[i No one knows when or how it started. In the year 2073, people with the ability to shape shift started to appear. These people who had gained these strange powers were quickly branded as 'Shifters'. People quickly came to fear Shifters due to the fact that there was a chance Shifters would suffer a sudden change in psyche and become a monster known as a Hollow. Hollows are Shifters who have been consumed by their abilities and turn into creatures of incredible power.
The government did not waste a moment to set up an anti task force to take down Shifters and Hollows alike. However, in 2085, the amount of Hollows on the rise had suddenly dramatically increased. The anti-Shifter/Hollow task force was being overwhelmed and the government was having trouble thinking of a solution. What a shocker.
That is when a scientist who started specializing in Shifters ten years ago spoke up. Romano Ferrus, a specialist in genetics of 20 years. He theorized that the hunt for Shifters caused them to enter a state of mind that caused them to turn into Hollows more easily. Romano then suggested that instead of hunting Shifters, the government should take them in and take care of them, and in exchange have the Shifters take on the Hollows.
It was in 2086 that the 'Shift' organization was born. Its job was to train Shifters on how to use their powers and prevent them from becoming Hollows. I was lucky enough to join such a 'fascinating' organization.]
1. Basic ES rules
2. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE AVAILABLE AND ARE DRIVEN TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE RP. I'm tired of people joining the rps I work hard on only to flake out on me 3 posts in. I am looking for hardcore rpers who knows what it means to be a good rper. Only join if you like to write and will make time to rp. Please do not join on a whim. That is all I ask.
3. Anime or Art pics only please
4. PM ALL SKELETONS
5. Also, please don't forget to communicate with me. If an issue arises or you have a question, pm me. My pm box is always open and I am always willing to help. Don't just sit there and suffer in silence >>.
6. Just FYI. I want you guys to have fun. Just, I want to have fun too. Otherwise enjoy ^_^
So, this is important because it stops people from falling behind and allows you to know when to post. Now, to be more specific, I do something a little different in terms of 'order' than what you see in most rps on here.
What we will be doing is not posting turn by turn but by 'cycle'. what I mean by that is that each cycle will begin and end with one of [b MY] posts. Once I post then everyone will have to post AT LEAST once, but can post to a maximum of 2 per cycle. In other words, if you post 2 times before a cycle ends, you have to wait for a new cycle aka everyone has posted at least once. Other than that you can post WHENEVER you want or can. However, I will not wait to long, maybe a week or so for you to post before I just push the rp along. Pm please if you do not get how the posting order works.
To simplify, I post, then everyone has to post at least once. Just keep in mind that I can still post twice per a cycle as well. I will put "End Cycle" at the end of the post that signifies the end of the current cycle.
There are different kinds of Shifters and Hollows. Please note that the powers listed below are only an example of some of the powers that each type has. You can add your own unique flare later on as long as its not outrageous >.>
Demon Typers are the type where there entire body is a weapon. They can shape shift limbs and body parts into weapons of their own design. Their full body transformation is usually in the form of a powerful attack and the shifted state only lasts a few moments.
The pic shows what a Demon types limb looks like when they transform it into a weapon.
* Their more malleable bodies allow them to shape shift on a higher level allowing them to create a variety of weapons with their limbs.
* They can expand the range their weapons reach due to their ability to shape shift
Soul Types have the ability to shape shift themselves on the inside. They can shift their muscles to increase strength, or the strength in their legs to increase speed. Their full body transformation usually is a total transformation, such as create a full body armor.
* Souls can maintain transformations for a long duration of time.
* Soul can deactivate their shape shift powers and force their body to enter a regenerative state.
Parasite Type are the types that use their surroundings to transform. They can merge with objects and cause a transformation based on the object they combined with. For example, they can absorb a gun and turn their arm into a gun arm of sorts. Their full body transformation is being able to take over something entirely. This can be a person or even a car.
* They can easily shift from one object to the next.
*They can absorb objects instead of infecting them to heal themselves.
Gluttony Type is similar to a Parasite type in the way that they use objects to shape shift. However, Gluttony Types eat the objects and shape shift depending on what they ate. So, if they ate a car, they can shape shift their feet into wheels. Their fully body transformation allows them to eat multiple objects at once and create a combined form of the objects eaten.
* They are able to launch whatever they eat back out of their body as a projectile
* Instead of absorbing what they eat, they digest it to heal themselves.
Hybrid Type are types that have the genetic structures of two different types of Shifters. However, they cannot achieve full body transformations due to the split in the genetic structure of their powers. However, they have the Hybrid state which allows them to combine their powers to a higher degree.
* They can easily transform several parts of their bodies.
Rank one Hollows retain their human form. However, their skin turns pitch black and their eyes glow blood red.
Rank two Hollows start to lose their human form and are at the early stages of turning into a monster.
Rank three Hollows are when the Hollows have become complete monsters and have gained enhanced powers and abilities.
Only one Rank 4 has ever been seen and it was in a constant shape shifted state. The true appearance of a Rank 4 Hollow is unknown nor is it known how powerful they really are. All that is known is that they are incredibly power and dangerous.
Personality TRAITS: Notice traits in all caps? I don't want a short bio. Just list off some traits. Are they Energetic, greedy, etc.
Nick Name: Zero, due to the fact no one knows his name, but he was the first Shifter to join Shift.
How and Why You Joined Shift: Zero ended up meeting Romano in 2080 after he broke into Romano's house to steal food. He became Shift's first Shifter due to that encounter.
How and why you joined Shift: Daud was the second member to join. He had been on the hunt for Hollows before then.
How and why you joined Shift: Fuck shit up and living on the edge plus she was recommended to join. The family's got a history of military service.
How and why you joined Shift: She claims that a close relative of hers turned into a hollow and only she has the right to put them in place. It could possibly be a lame lie; However, she believes the Shift need her abilities.
Personality TRAITS: Dante is an arrogant and fiercely intelligent man, and a cold blooded thug to boot. His serious intentions are shrouded under aggressive actions, and a hot blooded temper, a single cocky smile.
How and why you joined Shift: The same reason any thug joins a paramilitary organization. Protection.
Personality TRAITS: Savage/uncivilized, calculating, perceptive, reserved, combative/violent, maladjusted, curious, instinctual. Apprehensive. Obedient in return for food. Mostly illiterate.
How and why you joined Shift: A life of torture via international human trafficking and illegal foreign fights made a literal predator out of him. He joined/stays because he has nowhere else to go.
Personality TRAITS: Quiet, Cruel, Narcissistic, Cynical, Judgmental, Distrustful, Hot-Headed
How and why you joined Shift: Kalua had been arrested for a crime that will not be said at this time. She was about to be punished when Romano swooped in and gave her the option of working for him. Of course she accepted, though it didn't mean that she liked it.
Personality TRAITS: Flirty as hell, intelligent, pretty easy going but can get annoyed if someone keeps pushing her. When completely focused, she's considered the most deadly.
How and why you joined Shift: She needed to protect her little sister, but only the higher ups know about the child, who isn't a shifter at all.
Personality TRAITS: Friendly, Elegant, Gullible, Determined, Sneaky, Easily Impressed, Low Self-Control
How and why you joined Shift: It was an escape from a home she likened to a prison. When she heard news that an organization like Shift was starting, there was no doubt in her mind about what she had to do.
Zero opens his eyes only to see nothingness. The world around him looked like a world of deep never ending fog. He sits up and holds his head in pain as he tries to shake himself awake. [b "Where in the hell am I now?"]
At that moment, Zero hears a very soft hum echo out from the distance. The soft humming almost instantly enchants Zero as he rises up onto his feet. He begins to slowly make his way forward, step by step causes the humming to grow louder.
Zero sees two trees suddenly appear before them. The two stand parallel to each other, as if they were forming a gateway. Zero pushes past a few branches to see a radiant lake and at the edge of lake sat a woman wearing a snow white gown. The woman's hair is long and pitch black much like Zero's. By the woman's curled up legs is a small little girl, who's head rests on the lap of the woman. The woman continues to hum softly as she runs her hand through the girl's hair. Zero cautiously approaches as he watches the two.
However, when Zero gets into arm's reach, the entire world suddenly shatters and he shoots up in bed gasping for air. He feels beads of sweat run down his face as he runs his right hand through his hair. [i 'What was that? That... wasn't just some dream, was it?']
Zero looks up to see a large glass container, which inside hangs a black trench coat with a hood. Many would recognize this coat for it is the coat Zero wore in the video that made him a famous hero. Yet, he has not worn the outfit since then. Romano decided to store the coat in a glass container to maintain it for the day Zero chooses to wear it again. No one knows the true significance of the outfit but Zero and Romano.
Zero looks at the dresser at the side of his bed to see a note. The note is from Leanna, scolding him to look after himself more carefully. Zero picks up the note and scratches the back of his head, [i 'Even scolding me in notes?']
Zero wonders outside to see a surprise he did not expect. A Shifter other than him playing with the little ones, and it was Kalua no less. He props his elbows up on the rock fence and grins, [b "Oh, so the tough Kalua has a soft spot after all?"] Zero teases.
"Zero!" Henry shouts as well as the other kids. Some of the kids run up to the fence and start barraging the hero shifter with questions.
"When are you going to come play again?"
"Will you read us a story?"
"Play us another song!"
"Make yourself explode!"
Zero quirks a brow as he cannot determine the difference between each voice in the chaotic mess that is being launched at him. [b "Whoever hugs Kalua first gets a free treat from Kalua,"] Zero says as he throws the girl under the bus.
The children look at Kalua like a pack of wolves and get ready to give chase. [b "Have fun~"] Zero teases as he makes his getaway.
... Zero stands outside the entrance of Shift. In his right hand he holds an orange flag that is connected to a long thin white pole, and in his left is his phone playing the video of Fura and Shiori's recent failure. He hears Preach, Shiori and Fura approach him as he reaches the end of the video which included a wonderful tantrum and lecture. He did not feel like there was much else to say after Daud's lecture. Zero came to the same conclusions about the two after all. At this point, saying anymore would just be like rubbing salt in a freshly made wound.
[b "Alright, let's get our adventure started,"] Zero spins the flag and suddenly impales it into the trunk of the car, making the flag stick straight up into the air.
"My car!" A large bulky man shouts out. The man approaches Zero as his bald head gleams in the radiant sun light. "What did you do!?"
[b "I upgraded it,"] Zero gives a thumbs up to the bald headed male.
"How is sticking a random flag into my car an upgrade?!"
