Lamentable Nights: Act 04.2 - "How to Train Your Stray"

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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pasonia »

Time: 9:40 am
Weather: Mist
Location: MVD -> North-most residential area
PC: Martin Chang

It was at best a reckless, non-sequitur episode of childishness coming from Martin, but suddenly he felt like playing a prank on MVD again. And what's not to like? He could do this in a private school, and knowing the skeptical public, they will pin it down as one of those adolescents moments fuelled with photo-editing mania.

Martin waited till everybody was in class - usually, a relatively quiet period would be a good indicator. He leapt down from the top of the building and crashed through a tree, deliberately raking a lot of rustling noises. The guards heard the noise and noticed the commotion, which was when Martin sprang a surprise, raking up even more leaves in the process.

Martin ran off, leaving leaves in his wake while the guards called out for him to stop. He dashed through the same main corridor he had escaped from not too long ago, deliberately allowing the guards to catch up to him.

"Hey, you! Stop! This is trespassing!"

He is quite familiar with the rough layout of the school, having visited it many times in the name of competitions. He used that knowledge to his advantage, high-jumping onto the top of the thick, wooden frame of the school's grand cafeteria. He watched in glee, the guards coming in and bewildered at his sudden disappearance.

"What the--- where's that guy?"
"I... I don't know, it's like he just disappeared in thin air?!"
"Search, you guys!"

For some reason, though, the glee disappeared as soon as it formulated.

"You'll be found out sooner or later if you keep trying this stuff."

What the shit? Why is her voice...

Martin scowled at himself. Any more of this and he will be found out. That piece of memory coming in was one Martin had scarcely wanted to remember, yet at the same time, Martin could not completely deny it. Those arguments were calm, were collected, had merits. Martin's, on the other hand...

"... mine almost had no merit to it, no?"

Martin watched the guards disperse, then found himself a window to leap out of. He figured he'll run into something if he kept trying, but from that point forth, no more school-invasion shenanigans.

It really is just plain silly.

Time: 10:20 am
Weather: Fog
Location: North-most residential area - Fukami Mansion
PC: Martin Chang

"So if I do it out of MVD, maybe this would be a good spot..."

The residential blocks have a common characteristic in this spot - they all sport twin stairwells on either side of a block, and there is a good gap in between that neither side can see through. Air-condition units dot the space between the stairwells, but other than that there are no other situations to be particularly afraid of.

Martin rubbed his palms. He had tried jumping high into the air, but he hadn't properly practiced bounding off walls to ascend, like the protagonists do in those video games at Neo's.

"You can do this, Martin."

Martin leapt skywards, catching himself a ledge on the third storey. The building was thirty storeys tall, though, so that means about ten more jumps or so. Strangely, Martin felt really confident that he would not injure himself in the process. It was probably how all those superheroes felt when they get new powers to play with, thought Martin.

Martin kept on the pace, jumping between the stairwell ledges, realising that wall-bounding isn't as easy as it first seemed. Unlike in video games, gravity plays a huge part here in how his jumps would play out. If he had bounded himself recklessly then it would definitely spell trouble.

"Whoa! That was a little too close. I better watch the next jump..."

He nearly lost two ledges in the process of bounding so high, but he grew more confident with each successful jump, realising that he could use his new jumping powers as suction rather than expulsion energy, though his new-found suction powers take a bit more to conjure.

And then, at long last, the rooftop of the block was one ledge away. Martin heaved a jump that send him flying to the top of the block, but improper posturing caused him to crash-land.

"Ouch... dang, that hurts... and so does the sun."

Martin slowly raised his hands up to the morning sun. He was, of course, at the top of such a tall building, and there was a marked lack of cover save for a nearby ladder-access, locked in so people wouldn't be able to normally get up to this height.

"Damned, what a sight..."

From the top of the block, he found himself marveling at a Pebbleton he didn't knew existed. To the south, the rival schools were caught in between the mist and a glut of residences and commercial buildings, and the port and parks were a spectacular sight, a shiny azure running across the sea waters they border, almost cutting through the frosty morning fog.

To the north were bounds of unexplored forests no one had yet wanted to excavate, though that might change in the near future. With the fog, they may as well take a page out of Halloween-inspired scenes.

And then to the west... was the infamous Fukami Mansion. Or what's left of it, anyway.

Martin felt intrigued by Fukami. Normally, the mansion is stated clearly as "out of bounds" but nobody gives two hoots about what the mayor's office says about things, so people still visit it. This time of the year, though, Fukami seems... deserted. Maybe the fanfare surrounding Fukami from years ago had died out. Martin wasn't too sure about paying Fukami a visit when a gut feeling wrenched him.

You should go take a look see...

Martin struggled for a short while, but his curiosity got the better of him. He resigned himself to strolling into Fukami mansion for a quick visit, and the quickest way down the building was to wall-jump down the stairwells on the other end.

Hops and skips, hops and skips. What could go wrong with hops and skips?

As it turns out, he would be quite wrong.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 11:10 AM
Weather: Fog
Location: Abandoned Overpass
PC: Jacket
NPCs: Lin

Jacket had never been invited to fight before, nevermind allowed to begin one. They always sort of... just happen. In fact he'd like to think that most of the times he's retaliated were all due to necessity. After all, through experience, it's pretty clear to him that for some reason the world just wasn't going to give him any lasting peace. Someone like him had to fight to survive. He didn't know whether or not he was a particularly violent person while he was alive, but since becoming a Stray, he has learned to throw punches simply because he needed to.

After being instructed to begin this mock bout of his own volition, and in any way that he wished, the Stray was -to say the least- just a bit unsure. So he began the way he always did; by meeting the target head-on.

He briefly knelt himself down on all fours, distributing all his weight into his legs, before kicking forward like a compressed spring.


He felt a sudden rush of adrenaline as the wind rushed past him. Jacket didn't like to fight. He never did. At the same time, he rarely picked his fights; all of them seemed to come to him. So there was something strangely exciting about being the instigator for once.

Unfortunately our masked hero soon realized that, apart from simply engaging the opponent, he had no idea what to do next. As he flew toward the unmoving Lin, closing the distance between them with blinding speed, his mind stumbled for a next course of action.

(Wait a second. Am I gonna hit her? Seriously??)

(-- She said not to hold back but... I can't really do that! Can I?!)

(---- What's she doing? Just standing there. Not moving at all??)

(------ Dammit! What do I do? Punch? Kick? Dodge?! Brake?!?!)

Standing still, Lin exhaled softly and almost disappointingly.

With one smooth, deliberate movement, the woman made a slight step to the side and firmly stretched an arm out in Jacket's flight-path. At the last moment before contact, she twisted her body and slung the arm to meet the Stray's body.

Jacket's own momentum, combined with the force of Lin's clothesline blow propelled him in an perfect, parabolic arc through the air.




Jacket choked out a groan as he landed square on his back and shoulders, the rest of his body still sticking up in the air for a short moment before collapsing in a pitiful fashion.

He lay in a daze, with his limbs outstretched like the Vitruvian Man until eventually Lin made her way over in a collected manner.

"Nnnngh... You.... You hit me!"

Lin's stone-faced expression seemed hardly like a reply.

"T-That was terrible."

"Yes. It was. Outstandingly."


Lin crossed her arms and watched with a off-put grimace as Jacket awkwardly got back on his feet up and dusted himself off.

"The Young Miss had accounted your previous engagements. I understood you were in poor form but... this underwhelmed even my expectations."

"Ngh... Well sorry if I'm not in tip-top fighting shape, ma'am. I actually try not to pick fights if I can help it."

"But is not that exactly the reason why you agreed to the Young Miss' proposal?"

"... Hmmm."

"There are some engagements one simply cannot avoid. Especially for you, Fragment."

Jacket immediately tensed up at the use of the term.

"Frag- Y-You know about that, too?!"

Lin seemed to ponder for a minute before answering.


"... How much? Do you know, I mean...?"

"Not everything. But enough."

Jacket clenched his teeth and cast his gaze aside. A failed attempt at hiding his bubbling frustration.

"Tch... Yea, again, someone else knows more about me than myself."

"Oh? So... you're unaware. I see." Lin, arms still crossed, closed her eyes in thought for a brief moment before opening them again.

"Are you curious?"

"Mmm..." Jacket rubbed his neck, both to ease the soreness caused by his fall and because it seemed to have become a habit of his whenever he was indecisive. "Someone asked me the same thing before. I confidently told them I didn't need to know... but now that I think about it, I was an idiot for saying that."

Jacket slowly returned his gaze to meet Lin's.

"Um... what I'm saying is... I think I would like to know. I mean, if who -or what- I am is going to affect those I care about, then it would be better if I got to know, right?"

"Do not ask me. That is something you should decide for yourself."

Lin turned around, and made her way to the other side of the plateau.


"Hold on! I thought you were going to explain something to me."

"I do not recall ever suggesting such a thing. Although... I might be inclined. If, perhaps, you start demonstrating some promise. Now, once more. Same as before."

"Tch. So that's how it is, huh?

Jacket couldn't say he wasn't starting to get a bit rustled by the woman's personality, but what could he do?

Well, for starts, let's try giving her exactly what she wants. If rushing head-long isn't going to work, then maybe a he can try a more indirect approach.

Breathing out firmly, Jacket once assumed an readied position, pressing most of his body weight onto his back leg. This time instead of charging forward, Jacket took a single step, spinning his body as he did so. Then, he flung his right arm out, unleashing a twisting band of tendrils out as he did. The result was an attack in the form of a lashing whip almost as thick has his arm.


Jacket grunted with effort as he pulled his arm horizontally, sweeping the extended tendrils across toward Lin. Even with the distance between them, Jacket's attack closed in on the woman at an incredibly fast speed. Faster, certainly, than any regular person could hope to react.

For a split second, Jacket thought he caught a glimpse of Lin blinking in surprise, but if it were true, then her reaction reverted within a split nanosecond. Quicker than even Jacket could observe, she ducked under the almost-impossibly tight space between Jacket's arm-whip and the group, rolling to the over side.


Without breaking pace for even a moment, Lin raised a leg and stomped violently down on the sweeping tendrils before they could even leave her range.


The sudden downward force caused Jacket to lose balance and trip forward.

-- Not good! This has happened before, and it's not good!

Before the Stray could regain he bearings, Lin had suddenly appeared right in front of him, arm raised and in mid-stride. Jacket's stumbling self came in contact with yet another clothesline strike moving at what seemed like supersonic speed. Certainly the boom that came after could attest to that.


With a dull and ungraceful commotion, Jacket spun a full three circles in the air before landing in much the same way as he had before.


And yet again, the legs landed a few full seconds after the rest of the body. Having the wind knocked completely out of him, the Stray could only wheeze out a coarse reaction to his beatings.

"... ooow."

After a few moments, perhaps to allow Jacket to further allow in shameful silence, Lin made her way over to an utterly defeated opponent for a second time.

"Tell me." Lin began, without even allowing him the time to pick himself up "What were you thinking as you attacked?"

"... Does it matter?"

His tone might have come off a little more offensive than he intended, but the woman didn't seem to react. From his position, Jacket had to roll his eyes upward to catch a glimpse of Lin's face. It wasn't a mocking expression, nor one that pitied. Just hard, and serious. Like always.

If Lin was ever one to pose a trick question, it'd certainly be very hard to decipher. He wondered if this was the case now. But, after giving a solemn sigh, he decided to answer honestly anyway. It's not as if he could afford to make a snarky quip to this lady.

"Well, obviously, I was focused on taking you down. That's what I was supposed to do, right? 'Give you everything I had', that's what you said."

"True. Those were my instructions." Jacket had drawn his eyes away from Lin, but he felt her take some steps away. "Victory comes not through war, but through battles."

"... Huh?"

When the Stray finally managed to roll himself onto his stomach, he realized that Lin was already making her way to the other side of the overpass again. As she walked, with her back unturned, the woman continued.

"As you engaged me, your only thoughts were of striking me down. The end result. Perhaps... even picturing yourself standing victorious over my limp body?"


Jacket winced. Guilty as charged. Granted, she was starting to grate his nerves.

"Victory comes not through war, but through battles." The woman repeated as she reached her destination and promptly about-faced, casting a familiar dragon-like glare in his direction. "At any given moment, the most important thing in an engagement is always the next step. If you allow yourself to be plagued by delusions, then your foe already has the advantage. Win every blow you trade, and naturally, you will accumulate victory."

Lin closed her eyes calmly and crossed her arms. Jacket has come to recognize this posture as some sort of "lecture pose" that Lin seemed to enjoy using.

"Do you understand?"

"Sort of... I guess."

Lin let out a disgruntled "hmmm", observably dissatisfied with his uncertain response.

"During the first engagement, you simply leapt at me without thought. Then, in the second, you realized that would not work, so you changed your tactics and attacked me from afar. Up until there, your effort was... commendable. To say the most."


Jacket couldn't help but gush just a bit. It was the first thing resembling any sort of praise that came out of Lin's mouth. Directed at him, no less! What a cause for celebration!

"... However, what did you plan to do after that? Had you considered that maybe the attack would fail, like it very much did? Or even perhaps how you would response if I had countered it, like I did?"

"Eh... Well..." Ouch. Talk about taking someone down a peg. Or several, in this case. Hell, she might as well have just kicked him down a lengthy flight of stairs. "... Not really."

"To charge into battle recklessly, and without heed for your surroundings is the mark of an amateur, and the cause of a corpse. That includes your foe. Always assume the enemy has a plan against yours. Never underestimate the opposition, even for a moment. Focus on the next step. Claim victory in battles, and the war will be yours."

