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Henrietta Cypress

"Just try me!"

0 · 1,091 views · located in Ariss

a character in “Ashes”, as played by Bliss

Description

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"You shouldn't stop like that. If you can move forward, then you should."



♦ Name : Henrietta Cypress Image

♦ Side : Originals

♦ Sexuality : Heterosexual

♦ Gender : Female

♦ Height : 5'4"

♦ Eye Color :
Henrietta's eye color is an abysmal light shade of brown that's slightly darker than her hair color. There is always this fierce, defensive look to them.

♦ Hair Color :
Her hair is a pale brown color that glistens in the sun. It is evenly layered and thick strands of hair fall just above her eyes taking the shape of her bangs. During the colder days of the year it turns into a darker brown to accommodate the lack of sun.

♦ Appears to be :
Sixteen years old.

♦ Face Claim :
Ryoko Okami



"Wrong or not, I'll follow my own path!"



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♦ Power :
Henrietta wields the Earth's power. She is able to form rocks from solid ground and thrust them towards her foes at impeccable speed. She can feel the Earth's vibrations and because of that she can usually detect any incoming spies, attackers, or a casual passerby. What makes her a truly fearsome opponent is her ability to manipulate gravity. With just swift movements of her hands she can send you flat on your face stuck to the ground or even floating in the air. She can have you hurled into the nearest tree or towards herself for raw physical power coming your way. She has strong arms and legs so one of her punches or kicks is enough to break a typical human arm. Though it's not the same case for her comrades. What she fears the most about herself is her capability to literally crush her opponents with the Earth's gravity. She discovered this by practicing on some large boulders. She cannot fully crush anything, only parts of them. However, the damage she inflicts by crushing something recoils onto herself. Not to mention the immense amounts of energy required to do such a thing. She avoids this at all costs and forbids herself to use such a technique.


"The real sin is averting your eyes and failing to believe in anyone."



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♦ Personality :
Henrietta is a spunky girl. She has a short temper and is always full of lots of energy. She is not afraid to speak her mind and gets frustrated very easily especially if she feels embarrassed even in the slightest. Despite her temper, she is actually very kind. Her love for her friends runs deeper than anything she's ever known and she was heart broken when three of her friends left the original disciples. She felt rage, even bitterness and wants nothing more than for her family to be whole again. In fact, she is very touchy on the subject and hates to talk about how it makes her feel. Rarely does she ever tell anyone how she really feels because she's afraid to acknowledge these feelings herself. She can be insecure at times but mostly confident in whatever she does. Beware of picking a fight with her, it mostly likely won't end pretty. Henrietta hates seeing people cry especially if she cares about them. She does have a softer side to her that rarely comes out. She loves deeply and fights fiercely. Though she can't always save herself from despair in dark times, she often says the most encouraging things at the precise times someone needs to hear them making her encouragement something to cherish. When her friends are in trouble, she won't even hesitate to risk her life for theirs and has promised each of them once that she'd forever protect them, even those on the Ashes side. She feels many conflicting emotions when it comes to the three who left. She thought they were dead and she grieved a great deal only to find they were alive and going against her and the others leaving room for betrayal in her eyes. Even when she's gravely injured, she'll remind her friends that she will protect them no matter what and that a "few" cuts will not stop her. This makes her quite relentless at times. Though frustrating and sometimes unreasonable, she is a loyal friend and some appreciate her straight forwardness while others not so much.

♦ Appearance :
Henrietta usually wears her black dress that has slits on the sides where her legs show. She wears black shorts underneath to match along with a black jacket that is like a shirt. Attached to the jacket is a red material that almost seems like a scarf. It falls down in the front with small tears at the bottom. Accompanied by her attire is always a black neck material that wraps around. Her hair is mostly kept down but she gathers the bottom locks of hair in a thick ponytail. Her foot attire are khaki combat boots with black rubber soles. She treasures these shoes for she had them custom made.





"We can't live if we don't keep running forward."



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♦ Likes :
- Food
- Tea
- Play fighting
- Traveling
- Sight seeing
- Animals
- Honesty
- Testing her own limits
- Making new friends
- Art
- Sunny days

♦ Dislikes :
- Insects
- Liars
- Bullies
- Peaches
- Dressing up
- Being girly
- Darkness
- Talking about her feelings
- Death

♦ Strengths :
Henrietta thrives more in outdoor environments and any place she has access to rock. Her confidence gives her great endurance and her muscular physique provides her the energy she needs to wield her powers. She is adaptable in many situations and has a sharp mind that allows her to predict her foe's next move. The love and trust she feels for her friends also gives her strength in her darkest times. She is also an optimist and feels things will always work themselves out. Though many know her for her short outbursts, when she gives her friends encouragement it is often very heart felt, realistic and personal.

♦ Weaknesses :
Her sensitivity is her downfall and because of that she is easily influenced. Not to mention that she's very stubborn and not always open to new ideas. Everything someone says to her she takes to heart, and the more hurtful the words the more uneasy and distraught she becomes. If she is reminded of the past and the things that hurt her the most, she almost loses her grip on reality. Aside from her emotional side is the great deal of energy she must invest in her powers when using them. She always tries to build her endurance because of this. Her powers are strong, but after prolonged use she becomes very tired and trembles when she feels her energy has been depleted. It is at these moments where she places blind faith into her friends to protect her as she does for them. When it comes to her power mingling with the others, wind and darkness have the advantage over her. Winds that are powerful enough can lift rocks and uproot objects from the ground. If the wind is strong enough, it can even move things under certain gravity levels. When she uses her powers she is wide open to side attacks due to her focus having to remain on one thing at a time. In darkness, she grows uneasy when alone and can't find the light. Her insecurities allow her to be uncertain and in the darkness she won't be able to save herself.

♦ Fears :
Henrietta fears rejection a lot. She's aware that she has a temper but also wants everyone's approval. After the divide between the eight disciples she fears loss more than ever. She suffered a great deal when watching her family and childhood friends die due to her immortality. It was with the disciples where she found refuge, but now even they grew apart and separated. Henrietta also fears her power's potential to kill. When she realized her manipulation of gravity could crush someone she grew weary of her power. However, she doesn't mind roughing up her opponents but her intent is never to kill, only to put someone in their place.



"All I need is the power to be able to protect my comrades. So long as I can have the strength to do that, I don't care if I'm weaker than everyone else in the world."



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♦ Relationships :

|| Louie ||
Henrietta has a lot of respect for Louie and his calm demeanor. She finds it amazing how quickly he can figure out what's wrong with his patients. She gets shy and slightly uncomfortable around Louie because suddenly her tough facade is no longer needed when she sees him. She finds there's really no point to it and it frustrates her because she's uncertain of how to not be acting tough all the time.

|| Yvette ||
Henrietta constantly feels a need to obtain Yvette's approval. She gets offended whenever Yvette is sarcastic with her or teases her because she has a hard time interpreting that as a joke. They argue a lot and Henrietta gets frustrated and unreasonable but it's usually best if someone stepped in the middle to explain Yvette's personality to her so that she's not always angry or on the defensive side.

|| Iraa ||
Iraa and Henrietta are very good friends. They have a bond that no one can possibly understand due to both of their unstable emotions. They're either being the best of friends or trying to kill each other/spew out the worst insults. However, regardless of their disputes they are always able to bounce back to their friendly selves and tend to forget why they even fought in the first place. In fact, Henrietta loves to fist fight with Iraa because she hits hard and doesn't hold back. As a result, Henrietta is always learning a thing or two from Iraa regardless if they're fighting or not. Many find their friendship bizarre and slightly scary but everyone should know that the two will always work out their problems with fists or silence.

|| Neris ||
Henrietta has always viewed Neris to be sort of her older sister. Though she'd never openly admit that to anyone, especially Neris. Whenever Henrietta is yelling at someone or an emotional wreck, Neris had always been there to subtly reassure her. Due to this, Hen developed a deep appreciation for Neris and has always looked up to her. When Neris left it was also another large emotional blow to her. She now feels as though their entire friendship/bond meant nothing to Neris and that Neris never actually cared. As a result, she continues to rage as the battle between two sides continues to move forward and she can't help but feel some bitterness towards Neris.

|| Carter ||
Before the split, Carter and Henrietta were pretty good friends. She had a vast appreciation for Carter's straight forwardness and blunt traits. She'd often vent to him about her frustrations with the other disciples and on rare occasion he'd open up to her. It's safe to say Henrietta even had a crush on Carter, they had many similarities once a long time ago. When the Ashes left, she felt a terrible loneliness and betrayal.

|| Alice ||
When Henrietta isn't on some rampage due to a temper tantrum, for the most part the two of them get along. Henrietta has a deep appreciation for Alice since Alice has stood up for her in the past. Henrietta views Alice to be a valuable friend even though they have disagreements a lot. They help each other in ways the others simply can't.

|| Seishin ||
Henrietta for the most part likes Seishin and gets along with him decently well. However, more often than not she finds him infuriating. But there are times when he's been genuinely kind to her which makes her like him very much as a person.

|| Keith ||
Henrietta has always been easily influenced by Keith and victim to his charm. Before he left she'd feel comfort through his presence but infuriated and confused whenever he'd lie to her 'just for fun'. She'd blow up in his face a lot and his lack of response would only infuriate her more. She's always wondered what he thought of their friendship.



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So begins...

Henrietta Cypress's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā
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"I'm fine. Sorry. And beats me, Sei just swooped her up in his arms like some noble knight."

Yvette pursed her lips. With mortals stirring and Carter, Keith and Neris as well, it wasn't exactly safe to go out. Which is why she offered to go in the first place... and yet, here she was, standing still, not going. She shook her head, as long as there wasn't anything particularly bad happening, they'd be fine. "Hey guys, I think something may be happening nearby. I'm worried for Sei and Ace. Seems like humans..." So much for nothing bad happening.

As Yvette heard Henrietta, her concern only grew. "Hmph. Well, if we're supposed to be against the others, then... then, well, we need to take some offensive kind of action. Do... do you think we could gear this, stirring of humans, toward the others? It would never hurt them, but it'd probably be good for us. It'd be like some kind of distraction, right? Something to give us time to figure out what we're up against... and speaking of what we're up against, um, last night, I didn't find anything. Nothing in particular, but I'm sure you've figured that much out for yourselves. I want to keep looking, but... I don't think I'll find anything. I need something to go on, but I have next to nothing. But I may have something if we try and watch how they deal with the mortals. Surely if we see their powers in action now, it will give us some kind of hint toward this... this boost they must have. And it's not like anyone would get horribly injured; they wouldn't kill the humans, I'm sure. That's just--- that's just cruel. It's not like the mortals have any useful defenses... It would be some kind of massacre if the others were to kill them."

She began to trail off, only to continue talking. With each idea she had, the more she talked. It was like her way of thinking, only, she did it out loud. "But if we were to be caught watching... that would be bad. Very bad, though, we would have mortals on our side for the most part, though I don't really see how that would help. Maybe for a few things, like a cover... For a few seconds we'd have the element of surprise. With Iraa's wind, we could probably listen into their conversation too, so we'd know if they'd spotted us, and with some kind of sound bubble, our conversations would be secret. We might be able to pull it off... Though, we need to actually find them first. Not to mention we need to find some way to get the mortals on our side, at least for the time being... hmm.

Oh, I'm getting carried away. What do you guys think? Should we approach the mortals or back off? You've already got my say."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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#, as written by Bliss
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"Hey... it was either this or a rat-infested sewer, so I'd count your blessings and be a little grateful if I were you." Keith chuckled at Carter's remark. He instinctively tried to push Carter's buttons further by snarkily replying, "If I really wanted to I could just sleep in the wilderness or force the others out of their home. But what fun would that be?" With a sly grin he turned his back as he began to step outside. It was early afternoon by now and the sun was preparing to set very soon. Keith always hated the shorter days of winter, it was rather depressing for him. "Now go on, get outside. I'll cover you from the shadows... And, Keith, don't do anything stupid with the other five just yet, we'll talk about that afterwards." He only shrugged when really he ached to stretch his limbs and do damage. He looked at Carter and suddenly made the most innocent of faces and his eyes completely softened. It was that gaze he'd make that always seemed to make Carter and others either really uncomfortable or much too comfortable.

