Alexis looked at Kelsey in shock. "Woah, you're dating him now, Vicey? I don't wish that on even you. You'd best dump him before he shows his true colors." She leaned around Kelsey to keep her hateful glare on Tyrone. Tyrone shrugged, putting a hand on Kelsey's shoulder and the other on the hilt of his pitch black flail.
Marigold followed far more slowly. She wasn't supposed to run indoors. At the top, she immediately went to the railing for a cursory scan of the room. Her eyes scanned over the girl beside her, suddenly widening in that subtle way they did when they saw her ears and tails. Her eyes kept going, looking for any threats in the crowd, but she still wondered about the strange girl. When she was done, she turned back to sit by Emma, squeezing her teddy bear to her chest and remaining stock upright.
She turned her head to Emma. "That girl has tails."
Terry frowned at Haley. "Fruity?" Hammond chuckled and put an arm around his shoulders. "She means it's like fruit." He sniffed. "Strawberry?" "Raspberry." Hammond shrugged and chose a seat, tugging Terry down next to himself. "Yeah, and apparently I'm not much better. Poison's just that bad?"
Shrugging Tyrone off her shoulder, Kelsey crosses her arms at Alexis. "Dating? Please. Tyrone is merely walking to the speech with me. Also..." Kelsey glances at Tyrone. "This is hardly justification to draw your weapon. A guard is meant to solve problems with words first, before resorting to violence. Remember that."
Looking back at Alexis, the vice captain continues. "I don't care about whatever personal history you may have with him. Is there going to be a problem here?" She asks, glancing between Alexis and Tyrone.
"Tails? As in, more than one?" Emma hadn't heard of anything like that here besides the Zhenfeng house leader. Looking over to where Marigold had pointed her towards, Emma saw a faint white streak disappear behind a row of seats to their right. Whomever it was, she didn't want to be seen. This bothered her. "What do you think, should we see what's up?"
Haley couldn't help but lurch back slightly as he mentioned poison. "You wouldn't believe how bad that smells. It's like if a zombie was boiled into a soup, and then that soup was tossed into a vat of tar and sewage. That's what I can smell in most poisons, anyway." Which wasn't far from the truth. With enhanced smelling came an increase in how bad some things smell to her. Realizing what she just said, Haley puts her hands behind her head. "But don't worry, you don't smell too bad right now. Just let me know before you start casting spells or whatever."
Tyrone's race flashed with rage for just an instant, but he became utterly calm before anybody but Alexis saw. "There won't be a problem if he doesn't start one. And he knows better when I have the chick who summons Gilgamesh with me." Tyrone nodded to Kelsey. "I'm sorry. Miss Primrose has a violent reputation." "It's better than the reputation you have, shitbag!" Alexis sneered and reached for her whip. Becky stepped between her friend and her friend's enemy. "No." Alexis glared but took her hand from her bag.
"Yes. Nine tails." Marigold looked back and saw the girl was gone. "Yes. Let's find out what's going on."
Terry chuckled as Hammond grouchily slouched in his chair. He cheered up only slightly when Haley clarified. "Yeah, alright then. If I of all people smell bad though, gym class is going to be a nightmare."
Stepping in between the two as well, Kelsey glared at Tyrone. "Stand down, that's an order!" Looking back at Alexis, she squints at the red-head. "What, may I ask, is Tyrone's reputation? He is an upstanding guard as far as his records go."
Confused, Emma shrugs her shoulders and stands up. "Ok...let's find out who this chick is!"
Oddly enough, when the two round the corner, Lindsey is nowhere to be found. Camouflaging herself in the darkness and with an illusion spell, the kitsune observes the two looking for her. Damn, of course there had to be someone wanting to know what she was doing.
Groaning, Haley sat down in her chair as well. "You have no idea. Gym class is the absolute worst for me, especially when you guys put on too much of that body spray crap! Why do you do that?! It makes you smell like a factory to my nose!" Clearing her throat, Heley chuckles slightly to herself. "Uh...sorry. I just needed to get that off my chest."