Jacket blinked thoughtlessly as he stood, almost stunned. This was the most the stoic woman has ever said at once. What a spiel, too. At least now he knows where Lanette got her long-winded lecturing tendencies from.

"Now. Once more." Lin assumed her calm, but prepared stance yet again. "Come at me as you will. Keep what you have just learned in mind."

"Wait, Miss Lin."

"... Yes?"

"... Why are you helping me so much?"

"... Excuse me?"

"I-I'm not ungrateful or anything! Really!" The Stray, having realized how idiotically insulting his may words came off, frantically waved his arms in an effort to quell any potential flames. "I'm just... well..."

Jacket ceased his arm-flailing and instinctively raised his right hand anxiously to his neck.

"... It's pretty obvious you don't like me very much. But I'm used to that, so it's fine. Is it... only because Lanette asked you to? That can't be... everything, right?"

He relinquished a nervous breath and tucked both hands into his pants pockets.

"I... I'm just wondering. That's al--."

"Yes. It is true that I do not particularly care for your presence. Especially around the Young Miss. It is no secret that you are a danger to those around you, both inherently and considering those who might be vying for what you are. In fact, in my opinion, it would be better if you were simply eliminated completely."

"Elimin...ated?" Jacket swallowed hard. Perhaps he'd dug a little too deep for his own good.

"Bluntly put, if things were completely up to me, I would have killed you outright."

"I-I-I see...." This wasn't a dragon anymore. Even dragons could be noble and regal creatures. The presence in front of Jacket was undoubtedly that of some sort of demon. He was sure of it.

"Hmph. But things are not up to me at the moment." Lin's expression softened just a bit as she allowed her arms to relax at her sides. "And... as much as I may be against the idea, the Young Miss' decision may be for the best."

"I-Is that right?"

"I am uncertain. But lately I have discovered that I may have been amiss about many things. Things that I have come to regret, and matters that I would condemn myself for welcoming ever again. There is a chance that... I have been too concerned with petty details. The bigger picture is sometimes worth looking at as well."

Perhaps as an allegory her own resolve, Lin looked out to the horizon of forested tree tops beyond the platform they stood on.

"Uhm, I thought... we were supposed to focus on just the next step?"


Lin abruptly drew her eyes away from the scenery.

"T-That is simply concerning combat... I am referring to something else entirely."

Was that...? No way. It couldn't be.

There was no way that Miss Lin would ever be caught flustered. Jacket decided it must have been the mist playing tricks on his vision. Yes. The mist was somehow conjuring an optical illusion that cast a slight, almost unnoticeable-to-the-naked-eye pink-ish glow on Lin's cheeks.

That was what Jacket had decided. There's no need to push anymore buttons.

"Now then." It was nearly daunting her quickly her tone could readjust to their staple rigidity. "If you are so sure of my instructions, let us test that mettle."

Lin swiftly resumed her expectant posture.

"Again. Come at me as you will."


This was gonna be a long day.

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 11:20 AM
Weather: Fog
Location: Lanette's Secret Base
PC: Lanette (officially upgraded from NPC)

This was gonna be a long day.

Algebra, calculus, social studies, economics, sciences...

"AaaaaAAUUUGH! No more! I'm done!!"

Lanette threw down her pen and collapsed face-down on her desk. Her hand was sore from all the writing, her eyes were probably permanently damaged from all the reading, and it would take a million years before she could wipe all those numbers from her mind's eye.

She could still see them floating about against the inside of her eyelids even now. What terrible way to waste a morning. It's not the content of the work, as she had never been bad at her studies, but the sheer volume.

Four months. Not being home for four months was the equivalent of skipping school for the same length of time for her! How could she have forgotten about... homework, of all things!


Lanette let loose a hapless groan. She'd wanted to go with Lin and Jacket. She wondered what was happening now? Obviously, there was no way Jacket could even touch Lin. He's probably getting his butt handed to him on a fancy silver platter. Just like how she fared against her caretaker when she had taught her as well. Line really was strong...


Lanette suddenly snapped out of her daydream, an action she announced by slamming both her hands on her desk, causing the various writing utensils scattered all over it to roll and rattle around.

"Right then! I'm going for a walk!"

And then, the next slam to be heard in the trailer was the sound of the entrance door flying shut.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by marcien »

Date: 10 Jun, Thursday
Time: Morning
Location: Martin's home
PC: Sophia (Oriole)
Other PCs: Makoto (M), Z. Redmist

Sophia had gotten used to this routine. Every morning, she would be woken up by her crosser. At first, he said he was going to work, and Sophia knew Martin meant "looking for work". In the recent days, Sophia knew that "going to work" now means "training enomena". She does not understand why Martin will want to train without her, but she thinks that it is fine that he gets stronger. (Mister Mad Hooder had told her not to actually ask him about it: something about "man" and "spirit" and "ego".)

Some moments after Martin left for work, Makoto would be here, for his now almost daily ritual of watching the morning cartoons on Martin's television. You would think that Sophia would be used to getting ignored whenever there was a television switched on in front of Makoto, but she was not.

So even when Makoto made the mistake of thinking to himself, Sophia jumped upon the chance for a conversation.

Y'know, a week ago, I thought that's something that's only done in cartoons.

'What thing what's done?'

After this morning, I guess I'll take it back.

'Huh, why?'

By now, Makoto does not even bother to reply Sophia aloud. Why bother with it when she hears him regardless? Acrobatics.

Sophia has learnt to decipher Makoto's thoughts. 'There was someone who could do acrobatics?'


Kinda like what the guy on the screen is doing now.

Sophia has also learnt that if she puts her face close enough to the screen (meaning facehug the television), she will be able to see what is on it. 'Wow! The guy is doing a spinning turning thing in mid-air!'

'Sophia... I can't see!' Makoto struggles to look around all of the blond hair covering the screen.

'Waaah!! Acrobatics!'

'Nooo...! Give me the play-by-play, Sophia!!'

'A sword flies! The girl jumps!'

Clearly, Sophia's description of the action scenes was very lacking when compared to the sound effects that Makoto was hearing. 'No... not--!

Damn it... If you want to see it so badly, go to Redmist!'

Sophia startled and turned around. 'Eh? Mister Redmist? He is the guy in the show?'

Mmh. Makoto pulled Sophia away from the screen in relief.

'He's the Foggy Frog Alchemist?!'

'Yes yes, he is. Now go and leave the TV alone.'

And for the next quarter of an hour, Makoto watches "Sol of the Gold" in peace.

-- -- -- -- --

Fortunately for Sophia, Redmist lives nearby, only in the next block. (She had gone there once with Cassius, when they were handing out flyers in search of a crosser for Makoto.) For once, she was able to get to a place she wanted to go, without getting lost. Sophia felt proud of herself.

She let herself in through his door and came face-to-face with a tall man.

'You are entering private property, stray. Please leave.'

He then returned to sitting on his swivel chair looking at a small computer screen, dragging along the wires linked to the back of his head. Sophia remained in his apartment, familiarising herself with it's surroundings, Redmist turned to her again.

'Leave now, stray,' he repeated.

He turned back to computer, tapping at his keyboard. I'm... this...? Who is she--

He sounded like he was working. Still, Sophia really wanted to meet a real acrobat. 'Um...'

'What do you want.'

He sounded irritated, so Sophia spoke quickly. 'Uh- Mister Mad Hooder said, you can do acrobatics! Like the Froggy Fog Alcreba-... Fog... Froggy... Foggy Frog Alchemist!! Are you going to perform for the festival??!'

Redmist literally face-palmed. He remembered that the stray he met earlier was good friends with this one.

'No, I will not be performing. Neither am I an acrobat. Your friend is mistaken about me.'

'... oh.'

'Please leave now.'

'Um, okay! Good day, Mister Redmist!'
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 11:25 AM
Weather: Fog
Location: Lanette's Secret Base
PC: Lanette

"Please, Young Miss. Even if you do not wish to dress as refined as you did at the estate, at the very least, put on some sensible clothing."

That is what Lin had told her after she refused to wear any of the stuff that Lin had... quite strangely, already prepared for her. Not only had she had enough of that lacy, frilly stuff, but she would rather die than be seen like that out in public! The girl couldn't believe they'd ever managed to force her into those things to begin with, even back at the mansion.

A white shirt with red stitching, rough green shorts, and a peach sweater worn loosely over all of that. Simple, comfy, and most importantly of all, tough! Yes, combined with her all-important fingerless gloves, she did look like one tough customer. Even incognito one cannot afford to appear too relaxed. Villains are a superstitious and cowardly lot, and intimidation is always the first step to dealing with evil!

As Lanette hopped off the last step of the trailer and shut the door behind her, she couldn't help but realize that Lin seemed to have many things already prepared. Clothes, food... even the mobile home itself was ready to go. Was Lin that confident she would find her here?

"Hmmm... Oh well."

If Lanette had learned one thing about her caretaker, it's that sometimes it's best not to think too hard about the things she does. Mostly because there's no possible way a normal person would be able to decipher what goes on in her mind. She'll nag it out of her later. But for now, there's more important things to focus on.

And that thing is...


Lanette bounced happily into the park, stretching her painfully sore arms out behind her and then scanned her surroundings. It had been dark when Lin brought her here, so she didn't have enough time to recognize where they were headed. She'd also been dreadfully tired, so she didn't bother to ask either.

Come to think of it, she had no idea where this trailer was parked. What a drag! She didn't recognize any of the townscape around her! The fog didn't help much, either.

"Well that's just great... I thought maybe I'd go to the park or something."

... But now she didn't even know where that was, either! Darnit. Should she wait until Lin and Jacket got back after all?


"Nah!" Actually, things are better this way! An adventure is always more fun if you have no idea where you're headed. "Okay! Today's mission is to find the park, chill out for a few, and get back before I get in trouble!"

Shadow Buster... it's show time!

... Uh, well, maybe the not the Shadow Buster with these clothes.

'Lanette Hindfell' would have to do...

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 1:30 PM
Weather: Fog
Location: Forested Area to Fukami Mansion
PC: Jacket
NPCs: Lin

*Ether levels below safety threshold. Deploying backup Ether supply now.*

Jacket grumbled uneasily at the robotic voice coming from the device in his chest. He gently grasped at it as he walked through the forest, once again following Lin's lead.

"Hey... Miss Lin. This thing's been saying that for a while now... am I really gonna be okay?"

"Panzer technology is often clumsy and unreliable. Do not become too dependent on it. In any case, even if that device does malfunction, you should still be fine. You are a Stray, are you not?"

Jacket couldn't say that reasoning put his heart at ease at all. But maybe he is relying too much on the crow lady's device. Normal Strays like Sophia and that pesky hooded guy didn't have something like this. He should count himself fortunate.


Although, the stiff soreness thundering throughout his entire body at the moment was certainly trying hard to dispute that thankfulness. He didn't know if it was normal for Strays to feel constant, jarring muscular pain but somehow Lin was able to beat it into him.


"... It was only for a short time, and all I ever commanded of you was to attack me with no further instruction, yet you managed to improve even through something as simple as this exercise. I cannot say that... I am not impressed."

To be able to get something like that out of a person like Lin... well, let's just say Jacket was a bit proud of himself, to say the least!

"Huh? H-Hey, Miss Lin! I think we're headed the wrong way!"

Jacket had snapped out of his daydream long enough to notice that Lin had apparently missed a turn a couple of trees back.

"Yes, I realized that. We are not taking the route back."

"Uh, we're not?"

"The mist has gotten much denser than when we came in the morning, and the way I used to reach that construction site was... rather improvised. It would be troublesome if we lost our way."

"Oh. So- Ngh!"

Jacket ducked swiftly to avoid the back-lash of a branch Lin had moved out of the way. It was something he'd gotten used to doing, after several painfully failed attempts.

"-- Argh. So, um, where are we headed?"

"There should be a proper path up ahead. It leads to the abandoned Fukami Estate."


And those were the words the two shared for the duration of their trek through the woods.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Here we go. Finally. Sorry for the unforgivably long delay. I've no excuses. It's a 3-parter, starting with this one.

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 12:20 PM
Weather: Fog
Location: Lanette's Secret Base
PC: Lanette (officially upgraded from NPC)

"That'll be a dollar, please."

"Um... can I pay by debit?"


Lanette was initially hesitant about whipping out the card for a single candy bar, but she hadn't a cent of change on her so she didn't have any other choice. Thankfully, the boy behind the counter didn't seem to pay nearly as much mind as he directed her to the card reader.

She didn't even want it, really. In fact, she had come into the convenience store to ask for directions to the park, but was afraid that it would seem kind of petty if she didn't at least buy something. If she mentioned it off-handedly after making a purchase... it'd probably be better. Or something along those lines.

As she punched her PIN number into the device, Lanette mentally slapped herself (again) for having forgotten to take it with her when she made her get-away from home.

All those days of starvation... what was the point?! All of it could have been avoided if she just had a bit of foresight. Then Lin had to go ahead and drive it all home with her chastising when she learned how dysfunctional the girl's eating habits had become due to lack of funds. Though, it really had been a 'now-or-never' moment when she made the break for it.

"Ugh... I guess running away from home isn't such a smart thing to do spontaneously..."


"Uh! N-Nothing!"

Lanette flushed and quickly looked away when she realized she had been talking out loud.

G-Gotta stop doing that...!

"Oh. Here. You want a bag for this?"

The young man behind the counter gestured to Lanette's purchase while wearing the most lethargic and monotonous expression she had ever seen. The way his eyelids drooped seemed as though he was going to drift off to sleep at any moment.

