[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 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.
[center [pic https://s13.postimg.org/rprre4yzr/Preacher.jpg]]
Preacher was not awe inspired by what he was seeing, instead rigid with hate.
[i The monsters].
Zero was fighting one all alone, and Preacher, never having fully understood Zero's prowess, leaned and strained, gutteral growls and chirps of rage clawing their way out of his throat. He'd been forced into pits with creatures like these, so much scarier than men or bulls or even starved dogs. Preacher had fought and killed so many things, but surely the hardest and the most worrying were these strange things that walked funny and smelled even stranger still. Preacher could smell the human scent as it lingered somewhere deep within, but then, Preacher's humanity was hardly wearing training oants even two years into his having been introduced to normal, functioning members of society.
He did not WANT Zero to fight these creatures, and certainly not alone, if he did. He wanted to be out there helping! What good was he in here? A crack alerted a number of personnel to his fingers, having shifted in his panicked state, dark metal claws burying themselves in the wall. He was then led away, gentle hands on his shoulders and hands as a number of the staff escorted him to the showers.
"It's alright, Preacher. Zero does this all the time, he's the best there is!"
[i "Preacher bad, not help."] came the dejected reply, his head drooping. He was growling, trying to swallow down his need to lash out. Romano and Daud would not be happy if he hurt these people, and he didn't like it when he upset them.
"Aw, Preacher, honey, you're a good boy. It's okay! Come on, shower and get to bed. Do you remember how the water works?"
He sniffed and nodded, brooding still, grumbling and not reassured in the least. She was lying, she was just trying to spare his feelings. Good boys helped their friends. Good boys weren't sitting by, watching.
Good boys got to go outside.
Preacher turned on the water and sat down on the shower floor as it rained upon him, letting his thoughts consume him for a few minutes before he remembered to remove his trousers and locate the soap. He stood for this, of course, rinsed and clean but still wet as he walked out without a care. He was then gently reminded by the aid standing outside the showers waiting for him, that he ought to grab a towel. She seemed young... An intern, pershaps, though Preacher only noted the redness in her cheeks as he dried his hair and failed to tie the towel around himself. She did it FOR him and walked him to his room, avoiding his eyes, her tone flustered.
Women were so weird. All the same, Preach found more trousers and underthingies waiting for him and put them on before passing out in a nest of six fluffy blankets he had stolen from the closets around the facility. Preacher liked fuzzy things, he liked to be warm. Odd though it was, his room had no bed, just a tile floor. He preferred this, though, nothing but a bubble amidst a sea of warm quilts as he called it a night. Thinking made him tired, though thankfully he didn't do much of that unless given a reason to.
He wandered out of his room, starving and muttering something inaudible as the staff greeted him. Luckily, they'd noted his dietary peculiarities and, whenever a Hollow left debris after a fight, they broke down and condensed the debris and brought it to ravenous heathens like Preacher, which brought down the city's trash intake. He spent about an hour practically [i inhaling] chunks of debris before the truck it all came in had been emptied, and they'd narrowly escaped his eating the truck, too, as they told him to find Zero in the shift room.
Maybe Zero would let him outside? Or at least, teach him more things? Barefoot Preacher entered the shift room with half of a toaster sitting in his hand, not held unlike a burger. [i "Zero is here?"]
So hopeful, his face.
Zero fighting all alone with the Hollow is exciting enough but the hybrid form he just made is something else. Though it is quite strange for Shiori why would he go through all this trouble for a single Hollow, she doesn't have any other complaints so far. Sometimes the scenes are not even clear to see but she just assumes he is doing something super awesome. So maybe that is why he is a disappointing sloth in HQ, he needs his energy saved for better things. Sounds fair. She is more than pleased for the stupid test to stop. The answers this girl....Fura? gave Shiori were way too honest and way too friendly. Damn, she even told her a family problem. Her daddy hates her? That is stupid. She has his genes so hating her only means hating himself which is more like a serious self confidence issue. Wait, maybe he hates her because she is a Shifter? Well, rich people are always some racist jerks so nothing too surprising.
Shiori totally loses her focus on the battle shown since Zero is clearly having the upperhand. There is nothing much fun about it because the result is clear. The Hollow is desperately struggling and his hunter is just playing around clearly. Shiori starts wondering if she should word on her shield more. This single level one Hollow looks quite troublesome and she is smart enough to know there are lots of more dangerous ones out there. She doesn't have a slight doubt in becoming a legend herself...but she also knows there is still a long way ahead. Hell, she did pretty bad in the first test. She was just running around like a scared bunny.
On the other hand, is her regeneration ability. To be honest, she has never worked on that because she has never been seriously injured. Maybe these techno guys know how to stimulate injury or something like that. She really needs to know how much time she needs for a full regeneration since she will almost shut down most of her systems for it. But deep down Shiori is not eager to wonder about it since she hopes she will not get beat up enough to be forced to that state.
She notices the screen going off and realises the show is over. She missed the destruction of the Hollow but she can bet she will see more of it in future. She glances over at MMM, expecting him to continue on the test but he just announces that it is enough for today. Well, that is indeed a surprise. Maybe seeing this amount of awesomeness from Zero is too overwhelming for newbies like her...they could barely focus on the test? Shiori has no problem in leaving the 'teamwork' test behind. Actually she hopes they will all forget it for eternity. They are allowed to either go to the dorms or go back home. Shiori stays in dorm since she doesn't want to burn her money by taking bus and taxi everyday. Shiori never got a driving license. There is something in her which doesn't stop her from crashing into another car.
Once led out of the special room, Shiori passes Fura wondering if her personal driver would come for her or not. "See ya." She says kindly enough because it is cruel to be mean to a girl with daddy issues.
She doesn't have roommate yet and likes to keep it that way. The last thing she needs is being annoyed 24/7. With a big sigh she lets her body collide with the bed and earns a loud creak from it. She aimlessly stares at the ceiling. Well, today was pointless. Nothing special happened. Only Zero had all the fun and they just watched like pathetic retards with dropped jaws in awe. Shiori remembers something she promised and stretched her arm towards her backpack on the floor. After a bit of struggle she pulls out a phone and plugs it into charger. With narrowed eyes she searches through her contacts. They are mostly her fake father's numbers. Fake? Yeah a man with neat suits who marries your mom and gives big smiles towards you with pity like you are soooo unlucky to have the blood of your real father in your veins. No, Shiori isn't like those brats who make their mother's life a hell because they don't like the man's face. Her own father divorced because he couldn't continue on in that house and with those horrible memories. He couldn't look at the face of his wife and remember how her twin brother almost killed him and crippled him forever, trapped on a wheelchair.
Shiori found it fair and never hated him for leaving. They still meet sometimes.
She finally finds her mother's number and calls. After a short time, a sleepy voice answers.
"Hi, mom. I am still alive."
"[b OH SO YOU FINALLY DECIDED TO CALL, HUH?!]"
"[b JUST WAIT TILL I SEE YOU, YOU WILL HAVE MORE WORRIES THAN AN ACHING EAR! WHAT WE'RE YOU THINKING?! GOING TO THAT SLAUGHTER HOUSE WITHOUT A GOODBYE AND WITH A CLICHE STUPID NOTE?! REALLY?!]"
"Don't worry mom. They don't let us do anything...serious. We just...clap for heroes and these stuffs."
"[b I just saw the news. I don't know why do they need somebody like you when this guy takes them down all by himself.]"
"Wow, mom. Now I'm encouraged. Thank you."
[h3 On the other side of the city. Where they eat caviar with champagne.]
[b The Hollow was finally hunted down by the well known Shifter, Ze-]
[i [b Beep.]]
He threw the controller away in a quite aggressive way and it lands on the desk in front of him. He fixes his tie as a habit and taps on the wooden surface in frustration.
"Oh, our hero shines again?" Another one in the room mocks the upset politician with his cheerful tone.
"Please, Now they will all flood the government house and ask me about the number of hollows increasing just because the Shifter HQ cannot just get rid of them silently. If they cannot spot the Hollows before they do any damage, what is their use? That brat is becoming a popular bullshit on the news while I should be the one worrying about the damages and my reputation. I'm afraid we soon be the bad guys instead. You know how their small brains work...Bad government...Good shifters...Heh." The middle aged man stands, walking to the window to watch the city view.
The other man walks to him and pats his back in a friendly manner which makes the first one shift away uncomfortably.
