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[size11 [Kurale Whatever glue was keeping her stuck to the floor without any indication of melting away, was steadily bringing Cassie closer and closer to her doom as the looming undead threats slowly shambled towards her, arms outstretched and ready to tear her flesh apart. She had managed to lift her arms enough to point her pistol at one of the zombies, but her fingers just couldn't pull the trigger. Her whole body was in lockdown and there was nothing she could do to pull herself out, as her blood ran coldly through her veins and her eyes widened at the agonizing horror of realizing her own ruin at this very moment.

Explosions, death, fire, destruction, and ruin all went by ignored as her brain was too preoccupied with reverting back to its instinctual side, even the truck smashing into the side of her house barely made her body jolt in surprise, but as her finger quivered on the trigger something pulled her back into the land of reality, effectively waking her up from this momentary coma and making her aware of her chaotic surroundings. She breathed in a hefty amount of sulfur intoxicated air and her quivering arms fell down in front of her thighs as a singular voice rang through her ears. She became aware of the hellscape surrounding her once again but her eyes purposely averted the crumbling buildings and congested traffic in an attempt to preserve enough sense and sanity to get the hell out of here.

Though, the voice that had woken her from the shock had appeared to have awoken the 'dead' as well, literally, as the zombies that were feasting on their human delicacies were now eyeing Cassie up with clear intent to move onto her as their next meal. Their dead, milky white eyes stared lazily through her own, and the torn flesh around their mouths stretched and ripped as gurgles and groans rumbled through their throats if they even had their throats still intact. She quietly whimpered in fear as they brokenly shambled towards her, but dying was not on her agenda, neither was letting them rip her to shreds. Throughout the entire thing, Cassie had the man who called out to her in her mind as a means to escape this hellish part of the city, whilst mentally vilifying and harshly reprimanding him for his mistake of alerting the zombies, Cassie would shake away those thoughts and follow him anyway downtown towards the convenience store.

She had enough sense now to listen to herself and her surroundings, but her body was still trembling with fear and anxiety, and the flickering streetlights and roaring fires reflected off the glistening sweat coating her body; hair damp and face already slick with dirt. She kept the pistol in her hands throughout the entire descent towards the convenience store, but never raised her gun once out of pure fear. There was no telling what would happen if she shot one of these things, and there was no telling what they actually were.

She ignored them as best as she possibly could until she stopped dead in her tracks before the store; the bright, neon blue lights of the shop's sign illuminating through the dark night showered Cassie and the surrounding area in a bright blue hue, and the shop windows covered in advertisements, sponsors, and product placement was smashed and soaked with crimson blood. Fuck, Cassie had worked at this exact store for a few months and didn't even want to think of the possible bloodshed inside. She swallowed hard and slightly turned her head to see the man from earlier standing nearby. He looked normal enough, and Cassie still in a slight daze, couldn't open her mouth to properly speak, her throat still dry from terror. She couldn't just run away though and risk falling right into one of those monsters, or maybe even worse.

[b "Wha - What the fuck is going on?!"] She finally found her voice, albeit, slightly demanding and riddled with panic and agitation. She could hear the groaning growls of the zombies shuffling closer and closer, a few banging their bodies against the gates that futilely shielded them all from death, and some even daring to crawl right over the rumble, cars, and roadblocks blocking their path. They were very persistent in such an inhumane way; they willingly threw themselves into the fires just to get the people on the other side, impaled themselves on the jagged glass of car windows just to crawl through, and powered through the occasional bullet that lodged deep into their skulls. They weren't normal, but Cassie couldn't tell what they were at all. She just knew that they meant death and that their very presence caused her whole body to feel cold and nauseous like nothing else ever did before.
  Stripper / 2d 10h 59m 40s
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[size11 [Kurale So, they were finally paying this quaint little village a 'visit' to do as they please and wreak havoc, this was something Caen could finally get behind in mere seconds. It was nice to be given such gifts as an entire room within quite the elaborate castle, but being given the chance of running free with pure chaos and strife in their mind was so much more fulfilling that they couldn't contain their childish laughter at the meager thought, hopping from one foot to the other as they imagined the confusion, fear, and terror in their victim's eyes.

That would all come soon, very soon, but for now, they settled for happily conversing with their sibling whilst sadistically, but playfully, messing around with Mister Impy, who in-turn appeared to be almost getting used to the torment, just sat there stone-faced and wishing they were somewhere else entirely. It was a routine that was destined to remain the same once all was said and done, Mister Impy would just have to learn to get used to Caen's erratic nature.

It was soon time to leave and tend to business, or really, wreak havoc on those that didn't really deserve the torment. Caen was more than thankful for this opportunity, after all, all the pent of energy from laying stagnant inside a dusty old coffin for centuries wasn't good for their mushed up mental state. They couldn't just stand around all day waiting for sanity to catch up to them. Caen turned to Mister Impy and lifted him in their arms for the thousandth times, but slightly gentler this time, almost cradling him like a small, fragile puppy. They faked their sadness behind their mask, sobbing their goodbyes through a shaky, unsteady voice supposedly rife with tears. Of course, all fake, but they knew deep inside they'd probably miss Mister Impy if something were to happen, they weren't completely heartless after all.

When they were all traveling to the village it wasn't long until Caen had completely deviated from the group to do as they very well pleased, without much thought of their fellow comrades traversing to the same tranquil settlement. They ignored most obstacles and distractions, mostly hellbent on causing as much discord as they possibly could within their power until their time ceased within the village, and the mayhem they caused was nothing short of traumatic and disastrous.

They began in the gambling dens disguised as the dealer where they purposely sabotaged each and every game until all the players turned on one another, knives and daggers in-hand ready to slash at each other's throats in this event of trickery. And then they came the happy little families that were quite quaint and cushy with their life, all soon to come to a heartbreaking end once Caen had pulled them all apart from each other, yanking at all their strings like some puppetmaster as their relationships were broken and destroyed, reduced to mere dust. Throughout everything that they did, Caen felt no remorse or sadness for their poor victims, nothing at all but joy, happiness, and amusement at their predicaments, even those who were being tormented and brutalized by the other archons. There was slight competition in their mind, purposely trying to cause as much havoc as possible before the others, but it was all really the same to them in the end, they were just enjoying the view and adding to the mayhem.

Whatever you could really imagine the supposed embodiment of chaos could do, Caen very much did and most likely worse, all these silly little humans were the same in their mind and they were all just little puppets and toys they could mess with on a whim. They sat upon the crumbling roof off one of the once humble homes of a villager, crossed legged in the same fashion of some perky child, and outstretched their arms to the sky with happiness and merriment.

