Amelia watched as everyone acquired their weapons, happily realizing that the transformation into her class had cured her hangover! Now not in a drunken or hungover daze, she finally manages to get a good impression of everyone. So the naked chick from earlier was now a sort of armored warrior type, the tiny girl who was surprised at her ability to talk was a rogue, the annoying woman who was being insulting was some kind of...mage? And the naked guy was...a detective...? Way to break the theme of the group.
"Amelia Leblanc. I go to Gateway, and work at a coffee shop in town." She stated. It was so nice to have at least a semblance of her powers back, even if they were significantly less impressive than her actual magic ability. Ignoring Iris and her comments, Amelia turned to Fumi as Jennifer dealt with Marigold. "So, you said something earlier about not being able to talk? What did you mean? Sorry...was out partying last night and the alcohol followed me into the dream."
Fumi was still spinning the small blades in her hands as if playing with toys, the joy of being able to do something so cool more than enough to hype her up in this situation. Sure, she might not be able to turn into smoke, BUT she also hadn't stabbed anything before! The thrill was intoxicating! Having been silently giggling to herself, Fumi stopped her incessant spinning and slowly sheathed the daggers away when the drunkard from earlier began to talk to her. "Oh, that? Ah, I'm mute! Well...not now, but I've always been mute. It's so weird hearing my own voice for the first time...though is it actually my voice? Or just what the dream gave me? Hmm..." She patted her hands together as if knocking any dirt from them and gave a wide smile that betrayed her mischievous nature, as if all of this was just some kind of fun; holding out her hand to Amelia, she introduced herself as well. "I'm Fumi. No last name, just Fumi." "I don't care for introductions. My name is Iris Thorne; Seamstress and professional designer." She was clipped and quick to the point while looking towards Hammond's way with distaste. One thing her and Amelia could agree on...lack of theme. The others had something sort of going on, but a detective? How droll.
"Well I'm pleased to meet you all." Jenifer sweat when she realized she was beginning to feel like the group leader. That wasn't right at all. She couldn't bring herself to admit the job she worked to Amelia. "I guess we should go the the store and pick up what we need." Jun awkwardly held her arm. Oh god somebody else take charge. Hammond luckily stepped forward, ego inflated by his new outfit. "I think I can lead. I know how to work a team." He stepped out of the hall and lead the group into the convenience store. He balked when he found it empty. There wasn't a thing in the store, no people, no shelves, no signs.
"The store is over there." Marigold pointed at the bunker. "Of... of course." Hammond lowered his hat to hide his blush and walked across the suddenly modern street to open the door. The steel door opened with a heavy creek, exposing concrete steps leading down into darkness. Hammond put a hand on the hilt of his hunting knife and walked carefully down. What was down here? Power plant? Military base? Bomb shelter? He looked for clues on the walls, finding nothing of note.
He threw up his hands when he found a relatively normal convenience store, just with illegible labels and strange items to buy. "I give up. How can I deduce anything when there are no rules!? Somebody else talk to her." He gestured to the person behind the counter, an albino woman in what appeared to be armored pastel pajamas. She turned her goggled face to the adventuring team. "Why hello! Are you all ready for an adventure? Well I guess not or you wouldn't stop here for gear but you know what I mean, oh hey you need a weapon don't you, cause you're a warrior and don't start with one-" The pale woman just kept talking in a longer and longer sentence. Jenifer thought she looked familiar. Wasn't she a teacher at Gateway?
Fumi's weird giggling and twirling of knives made Amelia a little uneasy and she listened to the tiny woman. Was she THAT giddy at the prospect of stabbing someone? At least it made sense that she was talking a lot; Amelia would talk a bunch too if she was mute and suddenly got the ability to speak in a dream. Accepting the outstretched hand, Amelia nodded her head. "Nice to meet you, Fumi. I'm Amelia. Your hair is awesome." She remarks, glancing at the poofy cloud that was attached to Fumi's head.
Following the group, Amelia lowers her right eyebrow slightly when she saw the shopkeeper's clothing. She seemed familiar...and had a horrible fashion sense. "Uh...you should choose something quick. We may be here all day otherwise..." Amelia whispers to Jennifer, holding her hand in front of her mouth so the pajama knight couldn't potentially lip read what she said.