"Don't worry. Whatever they do, they just keep the safety of the city. Soon, Hollows will just be out of control and numerous. Then we can attack back...because they currently have taken the responsibility themselves. As far as I've been informed, they haven't made much process in studying the Hollows themselves. This is why they need such shows...to make citizens believe in them. Don't worry my friend, they won't last for long."
Shiori wakes up with her hair in her mouth and drooling like a drunk. Her phone is still laying on her chest and she assumes she just fainted after speaking with her mother. The sleepy girl sits up slowly and lets her cell fall on bed. She just stays in that position, taking a quick nap before opening her eyes again and reaching for her phone to see what time it is. "Hmm? Kind of early." Shiori yawns and rolls off the bed, stomping to the bathroom and she grab the towel on her way.
After a hot shower she is dressed and prepared for any test thrown at her. Shiori immediately heads to the Shift room but the doors are closed and there is a single note on it. "...I should have woken up in noon." Shiori mumbles and scratches her head, trying to remember where the training room is. She manages to get lost for a short while but finally makes it in the training room. She is surprised seeing another being in there. Oh, that emo grape lollipop. She is focused on shifting just like Zero asked in the note. What a good girl. Shiori is decent enough not to disturb her and stretch in a corner until her shift is over.
"Good morning...I guess." Shiori greets her coldly and just turns away from her to do her own training. When somebody doesn't want to be friendly, Shiori will not try the slightest to be a sweetheart. When somebody is friendly...Shiori fails to be a sweetheart. Fair enough.
She starts with simple shift of her limbs before working on shields.
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Watching the seemingly laid-back Zero fight the Hallow was....mesmerizing. He just seemed so in tune with what he was doing, like he had been born to fight such monstrosities. It made her feel both envious and afraid, while he had promised to help her there was no guarantee that she wouldn't turn out like that. If she did, then she knew for damn sure that he would be the one to kill her. It seemed like everyone else was also tuned into the show, but then again why wouldn't they? A supposed legend was doing what he was doing best right in front of them. At least everyone aside from the pink-haired girl who came over to her.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans At first when she knelt down she wanted to snap at the woman, it was a little insulting to think someone needed to come down to her level. But as the girl spoke she got the feeling that she didn't mean to insult Kalua, but instead wanted to comfort and reassure her that she didn't need to bottle her problems up.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans [#9932CC "Um...thanks..."] She said, not quite sure how to respond. For most of her childhood, she was told to hide who she was, to never trust a stranger, to never let her guard down. Kalua took those things to heart and put on a face and eventually, that became who she was, a private person who took her feelings out on others.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Soon the show was over, not seeing any more reason to stay Kalua quietly sneaked out of the room and walked towards the housing area, on her way back she passed the orphanage again and noticed that the children were still playing outside. One of them was tossing a soccer ball, though as the tiny boy threw it the object bounced over the stone gate that was blocking them in. It rolled and tapped Kalua's foot, her eyes staring at the ball for a good second before picking it up.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans [b "Hey lady! Throw that ball over here please!"] He asked her politely. Breathing a sigh of irritation, she walked over to the gate and tossed the ball towards the boy, who caught it and gave her the brightest smile ever. It was infectious and Kalua couldn't help but give him an honest smile. [#9932CC "Your welcome, be more careful."] She said in a low tone. The kid was silent for a second before his eyes lit up, his smile getting even bigger . [b "Thanks, pretty lady! You should come play with us when you're not busy."] That statement caught her off guard, her face turning red in embarrassment. Rubbing the back of her head she let out a nervous letting laugh, [#9932CC "I'll think about it, but I gotta go now."] Giving an awkward wave goodbye, Kalua hurried to the housing area and quickly went to the room she was assigned.]]]
[center [b ~]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans The next morning Kalua woke up early like she was supposed to, even if she didn't like it. She literally felt like a zombie as she went into the bathroom and started her morning routine, leaving out a shower because she knew that after the training with Zero she was going to be a hot mess. Why take a shower when she was only going to have to take another one?]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans After preparing herself for her morning with Zero, Kalua dressed in a pair of short and a t-shirt and headed for the shift room. As she approached she noticed a piece of paper that was taped to the door.]]][center [size15 [Josefin+Sans [i "Go to the training room and perform the least strenuous shift you can do for as long as you can. The moment you feel yourself losing it, stop the shift. I'll wake up at some point"]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans kalua couldn't help but roll her eyes after reading the words written down. Of course, once a lazy ass - always a lazy ass. She should have known that at some point he would take his sweet time. Letting out a grunt of dissatisfaction, she headed into the training room and stood there for a second. [#9932CC "Least strenuous shift..."] she muttered, tapping her chin as she thought. A full body shift was totally out of the question, she knew that would be too much too fast. But perhaps....simply shifting a single limb would be alright.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes, Kalua thought hard as she imagined a large scythe in her mind. The weapon was her go to when imagining things like that. Her arm slowly formed and moved to shape the weapon in her thoughts, and as she opened her eyes she was pleased to see that she had managed to do at least that without problems. She then decided to see how long she could hold the shift.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans One minute passed, then two, then three and so on. She felt fine, which honestly surprised her. Her mind began to wander, the first being of the hollow that she had watched die yesterday. However, as the minutes soon turned to seven something snapped and Kalua felt like her whole body was beginning to heat up. The thoughts of the hollow vanished. She let out a gasp as the shift she had been maintaining began to falter into something....something that she couldn't explain. Her arm looked like it had been put into a fire and was melting. She immediately stopped and tried to get her arm to return to normal. It took her a good five minutes of concentration just to do that, and afterward, she fell onto her butt and leaned back, letting out a sigh. Her whole body felt hot like she had a fever from hell. [#9932CC "I suppose that my limit....longer than what I did last time."]]]
Zero has a stare off with the Hollow. The two stand, opposed to each other for many moments that have passed since Zero's arrival. Zero quirks a brow as he exchanges glances with the Hollow. [i 'Come on you bat shit crazy bastard. Make your move.']
Just as the intensity of the moment grew, a sniffle is heard from behind the Hollow. The Hollow quickly turns around to see the terrified guard Henry, sniveling behind the Hollow in fear. He growls before releasing a roar and charges straight toward Henry.
[b "Oh for the love of-"] Zero rolls his eyes and crouches down toward the ground as a black mist forms around his legs. He launches forward at a blinding speed.
The Hollow reaches Henry with his claw held up high. He brings his claw forward as it gets ready to slash Henry to pieces. However, just before the Hollow strikes Henry, Zero's arms wrap around the Hollow's waist.
[b "Denied!"] Zero shouts as he lifts the Hollow up into the air and over his head, slamming the Hollow into the ground head first through the use of a German suplex. Zero groans a bit, [b "Ow, my back."] Zero rolls out of the German suplex onto his hands and knees. He holds his back with his left hand as he pounds his right fist into the ground repeatedly. [b "Ow, ow, ow ,ow, never trying that again..."]
[h3 Back at Shift HQ...]
... Leanna and Romano sit in front of the monitor in Romano's lab watching the fight. Leanna just stares at the screen in pure shock as Romano is looking away from it trying to hold back a laugh.
"What the hell is he doing?" Leanna says in an exasperated tone.
"He's, Pfft, being Zero. What else?" Romano chuckles.
Leanna throws her arms up into the air and sits in the chair beside Romano. "I... have such a migraine right now," Leanna sighs as she rubs her temples.
"Want some Bazvil?" Romano asks as he leans back in his chair.
"I want a drink," Leanna sighs as she now rubs her eyes.
...back at the abandon warehouse district, Markus bellows out a laugh as loudly as he can as he watches Zero. "Who are you to call me a fossil, brat?" Markus taunts laughing at the sight.
[b "Oh screw off you out of date model,"] Zero remarks as he flips Markus off with his right hand.
The Hollow's legs violently jerk around as he tries to free his head from the ground.
Zero looks at the Hollow to his left, and sighs, [b "I'm getting too old for this shit."] He gets up off the ground and darts toward Henry. In the same moment, the Hollow's feet touch to ground and the Hollow rips his head up from the ground. The Hollow swings both of his fists over his head and down toward Henry like two hammers of judgement. Zero steps before Henry and catches the Hollow's fists by the wrists. The amount of strength behind the Hollow's attack causes Zero's feet to sink into the ground. Zero looks over his shoulder at Henry and says, [b "Hey dip shit, take a note from your friends'playbook, and run you idiot!"]