[b "Don't you remember who supplied you this car Quint?"] Zero asks the male.
"But you put a hole in my car!" Quint says with a frustrated look.
Zero stares at the man for a few moments then turns to the other three, [b "Moving on, Preach! I promised you a game. Well, here it is,"] Zero points to the orange flag. [b "Me, Shiori, and Fura are hoping into this car for a field trip. You are going to chase after this car, however, you can only give chase by the rooftops,"] Zero says as he points up at the top of the buildings. [b "See if you can keep up until we reach the destination."]
Zero looks at the two girls and says, [b "Let's get a move on you two."] After everyone is in the car and Quint begins to drive. Zero begins to talk, [b "Alright, as you two probably know by now. Each Shifter picks up a side job during their time at Shift. Considering you two have yet to get a job here, I am making you an offer,"] Zero says as he leans back in his seat and pockets his hands. [b "The hours are long and merciless, but you'll be working under me directly. Are you two interested at all?"] Zero asks as he stares at the two girls waiting for an answer.
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Kalua intently listened to Zero, drinking up every bit of information that came from his lips. She had no idea that she knew so little about herself, about what she was, how her own body worked. Zero had spoken about how their bodies go through a shift, about what their bodies use in order to do the shift that they wanted. [i "Iron..."] As a demon-type she supposedly used iron in order to shift. Her miscolored eyes start down at her hands, which were now just beginning to not shake from her earlier recoil, her fingers opening and closing as she thought about the processes her body went through in order to do what she wanted. As Zero spoke he came over to her and took her notepad, writing something down on it. As he wrote, she noticed how pale he looked. [i "Doing what he did must have used up...whatever he had to give to shift."] Now that she thought about it she had no clue as to what type of shifter Zero was. She hadn't really been paying much attention since getting here....]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Zero tapped her face with the notepad gently, quickly reaching up she grabbed it before it hit the floor, watching as he walked off and out of the room. She looked down at the message he had written for her, letting a small sigh slip past her lips. [i "Friends, huh?"] She thought. Friends had never been important to her, from what she had seen from others they were just people who could stab you in the back at any moment. But....perhaps Zero was right. Maybe what she needed was to try and make friends. [#9932CC "But how do I do that?"] she groaned as she fell onto her back, staring up at the ceiling of the shift room. The others got to train, which meant she was left to her own to do her own thing for the time being until Zero gave her the all clear.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Lifting herself off the ground, Kalua left the shift room and began to walk around the compound. She passed by all the facilities that had been shown to her in the short tour, it was pretty quiet at the moment. She began to wander outside and passed the orphanage, some of the children were outside playing with finger paints, watching them made her smile. It reminded her of happier times when she was younger. One of the children looked up and spotted her, running to the gate. The others followed suit.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans [b "Miss! You came back to play with us just like you promised!"] One of the boys said. Kalua rubbed the back of her head nervously, she had no idea how to act around kids. [#9932CC "Ahh...yea....that's why I came over here....what are you guys doing?"] She asked. The boy ran over to the table they had been painting at and grabbed a paper, running back and lifting it up to her face with a bout of enthusiasm. [b "We're painting! You should come paint with us!"] Kalua wasn't sure how they were able to convince her, but minutes later she found herself sitting at their tiny table, purple and green paint covering her fingers and the children laughed. [b "Wow! Your worse than our teacher is!"] the boy, whose name she learned was Henry said. Kalua smiled genuinely, she forgot what it had been to be a child.]]]
[font "Century Gothic" The first attempt at the course went as well as one might have hoped. Daud was even relieved when the buzzer went off. Seeing these two almost kill each other in a simple training exercise was making him feel exhausted just by watching. Although, “simple” not be the word other people would have used for this situation. Once the timer stopped, the course became still and passive like before as two medical members arrived on the scene to tend to the injuries. The tiled pathway Daud walked on during the exercise lead him into the arena. He made careful note of how each Shifter reacted during the test. Both contestants were strong of will and so comfortable with doing things their way. Shiori especially had issues working well with others. Of course, Daud already knew this beforehand. The whole purpose of this training was to force everyone to work with each other and to get use to the idea of needing others on the field, something Shiori had trouble grasping at even her first day at Shift. Her psych evaluation clearly mentioned this in her file. She would need more work and a stronger hand to guide her.]
[font "Century Gothic" Fura, on the other hand, needed to be pushed to voice her ideas more effectively. She had the right ideas to complete the course. As well, if she had more cooperative teammates, she would be able to lead them through much faster. Her timid and unsure nature prevented them from reaching the end before the alarm went off. She was quite intelligent, if only she expressed her ideas more vocally. Something in her mind was preventing her from speaking up. Luckily, there was hope when she partially dragged Shiori through the examination. Tears surfaced through the girl’s eyes. Daud frowned under his mask. [i A little emotionally fragile apparently. That will have to be fixed.] He thought as he approached the trainees with his arms to his sides.]
[font "Century Gothic" Ms. Sinclair desperately tried to cooperate with Shiori while the other, in return, was struggling to strong-arm the smaller woman. It was a disaster to say the least. With conflicting personalities, he expected the challenge to be difficult. The alarm rang to signify that time was up and the two women failed in their training. Normally, Daud would coerce his students; however, Zero made it a point to say that a more gentle touch would be just as effective, to show more compassion to the new recruits. After all, Shift needed them as much as they needed Shift.]
[font "Century Gothic" He reached the trainees with a slow clap while they caught their breathes. [b [#223d58 “Not bad for a first try. The course wasn’t designed for the both of you to make it immediately.”]] The muffled voice spoke while the two medics inspected the damage.]
[font "Century Gothic" Overcome by stress and frustration, Shiori makes a scene with her outburst, startling everyone in the room except for Daud. He assumed she couldn’t handle failure well; he was expecting her to break eventually. She yells out her thoughts, completely losing her composure at the heat of the moment. [i ‘Susceptible to outbursts if things don’t go her way’ certainly was not an exaggeration in her profile.] He thought as he turned his full attention to the temper tantrum. She seemed to be completely missing the point of this whole exercise. [b [#223d58 Rather disappointing to hear you say that, Ms. Yom.”]] Daud states as the dark circles of the mask peer at Shiori harshly. [b [#223d58 “It seems you have ultimately missed the goal of this test.”]] He approaches her until his mask peers down at her expressionlessly. The medical technician tending to Shiori’s injuries hesitated in his work as the dark shadow lingered nearby. The white mask tilted to the left as his arms rested at his sides. [b [#223d58 “The purpose of this exercise, Ms. Yom, was to force initiates to work as a team, to [i cooperate]. Something you [i both] failed to do.”]] His gazed glanced at both women indiscriminately. [b [#223d58 “Do you know why we have this test? Because it is [i essential] to survival. Zero often relies on others to defeat Hollows. In battle of that Rank Four, it took two highly trained Shifters to fight it. Even then, Zero and myself only survived that attack because it [i allowed] us to.”]] Daud’s voice elevated in rigidity. His right hand trembled as he recalled that night in his mind. At the end of it all, both Zero and Daud were battered, bruised, and bloodied. They had barely made it even with their combined efforts. They would be dead if [i it] hadn’t vanished. If it hadn’t let them go.]
[font "Century Gothic" The tremor in Daud’s hand increased. He balled it into a fist and retreated his arms behind his back before anyone took notice of it. His shielded eyes glanced up to the cameras pointed at him briefly before returning his attention to Shiori. [b [#223d58 “You might not see a team among your numbers yet, but if you wanted to avoid becoming a Hollow, you better start being friendly. Otherwise, I will come after you and personally put you down. This is not a game, Ms. Yom. This is life or death, for all of us Shifters. If you all don’t start cooperating, then you will doom us all.”]] Daud’s taut voice echoed in the silent arena. He stepped back with his left hand tightly holding onto his right wrist, making sure to keep it hidden from the others. [b [#223d58 “You are all dismissed for now. Rejoin the others for more lessons.”]] His words calmer than before.]
[font "Century Gothic" He retreated out the narrow pathway from earlier with his right hand covered at all times. His stride brisk as he exited the training area. He did not stop to anyone’s voice if they questioned him. One of the technicians assigned at the controls quietly watched Daud leave the Shift room with one hand on the phone nearby. She dialed a number quickly and waited with one ear to the receiver. “Dr. Romano? Could you come to the Shift Room please? We have some footage you need to see, your eyes only.”]
As Shiori took the gift, Fura let out a sigh of relief, even though Shiori’s response was fairly unreadable and somewhat worrisome. However, she did not have time to lament over the strange reaction as they were gathered up. Fura watched everyone shuffle about as they were told the regiment for the- wait what did he say? Shiori and I… Fura was besides herself with both excitement and terror as they were led into their separate training area. Everything seemed to be happening too quickly for her to really process that she was about to be scrutinized and forced to work with the girl who seemed the most opposite to her. Fura looked to Shiori, only half-listening as Daud talked. Her eyes shined with a mixture of nervousness and excitement. At any moment it looked like she would burst either into a gleeful chatter, or tears, but it was not clear which one. She opened her mouth to give a reassuring cheer to Shiori, but the breath was knocked out of her as Daud started the timer and the ground shifted underneath her. She barely managed to jump forward and land on her feet, but her movement tugged on the other girl via handcuffs that Fura just realized in the moment had been attached to them.
"Oi Oi! This girl over here is not your dog on lea-" Shiori yelped.
[#006478 "S-s-sorry!"] Fura managed in return before she was being tugged in another direction by her partner. She bit down on her tongue in the movement and could already feel the nervousness overtaking the excitement. After a deep breath she shuffled as close to Shiori as she could, bumping their arms together. [#006478 "Okay, we're gonna have to stay close for this to work."] She said, pausing for a second before continuing, [#006478 "M-maybe we should hold hands?"] She said, unsure if the other would take to the idea.
"Holding hands?" Shiori’s face was incredulous. "Sure, why not. What about skipping along this road and sing a friendship song-OW DAMMIT!"
Fura didn't have enough time to retaliate against Shiori's sarcastic statement, not that she had a clue how to respond, instead she was being pulled down. She toppled to the ground, using her reaction time to avoid falling directly on top of the other girl. She immediately skittered up, taking action into her own hands and grabbing Shiori's hand in an attempt to tug her up. She looked ahead at the first real obstacle. A simple wall they had to climb up by some means. It wouldn't be hard to achieve if they worked together to boost each other up, but that would all depend on Shiori's capacity for trust. [#006478 "Your gonna have to trust me. Just for now at least. Please."] She said, jumping out of the way of a lifting block, already getting used to their pattern.