"... For a chocolate bar?"

"Maybe. If you want. Always gotta ask." The boy gave a shrug that seemed a bit too heavy for the occasion. "Some people want 'em no matter one. Got chewed out once because I didn't ask. Not gonna make the same mistake again."

"Oh. Well, no thanks."

The boy gave a silent nod as Lanette grabbed the candy bar and headed for the door. The boy, however, kept his lazy gaze trained on the girl, as if he had some lingering words on the tip of his tongue. She stopped halfway to the exit as she noticed his stare.


"Hmmm... well, it's not a big deal, really. But..." The boy gave another shrug. It seems to be some sort of habit. "A while ago I heard that there was some guy who was eating that brand of chocolate, and he found, like, a fingernail inside or something."


Lanette nearly choked on her own spit as she repeated her words, this time as more of an expletive. She didn't know whether to be shocked at the confectionery she held in her hand, or at the young clerk for even having the thought to tell such a tale.

"Ha ha... yeeeaaa. He totally sued the company... I think. Or wait... was it even that candy company?"

The boy placed a hand to his chin and furrowed his brows, somehow seeming exceptionally more concentrated than moments before. Then, in an instant, the intensity on his face was gone with yet another loose shrug.

"Meh. Can't remember." The young clerk frowned and rubbed the back of his head apologetically. "I can kind of understand if you don't wanna eat that anymore. My bad. I can give you your dollar back. If you want."

"I... uh..." Lanette wasn't exactly sure how to respond. It took a full few seconds of stumbling for words before she settled with a half-slurred "That's-fine-I'm-just-gonna-go."

The boy gave another silent nod. Lanette turned her head as she quickly slipped out of the place so she wouldn't have to see if he had any more disturbing things to say.

"What... What a total weirdo! Once the automatic doors closed safely behind her, Lanette heaved a sigh exasperated enough to have come from a lamenting war veteran. Thank goodness she was the only one in the store, otherwise she might have offed herself from embarrassment on the spot. That was beyond awkward...

"Ah-!" It hit her far too late that she had completely forgotten why she initially entered the store to begin with. "Darnit! I didn't ask for directions!!"

Lanette slumped her shoulders and whimpered in defeat. What was the point of all that, then?! To have have an emotionally scarring conversation with some messed up guy?

"Maaan! I can't... well, I don't even wanna go back there now."

The girl consoled herself with the suggestion that the clerk probably wouldn't have given her very good directions anyway. But now it looks like she'll either have to continue to ridiculously grope her way through the fog, or find someone el-


A gruff and tired voice groaned heavily from down the street. Lanette's eyes brightened up with she saw a familiar goatee'd face shambling toward her direction. Although... a bit more gaunt than she remembered.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 1:55 PM
Weather: Fog
Location: Lanette's Secret Base
PC: Jacket, Martin, Lanette
NPCs: Lin

As Jacket sat in the back seat of the car once more, he couldn't help but think that it would probably have taken them less time to simply traverse the forest the way they entered instead of winding all the way around to the Fukami Mansion, even if they had gotten lost. Though, Lin's word was law - one that he certainly wasn't going to argue. And it's not as though the detour was particularly displeasing. It certainly brought back some rather pleasant memories.


The sound of Lin shifting the gears into park jolted him from whatever daydream his mind had wandered into. It seemed that they had arrived back at the mobile home... or "secret base", as Lanette had insisted everyone to call it. The driver said not a word as she retrieved the keys from the ignition and climbed out of the vehicle. After shutting the door, Lin keenly scanned her surroundings before giving Jacket a quick nod.

All clear, it seems.

The spacious parking lot was not like where they had parked by the forest. However remote, it was still public space within the city. Wandering eyes could spell trouble if they happened to catch the 'legendary' Phantom Jacket. Although the Stray himself was quite sure nobody would be able to see anything worthwhile through the thick fog anyway.

Perhaps that was why they didn't see the extra figure on the staircase before it was too late.

"Lin! You're back! That was early!"

A head of bright orange hair launched out of the white haze, with the girl to whom it belonged throwing her arms happily around Lin's waist. It seemed that she had been waiting on the trailer's front steps. The woman smiled as she gently returned the embrace.

"The weather has gotten quite dreadful. I did not want to run into any trouble on the way back, so I made sure we returned before it could turn any worse."

"Thought ahead, eh? That's much more responsible of you than I remember!"


Lin's gaze snapped in the direction of the new, foreign voice while she instinctively drew Lanette behind her. The person who spoke was leaned against the side of the trailer, although it was difficult to gauge his appearance behind the mist.

"... And who might you be?"

A sharp demand, bearing no humors.

Sensing trouble, Lanette wormed free of Lin's protective grasp and jumped frantically between the standoff.

"W-Wait! Wait, wait, wait! He's okay! He's... er... a friend!"

"Yeap. That's right, lady! Douse those nerves!"

The girl's protest did little to settle her guardian. Lin's draconic stare narrowed as her eyes cut through the fog. Then, they suddenly widened as she realized who the mystery person was.

"So it's you." Unfortunately this only caused her expression to turn even more sour. "What are you doing here...?"

Her demands seethed forth as near-growls now. Lanette had both arms planted against Lin's arms now, as if struggling to restrain an enraged animal. It may have not been very far from the truth.

"Wait! Lin! Don't kill him! It's fine! He's cool!"

The girl's head spun back and forth between her caretaker and the target of her aggression, desperately trying to defuse the whole fiasco. All the while, Martin was stayed leaning back, arms casually crossed in front of him.

"Grrr... you goatee! I thought we agreed I'd take care of the talking!!"

"Hahaha. Sorry, I just couldn't help it!" Martin's reaction seemed to juxtapose the density of the atmosphere as he gave a light chuckle. "That being said, I didn't mean anything by it. And I didn't come here to do anything ba-"

"-Then I would advise you leave before I do."

"Nnnnngh!! Wait Liiin! Just calm down!!" Lanette was practically throwing all of her wait onto the green-haired woman now. Martin, however, still didn't seem all that disturbed. His eyes gleamed brightly behind his specs as if watching a grand plan unfold perfectly right in front of him.

"Hey. What's all the commotion about?"

When Jacket finally arrived, he came upon a strange scene indeed. Lin was lurching forward, hands clenched, and wearing an expression that the sanctity of his pants was grateful for not being aimed in his direction.

Lanette was there, too, arms pinned tightly to the woman, apparently trying to hold her back.

"What the hell are you guys doing?"

"Well now! If it isn't the star of the show, himself!"


Jacket slowly turned toward the man who had spoken. That's strange. He didn't notice this guy at all. Must have been the fog. The unshaven man was grinning from ear to ear as he shifted his glasses with one hand.

The man was also looking straight in his direction. It took a couple of seconds for Jacket to gauge the gravity of the situation.


The iconic fluttering of clothing signaled the Phantom Jacket's very immediate, and very obvious retreat into the shadows. Which, in this case, meant around the corner of the trailer.

Everything went silent for a moment as all three other persons, Lin included, turned and stared monotonously at the Stray's masterful hiding place.

Martin was the first one to break the strange lull.

"Kid... that's not fooling anybody."

"Ugh...." Lanette retrieved one hand from her hold on Lin just to strike an exasperated palm her to face. "Jacket, it's fine. He's a Crosser."

After a few seconds a white face slowly appeared from behind the trailer's rear bumper.




Jacket crawled out from his hiding place and waltzed awkwardly back toward the group.

"Haha, whoops!"

Lin did not seem too happy about him brushing off the circumstances so easily.

"How careless. Have you learned nothing today?"

Her words were thrown almost like punches. Jacket nearly double over with shame.

"Nnng. Sorry. Shoulda been more careful. Didn't think we'd have a guest, though..."

"... And neither did I. In fact, I did not sense the presence of a Crosser at all."

The group's attention was drawn toward Martin again. Lanette tensed up almost straight away, ready to wedge herself between him and Lin if needed. However, it seemed the brief reposed had served to ease the caretaker's aggression. Lin's expression had returned to her natural, unreadable state, and she resumed speaking in the usual regal manner.

"What, then, does a Concealer want with the Hindfell family?"

"Eh?" Martin scratched his chin in puzzlement. "What in blazes is a Concealer?"

Lin simply raised, then quickly lowered a brow.

"Hmph. I see. Another one who does not know their own true nature."

Standing behind the scene, Jacket lightly bit the edge of his lip at Lin's comment. It was obviously made at his expense.

"The heck's that mean? Do you speak in riddles all the time? It's amazing the young lass can understand you."

Jacket found himself agreeing with the stranger on that one.

"Darnit, goatee! What's your problem?! Quit trying to rile her up!"

Martin just gave a light shrug.

"Enough. What is it that you want?"

"Hold on, what about what you just called me? Concealer, was it?"

"That concerns us not. Go investigate that elsewhere. Now state your business or kindly be on your way, so we can be on ours."


Martin opened his mouth, as if to launch another retort, but at the last moment decided against it. Instead, he stated his business as asked.

"Just wanted to talk to some old friends. Smells like deja vu, doesn't it, Miss Lin?"

Judging by her unchanging expression, the Hindfell caretaker was not particularly amused by Martin's quip.

"About what?"

"The incident at the cliff." Suddenly, Martin seemed to spare no time for beating around the bush. He went straight to the point. "Though, of course you weren't there at all yourself, isn't that right?"

Lanette winced as Martin spoke. That dumb goatee'd grouch! Was he trying for a death sentence?! However, when Lanette sneaked a glance at Lin, she didn't seem at all affected by the man's words.

"No. I was not. What of it?"

"Nothing. Just means I won't really have much to ask you."

"Then if you wished to pose your questions to the Young Miss. Hindfell instead, I am sorry to disappoint. She will be doing no such thing."

"Oh, that's fine! She told me plenty while she treated me to lunch!"

"H-Hey! I thought I said not to..." Lanette's words trailed off when she noticed Lin directing a outstandingly disapproving look in her direction. "... say anything about that..."

"This conversation is over. We will be heading in now, Young Miss."

"Hold on Lin, I-"

"We will be heading in now, Young Miss."


This was the first time Jacket had ever seen Lanette look visibly apprehensive. The girl shrank back so far it made her seemed like some sort of poor critter being cornered by a vicious predator. It almost made him want to scoop her up and out of danger.


Instead he simply laughed vengefully inside his head. Karma's a cruel thing, ain't it, Young Miss?

From his comfortable leaning spot, Martin gave an audible sigh. It seems he wasn't going to try to stop them.

"That's fine, I've learned enough to try and budge a woman's who's made up her mind. Though it wouldn't hurt your looks if you softened up a little, you know. Maybe use some more of that Hindfell makeup."

The woman paid Martin's ramblings no heed has she lead a depressed-looking Lanette across to the entrance of the trailer.

"I don't suppose you'd don't mind if I interrogate the masked guy then, eh?"

"Huh? Me?"

Lin paused halfway through the doors, and took a split second before answering.

"Hmph. Do as you wish."


The doors slid shut. From within the trailers a long, drawn out "But Liiiiiiiin....!" faded into the confines of the mobile home. And then the two males were left alone outside. Jacket hooked his fingers to his waist nervously.

Lanette seemed to know this man so... he shouldn't be a bad person, right? But why'd the guy have to call him out specifically? He had no idea.

The Stray was afraid this might turn into another awkward standstill, but Martin spoke up almost immediately.

"SO! You're Jacket, right?"
Last edited by Pictor on Tue May 29, 2012 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 2:00 PM
Weather: Fog
Location: Lanette's Secret Base
PC: Jacket, Martin


Jacket was a bit hesitant to respond. After all, the person addressing him was a complete stranger. Not only that, but he appeared out of nowhere and started yammering on like he was already everyone's acquaintance. Still, he didn't seem like a bad guy. Although Jacket was a bit more aware now that things aren't always how they initially seemed, he went ahead and affirmed the man's question anyway.

"Yea, that's right... er... sir."

"Right. The Stray who sort of, kind of, abandoned his Crosser, because he thinks he'd save his Crosser doing so."

"Wait, what?!"

Jacket was caught so off guard by what the stranger said that he didn't even realized he had made his exclamation out loud. The man paid no heed, and simply continued on.

"Mighty silly, but I guess it's a pretty straightforward response. I'd have done that too." The man finally lifted himself from the wall and paced closer to a more appropriate 'discussion' distance. "Although, I can't say that it was the smartest idea."

"H-Hold it! How do you know about that? Who are you?"

"Oh. Dang it!" The man snapped his fingers in what seemed like mock frustration. Honestly, Jacket had trouble telling what was drama and what was genuine from this guy. Coming from him... that should mean something. "The name's Martin Chang. And I can fly!"


"Aw hell... guess that's not appropriate anymore." The man quickly turned around and mumbled something Jacket couldn't quite make out.

"Sorry, wha--"

"--Nothing, lad. You're hearing things."

"Oh. Uh... okay then. Mister Chang, where di-"

"Whoa, whoa." The stranger named Martin stuck a palm out to halt the Stray's sentence while he shook his head deeply. "Barely rarin' thirty there, lad, but not quite passed the mark yet. Martin is fine. Don't make older than I am. You're no boss of me, either."

... What was this guy's problem?

"Yea, yea. Alright. Martin, then. How'd you know about me and Mir...-" Jacket stopped himself this time. "-...My situation?"

"Can't even give her a mention, eh? That's how hard you're deluding yourself?" Martin gave a sigh and crossed his arms in front of him. "I wasn't expecting much after hearing it but you're a sadder case than I expected, you know that?"

"What are you talking about...?"