Henry shrieks in terror as he scurries along the ground and toward Markus. He pushes up against the wall to the right of Markus and presses up against the wall as much as possible.
Zero grits his teeth as he feels the Hollow push down against Zero's hands. The veins in the Hollow's arms glow a brighter red as he begins to overpower Zero.
[b "Don't get cocky you little piss ant,"] Zero says as a black mist surrounds both of his arms and legs. He jumps up into the air and thrusts both of his feet forward, smashing his feet into the Hollow's chest. He sends the Hollow sliding backwards as he back flips and lands on his feet.
The Hollow's feet dig into the ground as he slides back. He growls and charges forward as all the veins in the Hollow's body glow a bright red. Zero lunges forward as black mist swirls around his right arm. He uppercuts the Hollow into the air, sending the Hollow up high and moments later crashing down into the roof of a warehouse a few feet in front of him. Zero jumps up high into the air and descends through the hole the Hollow made upon his crash landing.
The Hollow growls as he slowly rises to his feet. His glowing red eyes pierce the veil of shadows as they look towards Zero.
[b "Man, do you look pissed,"] Zero taunts as he waits for the Hollow to attack once more. The veins in Zero's arms and legs retain a black state as he readies himself for the Hollow.
All of the veins in the Hollow's body glows a crimson red. The Hollow roars as he suddenly sprints toward Zero at a blinding speed. He swings his right fist forward as a crimson mist surrounds his arm.
Zero counters the Hollow's punch with his own as the two fists collide and a massive shock wave of pure force fires out from the collision. Zero leans to the right to avoid another punch and then back steps to avoid a third punch. He lunges forward and jabs his right fist into the Hollow's face causing the Hollow to stumble back a few steps. Zero draws his right fist back only to punch it forward again and slam it into the Hollow's face with far more strength, sending the Hollow flying backwards.
The Hollow skids along the ground before he pushes up off the ground and comes to a sliding stop on his feet.
Zero sprints forward and throws his left fist forward at the Hollow, only to have his punch caught in the Hollow's grip. [b "Oh hell!"] Zero says as he is suddenly pulled off his feet.
The Hollow throws Zero across the warehouse and into the warehouse wall. He rushes forward and throws a punch forward punching Zero through the wall and into another room of the warehouse.
Zero rolls along the ground as he rolls to a stop on his back. He coughs in a bit of pain and sighs, [b "Yeah, this got old real fast."]
[h3 Back at Shift Headquarters..]
Leanna tilts her head in a bit of confusion and asks, "Is he holding back?"
"So you noticed?" Romano asks as he looks at Leanna.
"Well, it's kind of hard not to when he is using none of his Demon Powers to fight."
"It's because he doesn't want to cause any severe damage to the Hollow just yet. Right now, all he is trying to do is get the Hollow to do a Full Body 'Defensive' transformation."
Leanna quirks a brow as she looks at Romano and asks, "Just what kind of experiment are you guys running?"
Romano chuckles and smiles, "Hm, I guess you could say we are running a 'Zero' experiment?"
[h3 Back at the warehouse...]
... Zero watches the Hollow emerge from the clouds of smoke created by his trip through the wall. He sighs, [b "I really hate work days."] Zero rolls back onto his shoulders and jumps up onto his feet. He wipes some blood from the corner of his mouth and rolls his head to the right cracking his neck. [b "Alright Hollow. Let's get round two started."]
The Hollow howls as he charges forward at Zero. The Hollow throws a left hook forward at Zero mid charge.
Zero throws his right arm out to the side deflecting the blow as his left fist quickly follows and thrusts into the Hollow's rib cage. He then grabs the Hollow's collar and gets the Hollow to stand up straight. He punches his right fist into the Hollow's face repeatedly until he suddenly brings his left knee up into the Hollow's stomach causing him to hunch forward once more. Zero grabs the back of the Hollow's head and pushes it straight down into his left knee as he knee strikes the Hollow a second time in a row. The Hollow stumbles backwards in a daze as he releases a pained growl. Zero runs up to the Hollow and jumps up into the air before thrusting both feet into the Hollow's chest drop kicking the Hollow back through the whole he was sent flying through earlier. Zero back flips through the air and lands on the ground as the Hollow comes charging back through the hole.
The Hollow jumps up into the air and spins to the left as he whips his right foot toward Zero's head.
Zero catches the Hollow's foot and shouts, [b "Your turn,"] he squeezes the Hollow's ankle and pulls the Hollow up over his head before slamming the Hollow into the ground. He then pivots to his left dragging the Hollow through the ground, [b "To fly you pain in the ass bastard!"] Zero shouts as he throws the Hollow up toward the ceiling of the warehouse.
The Hollow slams into the ceiling and then descends into the ground with a loud crash. The Hollow releases a blood curling growl as he gets up off the ground. The Hollow thrashes about and roars out as the red veins on his body glow a bright red and suddenly the glowing red begins to over take his body. The Hollow's body begins to become encased in a black carapace that covers his entire body. The Hollow releases a powerful roar that causes the entire warehouse to shake.
Zero's hands get covered in a black mist as he stares at the Hollow and says, [b "Finally, now I can finish this and go home."] Zero crosses his arms before him and hovers each of his hands by his hips. His arms turn pitch black from his hands to his elbows and shifts into what looks like sleek black gloves. His nails turn into sharp silver claws, and he slowly raises his hands up along his sides. His nails extend from his finger tips into long silver blades as Zero raises his hands up along his sides. He then quickly brings his hands above his head and slashes his hands back down to his sides while retracting his blades once more in all one quick motion. Anyone who has seen Zero fight near the beginning of his time at Shift knows about the shape shift Zero just did. It is one of Zero's favored signature shifts that he used to use often during the early days of Shift. However, now a days it is considered a rare sight to see Zero use the shift known as the 'Devil Hands'.
The Hollow lunges forward at a blinding speed as his feet sink into the ground with each pounding step. He digs his claw into a shipping crate and drags the crate along the ground as he rushes toward Zero.
[b "You have to be kidding me,"] Zero sighs as he points his right index finger forward. [b "Drop the crate,"] Zero says just before a sharp ring is heard as an invisible force collides with the Hollow's right shoulder, causing him to stumble backwards and drop the crate. An untrained eye would be oblivious to what Zero had just done. A trained eye would see that Zero's bladed nail extended and retracting at an astonishing speed.
The Hollow looks around confused about what had just struck him. He looks up at Zero and growls before jumping back toward a steel girder. He lifts the steel girder and throws it at Zero horizontally.
Zero holds his left hand out to the side before swinging it straight up into the air and in a bright flash the steel girder splits in half and falls onto the ground either side of Zero.
The Hollow jumps up into the air and descends upon Zero as he unleashes a furious howl of rage at the annoyance of his prey being stubborn to fall.
Zero uppercuts his right hand and extends all five blades at once. The blades smash into the Hollow forcing the Hollow to flip backwards and away from Zero. [i 'As always. My Devil's hands don't work well on a Soul Hollow.'] Zero thinks to himself. [i 'Guess it is about time to test it.'] Zero holds his hands out in front of himself, crossing his left wrist over his right. The blades from his fingers extend to arm length as a black mist forms around the entirety of Zero's upper arms. The gently flowing outward black mist suddenly flares up and swirls around Zero's arms in a wild tempest. The only thing the Hollow can see beyond the black mist is Zero's crimson red eyes. The long silver needle blades extending from Zero's fingers slowly begin to turn a pitch black from their base. The rampaging misty aura slowly begins to fade as the blades turn completely black. Zero slashes his arms out to the sides as the blades withdrawal once again.
The Hollow roars out at the sight of Zero and sprints forward at his prey. He jumps up into the air and descends upon Zero from above with his mouth open wide, revealing all of his razor sharp fangs.
Zero lifts his right hand and aims the tips of his fingers up at the Hollow. He grabs hold of his right wrist with his left hand as a black mist like aura with a red glow surrounds his right hand. Then Zero says it. A mysterious mantra he says every time in the moments before he finishes off a Hollow without fail. In a tone cold enough to freeze one's blood, Zero says, [b "Rest in Sacrifice."]