[#cf0722 [b "I haven't had this much in years!"]] They joyously shouted, tipping themselves back onto the roof until they were laid out flat, arms spayed out, and their face staring towards the sky. Even without their powers and full potential, they still found fun in the little power that they had. Unlike the others, there was no sense of vulnerability or shame at the idea of being this powerless, they were ecstatic either way, nothing could truly stop the chaos, even after they were gone.
  ᴄᴀᴇɴ / Stripper / 2d 12h 37m 14s
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[size13 [Caveat Hey, sis!
How is everything? Has the city eaten you alive yet? I'm stoked that you've decided to come visit us all again! We all really miss you. October 5th, right? You should totally stay for Halloween, Henry's finally grown into his costume from last year. Anyway, off-topic, I hope the city's treating you well. I get moving out on your own can be difficult, but you said you were fine in your last letter so we're convinced, but I worry about you sometimes. I just don't want you to get hurt. Stay safe, alright? Don't leave your bestest best sister hanging, OK?!

Love ya!
P.S: Call me when you get this letter, post to and from Raccoon City is slow as hell.]]
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[center [size11 [Kurale Jesus. Since when did her sister worry this much? Cassie sat at her desk re-reading the letter over and over again until the scrawled out words almost melded into one, and the late-night tiredness started to overtake her drooping eyelids. With one hand flat against her cheek, elbow sat on the desk propping her arm up, a small sigh of utterance blew past her lips and Cassie kicked off the ground to lean back in her chair, using one foot to gently swivel the wheels from back to forth.

Just a couple more days and she could kiss this forsaken city goodbye for a few months back in Illinois, a state almost equal in shitheads and assholes but somehow a whole less suffocating and claustrophobic. She only moved here to get away from her family for a bit, they weren't anything bad or even annoying, but independence was something Cassie always craved, maybe a little too much, and the hasty decision to pack up and move to this small, industrialized city had been made before anyone could convince Cassie otherwise, but after just spending half a year here, Chicago and her family home started to sound quite inviting.

There was something about this city, something that made her skin crawl in the most uncomfortable ways, but in an almost subtle fashion. It was like everyone was on surveillance 24/7, even walking up the street from the downtown convenience store to her shitty small townhouse wedged between an alleyway filled with trash and another townhouse felt like some sick, but incredibly boring, reality show, but either nobody cared or they were just all ignorant. Maybe her sister had filled her head with too many conspiracy theories, a way to deter her from moving away to R.C. Though, Umbrella was everywhere over here, at least from what Cassie had seen, and any pharmaceutical company that dabbled in the food industry was just plain bad news. Alright, maybe that was just another conspiracy theory fed to her by her sister, but Cassie didn't exactly think she was wrong.

Thinking about all that now was just giving her a headache, it was way too late for any wacko theories about the scrupulous deeds of some boring company Cassie didn't even really care about. Her forearm flat against her face covering her tired eyes with her other arm falling limp at the side of her desk chair, the flickering light of the tiny box T.V in the background sat upon a makeshift stand made from books was all that kept Cassie from letting tiredness completely take over, that and all the police activity outside her bedroom window on the street kept her awake enough. R.C wasn't really known for its criminals, maybe the odd kidnapping and missing child here and there, but this amount of sirens was quite unusual, to say the least. She was curious enough to peek an eye out from behind her arm and turn her body in the chair to watch the flickering T.V in the corner of the room.

The usual late-night broadcast, at first glance, was playing but something seemed off. The reporter looked frazzled and disturbed, a blaze of fire licking up the street behind her as civilians rushed past screaming their heads off at some unknown pursuer. Emergency vehicles of practically all kinds, smashed up cars, debris, roadblocks, and more were strewed across the street that looked way too familiar. It was enough to make Cassie pay enough attention to finally remove herself from her chair and stare at the T.V in disbelief and worry.

[b [i "God, what the fuck is going on out there?"]] She thought as her eyes slowly moved to stare outside the window just beside the T.V. This looked way too major to be a simple robbery, heck, even some massive crime. Even on the tiny, crappy T.V screen, the street resembled armageddon. She bit her lip tight and stood up to cautiously walk to her window and lean on the sill to stare out at the destruction below, she couldn't even describe what her poor eyes saw.

Fuck, fuck, [i fuck.]

This was too much, this was way too fucking much. How could she have just noticed this? She had heard the screams much earlier on in the night, the blaring sirens, the anguished cries of the damned, but that was all mistaken from some wild party on the other side of town, not this hellscape. She couldn't stay here, locked up inside her room, who knows what could happen and the thought of her friends - Fuck, her heart thundered in her chest, and the urge to vomit nauseated her at the mere thought. She had to leave, no sensible destination in mind, but staying here felt like suicide, and she wasn't even aware of the cannibalistic terrors literally tearing through the streets.

A thousand thoughts were rushing through her mind, sweat glazed her forehead, her fingernails dug deep into the palms of her hands, and her body trembled with anxiety. This was happening way too fast, a simple broadcast just potentially showed the destruction of an entire city, all in one night as well, and Cassie had no clue how long this had been going on for. This was way too much, but Cassie couldn't afford to freeze up, her instincts were telling her to [u leave] right now. She didn't waste any time, violently rummaging through all her drawers for her most prized possession, a small pocket-pistol her father had gifted her a couple of years ago for her birthday, just for protection. It wouldn't do shit in the worst situations, but Cassie wasn't exactly expecting the worst, just the riot destroying her street and potentially the city. Shoving the small gun in the waistband of her jeans, snatching her shearling jacket of the hook on her closet door, and rushing downstairs of her tiny 'house' like her life depended on it, Cassie suddenly stopped at her front door.

What was waiting for her outside? [i Who] was waiting for her outside? Just from her door, she could feel the heat of the flames swallowing up the streets, smell a sweet, metallic scent pervading the air, and hear the horrifying screams of the people racing through the streets, an extremely faint squelching noise in the background like tearing flesh combined with the screams.

Pandemonium waited for her outside, bloody arms outstretched to envelope her in the worst night of her life, and suffocate her more than R.C alone ever did. She wasn't ready, who the hell was? Her hand hesitated to even twist the doorknob, she had to swallow back her fear just to face the annihilation outside. When faced with the terror, Cassie felt as if her whole body nearly shut down, but kept enough composure to keep her calm and step past the doorway to make a run for it. Finally, the [i 'monsters'] that she had yet to see had made their appearance in the form of feasting upon the deceased corpses of those who couldn't escape in time, a fate that would've held her had she not gathered her senses and brisked through the street when an opening was seen.

The alleyway beside her house registered as the most sensible escape route in her mind, even with the tightly enclosed space that would sure taunt her when one of those [i 'things'] turned around the corner, teeth-gnashing with gushing spittle and bloody claws outstretched to claim her as their own. She didn't think about it, all that mattered now was running away, and the alleyway was her only choice. She pushed straight through the gate, stepping over all obstacles that obstructed her escape, and luckily wasn't presented with anything to take a chunk out of her throat, but now at the end of the alleyway presented with the exact same image of the street from behind, Cassie was at a loss for thought.