Jacket replied in a tone more aggressive than he intended. He'd been speaking to this guy for all of about a minute or two, and something about him was already beginning to rub him the wrong way.

"Go back to the girl."


"Go. Back. To. Mirto." The man's words cut a swath through the empty lot and echoed back from parts unknown beyond the fog. "That's your Crosser's name. Nice and loud, for ya."

Martin didn't give Jacket another opportunity to interject. He strung his words on without pause.

"Just what exactly do you think you're doing out here, 'Jacket'? Waiting for everything to be all dandy again? So you can swoop back into her life when you feel like it? Mighty selfish, don't you think? Sorry, but life just doesn't work that way. I would know."

The man took a few steps to his right, bent down, and picked a small pebble off the ground.

"The lass is tough, I'll give her that. But in the end she's still young. A kid. When push comes to shove, she probably wouldn't have the guile to see a fight down to the wire. What are you thinking leaving her alone like that? How lightly do you think of a bond between a Crosser and Stray?"

Jacket, however, didn't seem to have caught the latter half of the man's spiel.

"... How the hell do you know Mirto?"

Jacket's first words in awhile rumbled viciously from his throat. The whole time he had been steadily gritting his teeth tighter and tighter. His hands had burrowed themselves deep into his parka's pockets, locked into tight fists.

"Me? I just got done talking to her a short while before I came here!"

"You... spoke to Mirto?"

"Certainly did! And before you get all worked up, don't worry. All I did was ask her some harmless questions. Same as I did with the cape-wearing lass... that Lanette. Although..."

The man's lips curled into a curiously devious sneer.

"... I suppose even that much is more than you have the balls to do right now."

"Hey. Shut up."

The Stray ground out in a coarse voice. By now, he had dug his heels into the ground so hard that debris had begun to scrunch audibly beneath his feet.

"I don't even know who the hell you are, 'Martin'. What makes you think you can just step in and start spouting all this friggin' trash? You don't know anything."

"But I know about you, Jacket! Or should I say... Phantom Jacket? You know, the urban legends about you are quite famous around town. In fact, I got the lucky chance to see your little publicity act awhile back. You sure made Dawnview Walk quite the attraction for a few days after that."

Tch. So that's where...

"Of course, now I see how played up those rumors really are. A demon? A vigilante? The town's guardian? Give me a break. You couldn't even stay by the side of a single girl."

"Back off."

"Hmm? What's that?"

Martin raised a hand to his ear and leaned forward, pretending not to have heard the Stray's angry demand.

"Back. Off."

"So sorry. Couldn't quite hear tha-"

"I said..."



Jacket lurched forward, stomping out in Martin's direction with force enough to leave a small foot-shaped crater in the asphalt.

The bespectacled man planted his hands firmly on his waist and leaned back with raised brows, coupled with a grin that practically screamed "gotcha".

"So you can deliver a wallop, after all."

"Oh. You.. have no idea."

At that moment, Jacket found himself empathizing with Lin of all people. More specifically, the overwhelming urge to hurt this guy in front of him.

"Heh. That I don't. Not exactly anyway. Although I do know that whatever punch you think you pack wasn't enough to salvage the situation at the northern cliff. Isn't that right?"

It was Martin's turn to step forward. Although in a much calmer, and steadier fashion than the masked Stray.

"And if you weren't enough then tell me; what makes you think Mirto is? I'm still deathly curious to know why you think you're doing the right thing by just leaving her be."

"Tch. What's it to you then, huh? Cuz I don't think I owe you anything."

"Of course you don't. But you still don't get it. It's not just about me. And I know exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing. But do you?" Martin raised his right hand to the bridge of his glasses and shifted them upward with his index finger. "If not now, then when?"

The man walked a few more paces as he continued his lecture, tossing the pebble he had claimed from the ground up and down as he did.

"You showed me just now that you have what it takes to shout. So man up. Speak up. Assert yourself. You'd be trapped again and again if you keep hiding away."

The man ceased his movement and pivoted toward Jacket's direction in one movement. He caught the stone out of the air for what would be the final time, and then he drew the arm back, in level with his eyes.


Martin closed one eye, as if attempting to gauge some sort of target. Before Jacket could wonder what the man was trying to do, he stepped forward and slung the weight of his body along the hand clutching the pebble.


A small burst of energy, nearly undetectable, erupted from his palms like some sort of projectile launched from a trebuchet. Though it was the force that carried the pebble along, from Jacket's point of view it appears as though the man had simply shot the pebble from his bare hand.

Lanette said he was a Crosser. So was this his ability, then?

The man continued to stare out until the pebble had completely disappeared behind the white fog wall. Then he exhaled softly and turned to face Jacket once more. Again, he bore a sardonic grin upon his face.

"Stop kidding yourself, man. You and I both have a long freakin' way to go; I could win Miss Lin in a war of words, but even with what I've come to be capable of, I would probably still be smacked hard in an actual fight. If I'm doing something about that, you probably should, too."

Martin furrowed his brows, but his smile only tightened.

"Because all I see now is a coward who can't decide on anything."


Jacket lifted his foot from the hole he'd made in the ground and straightened himself, returning his hands into his pockets.

"You know, you sound a lot like another guy I ran into recently. Thought himself a big shot. Wouldn't stop talkin'. Wasn't very nice, either. It was pretty damned annoying. I ended up throwing him off a cliff. But it looks like you already know all about that story, huh?"

Jacket's single glowing eye narrowed in its socket.

"But there was one thing about him that pissed me off more than anything else. The way he went on... it was like everything was a game."

Jacket, gaze unrelentingly locked to Martin's own, slowly closed the distance between them step by step.

"He kept smiling. Just like you are, right now. He had fun. That guy had fun"

One step forward.

"Threatening to kill Mirto was a game."

Five steps forward.

"Knocking out the orange-haired brat was a game."

Ten steps forward.

"Hurting everyone I cared about was a game."

Jacket stopped inches away from the other male. His eye bored so intently into Martin's face that its perpetual glow glared off of Martin's lenses.

"Is that what this is to you, too? A game? Running around asking people questions? Giving people lectures and orders, like you're some kind of a know-it-all?"

Martin opened his mouth to, judging by his expression, deliver another clever retort. However Jacket was not going to let him have any of that.

"I'll say it again, Martin. I don't know who you are, or what your deal is. But. You. Don't. Know. Anything."

Jacket had jammed a finger onto Martin's chest with force enough to cause some wrinkles in his shirt.

"You didn't have your friends held up while you couldn't do anything to save them. You didn't have to do or die. You didn't take exploding knives to the face. You didn't have to tear off your own arm. You didn't throw away everything to protect the only good thing that's happened to you since you were born into this damned world."

Jacket lurched himself forward a millimeter with every sentence he spat out onto Martin's face. Eventually, he was standing over the man so much that Martin had to lean back a bit just to avoid being butt against his specs.

"... And I would do it again if I had to. Because for me, this isn't a game. Not one bit. But things got messed up because of me. And I'm going to do anything and everything to make sure that doesn't happen ever again. If that means I don't get to be happy, then fine. I don't matter. The only thing that does is the fact that Mirto is safe."

Finally, the Stray withdrew himself and stepped away from Martin.

"So get this loud and clear. I'm not running away. Not any more. I'm sure of that now. I know what I gotta do. I don't need no stranger to hop in telling me that."

The Stray turned around and exhaled through his teeth. He was more than a bit ticked off right then. But for some reason, his shoulders felt lighter at the same time. It's as if he heaved off the last of some lingering burden with that rant he just delivered.

"The next time I see that bastard's sorry face it won't just be the bottom of a cliff I'll be sending him off to. So if you're really as smart as you're trying to sound, you'd stop acting like him. "

"Oh, yea. That's fine."


When Jacket turned around, he saw that Martin was still smiling. But it wasn't a twisted, cynical grin. For some reason, he seemed completely satisfied.

"I didn't come here to pick a fight, lad. With what's potentially brewing, we'll need to afford more allies than foes. Since you're so confident about yourself, I'll leave it up to you."

"Tch. Never asked for it in the first place."

"Actually, I'd say you were practically begging to be kicked in the nads. At least you got a good jolt. Anyway, the girl's at the beach down south. Looked like she was setting something up for the carnival in just a few days. It'd be a good place to start."

"Hold it. I didn't-"

By the time Jacket made sense of the Martin's words enough to protest them, the man had already walked a few steps away, into the fog. He stopped briefly and flexed his shoulders and legs.

"Heh. I'd say the payback meal I managed to score off the cosplaying lass has settled in quite nicely!"

Jacket stared in silence as the man proceeded to perform what looked like a little stretch routine.

"... What the hell?"

After a while, he knelt down, as if preparing for a sprint.

"Oh yea. Before I forget, tell that Miss. Lin something, would you?" Martin tossed a last glace back over his shoulders at the Stray "Tell her that I'm glad she's patched things up with the little miss."


A familiar sound. Just like when he had thrown that pebble. This time, however, the man went bounding off through the god damned air into the mist.

Jacket gawked in silence as he watched the man named Martin Chang disappear into the thick fog. For awhile he wasn't sure exactly how to feel, aside from very confused. He'd nearly been pushed to tear that man a new one... and then the guy simply just up and left, as if it were the most casual thing in the world.

Whatever the case, Jacket hoped he wouldn't have to run into him ever again. Although, he did get the sinking feeling that another meeting would happen whether he wanted it to or not.

"Who the hell was that guy...?"

And did he really talk to Mirto before coming here? If that were really true then... it couldn't possibly have ended up well for him at all! She probably would have been more rustled than he was!

"The beach, huh?"

That's right, even he's heard about that, too. A festival to celebrate the town's origins, or something like that.

For all of that Martin's babbling...

... Maybe he really did owe it to her to...


With his mind swimming with thoughts, Jacket turned around and headed toward the doors.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pasonia »

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 3:00 PM
Weather: Fog
Location: Lanette's Secret Base -> Martin's Home
PC: Martin

Having recharged through a simple meal, Martin wanted to do a bit of practice. But keeping Mirto's words in mind, he decided against it, simply. He resorted to slowly controlling the flow of his own Ether, channelling it throughout his body.

"You didn't have your friends held up while you couldn't do anything to save them. You didn't have to do or die. You didn't take exploding knives to the face. You didn't have to tear off your own arm. You didn't throw away everything to protect the only good thing that's happened to you since you were born into this damned world."

Of course. That was because I couldn't do much with Sanae in tow, Jacket. You think I'd get myself caught up with an ice beast for nothing, eh.

"... And I would do it again if I had to. Because for me, this isn't a game. Not one bit. But things got messed up because of me. And I'm going to do anything and everything to make sure that doesn't happen ever again. If that means I don't get to be happy, then fine. I don't matter. The only thing that does is the fact that Mirto is safe."

Now that self-sacrificial attitude is actually a problem, but a good problem. He cares about that lass more than he'd probably ever care to admit. Martin remembered the stoic, but struggling face; he should know better, he'd kept that front before.

Nobody else should have had to go through the pain of separation.

While internally monologuing, Martin decided to peruse the stairs to his apartment instead - the walking, he found, actually did wonders to help him gain some efficient control over his Ether, and he was able to climb the flights of stairs to his house without panting much at all.

If it wasn't for little Sophia, Sanae and M, I'd have forgotten how it feels like to give encouragement in times of need like this. Guess that's paying it forward, then.

Martin twisted the key to the front door, opening it slowly, as though there was someone home and he should not be too rough with the door.

"...Ma, Pa."

He mused, a tinge of sadness hazing over his nose.

It had been eleven years since Dad passed on, and some sixteen years for Mum. He slowly lit the joss sticks and began putting his palms together, with the joss incense slowly permeating the living room. Martin knows the existence of Ether, and the fact that the netherworld isn't what he really knows, but he was willing to believe a lie, just for his own peace.

He desperately needs the peace.

"I promised you before at your funeral, even if I cannot be a man of outstanding character to lead people, I will do my best to help people when I know they are in trouble. Today, your son has learnt a lot about that, more than the last five years combined."

Martin spoke entirely in Chinese, something he thought he had already forgotten. Turns out, it was always in his mind - and that's not to say manually triggering the memory to remember everything.

"Dad, I thoroughly comprehended the meaning of 'Assisting the weak and eliminating the tyrants'. The 'tyrants' can actually mean the people who are helping, that is, ourselves. It's a painfully marvellous illusion, you think you're helping the weak when in actual fact, what you're doing is just a self-serving exercise in ego. I was wrong this whole time. I didn't teach people Weiqi because I meant it - I taught them only because I could. No wonder people didn't really like learning Weiqi from me more than they did the sensei."

"If I really want to help people, I must mean it. I am not going to give myself excuses anymore. It's either help sincerely, or don't help at all. I'm sure, Mother, at least you'll agree with me on this point."

Martin slowly knelt down, then, instead of going through the motion, he slowly kowtowed in front of his parents' altar. Customarily, it was three nods - once each for heaven and earth, and the last towards the target.

"First nod, with Heaven as witness.

Martin envisioned a pantheon of Chinese deities amidst the clouds. He rose his head, repeating the motion.

Second nod, with the Earth alongside my journey.

Martin pressed his head to the floor to press home the point. He rose once again, and kowtowed for the final time.

Last nod, to my parents up above."

Martin felt no sadness, no joy, only a quiet lifting of some unknown weight off his shoulders. As he allowed the feeling to rush through his body, tears slowly trickled down either side of his eyelids, as though the tears themselves carried the weight of his mental burden and were finally leaving him for good.

