t want to take a chance that me and everyone else he loved were sure to die.” She states.
“But considering your Mom and Dad are gone. I imagine that didn’t work out as planned right?”

“He wasn’t exactly wrong. Most of us were forgiven and weren’t killed. Mostly because my Mom had medical skills and thus too valuable to kill and the rest of us were kids, so were going to be easy to manipulate. The only one they killed was Dad.” She states.

“Let me guess. They made an example out of him?” You guess.

“Put a pistol to the back of his head and gave us some speech about ‘not disrupting the peace’. Then the pistol shot rang out before my Dad could even complain.” She answers.

“Christ. What about your mother?” You ask.

“Overworked to death. Doctors and nurses were in short supply considering hospitals were always the first targets of bombing raids. My classmates were taken in as child soldiers along with my teachers, myself was of course no expectation.” Vanilla answers.

“You were a child soldier?” You question.

“That shouldn’t be surprising. Both sides were using them. The ones on the western side were way better though. Most of us were just used as human shields and mine-testers.” She explains.

>How do you respond?

>Disgust towards BFF

>Pity for Vanilla

>Unfeeling towards both
>>Disgust towards BFF
>Disgust towards BFF
Vanilla's backstory was sad but, as mean as it sounds, her personality keeps me from fully pitying her

>Disgust towards BFF

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"That's absolutely stomach turning. What trash would take child soldiers and murder people's parents to deliver a message! Trash like that is why wars happen, freedom fighters my ass!" You say with growing hate.

"Well,if it makes you feel any better, the entire militia was wiped out near the end of war. Not after at least another 1000 familes were torn apart, but hey, they got their comeuppance." She says without a care in the world.

"This is your own story, why are you taking this so damn casually? You should be the one raging, not me!" You exclaim.

"You're right, why the hell are you getting angry on my behalf?" She asks.

"What's that supposed to mean?" you ask.

"Derrick, you say trash like BFF are the reason wars happen. That's where you're wrong, BFF is just a byproduct of a much worse force. Kindness." She states.

"Kindness?" you ask.

"Yes, kindness, care, love for your country, love for your people, wanting to better the economy. Believe or not, simple, sweet desires like that are what drives wars in the first place." She states.

"You can't be serious, are you saying nice people start wars?" you ask.

"Who said you being nice didn't start wars? Think back, why exactly did Tenmay start that whole mess for?" She asks.

"Because he wanted to change the government right?" answer.

"You're missing a note. He wanted to change the government for the better." She states.

"By adopting a government model that encourages ethic cleansing?" you counter.

"That wasn't Tenmay's idea, he wanted a softer version of Noocracy, it was his compatriots that took up the ethic cleansing that drove the war to it's breaking point." She states.

"It's the same for BFF, in the beginning, they wanted to let the people protect themselves, a nice idea right? Nothing wrong with that. But then scum saw an opportunity and took over the whole damn thing and corrupted it." She states.

"..." You don't want to admit, but she's speaking the truth.

"That's why I don't like being nice or nice people in general. They open the world to corruption, they push things to benefit people, but not everyone wants the world to benefit. Pragmatism is the best way of life, your words right?" She asks.

"An interpretation of my words and a fucked up one at that." You spit.

"Yeah, well that's how I lived my life after everything that happened." She states.

"Christ you're not done are you?" you ask.

"Almost, just listen for a bit longer." She states.
“After I became a child solider, I think the reality of the war finally dawned on me." She begins.

"Not only was everyone I loved dying, but soon enough, I may die myself, or worse, I’d have to kill people so I wouldn’t die.” She begins.

“The idea of that scared the shit outta me when I was younger, so I did anything not to be forced on the battlefield. I tried asking to be a medical assistant, or a scout or hell, I even asked to help go around intimidating people. Anything that didn’t involve fighting or having to go out and kill people.”She explains.

“But of course all of them were turned down, other kids had the idea to be assistants before me, so they were fine without the extra-help and I wasn’t smart enough to be doctor or nurse." She states.

"I couldn’t be a scout since I was just a scrawny little brat at the time, I wouldn’t accomplish much and if I was caught, I might have blabbed to the other soldiers and I sure as hell wasn’t intimidating enough to help extort people.” She finishes.

“Then…did you fight?” you ask.

“No, I decided to go with… a better alternative.” She answers.

“…Which is?” you ask.

“I made weapons.” She answers.

“…” you figured as much, but it still hurts to hear.

“It was that, or go out and use weapons, and I sure as hell wasn’t doing that. Killing people and being killed was just too scary for me back then. So instead, I helped produce the tools that others would use to do it instead.” She starts.

“Thankfully, the engineering department was free, no one but the most heartless scum and trash wanted to help make tools to keep the war going, I fit right in." She says with a smile.

"Once I joined, they welcomed me with open arms and taught me everything I needed to know to make a gun.” She explains.

“The different calibers of ammo, hammers, cylinders, how to attach parts, how to clean a rifle, how to prepare bullets, how to make gunpowder and a bunch of other complex stuff.” She states.

“But wanna know the really fucked up part? I was actually good at it.” She states.

“What does that mean?” You ask.

“High-quality weapons were scarce. So the ones made in the workshop were all BFF had. When the workshop was first started, they could only make pistols or low caliber rifles, the strongest anyone could make was a frag grenade that didn’t even explode half the time.” She explains.

“But that all changed when I joined." She states with a proud voice.

"I saw the faults in their recipes, their equipment and fixed them all within weeks, not only that, I made them better.” She declares.
“Before I noticed, I fit right into the role of making weapons. hammering steel to make into the iron at people’s side. The ones they used to gun down my dad and kill the scum that drove us to this point.” She continues.

“At first I hated guns. The way feel, the way the sound, the things people did with them…They all made me disgusted beyond words. But soon enough, I came not to care. As long as it kept me from using one, I would take any material given to me and make arms to kill.” She answers.

“So, you sold weapons to survive. Did you do that till the war ended?” you ask.

“I tried too, from the moment I was enlisted, till I was about 18, I kept on making more and more guns and explosives and knives and anything that could kill a person really. It was scary how good I was, before I knew it, people in BFF knew my name, they called me Gun God from how many weapons I made and how good they were.” She states.

“I gained a reputation that put me on the good side of the map for BFF and the terrible side for New Begreosse.” She states.

“You caught the interest of an entire nation?” you ask.

“Of course, I did. When an enemy that could barely fight back just a few months ago suddenly gets massive fire power like what I dish out, someone’s gonna take notice. And notice, they did.” She starts.

“Soon enough, I started to have to get moved around the country, from camp to camp, city to city, all so I could continue working without New Begreosse tracking down my location.” She explains.

“How’d that work out?” you ask.

“Good, for a while, I had become BFF’s national treasure, if I died, all of BFF went with me. So, they treated me extra-nice, all the food, water and guards I could ever want were at my beck and call. It was pretty awesome for a while.” She states.

“What happened?” you ask.

“The rest of the war did.” She states.
“Even with my amazing weapons, BFF and the government soldiers just weren’t powerful enough to win. My help drove the enemy back for a while, but certainly not long enough to let everyone catch their breaths. By the time I was 19, most of the West’s territory was gone and the war was all but lost.” She states.

“What did you do then, keep fighting with BFF?” you ask.

“With those scum worms? Hell no, I defected.” She answers.

“You joined the enemy?” you say with a surprise.

“Yep, they brought me in with open arms. The title of Gun God was simply too tempting for them. Say whatever you want about those Noocracts, as long as you’re an expert, they don’t care if you were making the weapons that were murdering them enmass just a few months ago, they still love you!” She declares with a smile.

"Well, with your situation, I guess it was the only way. But even so..." You hesitate to think out your next statement.

"But what?" she asks.

“But even so, you were working with the bastards who created the situation that led to the deaths of your friends, your family!" You say bluntly.

"Didn’t working with them, supplying them with the same tools they used to ruin your life, didn’t that feel…” You can’t find the word.

“Dirty? Disgusting? Like I’m betraying my country? Like I was throwing away everything my friends and family gave to me?” She lists off all possible response.

“…” you want to say you wouldn’t be so blunt, but that’s exactly what you wanted to ask.

“Don’t bother looking for sympathy were there is none. By the time I was 19, I was already the monster you see before you now.” She states.

“But that's just…” This talk is starting to get to you.

“That's just what? What else could I have done?” She asks, looking straight into your eyes.

For the first time, you’re the one looking down at the counter, “Couldn’t you have stayed? Couldn’t you have at-least tried to save what was left of your country?” You ask.

“I thought I told you already, Derrick. I don’t bother with the dead. And by the time I left, everything of my home had already burned to ash.” She answers.

“…” You’re truly at a loss for words.

“I can see that learning about me is starting to really get to you? Well, am I as big a bitch as you thought I was? Or am I even worse?” She asks.

>What do you think?

>You’re as bad as I thought

>You’re even worse than I thought.

>You’re not as bad as I thought.
>You’re not as bad as I thought.
>It's complicated... I can't put how I feel about you in words. On one hand your still a total bitch and a horrible person but I can't bring myself to fully hate you after hearing what you've been through

If both of you are wondering why I haven't called the vote yet, it isn't cause I suddenly died again.

This is a actually a very important choice and I'm waiting on the other two to contribute, don't want anyone saying I'm trying to screw them over.

If they don't appear in the next 15 minutes, I'll call it though.
I'll change my vote to this

Sorry for the delay.

Well then, your choice is made...and it was a good one.
“It's complicated... I can't put how I feel about you in words. On one hand you're still a total bitch and a horrible person but I can't bring myself to fully hate you after hearing what you've been through” You answer.

That catches her off-guard, “Weird response. I was expecting you to just walk out on me, kinda hoping for it too. What do you mean?” she asks.

“Well, I mean, you’re certainly not a good person. But you aren’t a bad one either.” You state.

“What do you mean by that?” The sarcastic look in her eye disappears, she’s earnestly looking at you now.

“What you did was terrible, giving out tools to kill people is no better than doing it yourself, maybe even worse considering it just means you’re too much of a coward to do it yourself.” You begin.

“What the hell? That just sounds like you’re saying I’m trash, if you’re just gonna insult me, find a better-“

“But, being a coward doesn’t make you bad.” She tries to cut you off, but you refuse to let her.

That once again catches her off-guard, “W-What do you mean?”

“What you’ve done is terrible. But your reasons for doing it aren’t.” You start.

“You sold weapons because you had no other choice, you survived using the lives of the people your weapons ended. But in that situation, there was no other choice and you never wanted to do it, hell, even now you regret it.” You state.

“Regret it?” She cuts-in, “What do you mean, regret it? I don’t regret anything!” She exclaims.

“Oh yes you do. You regret all of it, you regret everything that happened in that war and the part you had in it, I know you do.” You state.

“The fuck are you going on about! Weren’t you listening!? I couldn’t care about the people I abandoned! I dropped my country like it was a hot potato and defected because I don’t care! What kind of brain problems do you even have!?” She insults.

“Oh, I was listening, I listened to every word. Especially the parts where you referred to yourself personally.” You state.

“Huh!?” She blurts out.

“Whenever you talked about yourself, you used words like hate, betrayal and monster, whenever you talked about yourself, you always did so negatively, why? Because you regret it, you regret what you did, so you naturally refer to yourself in a negative light.” You answer.

That causes her to physically move back in her seat, “That shit’s just a coincidence! Aren’t you reading too much into some words!? So what if I talked shit about myself, I’m telling you with my own mouth! I don’t regret a thing, I really fucking don’t!” She counters.
"The way you're fighting me on this doesn't help your case." You state.

"I'm fighting you on this cause I hate the fact that you think you can read me, didn't you say something about not being judgmental!? Cause I think you're judging me pretty hard!" She counters.

"Stating facts isn't judging." You answer.

"Man you are so far up your ass you could probably see out the other side!" She insults.

"Insults and lying to yourself won't get you anywhere. I think I’m starting to get why you act like such a bitch all the time.” You state.

“What does that mean!? What evidence do you have to prove you're not full of it!?” She asks.

“I'm only telling you what you've shown me. And what you’ve shown me is…” You trail off, should you really say it, if she reacts adversely, it could be bad for you.

“Well don't hold back now! What have you got to say!? Unless you just realized you were full of crap!” She insults.

>What will you do?

>Tell her truth.

>Just move on.
>Tell her truth.
We have nothing to hide

“You hate yourself, don’t you?” you say without another moment’s hesitation.

That answer drives her back another step and causes her face to wince up and freeze in a cascade of emotions.

it takes her a few minutes before she moves again.

And in a strange turn of events, she relaxes, taking up a normal stance and knocking out a cigarette and lights it, “Oh, is that all you had to say?” She states.


“I was wondering what the big answer was going to be, but damn, you’re just retarded." She says with a laugh.

"How the hell could I hate myself? I love the current me.” She counters.

“…” You go silent.

“I’ve grown. I’ve made something of myself. I’ve become stronger. Strong enough that no can take away anything close to me anymore. What could I possible hate about myself?” She asks.

“Maybe the fact that you have nothing left to protect with your new strength, you tossed it all away, along with your true feelings, so you could keep yourself going. Vanilla you’re-“

“Oh knock it! Playing arm chair psychiatrist with me isn’t gonna get you anywhere. You messed up, you’ve got me all wrong. Now come on, we can just drop this and go back to talking about what happened after I got recruited by the West.” She states.

“…” you want to say it, but you need to relent for now, there is still one more question you have to ask.

“I’ll take your silence as agreement! Now then, time for a bit of a history lesson.” She states.

“History lesson?” you ask.

“You said you didn’t go to school right?” She asks back.

“You don’t need to rub it in. And trust me, that doesn’t make me an idiot. What I lack in book smarts I make up for in raw common sense.” You counter.

“No, for once, your lack of basic education is a good thing. It means those Yorbian teachers haven’t filled your brain with propaganda and political garbage. That’s good.” She states.

“Even when you’re complimenting me, you somehow find a way to insult me…” You say in astonishment.

“Shut it. Now, one thing the you won’t learn in school or from any Yorbian news source is that it wasn’t just men fighting in that war. It was high-tech UV’s and ground mechs.” She begins.

“Unmanned Vehicles and mechs? You mean like the one Etheline uses?” You ask.

“That’s right. Now, most people who encountered them never lived to tell the tale, so most people don’t know, but you do know that roughly 5 years before the war ended that most U.S.S soldiers were ordered to withdraw from the war?” She questions.
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“Yeah, there was a real upset about it. The government said it because causalities were piling high and they couldn’t afford supply costs anymore." You answer.

"So they pulled them back. People were pissed with the government and the soldiers for pulling out, it looked like the U.S.Y lost the war and they were telling those who were left to run away with their tails between their legs.” You answer.

“Is that how they wrote if off? Nice, anyone would believe that with all the dead that were stacking up." She applauds.

"But honestly, did you really believe that U.S.Y would really back down from a fight just because too many people were dying?” She asks.

“Hell no, not even for a second.” You state.

“You really are smarter than you look. It cause they had war machines flooding into the place and doing the work for them.” She states.

“You mentioned MUMA right? Yeah, they looked just like that beast when it goes attack mode. They were tall, fast, loaded with high power assault weapons that could tear apart infantry by the dozens. They were efficient, deadly and never complained, making them better than any human solider.” She answers.

“Thus why they called back our troops. No need for humans when machines can do our jobs for us.” You finish.

“But it wasn’t their efficiency that made them replace their human counterparts. It was their lack of empathy. They would do any mission ordered of them, no matter what it meant doing.” She explains.

”Lack of empathy?” You question.

“Yes, the inability to feel bad for others. You know what I’m getting at, don’t you?” She questions.

“I think…I do.” You state.

“You get it then? That’s right! They can commit war crimes without a second thought, mainly cause they can’t think.” She laughs, but you can’t tell what’s so funny.

“War crimes…” No wonder she talked about what you learned in school, you studied up the number of dead from a Yorbian library which you thought was accurate and unbiased.

But if what she’s saying is true, the death count might be even higher than the 1,000,000s you thought it was.

“Yes, shooting civilians dead in cold blood. Bombing cities without evacuating them, torturing anyone and everyone without a shred of remorse. War crimes like that are easy for an unfeeling machine, that was their real reason for deployment and the truth behind the end of the Begreosse conflict.” She states.

“That’s cruel, beyond cruel. Even if they wanted to win the war, killing innocents is cruel beyond words.” You state.
“That’s what it means to go to war. They won’t report it and the people don’t have to know, hell, even if you tell them, they wouldn’t want to know, they don’t want to hear what really goes on when you hit the battlefield.” She explains.

“Add those mechanical monsters and the nuke, it took just 5 years for the west to finally throw in the towel and settle for peace with the east side of Begreosse and to never even think of going to war again, not with the threat of U.S.Y retaliation hanging overhead. So they settled with just having the majority of the country to themselves and became the Central Begreosse Union and the face of the country” She states.

“But that’s not real peace, that’s just tolerance through fear. Peace like that isn’t worth a damn thing and will fall to pieces the second the U.S.Y gives up protection.” You counter.

“It’s called Peace through Power and it’s one of the more efficient if not brutal ways to keep nations like the CBU in check.” She explains.

“However, I do have to agree with you on that last part, Peace through power is extremely fragile. It relies on one entity staying constantly powerful enough that all others have to obey them, if for any reason, the U.S.Y were to lose that strength…” for once, she’s the one trailing off.

“The effects would be catastrophic.” Another voice cuts-in.
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Without you even realizing it, Ivorai had returned to the counter, two large bowels in her hands as she observes your talk.

“Another war in Begreosse would probably lead to a much larger, much more deadly conflict that would probably tear the world asunder.” She continues.

“You damn hippe, were you listening in?” Vanilla asks.

“Only during the parts were you started shouting your lungs out about your involvement in the world’s worst conflict.” She says as she sets the food down in front of the both of you.

“That so.” Vanilla relaxes a little.

“…And maybe the part about you being an arms dealer.” She tacks on afterwards.

