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The wolves were clearly aggressive, at least towards her and Soren. The mission said to find the alpha, so...that meant they definitely had something to do with this mission.
In sync, the step father and Luke spoke.
[+red [b "There isn't." ]]
[b "There is." ]
Aether sighed, and didn't know who to believe but the wolves were definitely aggressive, and that must have meant that it wasn't until recently. Maybe the Banker did kill one, and they became aggressive because one of their own was killed, or maybe it was even Luke. But still...disappearances?
Aether nodded. They should do it in that order. She armed herself and saw Soren had added the supplies of food, and safety gear. Their AI's turned back into the wolves, and they were tied up, so they could sit down on the sled. She had the beanie snuggled tightly around her head, with her jacket hood on top because the wind was strong and biting. Evergreen trees passed by, and she thought about Luke.
[b [#00cca3 "I wouldn't mind but, I'd rather spend time with you." ]] Aether met his teal eyes, and felt so shy about what she said. Her eyes quickly danced back to the snow. Would he get the hint? Probably not... And even if he did, she felt with his constant pushing to others that he didn't think about her like that.
Her body shivered now and then, and she had to pull her hood back over her head now and then. Then she said things. [i [#00cca3 Aether, you need to shut up! ]] Why did she say something so embarrassing? It was true. She found him attractive, and she finished her words, she looked away.
Despite the loud blowing snow and the sleds gliding against the ground, she paid extra attention to what Soren had to say. Friends...
Her head shot up and her red eyes lit up. [i [#00cca3 Did he say...? Am I imagining it?" ]] Her hands and face were so cold... Aether turned her head and looked at him, seeing his cheeks burning so strongly red. Did he!? What was the something more?
[b [#00cca3 "Something more? Yes!" ]] She grinned Wait. Did he mean best friends? [b [#00cca3 "Or wait... Do you mean best friends? Or...or...or something else? I...Soren... I kind of..." ]] [i[#00cca3 Like you... ]] Her stomach fluttered so much and she couldn't form her words. [b [#00cca3 "I'd like to be something more with you." ]] Her face has never lit so price in cold weather.
It was colder, and she couldn't handle much more of the cold. Maybe she should start up a little fire? But no...at the speed they were going it wouldn't be the sharpest idea. [b [#00cca3 "I don't see anything much either." ]] The storm was picking up, and eventually she could only see white whipping back and forth, and even their AI's were confused on where to go, and what not to hit, so they moved slower.
[b [#00cca3 "It's freezing!" ]] Her body wouldn't stop shaking. Body heat. Smart. Oh wait... She blushed at her thought and felt Soren's arms wrapped around her. She needed it. [b [#00cca3 "Okay. But Soren...the storm is getting really bad. Don't you think we should seek shelter?" ]] She had to raise her voice a bit to speak over the loud whipping snow. She looked around, [b [#00cca3 "Maybe a cave or a cabin that's near by... But I really can't see anything." She tossed her head around, and it was starting to make sense why they didn't see much. The animals detected a storm.
He didn't know why it upset him so much to see her talking to some AI....he was better. HE was real! Wasn't he? He didn't get what she saw in him when he has been nothing but really nice to her lately. Didn't she say she liked his hair and thought he was cute....he was better then that waiter....but did he meet his match?
Soren was thinking about everything right now, how LUke had this huge house and a father....and he had Aether's attention. He didn't want to deal with this right now, they had a quest to complete. [b [#F78F18 "Well apparently there's been sightings of wolves being violent, so I just wanted to verify that you guys haven't seen anything"]] he spoke and then he listened about Franklin and Emma. He gave the same story as his father.
He didn't feel like they would tell them anymore, so Soren led Aether outside and then he looked back at her. [b [#F78F18 "We do need to ask around town. Let's just check up north to see if we can find any clues there first"]] he told her, grabbing his tablet and then he started setting up. He drew a sled and put on some supplies like sleeping bags, food, and safety gear. He then let his tablet turn back into a wolf and helped tie the reigns onto her as he told Aether to just go with Luke if she wanted to.
[b [#F78F18 "You don't?"]] he looked confused because earlier it looked like she liked him. Then she said that she liked hanging with him and he didn't really understand. She mentioned him being more attractive....but friends...well she didn't sound like she wanted to be more.
[b [#F78F18 "I know we're friends....but....do you think there's a possibility one day....you know, maybe we can be something more?"]] he asked her, glancing off because his cheeks were burning red. He loaded more things onto the sled and then he felt so embarrassed for asking. If she said no, he wouldn't be upset or anything...he just would try and understand why.
They headed into the mountain, passing by some trees in the snow. It was getting colder and as they rode deeper into the forest, he looked over at Aether, seeing her shiver. [b [#F78F18 "We're going further up. I don't see anything here"]] he frowned, moving closer to her.
