[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 ^_^
[h3 Posting Order]
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.
[h3 Shifter/Hollow Types]
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 >.>
[h3 Demon Type]
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.
[b Demon Type Perks]
* 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
* They can't shape shift long range weapons, but they can make any melee weapons
*They naturally regenerate wounds faster than any other shifter
[h3 Soul Type]
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.
[b Soul Perks]
* 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.
[h3 Parasite Type]
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.
[b Parasite Perks]
* The only type of Shifter that can create gun type long ranged weapons.
* They can easily shift from one object to the next.
*They can absorb objects instead of infecting them to heal themselves.
[h3 Gluttony Type]
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. Instead of shape shifting the object, they shape shift themselves based on the material eaten. For example, if they ate enough metal, they could turn their body into that of metal, or imitate a Demon Shifter and create a sword arm.
[b Gluttony Perks]
* 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.
[h3 Hybrid Type]
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.
[b Hybrid Perk]
* They can easily transform several parts of their bodies.
* They can shape shift faster than other shifters
[h3 Hollow Ranking/Appearance]
Mainly, higher the level the more dangerous they are
[h3 Rank 1]
Rank one Hollows retain their human form. However, their skin turns pitch black and their eyes glow blood red.
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.
Account Name: Name: Age: 18+, I mean, the characters are technically soldiers >.> Shifter Type: What kind of Hybrid?: Only fill this in if you are a Hybrid type Personality TRAITS: Notice traits in all caps? I don't want a short bio. Just list off some traits. Are they Energetic, greedy, etc. How and why you joined Shift: Pic: Post the web address only! Don't link it Everything Else: Let me learn in the rp
Nick Name: Zero, due to the fact no one knows his name, but he was the first Shifter to join Shift. Age: 20 Shifter Type: Hybrid What kind of Hybrid?: Demon Soul Type Personality Traits: lazy, easily distracted, intelligent, prone to boredom 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.
Name: Daud Age: Roughly 28 Shifter Type: Parasite Personality TRAITS: Stragetic Mind, Arrogant, Judgemental, Determined, Decisive How and why you joined Shift: Daud was the second member to join. He had been on the hunt for Hollows before then.
Name: Jaehee Choi Age: 19 Shifter Type: Demon type What kind of Hybrid?: Nada
Personality TRAITS: Joyfully crazy, masochist, nice, morning person
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.
Name: Shiori Yom Age: 20 Shifter Type: Soul Type Personality TRAITS: Laid back, Bragger, Arrogant, loyal, Over confident 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.
Account Name:Valkyira Name: Gerhard Gert 'GG' Age: 24 Shifter Type: Hybrid What kind of Hybrid?: Parasite/Gluttony Type Personality TRAITS: Hyper, Ultra Optimistic, Brave, Heart Of Gold, Sadly slightly Simple minded, Follower type, Low self-esteem, Feelings gets in Way of Logic How and why you joined Shift: Before he realised he was a Shifter, he was educating in Police Academy since he always wanted to help the innocent. But then in one of the tests he simply absorbed his gun and that was a ticket to be fired from the academy because he was already counted as a criminal. Poor man was even considering suicide-So he wouldn't become a Hollow in furture and hurt his grandma- when he was informed of this awesome Shifter Organization and he did not hesitate the slightest to have himself in.
Name: Preacher Ward Age: 19 Shifter Type: Hybrid What kind of Hybrid?: Gluttony/Demon Type 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.
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.
Name: Catalea "Cat" Everdene Age: 21 Shifter Type: Parasite 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.
Name: Fura Sinclair-Hatton Age: Twenty- Three Shifter Type: Gluttony 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.
Roleplay Reply. Do not chat here. (50 character limit.)
[b Yeah. This is my problem. Orphans are offended way too easily. Bet ya didn't become Zero the Hero by the money of those cookies genius.]
Shiori looks away from the cold eyes suddenly Zero gives her, hiding her discomfort and a bit of regret for triggering this dramaboy with an annoyed 'Tsk'. Anyway, he quickly goes back to his less annoying personality and mentions that he is a dictator who doesn't give a shit about volunteering. This does not surprise Shiori at all because once they signed the paper to join It, they handed over their will to the Shift.
Oh, rest for 20 minutes? Maybe Zero is professional at quick naps but it takes a lot for this girl here to just be cool with going a mission/training she has no idea what it is about. She entertains herself by counting the trees. It is a kind of self torture but amazingly works for killing time. She notices the well known orange sign and is more confused where could they possibly be going to.
She is soon answered when they pull over at a fancy University named Owl. Why Owl? Did they study at night? Or just because the founder was creepy? Shiori is not a fan of University mostly because they did not accepted her in. Her grades sucked because she had better things to do than studying. Like...fighting, drinking and being bitter about everything.
Oh no. Are they going to study in a library or...Nope.
They are going to do some sort of spying. Interesting. Does Zero usually gather information himself? She always thought he does the action and the rest is for the less important members.
He sends Princess to find...some personal information. Though Shiori believes it is not how it is done. You need some bottles of good alcohol and a damn good body to just make them get on their knees and confess their darkest secrets. Okay, She is not possibly going to do that.
The Orphan Hero steps in front of Shiori and she is all ears to what he is going to tell her to do. It is about expanding her Shifter abilities which is sure cool and acceptable for her. Some process it is. Anything to make her stronger is great.
Well, this is new. Shiori stares as he enhances his ears. Until now, Shiori believd she is limited to physical muscle and bone strengthening. So now she could easily listen to whatever people around her whisper? This is so nasty and awesome at the same time.
"Yeah cool. I will give it a try." For once in Shift, Shiori is eager to obey. She closes her eyes and focuses on her ears. She just hopes she won't end thickening her ear muscles or something like that. She has to focus on her inner ears because...Duh biology. Slowly she hears someone telling her...no, nobody is talking to her. They are talking among each other and as Shiori opens an eye she sees three boys talking four meters away.
- Yeah the party sucked last night. I just got wasted and found no cuties... -Nobody did, dude. Everyone were so lame there. This is the last time I go to Jackie's place. - Though I saw Kevin going upstairs with Daisy... - Pffffft! No way! Ya sure they were not rushing to bathroom to throw up?
Okay too boring...too boring...Now to expand her circle...More voices rushes to her since it is more crowded...
-Professor gave me minus D! Can you believe it? All those efforts! - So yeah I am broke could you- - Have you studied for- -I am getting fa- - You bitch- ... GJGJHSHJSKSNSIEHWWNAKSHENEIWJWSNKEWIWHWNDKEJANSJHGEHEJ...
Those annoying voices all mix up together and strike her right through her brain. No no no...It is getting out of control...But she cannot decrease the circle. The noises boom in her ears and she ends up with a terrible headache spreading in her skull. "Ow! Ugh dammit!" She holds her head, losing focus as the darkness in her ears fade and she wobbles around before throwing herself on the bench, bending over slightly.
" I almost had it! Ow!" She groans and rubs her temples, gazing at Zero next to her with a scowl. If he just dares and mocks her...she cannot do anything. She only gets more toxic. "Forget it. I'm fine. Just lost my focus...from the stupid shit they said." She stubbornly stands up again and again shuts her eyes tightly, feeling more and more noises...But! She bites her tongue and forces herself to listen individually through the waves of nuisance noises thrown at her.
GDJSHSJSJSJJS..ghnsnskhwuiwmn....Did you see the news last night? Another hollow... Right? I was terrified...what if one of them attacks here... All those shifters are nothing but trouble... Hey, I have a feeling professor Moneer is a shifter... Shut up. No way.
Shiori presses her lips together and kind of wishes that Professor is really a Shifter to rub it in their faces.
The headache hits her again and Shiori is unable to focus again as she sits back with a sigh.
"Not sure what my range was but yeah cool...they are all bunch of racists and hopeless pervs...Tsk." She rubs her forehead, frowning because of the pain.
"Not like I am in much pain or anything but...are you considerate enough to bring some painkiller pills?"
[i [b Oh no, no, no! I am late! They must be so disappointed! I have to make it up for them!]]
Running across the streets like a careless cat and probably learning new words from the generous drivers is a blond man, his face so stressed like he is going to miss a big sale somewhere. His well built body is covered in sweats from running five blocks. It could go much smoother if the traffic was not heavy in this hour. He simply left his car and chose to run.
In his right fist is a paper bag as always, the cookies in it shuffling loudly. He just hopes there won't be just crumbles of the cookies once he arrives.
Fortunately, He is athletic enough to keep running in the same pace until he sees the amazing Shift building. Just looking at the centre of his life, makes his heart leap. Glory radiates from this huge organization and it is an honour for him to be a part of it . He stop in front of the entrance and bend over to catch his breath for some minutes before his heart rate is back to normal. He then raises up and runs a hand through his short hair. Okay, here it comes. Another wonderful and fruitful day in Shift. He waves for the security guards at the entrance with his usual big smile which is ignored of course because the guards are too used to this lively man to care.