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 6:00 PM
Weather: Slight Fog
Location: Pebbleton Community Center, Senior Citizen's Lounge @ 2F
PC: Martin

Martin looked around curiously, but didn't see too many people around.

Summers usually tend to be a bit lazy this way, both for the young and old.

Yet, he still managed to find a few old men hanging around. One of them, Old Uncle Low (pronounced "Lau"), a portly old man with a prominent white moustache, noticed Martin's presence, and began waving for the nearly-30.

"Oh! It's Ah Gene! What are you doing here? You just got off work? Have you eaten? How are you? You look very happy today!"

Martin simply smiled. "I'm okay, uncle. How's your Chinese Chess?"

"Aiyah, still the same lo... Playing this game for twenty years, yet it seems like I never improve."

Martin smiled again, willingly engaging in small chatter. "It's the same with Weiqi. Two years ago, 9-dan Dong Zhikun thought he had stopped improving for a long time, and he's prepared to quit. But suddenly, he won against the top player in the Chinese League, and then he won two big titles. Uncle, keep it up. Your improvement is slow only because you already know a lot."

"Oh... okay..." the old man twisted his white moustache, seemingly enlightened by Martin's words. Then, his eyebrows jumped, as if he remembered something, "Oh, old man almost forgot, a Rippoon (Japan) woman just went upstairs. One of the new teachers is it? Looks quite leng (beautiful) leh."

Martin was pleasantly surprised - Sanae's here again.

Today's a good day after all.

"She's there already? Okay, then I will leave now. Go for it, Uncle Low!"

He skipped up the stairs, with a Cheshire's cat grin stuck on his face.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by marcien »

Date: 9 Jun, Wednesday
PC: Sophia (Oriole)

Late morning, Martin's home
- Alone.

was what Sophia heard from above as a familiar thought-voice flew past her while she was floating by the balcony window. Mister Martin...? Wasn't he looking for work...? But he's flying...? A flying job then?

Noon, outdoors
- with Makoto.

"There is no such thing as a human job that needs you to fly," said Makoto when she inquired him about Martin's day activity. "He's probably just training to sweep Sanae off her feet or something. The stuff men do for their ego."

Afternoon, outside Martin's home
- with Makoto.

Makoto held Sophia's wrist back firmly. "But Mister Martin is crying! He misses... someone...? Um, so, I should go and hug him right?" Makoto shook his head. "No, c'mon, give the man some space."

Late afternoon, Martin's home
- with Martin and Makoto.

"Okay then, you two, take care, I'll be leaving now!" Sophia did not get the chance to ask him about what happened earlier. "Feh, it figures. The moment he's off to see Sanae, he is all chipper." "He is going to see Miss Sanae?" "Oh c'mon, you don't have to be able to read thoughts to see that."
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Last 'big' post for my characters. There will probably be another minor one set on Friday, but as far as major things go, I'm ready to move onto the next significant event.

Date: 9 June, Wednesday
Time: 6:30 PM
Weather: Clearing up
Location: Lanette's Secret Base
PC: Jacket, Lanette
NPC: Lin

Late into the afternoon, the trailer-park trio sat around the dining table. Two to have dinner, and one to simply look like he was. A conversation began- that was, one between Lanette and Jacket- and eventually came to the topic of Jacket's whereabouts during his missing days.

It wasn't long after that before the inevitable happened.


The Hindfell girl had to spin aside to avoid choking her beverage all over the other two at the table. After some coughing and hacking, Lanette managed to regain herself enough to gasp out a disbelieving shout.

"You turned into a blight?! Whaddaya mean you turned into a blight?"

"No! No-no-no-no-no! Almost! Almost turned into one." Jacket realized he might have ran his mouth somewhere potentially dangerous, and immediately tried to soften the situation. "If I did... I-I wouldn't be here right now. Errr.... right?"

Lanette collapsed back into her seat, having finally cleared the last of whatever had gone down the wrong pipe. She gave a quiet sigh.

"Yeaaa... I guess so. Though that means you did have a close call. Darnit. Take better care of yourself!"

"Tch. Says the person who's tried to kill me more times than anyone else!"

"Hey! When I first met you, you were on a rampage! Sorry if I mistook you for bad news!"

"YEA, WELL, I- .... Huh?" Jacket ceased his escalating voice mid-sentence. "Wait. What're you talking about? You never mentioned anything like that before."

"Er... well..."

Lanette's expression quickly changed from a pouty grimace to nervousness. She snuck a short glimpse at Lin's expression, although the caretaker simply remained as she had throughout the entire time; silent and wordless as she elegently went about the remainder of her own plate.

"Mmmm... I-It wasn't such a big deal. I'd made a mistake. Besides, I was sorry for it, didn't I?"

"Huh? Er, alright. Whatever."

Lanette's apologetic tone promptly made Jacket forget whatever it was they were talking about. The only thing that mattered was that he somehow came out on top in the argument. And that was perfectly fine for him!

"Well? Then what happened?"

"Hmmm..." Jacket crossed his arms and rolled his eyes upward, trying to recall the rest of the details of the day before. "Oh yea. Then I met up with Oriole and that dumb hooded guy."

"... Who?" Lanette paused a steak-tipped fork midway from the dish to her mouth and raised a brow.

"Er, they're some other Strays I know."

The continued chewing implied his response was received, so Jacket continued.

"And theeeeen. Oh! And then I met the Crow Lady!"

"Eh? A crow?"

"Mmm hmm! Well, she was a Panzer. She's the one who stabbed this thing on me!"

The Stray tugged aside the front of his parka to reveal the ether device embedded into his chest. He gestured to the thing by tapping the surface, producing small "tak-tak-tak"'s as he did.

"Hmmm..." The Hindfell girl put a thumb and index finger against her chin and cast her eyes downward in thought. "Crow Panzer...? Crow, crow, crow...... Ah!"

After a short moment, her eyes lit up as she brought gently pounded a fist to her palm in revelation.

"You must mean Hailey Geminesca!"

"Er... maybe? I dunno, she never told me her name."

"Well, I don't think it could be anyone else. Bt I think she's a raven rather than a crow... What do you think, Lin?"

There came no reply from the caretaker, who calmly continued her meal.

"Ah... he he he...." Lanette, left hanging, simply uttered a nervous laughter that trailed off meekly.

Jacket, of course, dared not interject. However, he couldn't help but smirk.

Could it be that... she's still upset at Lanette from earlier in the day? Hehehehe...

For some reason, that thought entertained him more than it should.

"You seem to be enjoying yourself, Stray."

Lin's sudden voice cut through the atmosphere of the room like a razor wind. Jacket looked up to see a pair of emerald eyes trained in his direction.

"Uh! I... I..."

Jacket nearly fell out of his chair and had a heart attack at the same time. At the very least, he thought he felt his ether device fizzle out for a split second.

"I had neglected to respond as it is impolite to speak during a meal. That does not mean I am not aware of the situation."

"Y-Y-Y-Yes ma'am."

Jacket responded firmly with a resolute salute. He'd prefer to keep his head intact for the rest of the night.


The stifled sound of delighted giggles came from Lanette's direction. The girl had her mouth covered by a hand, looking like she had just seen the most hilarious thing in the world.

Nnnnnnnggg.... I'm gonna get her back one'a these days.....!!!

Lin took the napkin laid neatly on her lap and dabbed gracefully against the corners of her lips.

"It is also impolite, and quite un-ladylike, to speak with one's mouth full. I should hope that future guests of the Hindfell manor would not suffer such a sight."


Lanette looked away guiltily at being called out. Though from Jacket's perspective it seemed more like she'd been shot in the gut.

Hehehe. Well, I guess this'd have to do for now.

"Yes. I also believe that the Panzer mentioned in our guest's story could be none other than Hailey Geminesca. That person would certainly have a good motive to meddle in the affairs."

Lanette made sure to swallow before responding next.

"Yea. I'm not sure if that's good or bad news for us, though..."

"Wait, who the heck is this Hailey person? Is she trouble? Seemed like a nice lady to me."

Lanette sighed once again as she, too, cleaned up her face with her napkin.

"She's... well, an information dealer of sorts. Someone who tells you what you want for a price. And as for trouble..." The girl's mouth twisted into an uncomfortable frown. "She's not a bad person... per se. But let's just say she's not someone you'd want mess with. Or have mess with you."


Jacket nodded in affirmation. The truth was, he didn't really understand what Lanette was trying to get at. The crow lady named Hailey had not only saved him, but gave him a temporary means to survive. It seemed unthankful to be suspicious.

However, it's also true that he's come to be more wary that people aren't always how they seemed. What a terribly depressing way to think.

"So what happened after you met her? Hailey, I mean!"

"Well... theeeen... Ah yea. Then I went to take a nap at the warehouse lot. And after that you came and beat me up. Brutally. Like some sort of a cold blo-"

"Yea, yea. That's neat. And that's everything, then?"

"Yea. Just about."

No, that wasn't really everything. He'd purposely left out the part about meeting Lilia and her Strays completely. No sense causing trouble for people that didn't need to be involved. For all Lanette needs to know, that was how he spent his day.


Lanette glared suspiciously in Jacket's direction with a raised brow and narrowed eyes. For a moment, he thought the girl had caught onto his act.


"So then... So then when did you learn that cool tentacle move?!"

"... Huh?"

"That's why I even bothered to ask what you've been up to!"

"Wait, what?! That's all?!"

"Yea! Duh!"

The girl looked like she was about to flip over the entire table in frustration.

"It was like... 'PFSHEW!'" Lanette hopped out of her seat and thrust out an arm, mimicking Jacket's attack. "And it went all over the place! Well, it wasn't much use against me. Still, you've never done that ever before! I should know! I probably know more about fighting you than anyone else!"

"Harassing someone more than the rest of the planet's nothing to be proud of! And for your information, I dunno where I learned to do that! I was just able to after the whole blight thing!"

Then, when the table turned silent, and Lanette grew a strangely satisfied grin, Jacket knew he had said something he shouldn't have.

"Ooooh~? Is that right? So. You learned a new trick after becoming a blight, huh?"

"W-What's that got to do with anything? Why're you looking at me like that?"

"Huhuhuhu~ Interesting. This is very interesting. Lin, I think it's time we made some changes to Project Training Arc."

"Huh?! No! We don't need any changes! Stop laughing like that, you're creeping me out! Listen, dammit!"


As the commotion came to a head on one side of the table, Lin silently gathered the plates and made off into the kitchen.

The Young Miss has... become a lot more lively since leaving the estate.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by AYC »

(Festival Arc a go now? Yes/Yes?)

Date: 10 June, Thursday
Time: 10:30 am
Weather: Clear
Location: Sanae's Home -> Dawnview Park
Other PCs: Sanae

M returns to Sanae's home feeling less than satisfied. Although one can never really complain about hanging around the lovely little Sophia, he really can't enjoy his existence to the fullest without his cartoons.

Sometimes there are things you don't realize the significance of until they're gone. It is now that he realizes that cartoons are like his LIFEBLOOD. That and his cape, which still hasn't recovered yet.

He spends a long moment to despair internally about the measly length of the black mantle and the action-packed battle scene he had missed this morning. Although it wasn't like it had been the season finale or anything, an episode of amateur superheroes beating up archnemeses is an episode of... AWESOME amateur superheroes beating up equally AWESOME archnemeses. There's a reason why it's one of his new favorite shows.


His uncharacteristic freaking out is interrupted however, when Sanae walks in and gives him a mild look at the strained expression on his face.

"Ah, Makoto-kun. Where have you been? Did you go to Martin-san's house again?"

"Yeah. Can't watch that TV with your Hikki recording her crazy bird shows, you know." Sanae frowns.

"I would be reprimanded by Sumire-sama if I did that. You know, they were giggling when they spotted I was "watching" anime... All of something. Mitsuki even asked if I had regressed, how embarrassing!"

Her flushed cheeks makes her an easy target when he nonchalantly comments back with a dismissive wave of his hand, "Gotta be careful, Sanae. Can't let anyone find out about your animes, Miss Otaku."

"You be quiet..." she mutters just as the previously mentioned Hikki comes down the hallway, suspicious expression in check. For a closeted bird-loving shut-in, she gives Sanae the most "I'm totally weirded-out about you talking to yourself" look she can possibly muster.

Her glasses are weird and magnifying, probably the better to see her birds with or something. Combined with what M thinks to be some kind of squint, honestly, it just makes her look kind of... retarded.

His muffled laughter gets him a pinch from Sanae as she holds perfect posture and gestures her free hand in front of her like motioning over a blackboard.

"Ah, ah, 'so today we will be trying out this - reading the news. Class, repeat after me...'"

Much to her great relief, the other lady walks past with reduced squinting and a small, satisfied, 'hmph'. Sanae glares and pinches him again when he makes a not so discrete hand gesture at the Hikki's retreating back.

"That was close... Makoto-kun, shall we go to the park? Somewhere we can talk without being watched?" Her expression softens noticeably when she notices him rubbing his side in pain. M, on the other hand, has no remorse.

"Yeah, sure," he says, and then with an exaggerated flourish and mock bow, "After you."

"What are you -" she starts, but then realizes where they are and ushers him hurriedly out of the house so he can Shadow Mobile them elsewhere. Though honestly he fails to see the difference between using it in the house in the proximity of a few other Japanese ladies and using it outside, in plain view of all the neighbors and passerbys.

But whatever. He hustles them over to the park, where the fountain seems to have a noticeably large dent on the side. In fact it actually kind of looks a little like Martin's head -

"Ne, Makoto-kun, there is a very important question I need to ask..."

Oh, his Crosser. "Yeah?"