Vanilla glares deep into Ivorai’s eyes and speaks, “So you were eavesdropping, no wonder you took so damn long with those meals.”

Ivorai stares right back, unflinching under Vanilla’s death stare, “Well I can’t help that the both of you don’t know how to keep your conversations private. I’d suggest using these next few days to learn something called whispering.” She taunts.

“I’d start whispering now if I were you. If you tattle to anyone about what I do for a living, I’ll bury you alive and let the worms make art out of your lungs.” She threatens.

But rather than scared, Ivorai seems amused by Vanilla’s threat, “Don’t worry, nobody in the Hunter Organization cares what you did for a living before or even what you do now." She assures.

"In fact, something like selling guns to war-torn countries is child’s play compared to some of the things our more notorious members do on a daily basis.” She assures.

“Are you for real?” Vanilla doubts.

“About as real as life itself.” She answers, she then puts a finger to her lips and speaks, “Don’t you worry, I’ll keep the secret between the three of us anyway.” She whispers to her.

“…” She clicks her tongue and looks away.

“So, then!” She claps her hands together and catches both of your attention, “Enough of with all the war stories and tales of death and slaughter! It’s time to appreciate some art!” She exclaims happily.

“You mean it’s time to eat, right?” you question.

“You can do that too I guess. Anyway, please enjoy!” She waves her hands forward, prompting you both to pull your bowls forward.

With a mix of confusion and slight worry in your gut, you pull your bowl forward and you are once again hit with surprise, but this time pleasant.
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Inside the bowl looks to be a combination of noodles, white rice, salmon eggs and a raw squid on top.

“Whoa, this looks great actually, never had fidh raw, but they eat this kind of thing all the time in Jappon, right?” you ask.

“Yes, don’t worry, it’s perfectly clean and very delicious, the squid and salmon eggs are extremely fresh and filled with nutrients, all your lost stamina should come back in droves after eating this!” She explains excitedly.

“Well damn, that sounds amazing actually!” You say with excited relief.

“Why do you sound so surprised? Were you doubting my cooking skills?” She says with a slightly angry face.

“No, more like I was doubting whether you’d bring me a normal meal or not. After that last horror show, I was sort of afraid you might bring out some dancing monster and expect me to eat it.” You explain.

“I would never do that! What do you take me for?” She asks.

“A werido and a hipster.” Vanilla cuts-in

“Well excuse me for trying to spread some culture to you ungrateful plebs! Why aren’t you pulling up your food by the by?” Ivorai asks.

“Oh, I just have this feeling that Derrick’s gonna regret complimenting you in a second. So, I’m just waiting for the hammer to drop.” Vanilla answers.

“What hammer? I’ve already pulled up the food, there’s nothing wrong with it. What could possibly go wrong…” You ask as you reach for your utensils, only to grab at air.

“Huh? Where’s my spoon? or I am eating with chopsticks? Whatever, where’s my eating tool?” you ask.

“Oh sorry! Got too excited and forget to give you knife, fork and onions sauce bottle!” She says as she reaches down and grabs all three before spreading them out nicely across the table.

“Onions sauce? I don’t like salty stuff, so think I’ll eat without it…” You say as you hand the onions sauce back to her.

She looks at you with confusion, “What do you mean you don’t want it? The onions sauce is the most crucial part of this meal. You have to eat it with it.” She states.

“I have to? Why?” you ask.

“It can’t waltz without it.” She answers as she opens up the bottle and hangs it over the squid on top of the bowl.

waltz?” you question as the onions sauce falls unto the dead squid.
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Or at least, you thought it was dead.

The second the onions sauce hits the squid’s main body, spasms spread throughout it’s entire body and the squid begins to wiggle and move it’s tentacles all around.

“What the hell!?” the sudden surprise causes you to kick the stool away from the counter sending you meters away from the Zombie squid.

“Hahahahahahaha! I knew it!” Vanilla bursts out laughing.

“I thought that thing was dead!? Why are you serving still living food!?” You question.

Once again, Ivorai gives you a confused expression, “Have you never eaten Odori-don?” she asks.

“Of course not! I was curious what Japponese food was like! I knew they liked their food fresh, but not that fresh!!” You half-scream as the wiggiling squid begins to contort in strange directions and nearly crawls it’s way out of the bowl.

Ivorai quickly grabs it’s half-destroyed head and pulls out a pair of thin metal tubes from below, “Oh how cute! I’ve never seen someone’s first reaction to odori-don! Listen and watch okay…” She says as she pulls the squid back into the bowl.

“Odori-don, or katsu ika odori-don means dancing squid rice bowl, this little fella isn’t alive at all.” She explains as she centers the still squirming squid and pokes the two metal tubes into it’s open skull.

“To prepare Odori-don, you cut the brains out of a fresh squid and pour onions sauce unto it to. You said you don’t like salt right? Well this little guy loves the stuff, or more specifically, it loves the sodium chloride in the stuff.” She explains.

“Sodium chloride? The comprising element of salt causes that thing to come back to life?” you ask.

“It’s not alive! Once you cut the brain out of a fresh squid, it’s complex processes stop, but the motor neurons in it’s nerves still work for a while." She explains.

"Once the sodium hits the flesh and seeps into the nerves, the squid’s muscles will start contracting rapidly, giving it the appearance of still being alive, but nope, this thing is 100% dead!” She explains.

“Hear that Derrick? Your dinner isn’t a zombie, it’s just a dancing corpse! Mmmmm, sounds delicious!” Vanilla taunts as she continues to laugh at you.

“Drop the sarcasm! It is delicious! And most of all it’s artistic!” Ivorai counters.

You cautiously approach the counter where your food is still fighting for escape under Ivorai’s palm, “What about that bad science project is artistic? The fact that it shudders in suffering as you eat it?” you ask in horror.

“Didn’t you listen to my explanation? This is Odori-don! Dancing squid! Dancing is art! I modeled the entire Azian section of my menu after the various dances of the world! Isn’t that amazing!?” She exclaims.

“Yeah, the dance of death is pure art Doctor Hipster! Pfft, Hahahahahaha!!” Vanilla’s dying of laughter as she proceeds to slam the counter, agitating the squid more.
“You really have no taste, do you? But even so, I do have to agree, just wiggling around isn’t much a dance now is it. That’s why I put a little twist on this meal…” She says as she finally let’s go of the squirming squid and grabs unto the metal tubes she inserted into it’s open cranium.

“Oh god it gets worse…” You whisper to yourself.

“Hey! I heard that! Just watch, you will love this next part!” The squid is absolutely losing it’s destroyed mind as it tries it best to move it’s still living muscles.

That is, until Ivorai twists the metal tubes in it’s head a little and causes all it’s muscles to go limp, turning it back into a regular dead squid.

“Is it dead for real this time? If so, you were right, I love it when my food isn’t trying to run away from me.” you ask.

“It’s been dead this whole time! And I’m not done! Watch this!” She gives the metal tubes a few twists and turns and the squid suddenly jumps up.

“What the…” You gain a morbid sense of curiosity and lean closer to watch what she’s doing.

The squid then proceeds to kick you in the face, “What the flying shit!?” you scream as you nearly fly out of your chair.

“Oh sorry, should’ve warned you to keep your distance!” She apologizes.

The kick itself doesn’t hurt, but the shock of having a tentacle contort in such a way that it can actually kick you nearly knocked you flat on your ass.

“What the hell!? You just changed it from a dancing zombie to an ass-kicking zombie!” You complain.

Vanilla is half-way to dropping to the floor in laughter, she’s actually holding her gut in pain.

“That was just a mistake, touched the hit the wrong nerve, just give me a second…” She continues to fiddle in the squid’s open head.

Once again the squid jumps, but instead of going still, it proceeds to hold itself up on two tentacles and rise hoist itself into the air, “Oh, there we go! That was the right combination this time!” She exclaims as she let’s go of the metal tubes.

Without any further aid, the squid turns itself upside down and lands on it’s open head, afterwards, it uses two other tentacles to spin itself circles.

“Uh, what the hell is it doing now? Did it just lose it’s non-existent mind?” you ask.

She folds her arms in proud excitement, “The twist I added to my version of Odori-don is that my Odori-don actually dances!” She states.
Man that's actually really cool, surprised I never heard about it
"Oh this will be great! Let me put on some suitable music!" She rushes over to the stereo system as the true performance of her food begins.

"Oh what fresh hell is this..." You can feel worry building.

She browses through her songs for a bit before saying, "Oh, this one will do nicely!" She hits play and it begins.


What blares out from the speakers is one of the strangest, loudest, most obnoxious form of rap you've ever had clash with your eardrums.

"What the hell is this noise? Is that guy singing or having some kind of mild stroke?" You ask.

"It's artistic is what it is! And perfect for what comes next! Watch!" She points back to the squid.

As she exclaims that, the squid finally builds enough momentum to spin on its head, it then slides smoothly down to the side of its head and catches itself on its tentacles like they’re a pair of extra legs.

He then proceeds to twist it’s other tentacles in perfect circles as it moves it other tentacles to balance itself and continually switch tentacles, making it almost look like a helicopter.

“Wait, those movements…Is it, breaking dancing?” You ask.

“You’ve got it!” She says with an excited clap.

“Unlike regular Odori-don, I left a few pieces of brain over in it. By using metal tubes to stimulate the still-living nerves, I can basically send a series of simple orders to its various tentacles and make it dance in 8 different ways!” She explains.

Waltzing Odori-don of the 8 steps… now I get it…” You say with extreme exasperation.

“Not only can it break-dance, it can do ballet, belly-dance, swing, line dance, if you order two bowls, I can even make the ballroom dance! Oh, did I mention it can-“ She continues to list the possibilities of squid-based dance class, but you hold up a hand and stop her.

You then ask her a vital question that’s been hanging on your mind ever since she brought this bowl out, “But can I eat it?” You ask.

It takes a second for the sparkles to fade from her eyes but then she answers, “Well, I’d appreciate if you saw most of it’s dances before you ate it, but yes, all you need is a fork and knife to eat it” She answers.

The squid’s dance ends as it props itself upside down with two tentacles and uses two other tentacles to pose, one pointing high in the air the other pointing to the it’s left. It then drops limp back unto the bowel, completely unmoving.

“Aw, it’s performance ended early! Just let me grab some onions sauce and start another song to bring a little more pep in it’s step-“ She reaches for the sauce, but you grab her hand just before it reaches.

“I like my food that wouldn't be a hit on the street. I’ll eat it as is.” You state.
Okay, I can't keep posting like this without eating, all this food posting is actually making me starve to death, so I'm going to eat, since I probably won't be back till midnight, this is where I'm stopping the thread for now.

Continuing posting and back to dealing with other characters tomorrow.
Thanks for running, loved the whole squid thing
The fact that MUMA-like robots were attacking sets off some alarms for me. I personally think that Etheline was on the opposite side of the conflict and that she was amazing at developing incredible machines for Yorbia, kinda like Yorbia's equivalent to Vanilla. Some quotes from the character pastebin are extremely ominous and might support this theory

>You're certainly not a cynic by any use of the word, but you will always be ca/reful around a rose for which you see no thorns.
This possibly points to the idea that she's hiding something

>but then again, if her name's anything to go by, she's already made plenty of hard decisions.
This is a big one considering it's from Vanilla herself and she would know who was involved with the conflict and Etheline's family is already famous. Wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that her family could've been supporting Yorbia during the conflict

>There's something in her eyes and the way she moves, like something always scratches at the back of her mind, never allowing her a true moments peace.
>As to what that is, I haven't the slightest clue. What could such a sweet girl done to feel such never-ending guilt? Maybe I'm just imagining it.
This sets off so many flags in my head. Especially since it's coming from Landon who seems to be by far the most perspective of other's emotions. She must have done something really bad to warrant the never-ending guilt constantly in the back of her head. It make a lot of sense if that something was making machines designed to kill

I'm excited to see how close or how far off I am with this theory. Are there any problems with it? The big one I see is that the conflict officially ended in 1987 and the machines were used 5 years earlier in 1982. Meaning that Etheline was only 1 at the time so I highly doubt that she was making anything at that age even if she is a prodigy. She was 6 when the nuke was dropped but it's also unlikely that she was dealing with something that complex at that age. Maybe she feels guilt at her family's part in making those weapons as opposed to her own? I don't know but it was a fun theory regardless
Sorry anons, I don't think I'll be able to run today, have a few business arrangements i need to tie up. I promise, this will only be a one day thing.


I will confirm nor deny anything, however, I will say that you are on the right track, not quite there yet though.
It's all good see you tomorrow

>I will confirm nor deny anything, however, I will say that you are on the right track, not quite there yet though.
Ok glad I'm not completely wrong
Sorry to be late! I only just managed to get home, plus the internet went out.

The thread resumes now.
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“You’re no fun.” Ivorai says with a pout.

“Oh god, that was glorious, that was a great meal all by itself…” Vanilla says while wiping a tear out of her eye.

“Yeah, thanks for enjoying the show, now, why don’t you enjoy your own meal this time?” You question as you point to her bowl of untouched soup.

Her smile disappears just like that, “Well, uh, the laugh was just so intense, so like, my stomach hurts too much to eat right now…” She says as she pushes the bowl away.

“You were the one threatening to stab people if you didn’t get your food soon. And don’t try and tell me you filled your stomach with laughter.” Ivorai says as she pushes the bowl back over.

“I know what I said, but…” She can’t manage to come up with a legitimate excuse.

“There are only so many excuses you can come up with before you soup freezes over. It’s the winter you know, you don’t want to pick at a piece of goopy ice, do you?” You say with a smile.

“No really, I’m dying of a stomachache over here. Can’t we just, toss this bowel of-“

“The only place this bowl is getting tossed right now is down your throat if you tell me to throw it away.” Ivorai cuts-in.

“You can’t expect me to eat when I feel like I’m dying! In fact, I think I'm coming down with something! I can feel a fever burning me!” Vanilla hams up as a sick person in pain.

“Don’t worry, this chicken soup was made with enough love and care to cure any stomachache or disease. Just drink up, you won’t regret it.” Ivorai says as she pushes the bowl up even further.

“And don’t worry, if you really are dying, then I’ll be sure to poke some holes in your stomach and serve whatever comes out to the next patron.” Ivorai threatens.

“Oh god, I think really am getting a stomachache now…” She whispers in a stressed voice.

“Come on already, this is the food you’ve been waiting for. Don’t tell me you don’t want to take a taste of this” You push the bowl right into her view.

She peers into the lightly steaming bowl below and with fear in her heart for the horrors that she may behold and what she sees gives her a mix of surprise and annoyance, “Oh what the hell is this.”

“Hm, Whoa!” You look down as well and find something more amazing than horrifying.

What you see below makes you understand what Ivorai meant by this soup holding the spirit of Yorbia.

Within the orange soup broth below, you see scattered pieces of well cooked chicken floating below and above the surface, making the meal look both filling and delicious to the eye.

However, what really catches your eyes is the dumplings floating around, where Ivorai really shows her artistic abilities.

Floating within the Soup broth is a sculpture of the famous painting, the crossing of the Erawaled river.

The legendary sea-ambush made on Mimbo mercenaries in the winter of the Yorbian Revolutionary war against the Kukan’yu kingdom for Yorbian independence.

Not only have the various faces of the men who row and control the boat been given detailed and different faces and expressions, but the flag itself is historical accurate and made exactly to the form of the legendary painting.

Most impressive of all however, is the extreme detail given to George Notginhsaw himself. The general of the Yorbian army.

The way he stands proud, always facing the enemy in-front of him, the intricacies of his outfit, the calm but determined look in his dough eyes as he cross the treacherous Soup broth, narrowly managing to push aside the pieces of chicken in the way to make to the other side of the bowl.

“And I thought the last dish was giving me a dirty look…” Vanilla complains.

“That’s not a dirty look! That’s a look of pride, of honor. He knows that even if he dies here and ends up in the pits of your stomach, he knows that you will never be able to consume the will of the revolution…” Ivorai states with a salute.

“I just wanted to eat some chicken soup, not the will of a revolutionary army force.” Vanilla counters.

“Don’t complain. You should be feeling proud. You get to personal taste of the unbreakable will of Yorbia. Just drink up, let the taste of freedom flow free in you.” You urge.

“Oh, I’m gonna make something flow free soon alright, don’t think it will be soup or freedom though…” She says as she takes up a spoon and drinks from the broth.

Vanilla jumps up suddenly “What the-!!” She shouts, the spoon in her hand goes flying as they go wide and quickly falls back into her soup with a splash.

The mildly hot liquid burns at your skin, “Ow! What the hell’s wrong with you!?” you ask.

She doesn’t hear the question, instead, her whole body starts shaking and spasming, the vibrations of her movement shaking the stool below.

“Ah…Ah…Ahhhhh..” all that escapes her mouth is moans, you don’t think she can see or hear anything around her, the entire world seems to be melting away from the look in her eyes.

You quickly grab her by the shoulders and speak, “Hey! What’s wrong!? Did brain get fried!? Are you having a seizure!?” you ask.

“Derrick! Derrick! This is just-! This soup is-! I can’t-!” She can barely manage to string together a sentence.

“What about the soup!? What’s wrong with it!?” You ask.

She grabs the spoon from the bowl and speaks, “You have to taste this! I can’t explain it with words! You have to feel this!” She drives the spoon forward with shaky hands.
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“What do you mean, feel the food, you can’t feel food-“ The spoon hits home in your open mouth.

As the broth hits your tastebuds, you understand.

You understand everything.


What enters your mouth can’t be described by human words, as if it’s transcended the human vocabulary, your mind goes through a year long journey of experiences in minutes.Every feeling and emotion hitting you like a tidal wave.

You feel bliss, happiness, peace, you can only describe the experience as pure euphoria, joy in it’s purest form. Even this little taste, no more than a spoonful of soup water, it’s taste is so powerful, it blows your mind away, but even so, it still works in perfect harmony with your mouth, neither overwhelming it or disappointing it.