The young man enters the lobby, keeping his lips stretched in a smile. He seems so off and out of place among the busy, serious and often scowling employees. But nothing could change his spirit. He marches to the front desk, the chubby lady in charge organizing some files.
"Good morning! I mean...noon...Haha...I am sure late and I must confess my excuses ate not good enough-"
But he is cut with her indifferent voive even though she has a [b polite] smile. Polite.
"Oh Mr.Gert. Good [i afternoon].You can relax, nobody fetched for you while you were absent."
Ouch. That hurts. Hurts really bad. Mr.Gert's smile falls for a minute then with a full he tries to wash down the disappointment. "Oh..haha...I am so so lucky then." He winks and hesitates before asking a bit weaker than usual. "So, Mr.Zero..."
"I am sorry. He just left to train the newbies."
"Newbies? They have finally started their real training? This is perfect! I am so jealous of them, to be trained and supervised directly from Mr. Zero..." He sighs dreamily, not noticing that the lady is already trying to make herself look too busy to listen to his nonsense.
"Well then, What about Mr. Daud?"
"Hm? Oh. Yes yes. He is available-" The lady hums, staring at the monitor of her system, starting to type.
"Well, I will go say hi. Hope he won't scold me too much. Wish me luck, later!"
Gerhard Gert rushes to the elevator and once he gets in, realises that he does not know where Daud is. Normally, especially if there are newbies, he would be in the Shift room. Nodding to himself, he pushes the minus button and hums, tapping on the bar attached to the wall as the elevator smoothly moved down. Of course he is not straight at the place. Gerhard, despite the prejudice of the people who see him for the first time, is not new around here and has some good years of experience in here. So maybe he is not much of a nuisance. His shoes click on the floor as he head to the incredible part of the Shift. He meets the engineers and scientists at the back room first and unfortunately realises that Daud is not there.
Shoot. He is not here, He is not in a mission. Where is He? Well, maybe he is in his dorm. Unlike most of the shifters Gerhard chose to live at his own place beside his grandmother. He highly believes being with family is very effective on controlling negative feelings. Well, at least [b he] is lucky enough to have someone who still cares for him.
Gerhard is once again in elevator, this time going to the dorm. Going to Daud' s place is quite a routine for him he is barely allowed to enter but still yelling out greetings behind the locked door works too. And he has never ever forgotten to bring him some cookies. Who doesn't like cookies?
"GOOD AFTERNOON MR.DAUD. I AM SORRY I'M LATE. DID I MISS ANYTHING?" His voice echoes though the hallway and he grins, holding out the same bag of cookie. Well...no answer. Normally Daud replies or reacts to just shut him up.
"Could be he is not here?" Gerhard scratches his head and then shrugs. Maybe he is just taking a shower. Or listening to music. Or in restroom. Or whatever. Aw man.
The disappointed Shifter sighs and then thinks maybe a snack can help him cheer up. He loves sweets.
Whistling, he shoves his hands in his pockets and head to the lounge room where the snack machine is and then Tadaa.. Guess who is there? Mr. Daud...along with a purple hair stranger. "Mr. Daud! There you are!" He grins and does not give him a chance to pull away as he grabs his gloved hand and stares into his masked face. "I am very very very sorry for being late! Had to take grandma to her check up! I know I know, we have important things going on here but when she asked me to do It for her...I could not just refuse. Here, special double choco cookies as apologize!" And he drops the bag onto the unamused man's lap before turning his attention to that new girl with a kind and interested look. "You must be new Here, huh? Awesome! I am Gerhard Gert, kind of old here. So ask me anything you need! By the way, Mr.Daud is awesome. Treasure your training moments with him!" He winks and forcefully makes her shake hands too, not minding her....murder gaze. She is just shy and nervous that's aaaallll....
Fura giggled openly at Shiori’s response, but her chuckle quickly dies down at Zero’s response. She hadn’t really thought much about the others and there past. To her it barely registered that they were people with families and lives before Shift, not that she really understood why she thought this way. It made her very interested in everyone’s past all of a sudden, but she kept her nosy urges at bay for now. What she couldn’t keep down, however, was the slight tinge of homesickness that tugged at her. It started with her considering how sad it must be to not have parents and then led to her thinking of her own who loved her quite a bit. Sure, they could mean, critical, or controlling at times, but she knew deep down that they really cared for her and she felt guilty for taking advantage of that familial love.
Her face softened, trying not to let her pity show through. Deciding that if any of them ever needed a maternal figure, she would do her best. Anything she could do to help the others and pick up her slack, she would gladly do.
And then it was official. They be working together on… whatever it was. She wished there was a bit more explanation as to what they would be doing, but didn’t complain. She reigned back her questions and instead took a peek at her phone which buzzed for the third time since she had entered the car. [i Oh yeah, Al.] She thought, remembering they had been in the middle of conversation, reaching into her pocket at fishing around for a second before finding her cell.
[b Maybe you should just ask for his autograph. I know you want to. If you’re too embarrassed you can say it’s for me. Furraaa? What noww?] [i sorry stuff’s happening i gotta go now super secret mission stuff ya know jk but srsly ill ttyl]
And then she was pocketing her phone, only feeling slightly bad for cutting Al off so suddenly again. She wondered if this would become a trend. She tried to relax the rest of the drive like Zero said, but some things are easier said than done. [center ⁂] Fura’s first thought when they got out of the car and began walking was, [i is this a conspiracy, why are we at a university I don’t wish to go to university.] She scanned the courtyard were people skittered about from building to building. A few people sat in the grass with books open that they were mostly using as pillows. It really was quite charming, though she hated to admit it. When they finally stopped, Fura directed her attention to Zero, intently listening to every word as if it was delivered from god himself.
[I The training is very… interesting, to say the least.] [#006478 “I guess that doesn’t sound too bad.”] She shrugged, still not fully understanding the purpose behind the exercise, a fact that frustrated her. But if it was just talking, she could do that without much effort. That’s something she has been doing all her life, when her parents let her leave her room. Talking was the foundation of the bureaucracy her parents participated in. Needless to say, she had charisma to spare. Fura would be lying if she said she wasn’t disappointed that her task was something so accurately tailored to herself. Where was the challenge? [i I guess it’s good to use the skills were already good at, but I wonder what this is really training me for.] For a brief second Fura had a dream-like vision of espionage- James Bond, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Kingsmen. She let the fantasies get the better of her, allowing it to drive her forward in what would otherwise be a trivial task.
Fura decided to dive right in, not quite sure what was expected of her, but honestly, at this point, too afraid to ask. She started walking down one of the paths intersecting the grass, quickly formulating a plan as she took a place in one of the more traversed sidewalks and pulled out her phone, opening up a notepad app. [i If I knew this was coming I would have been more prepared. This would be more believable with a notebook or something.] Fura mentally kicked herself for not thinking to throw her notepad into the pockets of the calf-length, moss green dress she had changed into. Not that there was anyway she would have known it would come in handy, but from now on she would ram it in her pocket with everything else.
[#006478 “Uh, Excuse me!”] Fura called out finally to the first person who walked her way without immediately averting their eyes. It was a young girl with a messenger bag stuffed so full, Fura worried she would develop neck problems in her later years as a result. The girl stopped at Fura’s request, and then the shifter was off on a spiel she hadn’t devoted any time to fabricating. [#006478 “Hello, my name is Fura, and I’m doing a quick survey, for,”] her eyes flicked up and down the girl as she noted a few pins for medical based student orgs. [#006478 “For Communication Arts 465. I was wondering if you’d have time to answer a few short questions?”]
“Yeah, of course! I think my roommate’s in that class.”
Fura blinked blankly before rectifying the situation. [#006478 “Did, I say 465. I meant 571. Sorry, that was last semester.”]
“Oh, okay,” the girl shrugged in acceptance, and Fura let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. “I’m Kara by the way, so what’s your survey about?”
Fura didn’t need to think this through, the lie had built itself up the moment she began the conversation. She needed something she was knowledgeable, and there weren’t many things besides dance, high-society, and [#006478 “news stations. They’re declining and I want to know why, so I can stop it.”]
And thus Fura started survey where she took actual notes and felt a little to invested in, considering it was all fake.
Zero looks out the window as he leaves the two girls to their thoughts. In the distance from the road side, he can see a large bright orange sign that says Vitality. It is a very well known sign for it is the sign of Vitality Hospital, the best hospital in the city. He hears Fura's response first, but does not show much reaction. However, Shiori's remark about orphans causes Zero's eyes to look at the two girls.
