HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Herein lies the various threads in which our characters live out their lives
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Zefir
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Zefir »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

The half dragon guy wonders why all their eyes drift down. Is that some kind of catgirl thing he doesn't know? are they attracted by the sozzling hot half dragon body? Well we will see.
Just to add he got emerald green eyes that can make you get lost in them. That dragon form amulett is to powerfull.


"Don't worry."
he says to June. "Nothing bad happened so it's fine."

Then he turns to the other one. "You'r not wrong. " he agrees. "I found myself in the situation to only read books for thous.... a long time. It's good to get some knowledge, but some things you can only experience out there, with others." Shady wording.

Then he grabs the platter from June, but not with his hand. Instead he uses his tail and offers it to the other catgirl (June can still grab some pieces too) It's filled with small cake pieces mostly with fruits or maybe less depending on how many June ate. Then he grabs with his hands behind his neck and suddendly got two books in his hands.
(To prevent confusion, in his stuff animal form he got a bag of holding behind his colar and for the fun he got it here too)

"Here you go. I suggest you get to sign them as well. Anything else i can be of service to you?"
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Thursday Violist
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

If the half-dragon guy didn't want catgirls to glance at his chest, he probably should've put on a shirt.
Muscles can be very distracting.

"My username is..."
Oh no.
She can't remember exactly what it is.
In the first place, she doesn't use it all that often, and even when she does she just stays logged in to twitagram. Really, the only reason she even somewhat remembers it is because sometimes games she plays use it as a sort of 2-factor authentication linked account thing, so she needs to re-type it in every time the games have a major update. And she can't exactly check right now because...no mermaid friends, meaning no internet connection.

As June does her best to remember her username, she tries typing it out in air, to see if muscle memory can help her recall it. (Admittedly, she doesn't technically have any muscles, but her point still stands.) 'Yeah, wasn't exactly by choice, but...it's a long story." Her running theory is that talking will help her remember exactly how her username is spelled.

Well, there definitely are more little cakes on the platter. June did end up eating more than she probably should have, so she doesn't grab any more. She instead reaches out to grab one of the books. "Wow, that's a neat magic trick," she says, since the dragon guy just appears to have pulled out the books from behind his neck. Which, of course, is pretty impossible, since they would've stuck out. June just assumes he had somehow hidden them on his back in some kind of harness, or something like that. Regardless, it still looks pretty impressive.

Feeling guilty for taking his cake platter and eating too many, June doesn't answer about needing anything else.
But!
She does suddenly remember her username, and how it has an underscore in it. June snaps her finger to snap down the memory in place. Since Rachel's asking the dragon guy for something, June chooses to not say it aloud (in case they're going to say more to each other) and instead types out on her phone "Junebug_Nikita", then displays it to the other catgirl.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

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Arkhosia wrote: Aug 23, 2023 4:29 pm [Maid Café and Book Signing]

If only Dorota knew how formidable a horde Calanthe was tasked with helping manage. She'd likely be appalled, amazed or possibly both.

"Oh, no!" The witch laughs. "nothing quite like that! It's simply - well, you know how it is with children. Blink and the years will pass and they will have sprouted up in no time at all. A number of them are approaching their teens already."
Morty wrote: Aug 23, 2023 5:40 pm [Of Swords and Dragons]

Oh, Riddle. Though aware of Ambrosia's pride, Wenomir is unwilling to just let her lie there.

"I think it went better than the last time. Are you alright?" he asks, approaching.

[Maid Café and Book Signing]

Dorota grimaces briefly. Without knowing, Zhareen touched a very raw nerve.

"...I didn't. I had to find my own when I was older," she says. It's not the time or place to elaborate on her childhood.
Reinholdt wrote: Aug 25, 2023 6:30 am [Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

"Ah I see. I suppose that does complicate things." Reinholdt becomes more thoughtful as he mulls it over. "Why are you so sure she's a part of that group?" Not that Rein doubts Ambrosia's assertion. He just wants to know in case it comes up again later with someone else.

"Her name's Artie I believe. Or Arty. Or Artemis. Maybe just Art? But I don't know much else about her to be honest. She is Nurse's assistant in the Infirmary and was one of the few members as a result to be grandfathered in back when Felandria took charge. Basically I didn't recruit her like I have with most of the other members we have now, so I never formally sat down with her or anything." And any passing conversation in the Infirmary was exceptionally difficult because of Nurse's tails getting literally in the way. Getting loose fur in your mouth is terrible, fair warning. "I can keep an eye on her for you, at least until today's over."
[Maid Café and Book Signing]

Zhareen raises an eyebrow as Calanthe clarifies. "Oh, but you said... ah, I see. Well, I'm sure you both make excellent role-models yourself. Indeed, this makes me remember a thought I had. Would you mind come to the fourth tower some day and demonstrate alchemy to the students?"

She gestures to Calanthe. "You could come too and show some of that witchery if you to." The merfolk grins at her. "Since I have a feeling you came here to join HALO, yes?" Calanthe might have already have said this but Zhareen must have forgotten it in all the excitement.

[Of Swords and Dragons]

"Yes." Wenomir can just barely make out as the scholar just lay there for a moment.
"Everything hurts but that's probably a good sign." She slowly raises to a sitting position and rubs her back wearily. "Likely not good for this body's long term health though." Ambrosia let's out another groan.

Then after another moment she raises her hand as to point something out, letting out a small sigh. "Since I don't want you to get the wrong impression here. I'm not wearing this armor purely for my own comfort. It carries an enchantment that protects me from lighting. Since I'm just as vulnerable to electrocution as any other human while wearing this body."

Ambrosia closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. "I want to try again though. I'm pretty sure I've figured out what I'm doing wrong now."

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

"The group I'm talking about use- well, I guess the way I'd explain it is that they use 'auras' to identify one another. I've learned how to detect them at a glance at this point. Though in her case her appearance is also a dead giveaway." She gestures vaguely in Artie's direction though never turns towards her.

