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My biggest fear is going to sleep and waking up with lungs full of stones.

0 · 255 views · located in The Prime

a character in “Impending Pursuit”, as played by The_Queen


Image Competitor

Username: The_Queen #CD5C5C | FC: #2F4F4F


{Full Name: }
Scout Xypher

{Age: }

{Gender: }

{Species: }

{Face Claim : }
Lappland || Arknights

ImageImage - - - - - -



Hair Color:
120 lbs

Eye Color:


Overall Appearance:
Scout is rather tall and thin, standing at just under six feet, with long, slender limbs. Her skin is marred by various scars, from years of hard work. Her silver hair is long, able to tickle the backs of her knees and her eyes, colorless but insightful, tend to reflect the hues of the world around her. If you look closely, poking out of Scout's fluffy hair are wolf-like ears. From her behind comes a tail that gives away just about everything she's thinking. Scout has been told in the past that she would be pretty, beautiful even, if not for the scar that runs down her left eye. Luckily, Scout isn't blind in that eye, as many assume. Speaking of her face, her mouth is adorned with razor sharp teeth that give her a wolfish and intimidating grin.

As for clothing, Scout prefers to wear black. She does not think that she looks good in anything overly colorful, so Scout prefers plain looking clothing and maybe a hair clip or two to tame her mane.

“Do you smell that? That's the smell of fear.”



Right and wrong? What is the difference? Scout certainly can't tell you. Her sense of right and wrong is warped due to her upbringing. Scout has a strange sense of morals, instilled in her by the people she lived with in the Tundra and rewritten by the mercenaries. Mercs have a code of honor, one that they must live by, but it conflicts with Scout's own internal dialogue. Scout has no honor, she does not care who lives or dies, as long as she gets to live another day. This line of thought is due largly to her first five years of life. Survival for a mutant is not easy, there are no handouts, absolutely no kindness for her kind, and so, mutants must learn to become a weathered stone.

Scout is of no exception. She is especially prickly to strangers and suspicious of anyone giving handouts. Kindness is a strange and foreign concept to Scout. She only knew kindness for a very short time and it was certainly not long enough to instill it in her as a value. Scout sometimes wrestles with her inner voice, although she does not know what this means. She does not consider herself to be merciful or good, Scout knows she's a worthless, good for nothing, feral dog.

▶Theme Song : Villains Have More Fun // A Playlist


Meat // Scout is a carnivor, part wolf. Therefore, her main diet consists of things like meat.
Music // It is something that has kept Scout sane. Whenever Scout thinks she might lose her mind, she simply turns on her music player and loses herself.
Danger // An adrenaline junkie. It's a bad habit of Scout's to keep trying to seek a new fix for a quick rush.

Bossed // Scout hates being bossed around by others. You'd best watch your fingers if you're going to tell her what to do.
Fire // It isn't that scout is afraid of it, just that she has an intense dislike for it.
Humans // They have made Scout's life misery. Should Scout ever get the chance, she would gladly tear them apart.
Alcohol // It's the Devil's juice. Scout will never touch alcohol if she can help it.

Endurance // Scout's body is mutated into something akin to a wolf. That doesn't actually help with her endurance though, that she built up all on her own.
Fighting // What's life without the thrill of throwing a punch or two?
Swimming // Scout might not enjoy fire, but the opposite is true for water. Scout loves swimming and is a rather strong swimmer.
Bargaining // If not with words than with her fists.


Disease // There is a rare disease some mutants get, something that is curable to the humans, but if left untreated, will kill a mutant.
Fight or Flight // Sometimes Scout's fight or flight instincts will kick in before her rational. In these cases, she ends up throwing a punch before thinking it through.
Ears // Not a true weakness, but scratch behind them and she'll just about melt.

{ Weapon : }

Scout is a user of the sword, dual swords. Scout's swords are each attached to a chain, they are made of one of the strongest metals on earth and balanced so that the chain does not throw them off. Scout's swords were forged by hand and they do not actually belong to her. She stole them from a human corpse, finding them particularly interesting.


{Place of Origin :}
The Forests.

{ Background : }
What does freedom taste like? It was the first thought Scout had ever had. She did not know what freedom meant, her parents having been indentured servants. As soon as Scout was born, a collar was put around her neck. She was used for different purposes, however. Her purpose was to be a pet, entertainment for the humans that owned her parents. It was with humans that Scout learned what pain meant. It was with humans that Scout grew a distaste for fire. Her parents could not help, they could only watch as Scout was kicked around and if she bled, was forced to mop up her own blood with her clothing.

It was at age five that her parents killed the humans they were servants to. They fled, leaving Scout behind. Being left behind by her parents changed her, Scout had a warped sense of morals. She was imprisoned for the crimes of her parents, sentenced to death. They flew over the ocean, dumping mutants and prisoners into it. Scout, luckily enough, knew how to doggy paddle. She managed to cling to trash that floated in the toxic ocean for a week before reaching the shores of the New World Order. It was in the tundra she was found, half frozen, nearly dead, by a group of mutants. Scout lived in the Tundra until age of 10, when her village was raided by a group of mutant hunters.

Scout managed to flee and on foot, made it to the Forests. She lived there on her own until age 12, when she was picked up by a group of mercenaries. At first, Scout was merely an erand pup. She would do laundry or cook meals, but eventually, Scout was taught to fight. Her warped sense of morals made certain that she fit right in. The lines between right and wrong were blurred and at 13, Scout made her first kill. At age 14, Scout began to realize that she had a problem, that the rush of adrenaline was something that she had begun to crave.

On her 16th birthday, Scout awoke to find hard, black clumps on her skin. It looked as though gravel had embedded itself into her skin. It was Ori, a rare disease that mutant sometimes contracted. It was easily treated by humans, but for mutants, it meant a slow and painful death. If left untreated, Ori will eventually contaminate the entire body and shut the body's organs down one by one. At 16, Scout realized that she was eligable for The Game of Pursuit. Scout knew that if she was going to die, it was going to be on her terms.

{Family :}
Scout does not consider the two people who brought her into this world her parents. The Mercenaries are her only family, if you ask her.

{Other Info :}

Scout is secretly terrified of dying from Ori, she has hope that she will win the game and get the cure for her disease.


So begins...

Scout's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Kore
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xxxxxxxxLocation: 29.9792458°Nxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F

"Welcome Citizens....!" The holo screen droned from its place in the wall, empty take out boxes, used bandages, and metal parts sitting on the small table. She sat slouched over in bed, her bare feet against the warm floor. A fan whirred slowly above, the single light flickering dimly above. You could vaguely hear the neighbors yelling at each other through the thin metal walls to the right. From above, someone was stomping around, and beneath, a baby was crying. "They won't miss me," Scout whispered. She ran a hand through her bushy hair, her ears twitching at every sound. Her tail lay still behind her, the black telltale Ori markings a stark contrast against her pale, scarred skin. She held her ID card in both hands, unable to make heads or tales of the numbers and letters on it.

After all, Scout was illiterate. She had no idea what any of these markings meant. Mercy had tried to teach her to read a few times, but Scout always ended up throwing the books across the room in a fit of rage. She closed her eyes, the image of Mercy behind them, Mercy's dead body in a ditch, crows picking it apart. "There's no one left to miss me," they had finished the Tundra, it was the Jungle next. Scout looked up at her dismal apartment, it was one room, with a toilet and sink, no kitchen or shower. It wasn't her apartment either, it belonged to the man she had killed. And now we're moving on to the Wastes!" Scout's head jerked up to look at the holo screen. The Wasteland, that's where she had put in her number.

She clutched her ID card, waiting. This Game was her only chance, if she could get up there, if she could win, then Scout would have the cure. "ID Number: 2908474-0!" She stood too quickly, nearly banging her head on the fan. "That's me," the numbers on her ID matched, her image flickering behind them. "That's me!" Disbelief, anxiety, and relief all swelled up in her chest at once. She had to get to a shuttle. Scout looked around her apartment, grabbing her things and shoving them into a bag. Mercenaries lived off of basic necessities, she barely owned anything anyway. Her hands hseitated over a scarf, Mercy's scarf.

Her bike was parked several stories below, Scout's goggles glowed as she navigated the Dead City, keeping her head low. Her mask was secured to the lower half of her face, hood pulled up to hide her features even further. There was a sand storm brewing on the horizon, you could smell it in the air. "Hey! You!" Scout looked behind her. "Sh*t," enforcers, no doubt they had recognized her. She looked over the banister, it was about five stories still until she reached her bike. "Sorry boys, gotta run," Scout grabbed it, leaping downwards. She grabbed a bar about two stories beneath, swinging her weight forward, across traffic. Horns honked as hover cars swerved to not hit her. "What are ya, stupid! Kid's got a death wish!"

Scout snickered, reaching the other side. She hid behind a sign advertising intimate services as an Enforcer ran past, in the direction they had assumed she had gone. Sneaking down a stairwell and walking narrowly passt a pipe shooting hot steam into the air, Scout reached her bike. "Hey puppy," she pulled the cloth off, the bike sitting idle. It was a one seater, with both hover and cruising capabilities. White, with an orange stripe. "Let's get outta dodge, what do you say?" Scout swung her leg over, straping her bag to the back and taking off. The closest shuttle station was about thirty clicks outside the Dead City. Scout could be there before the sun finished setting.

The ride through the desert was quiet, the sand storm looming somewhere behind her. Storms were regular in these parts, it was the sandworms you needed to watch out for. Scout kicked it into high gear, wanting to get there before the brunt of the storm hit. The shuttle station was surrounded by a fence, buzzing with blue electricity. Outside of it were three enforcers, otherwise, it was empty. "Halt!" Scout's bike pulled up short, kicking up sand. "Photo ID please," she rifled through her pockets, producing the ID. "It matches," the gate opened, Scout driving her bike through to a parking spot.

"It looks like our first competitor has arrived!" A camera crew was there already, "Mind telling the camera your name?"

"Scout," she rose, an Enforcer coming forward. "You can take one support item," he informed her. "I'll need to tag it." Scout nodded, handing over her prized possession. "Take care of those puppies for me," he nodded. Scout was guided away, led to the shuttle. "We'll be taking off soon, please help yourself to refreshments in the meanwhile." She nodded, glancing at the table full of drinks and snacks, her stomach growled. It still hadn't set in yet, the realization that she would be going back to the very place she had hated most.

"If I'm going to go out, it'd better be with a bang," Scout mumbled as she bit into a pastry of some sort.

The setting changes from wasteland to Father


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Character Portrait: Scout
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xxxxxxxxLocation: 29.9792458°Nxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F

"Dayum," Scout's leg bounced with irritation. "That tall one is almost cute," she could hear snickering from the corner. "Yeah, too bad about the face though." The wolfish girl was leaning forward, stiffening whenever the shuttle shook a little too much. The two mutants were snickering, their voices far too loud. Scout's head perked up when she realized their laughter was directed at her. "Oi?" Her sharp teeth were on full display. "If you don't want me to crush your skull, then I suggested shutting the h*ll up." Her voice came out a low growl, "I dare you to say that again, fugly," one of them unstrapped. The shuttle jerked, Scout winced, closing her eyes quickly. "Shut the f*ck up!" She snapped in reply, was this a contestant? Scout wondered. She unstrapped to meet him, looking down at him.

He swallowed hard, as though realizing, up close, just how much bigger Scout was than him. Like a wolf looming over a rabbit, her shadow falling over him. Scout turned away, this wasn't worth her time. "That's what I thought ugly b*tch," she whirled around, like a feral dog, lunging at his throat. The mutant squealed as Scout pinned him against the floor, her fist connecting with his face. "Fight, fight, fight!" The other mutants chanted as Scout hit him, the satisfaction of bone crunching beneath her hand making her tail wag and her eyes widen with delight. "Please sit down," the Captain said over the intercom. "We are now inbound to the landing strip. Welcome to Father." Scout gave the mutant one last punch for good measure, his body having gone limp after the third strike.

His friend scuttled over, dragging his body back over to his seat. She lumbered back to the seat that was too small, the cushion doing nothing to ease her discomfort. She quickly strapped the buckle across her chest and Scout closed her eyes, her knee bouncing once more as the sigh of the gears releasing made her seat shake. It only took a few minutes to land, but somehow, it still felt like an eternity. The doors released with a hiss, the temperature difference from the Wasteland and Father causing what looked like steam to roll about the cabin. Scout unbuckled from her seat quickly, rising slowly. The other mutants in the cabin hesitated as she rose, too fearful to get in her way. When the steam cleared, Scout emerged, blood splashed across her fists and clothing, dotting her face in small crimson flecks.