[b "Have an issue with an orphan charity Shiori? I hope not, considering I was an orphan before becoming 'Zero the Hero',"] Zero says in a mocking tone, but his eyes are ice cold. Zero suddenly claps his hands together, suddenly erasing the intense tension in the air. [b "Anyway, I'm glad you two accepted the offer. Would have been weird to tell you guys you didn't have a choice anyway later on,"] Zero says with an innocently sly smile.
[b "Now, sit back and relax. We have about twenty minutes before we arrive at our destination,"] Zero pulls his hood up over his head as he leans back in his seat. He looks outside the window again, but this time, instead of seeing the bright orange sign, he sees a bright green sign that says Vital. He takes out his phone and takes a picture of the passing sign. Zero looks down at the picture to see the sign is its original orange and reads Vitality. He looks back outside only to see the green sign once again. [i 'This has been happening a lot lately,'] Zero thinks to himself.
... the three Shifters are standing at the center of a large beautiful courtyard at Owl University. Zero pockets his hands as he looks at the two girls. Students of the university continue about their business completely ignoring the three shifters.
[b "The job I have for you two is not an easy one,"] Zero says as he talks to the two, [b "Normally, I work on it alone, but my increased work load has made it difficult to keep up. I'm going to start teaching you the basics you'll need in order to do the 'job'."] Zero says as he purposely keeps the actual details of the job hidden. [b "Fura, the job I have for you is, I want you to walk around, talk to people. I want you to find out at least one thing about five different people that you would not normally learn in a first conversation with someone."]
Zero waits for the girl to walk off and begin the training issued to her. He looks at Shiori next and says, [b "As for you. I'm going to take a guess and say you have yet to fully explore the extent of Soul Shifter powers."] Zero pulls his hood down and he takes a step in front of Shiori . [b "So, I'm going to show you something cool,"] Zero cups his hands over his ears. [b "Soul Shifters have the power to enhance any feature of themselves."]
The veins in Zero's ears turn pitch black as he closes his eyes. Slowly, the noises surrounding him begin to amplify little by little. Zero begins to hear the all the conversations occurring around the courtyard loud and clear. [b "Soul Shifters can also enhance their senses. However, this skill is incredibly high level due to the fact that, the moment you enhance your senses, you also increase the amount of information you are taking in from your surroundings."] He drops his hands and pockets them once again. [b "I want you to enhance your sense of hearing, and try to focus it until you can clearly hear all the information coming in. Keep the range to about half the size of the courtyard."]
Zero sits on a bench behind Shiori and pulls his hood up. He leans his head back and sighs to relax as he says, [b "Just be careful to not get sensory overload. It causes one hell of a headache."]
[font "Century Gothic" Escorting the disgruntled youth and the overly nice mentor to a better suited training area, Daud plotted out his methods of pulling Ms. Tel-Ash out of her… “inability to fulfil expectations”. Unlike her, the masked figure never had trouble performing under pressure, at least not to his knowledge. She had to keep in mind was that this problem occurred quite often to young Shifters such as herself. It wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. Ms. Everdene’s assistance should provide some insight to Kalua as to how to overcome her mental blocks. Ms. Everdene was quite phenomenal at mental stability. Perhaps what the trouble purple-hair woman needed was another woman to show her the ropes. A gentle-touch could achieve more than a strict hand.]
[font "Century Gothic" Daud did not take the women to the Shift Room, no. He felt that Kalua needed some more safe and comfortable surroundings. The large white cubed room could appear to be more intimidating to the newer ilk. This time, he led them to a small lounge area in the dormitory building. It was a little cove on the ground floor underneath the stair case. The laundry room was through the hall to the left and a snack machine and comfy couch to the right. The running dryer machines roaring its ambiance.]
[font "Century Gothic" [b [#223d58 “This is where I often find myself gathering my thought. I assume that a more safe and relaxing environment will help with this exercise.”]] Daud spoke as he rigidly sat down in a leather lazy-boy. [b [#223d58 “Ms. Tel-Ash, our goal today is to help you overcome your performance anxieties. There is no shame in admitting to one’s faults.”]] Daud paused as he motioned to Catalea to sit with him. [b [#223d58 “Ms. Everdene is here to instruct you on how to connect to your abilities without the strain of battle.”]] Leaning back, Daud propped his head on his knuckles and rested his calf on his knee. Outwardly, he appeared a lot more loose and relaxed than usual. Whether it was the chosen atmosphere or a sudden shift in attitude, the masked figured seemed less robotic and more of the person behind the mask.]
It happens. Rarely something really gets to her but still happens; And what more humiliating and intolerable than failing lamely infront of a strict, discipline lover mysterious but boring guy as a first impression? So everything has been just pushing her to her mental limits and she finally lost it. Shiori usually doesn't regret her words but when she feels the shadow of MMM on her and the medic man pausing and just getting himself away from the tense atmosphere makes her think again about what she just said. Yet she doesn't want to act timid like the princess wannabe partner of hers so she looks up and feels the sense of regret once again but more powerful. His expression is hidden behind the mask yes , yet his eyes are burning through her and the one who claimed eyes are gateways of energy was damn right.
Shiori really likes to look away or even get herself out of the room far far away from the scolding superior. Her pride doesn't allow this and she keeps stubbornly staring at his face, burning from inside.
[b Otherwise, I will come after you and personally put you down.]
She really tries to act indifferent but her face loses some color. Sure, She herself was full of empty warnings but this guy...believes in each word he says and his serious tone just confirms it. Now Shiori is the one retreating for once. She feels that she is shrinking under his gaze. But what he says next is the finishing blow.
[b If you all don’t start cooperating, then you will doom us all.]
This strikes her right through heart, where she can't shield it with her Shifter ability. Whatever happens, Shiori prefers to die rather than dragging down her team. She wants to be the one in the lead, not the one who dooms them all. She finally look away and presses her lips together, no more having the wild, stubborn look in her eyes. She barely notices when he left and just stands up silently, walking with Fura who...still is on clouds for some odd reasons. What is she made from? Cotton candy and chocolate syrup? How can she be positive any time?
Shiori is afraid she might not have enough bitterness to shut her mouth so just glances up at her with the least interest, feeling even more sick seeing that smile of hers.
Right; And Preacher is a poet.
"You don't have to be great." She finally groaned. "You are already great in your castle and Me, I am absolutely great as long as I'm not stuck with you." There, she stings Fura finally. Don't mess with Shiori when she is pissed.
Or mayyyybe a bit jealous of Fura.
Verrrrry Jealous of Fura.
Expecting not to have anything on her schedule after this failure, Shiori is surprised to be informed the great Zero Hero has called them. Oh no. Anything but another speech.
Especially from the lazy, part time awesome Zero.
She is dragging her legs out, thinking of some good answers if he asks anything. She sees him and he doesn't look bothered at all. Maybe he hasn't heard anything yet since the Caveman is also with him. Maybe Zero is going to ask Caveman to eat them both. Fura is going to delicious for sure but Shiori is quite worried about herself being spat out immediately.
There is also a nice looking car and then it is not nice anymore because Zero irresponsibly ruins it, breaking a bald man's heart. Shiori's heart is broken too. They could sell the car for good money and buy some clothes for Preacher.
Selfish boss they have.
And he wants him to run after the car like a hunter dog. The flag was not needed at all.
Zero is evil.
Shiori hesitates before getting in the car. She unconsciously keeps looking out of window to make sure Caveman is still on their tail. Goodness, He doesn't even need a vehicle to travel with the speed he has. He really deserves to have Cotton Candy Fura for dinner.
She quickly forgets about him when Zero tells them about a side job which sounds like slavery. Merciless hours and stuff. It has one positive thing and it is working under his command directly. Wow. If Shiori had a tail she would wag it for him. Of course Princess doesn't even think twice to accept. Girl, she has never been into a job interview, has She?
She feels her eyes on her relaxed form, sprawled on the seat with a grumpy face.
Shiori sighs and just hopes she is not going to regret this, since she has been regretful today way too much.
"Fine. As long as we are not going to sell cookies for Orphan Shifter Charity."
[center [size14 [Barlow Kalua had to admit, she was actually enjoying herself. At first, sitting with the children and painting with her fingers seemed idiotic and childish, but the way the kids were fascinated by everything she was doing made her smile. She was enthralled with the children that she didn't notice Zero walking up to the gate behind them. [b "Oh, so the tough Kalua has a soft spot after all?"] His voice cause Kalua to jump in surprise, she didn't know why but she suddenly felt embarrassed. perhaps it was because she tried to put on a tough exterior, but here she was finger painting. Many of the kids left the table and ran over to the fence, feeing Zero question after question.]]]