"I've been meaning to ask - what are you? You are not like the obaa-san from Saturday, or the crowd. Only I can see them, too." Sanae pauses here uncertainly, and it takes M a little while to realize what she's talking about.

Oh. Those guys.

Despite what he'd like, his memory of them is pretty damn vivid, considering he was freaking out about them the whole time. Best ten minutes of his life ever.

... Yeah right.

"The truth is, I've also been meaning to ask - what am I? There seems to be a lot more going on."

Sanae waits patiently for some kind of response, but M is entirely silent. Primarily because he's changing gears and now standing in a sort of numbed awe about how his lovely Crosser hasn't caught on at all yet.

Like... seriously? Technically, most people wouldn't let some random guy stick around their abode - even if he is dead - without knowing so much about who or what the hell he is. Personally he's more than a bit surprised that she hadn't asked earlier about all this.

The frozen, deadpan expression on his face is actually a pretty good representation of what he's feeling right now.

Essentially it's his "What the hell have you been thinking all this time woman" face. His apparent lack of discreteness means said expression does not go unnoticed though, not even by his usually oblivious Crosser.



The woman must be a lot more naive than he thought. Maybe she lived a sheltered, pretty little life all these years. If he was a living, breathing student in her class, he'd be rather taken with the idea of pulling pranks on her every chance he could get, because it seems just that easy.

He can imagine it already. The classic chalkboard eraser over the door, misplaced papers, swapping book covers, chairs with glue on the seats...

Sanae pulls him out of his fantasies of petty crime with a tap on the shoulder. "Makoto-kun..?"

"What... Right. Great. Mr. Exposition again, huh? Whatever. Alright Sanae."

"Eh? What?"

M raises an eyebrow and leans against a nearby tree after quickly scanning the area for any shady looking Blights. "Lecture time. Have a seat, grab some popcorn or whatever delicious Japanese snacks you've got."

"Eh? EH? Wa- wait!"

"What." M watches with a numbed sense of awe as she drops onto the nearest bench and pulls out a handful of papers and a pen at the ready for note-taking.

"Oh. Aren't you a good student?"

"What are you saying Makoto-kun!" With her other hand, she digs some more through her purse, but it ends up coming empty. The disappointed expression on her face makes it pretty clear that she was in fact looking for the aforementioned Japanese snacks but didn't have any.

Wow, what a sap.

"Alright, I got it." A wide grin spreads across his face. "Nice and comfy?"

"Hurry up and start already!"

He scoffs and raises his eyebrow again in amusement at her surprising lack of patience. "Yeah yeah, don't get your panties in a bunch, woman."

M really shouldn't have been surprised when Sanae stands up on the bench to lean over and pinch his cheek with a painful twist. His hand manages to swat her away without too much effort, but the damage has been done and damn, does it hurt.

She is a teacher from Japan after all. They're usually kind of relentless, aren't they? Don't they get some kind of training with this stuff? Holy shit, that hurts like hell...

The pain is more than enough to get him to cut to the chase, with his hand massaging the sore part of his face.

"Yeah, so what am I? I'm dead, that's what. I'm a Stray. Dead guy who for some reason is stuck in this world because of some reason or another. Maybe revenge, maybe some cheesy promise, I dunno. Strays don't remember anything."

"... I'm sorry..." she apologizes, but M is and has always generally been too unconcerned to do more than shrug indifferently.

"Uh. Right. Personally I don't give a shit about my past. It's not that important."

"But -"

"Next question."

Sanae seems a little miffed by M's quick dismissal of the subject, but she's respectful enough to move on. "Then... what are those other... like the obaa-san ghost I saw... that Martin-san cannot see. You are a ghost, but they are ghosts too? I am confused..."

Ugh. Those things again. "Those other... things. That army of spirits, they aren't Strays. I don't know what the hell they are, but they might just be real ghosts from the Nether World or whatever crazy ass place they're from."

"But... you are different?"

"Different and similar. I'm pretty sure we're the only one that get cool powers. I don't know about those other ghosts but they probably know who they were when... they were alive and stuff. I mean, they have to come from somewhere if they're ghosts or something. You ask them yourself later. Whatever. Next point."

"Yes?" Sanae's pen moves furtively over the paper and a quick glance gives him an eyeful of tiny characters and curly writing that is most likely not English.

"The only people who can see Strays... are Crossers. And by people I mean humans."

"I am a Crosser?"


"And because I am a Crosser, I can see you? Martin-san too?"

"Grouchy's a Crosser too, yeah." Sanae frowns at the nickname, but M only rolls his eyes in response. Her frown turns into a pout as he continues.

"Crossers get special powers too. I guess it's called Enomena."'

"Special powers?"

"I dunno too much about it, but yours is probably... probably has to do with the ghosts Martin can't see."

At this, Sanae widens her eyes in surprise. "But... but I don't know anything?"

"You don't need to know anything to have it, lady." M says it as plainly as he can without rolling his eyes, but Sanae looks at him quizzically, as if what he's just said makes absolutely no sense.


"You just do. I don't know either," he replies with a dismissive shrug. "We'll have to figure it out eventually. But for now, I'll do the work until you do."

I guess I'll be doing all the work for grouchy tactician extraordinaire too. Dammit.

The brief silence is kind of thick with deep, profound thinking. It's weird but the heaviness in the air feels a lot like Sanae churning through her thoughts. That and her ether leaking is making little question marks of ethereal flowers float around them. M fights the urge to swat at a large clump that floats dangerously close to his head. It's like, threatening to drop on his head and send his manly pride toppling onto the ground at the same time.

"So this is what the priest meant by my 'fate'... Sorry, I've said too much. Uhm... but I can only see 'different' ghosts, and I can do... nothing else? Somehow that feels... wrong."

Well, someone is kind of demanding.

And I can technically only make shadows and nothing else. What are you expecting, Martin-grade superpowers, with drooling and all? You'd make one mysterious girlfriend, Sanae.

"Like I said, I don't know. They probably have some sort of secret magic power that you have to unlock or something. I dunno."

"Is there anyone who knows? Like, a priest? Or a very important person?"

M gives her the most, "are-you-seriously-asking-me-this" expression he can. As far as he's aware, you can't just walk into a place like a store and expect them to know all about your fancy Enomena and all the specifications that come with it. "The hell would I know. Probably not. It's your power. No one should know better than you."

It's like a kid getting his hand held the whole way through. It's like a baby being spoon fed. And it's also stupidly convenient -

As if on cue, a bright burst of pink blasts M in the face and ten seconds later, he comes face to face with a large, terribly familiar group of people, gathering around Sanae like she's their magnificent queen or something.

M stops his sputtering of bright pink petals to be sufficiently terrified. He should've known that even the slightest of pink flowers meant the bloody appearance of the Nether Army.

"Eh? Wait a moment, everyone! Makoto-kun, can you see them? Makoto-kun?! Are you okay?"

Actually, if anything, the Stray in question is more like... thoroughly creeped out. He can't help but stare at this particular, ugly, balding old man holding a cleaver in the lineup which he remembers rather vividly from Sanae's... lovely bonding rite.

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, I see them. Your legions of undead warriors, Sanae."

"Ah. Ojii-san, ojii-san! Please drop that... you're scaring Makoto-kun..." she says to the ugly, cleaver-wielding spirit, who promptly drops the offending object and seethes silently. "Makoto-kun, there is no 'me' or 'yours'. There is 'us'."

Really. Honestly M would much rather not have any hand in commandeering this motley crew of dead spirits. He rolls his eyes at the mere thought of ordering a small force of withering old men (like he's Martin, holy crap) while an elderly lady spirit leans over and murmurs softly in Sanae's ear.

"Eh, like this? ... nnnnnnnnnnnnnggggg!" M raises an eyebrow at the sight of Sanae holding her hands out in front of her, eyes closed in deep concentration.

"... What are you trying to do, Sanae?"

"NNNNNNNNGGG!" Much to his surprise, a bright orb of ether materializes between her hands, spiraling and sparking bits of energy around it. Not only is it eye-searingly pink, it also seems kind of painful should he be stupid enough to touch it.

"Release the energy with this keyword - 'kai'!" instructs the elderly lady, to which Sanae hurriedly complies.


Much to his great dismay the giant ball of ether actually fucking flies to him and pretty much envelops his head in the blinding color and a huge puff of flowery smoke. M doesn't even get a chance to react despite his speed as the ether dissipates into a ginormous mass of the accursed flowers and pretty much smothers him in a cover from head to toe.

His fear has him so rooted to the spot that he can't even move to flail his arms about or struggle. It's to his great fortune though that the exchange ends just as quickly as it came, and that it ultimately leaves him feeling like he just walked through a freaking air freshener carwash-style.

Something like that.

And at least his cape is somehow miraculously back.

Sanae gives him a partially concerned, mostly expecting look. "Uh... Holy hell. I am thoroughly freaked out." His words come out strained and ultimately expresses his what-the-effery towards the abuse he just suffered as her Enomena test subject. "Oi. Ugly dead ghost things. What did you just make her do?"

The balding, ugly old man stands up indignantly and brandishes a gnarled fist in his direction. "THE LADY BLESSES YOU WITH A NEW LEASE OF POWER. ARE YOU NOT SATISFIED, KNIGHT OF NETHER?"

Huh? Knight of Nether my ass. Me, a knight? What the hell do I look like, Jacket? Hell no.

"What was -! ... that... is my power?"

"Apparently. It's also in your power to make these ghost things a little more respectful to their... Knight of Nether." M eyes the stumpy little man and the larger cleaver he had somehow managed to get his hands on with a great deal of weariness and edge.

"Um... Please. Everyone?"

At their Lady of Nether's request, all but the aforementioned old man spirit bend down onto a knee respectfully in unison. As if M couldn't be even more creeped out.

"I know they mean well. But damn it if they look like they're going to murder me when my back is turned. Just... focus your attention on Sanae. She's the boss."

To his great relief, the army of spirits about face quickly back in Sanae's direction. All but the ugly old guy, that is.

"Ojii-san!" Sanae crosses her arms sternly, and the spirit begrudgingly shuffles into place amongst his comrades.

"Makoto-kun, are you okay? How are you feeling now?"

"Can't say," he replies stiffly, glaring at the back of the ugly old man.


"How about you, Sanae?"

"... Well. I have nothing to ask now. But I do have one request. We need to be careful about moving, ne?"

"Yeah. I won't drop you off where people can see. What kind of idiot do you take me for?" He raises an eyebrow in her direction, almost daring her to compare him to some kind of retarded Crosser that would use his very flashy Enomena in a very public place.

"No, I was just saying..."

"I'll take care of my Crosser, Miss Lady of Nether."

"What -" Much to his amusement, Sanae flushes at the name, but a small, embarrassed smile forms on her face. "Be quiet you..." But then she kicks the angry-looking old man spirit away when he jumps on the scene with an even larger cleaver in his grubby hands.

M stares.

"What is up with that guy? I just said something nice and he still wants to lop off my head."

"I have no idea... what a weird one..." Her smile wanes a bit as part of it is replaced with confusion.

"Yeah. Make sure you don't call him next time, sheesh."

"Ah Man was a butcher in this area," chirps the elderly lady spirit. "The forest... used to be a market, milady. We were villagers. This place has changed since."

"I... see..."

"Ah Man is also mute. But he means well. His temper is a little odd, though."

Mute? I'm pretty sure he gave me an earful for being Sanae's Enomena practice dummy.

"I dunno about that. I think you need to updates your sources... or your ears. But whatever. Sanae."

"YOU ARE INSOLENT -" M promptly kicks the annoying butcher into the nearest bush. Sanae's smile actually brightens and she doesn't miss a beat.

"Yes, Makoto-kun?"

"Should we get going now?"

"We should," she agrees and hurries to his side for a Shadow Mobile home. Then with a thinly veiled threat and a surprisingly large amount of intimidation she adds cheerfully, "Leave us be, Ah Man-san!~"

Turning on that teacher sternness there, huh.

I guess there are some benefits to bonding with this woman after all. Freaky ghost army aside.
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Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pictor »

Alright, this turned out much, much longer than I'd intended. However, I really do love writing Lanette and Jacket altercations (if you haven't yet noticed). Hopefully it isn't a complete bore.

This ends all of my official main-story posts for the duration of the days approaching the festival. I'm good to move on. Anything else would be written in a separate side-story.

Date: 11 June, Friday
Time: 4:30 AM
Weather: Dawn - Clear Weather
Location: Abandoned Overpass
PC: Jacket, Lanette
NPC: Lin

"Huaaaaaaah..." As Lanette stepped into a familiar construction clearing, she let loose an audible yawn. Lazily, she reached up and rubbed the forming tears from her eyes.

"You know, if you're tired then you shouldn't have come out with us."

Jacket piped up from behind the girl. His voice, however, didn't seem anymore eager to be up this early than she did.

"It can't be helped. Today's gonna be a nice day, too. Unlike Wednesday where the fog was so thick you couldn't see a yard in front of you, if we make a commotion in broad daylight, there could be trouble."

"You shoulda went to bed early then, at the very least."

"Tch!" Lanette gave the Stray an annoyed shove. Which meant just enough to have him slightly lose his footing on the downward slope into the gravel pit.

Someone's been hanging around Lin far too much.

"Hey!" Jacket cried as he swung his arms around wildly as he struggled to regain balance. "What the hell was that for?!"

"For being an ungrateful moron! Who do you think I'm doing this for?!" The girl hopped down to the bottom of the slope in one jump, scattering dust and debris as she landed. "Come on! Lin's gonna meet us at the overpass! I'll race you! Loser has to do the dishes tonight!"