"But I'd be most grateful if you could do that. I was going to do dragon-adjacent things during the stunt and I can't help but to wonder if-" There's an abrupt pause she seems to have a moment of sudden realization. "-what do you mean that you didn't recruit her like that? Would you, ah, mind clarifying? Since while I have talked to Dorota on more than one occasion I've never actually met her assistant before."
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Morty »

[Of Swords and Dragons]

"...alright. But don't endanger yourself on my account." Not that Ambrosia is likely to listen to this request. Nor is he one to talk. They're both bad at backing away from a challenge.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

Well someone would have to be looking at Mr C's eyes to get lost in them. Rachel won't make that mistake!

The catgirl raises a slight eyebrow, but accepts the tray of treats from his tail, putting it on the table between them both in case June changes her mind and wants some more. Rachel doesn't think she'll eat very many at all. Keeping her figure trim is an essential part of her business, hobby, and life.

"Oh wow. You're just like my mom. She loves doing that trick." Which was great at Rachel's fifth birthday party, but maybe has lost its impact by the time her seventeenth birthday party rolled around. Seriously Mom.

Rachel smiles as she takes the book. "Some green tea would be nice, but that'd be it I think. Thank you~" Oh! June's showing her username. Rachel hurriedly writes it down on the first paper she finds, which is the inside of the book she just got.
...
"Shit." So much for mint condition. Rachel should have just put it in her phone somewhere.

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

"Well there is a dragon in the book so it shouldn't be that odd, but if you're not comfortable doing it, then don't." Getting nervous causes things to go wrong and when things go wrong with a stunt, people can get hurt.

"It means that I actively recruited people to join, but that doesn't mean everyone in HALO was recruited by me," Reinholdt explains. "I'm not holding the keys to membership or anything and I promised some people during the transition to keep things casual. And so we have." Reinholdt shrugs a little. "But Dorota was one of the people I did talk into joining."
► SHOW SPOILER
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Ironsmith »

[Airbase]

"...That sounds very convenient." Vlad notes, looking at the chain between the two womens' wrists. "If that's just ordinary iron, it's relatively brittle compared to what I have up here. You're looking at a simple bolt-cutter job, at least at first."

The engineer draws him (and his suit) up to his full height and makes a little flick of the suit's wrist, the back of the hand opening to let out the appropriate tool. "Getting the cuffs themselves off may be a more delicate job." He continues, lining up the chain into the bolt cutter's blades. "But this part is trivial, and should give us a little more room to maneuver."

chuk!
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

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[Of Swords and Dragons]

Ambrosia doesn't answer. Instead her eyes focuses on the cloud above them. Wenomir getting the distinct impression that her pride won't allow another embarrassing failure at this point. It takes one to know one after all.

Then thunder can be heard.
In the distance this time as lighting can be seen just nearby.
This is a remarkable improvement from striking her right in the face.

"There! Did you see that? It worked." She gestures where the lighting was a moment ago.
Then she takes a deep breath. "Alright, if you move away a fair distance I will see if I can do that again. Aimed towards you this time. So be ready." A beat as she realizes she just told Wenomir she was about to hit him with lighting.
"Last chance to back down in case you feel unsure. Since as to my knowledge you have no protection to being hit, yes?" Perhaps he should have worn something lighting proof to this. Just in case...

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

"It's fine." Ambrosia assures when Rein brings up not doing any dragon things during the performance. "I needed to think of an excuse why I can do that anyway so it might be for the best. I've grown too careless as of late. This is a good way to remind me that I need to be more vigilant, even here in the nexus."

She nods to him. "As long as you keep an eye on her and tell me how she reacted I don't think I will have too much issue doing this." A beat. "Though if she truly is a fey agent... well, wouldn't work well long-term."
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Airbase]

"It's been anything but convenient," Maria says with a pout, eyes still unable to meet anyone else's. Still, it's good to hear that at least the metal isn't some sort of magical impossible to remove chain. Or a reforming one. Like those trick candles on a birthday cake. That would be terrible.

The chain between Maria and Seraphina is cut and the librarian draws her arm away, moving it about to see what newfound freedom feels like. Kind of unimpressive if Maria's honest. She's used to holding a book so her arm tends to be locked in place anyways. The chain didn't change that too much. Still, she can appreciate some real progress with the problem!

"Th-thank you," She tells Vlad after he separates the chain.

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

"Of course. Talking about just for today. Get through this event and I'll arrange a discussion with Dorota and then Artie and see what I can't learn about the situation and keep you in the loop." How does one deal with fey agents exactly? Seduce them? Cut a deal? Rein's going to have to really think this one through. Maybe outsource it to a specialist if he can find one.
► SHOW SPOILER
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Zefir »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

Well would they be more caught by his muscels when someone accidently drops water over them?

Mr. C is not sure how to treat her comment as he has no idea who her mom is. But it's better to assume it's a compliment.
"Thank you. It is handy if you need your hands free for other things. It does have many uses." What he means is unclear, but you can bet he has some other thoughts then they do.

He nods at the green tea and looks at June.
"I guess you need a better connection? I look up what the password is for the guest account if you still need it."
There should be one especially since it's a promotion event and they want people to know about it.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

► Catgirls and Eye Candy quotes
[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

June would argue that if someone poured water over Mr. C's muscles, it would be tantamount to a warcrime. Well, admittedly, not quite as serious as that, but it whoever does that would be acting extremely unfairly. June's just barely able to not stare!

Somehow, even though the catgirl June completely lacks blood in her body, she still manages to blush after what is said.

Even though she swore she shouldn't eat any more of the little cakes, she still grabs another one from the try that was placed in front of her.

June looks up at the half-dragon guy. "Oh! Yeah, that'd be nice," she says. "Well, not necessary but it'd still be nice." Getting the password to the internet means she could just go straight to Rachel's account and...well, just follow it or something.