“Ah, my hair?” Fumi looked down at the braid that was wrapped so many times around her neck and gave a cheesy smile; compliments sure did feel nice. “Thanks, usually it’s a huge mess! Probably the second good thing to come out of this dream.” She grew quieter as the group, if you could even call it that, began to traverse behind a small, strange power shift in the ranks when they attempted to figure out where to go. The Jenifer girl was nice enough and she did carry the solidity a leader needed, but it seemed the guy, who had oddly enough picked a Sleuth role, was more eager to take the initiative. Even if it did lead them nowhere. And even if it did make him look like a dope! Fumi couldn’t help but laugh while skipping past the guy to the actual store they were directed to, patting him on the shoulder while giving a thumbs up. “Don’t worry, maybe next time!”
The shopkeeper was droning incessantly while Fumi perused the wares in the shop. It seemed the dream alone wasn’t enough to stop her itchy fingers...for she was already humming to herself nonchalantly as she looked through the different types of bombs the woman had for sale. Sure, paying was nice and all...but maybe she could just...take one or two? She was sure this woman wouldn’t notice, just like she seemed to lack notice that she needed to breathe when she spoke. Stepping back, Fumi cast one glance to the side before purposely catching her foot on the ground, stumbling forward and into the case with a loud “oof” and looking incredibly embarrassed, her face bright red as she stuttered her “I’m sorry!” Righting herself and looking away from the group, she quickly shuffled away from the mess she’d left the shelf in, but hidden behind her cape was her right arm that expertly slid two small smoke bombs into her nearest pocket. She sure had a lot of pockets that needed filling.~
Keeping her embarrassed walk, she simply went to the person nearest to the entrance/exit of the store. Who happened to be Iris, looking particularly prickly. “So uhhh...your name’s Iris, right? You seem pretty grumpy, it might help to try and work with us all you know? I mean I’m just assuming and all, cause I hear teamwork in movies and stuff is great. You know X-Files? I can’t imagine anything working out between Mulder and Scully if they didn’t work to-”
“Shut up.” Iris spoke it casually while she leaned against the opening, one of her feet crossed delicately over the ankle of the other while her arms were crossed. She just wanted to get a move on in this. The sooner she got out of here, the sooner she could wake up, and the sooner she could get back to work and not follow around a bunch of loud, obnoxious kids...as if she wasn’t young herself. Her green gaze cut down to the incredibly small girl who looked surprised, then genuinely hurt for a moment after coming down from her excited, social high; Fumi didn’t exactly get opportunities to talk to people and thanks to such, she was always easily hurt when people were particularly rough with her. For just a moment, Iris did feel a small twinge of something, but her upbringing made sure not to let that show.
“I’m not here to make friends and you shouldn’t be either. Once we’re out of this dream, it’s entirely likely that you’ll never see any of them again, so don’t waste your breath.” Friends seemed so pointless and a few of these people seemed to be the “Oh I’ll protect you with myself, friend!” types, it was really good she had enough attention to choose something to keep them alive. Lilli’s body came back to consciousness slowly, like a feather’s descent. Opening her drowsy eyes, she looked down to the clouds beneath the high-rise illuminated by the multiple, chromatic moons that lay above. It was a nice, dreamy setting...so nice. She briefly thought she forgot something, something she was supposed to do...oh well, it was just a dream anyways, it would continue regardless of if she were awake or not. So why not just nap...a little longer.
Giving a dismissive, half-assed flick of her finger, she created a bubble that slowly pressed its way into the bubble that represented the group and they combined together slowly, adding a whole new facet to the world.
A single dungeon, one she didn’t put any thought into, simply letting it adjust to the group’s current capabilities. It was more fun to let them figure it out then to put in the effort herself...and if they got too hurt, or too exhausted, or lost their minds, she’d be awake soon enough to eat.
Hammond looked through the shelves until he found Elymer flasks with blue liquid inside and star stickers outside. He found a few coins in his pockets and figured it should get him a few. "I take it these are mana potions?" He asked the chatty albino. "Yep! And the red are healing and the green are poison and the chartreuse make your scent vanish and the vermilion make your fire resistance better and the periwinkle make you levitate just a little and the beige-" In her chattering state, she didn't notice Fumi stealing her bombs, but Hammond frowned. He put the coins on the counter and came out with three healing potions.