The taste is like an explosion of feelings in your mouth, both literally and metaphorically, as it sends you falling from your stool, dropping you to the ground below.

It takes you a second to register the feeling of the ground on your back, you didn’t even realize you fell until the extreme ecstasy wore off.

It only lasted a moment, but it felt like a lifetime of joy. You get back up on your feet and look at Vanilla as you speak, “that was-I felt like- I can’t-“ You can’t find a word that suitable describes it.

However, Vanilla still nods in understanding, “Don’t worry. I know, I can’t find a word to describe it either, this food tastes like-like-“ She also struggles to find the word.

“Hahahahahahaha!” That’s when laughter wails from behind the counter.

You both face forward to see a smug look on Ivorai’s face, “I see you ungrateful plebeians have finally realized. Don’t worry yourselves, I know the exact word you’re looking for.” She states.

“The word…” Vanilla begins, “We’re looking for…” You finish.

“Yes, but first. I want an apology.” She states.

“An apology?” Vanilla questions.

“Yes. Apologize. Apologize to my food.” She states.

“Apologize to the food?” You question as you look down at your own meal.

“All this time, you both took turns insulting my food. Saying it was horrifying, Too scary to eat and the work of a hipster madwoman. But now, you both know the truth.” She lists off.
“The truth…” You and Vanilla whisper at the same time.

“Yes. You both know what word you’re looking for, the word you both refused to use until now. This meal…is ART” She raises her hands high to the sky with a shout that could reach the very heavens.

You may still be hopped up on the high from the food, but you can see a golden light shine down upon Ivorai as she makes that declaration.

“This is…” Vanilla starts.

art…” And you finish, you two have become strangely in-sync, but that maybe due to this food linking your hearts in equal amazement.

“Yes!! You two are now enlightened! Enlightened to the true majesty of ART!!!” She shouts once again, even within this sealed room, her passionate voice pours through the entire house.

Art. Just a three letter word. A word you thought only the pretentious and dirty hipsters used to sound intelligent until now.

That is,Until this moment, until you met this woman, and tasted this golden treasure of a meal. This right here is the true definition of art.

You both grab your bowls and hoist them into the air, like they’re idols of worship.

ART!!” You and Vanilla chant in tandem to Ivorai.

“Yes my new friends! You understand now! You understand ART!! Let us dine! Let us dine on the magic that is ART!!!” She shouts with the passion of a cult leader.

With that final zealous shout, you bring your food back down to the table and lose yourself in appreciation of art.
Time: 10:36PM, Night

You don’t know how much time passed, but by the time the high finally wore off and you were capable of tearing yourself away from worshipping a bowl of dead squid and rice, the sun was long gone and the sky was filled with tiny stars in it’s place.

You wander back to the living room with Vanilla, who quickly turns off and heads to the bedrooms upstairs, “What? No goodbye kiss after that amazing date?” You taunt before she leaves.

“You can kiss my foot if you want to. Today was more tiring than surviving on the mountains, I never want to see another Yorbian flag again…” She says with yawn.

You yawn as well, a soft, warm bed sounds like the best way to end the night, but you do have some business to take care of.

You need to start preparing for that music showdown in three days, and now might be a good time to practice.

What should you do?

>Go practice

>Go to bed early
>>Go practice
What the fuck is even happening

>Go practice
We only have 3 days right? We should really get some practice in whole we can, it's only 10:30

>Jam session is a go go.

You wouldn’t say it to his face, but Yaznov certainly has the upper hand in this showdown.

He's got way more practice than you and probably way better than you with every instrument. So you best take any practice you can get.

With that in mind, you head off to the recreational center.

“Where are you going?” Vanilla asks.

You turn around, slightly surprised that she stopped you, “The recreational center. Why do you ask?” You question.

“Why are you heading off to a rec center in the middle of the night? Haven’t we had enough fun? You should go to bed.” She suggests.

Her question catches your interests, “What’s this, concerned about where I’m going? Could it be…Are you worrying for me?” you ask.

“As if! I’m just kinda curious what a dumbass like you does when I’m not looking.” She states.

“I thought you didn’t care for me at all?” you ask.

“I don’t. But like…now that you know my past and the words you said to me back there…you’ve…kinda…caught my interest.” She states.

“You're interested in me as a person?” you ask.

“More like a lab rat. You’re weird, you don’t react as predictably as I thought you would. I want to…learn more about you.” She admits.

“…” You go silent.

“Begreosse was hell, so I became hellish to suit it. I took that kind of mindset with me in life, and while it’s kept me alive and my pockets full, and I meant it when I said I don’t regret a thing.

“But, this lifestyle does mean I don’t have anyone I can trust and certainly don’t have anyone I can really call a friend.” She explains.

“But then, you looked at the hellish me and told me I wasn’t as bad as I looked, that what I did wasn’t wrong, that it could be redeemed. Of course, I don’t care to redeem myself. But to be able to say that after you saw the true me is…” She can’t find the word.

“Are you saying you trust me to be your friend?” you ask.

“Get off your high horse, even if I was desperate companionship, you’re the last bastard I’d want to buddy up with.” She counters.

“but-“ she starts, “But, maybe I wouldn’t mind keeping you around. T-To study you of course! Cause you’re kinda interesting.” She admits.

>Relationship unlocked! Vanilla Clayton 1/5 (Mutual Interest) ((200 points to advancement))

That causes you to backpedal to the center of the room, “What was that?” You ask.

She jumps back with surprise at your enthusiasm, “You heard me.” She counters with an embarrassed tinge to her voice.

“Nah, sorry, didn’t quite catch that last part. Mind repeating it for me?” Of course you heard her the first time, but you think, in her own way, she just paid you a compliment.

A bright red flush takes her face, one you can’t tell is out of anger or embarrassment, “You motherfucker! You heard me! I said you were interesting, so I want to learn about you!” She shouts.
“Oh mannnnnnnn.” You say with a drawl, “I actually got you to compliment me. That’s so nice of you Vanilla!” You taunt.

“N-Nice?” That word causes her to step back a little.

“Don’t say that kinda stuff you ass! I never said anything nice you dunce! Shove it up your ass! I’m leaving!” She tirades.

Wait, that’s a pretty strong reaction, weird, this is the second time she acted weirdly to being complimented, could it be…

“Hey Vanilla.” You call for her attention.

“What is it? Can’t you see I’m trying to ditch your ass?” She asks.

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re a very sweet person?” You compliment.

“S-Sweet!? The hell are you on about!? Are you picking a fight!? I’ll end your ass right here dickbag!” She shouts.

You’ve got it! Whenever you insult her, no matter how cruel or bitter the words, she remains completely unfazed, however, when it comes to compliments, her bitter facade melts away like butter.

Maybe it’s due to her harsh past, where she heard nothing but curses and insults growing up, so her mind must be fully adapted to taking insults or hurtful words, normalizing them for her.

So when she hears the opposite, her mind goes into a panic because she doesn’t understand being treated nicely.

You can’t believe, all this time you were trying to get under her skin using insults, when you should have been messing with her by being nice! This will make an excellent bullying weakness later. You’re sure never to forget it.

You grin deviously to yourself as Vanilla stomps upstairs, “Where are you going?” you ask.

“To bed asshole! I’ve had enough of being made fun of by you!” She shouts.

“Who said I was making fun of you? I’m serious, you’re such a good person.” You compliment.

“Good!?” She nearly tumbles down the stairs in surprise, “You bastard! Now I know you’re screwing with me! I’m done, I don’t have to take this crap from you!” She hurries upstairs before you can say anything else.

But even from behind, the smile she’s trying to fight off her face is as apparent as the red on her ears, “Have a goodnight!” You shout to her.

Once she disappears upstairs. Then you finally get moving for real.

You head into the rec center. The door’s still open, even in these late hours. Once you enter inside, you see the same scenery as before, but this time, through the darkness of the night.

Even though the door is open, the overhead lights aren’t on, probably because no one’s supposed to be awake at this hour, so naturally no one’s supposed to be in here.

But even so, the stars and the moon glow brightly, illuminating the surroundings, giving them a much more peaceful, much quieter look than in the mornings.

It’s a half-moon tonight, not much, but still enough light for you to see where the edge of the massive pool is, so you don’t slip in as walk along it.
There's too many Tsunderes in my quest!

(That kinda sounds like a light novel title)
Oh. We can use this to our advantage
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It seems Landon’s wandered off, you guess he’s probably gone to bed as well, or maybe he’s broken into someone’s room and is the middle of assaulting them, both seem possible for him.

However, either way, you’re alone in this place, which is perfect, no one can hear what you’re about to do.

Through the beautiful darkness of the room, you see a light in the music, indicating it’s not too late after all.

You push through the glass doors, power through the strange switch in atmosphere and make walk right up to the grand piano.

Yaznov’s not in the room, or at-least, he’s not anywhere you can notice him, so that just leaves you and the piano to practice.

You pull up a nice stool and put yourself in front of the beautiful instrument. The black frame encasing the long strings connected to the 88 keys of the piano, 52 white, 36 black. The classic design of a modern grand piano.

Time for you to test how good you still are…

>Roll 1d100+10(Genius Derrick trait)

>No Dc, Performance scales to highest number rolled.
Rolled 30 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

It's felt like forever since we last rolled
Rolled 75 (1d100)


Well that took a while. I want say we need wait for a third roll, I have a feeling that will take us into tomorrow and I'm already pressed on time.

So I'll take this as is.

>Rolled 75

>Above average playing.

Don't wanna ne that guy but isn't it an 85 because of the +10?
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You want to do what Yaznov did and play something hard right from the onset for practice like the moonlight sonata or Claire De Lune. And while you may know the notes to those songs, you don't want to burn yourself out trying to play something so complex for practice.

So rather, you go with something more at home with your fingers, something you know by heart. One of the many jazz songs you've played at the bar, you know them all by pure muscle memory.

And that memory clearly hasn't faded, even with everything that's happened since you've left, your fingers clearly remember the feel of a good piano upon touch.

You play, play, play into the night. You give it everything you have, lose yourself in the sound of your own tune, even if you know this song by heart, it doesn't mean you know how to pour your heart into playing it.

So you do it again and again and again, for what feels like hours upon hours. but once you're done playing it for the tenth time, you check your phone to see it's only been a single hour.

The a strange feeling lingers in your fingers, like some kind of power is surging within them, one you tap into as you take to playing for another ten times, so you can refine that strange feeling into your weapon.

The one you'll win this coming music battle.

>The practice renews your musical spirit! You gain a +5 bonus when playing the piano.

The difference is minimal. A roll with no DC shouldn't be where you try and press me to boost your score.

Trust me, there's far more important and stressful rolls coming up.

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You feel an intense sense of satisfaction as you press down on that final key, you'll never get tired of this feeling. The feeling of playing every feeling in your heat out. It's an amazing stress reliever and a part of why you adore playing the piano so much.

It's the perfect tool to relay feelings without talking, you can truly put your thoughts out when you hit these keys.

Though it's far from perfect, you've only touched up on your old skill, you can get better, you'll need to come back here again if you want to truly win this contest against Yaznov.

There's also the fact that this piano is a little odd for your taste. You’re actually used to playing the older grand piano, the one with 85 keys. That’s what the one in the bar is like after-all, it’s the one part of the place you appreciate seeing every day.

That, old well-tuned, never dusty grand piano you play whenever you aren’t playing watchdog for the bar.

You once asked Maxwell why he has such an old piece of equipment in the 21st century, he told you because he got it cheap at a yard sale once. Though, for once, you felt like he was just putting on airs for you there, older piano types are not cheap in the least, they’re even more expensive than the modern ones.

Even someone running a yard sale should know to boost the price for that kind of antique.

You think he must have gotten the older kind on purpose, because they sound different. And naturally, that means they play different.

You can almost say that part of the challenge of this music night will be adapting to playing this new machine.

You check your fingers and see that it's 12:03AM now, midnight. You should really be in bed. Buttttt, maybe you can slip in one more practice session...

>2 Hours later

Time: 2:03AM, Late Night

You find your way to the second floor, you got lost in your songs and ended playing for another 2 hours.

You wander up the stairs slowly, your eyes half-closed, they feel 10 pounds heavier than usual with all the drowsiness weighing them down.

As soon as you make it up, you enter an oval-shaped room, one with hallways pointing in every direction, each with doors as far as you can see down them.

There is one odd hallway out though, one with only one door at the end of it, there’s a sign next to the entryway which reads Private Study.

You wonder for a moment if Damon is in his study, recovering from the attack this afternoon, but that thought is quickly blasted away by the image of a proper bed to sleep tonight.

You pick one of the random hallways and head down it, you presume each of these just lead to more bedrooms anyway.

And you were right, all of these rooms have numbers on them, but since Damon handed you a master’s key to the place, you really don’t have to care which number you pick. With that in mind, you wander the hallways for a bit until you see a room you like.

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>Trust me, there's far more important and stressful rolls coming up.
That is, until you hear a strange sound from one the rooms, “What the hell…?” you whisper to yourself.

This room door labelled 211 has strange noises coming from it.


Another startling loud noise, one that sounds like someone being thrown around or falling in their room.

You close in on the door, suspicious and worried, and once you get a little closer, you hear a voice.

“Young master! Please! Don’t-“ A voice you recognize to be Flourette.

“Shut your mouth and stop squirming. I’ve had enough of your unending whining.” That cold, abusive tone. That can be none other than Noell.

(What’s going on in there? knowing their relationship, it’s probably some kind of brutal abuse, but this sounds physically, rather then verbally, violent.) You think to yourself.

You close in even further and put a ear to the door to hear clearly what’s going on, “Young master, Ow! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to offend you!” Flourette shouts.

“Your entire existence is offensive. You just pushed the limit by testing me with such idiotic suggestions.” Noell counters as you hear him pick something up.

“All I did was suggest that maybe we shouldn’t spend these 8 days secluding ourselves from our new friends! You have a chance to hang out with all your new friends!” She repeats.

“And I’m telling you, the fact that you would affront me with such a disgusting idea is offensive. I’ve only gained one friend this journey, and he’ll appear whether I summon him or not.” He states.

“Even so, you can’t punish me for something so simple! What have done to anger you!?” She asks.

“Well, firstly, you had the gall to order me to associate myself with the rest of those low IQ cannon fodder, a clear insult to my intelligence.” He begins.

“Not only that, but you disobeyed a direct order from me just this morning. When I asked you to return my blade to me, you refused and scolded me. It seems the presence of these fools has risen your stupidity to all new heights, I never thought it possible, but they managed to do it.” he explains.

“They’ve made you become arrogant, unfit to be a servant. I must fix that.” He declares.

“You said yourself you were in the wrong earlier! That I was right to stop you!” She counters.

“Even so, I can’t let such behavior go unpunished. That’s why I’m going to only ask you once, put the gag on yourself, so I don’t have force it on you.” Noell orders.
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(A gag? Why the hell does Noell have a gag on him? Is he going to torture her? When she saved him earlier? I knew Noell was a heartless monster, but this is just…) You think to yourself.

“A gag? Young master are you that angry with me?” Flourette asks with a strange tone to her voice, one of quickened breath and intense focus, you assume it must be fear.

“The walls here may be sound-proof, but on the off chance someone listens in, we can’t have your screams being heard.” Noell explains as he walks over to where Flourette.

“Young master…” Those were the last words she uttered before the sounds of something clamping together shut her up and the whole room goes silent.

You have no idea what’s happening in there, but it must be painful beyond words if Noell’s the one conducting the torture. You want to walk in and save her, but the horrors you may bare witness too if you do are too much to bear.

you must retreat for now, to the safety of your own bedroom.

You utter a small prayer for Flourette, in hopes that if she doesn’t make it, at least her soul will find peace in the after-life. At least you know which room to find Noell and Flourette in now.

You decide to just pick the room 5 doors down from Noell and Flourette’s room, room 216, considering you don’t want anymore nighttime surprises.

You head inside the bedroom. Within minutes of examining the place, you can already sense a deep history coating the room like paint.

Trophies of various kinds including stuffed beasts and a chandelier made from antlers show this was the room of a proud, ambitious hunter once.

It keeps to the wooden design of the rest of the place, giving the place a very antique feeling. Antique is really the best way of describing it, it feels like you’re walking around in some old man’s memories, the way the white chairs are set-up as if to have a conversation with a good friend before a big hunt.

Or the way the mostly clean fireplace still has odd burn marks that can’t be rubbed away from all the times it was used to keep people warm in the winter. This place feels like it’s one big memory.

But it isn’t a memory concerning you, the only thing concerning you here and now, is how fluffy those bedsheets in front of you really are…?

And without another thought, you wander into the bed and before you know it, you’re off to sleep.
You wake from a dreamless sleep to the light of the sun streaming into your room, the glare of the light through the window strikes your eye, but not in overwhelming or blinding manner, it’s just strong enough to bring you a peaceful morning crawl out of bed.

Time: 8:22AM, Morning.

From the position of the sun, you guess it’s probably 8 in the morning. Moderately early, but still way too late by your standards, though you can forgive yourself this time as you didn’t sleep for an entire day and you were fighting your way down a mountain just yesterday.

You go through normal morning rituals. Early morning exercises, followed by a good bath and a spending a few minutes thinking to yourself about what you’re going to do for the rest of the day.

Thanks to that talk with Vanilla, you spent the rest of the day eating and talking. You still haven’t explored this entire place, nor have you met all the workers. You hope they aren’t nearly as eccentric as Cynthia or Ivorai.

You should check in on Bradford, or maybe train in the gym, or just find some people to hang out with, you got 7 more days in this place, there plenty of time to do what you want.

But first, you should head down to the living room for now. Decide what to do from there.

The walk towards the living room is peaceful, but the arrival, not so much. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, you notice that everyone is already awake and talking amongst themselves as they gather around the living room entrance.