A thunderous roar is heard in the next moment. The Hollow floats in the air for a mere moment before all four of his limbs are severed from his body. A large hole has opened up in the Hollow's chest revealing a spherical red gem. Zero stands there watching the Hollow as all five of his tips are covered in the black blood of the Hollow. The speed in which the five blades launched were fast enough to almost lose the eyes of even the most well trained combat experts.
The Hollow's body falls to the ground, shortly followed by all four of its limbs. Zero instantly reverts back to his human form as his shifted arms revert back to normal as well. He sighs as beads of sweat run down his skin. He looks at his blood covered right hand panting a bit as it feels like a huge amount of stress and pressure just flowed out from his body.
[h3 Back at Romano's lab...]
...Leanna stares in awe at the sight of what she had just saw. "Geez, it's hard to believe he is a pain in the ass slacker when he pulls off stuff like that," Leanna says in an amazed tone.
Romano chuckles and replies, "Well he does do work, but just in a way no one notices."
"Right... what was it I just saw anyway?" Leanna asks as she looks at Romano.
"The new power Zero crafted. He refers to his new ability as the 'Black Weapons'. They are weapons created from fusing his Soul and Demon powers to forge a more deadly version of the weapon he desires, as you just saw here."
"In other words, this is the form Zero's true power has taken."
"Well, that would be the simplest way to put it."
Leanna leans back in her chair and remains quiet for a moment. She watches Zero a minute or so before she finally repeats, "Rest in Sacrifice. He says it every time. Yet, none of us know why."
Romano smiles a bit weakly, "Zero has few secrets, considering he is an entirely open person. However, the story behind that mantra is one of the few secrets Zero has."
"I wonder what it really means and why he says it."
"Who knows. Maybe it has something to do with why he leaves a Z coin everyplace he finishes off a Hollow as well," Romano says as he shuts off the drone. The clean up crew was already on their way to Zero's location, and now that the show is over, it was time for Daud to turn the attention back onto the trainees.
Zero stands by the Hollow as the Hollow gasps and breathes in its final moments. He sits on the ground by the Hollow's side and stares at the Hollow's red eyes. He places his right hand on the forehead of the Hollow and merely rests his hand there. The frightened Hollow merely stares at Zero, but seems to calm down as his life slowly fades out. The moment the Hollow's eyes loses color, the Hollow disintegrates into black particles. Zero sighs and reaches into his right pocket to pull out a silver coin. His right thumb turns into a sharp blade as he begins to carve into the coin, carving a Z into the coin. Once done, he places the coin onto the ground to where the Hollow once was. He rests his thumb on top of the coin and enhances his strength a bit to push down onto the coin. He pushes the coin into the ground embedding it into the cement, as if leaving a marker to where the Hollow died. This coin Zero leaves is considered a Z coin. These coins can be found all over the city at this point. They are considered highly valuable, yet no one tries to take them in fear of what may happen if they do.
Zero sits there in the silence of the destroyed warehouse. He pulls up his hood and closes his eyes as if showing a sign of respect to the recently departed Hollow.
[h3 Note From Me]
Okay guys, a few things I want to explain just to make sure its clear.
One, the whole black mist and veins bit. The black mist is generated when a Shifter focuses on a particular part of their body or gathers shift energy in that part of the body. This is true for all shifters. The mist is red for Hollows. The black/red veins is a trait only akin to soul types. These veins represent what part of the body a Soul shifter has enhanced.
Shift energy is basically your mp bar. A shifter needs shift energy in order to shape shift. Without shift energy, they cannot shape shift. This energy and its nature will be explained a little later, but I thought I would make this bit known now
If you guys haven't noticed. Even a rank one Hollow is a royal pain in the ass to fight. What I am getting at is there is NO cannon fodder in this rp. Even rank ones are powerful. If I were to scale it. Zero could handle 3 rank 1's on his own, 2 rank 2s, and one rank 3 and that is only while he is in Hybrid state. Just to give you an idea of how strong Hollows are in this rp.
That is all for now. Any questions, let me know.
She could feel the sarcasm from Dante, but didn't give any reaction to it. He was always "moody" in her opinion, and she had said it to his face before. Now if he cared or not, she didn't know, but it didn't seem to affect their work relationship in any way.
As they were lined up, they were joined by the other two that had somehow gotten out of training. Cat wasn't surprised Jae had disappeared, that girl was slick when she wanted to be. Her screws were a little loose, okay a lot loose, almost falling off, but she had her strengths. However odd they may be. Cat hadn't talked to her one on one that often, only when she needed to, so she wasn't completely sure what to expect from the girl. Seemed she was going to find out now.
[#481066 "Well, this should be rather interesting."] She smirked, lifting her hand a bit to see it cuffed to the crazy girl.
[#481066 "If they did, how would we ever get any work done?"] She chuckled to Jae. [#481066 "Perhaps later though."]
Cat was a little taken back by the sudden sniff she was given from Jae, but only gave another smirk with her reply. [#481066 "Why yes I did, though I wish you could've joined us. Would've made things much more interesting. Oh and don't worry, I'll be as gentle as I can."]
She noticed Zero walking in then, going behind Daud and picking up a few files. Cat knew exactly what was going to happen, and she wasn't going to say a damn thing. Instead, she watched in silence, only letting out a sort of snort as Daud was hit over the head with the files. It wasn't hard, but it was rather entertaining to her either way. Seemed he had come just in time to save them from another run through the room. Cat didn't really mind, she still had energy to spare, but she did appreciate the break.
The medics started to come in, working quickly as Zero continued to speak to them, releasing everyone from their binds. Seemed they wouldn't need these for now, so why not take them off. Cat was a bit disappointed though. She wanted to know how Jae did with a partner. That and she had never really seen Jae in training. Cat wanted to know what to expect from her teammates, knowing there would be some point where she would fight side by side with them.
[#481066 "I'm fine, just a scratch."] She explained to the medic who had come over to attend to her. Only her shoulder was injured, and it wasn't that bad, having stopped bleeding already. New blonde girl was in way worse shape than Cat had ever been. Poor girl really didn't know what to expect, and though she tried hard, she was a long ways away from even being considered to go into the real world to fight.
Zero was then called out to fight a Hallow. He didn't want to go until his interest was peaked with trying out something. Now even Cat was interested. What was this "thing" Zero wanted to test out? Could it be some special attack? And was it in his hybrid form or normal form? Thankfully it was going to be broadcast to them, so Cat's curiosity would be satisfied. She did notice something though. The new girl off on her own, seeing the fight. She looked a bit shocked.
[#481066 "Hey."] Cat said softly, walking over to the girl and kneeling down to be at level with her. It wasn't to treat her as a child, it was to be more equal to her, so the girl could try to understand. [#481066 "I don't know your full situation, and I'm not going to ask you to tell me it. But I will say this, whatever Zero said to you, I can say he wasn't lying. If he promised you something, he will keep it. Also, if you ever need help, don't be afraid to ask. Don't let your pride get in the way, or else you'll quickly fail."]
The girl was quickly found out in the lab then a couple of big dudes walked up to her [+blue "Woah boys. I'm one hot ass chick, but I don't take so many at a time."] Jae was high class but damn did she have one weird brain and sense of humor. The family never figure her twisted head, but Jae was the undeniably most skilled of the family trade so they accepted the personality.
The dudes were like [i "Aye girl we aren't here for that. You gotta get your ass back to the group the OG needs you for stuff."] Though it wasn't said in that manner but that's what Jae heard.
[+blue "Okie dokey. I guess I'll leave the buttons alone.... for now."]
Skipping out the lab with the guards behind her; Jae made her return to the group. The old masked man let her know what's up [i "We are gonna do something kinky. I'm a cuff you with this chick and we you are running through the playground. Play nice."]
Jae was highly skilled in combat honing all the skills from the masters of her family before she was deployed in a private squad under her father's control. Sparring partners we hired by the family; Jae ended careers along the way to her life to the fields since she never held back aiming usually to kill. Martial arts added to her masochist nature as the psycho girl barely held a guard up since she knew the fight was never life or death. Getting as close to the taste of death; Jae was a thrill seeker.
Shaking her head and shaking with excitement [+Blue "Why don't we do kinky activities like this more often?"] When the two were cuffed together Jae put her masked face close to that of the girl, Cat, and sniffed her.