The terminal went silent, the wolf-girl hyperaware of every sound and scent in that room. Her fists and clothes were bloodied, the scent of iron heavy in her nose. Her gaze turned towards a table, there were other mutants there, so Scout assumed that was where she was supposed to go. They parted, avoiding her, staring up at her. She stopped right in front of the table, her expression bored. "U-um, I don't have any money," a human stuttered dumbly as her shadow fell across his seat. "I'm here for the Game," Scout replied bluntly. The human nodded, "R-right, ID please." He squeaked, holding out his hand. He flinched when Scout dropped her ID in it, blood dripping into his open palm. "Ma'am, do you need a medic?" He whispered, startled. "No, but the other mutant might." His paled at the implication. From behind her, someone had begun to shout.

"Hey, whose mutant is that?"

"Oh, I have her."

"She's mine now," a boy with white hair approached. He was an inch taller than Scout, wearing a black coat and pants, with a red stripe near the seam that glowed. His eyes were piercing and his smile had no kindness behind it. "Welcome to the Game, what's your name mute?" He asked, glancing at his holo tab. She had half a mind to flay him where he stood for calling her that. She knew what the implications for hurting a human were. "Scout," Scout replied, taking her ID back.

"Well Scout, I'm Aries, your manager. Let's get you... presentable." He beckoned for her to follow him away from the others and through a narrow doorway. The wolf was too busy looking up to look down and stumbled when the sidewalk began to move. "Stand to the right," Aries instructed. She frowned, doing as told. She had lived on a ship like this once, but Scout had never seen the outside of the apartment. She would never forget this view, however. The memory of it made her heart pick up in her chest, the stars glittering, unaware of her existence from a distance.

"Sentenced to death? But it's just a kid."

"Scout?" She blinked, Aries had asked her a question. "What?" Scout grumbled, her nails piercing the handrail. "I asked if you have a scent preference," Scout wrinkled her nose. "Nothing strong," Aries nodded. "This is the intake, we'll be getting off here." Aries stepped off of the sidewalk, Scout following him, her knees jerking at the sudden lack of motion. He led her into a room with multiple tables and baskets, each labeled with an ID number. "You'll need to take off all of your clothes and place them in this basket. Your belongings will be held in a safe location until the end of the Game." Scout could read between the lines, she wasn't dumb. Anything she placed in that basket was going to be thrown out.

She reached around herself, lifting up her shirt. "Whoa, whoa! Wait a second, don't start taking your clothes off. Just empty your pockets," Aries was grinning as he said it, as though he were speaking to a simple-minded child.

"Oh," Scout looked down at it, dumping a food wrapper, and three coins into it from one pocket. From the other, her face mask, navi-goggles, and ID card.

"That's it?" Scout nodded in response. "Alright, let's keep going." They walked past the tables and to a new room with teak floors and green plants hanging from the ceiling, swaying without a care in the world. "You're going to take your clothes off in the stall, step into the glass booth afterwards and press the green button."

"What does it do?" Scout was wary of anything made by humans. "It'll hose the blood off of you." Scout frowned, a shower? She sniffed herself, it had been a while, admittedly, since the apartment she had been laying low in had only a sink. Scout stepped into the booth, the floors made of wood. The sides were metal, the door closing automatically as soon as she had entered the threshold. Scout jumped at the finality of it.

"Little brat, stay in there until I say you can come out."

"But I'm scared of the dark."

"Do I look like I give a-"

"Oi! What's the big idea!" Scout banged on the door, her heart pounding. "It'll open once the shower is done," Aries replied calmly from the other side, but he didn't understand. The space was too small. Scout's ears flattened against her head in discomfort, her tail hanging low. She grabbed onto her hair in distress, stepping back.

Scout backed up into the glass box, her elbow banging the green button. With a yelp, hot water sprayed her from all sides. She tried to fight it at first, instinct telling her to hit whatever was assaulting her from all sides. After a moment, it was evident as to what it was and Scout submitted, realizing that the hot water felt good.

Slowly, the wolf peeled off her soaked clothes and water logged boots, tossing them back into the booth. "I hate this," the air began to smell like lemons and mint. Scout wrinkled her nose, nails scraping against tile as she stepped out, finding a bathrobe waiting for her. Her hair dripped around her, puffy from the heat. The door to the metal booth slid open, revealing Aries on the other side with a bottle of cold water that had green circles floating in it. "For you," he handed it to her. Scout sniffed it once, it smelled fruity.

"Much better," Aries applauded, she was cleaner than she had been in weeks. Scout couldn't even remember the last time her skin wasn't coated in a layer of sand and grime. "Are we done? When do the Games start?" Scout asked, following Aries through another hallway. "No, we're not. You're still um... unpresentable. Kore would have a heart attack if I let you go into Orientation looking like... that."


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Character Portrait: Scout
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xxxxxxxxLocation: 29.9792458°Nxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F

Her neck ached from craning it behind her, the black caplet annoying. "It's so matted," a voice came from above her. Scout stiffened, "try to relax," hands eased into her mass of silver hair. "I can't relax!" Scout snapped, opening up her eyes, only to be assaulted by a warm towel. "There, how about now?" Scout's leg bounced in irritation. A hand brushed her ear, her yelp enough to attract Aries's attention. "Can you stop moving for one minute!" He sighed, "Selena is the best sylist this side of Father, if you keep squirming, she's going to cut off your ears." Scout's teeth ground in annoyance. "Here, have a mint tab," her jaw was forced open, Aries popping something spicy into her mouth.

"Do that again and I'll bite your fingers off," Scout threatened, biting down on the tablet. A burst of flavor whisked through her mouth, Scout imagined that this was what a dragon felt like. She coughed, the flavor too strong. "Eh, yuck!" Aries and Selena bothed laughed.

"Alright, done, you can sit up now." The chair moved upright, the towel falling off of her eyes. "All brushed out, how does that feel?" Scout glowered at her reflection, but her head felt lighter somehow. Selena began to snip away at broken ends and knots too large for her to brush. "Layers are cute, perfect for keeping you cool," Scout had no idea what that meant. "What can we do about those scars?" Aries asked, bringing up several different outfit designs on his holo pad.

"We'll frame them," Selena decided. "Have you thought of an angle yet?" She asked, Scout's head tilted forward, watching the waterfall of hair fall down onto the black cape. "No, she won't tell me anything." Aries sighed, speaking as though she wasn't even there.

How could Aries win his competitor over? It was clear that Scout didn't trust either of the humans that flitted about her. Her head was manipulated from all angles, her ears and even tail brushed to maximize fluffiness. "It's too bad," Selena's hand clutched Scout's jaw, dangerously close to her razor sharp teeth. "If you didn't have that scar on your face, you would be really cute."

"A human gave me that," Scout muttered. "What was that?" Aries perked up immediately, snatching up the smallest bit of information. "Tch, all of you humans are the same." Aries sighed, sinking back onto the couch. "Close your eyes," Selena instructed, bringing a brush full of sparkly powder too close to her face for comfort.

Scout felt like a doll, forced into playing a game of dress up. Aries had her stand on a metal plate; projections putting her into different outfits. "No," he scrolled, "no, no," Selena agreed. Everything was too girly, with too many puffs and frills. "I have a feeling if we put her in a long dress she'll rip it." Selena murmured, sitting on the armrest. "Agreed," Aries sighed. "No heels, she's already too tall."

They sighed, Scout reaching through the hologram to the bowl full of mint tabs. "Stop eating those," Aries grumbled. "I swear, I took this one because she looked fun, but it turns out, she's just a feral dog." Aries tossed his holo tab aside, draping an arm dramatically over his eyes. Scout stepped off of the metal plate, "Can you please stop licking the lipstick off?" Selena groaned. "Too many rules," Scout muttered, her ears flattening against her head. "How old are you anyway?" Scout froze, looking down at her fingers. How many? How many years had she been alive? "Can you not count?" Scout stiffened, "Of course I can count!" She snapped, she could count up to ten.

"Where did they even pull you from anyway?" Selena turned the projector back on, "Ooh, that one." Rising carefully from her seat, Selena touched the hologram and swiped down. It only took a minute for a ding to come from the closet, an outfit wrapped in a black garment bag hanging inside. "Hold still," Selena assaulted her, tearing the bathrobe off to get the chosen ensamble on. Scout resisted, of course, swinging her fists blindly as cool silk settled around her hips. It was a short white dress with maroon shorts underneath. There were gold crosses, with lights woven in them that glimmered when Scout moved. The bow on the back was long, going down almost to the floor, even with her height. Just underneath her ears were hairclips made of feathers and blue sapphires, Selena pinning them in place with extra fasteners, in case Scout decided to pick a fight before the party.

"I feel ridiculous," Scout growled beneath her breath, looking in the mirror. Selena stood on her tip toes to fix Scout's lipstick. "Well, you look amazing." The stylist clapped her hands together, Aries's gaze traveled up and down the length of her body. "Approved," he gave a thumb's up. Scout fiddled witht he bracelet on her wrist as he led her to the competitor living corridors.

"Look Scout, I know you don't like me, but we're partners now, so you need to talk to me." Aries said as he led her to her new living space. "All you humans are the same," Scout looked out the window, she had never seen the moon so close before. "You don't care about me, you just want to look good."

Aries sighed, "I'm trying to make you look good to get you sponsors. That video of you beating up another competitor is already circling the net. You've got an interested sponsor, but tonight's party will really seal the deal." Scout's tail flickered in annoyance. "You've been recording every interaction we've had and you want me to trust you?"

"How did you-

"I can hear it," she gestured to his holo tab. "You're hungry, I can see it in your eyes. I'm a pawn to level your social status." Aries grinned, "Yes, you are a pawn and pawns move when their king tells them to. So sit down and start talking mute."

Instead, Scout whirled on her heels, ripping the door open so quickly it would have slammed into the wall if not for the stoppers. She stomped down the hall, settling on the grass outside of the lounge.


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Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Jax
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Edward Killedge
Username: forever2b | FC: Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear Series | | Speech Color | Thought Color |
Location: The Father

Edward took the red-gloved hand of the human that introduced herself as his manager. The young elf took a slight bow, allowing his tied up hair to fall gently down, before getting back up with a smile. It irritated him that a human would call him a mutant, but that's something he would have to endure for the greater good.

"Edward Killedge, at your service." He responded.

Looking up, he could see that the human was trying hard from cringing. Clearly she didn't want to consider a mutant her equal. It must have been ingrained in her head since she was little, of how inferior these creatures were compared to them. However, Crane seemed like a good actor, as she kept her body from trembling and even offered Edward, who she saw as a mutant, a hand.

Just what kind of plan did she have in mind? Edward wondered, No matter, I have ways of making her useful to me. After all, having a human on his side would tremendously help him infiltrate the system from the inside.

Turning the hand to expose her palms to his piercing blue eyes, Edward asked Crane, "My, what a beautiful glow you have on your wrist. Do all humans carry this sort of marking?"

At his words, the pink haired human quickly retracted her hand. Grabbing her wrist nervously she responded with a forced giggle.

"I think we will have plenty time to get to know each other, but right now, getting you suited up for the orientation is our priority."

Edward pursed his lips. She was good. The human managed to derail the conversation to hide important information while making the decisions she made for him sound like ones that both of them chose. However, Crane wasn't perfect in her masquerade; her body language showed Edward that whatever was in her wrist was very important to the humans. So important that they had to keep it a secret from the contestants, which would imply that if the contestants, a.k.a. mutants, knew about the object, it would interfere with the plans set forth by the humans. Else, Crane would have responded to his compliments in a positive fashion. Plus, it wasn't like Edward was unattractive. If that was the case, she would have not held the handshake for such a long time. It was just a conjecture, but not without thought.

The elf returned a smile back at the human girl, "All right, let's get to know each other more later."

Crane gave a nod, not changing her expression of a slight smile. Walking towards a large gate, she gestured for Edward to follow.

"This way," she said.

Edward followed closely behind, his eyes were fixed on the girl's wrist while she had her back to him. Only when Crane turned around every now and then to check up on him, did he look away from the wrist to make eye contact with her. Once in front of the gate, the pink haired human touched her wrist on a scanner, making the red lights on it, green. With mechanical sounds, the door slid open.

"Beyond lies the room to make us look the best in front of potential sponsors." She pointed, suggesting that Edward go in first.

"Of course," Edward replied, "ladies first." He motioned politely for Crane to go in before him.

Crane smiled at the suggestion, "Thanks, but you should head in first. I don't want this door to close on you." She said.