He looked out of place in the rugged landscape as he stepped outside carefully. Each time he stepped on grass or near the newly blossomed flowers he'd slightly move his fingers backwards and forwards making the vines extend from the ground and follow him closely. The movements were very silent and unnoticeable. Though he'd expect Neris and Carter to notice his swift movements. Glancing around, he didn't see much. So he listened carefully as he pretended to play with the rubble on the ground and kicking dirt behind him. The vines continued to grow and that's when he heard movement behind a slightly eroded brick wall that covered a stairwell that led into another abandoned building. There was an empty can of soda nearby, so he kicked it towards their direction pretending to play a game. He skipped after it when someone leaped towards him from behind the wall and a few others emerged out in the open in different locations. The man was holding a crowbar that he struck at Keith. He was fast, but Keith was faster. Swiftly he dodged the attack with a smirk on his face as he directed the vines to wrap around the man's legs snaring him. He started to shout and the more he struggled the tighter the vines gripped his legs. Keith then jumped a fair height onto the brick wall the man was hiding behind with his mind racing. Two... three... four other men were out in the opening each armed with different weapons including two guns that were being pointed at him. The adrenaline was coursing through his veins as he hopped off the wall and hid behind the stairwell for cover hearing the bullets be shot shortly after.

Waiting for Carter to make a move, he quickly glanced from beside the wall to see the men running towards him. He began to grit his teeth as he thrust his hands forward as the vines moved with his hands and they whipped a metal pipe from one man's grip and snared one of the gunman. Unfortunately he could not get a clear view for another attack and did not have enough plants to work with either. The gunman kept shooting at him leaving him with no choice but to cover his head for protection. He would not be able to move from his position and further be of help until their aim was distracted.

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As Yvette rambled on, Henrietta started to consider her initial suggestion, "Do... do you think we could gear this, stirring of humans, toward the others?" For sure they could use mortals as a cover, though wouldn't such a thing oppose their morals? She couldn't be sure what the other three were thinking and remembering how grim and creepy their faces all were made her shudder. Particularly Keith's smile that no longer emitted a sense of comfort for her. It was as if he was completely different. Surely they wouldn't harm the humans though? Even Yvette said so. Would they? Henrietta had a bad feeling, but an even worse feeling of them sitting around at this place in the dark. They didn't know what they were up against, it was potentially dangerous so they'd all have to stick together. Suddenly she had an idea.

Pounding her fist into her other hand firmly, she grinned as she looked at Yvette and Iraa. "Using mortals would be a great cover, but I don't know how we'd get them to be on our side or get them to stir trouble. Unless we lead a protest ourselves or show at a protest that opposes our existence. Any mortals seeing us will cause a lot of trouble and we'd have to act as decoys." Finally she'd get to punch those jerks in the face! They deserved it. But how would they guarantee the three would show? They would have to find out for sure somehow. Maybe they could disguise themselves and promote the riot in all the closest cities? Each option started becoming more and more dangerous. Not only could the innocent get hurt, but they themselves were at risk from the other three and humans themselves.

"This can be really dangerous, Yvette," Henrietta began. "But I think it's our only option. What were your ideas to get the humans to listen to us? And how are we even going to find them?"

Henrietta was built like a rock herself, she was strong and certain she could volunteer herself to travel in the city even though there's a huge risk. But finding the three would be the hardest part. What were they waiting for? Did they plan to strike them too? This fighting needed to end and end soon at that! But Henrietta began to feel overconfident. It wasn't even fathomable that they could possibly defeat five of them with only three on their side. They would have more fighters, therefore they surely had the advantage! At least that was what Henrietta continued to make herself believe. She thought by one good fight this feuding would end and all would return to normal. However, she was being naive for their battles to come.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon
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"This can be really dangerous, Yvette," Henrietta began. "But I think it's our only option. What were your ideas to get the humans to listen to us? And how are we even going to find them?"

At this, Yvette was clueless. How were they going to get the humans to not try to murder them. And on top of that, listen to them... Well, they could always conceal their faces, though that was bound to look suspicious. She gritted her teeth and crossed her arms. They could easily find the humans by tracking the vibrations Henrietta sensed, but... the other disciples? They could try to lure them out, but the question was, how? "I'm not sure yet. We might be able to hide the fact that we're disciples, but that can easily go wrong. Or one of us could bait the humans... while the other two pretend to join the riot and knock out the bait. It'd win the human's trust, for the most part. Though, that's pretty dangerous. Plus, I don't know how we'd pull it off. But if we were to go through with it, I could bait. I really wouldn't mind; I haven't run in forever. I need to stretch a little, you know?

As for how to find the disciples... I'm not sure. We'd have to lure them out, but I don't how we would. You two got any ideas?" Yvette finished, glancing at Iraa and Henrietta.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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#, as written by Bliss
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As Keith continued to duck for cover, he heard the men begin to shout and the sound of flesh being beaten. Immediately he knew it was Carter. Barrel rolling out into the open to avoid any forces coming towards him, he hopped to his feet and began to run towards the first snared gunman who was lifting his arms to aim his pistol at Keith's head. He shot but in a blink of an eye Keith ducked and gracefully twirled once towards the man before punching him in the stomach knocking the wind out of him. The man shrieked as he felt the air escape his lips while staring at Keith's puny body in shock. Keith may have looked frail and compared to the others he hit the weakest. But to mere mortals, his strength was still much greater. The man stumbled backwards and Keith gestured his hands upwards as the vines moved with him and gripped the man's arms before pulling him down to the ground and trapping him. Snickering he quickly turned his attention back towards Carter who was acting fast, taking out the melee fighters without even breaking a sweat. His eyes darted towards the gunman Carter had taken out who was groaning trying to lift himself from the ground. He allowed his hands to lay flat at his sides then tucked his thumbs inward. Taking a deep breath to focus his energy, he instantly stretched his arms upright, rolled them backwards in a counter clockwise direction before extending them out in front of him again. The vines from the cracks around them grew and moved like lightning striking the gunman before grabbing the pistol on the ground. He then directed the vines to grip the other unconscious men to ensure they would not move again and try to attack.

He then saw the last standing fighter limp towards Carter as though he had a chance left. Watching Carter use his palm to topple the large man over, Keith began to laugh finding it humorous as though he was watching an unevenly matched tournament. All he really needed was popcorn. He continued to observe as Carter crushed the man's knee and heard the shrill scream of pain before the man seemingly fell unconscious from the pain. Keith began to cheer.

"And Carter delivers the final blow! He wins! Congratulations!" Keith exclaimed while clapping as a few flowers ejected their petals and showered them for their victory.

Keith then took notice of the gunman he had trapped on the floor and a piece of crumpled paper sticking out of the man's pocket. Opening the paper he quickly glanced it over and bellowed. Not only were their faces on the paper, but so were the other five disciples!

"Look Carter, we're all wanted!" he laughed as he crumpled the paper and tossed it in Carter's direction. His face then fell and he revealed a devilish smile. "How unfortunate."

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Henrietta seemed to have been thinking hard. But thinking wasn't really her style. Instead she grinned and shouted, "Well then it's settled. Let's go!" She then took off running while feeling the vibrations ripple underneath her feet. Even with shoes on she was able to 'see' the protestors. Finally some action! They're going to come, I'll make sure they do. In truth, Henrietta didn't have a plan. She was a spontaneous thinker and was tired of sitting around. Many would call her reckless, but she saw it as doing something about the problem. She didn't know how they would get the three's attention, but once they found out what was going on with the humans it'd be easier to figure out. No, she'd hide first before blindly walking into the crowd. She would have to listen to what they were all saying. She had never seen such unified and large amounts of human movement before. This had to be something big. But where were the humans all going was the main question. She couldn't wait anymore, she couldn't sit, she felt sick with anxiety the more she sat around doing nothing. Was this a disciple friendly crowd or a hostile one? Some humans seemed to have had high regard towards the disciples while others aimed to kill and harm them.

What if they created a distraction? Surely there was bound to be news stations around reporting the protest and keeping the public updated. If they showed up, the others would find out eventually. Perhaps at the scene she could pick a fight with Yvette or Iraa? With Yvette it was always easy to tick her off, all she'd have to do was act even more reckless and annoying than usual. But she never fist fought with Yvette before. So much stirred in her mind as she tried thinking of solutions while running. Along the way she felt certain they would run into Sei and Alice eventually. She could spread the word, but did not plan to stop. It was almost as if she felt confident enough to take down all three of those traitors. Her rage would be her aid.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon
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Iraa attempted to smile back at Alice and listened as she began to explain her weakness, but she was promptly cut off by Sei sweeping her up into his arms and promptly carrying her off like a child with little of an explanation to his actions. As Iraa watched, she chuckled along with Henrietta, knowing how strange the scene was and how Alice was probably hating it.

Iraa's cheery smile dropped as Henrietta shouted after the two, "Be careful Sei! You too Ace! I'm not sure what's happening nearby but I sense a lot of vibrations in the Earth..." So the weird tremors in the air weren't just Iraa's imagination. After the latest disagreement among the Disciples, Iraa's powers had been off. She had been feeling things in the air that weren't there and she had occasionally not been feeling things that were there. This was obviously unusual for Ira (and was probably not a good sign), but Iraa did not feel like concerning the others, so she had brushed it off as a figment of her imagination stemming from the fact that she had been nervous and tense lately. So, when Iraa had started sensing strange masses moving around in the distance after she had woken up this morning, she had brushed it off as another error in her powers; however, now that Henrietta felt something too, Iraa knew that she wasn't imagining it.

Iraa now felt like an idiot now for not telling the others about her recent problems with her powers. They would have understood -especially Henrietta and Alice- and they probably would have been able to help her. Now, there was a possibility that whatever she was sensing was real and dangerous and she had brushed it off as nothing more than her own nervous energy. What if something bad were to happen to one of the others that she could have prevented? Now feeling worried and guilty, Iraa began to concentrate on pushing her senses outward. She furrowed her brow in concentration and anxiety and only vaguely noticed that Yvette had joined her and Henrietta, but the two other girls seemed to give no indication of noticing that Iraa's mind was in another place.

Along with her senses, Iraa's mind was pushed out past Sei and Alice and past the trees around them until she felt the disturbances in the air that she had felt before. There were masses hidden in the trees -humans. Why were they there? Iraa gave herself no time to focus on any one human and she concentrated harder and pushed her powers out farther until she came to a group of the humans moving around quickly. Some were falling to the ground, others were running in one direction, and others were yelling things to one another. This was the scene of a battle. As Iraa 'watched' -or rather felt the movements in the air- for a moment, she realized that two men and a woman where fighting against a group of men, and although they were outnumbered, the group of three were vastly overpowering the others by some means that Iraa's senses could not pick up on. Iraa concentrated even harder on the three figures and in an instant, she knew who they were. The fighting styles, the weapons, the breathing patterns, the heartbeats... The realization hit her like a ton of bricks and she was knocked completely out of her trance. In less than a second, Iraa's senses came rushing back to her from where they had been miles away. She had pushed her mind out farther than she had ever tried and as she was dropped completely back into her own body, Iraa heard the words, "You two got any ideas?" come from Yvette before she gasped and stumbled backward.

How had Iraa not realized immediately that it was the other three Disciples? They had been far away and almost completely out of her range of sensing, but she would have expected herself recognize them in a split second. What was wrong with her? Iraa blinked rapidly and stared at the Yvette and Henrietta, wanting to explain herself, but not knowing what to say. Were the humans coming for them too? What did they plan on doing? 'Probably killing us, or at least trying to,' Iraa thought to herself. She closed her eyes and tried to push out her senses again, but this time, she was too distracted by her own loud heartbeat and ragged breathing. Giving up in frustration, Iraa opened her eyes and stared at Yvette and Henrietta. "I think we should go get Sei and Alice."
, Iraa said in a quiet, distant voice. She knew that the two girls would understand that Iraa had felt something in the air, and that they would want to know what it was; however, Iraa's mind was already drifting off from the fight that was going on miles away, and was now focused on getting to Sei and Alice and then telling everyone. Something big was happening and Iraa didn't like the vibrations in the air one bit.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon
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"I think we should go get Sei and Alice."

The skepticism on Yvette's face was obvious by now. It wasn't because of anything the others had said; it was just Iraa's actions. She seemed far off. She was focused on something else, she just didn't know what. But what bothered her the most was that Iraa wasn't even telling them what was wrong. Was she keeping secrets? Was she hiding something? But what would she hide, why would she hide it? Yvette's mind was boggling with questions. She must've sensed something in the air, is what Yvette eventually concluded.

But why wouldn't she tell them? Hmph. Well, she'd just mentioned Sei and Ace... maybe they had something to do with it? She shook her head, trying to push away the subject. "Well, if we're going to find Sei and Alice, let's hurry. And if we want to find them quickly, we might need a couple jackets, with hoods, to hide our faces... I'll go fetch mine."