[b [#F78F18 "It's getting cold....we should stick together to keep more body heat"]] he leaned into her, looking at her red eyes as he wrapped his arms around her waist, hoping she'd let him. If she pushed him away, he'd just stick close to her side so they could warm up.
Luke could be the key to helping her ease what she felt for Soren. Her eyes never wavered off him while they were there.
[+red [b "I've never heard about wolves being violent, and I've never encountered one that would attack me. They mind their own business." ]] Luke brought his tow hands together on his lap, legs spread apart. His eyes widened, [+red [b "Oh, you mean, Franklin and Emma. I admit it's odd that they're missing, but I heard they might have run away with each other to the next town." ]]
[b [#00cca3 "You are close friends with Franklin, right?" ]] Aether leaned forward.
[+red [b "We knew each other. But, I wouldn't say we were that close." ]] Luke shrugged. [i [#00cca3 Hmm... Maybe we should ask more around after. ]] Aether lifted a smile and thanked them. She stepped outside with Soren, and sat herself down. She rubbed her two hands together, to warm them up. She'd rather, just take hold of his, but...no, that would be wrong.
Aether nodded, [b [#00cca3 "We should. Maybe we'll find a body or something, or some other clues. Hopefully. Mmm, we do need to ask around the town though, because maybe Luke is right. Maybe the wolves have nothing to do with their disappearance. Mmm, you're right." ]] She brought her bunny and displayed the room to him, while picking out clues herself.
She took the stylus and equipped fire resistant gloves, and sat a sword on her back, just in case. When she looked up, Soren had drew a sled and a lamp. She smiled to see he already had all of that done. She allowed her tablet to turn back into a wolf, so they could pull the sled. But...first.
Still, Soren didn't tell her what he was upset about. Unless...he was upset about that. No... He didn't like her. He was even pushing her to get some space with Luke and spend time with him. Someone who liked her wouldn't encourage her to hang out with someone else.
Aether shrugged, "He's attractive. I don't know if I like him." She frowned and stared down at the sled. Her chest ached a little. [i [#00cca3 He really doesn't see me. ]] Aether nibbled on her lip and shrugged again, "Okay. I kind of...just like hanging out with you. I mean. I mean... Forget it." She shook her head, and she attached her AI to the sled, before boarding the sled. After their two wolves were attached, they were pulled along the forest path. It was faster travelling. Aether met Soren's eyes, [b [#00cca3 "Soren... I...I think you're more attractive. But we're friends, right." ]] Where was she going with this? She meant to say other things, but no... she didn't want to ruin their friendship. She sighed and looked around, to keep a mindful eye on movement. She couldn't pick up anything that was suspicious to her. Just normal animals that lived in the forest, and no dead bodies around at the beginning. But, no one bother to tell them how far up north was, and the mountain...was very far. Her teeth were beginning to chatter.
[b [#00cca3 "H-how, much....l-longer?" ]] She shivered. She stared at the trees around, and was beginning to snow more heavily, the wind picking up.
He liked holding Aether's hand, but he didn't know if she liked holding his. He thought she did, but when she decided that they shouldn't hold hands or do anything couples should do, he pulled away and felt bad. Maybe she didn't see anything in him. Maybe she didn't like him in that way? He didn't know, but he didn't want to upset her either.
Soren just walked into the house, speaking with the banker about the wolf sightings. He didn't really understand why his story sounded so farfetched, but he listened anyway. IT wasn't until he saw Luke and Aether come down. She looked so interested and he didn't know why. Luke just looked okay...didn't she say she liked the way he looked too? He could see her looking at Luke and then her eyes never moved. That upset him.
[b [#F78F18 "They're not violent? THen what about those missing kids?"]] he watched as Aether laughed and then he narrowed his eyes a little, wondering why? He was just an AI....he himself was all real. He shook her shoulder and then he heard Luke. [b [#F78F18 "We'll figure it out"]] he told him, hearing Aether agree. WHy? They were going to eliminate the alpha....that was disturbing them.
He rolled his eyes and then he heard Luke asking for her number. Really? Two AI's in the past two days! He was getting pissed off now. What made it worse was that Aether was giving him her phone and he just sighed and stepped out of the house irritated. He felt her grab his hand, but he pulled away and then he looked at her eyes, upset. How could she like those two guys and be so willing to just give them her number. That meant she liked them.
He watched the video with her and tried to think. What could that be? He thought about it [b [#F78F18 "I think we should go up north and arm ourselves and see what's there. Then we'll figure out what to do from there. Maybe we can observe and just watch them and see what happens. We won't disturb them until we know what to do"]] he told her, putting on his beanie and just glancing at his bunny.