[center [size14 [Barlow As she was contemplating leaving, the male spoke and suddenly the kids were surrounding her, their arms outstretched wanting to hug her. The look on her face was one of horror, tiny little fingers grabbing at her as they yelled about wanting the [i "Free treat"] she was supposed to give them. She was overwhelmed, what the hell was she supposed to do in a situation like this?]]]
[center [size14 [Barlow Because she was dealing with a horde of children Kalua jumped when someone said her name. Looking up she saw Daude and the girl who had similar eyes....wasn't her name cat or something? Though when Daud spoke she couldn't help but roll her eyes, did he have to sound like a goddamn robot? The guy needed to learn how to loosen up a bit. Though she had to admit, she was thankful for the distraction, it was a good way for her to get away from the kids who still expected something out of her.]]]
[center [size14 [Barlow [#66CDAA [b "Ah yea, lets do that."]] She turned to the kids, putting on a fake smile, she was honestly relieved. [#66CDAA [b "You hear that guys, I gotta go!"]] They complained and asked her not to, she was half-tempted to just leave them hanging but decided against it. [#66CDAA [b "Sorry but I've gotta, but I promise I'll come back later with a treat!"]] She played on their whims of liking treats. It seemed to work because they allowed her to leave without any more hassle. A sigh slipped past her lips as she shut the gate behind her, relief washing over her now that she was out of they're tiny little fingers.]]]
[center [size14 [Barlow [#66CDAA [b "Alright, lead the way Mr. Robot."]] She said with a dramatic flair, crossing her arms over her chest as she waited for the oh-so-great Daud to take them to wherever she and Cat were doing training. She was curious to find out what it was they would be doing exactly.]]]
[font "Century Gothic" Taking a private break from the Shift Room, Daud took a brisk walk outside. His hands clenched and released with every step. That was a close one, he had almost lost his nerve in front of his underlings. Shiori’s emotional outburst was more than just an annoyance, it was hurting the team’s capabilities. Of course, he knew that the conflicting personalities of Fura and Shiori would make matters difficult, but they should have simply focused on getting the task done above all else. He couldn’t understand why the two girls got so upset. He was being so straight forward and stating facts. They should take his advice and learn from it. [b [#223d58 “People are frustratingly emotional.”]] Daud mumbled to himself.]
[font "Century Gothic" Taking deep breathes and doing simple multiplication in his head, the closed fists relaxed by his sides. He had to be more careful about the amount of stress he endures. [i The shaking has been surfacing more frequently lately. Must inform Dr. Romano if this becomes or of a hindrance.] He thought to himself. Another thing to add to the list of tasks needing attention.]
[font "Century Gothic" Moments later, Daud found it time to see to the training of the other initiates. Zero had informed him of Kalua’s status. She could not handle the first test of the Shift room let alone the obstacle course. She would need something more basic, something easier. Perhaps a mental exercise would be more adequate. To compensate for her lack of skills and ignorance to her own abilities, she would need a partner that could help her understand, though someone more…gentle, than Daud. Ms. Everdene was one of the more experienced Shifters in the program thus far. Her relationship with her sister might help give more of a nurturing feeling, an area Daud was no expert in. Relieved about his new plan of action, Daud headed toward the dorm rooms.]
[font "Century Gothic" Finding the one he was seeking, He tapped softly but diligently on the door before him. Placing his hands behind his back, he waited for a response. Once the door was opened to him, Daud saw the pink- haired woman greet him with a smirk, her sister sitting in front of a TV behind her. He heard Ms. Everdene’s quip about a male presence at her living quarters without parental supervision. If there was a joke made, he didn’t understand it. She was, in fact, an adult and living on Shift grounds without her parents to watch over her. So, why she needed to be concerned about Daud’s appearance failed his comprehension. [b [#223d58 “Ms. Everdene, I require your assistance immediately. Please, follow me.”]] He spoke politely and nodded his head. He waited the appropriate amount of time for Catalea to prepare herself and walk with him. While they went to search for Kalua, Daud brought Ms. Everdene up to speed on his plan. [b [#223d58 “Since you have had more training in the balance of the Shifting abilities, I need your gentle nature to teach Ms. Tel-Ash the very basics of our power. She may be a different type, but all Shifters use the same method to use their talents. That is what I wish to instill upon her today.”]] He explained.]
[font "Century Gothic" A simple trust exercise should be adequate enough for Kalua’s small capabilities. Often times, Shifters cannot perform under stressful situations if their mental structure is unbalanced. She might need to let loose and break free from her own mental barriers in order to access her full potential. Hopefully, things will go according to Daud’s strategy.]
[font "Century Gothic" Once spotting the purple-haired woman among the youngest residences of the Shift program, Daud and Ms. Everdene approached. Ms. Tel-Ash seemed to get along well with the children which was peculiar to Daud. Children didn’t seem to like him very much, and he thought of them as dull or uninteresting. He could converse with children the same way as adults and that irked him.]
[font "Century Gothic" [b [#223b58 “Ms. Tel-Ash,”]] Daud spoke up from behind her, [b [#223b58 “Would you please come with us? We need to continue your training.”]] Honestly, were the rolled eyes necessary? He asked politely, and it wasn’t like she was doing anything important. [i Such childish manners.] Daud thought.
[size10 Post made with permissions from Kikido and Tsumu]
Fura found herself exceedingly confused as Daud started to clap. It was slow and deliberate, and Fura couldn’t help but feel it was also forced. [i Good job?] She thought, confusion clouding her mind. [i Not bad? Am I hallucinating? How hard did I hit my head when I fell?] Part of her wanted to soak in the semi-praise, but she mostly stood on guard, a good decision as Shiori continued to bubble with anger and frustration and something seemed to shift in Daud. He came close, looking at both of them with disappointment, or so she assumed.
Though most of his words were directed at Shiori, she still felt them jabbing at her. She knew his words rang true. They [i did] need to work together better, but she didn’t understand how this was the best way to achieve that, at least not right away. The only thing keeping herself from defending herself was an intense fear brought on by the unknown. That mask left a lot to be desired as far as reading the mood went, and it would be worse if she defended herself and couldn’t read his reaction to that. Her fear and shame also just barely held her back from throwing herself in between Shiri and Daud. Fura wanted to see Shiori get scolded or even less then she wanted to get directly reprimanded herself. It was her fault after all that she couldn’t convince Shiori to work together. [i I should have tried harder. I should have been more agreeable. I need to work harder on Operation: Friendship so this doesn’t happen next time.] Fura’s heart sank. Next time? Yeah, there would probably be a next time.
Fura could see the threat in Daud’s words, not that it was hidden, and she very suddenly found herself balling her fists up. He had started encouraging, and it had escalated to this so quickly. It seemed they all needed a tip on how to work together. [i Do I have to teach them all how to be nice people? Is that why I’m here? This is going to be harder than I thought.] She stood up and began to walk back with Shiori, but as she did, she told the younger girl, [#006478 “I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot. Maybe before we think of each other as teammates, we should think of each other as friends.”] Fura was fully aware of the likelihood of Shiori agreeing with here. It was not optimistic, but she tried anyway, because Daud’s words had lit a fire in her, even though it probably wans’t one he had meant to. She was determined to make this work her own way, and that started with this ball of unpredictable energy walking next to her that was harder to predict than the man wearing the mask, [#006478 “I’m going to be great, because I have to, and you’re going to be great, because you can, but we’ll be even greater together.”] Fura struggled to find something encouraging to say and that’s what she settled on. It wasn’t until after the words left her mouth that she realized how cheesy that sounded. Probably a product of too many Saturday morning cartoons as a kid. She shrugged it off. She just wanted to cheer up the other girl, if that was how to do it, she would continue to be cheery and cheesy for as long as she lived. [center ⁂] Later, they were instructed too meet Zero outside the front door. There she saw a peculiarly adorned car. The flag looked tacky, but she kept that to herself. It wasn’t there to look good, but, apparently, for a game. Fura didn’t quite understood why Zero was making Preacher do this, or what would happen if the other failed and got lost. Fura could only hope he was better with direction than she was.
They drove away from the shift headquarters and Fura felt excitement bubble up in her that only increased in intensity as Zero talked about a job and working with him. [i Working Together with Zero. Zero-from-the-news Zero. That Zero.] Any reservations she had was thrown out the window as her eyes shimmered with blatant adoration. She wasn’t even skeptical as to what the job was, at that point it didn’t really matter.
[#006478 “Yes, of course!”] she cheered, and then after clearing her throat, she added, [#006478 “That would be…acceptable,”] in a cooler tone that tried, and failed, to mask her enthusiasm. She glanced over at Shiori, wondering what her response to the question, Part of her wanted to grab the girls’ arm and drag her along regardless of what she wanted, the other part forced her to hold back and give a hopeful smile to the girl. [#006478 “I’ll do it if Shiori does it too, but only then.”]