"Wait, that's not fair! You have a head start!" Jacket grit his teeth as he made his own leap down the remainder of the slope. "Dammit! I don't even friggin' eat!"


"Whoooaaaa...." Lanette stared wide-eyed as she performed a slow three-sixty turn atop the plateau. "It's... spacious up here! This is so cool!"

"You mean you've never been up here before?"

"Nope! Not 'til now! Well, I've seen it from afar and stuff, but Lin wouldn't let me come up here until she made sure it was safe. And then after that she buried me under a mountain of homework, so I never got the chance!"

The orangette flashed a proud grin and give Jacket a thumbs up.

"But I took care of that! Four months of homework in two days, not bad, huh! That's the power a Hindfell!"

Jacket simply returned a nonchalant shrug.

"Yea, sure. Whatever."

At that moment a graceful whooshing of air followed by soft footsteps signaled Lin's arrival. Lanette ran up excitedly as her caretaker approached from the other end of the broken highway.

"Oh! How is it, Lin?"

The older woman responded with a firm nod.

"Everything seems clear, Young Miss. Although it would still be wise to use caution. Even at this distance from the town, it is still possible to attract unwanted attention."

"Of course! Caution's my middle name!"

"... Actually Young Miss, your middle name is Cata-"

"-Okay!! Right then! It's the day before the festival and time's a-wastin'! I sure as heck don't wanna spend tomorrow out here, so let's hustle up. We've got a schedule to meet."

Lanette spun around epically with her arms outstretched for her audience of two, ending with a mighty index finger pointing straight into the air.

"Operation Training Arc, Master Plan Phase... execute!"

Jacket flinched at the words 'Master Plan', quickly stepping up in defiance.

"For the last time! You're not turnin' me into a blight!"

"We're not turning you into a blight."

"Yea! That's righ- Wait. We're not?"

"Of course not. Why would we ever do that, stupid?"

"B-But... you've been laughing like maniac ever since I told you I got my new ability after turning into a blight. And then..."

As Jacket trailed off, Lanette gave a soft sigh and slowly walked up to the Stray. Smiling warmly, she raised an arm and gently placed her hand on his head and began tussling his hair.

"Aaahh... To be young. Such imagination."



"I don't get it. If turning me into a blight was just a joke then... what's this 'change of plans' you were talkin' about?"

"Oh ho ho ho ho~!" Lanette crossed her arms and chuckled, trying to make her voice sound as deep and hearty as possible. "You're asking questions! Very good, Padawan! Asking is the first step to learning, and learn you shall, from your master!"

"... The heck you talkin' abou-"

"WE'LL BEGIN, THEN!" Lanette shouted and pointed a finger dramatically in her supposed protege's direction, while killing any remaining semblance of a regular conversation in the process. "Miss. Lanette Hindfell's... Teaching Corner!!"

With a flick of her extended hand, Lanette somehow produced a pair of glasses between her fingers. Then, in a series of unbroken movements, she snapped the arms of the frames open and swept them onto her face. The performance was ended by yet another arms-crossed pose. Even the dawning sunlight seemed to purposely reflect off the girl's newly acquired lenses in a way that made all of this more impressive than it actually was.

Jacket could not help but stare speechlessly at the sight. Although inside, he didn't know whether to clap or to just turn around and leave. The latter seemed like a risky move to make though. Looks like he'll have to stay put.


Deciding that there had been enough silence for effect, Lanette cleared her throat loudly. As she did so, her glasses slipped off a bit, and she had to re-adjust them back onto her face. It seemed the frame was a tad bit too large for her.

"So, without further ado... let's begin the lesson! What is a blight, and where do they come from? You, Mr. Parker! The answer!"

"Who's Par- Ugh, nevermind. Erm... a blight's... an evil sort of monster, right? Made from negative emotions and all that."

"Correct! Well, partially anyway. You might wanna work on your oral presentations skills though! A blight is a pocket of ether that's become corrupted by negative influences! They grow into ferocious creatures ruled by instincts. They desire only to feast and grow... and they do that by attacking other ethereal beings! ... Isn't that right, Lin?"

The young girl turned expectantly toward her caretaker, who nodded wordlessly back.

"Yea! Straight from the textbooks!"

"Why're you askin' her?! Who's the teacher here?!"

"But that's not all!" The role-playing professor continued, completely ignoring the demands of her lone pupil.

"Although a Blight may be born naturally... Strays can also become blights! By nature, a Stray and a blight aren't so different. Both are beings of ether, given form by a consciousness. A Stray embodies sentience and personality, while a blight is raw emotions. If a Stray ever becomes corrupted by negative influences, they too can turn into a blight. It's quite nasty!"

Jacket huffed and gestured both hands beside him haplessly.

"Yea, yea. I know all of this already. Just cuz I messed up and got depressed for a bit doesn't mean you need to rub it in my fa--"

"-- HOW. EV. ER!!" Professor Lanette notified the world quite loudly that she wasn't quite done her lecture just yet. "Blights formed from corrupted Strays, or rather Stray-blights, tend to turn out more powerful than their original counterparts. Did you know that?"

"... Really?"

A certain ice monster sure comes immediately to mind.

"Like I said before, a blight is raw emotion. It's a creature that's inhibited by neither reason nor doubt! Something that's succumbed to primal instincts! Therefore, there's nothing holding a blight back from going after its targets with everything they've got one-hundred-percent of the time, got it?! You've never seen a wolf or a lion hold back while hunting their prey, have you?"


Jacket hadn't thought about it. Rather, he deliberately tried to keep his mind off it. But... now that the facts are brought up... a Stray-blight is really just a being that's lost its mind, isn't it? Oriole and that hooded guy...

... He had only ever been aware that he'd nearly turned into a blight. He had felt so guilty and thankful about them being there that he didn't want to think about it. But what if he'd actually done something the few moments he blacked out?

Going back to that ice monster. Feradine was his name. He'd once been a Stray, but there was no trace of sense back when they fought. Just a feral beast.

Damn. It was better when it'd been pushed out of his mind...

"Oi! Are you listening?! Don't zone out on me!" Lanette snapped her fingers loudly to get Jacket's attention. "Lesson's not over just yet!"

"Tch. Why're you telling me all of this anyway? What's this got to do with your 'Master Plan'? All this talk about blights is making me think you still wanna turn me into one."

"Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. What a Negative Nancy! Haven't you ever heard of buildup? We're getting to the point!"

The girl brought a hand to her mouth and cleared her throat again.

"A-hem! Now. We've established the point that a Stray-blight is, most of the time, stronger than their original Stray counterpart because they no longer hold anything back! That includes might, ferocity, and..."

The lenses upon Lanette's face flashed as daringly as the smile she wore.

"... Abilities!"


Jacket's ears perked up. Suddenly he realized what the she was aiming at.

"Wait. I-I get it now! I get where you're going with this! Y-You're..." It was his turn to shoot a finger in the girl's direction. "YOU'RE REALLY GONNA TRY TO TURN ME INTO A BLIGHT, AREN'T YOU?! NOW WHO'S THE VILLAIN HERE?! JUST ADMIT IT!"

"No, you idiot!! I already told you that I wasn't going to!!" Lanette tore the glasses off her face angrily. She should have known better than to put up such an amazing act for someone so thick-headed.

"Well... Well then what was that whole speech about?"

"Hmph. Fine, I'll put it in layman's terms then."

Looks like we're back to regular hammer-bitch mode. Act's off along with the glasses.

Still looking peeved, Lanette casually brushed at her short, neck-length hair as she continued speaking.

"You acquired a new ability after 'nearly' becoming a blight, right? One that you had no idea where you learned, but also one that you didn't have prior to that. That could only mean you picked it up while you were blighting it out."

"Yea, alright. But you didn't need to put on fake, swirly glasses to tell me that."

"Excuse me for having a little fun!"

"What the Young Miss means is..."


Jacket jumped a bit- fortunately not too noticeably -at the re-emergence of Lin's voice. She's probably the only person he knew who could disappear just by standing around doing nothing.

... Not that he knew many people, but whatever.

"... The fact that you managed to acquire a new variation of your Stray abilities indicates there is yet more to your power than you can currently muster."

"Yea! What Lin said! A Stray-blight is not restrained by anything, so in a way, your blight form knows more about using your strengths than you do! Er, in theory anyway."

"Oh. That's what you mean."

"Yea, dummy! So we're not turning anyone into a blight, okay? It's called 'stating an observation'! Besides, it's not like we can sit your blight-self down and have a talk about how to make you stronger. Hehehe... it might be exciting though."

"No. It really, really wouldn't be."

Lanette returned a light shrug.

"Whatever. Party pooper."

"Er, so then..." Jacket brought both his arms behind him and crossed his fingers into a hand-hammock for his head. "What're we gonna do now?"

"Well, first of all, we gotta find out what your Stray power actually is."

"Huh?" Jacket raised a brow at Lanette's statement. "Well it's... just metal right? I can turn my body into metal, that's all! Well, before I got the tentacles, anyway."

"Yes... that's what it looks like..."

"It's easy! I just focus and..." Jacket lifted his right arm out and, after some visible strain, flexed the limb. He then rapped at his bicep with his left hand.


His knuckles clanged stiffly against his muscles.

"See? Rock solid!"

"Oooh~! Want me to touch it for you?" The orange haired girl spoke with a devious smile.

"N-No thanks."

The Stray whirled around and cradled his arm in protection. He'd had enough of losing limbs.

"Psh. Loser. You think you know a lot about your powers, but think about how long you've been around. Most Strays don't even live long enough to fully master their stuff. Uhm, so I've read, anyway. What makes you think you know all that much about your own?"

"... What's that supposed to mean?"

"Think about it. All of the stuff you can do."

"... Get hard and sprout tentacles?"

"Ungh... You could have found a better way to say it. Okay then. You can generate 'metal', and you can sprout tentacles. However, those tentacles of yours are very different from the 'metal' you usually produce on your body. Not only are they obviously more flexible, but you have full control over them, like they're appendages! Speaking of your body, that's weird too! It's material, sure, but it's also made of ether at the same time!"

Lanette counted off on her fingers as she went through the list.

"... Not to mention a whole bunch of other things about you that are just plain off. Combine them all together and what do you get?"

"... I have no clue."

"Exactly!" Lanette threw her arms out, as if revealing the solution to a big riddle. "None of that makes sense! Nothing about you makes sense!"

"Well excuse me, Young Miss! If it's about whatever the hell I am, then I had no idea from the beginning! In fact, everyone around seems to know more about me than myself, so why don't you tell me! And as for the whole thing about my body... that's your fault, in case you forgot."

"Chill out. I wasn't trying to make fun of you or anything. I'm just saying that your powers can't just be summed up by 'getting hard and sprouting tentacles.'"

... Yea. Okay. That really could have been worded much better.

"And by the way, you have no proof I'm the one who messed up your body! I apologized for chasing you around, but I'm not going to admit to a crime that I didn't commit! Do you even know what my enomena is??"

"Young Miss."

"Ah..." Lanette glanced beside her to see Lin glaring in an especially disapproving manner. Getting the message, she sighed and looked back toward Jacket nervously. "I-It's nothing that could have caused your body to freak out, anyway. So don't go blaming me for that, okay?"


Jacket relented and averted his gaze. As much as he wanted to vent, he did feel a bit ashamed about acting up like that. She's only trying to help... in her own way.

"Then what am I supposed to do now? Unlock my true potential or whatever? Sounds cheesy just saying it. The only thing I've really done is get beat up by Miss Lin for the past two days."

"Yea. But you've been getting better at it. Er, holding your own, that is. Not getting beat up. That'd be kinda sad."

"Uh, thank you?"

"Yea, yea. Don't get a big head! Lin's the one who mentioned that, not me!"

Whoa. Really, now?

Jacket sneaked a quick look at Lin. But if the woman really felt that way, she sure as hell wasn't showing it. Then again, things were perfectly normal like that.

Now if Lin ran up to Jacket, wrapped her arms around him, and started singing his praises in a sweet, wistful voice, then it would be cause to freak out.

... Yea. Freak out.

For totally different reasons, though.

"Uh. Are you okay?"

"Uh! Y-Yea! I'm good. Keep going. Er, whatever it was that you were saying."

"Hmmm..." Lanette gave the Stray a suspicious look, as if trying to pry into his mind, but soon gave up and assumed her arms-crossed lecturing pose one more.

"Well, it basically comes down to this: At first I thought we could give you a crash course in fighting by simply throwing you at someone really strong and have you improve naturally. That's actually the way I learned how to fight, anyway."

The way she learned? Did she go up against Lin as well?

... Actually that would explain a lot.

"Hmm, but then after you told me your story, I realized that training a Stray how to fight is a bit different from training a human. Sure, you've been getting better at facing off against Lin, but just barely. From what I've heard, you're still losing no matter what. There's no point in trying to cram battle techniques or whatever down your throat. There's not enough time, and in the end, you're only good at mindless brawling anyway."

"... That's exactly what Miss. Lin said. You're just repeating her words."

"Well, because she's right! Or would you not say so?"

Jacket wasn't going to make the mistake of objecting here.

"Okay. So, I suppose you're gonna tell me how I am supposed to fight?"

"What do you think we've been talking about for the past few minutes?" Lanette switched up her pose. This time, with one hand crossed over her chest, and the other resting on the other's forearm, index finger pointed in the air.

... For a minute, Jacket though she was going to do a full transformation into Mirto.