[+blue "You smell like you had a fun time running through. Now let's make a record best; the plan is we run as fast as we can and if we run into trouble I'll be a meat shield. This is my first time running with you so be gentle."] Jae winked at the girl.
Elation. That was the best way to describe how Fura felt after finishing the first test. Elated and Euphoric. Oh, how quickly one at the top can fall to the bottom. That was so cool. Fura thought. [i I can’t believe I was able to use my powers in such interesting and useful ways.] She continued. [i And the shield was so pretty. It fractured lights all over th-] The travesty she just committed suddenly hit her full-force. Fura bent over, one hand planting her in place on her knee, the other held out in front of her mouth, as she made an unsightly choking noise. [i Oh lord almighty, I can’t believe I ate my phone. How did I even get it in there in one piece? Adrenaline is one crazy mistress.] A few more hacks and Fura’s phone shot out of her mouth and into her hand. [i Please work. Please work. It was only a few minutes.] Fura uttered a final prayer and pressed the home button. Her heart resumed beating as the phone powered on. [i Thank goodness they started making these things waterproof, or, er, stomach acid proof?] She finally took the time to pry the case off the phone, wipe them off in the folds of her dress, and deposit them in her pockets.
A blush creeped across her face as she looked around sheepishly to see if anyone had watched her embarrassing display, but it seemed they were too busy getting handcuffed. Fura yet out a short yelp as she too was attached to another person, and as she looked up to see who it was, she felt her stomach do flipflops.
Shiori did not look happy. Pallid even. [i She looks sick. Maybe she should it this one out. Then we’d have an even number, and I wouldn’t…No! I must get along with everyone. Everyone, I say!] Fura cheered herself on and cast a sideways glance towards Shiori. She still wished they had set her up with someone she would get along better with, like Cat or Preacher. But both she already fairly positive views of, so she understood this line of reasoning. Everything is a test.
For Fura, she was not used to dealing with real people. It was so different where she was from. Everyone was fake. People treated you nicely because you could buy tailored clothes and eat lobster on a whim. Especially since the only people she ever associated with were either employees or acquaintances of her parents. Everyone acted the same, like two mirrors casting a never-ending chain of half-smiles and faked hospitality. It was simultaneously thrilling and terrifying to be chained to another person so opposite her, especially someone who didn’t have any reason to hold her in high regard. She wondered how this would go.
She was smiling again. That goofy, toothy grin that seemed to plaster her face at every turn.
[#a01433 "You smell like strawberry. Have you been bathing in it this morning?"]
Fura perked up. [i Conversation. We’re making conversation!] She rushed to answer, [#006478 “It’s my shampoo! I wash my hair two times a day. I could borrow you a bottle. It makes your hair [i super] soft.” ]
Shiori introduced herself and gave a few other remarks. The words “princess” and “lady” made Fura’s face drop, if only a little. [#006478 “No, no, no. I’m…”] She hesitated. Her last name was often a trigger, considering it was tied to both her father’s family-owned corporation and her mother’s fashion label. Even though she had traveled a long way to get to Shift, she wouldn’t have been surprised if the names traveled to. They were rather large.
[#006478 “Just Fura is fine.”]
[#a01433 "You might want to take off your clothes. Oopss. Sorry. Daddy will buy tons of it. No worries."]
[#006478 “Not really. My Father wants to disown me, but my mother won’t let him.”] Fura responded to that without a second thought, and only afterwards realized the awkwardness of her statement. [i I’m absolutely terrible at this.] “Still, I have extra clothes. These are actually, uh, pretty good for fighting, you see.” She tugged at the end of her dress, feeling the expensive embroidered fabric beneath her fingers. The tailor-made clothing was designed by her criteria, which really only had two rules. 1) Easy to move and 2) Deep Pockets.
Shiori was shaping up to be the hardest test of them all, so Fura felt relief as they were separate. She would return to “Operation: Friendship” later, but for now she was given a brief second to recuperate, and she intended to soak in every second of relaxation. She took a tentative seat next, or like, two feet, from Shiori.
And then the show started. She took her peach leftover from lunch and absentmindedly consumed it whole as she watched, her eyes glued to the livestream of Zero fighting. The lazy, tired boy she had seen earlier almost seemed to transform, both figuratively and literally. [ I This is Zero-From-the-News Zero. This is the person I saw, for sure.] It filled her with awe, and to think someone like [i her] could do something so amazing. A jolt of excited electricity jolted through her body. Her skin prickled and the hair on the back of her neck stand up. It wasn’t until she caught herself shaking that she found that she was more terrified than anticipatory. [i But in the end those are basically the same thing.] She thought and watched on.
She was grateful for the break. She could already feel her strength returning with the help of the peach and of course the medical staff attending to her. She had never sustained so many injuries, or really any for that matter, but it was little to endure for the opportunities that she saw spreading in front of her.
It reinvigorated her to befriend Shiori and fight Hollows.
Good. The first stage is over and the new level is unlocked. Shiori tries to ignore the fact that she is possibly the one with the most exhausted state. She hates slacking but the thought of a bit relaxing might be nice. An unfamiliar voice from above just snaps her out if it and she looks up. Thankfully the platforms have raised them up halfway so they will be able to see what is going on among the bosses. That unfamiliar voice just throws them some kind of taunt and well...taunts are her speciality and she has the right to ban anyone from making fun of her being mere newbie. Others suck, true. But Shiori, never. So that guy...with...that long blond hair thinks that they MIGHT survive a first level? Oh, the best death for him is by the hand of the lamest level one ever. He will die in shame and Shiori will spit on his grave.
Maybe too much. But she sure took some grudge. "Excuse me, Pretty Boy...But who the hell are you?" She says it loud enough and doesn't give a shit if she sounds like a total asshole. Being an asshole is better than being a...fluffy newbie like Princess.
Anyway, Mr.Mysterious Mask... begins and Shiori immediately notices that Lunatic Blondie. Wait. Where was she this whole time?! Great, great control they have on these morons. Maybe they should put some shock collars on her. They say it is cruel for a dog but Shiori is sure the government wouldn't mind having collars on Shifters. But first they have to make it unbreakable but Shiori doubts if this Blondie Lunatic even minds being shocked.
Ah, she isn't in charge so she just lets it be and again pays attention to MMM.
[b Each Of You....Attached...Candidate...]
"Pardon?" Shiori snaps. What the heck?! What is with these guys?! Ever heard of...privacy and such?! Being attached to a loser is a torture. You are destined to die with them and maybe even in afterlife you are still attached! Oh no...This was too cruel. It is an obvious abuse.
What has happened to her rights already?!
But the nightmare has just begun. She changes colours as watching herself being cuffed to Goody two shoes fluffy cutie rich ass Princess of Unicorn land. Oh great. Fantastic.
She hates MMM.
Will take revenge.
"You smell like strawberry. Have you been bathing in it this morning?" This was her...'Hello'.
"Name's Shiori Princess...or you prefer Milady instead?"
Oh she is so so so so jealous of her clothes.
"You might want to take off your clothes. Oopss. Sorry. Daddy will buy tons of it.No worries."
So this level is going to be one hell
Tadaaa. Finally their Zero Hero shows up. Wow. Such a delight Just in time to see a pure humiliation. And that Grape Lollipop is with him too. Looking as emo as ever. It is very obvious she will turn into a Hollow in two days maybe they are going to study her change?
Hey, this Zero has changed a bit. He looks to have more authority now. Even over MMM.
Oh, goodie. Free time! She grins seeing the handcuff being torn into pieces. Immeditely she sits down and watches the medical team rushing to them.
Finally, some respect.
Maybe Zero isn't that bad.
But then...he seems to receive a message and there goes the hero to the rescue.
Oh, no. Alone with MMM again?!
A man in white coat hands her a bottle of water for refreshment. He looks 30 and when he watches Zero running off, he has a strange glow in his eyes. Shiori raises up an eyebrow.
Noticing her questioning look, the guy smiles slightly. "I wonder if he will break his record..." He gazes at his watch. "Mr.Zero never fails to amaze us~"
[i Secret Creepy Admirer...What is the big deal about this Zero guy?]
And she is soon answered by a monitor getting their attention.
"OH THIS IS REAL!" She finds herself screaming out in pure excitement. Oh girl. A live battle! And when she observes the screen with narrowed eyes; Yup A soul hollow cool! If she loses it, she will become like this and then Zero would kill her like that.
Oh, how awesome!