"I see. Well then, please excuse me." Edward responded, as he walked pass Crane and into the metallic chambers that the humans called a "room". Once inside the doors, Edward stopped and turned his head enough to see Crane, out of the corner of his eyes, enter the room. Moments after the door shut with the inside sensor's light turning from green to red.

So that's one way to use it. Edward thought. The young elf pieced together an application for the object in the human's wrist. It was clear that the object could act as a key to open doors to facilities, but was it just a key or more like an identification for more applicable use? It has yet to be seen. From Crane's hesitancy to tell Edward about the wrist object, most likely meant that it was the latter, because the girl wanted to conceal the identity of the object, yet she showed no objection to Edward clearly watching her open the door with her wrist, even in knowing that he inquired about it. If his conjecture was correct, the wrist object would allow anyone who had it to impersonate the person that wore it, very useful indeed.

Upon observing the doors, Edward could see that the doors have two scanners, one on the outside and inside, and a sensor in between them. Each scanner turned green when permission was granted for the doors to open, while being red when locked. Furthermore, the sensor in the middle would detect if the person with the chip was inside or outside the door in order to determine whether it would transition from an open state to a close state. That's why Crane insisted on Edward to go through the doors first saying that the door would close on him if she went in first.

Quite the information gathered from such small actions. But how much of the information given was intentional? Edward wondered.

Breaking from his thought, Edward looked over to Crane, waiting for her to direct him on what was next. Seeing his expressions, the aspiring actress walked next to him showing a kind smile.

"This is the room where we will get cleaned. A machine will shower you and bathe you in the perfume that you desire. Please be sure to put your clothes and belonging in the basket provided for you, before you enter in."

Edward looked over at Crane. She still maintained her smile, keeping him distant from her, while providing the necessary information to keep him going. This won't do. he thought. For Edward to get information out of the human, she needed to be much closer to him emotionally. Usually, his natural beauty would have captivated anyone who didn't have a motive behind their actions. Clearly, Crane was disciplined, but how much so?

Slowly Edward began to unbutton his overcoat. The elf allowed it to slide down to his feet. He then took off the band which kept his long blonde hair flow freely down his back. He took of his shirt with one motion, causing his hair to flow downwards. Edward flipped his hair backwards so that the golden locks of hair could slide down his bare back. The elf bent over and began to take off his shoes when, the human watching him, interrupted.

"B-but please, do so after I leave the room."

Edward stopped. Slowly, he stood up to look at Crane, locking his blue eyes with her crimson red ones. The elf kept a neutral face, as if he was expecting what he was doing to be the norm.

"Oh, weren't you going to shower with me?" he said nonchalantly. "I remember you saying 'we' were going to get cleaned."

Crane's eyes shook, as her face's color changed to match her bright red eyes. She took a step back as she tried to diffuse the situation. However, the image that Edward painted was too much for her to bare.

"I- I would never bathe with a mutant!" She yelled, as she rushed to a door located perpendicular to the one they came in from. With her wrist, Crane unlocked the door and dashed passed it. "Please let me know when you are inside the shower room." Said her voice over a speaker on the ceiling.

So she finally shows her true colors. Edward thought smirking. Now he was getting somewhere. The elf took off the rest of his clothes, and folded them neatly inside the basket Crane instructed him to put them in. Afterwards, he stepped into the room that Crane indicated.

"I'm inside." Edward yelled.

Shortly after his remark, the doors slammed shut. The walls began to collapse on him until Edward was crammed in the machinery. Hot water came out from all sides. The pressure felt like daggers piercing his skin. He couldn't help but let out a grunt at the shock of heat and force.

"Excuse me, can't you make the water less painful?" Edward yelled.

"This is to clean you as thorough as possible!" A voice yelled back. Clearly, Crane was irritated. She must have put the washing settings on the highest possible to punish Edward for the comments he made before.

The water ran for a minute, but the pressure and temperature seemed to decrease as time went by. The walls also loosened up, giving Edward some wiggle room. Mechanical hands came out of the walls, lathering Edward with soap that smelled like roses. He didn't give Crane a preference on the aroma, but she must have thought this scent suited him best. Perhaps she didn't hate him, as much as she made it out to be. After another minute of gentle water rinse, the door to the other side opened.

Stepping through the door, Edward was greeted with a rush of air that evaporated all the drops of water from his body. Then a machine latched on to his head, quickly blow drying his long hair. A set of underwear and a towel was given to him. The elf put on the underwear and wrapped the towel around his waist.

A moment later, another door in front him opened. Crane waited for him with folded clothes in her arms. Not making eye contact with Edward, she shoved the red and orange clothes at his face. The scent of the human was rosy, just like his scent, except sweeter. Going to the basket full of his belonging, Edward picked up his hair bad and began tying his hair back to a pony tail.

"If you don't mind, could I get my old clothes cleaned? I would like to wear that to our orientation."

Crane looked over at Edward frustrated, "But this suit will match my dress!"

Finished tying up his hair, Edward looked over giving Crane a smile, "I think we will look good together no matter what, plus I value my clothes very much."

Crane's eyes lit up for a second, before it went back to normal, she set the clothes down on a bench and got out a Holo Tab from her pocket. The small device expanded to her hand. "Oh? Would you mind telling me why you value those clothes so much?" She said getting closer to Edward.

The elf kept a neutral face, but his eyes were fixed to the device that the human pulled out. She seemed to want to record what he was saying. Even with all the flirting Edward thew at her, Crane seemed to still stay loyal to her job. However, it seemed that he had made progress, as Crane was wearing similar perfume that she gave him and wanted to match the clothes together. A manager didn't have to go that far for their mutant, but she wanted them to be uniform. Whatever reason she wanted to record his conversation, Edward wasn't going to give her a true answer.

"It was my father's. He gave me the outfit, as he died in my arms."

"Death you say? How did he die?"

"It pains me to talk about it, but he was hunted by others who were jealous of his wealth."

"Did bounty hunters kill him?"

"Yes, my father died a horrible death, and after that moment, I vowed that no unjust deed will go unpunished."

"I see." Crane said, pressing a button on the Holo tab. "With that story, we can make you out to be a mutant that's out seeking justice. We can clean your clothes up and that would stick you out of the crowd."

"Thanks for understanding." Edward replied, trying his best to act relieved. He didn't mind having that narrative around him, as the elf was seeking justice throughout the world: by killing those who were tainted. However, he had no backstory to his clothes, other than that it was made out of elven materials, so it felt more comfortable to him. Plus, he liked the color scheme: white and blue.

Crane left Edward in the room. Within minutes, she returned with his original clothes, free from dirt, blood, and any stains. For the first time, Edward's eyes glittered, as he received fresh new clothes that he loved. Piece by piece, Edward put his clothes on, finishing with his over coat.

"You don't look too bad, for a mutant." Crane remarked.

"Thanks for the compliment." Edward said smiling, his teeth clenched together.

"Well, let's make our way over to the lounge." She said. They walked through a series of doors until Crane dropped him off on the lounge. "Good luck!" Crane said, running off to a door accessed by her Wrist Chip. Edward looked on wards. It seemed the area around here were full of normal doors, like on earth. He thought that Crane was going to be with him during the orientation. Seems like he wasn't the only one who hid the truth.

Edward looked around, there were contestants gathered around already. He could spot a beautiful snow leopard amongst the crowd. Perhaps a creature worthy of the creator's world. He thought. The elf would keep an eye on him through out the duration of the Game. Looking farther out, he could see a door to the outside that was opened wide. He could make out an elegant figure, in a short white dress and maroon shorts. The elf made his way over to get a closer look.

When he made it outside, Edward could see the flaws in the mutant. The scars and black stone that ran across her body became visible. A consequence of the sins of the humans. Poor thing, I shall put it out of its misery as soon as possible. He thought, silently retreating back to the lobby. It was such a shame that creatures such as the one he saw became muddied with the darkness that the humans have produced in the environment. Once again, the tainted creature confirmed to Edward that his mission was the right one.


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Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
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Bandit Sephilan
Username: forever2b Speech Color | FC: Ayer from Granblue Fantasy Thought Color
Location: The Father
Image As soon as Bandit and Trix got off the ship, they were escorted to the row of human managers that were waiting for their mutants. Trix’s manager came to get her, and Bandit waved to the racoon girl promising to see each other after they have their meeting with their humans. She went off through the doors with scanners on the side.

Not long after, a human girl with short purple hair and green eyes stepped in front of the arctic fox. A long strand of her hair fell between her eyebrows all the way down to her left chin. She was wearing a collar around her neck and her shirt was plain white, tucked loosely in her black dress. Instead of a tie, the manager had a long, thin blue ribbon wrapped in a standard knot.

Bandit stared from her head all the way up to her eyes. Instinctively, his tail stood up and he began to back away. The girl looked at him with unyielding green eyes.

“Mutie, come. I am your manager.” She spoke. Her voice had power behind it: straightforward and commanding. The young thief did not like her one bit. To him, she had the eyes of a murder, a cold emotionless being.

“No thanks,” He said, turning around three-sixty degrees to begin walking towards the shuttle.
Before he could go far, the girl grabbed the arctic fox by his back collar and dragged him towards the door.

“Hey! Let go of me! I don’t want you as my manger!” Bandit yelled, as he squirmed to break free from the human’s grasp.

“This is not an option for you, my little mutant fighter. I have a lot of money riding on you.” She said waving her hand in front of the door scanner. After a moment, the door slid open. Bandit tried his hardest to not go inside, but the girl had strength. She threw him into the room, walking after him. The door clicked closed behind them.

Bandit tumbled to the floor, trying to recover quickly. Perhaps his father was right, only stupid people would enter this Game.

“I don’t want to play the Game. I quit!” He spoke.

The purple haired girl looked at Bandit with one eyebrow up. A crooked smile came across her face.
Brushing her hair to the side, which fell back to its position, she spoke “Like I said, you don’t have a choice.” She got out her Holo pod, scrolling for a while to find a video. She showed Bandit.

It was surveillance footage of him pick pocketing the rich mutant on earth and putting the golden watch on to another person before boarding the shuttle. Bandit’s eyes fell to the floor. He was caught red handed.

“You see, I have this footage of you doing some bad things. Currently, the authorities don’t have access to this clip, so they think the person who did the stealing was the person you choose to give the stolen goods to. But I wonder what the authorities will think if I were to hand over this footage to them? Perhaps they would go for your family and that dear sister of yours.” She said putting her hands on her lips acting like she did not have a clue.

Bandit clenched his fist. Grinding his teeth, he began to growl at the girl. She had him my the tip of her hands. He came here to protect his family, not put them in danger. Although the arctic fox did not like to be constrained, he needed to comply with the scary lady for the sake of all those he held dear to him. Plus, if he won, that would mean that he would have all the money his family could ever need, which will mean that Bandit won't have to steal anymore.

"Fine... have it your way." Bandit said sighing. He didn't really believe that no one had seen him, nor that the video was only on the girl's Holo tab, but quitting on the potential to be rich just because of her would seem childish, even for him.

The purple haired girl, let out a smile. "I knew you would see it my way." She chimed, "Let's start over. My name is Sahara."

"Bandit." Bandit replied.

"Okay Bandit, you are going to be the first contestant to ever win the Game of Pursuit. I'm going to make so much money off of you, it's going to be so much fun! First, take off all your clothes and step into the room over there." The room that Sahara pointed to was dark and empty.

"Fine." Bandit said as he began undressing. Sahara stood there watching him. When the arctic fox was about to take off his pants, he paused and stared at Sahara. She stared back with a blank look on her face.

"Uh, could I get a bit of privacy in here?" He said.

Sahara stare at Bandit as if he was a little toddler. "I need to make sure that you are not going to run off somewhere."

Bandit looked around the room. There wasn't any place that he could really run off to, as all the exits were sealed. The only way forward was to enter the shower room. He looked at her in disbelief.

"There's no where to run off to..." He trailed off.

Losing patience, Sahara gave an eye roll as she walked over to Bandit and started taking the rest of his clothes off for him.

"H-hey, what's the big idea here?"

"Oh please, you are way too young for me to date" the manager responded, "I just need you to hurry up so that we can make it over to the orientation in time."

Fully naked, Bandit covered his private area with both hands. Sahara took all of Bandit's clothes and bandages as if they were toxic, and she stuffed them in a plastic bag.

"C-careful with those!" He exclaimed, being careful not to move around too much.

"Oh, you won't be needing these. I'm going to throw them away and get you better clothes."


"No more talking for you." She said kicking Bandit into the next room. The door sealed shut as Bandit drowned in spray of hot water.

"Hot!" he exclaimed.