He picked him up and drew them a sled with two reigns for their tablet. He then drew a lamp and some supplies, putting it on. HE heard her ask if she was upset and he just shook his head. He looked back at her curiously. [b [#F78F18 "Did you like that guy? Luke? He seemed nice right? Just let me know if you want some space from me to hang out with him"]] he told her, shaking his head because they were clearly only friends.
[b [#F78F18 "Let's get ready and head up the mountain.
If she were honest to herself, she liked holding his hand. She liked the warmth and comfort that came from the touch of his fingers intertwining with hers. The way it made her empty life feel a little bit more full. Still...she figured this was wrong. And maybe it was because she didn't want to hold hands if it didn't mean that they were something. All she knew is that, he gave her butterflies in the pit of her stomach.
Aether's eyes locked on Luke, while she sat beside Soren. His blonde hair was a little ruffled, and he had these sharp intriguing jewel green eyes, with a smile wide and beautiful. She couldn't help it. Luke also locked onto her too, until they briefly went to Soren to answer a question.
[+red [b "Wolves...I have seen one while I was collecting firewood. It didn't bother me. I don't bother it. The wolves have never been violent here. I wouldn't listen to my step-fathers story either. He probably saw a racoon or something," ]] Luke gave a low laugh.
Aether slightly laughed, her eyes not budging off him at all. She wasn't laughing because she thought it was funny. She laughed because she wanted him to like her. Luke looked back at her again.
The old man's face grew tense and the lines in his forehead deepened, [b "It was not a racoon! I am telling the truth. I even have the head of the wolf to proof it!. ]
Her whole upper half swayed when she felt a force shaking her shoulder. She doubly blinded and turned her head to look at Soren. WHy did he shake her? [b [#00cca3 "They are?" ]]
[+red [b "I wouldn't look for them, or disturb the." ]] Luke leaned forward.
[b [#00cca3 "I agree." ]] Aether smiled, [b [#00cca3 "But, thank you for your information." ]] She rose up to her feet. She didn't want either of the these AI's to know that they would be going up north. They definitely should go check it out.
Luke got up, and stepped forward to her. [+red [b "Ah, if you don't mind me asking. Could I have your phone number?" ]]
Aether held her strong smile and excitement, but rolled back and forth on her heels. [i Keep it cool. ] [b [#00cca3 " Sure. Call or message me if you have any new information." ]] She took his phone and typed in her phone number and handed it back. At the corner of her eye she looked at Soren. He looked...like something was bothering him. It was probably just this quest. She shrugged to herself.
Without a thought, she took hold of Soren's hand and stepped out of the Banker's territory with him. [b [#00cca3 "Sorry..." ]] She whispered, releasing his hand. She can't believe she did that. When they came across a bench, she took a seat and prompted him to sit beside her.
[b [#00cca3 "Let's discuss first...and then head up north?" ]] Aether met his teal eyes, and fell in love with how pretty they were again. Why? Why couldn't she stop these butterflies in her stomach. Why couldn't she help but really like it when he gave her attention, held her hand, or treated her like she meant the world to him. [i You'll have to get over it. He won't think of you like that. ] He was definitely a whole other level than her.
She cleared her voice, noticing that she had kept quiet for a while. [b [#00cca3 "I didn't get far into the house. But... I did get my bunny to film inside one of the locked rooms on the first floor." ]] Aether scooped her bunny from her shoulder and it reverted into a tablet. She went through her recordings and selected the video of the room. She leaned over and shared the view of the tablet.
It displayed a room with no windows, that was only lit by two triangle art deco lamps, with a bed centered in between. There was a large lump shaped like a human being on the bed, but whoever it was, it was hiding underneath. Clothes were scattered on the floor, a skirt, a dress, and a jacket.
[b [#00cca3 "We should have asked the banker if he had a wife or daughter... We can do that after we travel north, or should we go around and ask other houses?" ]] She nibbled on her lip, thinking of what would be best. [b [#00cca3 "If we are going north, we need to arm ourselves." ]] Then she looked back at him, her stomach feeling all weird again. [b [#00cca3 "Soren, are you upset about something?" ]]
The woman was nice to him and that was all that mattered. IF she brought them into her home and offered them hot chocolate and cookies, how bad could she be? He didn't want to be rude, but if Aether was going to threaten her, then he wasn't sure why. Did she sense that the woman was lying? He couldn't.
They decided to start with the banker, heading out of the woman's house as he got directions. They walked in the snow and Soren held onto to her hand after he tugged her arm, wanting to keep holding her hand in his and maybe she wouldn't notice. He held on and when they walked in the snow, he heard her voice and looked over at her. [b [#F78F18 "I mean...that's true.....we're not"]] he looked at their hands and then he released it, sighing a little and then he felt bad. He wanted to hold her hand. It made him feel reassured she was with him.
[b [#F78F18 "I guess you're right. I just like holding your hand too"]] he glanced off and decided that maybe they should just stick to friend things. Maybe she didn't like what he was doing and he needed to give her some space. He ended up just walking alongside her to the banker's house, heading up to the door.
