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Masks of the Soul

The Greenhouse

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a part of Masks of the Soul, by Cienpher.

The Greenhouse - the 'student council' meeting place.

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over The Greenhouse, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

230 readers have been here.

Setting

Aromatic, peaceful, and beautiful - the greenhouse maintains perfect conditions for flowers, trees, and even a lovely cup of tea for our ever-busy student council. However, it isn't unusual to see some smoke in there whenever the council is in session, thanks to a certain visiting scientist...
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The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse - the 'student council' meeting place.

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The Greenhouse is a part of Cenriel Academy.


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Liesel Moringmer; Cenriel Greenhouse


The greenhouse of Cenriel Academy was a beautiful sight, full year-round with flourishing flowers, blossoming blooms, and other colorful assortments of plants and foliage. It was off limits to everyone but the gardener and the Student Council… who was supposed to be there. From the lack of sound, clearly, the four members were not present. The greenhouse was silent save for the click, click, click of a lighter. Although the sparks flew from the rotating wheel, a flame refused to ignite. Holding the small vial up to the light, a woman with dark red hair gritted her teeth, biting into the end of her unlit cigarette. “Tch. Out of oil.” Liesel Moringmer narrowed her amber eyes in clear anger, but her mouth curved into a smile – the dangerous one likened to a wild dog. “Those little brats,” she hissed. Despite seeming professional in her white, button-down blouse and hair in a neat little bun, even she knew her temper was far from so. “Someone’s gonna die today,” she announced, slamming the lighter onto the greenhouse table. “And it ain’t Itex!”

At that moment, her cell phone, which had been resting on the glass surface of the elegant round table, lit up, buzzing to life. An envelope flickered onto the screen, startling Liesel, who put aside her aggravation for a moment. With one look at the name glowing beneath the image, her expression of angry mirth quickly turned grave. “This can’t be good,” she murmured, slipping the unlit cigarette from her lips and swiftly snatching up the device. Her amber eyes were illuminated from the light of her screen, skimming over the contents of the email. A moment of complete silence passed in the greenhouse.

A colorful word broke that silence.

Apparently somewhat panicked, she tapped away at the screen of her cell phone before bringing it to her ear. As a song played, her manicured fingers drummed against the hard glass table, cigarette held between her fingers. “C’mon, c’mon you brat – ” to her great relief, someone picked up.

“You little brat!” she shouted. “There’s no time! When I said get here fast, I meant now!”

Protests. Always protests. It was natural – he was still a kid after all… but Torrings had left him and the others this responsibility. They’d just have to see it through.

“Look, this ain’t about your convenience, kid. I don’t think I need to remind you how important all this is.”

Silence from the other end.

“… Just get over here,” Liesel snapped quietly before hanging up. Slumping back into an uncomfortable metal chair, she cast her phone on to the table and stared at it grimly. “We’re in for a loooong war…”

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Liesel Moringmer; Cenriel Greenhouse


Late. Late. Late. Late. Late.

Was there another way to put it? Ah, yes – tardy, but that was beside the point. Honestly, Liesel couldn’t believe the nerve of those four. She had thought that after the past several months they would realize the importance of their task, the dangers of Itex… but no. They didn’t, and in truth, she knew that she was partially to blame for that. Sending them after every false lead, talking about Itex without hide nor hair of them since the day they attacked Torrings… she sighed and tucked a cigarette into her mouth, reaching into her pocket…

… she needed a lighter.

With a frustrated groan, the older woman took to glowering at her watch instead – no, not because of the time, but because of the function she had tried to add to it. It was thick and not at all that classy. In fact, it looked like a digital clock that had been tinkered with a bit too much, and that was exactly what it was. It was heavy on her wrist, but that was to be expected – Liesel didn’t waste precious materials on prototypes. Besides, the circuitry inside the thing was delicate… and inside the face of the blinking screen was the slightest sliver of the Grace Stone.

It was a prototype. It didn’t work at all, but it had been her attempt to develop a Grace Stone and Mask detector, but it was a miserable result. It was nothing more than a dysfunctional alarm clock with the way it kept bleeping at the worst of times. Liesel searched in her pockets for a mini screwdriver, finally deciding to do something productive instead of just seething at the little brats when something caught her eye. Looking up, she saw a boyish figure walk past the greenhouse… now, who exactly would be at school at this hour besides the Masked?

Liesel didn’t know, but she decided that she might as well find out. She was anxious – the information she’d received from her sources hadn’t been good, and the Masked were taking their sweet time. It would be troublesome to have some unknowing kid wandering about the premises when they had to get moving quick. The school guards? Pfft, she could handle them easy. It was the students and teachers that were the real problem, so she swiftly made her way out of the greenhouse.