"Alright." Was Shiori’s response, and Fura could feel the storm clouds of nervousness parting at that single word. It was a relief of unparalleled proportions. And then the feeling left as Shiori took off running and Fura was pulled along at a speed that she was not used to achieving. Running. That was something she had never done a lot of. She stumbled behind Shiori, only keeping up because she had no choice. And then Shiori was running straight at the wall and Fura had no clue what the plan was, but what she did have was a sinking feeling that the outcome would not be as desired. Maybe Shiori could have run up the wall alone, but not with the deadweight of Fura weighing her down. They fell to the ground and Fura sat dazed before she quietly said. [#006478 "Working together means we have to *work* *together*."] And then louder. [#006478 "Do you think one of us could boost the other up and then the other pulls the other up, or is it too high?"] She had watched to many war movies in her life, if it wasn't obvious.
"Well, aren't you a Smartie?" Shiori retorted in a way that left a bad taste in Fura’s mouth, but before Fura could say something back, the other seemed to change her attitude at leas a little. "Fine fine. Boost up or whatever."
They began the arduous task fo getting up the wall, but this time with teamwork. [i We're working- together! Shiori's going a little fast though. Oh no.] Fura's thoughts did a quick 360 as Shiori began to take the initiative again. Fura felt herself being dragged and pulled in all directions but she managed to keep up, or at least not be enough of a burden that they fell back down. Even if success now seemed like a far cry, she was determined to at least not completely fail.
They reached the top and now came the next issue. Getting down. There were ropes to propel themselves, and all Fura could hope for was Shiori would take the simple route. She pursed her lips closed though, deciding not to tell the other what to do again, because it seemed to irritate her. This was about team building, so Fura assumed it would be an even bigger failure if they left the test despising each other.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go!" Shiori took the initiative for her, but without coordination, Fura was being tugged again as Shiori slid down and she stayed stationary towards the top. Fura’s wrist ached as Shiori screeched at her. Fura panicked and began to slide down to get closer to Shiori, but the other girl had grabbed onto the other rope and Fura slid right on top of her. The entire process of getting down was a train wreck, but they somehow managed...[i somehow.] Managing included Fura falling right on top of Shiori, her wrist twisting in a painful way that made her face scrunch up as she held back a whimper. She rolled off Shiori and sat on the floor a few seconds, winded, and almost unwilling to get up. She looked to Shiori and felt the waves of anger coming from her. She shook with fear as she stumbled, [#006478 "I- I...I'm s-sorry."] This was not going at all the way she thought. Not at all. [i We can do this. We can do this.] She tried to convince herself as she twisted her head around to see the next obstacle. A ladder extended to, monkey bars? There was probably a different term for them in this place, but that's what she could explain them to be. Fura pursed her lips. [i We're going to die.]
"Don't be a cry baby!" Shiori screamed at her and Fura sniffed, not even realizing a few tears had escaped her. Shiori stumbled up with Shiori and took off towards the next obstacle with her. A few thoughts passed through her, mostly regarding what corner they were going to shove them far into after this trial, because she couldn’t imagine that they would be trusted with any sort of fieldwork ever after this stunning performance. They may be Shfiters- she may be a Shifter, she didn’t want to lump Shiori into her own self-deprecation filled thoughts- but she would never be on the level of the others. Fura is dragged along with these thoughts as Shiori is jumping up onto the ladder, and then they are floating, or being pushed up, from fans that Fura was too worried to notice.
They both fell to the ground, and then it was over. Sirens pierce the air as Fura lays on her back, blinking up blankly at the ceiling. Shiori is next to her screaming and punching the floor, but Fura doesn’t process the words, because not only did they fail, they bombed, and no amount of optimism could have saved them from that. She sits up to search for Daud. She wanted to survey his disappointment, but it was to no avail. [i Damn mask wearing…] Fura went off on her own spiel of angry words, albeit in her own mind. She bit her lip and managed to fore a smile. A smile so fake everyone would be able to tell. [#006478 “Well…”] Fura stuttered, in that moment, regretting every recent life decision that had led her there. [#006478 “That could have gone worse?”] It was a question. It was a lie.
Shiori almost stumbles back by the force the cheerful princess shoves the precious shampoo in her cold hands.
Okay. That is indeed confusing.
Shiori does not compute. She blinked several times and looks from the shampoo to the grinning face of this sunshine flower. Standing beside this goddess of friendship, Shiori felt like a cursed witch or something like that. Unsure what to say...Unsure what to do, the slim girl just stares down at the bottle. Slowly she shoves in her pockets and before she can think of something decent to say, the hero of all time comes in with a cookie bag and Shiori has to check several times if it isn' t some sort of advertisement. Nope. Zero keeps shattering all the faith she has in him. It is like he has a hidden twin which does all the cool stuff. The next he says is about the lack of comfort those techno blocks are giving his butt. She knows many insults to give but prefers to keep them in her black, dark mind of hers.
So maybe something is actually going to happen, huh? Maybe he is going to spar them all to show who is the boss-Wait. She is actually going to do something! Along with this Fura to...Dammit!
She almost forgot the pair test. Why?! Why the he'll she has to be the first one to take it?! Now she really wants to sit and listen to whatever crap this loser says. But she has a feeling MMM is not the type to argue with so she just obediently goes through the door and makes sure she makes no eye contact with the lively princess. The shampoo in her pocket is weighing heavy now.
Shiori looks around the torture room and then looks back at the super polite man. The more polite, the more dangerous; Shiori knows the rules. MMM is just holding back not to end their pathetic lives right now and here. God...is he smiling or smirking? Maybe a poker face, the expression that Shiori is making.She flinches when she feels the awful cuff around her wrist...again. When did he even bring it out? MMM is a dangerous man. Hell...he even can be a muscular woman....maybe. He says it is a fact of survival but Shiori prefers to die alone rather being pulled back by this little miss. Yet, she keeps her opinions to herself because MMM is unstable.
Shiori only glances at Fura once and regrets it immeditely. Why the hell she looks so excited?! Is she on her right mind? But sadly Shiori doesn't find the chance to wipe off the cheerful expression off her face because she feels the trusty floor betraying her again. Before she has a chance to move Fura moves away and pulls her along. Well, Shiori doesn''t like it...AT ALL. "Oi Oi! This girl over here is not your dog on lea-" She feels her right foot being pushed up by the unstable floor and she immediately jumps away from the block, swiftly tugging on Fura. Wow, this girl is not as light she expected. This is going to be a big torture for her.
Screw them all.
This is a mess. A disaster. They really have to break the freaking chain. Shiori is losing her patience...not like she has much stored in her anyway. She almost jumps up when she feels the skin contact. The hell? Shiori sharply looks at the princess and is about to remind her about privacy space but seems like Fura is so fine with it..."Holding hands?" Shiori repeats with an expressionless face before smirking bitterly. "Sure, why not. What about skipping along this road and sing a friendship song-OW DAMMIT!" A block surprises her, tripping her over. Shiori falls down ungracefully and then notices the cements beneath her glowing red.
This time Shiori doesn't resist when her hand is grabbed and she is pulled up but she isn't any better in mood. It looks like she is on edge of explosion like a ticking bomb. She stares at the wall and finds it easy peasy to climb. Work together? Sure. But in her way. "Alright." Shiori simply agrees but then grips on Fura's hand and gives it a yank as she takes off towards the wall to get over with it. This time she does better in dodging the damned blocks. She only trips twice. Once the wall iss close enough she jumps and the veins in her legs turn black. Yeah maybe she can run on it like a ninja?! Five steps and it is a awesome but meh, she ungracefully falls down, pulling Fura with herself to the humiliation. Okay. Maybe the wall is way too high.
Shiori stares at Fura when again she insists on her idea. Boosting each other up? She doesn't need a boost up! If only she could get of the chain then this stupid test was over in less than a minute! "Well, aren't you a Smartie?" She is so bitter bow, the fact that she keeps failing is driving her crazy. "Fine fine. Boost up or whatever." Shiori mumbles and again goes for the wall but this time she lets her veins feed the arm which is holding Fura's. One hop and she is clinging to the wall again but pauses and swings the princess up. It seemed to go great but then again Shiori starts feeling that they are not fast enough. The stubborn girl ruins the harmony and again tries to climb up the most of the length herself as fast as she can dragging poor Fura along.
Finally they are at a top. Shiori looked down. This is high and maybe not safe for jumping down? Hmph...Oh look ropes. This looks all easy peasy. Too easy. "Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go!" She finally talks to Fura and crouches down to grab one rope. All she needs is to slide down and bam! They are on ground safe and sound. What Shiori doesn't consider that technically...when two people are tied to each other...they have to move down at the same time-
"OW! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!" Shiori screams at the princess with her top of lungs. She is hanging from her hand painfully, having slide down sooner than her dear partner. Furiously she swings herself, catching the same rope Fura is hanging too. Now she has a perfect view of Fura down there..."NO! DON'T SLIDE NO-"Bam! She lands right on her face. Shiori is....beyons angry. She is...two degrees less angry than a crazy hollow. On instinct Shiori slides down too to avoid the weight of your majesty and just lands painfully down on her dear butt, pulling the poor unlikely partner down on herself.
Shiori jumps on her feet, standing fast like a moneky. The princess now looks more like a damsel in distress and this only enrages the girl. Her apologize is just a fuel for her flame and her gaze turns into a humiliating one, her lips press together with disgust. "Don't be a cry baby!" Crying is not going to change anything. This Fura is ruining her test and Shiori starts thinking off cutting off her own wrist. It wouldn't heal and regrow but at least the damned mission would be done. Swiftly she looks at the next stage and huffs. Monkey bars...Really?! Roughly she pulls Fura along and doesn't give a shit about her wrist. It is MMM's fault for tying them up. Shiori runs towards the bars like they are her only destination in life. She hops and grabs on ladders but surpriiiise. The whole thing starts shaking and she grits her teeth trying to pull Fura up like she is a dog on leash before she witnesses the ground beneath opening and hello big huge fan. Somebody turns it on and the storm begins, Shiori's arms turning black to hold on bars tight. "DAMMIT!"
The arm which is holding Fura is under more pressure and she gasps as she loses the grip of one arm, her body violently being shaken by the wind force. The cuff on her wirsf just adds more to the pain.
She can't do it alone.
With a yelp she is thrown up along with Fura and she hits the ceiling hard before landing down on stomach on the cements which turn red immediately and another trap is going to be activated in front of widened eyes of Shiori...