After minutes of being cooked, bandit was sprayed with some sort of cologne, a manly blue smell. It was too mature for Bandit. Then the system threw him out the other side, giving Bandit an underwear and towel, which Bandit hurriedly put on. Another ten minutes passed before Sahara kicked the sliding door open, even though it would have opened by itself (only slower). She held up a suit on a coat hanger to Bandit's chest. He froze there waiting for Sahara to finish her measurements.

"A bit wide on the shoulders, but nothing very noticeable," she said, as she handed over the suit to Bandit. He stared at it in disgust.

The arctic fox never wore this kind of fancy outfit before, it would never be his style as it would restrict his movements, so he stood there looking at the outfit of black and red. Losing patience, Sahara let out a sigh and went over to Bandit.

"Do I have to do everything for this mutie?" She grumbled out loud, as she stripped off Bandit's towel and began clothing him.

"W-woah, hey!" Bandit exclaimed as his manager dressed him up. She pulled his pants up, zipped some zippers, buttoned up his white shirt and put on the suit, and finally put on the red bow tie. Black, white, and red were the colors. Once the outfit was put together, Sahara took a step back to look. She nodded her head and smiled.

"Now you look presentable." She said. "Now what to do with your hair..."

The human girl closed in to Bandit's face. He could smell the stench of cigarettes masked by perfume, which caused him to reel back. Sahara pulled his head back in and said "Hold still."

She took out a can of hair spray, and began to apply a generous dose to the arctic fox's hair. She then took some gel, slabbed it on and combed the long brown hair back and out of his face.

"There," She said once done with her styling. "I can't do much about the scars on your face, but a bit of makeup should be able to hide most of it."

"Makeup? Only girls wear make up." Bandit said cringing at the thought.

"Oh you naive mutie. Just stand still and let your manager make you look good." She said squirting some foundation onto her hands. She rubbed on different chemicals that smelled fine by itself, but to Bandit's nose, it was too strong. Plus Sahara really needed to stop smoking. Bandit thought. Once done, his skin seemed nearly flawless, but the scars on his cheek was slightly visible.

"Done! This look should attract some sponsors!"

"Cool. So can I get out of here now?"

"One more thing," Sahara got out her Holo tab "we need to make a story for you?"


"That's right. Something that can sell you to the other investors."

"Well, can't you just tell them the truth. Like that I am fighting for the money in order to give my family a better life?"

"Boring!" Sahara sang, "If you want to go the tear-jerker route, you have to make it more extreme, like that you need the money for an operation of your mother. If she doesn't get it, then she dies... with your sister inside!"

"But, my mother doesn't need any operations. She's pretty healt-"

"It's decided. You need the money to save your family from a disastrous disease. If you don't get the money for the operation, your family will die and the baby inside will die too! That will get those grubby old men and some women to give you their money."

Bandit had his mouth open wide in disbelief. Were all humans like this? He wondered. Thinking back to his past, he did remember that humans came to hunt down his blood family. It was a scary moment for Bandit. He could never forget the loud sounds that brought down bullets of death, seemingly out of nowhere. Lucky for him, he was able to survive and have a group of people that he called family, but humans were pretty cruel creatures.

"Okay. So where do I go next?" Bandit said. There was no point in arguing with Sahara. She did whatever she wanted, so it was faster if he complied. As long as he can win the game, he would endure through more, for the safety and well being of his new family.

Sahara smiled, pointing to the door. "To the lounge" She said, walking him out of the dry room. Once in the lounge, Bandit could see many mutants gathered. Some were standing in the corner, others were mingling amongst each other.

"Good luck on the orientation, my mutie!" Sahara exclaimed as she headed to the door where no mutant could enter. She waved her hand and the door opened. Turning back once more to Bandit, she gave a wink and then the door closed.

"Well, what now?" the Arctic fox said to himself.

Bandit felt a soft tap at the back of his shoulder. Thinking that is was Sahara again, Bandit jumped up and turned around with a tiny squeal. He was relieved to see that it was Trix. She had on a pure white dress with white hairpiece to match it.

"Um, are you okay Bandit?" She inquired.

Relaxing a bit more he responded, "Oh, it's you Trix! Am I glad to see you."

"Was the human a bit rough with you through the cleaning?"

"Rough? That doesn't describe how badly she treated me." Bandit said telling her the story of how Sahara undressed him and kicked him into the shower, then forcefully dressed him again.

"Oh my... all my human did was tell me to undress and go into the showers. He did tug at my hair a bit strongly though."

"I'm at least glad that you didn't get to experience what I did. By the way, where is Dirk?"

As if on que, the gray racoon popped up its head over Trix's dress.

"Mew." It cried. Its fur seemed to be puffed up from the showers and drying.

"My manager was okay with Dirk being here. He said something about making a good story."

"Yeah, my manager told me about it too. They want us to grab as many sponsors as possible or something like that. Lucky for you Dirk, you don't have to do any of that." Bandit grinned at the beady eyed racoon.

"Mew. Mew, mew! Hiss." It cried and suddenly the racoon crawled out of Trix's dress and dashed into the crowd.

"Ow, Dirk! Dirk?" Trix cried out as she began to chase after her companion.

Seeing the trouble at hand, Bandit dashed as best he could, making sure not to tear the suit, in fear of punishment from Sahara. He was just fast enough to see the animal crawl outside. Someone had left the door open.

"Over here!" Bandit motioned to Trix who was catching up to him, "He went outside!"

"Thanks Bandit!" Trix yelled dashing outside in her dress. Bandit was about to follow her, when his eyes caught a tall blonde creature in ponytails. It seemed to have determined something just before. His blue eyes were looking far outside. Cool. He thought, but now was not the time to admire someone, he needed to help Trix. Shaking his head, Bandit dashed outside looking for Dirk.

"Dirk? Dirk?" Bandit yelled. Neither Dirk, nor Trix could be found. He scanned the grassy fields, there seemed to be no one there, but a girl with white hair and ears. She sat down on the grass with her maroon shorts and white dress. More importantly, she had a shiny jewel on her head.

The Arctic fox's tail began to wave in excitement, as he made his way over to the tall wolf. Immediately he began to sniff her tail and worked his way up to her hair. That was how creatures like himself, and wolves identified each other. Lemony. He thought. He climbed on top of her head, placing one hand on her ear to peer over her from the top.

"You smell like lemons!" He exclaimed, the other hand quickly and gently, yoinked the shiny jewel on top of her bow. He pocketed it. "Name's Bandit. What's yours?" He inquired with a grin.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Jax Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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Location: Father

"I'm starting to feel nervous now...It's one thing to see the parties on the Holo-vision...But now that I look at myself and know that I am about go into a room full of humans, cameras and fellow mutants to basically present myself...Well it may not be hammering at scrap or tinkering with unstable machinery...But this is own type of difficult huh?...Well hopefully Mom and Dad can recognize me from this um...Makeover...Actually...Now that I think on it I look so different I think people would freak out when my face flashes on screen and see this face instead. Or better yet I hope some get a good laugh from this. I mean look at me, good old oil soaked Leo looking like a piece of art...Well...That makes my mood better, I can handle a little party. I mean if I can handle our colony's parties I can handle this party." He thought to himself as he softly smiled at the mirror.

"Alright Leo, it's time to make yourself seen. Come with me, it's time for the celebrations." Qiqi motioned for him to follow as he did so. While they walked through the pristine hallways once more his manager spoke up. "Listen Leo, this is going to be vital if you actually want to last in the death game. You look perfect thanks to my hands but I am going to need you to be on your best behavior...But judging how you have not insulted my products, argued or made any distasteful comment I can say I won't have to worry too much about an attitude problem. But keep your manners about you and sell yourself as a contestant who deserves a sponsor. I rather not have you dying on me, you need me and I need you after all. You obviously have some stake in this if you volunteer for this." Qiqi stated as Leo nodded.

"I see...Thanks for helping me out Miss Qiqi, we may have met each other for a bit but I will take your advice to heart. After all if we are going to work together and you're going to be helping me stay alive then you have my thanks. So I trust you...Not to be weird or anything of course..." He gave a nervous smile as Qiqi nodded.

"A good relationship is built on trust. You put your trust in me and you will be getting out of this alive. But I appreciate your thanks, and please don't get your suit dirty. I spent a while making you look presentable, so try to keep it dry and free of food particles." Qiqi added as Leo nodded in response. Soon enough they would arrive at the lounge with fellow humans and mutants gathered dressed in their best. And of course Leo felt that whole 'butterflies in the gut' feeling when you get a bit nervous.

"Play it well Leo, and remember what I said...As for your cybernetic arm even I can't make it look normal...But don't try to hide it I took that into account along your other eye so you should look great. Now enjoy yourself." Qiqi whispered to him as Leo gave a small gulp. "You got this Leo...It's a bit more fancy than you're used to but you can do this. At least I don't eat with my hands so I won't embarrass myself like that. But let's see the others gathered." He thought to himself as he gazed around the room. Food, drinks and the most important thing was his fellow competitors. A blonde haired young man who seemed to ooze confidence, a young brown haired teen who was on the shorter side of things...The fluffy looking teenage wolf girl. Despite visible signs of Ori and also looking like she had been through some fights in her life...And the fluffy looking...Tall young man!

Man those two fluffy looking people...He has heard of things that look fluffy but those ears! Those tails, especially the wolf girl's tail, looked like a perfect petting thing. But he should not just walk up and try to pet the tails and ears...He was smarter and not a creep after all. So to start things off...He simply walked over to a table with drinks and took a glass for himself. Smelled like...Wine? It's been a while since he had such a thing. But he did know you could use wine in cooking...If only he could get more wine one day to cook with more ingredients. But for now he should enjoy the food and drink like Qiqi suggested. Plenty of time to meet his fellows after all, of course that's if they actually would care for anyone speaking to them after all...


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Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Jax Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan Character Portrait: Ciara Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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Sighing audibly, Ciara attempted a turn in her deeply constricting gown. Increments of black frilly fabric made up the draped collar, wrist ribbons and ends of her dress while a pattern of light and dark reds formed the base of the dress. A small dark bow was tied on the top of her head while similarly black ribbons were tied around the waist and stomach area. It was loud and deeply old-fashioned design and the worst part was her perpetrator was not finished with their preparations.

"Ciaaaara..!~" A voice cut through her efforts to lament, prompting the red-head to seek out a place to hide. Hearing scurrying and the pip-paps of barefeet, the manager would be greeted with silence, a fittingly white-noise quiet that made the paled-walled guest room that they were changing Ciara in seem truly empty. "Ciara! Come out! Don't make me count.." Only needing to saunter a few steps, the manager squatted down to look under one of the tables to find Ciara crouching under, closing her eyes shut and propping her hands atop her head.

Despite feeling Celty's breath, it seemed that Ciara believed the age-old notion that if she couldn't see her seeker then her seeker subsequently was unable to see her. A myth soon popped as Celty spoke to her face to face. "Don't be difficult."

Finally heeding her words, Ciara crawled from under the table and made her way to the middle of the room. Wearing a slight pout, her eyes formed a fitting glare as Celty reached for the add-ons they had placed onto the bed and begun to dress her with them. Her own fed-'upness readily apparent from her silent expression alone. Noticing this, Celty's face formed a similar stern scowl before speaking out with a huff of annoyance.

"Don't be such a wuss. My sense of style can't be that bad." As soon as the manager spoke those words, Ciara's eyes narrowed at Celty's transparent bubble-wrap top. Her autumn orbs fixated on the outlandish article of clothing before the slime girl wrenched her gaze back at Celty and cracked a smug smile.

"F*CK YOU DUDE!" With an expression that shifted from a studied calm to an almost primal fury, Celty let loose a growl at their mutant, tying the 7th ribbon around the girl's waist with an unkempt ferocity. Taking a few steps back, they looked at Ciara head-to-toe before nodding.

"You don't look half bad, all thanks to me, of course.." They placed a hand over their chin. Studying Ciara's simple expressions in an effort to derive a reaction, only to sigh once it was made clear that the slime girl was indifferent, as she was to everything. "Now, shoes. I don't wanna hear no moans. Put these on." Celty pulled out a pair of ruby heels, a shade of red that wasn't close to even matching the color of her dress.

Following her direct order, Ciara strolled over and slipped her feet inside. Her first few steps were horrendous, becoming close to tripping on her face after every pace. However, the slime-girl found her footing and was able to walk in her new shoes while only looking a little awkward.