Zero opens his eyes only to see nothingness. The world around him looked like a world of deep never ending fog. He sits up and holds his head in pain as he tries to shake himself awake. [b "Where in the hell am I now?"]
At that moment, Zero hears a very soft hum echo out from the distance. The soft humming almost instantly enchants Zero as he rises up onto his feet. He begins to slowly make his way forward, step by step causes the humming to grow louder.
Zero sees two trees suddenly appear before them. The two stand parallel to each other, as if they were forming a gateway. Zero pushes past a few branches to see a radiant lake and at the edge of lake sat a woman wearing a snow white gown. The woman's hair is long and pitch black much like Zero's. By the woman's curled up legs is a small little girl, who's head rests on the lap of the woman. The woman continues to hum softly as she runs her hand through the girl's hair. Zero cautiously approaches as he watches the two.
However, when Zero gets into arm's reach, the entire world suddenly shatters and he shoots up in bed gasping for air. He feels beads of sweat run down his face as he runs his right hand through his hair. [i 'What was that? That... wasn't just some dream, was it?']
Zero looks up to see a large glass container, which inside hangs a black trench coat with a hood. Many would recognize this coat for it is the coat Zero wore in the video that made him a famous hero. Yet, he has not worn the outfit since then. Romano decided to store the coat in a glass container to maintain it for the day Zero chooses to wear it again. No one knows the true significance of the outfit but Zero and Romano.
Zero looks at the dresser at the side of his bed to see a note. The note is from Leanna, scolding him to look after himself more carefully. Zero picks up the note and scratches the back of his head, [i 'Even scolding me in notes?']
Zero wonders outside to see a surprise he did not expect. A Shifter other than him playing with the little ones, and it was Kalua no less. He props his elbows up on the rock fence and grins, [b "Oh, so the tough Kalua has a soft spot after all?"] Zero teases.
"Zero!" Henry shouts as well as the other kids. Some of the kids run up to the fence and start barraging the hero shifter with questions.
"When are you going to come play again?"
"Will you read us a story?"
"Play us another song!"
"Make yourself explode!"
Zero quirks a brow as he cannot determine the difference between each voice in the chaotic mess that is being launched at him. [b "Whoever hugs Kalua first gets a free treat from Kalua,"] Zero says as he throws the girl under the bus.
The children look at Kalua like a pack of wolves and get ready to give chase. [b "Have fun~"] Zero teases as he makes his getaway.
... Zero stands outside the entrance of Shift. In his right hand he holds an orange flag that is connected to a long thin white pole, and in his left is his phone playing the video of Fura and Shiori's recent failure. He hears Preach, Shiori and Fura approach him as he reaches the end of the video which included a wonderful tantrum and lecture. He did not feel like there was much else to say after Daud's lecture. Zero came to the same conclusions about the two after all. At this point, saying anymore would just be like rubbing salt in a freshly made wound.
[b "Alright, let's get our adventure started,"] Zero spins the flag and suddenly impales it into the trunk of the car, making the flag stick straight up into the air.
"My car!" A large bulky man shouts out. The man approaches Zero as his bald head gleams in the radiant sun light. "What did you do!?"
[b "I upgraded it,"] Zero gives a thumbs up to the bald headed male.
"How is sticking a random flag into my car an upgrade?!"
[b "Don't you remember who supplied you this car Quint?"] Zero asks the male.
"But you put a hole in my car!" Quint says with a frustrated look.
Zero stares at the man for a few moments then turns to the other three, [b "Moving on, Preach! I promised you a game. Well, here it is,"] Zero points to the orange flag. [b "Me, Shiori, and Fura are hoping into this car for a field trip. You are going to chase after this car, however, you can only give chase by the rooftops,"] Zero says as he points up at the top of the buildings. [b "See if you can keep up until we reach the destination."]
Zero looks at the two girls and says, [b "Let's get a move on you two."] After everyone is in the car and Quint begins to drive. Zero begins to talk, [b "Alright, as you two probably know by now. Each Shifter picks up a side job during their time at Shift. Considering you two have yet to get a job here, I am making you an offer,"] Zero says as he leans back in his seat and pockets his hands. [b "The hours are long and merciless, but you'll be working under me directly. Are you two interested at all?"] Zero asks as he stares at the two girls waiting for an answer.
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Kalua intently listened to Zero, drinking up every bit of information that came from his lips. She had no idea that she knew so little about herself, about what she was, how her own body worked. Zero had spoken about how their bodies go through a shift, about what their bodies use in order to do the shift that they wanted. [i "Iron..."] As a demon-type she supposedly used iron in order to shift. Her miscolored eyes start down at her hands, which were now just beginning to not shake from her earlier recoil, her fingers opening and closing as she thought about the processes her body went through in order to do what she wanted. As Zero spoke he came over to her and took her notepad, writing something down on it. As he wrote, she noticed how pale he looked. [i "Doing what he did must have used up...whatever he had to give to shift."] Now that she thought about it she had no clue as to what type of shifter Zero was. She hadn't really been paying much attention since getting here....]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Zero tapped her face with the notepad gently, quickly reaching up she grabbed it before it hit the floor, watching as he walked off and out of the room. She looked down at the message he had written for her, letting a small sigh slip past her lips. [i "Friends, huh?"] She thought. Friends had never been important to her, from what she had seen from others they were just people who could stab you in the back at any moment. But....perhaps Zero was right. Maybe what she needed was to try and make friends. [#9932CC "But how do I do that?"] she groaned as she fell onto her back, staring up at the ceiling of the shift room. The others got to train, which meant she was left to her own to do her own thing for the time being until Zero gave her the all clear.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans Lifting herself off the ground, Kalua left the shift room and began to walk around the compound. She passed by all the facilities that had been shown to her in the short tour, it was pretty quiet at the moment. She began to wander outside and passed the orphanage, some of the children were outside playing with finger paints, watching them made her smile. It reminded her of happier times when she was younger. One of the children looked up and spotted her, running to the gate. The others followed suit.]]]
[center [size15 [Josefin+Sans [b "Miss! You came back to play with us just like you promised!"] One of the boys said. Kalua rubbed the back of her head nervously, she had no idea how to act around kids. [#9932CC "Ahh...yea....that's why I came over here....what are you guys doing?"] She asked. The boy ran over to the table they had been painting at and grabbed a paper, running back and lifting it up to her face with a bout of enthusiasm. [b "We're painting! You should come paint with us!"] Kalua wasn't sure how they were able to convince her, but minutes later she found herself sitting at their tiny table, purple and green paint covering her fingers and the children laughed. [b "Wow! Your worse than our teacher is!"] the boy, whose name she learned was Henry said. Kalua smiled genuinely, she forgot what it had been to be a child.]]]
[font "Century Gothic" The first attempt at the course went as well as one might have hoped. Daud was even relieved when the buzzer went off. Seeing these two almost kill each other in a simple training exercise was making him feel exhausted just by watching. Although, “simple” not be the word other people would have used for this situation. Once the timer stopped, the course became still and passive like before as two medical members arrived on the scene to tend to the injuries. The tiled pathway Daud walked on during the exercise lead him into the arena. He made careful note of how each Shifter reacted during the test. Both contestants were strong of will and so comfortable with doing things their way. Shiori especially had issues working well with others. Of course, Daud already knew this beforehand. The whole purpose of this training was to force everyone to work with each other and to get use to the idea of needing others on the field, something Shiori had trouble grasping at even her first day at Shift. Her psych evaluation clearly mentioned this in her file. She would need more work and a stronger hand to guide her.]
[font "Century Gothic" Fura, on the other hand, needed to be pushed to voice her ideas more effectively. She had the right ideas to complete the course. As well, if she had more cooperative teammates, she would be able to lead them through much faster. Her timid and unsure nature prevented them from reaching the end before the alarm went off. She was quite intelligent, if only she expressed her ideas more vocally. Something in her mind was preventing her from speaking up. Luckily, there was hope when she partially dragged Shiori through the examination. Tears surfaced through the girl’s eyes. Daud frowned under his mask. [i A little emotionally fragile apparently. That will have to be fixed.] He thought as he approached the trainees with his arms to his sides.]
[font "Century Gothic" Ms. Sinclair desperately tried to cooperate with Shiori while the other, in return, was struggling to strong-arm the smaller woman. It was a disaster to say the least. With conflicting personalities, he expected the challenge to be difficult. The alarm rang to signify that time was up and the two women failed in their training. Normally, Daud would coerce his students; however, Zero made it a point to say that a more gentle touch would be just as effective, to show more compassion to the new recruits. After all, Shift needed them as much as they needed Shift.]