From a distance, you can see Damon explaining something to everyone and whatever it is, it’s completely captured everyone’s attention, even Noell and Flourette are out and standing at attention.

(If this has Noell’s attention, this must be something about the test right? But don’t we still have 7 days?) You ask yourself.

With your attention now caught, you walk up to the gathered crowd and try to see what’s going on.
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Once you get close enough, Landon’s the first to notice you walking up from behind, he greets you with a smile, “Oh! Good morning Derrick. Sleep well?” he asks.

That catches everyone else’s attention, who each turn around and greet you in their own ways.

Etheline follows Landon’s lead in giving you a wave and a silent good morning, Vanilla waves, but with a strangely pissed off expression on her face, Rea doesn’t change expressions and simply gives you a friendly nod.

Flourette gives a friendly smile and Noell glances back at you, but doesn’t do much of anything else.

“Yeah, good morning. What’s going on here?” you ask.

“Ah, good morning Mr.Holums. We have a new guest this morning.” That’s when Damon notices you, he’s looking considerable better than yesterday, you can still see some lingering hickey marks though.

“New guest?” You ask as you move through the crowd and look to see what he means.

Or rather, you look down to see the new guest.

This new guest is interesting in a variety of ways. The way they dress is strange, their outfit is a collection of light, swaying robes that look more like a curtain then they do a piece of cloth, one that would be covering their entire bodies if their arms weren’t spread out slightly to reveal some green undershirt and sweatpants.

The entire outfit seems to emphasis on quick movement along with heat and cold resistance, something you probably should have focused on, would have made traversing that mountain a lot easier.

However, this mysterious guest two most notable features must be, firstly, the mask, which looks to be made from some strange mix of metal, glass and plastic that takes the shape of a gas mask.

You can’t see their face and the gender ambiguous nature of their outfit makes it hard to discern whether it’s a man or a woman, though you’d bet on it being a man.

Or maybe, it’d be more accurate to ask if it’s a boy or a girl. Because they’re also so short that you can’t even see them unless you bend your head half-way to the floor.

Must be somewhere between 4’1”-3’9”, and that’s a nice estimate.
“This Ronnie Burnsby. He, along with another set of 182 applicants have passed the first exam this morning.” He explains.

“Wait, 183 people came down, but only he came with you?” Etheline questions.

“I asked all of them to follow me home. But everyone but him suspected me of having some kind of ulterior motive behind my invitation and choose to either move to the next exam or find their own place to stay for the next few days.” Damon explains.

“That’s probably the fault of those Terror Twins, no can trust the examiners after the hell we’ve been put through by them.” Vanilla suspects.

Damon laughs to himself, “I don’t wish to speak ill of them. But they do have a nasty prank streak between them, so that’s fully understandable. I don’t mind being treated suspect, it shows the passing applicants have a healthy sense of caution.” Damon compliments.

“Well, even so, that’s still 183 people safe and sound from that horrible mountain. And this cute little one is with us now. So, let’s be grateful for that.” Flourette kneels down, (As she’s 3 feet taller than him), and greets him with a smile.

“Good morning little guy. What’s a cute boy like you doing in this Exam?” she asks nicely.

He gives her a peace sign and speaks, “Good morning.” He responds in a voice far deeper than you were expecting.

That causes Flourette to shoot back up to her feet from surprise, “O-Oh my, you’re not a little boy, are you?” She questions.

“Yeah. I’m actually 45.” He corrects.

“45!?” Everyone but Damon shouts.

“I know, yes, I’ve been through 20 times already. Let’s roll the laugh track for the guy who’s way too short for his age joke again.” He says with mild annoyance.

“I-I’m so sorry. I just didn’t realize. I didn’t mean to offend you!” She apologizes.

“If you’re really sorry young lady, you’ll take this advice. If you ever find someone my height again, first off, don’t kneel to greet me. Even if you thought I was a child, kneeling down to meet someone’s eye level is just pouring salt in the wound.” He states.

“Yes, I understand. So very sorry.” Flourette says with a bow.

“Stop saying sorry, I’m not even mad, you aren’t the first and you're definitely not the last person that’s gonna pull that crap on me.” He admits with a shake of his head.

“Well, when you’ve got the body size of a toddler, but the voice of 40-year old smoker, it’s kinda hard not to make fun of you.” Vanilla taunts.

“Somebody wants to die early. Do you always prey on people’s insecurities cyclops?” He questions.

She shakes her head, “Nah, that something a terrible bully does. Besides, your insecurities are so obvious that I don't think you need me to point them out.” She states.

“Man, everyone must love you. I can see this little sleepover being so much fun.” Ronnie says with a tired voice.
So are just gonna gloss over that?

>Derrick sleeping for 6 hours
Damn was hoping to catch you on that, nice attention to detail
“I don’t mean to pry, but do you mind taking off the helmet?” Landon asks.

“Sorry no. I hate showing my face to people I barely know and you never know when you might need a gas filter.” He states.

“Now that’s a bit insulting, I know we’ve only just met, but what do you have to be scared in a safe house filled with…mostly friendly people.” Landon questions, casting a quick glance at Vanilla.

“Don’t take this the wrong way boy. But I’ve seen more war in my years than peace. I’ve been in bunkers safer than this and we still got the occasional gas leak. I’ve learned never to trust places with windows or extra-sealed walls.” He explains.

“A war veteran? Where did you serve?” Rea questions.

“Cremox. And I’m still serving. I’ve just stepped off the battlefield for a minute to earn a Hunter license for some personal affairs.” He answers.

(Cremox? Isn’t that where Flourette is from?) You think to yourself.

Glancing over to her, she doesn’t seem to be reacting to that strangely to the words. You guess that means Cremox being at war must be normal, you don’t really know what goes on the other side of the world. When it comes to foreign affairs, must news is focused on the movements of Azia, the U.S.Y biggest economic rival.

So you don’t really know anything about the Federation of Ochima, is there some-kind of major war going on?

“Nevermind the dwarf. I have a question” Noell finally speaks.

“Yes, what is Mr. Cromwell?” Damon questions.

Ronnie's head perks up upon hearing that name, he stares intensely at Noell, but he doesn't say anything to him.

Noell pays him no mind and continues, “What do you mean by The passing applicants?” Noell asks.

That question catches Damon off-guard, “You mean what happened to those who didn’t pass?” he asks.

“To fail in this exam means one of two things. You either gave up and were escorted out, or you were injured or found dead.” Noell states.

That catches the interest of everyone in the room, “If you have a count of everyone who’s passed so far. You must also have a count of everyone who’s failed right? What of them?” Noell asks.

Damon glances down and fixes his glasses, “Yes, unfortunately, as of this morning, we have confirmed 1836 applicants have been eliminated. 914 by forfeit and the other 922 due to grave injuries or worse.” He explains.

“922 people hurt or worse…” Etheline whispers in a pained voice.

“And if I had to guess, those must be for the casualties they were capable of pin-pointing, I imagine quite a few missing tags are unaccounted for.” Rea adds.

“Yes, we have at least 213 tags currently destroyed or missing.” Damon confirms, though that number is actually 211, considering both Rea and your tag are still broken, you need to look into fixing that.

“That’s well over 2000 eliminated in the first test alone.” Flourette counts up painfully.
We're totally gonna get him to show us his face
“2049 to be exact.” Rea corrects.

“Yes, we can count smartass. We just didn’t want to turn people’s lives into a statistic.” Vanilla counters.

Rea quickly realizes her mistake, “Sorry.”

A grave atmosphere quickly takes over the room, no one dare utter a word.

“What are you all mourning for? Isn’t this a good thing?” Until another voice takes to the fray.

You look around to see who said that and quickly realize that it was none other than your new guest, “2049 from the 5000 thousand or so we started with. That just leaves 2951 other applicants left to get off the mountain and we can’t tell how many of them will make it. That’s a good thing, 2049 enemies were eliminated.” He states.

“What are you talking about? Over 2000 people were hurt or killed. That’s not something to celebrate.” Etheline counters.

“I never said you should celebrate it, just that you shouldn't be sad about it. Be happy that you have over 2000 less enemies at your back.” He declares.

Landon coughs to catch his attention, “Now, I don't necessarily disagree with you. If the number were a little smaller, I might have even said such things are to be expected." he starts.

"But such a high number of dead or broken spirited people is never to be something you expect nor should expect…” Landon counters in a slightly hurt voice.

“Don’t pity them. They didn't die to seek your pity. It gives them more honor to be acknowledged as enemies rather than just some random pile of dead meat. ” Donnie asks.

“I understand that. But why refer to them as your enemies? They were just random people trying to make something of themselves in this Exam. Why are they your enemy?” Rea questions.

Donnie shakes his head, “Do I have to remind you of those twin’s words when we started this? Out of the 5000 we started with, only 20 have a chance at passing.” He paraphrases.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is your enemy, in fact, doesn’t that mean we should be helping the less capable ones? That way, more people live happy and pass.” Etheline suggests.

“How nice of you girl. But you don’t understand how this works. Didn’t one of us throw out some speech explaining this, what did he say again…” He looks around the room and sees you.

He then points to you and speaks, “Yeah, that Blonde Bastard right there. He explained the whole thing, remember his speech? We can’t be helping each other out because this Exam was made to test everyone’s individual strength. Their own ability to overcome challenges.” He explains.

“Well, that’s true but…” Etheline struggles to come up with an argument.
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“Ever heard of the Pareto Principle?" Donnie asks Etheline.

Etheline casts a confused look, that’s where Rea cuts-in, “If you were to take a group of 100 people and give them the exact same job, overtime, you’ll notice that only 20 of those people are actually producing the majority of the results." She begins.

"The Remaining 80 people struggle or have to band together to make something useful of themselves. That’s what he’s talking about.” She answers.

“Bingo. It’s also called the 80/20 Principle, or the Matthew Principle if you want to get religious." He explains.

"20 out of a 100 aka 20% of the people in any group produce 80% of the result. And from the way you could answer so quickly girl, something tells me you’re probably apart of this group’s 20% yourself.” He compliments, but Rea doesn’t look pleased.

Etheline jumps back in, “Only 20% do the work while the other 80% struggle? That sounds ridiculous. That means the majority of the population is made up of useless people who do nothing, that isn’t true!” Etheline counters.

“Are you really sure about that girl? It may sound Ridiculous in theory, but it’s strikingly true in practice.” He states.

“For example, this very exam, just the first test managed to weed out over 2000 people and it isn’t even over yet. You all survived, but what is there? 7 of you? Add me and the other 100+ survivors and that still wouldn’t even make up 20% of 5000, and yet we're the only people here so far.” He states.

“That’s…” Etheline can’t argue with reality.

“Sorry to say, but I’m a heavy-handed realist. And the reality is that the Pareto principle is at work right now. Though the numbers aren’t as accurate, the concept is the same, out of this group of 5000 people, we can only expect 1000 or a little over 1000 to make it back alive and successful. Then the process will repeat over and over again until we finally reach just 20 people.” He states.

“…” Etheline can’t even find the will to speak.

“I’m sure the smarter ones of you all already know what I’m talking about. That’s what those twins were trying to tell us. That the true test of this exam is to see whether you’re capable making it into that 20%, to become 1 of the 20, or fail trying. That means everyone else is your rival, in other words, your enemies. Get it now little girl?” He taunts with a knock on of his straw hat.
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A seething rage creeps up your veins as you verbally curb-stomp your way into the conversation, “Mind repeating that, little boy?” You taunt back.

“Well you seem angry. What? she your girl or something?” He questions.

“Nah, I don’t get pissed on other people’s behalfs! I’m pissed caused you called me Blonde bastard, plus you took my speech out of context! Why can’t anyone get the message I was trying to send!?” You shout back angrily.

“What other message could you send with a speech like that? No obligation to help someone means you shouldn’t burden yourself with it. And you can’t say I’m wrong about that 80/20 principle right?” He questions.

“You’re not wrong, but you sure as hell ain’t right!” You counter, dropping slightly to his level so you can look him in the eye.

“The hell’s that supposed to mean?” he asks.

“I doubt a confrontational prick like yourself would get the real meaning of my speech, so I won’t bother with that! And just because you’re right about 80/20 rule, doesn’t give you the right to look down on everyone who tried their best, especially when you’re probably half their heights you little brat!” You counter.

“haha, very funny, aim for my height. The last 20 guys to make that joke are still eating through straws in the hospital for pulling on that low-hanging fruit." He states.

"And don’t call me a brat, I’d take a bet and say I’m 20 years older than your blonde ass and 30 years wiser.” He taunts.

“You forgot to mention 40 years shorter. And I wouldn’t call mindlessly gloating just because you passed the first test, wise.”

“Well reality will tell you that out of everyone in this exam, you and me, so far, have survived long enough to argue about dumb garbage like this. Maybe it ain’t wise, but it’s certainly realistic.” He counters.

He then steps up and gets right in your face as he keeps talking, “Want to know what else is realistic blonde boy? If you keep pressing me, I’ll be sending you to the hospital next.” He threatens.

As he closes in, you get a small insight to the look on his face behind the mask. While you can’t see his face, you can certainly make out the look in his eyes.

It’s like looking into the eyes of a corpse, cold and dead, no sign of hope, light or love anywhere inside them. You know these eyes, these are the eyes of a man who’s taken 100s of lives in years and will take a 100 more with him in death.

You feel a small bud of fear plant inside you from this, not because you find this midget even remotely intimidating, but you can’t help but be a little afraid of a man who can threaten you with fury in his voice yet no life in his eyes.

A thunderous clap resonant through the room, causing both you and Ronnie to jump up in shock.

“Is there a storm nearby, that was thunder right?” Ronnie asks.

But then you look out through the windows and see it’s a clear day outside, that’s when you trace the source of that thunder-like clap back to Damon, who’s been watching your fight transpire without interruption.

There’s no storm clouds in the sky outside, but the look in Damon’s eyes look like a coming typhoon, “That’s enough. The only area where combat is allowed is the gym, and even then, you can only fight under friendly terms in order to improve each other. I will have no fighting in this place. Is that understood?” Damon orders, his voice filled with powerful authority.

Both you and Ronnie nod out a mutual fear of Damon. For someone so nice and pacifistic, he’s extremely terrifying when he’s mad.

Damon walks over to Ronnie and pulls something out of his pocket, he then tosses it to Ronnie (Probably because he doesn’t want to kneel down to give it to him) and Ronnie catches it without issue.

He opens his hand to find a key, no different than the one you received from Damon yesterday, “This is the master key to the house. Use this to find your way around the facilities and enter your room.” He explains.

“Finally, a golden key to get away from these bleeding hearts. I’m probably not gonna need this for long though, I’m only planning on spending a day here resting up and resupplying before get out here and keep fighting.” He says as he begins to walk away.

“Bare in mind Mr.Burnsby, everyone else in this abode also holds a master key. If you or they wish, you can spend a moment connecting with anyone here and you’re free to stay as long as you want within the duration of these 7 days.” Damon suggests.

“Thanks, but no thanks for the offer, I doubt any of these guys here want to talk to me. Which is good, the feeling's mutual.” He walks through the crowd and heads off to his room.

That is, until he suddenly stops and looks back for a moment.

You believe for a second he’s staring at you and speak, “What? You want to take this to the gym, fish eyes?” You taunt.

“Shut your mouth. I ain’t looking at you.” He corrects.

You follow his gaze and see he’s actually staring at Flourette, who seems uncomfortable under his gaze, “What is it?” She asks.

“You…I know you.” He states.

You see a flinch in Flourette’s lips, she’s nervous, but for what reason, “Is that so? Perhaps you saw me during the train show? I have been told my appearance is quite striking, but don't think anything of the outfit, it's really quite nice-“

“Nah, Nah, I know you from further back. Way further back. Though, that train show reminds me, tell me. What model rifle do you use in combat?” He asks.

“…” She takes a second to answer.

“Well?” he rushes her.

“The L115A3.” She answers.
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“An AWM. I knew it. It is you. You’re the Mighty Wall Lion. Strongest Warrior in Cremox and Pride of the Black lions.” He says in an excited tone.

“….” Flourette goes silent and looks away, you can see Noell casting a strange look Flourette’s way, one you think, strange as it sounds, is concern.

“It’s an honor to meet a legend on the battlefield like yourself. Younger than me, yet you’ve done so much work, saved so many more lives. You’ve done a saint’s work Lion, truly. Thank you” He praises.

“Thank you so much for the praise. But I have to ask you, please, don’t mention that here.” She asks.

“Why? A hero like you deserves to be treated like Royalty back home.” He asks.

“I’m neither a hero, nor am I the pride of anything. I’m just a simple maid, attending to the family Cromwell. Nothing more, nothing less.” She explains.

He perks up upon hearing that, “So the rumors are true. You're a servant to family...Cromwelll now?” He says with a belligerent voice, he spits the name Cromwell out like it's a terrible curse.

“Yes. And I’m happier with my work now than what I was doing before. So, I ask that you leave me and everyone else here in peace, especially the young master.” She pleads.

“Young master?” he looks over to Noell, who casts an uncaring glance back at him.

“So, I wasn't mistaken, the dark boy there is the Cromwell’s family next prince is he?" He says with a judgmental tone, filled with disappointment.

"A Hero like you. Serving under the Cromwells like some dog. The arrogance of the kingdom of Brenho knows no limits.” He spits out.

A dark look takes Flourette’s eyes, “Please leave now, before I force you to leave myself. This is your first and final warning.” She states.

He clicks his tongue and turns around, “Look like you weren’t kidding. You’ve fallen from Mighty Wall lion straight to Measly Guard Dog." He insults.

"You’ve become a pet for the Cromwells, all because those disgusting cowards that run our government are too afraid of a bunch of madmen with swords. What a waste of talent, protecting a pathetic reject like that child.” He says with deep disgust towards Noell.

"If you keep talking, this guard dog will rip your tongue out and chew it in front while you bleed to death like the pathetic wimp you are." She threatens.

That promptly shuts Ronnie up, the darkness in Flourette's voice is so deep, it took you a second to realize she was the one who said that, not Noell.

