Constance thought that her company was never going to move. The creature was close now, close enough that she could see every single detail and she wanted nothing more than to run but she wasn’t sure whether she could just leave the person who had dragged her out here in the first place. She wanted to call out but she had already given her warning and it seemed that she had been ignored in that instance. She didn’t even want to be out here in the first place but she hadn’t been given a choice and the same thing was happening now.
It was the sound of Jake’s voice that caused her head to turn and she was sure that he would be able to see the panic upon her face. He was angry, that much she could tell and she understood exactly why. Their presence outside had drawn this creature to them and for all she knew, that could mean that there were more to come and this place seemed to be his home, or at least his base. She watched as he ran towards the wasp and swung his bat towards it. It was his next words that confirmed her fear that their might be more.
Constance felt useless at this point. Everyone here seemed to have strength and power and she had nothing. She was just a normal, [I scared] human who had too much curiosity for her own good. The strong woman who had the guts to stand up to the man behind this was long gone by this point and she was nothing more than a woman, scared for her life in a world that was unfamiliar to her. Before she knew it, Jake was running towards her and taking hold of her arm to pull her back inside and as he tugged, she began to run. It seemed she could move after all.
The girl who had dragged her outside in the first place was not behind them but Jake reacted quickly enough to grab her and pull her in before anything could happen to her. The adrenaline was racing through her body and her heart was beating so fast that she thought it might burst right out of her chest. She was now shouting out, telling Jake to hurry as more of the creatures swarmed around them.
Everything seemed to move quickly from that moment on. By the time her brain had caught up, Jake was pushing himself off the floor and the buzzing from the creatures outside had been quietened by the closure of the metal door. Jake was not unloading his anger onto them and she didn’t know what to say. It was not entirely her fault that she was out there but she was not about to start making excuses of shift the blame from one person to the next. That wouldn’t help anyone.
“By she, you mean the child, right?” She asked, trying to make sense of what was happening. “How does she…know?”
Azura stumbled back a bit as she was pushed out of the way. She blinked a few times, confused as to why Jake was suddenly acting like this. It didn't take her long to figure out why, seeing the two girls outside in the open. She spotted the thing just as Jake took a swing. A giant wasp, nightmarish looking. This wasn't good. They had already been found it seemed, which meant more were coming.
She nodded to his demand and quickly opened her book. What could block the door that would prevent them from coming in? Boarded up wood, could break, and she couldn't use a tool that well. Desks, chairs and other things found around? She wasn't strong enough to move all that herself, or even in time. Think, think. What could she summon that was strong enough?
The idea suddenly came to her and she wrote down the words in her book. She had to be specific on how big and wide it would be. The weight, she wasn't sure, so she had to take a guess. As soon as the pen left the paper, a massive bolder started to appear in front of the door. It was a bit shorter than she expected, but it was wide enough, and no one was going to move it anytime soon. It was a massive thing to summon, taking more energy than she expected. She was obviously tired now, but she had to fight it as Jake and the other girl were still outside.
The other door was still open, Azura rushing to the doorway. Looking out, she spotted the two, Jake throwing the girl in. Azura ducked out of the way just in time, looking back and hoping the girl was alright. She heard Jake yell to shut the door, but she didn't want to leave him out there by himself. She had just found him again, and he was the only one that knew what to do here. Without him, they would be dead within the next day.
Thankfully, he managed to get inside, just in time. Azura shut the door and summoned another bolder to place in front of it. She stumbled back a bit, dropping her book as she held her head, tiredness overtaking her. She could summon one more thing if she needed, but she hoped she didn't need to. At least not before a rest. She glanced back as Jake yelled at the two, slowly going to her knees as she tried to catch her breath. Seemed they would be here for a bit, so perhaps she could rest. But for how long?
[font "Sylfaen" The moment of calm, like most victims here, was short lived. The constantly wandering green eyes took notice of the two other survivors chatting right outside the safe house. Panic rose up in Jake’s chest. He knew the rules of this city of death. The first code of safety was that everything here was temporary, especially the times of peace and quiet. Especially the moments like this, when you think that you’re safe. [i It’s not safe. It’s never safe.] The two sentences repeating themselves over and over again in his head, gnawing at his anxiety. The outside was dangerous. Open spaces were dangerous. Leaving the comfort of the safe house meant getting spotted by any number of bad things. The two women standing outside, unconsciously, were risking the safety of everyone.]
[font "Sylfaen" Unintentionally shoving Azure to the side, Jake rushed to the doorway. The young girl’s words fell upon deaf ears as his attention was directed to the vulnerable fools exposed outside. “What are you doing!” He growled at them. They were going to get him caught. In a place like this, being caught meant being killed. The wire-wrapped bat instinctively in his right hand without a second thought. He ran toward the shifting girl as though he were to strike her, but the bat missed her and hit the blood wasp instead. The blow nearly exposed the insect nightmare, but it went flying meters away. It flapped its wings to regain its composure before hissing at the humans with tiny rage. “Quick! Destroy the Blood Wasp before it calls the swarm!” He ordered without removing his eyes from his target.]
[font "Sylfaen" With that, Jake charged toward the monstrous pest and swung down. The wasp dodged out of the way. His efforts to stay hidden were ruined. The wasp beat its wing with a certain frequency, to alert its mates. Jake cursed as he turned to the rest of the group. “Get back inside! It’s calling the swarm!” He shouted as he dashed towards the blonde girl and grabbed her bicep. Jake yanked at her arm to follow him inside. The grip was strong, but loose enough for her to run on her own. He turned back to the shifter to motion for her to get inside. To get safe.]
[font "Sylfaen" “Azura!” he barked, “block the door as much as you can! They’ll try to get in any way they can fit! Got it?” He commanded.]