After some fiddling with his pockets trying to put them away, he found they could just vanish in his pockets and reappear when he desired. Handy. He turned and got to Fumi's side. "Look, I noticed your trick there. I just wanted you to know I'm going to let you steal a little because it's a dream and won't hurt anybody. I'm moral, not stupid. But don't push it. You cause any trauma and you're off the team." Behind him, Jenifer was delighting in the weapon she had just bought. Just like her good old halberd at home, except with brand new feature. She flicked it and it telescoped into a much shorter, more manageable one-handed axe. No more bastards getting inside her range and making her eat their bitty swords and maces. "I wish I was still in Gateway so I could ask you to do this adjustment." She lamented.
She was startled from her new weapon by a sudden rumble. The ground shook and dust trickled from the ceiling. Jenifer grabbed onto the counter, Hammond dove away from the shelves in fear they might collapse. They didn't, and instead a long crack appeared in the way before widening enough to let through even Jun, the bulkiest of the group. "Oh, that's a dungeon, you're adventurers right, you should enter and find the quest I just got, I need a magic bean and it'll be in there so if you get it I'll let you have one magical item each totally free from my store okay?" Ellen stopped to take a breath, shocking for her. It looked like they had their first job in this strange world.
Well, looks like it didn't take long for the rogue of the group to start stealing stuff from people. Was there a system in this dream that hurt their reputation if this girl was caught stealing stuff? Would prices go up in shops around them? It was just weird to be here in general...but regardless, Amelia wasn't about to go to dream prison just because this fluffy-haired girl is a klepto. Walking up to the front counter, Amelia purchased two healing and one mana potion, as she figured that mana may be a little hard to regenerate in the heat of battle. Not much else caught the fire mage's eye, so she kept an eye out to see what else Fumi would steal.
Then the room began to shift.
Amelia held onto a nearby shelf as the dungeon entrance opened up, letting go and peering through the opening. "Sooooo...magic bean. Right. Hey warrior person, I nominate you to go in first while I follow. You're a bit more durable than me."
Fumi was tapping her bottom lip lightly when Hammon approached her, giving her a grilling on his holier-than-thou morals and all she could do was look at him without much expression before smiling widely. "I don't know what you're talkin' about." Holding up her hands that were empty, she slid her fingers together and stretched out her arms while giving them a soft crack, still smiling dumbly before folding her arms behind her head as she looked back at him, still smiling widely as if anything he said meant absolutely nothing to her. "Besides, why are you acting like a leader anyways? You couldn't even find your way here, so I don't think I'm going to take orders from you, okey dokey!" She turned her head upwards as the building began to shake and was quick to bounce around on her feet to regain her footing as the world around them shake, opening the floor like a wide mouth. The dark, cobblestone steps led into the impossibly dark mouth of what she could only assume to be some type of gate...and with the information from the shopkeep, seemed like they were encountering their first dungeon!
"Oo...spooky." Fumi commented as she leaned over the opening to look into the impossible darkness. Iris, on the other hand, was taking her time to stride past the rest of the team, making her way down the steps with a fluid sort of walk that betrayed no fear, showing only pure impatience and a snooty type of confidence. "Well let's get going and find this stupid bean. I want out of here as quickly as possible." She wasn't really leading, but she wasn't really leaving much time for argument either as she fearlessly stepped into the darkness that swallowed her whole. "Hey! Wait!- She went in. Wowww..." Fumi mumbled slightly while peering over the edge, giving a noncommittal shrug after before hoisting herself over with a nimble jump. "Well...if it's one thing I learned, you don't want to leave the healer alone in video games. We don't exactly have much of a choice either, see you guys on the other side!" Her enthusiasm left her voice only echoing as she leapt through the portal-like gate, coming out on the other side next to a stiffly standing Iris, arms crossed while her fingers tapped along her bicep impatiently.
All enthusiasm seemed to disappear from Fumi as she looked at their new, magical surroundings. Unlike the previous dreamworld, this land seemed to have only one moon and it was the strangest thing she'd ever seen; as if were drawn in the sky, illuminating a false light, the edges of it seemed to be scribbled with crayon and the scars that 'twinkled' were all made in a similar fashion. All foliage, all shrubbery, even the creaky gate to the entrance of the place seemed to be created out of crayon and children's toys. Nothing was actually 'real' in this area...besides the building that made Fumi's skin go clammy and even more pale.