She looks at Rachel, to see what she swore about.
Oh. Writing in the book.
"Oh. Um. Didn't want writing in your book?" she asks the other catgirl. "We can trade, if you want." She sets down her own book on the table. Then, to make it so Rachel doesn't feel guilty for taking someone else's mint-condition book, she says, "Back in school, I used to make lots of doodles that look like flowers and vines and so on on my things, I could easily turn the writing into a floral design."

► Airbase quotes
[Airbase]

"Yeah, chain made it pretty hard to cook," Seraphina adds. Well, not exceptionally hard, just a little harder.

She holds still as the chain is cut. "Thanks," she also says. "Glad it was an easy fix."

One she's free, Seraphina turns around, away from the two of them, and fixes the wardrobe malfunction that was caused by the presence of the chain. By the way, she's got several major recently-stitched-together or otherwise in-the-process-of-healing injuries, including a huge cut that was on her back.
"Do you have an estimate for how long the manacle removal should take?" she asks. Because, as evidenced by her red eyes and pointy teeth, she still is needing more life energy and magic energy and should probably get that dealt with, sooner or later. "Because after that ritual, Maria's probably exhausted and should rest soon," she instead says.
Last edited by Thursday Violist on Sep 01, 2023 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Morty »

[Of Swords and Dragons]

"I'm not going to back down, but... some protective equipment would not go amiss." For all his stubbornness, Wenomir does manage to keep his feet on the ground. He returns after a while wearing rubber gloves, rubber boots and some other gear. It looks a bit silly but it's at least safer.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Shadowcaller »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

Ambrosia nods. "Thank you. Hopefully that'll resolve things. I hate to be this demanding so early on but it's my freedom at stake here so I hope you don't blame me for being paranoid."

A beat as she prepares herself to shift mental gears entirely.

"But... with that resolved. After the stunt I'm supposed to continue posing as Jane Everywoman for autographs and such, yes? I just want to make sure." And there didn't appear to be that many kids here, right?

[Of Swords and Dragons]

"There's an equipment closet next door actually." Ambrosia points her thumb to the right. "You're far from the only one that needed special equipment for this room."

Once Wenomir returns he's once again faced with the burning city and the shadows its making Ambrosia cast across the vast wheat field. This place really couldn't look more ominous than this.

"Alright, take a stance and let us begin. Now that you're properly protected I won't hesitate hitting you."
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Morty »

[Of Swords and Dragons]

"I'd expect no less." Wenomir smiles slightly. "Give me your best shot and I'll see what I can do with it."
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

[A singular hallway]

Somewhere in HALO, there's an intersection between hallways. One hallway goes away, slanting downwards: farther out into the ocean, going deeper and deeper along the ocean floor. It seems like the lights haven't been replaced in a long time, as many of the lights have gone out. And, if one looks far down the dark hallway, they'll see a single light far down there, blinking on and off.

There's several doorways branching off this hallway, except even a glance through the glass walls out into the dark ocean shows they don't go anywhere; in spite of what the light gleaming out from the doors' cracks suggest, there's nothing there. In spite of the occasional sounds coming from beyond the doors, there's clearly nothing there. In spite of some of the doors even being cracked open and rooms can be seen in them, there's clearly nothing there. In spite of the overgrown plants creeping out of some of the doors and strangling the decorations in the hall, in spite of the whispers that can be heard from all around while in the hallway, in spite of something being there...
There's clearly nothing there.

The floor is wet, too, with an occasional drip
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀drip
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀drip
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀drip
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀drip
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀drip
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀drip

Should one choose to brave the darkness, once they get to the flashing light they'll be rewarded with a very unusual reward: a plain white mask, without even eye-holes or anything, with fox ears atop it. The kind of mask that seems to bend all space around it as one gets closer, making one think it's the only important thing in the universe.

There's only one cause for concern, however:
There's never been a hallway right here.

Outside of this particular intersection, one can't even see the hallway stretching out into the oceanic abyss.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

Whatever's got June blushing goes right over Rachel's head with a blank stare. She's already considering the cosplay problems she's had when it comes to juggling props in your hand while staying in character and trying to buy things from the vendors and open a door.

"No, it's alright," Rachel says. "It's not like this is going to be the next big hit anyways, right? Worth millions in twenty years or something." It's a children's book, not a pop sensation, surely. Rachel probably won't regret her decision.
...
And even if she does, she is a time traveler and can come back here to pick up a fresh book without writing. That would possibly explain why there's a second Rachel carefully hidden in the background picking up a book and getting it autographed while doing her best to avoid coming into contact with herself and June and anyone else really. Fortunately she's dressed normally and covered her tail and ears with a hat and a long skirt so it'd be quite a feat to recognize the two as the same person. Best to ignore that background NPC.

"Thanks though," Rachel says with a smile as she takes a bite of one of the pastry treats. Mmmm~

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

Depends on how many kids Calanthe brought with her.

"That's right. The books do need to get signed after all. We're collecting a rather large line over there and shouldn't keep them waiting any longer than necessary." Reinholdt motions to where Batu went to get his book signed so Ambrosia can see the table set up for it and the numerous patrons and cultists waiting patiently.
► SHOW SPOILER
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Ironsmith »

Reinholdt wrote: Aug 30, 2023 6:52 am [Airbase]

"It's been anything but convenient," Maria says with a pout, eyes still unable to meet anyone else's. Still, it's good to hear that at least the metal isn't some sort of magical impossible to remove chain. Or a reforming one. Like those trick candles on a birthday cake. That would be terrible.

The chain between Maria and Seraphina is cut and the librarian draws her arm away, moving it about to see what newfound freedom feels like. Kind of unimpressive if Maria's honest. She's used to holding a book so her arm tends to be locked in place anyways. The chain didn't change that too much. Still, she can appreciate some real progress with the problem!