[font "Century Gothic" He reached the trainees with a slow clap while they caught their breathes. [b [#223d58 “Not bad for a first try. The course wasn’t designed for the both of you to make it immediately.”]] The muffled voice spoke while the two medics inspected the damage.]
[font "Century Gothic" Overcome by stress and frustration, Shiori makes a scene with her outburst, startling everyone in the room except for Daud. He assumed she couldn’t handle failure well; he was expecting her to break eventually. She yells out her thoughts, completely losing her composure at the heat of the moment. [i ‘Susceptible to outbursts if things don’t go her way’ certainly was not an exaggeration in her profile.] He thought as he turned his full attention to the temper tantrum. She seemed to be completely missing the point of this whole exercise. [b [#223d58 Rather disappointing to hear you say that, Ms. Yom.”]] Daud states as the dark circles of the mask peer at Shiori harshly. [b [#223d58 “It seems you have ultimately missed the goal of this test.”]] He approaches her until his mask peers down at her expressionlessly. The medical technician tending to Shiori’s injuries hesitated in his work as the dark shadow lingered nearby. The white mask tilted to the left as his arms rested at his sides. [b [#223d58 “The purpose of this exercise, Ms. Yom, was to force initiates to work as a team, to [i cooperate]. Something you [i both] failed to do.”]] His gazed glanced at both women indiscriminately. [b [#223d58 “Do you know why we have this test? Because it is [i essential] to survival. Zero often relies on others to defeat Hollows. In battle of that Rank Four, it took two highly trained Shifters to fight it. Even then, Zero and myself only survived that attack because it [i allowed] us to.”]] Daud’s voice elevated in rigidity. His right hand trembled as he recalled that night in his mind. At the end of it all, both Zero and Daud were battered, bruised, and bloodied. They had barely made it even with their combined efforts. They would be dead if [i it] hadn’t vanished. If it hadn’t let them go.]
[font "Century Gothic" The tremor in Daud’s hand increased. He balled it into a fist and retreated his arms behind his back before anyone took notice of it. His shielded eyes glanced up to the cameras pointed at him briefly before returning his attention to Shiori. [b [#223d58 “You might not see a team among your numbers yet, but if you wanted to avoid becoming a Hollow, you better start being friendly. Otherwise, I will come after you and personally put you down. This is not a game, Ms. Yom. This is life or death, for all of us Shifters. If you all don’t start cooperating, then you will doom us all.”]] Daud’s taut voice echoed in the silent arena. He stepped back with his left hand tightly holding onto his right wrist, making sure to keep it hidden from the others. [b [#223d58 “You are all dismissed for now. Rejoin the others for more lessons.”]] His words calmer than before.]
[font "Century Gothic" He retreated out the narrow pathway from earlier with his right hand covered at all times. His stride brisk as he exited the training area. He did not stop to anyone’s voice if they questioned him. One of the technicians assigned at the controls quietly watched Daud leave the Shift room with one hand on the phone nearby. She dialed a number quickly and waited with one ear to the receiver. “Dr. Romano? Could you come to the Shift Room please? We have some footage you need to see, your eyes only.”]
As Shiori took the gift, Fura let out a sigh of relief, even though Shiori’s response was fairly unreadable and somewhat worrisome. However, she did not have time to lament over the strange reaction as they were gathered up. Fura watched everyone shuffle about as they were told the regiment for the- wait what did he say? Shiori and I… Fura was besides herself with both excitement and terror as they were led into their separate training area. Everything seemed to be happening too quickly for her to really process that she was about to be scrutinized and forced to work with the girl who seemed the most opposite to her. Fura looked to Shiori, only half-listening as Daud talked. Her eyes shined with a mixture of nervousness and excitement. At any moment it looked like she would burst either into a gleeful chatter, or tears, but it was not clear which one. She opened her mouth to give a reassuring cheer to Shiori, but the breath was knocked out of her as Daud started the timer and the ground shifted underneath her. She barely managed to jump forward and land on her feet, but her movement tugged on the other girl via handcuffs that Fura just realized in the moment had been attached to them.
"Oi Oi! This girl over here is not your dog on lea-" Shiori yelped.
[#006478 "S-s-sorry!"] Fura managed in return before she was being tugged in another direction by her partner. She bit down on her tongue in the movement and could already feel the nervousness overtaking the excitement. After a deep breath she shuffled as close to Shiori as she could, bumping their arms together. [#006478 "Okay, we're gonna have to stay close for this to work."] She said, pausing for a second before continuing, [#006478 "M-maybe we should hold hands?"] She said, unsure if the other would take to the idea.
"Holding hands?" Shiori’s face was incredulous. "Sure, why not. What about skipping along this road and sing a friendship song-OW DAMMIT!" Fura didn't have enough time to retaliate against Shiori's sarcastic statement, not that she had a clue how to respond, instead she was being pulled down. She toppled to the ground, using her reaction time to avoid falling directly on top of the other girl. She immediately skittered up, taking action into her own hands and grabbing Shiori's hand in an attempt to tug her up. She looked ahead at the first real obstacle. A simple wall they had to climb up by some means. It wouldn't be hard to achieve if they worked together to boost each other up, but that would all depend on Shiori's capacity for trust. [#006478 "Your gonna have to trust me. Just for now at least. Please."] She said, jumping out of the way of a lifting block, already getting used to their pattern.
"Alright." Was Shiori’s response, and Fura could feel the storm clouds of nervousness parting at that single word. It was a relief of unparalleled proportions. And then the feeling left as Shiori took off running and Fura was pulled along at a speed that she was not used to achieving. Running. That was something she had never done a lot of. She stumbled behind Shiori, only keeping up because she had no choice. And then Shiori was running straight at the wall and Fura had no clue what the plan was, but what she did have was a sinking feeling that the outcome would not be as desired. Maybe Shiori could have run up the wall alone, but not with the deadweight of Fura weighing her down. They fell to the ground and Fura sat dazed before she quietly said. [#006478 "Working together means we have to *work* *together*."] And then louder. [#006478 "Do you think one of us could boost the other up and then the other pulls the other up, or is it too high?"] She had watched to many war movies in her life, if it wasn't obvious.
"Well, aren't you a Smartie?" Shiori retorted in a way that left a bad taste in Fura’s mouth, but before Fura could say something back, the other seemed to change her attitude at leas a little. "Fine fine. Boost up or whatever."
They began the arduous task fo getting up the wall, but this time with teamwork. [i We're working- together! Shiori's going a little fast though. Oh no.] Fura's thoughts did a quick 360 as Shiori began to take the initiative again. Fura felt herself being dragged and pulled in all directions but she managed to keep up, or at least not be enough of a burden that they fell back down. Even if success now seemed like a far cry, she was determined to at least not completely fail.
They reached the top and now came the next issue. Getting down. There were ropes to propel themselves, and all Fura could hope for was Shiori would take the simple route. She pursed her lips closed though, deciding not to tell the other what to do again, because it seemed to irritate her. This was about team building, so Fura assumed it would be an even bigger failure if they left the test despising each other.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go!" Shiori took the initiative for her, but without coordination, Fura was being tugged again as Shiori slid down and she stayed stationary towards the top. Fura’s wrist ached as Shiori screeched at her. Fura panicked and began to slide down to get closer to Shiori, but the other girl had grabbed onto the other rope and Fura slid right on top of her. The entire process of getting down was a train wreck, but they somehow managed...[i somehow.] Managing included Fura falling right on top of Shiori, her wrist twisting in a painful way that made her face scrunch up as she held back a whimper. She rolled off Shiori and sat on the floor a few seconds, winded, and almost unwilling to get up. She looked to Shiori and felt the waves of anger coming from her. She shook with fear as she stumbled, [#006478 "I- I...I'm s-sorry."] This was not going at all the way she thought. Not at all. [i We can do this. We can do this.] She tried to convince herself as she twisted her head around to see the next obstacle. A ladder extended to, monkey bars? There was probably a different term for them in this place, but that's what she could explain them to be. Fura pursed her lips. [i We're going to die.]
"Don't be a cry baby!" Shiori screamed at her and Fura sniffed, not even realizing a few tears had escaped her. Shiori stumbled up with Shiori and took off towards the next obstacle with her. A few thoughts passed through her, mostly regarding what corner they were going to shove them far into after this trial, because she couldn’t imagine that they would be trusted with any sort of fieldwork ever after this stunning performance. They may be Shfiters- she may be a Shifter, she didn’t want to lump Shiori into her own self-deprecation filled thoughts- but she would never be on the level of the others. Fura is dragged along with these thoughts as Shiori is jumping up onto the ladder, and then they are floating, or being pushed up, from fans that Fura was too worried to notice.
