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Snippet #2102244

located in Throme, a part of Masks of the Soul, one of the many universes on RPG.

Throme

Throme - a city of urban wonders

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Twisted Emperor Character Portrait: Amara "Amy" Calen Character Portrait: Vera Chung
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Lucas Toland | Cenriel Academy → Throme


Often times it was easy to forget that ‘student council president’ was only a ruse, a cover-up title for something else entirely. There were many reasons for this, but it all came down to the fact that he still held all the same responsibilities, day after day, organizing events, contacting clubs, making sure the office knew what the students wanted, if they were satisfied, etcetera, etcetera – all things Lucas, in all honesty, only marginally cared about. He had too much on his mind as the so-called ‘leader’ of the Masked to spare hours of his supposed spare time for something as mundane as school.

But of course, the school itself didn’t know the full story, so Lucas Toland was unfortunately, subject to reminders of his unwanted status day after day after day. Yes, it was really a brilliant oversight on Mr. Torrings’ part… unless it wasn’t an oversight at all. The man had always had a peculiar sense of humor and it was more than likely that this had been some elaborate joke before… well… the incident.

Still, the fact remained that every day, Lucas had to juggle schoolwork, Masked duties, student council responsibilities, and every so often a family arrangement, often all at the same time… and he was anything but a multitasker. And this afternoon, as lovely as the weather was, it seemed that every sentient being in existence was trying to prove this point.

“I’m sorry, but we really need them printed by tomorrow…” Lucas protested, balancing his smartphone to his ear with his shoulder while attempting to finish off his email to the school counselor. Apparently budget cuts meant that the upcoming junior retreat wouldn’t be taking place at the beach after all, which had earned him much undeserved protest. And some students even had the gall to, while complaining, also make requests on behalf of their own little groups, one such group being the academy newspaper committee. It should have been one of their own club officials trying to reason with obstinate half-listening adults instead of him, but no. Their club leader asked Lucas, and he just couldn’t say no. It just never happened. Ever.

Sometimes, he infuriated himself.

“Y-yes, I know that we’ve only paid for one set, but – ” he was interrupted by the classroom door opening, and a vaguely familiar face peered in. Long dark hair set in braids, a serious countenance – Jeanne Haden. She was in his biology class, and always sort of distant. What business could she possibly have with him today of all days? With an apologetic smile, Lucas gestured to both his phone and his laptop, then mimicked writing on a piece of paper. The other girl shrugged, before taking up a post-it from the teacher’s desk near the front of the room and scribbling onto it.

Ah, shoot. The email had somehow turned into a log of his conversation instead of a report on student accounting. Why was it just so hard to do two things at once? Sometimes Lucas wondered how he even managed to breathe while thinking at the same time – well, perhaps he wasn’t that bad, but he was feeling more than irritated and perhaps just a tad self-critical at the moment. There was really nothing more to say.

Given the circumstances, he should have just given up and headed over to the greenhouse about… twenty minutes ago, and he would have been able to had he just said that simply two letter word that began with an ‘n’ and ended in an ‘o’. Ah, and now there was an orange square of paper on his screen. Lovely. He gave a half-hearted wave and smile to Jeanne, who just gave him a strange look before leaving. Thankfully, she closed the door.

“I… I don’t think the school would be willing to pay another… office-assistant-is-absent-please-write-the-announcements? No, no, sorry! That was, um, I was distracted.” As if things weren’t frustrating enough, just after that last blunder, he heard the tell-tale beep of his phone indicating that his time was up – there was another call on the line, and he had one guess as to who it was.

Hoping that for once, just once, she would take the hint, Lucas rejected the new call. It started up again almost immediately, competing with the bored drone of the printer company worker who was talking as if he didn’t understand a thing about how the system worked. The two noises, possibly the most aggravating noises Lucas had ever heard, just refused to stop. He had been trying to keep hold of himself and just finish the work himself before he left, but…

… He didn’t care anymore.

“I’m sorry. I’ll be right back,” Lucas mumbled before setting the phone on the desk. Then, taking his time with slow, careful steps, he made his way to the classroom door and locked it. Checked the handle once. Twice. Secure. Good.

With one last resigned sigh, he held out his hand, then with only a moment’s hesitation, murmured to himself, “… Confidence is the key.” There was a flash of light, and a sudden weight upon his hand. It wasn’t heavy at all, really, more just a presence than anything. A mask. Torrings’ mask. The Emperor’s Mask. Those titles seemed to place so much importance into the one object, black and gold checkers across the right half of it, but in the end, it was his to use. And he chose to use it now. With yet another sigh, he fit the piece onto his face.