She hears a siren and everything goes off. The time is over and they have not reached the destination...This is...too humiliating and...she can't, can't tolerate the look she feels on her. Getting her teeth savagely, Shiori screams out in frustration and punches the cements with her hardened black fist. Of course nothing happens to the strong material but it makes a good noise and shake.
"HAHA! VERY FUNNY!" This is the first time Shiori is losing it. Her expression is wild and hurt. Her pride...is in danger. "If I was alone...none of this would have happened! I am skilled enough to pass this stupid test on my own not...with a whiny little baby like her!" Her glances at Fura angrily. "You know what?! What is the point of this test anyway? As far as I know...Zero does everything on himself! You are just stuck here enjoying making foolish trainings...I don't see any team here!"
[i Guys, my post is confusing now but after Fura posts I guess it gets a lot better...]
Zero stares at the four before him, munching on another cookie. [i 'Strongest eh? A certain someone would bust a gut if she heard someone call me that,'] Zero thinks to himself. A slight hint of irritation appears on his usual listless face, [i 'Ah, just thinking about it is annoying me.']
The bag of cookies turns out to be empty when Zero reaches in for another. Zero looks into the bag and sighs, [b "Ah well since pre-breakfast is over, I guess I can teach you guys something fun."] Zero looks up at the direction of the operating room and shouts, [b "Also, Chief! Record everything on from this point. The other two will need to learn this stuff later."] He gets up from his seat and he walks over to the exit to tap the wall to the right of the door. The segment of the wall opens to reveal a mini fridge. The fridge is something Zero had installed in the earlier days of Shift for the sole purpose of keeping something to drink down in the shift training room for the days Zero used to spend hours training. He grabs a red plastic cup from the top of the fridge and pours himself a glass of milk.
[b "I'm going to answer Cat's question with one of my own,"] Zero takes a sip of the milk and releases a sigh of satisfaction as he tops his delicious pre-breakfast with some milk. A man of simple tastes one could say. [b "What's the difference between knowing a skill and mastering one?"] Zero asks as he looks at the four in front of him. He quickly finishes off his drink and then he throws the cup into a hole that opened up in the ground. [b "Oh three points,"] Zero says as he watches the cup disappear into the hole.
[b "Imagine you are driving a car,"] Zero begins to explain again before anyone can answer his previous question, [b "It's pretty easy right. You stick the key in, hit the gas, and off you go."] He paces back over to the tile created couch and takes his seat once again. Zero leans forward and props his elbows onto his knees as he continues to talk, [b "However, what happens when that car breaks down out on the middle of the highway?"] The room falls into silence as Zero stares at the four. Yet, before anyone can answer he continues, [b "You are pretty much screwed if you aren't a mechanic or a car fanatic, yeah? After all, you won't be able to tell what caused your car to go up in smoke unless you know the inner mechanics of the car."]
[b "That is the difference between knowing and mastering a skill. Knowing a skill simply allows you to use the skill. However, mastering a skill allows you to know how that skill functions in every aspect of the skill itself,"] Zero says as he slides out of his black hoodie. He rolls up the short sleeves of his white t-shirt and holds his right arm out for all to see. [b "You see, all you can do with a car is drive it if you know how to operate it. Yet, if you are a mechanic, someone who has taken the time to learn about cars right down to the very last screw, you could have known how to fix your broken down car yourself."]
[b "That's my answer to Cat's question,"] Zero says as his right arm suddenly admits a black mist. [b "The difference between me and most Shifters is that I took the time to learn how to control my powers in every aspect,"] Zero says as he holds up his right arm giving his fellow Shifters a better view to reveal that his arm had strangely not shifted in any shape or form. [b "Yesterday, I realized none of you can properly hold a charged state, yeah?"] Zero explains as he looks at his curious listeners getting confused.
[b "Let's take a step back for a moment. Do any of you know the full legitimate process your body goes through to shift?"] Zero ask and he leans back onto the couch. [b "To explain it in simple terms. Your brain sends out the electrical command and you then charge the Shift genes within your body with Shift energy, and that is the actual process your body goes through to shift."]
[b "The two steps you guys know of on how to shift actually takes into consideration the command your brain sends out, and the actual execution of your shift. However, those two steps completely overlook the charging of your Shift gene with Shift energy,"] Zero says as the black mist disappears from his right arm. He holds up three fingers with his right hand and says, [b "What if I told you there is actually three steps to shifting? The first step is creating the image of the shift itself within your head. After all, the brain has to send out the signals and tell your body how to shape shift. Now this is where you guys usually skip step two and go straight to step three, which is executing the shift itself."] The veins in Zero's right arm instantly turn pitch black as he enhances the strength in his right arm. [b "This is what a shift looks like when you skip step two. So, what is step two. I mean, its not like you can actually see me perform steps one and three, right?"]
Zero gets up and reverts his arm back to normal. [b "Step two is known as the 'Charge' phase of the shifting process. As you all know, we have what is called the Shift Gene flowing through us, which allows us to shift. Yet, what triggers the shift itself is Shift energy,"] Zero closes his eyes and his right arm begins to admit a black mist again, [b "The Charge step of the shifting process is when you charge those genes with your shift energy. Normally, you guys do this on pure instinct alone. So, what's the point of learning how to control and manipulate the charged step you ask?"] He says as he walks over to a wall of the shift room. The black mist fades from his arm and he says, [b "I'll show you the difference."] Zero rests his left hand onto his right shoulder as he rolls his arm [i 'Hopefully I regained enough iron and energy to perform this without killing myself.'] Zero thinks to himself and sighs.
[b "Hey Chief, set up an impact wall,"] Zero looks at a wall that rises in front of him from the ground. The wall looks like a large square of gray rubber. The impact wall is a training device for Soul Shifters to test out the limits of their enhanced strength.
[b "This is what happens when I perform a Shift without controlling the charged state,"] Zero says as the veins in his right arm turn black. He pulls his fist back and thrust it forward into the gray surface. The wall suddenly caves in and a giant deep crater forms within the rubber like surface. The wall slowly begins to regain its original shape.
[b "Now this is what happens when you have full control over your shift energy and do the shift fully aware of step two,"] Zero explains as a black mist forms around his arm for a few seconds. Suddenly his right arm shifts into an enhanced state once again. However, twice the amount of veins have turned pitch black than his previous shift. He pulls his fist back again and strikes the wall a second time. The wall one again has another crater form in it, but this crater is only slightly deeper and bigger than the previous one. The difference was so slight that it is barely visible to the naked eye.
[b "Seems pointless to learn, right? You could easily get away with this small difference in power,"] Zero says as he looks at his current students. [b "So, what's the difference in shifting based on instinct and being fully aware of the shifting process? I am glad you asked in silence,"] He says as he pockets his hands into his jean pockets, [b "The one law all Shifters follow is the law of equivalent exchange. Whatever shift you do, you must be able to offer the price required to perform it. Demon Shifters make use of the iron in their blood, which is why they can only make weapons instead of being able to freely shift into whatever they want. Soul Shifters burn up the calories within their bodies, Parasite and Gluttony Shifters use external sources to pay their prices."]
Zero closes his eyes as his entire body is covered in a black mist, [b "However, the charged state lets you regulate and manipulate the amount you pay to shift. Right now, every time one of you shifts, you actually use more shift energy and pay more than required to actually do the shift,"] He turns into his hybrid state with a burst of energy and looks at his audience, [b "Also, you can actually achieve stronger more fortified shifts by knowing how to fully control your shift energy instead of just using it on instinct."]
Zero turns to the impact wall once again and he holds his right arm out to the side as he grips his right shoulder with his left hand. [b "Yet, the most important reason to learning how to fully control your shift energy is,"] A black mist floods out from his right arm, [b "It allows you to surpass the limits you guys will eventually hit in your current state,"] He enhances his arm a third time, but this time his entire arm turns pitch black and the veins in his arms glow a crimson red. Zero slams his left foot into the ground before himself with as much force as he could. He drags his right arm forward and punches the impact wall once again. A burst of force fires out from the point of impact as a crater twice the size and depth of the previous craters forms in the impact wall. Steam rises from Zero's right fist as he reverts his arm and himself to normal. Beads of sweat run down his now slightly pale face. [i 'Ah, I really am pushing the limit here.'] Zero thinks to himself.
Zero walks over to the couch and grabs hold of his hoodie. He weakly slides the hoodie over his body and sighs a bit tired now. [b "To put it simply, I've been a shifter for almost a decade now. That entire time I have been learning the ins and outs of my powers from how they function and what can make them backfire,"] Zero pockets his hands into his hoodie as he walks over to Kalua. He crouches down by her left side and steals her notepad. Zero flips to the last page and begins to write something, [b "It takes time to get strong. These powers we have, are powers we were never meant to gain. There is no natural talent for using them. You are going to succeed in a lot of areas and fail in twice the amount of areas you succeed in."]
Zero finishes writing and places the notepad gently onto Kalua's face. The note says
[i 'If you want to make friends, giving a nice 'Hello' is always a good start. P.S. Cookies sometimes go a long way. At least for me they do.]
[b "In that regard, all you can do is keep pushing forward,"] Zero says to the rest as he rises up and walks towards the exit. [b "And making sure you keep moving is what I am here for. Daud will teach you guys how to survive out in the field, while I teach you how to live as shifters,"] Zero says as he grabs the door handle and takes a brief moment to open it, [b "With that I bid farewell. Preach, come to the main entrance along with Shiori and Fura when Daud is done torturing them and they are ready to go."]
Zero walks out of the room and closes the door behind him. He suddenly leans back against the door as his vision becomes blurry. [i 'Well, using Black Arm didn't use as much energy as the Black Devil's hand, but damn its still a high price to pay.'] Zero uses all the strength he has left just to push off the door. However, the effort is fruitless as he merely falls forward, [i 'Well shit, down I go...']
Romano and Leanna catch Zero who falls unconscious.
Leanna sighs, "Geezus, I almost had a heart attack when I saw him doing a Black Weapons Shift in such a weakened state."
"He really does push himself to far sometimes. It has been a while since he has been in such a weak state," Romano says as him and Leanna get Zero's arms around their shoulders. The two carry Zero out of the Shift room and begin to bring him back towards his room.
Shiori and Fura, you guys can skip over actually watching the video of Zero's lesson. You can make it so they know the lesson Zero taught before they meet up with him later in the day.