[font "Sylfaen" It wasn’t his intention to be harsh toward his oldest friend. Being in here for so long kept his nerves on end. His heart pounded against his chest. [i It’s not safe. It’s not safe. I’m going to die.] The loud buzzing in the distance. The roaring growing louder and louder as the thousands of blood wasps rushing to devour the life blood of the last survivors. He glanced behind him to see Azura and the other girl out of harms way, but there was one more missing. He looked back to see the shifter girl trying to form…wings? He had seen many things, but the grotesque appendages slowly morphing out of the girl’s back was definitely in the top ten list.
[font "Sylfaen" The Swarm was getting closer, soon they would be upon them to suck every drop of blood from all four of their bodies. Without waiting another second, Jake flashed towards the girl with speed he didn’t even know he had. Quickly wrapping one arm around her waist and running back to the bowling alley’s door within a split second. She could refuse his demands all she wanted, but Jake was not losing another person on this misadventure. Never again.]
[font "Sylfaen" The two were both inside the alley now, but the trip wasn’t over. The blood swarm was hot on his heels now and indoors did not pause their charge. “Get that door shut now!” Jake yelled as he threw the girl’s body as far as he could, hoping it would be enough. He used little of his power to force her body through that extra length where she crashed through the door frame into the back area of the alley. Now it was just Jake verses the swarm. There were too many to fight, he knew. No one could fight those things, not even previous power-wielding wanderers like himself could live through the numbers. He had to get into his safe house, no matter what. With the door way in sight and just a few feet away, he could see Azura and the other girl encouraging him to hurry. He didn’t look back to see how close the insects were to catching him. That would be a mistake.]
[font "Sylfaen" With one final push Jake leaped forward, twisted his body in mid-air and sent two thrusts of force power through his hands to knock back the millions of glowing red eyes that stared at him with such yearning for his blood. The thrust scattered the swarm into split up into many tinier groups, but it was only to stop them for a moment. Jake landed awkwardly on his shoulders as he tumbled into the safe room. The doors immediately slammed behind him as the other quickly blocked off any possible entrances. Groaning from the pain in his back, neck, and shoulders, Jake scrambled to his feet and pressed his full weight into the door. He could hear the aggravated buzzing and scratching at the metal door. They weren’t getting in that way any time soon. Now was the time to take a breather. His eyes flared in rage as he turned to the shifter and the blonde girl. [b “What the fuck were you thinking? Being exposed like that will get us all killed! Never stay in the open like that, not without me okay? You were lucky. No one ever survives from those things. Ever! I’ve seen one insect rip a grown man to shreds. What do you think a thousand of them will do?”] He ranted at the rest of them. With his anger mostly off his chest, he looked down at his right hand. He left his main weapon out there. He must have dropped it on the way. [b “Shit.”] He hissed under his breath. [b “All we can do now is wait until they lose interest. Then we have to leave. She knows where we are now.”]]
Fear. An emotion that had haunted Callisto throughout her life. Not her own fear, mind, but other that of peoples. Fear of her, fear of [i [#9b3a3a "Please, honey, you're scaring me."]] what she could do and what she was. It's not that Callisto was immune to it, she felt afraid too. But the reasons for her fear and the reasons for other peoples fear seldom aligned.
Like now, for instance. Callisto had feared the inside, with its encroaching walls and lack of air. But this girl, this plain stick-figure of a girl, resisted being taken away from the place that seemed to swallow her alive and quailed at seeing the sun again.
[i "We shouldn't be out here!"]
Callisto didn't understand. She didn't understand this girl's fear. Nothing out here was scary. Sure, there were monsters lurking in this world but they were mindless beasts, they just wanted to kill, to harm. Nothing about that scared Callisto. She knew what to do with things that wanted to kill her.
Inside, however, was a different matter. There were people in there who were people but also monsters, safe walls that would crush you, things that [i didn't make sense] and Callisto [i didn't know what to do].
That scared her, made her chest feel tight and her skin too small. [i [#570ab2 why don’t you just fly away?] [#2db20a they wont go away just because you do]] [i [#f5ba61 Kill or be killed, my dears]] [b [i [#b20a1c flightorfight.]]]
"You were being swallowed," Callisto tried. "You weren't breathing."
The girl wasn't listening, every second [i [#aa0000 look what you've done]] under the sun seemed to make things worse. Eventually she seemed to gather some semblance of control to answer Callisto's question. As the words of affirmation tumbled out of her, a change in the girl's eyes answered another question, one Callisto hadn't asked.
She whipped around, elongating her jaw and nose into a canine snout, lined with teeth like those of a crocodile. Having done that, her ability to speak was lost and all she could do to communicate to the girl to stand back was to roughly push her to one side with an unfortunately clawed hand.
Callisto understood now what the girl feared. She feared pain [i [#aab300 "Didn't that hurt, why did-, no please don't do it again, you'll-"]] and death. The winged creature [i [#1223a3 ~Baby Bumble Bee had a fly upon his nose~]] that came barrelling towards them, buzzing furiously with wings shaped like that of a wasp, certainly seemed capable of dealing out both of those things. It looked a lot [i [#d363a7 ~And he flipped it and he flapped it~]] like an overgrown insect, with a stinger already crusted with blood. Instead of the normal spindly legs of a bee, it had metallic blades that looked sharp enough to pierce most anything. [right [i [#7f2533 ~and it flew away~]]]
Callisto felt many things as her enemy approached, but fear was not one of them. To Callisto, fear was the same as insecurity, doubt and unease. In the heat of a fight, there were none of those things. There was one goal, to survive, and only two possible outcomes. Death or victory.
Callisto growled and it was barely heard over the buzzing of the insect's wings. She realized that this would not be easy, fighting something that could fly from the ground. She needed [b [i [#52a3a3 fightandflight]]] to fly, she needed wings. As she thought it she felt her body change. But it would take time for the transformation to complete, flight wasn't like claws or teeth, it needed to be carefully constructed. She needed time.