AFter knocking, they were greeted by an older man with a white beard. He looked odd having no hair on his head, but he didn't say a thing. Instead, he heard Aether's suggestion and then he nodded in agreement, stepping inside and then they sat on the sofa. THe man talked about how he slayed the wolf. He was out at night gathering fire wood when he spotted a wolf watching him. The wolf came after him, chasing the man down, but luckily he had a torch. He abandoned the firewood, lighting them in flames and then aiming them at wolf and pelting him down. He managed to get a hit on his head and apparently pulled out a spear from nowhere and stabbed him.
His story seemed farfetched, but what else could they do but listen. He distracted the man as Aether headed down the hall. He spoke with the man more about the sightings. [b [#F78F18 "Have you seen them around lately, maybe where they are coming from?"]] he asked.
The banker thought about it for awhile [b "Well I found him up north in the forest above the cabins...I don't know where they're coming from exactly"]
[b [#F78F18 "Do you know about the missing girl and boy?"]]
[b "Hmm, Franklin and Emma? I haven't seen them in weeks. I heard they might just be pulling this prank to go off and be alone. I don't know, but they haven't come back"]
[b [#F78F18 "Is there anything more you know about the wolves?"]] he asked, seeing Aether come down the stairs with another boy behind her. The boy was fairly good looking, but what upset Soren was when they were sitting and he called her pretty. [i [#F78F18 No he didn't]] he glanced at the boy and glared, looking to see Aether looking into him. Her red eyes on his green ones.
Soren felt a pang of jealousy fill his chest. He didn't feel like someone should be taking his only friend away. Not when he was there at least. Aether said he wasn't bad and that made his mood drop. He lost focus for a while and then he sat there baffled that a guy like that interested her.
[b [#F78F18 "We were talking about the wolf sightings. Have you seen them? Do you know where they're staying?"]] he asked, his voice raising because he had to repeat himself, and it was partly because that guy getting Aether's attention. She didn't even seem to be paying attention to the conversation anymore.
[b [#F78F18 "Aether"]] he shook her shoulder, wanting her to look at him. [b [#F78F18 "T-T-They said....that.the wolves are up north"]] he tried to think of a good reason for shaking her.
[b [#F78F18 "We should go look"]]
The cookies made this missions so worth it. Oh, if only she could just grab the whole thing and take it with her to go. When, Soren agreed to start with the banker, she rose to her feet. She grabbed one more cookie and smiled, "Yes, thank you." She felt the touch of Soren's hand, and he easily took it and held it. She nibbled on her lip and didn't know if this was right. She should talk to him about this, about how they behaved.
He tugged her out. She only threatened the woman because she felt something was off, and had experience with AI's lying to her or not telling her the truth, and then she'd have to come back all over again and didn't like doing extra work.
The woman gave the address to the banker before closing the door on them. They stepped out into the streets and let Soren lead the way. As they walked she decided to talk, "Soren, don't you think that...holding hands isn't a thing friends should do? Only couples hold hands, and sleep in the same bed, or room. We're not a couple. We're friends." Plus...she felt butterflies in her stomach when he was close. She felt sure that he didn't like her either like that, so, she didn't want to get hurt if he never did and never will.
"I mean, I like holding your hand and all. But I don't think that's what friends do." She sighed, and peaked at his eyes to see his reaction. He probably thought holding hands and sleeping in the same bed was so casual. They must do that often in the futuristic worlds then. It probably meant almost to nothing to him in the romance department. They had to walk pretty far, because the banker lived in a fairly big house, with iron gates in the way. The iron gates however, were already open, just with a security camera. She followed Soren to the door.
The door opened revealing a bald funny looking man with a beard. [i how does he have a long beard with no hair on his head? ] The better question was if this old man was going to be upset if Aether suggested he used the hair on his beard to make a wig. Or would that be rude? She'd ask Soren for his opinion later.
"You talk to the man, and I'll use some excuse that lets me go around the house and do some investigating." Aether bobbed her head closer to Soren as she whispered to him. They stepped into the home, a fairly large open concept home with a spacious living space. They sat done on the contemporary sofa. The man began talking about the wolf but Aether did hear any of it, she let Soren pay attention to that.
"May I use the bathroom?" Aether cleared her voice slightly.
"Down the hall to the left. As I was saying..." The man spoke to Soren and Aether went around to the hallway and saw two doors. One was the bathroom and the other... Locked. She sighed and knocked on the door gently. No response. She turned her bunny tiny and let him on the floor to fit under the door. She waited and when her bunny came back she turnd him to normal size. Her AI had filmed the room. Aether managed to go up the stairs and as she got to the top she met a blonde boy with pretty green eyes. Aethers face instantly turned red.