I just explained a lot about Shifters and their lore so to speak. If you guys are confused, just shoot me a pm
Cat chuckled a bit at Preacher's question. She had heard stranger questions from him before, and he was still learning about the world. She was glad others could smell how nice she was though, that was always a good sign.
[#481066 "Well, when I clean myself I use soap and shampoo, and then I have perfume, a special spray that smells nice."] She replied with a smile. [#481066 "Smelling nice is a good thing."]
Zero came in then, everyone turning to see him. He had a bag of cookies with him, obviously his breakfast. Though Cat was against sweets for breakfast, she had no say since he obviously wasn't her little sister. She watched him asses Kalua, but didn't approach, knowing it was about her shift she just did. Even Cat had noticed that it didn't take long for her to lose a bit of control. This wasn't good. Seemed they would be starting from scratch with her. How long would that take?
She walked over to Daud as Zero gave him orders to work with the two newer Shifters. [#481066 "Don't play too rough with them Daud."] She smirked, patting his head lightly. [#481066 "We still need them alive to help."] Cat then walked back over to the group, looking back at Daud with the sultry smile she always gave him. Him and Zero were always her targets of affection. She knew them the longest out of anyone here. Also, she found the ways they reacted to be quite entertaining. Mainly the fact that they just didn't stop her from her flirting.
The two shifters went with Daud, a wall being created between them. She could only imagine what sort of hell they would go through. Hopefully nothing too serious. Now, her attention turned to Zero again, making a moment to take in questions for any of them. Sure she had questions, but most were more serious moment than this. Cat wanted to ask about his special attack yesterday and what the results meant, but she wouldn't. If someone else did, then that was them. Cat would ask when with Romano later. Maybe try to get Zero there too so she could be a little more into the loop. She wasn't of rank, but that didn't mean she couldn't try to get answers.
[#481066 "I got one."] She spoke, raising her hand a bit as her elbow rested on her other hand. [#481066 "How is it, the most lazy shifter the world has ever known, is also the world's most powerful?"] It wasn't asked in a serious manner, more of a joking way. But it might be enough to get a conversation going.
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Kalua sat on the floor of the room, holding her right arm as spasms of pain rippled through her muscle, each one crashing her to flinch. Slowly others began to file into the room, however, the purple-haired female didn't make a move to converse. Everyone seemed all buddy-buddy already. Miss Peppy gave the crazy girl some sort of bottle and the girl who had spoken to her yesterday reassuring the adorable object-eating guy. [#9932CC "Hmph."] She let out a grunt as she struggled to her feet, using the wall near her as a crutch. She had begun to feel...something while watching everyone, though she couldn't place what it was. Loneliness at the fact they were already so well acquainted? Jealousy based on the fact she was unable to hold a proper conversation? She was the new girl and already she had not made a great impression, no doubt some of them thought she was [i "stuck-up"] or rude.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans But you know what? She was fine, she could bury the unfamiliar feeling deep inside her heart where she could forget about it. She didn't need friends, she simply needed to make sure she stayed herself. It wasn't long before Zero and Daud showed up. Zero didn't hesitate to tell her off, tossing her a flimsy flipbook. The displeasure on her face was obvious as she plopped down on the hard tiled floor. [#9932CC "So while they get actual combat training I get homework....fucking great..."] The girl muttered, roughly moving some of her locks out of her face. She understood what Zero was doing, however, she couldn't help but feel like she was falling behind, while some of these guys could fight she literally had no combat experience. Right now she felt like she was just dead weight, a burden that was just holding the supposed [i team] back.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Releasing a sigh, she flipped the notebook to the first page and thought back to fifteen minutes earlier when she had shifted. What exactly had been going through her head? [i "The Hallow."] The thought flickered through her mind and she slowly scribbled the word down on the paper. By now the pain in her arm had settled down and she made the decision to attempt another shift, though not as large as the one she had done before. Taking a deep breath she focused her thoughts to simply her face, more specifically nails. They slowly elongated into pin-like needles, however as her thoughts shifted from hearing the others move around and talk. Once again that feeling from before surfaced and in that moment her shift, though small as it had been, failed again. She gasped as her nails reverted back to their original form, it felt like her nails had just been uprooted. Violently.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Kalua let out a shaky breath, falling on her back and staring up at the ceiling. She turned her head, feeling the cold tile on her cheek as she spoke to Zero. [#9932CC "It was never this bad....I could shift just fine a few months ago. Now I can't do anything..."] She felt hopeless, Kalua knew such negative thoughts could be deadly however she simply stop help herself. How could someone like her find anything positive when her whole life had shattered and she was left with nothing?]]]
[font "Century Gothic" Daud rolled his eyes and shook his head at Zero’s response. Take more breaks? There was so much work to do in so little time. There was no time for breaks, although that never stopped Zero before. For someone feigning to be slacker, Zero certainly did a lot in his spare time. He wouldn’t think Daud would notice, but he did. [b [#223d58 “Of course,”]] Daud mumbled dripping with his flippant tone, [b [#223d58 “Shift’s Number one member in laziness and yet still has the effort to do his work without anyone noticing. Such a vision.”]] Daud’s malice pooled at his feet as he turned his attention to the initiates.]
[font "Century Gothic" Deciding to join everyone in the Shift Room, Zero and Daud stepped into the elevator down. [b “By the way, you are getting promoted.”] Zero spoke up and tossed his phone to the masked figure. Daud released his hands behind his back and caught the phone with one gloved hand. Bringing the picture up to his face, Daud saw the plans for “Squads”. The mask tilted toward Zero to mimic confusion. The boy went on to explain. [b “It reduces on reaction time and helps organization…”] Daud nodded his understanding. The idea actually wasn’t terrible. It made sense to do “stations” around cities like a police force. It would spread out the shifters in numerous locations instead of hoarding them in one. If there was an attack on a facility, the losses would be significantly less than a big hit on the organization now. [b “That’s what our group of dysfunctional Shifters is being geared toward. So prepare them with that knowledge in mind. I’ll be working with Kalua while you figure out how to turn our dysfunctional group into a functional one.”] And with that, the elevator doors opened. [i Challenge accepted.] Daud thought as he stepped out, handing Zero’s phone back to him.]
[font "Century Gothic" Zero began to state the activities. The first pair to start duel training was Ms. Yom and Ms. Sinclair. An odd pair indeed. The point was if they couldn’t learn to get along with their opposites then they would fall on the field easily. Daud and Zero were the best examples of that kind of partnership. One was completely analytical and calculating, and the other was Zero. How they’ve both managed to survive in the harsh world is a problem Daud cannot solve. It just works.]
[font "Century Gothic" [b [#223d58 “This way ladies.”]] Daud gestered to a door way that the engineers upstairs created to split up the group. The Shift Room was now completely divided up into two sections. The one that Fura and Shiori were in was now a milder version of an obstacle course that Daud had planned yesterday. The place looked like it could accommodate a child. A highly skilled and deadly child, but a child nonetheless. He was a bit grumpy that he couldn’t add in the lava. The technology advances that went into that realistic holographic lava was phenomenal. He just wanted to show off the money and effort Shift went into its training courses. No matter. Safety nets and cushioned edges it is.]
[font "Century Gothic" While the two girls got familiar with the sight of the course, Daud’s swift movements cuffed the two girls together (again) and replaced his hands behind his back. [b [#223d58 “As you are aware that this is a team exercise. You cooperate, you live. You don’t cooperate, you die. This is to prepare you for the dangers outside these safe walls when you are saving civilians. This course was designed for a team of two. You both will have to rely on each other to make it to the other side. You have to tap that red button on the wall before time is up.”]] Daud stepped to the side to indicate where the button was located. It was blocked by several jumping courses, small spaces, and impossible puzzles to solve across a several meters long path. [b [#223d58 “You have five minutes. And your time starts… now.”]]]
[size10 This course includes a high wall that both players have to get over at the same time. And like some other stuff. Idk make it up as you go. Think more military training obstacle course.]
As the kinky ordeal was put to bed so was Jae's enthusiasm [+Blue "Okie dokey since we are done here; I'm a get me some crushed up oreos and mountain dew then drench that with coffee."]
Skipping out of the sim room past the other peeps then Jae caught a sneak peek of ya boi Zero in his natural habitat [+blue "A rare sight of the wild Zero. Move your eyes and you'll miss em."]
Battle was cool to most eyes, but Jae preferred fighting where she was free. She didn't want to be some war hero like the family; the people that die are those that wanna be a hero. Dying is a no go when Jae's addiction was pain she still wanted to feel alive. Those that win are the ones that fight to live or to eat oreos and mountain dew with coffee; either works as a damn good reason. [+blue "Nom nom nom time for my fuel."]
Skipping to the room Jae's dude was on post outside her door so she knew what's up [i "Sweet no random guy outside my door today."] Though her room was often put into lock down when bedtime came around since she liked to sneak out. [+blue "As long as my food is in the fridge it'll be fine."] Winking at the dude as to tell him to rest easy. The girl was only offered to the organization if she was kept in base in a safe location as sharp and pointy objects intrigued Jae. Often did the maids come to find scars and burns healing on her arm after what she called "Self Experiments". Though being odd Jae was always interested on the damage her body can take as a shifter and barely did the pain ever cause her to feint; it was either self experiments or test subjects.
The room was dull similar to a psych ward room with hidden cameras scattered about; Jae knew where they were placed so if ever she were to crave pain she would just go else where during the day. White and bright lit; the lights only went out when curfew occurred. The room had all the necessitates she needed; chair, desk, fridge, bed, etc, and their was a guard almost always on watch. Grabbing the goods out the fridge Jae smashed the oreos, mixed dew and cold coffee; she then scooped a big mouth full [+blue "Yum."]
Lights fading as time passes by Jae watchs reruns of cartoons; then day came like a screeching car. [+blue "My eyes! My eyes! The light dooms me!"] The lights flip on. [+blue "Well damn that was a good time."] a few bowls sitting on the side of the girl. Jae hopped out her chair and into the air and through the doors to grandmother's house she goes... Waving good morning to the dude at the door before finishing off her fourth 2 liter from the night; she walks to the usual meeting place of the people the training grounds. [+blue "Morning Folks."] life was always flowed in her eyes and voice.
[center [pic https://s13.postimg.org/rprre4yzr/Preacher.jpg]]
He was met first by Cat, disappointed to hear that Zero was not yet with them as he sank his teeth into more of his very sweet toaster. He had wanted to see Zero for himself today, he wanted to see that he had made it out alright... While Preacher didn't doubt Zero, he did worry for him, as not everyone in the facility liked Preacher and Zero was the first other sane shifter he'd ever met. That made him important, and it made for some fretting on Preacher's part.