She could see the multifaceted eyes of her enemy now, it was barely ten meters away. Just like in hers, there was no fear. There was no time left.
The panic had set in deeply as her mind tried to make sense of everything she had seen since arriving in this unimaginable place. She tried to tell herself that it wasn’t real and that eventually she would wake up from whatever twisted nightmare that she was having but she knew all too well that she had been in August’s office and she had been too close to something he clearly wanted to keep from the world.
She hadn’t expected her thoughts to be interrupted so abruptly but she barely had any time to look up from her hands before someone’s rough hands enclosed themselves around her arm and she cried out slightly, reacting to the burst of pain she felt from their touch.
“What are you doing?” She cried out as she was being pulled back out into the open. This was not the right thing to be doing and the very idea of being exposed to the outdoors terrified her more than she wanted to admit it. Constance looked around, the fear plastered on her face as Callisto released her arm. She took a look at the figure before her and remembered that one of the people she had travelled to this place with seemed to be able to shift their state and at the moment she was covered in fur and staring right at her, asking her if she was a human.
Her body started to shake, every now and then looking around. “We shouldn’t be out here.” She said, her voice showed the fear that she was feeling and even though she must have looked weak in front of someone who didn’t seem to be as scared, she didn’t seem to care. “It’s not safe out here!” She said with a little more volume before looking back towards Jake and the girl who had helped her earlier. “Yes, I am human.” She answered eventually but as she looked back towards the Callisto her fears had come true.
Flying towards them was a creature that was extremely difficult to describe. Whatever it was, it was clear that it was out for blood and there wasn’t much that she could do to avoid the beast. The noise of the wings echoed as it came closer and as it did, she noticed it was beginning to look more and more like a wasp-like creature. She was frozen where she stood but she raised her arm to point to the creature.
“We need to get back inside!"
Hearing her name, she smiled softly. It seemed it really was him. He quickly pulled her into a hug and she hugged him back as tightly as her small frame would allow her. It had been so long since she last saw him, she was starting to think he was really dead. But here he was, standing right in front of him.
As he asked his question, Azura quickly started to write her answer. But as she did, he stopped her, saying it didn't matter. She smiled brightly and gave a silent chuckle at the sound of her nickname, Little Minion. Azura remembered the times growing up in the facility. All those experiments and tests were hell, but knowing she would see Jake at the end of it made it not so bad. The two of them would always talk about what it would be like when they were in charge. He was obviously the better leader between them, being able to talk a strong reason, but also because he was just the leader type.
He always tried to protect her as best he could when around, but then he just didn't come back one day. Azura had tried asking the scientists what happened to him, but they gave no answer. Why should she know, they probably thought. About a month after he disappeared was when Azura started her attempts at escaping. Every time she failed she faced a new punishment, but she didn't care. Whenever they asked why, her answer was always the same. To find Jake and to get out of here. With her last few attempts, she was starting to lose hope that he was even still alive. But being here now, in front of him, that made it better.
She tilted her head a bit at his question. How did she get involved with them? It took Azura a little bit to write, since the reply wasn't just a sentence or two. Once finished, she held it up for him to read, glancing back at the two women as they walked just outside of the building. She hoped they would be safe out there.
[+blue I saw one about to be attacked, the other saved me from being eaten. I've never seen the blonde lady before. Other one I had tried to escape with on my last attempt. Guess she's here because she was caught as well. Is there anyway to get out of here?]
[font “Sylfaen” The small girl approached him first. Her face struck a memory, a good memory in a long line of bad ones. A small windowless room with fluorescent lighting as two small children playing make-believe after a session of harsh testing. His arm released their defenses as his features softened after being made of stone for so long. [b “Azure?”] He sounded astonished even though the facts were standing in front of him writing on a notepad. Jake reached out and touched her shoulders to prove that her presence wasn’t a figment of his mind. For the first time in a long time, Jake smiled. [b “Azure!”] He blurted as he pulled the small figure into his form. His arms wrapped around her shoulders and back with a tight squeeze. He had found his family again.]
[font “Sylfaen” Pulling away he quickly examined Azure’s form to make sure she wasn’t injured. [b “You look almost as bad as me. How did you get out? They didn’t hurt you, did they?”] He saw her be scribble something down on her usual notepad, but Jake placed a hand over her pen. [b “Don’t worry about it. I’m just glad to see my little minion again.”] He smiled sincerely at the girl. He addressed her by the nickname he had labeled her with when they were in the facility together. It referred to a joke he and Azure made whenever they were waiting in their adjacent rooms. They both joked about taking over the facility together. Just the two of them imagined scenarios of overseeing the place and plotting plans to take over the world. Jake would call Azure “little minion” and she would call him any number of nicknames like “boss”, “highness” and other silly titles. It was one of the few fond memories Jake had back at that place. Despite the malpractice that went on in that place, it was nice to find a friend.]
[font “Sylfaen” [b “How did you get stuck with these two?”] Jake’s buzzed crown nodded to the weird shape shifter and the quiet girl with glasses. [b “I don’t recognize them form LFS.”] His bright green eyes scanned the blonde one with scrutiny. He lowered his lips to Azure’s ear and whispered, [b “She’s not like us. She’s…she’s normal. Or at least that’s what I got from her. How did she get here?”] The last question was more muttered to himself than aloud.]
[size10 Sorry for the long wait and the short post! Finals and last projects are coming up. School and shit.]
Callisto struggled to keep calm while following these newfound [i [#0ab238 not people.]] [i [#ff8c00 of course they're people.]] [i [#b22d0a creatures. clever creatures here to fool you.]] [i [#210ab2 They will eat you [b alive]]] people.