"Who are you?" The guy asked, appearing to look around her age.
"A guest. I was... Nevermind. I'm going back down but who are you?" Aether took the stairs back down and the guy followed and just as they saw the living space he spoke.
"I'm Luke. I don't recall my step-father ever having such a pretty guest." He smiled a smile that made Aethers heart leap. Not close to Soren but still something. Maybe this would help her dull her strong crush for Soren. Maybe....
"Thank you." Aether smiled, "You're not so bad yourself." Aether than sat back down on the sofa beside Soren and Luke sat beside his step-father.
"What's this about?" Luke asked.
Aether was pretty out of it.
He only patted her head because he thought she liked that. He remembered doing that when she was a kid and doing it now didn't seem like a bad idea. If she didn't like it, she'd tell him anyway. He saw her run her fingers through her hair and Soren ended up smiling up at her. It was nice to see her smile because he really liked it when she was happy.
He walked by her side towards the town, his hand slowly moving to hold hers because he thought that it was just normal for them to, but then he shook his head. They were just friends...not a couple or anything. Friends. They shouldn't be doing more than just talking to each other, maybe a hug. He needed to stop trying to be so close and act like a friend. A friend helping her out and protecting her when she needed him.
They entered the old woman's house and were led to the living room where he sat down and just relaxed. He took a cookie and was amazed with how great it tasted. It tasted so delicious and he couldn't help but want more. Soren sipped at his hot chocolate and saw Aether enjoying it as well. Maybe they could make some of these cookies.
He listened to woman speak about Luke and then the boy and girl that went missing. How did they go missing? Could the wolves have killed them? Hopefully not, they needed to move fast.
Aether was on the right track. They should probably talk to a few of the people that knew the victims. [b [#F78F18 "Ya, let's start with the banker and go from there"]] he nodded and then he heard Aether threaten the woman. Was she always like that? He's never seen her do that before or talk so demanding. [b [#F78F18 "Let's go. Thank you for having us"]] he told her and then he held Aether's hand [b [#F78F18 "Let's go to the banker and see what they know"]] he tugged her arm, not wanting her to threaten the old woman. He headed outside and then he walked through the snow, looking back at the woman.
[b [#F78F18 "Where does the banker live exactly? We'll head over that way"]] he put on his beanie once more and then he got the directions. He summoned his bunny onto his shoulder and then he walked with Aether through the snow again, his hand still holding hers as he smiled. Maybe she'd like it if he held her hand. Friends that held hands didn't sound too bad...
When they headed to the banker's home, Soren knocked on the door and they were greeted by a bald man with a white beard. He looked over the two and Soren explained. [b [#F78F18 "Hello Sir. We're trying to find out more about the wolves and the disappearances. Would know anything about that?"]] he asked, seeing the man look around outside and then he patted Soren's shoulder [b "Of course I do, come in come in. I'll tell you about how I killed one"] the man spoke, leading them to his living room.
Aether nodded her head quickly, before feeling a pat on the top of her head. He really did make her feel like a kid sometime, but she kind of liked it when he did that. A smile formed on her lips. She ran her fingers into her own hair and felt pretty good about her appearance from his compliment.
As they walked along aside each other, she felt a slight touch of her finger, or maybe she was mistaken? She wasn't so sure. Her eyes travelled to Soren, but maybe he accidently did it or she was imagining it. Although, through the walk she decided on something.
It definitely wasn't right to be holding hands, and cuddling with each other when they had a friendship relationship. It was definitely not right. They just met, and they shouldn't be acting like a couple, which she felt that they sort of did. From what she has seen, only married people slept in the same bed, or family if the family didn't have much space in the house. That occasionally happened to the poor. She exhaled deeply. What was she to do? Her mind felt so conflicted.
The front door opened and a woman stepped out. Her and Soren stepped inside and Aether took comfort in the sofa, sitting beside him, but keeping good distance with her hands folded in front of her.
The house was fairly small but cozy. They had a single TV, a wooden coffee table and a TV. A vase filled with flowers sat in the center of the coffee table. The brunette woman walked into the kitchen first, carrying a tray of hot chocolate and cookies. She placed on the coffee table for them and sat on a chair.
[b [#00cca3 "Thank you." ]] Aether stretched out and took a cookie. It was still warm and freshly baked, the scent still looming around in the house. Oh...it tasted so, so, so good.
[b "Oh goodness no, the banker might boast about it but I grew up with the man and he always exaggerate his stories. " ] She laughed, holding a cup of warm tea in her hand. [b "I bet, Luke, his step-son actually killed a wolf. He's a strong healthy young man. He might know a little something, you should ask him." ]
[i Luke. Got it. ] Still, she felt they should talk to the banker anyway.