“Hey, kid,” she called, taking long strides and quickly catching up to the boy. She didn’t recognize him, but he was obviously a student. “Stop right there. What are you doing here?” she demanded, rounding so that she stood in front of him. She crossed her arms, observing the boy – he clearly didn’t seem to be in the most pleasant of moods. That wasn’t her problem. However, when she opened her mouth to speak again, a loud noise rang from the watch upon her wrist. All thoughts fled from her as the meaning of the sound meandered into her mind.

Was it a glitch? No, of course it was a glitch. It had been failing miserably all this time. She hadn’t done anything to alter it, and she knew from the start that the current technology and mechanics she put into the thing had been crude and unsophisticated. There was no way it was working… it was just another ill-timed beep… the dysfunctional alarm clocl….. but what if…?

“Okay, seeing as you’re at school, pop quiz,” Liesel said quietly, staring down at the boy. “What do you know about mysteriously appearing masks?”

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“Hey, kid. Stop right there. What are you doing here?” Dante stopped walking and looked at the woman. He opened his mouth to answer her when her watch suddenly let out a loud noise. Dante slipped his hands into his pockets quietly as he looked at the watch briefly before looking up at the woman again when she started to say something else.

“Okay, seeing as you’re at school, pop quiz. What do you know about mysteriously appearing masks?” Dante blinked a couple times, surprised at the question, and his hand automatically moved to his backpack, where his mask was. He paused for a second, thinking things over quickly, before opening his backpack and pulling out his small wooden box. "You mean like this one? It just popped up one day in my room," he said as he opened the box to reveal his mask.

"If you do, I don't know all that much," Dante said, closing the box and holding it at his side quietly. "Why do you want to know anyways? Its a rather odd question to ask someone you just met," he said looking at the woman.

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Liesel Moringmer; Cenriel Greenhouse


Well Liesel certainly hadn’t expected things to turn out as well as it did. She took in the details of the mask he held out to her – a simple elegance. It was of a columbina style, black with gold trimming, swirling patterns upon the surface of it… and then the boy snapped the box shut. “You mean like this one? It just popped up one day in my room,” he said. Bingo – yes, kid, that was exactly what she was talking about. “If you do, I don’t know all that much,” translating into the fact that Itex either didn’t know, or didn’t care about this kid. The possibilities were beginning to unfold. The boy asked yet another question, but it was unimportant. Pointless.

Quickly and firmly grabbing the boy’s wrist, Liesel grinned and said cheerily, “Well then, stick around. I know a good few people who can explain everything to you.” At this, she glanced at her watch. ’If they actually get here,’ she thought bitterly. Her thoughts wandered to the information she had received earlier and she fought to maintain a semi-pleasant expression. There was no point in scaring the boy quite yet…

… Given the past, she should know better than involve any more children into this scheme, but… ’Torrings would’ve done the same…’ It was either she get him now, or Itex takes him later, alive or not. That was the fate of anybody with one of these masks. She knew this better than anyone. Gesturing towards the greenhouse, Liesel added, still maintaining that smile, “For now, how about we wait with a cup of tea, hm?” Although she was offering, if her grip had anything to say about it, the boy wasn’t going to leave.

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Dante's eyes widened slightly at the woman as she grabbed his wrist rather firmly while grinning. “Well then, stick around. I know a good few people who can explain everything to you.” Dante opened his mouth to say something to the woman, but closed it when she spoke again. “For now, how about we wait with a cup of tea, hm?” Dante looked at his wrist and then back up to the woman. "I don't have much of a choice, do I?" he asked while raising his eyebrow slightly. "Why not? You don't seem like you want me to leave without doing so first anyways," he said and gave a small sigh. Mark, you are pretty much dead for deciding that I needed an education. You've sent me to a school that's filled with crazy people. First that Rose girl and now this woman, he thought to himself quietly.