A large, Victorian-esque building that seemed to rise higher and higher to loom over her when she looked up; the windows all broken and dark as if no one were home. At the mouth of its doorway, there was a sign drawn in childish scrawl, illegible besides the ending word in actual, proffesional font, spelling the word "Orphanage". The sigh made Fumi's throat grow tight and she felt sweat gathering beneath her bangs, what was this place doing here?? Its open door was beckoning her to come in and she desperately wanted to decline the invitation, but she obviously couldn't once the others in the group decided to come through. For once, Fumi was mute once again as she clammed up. She didn't want to be here and she didn't want anyone to know why either.
"Ugly place. Look at the color class on those bushes. Purple with THAT shade of green? IS this place run by children? I'd believe it." Iris only snarkily commented as the tapping of her nails grew faster.
"That's probably for the best." Jenifer sighed. She had chosen the tankiest class she saw, so she guessed that was how it was going to go. Meat shield Jen, whoopie. Before she could lead the way, Iris and Fumi were swallowed by the crack. "Wait! Healer can't take point!" Hammond yelled before jumping in after Fumi. "Uh oh, better get moving. Could you stick close? You can take a hit and you're the only one with ranged powers." Jenifer jumped into the crack and fell heavily. Not quite used to the armor yet.
She looked around with her terribly limited vision to find a strange landscape. The sketchy look of the sky was especially disconcerting. It was strange to see something so aggressively dreamlike after the mostly normal world outside. Hammond was closely examining things. This WAS more dreamlike than anything else they had seen. And oddly specific. He scratched his chin and turned to Fumi. "Just how old are you?" He asked for a few reasons. One was he didn't want to get a child hurt. Another was she was the only one who looked young enough to influence this place.
Out of all the people to rush in first, why did it have to be the healer?! Amelia leaped in after Jennifer, landing on her feet as she saw the strange landscape that stood before them. Everything seemed to be...drawn in crayon? All except the massive building that loomed over them, only described on the nearby sign that read 'Orphanage'. After studying everyone's reactions, it appeared the one most taken aback by this entire landscape was the tiny klepto from before...was this entire dungeon tailored after her fears, or was it merely a coincidence?
Waving her hand to get Fumi's attention, Amelia pointed toward the building in front of them. "Look...I can see you're scared of this place. I know this may sound rude...but do you know this place in the real world?" She asked. It seemed like the thing a person who had nightmares about living in an orphanage would have.
Fumi was having difficulty swallowing, the dryness of her throat suffocating while she looked at the windows that seemed shifted slightly...tilted as if the home were smiling. She remembered the windows just like that...their busted, dusty frames and the way they made it cold in the winters; she didn't want to remember those places where the only thing colder than the rooms they'd shared was the loneliness she silently endured. Shaking herself slightly as it seemed she'd garnered some attention, Fumi swiped the back of her hand along her forehead and cleared her hoarse throat to answer Hammond first. "That's...that's none of your business." It seemed she was more serious than usual, the nature of this place obviously shaking her to the core. What was it doing here??
Casting a glance to Amelia, Fumi was just as quick to look away and she reached behind her head to pull up the large hood of her cape, covering her face just enough and giving her some solace in having a few of her features skewed from her onlooking party. "I know it. I know lots of places like it, this isn't any different. It's...it's probably just the work of whoever brought us here using memories or something. I don't know...Regardless, we should..um, probably get going." She tried to sound confident, but the faintest tremble in her voice betrayed it. Was the inside the same too?
When Fumi turned her attention to the open door a sound appeared as if it knew she were looking; a small, distorted, hushed laugh of a child. Following the ghostly sound was the sudden toss of something from the impossibly dark entrance, a single toy that slowly toppled down the stairs and a patter of bare feet sounding after with the small laugh following. Again, Fumi seemed visibly shaken at the small doll that sat on the steps, arms and legs splayed, the sewn face smiling in an almost mocking manner to Fumi. She could of swore it was taunting her, saying "Remember me? Of course you do." All of the sudden, Fumi didn't feel like her. The sight of this place, the sounds of those voices, this doll's haunting visage; Fumi wasn't an adult anymore, suddenly she was a little girl again.