Those monsters were everywhere, they looked like people but worse. They were crazed, ravaged, and horrifying, and they were devouring any living, and dead, human they could get their rotting hands on. She stood there watching, a hand slowly reaching for the pistol in her jeans. She was stuck, fight or flight wasn't being prompted, freeze was, but inside Cassie knew that she wasn't dying tonight if only her body would fucking listen to her.
  Stripper / 3d 15h 37m 41s
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[size11 [Kurale This was something Naomi really should've been used to by now, being ordered around by Oliver constantly every day until her head ached with exhaustion and her eyes stung with tears, at least that's what she thought. But the abuse was always fresh in her mind and the mental and emotional pain never subsided. She was always in a state of upset and misery when around Oliver, even during their better days. She wondered if this was deserved or not if something had happened between them that caused their relationship to derail, but there was truly nothing.

She blankly stared at their gloomy bungalow they both called their home and a small sigh pushed past her lips as if already tired by the hurtful words that were yet to come. She didn't bother looking at Oliver with a faked smile of happiness to be home, just cranked open the car door and grabbed her luggage from the back to walk down their driveway to the front door.

[b "What the fuck have I done now, Naomi? Jesus. All I have to do is exist and you're miserable. Isn't being home enough to be fucking happy for once?"] Oliver spat from behind, words filled with venomous aggression, and all Naomi could do was grimace to herself. He was such a contradiction to the point where even Naomi was frustrated with him and his constant mixed messages, and his supposed ignorance of their previous interaction caused some anger to bubble deep inside her, but Naomi just said nothing and pushed through the front door, muttering the usual apology to him before setting her luggage within the hallway and making her way to the kitchen.

[b "So, now you're just gonna ignore me? Typical. Just typical. You know, I'm the reason you have everything in this goddamn world right now. You'd be nothing without me. Why can't you just understand that?"] Here we go again. It got to the point where his voice melded into the background and his words were mere white noise to her ears. She leaned against the kitchen counter whilst removing her coat and shoes, prepping herself to 'relax' in the house for a bit, all with John in her thoughts. Nothing, in particular, just the thought of him comforted her enough to make her not break and cry, at least the thought of his number in her phone made her feel pretty relaxed.

She'd message him, once the storm inside this godforsaken 'house' blew over, once the coast was clear and Naomi felt safe. The night dragged on as per usual with the arguments, harsh words, cold-shoulder, and more that was the norm for this relationship. Naomi always stayed up late after Oliver went to sleep for the night, using this as an opportunity for some much-deserved peace and quiet, away from him for a few hours before the morning. It felt like her only escape sometimes, apart from work.

Sat by herself on the couch, hair messy and resting on her shoulders, dressed in a light pink and pajamas, and her body outstretched into a comfy position, Naomi fingered the keypad on her phone. She knew that she'd see John soon, but that wasn't enough, Naomi wanted to talk to him now, at least for a few minutes before tiredness took over. She wasn't sure if that was a good idea though if there any consequences with doing that. Surely everything would be alright, for a moment at least. Naomi was desperate.

She let her fingers hover over the words, hesitant and uncertain, before finally typing out her message.

[i > Hey! srry it's really late, I couldn't sleep. how r u doing? i can't wait to see you again.]

[b Send.]

She didn't bother reading the message over again, and let her hand slide down her side and rest her on the couch. She didn't feel much better, but there was a hope spot inside her. She just hoped this wasn't too much.
  Stripper / 5d 10h 10m 3s
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[size11 [Kurale It was supposed to be a short break for Oliver, a short break away from work and time for himself outside of the city, but a frantic call from his superior shoved him back into the real world and Oliver had found himself driving to the populace city once again, a simple and innocent mind focused on the current job at hand. There was nothing that could've told him that the once-bustling and charming city had been completely overrun by horrific monsters, now completely perilous with no hope of ever recovering and thriving once again.

But his radio, tuned into the nightly broadcast, showed a few questionable things. At least things Oliver never thought to question or think about before. It was usually just dumb stuff about game shows, quizzes, and all that superficial bullshit, but tonight's interview with some stuttering, antsy youth frantically trying to convince the amused radio host into believing his story, managed to interest Oliver enough to actually listen.

"You should've seen her face, man. It was, like, rotting, and her eyes were just, empty, just fucking empty. I mean, what're supposed to do in that fucking situation? I swear, you can't freeze up around these things, they'll sink their teeth into 'ya. I saw one -"

"Alright, I think that's enough for tonight." Interrupted by the barely muffled giggles of the host and radio interference from the rainstorm outside.

*Fuck. It was just getting good as well.*

That was fucking strange. The radio was filled with conspiracy theorists and panicked citizens every single week, but that just seemed too real, way too conspicuous. No doubt all within the city, the only place for miles apart from the usual pitstops and one or two motels. This was just drugs, right? A drunken night gone wrong, drug abuse, hallucinations. This couldn't be anything else.

It all weirdly corollated with the frantic call from the police station that started this journey. Nothing outright told him that they were related at all, but something inside him told otherwise.

*Fuck.* This better not be his new assignment tonight. It was too fucking late for that bullshit to start.

Soon, the city lights melted into view, lighting up the night for everyone around to see, a sight that comforted Oliver for once instead of filling him with the frustrations of work. Something felt wrong, though. There was *no one* around, no cars, no nothing, not even hitchhikers. It was all just *quiet..*

It was eerie, foreboding, ominous, but turning back now wasn't an option inside Oliver's mind. It was just *quiet*, nothing else, that wasn't enough to just give up now. He had soon entered the city and drove through the empty streets, filled with abandoned cars and road blockages, smashed glasses from shop windows scattered across the street, and puddles of crimson fluid spread across the pavement.

"What the hell?" He quietly muttered to himself, forcing himself to pull onto the side and actually investigate. He slowly exited his car, reaching for his gun tucked away into the glove box, and stared disgusted at his frenzied and derelict surroundings. It was like one giant crime scene stacked on top of another.
  Stripper / 12d 10h 13m 42s
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[size11 [Kurale Okay.

The local drug dealer was someone that you could probably expect in a small, shitty suburban town like this. A going-nowhere, shitfaced, aimless, but not without potential high school dropout who somehow everyone knew but had forgotten at the same time. Embarrassingly named Augustus but pitifully nicknamed 'Auggie' by practically everyone who knew him.

He was quite a strange one. Stupid, but smart. Sincere, but perfunctory. Kind, but awful. Basically the embodiment of all contradictions that Benji just couldn't get enough of; mostly for all the drugs in his stocks. They had both known each other since Auggie's schooling days though, with only a three year age gap between them, and they never truly parted ways. Benji was the only customer who Auggie would let haggle him until the purchase was completely free, but never in front of anyone else, reputations were reputations after all. They would've been proper friends if Auggie wasn't as professional about his drug dealing,

He could see Benji coming from a mile away. He didn't have to turn around to see his sullen face grinning at him with both happiness and hidden desperation. Auggie just leaned on the side of a pick-up truck pulled into one of the gas station with a freshly-lit cigarette stuck to his lips and didn't even bother to look at Benji waiting expectantly behind him.

[b "Thought you died in rehab."] He bluntly said with a slight chuff. Benji brought his bike up towards the truck and rolled his eyes with sarcastic amusement.