"Now, I'll set you off. Again, to reiterate..don't eat like a slob and talk with people more. Ohoho." Smiling to themselves, Celty lightly shoved the balancing girl, seemingly enjoying watching her stumble in an attempt to regain her footing. Finally gaining her fill of watching her competitor trip about, they offered a hand to escort. Ciara clenching desperately onto their arm as they escorted her out and to the ballroom that their party was being held.

Celty deposited her at the door before waving her off. "Hehe..oh yeah, when meeting someone, ask them what their ideal spouse is!" Meaning their parting words as a joke, Ciara would undoubtedly mistake it as an order.

As she stumbled her way through the party room doors, her eyes instinctively zeroed in on any feast that accompanied the party, only to find the banquet was all the way on the other side of the room. Cursing her heeled feet, her curious gaze turned to study who had already arrived in the main lobby.

While her eyes could register the stimulus, her inability to read their emotions from a glance only made the gathered groups of people all the more confusing. It would be best for her to greet how she always has. Starting with the damper, sharp-eared gentleman in the lobby who was similarly studying the convened masses with a hostile expression.

At first, she only wanted a touch, leaning over and reaching to pat his back, only to trip on her heel and to stumble into him. Her attempts to grab at any handhold resulted in her wrapping her arms around the man's chest in an accidental caress, however she was in no hurry to remedy her mistake by pulling away. In fact, this was the best case scenario if she were able to dismiss conventional societal norms.

"Sorry." Her head angled up to meet his reactive over the shoulder gaze, Ciara seemingly uninterested in breaking off her hands as she continued to hold onto him with the upmost nonchalance.

From her deep touch, she could feel his emotions. Gathering notes of disgust and anger that seemingly festered inside of him like a perpetual flame. Her curiosity beckoned her to learn more, but her lack of passable etiquette made it difficult to naturally do so.

However..that did not deter her from trying.

"What is your ideal..spouse?" An outlandish question coupled with a butchered deadpan delivery, Ciara was setting the stage for a rather unforgettable first meeting.


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Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
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xxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F

"How about a truce?" Aries was standing behind her, why hadn't he left yet? He placed something in the grass, a plate with two cookies on it. Scout hugged her knees, staring out the large window. The artificial light above her was warm. "Not even a thank you?" Scout looked down at the cookies, considering it. Was it a trap? She wasn't sure, "Thanks." Scout took a bite, "I have to go soon, but look, I need some information." Aries sat down in the grass, not seeming to mind the dirt.

"So why did you enter the Game of Pursuit?" He picked up one of the cookies, taking a bite. That was enough for Scout to deem it safe. Scout lifted the cookie to her lips and nibbled on the edge, exotic flavors dancing on her tongue. It was soft and flaky, rich and chewy. "What is this?" Scout asked, her mouth full. Aries rolled his eyes, "Chocolate chip cookie," he finished his without a crumb falling.

Scout stuffed the rest of the cookie in her mouth, chewing slowly. "I entered the games," she spoke slowly, "Because I want to die on my terms." Scout gestured to her legs, "if I'm going to die anyway, I want it to be my way." Aries glanced at her legs, at the black stone-like lumps jutting out of her pale skin.

"The ori, right?" Scout nodded wordlessly. "Well, I can work with that." Aries rose slowly, "just don't curse the humans out tonight and I should be able to sell you." Scout frowned, "I'm not for sale." Aries laughed, "Please, you signed up for auction the moment you entered you threw your hat in the ring." He strode away, hands in his pockets.

Scout brushed crumbs off of her mouth and dress, hugging her knees once more. A voice in the sky announced that orientation would commence in thirty minutes. Scout would sit here then. Her tail swished in what seemed to be a happy manor as she ran her fingers through the grass. Scout lived in the Wasteland and the Tundra before that. She had never seen grass before, but had heard stories. Before the First Impact, it had grown in great fields. Anyone had been able to stroll through it, any human could own it.

Scout was still running her fingers through the grass when a sniff tipped her off to someone's presence. Her first reaction was to stiffen, the smell of something strange assaulting her nose. What scent had the manager chosen for this mutant? The warmth of a nearby person, standing over her. Why was a mutant smelling her? Why was a mutant so close to her?

"What do you think you're doing?" Scout asked, her fingers balling up in the grass. Scout's first instinct was to take the glass plate the cookies had been on and hit the mutant over the head with it; but she didn't, she waited, uncertain of his intentions.

"You smell lemony!" The stranger exclaimed, suddenly touching her hair, right behind her ears. There were very, very few people on New Earth that could touch her like that without permission and get away with it. Scout's reaction was immediate, she grabbed the assaulting wrist and flipped the perpetrator over her shoulder. Since Scout was sitting, the distance wasn't too far, probably just enough to warrant an oof.

Scout remained in the grass, but she was primed to fight if the need should arise.

"Don't touch me!" The wolfish girl snapped, realizing that something was off as soon as her head moved, the hairpin was wobbling. Scout reached up into her hair to readjust what Selena had so carefully put there, her lips pulling down into a sneer. The gem on the hairpin had suddenly gone missing. This was no coincidence, she realized. "Give it back," Scout demanded. It wasn't that Scout particularly liked the flashy gem in the first place, it was that something that Scout had deemed as her own had been taken from her. "That was mine, you had no right to take it." Her voice was a low growl, a threat.

It vaguely registered in her mind that he had asked for her name before Scout had flipped him over. He called himself Bandit, Bandit... her mind trailed off, wondering if the name or the hobby came first. It was the chicken and the egg scenario all over again. Scout shook her head, shaking those thoughts away, focusing on the task at hand.

"Scout," she grumbled, rising to her full height. Scout took the plate with her, intending to get more of those cookies Aries had given her. "If you like those fingers, you'd better watch where you put them in the future."


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Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Jax Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #919191 | Thought: #D8BFD8

Jax listened to the story of the generator, his tail swishing with casual interest. So the reptile had made it then? That was what Jax had wanted to know. It seemed that the boy (man? Jax had yet to make up his mind) was quite handy, considering his tale of tinkering with a highly dangerous and explosive device. "That sounds quite precarious," Jax responded, realizing that the story had ended and he had yet to say anything. "I've treated quite a few burns," Jax had even amputated limbs, as it was sometimes necessary, although unfortunate. It was probably Jax's least favorite part of medicine.

You couldn't save everyone, it was a lesson he had learned early on. As much as you wanted to, as much as you tried, some would simply never recover. Some did not have the fortitude to bounce back.

This man (boy?) seemed to not only have the resiliance, but the skill set to match it. Jax would definitely file this information away, he could prove useful in the future. He introduced himself as Leo, a lizard mutant. Odd, Jax had never considered introducing himself with the species he was mixed with. He had always assumed it was snow leapord, since that was what he was told, but Jax had always wodnered if there was something else mixed in with his blood, since he did not know who donated the necessary parts to make him.

He had joined to help others? Jax couldn't help but laugh. "That is a strange reason to join a killing game." No, Jax decided, nevermind. This was too obscene, someone that signed up for a game of death to help others? There was no way he was going to last very long. Did he have any practical skills aside from being a mechanic? Could he make weapons? Any fighting ability?

Jax wanted an equal partnership, not a possible burden he would have to protect and eventually turn on. "You seem very kind Leo, but also a bit confused. This isn't a place you come to to help others," even Jax had his reasons for joining. He wanted to see his sisters again and the only way to guarantee that was to kill. Leo expressed surprise that a doctor would join these games. His skills would only serve as an advantage, should he need them later on.

Unless... Leo was lying and didn't want to reveal his motivation.

"I think you are mistaken, I may be a doctor, but I also know a great many ways to kill a man." It was not a threat, just a casual comment. "I'm sure you must understand, however, that everyone here has something they are after. You're a friendly guy so I will give you a word of advice, don't trust anyone here. They will not hesitate to turn on you if it will give them the upper hand."

Jax was getting hungry, he wanted to make sure that he could get something to eat before orientation started.


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Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan Character Portrait: Lamia Serose
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Username: forever2b Speech Color | FC: Ayer from Granblue Fantasy Thought Color
ImageHaving snatched the jewel from the wolf-lady, Bandit rolled down to the ground, getting back up on his two feet. He looked over his shoulder to observe is suit, which now was muddied and ripped. He let out a frown of disappointment. Sahara was going to kill him for this. He could imagine it now, her deadly green eyes looking down at him, forcing the poor fox to sow it back together in front of his eyes. Just the thought of it made him shudder. However, that situation didn't seem like the threat right now.

The wolf started growling at him for the robbery that he performed. Bandit let out a shrug, with both hands up in response to her asking for a jewel back. She couldn't have possibly known he took it.

"Give what back?" He said, "I just went to pet your head."

Then the girl stood up, having a good foot (0.3048 m) over him in size. She growled, clearly a threatening pose. However, Bandit wasn't afraid. He's faced so much worse out in the Arctic. Due to the sheer cold of the seasons, creatures there were much bigger and bulkier. The fox stood up to countless monsters greater than this wolf girl. He snatched their meals and treasures, right in front of their face and made it out without a scratch.

It seemed like she didn't really want the jewel back from him, as she picked up her empty plate of whatever was there, so Bandit didn't have to use any more dirty tactics than he did. He began to unbutton his suit which seemed to be ruined now. While he was doing so he responded to the girl's response of him giving his name.

He slung the suit over his back while responding, "Nice to meet you Scout. Hope I'll see you around in the Game. Not! He let out a casual grin.

"Well, now I gotta go patch up this suit, so bye!" With that he walked away from the girl. Wow, she was aggressive and angry. Definitely not my style.

The arctic fox began walking back into the lobby, until he realized that he came out here to find Dirk. Luckily, it seemed like the furry critter was already captured by Trix, who was also making her way back over to him. Bandit gave a wave, as he made his way over. When he got closer, he could see that Trix had her arms around the escapee, which had bunch of flowers gripped in its tiny paws.

"Trix! You found Dirk! Sorry I couldn't help, I was, uh, tied down at the moment."

Trix looked at Bandit with a smile, "I see, well I found this runaway picking flowers on a tree."

Bandit blinked, "What? Your racoon likes flowers?"

"Mew." It responded. Holding up the blue colored flower to Bandit.

"Apparently." Trix said frowning at the response. "We never got to see these types of flowers in the tundra. I guess Dirk got really excited."

"Well whatever floats its boat." Bandit said, not really understanding the beauty in flowers.

"So what were you doing while I caught Dirk?"

"Well, I was... introducing myself to a new person I found. She was tall had white ears, man was she scary though."

"Really? That was the important business?"

The three began to walk back inside the lounge where a sea of mutants formed. They squeezed their way off to a corner, so that the tiny trio wouldn't get squished. Along the way Bandit told Trix about his meeting with Scout, omitting the detail about how he stole her jewel.

"Yeah, she like, threw me over her shoulder and was very tall."

"I'm sure she didn't appreciate you jumping on her though."

"Well, I guess not." He responded with his hand over his head. Bandit was practically dragging his suit on the ground now.

"Mew. Mew." Dirk said.

"Hey, I thought you were on my side!"

"Mew, mew mew mew." It said pointing with its flower at a pink haired girl in the corner.

"Huh?" Bandit said.

"I think Dirk wants to interact with the girl in the corner. She seems lonely."

Bandit slouched his back, not wanting to have more interactions. Plus, the girl in the corner had scary hazel eyes. It reminded him of a predator.

Straightening back up he sad, "She might want to be alone. It'd be rude to interrupt what she was doing."

"But she might want some company."

"Or alone time. Let's let her be."

"Well, there's only one way to find out." Trix said walking over.

"Mew." Dirk said as it pushed off of Trix's arm to lead the way over to the girl hunched over in the corner.

"W-wait, Trix! Dirk! It might me dangerous..." Giving up he chased after them.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Kore Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan Character Portrait: Ciara Character Portrait: Lamia Serose Character Portrait: Quickshot Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333

The foyer began to illuminate, lights flashed from all sides, holo pods illuminating as fog filled the center of the room. "Ladies and gentlemen, mutants both big and small, please make your way to the foyer and put your hands together for this year's Overseers, Kore Mars and Yeqon Cryo!" They rose from a podium in the center, Kore's smile so wide, her cheeks hurt. It wasn't exaggerated, Kore was truly eager for this moment, having been waiting for it for so long. Kore stepped off of the podium first. She and Yeqon had done three run throughs of the orientation speech, not that he would say much to begin with, but hopefully he remembered his part.

Kore looked out at the crowd, at the fifty hopefuls whose faces were a mix of bemusement, entertainment, and fear. She swished her cape over her shoulder, Kore's form illuminated by the lights, the gold in her outfit sparkling as she took her place in center-stage. "Welcome everyone!" A hover mic floated near her, capturing her voice so that the speaker hidden throughout the area could make sure that everyone would hear. "I am sure you're all very eager to get to tonight's party, but first, we have a brief orientation with some important rules!"