"It's simple! Instead of teaching you how to fight, we'll focus on developing your abilities! For a Stray, the two notions are one and the same! All you know how to do right now is reinforcing that steel body of yours, and when that doesn't work, shoot tendrils at your opponents. We're gonna expand those horizons!"

"... Right. I think I gotcha."

What Lanette said was true. The only things he really knew how to do in a fight was to charge in and hope his hardened body could bear whatever the enemy had to throw at him. Then, recently, he found another way to attack and simply abused that when he ran out of ideas. He'd kind of learned how to use them under better circumstances after getting batted around horribly by Lin, but no closer to any tide-turning improvements.

If he was going to bring down that guy and his damned exploding knives... he'll have to step up his game.

"What's the first step then? This 'Master Plan' of yours that doesn't involve turning me into a blight?"

"Glad you asked! Because asking is the first step to learning! And he did ask you, didn't he, Lin?"

"...Yes." Lin stepped forward until she was in-line with Lanette. "As per the Young Miss's request, the first step, is that I share everything I know."

The temperature seemed to drop a few dozen degrees as soon as Lin formally brought herself into the picture. The sudden heaviness of the situation made Jacket uncomfortable for reasons he couldn't explain.

Probably something to do with dragons. He's learned to fear those creatures.

"... A-About what?"

"About the Fragment."
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:43 am

Re: Lamentable Nights: The RP

Post by Pasonia »

(A completely different side of Sanae emerges.)
Date: 11 June, Thursday
Time: 8:00 am
Weather: Clear
Location: Sanae's Home
PC: Sanae
Other PCs: M
Ouch. This cannot be… why is it hurting so much this time?

Sanae’s first thought when she woke up was one that pained her so much, she couldn’t think straight. She could only feel sharp, stinging pains all over her body – especially centred at the abdomen, so much so that touching anything at all brought about a sharp, confusing pain.

“Uwa, nandeya… This pain is... unbelievable…”

She forced herself to sit up on her bed, despite the pain practically freezing up every inch of her body, and when the feet hit the bedroom floor the pain just inexplicably amplified. She felt her tears gush out from the searing pain, and could only force those tears back in by repeatedly punching the mattress, in the vain hope that the punching would alleviate the pain.

It didn’t help, unfortunately for Sanae, so she could do nothing but choke back the sobs from the pains. She knew what was coming, but then again she’s never had it this bad before.

It was at this time that M, of all inopportune times, came in to the room, presumably wanting to watch another anime series now that the previous one had ended, and his first remark, evidently that of surprise…


M went up to Sanae, who was evidently hitting the bed harder with each strike.

“What’s wrong with you, Sanae?”

She choked another reply out in the midst of the pain. “This pain… ouch…”

M noticed something peculiar – Sanae still leaked Ether from time to time so normally the bed will be tainted by her hands and legs with patches of her Ether, but right now her bed is completely flush with her pink Ether. It was as though the Ether made the pain worse.

Soon, some of that pink began to stain her pillow, as Sanae tried to hit herself and the bed with it to exorcise the pain demon that had ravaged her completely.

“…holy shit. Wild Sanae on the loose,” M blurted carelessly. “Uh…”


Phantom. M’s eyebrows twitched maniacally as he carefully backs out the door, abandoning all thought of watching anime in her room. In his own bout of upset feelings, he began to sputter, carelessly still.

“And here I thought Martin was the only grouchy one.”

Sanae stared hard at M. Her pain only doubled every move she made, and just as her pain calmed down, M’s words struck her.

“You’ve been spending too much time with that guy. You’ve become Mrs. Grouchy now.”

Sanae’s temperament went from pain-wreck to train-wreck; her voice rose up, she let fly a screeching-shout at M.


Then the pain came back again, and Sanae’s tears flew out of her face.

M could only stare in a mix of annoyance, wonderment, amazement and irritation as Sanae flipped the comforter over herself and continued punching the bed in pain. From under the cover, M could still see the comforter quiver a little from Sanae’s constant sobbing.

“… Fine, woman. Geezus.”

As the commotion rocked the house, it got the other girls, already dressed up for work, a little worried for Sanae. In the end, Chihara had been too concerned not to at least look into Sanae’s room a little, while M just blankly stared at Sanae’s roomie coming in with hot water and a wet towel.

M tut-tutted in disapproval. “I’ll leave you to your bloody PMSing.”

He got out of Sanae’s house, made sure nobody noticed, then muttered “Women” under his breath before he disappeared into a flower-shaped black hole of Ether.


Date: 11 June, Thursday
Time: 6:00 pm
Weather: Clear
Location: Community Center Go Lesson Room
PC: Martin, Sanae
Other PCs: M

Martin couldn’t help but notice a few things as he prepared the students for his lesson.

Firstly, M, of all that wouldn’t show up in a "boring" place like this, showed his face in the back of the classroom with Sophia in absentia. Knowing M and Sophia are usually together, Martin observed a rare sight.

The second thing, before he could mention again, happened right in front of him as Sanae suddenly tripped on the legs of a nearby chair. It took Martin quite a bit of reflexes to save her from hitting the floor.

“Th…thank you, Martin-san.”
“Do-don’t mention it.”

But mere moments later, before he even managed to set the white board and mock-ups in place, Sanae tripped again, and again Martin was there to lend her a hand before she went all the way.

“Whoa! Sanae, you all right? You need some rest today? You don’t look very well!”

Sanae’s expression turned glum, despite herself. “I am… fine.”

Martin didn’t look convinced. “Look, you sure about that?”

Sanae’s annoyance level suddenly shot up, and she curtly replied with the force of shotgun slugs at close range, “Let us hurry up and start already, Martin-san!”

Martin, taken aback, couldn’t eke out more than an “E-eh, okay…” as his eyebrows and lips twitched in shock. He eyed M, who just shrugged in response.


“Researching shapes take time. One of the shapes I find to be really ineffective are shapes that are congealed together in an awkward, clumsy manner, such as this triangle."

Martin grabbed a bunch of black magnets from a plastic box that emulated the appearance of a Go stone; then, he proceeded to place one stone, then two in the next row and three in the last.

“This is a special shape. Does anyone here know what it is?”

Class was silent, but Sanae sat up, her eyebrows frowning so deep it was a little intimidating to Martin.

“Sir, isn’t this just a triangle?”

“It’s a B2 Spirit Bomber. We just call it the B2 Bomber. And it’s a joke shape that can come out when you’re playing for influence, perhaps you were forced to make the shape, perhaps this is a shape played when you couldn’t find for a better situation. It’s not an ideal shape, far worse than an eye, and it’s better to not make such a shape when---”

Suddenly, there was a loud shuffling of chair from the back – Sanae stood up so abruptly the chair clanged against the wall behind her.
Her face was boiling, flushed red in anger that Martin hadn’t yet figured out why.

“Martin-san, how can you say the B2 is not effective at all?!”

Oh boy.

“…Eh?” By now, Martin’s mouth was agape. Sanae hadn’t hijacked his lesson this way before, but this looks like a bad time to get in her way.

“Um, Sanae…?”
“It’s one of the most effective and beautiful shapes out there! How can you say it’s a joke shape?”

Martin shook his head in disbelief, but was astounded when Sanae began to grab the stones from the containers and quickly placed down stones resembling that of a past pro game.

Martin recognised that game – it was a Judan title match game between Shingo Akita 7P and Narusegawa Jin 8P. That game…

“That was an experimental game in the middle of a title match…”
“That was the best game ever, Martin-san! Look at this – influences here, here, here and here.”

M watched on, dreading that this might happen given events eight hours ago; the whole class went into an uproar, surprised that their teachers were engaged in an argument that only the two of them could truly understand.

And it didn’t go unnoticed that Sanae was slamming the pieces into the whiteboard with increasing force, making a clacking sound louder than Martin ever did with his pieces on an actual goban, and the shouting between the pair slowly became reduced into incomprehensible babble.

“Two-space jump breaking this influence is too much, Sanae!”
“Look at this! There’s a valid counter to that jump!”
“But you wouldn’t normally waste six moves getting into this shape!”
“No, chigau yo! Look at this! Can’t you see it?! It’s called bargaining for positions, Martin-san!”

And then a loud holler brought temporary respite to the whole room.

“Shut up!”

Everyone turned their heads doorward, and sure enough, that was the Band teacher hollering into the room, with a transvetite-y voice Martin never really fancied.


M immediately sensed a sharp annoyance - not his own - but before he could say anything about it…

“DAMARE! Can’t you see we’re busy?!”

The louder, rage-fuelled rebuke from Sanae stunned the whole class once again, as well as the man at the door. The instructor could only do so much as squeak a “O-okay…” before Sanae suddenly directed her attention at an increasingly frightened Martin, whose face had been contorted with the same mixture of shock, anger, and confusion that M found himself in earlier.

That's a taste of my life, grouchy.

Then, the incomprehensible happened; Sanae began to launch a tirade at him entirely in Japanese, but Martin immediately knew it wasn’t standard Japanese at all. Martin realised Sanae could be speaking Kansai-Ben – the Osakan Dialect – as she continued to chide and chew at Martin for whatever the hell she’s saying. Everything she screamed flew past him so fast he had had no time to register.

Then, she stopped suddenly.

Like the calm before a---

“Omae wa DO-AHO YA!!!!!”

Sanae picked up the boxes of go magnets, and flung them spectacularly. Martin could only watch as the stones began flying towards him, and, try as he might, he wasn’t in time to dodge all of the stones.

“Whoa, WHOA!”

Thud. With a dull crash onto the floor, Martin landed awkwardly on his butt, and the stones – both the black ones and the white ones - began to hit him left, right, center, like a hail striking a vehicle.

Completely helpless, he watched Sanae storm off, still angry.

“Mr Chang! Are you alright?!”

Martin sat on the floor, speechless. He signalled for the students to remain in the seats, as he slowly picked the stones off the floor.

“What’s wrong with her today?”

Though Martin thought he might be mistaken, he did spot a few wet drops on the table where the stones were.


Sanae stormed off the room without even thinking about why she did what she did.
The immense pain of having a concept she held dear so gravely insulted, was one she could not stand for. It was probably in counter, equal measures to the pain she had in the morning, which, perhaps through aggravation, became even worse quickly as she painfully made her way down the flights of stairs.

“Why can’t he understand…”

The pain and Martin’s insulting her beliefs combined together to make Sanae’s tear suddenly well up again, and this time, they cannot be stopped. The tears just kept flowing, and Sanae knows it’s irrational, but she couldn’t help herself at all.

And just as ever whenever a chance to insult Martin pops up, in comes M, shadowing her (literally) as she makes her way down the stairs.

“Grouchy’s a dense retard, that’s why.”

M then notices quickly that Sanae was in the same kind of pain as in the morning, clutching at her abdomen once again.

“Seriously, Sanae… why did you even come out if you weren’t feeling well?”

That provoked an unexpected reaction from Sanae: “HE’S NOT A RETARD---”, followed by even more uncontrollable sobbing.

M could only keep shaking his head. “Just stuff it, Sanae.”
“I hate my body… why does it hurt so much…”

M let out another sigh.

“Yeah yeah. Let’s get you home before you start saying more things you’ll regret.”

Sanae took that as an affront to her arguing with Martin. Angrily, she responded, “I DON’T REGRET ARGUING ABOUT THE B2 BOMBERS!” As she made her way down to the first level of the Community Center, she continued sobbing and forcing back her tears.

But suddenly, the sobbing stopped in a mid-choke. Before M could figure out how or why, Sanae began to fall floorwards… and she wasn’t even flailing?!


Before Sanae’s face struck the floor unglamorously, M sent shadows flying and, once again, the pair disappeared quickly.

“… I’d be more concerned, but man, you’re always such a handful.”


Date: 11 June, Thursday
Time: 7:00 pm
Weather: Clear
Location: Sanae’s Home
PC: Sanae
Other PCs: M

Before anyone noticed anything amiss, M laid her onto her bed, and then, he drew the Ether-soaked comforter over her sleeping figure.

M stared at her in a half-frown.

“…Women. The most stubborn pieces of work I’ve seen, shit.”

He notices someone coming up the stairs, so he quickly scooted over to another side of the room.

“Sanae-chan? Are, you’re asleep so soon? I thought you went out not so long ago…”


Date: 11 June, Thursday
Time: 8:00 pm
Weather: Clear
Location: Community Center Go Lesson Room -> Martin’s Home
PC: Martin

Martin ended the class without further incidents, satisfied that everyone’s gained a slight understanding about the importance of shapes and related situations. But as he picked the go magnets off the board again, he was left wondering what on earth he had been doing to earn Sanae’s wrath one day before the actual Festival.

“It’s just a freakin’ B2 Bomber… there’re worse shapes out there. Why is she so hung up about it? Could it be my fault that I called it a joke?”

Quickly, he exited the classroom. What a bad day.


All around him, festivity posters abound, all talking about the sights and attractions to be seen at the Festival tomorrow, and people to expect.

…a Japanese guest? Oh, right, there’s a sizable Japanese expatriate community in Pebbleton. Though, to bring two acts from Japan just for the Festival alone seems rather extravagant.

“Let’s see. Hmm. Legendary break-dancer, ‘Yubinohito’ Melvin Jack… and comedian… uhh… Maeda Takao?”

A buzz chilled his body, despite the absence of wind.

For some odd reason… both of them quickly felt like bad news. Really bad news.

Martin hoped he wasn’t right for once. Especially with regards to that really, really suspicious tail. He then recalled a certain tail from a certain Panzer cat from a certain somewhere, and immediately his nerves tightened.

"Okay. Definitely bad news."

But with Sanae the way she is, how am I going to warn her about being careful?
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