[b "Oh hardy fucking har. Turns out they don't actually murder the helpless fuckers like me."] Benji leaned his bike up against the truck and stood beside Auggie with his arms crossed. He didn't even have to ask the [i question] anymore, Auggie just [i knew].

[b "Too bad I didn't save you a [i home sweet home] gift."]

[b "What?"] Benji's voice was about as flat as ever.

[b "Yeeeah. Fresh outta handlebars. [i Sorry], Jonesy.] Auggie casually lied without even looking at Benji and trying to make any kind of eye-contact. Benji looked as if someone just shot his dog in front of him.

[b "[i Fresh out?] What the fuck. You didn't even [i try] to save any for me? Auggie, you're fucking useless."] There came the suppressed anger and irritation that came out whenever Benji was denied his much-needed fix. This was beyond stupid. How could the [i local] drug dealer be fresh out of fucking drugs? The most popular kind as well. He sulkily stared at his shoes as Auggie just nonchalantly shrugged as if none of this mattered to him at all.

[b "Way to talk to your [b only] supplier, Jonesy. Anyway, you owe me, like, $300. Don't push your luck."] He turned his head to look behind him as the sound of someone else approaching was heard. Another day, another customer. [b "Besides. I can't give you any freebies right now."] Auggie nudged Benji out of his vexed brooding and into attention. He barely got the message as his head turned to also stare the newcomer approaching them.

[b Oh. I bet you're gonna magically fucking conjure up some zanies when this chick asks, huh."] He angrily whispered through gritted teeth, all of which went by mostly ignored.

[b "For someone who's fresh outta Motel California, you're pretty damn desperate. Now, be a good little boy, and go to fucking school."] Auggie shoved Benji away enough to make him stumble and the kid just angrily huffed whilst reaching for the handlebars of his bike. This wasn't over yet, but Auggie wasn't the kind to budge.

[u [i Juliette Romano]]

Juliette wasn't without her innocent, virginal, and starlet reputation that followed her around everywhere in her life. Raised in an extremely conservative household who valued their religious ideals more than anything in the world. Nothing could destroy that reputation for them, at least they tried to snuff out any behavior that could, but they missed a spot.

Juliette herself.

She had the exterior of a sweet, kind, respectable young woman who everyone loved and praised, but the interior of some crazed, wild, overly sexual, and drugged-up party animal that was just begging to be released with every single minute. Juliette was exactly the kind of person her family feared and hated, but they didn't suspect a thing. Nobody really did, apart from those who were close enough to Juliette to see through her cutesy mystique.

She surrounded herself with a mixture of people in high-school. A slice of everything this hellhole had to offer at least. Being the popular girl, that was easy enough, and having different people around you every day kept up the darling act without fault. She didn't think anyone in high school would really care about her true personality if anything did slip out, but word spread fast and her family was always on high alert. Them finding out would be practically detrimental.

Juliette never really thought too deeply into that, though. It was pointless to scare yourself like that, and Juliette kept her mind preoccupied with *other* things. Things that usually didn't come for free, but one could substitute their body for money pretty easily around here. That was another story though.

The rhythmic noise of a nail file scraping against her manicured nails melded into the endless chatter of students as Juliette had sat on a table full of most of the people in her current designated classroom. She chatted, listened, stared, bitched, moaned, and laughed with them as the latest gossip was thrown around the room like a game of hot potato, but her eyes were always fixed on her nails. She didn't pay attention to anyone around her.
  Stripper / 12d 11h 46m 43s
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[size11 [Kurale [i [u Danuja]]

It was always amazing to merely hear her mother's soft words cooing in her ears, and Danuja could melt away into the same petals that slowly encircled the room, but her brow was lined with focus and confusion and Danuja placed her bowl on the floor. She hadn't seen or heard from her mother in nearly centuries. She only appeared when something important was going to take place, and that hadn't happened for a long time. What was about to transpire now?

"I suppose living through the years can do that to you. But, mother? I don't understand. Why're you here?" She questioned. Her stomach fluttered with anxiety and her heart thudded fast inside her chest. There was something brewing in the air.

[i "It's nice to see you too, flower. Alas, I suppose this is surprising after all these years, but you must listen to me, dear. This will be your only chance."]

How important could this be? The Earth's unnatural threats had been eradicated and Yamanashi was peaceful and undisturbed. Her mother's words confused her even further but also intrigued her heavily. She leaned forward on her knees and kept quiet to hear what the minor goddess had to say. Her heart was filled with dread and fear at what was about to come.

[i "You know that there are others out there like you, who have protected our Earth for hundreds and hundreds of years. But, after the humans' memories of us faded and the world was left untouched once more, they filled themselves with hatred and scorn for humanity. Danuja, I know you're not like that, that you can rise above all threats like our mighty mountain. Danuja, you must protect the humans no matter what, no matter the cost. You must. This is my mission to you."]

And suddenly a small, elegant scroll apparated on the floor in front of Danuja where the flurry of cherry blossoms slowly began to settle. Her mother's light began to fade until there was nothing left, and Danuja was alone once more without any time to speak up and ask any questions. But her mind desperately wanted her to shoot up and demand an explanation for whatever that was. Her grey eyes were wide with shock and doubt at the news and mission given to her. She wasn't ready at all. Suddenly the humanity was placed into her palms once more, but this time Danuja wasn't given the tools to do anything. Perhaps the scroll held something inside.

She slowly grabbed the parchment and unraveled the fine paper in her hands. Each word was written in kanji and clearly stated what Danuja had to do. [i You can't do this alone. Find more demigods and team up with them to defeat humanity's new threat. They mustn't refuse. Use force if you have to.]

Alright, that was weirdly specific and foreboding, but the message was received. There were countless of demigods in Japan just sitting around doing nothing in their endless amounts of spare time, but Danuja knew them all too well. Practically any demigod in Asia was quite the lost cause, even the ones in China. [i Use force if necessary], but at what cost. She wasn't about to waste time on any of them.

It was time to travel the world... [i again.] Danuja prepared herself for the journey that was to come, grabbed the essentials and made sure what little power she had left was enough for the first half of the mission. A boat was needed and the dock held many, but where exactly did she even plan ongoing. She didn't even know where to start. And did anyone else even know about this new [i crisis?] She kept the scroll inside her saddle bag just in case and made her way to the local dock. Perhaps waiting until night time would've been the smarter idea, but this seemed really urgent.
  Stripper / 15d 7h 1m 37s
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[size12 [font roman [u Benjamin 'Benji' Jones.]

Silence swept through the cold, empty streets of the small town a young man named 'Benjamin Jones' called his home. He hadn't seen the old, suburban neighborhood in almost three months and everything still looked the exact same, but Benji just sunk into the backseat of his mother's with a dread-filled grumble and anxiously nibbled on the bottom of his lips.

[i Three months.]

That's how long his rehabilitation for his crippling drug addiction had lasted. At the mere age of seventeen verging on eighteen, Benji was already sniffing cocaine and popping pills like some crazed teenager obsessed with the latest hot flicks of the summer, all involving stereotypical house parties, but Benji had to keep himself clean for as long as rehab had lasted. It was practically forced on him, as most rehabilitation programs went, with the endless nights of being watched by the nurses and the grueling group therapy sessions that just made Benji want to pass out in pure mental exhaustion.