She just stares, hypnotized.
Just some crazy thoughts that she will be ashamed of later.
[h3 Nobody cares to what an officer thinks...]
He has aced every test in academy, He has been trained. He has been given the best marks in shooting, hand to hand combat.
But nobody tested him in situations like this. To feel helpless, weak and near Death's scythe. To just become a meat shield until the real warriors arrive. To watch his comrades perish...by a monster.
Officer Henry is indeed a rookie but that isn't an excuse to escape.
So he hates himself when he is shaking uncontrollably, barely keeping the gun straight in his hands as staring at a mere Level one. [b MERE LEVEL ONE]. It is a joke among those damned Shifters. Nobody cares if the one struggling in his blood has a family or not.
Sometimes, he just wishes the government could get rid of all those freaks. This way, there would be no hollows. Then this organization popped out. And nobody can be really sure if...
Even this [b Legacy] wouldn't become a Hollow himself.
But again, humans are powerless.
He feels his stomach turn when the one he just had befriended this morning falls down, without a beating heart. In a heartless way; Such a sick joke. They are just shooting aimlessly, knowing it would have no effect and that damned shifter is not coming any soon.
Of course. Why does a Shifter care about humans?!
Another one dies.
Henry is quite sure he would be next but their commander-One brave man, he admits- distracts it.
A meat shield.
He will die soon too-
There he comes.
The supposed hero.
Henry makes a step back. The show is now for that Shifter. He makes more steps back only to bend a bit and throw up.
But he knows well that he should sooner or later get used to see deaths like that. Maybe not having a family should become a rule. Maybe he should just break up with her because he is already a walking corpse.
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Kalua frowned when he spoke, she now felt embarrassed and sort of like an idiot after spewing all that crap about [i "Oh woe is me."] Now that she thought about it she sounded pathetic, just thinking about it irritated her. The girl wrapped her arms across her just, something she did whenever she was irked. [#9932CC "I hope it made your ears bleed."] She muttered, knowing that her insult was elementary at best.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Zero suddenly got up off the couch and retrieved a piece of paper, doodling a circle on it. He then began to explain things to her and she was going to say that there was no need, that doing so would just be pointless. But when he got to the part about explaining the 'shadow' she stopped. [i "The side we are ashamed of....regrets and things we want to hide...."] Those things struck home, there were a lot of regrets and resentment that she had not only towards other people, put to herself as well. These all had been building within the last few months and were probably the driving force to why she was so unstable at the moment.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans The girl leaned back into the couch with a sigh of annoyance, her eyes staring up at the ceiling above. [#9932CC "Mental and emotional balance....so the things that are currently screwing me over."] She said this allowed but it really wasn't directed at anyone. She had to be more powerful than her shadow. Kalua wasn't completely sure if she was able to do that, but she knew that if she didn't at least try than becoming a Hallow would be inevitable.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans The two continued to talk a little more, Zero going on about how he would do whatever he could so she wouldn't turn into a Hallow and then giving her a schedule. She wasn't allowed to shape shift for a whole week, which meant that she probably wouldn't be participating much with the other's in regards to fight training. However it was smart since they weren't sure how unstable she was. He then went on to say how she had to meet up with him every morning to work on her shifting, a frown appearing on her face. [i "Wait....so I'm going to have to get up early for this?"]]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans As their talk ended Zero decided it was time to join the others. Walking into the room where the other's were she saw a pretty comical scene. All the other shifters looked like they had just barely survive a zombie horde, she watched in stunned silence as Mr. Mask guy began to handcuff them into pairs, which included her. As she saw who she was paired with she lifted a brow. It was the puppy-dog guy.[#9932CC "Hey.....what do you like better, metal or wood?"] She asked randomly. She hadn't had many encounters with the gluttony type shifters.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Unfortunately being chained up didn't last long, Zero made some remark about them needing rest and unchained them all, apparently she was also being excluded from this exercise. [i "Well that's boring....."] she thought. Since she wouldn't be participating she decided to simply watch, taking a seat in a vacant chair next to one of the technicians who were there to make sure things went smoothly. Though seconds later Zero wall called off to take care of a Hallow problem, the whole thing being displayed on a monitor. As she sat there what Zero had said to her echoed through her head.]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans [b "I will promise you this. From this point forward, I will do everything within my power to help you overcome your 'at risk' state. I will also promise you that from now on I will always be your ally. Those are two promises I will keep to you, Kalua Tel-ash, without fail."]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans If Kalua didn't try hard enough during the next week and even afterwards, what she was currently seeing would be a reality for her. A raging monster with no chance of recovery. Now that she was seeing an actual Hallow for the first time, a need to survive and live welled up in her. She did not want to be like that.]]]
Zero sits back in his chair listening to Kalua's rant about herself. He closes his eyes for a long moment. It almost looks as if he fell asleep the moment after Kalua finished. He waits for a few moments in silence as Kalua stares at him waiting for an answer.
[b "Press a few keys and she sings a song,"] Zero teases as he opens his eyes again and looks at Kalua. He tilts his head a bit to the right and says, [b "Alright, before I answer everything you just asked me. I'm going to say this first, when I said fight, I didn't particularly mean Hollows. It's your choice on whether you join 'that' specific fight or not."]
[b "The fight I was talking about,"] Zero leans forward and his hood falls back once again as his feet touch to the ground, [b "is the fight against yourself."] Zero gets up and walks over to the piano. He opens up the piano bench and pulls out a blank piece of paper along with a pencil. He closes the bench seat and walks to the couch, sitting next to Kalua's left side this time. [b "I'm going to explain this the same way Romano explained it to me when we first met,"] Zero says as he places the sheet of paper onto the table before them both. He draws a large circle on the sheet of paper and begins to explain, [b 'Consider this circle yourself. The very line of the circle is the you on the surface. The 'you' holds all the traits that people notice about you upon their first meeting of you. For example, you have awesome purple hair, or what kind of hobbies you partake in."] Zero rolls his left hand as he spins the pencil between his fingers. [b "Now the white space within the circle is the things about you people don't see on the surface. These are the traits like you telling someone your dreams or ambitions. Personal information basically."] Zero then draws a mini circle in the dead center of the larger circle and fills the circle in. [b "Now this dark circle is a thing we all have. Romano referred to it as a 'shadow'. It is basically the side of us we are ashamed of. The embodiment of everything about ourselves we regret and don't want others to see, so we suppress this part of ourselves as much as humanly possible as we deny it."] Zero begins to make small marks that make it look like the small black circle is slowly starting to branch out. [b "In regards to me. I am pretty blunt and open about who I am, so my shadow is almost nonexistent. However, you have those who have a chip on their shoulder or regrets they can't let go of, so this shadow of theirs grows stronger and stronger until it consumes them. That is what it means to become a Hollow for a Shifter."]
[b "We aren't absolutely sure of what causes a Shifter to turn into a Hollow, but we do know that emotional and mental balance play a huge part in it as well as control over one's power,"] Zero explains as he leans back into the couch, [b "The battle to stop yourself from becoming a Hollow is one against your 'shadow'. You have to become someone far more powerful than your shadow if you wish to be free of the fear of turning into a Hollow."]
Zero puts his feet up onto the table and tucks his hands away into his pockets as he leans back into the couch. [b "So, before I tell you where we go from here. There is one thing I want you to know,"] Zero looks at the ceiling and says, [b "I believe that keeping promises is an iron clad rule that should never be broken. That is why I never make a promise I am not sure I can keep. Those who break promises are nothing but ignorant fools in my eyes,"] He looks at Kalua, [b "So I can't promise you that you will not turn into a Hollow. After all,"] Zero gets up and walks over to the piano. He rests the tips of the fingers of his right hand ontop of the piano, [b "the result in that matter rests entirely on you. However,"] Zero turns to face Kalua and leans back on the piano. he pockets his hands and continues to say, [b "I will promise you this. From this point forward, I will do everything within my power to help you overcome your 'at risk' state. I will also promise you that from now on I will always be your ally. Those are two promises I will keep to you, Kalua Tel-ash, without fail."]
The voice he spoke in and the seriousness in his eyes made the words Zero spoke carry a heavy weight. They carried the full weight of Zero's resolve and ambitions. A weight that could match almost the weight of the world.