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Lucas Toland; The Greenhouse


Although Coraline insisted that she was alright now, Lucas didn’t believe her... there was no way a person could be perfectly fine after breaking down like that. He stayed quiet, listening to her as she tugged him onwards by the hand, but it was obvious that the smile was fake. It bothered him – who exactly was that elderly man anyway? After much deliberation, he finally decided to ask, but –

“Hm, Lucas… I have something to ask you once we get there, okay?” This comment stopped him. What could she possibly have to ask him about? “It’s about if you’re free this weekend…” The weekend? Well, he didn’t have anything planned, so unless there was schoolwork or such to be done, he was free… but what could she have to talk with him about? Maybe it was about what happened earlier? Or perhaps it was about her rapidly approaching…

‘Birthday! I didn’t get a present,’ he realized, mentally reprimanding himself. With the preparation for the upcoming school events, and Liesel’s constant nagging with the Masked work, he had nearly forgotten the close date. As Coraline invited Misaki to the mall, he made note that he should probably stop by Sagaro himself… or in the case of a gift, the shopping district might be better financially and quality-wise. However, Maybelle was quite a ways from his home, and while he was pondering this, the three of them had already arrived at school. The greenhouse was just ahead now. ’Erk, now to figure out what to tell Liesel… he thought, but it seemed that Coraline was a step ahead of him.

“I’ll tell Liesel that I had a break down,” she started. “He only bugs me because of what he did…” And then she continued to speak on the topic as if it didn’t affect her at all, but what Lucas heard was definitely appalling to him.

“What?” he cried, looking at her incredulously. “Why is he still roaming the streets then? Shouldn’t he be in jail?” That didn’t make sense at all! Throme was renown for its courts and fair trials… and then Lucas realized that it hadn’t been so ten years prior. Throme had modernized so quickly and flourished so suddenly that it was hard to believe that just ten years ago, no one had known\of the quiet little city. He fell quiet when he realized that they were standing before the greenhouse now. Liesel would most likely be… very, very angry. He took a deep breath at the doorway, hand upon the doorknob. Then, throwing the door open, he began, “Liesel, it wasn’t our fault! The field trip – ”

The excuses withered on his tongue when he saw the red-haired woman smiling, a tray of steaming cups on one hand, teapot in the other. The air was laced with the fragrance of oranges and Darjeeling. “Ah, so you br – kids are finally here,” she chimed cheerily, but Lucas didn’t miss the omission of a certain word… not that the substitute was much better, but it was the fact that Liesel was making an effort that was terrifying. And that smile… was so completely and utterly fake that he was sure that she could peel it off like a sticker. What was going on?

That was when Lucas noticed a certain unexpected guest. “Dante?” he exclaimed, startled. “What are you doing here? This is ou – only for Student Council use…”

“Drop the act, Lucas,” Liesel said, still smiling that eerie smile. However, as she set the tray on the table, a familiar glint rose to her golden eyes. “He’s got a mask. Care to sit down and explain the situation?”

… What?...

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Coraline Starling


Coraline sighed, look at Lucas with a slight frown as she didn't answer. She turned her attetion though, to the boy in the greenhouse as they walked in. "I will, if you don't want to Lucas..." Coraline said, looking at Danta straight in the eye. "...Before that though, Liesel I had a break down in the park, so Lucas just wanted me to calm down. Long story short, a murderer came up to me. Meh, he only killed my family, so it doesn't matter now I guess. I'm stuck with my gra-" Coraline covered her mouth, face turning red at repeating the story. "Ahem!" Coraline coughed, getting her thoughts in order.

"I change my mind. I'll do it for you Lucas. So, Dante, that mask, do you know what that mask does?" Coraline asked, sitting down at the table getting her own out of her backpack. "I can show you if you want." Coraline offered, waiting for him to say something. Coraline in her mind, was seriously proud. She was able to actually switch to serious mode with out much trouble, and that was rare.

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"Dante? What are you doing here? This is ou - only for Student Council use..." Dante looked over at the mention of his name before looking down slightly. "Drop the act, Lucas. He's got a mask. Care to sit down and explain the situation?" Dante could see the confusion or suprise form on Lucas' face when the woman - Liesel, he thought Lucas had called her - made her statement. Dante scratched the back of his head slightly when a girl, who he recognized from school as Coraline, spoke. "I changed my mind. I'll do it for you Lucas. So, Dante, that mask, do you know what that mask does?" she asked as she sat down at the table, pulling her own mask out of her backpack. "I can show you if you want." she offered. Dante looked at them all for a few seconds. "Uhm, well, I don't really know what the mask does. I just recently found it on my windowsill one day while I was traveling. I guess I wouldn't mind if you showed what it does," he said as he looked at her, starting to get a bit nervous.