It wasn't his choice to be there. He never asked to be cured or purified of his toxic addiction but after the [i incident] that almost took his life on his own bedroom floor, being shoved into rehab for three months seemed to be the only thing that could keep him locked down enough to be purged of all the drugs and narcotics pervading his precious system. It was all fun and games during the time Benji had been rehabilitated. Everyone in his family finally thought their precious child was going to be fixed and cured enough to be turned into the perfect, upstanding human being they always wished for him to be. He fooled them enough to make them truly believe that their wish was finally being granted. Benji almost fooled herself, with the fake, sugary smiles and syrupy sweet voice that told everyone that drugs were bad and that everything was going to be okay.

But Benji had no intention of staying that way, never in a million years. Plagued by the mental illnesses that begged him to numb his own mind and silence the angst deep inside, Benji just couldn't stay sober. He had his first taste of liquid valium at the age of eleven after an anxiety attack and fell deeply in love with the comforting warmth that overlapped his brain when the drug had taken hold. For the first time, Benji felt safe inside his own head, everything in his life finally started to make sense just for that one tiny moment, but his world went back into darkness once the high had finally worn off. The world that had melted inside his head finally solidified back into its disgusting, oppressive form and all that was left was darkness.

He just couldn't bear that feeling anymore, not after discovering the wonders of drugs and medication. At thirteen, Benji began sneaking antidepressant pills from his parents' medicine cabinet and popped oxycontin whenever they had any. He swore that this wasn't an addiction, but merely a pleasure, like eating your favorite food or watching your favorite movie. It wasn't an addiction, until it was.

Overdosing on his own bedroom floor after taking one too many should've been a wakeup call for him, but it wasn't. The quiet, the silence, the peace, that all came with the darkness was almost intoxicating. He was dying at that moment, but his mind didn't care, still numb on the drugs that polluted his system. It was beautiful.

Staying sober just wasn't an option anymore. He could never let her family know, however. His mother already resupplied the cupboards with urine drug tests and the medicine cabinet was firmly locked. Benji had tricks up his sleeve though and the local drug dealer was always in town, his family had no idea.

[i He promised himself they would never find out.]

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The journey home wasn't long and Benji had everything packed away before the sun could completely set. He had spent that night be silently pitied by his mother and younger sister, but also praised and loved when they were fooled by his newfound sobriety. It was a moment that broke his heart enough to make his blue eyes glisten with tears, but they were faked for happiness and joy at being clean for the first time in years.

He had left his home the next morning, sneakily avoiding the suspicious and worried gaze of his mother and meek questions from his sister, whisking through the front door before anyone could say anything. It was only the first day of officially being home and his first destination was the local gas station, where the town's highschool dropout drug dealer made his stay. They were quite friendly with each other, arguably good friends who some even mistook for siblings with the way they acted around one another, and Benji could always trust him for another fix. He sold them to him for free when nobody was looking, but in reality, the man cared deeply about Benji's sobriety enough to begin rethinking his decision to sell to him anymore, especially after his stint in rehab. It was a tough call, but one that had to be made.

Benji had no idea, but he knew that his care for him was genuine. Thinking about seeing him again was enough to put a soft smile on his face as he turned around the corner of his house and grabbed his parked bike leaning on the side of the wall, bringing the bike over to the driveway and lifting himself onto the seat.

He kicked his foot off the floor and started riding the bike forward down his street. The leisurely rising sun in the sky produced an attractive hue that tinted the clouded sky light orange, complimenting each side of the town as Benji rode his bike down the road.
  Stripper / 15d 7h 2m 5s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/tH3bams.jpg]

[size12 [font roman [u Eliana Mitchell.]

Silence swept through the cold, empty streets of the small town a young girl named 'Eliana Mitchell' called her home. She hadn't seen the old, suburban neighborhood in almost three months and everything still looked the exact same, but Eliana just sunk into the car seat of her mother's with a dread-filled grumble and anxiously nibbled on the bottom of her lips.

[i Three months.]

That's how long her rehabilitation for her crippling drug addiction had lasted. At the mere age of nineteen verging on twenty, Eliana was already sniffing cocaine and popping pills like some crazed teenager obsessed with the latest hot flicks of the summer, all involving stereotypical house parties, but Eliana had to keep herself clean for as long as rehab had lasted. It was practically forced on her, as most rehabilitation programs went, with the endless nights of being watched by the nurses and the grueling group therapy sessions that just made Eliana want to pass out in pure mental exhaustion.

It wasn't her choice to be there. She never asked to be cured or purified of her toxic addiction but after the [i incident] that almost took her life on her own bedroom floor, being shoved into rehab for three months seemed to be the only thing that could keep her locked down enough to be purged of all the drugs and narcotics pervading her precious system. It was all fun and games during the time Eliana had been rehabilitated. Everyone in her family finally thought their precious child was going to be fixed and cured enough to be turned into the perfect, upstanding human being they always wished for her to be. She fooled them enough to make them truly believe that their wish was finally being granted. Eliana almost fooled herself, with the fake, sugary smiles and syrupy sweet voice that told everyone that drugs were bad and that everything was going to be okay.

But Eliana had no intention of staying that way, never in a million years. Plagued by the mental illnesses that begged her to numb her own mind and silence the angst deep inside, Eliana just couldn't stay sober. She had her first taste of liquid valium at the age of eleven after an anxiety attack and fell deeply in love with the comforting warmth that overlapped her brain when the drug had taken hold. For the first time, Eliana felt safe inside her own head, everything in her life finally started to make sense just for that one tiny moment, but her world went back into darkness once the high had finally worn off. The world that had melted inside her head finally solidified back into its disgusting, oppressive form and all that was left was darkness.

She just couldn't bear that feeling anymore, not after discovering the wonders of drugs and medication. At thirteen, Eliana began sneaking antidepressant pills from her parents' medicine cabinet and popped oxycontin whenever they had any. She swore that this wasn't an addiction, but merely a pleasure, like eating your favorite food or watching your favorite movie. It wasn't an addiction, until it was.

Overdosing on her own bedroom floor after taking one too many should've been a wakeup call for her, but it wasn't. The quiet, the silence, the peace, that all came with the darkness was almost intoxicating. She was dying at that moment, but her mind didn't care, still numb on the drugs that polluted her system. It was beautiful.

Staying sober just wasn't an option anymore. She could never let her family know, however. Her mother already resupplied the cupboards with urine drug tests and the medicine cabinet was firmly locked. Eliana had tricks up her sleeve though and the local drug dealer was always in town, her family had no idea.

[i She promised herself they would never find out.]

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The journey home wasn't long and Eliana had everything packed away before the sun could completely set. She had spent that night be silently pitied by her mother and younger brother, but also praised and loved when they were fooled by her newfound sobriety. It was a moment that broke her heart enough to make her hazel green eyes glisten with tears, but they were faked for happiness and joy at being clean for the first time in years.