Without another word, she ran back into the house, fetching her favorite jacket. With luck, it would be able to keep her warm in this horrid winter weather. The only thing good about the cold season was that you had an excuse to drink hot chocolate. At least, in Yvette's eyes. She quickly slipped the jacket on, before running back to the others and bringing up her hood. It might not help that much, but at least it'd be harder to classify her as a disciple... She hoped.

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Character Portrait: Louie Orihara Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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ImageAlice's suspicions about the mortals were enough to keep her on alert, though Henrietta's warning made her all the more tense. With her luck lately, the humans would surely be out for the disciples... Hurrah, she thought. As if her week wasn't bad enough. And if the mortals were to challenge her and Sei, it wasn't like Ace would set them all on fire. Not only would it be glaring obvious, perhaps the equivalent to a gigantic sign that spelled, "HEY! I'M OVER HERE!", but Alice didn't want to kill them. If she happened to run into the mortals, she'd have to use tactics and strength to win.

Speaking of the others, what were they up to? Surely they weren't just sitting back, enjoying the weather. Alice heaved a sigh. How could someone possibly enjoy winter, anyway? It was wet, and cold! Sure, the cold didn't affect her, but taking thermal energy required more effort, not to mention there was much less of it. And she didn't dare think about snow... She shuddered. Maybe she should think about something else.

...How long had Sei been--- her thoughts were interrupted by the last thing she wanted to hear. Gunshots. Gunshots meant mortals. They'd been spotted; but Ace was a little less than surprised.

"Put me down," She murmured. It came out as more of an order than a request, though how it was taken, Alice couldn't care less. And to her content, she soon found herself on the ground. Thankfully, they'd been walking for a while,so the sun's rays helped to dry the ground, though not completely. They were on pavement now. The ground was somewhat damp, but as long as Ace avoided puddles, she'd be fine.

Alice first found herself seeking cover, above all things, and found herself ducking behind a vacant hot dog stand... What am I up against, she thought to herself. Peeking over the top, she found, to her surprise and immediate distaste, she'd spotted four gunmen and five melees. If they were to be shot, it would mean the opposite of good to say the least. They'd have to take the gunmen down first... She could always---

A sudden daze came over Alice as she was struck on the head by a mortal. The impact, normally, would've been enough to KO a human, but being a disciple had its perks. Though shocked for a second or two, Alice quickly recovered and switched into battle mode. Her leg, now on fire, swept the mortal off of his feet, quite literally. As the mortal let out a loud screech and began to fall to the ground, clutching his burnt legs, Ace took it upon herself to grab him by the collar of his shirt, and slam him into the hot dog cart. The moment the cart fell, gunshots rang out and once again, Alice found herself ducking for cover.

A searing pain in her left shoulder told her she was a second too late. But Alice hadn't the time to focus on a measly gunshot wound; she could ask Louie about it later... Pursing her lips, she scanned her brain for some kind of plan. Within seconds, it hit her. Ace quickly turned to the mortal who'd hit her in the head, as she pushed him away from the hot dog cart. The human, seeing the opportunity to regain his footing, he barrel rolled away, to Ace's content.

Seizing the moment, she made a swift sweeping movement with her hand. She winced; her wounded shoulder was not pleased with the motion. Within seconds, the grease from the hot dog cart was set alight. A monstrously large fire began to roar. Any mortal with his sanity still intact wouldn't dare come near Alice. Even her fellow disciples would be wary of her; she was literally bathing in her element and water would only help the flames, so it wasn't like the disciple of water could do anything to stop it.

The fire was big enough to be seen from miles away, so part of Ace knew she was revealing her location to her fellow disciples, but she wasn't that worried. Surely it would attract everyone, which meant it would end up as a three versus five. Alice was confident in her friends. They had the advantage, for sure, and if their execution was good it would be an easy win.

[Note from Ruth: POSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOST! EVERYONE JOIN THE PARTY!!!! *BURN BABY BURN* IT'S FLAMINGGGGGG DOWN HERE]

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Keith pleasantly watched Carter toy with Ace. The way he wielded the darkness was always so tasteful. Not to mention Carter's weapon of choice was always those bats of his. Keith had always wondered what was so appealing about those bats. Ace was graceful with her quick thinking and swift movements. She was very fast. Keith wondered if he could ever outrun her. While she struggled briefly in the shrouded darkness, Keith felt mesmerized by the battle. There was truly no need for him to step in, though he craved to. Lost in his thoughts, he was startled by a loud cracking of what sounded like joints. He whirled around only to see a brash Henrietta holding her fists inches away from his face. ImageHenrietta was slyly grinning knowing she had caught Keith off guard. Before he was even able to react she punched him so hard in face he was sent tumbling out into the clearing where Ace and Carter dueled. Keith was dazzled, his vision was fuzzy and he felt like he was in a trance. Though he bounced back quickly then rose to his feet. His blood was boiling and for some reason he felt overwhelmingly angry.

"Henrietta," he spat. "What a waste of precious air."

Henrietta glared at Keith in fury. "I'll make you eat those words!" she shouted as she rushed towards him for another punch. Though Keith was prepared, and the trees around him flourished. They answered to his beck and call. As she launched herself after him, a tree root quickly wrapped itself around her feet and dangled her in the air. Henrietta shouted and cussed as she struggled to free herself.

"So rambunctious. So pitifully incoherent. Why would the Goddess ever choose you as her disciple?" Keith snickered after shooting insult after insult at Henrietta.

"Go to hell asshole!" Henrietta spat. She had to remove these roots. They were gripping her feet tighter and tighter. The more she struggled, the tighter they felt. Inhaling deeply, she used her abdomen to thrust herself upright and get a hold of the roots. She gripped them tightly and began to rip them off her feet with an amazing display of her strength. When she freed herself and began to fall back towards the Earth, she shot Keith a wild smile for the instant she landed she lifted the Earth and kicked it towards Keith. He jumped sideways trying to avoid the rubble though a large rock managed to hit him and knock him down landing on top of him. To Henrietta's advantage, she turned her palms upside down and increased the gravitational forces of the rock on top of Keith. He screamed out in pain. He felt as though his ribs were going to break by the force of this one rock. I won't be defeated by some boulder, let alone this wretched rat! He shut his eyes as he struggled to breathe. He could not get up, he could not move, but he could still use his precious mind. He exerted his conscious, searching for any animals nearby. Luckily he found a flock of birds moving about nearby. When he reached them, they already knew of his face. He had no need of asking them for their assistance, it was already his to have. With one command, they took off into the air and flew towards his direction. Keith's conscious snapped back into his body and he was surprised to find himself sweating under the pressure of the rock. Within seconds, the flock of birds darted towards Henrietta. It took her by surprise as they ran into her and began to peck at her face and break her concentration while also blocking her field of vision. She tried to shoo them away and even hit them but there was too many and then, WHACK! She was hit by a root that flung her about twenty yards backwards. The birds dispersed thankfully and she noticed some droplets of blood where she was whipped by the roots. The impact was so great it broke her skin. But it was most like a cut and a large bruise that would leave her sore for awhile.

Getting to her feet, Henrietta wasn't prepared for a stream of leaves that were gathering behind Keith and scattered before them. Each like a dagger floating in thin air. They ran past her and sliced her skin repeatedly cutting through her garments. When it was over she glared at Keith with a solemn face.

"Is that really the best you can do?" Henrietta stated firmly through gritted teeth.

Keith yawned as if he was bored, "Not even close my dear."

Henrietta's face fell as she heard snarls behind her. Turning her head, she saw dozens of plants that were like little monsters created from vines, leaves, branches, moss and flowers. Essentially all the plant life around them. The creatures lunged after her and as they did their limbs were able to grow and extend. She punched and kicked, try to make them float in air or pinned against the trees, but there were too many and they were all scattered and able to regrow. To effectively used gravity, she needed a focus point. And right now her focus was all over the place. Trying to rid of these creatures was a futile effort. She threw a creature off of her arm then back flipped away from the creatures towards Keith's direction. Keith observed with fascination in a condescending matter. Perhaps the girl did have some wit. She ran towards him then manipulated the gravity around her that made her lighter. Then with a strong push from the Earth, she practically flew towards Keith extremely fast leaving him no time to react and she kneed him hard in the stomach causing him to spit blood from the impact. He slammed against a tree and groaned. Henrietta hit hard, he gave her that. Perhaps too hard for his more fragile body. And then a thought rushed through his mind, Kill her. What in the world? Why would he even think that? That thought was a bit much for him and his thoughts scrambled. His true self was trying to fight the fog in his mind again. But it was close to impossible. Why wouldn't he attempt such a thing? He was stronger. It was then that he stared her in the eye, wiping the blood from his mouth. The game was fun while it lasted. It was time to act serious.

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Carter was right to have readied himself for Alice's escape. Part of him had thought she'd have fallen for the trap and he'd simply have to stroll over to the darkness to manipulate her fears. What he had foolishly not anticipated was Alice's speed, though he felt he should have known after all those years he'd spent alongside her. Cursing, he watched her evade his shadows completely, and he forced himself not to lower his bat to manipulate more of the darkness. Instead, he concentrated and felt the pool of darkness at his feet start to inch slowly up his legs. It was, of course, the best he could manage without his hands free to move them. Not that he was worried in the slightest. Alice was overpowered in this situation; he knew. She probably wasn't even aware of how his power had risen to a level beyond hers. Not only that, but she was also injured. A piece of cake, he thought eagerly as he watched her fierce movements.

As Alice ran forward, so did he, the pools splashing out beneath his boots with each heavy step. There was only a short distance between them, really, but he felt as if he was running for an eternity; probably due to the excitement of the battle. At first he was running into a close-combat fight, at least that was his plan when he'd made his first move, but when he noticed the fire at her knuckles and by her side, Carter grimaced and ducked sideways mere seconds before they met in order to avoid being burned. So much for that, he thought angrily. At the time, he was so distracted that he hadn't even noticed Keith and Henrietta's presence until they were right in his line of sight. As soon as he'd spotted them and registered what was happening, Carter felt a tinge of jealousy, but managed to suppress it well as he came out of his roll and turned in the same second.

Gripping his bat with more fury now, he roared and picked up speed as he darted for Alice once again, closing the distance between them in a matter of seconds. "Bitch," he growled, and swung his bat with as much of his own physical strength as he could. He'd aimed for the head, though he had a feeling she'd be quick enough to evade that, which was why he'd had a plan. The darkness that once sat at his feet was now curling and writhing around his arm, looking more like shadows than anything. If, or when, she might've tried to dodge it, Carter would throw his arm forward and send the darkness towards her form, engulfing her. He wasn't hanging most of his hopes up on this sequence of events because, at the end of the day, it was all a matter of chance and he quite clearly had the upper hand.

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Henrietta found herself out of breath. She was using up a lot of energy. Though Keith did not even seem tired. When he got to his feet after being slammed into the tree, he got up and gave her a stare that chilled her to the bone. It made her fear him. He was not himself... Or rather, perhaps not the person she thought he was. However, she held her stance eying him carefully. The vibes he was giving her told her that he had no problem hurting her. Though she did not feel the same.

"Watch closely, Henrietta," Keith announced. "I was hoping to save this for later, but you're really pissing me off."

Keith half-smiled as he extended his arm. Using his fingers, thorny vines sprouted from the ground and detached, wrapping themselves around his arm. Henrietta stared in disbelief. She never saw him use such a technique before. The vines became a sort of extended arm and at the end they formed a large flower bud. Henrietta clenched her fists, uncertain of his next move. Suddenly, the flower bud projected what appeared to be pollen spores of an orange, golden color. They whirled around her and showered her. She quickly covered her mouth trying not to breathe it in, but her efforts were futile. Henrietta coughed as the contents of the pollen entered her body. Then her eyes widened when she suddenly could not move her body. Her arms and legs were no longer responding, she could not move. When she was about to topple over she then saw Keith making another move. His arm covered in vines suddenly had a large thorn extending out at the end like a sword. He was pursuing her and she could not even budge.

KLSHUK! Henrietta screamed in agony, eyes wider than ever as Keith's thorn pierced through her abdomen. He then pulled his arm out and slammed her across the ground. It was then that she finally regained her mobility and she clenched her wound feeling drained. Her energy was dissipating, but she could not give in. She would not lose. She could not abandon Ace at this moment, Keith was extremely powerful. More powerful than ever, and she could only imagine that Carter was just as strong. She glanced over at the two as they ferociously brawled. This was getting extremely dangerous for her and Ace alone. With sheer willpower, she managed to get to her feet again as she glared at Keith then glimpsed at her wound. Sure there was quite a bit of blood, but he did not stab an artery or anything like that. Perhaps he intentionally did so. She then saw Ace who appeared to have a ribbon tied around her own wound. Wait, where did Ace even get that!? It looked like a gun shot wound. But it was enough to give her the idea to rip off the sleeve of her own garments and wrap it around her waistline in hopes to stop some of the blood flow.