Cat's offer was appreciated, and he nodded, quite pleased. Yes, training! It was funny to him now, to call it training after having been doing it his entire life just to survive. But then, training did not have to end in death, he would not be obligated to eat his opponent if they lost, [i and] Cat was quite a bit more eloquent than himself. She was nice, and she smelled nice too... He liked Cat. Cat was good.
He had asked Miss Jade why women smelled so good, and her response was still a bit puzzling, even weeks later. Something about soap and sprays? Very confusing matters, but Preacher figured it meant that whatever it was that made them smell like bowls of fruit and sticks of bubblegum, it wasn't to be eaten if they were wearing it.
He pondered this again. Maybe he was wrong? Did women [i want] to be food? Why smell like food otherwise?
How confusing. Should he just ask? Another lady might have more information on the subject-
[i "Yes, training. But Cat, smell nice. Why?"]
The world was full of mysteries and women were at the top of his puzzle list.
Zero's voice interrupted his very... [i complex], train of thought, the chord of the toaster hanging from his mouth as turned to greet him.
Something fun? Yes! He could be good, and maybe if he was good, they would let him outside! Zero seemed to be doing well, eating -Preacher did not feel as though cookies were enough but he would let Zero off the hook for now- and every bit as alive and well as before he had fought the monster the previous night. Relief washed over him like a tidal wave. Preacher was very new to having friends, and he worried more than he meant to, but to be fair, he'd been in a cage for most of his life. Some members of the staff were surprised that he was civil to [i any] extent, or that he'd managed to keep any semblance of sanity while shifting to survive and killing to such a degree all the while.
But! Preacher was simply himself, always asking questions, always wanting to know more. He knew he wasn't the most articulate of folks, but he did his best to understand the people and the things around him. Thus, he tried to stick with familiar things while he went about learning, like training.
He didn't need flashcards to give someone a run for their money in a fight.
Here Zero was, offering them his time, and Preach used this opportunity to ask yet another question, seemingly hopeful.
[i "Preacher fight monster, too? Taste good."] he remarked, thinking back to the debris they'd brought him for breakfast. Blood had been all over some of it, and it has been absolutely fabulous. But then, Preacher was partial to meats. Luckily he'd been so well fed this past few years that eating people was unnecessary and seemed like a bad dream, though he wasn't averse to eating maybe strangers...
If Zero or Daud ever asked him to eat someone or something, Preacher was very unlikely to refuse.
Food was food, after all.
Zero makes his way over to the original fighting grounds. The scene had turned into one of orderly chaos as a bunch of black EMT cars with the word Shift painted on their sides had arrived. Zero listens to the hustle and bustle as he pockets his hands into his hoodie pockets. The special EMT cars belong to Shift's clean up crew. Their job is simply to make it seem like a battle between a Hollow never happened.
"Get away from me you bastards. Go tend to someone else who needs it," Markus says as he shoos away some of the Shift cleaning crew.
Zero nods at the crew signaling them that they can move on without concern. He leans back against the wall and slides down into taking a seat next to Markus. [b "You could have just let the poor guy check on you,"] Zero says as he looks up at the sky.
“I only got a few cuts and bruises.”
[b “You’re bad at lying pops,”] Zero taunts.
During their conversation, an officer walks up and hands Markus a vanilla folder. Markus passes the folder over to Zero.
Zero opens the file and begins to look through it. His face grows serious as he stares at the profile picture of the profile. [b “Are you sure this is right?”]
“Yeah, I believe you knew him, right?” Markus puffs out a cloud of smoke.
[b “Shawn Hedgings. He came to Shift about six months ago looking for help.”]
“Is he a Unique Hollow?” Markus asks solemnly.
[b “Without a doubt,”] Zero replies. Unique Hollows was the term coined for a certain type of Hollow that has been appearing recently. One of the jobs of the ASHF is to create files on Shifters and make sure to always know which, where and when a Shifter turns Hollow. A Unique Hollow is one that goes outside the normal circumstances of becoming one.
[b “He was a decent guy who lived a fulfilling life. Good grades in school, loving girlfriend, happy family,”] Zero says as he closes the file and sighs to leave the rest for later, [b “He had about as much chance of becoming a Hollow as I do.”]
“He showed no signs of becoming a Hollow when he visited Shift?” Markus asks as he puts his cigarette out on the concrete and sticks the cig into his coat pocket, since he is not one to just throw them wherever he pleases.
[b “No, the only signs of his becoming a Hollow was a mental breakdown he had three years ago before he even became a Shifter,”] Zero says as closes his eyes, [b “That mental breakdown was only caused by him taking on more than he could chew.”]
“In other words, he truly had no reason to suddenly turn Hollow,” Markus rubs his eyes tiredly.
[b “I’ll look into it and get back to you on that.”]
“Do you think something is behind it?”
[b “Not sure, but I have the feeling I’d regret just writing them off as ‘Unique’ cases,”] Zero says as he sees a black Avalon pull up to the scene, [b “Seems my ride is here.”]
“Not going to zip away like you normally do?” Markus asks as he sees a police car pull up for him as well.
[b “To tired to,”] Zero says as the cuts and bruises he got from the fight begin to fade. [b “Oh, before I forget,”] Zero reaches into his right pocket and pulls out a black USB drive. He tosses it toward Markus who catches it. [b “Give it directly to the Chief of Police. She is the only one I trust with that data.”]
“What’s this?” Markus asks as he examines the drive.
[b “A gift. Its designs for a few new toys that will help make it so you ASHF guys aren’t just cannon fodder,”] Zero answers as he gets up on his feet.
“And here I thought Shift wouldn’t trust us with devices specifically designed for combat against Hollows and Shifters,” Markus pockets the USB, “How do you know we won’t abuse this gift?”
[b “I don’t,”] Zero looks over his shoulder at Markus, [b “But you guys know exactly what will happen if you do,”] Zero says as his eyes glow a blood red.
“Heh,” Markus snickers as he looks at Zero, “Just a heads up. I still haven’t found a clue on Rosetta.”
[b “Yeah, I figured. Finding her is like trying to find a needle in an ocean,”] Zero states as he gets into the black avalon.
...Zero arrives at his apartment. He removes his hoodie and throws it onto the couch as he walks over to the black piano that sits on the opposite of the room. Zero then lifts up the cover to the keys and sits before the piano. He places the closed vanilla folder onto the music stand and rests the tips of his fingers onto the keys. Zero closes his eyes and presses down on a few keys releasing a gentle tone. He begins to play a soft tone that has a tinge of sorrow. The pace of the song hastens in tempo as he plays further into the song. He opens his eyes to watch himself play the keys as he feels the emotions stuck in his chest flow into the tips of his fingers. Suddenly he pushes down hard on the keys as the sound raises in volume, but contains its gentle beauty.
Romano stands right outside Zero’s door with his hand raised in a knuckle about to knock. However, he chooses not to. It is a rare occurrence for Zero to ever play the piano. Romano did find it odd considering Zero takes care of the piano as if it was as precious as Zero’s own life. The sounds Zero creates are always beautiful, but only ever played at certain times. One such time is shortly after he has slayed a Hollow.
Zero continues to pour his emotions into the keys as the beat grows in sound and power. Zero’s fingers dance across the keys as he plays a song that is beautiful in sound but sorrowful to the heart. The powerful notes rise and fall into a string of heart tugging sounds. These fluid notes then begin to lead into a series of soft gentle notes that lead into silence. Zero keeps his fingers pressed down on the keys he last played as he feels frustrated while looking at the file.
Zero says one sentence in the midst of the silence of his room. [b “I’m sorry that I failed to protect you, Shawn Hedgings.”]
[h3 The next day…]
...Zero lays on the couch in the Control room of the Shift room. He sleeps quietly as the control room workers run their systems check.
One of the Operators is a blonde haired thirty seven year aged male with rectangular shaped glasses. He leans back in his chair and says, “Hey Zero. Your most recent apprentice is here,” The guys says jokingly.
“Chief! Don’t you know never to wake Zero? That’s like waking up a Lion from its sleep while dressed in a steak outfit!” One of the operators exclaimed in a shaky tone.
“Ah shut your trap. The guy slept in here last night cause he knew he’d oversleep in his room. So, he arbitrarily decided to use me as his alarm clock,” The Chief says with a sigh.
[b “Your alarm clock services are well appreciated Chief Kilus,”] Zero says in a groggy tone as he sits up. [b “Ugh,”] Zero runs his hands through his hair as he has dark bags under his eyes.
Kilus throws a package of Butter Nutter cookies onto Zero’s lap and says, “A present from from Professor Ferrus and Professor Salfrus. Professor Salfrus says you could have the day off if you wanted.”
[b “Man it’s a sign of the apocalypse when Leanna offers me a day off,”] Zero yawns and opens the package at the end. He takes the plastic tray of cookies out and pours the peanut shaped cookies into the packaging making a makeshift bag out of it. He takes out one of the cookies and pops it into his mouth.
“Well they are probably worried. After all, your powers are hazardous to your body, no?” Kilus says as he spins in his chair and looks at Zero.
[b “Yep, I pulled a real winner in my Hybrid combo,”] Zero says as he stands up and walks over to the glass window that pears down into the Shift room. He watches Kalua start the orders he left for her. He eats another few cookies as he observes. Daud walks in as he pops another cookie into his mouth.
[b “Motivated? I should be asking if you are alright,”] Zero says as he munches down the cookie, [b “For you to use my name and motivated in the same sentence shows signs of serious illness. You should take more breaks.”] He watches as Kalua’s shift begins to fall apart and he says, [b “Plus, I give a sloth a run for its money in the art of being lazy, but I never be lazy at the cost of someone else,”] Zero eats another cookie and says, [b “Also, I fucking love Butter Nutters.”]
After five minutes of watching, Zero heads over to the elevator that descends into the Shift room itself. While they ride down, Zero says, [b “By the way. You are getting promoted,”] Zero uses his free left hand to pull out his phone and bring up a picture. He tosses it up in the air for Daud to catch. He continues to eat his bag of cookies in a lethargic manner. On the screen, the picture shows the documents that shows the plans for ‘Squads’ in Shift.
[b “It’s always been a part of the plan since day one. We were waiting to get enough Shifters, and now we have enough to start testing it out,”] Zero takes one cookie out of the bag to see it is split in half. [b “There better be another half in here somewhere,”] He says popping the half cookie into his mouth. [b “The original intention,”] Zero continues to explain, [b “Was to create a squad of Six Shifters and start stationing them throughout the ASHF stations. It reduces on reaction time and helps organization.”]