They both fell to the ground, and then it was over. Sirens pierce the air as Fura lays on her back, blinking up blankly at the ceiling. Shiori is next to her screaming and punching the floor, but Fura doesn’t process the words, because not only did they fail, they bombed, and no amount of optimism could have saved them from that. She sits up to search for Daud. She wanted to survey his disappointment, but it was to no avail. [i Damn mask wearing…] Fura went off on her own spiel of angry words, albeit in her own mind. She bit her lip and managed to fore a smile. A smile so fake everyone would be able to tell. [#006478 “Well…”] Fura stuttered, in that moment, regretting every recent life decision that had led her there. [#006478 “That could have gone worse?”] It was a question. It was a lie.
Shiori almost stumbles back by the force the cheerful princess shoves the precious shampoo in her cold hands.
Okay. That is indeed confusing.
Shiori does not compute. She blinked several times and looks from the shampoo to the grinning face of this sunshine flower. Standing beside this goddess of friendship, Shiori felt like a cursed witch or something like that. Unsure what to say...Unsure what to do, the slim girl just stares down at the bottle. Slowly she shoves in her pockets and before she can think of something decent to say, the hero of all time comes in with a cookie bag and Shiori has to check several times if it isn' t some sort of advertisement. Nope. Zero keeps shattering all the faith she has in him. It is like he has a hidden twin which does all the cool stuff. The next he says is about the lack of comfort those techno blocks are giving his butt. She knows many insults to give but prefers to keep them in her black, dark mind of hers.
So maybe something is actually going to happen, huh? Maybe he is going to spar them all to show who is the boss-Wait. She is actually going to do something! Along with this Fura to...Dammit!
She almost forgot the pair test. Why?! Why the he'll she has to be the first one to take it?! Now she really wants to sit and listen to whatever crap this loser says. But she has a feeling MMM is not the type to argue with so she just obediently goes through the door and makes sure she makes no eye contact with the lively princess. The shampoo in her pocket is weighing heavy now.
Shiori looks around the torture room and then looks back at the super polite man. The more polite, the more dangerous; Shiori knows the rules. MMM is just holding back not to end their pathetic lives right now and here. God...is he smiling or smirking? Maybe a poker face, the expression that Shiori is making.She flinches when she feels the awful cuff around her wrist...again. When did he even bring it out? MMM is a dangerous man. Hell...he even can be a muscular woman....maybe. He says it is a fact of survival but Shiori prefers to die alone rather being pulled back by this little miss. Yet, she keeps her opinions to herself because MMM is unstable.
Shiori only glances at Fura once and regrets it immeditely. Why the hell she looks so excited?! Is she on her right mind? But sadly Shiori doesn't find the chance to wipe off the cheerful expression off her face because she feels the trusty floor betraying her again. Before she has a chance to move Fura moves away and pulls her along. Well, Shiori doesn''t like it...AT ALL. "Oi Oi! This girl over here is not your dog on lea-" She feels her right foot being pushed up by the unstable floor and she immediately jumps away from the block, swiftly tugging on Fura. Wow, this girl is not as light she expected. This is going to be a big torture for her. Screw them all.
This is a mess. A disaster. They really have to break the freaking chain. Shiori is losing her patience...not like she has much stored in her anyway. She almost jumps up when she feels the skin contact. The hell? Shiori sharply looks at the princess and is about to remind her about privacy space but seems like Fura is so fine with it..."Holding hands?" Shiori repeats with an expressionless face before smirking bitterly. "Sure, why not. What about skipping along this road and sing a friendship song-OW DAMMIT!" A block surprises her, tripping her over. Shiori falls down ungracefully and then notices the cements beneath her glowing red.
This time Shiori doesn't resist when her hand is grabbed and she is pulled up but she isn't any better in mood. It looks like she is on edge of explosion like a ticking bomb. She stares at the wall and finds it easy peasy to climb. Work together? Sure. But in her way. "Alright." Shiori simply agrees but then grips on Fura's hand and gives it a yank as she takes off towards the wall to get over with it. This time she does better in dodging the damned blocks. She only trips twice. Once the wall iss close enough she jumps and the veins in her legs turn black. Yeah maybe she can run on it like a ninja?! Five steps and it is a awesome but meh, she ungracefully falls down, pulling Fura with herself to the humiliation. Okay. Maybe the wall is way too high.
Shiori stares at Fura when again she insists on her idea. Boosting each other up? She doesn't need a boost up! If only she could get of the chain then this stupid test was over in less than a minute! "Well, aren't you a Smartie?" She is so bitter bow, the fact that she keeps failing is driving her crazy. "Fine fine. Boost up or whatever." Shiori mumbles and again goes for the wall but this time she lets her veins feed the arm which is holding Fura's. One hop and she is clinging to the wall again but pauses and swings the princess up. It seemed to go great but then again Shiori starts feeling that they are not fast enough. The stubborn girl ruins the harmony and again tries to climb up the most of the length herself as fast as she can dragging poor Fura along.
Finally they are at a top. Shiori looked down. This is high and maybe not safe for jumping down? Hmph...Oh look ropes. This looks all easy peasy. Too easy. "Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go!" She finally talks to Fura and crouches down to grab one rope. All she needs is to slide down and bam! They are on ground safe and sound. What Shiori doesn't consider that technically...when two people are tied to each other...they have to move down at the same time-
"OW! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!" Shiori screams at the princess with her top of lungs. She is hanging from her hand painfully, having slide down sooner than her dear partner. Furiously she swings herself, catching the same rope Fura is hanging too. Now she has a perfect view of Fura down there..."NO! DON'T SLIDE NO-"Bam! She lands right on her face. Shiori is....beyons angry. She is...two degrees less angry than a crazy hollow. On instinct Shiori slides down too to avoid the weight of your majesty and just lands painfully down on her dear butt, pulling the poor unlikely partner down on herself.
Shiori jumps on her feet, standing fast like a moneky. The princess now looks more like a damsel in distress and this only enrages the girl. Her apologize is just a fuel for her flame and her gaze turns into a humiliating one, her lips press together with disgust. "Don't be a cry baby!" Crying is not going to change anything. This Fura is ruining her test and Shiori starts thinking off cutting off her own wrist. It wouldn't heal and regrow but at least the damned mission would be done. Swiftly she looks at the next stage and huffs. Monkey bars...Really?! Roughly she pulls Fura along and doesn't give a shit about her wrist. It is MMM's fault for tying them up. Shiori runs towards the bars like they are her only destination in life. She hops and grabs on ladders but surpriiiise. The whole thing starts shaking and she grits her teeth trying to pull Fura up like she is a dog on leash before she witnesses the ground beneath opening and hello big huge fan. Somebody turns it on and the storm begins, Shiori's arms turning black to hold on bars tight. "DAMMIT!"
The arm which is holding Fura is under more pressure and she gasps as she loses the grip of one arm, her body violently being shaken by the wind force. The cuff on her wirsf just adds more to the pain.
She can't do it alone.
With a yelp she is thrown up along with Fura and she hits the ceiling hard before landing down on stomach on the cements which turn red immediately and another trap is going to be activated in front of widened eyes of Shiori...
She hears a siren and everything goes off. The time is over and they have not reached the destination...This is...too humiliating and...she can't, can't tolerate the look she feels on her. Getting her teeth savagely, Shiori screams out in frustration and punches the cements with her hardened black fist. Of course nothing happens to the strong material but it makes a good noise and shake.
"HAHA! VERY FUNNY!" This is the first time Shiori is losing it. Her expression is wild and hurt. Her pride...is in danger. "If I was alone...none of this would have happened! I am skilled enough to pass this stupid test on my own not...with a whiny little baby like her!" Her glances at Fura angrily. "You know what?! What is the point of this test anyway? As far as I know...Zero does everything on himself! You are just stuck here enjoying making foolish trainings...I don't see any team here!"
[i Guys, my post is confusing now but after Fura posts I guess it gets a lot better...]
Zero stares at the four before him, munching on another cookie. [i 'Strongest eh? A certain someone would bust a gut if she heard someone call me that,'] Zero thinks to himself. A slight hint of irritation appears on his usual listless face, [i 'Ah, just thinking about it is annoying me.']
The bag of cookies turns out to be empty when Zero reaches in for another. Zero looks into the bag and sighs, [b "Ah well since pre-breakfast is over, I guess I can teach you guys something fun."] Zero looks up at the direction of the operating room and shouts, [b "Also, Chief! Record everything on from this point. The other two will need to learn this stuff later."] He gets up from his seat and he walks over to the exit to tap the wall to the right of the door. The segment of the wall opens to reveal a mini fridge. The fridge is something Zero had installed in the earlier days of Shift for the sole purpose of keeping something to drink down in the shift training room for the days Zero used to spend hours training. He grabs a red plastic cup from the top of the fridge and pours himself a glass of milk.