She thought she had left behind these kind of doubts when she decided to come here, to this dream place. Why were the doubts still with her, why did she still struggle with reality in a place where reality had ceased to be? Wasn't it supposed to be simple here, like she wanted, needed? But Callisto still couldn't be sure, just like before. It grated, made her skin itch. Made the voices angry. [right[i [#b2880a She should kill them]] [i [#570ab2 No! Killing is wrong.]]
[i [#2db20a they aren't people it's only wrong if they're people]]
[i [#b20a1c Kill or be killed, my dears]] [i [#f5ba61 would that be so bad?]]]
She followed quietly, a war waging within herself. Everything would be so much simpler if she didn't [i care]. Why did she care? Maybe these things were people, why couldn't she simply kill them anyway [i [#46f1d4 "It's wrong to hurt people, sweetie, don't you understand that?"]] [i [#f16946 if she could see you know she would cry]] just to be sure?
And yet she didn't. Maybe it was the promise Callisto had made once, maybe it was cowardice. Maybe it was a shameful wish, some vain hope that there was still some shred of humanity still inside her. She didn't want to harm people. Not really. It was inevitable that she would [i [#344e09 its what monsters do]], she could feel it. But maybe there was some point to fighting it. Fighting the monsters.
They came to a gap in the roofs, too big for a normal human to get across. It wasn't a problem for her in this form, she could easily jump across. She doubled back a few meters, got a running start and then leaped across before the others properly reached the ledge. For a moment she considered just leaving them, certain in the knowledge that they couldn't cross. This thought was quickly quenched however, when callisto saw the small girl conjure [i [#43094e she's magic]] a wooden plank from her notebook [i [#027408 she can create anything]] [i [#6f202b maybe she created all of this place?]] to use as a bridge.
One by one they crossed. The warrior boy, the creator girl and the other one. Who was she? Quiet girl. Scared. Callisto could smell the stink of fear coming off her [i [#750cd4 weak like a human]]. Quiet. But not harmless. Nothing harmless came here. The other two had stinks of their own. Warrior boy reeked of fresh meat. Maybe he had been injured in the fight, when Callisto wasn't watching. The girl who had helped her get here, blue eyed creator, she smelled of cheap ink, iron and cotton. There was fear there too, but lighter, more subdued. Maybe it was pragmatism, maybe it was that this girl was more used to horrible things happening to her.
In silence, Callisto kept following, stalking behind the main party to keep an eye on ambushes and to keep an eye on her companions. They reached a building, a bowling alley, and they went inside.
Callisto didn't like going inside [i [#d4c50c trap]], the walls closing in and the air stifling. She ignored it, ignored the itching under her skin and kept quiet. Just like when in the real world. The same survival tactics seemed to apply here and [i she hated that]. Callisto watched, wary, as the boy fed his pet with a piece of meat. She didn't say anything, didn't dare to. The walls were closing in unless she kept quiet. The itching was growing worse too. She ignored it. Kept quiet.
Callisto noticed that she was not the only one in distress. The quiet girl, a hand buried in her hair and vision unfocused, was mumbling to herself in her own separate corner. Callisto turned to her [i [#750cd4 weak like a human]], not sure as to why.
In two steps Callisto warped her form to a bipedal one. Still covered in fur, still with claws and a tail, but now upright and with opposable thumbs. In two steps, Callisto reached the quiet girl and roughly grabbed her arm.
They needed air or the walls would collapse around them. Callisto walked outside, hauling the girl behind her in an iron grip. She released the girl once they had the sky below them again.
"Are you human?" Callisto asked urgently, again not completely sure why. If the girl said no, what would that prove?
Constance had moved towards the other two strangers and watched in disbelief as the second woman appeared to change her form. It was unlike anything that she had ever seen before but she had also just witnessed some kind of plant creature running towards her and it was already clear that this world was unlike anything she had ever seen and experienced in her life time. At least now she was beginning to understand what it was that August had been hiding from the world but she had to admit that this was far from what she had been expecting to discover.
Soon enough, the stranger before them seemed to take a lead in leading them somewhere that he seemed to figure as being safe. It was clear almost instantly that being out in the open as they were now was not a logical move. They quickly made a move and she was grateful that she had kept physically fit and she imagined that might work in her favour while they were seemingly running for their lives. It seemed that the safest way to navigate the streets was via the rooftops of the deserted buildings and when they had reached a certain point Jake turned to the woman who seemed to be unable to speak and asked her to produce something that could help them move across the buildings with haste.
For now, she had to accept that these people clearly had some kind of power beyond her understanding but she didn’t have time to try and wrap her head around that but when they finally arrived in a safe zone she might be able to take a few moments to sit down and really think about whatever it was that was happened to her but right now she needed to concentrate on making her way across the plank. Everyone else had made it across and she was the only one left now and for some reason unknown to her, she felt nervous at the prospect of crossing a plank of wood between two buildings. She was petrified of falling so when she started she decided to take it slowly and she was sure that the fear was obvious and that was confirmed when Jake seemed to reach out and take hold of her waist to help her across. She was significantly slower than the others and Constance was sure that she was slowing them down; something she would certainly apologise for later.
It wasn’t much longer before they seemed to arrive in a place that Jake considered to be his residence here and once they were inside, she seemed to let out a sigh and felt that she was finally able to take some time think. As Jake conversed with the other two, Constance turned away from them, placing her hands on her hips and looking around the place while thinking about the events of the day so far. Never in a million years had she imagined that August was involved with something on this scale. She figured that there would be some kind of experiments taking place but this…this was unexplainable and something that she wouldn’t be able to get to grips with quickly.
August’s face appeared in her mind with that cocky smirk that showed that he was so sure about her disappearance. No one would be able to find her here, that much was sure but she was also unsure that this was the kind of place that she could survive. Her only saving grace was that she was not alone and it seemed that Jake knew what he was doing.