Iris could only grunt slightly at the slowness this endeavor was causing. She walked forward to the raggedy doll and picked it off the ground, tossing the worn, fabric toy up and down in her hand before grasping down hard, turning to Fumi who remained immovable, like a statue. "So what if it's familiar. Who cares if it scares you? Are you going to let it kill you?" Her tone was still harsh, but it seemed like she was trying to be more...motivational than spiteful. "Either we stay here and play pity party around the table, or we get a move on, don't die, and make it back to the real world. Your choice, I don't care either way because I'm going in." She gave the doll one more toss up, then tossed it into the cardboard bushes and, just as she had before, Iris made headway into this bizarre dungeon.
"N-No, wait, you can't just go in!" Fumi finally found her voice with the doll out of sight, and therefore out of mind. She was following after Iris on her shaky legs, the first step up the stairs causing the exact same squeak it always had and she felt the very same way again, just like a child. She was ten years old again, following after a group of kids whose faces she couldn't remember, blending into the daily routine...but then she was just as quickly back in the hellish landscape. "Dammit, quit running off, we don't know what's in there!" Her voice called after as she entered behind Iris, through the threshold and into what would become her own personal hell.
The doorway would never betray what was inside and it was simple...at first. A large entryway, interior seemingly eaten away with age and dust. There were toys and scattered, broken crayons that must have had children with them at a point, but they were equally as abandoned as before...but the strangest thing was the large, white banner littered with holes, scrawled in childish writing a foreboding message.
"WELCOME BACK" A slight snore stirred her up...that and the sensation of fear brewing below. Lilli sat up again from her worn pillow, drifting her fingers across the open sky that littered bubbles down upon her. One moment she was laying down, the next she was in a bathtub filled to the brim with blankets and pillows, her body covered with the mass of bubbles that danced to her command. Slowly, they all combined into a single, large bubble that she bounced lackadaisically in her hand. "Seems the first is already cracking...humans are so fucking pathetic." She twirled the scene in her hands, Fumi's fearful face hidden from everyone besides Lilli. Her nightmares were becoming a reality and thanks to her falling harder in this dream, Lilli was now well awake. "Well then...I shouldn't keep you waiting. I'm starving."
From behind Lilli, small hands seemed to wind over her shoulders; a set of two hands to be exact. They were small, doll-like, their aged joints cracking rhythmically and wheezing with their mechanisms. The bodies attached were so small, so petite, it was as if they weren't human at all despite showing a strange, terrifying consciousness. "Been a long time since she's seen you, huh? Let's help her remember you." A slow mixture of quiet, childish laughter began to pour from the painted on faces of the being's, mixing melodically with the clacking of their limbs and as suddenly as they'd appeared, they'd disappeared, and in their steeds were bubbles that Lilli directed into the one she held. "Sighhh...how tiring. You are all a lot stronger than the usual humans...usually they're screaming by now." The tinkling laughter of children resounded from the stairway leading up from the foyer, the only entrance visible to the group, and the very sound made Fumi's hair stand on end.
"Dammit Iris, let Jenifer take point!" Hammond demanded, following Iris. It was clear just what was going on now. This place was formed from Fumi's subconscious. So many clues pointed to that it was painful, but he still felt a rush of pride at figuring it out like he always did. "Look, I can't say we got off on the right foot. But you're not alone here, okay? And hell, given what's going on, it might be my nightmare next. We've got to stick together." Jenifer walked past and flicked out her halberd into its full length. She stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking up into the darkness. She aimed her halberd up, seeking to probe where she couldn't see.
"Anybody got a light? I spent all my cash on the weapon, so I hope one of you got a torch or has a spell for it." She nervously looked for somewhere else to go. Did they really have to go deeper into this weird place? Why were they even here? How did this further their goals? She only realized now how her senses had been dropped to human level. She couldn't hear or smell any better than the others. Probably worse in this helmet. She felt like she had blinders on, blocking off the majority of things in the world from her gaze. She had forgotten what it felt like to have senses this limited.