"Surprised, Henrietta?" Keith taunted. "Surely you can put up a better fight than that. The pollen temporarily paralyzes my foes. It's quite useful for a runt like you."

Inhaling a deep breath, she directed all of her focus into her center, into her arms, into her legs. She felt fired up, angry, full of rage, and the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Lifting her hands flat into the air, small balls of gravitons began to form that released a strong gravitational force upon contact. She threw her bolts at Keith who dodged each one. Angrily, she shoved her right foot in front of her causing spears of rock to rise from the ground. She ripped them from the Earth and then projected them with more gravity towards Keith followed by more gravity bolts. He managed to dodge most of them except for a couple of gravity bolts that knocked him back and almost to the ground. They were painful, like a hard fast ball pelting you repeatedly. His arm full of vines released their thorns like darts in Henrietta's direction. Though she managed to reflect them with a reverse gravitational field sending them back towards Keith. He barrel rolled out of the way though a few managed to inject themselves into his skin each thorn about two inches long. At this he winced, they were deep in his skin. They'd have to stay there for now, he had no time to waste. He lunged towards her head on, ready to use his thorn sword again but Henrietta lifted a rock wall to block him. However, he had broken through it, but Henrietta had darted towards the side ready to jump behind him. As she attempted, Keith whirled around and hurled her into a tree which almost broke from the amount of force he used. She did not get up right away. Her wound was throbbing, crippling. But she was still conscious and struggled.

"Shall we play this again?" Keith asked as if he cared about Henrietta's opinion. His thorn sword turned into a flower bud again and Henrietta hysterically tried to move out of the way. But she was losing too much energy from this fight and tiring out quickly. Her limits were being tested. Keith always had more stamina than she did, but at the moment it seemed like an endless supply. He stroked his flower bud as if it were a precious pet before looking back in Henrietta's direction. Then he began to move and out of fear all Henrietta could desperately scream out was, "ACE! HELP!"

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The very moment Ace found herself close to Carter, she lunged, only to find herself leaping at nothing. Seconds before she attacked he'd rolled to the side, leaving her annoyed and even impatient. She wanted to end this fight; avoiding her was only going to prolong the fight. Her brows furrowed as Carter re-approached, and she readied herself for an attack. "Bitch," Ace head the words come out of his mouth and watched as he ran forward. Ace stayed where she was, as the fiery figure besides her quickly found itself behind Carter, though it remained dormant for the time being.

Not even seconds before he swung his bat, Alice's ears had picked up the sound of her colleague's cry of agony. Instantly, her eyes shifted to Henrietta and Keith, her change of focus more instinctual than planned. Her gaze remained unwavering for a good second. Ace was so caught up in her own battle, she hadn't noticed the fight between Henrietta and Keith until now. At the sound of the cry Ace was almost overcome with worry, though she quickly reassured herself that everyone here was evenly matched, and all four of them had a fair chance at winning. As far as she knew, of course. But speaking of the two fights, perhaps it was better to focus--- Too late! Alice had let out a breathless gasp, the brief second she'd taken to sneak a glance over her shoulder taking a second too long. Though she'd quickly realized the chances of being caught off guard, she hadn't enough time to avoid being hit, only enough to turn her head and suffer a direct blow to the face.

The hit itself was enough to make Ace yelp. Even after it was over, Alice found herself still in pain, specifically speaking, her nose was aching. It had taken the brunt of the hit and was now bleeding profusely, and she wasn't sure if it was more annoying or worrying. As she held her arm up to wipe away the blood, she winced the moment she came in contact with her nose. At this point, Ace was more than sure she'd managed to break it. Which also meant the pain she was experiencing wasn't your usual 'it'll go away in a few minutes' pain. "Sure," she suddenly hissed. Her voice sounded more nasally than usual. "I'm the bitch."

While Ace had taken a brief moment to secure herself, she'd taken a step back and made a subtle beckoning motion with her hand. The fiery figure that was once behind Carter was now lunging at him. Particularly at the arm that was holding the bat. Her hopes were that she'd catch him off guard, and she had, she would spring for the bat. If not, her plan was to throw a flaming kick to the back of his head.


[Okay! So, as I was writing this post, it occurred to me that it would be rather hard to include Alice's reaction to both Carter and Henrietta, for her reaction would provoke a reaction from Carter and then after that reaction she'd hear Henrietta and react to that...but... asdfghjk. If it didn't happen in that order, it also occurred to me that the timelines between the two fights would be all messed up. I mean, Keith and Henrietta have unleashed all these moves on each other and their battle has progressed a fair amount, while the fight between Alice and Carter has barely begun. If Alice were to help Henrietta before Carter and Ace had any time to actually fight, well... that would be... really... off, I guess? I don't know. But the reason I didn't include Henrietta's plea for help in this post is because the timelines between the two fights would be off if I did. So... yeah. I'll write Alice's reaction to that AFTER we get a response from Carter. Yay for correspondence!

Also... sorry it took me so long to respond. I was torn because of the whole timeline thingy... Blah.]

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Carter grinned proudly as he felt his own bat connecting with Ace's face, crunching into her nose. However, he had not allowed himself to celebrate too much, as he knew the only reason the hit had actually connected was because she had been temporarily distracted. A few seconds was too long not to be focusing on an opponent, Carter knew. And at this thought, Carter frowned. Ace was a fast foe and, as he had learned from his fight with the mortal, he really ought to stop underestimating his opponents. Back when they were teammates, she would've quite easily outmatched him in terms of her speed and agility, but he'd improved since then. He was faster now; more so than Ace, at least. Not only that, but she'd made the mistake of thinking that Carter would not notice her fiery companion behind him. As he moved back, he could feel the heat pressing against him, though not so much as to cause any discomfort. His eyes did not move from Alice as she wiped the blood from her nose, nor did he even move a muscle upon realising that he could be attacked by the fire at any moment. He kept his expression calm.

"Sure," he heard her hiss, "I'm the bitch." Carter frowned, though his eyes held a certain kind of amusement and a smirk tugged at the corner of his lips. "I don't think I like what you're implying there, Alice," he replied, his voice reduced to nothing more than a low, husky growl. Despite his previous argument with Keith about taking things a little bit more seriously when it came to the situation with the other five Disciples, Carter wasn't so sure that he actually was. He really ought to take a page out of his own book some time. Then again, he wanted to enjoy this fight, simply because he knew just how overpowered Ace really was.

Carter was watching Ace closely and his expression immediately turned sour as he noticed the sudden movement of her arm, as subtle as it was there was nothing she could do that Carter wouldn't pick up on. It was much like what he'd tried to do when the fight has first started. Though this time, instead of a wave of darkness, all Carter could feel was an immense heat moving much closer to him. His first instinct was to turn and block, but he knew that Ace would be ready with an attack as soon as he made a move to. Stuck in a dilemma, Carter hesitated briefly and knew he'd not acted fast enough. The fire was on him before he could even lunge to one side and, finally, a frustrating sensation of panic had manifested itself in his stomach. He felt his skin burning beneath his clothes and it would only be a few seconds before they were gone completely from his back. Instinctively, he dropped his bat to the floor and focused all of his attention on the darkness he'd previously summoned to attack Ace, which still loomed on the street where they'd once been. With the flick of his wrist, he drew it towards himself and engulfed himself in it. Such an amount of darkness would've been enough to douse the fire, if he'd even managed to catch it before it jumped away. He didn't really have much time to check, as he stood up and felt the searing pain of burnt flesh on his back. Not only that, but it hard burnt his favourite jumper.

Now seriously pissed off, he took a shaky breath and allowed himself to scan the streets, as he was stood in the safety of the darkness. Ace was only a few metres away from him. It was only then that he'd noticed his hand was empty. Hissing, he took a step to move out of the darkness when he'd noticed how intense the fight between Keith and Henrietta was becoming. He paused briefly, not sure whether or not to intervene. Sure, he'd started the fighting, but he never thought things would be so... serious, in the sense that he was only having a bit of fun. He was merely teasing Ace when he'd approached. Keith seemed like he wanted to hurt Henrietta, maybe even kill her. Carter's brows lowered in a concerned frown, but he shook the feeling off as he stepped out of the darkness and glared up at Ace. He then smirked, realising that he'd just given her the reaction she'd wanted from the start. He was without his bat and, as such, had no way of physically attacking her without being burned. She probably thought the fight was in her favour now, but Carter knew that wasn't the case. All Carter needed to do was up his game. Like he'd thought earlier, he needed to stop underestimating his opponents. Now that he'd remembered what Ace could really do, he would only need to elevate his own powers to a level that would make it easier for him to deal some damage. Even then, he only wanted to play with her a little. The fight would be over soon, he knew.

"That was smart," he spoke, the volume of his voice picking up where the pitch did not. "Distract me with the fire and then steal my bat," he continued. "Five years ago that probably would've resulted in my surrender. But I'm different now, y'know. Stronger. You're not going to win this fight, Alice. Might as well give up while all of your limbs are still attached." He smiled in that smug way of his, and merely raised his arm. "Let there be darkness," he boomed comically, and then there was nothing. At least, from Ace's point of view. This power was one that he'd adopted upon using the Ashes to boost his abilities and, as such, he knew that Ace would not have been preparing for it. When he'd raised his arm, he focused and concentrated most of his remaining energy into clouding her eyes with darkness, to the point where that was all she'd see. Her other senses, of course, were left in tact, but her sight was gone. This ability, though useful most of the time, was weak and would wear off in about a minute, but he'd use that time to his advantage.

Carter was moving forward - slowly, teasingly - while whistling nonchalantly, when he heard Henrietta screaming for help from not far away. His head turned so sharply that he was worried he might've given himself whiplash, but that was the lowest of his priorities. His eyes moved to Henrietta lying on the floor, scared and panicking. The sight alone made his heart sink, and he inhaled sharply. He hadn't even realised that he'd lowered his arm and, in doing so, gave Ace her sight back. His mind was on Keith and the almost scarily sinister expression he held on his face. In seconds, Carter's eyes darkened to such a level that no one had ever seen before. Darkness moved from every corner of the street and formed behind him; hands reached out for him, tugging at his clothes and playing with his hair after one of them had removed his hat. "Keith," he growled, "get away from her." He said nothing more and simply walked forward, the darkness following him. At that time, he had no clue why he felt the need to protect Henrietta. While, on one hand, he didn't want to hurt Keith, he didn't think he could ever look at him the same way if he killed Henrietta. She was, at the end of the day, the only one he'd ever had a close bond with, and he'd be damned if he let anyone lay a hand on her. "She's mine," he roared as he moved in front of Keith and placed his hand flat against the shorter man's chest.

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Keith shot Henrietta a half smile as he slowly approached her menacingly. She looked utterly horrified, this pleased him. Just as he was about to project his pollen spores, his focus was completely broken when he heard Carter of all people hiss in his ear in a threatening manner, "Keith," he said. "Get away from her." At this Keith scowled. He did not immediately back down and continued to hover over Henrietta even though Carter approached him. What completely threw him off was the darkness carefully treading after Carter. It was as though... as though the darkness was alive. Like it was composed of several smaller beings that continuously grasped and pulled at Carter. His eyes were so dark that for the first time in many years, Keith felt uncomfortable. Seconds later, Carter was standing between him and Henrietta lightly pushing him back. "She's mine," Carter bellowed. At first, this infuriated Keith. He glared into Carter's eyes challengingly still not backing down. And then suddenly he chuckled with a shrug. The vines that were wrapped around Keith's arm began to unwind and fall back into the soils. Before backing away he shot Henrietta another dark glance. It was a long stare. His eyes were clouded and vague. He did not smile nor show any amusement as he collected his thoughts. Henrietta only stared back sadly and seemingly puzzled.

Keith was beginning to grit his teeth before he looked away. He felt uneasy and slightly dazed. There was a mixture of emotions on his face before he returned to his devilish smile and darted his eyes back towards Carter. "Don't tell me you still have a soft spot Carter," Keith provoked. "Just look at you."

As he said this, he made sure to have his back turned at Alice. He refused to look in her direction for the guilt would rush over him. Plus he had caught a small glimpse of her now crooked nose that was full of blood. He feared it would infuriate him even more. Although he wished he could just push Carter out of the wayr, he strongly decided against it. Though his snide sarcasm did not waiver. It just became increasingly worse.