[b "No, no one found just yet. My good friend's cousin went missing, Emma, sixteen year's old...poor girl. She has been missing since last week, along with a boy around her age... I think his name was Franklin. Yes, Franklin, he's close friends with Luke." ] She nodded.
Aether exhaled deeply, [b [#00cca3 "We should probably talk to the banker, Luke and possibly the family of Emma and Franklin. Then retrace the steps they last took." ]] She took another nibble of her second cookie and end up drinking hot chocolate again. Aether then cleared her voice, [b [#00cca3 "Have you seen yourself any wolves? Or, when did Emma and Franklin go missing? How many days ago was it?" ]]
The woman shrugged, leaning far back, and putting one leg over the other. She smiled, [b "I think it's been roughly a week or two from now. I'd like to give you information but I really don't know. This is really all the information I can give you." ]
Aether narrowed her eyes, [b [#00cca3 "If your holding something back, we will come back." ]]
[b "I assure you I am not," ] She held her smile.
Aether met Soren's eyes, [b [#00cca3 "So, should we head over to the bankers house first?" ]]
He's never really worked in a team before so this was going to be new. How was it going to work though? They needed a plan? They needed to test it out with one another for a while? He wasn't quite sure, but he did want to make sure they worked well together so that she didn't question why he was even with him at all.
After breakfast, he thought about what they needed to do today and how to work on their quests. If he could, then maybe they could move on from this place and visit another world together as well. [b [#F78F18 "Okay good. You're really good at magic. I want to learn some someday too so I can also help you"]] he smiled and was glad he had someone to work with now. It's going to be different and he wouldn't be alone either.
He watched Aether approach him and when she ran her fingers through his hair, it felt really nice. Did she care about him enough to just fix his hair? Probably. He had a smile on his face and then he patted her head [b [#F78F18 "You think so? I don't get that a lot. Your hair is really pretty too. It also helps me find you really fast"]] he really did like her hair.
They soon headed outside and walked into town, looking at the other cabins and the different houses. IT was cold, but they were both layered up and Soren would glance over at her hand. Should he touch it? Should he hold her hand again? He reached over and barely touched her finger before he kept his hands to his side again and then he glanced off. Maybe another time.
They knocked on a house and Soren walked in beside Aether, stepping inside as they were led towards the living room. HE took a seat on the couch with Aether and watched as the old woman brought them a plate of cookies. [b [#F78F18 "He's killed some before...do you think he'd know where they lived?"]] he wondered, looking back at Aether as he took a chocolate chip cookie and then he took a bite. It was delicious. Sometimes the food made from actual appliances tasted better than when he drew it.
[b [#F78F18 "Mmm, thank you. What disappearances were going on? People were missing? Or found?"]] he wasn't quite sure since he hasn't been to this town in a long time. He only had a space here and that was it.
This was going to the first time in forever that she's worked with someone other than an AI. She wondered how different it was. Aether smiled at him, and nodded. They were going to work together. Breakfast was good, she finished it up and put the plates away before sitting back down in front of him again. Her eyes widened, [b [#00cca3 "Really? I'm still practicing on it. Yea, I'm okay. It's only temporary I'm in perfect shape today." ]] She kept her eyes so attentively on him, and couldn't stop smiling. They would have each other's backs now and she felt that life was going to a lot more fun again.
[b [#00cca3 "Mm, we'll have to learn to fight as a team though. I hope we do make a good team, or just learn to be a good one." ]] She got up on her feet, and went to him, and she couldn't help but run her fingers into his hair. Oh no...
She met his eyes again, and saw he was looking at her but not her eyes, somewhere else along her face. He laughed, and she breathed. He didn't find it that weird after all. [b [#00cca3 "Oh. Alright." ]] She released her hand and felt the pat on her head. This was definitely a Soren thing, because she couldn't recall another AI doing that to her. And...she liked it. She nervously smiled, [b [#00cca3 "Yea, your hair is really nice." ]] She put on her jacket and went to her wolf, petted his head, and got him to turn into a tablet before changing back into a bunny, because she didn't want to scare the towns people.
[b [#00cca3 "Sounds like a plan," ]] She grinned and opened the front door, [b [#00cca3 "Let's get going." ]]
The town was fairly full, but less than last night. Shops were still open and still she found this space pretty comforting and beautiful. She stood alongside Soren while they walked the streets. [b [#00cca3 "We'll have to just pick random houses or stores and ask away." ]] She walked to the first house she spotted, a two story Victorian like house. Aether knocked on the front door, and an older brunette woman in cozy clothing stepped out. She offered a polite smile, [b [#00cca3 "Hello, who are you?" ]]
[b [#00cca3 "I'm Aether, and this is Soren. We're investigating, and we're wondering if you've seen any wolves around anywhere, or if you know anything about the disappearances." ]]
Her smile faded, [b [#00cca3 "Why don't you come in for cookies and I'll tell you what I know? I know something about the disappearances. And...If I recall correctly, the banker has killed some wolves recently, boasting about it around town." ]]
Aether looked at Soren, to make sure he was okay with going inside, or if they should just decline it and get answers quickly.