"Th-thank you," She tells Vlad after he separates the chain.
Thursday Violist wrote: Aug 30, 2023 5:13 pm [Airbase]

"Yeah, chain made it pretty hard to cook," Seraphina adds. Well, not exceptionally hard, just a little harder.

She holds still as the chain is cut. "Thanks," she also says. "Glad it was an easy fix."

One she's free, Seraphina turns around, away from the two of them, and fixes the wardrobe malfunction that was caused by the presence of the chain. By the way, she's got several major recently-stitched-together or otherwise in-the-process-of-healing injuries, including a huge cut that was on her back.
"Do you have an estimate for how long the manacle removal should take?" she asks. Because, as evidenced by her red eyes and pointy teeth, she still is life energy and magic energy and should probably get that dealt with, sooner or later. "Because after that ritual, Maria's probably exhausted and should rest soon," she instead says.
[Airbase]

"To borrow an old expression... 'ain't no thing'." Vlad gives a little incline of his helmet in Maria's direction, before turning to address Seraphina's question.

"That depends on how brave you are." He continues. "I have some tools here that can cut through iron easily, and while I can tell you they're all safe to put near your skin, that's not going to be very reassuring when you've got a thing right near your arm going reeeeeeer." He makes a gesture similar to cutting something with a chainsaw, imitating the sound. "If you're willing to risk it, I can have the manacle off in less than ten minutes. If not... I have some corrosive agents that are harmless to humans, which I can apply to your manacles and they'll just kind of crumble naturally. You'll be up here a few hours, but eventually it should just peel away."
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Zefir »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

The butler nods and takes the plate back in one hand he can't walk and carry it. Also he needs the tail to stabalize his movement he isn't used to the two leged form. So either way he will go and get tea and a password for the Guest Wifi. Nothing more to say he will return next time.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Airbase]

"Oh. Yes, I suppose I should sleep," Maria says with all the conviction of someone who has no intention of sleeping. Despite looking tired and a little pale and clearly in need of sleep.

"These things will get in the way of my reading," Maria says, knowing full well they're going to catch on the corner of pages as she turns them or the edge of the desk or any number of trite inconveniences. She holds out her wrist and puts the manacle on the table, seemingly unafraid in the face of something getting in between her and her books. "Cut it off."

[A Singular Hallway]

Speaking of fearless, Maria once again proves her courage as she traverses the hallway without a second thought.

That... is misleading. It's not like she intentionally entered this hallway. Deep into a particularly riveting passage of the surprisingly interesting tome Vampirism: Virus or Curse? The Myths and the Facts., Maria naturally follows the downwards slope of the hallway turning into it like water. As things get darker and darker with distractions a plenty, Maria's face gets closer and closer to the book. Her eyes strain to continue reading at all costs and she inwardly curses that she no longer possesses her old drow eyes to see things clearly in the dark. Stubbornly though, she refuses to look away for even a second, stumbling through the words at a slower pace.

Until she reaches the flashing light. The change in brightness momentarily blinds Maria and she instinctively squeezes her eyes shut, making her lose her place in the book. Frustrated, she looks around for who dares to interrupt her only to discover it was no person, merely the environmental elements. She would have a lengthy discussion with Reinholdt about proper upkeep of the utilities in an underwater location such as... wait, where was she? She doesn't recognize this part of the base. Or most parts of the base really, but still, this seemed out of place even then.

Even more out of place is the mask that sits upon the ground. The longer Maria looks at it, the more important it seems. The librarian looks around and calls out. "Hello? Did anyone displace a facial covering with vulpine features?" Maria naturally bends to pick the mask up (carefully using one finger to keep her place in her book as she holds it closed upon the finger). Maria turns it back and forth in her hand in the off chance someone wrote their name upon the mask.
► SHOW SPOILER
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

[Maid Café and Book Signing]

It's true! There's cultists waiting to get their hand-bound (and sometimes hand-written!) books signed. The biggest give-away that they're cultists is probably their matching robes with stitched designs along the hem and other parts.
There's quite a number of them. Seems like they all came here together.


Catgirls and Eye Candy

Rachel already denied that she's a time-traveler, so even if June did manage to recognize the second Rachel, at best she'd assume it was her human half-sister or something. Rachel did admit to having a lot of relatives, after all.

June watches the butler go.

"Yeah, you're right, it likely won't become worth a lot later," June says, agreeing with Rachel. A time-traveler would know, too. "Besides, most things that get to be that value are only that valuable because they're unique and maybe in mint condition. But if you just buy books to keep around in mint condition, then they'll never get read which is the complete opposite of the whole point of books." June laughs.

"Actually, though, pretty sure I'm going to end up writing in my book, too. There's basically no point to a book that doesn't have writing in it, anyway."

June hardly pays any attention to any background NPC, whether cultist or catgirl-in-disguise or anything else.


[Airbase]

On the one hand, Seraphina would really much prefer for this to be over quickly in case it takes too long and she finds Maria far too appetizing once again.
On the other hand, well...if this goes badly, there won't be another hand for there to discuss the cons on.

And, while she definitely trusts that Vlad is confident the safeties would work on the machines to cut the manacles off, she's also confident that, in the past couple years of her life, the vast majority of machines she's been around have spontaneously failed or had other problems. Sure, it's probably just random chance that nine out of ten trains she rides on don't reach their destination, that half the other vehicles she rides on break down, that state-of-the-art tech spontaneously has its safeties fail and needs to be emergency shut-down, that computers that she uses long enough have sudden inexplicable errors, that watches stop working far too quickly, that robot dinosaurs appear and start eating people...it's not that she's superstitious or anything, but it's just that, well, she's just confident that she has gambler's-fallacy levels of bad luck.
"Would you mind if I watched first and waited before deciding?" she asks.

She pauses, and remembers something, "Also, could you clarify what you mean by 'harmless to humans'?" asks the woman who looks more like a vampire or a blood elf or something along those lines, than a human. "I mean, obviously I am human, of course, but I've learned that can mean different things in different contexts."