Alexis glared past Kelsey at Tyrone. "Maybe not so much a reputation, but he's a total creep! One date and he shoved his way in my room! When I relented and went to get him a drink, he rummaged through my drawers and took pictures that I KNOW I've seen around." Tyrone shook his head. "Boss, she's a known trouble maker. Yes, we did go on a date, but she invited me in herself. What happened was private, but-" "Oh, fuck you! Fuck you so much! I didn't sleep with him, that's for sure! I'm telling the truth, Vicey! I know we don't get along, but I don't lie!" Becky nodded. "She doesn't." Tyrone just shrugged and started to walk away. "This isn't even worth our time. There could be actual incidents to deal with that SHE'S distracting us from."
Marigold was highly trained to spot odd things in her environment, to read the movements around her for intent and find the hidden, in case a target was hiding or people around her carried concealed weapons. Still, she didn't see Lindsey in the darkness. The combination of shadown and illusion was an effective one. Marigold understood the powers of darkness. It could conceal her or a foe so long as they knew what they were doing. And since they were searching, darkness had to be swept away. Marigold raised her hand and her palm burst with light like a little sun, erasing any shadows in sight.
Hammond smiled at Haley's rant. "Well, we don't do that. It's probably to impress girls or something. I don't get how, but it's never been my greatest concern anyway."
"ENOUGH!" Kelsey yells at the two of them, placing her hands out in the direction of both Alexis and Tyrone. "I have heard enough. Alexis, if you have a problem with another student, file a complaint with our office and we will investigate. Otherwise, keep the bickering to a minimum. Good day." Regaining her composure, Kelsey begins walking away from the scene and into the auditorium. Those two were insufferable together. Though...Alexis isn't exactly known as a liar. What happened between those two?
Smiling at the two of them, Lindsey couldn't help but feel sorry for their futile attempt at finding her. This illusion would protect her from everything besides them physically walking up and touching her. Emma only looked at the area, confused. "So...do you think she teleported away or somethin?"
Backstage, the headmistress and faculty were preparing the final plans for the speech that was about to begin. The headmistress sat on the side of the stage, drinking a thick, red liquid that looked like blood. Giving speeches like these tired out her voice, so hydration was needed. The show was about to start, finally.
Alexis grumbled and walked on. "I have, Vicey. There was nothing that could be proven." Becky looked down and picked up her friend in a hug, leaving Alexis' legs waving in the air. "Hey! Stop it! Put me down, Becky!" They turned the corner and continued on.
Marigold looked around in her newly brightened environment. Nothing. "Don't know. Let's go back." She turned one more time, holding her teddy bear to her chest like she was letting it help look. Seeing nothing, she skipped back to the seats, glancing around warily the whole way.
One by one, the Gateway students and faculty filed into the auditorium, the chatter of people becoming increasingly louder as more people joined. However, all voices became hushed as the lights dimmed down, and the auditorium became lit by various rows of candles that had all begun lighting from the front row to the back, creating a calming but mysterious atmosphere. Suddenly, the curtain in front of the stage began to rise, and a woman looking to be in her late 20s emerged from the darkness, an air of authority accompanying her commanding presence. She wore a black suit with gold trim around the edges, and had short white hair that went down to her shoulders.
"Welcome, students and faculty, to a new semester here at Gateway!" She proclaims, causing everyone to applaud. Once everyone had finished, she continued. "I hope you all had a wonderful winter break, because it sure got snowy here. I actually had to rattle the school a little bit so the roof wouldn't cave in! We wouldn't want that, now would we?" There was a brief murmur around the auditorium when she said that. Was the headmistress really powerful enough to shake the entire school at once? This place was a giant castle!