Henrietta watched in bewilderment. A moment ago they were enemies, and now Carter was defending her. Seeing Carter come to her aid suddenly made her feel overwhelmed. If she wasn't in such pain, she would have probably blushed at his gesture while trying to fight back her tears of frustration. Instead only a few sounds escaped her lips as she struggled to get up with little success. For some reason, she felt embarrassed in front of Carter since she was pathetically bound to the Earth right now in an unsightly state. She had to get up. He could not see her like this.

Carter... All she could ponder was his name. She was at a loss for words. Even if it was only for an instant, she saw her old friend again. This made her heart ache. Her own thoughts were racing, wanting nothing more than to stop this fighting and go home together forgetting this even happened. It was too soon to let her guard down though. What if they turned on her and Ace again? It was then that Henrietta noticed a strangeness about Carter. Even though her once closest friend stood in front of her while protecting her, something was not quite right about it. At this moment, Carter felt as dangerous as Keith and it made her somewhat uneasy. What's happening? To both of you? Keith had become a mad man, she already established that. But it did not make sense. Somehow they were exceptionally stronger than anything Henrietta could have possibly imagined. The more she thought about it, the more nauseous she felt which did not mix well in her wounded state. She managed to prop herself up using her elbow. Everything was starting to hurt more in this state of confusion.

"Damn it!" she choked before allowing herself to fall back to the floor. Something strange was at work here. She no longer feared what the two may or may not do to her in this vulnerable state, but rather feared whatever was happening to her former allies. The tension in the air was stifling. Frustration welled up inside of her. She was humiliated. If she was going to lose a battle, she hoped it would have at least been a more graceful defeat. The left side of her face was mushed into the ground and she found herself looking in Ace's direction apologetically. I failed you, Ace. I'm so sorry. She felt ashamed. Ace was not looking too well herself. It seemed as though they both took a beating. The outcome was grim and she was feeling very exposed. She wished she could make it over to her comrade to be by her side. When she heard Keith resentfully ask Carter if he still had a soft spot, she then realized Keith was referring to her. It made her stop breathing for a moment. Soft spot? she asked herself. Her cheeks suddenly felt warm as her gaze trailed back up towards Carter uncertain of what was to come in these next few moments.



[ OOC: Totally did not realize everyone was waiting for me to post. Sorry about that! xD ]

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Ace couldn't help but smirk when she saw Carter drop the bat, and it only took her a second to snatch it and jump back to her original position. She was pleased with the fact that it'd worked, and a little more pleased with Carter's hiss. It was a small factor of satisfaction, but she didn't do much to hide it. Her thoughts were that the fight would be over soon, in her favor, certainly. "That was smart," she heard him say. Her small smirk grew, but only slightly. Her smile was still small; subtle. "Distract me with the fire then take my bat," he continued. Though her smile had been growing just seconds ago, she felt a frown coming on. What's he getting at? She found herself thinking, a small yet persistent sensation of suspicion coming on. "Five years ago that probably would've resulted in my surrender. But I'm different now, y'know. Stronger. You're not going to win this fight, Alice. Might as well give up while all of your limbs are still attached." At this point, Ace's smile had completely vanished, being replaced with a sketchy glare. What could Carter possibly do to turn the battle around? Whatever the answer, Ace had no clue... "Let there be darkness," She felt her grip on Carter's bat tighten and her eyebrows furrow as she saw Carter raise his hand, and to her great discomfort, that was the last thing she saw.

Alice visibly tensed, though she quickly forced herself to relax her muscles, as her shoulder wasn't agreeing with her. She began to gnaw on her bottom lip and she felt an alarming sense of panic washing over her, which to her was the equivalent of being washed out by an unavoidable tidal wave. The overwhelming feeling of helplessness that Alice felt was absolutely agonizing. Thankfully, the peak of her panic lasted for a few seconds, for she quickly convinced herself that the only way to stand a chance without her sight was to calm down and revert to one of her other senses: hearing. She made a point to keep her ears open, listening to any sound she could catch. It was almost as if Carter were dancing on her nerves as he began to whistle. She could hear his footsteps; slow but torturous.

She didn't think her panic could get any worse... Not until she heard Henrietta scream for help. She was helpless, already panicking, and now her dear friend needed her now more than ever, and Ace couldn't do a thing. She was biting down on her lower lip so hard, it begs to bleed, though she neglected to notice. And yet, it was only a second later that she realized her sight had returned. Her first instinct was to turn to Henrietta, and the sight of her ally lying on the ground, helpless, was more than enough to get Ace moving, specifically toward her injured ally. Though she found herself pausing a few feet away from her, as her eyes drifted to Carter. Was he defending Henrietta? Alice was... Puzzled. Extremely thankful, for sure, but... Confused. I-If they were on different sides, then--- She quickly waved the topic away, before turning back to Henrietta and making her way over, kneeling down in the process. She was more focused on Henrietta than she was on anything else; in fact, she didn't care to listen in on what Carter had to say, she really just wanted to get Henrietta to a safer location.

It was only when she heard Keith say something about a Carter having a soft spot that the conversation caught her attention. In fact, she found her eyes turning to Keith and Carter. The moment Keith had said that she realized he was avoiding her gaze, and at this, she was torn between a number of feelings. Part of her was angry; outraged that he would dare do this to Henrietta. That he'd go so far to nearly kill her! Another part of her was desperately trying to figure out what the hell happened. Something happened during the five years that he was gone. What, she couldn't tell, but it changed him. Keith was no longer the Keith she thought she knew so well, he was not the Keith that offered her flower bouquets, he was not the Keith that she'd spended hours answering riddles with. This much, she was able to gather, but even though she now knew this was true, Alice was still clawing to figure out what did this. She would not be satisfied, no, she'd never be satisfied, but she would never be able to accept it until she knew what happened. Why he would do this? Maybe... Was it Alice's fault? Had she unintentionally provoked this? Ace began to bite her lip again, as she started to fed her insecurities, only to end up waving off the topic in an attempt to deny the possibility. ...Though her attempt hardly succeeded.

Her gaze was locked on the two for a few more moments, but her eyes soon drifted back to her wounded ally, only to find herself being drenched in even more alarming feelings. The moment she looked at Henrietta, she remembered what Keith had said in the first place. "Don't tell me you still have a soft spot Carter," He must have been referring to Henrietta, and at this, Alice felt overwhelmed by a troubling sense of jealously, which resulted in an uncomfortable glance back at Carter and Keith, though she made a point to look back at Henrietta as quickly as she turned away. Perhaps too fast.She couldn't even begin to understand why she was... Jealous, of all things, of Carter and Henrietta. But, thankfully, the feeling was brief and left just as quickly as it came.

Inhaling sharply, Alice offered her hand to Henrietta and plastered a smile on to her face. "We should make haste and get out of here." She began. "I think we'd both agree that a visit to Louie is in order... I'll be more than happy to help you up." As Alice began to ready herself to help Henrietta up, she found herself wondering what to do with Carter's bat. She'd forgotten about it up until now, and she wasn't sure what to do with it now. Shrugging, she gingerly placed it on the ground. If she was going to help Henrietta up, then surely she'd need all the strength she could musters. Sure, she wasn't the weakest of the disciples, but she certainly wasn't among the strongest. And seeing how muscle wise, Henrietta was, Alice found herself questioning if she could pull off escourting her ally to Louie's... Though, she wasn't sure if there were any other options, given the current situation.

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Carter stood in complete silence as he stared blankly into Keith's eyes, his own anger rising and boiling as he noticed that the blonde wasn't backing down. He hadn't initially intended to act out against Keith as much as he was, but he still didn't take the time to realise how much of a mistake this was. His eyes hadn't shifted an inch since he'd approached, but his mind was racing with questions. The most prominent of which was, why did I protect her..? He'd thought that when he left the others to their own devices, he'd cut off all ties and connections to them. Apparently he'd been wrong about that, and some old, distant feelings were still present. The thought alone was enough to curl his fingers into his palm do deep he thought he might draw blood. He felt the shadows coiling around his limbs, spreading out a little more so that they wouldn't loom over Henrietta too much. And it was only when the shadows whispered in his ear that he even noticed that Alice had taken a place by Henrietta's side. He wasn't worried; he knew she'd never think of attacking on her own, not with Henrietta in such an injured state.

Carter watched Keith's expression shift slightly before he shifted his eyes away from Carter's. If it were anyone else, he might've taken a moment to boast about winning the staring competition, but now was not the time for petty victories. He snapped his thoughts back to the current situation as he noticed Keith turning back with a grin that made Carter's brows sink down further until his eyes were dangerously narrow. "Don't tell me you still have a soft spot Carter," Keith said, and it took quite a few moments for Carter to even register what that question entailed, or that it was meant as a way to provoke Carter further. "Just look at you," he continued, and that was enough for Carter. The shadows were lashing like whips, the hands tugging fiercely at his clothes and his burnt skin. He grimaced against the pain, but he kept his eyes fixed on Keith until...

His head shifted around to face Henrietta and as he caught a glimpse of her confused expression, he quickly turned back to Keith with his head down. An uneasy feeling of guilt washed over his body. If only he hadn't been too busy fighting Ace, if he'd just paid some attention to the fight going on right beside him, she might not have come out of this in such a state. He hated seeing her so hurt and confused, mainly because of how close they were prior to the disagreement of the two groups. He may not be on the same side as her now, but that certainly didn't mean he hated her. He'd been the one to leave, after all. If anything, she would've been the one to hate him.

Having been silent for some time, Carter finally dragged his gaze up to meet Keith's. He felt displeasing warmth of tears running down his cheeks, but that didn't concern him too much. "I don't hate them, Keith," he spoke up, his voice much more calm and steady than his appearance gave off. "I never have." He paused briefly, his fists uncurling to reveal four red marks across both palms, blood trickling from each laceration. His arms hung limply at his sides, but the shadows didn't retract for a second. "A few disagreements do not create enemies," he continued after a while, "So yes, I do still have a soft spot for Henrietta because she still means a hell of a lot to me after all this time, you small, insignificant little hypocrite!" His anger was returning to him once more, his voice reduced to little more than a guttural snarl. "You're in the same position I am right now. If you can honestly look Ace in the face and tell me you don't still have feelings for her, then you're the most evil, heartless person I've ever known, and I can't even bring myself to look at you right now."

For the second time that day, Carter turned and walked away from Keith, further towards the two girls. He stuck his arms out left and right, and the shadows enveloped them all, including Keith. He was silent as he focused, his eyes squinting closed. "This is a new technique, so everyone needs to be quiet... Or it won't," he stopped to grunt awkwardly, "...work". After a few moments, he opened his eyes and let his arms drop as his knees gave out beneath him and he fell. The darkness retracted into a nearby alleyway, revealing that they were only a short walk from Louie's front door. "My god... That was hard." He rolled over onto his back and took heavy breaths, fighting against the burning pain that the concrete caused when his back slapped against it. "You're all welcome, by the way," he growled.

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell Character Portrait: Louie T. Orihara
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Keith watched the darkness tug around Carter with a smug look on his face. At his remark, Carter seemed to have grown angrier which initially made Keith's eyes light up with more amusement, but the look vanished as quickly as it came. To Keith's surprise, tears were running down Carter's face. Everything on Keith's mind had become silent at the sight. "I don't hate them, Keith," Carter spoke firmly. "I never have." Keith's lips curled with discontent, though it was not towards Carter that he felt unhappy with. If anything he felt confusion race through his mind and his own urge to cry. But he refused. Instead he glanced away towards the dry earth, not wishing to look at anyone. "So yes, I do still have a soft spot for Henrietta because she still means a hell of a lot to me after all this time, you small, insignificant little hypocrite!" Carter bellowed at Keith. His eyes returned to Carter's with a glare. His blood starting to boil at the insult and his own fists clenching. But he did not dare retort in this moment. It would take a fool not to notice the tension and heat of this argument. Even Keith knew he should not step farther over the line though for some reason he desired to. His teeth gritted as he continued to angrily stare at Carter in the eyes. The darkness around Carter was sinister and abnormal. If all of them had not just been battling, Keith would have felt concern over this.

"You're in the same position I am right now. If you can honestly look Ace in the face and tell me you don't still have feelings for her, then you're the most evil, heartless person I've ever known, and I can't even bring myself to look at you right now."

Keith felt his face drop at this remark. His eyes said it all in this moment, growing less clouded. The guilt... it was overwhelming him. Then Carter turned his back on him once more for the day, leaving Keith with nothing but a hollow hole in his chest. It was agonizing. For the first time in this whole encounter, Keith finally acknowledged Ace. He stared at her longingly and shamefully, with a strange sadness and anger. A mixture of emotions. His arms had fallen limp at his sides and his knees suddenly felt weak. His eyes were fixed on hers for a very long moment. It was one of the very few occasions in all of Keith's years of immortality where he was rendered speechless. If you stared at him closely enough, you'd see his eyes glazed with water. Though he refused to let tears fall in front of them all.