"We're your hosts, Kore and-" she glanced at Yeqon, hoping that he was paying attention. "Let's get right into it," Kore clapped her hands together, the holograms suddenly changing to display the rules. "We have a few rules for the mutant living corridors. Our first and most important rule, is that you must wear your tag at all times. Those tags are your key to the world card and without them, you won't be able to enter the rooms or unlock your door." Kore's smile eased a bit, the tags were akin to wrist chips, only less permanent, since injecting a mutant with a small microchip wasn't exactly efficient. Not to mention the distrust mutants already had towards the humans.

"Our second rule is, please do not attempt to leave the living space. This is an area just for you all and if you are found wandering the ship, unescorted, you will be subject to discharge from the games." This was an important rule, for the safety of the humans. Not that the door would open from the inside anyway. "Our third rule! No violence in the hallways! Sparring is allowed in the gym, but murder is only allowed in the Game!"

Did they understand at all? Were the rules registering in their pea sized brains? Kore hoped so. "Those are the three most important rules! The rest can be found in your handbooks in your rooms. As for other important information, everything we talk about tonight will be in your handbooks." Kore clapped her hands together, glancing at Yeqon again to see what he was up to.

"Now, the Games will take you through four different environments. Before each game, your manager will brief you. You have one week until the first Game begins, during which you'll each have several interviews for the audience to get to know you! You'll want to nail these interviews, since the more sponsors you have, the more mini prizes you'll earn during the Games! This can be anything from a bowl of soup, to a jacket!" The screens illuminated to show clips from past years, of sponsored items being delivered to contestants.

"Your biggest interview will take place the evening before the Game begins. As for the space around you, you are free to use it to prepare! Eat to your heart's content, train until your arms fall off, and relax! Remember, the only way to back out is between Games, so make sure you know what you're doing! Now that, that's over with, let the party begin!" Balloons and colorful streamers suddenly rained from the ceiling. Music played from the speakers and the door opened to allow potential sponsors and managers in.

"What do you think Yeqon?" Kore turned to him, her smile sparkling. "See any potential winners?"


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Character Portrait: Scout
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xxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F

Scout's ears flattened against her head in annoyance. It was too loud, the lights too bright. She squinted, backing up into a wall as the humans emerged from the center of the room in a rather flashy display. Scout reached to rest her arm insinctively on her sword hilt, realizing it wasn't there. With a sigh, the wolf ground her teeth together in annoyance, recalling that she had to give it to some humans to take care of until this was over. Instead, Scout crossed her arms and stood stoically in the corner. When she had gotten to the dessert table, the cookies had all been gone.

No matter, Scout was used to going days without eating, she could handle not having another cookie. Kore paraded around the stage, Scout watching, rather entertained until the rules were listed off. No violence until the Games. Duly noted, her hand went up to touch the hairpin, her teeth grinding in annoyance. She still hadn't gotten that gem back; Scout had let him off easy because her desire her for food outweighed her desire to protect a plastic gemstone.

Balloons rained from the ceiling, Scout looked up, watching as they fell like a rainbow crashing towards the ground. A streamer landed on her nose, silver and sparkly. "Humans are so strange," Scout murmured, a figure appearing by her side. "There you are," Aries grinned. Scout's glanced down at him, her face not moving so as not to disturb the confetti. "You've got something on your face," he reached up to pick it off, allowing it to fall to the floor. The wolf watched it flutter away in dismay, her tail drooping slightly. "Come on, I want to introduce you to some people. Play nice, okay? These guys are big dogs."

"Fine," Scout followed him. Three man were standing in a circle, each wearing maroon velvet suits. Big dogs, Aries had said. That was strange, they looked oddly human. "Aries!" One of the humans clapped her manager on the back. Aries winced slightly, causing Scout's mouth to tug downwards. Why did he let that human touch him like that? "Is this the mute?" Scout let out a low growl. Aries held a hand up, "Yes, this is Scout. Scout, these are the owners of Valve Corp, they're a large metal parts maker on Brother." Scout looked them up and down. Was she expected to say something? Aries glanced at her.

"Hello," Scout spoke at last. "Praise the Lord it speaks!" All three of them laughed. Scout frowned once more, her tail now stiff, apprehensive. "We like your style little mutant, well, I guess I can't say little," they all chuckled once again. Aries smiled, "I assume you saw the video?" He asked, his expression cold, calculating. "Yes, quite impressive, beating a man twice your size with just your fists. What brought it on?" They were drinking alcohol, the smell of it assaulting Scout's nose. "He insulted me," they laughed again, as though she had said something funny.

Scout wanted to vomit, the smell too strong. "Don't worry, we have no intention of doing that. As long as we can put our brand on your jacket, I think we'll get along just fine." A hand reached out, slapping Scout on the back. "Ah-" Aries grabbed her as Scout snapped, a growl emitting from her lips, which were parted into a snarl. Her tail stood up on end, her fur sticking up, ears alert and forward."I think Scout needs something to drink, something's stuck in her throat." Scout pushed against him, Aries struggling to extract her from the circle of drunkards and towards a table with drinks. "Get your hands off of me!" At last Aries released her, putting himself between her and the table so she wouldn't flip it. Scout paced, her fists clenching and unclenching, she wanted to punch something.

"Calm down, they're drunk. They don't mean any harm." He reached around, picking up a strong smeling fruity concoction. "Here, drink this. Settle your nerves. Don't worry, there's no alcohol in it." Scout sniffed it cautiously, but there was no tell-tale sting in her nostrils.

"Fine," she took a sip, Aries guiding her to a quiet corner of the room. "I'm going to close the deal, wait here. Okay? Try not to bite anyone's head off while I'm gone." Scout nodded, taking another sip. It was... sparkly, that was the only way Scout could describe the taste. She had no other way to explain the fruit sensation that coated her tongue. "I hate humans."


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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Quickshot
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xxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F

Sit, stay, play nice, don't bite people. Scout felt like a dog and less like a mutant. The wolf stood in the corner, swishing the drink in her hand around as she waited for Aries to return. Scout was growing bored, the music was too loud and it was making her ears hurt. Her tail drooped in annoyance, they had one week to prepare, but she had a feeling that it would mostly be spent being pulled out of training for interviews. Did Scout really need sponsors? No, Scout was confident she could make it through these games on her own.

Some of the competitors looked serious, while others seemed too soft to be here. Scout placed her drink down and cracked her knuckles, this would be a good time to do some spying. Gather information on other competitors and scope out the competition, since she had been too busy sulking before to do that. First, however, another cookie was in order.

Scout spotted a table full of them and made a bee line, picking up three and hiding behind a group of human women, dressed like a flock of flamingos and cooing about some mutant they had just met. Between their heels and funny hats, Scout blended in perfectly. "Oh, excuse me." One of them noticed her standing there, Scout stiffened, her tail upright. It seemed as though her hiding place was not as good as she had originally thought. "Sorry," Scout mumbled, shifting awkwardly. Conversation wasn't exactly Scout's forte.

"What an ugly thing you are," their ringleader spoke and her gaggle of women laughed. Their various feathered hats shook with amuesement. "With a face like that, I don't think you're one to talk." Scout replied, shoving an entire cookie into her mouth. The woman's eyes widened in shock and confusion. No doubt this was the first time she had ever had to question her own image. Scout smiled to herself, "Wow, now that I look at all of you, you're all really unattractive." Her grin grew into a smirk, her tail swishing back and forth. They were like chickens standing underneath a hungry wolf, cowering together.

"If you'll excuse me, I have to go be ugly somewhere else." Scout smiled as she walked away, the colorful lights making her wince. They reminded her of Enforcers and cops, the red and blue sirens that would chase her and Mercy across the desert of the Wastes.

Scout caught a glance at her reflection in one of the glass walls. The scar on her face had been highlighted with makeup, her eyes smattered with glitter and her lipstick non-existent since hse had licked it off. Scout felt awkward in a dress, as though it was not made for her. At the very least, her ori was covered by the tall boots Selena had picked out. The feathers in her hairclip were like something of a joke; Scout was no angel. "What are you doing here Scout?" She whispered to herself, sticking out like a sore thumb. What would Mercy say if he could see Scout now?

"You can do this," her hands balled into fists. If Selena hadn't cut her nails and painted them a girly shade of pink, no doubt they would be stabbing into her palms about now. Scout whirled around, determined. She stuffed another cookie into her mouth, removing the final traces of lipstick and headed back into the crowd. The first thing her eyes laid on were what looked like a kid, being pulled on by her white haired manager.

She was short, with blue hair and eyes. She was a mutant, there was no doubt about that, she reminded Scout somewhat of a frog. "So small," Scout murmured. Should the wolf approach her? Would she scare her? She was a competitor too, but it didn't seem as though her manager was interested in gathering sponsors.

"Hey," Scout tried to be casual, she was feeling less angry now that she had eaten. "Why is a kid here?"


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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout
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In the Company of Wolves


Note: This post was written collaboratively and then reformatted with approval from both parties.

Towering a full foot above Ljilja was a lupine competitor adorned in white, whose elegant attire belied her violent nature. Animalistic, black-tipped ears stood alert upon her head, their fur blending seamlessly with bushy silver hair. Her once claw-like nails were filed down to smooth tips, and her rough-soled feet were forced into heeled boots, but her confident stance and posture displayed that she knew well the disparity of strength between herself and the miniscule girl before her.

She called out to Ljilja over the din of the music. “Hey. Why is a kid here?"

The young girl froze in place, looking up to her accuser. She sniffled, her bright blue eyes made red and puffy by the exchange she had with her manager minutes prior. She lacked the willpower to bluster in reply—grandstanding was for the more vicious competitors—neither did she possess the stature to support a proper retort.

“I…um…s-same as you…my number got picked,” she stammered, averting her eyes and folding her hands near the hem of her dress.

It was a fair question. Most of the other competitors were larger, older, stronger; even those smaller than her wore viciousness like a familiar garment to ward against those who would look down on them or see them as easy prey. However, none of them seemed as peculiarly vulnerable as Ljilja. She was an anomaly among mutants, without a doubt the ostensibly weakest competitor. Was that why she had tried to leave; why her manager was not courting sponsors like the others; why she now stood alone?

Ljilja stood meekly, instinctively bunching her shoulders inward to appear even smaller under the scrutiny of her foe, who leaned forward and narrowed her eyes to examine her more closely. “I thought there was an age minimum,” she remarked.

Ljilja sniffled again, unable to muster a proper reply. Her gaze went to her little blue flats as her head and heart sunk. This is it, she thought, I'm finished...

Not receiving an answer, the mercenary continued. “What’s your name, kid?”

Gripping fistfuls of her skirt for strength, she timidly answered, “Ljilja,” following up with a polite “May I ask yours?”

The tall mercenary swished her fluffy tail to and fro in thought, standing up straight and putting her hands on her hips. After a pause that felt like an eternity, she replied, “Scout.”

“That’s a cool name.”

The music in the background changed, and the tone of the conversation with it. People rarely issued compliments to Scout, and when they did, it was usually in spite or fearful admiration. What’s more, it was an outlier’s opinion—most regarded her name as ‘silly’ or ‘stupid,’ not so much a name as it was a word.

“Nice to meet you,” Ljilja added with a nervous curtsy.

It would have been easy to end the conversation on a whim and walk away, but a strange curiosity in Scout’s chest anchored her to Ljilja, who seemed utterly defenseless. It was not, after all, out of fear or respect that Scout approached her. But what, then, was her aim?

“Where are you from?” Scout inquired.

As Ljilja’s sniffles died down, the faintest hint of a smile formed across her face. A little spark returned to her eyes as she angled her head up to gaze at her fellow competitor. “MC-4008. But…we just call it Fort Kate. It’s a mountain-island out in the ocean,” Ljilja answered.

“Never heard of it,” Scout curtly replied. Briefly, she wondered what such a place would be like, and bristled at the thought of mist-soaked cliffs and rocky shores. To say Scout was not fond of water would be putting it very lightly.

The worry and anxiety in Ljilja's eyes faded as the conversation built momentum. “What about you? Where are you from?”

“The Wastes—” Scout explained, her vocabulary, as always, getting right to the point. “A Dead City called Ertha. It's near...where those big triangles were.”

“Oh, the Pyramids! My dad told me stories about those when I was little,” Ljilja piped up eagerly.