Amelia silently followed along with the group, a little surprised when she heard the tiny woman from earlier swear. She seemed so carefree before, but with this own personal hell that they were sharing with her, that carefree nature was pressed under the weight of what Amelia assumed was childhood trauma. Hearing Jennifer ask for a light, Amelia snapped off a nearby wooden railing plank and cast a fire spell at the tip, creating a makeshift torch and walking in front of Jennifer. "Got a light. Just protect me if anything pops up, I can't really cast spells with one hand easily." She says to the other short woman.
Pushing apart some of the cobwebs that littered the place, Amelia turns toward Fumi. "Look...I know this is scary, but we need to know. What things scared you most about this place? If there was a bloodthirsty dog that always bit you or a bully, that might show up worse here. Can you think of anything?" Amelia asked, trying to anticipate what may pop out later on.
Fumi felt like their sympathy was mocking her, completely false and just them looking for answers on what to expect...it made her chest feel a little tighter and left her wishing she was mute again, for just a few moments. Maybe they’d stop asking her questions, maybe they’d stop prying her for answers, maybe she could just forget this all again; everything that she left in the past, everything she’d bottled up and stored away behind walls of items she didn’t need, why was she being forced to remember what she didn’t want to?! “Just…shut up! I don’t know what’s in here any better than any of you do! Clearly everything is fucked enough, so it might not even be anything I can predict!” She hated this! Her feelings were out of control, her mouth wasn’t tied to her brain any longer and she was just...going off !
“Mm, there it is.” The tired voice spoke, finger tracing over the bubble that warbled with the cacophony of Fumi’s mentality. She was breaking apart already, scrambling for answers in a place that Lilli would allow none. Like plucking a petal from a flower, Lilli pulled out a section of the bubble that slowly shifted back into shape and the small orb followed her fingertips, pressing into her lips while she slowly pressed the small, wobbling bubble into her mouth...then biting down with a pop. Sorrow like this was just so sweet, she couldn’t wait to eat.
Back within the group, Fumi felt something like a snap within her chest, like a cork popping from a bottle. At first she’d just been upset, but now she was wracked with sudden exhaustion that knocked the air right out of her lungs, causing her to clutch her chest as she fell onto her knees against the dusty, wooden floor, gasping for breath as her arm that held her up wobbled. “What...what is this...I can’t breathe, I can’t..” Her eyes were closed and she felt herself crumbling, forehead against the ground as she held to the weakness in her chest; if she had to guess what death felt like, this was it! With tears gathering in her eyes, Fumi struggled for a few seconds before taking in one large breath, gasping loudly while she felt the sweet bliss of oxygen returning back to her, but her strength surely didn’t. “What the hell…” Gasping out her words, she slowly unfurled, tears of embarrassment and frustration building in her eyes; she was completely mortified that they were seeing her like this! “I feel like something just knocked the breath right out of me…” She didn’t want to be here anymore, Fumi wanted to escape this place and never remember it, just like before.
Iris was looking disinterested in the entire scene before the girl who was supposed to help them understand this area crumpled. She obviously didn’t look okay and her face was too hidden to really see well, but the body language was all there; why was she so tired already? “Ugh. Already. Look, get back up, and help us get through here and I’ll help you out.” She struck a deal that left no real room for wiggling around its terms. In her right hand, Iris’s staff appeared in a small shimmer of white light and she approached Fumi’s side, hitting the end of her staff on the ground next to the small girl. Then, saying a chant she wasn’t sure how she really knew, nor did she question it, Iris began to use some of her valuable mana for this dungeon already, creating a small circle at the end of her staff that expanded to slowly encompass as long as she kept the chant up; the spell allowed the user to slowly feel revitalized, bringing their health back bit by bit and it was doing so for Fumi. Simply put, Iris was using only one of the abilities she knew she had at the moment, a rejuvenation spell. However, not wanting to spend too much mana, Iris ended the chant before actually topping Fumi off; Iris figured the girl just needed to be able to move, she could get back to totally normal all on her own. “There. Now get up, quit your blubbering and tell us. What. To. Expect.” She spoke each word hard, like a needle pricking into skin; quickly and pointed.