She had left her home the next morning, sneakily avoiding the suspicious and worried gaze of her mother and meek question by her brother, whisking through the front door before anyone could say anything. It was only the first day of officially being home and her first destination was the local gas station, where the town's highschool dropout drug dealer made his stay. They were quite friendly with each other, arguably good friends who some even mistook for siblings with the way they acted around one another, and Eliana could always trust him for another fix. He sold them to her for free when nobody was looking, but in reality, the man cared deeply about Eliana's sobriety enough to begin rethinking his decision to sell to her anymore, especially after her stint in rehab. It was a tough call, but one that had to be made.

Eliana had no idea, but she knew that his care for her was genuine. Thinking about seeing him again was enough to put a soft smile on her face as she turned around the corner of her house and grabbed her parked bike leaning on the side of the wall, bringing the bike over to the driveway and lifting herself onto the seat.

She kicked her foot off the floor and started riding the bike forward down her street. The leisurely rising sun in the sky produced an attractive hue that tinted the clouded sky light orange, complimenting each side of the town as Eliana rode her bike down the road.
  Stripper / 22d 9h 59m 19s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/e0aJJbO.jpg]

[size12 [font roman [i [u Danuja]]

Living life upon her mother's mountain had grown accustomed to Danuja for the hundreds of years the demigod was alive. Away from the civilisation below but close enough to keep an eye on the humans who travelled across the paths of the mountain. It was the way Danuja chose to live her life on Earth with the one mission her mother had gave her before gifting her to her human father during the years of Feudal Japan.

[u [i "You must protect our creations, little flower. And tell them stories of our kind.]]

Reminiscing on those words sweetly cooed into her small ears, Danuja could almost smell the sweet cherry blossom petals that constantly flurried around her mother's magnificent form. She had done exactly what her mother guided her to do - protect the mortals and remind them of the Heavens above. The monsters and demons that had spilled from the hellish Ark that crashed upon the Earth thousands of years before humanity was created, threatened to destroy the Earth and all that lived upon its surface. Danuja had done her part in protecting the people of Honshū successfully and bringing peace and order to the vast island which held her mother's mountain, Mount Fuji. There was praise and worship from the humans who recognised Danuja's spirituous feats and mystical powers, all of which sustained her mother's power to the highest degree to the point where all of Japan was protected from Mount Fuji's volcanic wrath, but that was hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

During the time where Danuja's mortal family were still alive and thriving. The time where her mortal friends assisted her in the battles of the monsters that threatened their small village beneath the mountain. That time was gone, far behind Danuja and all Japanese demigods who resided within the country still. To watch her human family and friends perish from sickness and old age, or war and famine during the worst of times, Danuja never bothered to grow close with anyone else ever again. Even her fellow demigods were shunned and ignored in fear of them ever disappearing like her friends and family once did.

How could anyone trust creatures with lifespans of a candle. Danuja never understood. She continued to protect the humans until the day where humanity needed protection no more, but there was no happiness or shame in the sickening aftermath that soon came afterwards. When the humans forgot about the demigods and the gods themselves. She had felt a small sense of pride for the past, but nothing for the present or future.

Danuja just didn't care anymore. There was a sense of emptiness deep inside which ached for the feeling of being needed again and Danuja was resentful at the fact of her mother being shunned by some of the population of Japan, but her life became one filled with solitary and quiet. Tucked away within her hut on the ledges of Mount Fuji, where Danuja thought she'd remain for another hundred years, waiting for the day her ethereal spirit would be cast into the Heavens forever.

Sat upon her futon with a bamboo-crafted bowl of warm butarjiru, Danuja never thought the fresh scent of heavenly cherry blossoms would drift into her nostrils ever again, a clear sign of the presence of Konohanasakuya-kime, Danuja's mother, until this fateful day.

[i "My little flower, how you've grown after all these years..."]
  Stripper / 19d 8h 3m 59s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/VGu3kZf.jpg]

[font roman [size12 The gentle rocking of the train was slowly becoming and more soothing as the minutes ticked on by. Naomi kept her eyes gazing into the blurry background of city skyscrapers melting into beautifully blooming trees, but her attention was fully directed towards Johnathan who continued speaking to her in the backdrop of her mind. The thought of prom seemed to have hit her as Johnathan mentioned his date and Naomi briskly thought back to that one dreadful night of her final high school years.

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It was a night that was supposed to perfect - feverishly romanticised until every single classroom was filled with banners for the upcoming prom and every school bathroom was filled with students gushing over their chosen partners. Naomi never expected Oliver to suddenly pull her behind the school's gym and present her with a light pink envelope, which withheld the sickly love message Oliver had written for her with the clear intention of wooing her into accepting his invitation as his prom date. Naomi had merely accepted on a whim and had soon found herself clinging to his side for the entire night. Feelings had blossomed slightly the more the two had slow danced away into the night and the two soon-to-be lovebirds had placed a kiss upon each others lips, an action which solidified her feelings for Oliver.

But that kiss meant nothing to Oliver, as Naomi had found him tucked away inside the men's toilet stalls with another girl clinging to his neck. She never thought her eyes could produce that many tears or that her legs could carry her that fast all the way home. That night was spent frantically phoning Johnathan until his phone was filled with missed calls, and Naomi swore off petty love until her second encounter with Oliver during the school reunion.

She hated herself for allowing Oliver back into her life, but the man managed to stick around long enough for Naomi to consider settling down with him. He was stable enough with a packing income and decent job. He promised her stability and comfort and fed her lies upon lies until each word was snaked out to the point where Naomi doubted everything.

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It was a silly thing to dwell on, Naomi thought. Especially when in the company of someone incredibly important to her, or at least was, in the past. She could never burden him with such things, and therefore, didn't speak up when the memory ached and pained her on the inside. Her teeth merely nibbled along the sides of her cheeks as small giggles of amusement would sound from her lips, and Naomi's eyes would turn to look back at Johnathan once again.

She could feel the train slowly beginning to slow down and the blurring images outside the window started becoming more apparent and clear. She sighed and leaned back into her chair. Their moment together felt way too brief, but Naomi couldn't admit her reluctance to let him go. She smiled sweetly at Johnathan and nodded her head at his suggestion. [b "Oh. I'm sure my schedule is free for tomorrow. I'd love to go out with you, I mean, we have a lot of catching up to do."] She appeared about as casual and normal as one could be. Her hand outstretched to take his phone and quickly type in her number until pulling back and settling on her lap. [b "Text me the time and restaurant, alright? It'd be best not to call me, my fiancé gets nervous."] It wasn't reassuring but Naomi just shrugged her words off and let Johnathan go.

Watching him leave and melt into the small crowd tugged at her heartstrings, but the thought of seeing him again warmed her considerably. She needed this moment more than anything. She didn't care about Oliver's feeling enough to reconsider, but him finding out could be catastrophic. Naomi swore not to tell him at all.