[b "I'm going to answer Cat's question with one of my own,"] Zero takes a sip of the milk and releases a sigh of satisfaction as he tops his delicious pre-breakfast with some milk. A man of simple tastes one could say. [b "What's the difference between knowing a skill and mastering one?"] Zero asks as he looks at the four in front of him. He quickly finishes off his drink and then he throws the cup into a hole that opened up in the ground. [b "Oh three points,"] Zero says as he watches the cup disappear into the hole.
[b "Imagine you are driving a car,"] Zero begins to explain again before anyone can answer his previous question, [b "It's pretty easy right. You stick the key in, hit the gas, and off you go."] He paces back over to the tile created couch and takes his seat once again. Zero leans forward and props his elbows onto his knees as he continues to talk, [b "However, what happens when that car breaks down out on the middle of the highway?"] The room falls into silence as Zero stares at the four. Yet, before anyone can answer he continues, [b "You are pretty much screwed if you aren't a mechanic or a car fanatic, yeah? After all, you won't be able to tell what caused your car to go up in smoke unless you know the inner mechanics of the car."]
[b "That is the difference between knowing and mastering a skill. Knowing a skill simply allows you to use the skill. However, mastering a skill allows you to know how that skill functions in every aspect of the skill itself,"] Zero says as he slides out of his black hoodie. He rolls up the short sleeves of his white t-shirt and holds his right arm out for all to see. [b "You see, all you can do with a car is drive it if you know how to operate it. Yet, if you are a mechanic, someone who has taken the time to learn about cars right down to the very last screw, you could have known how to fix your broken down car yourself."]
[b "That's my answer to Cat's question,"] Zero says as his right arm suddenly admits a black mist. [b "The difference between me and most Shifters is that I took the time to learn how to control my powers in every aspect,"] Zero says as he holds up his right arm giving his fellow Shifters a better view to reveal that his arm had strangely not shifted in any shape or form. [b "Yesterday, I realized none of you can properly hold a charged state, yeah?"] Zero explains as he looks at his curious listeners getting confused.
[b "Let's take a step back for a moment. Do any of you know the full legitimate process your body goes through to shift?"] Zero ask and he leans back onto the couch. [b "To explain it in simple terms. Your brain sends out the electrical command and you then charge the Shift genes within your body with Shift energy, and that is the actual process your body goes through to shift."]
[b "The two steps you guys know of on how to shift actually takes into consideration the command your brain sends out, and the actual execution of your shift. However, those two steps completely overlook the charging of your Shift gene with Shift energy,"] Zero says as the black mist disappears from his right arm. He holds up three fingers with his right hand and says, [b "What if I told you there is actually three steps to shifting? The first step is creating the image of the shift itself within your head. After all, the brain has to send out the signals and tell your body how to shape shift. Now this is where you guys usually skip step two and go straight to step three, which is executing the shift itself."] The veins in Zero's right arm instantly turn pitch black as he enhances the strength in his right arm. [b "This is what a shift looks like when you skip step two. So, what is step two. I mean, its not like you can actually see me perform steps one and three, right?"]
Zero gets up and reverts his arm back to normal. [b "Step two is known as the 'Charge' phase of the shifting process. As you all know, we have what is called the Shift Gene flowing through us, which allows us to shift. Yet, what triggers the shift itself is Shift energy,"] Zero closes his eyes and his right arm begins to admit a black mist again, [b "The Charge step of the shifting process is when you charge those genes with your shift energy. Normally, you guys do this on pure instinct alone. So, what's the point of learning how to control and manipulate the charged step you ask?"] He says as he walks over to a wall of the shift room. The black mist fades from his arm and he says, [b "I'll show you the difference."] Zero rests his left hand onto his right shoulder as he rolls his arm [i 'Hopefully I regained enough iron and energy to perform this without killing myself.'] Zero thinks to himself and sighs.
[b "Hey Chief, set up an impact wall,"] Zero looks at a wall that rises in front of him from the ground. The wall looks like a large square of gray rubber. The impact wall is a training device for Soul Shifters to test out the limits of their enhanced strength.
[b "This is what happens when I perform a Shift without controlling the charged state,"] Zero says as the veins in his right arm turn black. He pulls his fist back and thrust it forward into the gray surface. The wall suddenly caves in and a giant deep crater forms within the rubber like surface. The wall slowly begins to regain its original shape.
[b "Now this is what happens when you have full control over your shift energy and do the shift fully aware of step two,"] Zero explains as a black mist forms around his arm for a few seconds. Suddenly his right arm shifts into an enhanced state once again. However, twice the amount of veins have turned pitch black than his previous shift. He pulls his fist back again and strikes the wall a second time. The wall one again has another crater form in it, but this crater is only slightly deeper and bigger than the previous one. The difference was so slight that it is barely visible to the naked eye.
[b "Seems pointless to learn, right? You could easily get away with this small difference in power,"] Zero says as he looks at his current students. [b "So, what's the difference in shifting based on instinct and being fully aware of the shifting process? I am glad you asked in silence,"] He says as he pockets his hands into his jean pockets, [b "The one law all Shifters follow is the law of equivalent exchange. Whatever shift you do, you must be able to offer the price required to perform it. Demon Shifters make use of the iron in their blood, which is why they can only make weapons instead of being able to freely shift into whatever they want. Soul Shifters burn up the calories within their bodies, Parasite and Gluttony Shifters use external sources to pay their prices."]
Zero closes his eyes as his entire body is covered in a black mist, [b "However, the charged state lets you regulate and manipulate the amount you pay to shift. Right now, every time one of you shifts, you actually use more shift energy and pay more than required to actually do the shift,"] He turns into his hybrid state with a burst of energy and looks at his audience, [b "Also, you can actually achieve stronger more fortified shifts by knowing how to fully control your shift energy instead of just using it on instinct."]
Zero turns to the impact wall once again and he holds his right arm out to the side as he grips his right shoulder with his left hand. [b "Yet, the most important reason to learning how to fully control your shift energy is,"] A black mist floods out from his right arm, [b "It allows you to surpass the limits you guys will eventually hit in your current state,"] He enhances his arm a third time, but this time his entire arm turns pitch black and the veins in his arms glow a crimson red. Zero slams his left foot into the ground before himself with as much force as he could. He drags his right arm forward and punches the impact wall once again. A burst of force fires out from the point of impact as a crater twice the size and depth of the previous craters forms in the impact wall. Steam rises from Zero's right fist as he reverts his arm and himself to normal. Beads of sweat run down his now slightly pale face. [i 'Ah, I really am pushing the limit here.'] Zero thinks to himself.
Zero walks over to the couch and grabs hold of his hoodie. He weakly slides the hoodie over his body and sighs a bit tired now. [b "To put it simply, I've been a shifter for almost a decade now. That entire time I have been learning the ins and outs of my powers from how they function and what can make them backfire,"] Zero pockets his hands into his hoodie as he walks over to Kalua. He crouches down by her left side and steals her notepad. Zero flips to the last page and begins to write something, [b "It takes time to get strong. These powers we have, are powers we were never meant to gain. There is no natural talent for using them. You are going to succeed in a lot of areas and fail in twice the amount of areas you succeed in."]
Zero finishes writing and places the notepad gently onto Kalua's face. The note says [i 'If you want to make friends, giving a nice 'Hello' is always a good start. P.S. Cookies sometimes go a long way. At least for me they do.]
[b "In that regard, all you can do is keep pushing forward,"] Zero says to the rest as he rises up and walks towards the exit. [b "And making sure you keep moving is what I am here for. Daud will teach you guys how to survive out in the field, while I teach you how to live as shifters,"] Zero says as he grabs the door handle and takes a brief moment to open it, [b "With that I bid farewell. Preach, come to the main entrance along with Shiori and Fura when Daud is done torturing them and they are ready to go."]
Zero walks out of the room and closes the door behind him. He suddenly leans back against the door as his vision becomes blurry. [i 'Well, using Black Arm didn't use as much energy as the Black Devil's hand, but damn its still a high price to pay.'] Zero uses all the strength he has left just to push off the door. However, the effort is fruitless as he merely falls forward, [i 'Well shit, down I go...']
Romano and Leanna catch Zero who falls unconscious.
Leanna sighs, "Geezus, I almost had a heart attack when I saw him doing a Black Weapons Shift in such a weakened state."
"He really does push himself to far sometimes. It has been a while since he has been in such a weak state," Romano says as him and Leanna get Zero's arms around their shoulders. The two carry Zero out of the Shift room and begin to bring him back towards his room.
Shiori and Fura, you guys can skip over actually watching the video of Zero's lesson. You can make it so they know the lesson Zero taught before they meet up with him later in the day.
I just explained a lot about Shifters and their lore so to speak. If you guys are confused, just shoot me a pm