[b "A few rules in light of everything I just said,"] Zero says as he continues to explain, [b "For the first week, you will not so much as shape shift at all without my supervision. We don't know how fragile of a state you are in. Second, we will meet up in the Shift room every morning to train you. Let's see if we can't expand that time limit of yours from five minutes."] Zero pulls up his hood over his head. He yawns as he keeps his hands tucked away. He says, [b "We'll discuss future plans after the first week and I have a better idea about you and your current state. I'm one who likes to determine things with his own eyes instead of trusting a file."]
[b "Now that that is out of the way. Let's go rejoin the group of the Dysfunctional. I just realized, despite it being a good idea to leave things to Daud. I just stupidly left things to 'that' Daud,"] Zero sighs and leans off his piano, [b "Man, to much work to do today."] He yawns. The very air around Zero returns to that of being the sloth like enigma that confused even the intellectual Daud. Though Kalua is probably more confused considering what seemed to be a very capable person just turned into well... Zero in the blink of an eye.
Upon arrival in the Shift room. Zero looks out the viewing window to see half of the newbie's look as if they had been through a train wreck, and then through a plane crash shortly after. He sighs, [i 'Yep, his definition of fun is the opposite of Jae's',] He thinks to himself.
Without barely even enough time for his thoughts to finish. Daud had cuffed the profusely bleeding test takers to each other, and was in an orgasmic state of continuing into trust exercises for a group that was obviously not physically prepared to jump into the next step right away.
Zero walks over to the table that has a bunch of files laid out on top. He is doing this behind Daud, so all the freshly bleeding trainee's can see Zero as Daud explains the training exercise. Zero picks up a file with his left hand and taps it into the palm of his right as if he is measuring its weight. He suddenly opens it and picks up three different files and stuffs them into the file itself. He then tests the weight again and nods asDaud finishes his explanations. Zero walks up behind Daud and smacks him over the head with the engorged file stack.
[b "Huh, so that's what its like to be on the other side,"] Zero says as he looks at the files. He then tosses them over his shoulders back onto the counter in a spread out mess.
[b "Anyway, calm your 'naked' shaking self Daud. You'll kill the people were trying to help. They aren't as stupidly durable as me, you or Dante yet. Give them five,"] Zero says as he notices Daud's bare hands before he looks over at the people manning the controls, [b "And da hell are you guys slacking off for? Call the medic team in."] Zero orders. The control works suddenly straighten up at Zero's orders and get to work. They jump onto their work faster then when Daud ordered them to for one reason that is often forgotten by a lot of people. That reason can easily be deduced by the fact that Romano is not the only head or leader of Shift. Two people run Shift at the top and the leader who can be considered Romano's shadow is Zero, the second leader of Shift. Also, the people who have been at Shift long enough know that Zero somehow earned the right to his position despite his low rate of efficiency.
Zero removes his right hand from his pocket. Suddenly the sound of breaking metal can be heard as three pairs of cuffs fell to the floor. Zero shakes his right hand, [b "Ah that stung a bit."] He grumbles to himself. [b "Anyway, let them get patched up and catch their breath. Then do your strange bondage play with the hatchlings, but keep Kalua out of it. She just arrived here. She isn't ready for the Field Test or your bondage play,"] Zero says in a lackadaisical tone, [b "Pair up the extra with a teacher, or something."]
The intercom on the control panel sounds off and a man calls out from the speaker, "Zero, are you there?"
Zero eyes the people at the controls as they hit the switch to allow Zero to respond. [b "Yeah, I'm here. What is it?"]
"We have a Hollow Alert. Rank One," Romano says through the intercom.
[b "You didn't send someone else out? I'm with the little ones."] Zero replies as he walks over to the mic at the center of the control panel.
"It's a Rank one Soul in the abandoned Warehouse district. This Hollow and location meets the desired conditions you wanted for the field test of 'that'. Doesn't it?" Romano says through the speaker.
[b "Damn, I hate me for giving myself more work,"] Zero sighs pushing his hood down. [b "On my way. Tell the ASHF not to die before I get there,"] Zero says as he walks up to the elevator doors and presses the up button. The elevator doors open for the elevator was still there from when Kalua and Zero used it. He steps inside the elevator and he points his right hand upward. Suddenly the hatch on the elevator's ceiling flies open and a black mist forms around Zero's legs. He crouches down to the floor and suddenly launches up through the opening of the elevator hatch, soaring up through the elevator shaft. He steps onto the edge of the floor one elevator door. He slips his fingers into the little slit between the doors and all the veins in his hands turn a pitch black. Zero pries the doors open and he sprints through them and out Shift's doors the moment he opens the elevator doors. He stands out in front of the building as he reaches into his pocket. Zero flips his phone over to look at the back. He presses down on the center of the back of his phone for a bit until the back opens up a small compartment. He pulls out a small little black sphere from the back of his phone and places it in his right ear. He taps the pinna of his ear as the ear piece turns on. [b "Can you hear me Romano?"]
"Loud and clear Zero," Romano replies through the ear piece.
[b "I'm heading out then,"] Zero pockets his phone into the right pocket of his black jeans. He holds both arms out to the sides as his arms begin to shift. Black tendrils slither out from his shoulders and begin to coil down along both of his arms. The tendrils twist and turn before coiling around and merging into part of his arm. His hands turn into arrow shaped silver blades that glisten even in the dark of the setting sun. Zero aims both arms forward and the arrow shaped blades fire forward, followed along by streams of black coiling flesh. The blades stab into the sides of two buildings that are across the street from each other. Zero retracts his whip arms which lifts him off his feet and causes him to be launched forward as if he turned himself into a sling shot. He flies through the air up high as he fires his right arm hook shooting onto another building. He swings forward and propels himself back up into the air. Shot after shot, he would throw himself forward, flipping and soaring through the air as he makes his way to the abandoned warehouse district. He lands on the side of a skyscraper and runs along it until he reaches the other side. He then jumps off the side of the building as he looks in the distance seeing his destination.
... a squad of ASHF officers encircle the Hollow. At the center of the circle of officers rises a mass of darkness. A young male coated in darkness as his eyes glow a blood red. The hollow releases a low growl while he looks around at the soldiers.
"Have your guns at the ready! We have to keep this Hollow trapped here until the arrival of the Shifter!" A man with a scruffy gray beard shouts out. His long tan coat hangs around his body as a cigarette hangs from between his lips. Sergeant Markus Vindus is one of the first members of ASHF. He is a renown cop who has an amazing record during the time human criminals were the world's biggest concern. He is a soldier who has been on two tours before the times of Shifters and Hollows. He joined ASHF to continue his career in protecting the place he calls home. He is one of the few officer's who was never once discriminate against Shifters and Hollows.
The Hollow's lips slowly curl into a devious grin, showing off its razor sharp fangs. Red veins form on his arms as the Hollow lifts both his hands above his head. The Hollow shouts out in a high pitched shout as it hammers both hands into the ground. A creator forms underneath the Hollow and expands to the surrounding soldiers which causes them to lose their footing. The Hollow charges forward and thrusts his right hand straight through the chest of one of the officer's. The Hollow rips the Officer's heart straight out of his chest and the Hollow crushes the heart in its grip.
"Holy shit!" One of the Officer says as he gets onto his hands and knees. He watches the blood drip from the Hollow's hand as he feels a cold chill run down his spine. "It just tore out his heart!" The officer shudders at the sight.
"Stand your ground! We can't let this thing out of this district!" Markus orders in a booming shout.
"But how do we stand our ground against such a monster?" Another officer replies in a terrified shout.
"This is why I hate new cadets," The Markus grumbles as he stands up. He picks up his cigarette and puts it back in his mouth as he aims his rifle at the Hollow.
The Hollow turns to look at the Markus and the other officers who were still off their feet. His red eyes stare at the group and he suddenly tilts his head to the left with a violent jerk. The Hollow's head suddenly violently jerks to the opposite side as he hunches forward and hangs his arms lifelessly.
"Shit," Markus cocks his rifle and releases a spray of bullets at the Hollow.
The Hollow's body, including its clothes, is covered in red glowing veins as he the bullets simply deflect off the Hollows body. The Hollow wears a monstrous smile as it charges toward Markus as nothing more than a black blur.
Markus shoots the ground in front of himself which causes the Hollow to change course.