“Yeah, those.” Scout felt foolish for not recalling the name of such a defining detail about her homeland. It wasn’t that she had forgotten, but…something about this little creature was occupying her mind. She’d seen similar looks on the faces of children she’d rescued or orphaned, recalling the wideness of their eyes from cover as she slaughtered their keepers. Scout never used to wonder what happened to those young ones when her job was complete—why is it that she could not help thinking about them now?

An unexpected line of questioning pulled Scout from her thoughts. “Are they really gone? What’s it like at Ertha? How do you get water out there?”

Scout scratched her cheek, surprised that Ljilja was still talking with her, much less showing interest. “Yeah, they’re gone,” she replied. Suddenly, Scout found herself to be the one avoiding eye contact, withered from Ljilja’s inquisitive peppering. “It’s tall; Ertha,” Scout explained, gesturing wide with her arms, “it’s built upwards, like most of the cities. It goes beneath the ground, too—that’s where our water comes from. There are pipes that carry it all throughout the city, but water is scarce and expensive.”

As Scout spoke, Ljilja gave nods and hums of confirmation to assure she was interested and paying attention. The music changed before she had an opportunity to reply. This new song was louder and far more annoying than the last, forcing Ljilja to speak up. “That’s really cool! I mean the pipes, not…water being hard to find. Um, do you maybe want to talk somewhere quieter?” she suggested.

“Yes!” Scout declared a bit too enthusiastically, her tail swishing suddenly, eager to leave the noise and retreat to a place that wouldn’t hurt her ears. It brought a warm smile to Ljilja’s face, and a reserved grin to Scout’s in return.

Ljilja reached her hand out to take Scout’s, then froze and retracted it with an apologetic bow. This wasn’t Fort Kate—she could not be certain her new friend would react well to such a forward and friendly gesture. It seemed she made the right choice, as Scout visibly recoiled in response to her approaching hand. Ljilja remorsefully balled her little palm into a fist and murmured a “Sorry” to cover her indiscretion.

“Where should we go?” Scout asked.

“Anywhere but here!” Ljilja answered before skittering off in an arbitrary direction away from the foyer. She hoped Scout would follow.


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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout
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The Wolf Catches the Fish


Ljilja was Scout's ticket away from the terrible noise and blinding lights, but her quick little footsteps were difficult for Scout to match. She had to walk slowly in long strides, the small girl before her deftly weaving through the crowd like a fish navigating an impassable school of sea creatures. For her part, Scout felt like a shark, and probably resembled one too, with her silvery ears peeking out high above the sea of mutants. Out of the corner of her eye, Scout spotted motion from a cam, nearly flush against a metal wall, rotating its mechanical eye to capture their movements. Clever, she thought.

Scout paused in front of a door, thumbing towards it. “How about in here?” Scout suggested over the continuing cacophony of music and chatter. Their destination was unclear, but it was away, and that was good enough for her.

Ljilja froze at the suggestion. “Really…?” Ljilja murmured, to which Scout tilted her head in confusion. What was wrong? “I mean, I guess I should be training, but…”

Scout gave Ljilja a puzzled look, then glanced at the door to see if she could reason out the problem. She could not read the sign that read ‘Gym,’ but it was the only place that made Ljilja's response make sense. “No! No,” Scout explained, “It's just t-to get away.” Scout began to shuffle her feet in front of the door, feeling the weight of the faux pas.

Ljilja uneasily swayed from side to side, perhaps weighing the likelihood that she would be eaten if she went into a room alone with the wolflike competitor. She drew a breath, then answered, “Well… alright,” before slowly raising her wrist to unlock the door. The aperture hummed its acknowledgement and slid open. Ljilja spared one last nervous glance in Scout’s direction before stepping inside and disappearing into the darkened threshold within.

Scout tailed her eagerly and the door slid shut behind them. Soft light panels gradually illuminated the room, revealing a broad training area and, one by one, the facilities that lay within.

Lining the wall were dummy weapons, prop swords, spears, and to the other end, a shooting range for bows and guns. In the center was a sparring ring, hallmarked by large gray mats with a white circle. Slightly elevated on a platform above them was a row of chairs surrounded by screens, and behind them was a glass box for spectators to watch the competitors. At the far end of the space was a pool, its surface yet undisturbed. “Wow,” Scout murmured under her breath.

An enormous fan above them had begun to spin, circulating the air. A shiver ran down Scout’s spine as she recalled . “This place is huge.”

Ljilja, whose manager had failed to give her a tour given how close she had arrived to orientation, was hardly certain where her room was, much less knowing what all was in the gym. But it did not take very long for her to spot the pool. Her shoulders straightened, her eyes fixated on it immediately, glittering like tiny stars on a clear night. “Look-look! Water!” she exclaimed, and like an eager dog ran to its edge, circling it eagerly. There was a fondness in her gaze as for a long-departed friend. She could hardly keep from leaping right in but for the fact that it would ruin her dress.

Her shout drew Scout’s attention, who looked down from the fan and awkwardly scratched at her forearm. “Yeah,” she answered as she turned her eyes towards the pool.

Where Scout remained planted in place, Ljilja moved like a hummingbird, her excitement taking her from one end of the gym to the next. But in the midst of her excitement, something strange began to happen. Her side suddenly felt tight, her breathing growing ragged. She grasped at her side and winced, then padded carefully back to Scout. “Sorry…” Ljilja’s breath hitched, a slight hiss. “Guh, went… too fast.”

Scout, in the meanwhile, was watching Ljilja with slight amusement. She was in no rush to explore the gym, knowing that she would probably spend most of the week in here. In any case, Scout felt right to lead Ljilja here - this was much more amusing than the party. “You move fast,” Scout said, gesturing to the mats in the sparring ring. “Need a seat?”

Ljilja heaved for breath, her voice dry and hoarse. “That or dive.” Her eyes scanned the area, looking for anything to relieve the desert that had blossomed in her throat. “Pardon me,” Ljilja muttered, sighting a fountain of reprieve. She walked slowly, her steps deliberate, until she reached it.

Sensing her presence, the fountain began to spurt water from its spigot, a blue light indicating that it was on. Ljilja guzzled water down like a camel spotting an oasis in the desert. After a moment she straightened and wiped her lip on her arm, replenished. She returned looking as though nothing had happened.

It was one thing to enjoy water, but it was another to be dependent on it. The first game was going to be in the Wastes; how would Ljilja survive?

The wolf hardly minded the situation, using the pause as an excuse to observe the wooden swords on the wall. Scout lifted one from its resting place, giving it a few swings. The weight of it felt unimpressive in her hands, slightly off-balance somehow. “Better?” she queried, replacing the sword as she watched Ljilja approach.

“Much!” Ljilja announced, her voice unfazed and chipper.

They sat together on a nearby mat. It was brand new, the smell of it like a blow to the nostrils for Scout’s sensitive nose. Scout sat with her legs spread in front of her, arms propping her up from behind. Her tail swished as Ljilja took a seat across from her.

Her bright blue eyes traced over Scout’s features - her scars, her black-tipped ears, her fluffy silver tail. Respectful awe reflected in her gaze. “Do you like being tall?” Ljilja bluntly asked, free of reservations. She sheepishly glanced over herself, adding, “I don’t like how small I am.”

Scout glanced at Ljilja with a bewildered expression before looking up at the ceiling, watching the fan spin lazily around them. “Do I…?” she trailed off, peering upwards as though the answer were written on the ceiling somewhere. “No,” she finally answered, looking down again and sizing up Ljilja. She was small and cute, her skin unblemished, as far as Scout could see at least. “Everyone tells me I’m too tall,” ‘too tall for a girl,’ ‘lanky,’ ‘awkward...’ “Being small is better. When you’re small, people want to protect you.” Maybe if Scout had been small and vulnerable, she reasoned, her parents might have stuck around.

Ljilja blinked in disbelief; she supposed Scout was right about the last part, but wondered what inspired her to respond that way. "But, know...actually hurt me. And I couldn't do anything about it," she murmured. "If I were bigger, I could fight back." It was clear that Ljilja was insecure in this area, uncertain about her own abilities.

Scout abruptly laughed, the sound harsh and grating. “Size doesn’t matter in a fight; I’ve seen people shorter than you take down dogs bigger than me.” She jerked a thumb in her own direction, a fanged grin highlighting her expression. “If you’re worried about a fight, it’s your stamina you should work on.” Scout had seen her run herself ragged with little more than a few minutes of running. “Besides, you can just get someone bigger than you to protect you.”

Ljilja’s expression morphed into a frown. The little fish did not count herself well-versed in matters like fights and allegiances, so she had little room to argue Scout’s point. “But…still,” she protested, her cheeks puffing out. “This is a competition - everyone’s out for themselves,” she answered before looking down at her lap and balling her little hands into fists on the mat. “People will target me because I’m easy prey.” She grit her teeth and trembled.

Scout leaned forward. “What do you want to win for anyway?” Scout wasn’t much for pep talks or getting people to believe in themselves - motivational speeches were Mercy’s purview.

“I want to win…” she went silent, her voice as soft and gentle as an ocean breeze. “Because I want to be with my family. I’ve worked on Fort Kate as long as I can remember… I’ve never even met my Mother. I want to.” She sighed and furrowed her brows, the pain poorly masked.

There was always a family. Mercy had told Scout that she was lucky she had no family. Family made people weak, it held them back. “What about your Dad?”

“He died, she answered - bluntness seemed to flow freely from the small creature, no room for pretense. “Was...last year.” She cleared her throat and jerked her head upright to look at Scout, eager for a change of subject. “What about you?” she asked, swiping at her eyes to check that they were dry. “Why did you sign up?”

Scout paused as she contemplated telling her; Aries had to practically pull teeth to get her to talk. Eventually, though, Scout sighed with resignation. She leaned forward, unzipping one of her boots to reveal the tell-tale black marks of Ori on her skin. “I’m gonna die,” she said at last, with no hint of malice or bitterness. “So I want to go out with a bang.”

Scout zipped her boot back up slowly to conceal the ugly marks. “Sorry,” Ljilja murmured instinctively. Sorry - sorry! - everyone was always sorry for Scout. Ori was a death sentence for any mutant.

“What if you win?” Ljilja prodded.

“If I win…” Scout trailed off, “then I’ll be able to afford the surgery to get rid of it.” As long as she did it before stage 3, Scout could be cured. Scout brought her knees up to her chest, hugging her legs against her. Ljilja too, did as such, her chin leaning on her knees.

Ljilja cast her eyes downward, the fish’s voice quieting to a whisper. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” she began to say, prompting Scout to lean forward, “but I’m going to give up after a few rounds, if I survive. I hope… I hope you win.”

Her smile was bright and hopeful. It made Scout’s blood boil. “You’re giving up before the game’s begun.” Her teeth ground together. Scout hated people like that, people with such weak resolve. “What about your dream to see your Mom? You’re just gonna give up on it?” Her tail was stiff, ears set forward with displeasure and suspicion.

Ljlija shook her head, “Winning isn’t winning,” she parroted in desperation. “My manager says that no one who wins this game wins the normal way.” She hugged herself, her arms tightening around her legs. “He says I just have to survive the first few games… then… then for sure I’ll be reunited with Mama.”

“So you’re just gonna cheat?” Any warmth in Scout’s voice had vanished. “Take the money and run? What if he’s lying to you?” Scout should not have gotten her hopes that this was a potential… friend. People like Ljilja, they came into her life and left just as quickly, because everyone left Scout eventually.

No one cared about her long enough to stick around.

Ljilja raised her palms defensively. “No! No, I’ll play fair…” she trailed off, searching in vain for an explanation that would satisfy Scout. “There can only be one winner, right?” Her voice grew soft and weary. “And that isn’t going to be me… so I have to leave before the end.” Ljilja glanced at her wolfish companion. “If he’s lying, then I just go back home and move on. It would be sad… but… it’s better than dying.”

The fight had left Ljilja before it had even begun. Scout’s shoulders sagged in disappointment. What sort of manager was this? “You don’t know that, anyone can win.” She grumbled, “everyone’s always going on about how dying is some terrible thing. Dying is the easiest thing in the world, it’s living that’s hard.”

Ljilja’s small hands balled into fists, the cloth of her dress wrinkling in her grasp. “Nothing worth doing is easy!” More words that did not seem to belong to her. Ljilja’s smile was tinged with guilt. “I don’t want to win… I just want to be with my family. Not win… just… survive. Is that really so terrible?”