[I “Do you want me to make her disappear too?”] She said the words aloud, but not that loud that it would interrupt any conversations. It was likely that she might look mad talking to herself but that was the least of her worries. She brought a hand to her head and found her breathing start to quicken with the panic that was beginning to take over her mind.
[I “Where the hell am I?”]
The woman seemed to have snapped out of her initial shock. Good, it meant they just needed to worry about the other woman left. If that's what she was. Azura knew she had to be one of the many experiments, no ordinary person could change their form like that. Now that she thought about it, she had tried to escape with someone not too long ago that could change their forms. They had separated when they wanted to go different ways. She wanted freedom. The woman seemed to want revenge. Azura guessed that was how the woman ended up here then.
She glanced back to the woman, seeing the male kneel down and see if she was okay. Now that his hoodie was down, he seemed familiar. Tilting her head a bit, she tried to figure out just why, but nothing came to mind. She would have to ask him later once they were safe. Right now was not the time for questions. Now they needed to make sure the girl was okay and then get away from here. Looking over the male's shoulder, her cheeks suddenly went red and she quickly turned away. She was naked. While Azura probably should've been used to it after being in the labs, she really wasn't.
Once everything was sorted out, the girl transforming herself into an odd creature, they were told to follow. Azura held her book tightly to her chest and pushed herself against the wall as she followed closely behind him. She was already barefoot, so she hardly made a sound to begin with. That, coupled with being mute, she was practically a ninja. They climbed to the top of a building, the man turning to her, asking if she could make something that could help them cross.
She nodded and opened the book to a blank page, quickly writing down what she wanted to appear.
[center [+blue Plank of wood]]
The plank appeared out of thin air, the male catching it and placing it across the two buildings. The group was able to cross safely, moving onto the next building. The rest of the way quiet and careful, arriving at a bowling alley that had seen better days. It was still much safer than being out in the streets, so there was no complaining from her. Instead, a smile and a silent sigh of relief came from her as he welcomed them. For now, they would be safe, and that's all she needed at the moment.
Azura watched as he removed his jacket and bandanna, hoping to get more of an idea as to why he was familiar. Seeing his full face, she blinked a few times, making sure what she saw was real. Even then, she didn't really believe it right away. It had been a few years since she last saw him. She was just about to write when he asked how they got here. Quickly, she wrote down her response, along with a question right after.
[+blue I tried to escape again. You look familiar, is your name Jake?]
Each second felt like hours to her. She hoped she had gotten it right.
[font “Sylfaen” The Stranger briefly observed these unfortunate souls that were trapped here. Two of them, from what he could tell, where mixed-matched science results due to Ludger’s well-funded project. They both seemed familiar to him, but it had been so long, he couldn’t place them. Maybe he was supposed to kill them in the past and failed; now they’ve come to seek revenge on him. Maybe they were cell mates of his once before. It was hard to recall anything before this place. Mostly because he couldn’t stay still long enough to reminisce, even while asleep. The other one was probably the unlucky one that got too nosey. Whatever the reasons were didn’t matter now. They would all die eventually and he would be alone again.]
[font “Sylfaen” Coming back to the dangers at hand, the one that turned into a bird, the fellow [s abomination] specimen morphed into a sphinx like creature, body of an animal with a voice of a woman. His bright green eyes witnessed the anomaly happen before him. It was oddly satisfying and disturbing all at once. A very adaptive one this she was. Perhaps she could survive here better than he. It would also be best if he just completely ignored the fact that she was butt naked there for like three seconds. The adrenaline pumping into his system didn’t have the patience to enjoy the rare chance that was presented and just moved on. He had seen a lot of things in his short life, but this had to be in the top five. Blinking several times as his brain registered the transformation, the stranger turned to the other two girls present.]
[font “Sylfaen” The smallest one seemed the most familiar to him. Something about her face rang a bell in his mind. He must have known her through the years under Ludger’s care. Her name had been forgotten through the time he had been captured here. Perhaps she would be useful still. Her powers were certainly unique. Maybe her name was Amber? Allison? Ashely? No, it was something rarer. Like the name of a color or something. Whatever the case, he didn’t have time to remember it now.]
[font “Sylfaen” Picking up the modified bat, the newest survivors gather together. They were not fighters, not yet. He believed they had the will. [b “Follow me and stay quiet.”] He ordered as he pulled the hood over his buzzed hair. He didn’t wait to see if they were following behind him as his crouched form slunk into the shadows. He would lead the survivors away from the shuffling horde around the corner. The stranger crept along the walls of the alley and pressed his back to it quickly ushering the others to follow in behind him. His piercing green eyes glanced around the corner to witness dozens of monsters poured into the area the group was at moments ago. Moaning armored undead skeletons, rabid humanoid rats, large carnivorous dinosaurs that were hard to pronounce, and packs of werewolves just to name a few creatures that stalked the streets disappointed to have missed the prey. It wouldn’t be long before the scent was tracked. They would need a safe place to hide for now. The stranger motioned for the survivors to continue to follow him. Luckily, the concentrated numbers of beasts cleared a path through the normally heavily guarded open streets and sidewalks.]
[font “Sylfaen” He navigated his way with to a fire escape ladder that led up to the roofs. It would be safer to travel that way rather than chancing the ground. Keeping his head low, the stranger glanced over the edges of the building to track the beasts below. Even though the group was safe from most monsters, there were still some risks with certain creatures. The giant lumbering lizards were always a problem, high or low. The werewolves and rats were agile and good climbers. The plants rarely grew more than four stories high. The biggest trouble was getting across the gaps. Jake could jump far enough, and the weird sphinx would be able to make it. He wasn’t certain about the others. [b “We’ll have to get across a few buildings before we can get the safe zone. We’ll have to move fast before she can find us again.”] He turned to the short one as asked, [b “Can you make something to get us across? I know you can do something like that with that notebook of yours.”] Jake remarked as he gestured towards the notebook the girl held in her hands securely.]