On the sidelines, Henrietta watched in awe at this entire exchange. Her own cheeks felt warm at Carter's remarks. If anything, she appeared to be in a sort of emotional shock. He still cares? You... You stupid idiot! She felt her own thoughts running rampant at all of this. What was she to do? What are her and Ace supposed to make of all of this? She turned to look at Ace only to find her friend quickly looking away from her. As if she caught a stranger awkwardly staring at her. Henrietta frowned. However, that was when she saw the sudden change of demeanor in Keith. He almost looked as though he was in pain. She could not stand at how alone he looked. Something was terribly wrong with him. In this instant, she saw the old Keith she knew. If only she could move. Henrietta struggled to lift herself to a sitting position. Her hand was covered in blood and it made her start to feel somewhat queasy. The cool air around her made her shiver uncomfortably. In actuality, her vision was going through bouts of blur and she felt quite dizzy. Her head and back were throbbing from where she impacted the tree she now leaned against. She then saw Carter approaching her and Ace again while darkness enveloped them. Suddenly, they were only a short walk away from Louie's. Though everyone's voices started to grow faint and Henrietta struggled to keep herself conscious. She only needed to walk a little more to Louie's... Her own body began to grow limp as the last of her strength began to exit her body. But she quickly snapped herself out of it, struggling to force herself to rise to her feet.

Keith was unaware that Carter had learned such a technique. Seeing Carter's burns he felt a sting sizzle in his own flesh. He had forgotten all about the thorns embedded in his skin. Henrietta's doing. His body also ached and was possibly bruised from all of Henrietta's attacks. Though he would take care of himself. He did not wish to stay at Louie's with them. Before he left, he gently grabbed Ace's uninjured arm not saying anything at first. Her warm body temperature made him nostalgic. "You're smarter than anyone I know, Ace." Keith said with sorrow in his voice. A very small yet sad smile appeared on his face. "I know you can figure this one out." Heaving a sigh, he wasn't even sure if he should be doing such a thing. It may call for more harsh words with Carter later. But he felt a need to do this. He decided to give Ace a riddle, just like old times. "Ignited by light, she left behind. Something you'll find with nothing but fire." He then turned away from her and everyone else. Walking away, he desired solitude in his old favorite forest.

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Alice had to bite her bottom lip to keep it from quivering. She stared at the ordeal, and as she listened to Carter's words she felt more and more tempted to burst into tears. An agonizing sense of frustration, doubt and jealously welled up inside of her, growing larger and more concerning with each passing second. Every single dreadful thought she had building up inside of her over the past week was feasting; feasting on this horrendous suspense that really only lasted for a small matter of seconds, but what seemed like years to Ace. Surely if Carter still had feelings for Henrietta, then Keith might still love her? But... Her teeth dug into her bottom lip. She couldn't stand this overwhelming doubt. She doubted herself more than anything else. All the harsh feelings toward Keith began to turn on her; they bellowed that it was somehow Alice who wasn't good enough, who was inferior. Why would it be Keith's fault? Surely he would've stayed his pleasant self, if it weren't for her---

It was only then that Ace caught Keith's gaze and she feared she couldn't blink back her tears for much longer. His look did not bring solace to her; only an onslaught of guilt and heartache. Her face lacked the self-control to hide these emotions, as a disgruntled frown gradually made its way on to her face. She locked eyes with Keith for a long time, and the time that their eyes were locked was excruciating. He looked so... so alone, he looked so sad. She couldn't bear to see him like this. Ace was so focused on Keith that she hadn't even begun to notice that her lip was starting to bleed. Even then, she was still gnawing on it.

Ace's heart raced when she realized Keith was walking toward her. She felt her whole body tingle when he placed his hand on her arm. She stared at him in utter silence as he hesitated to speak. It was at that moment that she realized he was on the verge of crying, and the sight of his watery eyes tore her apart. "You're smarter than anyone I know, Ace." His words brought a rose-red blush to Alice's cheeks. Her blush was glaringly obvious and she couldn't hide it, even if she wanted to. She watched as he tried on a small but sad smirk, and felt a frown tug at her face. Yet again, the only thing keeping her from breaking down was the knot in her throat and the teeth sinking into her quivering lip. "I know you can figure this one out. Ignited by light, she left behind. Something you'll never find with nothing but fire." And with that, he left.

Alice stared at the ground in utter silence, and the softest of smiles painted itself onto her face. "He... He still cares," she found herself murmuring. Her eye contact with the floor never halted, for she refused to let anyone see her tear up. As she thought of the others, her thoughts wavered to Henrietta and Carter. She was so wrapped up in... other things that she hadn't even realized the favor Carter bestowed upon them. She muttered a quick word of thanks before nudging the door to Louie's open and yelling his name.

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Henrietta watched as Keith exchanged words with Ace before walking away. She considered shouting something but decided against it. Ace's gaze was locked with the ground and Henrietta could not help but feel some sort of remorse. A familiar sadness crept through her mind. Before stumbling into Louie's after Ace, she turned towards Carter. She felt compelled to say something but wasn't quite sure what.

"Hey um..." she paused as she glanced into his eyes. Her face felt hot so she quickly looked away while slightly pouting. "I miss you."

Uncertain of what else to say, she turned and limped into Louie's. If anything, she felt extremely awkward and still somewhat humiliated. Plus her discomfort with Louie was not about to help. However, she felt too tired to resist for once in her life. She refused to look down at her wound for she think nausea would overtake her. Henrietta often felt overwhelmed and ill at the sight of her own wounds. Exhausted, she leaned against the door frame as Ace called out for Louie hoping he'd show soon.

"Ace," she murmured. "What the hell just happened?"

It was more of a statement than a question. All of this had her in disbelief. She was not even sure how the others would react to this. It was a lot to take in and the situation had seemed to change direction. There was much to discuss.



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Keith shoved his hands into his pockets as he slowly walked away. He didn't deem it appropriate to stay. If anything he almost did not wish to return, but he knew in the end he always would. He heaved a long sigh, watching a small cloud of water vapor escape into the cool air. It was colder than he had realized. His mind felt very burnt out. After a long distance, Keith made a turn into a forest he was very familiar with. It was dark yet he knew the way by memory. He swerved in and out of the trees avoiding ditches or any sudden drops. Eventually he found himself in a small clearing in the center of the woods. The place was comforting. A few evening butterflies fluttered out in the open and he extended his palm for one of the creatures to land on. As one naturally did, he only weakly smiled before lifting it up and setting it free once more.

Keith sat at the foot of a thick tree. He stared vacantly at the moon shining directly overhead the clearing. It felt as though his entire being was aching inside and out. Any time he tried to form thoughts they quickly trailed off as though he was incapable of forming them. To his surprise, hot tears were racing down his cheeks. He quickly tried to wipe them away but instead they poured down faster and he could not control himself. His body quivered every time he gasped for air in between sobs. Eventually he screamed and dug his fingernails into his scalp, gripping his hair and almost pulling it.

"What is happening to me...?" he whispered as his mind reflected on all that occurred. He kept hearing himself laugh at Henrietta's pain and repeatedly recalled how he stabbed her, so readily willing to kill her. How could he ever apologize or show his face to them without shame? An apology would not be nearly enough.

After some time, he decided to weave himself a bed of branches and roots to rest on. He pondered on his return with growing dread. How was he to face Carter again? Though Carter seemed to be somewhat in the same boat as him. Keith could not deny something awful seemed to be happening to the two. Although Keith's change seemed to happen more rapidly, Carter was noticeably becoming more aggressive. His darkness was changing too. It was very strange. Though it then occurred to him that it was the effect of the ashes. A side effect? They did not account for this. It made Keith feel anxious. He was out of balance, and as his power grew, his connection with nature would slowly subside. Eventually the trees, plants, insects and animals would no longer recognize him. They would stop responding if he did not find a way to balance himself again soon. Keith thought he should immediately tell Carter, though his stomach churned at the thought of going back. But he knew he could not hide out here forever. He had responsibilities to keep.

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Carter stayed on the ground, never moving his eyes from the sky above him, even as he heard the brief exchanging of words between Keith and Ace. He listened intently, and had to stop himself from openly cursing at Keith; he'd given her a hint which, in a way, was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Carter felt his eyelids close and the darkness that came with it was almost comforting, were it not for the raw burns on his back. He'd probably gotten stones stuck in them by now, but he scarcely noticed. Louie would probably wash them out when he came out to fetch them. He would've gotten up by himself, but that last technique had sapped whatever little strength he held onto after his fight with Ace. He wasn't one for his stamina, to say the least. It came as no surprise to him, even after his power boost.

His eyes only reopened when he heard a familiar voice directly next to him. "Hey um..." Henrietta spoke, and Carter met her gaze without hesitation. It was in that moment that the pain vanished, and all his attention was focused on the familiar person hovering slightly over him. She quickly looked away and he frowned in embarrassment, feeling the heat of a blush on his cheeks. "I miss you," she continued, and Carter nodded. He didn't attempt a smile, as he was already putting immense effort into not looking surprised. He'd have thought that she'd hate him after all this time and after what happened between them all, but he'd been wrong about that. He didn't even have time to respond before she limped off, and Carter took that moment to try to lift himself up.

Carter started by heaving a sigh and rolling onto his front, his face mushed into the concrete, before he brought his arms to his head and pushed his weight with all his strength. With a pained grunt, he tucked his knees in and used both ends to push himself to a standing position. He stood on shaky legs, but stayed upright regardless. Then came the awkward task of taking the steps towards Louie's home, which he seemed to handle adequately well.

~

Louie looked up from his desk when he heard his front door opening, and his eyes finally dragged themselves towards the teenager stood in his living room. "Thank you," he spoke in a smooth voice, "You are dismissed." At this, the teen awkwardly bowed his head and scuffled out of the room, then down the hall and past the girl leaning against the doorframe.

With a heavy sigh, he stood and shifted his chair backwards in the same second, then quietly walked around the desk as he heard his name being called. "Yes, yes," he called, "I'm coming." He walked without urgency, despite having been informed of the fight between the four disciples some time before they even arrived. His eyes followed them wherever they went; such was his responsibility, to make sure they stayed relatively safe. It helped him, in a way, to prepare treatment for their arrival, which is precisely what he'd just spent the last half an hour trying to do. By his record, there were several injuries requiring his attention. A broken nose, serious back burns and then there was Henrietta, who had more injuries than he could count on both hands.

As Louie moved silently into the hall, he settled his gaze on Ace's bloodied noise and shook his head disapprovingly, but smiled reassuringly afterwards. "Make your way into the living room, I'll be with you in a second or two." He then turned his attention to Henrietta, who was leaning against the doorframe. Saying nothing, he moved closer and wrapped two strong arms around her, lifting her like a man would lift a woman on their wedding night, then walked smoothly towards the door at the very end of his hallway. It lead to his study, where he did most of his work. Having walked in, he set Henrietta in a comfortable chair and stepped back, analysing her with an emotionless gaze. Then, suddenly and without warning, he snapped his fingers and made a sound resembling, "Ah-HAH." A friendly smile had settled onto his features, but he turned and walked away before he could elaborate.

"Several lacerations, the worst of which being located on the abdomen, major bruising and, I'm guessing, possibly some broken bones," he mumbled to himself as he worked, trying to ignore the blood that hung thick in the air. He moved over to his shelves and appeared to be sorting though the organised bottles, until he came across a large bowl filled with dried leaves. He lifted it into one hand and grabbed a bottle that seemed to bubble with a deep purple liquid, before making his way back to Henrietta. Having laid the bottle on top of the leaves, he pulled over a stool and sat in front of the girl. He plucked two leaves from the bowl and said, "Open." He waited for her to comply before he popped them both into her mouth. "Chew them, they'll help with the pain. They're like the strongest painkillers in the world. You won't feel a thing." He placed the bowl down on the floor and took the bottle from on top of it. He stared at it for a moment, then sighed to himself, standing up again to grab a cloth from elsewhere in the room.