Also, Seraphina has a ring that's pink and black which could be affected by the corrosive agent, but that's not really a problem since she could literally just take it off. And there's only a fifty-fifty chance it's on the correct hand, anyway.


[A Singular Hallway]

Once Maria discovers how far down she is, looking forward she'll just see the hallway continuing down into the darkness. Looking backwards, there's the distant light and normality of where she came from.

There is nobody's name written on the back of the mask, unfortunately, so Maria can't find out whose it is that way.

The light above her flashes, then sparks, and goes out, leaving the bookworm in the dark. Fortunately, a very belated emergency light system turns on once the last light goes out, all along the hallway. Along the bottom of each wall, a dim red bar of lights turn on, showing the way both back to safety, and also farther into darkness. In the lighting of the red emergency light, an enormous and unrecognizable creature can be seen swimming past the glass barriers, out in the open ocean.

Ding!
At the very end of the hallway, a door opens and allows a cold, white light to flood that side of the hallway: specifically an elevator door. Which is strange, obviously. It's an elevator, at the end of a very inconvenient hallway, Looking out into the ocean, there's nothing to be seen above it which means the elevator can only go downwards. And it's somewhat closer than the distant safety of normality.

Music starts playing from the elevator, not quite the bossa nova knock-off of elevator music, but it's pretty similar.

After just enough time to register what's happening, both the mask and her book are getting lightly pulled on. Only thing is, they're getting pulled on in different directions: the mask, towards the safety and normality of the well-lit hallway, while the book is getting pulled in the direction of the elevator. It's the classic Spiderman moral dilemma! Which one is she going to save?
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

Rachel's eyes spend a little time watching the help leave. Maybe a little more than necessary before returning their attention to June.

"Well, a lot of things have value specifically because they aren't used for their intended purpose. Heck, even in my business, you absolutely can't have a boyfriend or you'll lose a ton of viewers and income. Value based on purity and all that." Rachel rolls her eyes hard enough to show what she thinks about that nonsense. But she doesn't seem inclined to mention a boyfriend she has purely to rebel against what she perceives is an issue.

Rachel grabs another treat but asks a question before biting into it. "So, why did you decide to become a catgirl? Modeling opportunities perhaps? You could be a model. I could introduce you to some people."

[A Singular Hallway]

Maria does yelp as the light suddenly goes out. Now that she's not reading her book and completely oblivious to her surroundings, she's finding the environment to be rather intimidating. And here she was, thinking maybe she should put the mask on to see how someone sees through it without any eye holes. Maybe a fancy internal electronic overlay that may give away names or something. But now she's completely distracted by mildly shaking and catching her breath.

The dinging elevator doesn't help much, but it does offer some scientific explanations. For instance, some maintenance person came down this way, dropped their mask and took elevator down to... wherever. When they got off, they sent the elevator back up by pushing the button unnecessarily. That's why it opened like that with no one on it. Well they would probably appreciated their mask back. As well as learning about the lights going out. So they can fix it faster.

More importantly, some sort of poltergeist seems to be trying to take Maria's book! That won't fly. "HOW DARE!! Stop that!" Maria grips the mask tighter and follows the book to the elevator, even as she stubbornly tries to yank said tome free from whatever psychic forces have the gall to touch one of Maria's precious literary works.
► SHOW SPOILER
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Shadowcaller »

[Maid Café and Book Signing - After the Serenade]

Ambrosia nods. "I'll just get to it then. I need some time to set it up so I better get going." She gives Rein a quick bow. "Wish me luck."

And off she goes.

[Maid Café and Book Signing - The Stunt]

Onto the wooden stage that has been set up at the book singing shambles a figure in an armor.
Specifically, for those familiar with it, they appear to be wearing Ambrosia's armor. Yet it seems oddly distorted somehow. Each individual piece of it is the same size but they all appear further apart to be able to fit the towering height of person who now wears it. Standing nearly eight feet tall or more as their odd hunched over stature makes it difficult to tell exact measurements at a glance.

But in addition to that they're also wearing a headgear which covers up most of their head with black cloth and on top of that a hat.
Finally, their face is obscured by a strange mask.

They enter the stage holding a sword menacing fashion.
"Behold me... and despair." The figure declares in a whispering tone that's neither feminine nor masculine. Sounding like they have difficulty even making the words odd.
"Because I am the King In Rags... but you shall all know me as your... True King.
Now bow before... me..."


A keen observer that looks beyond the dramatics might spot the fact that as the figure moves around on stage the gaps in its armor seems to be filled with nothing but darkness. As if the armor was completely empty.

"No. They won't." And there she suddenly walks onto the stage. It's Ambrosia Jane Everywoman!

[Of Swords and Dragons]

The scholar gives him a nod and then steels herself as her gaze focuses on him.

There's a couple of moments and then lighting suddenly strikes. Hitting him right in the head unless he moves in the almost non-existent time it takes for it to reach it.
Regardless how he handles this it might still appear as if he was hit by the flash since the light making up the lighting bolt travels faster than the lighting itself. Creating a curious visual phenomena.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Ironsmith »

[Airbase]

It's next to impossible to make out facial expressions through Vlad's helmet, but the way he's standing certainly seems to imply surprise. These two had pretty much the opposite responses from what he would have expected; Maria didn't really strike him as the adventurous type, and this other lady... well, he hadn't even seen her before, but one of them had to have the idea to get chained up in the first place.

Oh, well. You learn something new every day.

"Ah, well, it's very simple." Vlad begins, producing a device resembling a laser pointer and holding it parallel to Maria's wrist, a little smoke rising from the manacle as it scores a line along its length. "I use a solution of sodium chloride, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid, diluted in water, for material testing. Collectively they form the ideal conditions for rusting, which is great if you want to test how well your work holds up against natural corrosion."