An immediate surge of reassurance. A sudden pressure upon his conscious mind. The weight of a gifted mask, Liesel had called it, as if she knew what she was talking about, but it wasn’t all that bad. Uncomfortable, but bearable for now.

But more importantly, now, he could actually get things done. Striding back and sweeping up his phone once more, Lucas brought it to his ear. “Alright, then. Let’s cut the nonsense,” he said flatly. “You delivered us our order on time, yes. I think I’ve made it clear that is not my complaint. My complaint is the fact that your printers saw fit to butcher the order, smear the ink, shuffle the pages like a deck of cards, and frankly did everything to ensure that it is anything but acceptable. And then you’re asking us to accept it.” Pointless protests. Tapping open a new document for his email, he cut the other party off. “Connect me to your superior.” Startled silence. “Well since you insist on being a hindrance, connect me to your superior,” he repeated, tone almost flippant in its nonchalance.

The email was, by this time, finished, edited, and sent. He started on the weekly announcements next. Really, all he had to do was copy paste the one from last week’s, change a few dates, and add information on the upcoming basketball game. Two minutes at most.

“No, I am not ‘just a high school kid’. I am a customer, a representative of the consumer that is one of the most respected schools in the city, and expect to be treated as such. Now, will you reprint those miserable excuses for final products or will we have to continue this tiresome conversation?” Some vague notion in the recesses of Lucas’ mind voiced its protest, aware that he was going way overboard over some stupid school publication, but when the other party finally conceded, there was nothing but a slight satisfaction. What an idiot. This whole hassle could have been avoided if they had just listened to him in the first place. “Good bye. I expect them tomorrow in the administration office by ten o’clock in the morning, and if they’re not there, we’ll be having another, less congenial, chat.”

He was on the line with Liesel with an economical flick of his thumb.

“I’ll find the others within eight minutes, I am well aware of what time it is, and yes, I know exactly the number of times you have attempted to call me. Now Liesel, take your rantings elsewhere and if not, make it quick because it’s really quite beneath me to indulge you in your temper tantrums.” His expression was deadpan, practically bored, as he typed away on his keyboard, waiting for the woman to break the silence.

Her voice was diluted at first, just a muttering of, “Oh, you’re wearing the mask again, are you?” before rising to her usual level of force. “Damn it, Lucas, take the damn mask off and get to the subway this instant! You are at school of all places and that’s enough of a risk as it is! We can’t have you gallivanting around in the Emperor’s mask, do you hear m – ”

“Hear, yes. Listening, no. We’ll continue this in five minutes,” was Lucas’ clipped reply. He could still hear the scientist shouting as he ended the call and blocked the number as well, sending his completed work to the office assistant at the same time. Now all that was left to do was make his way to the buses and the mission could finally commence… or he could simply transform and reach the center that much more quickly. There wouldn’t be worry of traffic at the very least.

However, there was of course, that nagging sense that the right course of action was indeed to remove the mask now that the task was done. Lucas knew this… but he didn’t want to. Why on earth would he possibly want to remove the mask when it gave him so much power and, really, made him so much more competent? Really, he might as well just live with it on. It would be doing the world such a favor…

‘But I go through this every time.’ The thought served to act as a barrier, severing the newer personality away from his old conscience. ‘And it would be an outright stupid move to walk out wearing a carnival mask!’

So with that thought solid in his mind, Lucas managed to bring himself to reach up and pry the mask off his face. Several sensations came washing over him – a chill as if losing a protective embrace, relief that he had managed to win against the ‘weight of a gifted mask’ once more, and most prominently… utter horror at his words towards the terrifying woman that was Liesel Moringmer.

And yes, he was very late.

Cramming his mask into the inside pocket of his backpack – the webbed one usually saved for pencils – he fumbled with his laptop, managing to untangle the cords before throwing that in as well and taking off at a sprint. He almost ran right into Jeanne, who was outside the door with hand poised in the air in a knock. He called a hurried apology before skidding a turn down the stairs and out the front door. Passing the guard, he managed a smile and a wave before setting off campus. He wasn’t sure where the others were, but a quick glance at the greenhouse had assured him that they weren’t there.

Finally, however, something decided to go right for him. Down the street to the left, although they were a little far, he could make out two distant, familiar figures. Although slightly out of breath, he secured his bag over his shoulder and pressed onwards, calling out, “Vera, Amara, wait! Sorry – I got a little held up with… stuff.”