Opening the lid of the bottle, he wet a small section of the cloth with the liquid inside and dabbed each individual laceration; the smaller ones healed almost instantly, but the deeper cuts were taking their time. Once he'd covered her arms, legs and some other areas, he turning his attention on her abdomen. He hadn't even spoken a word to Henrietta during his work as he didn't feel the need to, but every so often he would glance up at her and flash her one of his signature smiles. At one point, Carter had stumbled in and had complained so much that Louie sent him to bathe in the healing mud he'd set up in the bathroom, just to get rid of him. "Uh," he started awkwardly, "I'm going to have to lift up your shirt to see the cut. Just a warning." Hesitantly, he reached for the shirt and lifted it up, placing the soaked cloth against her cut. With his free hand, he took hold of her arm and positioned her hand against the cloth. "Hold it there for ten minutes, and it'll heal itself." Louie stood then, and turned before his cheeks could heat up.

"Ace," he beckoned, motioning for her to sit on another of his armchairs. While he waited, her grabbed another cloth but this time he simply walked into the bathroom and wet it with water, before he came back in. He walked over to her, but not before grabbing a few more leaves to feed her while he tended to her nose. "Open," he repeated, leaves at the ready. He then began to dab carefully at the almost dried blood with the wet cloth, clearing the blood from the nose. When it was clear, he quietly analysed her. "Luckily for you, Carter wasn't using all of his strength when he did that," Louie began, setting the bloodied cloth to one side as his other hand reached for her jaw to tilt her head in different direction. He fought against the urge to roll his eyes when he heard Carter yell "You're welcome," from another room. Louie moved past it pretty quickly. "It is broken, yes, and it will bruise and swell over the next few days, but there's no disfigurement, so everything should be fine... But that bullet wound, that's another story. You're lucky because it went all the way through, but that's going to take a while to heal properly." He carefully applied the same potion to Ace's wound that he applied to Henrietta's, and then sat at his desk once more, sighing as he leaned back in his tall chair.

"And Keith? He has suffered substantial injuries, I hear. Why is he not here right now?"





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Henrietta could not help but blush when Louie came and swept her off of her feet. It made her slightly uncomfortable since she never quite grew accustomed to needing someone's help. She was gritting her teeth as her wounds throbbed each passing second. As they entered his study she almost felt immediate relief knowing the pain would hopefully soon subside. Settling in one of Louie's chairs, you could hear her faintly sigh. She felt sleepy and dazed at this point, unable to focus on how embarrassed she would normally feel. She did not even seem to hear Louie mumbling to himself. "Open," she heard Louie command holding a couple of strange leaves before her. "Chew them, they'll help with the pain. They're like the strongest painkillers in the world. You won't feel a thing." Louie did not have to tell her twice. She immediately opened her mouth and began to chew. As she chewed and soon swallowed, she made a face at the seemingly bitter taste but did not complain. Within seconds, she felt the pain sap away from her body and fell somewhat limp. The tension was draining away and she could finally relax. However, Louie was not done with her.

Now that Henrietta was finally able to acknowledge her surroundings, that familiar discomfort around Louie became more noticeable. She finally met Louie's calm eyes as he applied his uniquely created medicine to her smaller cuts. He had not even spoken a word and the silence was stifling for her. Henrietta could not help but be amazed at how they almost instantly disappeared. Louie was truly something. When Carter stumbled in complaining she really tried not to laugh. For the most part she held it in, but the smile tugging at her lips was noticeable. Perhaps it was not entirely appropriate.

"Uh," Louie broke her thoughts. "I'm going to have to lift up your shirt to see the cut. Just a warning." Henrietta's eyes somewhat widened but she merely nodded before looking away. As he placed the soaked cloth against her wound she whimpered while squeezing her eyes shut. Though the pain was quickly flushed away and she tiredly opened her eyes feeling Louie place her hand over the cloth. He told her to hold it there for ten minutes and she had no objections. Then he exited the room leaving Henrietta to her thoughts and exhaustion. Every time she closed her eyes and drifted into a dreamlike state, the fight would just replay in her mind making her snap back into reality. The more she thought about it the more uncomfortable she felt. But with Henrietta, all feelings returned to her most comfortable emotion, anger. However, it was not a topic she knew how to broach on with the others.

Ten minutes quickly passed for Henrietta and she curiously peeked under her shirt to glance at her wound. It was as though it was never even there. Hesitantly, she softly poked her stomach expecting a pain but felt nothing. She heard Louie stirring around and softly speaking to Ace. Carter must have been in the bathroom. Her strength was slowly returning along with her spunk. She was feeling more like herself by the second. Her lips were sealed tight as she hopped off of the chair and stormed towards the bathroom. Making a fist, she punched the door violently while purposely holding herself back so that the door would not break.

"Hey Carter!" she shouted. "If you thought you were getting off that easily, think again!"

At this moment, she had her hands firmly planted on her waist as she glared at the door. Her mind was racing with questions and her emotions rampant. "You're such an idiot! Do you really think you can just leave, come back, try to fight us, and then take it all back!? What do you think this is! Stop playing mind games with us! With me, damn it... " she was shouting then suddenly choked feeling hot tears gather. But she shook them away as quickly as they came. "And as for Keith! As for... As for Keith!" she continued to shout but her voice started to waiver at the mention of his name. She then whirled around angrily towards Louie and Ace.

"Where is that bastard?" she spat. She had heard Louie asking Ace but wanted to reaffirm the question. Her frustration only grew and she started to pace uncontrollably muttering to herself. Not that she expected anyone to help or respond. Knowing this made her feel exceedingly crabby. Her attempts to console herself were not working. Instead she gnawed on her own finger trying to keep quiet before she embarrassed herself even more. Then she stopped as though she had an idea. Of course! Perhaps she could locate his movements through the Earth? She pushed her mind as she searched for those familiar footsteps. For his body weight and the way he would shift as he moved. At last she found him a few miles out. "Well he's not very far, I can tell you that," Henrietta said while crossing her arms. Her brow slightly twitched thinking about this. "I'm not going after him either."

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell Character Portrait: Louie T. Orihara
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Alice watched in silence as Henrietta limped inside. The sight of her wounds reminded Ace of her own, and at that moment she felt an ache coming on. Adrenaline and shock were no longer on her side, and all that moving around was not sitting nicely with her shoulder. She felt a small frown coming on as she looked to the side to examine herself… "Ace," Henrietta’s voice broke her thoughts. "What the hell just happened?"

At that, Ace let out a scoff mixed with a laugh. "You know," She began. "That’s a really good question." Her eyes settled on Carter, who was now walking in. She hadn’t taken the time to realize that Carter should not have been able to teleport them like that. An ability like that was beyond their limits, his limits, and yet--- "Yes, yes," Louie suddenly called. "I’m coming." It wasn't too long before Louie was in sight. She felt herself frown when she caught his nod of disapproval, though his reassuring smile helped turned the frown upside-down. She merely nodded when he told her to make their way into the living room, and did just that. Ace stood patiently while she was waiting for him to finish up with Henrietta, though, not surprisingly, Carter wasn't as patient. It wasn't long until she found herself waiting alone. To pass the time, Ace began playing with fire and smiling as it danced on her fingertips. Ace was about to bounce the fire to her other hand, but as she outstretched her injured arm to catch it, she grimaced from the pain and the fire dissipated. She cursed under her breath before turning to Louie, who had just called her name.

Ace didn't hesitate to take a seat. As she gingerly hopped onto one of Louie's armchairs, she let out the softest of sighs. Her eyes began to close and for once she welcomed the darkness that came along with it. It was amazing how nice it felt to close one's eyes, especially in the presence of weariness. "Open," Louie's voice interrupted her moment of leisure, though she didn't mind. Her eyes and mouth opened and he popped two dried leaves into her mouth. She began to chew and her expression turned sour as a bitter taste invaded her senses, though the invasion didn't last long. Ace quickly swallowed down the leaves as well as the bad taste. Along with the bad taste went the pain, and the disappearance was enough to keep Ace from flinching when Louie began wiping the blood off of her nose. She'd expected some degree of pain, though surprisingly and not so surprisingly, there was none.

"Luckily, Carter wasn't using all of his strength when he did that," Louie began. Ace nearly scoffed when she heard Carter yell from another room. Surely he realized she could've burned all the hair off of his head, if she'd wanted to. "It is broken, yes, and it will bruise and swell over the next few days, but there's no disfigurement, so everything should be fine... But that bullet wound, that's another story. You're lucky because it went all the way through, but that's going to take a while to heal properly." She simply nodded at Louie's words and her eyes began to close again. Fighting was so tiresome. Ace couldn't wait until this eventful day was over.

In time, Louie was back in his chair. "And Keith? He has suffered substantial injuries, I hear. Why is he not here right now?" Alice's eyes drifted open yet again as she heard the question. "Well," Alice began to think aloud. "He seemed like he wanted to be alone. I bet he's---" "Where is that bastard?" Henrietta suddenly spat. Her eyes fixed on Henrietta as she entered the room. She was too wrapped up in her own thoughts she hadn't even realized that her ally was fuming, as usual. Nearly rolling her eyes, she watched as Henrietta paced back and forth, her anger seemingly growing by the second. As Henrietta came to a halt, Ace found an opportunity to continue talking, but Henrietta ended up interrupting her yet again. A look of subtle annoyance crept onto Alice's face. "Well he's not very far, I can tell you that," Henrietta said while crossing her arms. Her brow slightly twitched thinking about this. "I'm not going after him either."

"...Then I will," Ace found herself muttering. "I am fairly if not completely certain of his location." She hopped out the armchair and found herself heading toward the exit. "If Carter leaves before I return, be sure to inform him that I'll be my pleasure to burn him in our next encounter."

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Louie T. Orihara
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Carter's eyes were closed rather peacefully as he lay in the bathtub that Louie had filled with a special healing mud he'd created by mixing it with one of his potions, or something... Carter wasn't so sure he'd actually listened as much as he ought to have, but it was no concern of his now. Five minutes after he'd gotten into the tub, he could feel the pain slowly fading and then, almost twenty minutes after that, it diminished completely. While his entire body was not numb, he could feel nothing on his back which was somewhat relieving after all the stress it had previously caused him. A pleasant sigh broke through his smiling lips, but his peace was not to last. Figures.

"Hey Carter!" he heard Henrietta yelling from the other room, "If you thought you were getting off that easily, think again!" This caused his eyes to open and he had to crane his next in order to set his steady gaze on the door behind him. Part of him thought she might try to enter the room, but when he heard no movement he relaxed his body and allowed his shoulders to slump as he slid further into the tub, the mud only an inch from his chin and his shoulder fully submerged. He did not reply; he felt it better to let her get whatever she had to off her chest. "You're such an idiot! Do you really think you can just leave, come back, try to fight us, and then take it all back!? What do you think this is! Stop playing mind games with us! With me, damn it... " she continued to rage, and Carter listened to every word until finally he'd had enough of the accusations. "And as for Keith! As for... As for Keith!" Carter acknowledged that she was saying something, but didn't bother processing any of it.

With a disgruntled mutter, Carter lifted himself from the tub on steady arms and wrapped a towel around his lower half, though his entire body up to his neck was caked in a thick brown mud. Noticing this, he cursed loudly and grabbed another small towel to wipe it from his body as best as he possibly could. When he'd gotten the best of it off, he stepped into the shower on the other side of the room and quickly rinsed off, then dried himself again. When he was sure he was dry, he pulled on his ruined clothes. He sucked his teeth as he turned to see a gaping hole in his clothes at his back, the edges blackened and uncomfortable against his skin.

Carter stepped out of the bathroom just as Ace spoke; "If Carter leaves before I return, be sure to inform him that I'll be my pleasure to burn him in our next encounter." Carter, despite his mood, grinned uncontrollably at this comment. He stepped into Ace's line of sight and pointed a finger straight at her, his eyes holding a familiar sort of mischief. "Hey, I'm gonna hold you to that, y'know." Without saying much else, for he didn't see the point, he lowered his arm and went straight for Henrietta without hurry. His eyes were soft where his facial features were not. He wasn't exactly angry, merely frustrated that, yet again, his old friend had failed to understand his views towards their situation. He planned to set it all straight, preferably with as little violence as possible.

Louie, who had been watching them all with serious, analytical eyes stood and cleared his throat as if to excuse himself. Then he remembered something, and called out for Ace before she could think to leave. "Ace, if you manage to find Keith, tell him to come and see me as soon as possible." Saying little else to Henrietta and Carter, he moved out of the room to the hallway, where he climbed the stairs and left them to it.