"...Now, truth be told, two of those can be dangerous if used in high concentrations, but this solution is diluted to the point where you'd see mild skin irritation at most, and I'll be right here to make sure there's minimal spillover from the manacle to your arm."
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

Reinholdt wrote: Sep 05, 2023 9:40 am [Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

Rachel's eyes spend a little time watching the help leave. Maybe a little more than necessary before returning their attention to June.

"Well, a lot of things have value specifically because they aren't used for their intended purpose. Heck, even in my business, you absolutely can't have a boyfriend or you'll lose a ton of viewers and income. Value based on purity and all that." Rachel rolls her eyes hard enough to show what she thinks about that nonsense. But she doesn't seem inclined to mention a boyfriend she has purely to rebel against what she perceives is an issue.

Rachel grabs another treat but asks a question before biting into it. "So, why did you decide to become a catgirl? Modeling opportunities perhaps? You could be a model. I could introduce you to some people."
[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

"A job that dictates who you can date is way too controlling," June comments. "Not that I have one anyway, so it wouldn't really matter."

June grabs yet another tiny cake, too.

"It wasn't really by choice," she answers. "Just...kinda happened. Y'know, the usual: weirdo cultists." June shrugs, as if it's not that big of a deal. Happens all the time, cultists turning people into catgirls. "I mean, so, I'm an office-lady. That's about the furthest possible you can get from models," she claims.

"In fact -"
June's about to continue speaking, but suddenly! It seems HALO's putting on a play or performance of some kind. June suddenly cuts herself off, and turns to watch it; even so, she still does try to finish her thought in a whisper. "Well...granted I am looking for a new job, but in the first place, the only thing I know about modeling is that I had a friend who did it when I was younger. And that you need to be tall to do it." Which, admittedly, June is tall enough to be a model.

Reinholdt wrote: Sep 05, 2023 9:40 am [A Singular Hallway]

Maria does yelp as the light suddenly goes out. Now that she's not reading her book and completely oblivious to her surroundings, she's finding the environment to be rather intimidating. And here she was, thinking maybe she should put the mask on to see how someone sees through it without any eye holes. Maybe a fancy internal electronic overlay that may give away names or something. But now she's completely distracted by mildly shaking and catching her breath.

The dinging elevator doesn't help much, but it does offer some scientific explanations. For instance, some maintenance person came down this way, dropped their mask and took elevator down to... wherever. When they got off, they sent the elevator back up by pushing the button unnecessarily. That's why it opened like that with no one on it. Well they would probably appreciated their mask back. As well as learning about the lights going out. So they can fix it faster.

More importantly, some sort of poltergeist seems to be trying to take Maria's book! That won't fly. "HOW DARE!! Stop that!" Maria grips the mask tighter and follows the book to the elevator, even as she stubbornly tries to yank said tome free from whatever psychic forces have the gall to touch one of Maria's precious literary works.
[A Singular Hallway]

The assumption that it's a maintenance person in this hallway is a pretty decent assumption. Very believable. And, of course, the poltergeist must be the maintenance person's assistant, and has a love of books or something.

Even though Maria yells at it, the book still gets pulled to the elevator. Actually, as the mask gets closer, it gets pulled more strongly in the opposite direction, but Maria's probably holding onto it tight enough that it doesn't get away.

The book, Vampirism: Virus or Curse? The Myths and the Facts actually doesn't stop until it goes inside the open elevator. At that point, however, it stops moving.

Just an open and lit elevator, with a book resting on the ground in there. The perfect trap.

Of course, once someone steps into the trap, the elevator doors will close and the only thing that can stop it would be pressing the "Open Door" button. And, if it closes, the elevator starts descending.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Airbase]

Maria glances askew at Seraphina, partially to look away from the process that's happening dangerously close to her wrist. At least she's keeping it quite still, be it out of fear or out of practice.

"I'm uncertain that most speciologists would qualify you as human under the proper accepted current scientific taxonomy." I think Maria's calling her out as not human.

[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

"There have been a lot of cultists around lately." Is that the in thing right now? Maybe Rachel should join a cult to stay relevant to her followers.

The catgirl whispers back as the show begins. "Nonsense. That only used to be true. Now it's all about the camera work making you look tall." Nothing that can't be solved with the help of heels and a smaller companion next to you.

Rachel's attention is swiftly captured by the show and in proper cosplay idol fashion, her reactions are strong to the clear and present danger that the King in Rags represents... wait, don't they mean the Banished King? Was this a canonical error? Oh, or maybe the Banished King's real name was the King in Rags. So a secret tidbit only true fans of the book will know.

Either way, Rachel makes her displeasure known. "Booo! Down with Kings!!" Loud enough to be heard, but not so loud as to be disruptive. She'll stick to a short cheer when Jane Everywoman arrives, seemingly swept up in the energy of the performance.

[A Singular Hallway]

"I swear to the divine if you don't let go this instant, I will perform a banishing ritual on you!!" Maria says in her most librarian voice she can muster. It's honestly not as intimidating as she wants it to sound.

But it seems to have worked. Granted, it required Maria to tightly grip the mask and step onto an elevator to retrieve her book. She picks it up with a distressed frown and jumps a little as the elevator doors close. She'd press the button to make it stop, but she has a book in one hand and a mask in the other. This makes doing things with her fingers actually quite difficult. She'll just have to ride it down and then ride it back up. Maybe after giving the maintenance guy his mask back. She will, at least take note as to what floor they appear to have started on.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

Ironsmith wrote: Sep 05, 2023 1:33 pm [Airbase]

It's next to impossible to make out facial expressions through Vlad's helmet, but the way he's standing certainly seems to imply surprise. These two had pretty much the opposite responses from what he would have expected; Maria didn't really strike him as the adventurous type, and this other lady... well, he hadn't even seen her before, but one of them had to have the idea to get chained up in the first place.

Oh, well. You learn something new every day.