"For those of you who don't know me, I'll give a small refresher. My name is Cynthia Weiss, I'm the headmistress here at this academy. If there's an issue on school grounds, I know about it. So don't break the rules, and you won't have to deal with me. Got it? Good. Onto the exciting news!" Taking out a small note card from her coat, Cynthia places it on top of the pedestal in front of her. "As I am sure some of you are aware, this semester we will be hosting the annual House Cup competition!" Instantly, there was a roar of applause from the crowd, which soon died down when she began talking again. "This year, the competition will center around three main competitions, as well as the academic achievements of each house. But don't worry, the majority of points will come from the competitions. As always, we can't reveal what the competitions are yet, but I can give you a hint about the first one."
Bringing out a small wooden wand from her pocket, the headmistress waves it to the side, and the auditorium is near instantly coated in a dense fog that hid even the people sitting next to them. Before anyone knew what was going on, there was a loud "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" noise, and the fog slowly vanished from the room. Still looking professional while everyone else was busy chatting away, Cynthia continues. "Got it? Good. Have a wonderful semester, everyone!"
And with that, the headmistress disappears into a portal of darkness, leaving everyone to discuss what just happened while other speakers took their turn explaining what various clubs were doing, until eventually letting everybody go.
Alexis also hopped down from the stage, having just given her introduction to the dueling club. She waved her phone at Becky. "Just got an alert! We're having a match! I'm gonna go ref, you want to come?" Becky reluctantly nodded. "Great. Don't worry, it looks like a short one."
Marigold had no outward reaction to the speech, and barely any inner one. She just stared. Class time. She picked up her bags, stood, and was on her way to her first class.
Hammond's heartbeat was quickening as he left the auditorium. Terry, sensing his distress, took his hand. "You can beat him." He reassured Hammond. "Can... but I won't." He put his head on Terry's shoulder for just a second. "You don't have to do this." "Yeah I do. Evan needs to be taught a lesson, and maybe I can hurt him a bit before he kills me. Haley, you coming?" Hammond looked up at the little dog girl.
As Hammond finished asking Haley, a person passing by forcefully slams the side of his body into Hammond's chest, hitting him with enough force to knock him over if he couldn't keep his balance. Evan merely grinned back at them, clearly being the perpetrator. "Oops, didn't see ya there. I'll be in the arena, don't keep me waiting dweeb!" Laughing loudly, Evan disappears into the crowd, headed toward the arena.
Folding her arms across her chest, Haley swishes her tail from side to side, watching the scene play out between Hammond and Evan. This guy was going to get clobbered. "Sure, I'll come along. I wouldn't want to uh...miss you winning!" It was plainly obvious that Haley didn't believe a word of that last sentence. To be honest, she just wanted to see an awesome fight.
Up in the balcony, Lindsey snickered at the crowd below. It was time. Kicking a large bag as tall as her off of the balcony, it unravels to reveal that it was...full of flour! And with a small wind spell, the white powder was sent in a whirlwind across the auditorium, trying to cover as many people as possible. Knowing her exact escape route, Lindsey leaps up into the rafters and into an air vent, leaping away with animalistic speed and grinning the entire way down.
Marigold looked up when she heard a thump above. Seeing the raining flour, her eyes grew into terrified disks and she dove under a chair, dragging Emma with her. Poison powder! Dastardly!
Outside of the arena, Hammond was floored by Evan, glaring as he stood. "Don't worry, I won't! I'm coming right now." He straightened his hat and vest, giving a mild scowl to Haley. "Don't be like that. We all know how this is going." He took a deep breath and got going. "Come on. I'm not skipping out on this. I'm no coward." He lead the group to the arena, where Alexis waited, a small crowd gathering, paying her for seats. Becky huddled in a corner of the stands, grouchily staring. "Hey, contestant number one is here! Get on in!" Alexis waved to Hammond, who gave Terry a quick kiss and jumped into the ring.