“Sure, if surviving is all you want to do.” Her anger dulled to exasperation. Scout yawned, her ears returning to their normal position: guarded but unperturbed. “There’s so much living to do, so why just survive?” Scout’s gaze turned to the floor. “Truth be told, Ljilja, I’m not a good person. I left just surviving behind a long time ago, I’ve been fighting like hell to live the life I want.” Now, Scout would bloody her hands again to claw her way to the top.

“I won’t get in your way,” Ljilja assured her, “but… I think you have good in you… at least a little.” A warm smile returned to her face.

Scout opened her mouth to retort, but the doors suddenly slid open. “Scout!” Aries snapped, looking out of breath, his cheeks red, his expression pinched in anger. “You can’t just run away-” he paused in his beration, glancing between the unlikely pair of wolf and fish. “Tch.” Scout’s tail swished, and she rose slowly, dusting her dress off. “Gotta bounce, see you around fishy.


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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Jax
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"You have a pretty face," A mutant remarked, standing beside him. Jax's manager had run off somewhere with another, no doubt to conspire behind his back. "It's too bad I'll have to mark it up on the battlefield," He had white hair and striking blue eyes, white wings sprouting from his back that made his comment seem anything but angelic. Jax grinned behind his cup, his tail flickering with curiosity. "Those are strong words coming from a man who looks as though he's never worked a day in his life." The mutant blanched, grinding his teeth, his grasp on his drink no longer steady. "What did you say to me mutant?"

"Watch your tongue, or I might have to cut it out," Jax sipped his drink. He did not take threats lightly, not when he was determined to achieve his goal. Jax was normally mild mannered, but he did not enjoy being threatened with death or mutilation. "And for the record, you are a mutant too." The snow leopard placed his glass down, feeling slightly dizzy. Was Jax drunk? Perhaps that was why his tongue had become a bit looser. What was in that cup? He had absently picked one, finding the flavor to be mild and pleasant and then had had three more. He should have been more careful with his choices.

"Excuse me sir, would you like to try a pig in a blanket?" A mutant dressed in a sparkling two piece, holding a silver tray full of bite-sized delicacies waved it just beneath his nose. "Sure," perhaps food would clear up this odd feeling inside of him. Was this meat? The smell of it made his mouth water slightly. "I'll take five," Each one was thin and small, meat wrapped in flaky dough that crumbled in his hands. He was careful, not wishing to get his suit dirty. Where was Axel? Jax whirled around, popping another pig in a blanket in his mouth.

Perhaps he should just forget the social hour and go to bed, the beginnings of a headache were coming on. How many of those cups had he drank? Jax could hardly remember. He should have been wary, he should've been on guard, but instead, he was standing in the corner eating finger foods off of a tiny glass plate. How pitiful the doctor's life had become in a matter of hours. "Oh, there you are." Axel had appeared out of nowhere by his elbow, "Enjoying yourself?" He had a smile on his face, Jax had the feeling he had secured something of value.

"I am enjoying these," he raised his plate. Somehow, he had procured more tiny foods. "How many glasses of Jungle Punch did you drink?" Axel asked, slightly amused. "I lost count," Jax grumbled. Axel laughed, "Well, I guess I found your catnip." Jax let out a low growl. Axel laughed, looking down at his holo tab for a moment. "I hope you don't mind, I've taken the liberty of ordering you a special training outfit for your debut tomorrow." He winked, "I'm sure all of our female sponsors are going to love it."

"No," Jax replied simply, wiping his mouth with a napkin. He had finished eating, his head feeling a little bit clearer. "Oh, don't be like that. You're gonna love it." Jax had the sense that he would not love it. "I'm leaving," Jax placed his plate down, walking away. "Where are you going!" Axel called, running after him. "To bed," In the Tundra, he could have gone outside into the cold air to help clear his head, here, he would have to settle for the bedroom. "Fine, but you better show up to the gym tomorrow!" Axel called after him, Jax's ears twitching to pick out his voice.

His room was far too warm. Jax loosened the bowtie around his neck and turned towards the thermostat, he needed to make it colder in here. He slung his jacket and pants over the back of a chair and stumbled into the bathroom. "Da**it," his head was much too foggy. No, he would just skip brushing his teeth tonight. Was there mouthwash? There, that would do it. Jax stumbled into bed, pulling the covers over his body as the room cooled. Much better.

With a bearable room temperature and a bed like a cloud, Jax drifted off easily.


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Character Portrait: Scout
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"Where are you going?" Aries asked, frustrated by her lack of patience for him. "To bed, I'm exhausted." Aries teeth ground together, Scout could hear it. Still, she paid him no mind. Her room, her room, which one was it? The name plates on the doors... Scout couldn't read them. "You look lost," a boy with black hair and white horns stood had somehow materialized by her elbow. He was taller than her and wore bandages on his face. "I'm fine," Scout replied, turning away. "Need some help finding your room?" He offered.

Scout stiffened. She was, indeed, a bit lost. "Can you read?" He seemed a bit bewildered by her question. "Yes," he replied, as though the answer were obvious. "What's your name?" He reached a hand forward. A name was harmless, Scout could give him that much. "Scout," she shook his hand, his grip firm, skin calloused. This was someone Scout needed to be wary of. "Boqin," he grinned, his teeth oddly smooth. Scout subconsciously ran her tongue across her own, sharp teeth. "Well Scout, now that I know your name, let's look for your room."

They went the other way, Boqin reading the names quickly. "So Scout, where do you hail from?" What a strange way of asking that, Scout realized. "The Wastes," her answers were curt, just like with everyone else. Scout was a closed book. "Oh? That's cool, I'm from the Jungles myself." Why was he so chatty? Scout's tail flickered in annoyance. "Oh, this is it. Here," Scout scanned her bracelet. "I guess we're neighbors." Her door popped open.

"Hey," he stepped forward before she could enter her room. "I'll see you tomorrow," Scout, flustered, wasn't sure how to respond. "Thanks?" He smiled before walking away, Scout standing in the doorway, wondering what that was supposed to mean. See you tomorrow? Did he intend to seek her out tomorrow? Was Scout over thinking it? Was he... flirting? No, Scout shook her head.

Her entire life she had been told she was ugly, what sort of mutant would flirt with a creature like her? She closed her door, locking it, just in case. Maybe Scout was being a bit paranoid, but she took off the ring she had been given by Selena and placed it just behind the entrance, in case anyone tried to open the door while she slept.

Flinging off her clothing was perhaps the best feeling in the world. The boots clung far too tightly to her ori and the dress made her feel self-conscious. Rummaging through her closet, Scout located a plain tee shirt to sleep in. "Goodnight," Scout whispered to her empty room, crawling into what felt like a cloud. She wrapped herself up in the blanket, the weight of it a comfort, but not even that could fend off the nightmares.

"You dumb b*tch!" Scout covered her ears, the sound of a plate hitting the wall reverberating through the room. The chain around her neck was heavy, her dress tattered at the bottom. "Do you think this is food! Get your f*ckin' eyes checked!" Scout shivered. A cloud of dread hung over her, her body frozen in fear. "Where's the kid?"

"Please Master, I'll do better. Please, spare her." Her Mother's pleas were weak.

"Bring the kid."

The door to closet opened, letting in a small amount of light, it was the only time that Scout was ever let out. "The Master wants to see you."

"Please, no." Scout whispered. "I'm sorry," her Father was a pathetic excuse for a man. He grabbed her by the wrist, the bruises there from earlier today still fresh. Whenever they made a mistake, it was her fault. When would their Master learn that her parents didn't care? When would he notice the relief in their eyes that he was taking his frustration and anger out on her and not them?

"What a useless bunch your parents are," he rose, his shadow looming over her. Scout stood, rooted to the spot, like a tree in a field. "These lessons are good for you, you know. Maybe you won't grow up to be like them."

Scout flinched when his hand came close, he laughed, the sound grating in her eyes. Her misery was his happiness. Her tears were his beverage of choice. He grabbed her by the hair, his expression hungry. Scout was still small then, she was easy to pick up. He slammed her head against the table, over and over, until there was a terrible
thwack! and her forehead began to bleed.

At last, her Master's thirst for blood had been fulfilled. Her parents stood in the corner, relieved that it was her and not them.

Their eyes had glazed over, numb to her pain.

"Don't be like those two kid." Their Master spat as Scout sank to the floor, blood obscuring her vision.


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Character Portrait: Scout
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The lights outside were still dimmed for evening by the time Scout awoke. She felt dizzy and slightly disoriented by the stars outside her window, stiffening for a moment until she recalled where she was.

That man was dead.

Scout brought her knees up to her chest for a temporary hug. No one would hurt her anymore. Scout looked down at her hand, balling it into a fist. She was strong, Mercy had made sure of that before his untimely death.

The wolfish girl stumbled out of bed, looking for the control panel to turn the lights on. With that, the stars didn't seem so bright anymore. She fumbled around in the bathroom, trying to figure out how to turn the shower on. "Why are there so many da*n buttons?" Scout hit them all, the shower turning on at last. It was cold, the water, but that didn't bug her. Hot water was rare in the Wastes, why would it be any different here?

Her leg was sore, the spot where the ori was jutting out from her skin throbbing.

It had never hurt up until now and for a moment, Scout froze beneath the stream of the shower, wondering if something had changed, if it was progressing. "Not yet," Scout slammed her fist against the wall. She just needed a bit more time, the first game hadn't even begun.

Her closet only had one outfit in it, a pair of skintight black pants and a black top with words on the back. "What does this say?" The letters were embosed in silver, could it be her name? No, Scout didn't think so (it was). She shrugged the coat on, zipping it up to her throat and shoved her feet into the sneakers that were sitting at the bottom. Had Aries prepared this? Or Selena?

The hallway was empty, the entire walk towards the center of the mutant housing quiet, save for her footsteps. Scout hid her hands in her coat pockets, her hair a bit of a mess from her fitful sleep. She had ignored the hairbrush that was sitting in the bathroom, knowing that it would only cause her unecessary pain, what with her tangle of floofy hair. At last, she reached the center, the doors to the dining hall were closed, was it not open yet? She recalled yesterday, when Ljilja had opened up the gym with her bracelet. Where was the reader? Scout spotted it on the wall beside the entrance. She tapped her bracelet against it, the doors sliding open soundlessly. The smells of breakfast wafted out, Scout's mouth practically watering.

Food was not abundant, it was not unusual for Scout to go a day or two without a meal. Here, however, she could eat as much as she wanted, whenever she wanted. There was a graphic on the wall that changed every few seconds. No doubt it talked about rules or interviews, but Scout couldn't read any of it. She placed her bracelet against a reader, a tray popping up from a shoot beneath. She slowly went down the line, taking a little bit of everything and sitting at a table besides the window. Was this what the life of a human was like? Scout wouldn't know.

It was quiet, which was odd. Despite the staff working in the kitchen and the mutants who were cleaning and performing maintenance, there was no one else around. Scout was used to a cacaphony of sounds. Crying babies, arguing couples, snoring from her neighbors. Her ears were still, the silence both pleasant and uncomfortable.

The gym too, was empty, save for a lone mutant who was sweeping the floor. Scout was headed straight for the wall of practice swords when the door opened up behind her. "Good morning!" Aries called, her tail sagging in disappointment. She was hoping to be alone for a few more hours. "Like the outfit? Selena and I stayed up late designing it. I'm not surprised you're an early riser," he stopped just behind her, checking out his holo pad for a moment. "Don't mind the crew, they'll just be filming the mutes doing things like exercise."

Scout turned to look at him, "Good morning," she grumbled. Aries seemed to brighten somehow, perhaps pleased that Scout was actually talking to him. "Anyhow, your support item is a sword, right?"

"...Yeah," Scout scratched at her arm. She turned away from him, perhaps talking to Aries was a mistake after all. She picked up a few swords, weighing them in her hands and swinging them around before finding a weight she was comfortable with. "What are you doing?" Aries wanted to know.

"I'm feeling them," Scout grunted in reply. "For a weight close to mine." Aries nodded, tapping something into his holo pad. Was he really writing that down? "You should use one of the sim rooms," Aries grabbed her wrist. Scout growled, tugging her arm away, but he was insistant. "In here," the room was dark until Aries inputted something into the pop up display, then, the small space illuminated. Holograms pinged out of the ground and walls, each with numbers on them.

"What is this?" Scout was wary of entering such a space. "You don't like the cameras right?" Aries's voice was low. He was perceptive, Scout would give him that. "They can't watch you practice in there," it was a lie, but how was Scout to know? She stepped hesitantly into the sim room, the door closing behind her. Scout's ears twitched, picking up the sound of the lock clicking into place automatically. She swung her sword at the hologram in front of her, a ding above letting her know she had hit her target. Was that all there was to it?