The Hollow grabs another Officer by the neck and jumps high up into the air, only to land on the roof of a warehouse. The Officer cries out in fear as the Hollow holds him by the neck. The Hollow merely tightens his grip and snaps the Officer's neck. The Hollow drops the Officer and jumps back down landing on the ground. He charges toward Markus once again.
Markus holds his trigger firing at the Hollow. However, bullet after bullet deflects off the Hollow as it rapidly approaches. Markus clicks his tongue as the gun reaches the end of its clip. He looks up to see the Hollow is only a few steps before him. He holds the rifle before him to hopefully use it as a shield.
The Hollow punches straight through the rifle and sends Markus flying into the wall of a warehouse. Markus coughs up blood as he slides onto the ground. The old man chuckles and spits out some blood, "Boy do I hate Soul Hollows, resilient pricks."
All the other officers were either on the ground injured from the initial attack, or they were to scarred to act. The Hollow slowly walks up to Markus and towers over the Sergeant like a looming shadow of death.
Markus stares at the Hollow's red eyes. He growls a bit and shouts, "What are ya waiting for!? Do it!"
The Hollow raises up his claw as he gets ready to finish off Markus. The Hollow stops all motion for a few moments. Then the Hollow suddenly jumps backwards as a silhouette crashes into the ground right in front of Markus.
"Gah, they sent you? No wonder you are so late," Markus scoffs.
[b "Ah shut it you old fossil. Not like you guys started this party next door,"] Zero replies as he stands in front of Markus. His hands revert to their normal forms as he slips them into his pockets.
"Whatever, I may be an old fossil, but I still move faster than you," Markus argues with a triumphant smile.
[b "Well, I can't argue there,"] Zero replies as he stares at the Hollow looking at him so intently. He takes a quick glance around to see the two casualties. He removes his hands from his pockets and he cracks his knuckles before saying, [b "I'll make sure to get in an extra two punches."]
Markus smiles as he takes a puff of his cigarette, "Make it three. The little prick pissed me off."
[b "Noted,"] Zero slowly walks forward as the Hollow grins at the sight. He says, [b "Hey Romano, the newbie's are taking a break from their lesson plans at the moment. So, have them watch this fight while they enjoy their five."]
"Hm? Why do you want them to watch?" Romano replies through the ear piece. A drone hovers in the air above Zero as a camera catches the fight and feeds the fight onto the monitor back at Romano's lab.
[b "It'll give them an idea into what fighting a Hollow is really like, plus,"] Zero says as a black mist surrounds his body, [b "It will let them know that the Field test they just took only tests survivability, but in no way tests their ability to fight against a Hollow."] The black mist surrounding Zero suddenly consumes him. The black mist quickly fades to reveal Zero had slightly transformed. His hair had turned as white as snow, and his eyes now glow the same red as the Hollows. His pupils have turned into thin vertical slits. Two small black horns protrude from the far very top left and right sides of his forehead from right underneath his bangs. [b "There is a monitor in the control room right? Have them watch it on there."]
"Your Hybrid form? I thought you only used that form when you went up against Rank 3 Hollows alone?" Markus asks as he stares at Zero's back.
[b "I'm trying something crazy and stupid in this fight. Kind of need to be in Hybrid mode to test it though,"] Zero replies as he rolls his neck a bit. Zero hardly ever assumed his Hybrid form now a days because he usually has Daud or Dante backing him up against rank Three's. Not to mention he does not like his Hybrid form for reasons not even Romano knows. The last time he actually used this form is back when he faced the rank four. To see his Hybrid form is an incredibly rare sight.
[b "Been a while since I assumed this form,"] Zero lifts his left hand and gestures the Hollow to attack, [b "Let's get this dance started."]
[font "Modern No. 20" The test had commenced as Daud had planned. A completely random set of variables in an algorithm designed specifically to test the endurance, mobility, and adaptability of these potential new members of Shift Organization. Of course, two members were missing in this equation: Jaehee Choi and Kalua Tel-Ash. The masked figure turned to one of the engineers assigned to the Shift Room and spoke in a nonchalant tone, [b [#223d58 “Ms. Choi is separated from the group. Be sure to have her escorted here for her test, please.”]] The man sitting at the controls nodded as he sent someone else to call security after the rambunctious, free-spirited woman. [b [#223d58 “Be sure it’s multiple personnel this time. She’s a bit of a wild card.”]] Daud reminded them before returning to his task. He assumed that Zero would bring Ms. Tel-Ash to the Shift room personally seeing as how there was no special treatment for members avoiding the initiation reviews. Speaking of which, there were an odd number of candidates for the next phase of the exam. [i This might be a small problem. We need another body to complete the trust exercise.] Daud mulled over the thought as he multitasked writing his review of each Shifter.]
[font "Modern No. 20" Paying close attention to Mr. Terra’s observations, Daud filled out a chart of each Shifter’s advantages, disadvantages, behaviors, techniques, and preferences during the short five minutes allotted. Indeed, he did set the test for five minutes as promised, although extending the time was very tempting. In a real battle, it would be more like a long drawn out situation where there was no end. There was no timer to tell you that you could take a break and rest. There was only constant stress of one’s life being on the line. And the constant inconsistencies of a Rank 4 keeping you on your toes for what seems like hours. Knowing there is nothing you can do about destroying it. Knowing that you are incapable of bringing down the monster as it taunts you in the shadows. Zero didn’t seem as worried about that fact as Daud was. Then again, Daud was a crusader and Zero was… well it was hard to say what he was.]
[font "Modern No. 20" “Sir?” A timid voice broke out of the silence. Daud snapped his head to the direction of the distraction as saw the engineer coward a bit. He hesitated one more second before continuing. “The simulation is done, sir. What would you like us to do next?” Before Daud could answer, Ms. Choi had arrived with her armed “bodyguards” right behind her. She perturbed by this disruption. Nonetheless, she was present and going to participate in the next exam.]
[font "Modern No. 20" [b [#223d58 “Ah, Ms. Choi. So kind of you to join us. Please enter the Shift room for the next exam. Keep in mind, your absence during the first exam will be taken into account during the final calculations. You will have to retake it at a later time.”]] Daud warned with his index finger wagging at her like a teacher would a student.]
[font "Modern No. 20" As though summoned by an unknown force, Zero and Ms. Tel-Ash followed and reconnected to the group in the Shift Room as well. Daud smiled as marked off one problem avoided. Now the numbers were even for the next part of the exam. [b [#223d58 “Glad to see you both reconvening with us, Zero, Ms. Tel-Ash. Now we can begin phase two.”]] His deep muffled voice sounded a little too thrilled about that. What is he even up to?]
[font "Modern No. 20" Before too long and before anyone could protest, each candidate was handcuffed to another in pairs. They were preparing for the “Trust Exercise”. Preacher was cuffed to Ms. Tel-Ash. Ms. Sinclair was cuffed to Ms. Yom. And Ms. Everdene was cuffed to Ms. Choi. No two shifter types were linked to each other. Each pair was unique and opposite of each other. Secretly, Daud was excited. His vague demeanor could be hard to read, but Zero could definitely tell that Daud’s hands were shaking a bit. He couldn’t help himself. He just had to pat himself on the back for this idea. Each pair had conflicting personalities and types. They would have to use each other as a source to get passed this next obstacle. [b [#223d58 “Now, you all have to complete this course in order to move on to the next exam. Each of you is attached to another candidate. This means you have to rely on one another in order to make it safely to the other side of the course. In the battle, you will have to trust each other in order to defeat the most powerful Hollow. That’s how Zero and I survived. You will learn to do the same with your team mates. The first team to finish will get to leave early.”]] Daud’s voice rang in over the intercom. He hoped that Preacher would understand the instructions. If not, the brute was a fast learner and a survivor. Daud had faith in his completion of the course. Attached to Ms. Tel-Ash, however, could be an unknown variable.]
[font "Modern No. 20" [b [#223d58 “Create an obstacle course for me, Mr. Wilson.”]] The technician sitting beside Daud began to type in his request into the computer. [b [#223d58 “And mke the difficulty a level 10, please. I want to force them to cooperate with one another.”]] The skinny guy at the computer paused a moment at the severe discipline Daud was using on these people. He was going a bit extreme on them, right? With a notice of hesitation, Daud’s voided eyes turned to the technician. [b [#223d58 “Please, Mr. Wilson. Add in the lava.”]]]
[size10 It’s not real lava, but it looks like it and it feels like it sooo, have fun!]
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