[font “Sylfaen” Seeming to understand his request the blue-eyed girl hunched down to her notebook with her hand feverishly scribbling something. In an instant, a think wooden plank was produced like magic. Jake catch it with her scuffed up hands and laid it gently across the edge of one building to the other. [b “I’ll go first and then everyone follow me one at a time.”] He said with one palm facing outward to halt the others in one place. He had to hurry across to the other building before their position was compromised. Jumping up onto the ledge, the toe of his shoes dangled over a long drop that would instantly kill any soul that fell. The height didn’t seem to faze him as the hooded figure scurried across the plank effortlessly. His form was crouched and his feet expertly placed so though he was held aloft there with an invisible force, guiding him to the other side. His balance almost cat-like as he jumped off the other ledge to the neighboring building. Silently, he motioned for the next person to follow as he held out his hands to help get each person land safely. The plank held firm as one by one the survivors made it to the other side without issue.]
[font “Sylfaen” The last one to go was the blonde woman with glasses. She seemed nervous and timid as any normal person would in this situation. She took a bit longer to make the trek, but he quickly grabbed her by the waist and hoisted her over the ledge before grabbing the plank and sliding in toward him. Now they were fairly safe from more horrors, but not out of the woods yet. He led them all across roofs, back the way he had come to rescue them. It took about five minutes to make it to a dead area before he felt relief. Five minutes that felt like an hour to him. Cautious still, he navigated the group to an empty bowling alley where he had been hiding away for a few days now. He walked briskly down the side of the dusted lanes to the back room where people would supervise the machines that made the lanes work. Sliding back the hood and removing the banana, the stranger turned his head as he pushed open the door. [b “Welcome to my humble abode.”]]
[center [pic http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/e614585a4d17fbb02d8b71cb40eff9e4.jpg]]
[font “Sylfaen” The inside was sparse of any furnishings and personal items, not something one would expect from a long-time survivor of the mind city. There was a mattress on the floor in a darker corner of the rectangle room with a tattered blanket over it for cold nights. There wasn’t a small curtain that separated the bed from the makeshift bathroom and several weapons placed around along the walls and flat surfaces. He had his own collection of protective tools and wooden planks in a pile. Hammer and nails for just in case a horde came through. A stack of canned food items along with water bottles underneath two tables and a large map of the city pinned to a crumbling wall. There were red marks all over it. Some marks were circles, others had X’s. The symbols were scattered throughout the whole map with unknown meaning to the new arrivals. The stranger zipped off the black hoodie and tossed it to the poor excuse for a bed. The red banana unknotted and placed on top. The man was wearing a dirty T-shirt with dark stains that had been there for a long time. Lifting the shirt revealed a bag strapped tight to his abdomen covering over his abs. Opening the bag was a piece of bloody meat that dripped on the stone floor. Whistling a quick pitch as the stranger walked over to the left. A thin curtain showed a terrifying silhouette of a plant creature, similar to what the group had faced earlier. When he pulled the curtain back, it was a smaller version of the monster with one eyeless head that perked up to the stranger’s voice. The light from the sunless sky breached through a broken window so the group could see the carnivorous plant was but a seedling, not even a quarter of the previous plant. The leaves nestled in the bottom of the stalk uncurled to absorb a lot of the light peering through. The head perked up and opened up its jaw to a smile. The sharp teeth, almost wolf like in form and size, showed a big grin as the stranger cooed to it. [b “Hey there Gary. You hungry buddy?”] The stranger approached without fear as he tossed the meat to the plant that happily took the meal. The jaws chomped greedily while the stranger wiped his hands on a dirty towel. [b “Don’t worry about him. He’s tame, for the most part.”] He spoke as he removed the bag from his waist. [b “So, mind telling me how you guys got her and what did you do to piss off the big guy upstairs?”] He said with folded arms. [b “It takes a special person to get trapped in the Mind City and dumped directly in the line of a bunch of monsters like that.”]]
[b [i [#9f0404 Pain.]]]
Consciousness slowly rolled back in, like spilled milk drip-dropping down the table [i [#849009 don't cry]] and splattering onto the floor. And then [b [i [#9f0404 PAIN]]] all at once, reality came crashing in. Callisto's eyes sprang open, but she couldn't see. She heard her own heartbeat, much too heavy for a bird. As sensation returned to Callisto's extremities, she realized she was not a bird anymore, she had reverted back [i [#5b0990 nononono, they can [b see] us!]] to human form while being knocked out. [i [#ff8c00 You can't let them see us!]]
The reason for her blindness was [#1e9009 [i you need to change!]] that her face was planted into the ground. With the front facing eyes of a human, this was less than ideal. With a herculean [i [#a77925 you're [b naked!!]]] effort, Callisto turned her head towards the sound of fighting.
There was a boy. A scruffy boy, Callisto's mother would most certainly not have approved of his tattered clothes or dirty bandana. Callisto saw something else though. This boy moved like he was born to fight things bigger than him. To fight and to win. The boy made short work of the plant, his features glowing green from the dust of his slayed enemy.
[right [#a72564 [i He will kill you.]]] [right [#75a725 [i This was a trap [#25a1a7 how can you be so stupid]]] [right [#3df628 [i He saved us?]]]
[right [#a74e25 [i They're all monsters, people aren't allowed here. [#2574a7 only monsters like us]]]]
[right [b [#cd0455 You're still fucking [i naked!!!]]]]
Snapping out of her own head, Callisto realized the boy was right next to her now. Asking something. Whether she could run. They didn't have any time before more would come. More what? People?