"Ah, well, it's very simple." Vlad begins, producing a device resembling a laser pointer and holding it parallel to Maria's wrist, a little smoke rising from the manacle as it scores a line along its length. "I use a solution of sodium chloride, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid, diluted in water, for material testing. Collectively they form the ideal conditions for rusting, which is great if you want to test how well your work holds up against natural corrosion."

"...Now, truth be told, two of those can be dangerous if used in high concentrations, but this solution is diluted to the point where you'd see mild skin irritation at most, and I'll be right here to make sure there's minimal spillover from the manacle to your arm."
Reinholdt wrote: Sep 08, 2023 7:53 am [Airbase]

Maria glances askew at Seraphina, partially to look away from the process that's happening dangerously close to her wrist. At least she's keeping it quite still, be it out of fear or out of practice.

"I'm uncertain that most speciologists would qualify you as human under the proper accepted current scientific taxonomy." I think Maria's calling her out as not human.
[Airbase]

"Acetic acid, acetic acid...isn't that vinegar?" Seraphina asks, seeing if she remembers.

She bites her lip, thinking.
Then winces in pain and suddenly stops. She needs to stop doing that, 'cause she just punctured her lip again with a sharp tooth, and a little blood drips down from it.

She trades between looking back at Maria and watching the laser..
"Fortunately, I don't think I've ever met a speciologist," she replies. Which probably means that their opinions are invalid.

"...okay, I'm fine with trying the laser," she decides, once it appears to have finished. A saw would be coming in perpendicular to her arm, meaning it would be depending entirely on the mechanical safeties, but the laser, being held parallel, would depend more heavily on human error in order to cause problems.


[Maid Café and Book Signing - Catgirls and Eye Candy]

June thinks cultists are weird.
She would not recommend becoming one just because it's 'in' right now.

Maybe it's because Rachel's enthusiasm is infectious, but June also jeers and cheers (though not quite as loud) to the performance.

Reinholdt wrote: Sep 08, 2023 7:53 am [A Singular Hallway]

"I swear to the divine if you don't let go this instant, I will perform a banishing ritual on you!!" Maria says in her most librarian voice she can muster. It's honestly not as intimidating as she wants it to sound.

But it seems to have worked. Granted, it required Maria to tightly grip the mask and step onto an elevator to retrieve her book. She picks it up with a distressed frown and jumps a little as the elevator doors close. She'd press the button to make it stop, but she has a book in one hand and a mask in the other. This makes doing things with her fingers actually quite difficult. She'll just have to ride it down and then ride it back up. Maybe after giving the maintenance guy his mask back. She will, at least take note as to what floor they appear to have started on.
[A Singular Hallway]

Maybe most people wouldn't be intimidated, but the poltergeist would definitely be intimidated by that voice. After all, being banished would mean it can no longer steal books from people. In fact, upon entering the elevator, the mask stops pulling away, too.

Without anybody who could close the door in time, the elevator doors close.
The lights go out, but the elevator pretty clearly goes down. And down. For just an uncomfortably long amount of time, before it stops. The lights come back on in the elevator, there's a 'ding', and the smooth bossa nova stops playing.

It opens up to a large, dark room, filled with empty bookshelves. The room doesn't seem to end in any direction, but straight ahead there's a wooden desk. And, behind the desk and sitting on a swivel chair, there's a man sitting. The man, instead of a normal head that matches the rest of his body, has a jackal's head. "Welcome! Come in, come in," he says.

He holds his arms out, and a light appears around him so the elevator is no longer the only source of light.

The man looks at the objects in Maria's hands. He places his elbows on the desk, and folds his fingers under his chin. "I see you brought something for me. Come forward, pull up a chair, sit down."
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Morty »

[Of Swords and Dragons]

Dodging or blocking the lightning bolt would strain even Wenomir's altogether unreasonable reflexes. The lightning strikes him, proving the wisdom of wearing protective clothing. He nonetheless staggers back, disoriented. That doesn't seem to have given him any particular insight. However...

When thunder washes over him following the lightning strike, it speaks to him. Jarowit deflected lightning, that's true. But he's not Jarowit. He doesn't need to deflect it. He can learn from it in another way. Thunder follows lightning and he has been described as being fast as lightning.

Without really thinking about it, he swings his sword, the movement of the blade being almost imperceptible. After a moment, another thunderclap sounds, creating a shockwave emanating from the Answer. It's weak, but it's there.

[Maid Café and Book Signing - The Stunt]

Dorota watches the performance from her spot near the tables. This will draw people's attention, right enough. Is Ambrosia remotely controlling her armor somehow? It doesn't look like anyone is in it.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Ironsmith »

[Airbase]

"Well... more or less, yes." Vlad says, immediately challenging Seraphina's rationale by producing a small circular saw, with a blade that has a radius about as long as the last knuckle of her thumb. "Strictly speaking, it's the part of vinegar that isn't water or other trace elements. But then, purer acetic acid could be accurately described as concentrated vinegar, so... eh, it's a semantic thing."

Vlad applies the saw carefully to the line he scored on Maria's manacle, the blade turning rather slowly for a high-power cutting tool but still managing to carve a deep furrow into the metal anyway, complete with a high-pitched screech as the iron is severed. Maria will even feel the blade reach her skin... but it somehow doesn't seem to be sharp, and has no more effect on her than might be achieved by rolling a warm ball bearing up her arm.

It doesn't take long before there's a large through-and-through gap on the manacle, which Vlad leverages open with a set of pliers before rather nonchalantly bending the manacle nearly neatly in half. "There you are." He chortles, setting the disfigured metal aside before turning his attention to Seraphina.
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[Airbase]

"Specieologists are, ironically, perhaps the most endangered species of them all," Maria notes. It's tragic how their culture was usurped by a bunch of scientists too.

Maria starts to scream as her arm is sawed in two before realizing it isn't necessary as she isn't being horribly dissected. Then she just looks sheepish for making a noise that's like a scream or a death wail but cut off before reaching its crescendo.

"Thank you," she mutters before moving away from the chain and the chainsaw man before there's a massacre.