"Hey!" Emma called out as she was drug under a chair by Marigold, nearly faceplanting into one of the cushins. She had a feeling something like this would happen...it was Lindsey most likely. Standing back up, Emma summons a small pink bird, which began flying around them, making the flour fly away from both of them. "It's alright...this stuff is only flour. Someone appears to be playin a joke!"
Evan stood lazily in the arena, leaning on his trusty purple scythe. Once Hammond got into the ring, he quickly stood up and twirled the scythe around his body, catching it above his head at the end. "Nice to see you didn't chicken out! I would have had to hunt you down if you did!" He gave a small laugh at the end, clearly enjoying the setup here. Haley watched from the stands, her tail folded into her lap, which she was absentmindedly holding onto. "So...think he has a chance?" The dog girl asks Terry, sitting next to her.
"We ready yet?! Come on, start the match already!" He yells, glancing over at Alexis, the referee. He wanted to make this quick.
Marigold peered out from under the chair and took a deep breath that she immediately sneezed back out. “These aren’t flowers.” She informed Emma.
Terry frowned deeply. "Outside of the arena, he could poison him, then play defensive. But the arena has its regeneration magic, so that won't work so well. He can win, but I don't think he will."
Hammond took a deep breath and drew his sword, getting into a defensive position with the short blade in both hands, crossing his chest. He kept drawing deep breaths, eyes only seeing Evan. He could do this. "Alright, rules! No time limit, no summons, no crying to mommy! Victory when one is unable to stand for five seconds! Ready? Begin!" She vaulted from the arena and blew her whistle, and the invisible shields defending the audience from the fighters went up.
Emma couldn't help but chuckle at Marigold's observation. "Of course not THAT kind of flower! The uh...flour that you cook with." Emma couldn't remember exactly what flour was made of, but she knew enough. Putting her hand down, she offered it to Marigold to pull her up. "Come on, it is gone by now. Let's go see what is going on in the arena!"
Evan grinned the entire time Alexis was explaining the rules. As soon as the whistle blew, he slams his scythe into the ground, sending dark magic into the tiles. He then dashes forward with his scythe, aiming to attack Hammond with a hard right swing to his throat. But this attack was merely a distraction. Unbeknownst to Hammond, the dark magic from before was moving toward the poison user from underground, and would erupt into a pillar of darkness if Hammond doesn't move.
Marigold just gave her same old stare as she stood up, not accepting the hand. "Arena... sure." She trotted off in the general direction of the arenas. As she ran, a Japanese girl in stuffy clothes walked up behind Emma. "Hey, Emma-chan. Who's that? Anyway, classes start tomorrow so I told my parents I'm going out finding where they all are. You know what that means."
Hammond just had to change the angle of his sword as he raised it to block Evan's scythe easily. He was still shoved and his eyes widened. The power behind that shook him to the core. It felt like a truck had hit his arms as he stood his ground. He stomped and the darkness about to burst beneath him went purple and burst out in spikes aimed directly in front of him. "You thought I wouldn't feel that? You're been fighting too many first years!" He thrust his palm at Evan's stomach, seeking to fire a poisonous shard into it at point blank range.
Grinning from ear to ear, Emma thrusts her fist into the air, then brings it back down to her chest. "Alright! Ready to get your butt kicked again?" Remembering that she was with Marigold, Emma motions toward the girl that was trotting away. "That's Marigold, by the way. She's really tough, but kinda weird...in a good way." Grabbing Kasumi's arm, Emma lightly began tugging on her sleeve. "Come on, let's go to the arena, slowpoke!"
Evan laughed as he noticed the spikes coming towards him. In one fast maneuver, he swings his scythe away from Hammond's sword, then uses the downward momentum to smash his scythe against the spikes, shattering them and sending shards toward Hammond. "Don't get cocky, poison boy! You haven't seen anything yet!"