"Useless old men like you are nothing but talk, filled with spite because you can't accept the new order. I don't care if it gets me eliminated from the exam, if you insult Noell again, I will have your head on my wall you disgusting ingrate." She threatens.
He flinches back upon hearing that, “H-Hmph. I knew being around the Cromwell's would turn you crazy, just like them." he tries to put up a brave front.

"Do I need to repeat myself?" She asks.

"Don’t worry, you won’t have to. I can clearly see that you’ve abandoned your country to serve the Cromwell’s family reject." he states.

"A sad fate, one any of your fellow country men and the members of your squad would rather die than serve. I hope you’re happy being a dog, fallen lion.” He says as he finally walks away.

"Bark, Bark, scum." She says as he crawls back up stairs.

The room once again goes silent for what feels like an eternity, “Woah. A Good goddamn Morning indeed. It feels grimmer than mortician’s office in here.” Vanilla says, astonished by the rage in Flourette's eyes.

“Ummmmmmmmm, what was all that?” Landon is the next one to break out the silence, once the shock runs out.

Etheline walks up to Flourette, a concerned look on her, “Are you okay? What did he mean by all? What’s all this about being the Pride of the Black Lions and abandoning your country?” She asks.

Flourette doesn’t even bother looking her in the eyes as she speaks, her eyes are somewhere else right now, somewhere much more dark and painful from the look in her eyes.

“I’m sorry. But I can’t answer that right now. I need…I need a moment to calm down. Young master.” She calls.

She turns to face Noell, who seems to be of a similar mind, “Of course, let’s get moving.” He walks out the front door and leaves the building.

“Wait! What’s wrong you two!? Where are you going!?” Etheline shouts.

She receives no response as the door closes behind Flourette.
Andddd, with that foreboding hint towards the truth of Noell's and Flourette's relationship with each other and their countries. I'm stopping here tonight.

Work calls again tonight and tomorrow, not 100% I'm gonna be able to post, I'm not disappearing for weeks again, but I may be gone for another day, so just warning you all now.

Might as well ask for some discussion in the interim, what do you think of the first new character of the wave that's coming soon?

What do you think of Flourette's freak out?

What do you think's Ronnie's words means?
>what do you think of the first new character of the wave that's coming soon?
Ronnie? He's an asshole and not even the funny kind like Noell or Vanilla. I'm interested enough to talk to him one more time (mainly about that stuff with Florette) cause spending time and learning more about assholes kinda seems like a theme here but I definitely wouldn't mourn his death

>What do you think of Flourette's freak out?
Ominous. Wanna learn what that was all about. We've interacted with Noell plenty and have a basic understanding of what he's all about but we don't know much about for Florette herself other than surface level stuff so I'm down to investigate

Might wanna give her some time though, don't wanna be too hasty like Etheline. I suggest we spend today like this:

Morning - Bradford
Noon - Ronnie
Night - Florette (maybe Noell if we can)

These 3 are the most likely to leave soon, possibly by tomorrow, so we should interact with them while we can and possibly convince them to stay longer. I say Bradford first because we need some time for the others to calm down. Then Ronnie because he probably needs less cool down time than Florette and cause we might be able to get some info on Florette before confronting her about it directly. Then lastly Florette (and Noell) so she's hopefully composed enough by then to not outright ignore us like she did Etheline. Might've let her sleep on it but after what just happened and the fact that Noell wants to leave asap I'm afraid they might be gone by tomorrow...

>What do you think's Ronnie's words means?
Nice grammar ;^)

>All that terrible grammer

Chirst I was tired when I posted this, I hope none of that garbage peels off for the rest of this thread.

Now then, let's continue shall we?

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Etheline can only sigh with sadness in her breath as she calms up under the fresh oppressive atmosphere.

“Jeez, it’s only the second morning and things are already getting dramatic. Can’t we all just keep this kind of thing in bedroom?” Landon asks.

“Tell me about it. It’s like everyone who walks in here is in a contest to be a slightly bigger asshole than the last. If this a joke, I'm not laughing.” Vanilla agrees.

Damon pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs, “I certainly hope not every guest who walks in here is as unpleasant as that one. Let’s all have a good day, please go about your business. I shall be in my study.” He states as he walks upstairs.

“Are you alright Etheline?” Rea asks.

“Uh…yeah, I’m okay. I think I’m just going to go to the workshop, if anyone needs me, I’ll be working there.” She says as walks slowly out of the room.

“I’m going to need to relieve some stress, and since there are no wanting ladies about, I guess the rec room will have to do.” Landon says as he heads down the left hall.

“Man, it’s like everyone has but me has a never-ending spring of energy. I need a cup of coffee and a good meal to start the day. I’m going to the mess-hall.” Vanilla sighs as she comes up with an excuse to indulge in her new addiction to Ivorai’s food.

Before you know it, everyone but you and Rea has left the room, “Well damn, what a wake-up call. Looks like today’s going to be busy as hell…” You whisper to yourself.

But just as you say that, Rea walks over, grabs your hand and slaps something into it, “Huh? The hell is this?” You ask, as you examine the object.

It turns out to be a new issue of History magazine, a well-known Yorbian news publication that often discuss current affairs, politics and celebrity life. You don’t really read magazines often enough to be a fan of theirs, so this is a strange gift.

You give Rea a curious look, “The hell are you handing me this for? Do I look like I care about politics or celebrities? Cause I don’t.” You ask.

“Neither do I. But something we both care about is on the cover. Examine it closely, it’s about time you put a face to the evil we’ll be fighting.” She states.

You look to cover and see exactly what she means.
You wonder for a moment what exactly you’re looking at, some kind of black and white photo with some smug-looking bastard sitting in a chair in his private wine cellar like a fancy twat.

The entire thing reeks of pretentious self-importance and megalomaniac-like self-aggrandizement. Pictures like these are the reason you dislike reading magazines or fame-based news publications, they treat celebrities like gods or devils depending on how much money they’re making.

You almost gag in disgust, until you see the message next to the obnoxious photo.

it’s time to enter a NEW STAGE of EVOLUTION is written next a name you know well by this point.

Soren Moon.

“The smug asshole in this picture is Soren?” You ask.

“That’s the face of the man who’s leading the CAPGRAS project and the man who’s effectively taken over the Hunter Organization. Memorize it now, it would be no exaggeration to call this man the most dangerous person on the Earth.” She explains.

“The world’s most dangerous man and our enemy…” You quickly burn the image of Soren’s face into your memory. However, at the same time, there’s something strangely familiar about him, like you know him from somewhere…

As you think this, Rea walks upstairs, “Take a read of the story pertaining to him, when you’re done doing that. You can join me upstairs to talk with Damon.” She states.

“Why are you going up to Damon?” you ask.

“I have something to ask him. It doesn’t matter if you go with me or not, but it will make what happens after much more natural looking, so I’d prefer if you did.” She states.

“What happens after?” you ask.

“I’m going to show you something that will probably change your idea of this how this world works forever. And something you will need in the coming fight against Moon Medicines. This will all start 2:00PM however, so do as you see fit after you’re done reading that magazine.” She states.

“Yeah, that’s what I was trying to do before you dropped this whole, life-changing events thing on me. I need a second to cool off, maybe I’ll join you, just go on ahead.” You suggest.

She heeds your advice and heads upstairs, leaving you completely alone.
You sigh as you walk over and take a seat on the nearest chair and open the magazine.

You flip through the stupid advertisements about beauty products for insecure men and women and experimental arthritis medicine with a higher chance of giving you a new bone disease instead curing your old one.

You skim each page until you see a keyword or photo of the bastard turns up, you stop for a moment when you see the name Soren again, but realize it’s a list for the Top 10 WEALTHIEST men and their Companies.

You never saw any point to reading about the net worth of rich people and their money grinding machines.

This kinda stuff is only enjoyed by either other rich people laughing or crying at their friend’s Jenny count in comparison to theirs or the poor who admire and admonish people living so much better than.

You’re neither of the two, you don’t measure people’s worth by the size of their wallet and you don’t care if someone has 10 extra 0s attached to their bank account. Rich people are still people, these lists tend to dehumanize them to nothing more than walking mounds of money in the form of people.

But even so you’re a bit curious since you saw Soren’s name in the list, so you stop for a second to examine the list.

You only see a handful of names you actually know or recognize like:

Eonl Musk, (Tech company owner who builds rockets and bullet train tubes, who you also heard sold flamethrowers to people as a joke.)

Mrak Zunderburg (Owner and creator of one of the worst social media sites ever created, Instabook, also you heard that he was an alien or some-kind of lizard person once.)

David Darkbloom (Computer analytics company owner, you heard he got into scandal over his servers getting hacked, leave it to some douche with a name like Darkbloom to fuck up basic data security)

The rest you have no idea about or have only about in passing conversation. The thing that really catches your eyes is the numbers next to their names, Eonl’s total net worth as a person is about 2 billion Jenny while his company comes in at 26 billion Jenny, and he’s at the bottom of the list.

The numbers just get bigger and more ridiculous as the numbers go up, starting in the billions and going up to the high trillions when you reach the top 5.

And of course, we have Soren Moon, with a net worth of 4 trillion Jenny and Moon Medicines being worth 22 trillion Jenny in worth.

That number scares, not because it’s an amount of money you could never even dream of making.

But because it means Soren has enough to not only buy or fund any project he wants, he could literally crash any economy he joins at will.

It’s scary the kind of power money gets you.
That feeling follows your through the rest of read until you finally reach the page at hand.

The first thing you see is another showy picture of Soren reaching his hand out to help the reader with a picture of the sun glowing behind him, next to it is text that reads:

Soren Moon, richest private company owner on the planet, well-known philanthropist, writer of a series of self-help and business running advice books, who has a doctorate in Pharmacy, behavioral psychology and biomedical Engineering It begins.

(Woah, whoever wrote this might as well get on their knees and unzip Soren’s pants, I hope this entire thing isn’t just the writer kissing this guy’s ass.) You think to yourself.

You skim past the list of Soren’s achievements, like the many schools and hospitals he’s built in impoverished, war-torn countries or the various charities he’s funding along and the rest of his blatant PR moves until you reach something with substance.

-Now that you know the amazing individual we’re dealing with, you should know that he has begun a project, one he says will be his greatest gift to humanity, one he says will whisk us into a new age, grant us eternal life and will improve the human condition as a whole.

(Improve the human condition? Eternal life? If you were reading about anyone other than Soren, you would’ve tossed this magazine in the fireplace for spouting this snake-oil tier bullshit.) You think to yourself.

He calls this project Qualia Ad Infimum, or the infinite Experience project. He explains that his company has found a way to transfer people’s conscious minds from one body to the next, and through the use of cloning, he has come up with a way, not only to give humanity what he describes as ‘eternal life’ but a means to reach a new stage in human evolution that will change the human condition as we know it.

(Transferring Consciousness? What the hell? Is something like that actually possible? If we could just pass our minds from one body to next before we die, in a sense, that really would be like being immortal, since you can no longer physically die. Could Soren really have found a way to do something as magical sounding as this?) You think.

History magazine reached out to Soren for further comment on how such an amazing advancement would work, which he actually responded to, the message we received explained that he couldn’t give precise details on how exactly the process of transferring consciousness or creating clones works, but he did give us this quote:

“Have faith in me and all those who work for the betterment of humanity within the ranks of Moon Medicines. This project will be the pen-ultimate work of this company and next step in the evolution of humanity as a species. Within these next 6 months, we shall bring about future where all humans, everywhere, can finally live in peace and happiness ad infinitum.” The book transcribes.
(Peace ad infinitum? You can’t tell if he’s more delusional or arrogant, just because everyone kisses his ass he thinks he’s gained the right to play God and re-write humanity, you think riding a horse that high would cause him to fall to his death.) You think.

You then read a little more and see he added a note to his quote.

“And a word to all those who would think I’m playing God or perhaps I’m riding a stupidly high horse, please I ask, even if you hate me, do not hate progress. I would never do something as arrogant as believe myself a God, I’m just a man, a man who wishes for positive change in this world.” He writes, as if reading your mind and responding directly to you.

(…That Behavioral Psychology Doctorate ain’t no joke.) You think, slightly horrified.

“You may think this all magic, something that could only be an act of God, but I beg to differ. Moon Medicines doesn’t produce magic, it creates cures, cures to diseases that plague mankind. And Believe me when I say that death has been a plague on mankind since the days we were no more than single cell organisms. But we’ve changed, we’ve become better, we’ve evolved. This is just another step in that evolution.” He assures.

(Boy, he may be an evil madman, but damn if he doesn’t have a way with words, you can see why everyone sucks up to this guy.) You reason out.

“I think we’ve all waited long enough. It’s time to enter a new stage of evolution.” He finishes.
Wow surprised you put in the effort to make that pic, kinda reminds me of something the QM of FQ would do

>However, at the same time, there’s something strangely familiar about him, like you know him from somewhere…
Well that's unsettling

>David Darkbloom (Computer analytics company owner, you heard he got into scandal over his servers getting hacked, leave it to some douche with a name like Darkbloom to fuck up basic data security)
You just couldn't help yourself could you?
The rest of the magazine is just more of the writer sucking Soren off and celebrity scandal news, so you just skim past it all and toss the thing to the table and breathe out a deep sigh.

6 months huh? Guess there’s your time limit to shut down Soren’s operation and find out the truth of what he’s doing before he rolls it out to the public.

But that brings up two problems, first of all, you still have no idea what he’s planning or just how much power he really commands.

Secondly, to get to Soren, you need the Hunter Organization, which he not only controls, but it seems he has eyes and ears everywhere, watching every strange movement or action that anyone has against him.

Taking over the Hunter Organization was an excellent move on his part, if he were to try anything dangerous behind the scenes, they would be the first people to find out about it and stop it, knowing that, he eliminated them right from the onset.

Looking at it from that sense, you can see why Rea’s so paranoid and careful, the bastard is horrifying smart and perceptive, you can see why Rea calls him dangerous.

You truly wonder what these coming months will bring the world, it seems like things only get crazier and more dangerous as time goes on.

But that shouldn’t be your main concern right now. You have many things to do, perhaps too many in fact.

The way Flourette acted a few minutes ago both interests and intimidates you. In a completely non-offensive way, you always saw Flourette as a bit of a push-over, while she certainly can defend herself, she never shouts or insults anyone and treats everyone with tender love and care, even if the feeling isn’t mutual.

But the way she threatened Ronnie was down-right terrifying, even if he was being a patronizing asshole, you’ve never seen her so angry and aggressive before, she looked like she was on the verge of ripping his child-like head off.

She and Noell both stormed off through the door, but it hasn’t been long, maybe you can catch up to them and talk about, or maybe you could go find Ronnie and ask him about it, if he’d even be willing to talk to you.

There’s also the matter of checking in on Bradford, it’s been a day and he hasn’t come stomping out the medical room looking for a fight, something’s definitely wrong.

Rea also invited you to go chat with Damon about something important, Damon is also someone you should be talking to, he’s a 2-star pro-hunter and clearly a very powerful man despite his peaceful demeanor.

Also, if you wanted too, you can request for him to send you to second test now, though you have plenty to do here, so maybe you should hold off until at least this music contest thing comes to pass.

Add all of that to the fact that you need to train at the gym, you should visit workshop to get some upgrades, you could be hanging out with any number of your new allies or preparing for the coming test.
Well, you’re only arrangement begins in the afternoon, so the morning is free.

What to do now?

How do you spend your morning?

>Go after Noell and Flourette

>Talk to Ronnie

>Meet with Damon

>Check on Bradford

>Head to workshop

>Train in the gym (Bring someone along? Y/N)

>Hang out with someone (Who?)

>Go get some rest in bed (Recover LIFE and gain Peak Performance effect)
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>Wow surprised you put in the effort to make that pic, kinda reminds me of something the QM of FQ would do.

I learn from the best anon, can't expect a good quest without putting some effort in.

>You just couldn't help yourself could you?

No, no I couldn't.

>Well that's unsettling

Evil laughter.mp3
Well shit that changes things. My other schedule idea was kinda thrown out the window since the afternoon is now taken up and it's too important to skip. I'm concerned for Bradford but the fact that we haven't heard him making a ruckus probably means he's not up right now and we can't do a lot to help him so we kinda have to leave it to the doctor for now. It's still to early to see Florette but Ronnie didn't seem nearly as emotional as she was so I guess he's probably ok even though I did want to give him some time just to be safe. Worst case scenario he tells us to fuck off and we go check on Brad.

So with that in mind I pick
>Talk to Ronnie
Sorry to keep you waiting anon, but since this choice is quite important and goes down a bunch of different paths, so I'm just waiting for at least 2 other votes.
It's cool I'm used to waiting for this quest
Aren't we already doing that in the afternoon?
I thought it was afternoon or close enough.
It's 8:00 right now so we're in the morning phase and the Rea & Damon event is in the afternoon phase at 2:00 so we have some time

>Rea & Damon event is in the afternoon phase at 2:00

Seems I didn't phrase Rea's words correctly, you and her are meeting privately at 2:00 for something special.

The Damon and Rea talk is going on right now, and she offered you to join her if you wanted, but you don't have to go.
welp back to
>meet Damon
Ohhhhh. Well in that case
>meet Damon

Well it looks like if I try and wait for a third vote, we'll be here for the rest of the year, so I'm just going to get to writing.

>Meet with Damon

You have many pressing issues, but most of them can be delayed for at least another day, that meeting between Rea and Damon is happening here and now.

And while she said you didn't have to join her, you know her well enough to know she's probably going to discuss somekind world-ending conspiracy, so you better go listen.

Thinking that, you get up from your chair and walk your way up the stairs and head right for Damon's study.

As you walk down the short hallway leading to Damon's door, you spot Rea standing in front the door with a perplexed look on her face.

You quickly catch up and speak, "Hey. Were you waiting for me?" you ask.