[A Singular Hallway]

The elevator lights too?! Truly this is an abomination of maintenence standards. Maria's not particularly afraid of the dark, having grown up in it, but being unable to see in it is still new and mildly discomforting.

What comes next, however, is truly horrifying.

Empty bookshelves?! EMPTY!?! This... this is an abomination. A travesty. It seemed impossible before, but Maria has gone even paler, becoming more ghost-like than her supposed poltergeist assailant. She would swoon and faint if not for the jackal-headed man addressing her. Light-headed, she stumbles towards him, uncertain of what chairs he refers to.

But Maria does hold out the mask towards him. "I-I brought the facial covering you misplaced," She says, hoping he will take it so she can leave this place as quickly as possible.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Thursday Violist »

Ironsmith wrote: Sep 09, 2023 2:46 am [Airbase]

"Well... more or less, yes." Vlad says, immediately challenging Seraphina's rationale by producing a small circular saw, with a blade that has a radius about as long as the last knuckle of her thumb. "Strictly speaking, it's the part of vinegar that isn't water or other trace elements. But then, purer acetic acid could be accurately described as concentrated vinegar, so... eh, it's a semantic thing."

Vlad applies the saw carefully to the line he scored on Maria's manacle, the blade turning rather slowly for a high-power cutting tool but still managing to carve a deep furrow into the metal anyway, complete with a high-pitched screech as the iron is severed. Maria will even feel the blade reach her skin... but it somehow doesn't seem to be sharp, and has no more effect on her than might be achieved by rolling a warm ball bearing up her arm.

It doesn't take long before there's a large through-and-through gap on the manacle, which Vlad leverages open with a set of pliers before rather nonchalantly bending the manacle nearly neatly in half. "There you are." He chortles, setting the disfigured metal aside before turning his attention to Seraphina.
Reinholdt wrote: Sep 10, 2023 3:17 am [Airbase]

"Specieologists are, ironically, perhaps the most endangered species of them all," Maria notes. It's tragic how their culture was usurped by a bunch of scientists too.

Maria starts to scream as her arm is sawed in two before realizing it isn't necessary as she isn't being horribly dissected. Then she just looks sheepish for making a noise that's like a scream or a death wail but cut off before reaching its crescendo.

"Thank you," she mutters before moving away from the chain and the chainsaw man before there's a massacre.
[Airbase]

Seraphina watches the saw blade, and immediately decides it'd be better to not go with that option. She doesn't cut vegetables with a blade aimed at her hand, so she doesn't want to cut metal with a blade towards her hand either. Doesn't matter that it doesn't actually cut Maria.

After Maria's finished and Vlad approaches Seraphina, Seraphina looks at Maria as if pleading for her to help her. "A-actually I'm already low enough on blood as is, I've been cut by enough blades recently, I'd rather go with the acid solution," she quickly says, holding her hands up and forward, as she takes a step away.

She looks down at the saw in his hand. "Besides, I really ought to be on the lookout for assassins: What if someone tampered with your tools so they fail the second time they're used?" She is, after all, probably some kind of princess who has had her memories altered for some inexplicable and unknown reason.

Reinholdt wrote: Sep 10, 2023 3:17 am
[A Singular Hallway]

The elevator lights too?! Truly this is an abomination of maintenence standards. Maria's not particularly afraid of the dark, having grown up in it, but being unable to see in it is still new and mildly discomforting.

What comes next, however, is truly horrifying.

Empty bookshelves?! EMPTY!?! This... this is an abomination. A travesty. It seemed impossible before, but Maria has gone even paler, becoming more ghost-like than her supposed poltergeist assailant. She would swoon and faint if not for the jackal-headed man addressing her. Light-headed, she stumbles towards him, uncertain of what chairs he refers to.

But Maria does hold out the mask towards him. "I-I brought the facial covering you misplaced," She says, hoping he will take it so she can leave this place as quickly as possible.
[A Singular Hallway]

The jackal-guy smiles.
A smile looks just a little disconcerting on a jackal's face.

He gestures at the desk in front of him, inviting Maria to set it down. "Thank you so much," he says. "Perhaps since you don't want to sit" (she's right, there are no chairs around besides the one he's on) "you'd like to peruse my books?"

But there really are no books, at least at first.

He smiles again, and when she next looks at the empty bookshelves, they're no longer quite so empty. In fact, there's a whole lot of books on it.
Thing is, however, nearly every single book on the shelves are named similarly to the book Maria is holding on to.
The Curse of Vampirism and Its Falsehoods
The Lies of Vampirism
Vampire Stories
The Inconsistencies of Vampirism
Vampirism and Mythology
Twilight
The Blessing of Vampirism and Other Falsities
The Bloodsucking Deception
Deceit and Vampires
Immortal Blood
Vampyrum Spectrum
Vampires: Legends and Stories
The False Vampire

Definitely a theme going on.
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Re: HALO CLXXXV: The Titles End Here

Post by Reinholdt »

[A Singular Hallway]

Maria will put the mask down gingerly on the desk. Is this man really a member of HALO? Did he suggest this horrid room was his? What kind of monster has NO bo-

Oh, he does have books. Lots of them. Where did they all come from? Why hadn't she seen them before? Maria breathes a little easier all the same.

"Ah, uh, you're welcome. You should really put in a maintenance request to get your lights fixed. Especially in the hall outside the elevator. It's a safety hazard," Maria politely informs the unsettling jackal headed man.

And immediately starts perusing the books. Which soon makes her rather distraught again. She doesn't even like vampire books! She much prefers history books and cultural books and anything else with anthropology related value. Sometimes that included vampires, but only sometimes! Maria ends up grabbing Twilight and taking a quick glance through to see its basic premise since it seemed to be the only one not explicitly about vampires. "Ah, uhh... do you only collect books on vampires?" That would be weird, but certainly not as weird as not collecting any books at all.
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