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It wasn't long until Conby Town came into view and her train had completely stopped. Grabbing her luggage and lugging herself out of the passenger car, the sight of a familiar figure waiting for her within the station caused her body to feel cold inside. She knew who this figure was; Oliver, waiting impatiently with his arms firmly crossed and his 'brow pinched into a hard frown. She meekly approached with him with a small smile and settled her luggage at her sides. Oliver didn't even bother offering his help or assistance at all. [b "Train was late, again."] He coldly remarked as his body was turned to begin walking outside of the station and towards the parking lot. Naomi just quietly chuckled and followed behind him like some lost puppy. [b "Well, the rain from last week had caused a lot of flooding. I'm really sorry, I should've known. I missed my -"] Her words were cruelly cut off as they had both finally reached the car. [b "Get in, I don't wanna hear your excuses anymore. I thought I finally escaped your moaning again. Guess I'm not that lucky, huh?"] He always said stuff like this and played his scolding off as some nasty joke, but Naomi knew the truth. She didn't humour him with any kind of response and just shoved her luggage into the trunk of the car and slipped into the front seat beside him.

It was a long journey home that night, but Naomi didn't consider her home, 'home' anymore.
  ɴᴀᴏᴍɪ / Stripper / 27d 7h 7m 26s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/91GkGNX.jpg]

[font roman [size12 His voice hung in the air and Seiji merely stared off into the empty distance trying to search for any sort of movement. He could've sworn somebody was nearby, but his mind just couldn't pinpoint where. With the silence growing more and more apparent around him, the only sound to echo through the trees being that of songbirds and rustling leaves, Seiji slowly started to descend down the path in hopes of finding [i something] that could reassure him. The idea of company within the forest had bothered him earlier, but with the uneasiness of knowing something was growing amiss, company now didn't sound too bad.

He kept his feet steady and steps careful. Tripping and potentially destroying his camera was one of his worries right now, but his priorities weren't all that skewered, enough to make him quite negligence to his surroundings as his concentration had turned to fiddling with his camera for a few seconds. Seiji had already wandered off the path to the left and didn't notice until the sound of screaming answered his previous calls.

It had felt like hours, but really the frantic calls for help and happened a few minutes after his yelled out question and Seiji almost dropped his camera at the mere cry coming from near the river. His breathing suddenly faltered and his green eyes bulged with fear as his stomach ached with anxiety and dread. With the feminine shouting combined with the splashing of water, Seiji guessed one of the girls from his town had either followed or just wandered into the forest on her own and tumbled into the river below. He might've been a shut-in and a crippling introvert, but Seiji was well acquainted with some of the people in his town. The thought of one them being in any kind of danger, especially life-threatening, made him feel quite sick and afraid.

It was enough for him to whip around to face the direction of the voice and swallow down the fear that was beginning to bubble in his throat. He couldn't just leave this girl to suffer and drown. Cowardice just wasn't an option anymore. [b "Wait, hold on. I'm coming!"] He yelled out in response. He tried his best to sound confident and secure but his voice still shook with worry and angst. He set off and followed the sound of splashing water and the distant voice. His grip on his camera was becoming less and less as his palms slipped with sweat, and most obstacles that obstructed his 'rescue' mission was ignored, even when his shoes had snagged against hidden logs and plants beneath him and threatened to topple him over.,

He was close to the voice now, extremely close. The river was almost in view and the path was far behind him. His mind had blocked out all goals, all that was important to him now was saving this girl. It was unusual for him to be obsessed with saving someone, though. He was helpful and kind to everyone, never allowing bad things to happen to the people within his life, but throwing himself into potential life threatening situations wasn't exactly his forte. He was adventurous and impulsive, but careful and weary of things around him - this was quite obscene for him. But nothing was telling him to turn back and everything was yelling at him to keep moving forward.

It wasn't long until Seiji had stumbled onto the river bank, with his usually pale cheeks pink from exhaustion and his body arched over from the aches of briskly running. Through equally worn-out puffs of air from his open mouth, Seiji searched the clearing for any signs of the girl.

[b "Hello? Hello! I'm here, I'm here to help you."] He trudged close to the edge of the bank, enough for the water to begin lapping beneath his shoes. He leaned himself forward and his stomach began aching with the same dread from earlier again. Something felt wrong, really wrong. His instincts were telling him to turn back and run, but something else was pulling him forward, closer to the river. He was oblivious to everything else around him...
  sᴇɪᴊɪ / Stripper / 28d 8h 15m 45s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/VGu3kZf.jpg]

[font roman [size12 Naomi just couldn't believe Johnathan was sat across from her, as if this single moment was just a mere flashback that would throw her back into the present as soon as the train would violently jerk at any point, but that point never came and Johnathan never disappeared. He was still there, smiling and gazing at her as he once did years ago. She was almost lost to a nostalgic trance until the question of [i partners] dragged her back into reality.

One glance at the glistening ring on her finger and a subtly disappointed sigh blew past her glossy lips. She always forgot about that damn ring clinging to her finger everyday. It was becoming more and more bothersome with each minute. She avoided the mere sight of her ring and instead focused on the topic at hand. [b "I'm on my way, but I'm finding things to be quite difficult. I suppose things just aren't that simple anymore. I'm really close, though."]

Her blue eyes started idly off into the distance whilst her teeth nibbled her bottom lip anxiously, but Johnathan had soon brought her back once again. Drifting away had always been a bad habit of hers especially when a certain topic was quite troubling for her. She listened to his talk about [i Gibby the Treasure Hunting Hamster] and almost laughed at the mere memory of that fat little thing. She loved that hamster dearly and even bought the poor thing treats with each visit. She never truly approved of Johnathan's games with Gibby, but played along anyway whenever they were all together. It didn't come as much of a surprise when the hamster had sadly passed away, and Naomi remembered proposing the idea of a viking style funeral across the river outside her home. It was only fitting after all.

The creation of a game inspired by the hamster interested her heavily. She always knew deep down that Johnathan's skill within the gaming industry would prosper, but never expected him to be able to pull off working with a massive corporate company. She just didn't ever expect the commitment, in the least bitter way possible.

[b "Oh, that fat little thing? How could I forget about our little warrior adventurer. That's really awesome! You'll have to tell me straight away when the game is released, I've gotta be the first to play. Seems only fitting, right?"] She giggled with an excited smile as she swiped a loose strand of golden hair behind her ear. She felt really proud of him, proud of his success and creative ideas. She always admired his ability to be able to come up with amazing fabrications of fantasy, even if they were based off reality. She could never do that herself, creativity wasn't her strong point. All those wasted hours sat within art and literature class, trying her best to perfect her skills during after school session, to no avail. She always had to give in and suck up her pride, force Johnathan to sit with her sometimes in those classes and guide her through each story and drawing, things she could never do alone. It was disappointing but the pay-off was fine, Naomi got to spend more time with Johnathan each and every time.