"No, I thought I told you didn't have to follow me. You didn't have any other pressing matters to deal with?" She asks in return.

"Well, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't, but I decided to tag along because I wanted to talk to Damon too, so why don't we do it together?" You suggest.

"That makes sense. One issue though. I can't get in." She states.

"You can't get in?" you ask.

"Damon seems to have locked his door upon entering it and no matter how loudly I knock or shout for him, the walls of this room are so sound-proof that it can't reach him." She explains.

"Is that why you're just standing here instead of going inside?" You ask.

"Why else would I stand around a door instead of entering it? I don't have that sort of free time." She answers.

"Ever the hard worker you are. Guess that means you haven't gotten one of these yet?" You ask as you pull out the master key Damon handed you yesterday.

"Is that the key Damon handed Ronnie?" She asks.

"No, it's a different one. It's strange you don't have one, I thought Damon gave one to everyone last night." You say as you put the key in the lock of the door.

"Last night? Oh, well then, it's not strange I didn't receive one. I wasn't in the house last night." Rea explains.

You turn the key and unlock the door, "What? Why? Were you having a midnight stroll through the monster-infested woods? Gotta admit, sounds like a fun night." You joke.

"In a sense, yes, that's exactly what I was doing. I'll explain why to you later, for now, let's head inside." She suggests.

You find that straight-forward answer to your joke to be a little suspicious, but you trust that Rea will give you an honest explanation later, so you comply with her words and open the door.


As the door opens, you are greeted with the smell of books fresh and old as you look to see what looks like a compact library. Strange but beautiful classical music rings throughout the small room.

The room is small, but pleasant, couches and chairs cover what little space isn't occupied by knick knacks or the large desk that looks like it'd be more at home in a bureaucrats office.

Within this small world of books, you see Damon, sitting peaceful on the nearby one-person chair, reading a book entitled In the Minds of Men and Beasts.
Oh for the love of all that is good, I hate this but I must stop for another day, urgent business. Sorry anons.
Yeah, you don't need to tell me, Running a quest with my life the way it is right now is a terrible idea, I just don't have the time to do this right.

I don't want to stop, but I fear if I don't, soon enough I won't even have the basic time to do what little I manage to put out anyway.

I need to sort this out, I know I do, seriously, sorry anons.
No it's fine I understand that you have a life just a little disappointed
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Damon finally notices you entering the room as the door closes behind you.

He brings head up from the book it was buried in and greets you both with a smile.

"Well if it isn't Mr.Holums and Ms.Meratal. What brings you to my study? Perhaps come to read up on the wildlife of this area in preparation for the next test? A wise choice." He guesses.

Rea is the first to speak, "I wish to do that as well, but there's something I want to talk to you about." She says as she walks over and takes a seat on the long couch beside the bookshelf.

"Ah, you mean the discussion we were having yesterday? I do believe I owe you a follow up for such an earnest question." He agrees.

You have no idea what they're talking about, but you take a seat next to Rea anyway since you can't back out now.

Damon closes the book in front of him, but holds his thumb between the pages he was on to ensure he doesn't lose them, "Now then, I believe last we spoke, you were asking me about my life as a career Hunter?" he recollects.

"Yes, if you don't mind me asking, how long ago did you join the organization?" She begins.

Damon puts a finger to his chin, "Hmmmm, it's been so long, I think I lost interest in keeping track, or maybe it's been so fun I got lost in it and just forget to stay wise to it. But if I had to guess, it's been 40 something years." He explains.

"That's quite a long time, have been a magical beast hunter for the entire duration of your career as a Hunter?" She asks.

"Well, I've spent my entire career hunting magical beast, but not as a magical beast hunter, that's too broad a term. There are Magical Game Hunters who are specifically tasked with killing dangerous magical beast, or Exotic beast Hunters who are tasked with discovering new forms of magical beasts and researching them..."He lists off.

"Really, the work is far too complex to be simply pinned down to Magical Beast Hunter, I only use that title as an umbrella term." He states.

"Then which variant are you?" She asks.

"All of them. I use an umbrella title because I've been on every side of the storm, it's also how I became a 2-star Hunter." He states.

"While we're on the topic of rank, Was becoming a 2-star Hunter a goal of yours?" She asks.

"Not really, while I certainly worked to be acknowledged by the Hunter Organization, gaining a rank was never a main goal. My main interests has always been and always will be the research of Magical beasts." He answers.

"Though I have to admit I was quite proud to earn such a high position when I got it 30 years ago. But nowadays, with the new leaders in charge, my stars are just an indicator of how much paperwork I have to sort out." He tacks on as he points to the noticeable mound of papers and documents piled on his desk.
You silently watch this exchange go on for a few minutes, you can't really figure Rea's intent here, is she trying to dig up info on Moon Medicines somehow? Considering Damon was apart of the Hunter organization before the merger, it is possible he knows something we don't.

However, the conversation doesn't ever stray or go anywhere dangerous or strange, it's normal almost the entire way through, until you heard this question.

"Damon, I have a favor to ask of you." Rea states.

"Hm? Go ahead, if you're having trouble, I'll do everything in my power to aid you." He answer.

"No, it's not a personal issue, rather, it's a matter of curiosity and I must admit, it's rather petty-" Rea's talking unusually fast here, strange, she only does this when she's so embarrassed that she can barely even think.

Damon holds a hand out to calm her, also noticing the strange change in behavior.

"If it's bothering you enough to ask an old man like me for help, it can't be that petty. What is it?" he asks.

"Well...I'd like you to tell me about your experiences as a Hunter." She requests.

Damon gives a confused expression, "What is that it? I was expecting you to ask for money or advice on how to become a great hunter. Which I'm willing to give away both as long as you don't ask for too much." He states.

"No, no, that won't be necessary. I'm just curious is all, in your 40 years researching beasts, what have you learnt? What have you seen? I'd be very grateful to hear as much as you're willing to tell me." She asks gracefully.

Damon laughs out-loud upon hearing Rea's request.

"Is that too much to ask?" Rea asks nervously.

"No, no. You just made this old man happy to hear there's some asking me to share old glory tales with them. Imagine if every old person had sweet youth like yourself asking them to prattle on about the past." He answers with another laugh.

"I see, then, begin wherever and whenever you see fit." Rea states, leaning in closer with anticipation.

"Fair warning, I love to babble and go on tangents when I share stories, you may be here for a while." He warns.

"That's fine, I kind of hope you do in-fact." She counters.

"Oh you really are the best! Well then, I guess I should start with my first mission..."

After that, he goes into great detail about every Magical beast he's encountered and every single mission he's been during his younger days.

He prattles on about beast huge and tiny, milquetoast and perplexing, ones with the power to level cities in a single attacks to others that couldn't chip the flesh off a fruit fly even if it tried.

A lot it is actually very interesting, you learn much about the nature of Magical beasts, and even a bit about the Magical beasts in the Numere wetlands which you'll have to be dealing with soon.

>Numere Wetlands Knowledge gained! All rolls done within this area will know grant a +5 bonus.
Though he wasn't kidding about the tangents and babbling, he has to give complete context to every adventure he talks about.

He talks about the partners he's worked with extremely fondly and you've learned all 22 of their names and faces as he very clearly and very frequently re-described to ensure you didn't forget them.

He also has this annoying tendency to try and crack a joke into every story to spice them up, and despite the fact that both of you haven't laughed at even one of them, he still continues to make them, presumably for his own amusement.

About 3 or so hours into this strange story time, you begin to fade in and out of sleep due to how long this is lasting, you should have heeded his early warning and left...

"-So as we explored the ancient ruins, we came upon this cliff that dived to the deepest bowels of the earth, so Rina, you remember her right? She was the beautiful and brave dare-devil who joined the Hunter Organization to bring money back to her poor house, she was such a great lady-" He describes Rina for the 23rd time now.

"Now we were all naturally scared of the death pit, but Rina, ohhhh, Rina, she wouldn't dare act frightened in front of us, she said we were cowards for thinking that mini-drop was horrifying, now Rina just loved to make fun of us all the time, I remember this other time-" He goes on yet another tangent, this time you intentionally let the sleep take you for a few minutes so you can tune this story out, since it's only the 12th time he's told it.

"-So then, We dared Rina to jump into the death pit to see how brave she really is. And guess what? She actually did it! The absolute madwoman!" Damon says with uproarious laughter, which is good for masking the fact that neither you nor Rea is laughing.

"Turns out she was right about the depth of that hole, it wasn't deep enough to kill us, but everyone started calling her Lady Bumleg after that so-" He states.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but can I ask a question?" Rea cuts-in.

The sound of a voice other than Damon's is so new and foreign to you that it actually snaps you out of your sleepy haze and brings you back to focus.

"Hm? I was just getting to the part where my friend Uvelt knocked out the senator for making fun of his accent when he was trying to explain Magical Beast rights too. What is it?" He asks.

"These stories have been very educational and I'm grateful you shared them. But I can see that you're dancing around the main topic." Rea accuses.

Damon's eyes narrow, "Main topic? What main topic?" He asks.

"These tangents and strange jokes are all to avoid having to talk about your less heroic missions. You want to avoid talking about the more gruesome things you've done. I can see that." Rea states.
Damon's elated expression fades and a dark frown replaces it instead, "Now what could you mean? I believe you asked me for my adventures. And we were having such a fun time talking about my fun with friends. In-fact, why don't I continue with the time my good friend and sworn rival Baro dueled with a rubber sword over the heart of a princess who was actually his cousin, first removed mind you, but still disgusting in my opinion-"

"Please don't dodge the question." Rea calls out.

"..." Damon goes silent.

"When we first started this conversation, we talked about the various jobs of a magical beast hunter and how you've done them all. One of them is Magical Game Hunter correct?" She asks.

Damon adjusts his head lower and speaks with a sigh, "A good assessment. What of it?" He asks.

"It means you there are stories you're not telling us. One much darker and much more gruesome than the ones we're hearing now, and yet you haven't told us even one." Rea points.

"Yes, you are correct. I presumed when you wanted to hear my tales of glory, you wanted to hear my grand ones, not my dark ones." He states.

"I'm sorry to say this, but don't treat us like children." Rea demands.

"..."Damon goes silent again.

"I know we're both inexperienced, but we've seen and heard death, felt it with our own two hands. We can handle a little darkness with the light." Rea states.

"Why do you even seek this knowledge? This seems like more than a little curiosity by this point." Damon questions.

"It really is just curiosity, it's just that I need to know both sides, I don't want a filtered story of happy endings and nice places. I want the good with the bad, that's the only way my curiosity will be sated. So please, tell me at least one tale from your darker adventures." She pleads.

Damon sighs once again, "You are correct. You are correct, but that doesn't mean I have to answer your question." He states

"What?" Rea questions.

"I'm sorry, but even if you're prepared to receive, I'm not prepared to share. We aren't that close you see, I like to give, but with certain limits of course, this is one them." Damon explains.

"Ah yes, of course, that's perfectly reasonable. I'm sorry, I went overboard there." Rea states.

"No, no, such a passion for learning is perfectly health for youth your age. I think you may just need to pick what you learn more effectively." Damon states.

"There are some things in this world that you think you can handle learning, until you learn the burden of carrying that knowledge with you everywhere you go. I believe knowledge is humanity's greatest tool and also it's greatest weakness." Damon states.

"Why is that?"

"knowledge is the key to Humanity learning the great secrets of the universe, which is why it's a great tool. It is also a great weakness in that, to become knowledgeable about something is to never be ignorant about it every again. Believe me when I say that's more horrifying than words can describe."
It may not be much, but please take these posts as something of an apology for ending so abruptly yesterday. I will heading out soon, so this is the best I could put out.
Thank you God-sama this will do just fine. I have some catching up to do I guess
>Perhaps come to read up on the wildlife of this area in preparation for the next test? A wise choice."
Best boy Damon is dropping hints for us. Now we know that the next phase will probably have something to do with wildlife. We should keep that in mind, maybe we could upgrade our bow just in case it requires hunting these animals

>over the heart of a princess who was actually his cousin, first removed mind you, but still disgusting in my opinion-"
At least that one was subtle
While those words seem slightly confusing, they also seem pretty damn decisive, you can't tell what Rea was trying to achieve here, but it seems she failed and all you've done is be a fly on the wall, privy to it all.

"If you want to hear more about my tales with my good friends, you're free too anytime. Otherwise, it's best you read or a book or leave. I have interesting material to read myself." He says, re-opening his book.

"I understand, but can I ask one final question?" Rea asks.

"What is it?"

"What's that book you're reading about?" Rea questions.

"Oh, this? This is a good philosophy book written by an ex-communicated actor from the kingdom of Coizam." He answers.

"Coizam?" You finally speak up.

“Ah, so the young man does have a voice, I was beginning to wonder if you had gone mute.” Damon jokes.

“It’s kinda hard to talk when you can barely stay awake for the conversation. What’s this Coizam place?” You ask.

"It's a large nation that's a part of the Federation of Ochima, it's famous for cultivating the world's best actors and producing some of the greatest movies ever made." He begins.

"It's another grand tale how exactly I procured this book and how I managed to find that excommunicated actor, but I won't bore you with that extra information, this old man has kept has held your ears for long enough." He states.

"Movies and actors huh? So, their like a red-carpet nation, cool, but what kingdom nowadays practices excommunication? I thought all the Theological states failed.” You ask.

“Well, Coizam isn’t a Theological state, but it does practice excommunication, not in a religious sense though, specifically for failed actors.” He begins.
“The hell? So, an excommunicated actor wrote a book on philosophy?” You ask.

“A very good one, I don’t want to purport myself to be somekind of high-end intellectual, but I do enjoy reading philosophical literature, it gives me new perspectives to view the world from, makes it that much more interesting to live in.” He explains.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s it about?” Rea questions.

“Are you asking me for a book review? Well now that sounds fun, though bare in mind, I haven’t finished it, but I think I found the central message.” He starts.

“So, the book is about a hypothetical scenario where men and beasts have switched places in nature. Where the animals we look see as stupid or simple, fit only to live in the wilderness, have become creators a society not too different from our own, while we humans now live in the wild, barely capable of making clothing or even speaking.” He summarizes the basic plot.

“So the animals live like humans and the humans live like animals? Sounds interesting, but that would never happen, humans and beasts are nothing alike.” You claim.

“Is that really what you think Mr.Holums? We and the beasts of the wild aren’t actually that different you know.” He states

“How’s that?” you ask.

“Tell me Mr.Holums, what makes humans and beasts so different? Give me one example of the difference between man and beast.” He asks.

>What do you say?

>We have technology, they don’t

>We are self-aware, they aren’t

>We have society, they don’t

>We have hearts, they don’t
We're philosophical.

>We're philosophical

"We have philosophy. they don't." You answer.

"Oh? What do you mean by that." He asks in turn.

"We're capable of deeper thought, of seeing the universe in terms other than literal. Where an beast sees a tree as pile of bark and wood, we see a source of life and air, where a beast sees the sky as a big open blue expanse, we see an infinite horizon. Where a beast sees life as a series of events, we see life as time as an infinite number of possibilities." You state.

"Ah, you do well to earn your nickname. You truly sound like a wise man, and you bring up a very good point. Beasts cannot see the world in any other form but literal, they can't see things in complex ways." He concedes.

"However, there is another way that beast differ from men. That is, we have altruism and they don't. That's the central idea of this book." Damon presents.

"What? That doesn't sound right, animals can be selfless, there's tons of examples of that. Like cats throwing themselves in-front of rabid dogs to save their kids, or dogs running into
burning buildings to save their owners." You counter.

"That's where you're wrong. That isn't altruism." Damon declares.

"How's that?" you ask.

"When a cat saves it's own children from the danger. Would it do that for another animal's children? Would it put it's life on the line to save a set of puppies that it had involvement with?" He asks.

"Well...no." You concede.

"And when a dog runs into danger to save the life of it's owner, is it doing so because he doesn't want someone to die? Or because it's aware that if it's owner dies, it's soon to follow? Would that same dog rush back into the burning building after saving it's owner to save anyone else that might be in there?" He questions.

"I can't say...it would." you agree.

"Animals have a deeper sense of empathy than we realize, but they are far from being capable of altruism. A cat will save it's young because a part of it's brain is programmed to protect it's off-spring at all costs, not because it chooses to. A dog may choose to risk it's life to save a person, but can we really say it doesn't have an selfish intent behind it's action?" Damon questions.

"...Damn, you've got me there. I can't prove that." You concede.

"That's what the book is trying to say. In this book, despite the beasts having the same level of intelligence as us, the same inequalities and unfairness that's prevalent in the wild manifest themselves in their advanced society." He explains.

"Beasts are purely pragmatic, they don't create charities because they don't care about others suffering from poverty, which leads to an increase in crime, which is solved through the creation of an oppressive regime, where the government uses power to control the citizens rather than order." Damon explains..
Damn. Missed the vote but that's a good answer

>"Ah, you do well to earn your nickname. You truly sound like a wise man
Oh yeah I forgot that people call Derrick "The Wiseman of war" or something like that
"Even with higher intelligence, technology, government, law and order and other things human posses. The beasts continue to act the same way, acting only in their self-interests, destroying others who don't follow the pack-mentality, turning a well-built society into a dog-eat-dog world, no different than the wild." Damon explains.

"So basically, even if you give a monkey a tuxedo and teach it how to run a business, it doesn't change the fact that it's a shit-flinging animal, is what you're trying to say." You state

Damon laughs out loud, "Well, I wouldn't use such strong words, but yes, that's it exactly what the book is trying to say." He agrees.

"And what of the humans? What changed on their side?" Rea questions.

"In direct contrast with the intelligent beasts, the humans lack any technology, have become completely decentralized and live in the wild the same way animals do." He begins.

"However, they live much more peaceful lives, even in their terrible state, where they are subject to the forces of nature, they are capable of banding together to ensure survival, because they have the ability to practice altruism." Damon explains.

"Band together? Even though they're savages?" You ask.