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#, as written by Artik
Gage Vandergear | The Greenhouse


As with just about everything Gage does, he takes his sweet ass time doing it. So his walk from the park to the greenhouse for the meeting went no different. Long, lazy, almost lethargic strides carried him in the general direction of his destination at his usual pace and nothing more. Despite Lucas' urgency and him being well aware of how -mhh...cranky - to put it nicely, that Liesel gets with pretty much everything when she isn't instantly gratified he didn't seem to bothered. Lucas often panicked about things, as was his responsibility and Liesel seemed perpetually pissed off so his tardy arrival wouldn't affect the situation much anyway. But he couldn't help but be curious about the meeting and why they were being so rushed. They were always rushed by Liesel so it was hard to tell when something actually was a big deal or not, but for some reason Gage felt that this one might actually have some importance. Because of this he bothered to stop home to grab his mask before hand. Sure it could be conjured up by willpower if need be, but hell, it was on the way.

His hunch was slightly confirmed as he arrived at the greenhouse, and spotted through the murky glass a few heads, but particularly an unfamiliar one. As he shouldered the door open, the sound of it announcing his otherwise silent arrival, Gage caught the tail end of the conversation and had a brief look of confusion before he worked out the only reasonable explanation. What he didn't get what why Liesel instantly took in this kid, trusting him with confidential information in the form of Coraline suddenly offering to show him her mask and all that came with it. Furrowing his brows together Gage slouched against the near wall crossing his arms over his chest and taking a moment before interrupting Coraline's display before it could really begin.

"No offense mate," He began flicking his icy gaze to Dante briefly then moving it back to Lucas and Liesel as he continued. "But unless I missed his interrogation, why are we trusting this guy with out even as much as a game of twenty questions?" He inquired from the sidelines casually.

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Coraline Starling; The Greenhouse


As she lifted her mask, about to show Dante what her mask could do, Gage spoke. "No offense mate," Coraline heard Gage start, turned to look at him upside downish from leaning back agaisnt her chair, tilting her head back. Coraline's face turned glareish, though hard to make out as he went on. "But unless I missed his interrogation, why are we trusting this guy with out even as much as a game of twenty questions?"Coraline heard once more, being slightly annoyed as she pulled out a bottle of pills from her bag as swollowing almost around 10 pills.

"Why don't you start and we can all join in the-" Coraline let out a rough cough into her hand, grabbing the bottle of water she had recieved earlier and gluping at it a bit. Coraline let out one last cough, looking at Gage now standing up. "You start and we'll join in then Gage." Coraline simply said. "I need to go take a freakin' walk..." Coraline mummbled, grabbing her back and shoving in the pills and putting her mask in. She put on her backpack, walking outside quickly before being stopped.

what had been on the girl's nerves to talk so rudely and annoyed? Something that Coraline herself didn't know. It might of infact been the pills she took even before the 10 she took just now. Coraline began to jog away, calming down once she was far enough away from the greenhouse, yet not completely away.

Now, the only things that were bothering Coraline, was that man. Life in prison was his punishment, yet somehow, he was out now. 'M-Maybe he's out for good behavior...' Coraline thought nervously, trying to avoid the fact he may be back to settle the score. Maybe he wanted to finish what he had started in the first place.

Coraline slide to her knees, confused and furious. The girl pushed back her orange hair, just laying down to the left of her with her arms around her book bag tightly, her head to the ground. She suddenly, just felt like sleeping. She just couldn't handle more annoyance anymore, so she just laid there, trying to fall asleep for now untill someone found her.

Soon, Coraline fell into a deep sleep, deciding Liesel could just call her cellphone if pissed off Coraline left.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lucas Toland Character Portrait: Coraline Starling Character Portrait: Gage Vandergear Character Portrait: Dante Toseletti Character Portrait: Misaki Bijou Roux
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The Greenhouse


The dysfunctional beeping of the watch continued, as a woman wearing a terrifying smile continued to stare at the students in the greenhouse. She ignored the exits of two of the children and the question of the older boy, to point her attention towards Lucas.

“Get on with it, Lucas,” she stated, clicking the now useless lighter, and placed the tray of tea she was holding on the table. “I’m sure that the b- kid wouldn’t want you to be wasting his time.” Her amber eyes glowered at the brown-haired boy - there was still the contents of the message to get to. Another colorful word almost escaped her mouth, but she stopped herself just in time.

Maybe that brat was Itex.

No, he couldn’t be. Not if he was willing to show her his mask. Itex wouldn’t have allowed him to do such a thing. It was lucky that she’d found him before they did - with their sweet promises of a granted wish, he would have been sucked away into the ranks of the enemy. He was lucky too. The Itex were no place for a child - even a brat like him.

“Well,” said Lucas hesitantly. “These masks appear for some people, and they transform the wearer.” He shot a look at Liesel, as though waiting for a cue, and she merely widened her smile. Ignoring the small tingle down his spine at that obviously fake smile, he continued. “There’s another organization out there named Itex, which is trying to collect these masks. We’re the only ones out here that can take them down. There’s also a Grace stone, which Itex is going after - and with them being who they are, they could end up trying to destroy the entire world. Um...”