As Hammond's palm neared Evan's chest, Evan suddenly burst into a shroud of shadows, disappearing for a few moments...then reappearing several feet away, looking casual as ever. Suddenly, he tosses his scythe into the air, and it began to rapidly spin in the air! While his scythe was being a helicopter in the air, Evan holds out both of his arms, and they both become shrouded in dark magic, which molds into a pair of black armored gauntlets with five large claws at the ends. Holding out his right hand, he does the 'come on' beckon, taunting Hammond to charge at him.
Kasumi glanced at Marigold. "How weird? Just Erin-chin weird? Or Iris-sensei weird?" She followed Marigold.
Hammond was too close to the spikes to dodge their shards. The needles scattered into his chest, stabbing through his vest and shirt. He grit his teeth and forced the poison to stay concentrated instead of spreading through his body. "I've seen plenty." Hammond fired off the shard he had prepared right at Evan's face, only to charge at full speed and swing his blade to strike the back of Evan's knee.
Emma thought about the question for a moment, then glanced back at Kasumi. "She's...a little weirder than Erin. Marigold's just really quiet, and has a few quirks to her. Like being gullible enough to believe Daphne." Emma rolled her eyes at that last part. She hated how Daphne lied to nearly everyone.
The darkness mage grinned as he caught the shard in his gauntlets, crushing it in his clawed hands. Finally, as Hammond neared Evan, he stabs his left hand so his claws would block the sword strike, and uses his right hand to try and thrust forward and stab Hammond in the chest with all 5 claws. "You're getting too simple, come on!" He yells out, seeing if his point blank stab went through.
Kasumi grinned. "Ohh. What do you think I can convince her?" Marigold glanced back and saw her walking with Emma. Her eyes widened a little and she dove back, looking Kasumi over. "Is she good." She turned to Emma.
Hammond swore under his breath when Evan manged to catch his blade. Evan having two weapons to block with and superior speed had ruined the tactic. He gasped in pain when the claws dug into his chest. No room to avoid it. Just had to take it and retaliate properly. He focused for just a second and the shards in his chest burst back out at Evan, hopefully too small and fast to be stopped. He controlled the shadow on the underside of his sword to reach out in a hook positioned behind Evan's back. Hammond yanked his sword forward to jab the hook in and tear through his kidney.
"Probably a few things. You should have heard the crap Daphne was telling her, it was...pretty gross." Noticing that Marigold had rejoined the group, Emma smiles and motions towards Kasumi. "Of course! Marigold, this is my friend Kasumi. Kasumi, this is my new friend Marigold." She took a step back, allowing the two to meet each other for a second before they moved on.
Grinning evilly, Evan took a sense of joy in stabbing Hammond through the chest with his claws, that he barely noticed the shards coming out of his opponent's chest and going into his own, though they were so small that any amount of poison would be turned into darkness before it can do any real damage. Evan continued to grin as Hammond set up his attack. "You're such an idiot...you fell right into my trap!"
Before Hammond could finish his kidney attack, the both of them are suddenly enveloped in a pillar of darkness! The cold, black void covered half of the arena, making it so nobody on the outside could see either fighter. To the people watching the fight, once they looked at the top of the arena, they could see the source of the darkness; the spinning scythe Evan threw up earlier! It now glowed a bright purple, releasing concentrated darkness into the arena below it.
Inside, neither Hammond nor Evan could see the other with their eyes, or get any sense of direction in this void. However, the claws inside Hammond's chest suddenly retracted, and any sign of his opponent disappeared into the darkness. All except his cackling laugh, which echoed from seemingly everywhere. "Bahahahahaha! I can't believe you fell for this! Now...I am going to rip you apart...slowly..."
Suddenly, a pair of claws grabs Hammond from behind, and try to stab straight through his neck. Once the claws were in, Evan would immediately pull upwards, ripping Hammond's head from his shoulders in a gruesome display of gore, so that he may present it to Alexis for the win. There is next to no indication that Evan was approaching...as if he was moving through the darkness as a mere cloud.