Fumi was still on the floor, her shame coiling around her heart as their healer already had to expend her resources. The stern, biting comments she received after didn’t exactly help her either… Her fingers slowly curled into fists against the ground, leaving marks where they trailed through dust, revealing worn floor beneath. Floors she’d walked on, floors she’d played on, floors she’d slept on… “I don’t know what to expect from here.” Her voice was soft and meek, but she was slowly resting onto her knees, using one hand to leverage herself from there as she carefully lifted herself back up. Her messy hand wiped along her cheeks beneath her hood, leaving grime where there used to be none. “It’s...there was nothing bad about this place. Not particularly. Of course there were bullies, there always are.” Fumi was slowly blabbering now, not sure what was relevant information here and what wasn’t. “I don’t know what horrible things could be here, but there’s only one way we can go anyways…” She pointed a finger towards the staircase that suddenly seemed a lot more ominous than it had before. “We...can only go further in.” She couldn't sit here and whine forever and now that she thought about it, the sooner she helped, the sooner they could get out.
"The orphanage didn't have a basement...but it had an attic; I'd say it's the deepest part of the place...maybe...and maybe that's where the quest giver's item is. If anything, we'll just...we'll have to look around. I don't know if the layout will stay exactly the same though."
"Thanks. Come on then, the attic." Once again, Jen the leader. Fuuuuuck. She advanced slowly up the stairs, keeping her halberd at the ready. Hammond looked up from the toy he was studying and looked at Fumi. "Come on. We have to be strong here. Just follow me. I'll strip this place of its secrets and bring what you fear to justice!" He dramatically posed, pointing into the darkness. "Do not fear the darkness! My light will pierce it!" Clearly his ego had returned, and it brought reinforcements. He extended a hand to help her up and half turned to the stairs, making another oddly dramatic pose.
Fumi's sudden collapse made Amelia rush over to try and help, but soon realizing that any healing spell she knew in the real world was useless in this RPG-like dream one. Luckily, the mean woman from before begrudgingly cast what appeared to be a healing spell on Fumi, allowing them to hear more about the location they were in. Strangely enough...the girl seemed to be in distress still, something that made sense if this location caused trauma for her earlier in life. Jen seemed to be ignoring the situation, Hammond was boasting about something to do with lightening darkness, and Iris wasn't the sympathetic type. Sighing, Amelia knew what to do as she set the torch down on a conveniently-placed torch holder on the wall.
Crouching down to Fumi's sitting height, Amelia reached forward and pulled the thief into a light hug, patting her back slightly. "I know, remembering this place is probably difficult for you. But we're all working together, so whatever shows up, we can defeat." Letting go of the hug, Amelia folded her arms across her chest and looked at Fumi. "Ready to get out of here?" She asked, trying to sound nice. They weren't going to get far if one of their teammates was paralyzed with fear, or started having what appeared to be a small heart attack.
Fumi’s face turned into something that represented distaste as Hammond rattled off a speech that she didn’t really buy...or didn’t care for. She politely declined his outstretched hand, the last thing she really wanted to be was touched right now. “I uh...I can walk. Thanks.” She pat off her hands on her dirty knees, not really making either clean before feeling another body beside her. Needles to say, she was stunned stiff when she was pulled into a hug; physical contact wasn’t something Fumi was really used to...especially hugs. Entirely hugs. In shocked silence, Fumi felt a sudden race of emotions go through her; was she happy about this, or was she angry? Was she being pitied or genuinely worried about? All these feelings and this place were only creating one solid emotion within Fumi that manifested within her itchy fingers. Awkwardly, Fumi had placed her hands around the other girl’s back, beneath the guise of her cloak and what represented a show of friendliness became the one thing Fumi could always rely on to make her feel better; a solid slip of her hand, practiced through years, fingers wrapping around a glass container that she plucked and hid beneath the puffiness of her sleeves when Amelia pulled away. It didn’t take her any time to hastily deposit it within the emptiness of her bags, a faint glimmer of blue swallowed by the strange, magic space; just seeing it brought some ease to her. Much better.