[b “However, we also want to keep an elite squad back at HQ. So, when a squad calls for backup, we can actually send someone instead of just telling them they are royally screwed,”] Zero says as the elevator doors open to reveal the small hallway that leads into the Shift room. [b “That’s what our group of dysfunctional Shifters is being geared toward,”] Zero pops another cookie into his mouth, [b “So prepare them with that knowledge in mind. I’ll be working with Kalua while you figure out how to turn our dysfunctional group into a functional one.”]
The doors to the Shift room opens to reveal just about everyone arriving in the room. [b “Holy shit, they multiplied,”] Zero says in a tired tone. He makes his way over to Kalua and crouches down next to her recently shifted arm. [b “You know, I did say do the simplest shift you could do. Would have sufficed to turn your finger into a needle or something,”] He says as he looks at her arm. [b “Hurts like a bitch probably. What just happened is called Shift Recoil. It happens when you perform an unstable shift, or a shift becomes unstable,”] Zero takes out a small notepad from his right pocket , [b “Write down everything that was going through your mind the moment you started to lose control of the shift,”]
Then Zero walks to the center of the room and begins to sit down into air. However, just before he falls onto his ass, a bunch of white tiles rise from the floor and form into a solid couch. Zero looks up at the control room with a cookie hanging from his mouth. [b “This couch sucks,”] Zero says up to the control room.
“Well excuse me for not designing the Shift room to be a room of luxury,” Kilus says over the intercom.
[b “I need to start bringing pillows in here,”] Zero lifts his feet as a foot rests in front of him forms. He crosses one foot over the other and stares at the group of Shifters. [b “Alright kiddies, let’s get today started. Daud why don’t you start the paired training off with Shiori and Fura. I’ll handle the rest for today,”] Zero says as a large wall of tile rises up behind Zero. In the wall forms a door that is meant for Fura, Shiori and Daud to step through so they can have their own area to train in. [b “Though don’t tire them out too much. I am taking them both out later to do some ‘day’ field work,”] Zero says as he leans back and munches down another cookie.
Day work was more Zero’s job than anyone else's. That is mainly because he took most of the work on himself. It is the investigative job of looking into incidents that occur with Shifters and Hollows. However, Daud is the only one that knows that at the moment. Normally, Zero would solo such things, but he decided there was a need to get others ready for it.
Zero notices Preach looking at him. He could see the energy raging to burst out of Preach from his seat. [b “If you behave Preach, I’ll let you do something fun later, got it?”] Zero says as he eats another cookie, [b “So make sure you are stuffed on food, because you’ll be worked to the bone later.”]
After Daud takes Shiori and Fura to their training exercises, Zero looks at the remaining shifters. [b “So, what kind of things would you guys like to try and achieve today? Or any questions you would like to ask? I got a few hours, so use my time to your advantage,”] Zero says with a cookie held between his lips.
[font "Century Gothic" The sudden thump on the back of the head disturbed all train of thought in Daud’s mind. Slowly, his head turned to Zero testing the weight of the files in his hand. [i Do not start a war you cannot win, Zero.] Daud thought to himself but completely ignored the young man. It seems that everyone was taking a break from the examinations for now. That was fair, perhaps he was working them too hard. Some were looking more worn down than others. The medical team would see to a quick recovery before the second exam began. It wasn’t until the sudden call to the field did Daud realize that training was over for the day. He was a bit disappointed, but there was always tomorrow.]
[font "Century Gothic" The live broadcast of Zero squaring off against a Hollow had everyone in the Shift Room sitting quietly in either awe or silent curiosity. Daud watched the battle ruminatively. For someone that pretended to not care, he cared a great deal about others. His private meeting with Kalua, the constant hovering around Romano, the attention to detail he observed in the new members, it all suggested a need to aid those around him. Daud knew that Zero read the profiles of each member that join Shift. Those in the small circle that knew the boy, knew his commitment to the cause, which was part of the reason Daud follow Zero into this organization. It was strange though. This façade of nonchalant behavior was complete out of the ordinary for psychoanalytical studies. Daud had spent many years trying to hack into the psyche of others, and yet Zero always perplexed him. It didn’t help that the kid was always standoffish and reclusive even to Daud’s standards. One ploy after another. Understanding Zero was almost as much of a challenge as a Rank Four Hollow. Psychoanalytically, he didn’t make sense.]
[font "Century Gothic" Daud cut off the end of the broadcast as Zero tossed in his signature coin and turns his attention to the rest of the group. His hands were covered again to everyone else surprise. What did his hands look like again? [b [#223d58 “Training is over for today. Everyone please return to your private quarters for the evening. We will pick this up again in the morning.”]] He gestured for everyone to stand up and to exit the Shift room. Soon, it was just him in the control room staring blankly at the large white room. With his detailed eye observing everyone today, his attention caught onto two people in particular. Something seemed similar about them that Daud couldn’t quite put his finger on. He would have to go over his notes tonight.]
[font "Century Gothic" The campus seemed so quiet at this time in the evening. The masked man was one of the few people still lurking around before heading back to the dorms. Normally, a masked figure wondering around in the twilight would be a sign to call the authorities, but Daud was somehow an exception to this social rule. As he closed the door to his dorm room , a great sigh of relief filled the silence. The gloved hands reached up and removed the hood shading half of the masked head. Jacket removed and gloves off. Underneath that tough exterior was a man. Peeling off the mask like a second skin, a tuft of pitch black hair stuck out in all directions. The mechanical voice was gone as a deep breath could be heard unhindered. It sounded like a large man in his late twenties to early thirties. Gruff and strong like his physical appearance. A tone that sounded similar to a soldier coming back from a war. Light green eyes scanned the room with years of exhaustion behind them. A window to the soul some said.]
[font "Century Gothic" The apartment was simplistic and almost bare. There were no decorations on the walls or items of comfort. Where everyone else had couches and TV’s, Daud had work out equipment and a cork board filled with Hollow activity. There were three bookshelves full of psychology and the latest in scientific research. Just a little bit of “light” reading he would say. The board was covered with a city-wide map with red string linking people to places and shifters that turned Hollow. Markers spread all over where Hollows were sited. One more would be added to this list tonight.]
[font "Century Gothic" Things were kept tidy and put away at all times. It was as though a gym throw up equipment in the spaces available and with no sign of anyone living there. Even the bed was kept neat and the sheets put back every morning. Daud was a simple man to say the least. He didn’t have much in the way of possessions. He was always looking into solving puzzles and decrypting codes. The windows were covered with two types of black-out curtains to shield out the rest of the world. The light bulbs were replaced with weaker wattage. The brown and green orbs stopped at the sight of the motionless punching bag in the center of the living space. Everyone else trained today, it was time he did the same.]
[font "Century Gothic" The next morning, Daud woke up early like always. His usual routine was some sort of healthy breakfast that was either delivered to his room or he created himself. Showering was required after running on the treadmill. The proper intake of fluids before heading out the door in his usual attire. Some people would swear that Daud never ate. The cooks weren’t even sure if the food placed in front of the door was devoured or just thrown away. He was quite sneaking when it came to removing his mask. No one had ever seen him do it, expect for Romano. Leanna did a few times for physical examinations only.]
[font "Century Gothic" Arriving at the training area early, Daud was almost surprised to see Zero standing quietly observing Kalua from the control room. It seemed these two were the only ones at the moment. Daud knocked softly on the door as he stepped in. [b [#223d58 “I see you’re up earlier than usual. Are you feeling alright?”]] Daud asked in a mocking tone as he approached beside Zero. It seemed that Kalua was not aware that Zero was observing her as she attempted a simple shift with her arm. [b [#223d58 “Good to see you motivated towards something besides battle.”]] The masked figure jested.]
Cat wasn't surprised by the reaction she got. She didn't know much about the girl, if anything, but she could tell she had a lot she was holding back. Though Cat was the first to flirt with any good looking guy, she was able to put it aside when she needed to be serious. When she was serious, she was a completely different person. It confused some people, quickly getting used to it but knowing that when she was serious they needed to be so too.
She gave a smile to Kalua, noticing a small fact that they seemed to share. Dual colored eyes. They both had a blue and purple eye, but on different sides. It was a one in a billion chance of finding someone else with the exact colors, but this was rather close. She would have to ask Romano about that. Though, she doubt he would have anything in the form of an answer she would like. It would be more of him becoming interested and wanting to study the two. She would rather not be another experiment for him again.
Her attention was then drawn back to the screen showing the fight between Zero and the Hallow. She was a bit shocked that it hadn't ended already. Zero could usually handle this kind of Hallow no problem, but he was dragging it out. Why? She soon got her answer, seeing something new come from him. His clawed hands seemed to change color, becoming fully black, like the Hallow's blood. Then, before she knew it, the Hallow was sliced and defeated. After all that fighting, it was finished in a second. Though she was amazed, as anyone would be, deep down, she was scared as hell.
[#481066 [i 'If he ever became a Hallow, he could kill everyone...']]
She quickly shook the idea away, knowing Zero knew way more than she did. He was the one that started this whole thing with Romano to fight these things. She had faith in him, and she wasn't going to lose that faith anytime soon.
With the screen turned off, they were allowed the rest of the day to themselves. Though not much of it was left, there was enough time to go get something for dinner for her and Kaelia. Pasta sounded good tonight.
[#481066 "I should go get one of those little cakes for her. She loves those."] She muttered to herself as she walked out of the shift room.
Cat knew how to drive, she just preferred not to, so she got a ride from one of the workers that were heading into town anyways. The bakery was a small place, but had the best pastries. Sure she could've gotten something from the kitchen, but this place was special. She had gone here since she was little, and had taken Kaelia as well. It was almost like a second home to her really.
[b "Well if it isn't Catalea."] The woman behind the counter announced, smiling brightly as Cat walked in.
[#481066 "Hi Auntie, how have you been?"]
[b "Been well, haven't seen you or your sister around for a while. Hope that place isn't too much trouble for you two."]
Cat chuckled and shook her head. [#481066 "No, I haven't even been sent into the field yet. I was wondering if you had any little cakes. Kaelia has been doing better in school so I figured I'd bring her a treat."]
[b "Of course I have some little cakes. Pick whichever two you want."]