"Yes. Even if they have no technology, the humans are capable of saving each other from dangerous people or death from natural force by practicing true self-sacrifice." Damon explains.

"True self-sacrifice?" Rea questions.

"They put themselves in harms way to save humans they have nothing to do with. People, swim through Rapids to save children from other families, they give food they don't need to other less fortunate, or less capable humans, expecting nothing in return. This in turn leads to those same people aiding them when they're in need of help." He explains.

"So because the humans were willing to put their own lives at stake for each other, they can survive by banding together while the beasts fall apart because their too pragmatic." Rea understands.

"Exactly. The humans prosper in the wild with what little they have, while the beast's society falls apart, destroyed by the inability to put someone other then themselves first." Damon concludes.

"Huh. Never thought about it like that, but the book's right, society works because we're willing to lend a helping hand to our neighbors when times are tough, because we know they'd do the same for us." You state.

"Well, I haven't finished the book yet, so there may be something more I can't see, but as far as I've gotten, this is the message the book is trying to send, you'll have to come back to me if you want my final thoughts." Damon corrects.

"That won't be necessary. I thank for the time you've shared with us." Rea says as she gets up and bows politely to Damon.

"No need for that. And are you leaving now? Are you share you don't want me to recommend a book for you or tell you another story?" Damon asks, sounding a little disappointed.
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"I would love that. But me and Derrick have to be going. We have an arrangement. We can't miss it. Let's get moving." Rea says as she walks towards the door.

You give Damon a polite wave and catch up to Rea as she exits out the room, "Have a good day you two! That was an excellent talk." Damon waves back.

You both exit the room and start walking down the hall as you speak, “So, I can’t help but notice a distinct lack of any conspiracies involving the fate of the world in there, do you think Damon’s a Moon agent or something?” You ask.

She looks at you strangely, “No, not in the slightest. In-fact, I’d even say he’s hates Moon Medicines and this merger just as much as we do. He’d make a good ally if things were a little different.” She answers.

“What? Then why’d we take-“You pull out your phone and check the time, you see it’s 1:26 PM, “Over 5 hours to talk about books and magical beasts? What were you trying to do?” you ask.

“Hm? Weren’t you listening inside? I was sating my curiosity. His stories were very interesting, if we didn’t have our meeting in an hour, I would have kept listening for another 3 hours before I had to eat.” She answers.

“Seriously? You just wanted to have a causal chat someone cause you’d thought it be cool?” You question.

“Is that strange? I told you before I left that you didn’t need to come with me if you didn’t want too. Do you really believe I’d discuss something with a stranger and not bring you along?” She asks in turn.

“Damn-well, I mean-“ You struggle to counter such basic logic.

“What is it? Did you believe my only interest in life was destroying Moon Medicines?” She asks.

“If I had to be honest, yes. Yes I did.” You answer bluntly.

She lets out an annoyed sigh, “Well, it’s good that this experience will tell you otherwise. Despite my serious and, admittedly, uptight behavior. Not everything I do has some grander meaning to it, not everything I do for some massive plan. Even I have things I do simply for the enjoyment of it.” She states.

“You listen to old people stories for fun?” you ask.

“It’s not just that. I like to hear of people’s experiences. I spent most of my life stuck in a lab, where everything I saw all day was white walls and dead-eyed people." She begins, looking down at the hard wooden floor.

"No feelings, no expressions, no heart or soul behind anything, just numbers and experiments to be done before eating bland food and going to sleep because there was nothing else to do.” She explains.
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“Is that the kind of life they subjected you to at Moon Medicines?” you ask.

“Yes. But there was a man who helped me escape all that, who let me know the world was much more vast than the white walls of a research facility. He isn’t here anymore, but to honor his memory, I decided that I would write a book.” She answers.

“A book?” you question.

“Yes. I haven’t decided on the title yet, but it will be a book about this world and every single thing I learned about it. People, animals, landscapes, nations…anything I find interesting, I’m going to write and attempt to publish.” She explains.

“I see. So, you want to be a writer after you’re done destroying one of the most powerful business on the face of the planet.” You summarize.

“Yes, while destroying Soren and his plans is my ultimate and primary goal, I do have things I aspire for outside of that. the tales Damon shared will be valuable for later use. I was sad he wouldn’t share his darker stories with me though.” She states.

You laugh a bit at that response.

“What is it, did I say something amusing?” she asks.

“No, it’s just that, you gave that long-winded explanation and made up this meeting to be some big event, all just to show that you have a hobby. I just found that funny as hell.” You say with a smile.

A tiny flash of flush passes over Rea’s face, “I don’t like the way you said that, but yes, even I have a hobby.” She finishes.

You can't help but smile at that reaction, that's the first time you've ever gotten to blush outwardly.

Is this a sign you've become close enough that she isn't afraid to show her human side around you? Or maybe you've just gotten that good at playing with her head?

Either way, that reaction warms your heart so much you don't even care to think about it.

"Hey Derrick." Rea calls in a quiet voice.

"What is it?" You ask.

"Thanks for staying with me for so long."

"What? You mean those 5 hours, ah, that's nothing, don't even think about it."

"No, I mean for this entire adventure." She corrects.

"hm?" You whisper.

"I know I haven't been the most honest, or the most caring. But I...appreciate you staying by my side regardless, you made my lonely fight a little less quiet." She states.

"Because I'm loud?" You joke.

"Because you're there." She answers seriously.

That honest gratitude causes you to be the one blushing now, "Y-You're welcome." you stutter a bit.

"I trust that you'll stand by me? All the way through to the end?" She asks.

That question brings a smile to your face that cuts through the blush, "You bet." You answer.

She turns to you with a smile on her face, the first one she's ever willingly shown you,

"Thank you." She says again.

>100 points gained for Rea Springfield! 500 till advancement!
>“I have something to ask him. It doesn’t matter if you go with me or not, but it will make what happens after much more natural looking, so I’d prefer if you did.” She states.
But if she just did that because she was interested, then what did she mean when she said what happens next will be more natural-looking?
By the end of your walk and talk, you both stand at the front entrance of the house, Rea reaches for the door and opens it wide, “We’re heading outside?” you ask.

“I can’t show this to you where other people could hear or see us. We won’t be going far, but we need to find a secluded location in the woods.” She says as she steps outside.

You follow suit and begin a small trek into the woods.

The forest surrounding the Numere wetlands are thick and dense with trees, dead leaves cover the soft dirt below your feet like a sheet, water flows through sections of the ground while the sun peeks out from the treeline above, giving the area a cool yet warm sort of feeling as you go deeper and deeper within.

Time: 2:02 PM, Early Afternoon

It takes little under an hour to find a good spot far away from the house, a few large rocks scatter the area and the trees aren’t nearly as dense.

Rea stops walking once she reaches the center of the area and speaks, “This place should do. It’s time I show you my secret weapon.” She states.

“Huh? You mean that thing you used in the Barry’s town fight? I thought you said you didn’t trust me enough to show it.” You state.

She turns to face you, “Well, things have changed, we made an agreement and there’s no need to hide anything from each other anymore. Since you've shown your faith in me, allow me to show my faith in you.” She returns.

“So, what is this strange weapon anyway? A like that Phosphorus Pistol? More nanomachine tech?” you guess

She turns around and speaks, “Tell me Derrick. Have you noticed anything strange since you started this exam?” She asks.

“Anything strange? Yeah, tons of stuff, you included, where do you want me to begin.” You answer.

Rea gives you a confused look, “Okay, let me re-phrase the question. Have you seen anything supernatural since you started this exam?” She asks instead.

“Supernatural? You mean like ghosts and magic?” you question.

“Exactly so.” She answers.

You give her a confused look, “I didn’t know you’d be into occult stuff. Another hobby of yours?” You ask.

“Just answer the question.” She says with an annoyed face.

“Hmmmm…” You think back on the events of everything that’s happened, nothing particularly stands out, until you recall your time on the train show.

“Ah! There was this strange time where I was fighting against Christina and Vanilla and I was sure we were beating them, until they suddenly got way tougher, almost like they were made of steel.” You answer.
“Anything else?” She asks.

“Well, there was also a time where Christina threatened to kill me by using her fingers like a knife to slit my throat. I thought it was a stupid bluff, but the force behind her grip was inhuman, so I couldn’t escape without help from Landon.” You tack-on.

“I see. So, you’ve come in contact with Nen before.” She states

“Nen? The hell is Nen?” You ask.

“It’s the force that let Christina have such overwhelming power and defense. Or maybe it would be more accurate to call it a form of energy that exists in every living being, but only some people are capable of tapping into it.” She explains.

“That doesn’t really tell me anything. Are you saying it’s like martial arts magic? That sounds like bullshit.” You state.

“It may sound ridiculous, but you’ve come in contact with it, so you can’t deny it exists. It is something like magic, it has no scientific explanation, but it Christina and Vanilla already posses some degree of control over it.” She counters.

“Are you saying Vanilla’s a magician? What happened on the train was extremely weird, but I doubt magic is the only possible explanation. I was on all kinds of drugs back then, so maybe I was just way weaker than usual.” You purpose.

“She’s not a magician, she’s a Nen user, a rather subtle one, she makes sure she’s always in a state of zetsu to make sure no one realizes, but from your explanation, the facts cannot be denied." She counters.

"Nen is an extremely powerful energy that everyone posses but barely anyone knows, as the power presented by Nen could bring as much catastrophe and evil as it does justice and good.” She declares.

Zetsu? That doesn’t even sound like a real word. Are you screwing with me? Is this your idea of a joke?” You ask.

“This is no joke Derrick. This is never to be disclosed to the public, if you ever let this become public knowledge, it would be no different than bringing society or perhaps even the world as we know to a permanent end. Those who possess this ability holds massive strength and equally massive responsibility. I want to be sure you understand that before I show you my secret weapon. Are you ready?” She asks.



Let's go baby
Oh shit it's fucking time! I've curious to find out more about that monster she controls forever now

>“Zetsu? That doesn’t even sound like a real word. Are you screwing with me? Is this your idea of a joke?” You ask.
I wonder how long it'll take Derrick to realize that he unknowingly has Zetsu


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You want to say this all sounds like a magic fantasy, something that can't be explained through science? Everyone has it but barely anyone knows it? It could end the world as we know it forever?

It all sounds like some stupid set-up for one of the japponese cartoons you used to watch. But even so, there's no way Rea would go this far for a stupid joke, and the things she describes do line-up with what you experienced back on the train...

"Fine, I'll say this isn't a complete load of garbage yet. But I want some physical proof? How does Nen even work? Does it just make you into a walking tank or something?" You ask.

"That's an application of Nen, called Ten or the extreme version called Ren, both are used defensively, though I can't tell which you experienced considering I don't know how powerful Vanilla or Christina is." She answers.

"An application? Not the main point? Just how much can you do with Nen?" You question.

"More than me or you could possibly imagine. There are many principals and abilities that make up even the most basic of Nen abilities." She begins.

"You have Go which is used for seeing things that the naked eye couldn't perceive without it, Inan advanced form of Zetsu which can be used to hide specific parts of your Nen from other Nen users, or we have-"

You shake your hands rapidly to stop her, "Hold on! Hold on! What does half of that stuff even mean!? You can't me advanced forms of stuff when you haven't even explained the basics!" You cut her off.

"Ah, true, well I was trying to show you that I'm not making this up as I go through, this is very real and a very real threat you will have to combat in the coming days." She declares.

"Okay then, how about you start with something explaining what the hell Nen even is." You ask.

"Nen is an energy made up by your lifeforce. All living things posses Nen, whether they realize it or not, Nen users are capable of manipulating this energy and using it to do physics defying feats." She explains.

"Physics defying feats?" You ask.

"Like creating an object from nothing, enhancing their physical strength and defense, transmuting chemical elements from thin air, physically manipulating objects or people, creating blasts made from pure energy or even being capable of doing things that could only be described as pure magic." She lists off.

"This is getting harder to follow by the second..." You say that, but you can swear you've heard explanation like this somewhere before, recently too, but you can't remember it.

"Those are the basic categories that Nen users are separated into: Enhancers, Transmuters, Manipulators, Conjurers, Emitters and Specialists. Do you understand?" She asks.
"Barely. So, this Nen stuff is made up by, uh, lifeforce, whatever that is, and Nen users are capable of using it to perform all kinds of magical shit. That's it right?" You ask.

"...Basically." Rea decides to leave your understanding where it's at.

"So that's the baseline of Nen, what else you got?" you ask.

"Well, there's the various applications that every Nen user can use regardless of category. Do you wish to hear of those?" She asks.

"I don't know even know what I want to hear anymore. But sure...let's go with, uhhhhh, Zetsu, what even is that? What do you mean by hide your Nen? How do you hide Lifeforce" You ask.

"Nen exists within every living thing, but the reason every living person isn't aware of it, is because their Nen is locked off by their pores, your body is intentionally cutting off the flow of your Nen, because if it were flowing out of your body while you weren't aware of it, you would die of exhaustion within minutes." She begins.

"Okay, that explains why no one knows anything about it. What's Zetsu got to do with that?" You ask.

"After a Nen user unlocks their pores and gains control of their Nen, you still have the ability to intentional lock your pores again, forcing your Nen back into your body. That is Zetsu, the ability to restrict your Nen." She explains.

"And why would you want to stop letting your Nen out? From the sounds of it, the stuff makes you basically invincible. Why turn it off for even a second?" You ask.

"There's a multitude of reasons really. But the mains are that: 1. Nen isn't an unlimited resource, it's dependent on stamina and strength, if you're running low but still pushing out more power, you'll die of exhaustion, 2.If you want to hide from other Nen users." She answers.

"Hide from other Nen users?" you question.

"Nen users can detect Nen in the air, having your Nen out at all times is physically draining and leaves you open to detection by other Nen users."
"Well, Zetsu is notable because even non-Nen user can use it. Albeit unintentionally." Rea tacks on.

"Unintentionally use it? I thought the pores of normal people are already locked off, how can you use it unintentionally?" You ask.

"Well, even locked off, small bits of Nen exude from everybody, it so Nen-users can always detect where normal people are, even when they're miles away from them. It also means that highly trained people can detect others even when they're perfectly silent." She explains.

"Makes sense, so if someone were to unintentionally use Zetsu, they'd be able to hide perfectly even from professional trackers?" You ask.

"Yes. But that depends on how much control over one's Nen the person has, usually, only people we call Nen Geniuses are capable of suppressing their inherent Nen without knowing about. " She confirms.

(Huh, that kinda reminds you of what happened during Barry's Town, when you were hiding from Blackwood, you calmed yourself and were capable of hiding from until the moment you ambushed him, you felt more quiet than you've ever been in your life there, and you're talking about more than the sounds you let out, it's like your very presence was disappearing into thin air.) You recall.

"Okay, okay. You've made your point about how complex this all is. But you still have yet to provide any physical proof." You state.

"Want kind of physical proof do you want?" She asks.

"You said Vanilla and Christina's strength came from their Nen, I've seen that, that's real. But all this stuff about conjuring and manipulating and emitting, I haven't seen any of that. How do I know you're not bullshiting about that?" you ask.

"Ah, what you mean is want to see my Hatsu" Rea corrects.

"Ah great, more random words I'm just supposed to know. How about you show rather than tell?" You demand.

"Fine. I said I wanted to show you my secret weapon anyway. Allow me to show the unstoppable force that is Nen." She proclaims as she brings her hand up and points to you.

You wait for a few seconds, expecting some kind of magical spell or random explosion nearby, but nothing happens.

"What the hell? Nothing's happening. Were really just fucking with me?" You ask, slightly pissed that this all turned out to be some practical joke.

"Try and move your body." She orders while still pointing at you.

"Okay, still going with this huh? Here, I'll move my han-Huh?" You attempt to bring up your right hand, but you can't, no matter how hard you try, it won't move from the position it's in.


"Huh? What the hell!? What's happening to me!?" You shout out, slightly panicking, trying and failing to move any part of your body, except for your mouth.

"Don't be afraid. This is my Hatsu, or if don't like that word, you can just call this my special ability." She assures.
"You can freeze people in place? Is this what Christina used on me?" You ask, remembering that time Christina held you still back during the train show while she interrogated you.

"Probably, we both have the same Hatsu after all. But no, my ability isn't that simple." She answers.

"Isn't that simple?" You question as you try even now to break out from this magical hold.

"Right now, there's a spirit-like entity on your back, it's holding you down with it's strength and preventing you from moving your arms and legs." She explains.

"A spirit-like entity? On my back?" Just the sound of that sends chills down your spine, there's something latched onto your back, right now and you can't even turn your neck to see it.

Rea moves her hand from you and then points at one of the nearby trees. You suddenly fully regain control of your body, you fall to your knees, breathing gasps of relief to have control over your body again.

"O-Oh god, that was...Okay, I believe you now." You say, slowly rising back to your feet,

But Rea doesn't look back at you, instead focusing on pointing at that tree with a strange kind of anger in her eyes.

"Rea?" you ask, slightly afraid.

She speaks without looking back at you, "No you don't. You've still got doubts right? Let me show you what else it can do!" She exclaims as points two fingers, mimicking the shape of a knife.

She then violently swipes that knife through the air, as if cutting the tree in front of her with it.


And just like that, a sudden, ear-splitting crunch rings through the air, the tree beside you shakes a moment, before it comes crashing down, nearly crushing you before it lands.

You jump out of the way and as you land, you notice the tree has been bisected down the middle, separating the tree into two different, perfectly cut logs.

"What the actual hell..." Even a Breater couldn't destroy trees this easily, nor could it do it in such a perfectly precise manner.

"Now how about this!" Rea exclaims as she points at the split logs and swipes her hand rapidly.

The already destroyed tree is cut into thousands upon thousands of pieces in a matter of seconds.

It goes from 2 large logs, to 12 medium sized logs, to 24 small-sized logs, to 48 tiny sticks.