When he slowly got up and then headed into the living room, Soren was yawning softly as he raised his arms into the air and just stretched out. He ran his fingers through his hair, not realizing that it was in a mess. He rubbed his eyes and followed her into the kitchen, a smile on his lips because he woke up to her. She was still there beside him and this wasn't all a dream.
Some AI's were considerate, emotional, and caring, but even Soren could tell that it only went to a certain extent. No matter how much he wanted to believe that they could be real, his mind was always focused on Aether. She was the one that was real. She was just like him, that hesitation, that curiosity, and just having that ability to not know what to do next made him always search for that. Search for her.
[b [#F78F18 "They seem smart and can respond...it's the closest thing we had when we weren't together. But now we have each other Aether. We're here together, so we should work together too"]] he smiled and hoped that she agreed.
He sat at the kitchen breakfast bar and saw the food, taking a bite of his eggs and bacon and then smiling. He's had some people cook for him before, but Aether's imagination made him love it even more. His eyes went to his arm, his hand rubbing his skin, seeing the scabs that revealed the wolf's bite mark. He was glad they were safe tonight though. Thanks to their tablets, everything was okay.
[b [#F78F18 "I don't know what you did Aether, but that was amazing. You did some kind of magic....then you looked really tired, so I hope you're okay"]] he asked worriedly as he took a few more bites and a sip of hot chocolate. [b [#F78F18 "We can work hard together and have each other's backs. It'll be better that way too"]] he thought about doing quests with her and then remembered they needed to take care of the wolves.
[b [#F78F18 "Yeah, we'll need a plan. We can locate where their home is or their nest. When we observe maybe we can lure them out one at a time and take care of them"]] he thought, finishing off his food.
[b [#F78F18 "Looks like we'll do some investigating and finish this"]] he smiled and then he saw her approaching him. When Aether's red eyes glanced up at his hair, he wondered what she was doing. She reached up and touched his hair, making him watch her eyes. [i She's so close] he thought, his eyes looking at her nose, her lips and her facial features. She was so pretty. His eyes closed and relaxed when she rubbed his hair. IT felt warm and comforting.
As she spoke, he laughed a little [b [#F78F18 "Don't worry about it. Its always like this in the mornings. I'll be wearing a beanie anyway"]] he reached up and patted her head, smiling. [b [#F78F18 "I'm glad you like it"]] it really did make him happy to hear she liked his hairstyle.
[b [#F78F18 "Let's head to town. We'll ask if anyone's seen any wolves around...then maybe we can go through the forests and search"]] he suggested, hoping that was a decent idea.
Aether got up on her feet, and stepped into the living room with him. Some AI’s were okay. She could tell the difference between Soren and AI’s, but she has grown up with them too and they felt as real as it was going to get. [b [#00cca3 “It isn’t? Some AI’s seem really smart, and nearly respond as clearly as you do. I’d like to think that they’d care. It made me feel less alone.” ]] She shrugged. There was nothing worse than talking to something that couldn’t respond very well though.
When she sat across from him, she couldn’t stop looking at him. It was so good to see that she really wasn’t alone. She grinned back and nodded, [b [#00cca3 “It is! I’m glad we’re thinking the same thing.” ]] Soren really was sweet to her too. Her eyes flickered back into his arm, while she took a bite. [b [#00cca3 “Mmm, he did. I bet your AI helped out too though.” ]]
She grinned. Her eyes lit up to see that his arm felt great too, [b [#00cca3 “I’m so glad it does. Healing it was very worth it. Sometimes...it doesn’t always work too.” ]] She took a bite of the bacon and found it tasted really good.
[b [#00cca3 “It is much safer. I can’t believe that we’ll be doing quests together,” ]] She felt a little excitement running through her. A quest, with Soren.... She smiled to herself and was finishing up her breakfast when she noticed that he drew the cup a cup of hot chocolate. She took a sip, and enjoyed the sweetness.
[b [#00cca3 “A sled sounds like the perfect idea! We can use our AI’s to pull it. But, yes, we need to prepare. We need to arm ourselves. First, we need to find the alpha, observe. Then come back, make a plan. And finally, we’ll attack.” ]] She nodded. She finished up her breakfast, and kept her eyes on Soren. Oh...his hair. His hair was all so spiky and all so fluffy. Why couldn't she touch it again? [i What is up with you and fluffy things? ] She sighed, and knew it would be really weird if she asked him if she could touch his hair.