Cat had picked a yellow cake with strawberry jelly between the two layers, the whole thing covered in strawberry icing. Kaelia loved strawberries, and since it was one of the few fruits she would eat, Cat encouraged it. For herself, Cat had gotten a new flavor for the bakery. It was called the cannoli cake, white cake with cannoli in the layers and covering it, mixed with dried fruits. On top was cannoli shells crushed and sprinkled on top. The two of them loved their sweets, Kaelia more than her it seemed, so when they got a treat, they got a treat.
[#481066 "I'm back."]
Stepping into her apartment, she stood in a small hallway that lead to an open floor of the kitchen and living room, a breakfast bar being the only thing that separated them. A wall was on the right side with an opening in the middle. At either end were the two rooms, one for her and one for Kaelia. In the middle was their shared bathroom and small laundry room that could only hold the washer and dryer. It was quite spacious for an apartment, perfect for the two of them. That's all she really needed and nothing else.
Her sister looked up from the couch she sat at, the tv on behind her. Instead of the pink hair Cat had, Kaelia had brown, a medium shade of it. She had two purple eyes, instead of one like Cat. She was of average height for an eleven year old, and she had the energy of one as well. Thankfully Cat could keep up with her, but there were times when she was driven crazy by her sister. But that was what happened with siblings. Besides, they only had each other now.
[#481066 "I went to the bakery and got us desserts."]
Kaelia's eyes lit up at the sound of desserts, jumping off the couch and running to grab the bag. Cat quickly pulled it out of her reach, chuckling. [#481066 "Hey I said dessert, not dinner. Where's doctor Gallagher?"]
Kaelia's hands started to move, shaping the words to answer Cat. Her sister couldn't speak, being a complete mute. It didn't seem to bother the girl, having never being able to speak anyways, she wasn't sure of what she was missing. Cat watched as the girl signed that the doctor had just left on a call and said she would pick her up from school tomorrow. Good, Cat didn't have to beg to be let out early or find someone to go get Kaelia tomorrow.
[#481066 "Alright, I'm gonna make some pasta tonight. What kind of sauce do you want?"]
[center ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~]
The night had been like any other. The two had their dinner and ate their cake, Cat saving half for later while Kaelia ate the whole thing. Thankfully they weren't too big of a cake so Cat didn't mind.
At the entrance of the building, Cat waited for the bus to come by. There were other kids here, since some of the people who worked here also lived here, so there was a few others waiting with them. As the bus came, Cat smiled to her sister and sent her off, reminding her of who was going to come get her today.
[#481066 "Now, off to train some."]
Cat walked into the training room to see the others had already gathered. Seemed they were going to be team no matter what if things kept happening this way. Even Preacher was there, not fully clothed, but enough to not make anyone uncomfortable. Never made Cat uncomfortable in the slightest. She liked a man that showed off what he had. Sure she might play around with Preacher, but never like the others. It felt cruel if she did, and she wasn't one to be mean on purpose.
[#481066 "Morning Preacher,"] She greeted. [#481066 "Sorry, doesn't seem like he's here yet. He might still be tired from yesterday. What to train a bit? It'll help pass the time till Zero gets here."]
It was almost disappointing when their show ended and they were ushered back to their respective resting places. Fura had wanted to fight more, push herself. She didn’t care if she was battered and bruised. The blood had dried up and her wounds were starting to close up. She was ready to go, but no, instead they were going their separate ways, no one even asking to hang out after training. [i I suppose they must all be tired.] Fura thought, trying to discard her disappointment. [i We can all hang out another time, I suppose.]
Fura stood up, stretching her arms and legs. She could already feel the soreness building up in her muscles, and was determined to minimize it. As Shiori passed her, she swore she heard the girl say goodbye, but she wasn’t sure. Was progress being made so easily? [#006478 “Uh, bye!”] Fura stuttered back a little late. [#006478 “See you tomorrow!”] She called to the girl with a happy wave.
On her way up and out of the shift room, she grabbed her shoes and flask and then she was out, following signs and the crude map to find her way back to the cafeteria, where she happily grabbed an armful of food and made her way back to her small studio apartment in the dormitories.
Despite her less-than-humble upbringings, Fura’s apartment was fairly understocked. When she had moved, she had nothing more than a suitcase, backpack, and a credit card. And though it took her parents three days to realize she was missing, she had never bought actual household items. Her purchases had been restricted to fancy clothes, decorations, and heavy curtains. She didn’t have plates, bowls, spoons, anything really. She had one mug, and that was pretty much the only thing in her small kitchenette.
What the apartment lacked in functionality, it made up for in aesthetics. Her living space was a sea of dark blues, pastel greens, and creams. There were patterned pillows and ornately-framed paintings. It was fairly open, most of the decorations reserved to the walls and the counter space that had no other use. Between the television and the bed, which were on either side of the room, there was nothing but an open, slippery floor. It shined so, that it seemed newly cleaned, maybe even newly polished. It was no dance studio, but it was better than nothing.
Fura stuffed half of the food in her mouth in record time and then threw the other food in the refrigerator. She went to the record player that sat next to the television and began to shuffle through the small collection of records she had on hand. Ever since she moved, she had been rebuilding the collection, but she knew it would be slow progress. If only she had bought more before her parents cut her off. Then again, there were more important things she could have gotten during that period. Like plates, or a broom.
She finally settled on a record and was slipping it out of its sleeve, when her phone ringed. She nearly dropped the record as she ran over to her bed and set it down in favor of looking at who was calling.
[i [b Mother]]
Fura was elated at this new development. No one had never clicked ‘answer call’ quicker. She shoved the phone to her ear and let out a sharp. [#006478 “Hello Mama!”] A thick Scottish accent she normally hid suddenly came into sharp clarity, and she had to clear her throat at the switch.
There was a brief pause and Fura thought with dread that she may have accidently pressed the wrong button, but then she heard someone on the other end take a deep breath and start talking. “Fura, I have Mr. and Mrs. Porter here.” Her mother began and just the sound of her voice made tears well up in Fura’s eyes. “They were asking about you and I thought it’d be good to call you? Is now a good time?”
Fura stayed quiet as her mother talked, only answering when a question was proposed, like a proper daughter. [#006478 “Yeah, totally, I gotta tell yo-”]
“Okay,” her Mother cut her off, “I’m putting you on speaker.”
[#006478 “Of course!”] She flattened her hair down with her hand and straitened her skirt, as if they could see her. It was a small reflex she didn’t even realize was occurring.
“Fura, darling,” a shrill voice rang through the phone after a bit of shuffling on the other end. Fura vaguely recognized the voice as the wife of one of her father’s business partners. An older woman with bright, dyed red hair and long, pearl adorned nails. “It’s nice to talk to you again. Your mother told me you were off studying in Harvard? What an honor that must be.”
[i So that’s what they’re telling people.] The glitter in Fura’s eyes simmered down. [#006478 “Oh, yeah, uh, I really like it. I’m really happy that I get to be here.”] She wracked her brain for something to say besides that, but all she could think about was how she should probably find a book on Harvard or something if she was going to keep up this farce.
“When they said, little Fura was going to be a lawyer, I thought they were pulling my leg, but I am glad to see you taking initiative.” Her praise sounded so ingenuine, and it made Fura flinch.
She was done talking about this, at least not until she learned more about this mystical school she was supposed to be attending. She held herself to a higher standard of lying. Instead she did the polite thing, and changed the subject off of her. [#006478 “Yes, I thought it was about time I got out of the house. How is your, your, little Lilliana doing? She should be starting middle school this coming year, no?”]
And just like that, Mrs Porter was going off on a tangent, bragging about her own daughter’s achievements. A long list that made Fura wonder if Mrs. Porter lied about her children also, but she sounded truthful. The conversation ended a few minutes later with no more questions about Fura’s “school life”. Her mother didn’t say anything more than a curt farewell to her, and she sadly went to end the call only to see her mother had terminated it lightning quick.
Finally looking at the phone, she saw she had quite a few missed messages, all from Al.
Yo, you up?
You must be busy fighting things and saving the world, huh?
Just wanted to tell you I got a job.
Line cook isn’t as fancy as personal butler, but it’s a job.
I also applied to uni finally, so fingers crossed.
Fura, are you there?]
She fired off a quick, noncommittal reply to him.
[i ya sorry its been a longgg day. gonna catch some zzzs tel u bout it tom]
[#006478 “I’m just as fake as they are.”] Fura said, throwing the phone down on the bed. She put the record back in the case gingerly and grabbed the rest of the food. “I’m…” She paused, searching the air for something else to say until she gave in, [#006478 “…so fake.”] She sat down on her bed, and flicked on the television. It was already on a news channel, and she laid back, watching wistfully. It eventually lulled her to sleep.
[center [b +++]]
Her sleep was dreamless and fitful. The bed wasn’t as plush as she was used to, the flickering television not as bright, the sheets cotton instead of silk, and the sun streaming through much more strained and dim. She woke up rather late, not getting her usually sunbeam wake up call. It took her a second to remember where she had landed herself. Even after a few weeks, she still woke up confused.
Fura didn’t rush when she saw the time, instead she pulled herself out of bed, feeling sore and antsy. She wanted to move. She wanted to [i dance], but she knew fighting would have to suffice. A quick shower woke her up a bit and prepared her for the day to come. She blow-dried her hair quickly before putting on a sequined black and silver romper. She slipped her normal items into her pockets and added a pocket knife and other small, useful items. She pulled her hair back into a perfect ponytail, held together with hair spray and pure determination. She coated her lips with lip-gloss and her eyelashes with mascara. She completely forwent the shoes this time around, and she even managed to leave the flask in her room. Even if she did take a long swig of the whiskey before she left, progress was still progress. She was about the leave when an idea struck her, and she grabbed one last time before slipping out the doors, map in hand.
Fura grabbed a few peaches from the cafeteria and consumed them whole on her way to the shift room. When she got there, she noticed a few people were already present and prepping for the day. She sat by, watching in awe as everyone sort of, did their thing. They were all so different, so strong. Fura idolized it, and that adoration was apparent by the shining in her eyes.
She mostly watched Shiori, waiting for the girl to take a break or something. When the opportune time presented itself, Fura rushed forward to the other girl, and with shaking hands, nervously held out a small, glittery body with a minimalist logo. [#006478 “Here I brought you a gift.”] Fura blushed brightly as she realized she forgot to put away her Scottish accent from the night before. She cleared her throat and tried again. [#006478 “It’s, uh, strawberry shampoo. Only the best. I swear by this stuff.”] She said, trying to thrust the bottle in the other girl’s arms so she could turn around and never show her face again.
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