Liesel quickly cut him off, before shooting all the members still in the greenhouse, other than the newbie, a glance. “Alright, now that the introduction is over, you guys can get down to your job. Get yourselves downtown to the roof of Sagaro Mall. There will be a package there, and you had better get your hands on it. Now, get out of here, br - students.”

Then, placing the cup back on the table, she all but pushed Lucas out of the greenhouse, before turning to look at the new brat. “You’ll learn faster by acting,” she said abruptly. “The others know what to do, just get over there.”

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Character Portrait: Vera Chung Character Portrait: Liesel Moringmer
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Peddler speech written by Witless.


Vera Chung | Goatstone Bridge -> Maybelle -> Greenhouse


It was a beautiful afternoon. Not only was the sky a cloudless blue, but the sun shone down with just enough intensity. While the world was not the brilliant, sparkling sculpture it was during the winter, it was getting to just the right temperature. The wind gusted again, and Vera frowned when her black skirt whipped around her knees. With a sigh, she got on the balls of her foot, thrusting her head over the top of the rough, stone wall that made up the bridge. She was only a few feet away from the statue that stood in the center of the old structure. That ugly-looking troll, though incontestably an important part of the Throme scene, was getting on her nerves with its disquieting grimace.

Vera looked down at the sparkling, dancing surface of Liron River and with a sigh, realized that it was already September 27th. The day that the letter had marked with almost torturous implications. Now that Liesel’s information had been proven without a doubt - they showed up, didn’t they? - Vera couldn’t help but believe that she should have left when she had the chance. Gage and Coraline had the right idea when they abandoned them, but now… even if she wanted to, she was sucked into the problems of Itex. But, there was no sense in fretting over this. There was no doubt that they wouldn’t win. They were on the side of justice after all, and heroes always beat villains. It was the way that the world worked. This was just a period of problems, that’s all.

Her heart calm for the moment, she turned back to the shore on her right. Maybelle Avenue, with its new reputation of hidden gangs and murderers. Perhaps… it had something to do with that Aki Evedane, but Vera would not hold her breath. Anyways - it was time for her to get back to the school greenhouse. With almost halting, stumbling footsteps, she grounded her back in reality and stepped off towards the shopping district. While it wasn’t exactly on the way to Cenriel Academy, she needed to do something to calm her nerves. It was lacking even the smallest semblance of the bustling region it had been in the past, with the shop owners calling at her vainly. Customers were few and far in between.

She flashed a smile before going to a familiar stall. “Excuse me, how much is that?” she asked, looking at a set of porcelain tea cups. While Liesel had broken them, she hadn’t gotten to the point of replacing them - plus, she had gotten used to having a cup of green tea during each meeting. The man, with dark black hair and sunglasses, was smoking, and observing one of his wares. The Peddler. While Vera wasn’t quite a repeat customer of his, she, at the very least, recognized his slouching form. He ignored her, continuing to observe something.

“How much are the tea cups?” she asked again, this time exasperated.

“Hm? What? Oh, you’re buying something, huh… Hmmph, interested in those? Suit yourself, then. You do know how rare those are? Not too many to be found.” Vera couldn’t quite understand why a tea set would be rare, but shrugged anyways. Maybe it was the design - they seemed to be quite pretty after all. “But hey, you want them, I’ll sell. At a bargain: 57 argen. Per item. You have the cash, right? If not, get lost. I have other customers…”

Vera dug through her pocket, before pulling out a black wallet. She’d buy the pot for sure, and maybe the cups… as many as she could afford. She could wait to buy the tray… if she managed to find the Peddler before they were bought. Thumbing through her wallet, she realized she had a total of 200 argen. While she would normally carry less than this, her parents were suffering under the misconception that she was going out to dinner with her friends. Handing him 171 argen, she bought three pieces from the set, out of the seven total. “Thanks, Peddler!” she called out, with a smile, before returning to her previous path. Off to Cenriel Academy~

A few minutes later, she had arrived at the welcoming gates of Cenriel Academy - none too early either. Vera waved towards the security guards, before crossing campus to get to the meeting place. The greenhouse. It was normally such a bright and cheery structure, if not a little too colorful, this time she couldn’t help but feel a sense of nervousness. Pushing open the doors to the warm room, she noticed that, just as she had expected, Liesel was already there. The woman was busy smoking a cigarette, but looked just as murderous as usual.