Eventually, the once great tree is reduced to nothing but a pile saw-dust, if anyone passed by now, they'd wonder if a tree was ever here in the first place.

"Holy fucking shit..." Is all you can say, she did brought more environmental damage than a wood-chipper.

"You want more than this right!? Watch this!"She shout violently.

She points at a nearby boulder, large and solid, it would take a powerful wrecking ball to even topple that beast of a rock.


And just like that, a massive boulder is turned into a pile of pebbles, faster than the dust off the explosion could even settle.
"I can do even more than this! Keep watching!" She demands as she turns every tree and rock in the area to a pile of dust and dirt.

"uhhhh, Rea, I-"

"Shut up and watch!" She shouts without even looking at you, focusing purely on destroying everything around her.

(What the hell is wrong with her? Rea never shouts, she never gets this emotional, she made her point a long time ago. What's happening to her)

What should you do?

>Move in and stop her

>Wait for her to calm down
>RHEA CALM DOWN! Shit you're starting to scare me.
>Try to get her to snap out of it without getting too close
Moving toward her is stupid but so is just letting her keep rampaging so it's smarter to do it from a distance ideally with our words and logic. Kinda defeats the point of meeting out here in secret if you alert the entire forest with your rampage

>Calm down Rea from a safe distance

>Roll1d100+15( +10 from Genius Derrick Trait, +5 from the Numere Knowledge trait)
Shit, forgot DC

Rolled 58 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

Rolled 100 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

>+5 from the Numere Knowledge trait
I have a feeling that this is the start of something beautiful
Wow... I think that's my first one ever
Rolled 100 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

Good job anon, good job
What the fuck is happening? This is scary
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>Two 100 crits.

...Holy shit, what's the mathematical likelihood that two 100s would drop consecutively on the same roll?

I don't know if this a blessing from the Dice Gods or a warning that we will get our comeuppance in the next big roll.

Well either way, you all utter destroyed that, not a single failing roll.

>Rolled 115

I hope this is worth a big relationship boost with Rhea. Or us figuring our own nen out
Do we unlock the secret nen technique talk no justu?
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"Okay that enough. Rea! Listen to me!" You shout as you take a few slow steps forward.

She's like a raging tornado in the form a single person, she's not even pointing anymore, by just thinking about it she's ripping apart trees and rocks, throwing them around the place and shredding them to piles of dust.

She wasn't kidding, this kind of power seems unstoppable, she doesn't even have to move her hand around to level entire sections of the forest, imagine if someone less calm and rational posses an ability like this.

What if they were to rampage through the streets, killing innocents the same way Rea destroys these rocks and trees.

The brutality, the death, the suffering would be unimaginable, it really would lead to the end of the world as you know it forever. This must never be released to the public, ever.

However, this overwhelming power, this unstoppable ability, it may frighten you, but it doesn't scare you half as much as Rea's behavior right now does.

So without a second thought, you move forward, close in on her, she can't hear you, she too focused, you need to get within earshot of her.

As you enter into the effective range of the ability, within instant, a tiny cut appears on your neck, nearly missing your carotid artery, that would've been a fatal blow, but even then you don't stop moving forward.

You keep walking, slowly but surely, more and more cuts and tears appear across your new suit and skin, the damage is negligible and you wardrobe was ruined already anyway.

Eventually you make right up next to her, surprisingly enough, the area around her seems to be a sort of eye of the storm, there's no damage or attacks being launched within 5ft of her body.

That allows you the perfect chance to speak without getting hurt, "Rea! Rea! Can you hear me! What's wrong with you!?" You shout at the top of your lungs.

Even with your loud voice, the sounds of rocks crumbling to dust and trees being leveled overpowers your voice, her radius of destruction is growing and getting more powerful.

It's then you decide to take a different approach. You pull Rea close for a strong but gentle hug.

It's definitely not an action you would do under normal circumstances, but these are clearly abnormal circumstances.

Her body is strangely soft for her hard demeanor, despite the literal whirlwind of destruction around you, the one causing it feels almost weak and helpless under your powerful hug.

You also notice just how much shorter Rea is than you, you knew she wasn't as tall, but now that you pull her so close for the first time, you see that you're entire body can envelope her, making it so the only thing she can see, feel, or hear is you.

"Listen to me. Calm down." You whisper softly into her ears.

Her eyes are filled with a strange kind of intensity, almost like a mix of burning hate and undying bloodlust. But it doesn't last long under the cooing of your voice.
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Slowly but surely, the whirlwind of destruction subsides. The burning death in her eyes fades away, almost like a raging flame dying out suddenly.

And within a few seconds, the what felt like a coming natural disaster, fades away almost like it never happened.

You bring your head up from Rea's ears and examine your surroundings.

"By God..." Are the only words you're capable of uttering.

This area was once a lust forest filled with water and pretty stones, the end result is as awe-inspiring as it is horrifying, 100s of trees have been toppled, sliced to pieces if not outright turned to saw-dust.

Pieces of half-cut stone stomp out small rivers and any water below your feet was absorbed by all the scattered stone dust. This kind of power can't even be described in words other than disaster, Catastrophe, Pure Destruction.

If someone saw this mess without context, they'd have to assume a tornado or hurricane decided to hit a random spot in the forest and just ruin it.

And the one who caused this all, is the silent girl in your arms.

You honestly don't know what to feel right now, fear? Amazement? Sadness? Pity?

it's hard to react to something so abnormal, it's gonna take you a while to process all of this.

But first and foremost, you should really let go of Rea now, this is becoming awkward...

"No." She says suddenly as you try and take your arms from around her, you stop on command.

She grabs your arms tight and with a weak voice she says, "A little longer. Just a little longer please." She asks.

"..." Once again, you don't know how to react.

What you do know however, is that despite the frightening, overwhelming power this woman posses, she's no threat to you.

Quite the opposite really, she's your first ally. No, guess it'd be better to say first friend.

With that in mind, you comply with her request, you tighten your hug slightly and stay like that for an unknown amount of time.

It certainly wasn't a little longer, though.

>150 points to Rea Springfield! 350 till advancement!
>30 minutes later


Rea, finally calm and rational enough to realize what's happened, walks over and takes a seat on the first semi-intact branch, that may have been a tree once, she sees.

She rubs holds her head down to the ground, too embarrassed to look you in the eyes, either because of the shame of the destruction she's caused, or the fact you just spent the last 30 or so minutes hugging.

You cross your arms and wait until she says something.

And after a few minutes of her just being silent and looking at the ground, you decide to speak first, "So, wanna explain what that just was?" you ask.

"...Yes, sorry. I guess I really will have to explain everything to you." She agrees, still too ashamed to look up, but at least she's talking now.

"Is losing your mind also a part of Nen? Cause I don't think I want to learn it in that case." You state.

"No, no that wasn't Nen's fault. That lapse of sanity was because the past is catching up to me. My time is running out." She answers.

"Your time?" You question.

"Do you remember that man I mentioned? The who taught me there's more to life than tests and numbers? He's also the reason why I'm on the run from Moon Medicines." She begins.

"I'll save you the long story. Just know that man also got fed up with the way Moon Medicines operates, just like you, so he decided to take matters in his own hands by freeing me from my enslavement to Moon Medicines." She explains.

"Enslavement? Freed you?" you question.

"Do you remember how I said that these nanomachines were more of a curse than a blessing? Now you understand what I mean.

"How do your nanomachine relate to this?" you ask.

"My body is a ticking time bomb. Do you think cloning someone comes with no issues. Soren has powerful people behind the Capgras Project, but they aren't omnipotent." She states.

"Ticking time bomb?" You say with slight worry in your voice.

"Normal clones before CAPGRAS died within days of existing, at best, a clone lives a handful of months before falling apart. One of the key components to ensure the same doesn't happen to me is a specific machine in my body that regulates my hormones and ensure I age properly and don't die." She begins.

"However, that same machine also acted as a tracker and worst of all, a controller for the Soren." She explains.

"Controller?" you ask.

"If I or any of the other clones were to step out of line, or disobey, they could use that machine to force us to commit certain actions beyond our will by overwhelming our sensory organs with pain or hormones to destroy our minds. if that failed, they could just short-circuit our brains and kill us, declaring usfailed experiments." She explains.
"Good God." You say with disgust and a tinge of fear.

"It shouldn't be that surprising, as clones, we're literally as expendable as they come. If one died, another one exactly like her would just take her place." She answers.

"It's still sickening. Beyond sickening, life played with so causally, like some shitty science project. That's the kind of life you lived?" You ask.

"Until I was freed. Freed by that man I told you about earlier." She states.

"The one I remind you of?" you ask.

"Yes. At the cost of his own life, he tried to free me and every other subject of CAPGRAS. But I was the only one he managed to free. I escaped with my life, but under one condition." She states.

"...That you won't be able to regulate properly." You guess.

"Exactly. The only solution to free myself from that place, was to destroy my vital nanomachines. So at times, I can't control my hormones, I get surges of testosterone, it gives me...violent mood swings." She answers.

"Is that why you weren't in the house last night?" You ask.

"How perceptive, if I don't release the rage inside on something. I'll lose my mind completely. That's why I don't like using my Nen unless I have too." She states.

"But it gets worse than that doesn't. I think I get what you mean by ticking time bomb now..." You state.

"Yes. Not only am I not in control of myself. But my body has a limit on it. Like any other normal clone, soon enough, my body won't be able to handle the stress and I'll die." She states.

Hearing that hurts, more than you thought it would, "...How long do you have?" You ask.

"6 months." She answers.

"Half a year..." The same amount of time before Soren's new project is released to the public, that can't be a coincidence. But what the hell does that mean?

"6 months is all I have. And these violent mood swings will just get worse as the days pass. Soon enough, I won't even be able to keep my sanity during the lapses. I'll become no different than a monster."

She's a monster! Get that monster away from me!

The words of Darby ring through your mind once again, now you finally get it. Those destroyed bodies, the state of Barry's town, that was caused by Rea's Rage.

The state of those bodies still makes you gag sometimes and the destruction she can cause is already clear. You don't want to imagine what kind of death a rampage like that would have on people she didn't want to hurt.

Just thinking about is sad, disgusting and horrifying. She's been alone, having to deal with the fear she becomes a monster all by herself...that's too much for you to even think about.

"Before now and half a year. Before my time comes to end. I have to take down Soren. No, I must take down Soren." She says with a strange desperation in her voice.

She's trying to sound tough, but she's very clearly afraid. It's no wonder, you only have a half a full year to live? Such little time to do what you want, she's had to dictate everything to this single goal.
Welp this is bullshit.

The issue is not just because she's a clone. Clone have shortened lifetimes due to Shorter Telomeres not that their body breaks down from hormonal issues.

Telomeres are the things that govern Cellular replication, basically Cell copyrighting that limit production and the more a cell divides the shorter a telomere gets until we have none left. Clones are not considered viable due to telomeres matching the people who are cloned, meaning a clone would only live exactly as long as the person would anyways. None of that has to do with hormones, unless moon medicine added shit into her in addition to her being a clone. Regardless Testosterone blockers can be synthesized and sold, so I don't see why this is such a big issue for her body.

Either she's lying to us now, or someone lied to her in a very big way.

Such a massive burden, so little time. The pressure she's under is so heavy, too heavy.

You can't bare the thought she's had to shoulder this on her own this whole time, with that in mind, you can't even help the next words that leave your mouth.

"It's not I It's us." You correct.

"What?" Rea asks, finally bringing her head up slightly.

You rush in and grab her by both hands, you don't even really know what you're doing anymore, but you have to say this.

"You're not alone anymore. I'm here with you and I'm never leaving. We will take-down Soren.Together." You proclaim.

"The more you talk, the more you remind me of the man who freed me. But that's not a good thing Derrick. Everyone who stays with me dies, it's happened before, I don't want it happening to you." She counters.

"I won't die." You return.

"What?" she asks.

"I refuse to die. Not while you have a burden to carry, not while people like Soren lurk this earth, not until we can all rest peacefully and laugh with each other over a drink and say stupid stuff all day. I will not die[/b[]." You declare.

"..." She quiet for a long while, staring into your determined eyes.

"Well, what do you think?" You ask.

"You're an idiot." She answers.

"What?" You blurt out.

"Only an idiot would declare things like I won't die so easily. I can't believe you can grab my hands and say all that and not die of embarrassment." She states.

You suddenly realize you're intensely holding Rea's hands and let go of her.

You then turn away to hide your blush and scratch the back of your head, "Jeez, I was just trying to say I won't abandon you and you treat me like a dumbass. This is the last time you catch me getting so emotional over you." You complain.

"I hope not." She agrees, this is beginning to hurt your feelings.

"But even if that was embarrassing. I liked it." She admits with a smile.

"Huh?" you blurt out.

"You've already proven to be someone I can trust Derrick, you don't need to do that again. But you did prove you can be something more than that. I think you and I can be...friends." She says.

"..." You don't know what to say.

"You don't mind me thinking of you as a friend right?" She asks.

You smile to that question, "Now who's the idiot?" You ask.

"What do you mean? You don't want too?" She asks with a sad tinge to her voice.

"No you dunce. We're already friends! What are you even asking a stupid question like that." You answer.

Rea's lips form a smile to that response."Truly Derrick. Thank you."
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It seems once again I have failed to write in a way so that everything becomes clear.

You're exactly correct anon, Telomeres are the key competent in cell replication and clones die early because DNA has much, much shorter Telomeres.

However, Rea did not state that hormones were what was stopping her from dying of age. She was saying that the violent mood swings and her age were being controlled by a specific nanomachines, which also acted as a controller for her.

When those nanomachines were separated from her, she lost both her age regulation and hormone regulation abilities, thus making her body a ticking time bomb.

And there's a reason why she can't take Testosterone downers, it's the same reason she hasn't had plastic surgery to escape Moon Medicines, the nanomachinces that regulate her regeneration act a little like white blood cells.

That is, her body considers drugs, or unnatural altercations to her body, to be outside attack and quickly return her body back to normal within minutes of applying them. It doesn't work on hormone surges though, considering that's just the unfortunate way her body works.


>That mistake again.

Oh for fuck's sake.

The hormone problem isn't the thing killing her it's only causing the mood swings
Did you mean to send the entire soundtrack?

You both turn around at sound loud noise coming from your nearby.

"I wouldn't guess that was you again." You ask as you back a bit and examine your surroundings.

"Unfortunately not." She says as she rises up from her seat and begins to check the area with you.

"Do you think we were followed?" you ask.

"No, I'm sure that we got far enough that no one at the house would be able to hear us if something like another mood swing were to happen." She states.

"Than I guess these must be some beasts coming to check out the commotion." You figure as you pull out Thunderstruck and pull them on.

Rea brandishes her pistol, "Exactly. I do hope you weren't hurt by my attacks, it seems we'll have to fight our way out of this forest." She states.

"Please, these scratches barely drew enough blood to draw some mosquitos. This is the stuff I'm best with." You answer.

"Acting tough doesn't make you look cool." Rea states as she readies her pistol.

"Being a ball-buster isn't cool either." You say as you bring up your fists.

"Can you take a second to stop complaining to focus on your surroundings? We have to get out of this alive." She asks.

"As if you have anything to worry about. This much combat is taking years off my life damn it." You state.

"Not nearly as many as mine." She counters.


As she says that, a snarl rings out from what's left of the surrounding treeline and just like that, a large pack of beasts come jumping out from the woods like rabbits.

Their fur looks wild and unkempt, covered in some kind of blood and viscera, their teeth are like a set of giant cleavers, made for chomping through meat. And those horns look they've skewered more their fair share of living beings.

You take a defensive stance prepare yourself, "Man, when we get back, I'm gonna nap for the rest of the week after this shit..." You whisper to yourself as combat begins.

To be continued

>Sent a completely different track.

Christ I'm tired.


This was supposed to be the track that played.


Okay, that's it for this extremely long thread, Many different struggles for every character are being revealed and Derrick has come to learn the existence of a magical force known as Nen.

I can't say when the next thread will be, hopefully this month, but with my schedule, it's hard to find a good open spot to undertake a project like this, I will keep updating through twitter every Sunday and this time I will be consistent about it!(Probably)

Though I have to ask before I go, did you all enjoy the thread?

I mean like, do you enjoy the story so far, I honestly don't get as much criticism as I did in the early days and that's disturbing to me, I can't tell if I'm screwing up or this is exactly what you anons want.

Please don't be afraid to tell it like it is, I do this purely for those who enjoy it, so I need your input to ensure this stays as fun for you as it is for me.

Tell me anything you don't like, the only off-limits questions are, Why is your grammer and spelling so terrible or Why can't you copy a link properly.

I notice that myself, I don't need you to tell me that, it just rubs salt in the wound.
>Though I have to ask before I go, did you all enjoy the thread?

Ronnie felt necessary and Rhea's do or e timeline seems naturally short given what we are up against.

Was hoping the double nat 100 would give us something really great because that's a one in one thousand chance.
Thanks for the run

No real complaints here. The quest has been better than ever and the character interactions are amazing, they're a big reason I keep coming back here. So yeah other than the obvious grammar mistakes like you mentioned and unpredictable schedule which can't be helped I don't think that there's anything you NEED to work on, at least off my head. If I can think of anything I'll let you know
Rhea's do or die timeline seems unnaturally short*

elaborating on that 6 months to topple an organization so supremely overpowered it bought the Hunter Organization? Six months may as well be six minutes.
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Glad to hear I'm still doing well, knowing this makes you people happy is what keeps me going.

As for the length of Rea's clock being so short, she's been on the run for a very long time and for good reason.

She escaped when she was 12 and continued to live in hiding, running on fumes of her remaining lifespan for 10 years and a half years, her body just doesn't have the power to support her for much longer.

Also, forget to put this in the ending post, just a little edit I made, I hope to make one for every episode.
I can get why, but 6 months means she's not going to be able to do it.

It'd be like me trying to crash the modern banking system in months.
That's the point it's meant to seem impossible
Good run God. Can't wait for the next thread

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