She turned her head to stare out the window, her eyes following the blurring colours of the city whizzing past as the train picked up the pace. She leaned into the window, her forehead almost touching the cool glass, and almost looked to be quite upset. [b "I remember. He was... an idiot."] She smiled at the memory of Dennis' stupidity, at least to her. It was usually [i boys-will-be-boys] back then, but Naomi always saw through that crap. [b "Can't say I'm not surprised. He went through girls like his favourite candy. But, I guess we all grow up eventually. You as the best man, though? You could barely go to prom."] Naomi briefly recalled their high school's prom, a beautiful moment that she wished she had spent with Johnathan, but instead spent with Oliver instead. The night ended in tears, as per usual between them.

[b "Yeah, just about an hour or two away from here. Conby Town station is my stop. I'm sure, [i someone], will already be there to pick me up. How about you? I'd hate for this to be brief."] She appeared to be casual and nonchalant, but deep inside, Naomi was hoping and praying for Johnathan to be close by. This was just what she needed, she didn't want to lose him [u again]. Even if she tried her best to let go with him long ago, even having moments where she was convinced that she was over him, seeing him person brought everything back to the surface. She could never make it obvious though, her life had already begun. She couldn't restart everything for the sake of craving Johnathan again.

[hr]
[size10 [b OOC:] [i Apologies for the delay! Had to deal with some family issues. The game thing is perfect by the way. I encourage you to fabricate random memories for our characters, I'll most likely do the same. You can control Naomi as well in any memory. ^^]
  ɴᴀᴏᴍɪ / Stripper / 27d 7h 43m 15s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/91GkGNX.jpg]

[font roman [size12 Strolls through forests had never been this tense before. Seiji remembered his small trips into the woodlands that surrounded his hometown during his younger years and recalled each and every photo that was took. It was the most peaceful place to ever set foot in and you were guaranteed to be alone, but here was much different. Every sound that roused from the trees felt organic and Seiji shuddered with small worry. His steps were lax and careful, as if trying to avoid some kind of invisible obstacles surrounding him, and his hand merely lifted his camera once to snap a photo of a beautiful posy of hydrangeas.

He wasn't quite sure what was going on, but there was a presence somewhere that stirred him up slightly. It wasn't foreboding or daunting, quite the opposite in fact, peaceful and tranquil, but Seiji couldn't deny the feeling of unease at the idea of company in the woods. He didn't want to leave though, something inside him was preventing him from turning back, and thus, the boy kept his steady descent on the path towards the Shinto shrine above. He didn't know such a thing existed within the forest, and therefore, the holy structure wasn't expected at all. Even if the elders spoke of gods and their legends, those stories lessened every single year until only the most well-known were spoken of, and Seiji never really thought about prayers or shrines anymore.

Perhaps the most notable one to him was the usual Shichi-Go-San, but that was all really and his family forced him and his sister into that for the sake of tradition. He wasn't really concerned with praying for his health or others, because believing in such things felt wasteful. Nothing ever happened anyway. None of his prayers from his younger self had been answered, at least that's what Seiji thought.

He blew a steady breath through his parted lips and stopped in his tracks to gaze further up the path above. He hadn't encountered the Torii gate or the Shinto above, but the sight of the chains around the trees told him to now start expecting [i something] sacred. That [i spiritual] presence around him was starting to become more and more obvious. He began questioning himself what this forest really was; the history, the origins. Clearly [u something] important entailed here once-upon-a-time, and Seiji secretly wondered if his presence had stirred something up. He didn't necessarily believe in any legends or stories, but that didn't mean he didn't respect them. His younger sister, Yaeko, who was a whole lot more fascinated in the legends of Kami and more, ingrained the idea of respect into his head. It wasn't something to be messed with, that's for sure.

The constant shadow of [i someone's] presence within the forest was starting to get to him. He wasn't afraid or fearful, his determination mostly protected his more vulnerable emotions, but Seiji was nervous and uncomfortable at the thought of someone else. He wasn't the best with [i strangers.]

[b "Hello? Is someone there?"] He called out, his voice breaking the silence and echoing through the trees quietly. He waited for something to answer back, be that more silence or an actual voice. The cold chill blown in from the mountain caused him to shiver uncomfortably and feel even more uneasy. He clutched his camera and anticipated something, [i someone] to appear somewhere before him.
  ɴᴀᴏᴍɪ / Stripper / 31d 14h 5m 23s
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/VGu3kZf.jpg]

[font roman [size12 After the day they had finally departed, Naomi had never dreamed of seeing Johnathan again. She hoped that one day they would cross paths and their eyes would lock for the umpteenth time, the world around them completely lost to the moment, but mere hope didn't bring anything anymore. Nothing good ever came from feebly hoping for something unobtainable, Oliver was proof of that.

She had hoped for the perfect relationship; the perfect life, but when Oliver came along everything just seemed to go downhill from there. They had their honeymoon period at the beginning of their relationship and thought they loved each other more than anything in the world. Oliver never verbally attacked her or tried to intimidate her in anyway. They were the perfect couple, everybody on the outside could tell. But the throes of adulthood seemed to have changed everything for the worst. Or maybe Oliver was always like this.

[i 'Who truly knows.']

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Naomi still couldn't believe her eyes at who was standing before her. Her heart was filled with love and relief and her smile was warm and excited. She was [i relieved] to finally see him once again. She felt as if things were finally going her way. Everything about him soothed her worries and almost made her forget about surroundings entirely, the sudden jerk of the moving train took her by surprise, and his small caring gesture went partially ignored. It was such a long time ago now, but Naomi was still accustomed to his habits, or perhaps she held onto the memories tightly enough to never forget.

She chuckled at his [i train of thought] statement and smiled with her eyes. [b "Pun intended?"] Before taking her seat next to her and gesturing for him to sit across from her. [b "Don't worry. I don't think they really check the seats anymore."] She said with a reassuring smile, as if train journeys had become a regular part of her life now. She couldn't help but gaze into his eyes and admire the way he had changed. She remembered his younger self all too clearly and had once imagined what his older self would look like when they were both mere children. Her expectations had been met, but Johnathan looked much better than anything her imagination could muster.

Naomi caught herself staring and lightly gasped to herself in subtle embarrassment. She casually looked away with a hint of inner shame and played her mistake off with a quiet giggle. [b "No, I'm just coming home from a business trip. I managed to bag myself a career in law after we both..."] Her words trailed off with an underlining of sadness. It hurt to remember them parting ways. They never got to truly say goodbye. [b "Well, I'm doing alright for myself now."] She brushed the sudden change in atmosphere off with another smile of reassurance, but her chest pained her as if a wound inside had been reopened.

She met eyes with him once again and leaned forward slightly. She didn't want to talk about herself too much in fear of the topic of her life coming. She couldn't tell him about her engagement, about Oliver. She didn't know why, but something inside her was screaming [i no] at the mere thought. How could this be? The past is in the past was now. Johnathan wouldn't even [i care.] [b "What about you? Are you planning on going anywhere special? I can see by your [i dashing] apparel that you seem to be pretty important."] She partially joked with one of her 'brows playfully raised. She wondered who exactly he was now, what kind of person he had become. She doubted much had changed but his appearance told her different.

[i She secretly hoped he hadn't changed at all.]
  ɴᴀᴏᴍɪ / Stripper / 33d 16h 15m 4s
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