“Mhm.” She dimly mumbled while slowly making her way up the creaky stairs, intending to lead the group here as best as she could. So far, the layout seemed practically the same, so perhaps they could just get to the attic immediately… “It’s up the stairs...there’s a main hallway and some stairs at the end of each hall; assuming everything’s the same.” Scratching her head slightly, Fumi walked past the dark doorway’s mouth with the group behind her, and she’d been about to step when a sudden sliver of light caught her attention. “Wait, don’t move ye-”
Iris had been impatiently walking beside, ready to get the whole thing over with and like before, she heeded no warnings. Not much of a team player, Iris’s ankle tripped the small, silver string that lay across the hallway; the sound sudden and breaking as it was pulled entirely taut. Looking down as if it were more of an annoyance, Iris scoffed. “What is this? Some kind of shallow attempt to trip me?” However, that was not the case, for the open hallway suddenly shook and the entrance they’d come through echoed with a thick slam that reverberated through the floorboards, slamming down bars so thick that even Fumi couldn’t worm her way through; somewhere down a hallway that now seemed too long, a giggle erupted. They were trapped and this house was their prison.
Post by HungryHunter on Sept 16, 2016 21:23:33 GMT
Both Hammond and Jenifer startled when the bars slammed down over the entrance. "I was expecting that if that happened at all, it would happen right when we entered." Hammond mused. Jun just grumbled and readied her halberd again. This place sucked. Jenifer kept inching down the hallway, glancing into the rooms on either side. "You want to check any of these out or press forward? They might be useful." She would rather keep going, but Hammond was already veering for a room. "Side rooms always have trinkets, or at least encounters for experience points. I say we check them out." He put a hand on a doorknob.
Did the hug...work? Amelia walked along in confusion, happy that the poofy-haired girl was at least walking again. The sound of the gate slamming down behind them made Amelia jump slightly, then frown in annoyance. She walked forward confidently, opening one of the side rooms on the right. "We'll be fine! Let's train up before facing this boss! We may even get some cool items!" Amelia shouted over to the team, peering into the room she opened to see just what was inside.
The door opened into a single room; its windows were sloppily barred, allowing the faux moonlight to pierce through in hard edges, illuminating the vague outlines of what appeared to be several bunk beds. The room was wide enough to accommodate at least ten beds, five to each side with a wide amount of empty space in the center of the room, presumably where children would play. Peeking through everyone’s huddled bodies, Fumi furrowed her brow slightly while remembering the old places she’d slept; while they had been rickety and creaked whenever anyone shifted sides, they didn’t look as horribly run down as this. From what she could see in the dark, the metal frames were wilted as if too much weight were applied to them, sheets eaten away by either age or moth, and the thick layer of dust made what was once white now look completely grimey. The place had been in disrepair...but never this bad. “Mm... I don’t remember it being like this.” Fumi mumbled quietly while keeping her place in the back near Iris. She always liked an escape route…
It was quiet at first, but slowly a shuffling began to appear. A small sound pursued the strange shuffling, soft mumbles like someone trying to speak with their mouths covered, ending in quiet, wheezing breaths before starting over again. From beneath two of the beds, the darkness shifted with shape and a pair of arms appeared beneath one bed’s broken frame; a set of mechanical, doll-like hands with skin of dusty and broken porcelain scratched against the dusty floors repeatedly, using the strength only in its fingers to draw its body out from beneath the wreckage. Similarly , from a top bunk nestled out of view, a single leg followed only by the mechanical bone beneath on the other side appeared. They shuffled inhumanly, jerking as if their mechanics were malfunctioning and they looked at the group with their bizarre faces; beneath messy hair missing in patches, a pure white face with a single, drawn on eye seemed to be pointed in their general directions, but their mouths were strangely human, sewn up tight enough to barely allow their wheezing breaths through. At first they stood before the long sleeves on their ruined clothing, revealing blades that were built into their arms, the large and crude weapons snapping loudly as they positioned themselves over their arms. The same giggling from earlier erupted in a harmonious cacophony from the monsters as they charged forward at a surprising speed, jerking unpredictably as they attacked the group from the front.
Fumi could only barely suppress a slight cry of surprise as these bizarre and horrible creatures so quickly attacked, she was only barely able to bring her hands to one dagger against her thigh, bringing it up to hold in front of her defensively, but her hands shook so badly as she looked at their outfits. She’d remembered wearing the same one that the female-like doll creature wore.. .
Iris, easily more composed than Fumi, had her staff at the ready while silently loathing that they were wasting so much time going into side rooms; seriously, there were so many doors in this stupid hallway, did they really expect to go through them all? She just hoped that their front-liners were competent enough to take care of these threats without taking significant damage, she only had so much mana reserved.