Thankful for the privacy Ace and Louie had granted them, Carter finally reached for Henrietta's arm and held it gently just below the left shoulder. "You're such an idiot," he retorted, though there was no venom in his voice when he spoke to her. His eyes regarded her carefully, but on the whole he seemed to be very calm. "I hold no hatred for you, for any of you... I can't believe you hadn't realised this sooner, Henrietta. You're smarter than that," he continued, trying his best at a smile. "When I left, it wasn't based off of any personal feelings. I left because I couldn't stand that you five were prepared to leave the mortals to destroy our Goddess' land with their petty political squabbles. I left because I want to guide them and help them through these times. I'm not evil, I don't want to rule or control them. That's not what Kay would have wanted, and you know that." Taking a breath, he let his arm drop to his side. "You hold a very special place in my heart, even after all this time. I don't want to hurt any of you... If I start physical brawls, it's purely for fun or just for a bit of action. I never meant to kill Ace. I didn't think Keith would hurt you as much as he did. That's why I stepped in to defend you."

Carter walked away to an armchair and slumped into it. He sighed lightly, and looked up to her. "I'm not coming back, I hope you know that, but I'm not your enemy. Despite what the others say. I mean you no ill will. At least... not you, specifically." There was so much Carter wanted to tell Henrietta in that moment, but he knew it would only make their situation all the more awkward. And so, with an increasing sense of irritation, he bit his tongue and kept quiet about it all, not knowing whether he'd seriously regret it later on or if it really was for the best.

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray
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Naturally, Henrietta felt an unease when Louie left herself and Carter alone. Sure she had raged, but she had not intended for a serious conversation afterwards. At first, she only frowned as she stared at the wooden panels of the floor. Then she felt Carter gently grab her arm and it was as though the room temperature had instantly risen, her face showing for it. Henrietta listened intently, word for word everything Carter had to say. Oddly enough, there were no visible signs of aggression, sadness or relief from her expression. It was as though she were a blank slate. When she heard him say, "You hold a very special place in my heart," her heart had fluttered and alas she broke away from his intense gaze.

While Carter spoke about Keith, she instinctively found her hands resting on her abdomen where only a few short moments ago blood had gushed out of her. Such a strange feeling it was, to still believe a wound was there when in actuality it was not. "...At least not you, specifically." Carter had ended his statements on this note and Henrietta definitely had caught on. She arched her brow at this before he had slumped into one of Louie's armchairs. However, she found herself eying him carefully before slowly approaching him. She was hesitant, though as she walked near her hand delicately reached out for his face. Her fingers were inches away before she stopped herself. A slight frown tugged at the corners of her lips, but she only stood there trying to digest everything he just said.

"You're never coming back, are you?" Henrietta practically whispered, glancing back down at the ground so she would not feel so exposed. Her anger walls came tumbling down and it was one of those few rare states of mind anyone had ever seen. As she spoke the words she felt it hit her in the face like bricks and she grew visibly tense. "I thought you were dead, you know. I've been so lonely. No one quite gets me the way you do."

Henrietta paused, biting down on her lower lip as though she was not certain if she should say what she was about to. "I understand you're fighting for what you believe is right, as do I. You already know how I feel in regards to the mortals, I'm not arguing that. But, that doesn't mean we can't still be friends. Right? I-I don't know what these feelings are, really, but I feel really strongly towards you... So much so that sometimes it hurts. I don't know if that even means much to you, but when you're around I feel less angry."

At her own remarks, Henrietta shyly twirled her thumbs. It was not easy for her to say such things, let alone acknowledge her own feelings and be reasonable. Though for some reason, it felt as like she'd never see Carter again. That she'd never get to speak to him like this for a very long time. Even though it felt like old times, something was very different about Carter that made her worry. It somewhat reminded her of Keith. Then the humiliation settled in once more from her defeat and she felt so overwhelmed she stumbled back a few steps before gripping her own forehead with her right hand as if to say no.

"I wish you didn't have to see me that way. So useless and shameful, thanks for saving me." Henrietta muttered before a sternness was added to her tone. "Carter, something is different about you. Same with Keith. I know he and I were never the best of friends but, I don't think I did anything to deserve death... He seemed kind of psycho out there. But then..."

Henrietta paused, recalling Carter spitting out his opinions at Keith trying to get the deranged man to step down. At the mention of Ace, for a moment she had saw the old Keith that she knew resurface. He looked very lost, perplexed and somewhat drained as though he did not even know of the events unfolding before him. She grimaced at these thoughts, the memory so fresh in her mind. It sent chills up and down her spine. With a frightened expression, she slumped to the floor while positioning herself on her knees. She dug her face and fists gently into the front of Carter's legs and her voice rattled as she spoke, "I don't know what happened to you all but please, take care of yourself. All you have is each other. So don't you ever die on me!"

The way she spoke was abnormal. She was implying all the unknown works that had yet been revealed. Henrietta was rash, but not stupid. If anything, she was more perceptive than the others with no way of expressing it. Her mind had always been very sharp. Henrietta felt as though she wanted to break down into tears, but she would not let herself appear weaker than she already had tonight. Exhaustion outlined her facial features though she would not rest until Ace returned. She did not trust that Keith, and little did they know was that in Henrietta's mind they were on a timer. But the thought of facing Keith again tonight made her feel somewhat paralyzed just as his pollen spores made her. It was something she wanted to quickly mention to Louie while also describe Keith's odd behavior. She did not dare look back up at Carter, still hiding her face in a sort of self defeat. She was afraid to see what his eyes might say or worried she would try to touch him with longing again. She kept holding her breath as her body somewhat quivered with emotion.

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray
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Carter's eyes were fixed steadily on Henrietta as she seemed to be watching him carefully. It was all he could do not to shift uncomfortably in his seat, but he managed. It was becoming increasingly harder to stay still when Henrietta approached him and reached for his face. He stared at her hand as it neared his face, but he didn't recoil from her touch nor did he act as if it bothered him; his expression was one of subtle calmness. When she paused just before touching him and shortly drew her hand back, he sighed in relief and he felt his body relax. He hadn't even realised how tense he was until that moment. "You're never coming back, are you?" she whispered, and a terrible look of guilt flashed across his features, his lips and brows shaping into a half-frown, even as he was trying his best to keep a passive expression. "I thought you were dead, you know. I've been so lonely. No one quite gets me the way you do," she continued. Carter fought against his instincts to stand and comfort her, and instead kept himself planted in his seat. His eyes settled on her tense form.

He listened carefully to Henrietta's every word as she continued on about her feelings, which he'd stopped himself from doing just a short moment ago. He'd thought it would save their relationship some awkward talks, but little did he know that Henrietta was determined to discuss such things with him. Nevertheless, her words caused an odd sense of warmth and anticipation to pool in his stomach. I had no idea she felt that way, he thought to himself as his eyes traced her individual facial features. She was biting her lip. Carter was surprised how cute he found that, and he had worked hard to hide it. Not only that, but he caught a glimpse of her twiddling her thumbs in a fairly shy manner. He felt his lips twitching subtly, but after some serious thought he decided it would be better not to smirk at her at that moment.

"I wish you didn't have to see me that way. So useless and shameful, thanks for saving me." Carter nodded in response, almost as if he was saying, you're welcome. "Carter, something is different about you. Same with Keith. I know he and I were never the best of friends but, I don't think I did anything to deserve death... He seemed kind of psycho out there. But then..." she continued, and Carter's eyes narrowed very slightly in response. He should've known she'd sensed it too. Both Carter and Keith were being affected by something, but he was having a hard time figuring out what it was. While Carter was slowly getting more irritable and aggressive, Keith was becoming something of a psychopath. It wouldn't be too long before the others noticed this too, but he tried not to think about that too much.

Carter had scarcely noticed Henrietta had slumped to her knees with an expression he could only point out as being scared or worried. Carter leaned forward only slightly as she leaned her face against his legs. It was only at this moment that all signs of awkwardness made themselves visible. His cheeks flushed red and he felt like he had butterflies in his stomach. He wasn't exactly used to being so physically close to other people, but he was sure he only felt so flustered because it was Henrietta. It was a weird sensation, but not a bad one... How strange, he thought. "I don't know what happened to you all but please, take care of yourself. All you have is each other. So don't you ever die on me!" she finally spoke with a voice that shook, and it was almost as if she'd reached into his chest and gripped his heart tightly. He couldn't breathe. He just stared, open-mouthed, at the girl slumped in front of him.

Despite everything Carter had ever thought about not wanting to take things too far between them, he leaned forward some more and moved his arm so that his hands could cup her chin. Firmly, but not harshly, he tilted her head upwards so that he could look directly into her arms. "I'm not going to die!" he stated, somewhat matter-of-factly, "Neither are you, not if I can help it." His expression was serious as a whole, but his eyes held a softness only exposed for Henrietta's sake. "You're right, I'm not coming back until this situation is resolved, but we're friends no matter what disagreements present themselves. You mean too damn much to me for me to be so bloody petty about things like that."

With his free hand, he took her hand in his and squeezed gently. "You worry too much, have I ever told you that?" he said, his voice lowered to a gentle whisper with a subtle but rather reassuring smile sliding across his lips as he gazed at her. Saying nothing more, he stood, lifting Henrietta with him. He let go of her hand and let the other fall from her chin, but both arms quickly snaked themselves around her waist to pull her closer. It was almost as if being close to someone ceased to bother him any longer. "All those things you were saying, about how you feel... I feel the same way," he said, "as hard as it is to admit. I guess you never really realise those things about someone until you realise they're too far out of reach." He rested his face in the crook of her neck, slowing his breathing and allowing his body to finally relax.

"Henrietta... Things may never be the same between the two groups, but I can't risk losing you again." He took a breath. "I'm crazy about you, despite everything." Taking a moment, he finally pulled his head back and, deciding that there was no point keeping things to himself, leaned in to kiss her. If she pulled away, fair enough, but he was curious to see how she'd respond to his advances, if anything.

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Carter Gray
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Henrietta felt genuinely surprised. She was not expecting Carter to respond in such a way and as he cupped her chin her eyes had a mixture of happiness with a tint of sadness. It was bittersweet, though Henrietta admitted to herself it was on the rather sweeter side. Every movement he made had her mesmerized. When he lifted her with himself there was no hiding the warmth of her cheeks. His arms wrapped around her, drawing her closer to him. Her tension slipped away and she was now gripping Carter's tattered shirt rather tightly in front of his chest. She couldn't help but admire his facial features, her eyes falling to his lips before she allowed herself to become somewhat limp in his arms.

"Henrietta... Things may never be the same between the two groups, but I can't risk losing you again," Carter said softly. Though her thoughts were distracted by how close he was to her, how he breathed in her neck and her own body felt as though she'd shudder with delight. Her stomach felt ticklish by all the butterflies stirring about. "I'm crazy about you, despite everything." She did not even have a chance to respond because within the next moment Carter's lips were pressed against hers. Initially, Henrietta was shocked and a stream of thoughts raced through her head. But her desire overcame her and almost naturally she allowed her arms to wrap around his neck and kissed him back in return. After a long moment, she pulled away in disbelief. This was all so surreal. But a soft smile emerged from her face and rather than argue against all of this, she decided to enjoy the moment.

Somewhat giddy, the tips of her fingers reached for his face again except this time she did not pull away. She outlined the shape of his cheek then gently brushed over his lips before she pushed back some strands of hair behind his ear. Henrietta was surprised by her own gestures, she never acted with such tenderness before. But an ache jabbed at her heart as she tried her best to hide her own internal struggle. "Don't let your darkness devour you," she finally spoke before pulling away from him with hesitance.

Henrietta feared prolonging the moment so as to save herself from more heart ache than she already felt. She did not want to let go, but the voice of reason kept screaming at her to do so. Even if they did not wish to fight, she had a responsibility to keep towards everyone else. What if this was all a mistake? A million thoughts raced through her mind and she was visibly distracted. She felt flustered more than anything. "I'm weak..." Henrietta whispered. Keith defeated her and now she was almost certain she could never bring herself to battle Carter, if it came down to it. But then that would mean betraying the others, would it not? She was vanquished, so she sat on the wooden chair closest to her feeling somewhat queasy. Walk away Henrietta, just walk away. No, I can't. Shit... What do I do? Things were becoming exceedingly more complicated by the second. Henrietta also worried for Ace. While something told her Keith would not harm her friend, a part of her still worried. Conflict settled on her face and she withheld her doubts from Carter in fear he would leave her right then and there. Perhaps that was for the better logically. But she felt she would beg him to stay or even attempt to follow him. "I can't ever bring myself to fight you, Carter. But I fear for you. Your darkness... When you're angry it's almost like it's alive."

At this she finally glanced back towards him with concern. Her body was slouched forward as she sat. She felt mentally drained from the day's events. While some of her doubts were answered, others had seemed to arise. Doubts that were much more fearsome. While she mentioned this to Carter she was again thinking back, noting how the shadows tugged at Carter as he had approached her and Keith. Henrietta felt suspicious, but part of her was afraid to know the truth.