She mentally scrambled for a form, any form. She couldn't be human, she couldn't. Did she need to fight these people, fight the boy? [i [#04cd61 you won't win.]] Talk to them? She didn't want to do either. In the end, she settled for a middle ground. She grew thick red fur over her body, similar in hue to her human form's hair color. Her form became quadrupedal, with four clawed paws firmly on the ground. It hurt to change, she could feel her own body's weakness in places she knew she had suffered damage both old and new.
These areas always resisted change, they were less malleable. Callisto ignored it, tried to do the best with what she had. She left her head humanoid, excepting her eyes. She made them pitch black, like she had done sometimes while still being stuck in the white room. Black eyes scared people. She didn't know if she needed to fight or talk to these people [i [#2574a7 they're monsters. remember the girl. remember the chains?]], but it was better that they were scared of her either way.
She looked into the green, human eyes of the boy.
"I can run," she said.
It seemed that much of what she had uncovered about August and his experiments were mostly accurate but this is not what she had expected when he threatened to make her disappear. Her first thoughts were that he would have her killed, leaving no trace of her existence but this…this was something where explanations wouldn’t be possible. One minute she had been stood in the office of her employer, and the next she had somehow been transported to streets that had seemingly been deserted long ago. If it were not for her disorientation she might have realised sooner that she was not, in fact, alone at all.
Constance hadn’t even had the time to take in the sights of this new world before chaos found her. It was the sound of metal shooting past her that seemed to cause her to become more alert of her surroundings and she scanned the street before her to watch the scene unfold before her. An indescribable beast which features that she likened to a plant seemed to struggle against metal chains that had launched towards it without so much as a warning. Her breath caught in her throat and her heart seemed to quicken with the fear that overcame her and she watched a woman try to wrestle with the creature with the chains that appeared to be attached to some kind of book. Constance closed her eyes for a split second and shook her head in hopes that it would make such a sight disappear but it seemed that it wasn’t a hallucination or a dream because when her eyes opened once more the scene remained the same. She wanted to run but no matter how much she told herself to do so, her legs wouldn’t carry her and soon enough there was another figure seemingly fighting the creature that had almost eaten her alive had the stranger not attacked it first. She made a mental note to thank her if she made it out of this alive.
She looked on in fear, wondering how she would protect herself should the creature redirect its attention back to her but she didn’t have time to think about that before the figure of a man landed directly in front of her. Where did he come from? Her eyes scanned the heights before her, wondering if he had jumped from the roof of a building and if he had, how had he not sustained any injuries from the impact with the ground. His landing was almost cat-like; gracious and without effort. A blade drew from his back as his voice shouted for them to stay back. Constance had no intention of disobeying and as he fought with the creature she found herself hyperventilating with the fear of the unknown. Before long, the stranger seemed to have dealt with the creature who had almost claimed her life and his voice shot straight through her, telling the newly formed crowd to follow him.
It went against every instinct that she had been taught in the world but this place was not the real world and she had a feeling that the instincts she had relied upon there would not help her here. Whatever that creature was, she knew there would be more and she knew that she was not capable of protecting herself against them and right now, these people had become the only protection she could rely on. The hooded man had made his way to the woman had been thrown into the building and she found herself steading her breath so that she would be able to function in a way that would allow her to stay alive while they journeyed to whatever destination awaited them. It was then that she noticed movement in peripheral vision and she shifted slightly to take in the sight of the woman who had the creature in chains moments before.
She wanted to thank her but for now, the words would not form. It was mostly from the shock and the fact that these people did not seem as unfamiliar with such creatures and they didn’t seem afraid. How was it even possible to be in a place like this where unknown danger roamed the streets without so much as indication of fear? The woman before her seemed to write something in her book and she wondered whether it was because she couldn’t speak or she simply preferred to communicate in such a way. Constance simply nodded in response, knowing that they couldn’t stand around in the open all day. She looked around once more, trying to spot any kind of movement that seemed out of place but for the moment it seemed clear and she made her way towards the rest of the group to offer them whatever help they might need.
[b “What can I do to help?”] She asked, finally able to form words but her voice sounded frightened and weak. That was something that she often tried to hide, and she had done so well in doing so when she stood before August being threatened with a fate she couldn’t have understood then but this was different. It was something that one had to be accustomed to, to be unafraid and that seemed to take a toll on her. How long had these people endured such a world?
Something saved her. What felt like claws suddenly gripped her arm and she was thrown away from the plant. She rolled a bit before coming to a stop, face down into the road. It was a good thing there were no cars here, but that didn't mean she was out of danger. She heard a crashing sound as the one who rescued her made impact with a wall.
As she finally got herself up, she saw a figure almost fly in to save them. He yelled for them to stay back, which she didn't need to hear twice. The girl stayed out of the way as the hooded man pulled a blade out to fight against the man-eating plant. The fight was over before it even began, the man quickly killing the thing in a few swipes. She was amazed by this, her eyes wide as she tried to process what had just happened.
She wasn't given long, the male saying they needed to get out of the area before more came. Azura quickly stood now, rushing to his side to follow. She stopped halfway though, realizing she was missing something very important. Looking around frantically, she spotted her book near where the plant was a few minutes ago. Her panic eased a bit, picking it up and holding it tightly against her chest. She couldn't lose this. It was the only way she could survive here.
Scolding herself to be more careful about it, Azura rushed back to the others, waiting to see if the one who saved her was alright. Since she was being taken care of, Azura turned to the woman she originally ran up to save. Quickly, the girl wrote in her book and then held it up for the woman to read.
[+blue Are you alright? We should help if we can so we can all get out of here.] Azura then waited for a response of some kind from someone. She wanted to get back to safety, and she figured the others would want that too. How much time did they have? She wasn't sure she wanted to know.