Aether grabbed their plates and put them in the sink, tapping the tap. [b [#00cca3 "I think we might have to go around town and get clues for the alpha, but do you have any other ideas?" ]] She asked, and moved beside him, her eyes lifting up his hair. Without thinking, she ran her fingers into his hair, and then met his eyes, and blushed. She began to try to flatten his hair with her hand, [b [#00cca3 "I'm just trying to get your hair to be less pointy, not that I don't like it. I do, a lot. I mean. Yea, we should figure out how we're going to find the alpha. Or set up a trap or something." ]] She nodded, backing her hands and taking a step back.
He wanted to teach her about the futuristic worlds. For her to learn something about the world's he's visited. They weren't the same when it came to their interests and they sure were different people, but that's what interested Soren the most. IT surprised him that someone could be just like him but like completely different things. They could share with one another, but at the same time, he liked learning about everything she's been through as well.
In the morning, Soren woke up, his teal eyes looking around the room, seeing Aether beside him. [i Oh no....so close] he thought to himself, his eyes watching her eyes and then remembered how much she didn't want to be so close, so he tried his best to back up a little. He apologized and rubbed his eyes as well, slowly sitting up and his hair all spiked. Soren shook his head [b [#F78F18 "AIs can care, but it's not really....caring. YOu can tell what their limit is"]] he told her, slowly getting up and then walking into his living room to see his tablet. He patted it's head and then he changed it back as he changed his clothes. Soren dressed in jeans, a turtleneck sweater and then a black peacoat.
He looked over at her tablet and then he smiled at the sight. It was nice to be with Aether like this and have company. [b [#F78F18 "It's so nice to have someone else here with me"]] he grinned and then he sat at the table. When he saw the breakfast, it looked delicious. For some reason it really excited him to see breakfast made for him by someone else. Aether's food always tasted great.
[b [#F78F18 "Thank you Aether. It looks sooo good"]] he sat down and then he ate slowly, taking a few bites and then he saw that there was a wolf at his window, bloodied up and dead. [b [#F78F18 "Looks like your tablet did a good job"]] he spun his arm around and then he stretched out. [b [#F78F18 "My arm feels great"]] he admitted, smiling up at her proudly because he knew it was also thanks to her help.
[b [#F78F18 "I don't mind. It's nice to have two eyes and two heads. You watch over my back and I watch over yours too. It's much safer that way"]] he admitted and then he thought about the wolf quest they needed to do. [b [#F78F18 "Yeah, I don't want them coming after us again. I think it's best if we finish the quest"]] he told her, drawing them up a cup of hot cocoa. He was really enjoying it after she introduced him to it.
[b [#F78F18 "After we have breakfast, we can prepare and then go on a hunt. Maybe we ride on a sled or something so they can't catch up to us"]]
She was definitely learning a lot about the futuristic worlds from Soren. She nodded, and decided to keep in mind that robots could look like them too. Well, that wasn't scary at all. Robots really weren't her favorite. She believed she'd always prefer human AI's.
When she woke, he had his arm around her, and was still really close to her. It couldn't possibly be normal, but she was just glad he was okay. He pulled back and she began to wonder if Soren behaved like that with AI's too. Probably. Not that it mattered. Her face was still flushed but, she smiled lightly. [b [#00cca3 "It's okay." ]]She sat up, releasing a yawn and wiping her eyes.
[b [#00cca3 "No problem. You took care of me too." ]]Aether frowned, meeting his eyes, [b [#00cca3 "Really? No AI has?" ]] Aether looked around her body, her legs, her arms and shook her head, [b [#00cca3 "I wasn't hurt at all. I'm in perfect condition." ]] She walked to her wolf, petting the back and ears and kissing the top of its head. [b [#00cca3 "You did good at night. Tablet." ]]She went into her tablet and changed clothes into a pair of comfy patterned leggings and a big black and teal long comfy cardigan, with a t-shirt underneath.
[b [#00cca3 "We should eat." ]]She opened the bedroom door and stepped into the kitchen. Aether smiled, becoming a bit more familiar with his cabin. It was definitely amazing waking up to someone, and having breakfast together. She drew bacon, eggs and pancakes for them. They appeared on the table.
[b [#00cca3 "Breakfast is ready!" ]] She grinned, until her grin soon faded at the sight of a dead bleeding wolf at the front of a broken window in the living space. She peeked down and noticed that her tablet had turned into the a wolf again. [b [#00cca3 "You did it, didn't you?" ]] She didn't get any notification about the quest being completed, so that meant that the alpha was still out there. That should probably get done so they didn't face another attack.
Aether sat down on the table, across from Soren. [b [#00cca3 "So, how is this going to work. Will be we doing quests together from now on?" ]] She liked that idea, simply because she could keep track of him. "We should probably do that wolf quest, to get the attacks to end...and who knows, maybe it'll have good rewards." She shrugged and took a bite of the bacon. When she wasn't looking at her food, she was looking at Soren. She felt so lucky, that he was here, that he wasn't a figment of her imagination.
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