She kept a close watch on their surroundings, just in case something tried to sneak up on them. Taking a quick glance a few times to see how the woman was recovering and if she was able to run with them. Something about the male was familiar to her. She wasn't sure what, but now wasn't the time to ask questions. They needed to get somewhere safe and then they could talk. Azura kept her book open and her pen ready, just in case they needed to make a get away. What kind of thing could she create that could help them? She had to have seen it before, and it couldn't be too big, otherwise she would become a liability to them. She had to think carefully, not not wonder off in her thoughts. They would be alright, she had a feeling they would. This guy seemed like he had been here for a while, so he must know how this place works.
[+blue [i 'We need to get going now...']]
[font “Sylfaen” Pounding steps echoed across the rooftops as dirty, worn out sneakers patted on the pseudo-concrete surface. He heard the commotion from a mile away; someone was here. There had been many bright flashes in the central square of the city today. That could mean only one thing: there were new residences in hell today. A figure leaped across a wide gap from one building to the next, ending with a tucked roll. The figure covered his face with a dirty bandana with blood stains spat on the cloth. The color might have been red at one point, or maybe blue, but it was covered in old sweat and dirt. The black hoodie worn by the figure was covered in white bits of dry wall, mud, some blood stains from the wearer, holes and slash marks. The shield that the hood provided was thrown off by the rushing wind as the character vaulted over AC units and piles of debris. The garment used to belong to a poor sap that walked down the wrong alleyway and was ripped in half by one of the many unsightly creatures that dominated the streets here. His death made for another's fortune. It was warm and cozy once, but now, it reeked of sweat and body odor. Needless to say, there aren’t any available showers or washrooms in hell.]
[font “Sylfaen” Bruised hands clutched around a wooden bat that came equipped with “upgrades”. Nails and barbed wire were hammered in at the top. It didn’t have blood caked onto it despite it’s obvious signs of use. The handle was smoothed out from sweaty hands and the nails were jagged from being repeatedly bent back in place. Surviving out in the city was dangerous and one needed tools thrive in a place like this. A sword and sheathe were draped across the stranger’s chest for emergencies only. A bat was easy to replace, a sword was not; a sword in good condition was a rarity at least.]
[font “Sylfaen” He had to move faster, jump farther, breath harder, if he wanted to get to whomever had come through the portal in time. Every second meant either saving another victim or losing one. Dark brown eyes darted all around the streets trying to find out where the commotion was coming from. The normally docile beasts that lurked were perked up to the new presence of presences. [i Shit.] He hissed in his thoughts as his body lurched to the picked-up pace.]
[font “Sylfaen” Hoofing his way closer to where he knew these people would be, the stranger glanced over the edge of the five-story building to see new comers [s fighting] struggling against a single-headed man-eating plant. Luckily for them, it didn’t have any eyes. [i Good. There’s still hope for these poor souls.] He thought as he swung his legs over the side of the building and began to scale down it silently. There was no time to waste, others were coming because these new guys made too much noise. In a few minutes, they would all be screwed. There were three people, from what he could tell briefly observing them, and two of them seemed to have powers too. The smaller girl looked vaguely familiar, but he didn’t have time to think about that. The other woman could transform without effort into animals. It seemed useful to him and he had kept an eye on her for a while. There was no need for him to intervene, and he had no idea if she was trustworthy or not. The smaller girl had been in hiding and almost impossible to track. That’s probably why they both survived for the short period of time they’ve been here.]
[font “Sylfaen” The blonde one was a complete mystery. He had not foreseen her arrival like all the other victims before her. She was young and pretty and completely…innocent. He couldn’t detect any powers from her like the others. She was a normal human with a curious mind, or at least he assumed that’s why she was here. This one didn’t seem to be capable of protecting herself since the plant thing practically swallowed her whole almost if it weren’t for the other two that stepped in. He huffed to himself before continuing down the building’s side. Reaching about several meters over the ground floor, the stranger leaped off the building and landed gracefully on his feet. No bones cracked, no pain came. A perfect landing with no sign of the action save for the small gust of dust away from him. The hood laid back to reveal dark brown hair thick from an old buzzed cut. One scar ran vertically across his crown. Another scar divided his right eyebrow in half permanently. Cruel green eyes never strayed from the beast in the alley.]
[font “Sylfaen” [b “Stay back!”] He shouted to the victims near him as he slowly drew the sword holstered at his back. It was a Hanwei Practical Single Hand sword with slightly dulled edges. The weapon was very unimpressive, but it was certainly cut its foes with provoked. The stranger did not hold it like an expert, but he was no fool. Whipping it around, testing the weight, the stranger started toward the plant. The slapping jowls dripped with saliva imitation as the head searched the air for its next prey. The hooded figure lunged forward in a seemingly blurred motion as it flashed straightforward and then jumped in the air, sword held above his head. The green eyes stared crazed and blood-thirsty with the bandana covering the grin underneath. One flourish and the beast’s head was sliced in half with incredible force. Another quick motion and the sword cut through the base of the plant. Whirling around 360, the sword cut again at the base to sever the plant from its roots, killing the damned thing. The jowls ceased its movement toward the stranger’s body as the rest of it fell over lifeless.]
[font “Sylfaen” However, the monstrous vegetation did not remain a corpse for long as the body dissolved into green particles that lifted towards the sky. [i Now she knows where I am. It’s only a matter of time.] The stranger thought as he turned to the new arrivals with a stern expression. [b “I suggest you come with me if you don’t want to get eaten alive. More creatures are coming.”] The bandana moved to the time of the jaw that spoke from the stranger. His tan skin had blood stains and cuts all over the exposed parts. He looked more than a little worse for wear, but extremely capable. Trust would remain up to those that wanted to live more than those that wanted immediate answers. Sword re-sheathed, the stranger darted over to the one that was knocked into the building. [b “Can you run?”] he asked quickly now with sincere concern in his emerald eyes. [b “We don’t have much time before more come.”]
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