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Re: Start

Up the Stairs

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a part of Re: Start, by The_Queen.

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The_Queen holds sovereignty over Up the Stairs, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Up the Stairs is a part of Re: Start.

5 Characters Here

Yui [1,000] "No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart."
Aria Matsuri [989] "We'll run until the dark can't chase us!"
Ren [531]
Ronan Hemond [488] "Don't take them away from me."
Mizuki Matsuri [277] "Clown mask or no, the Oracle has a job to do!"

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Character Portrait: Aria Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Stand up, stand up, the Little Sinner stands before you now!❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#762D73 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #BF3B3B

|| Let the Flames Begin || Paramore ||




Gone. Mizuki was gone. All of this effort, all of her blood sweat and tears for the past two years, for what? It had all been for the sake of her little sister. Even becoming an Idol was at Mizu's request, wasn't it? Her whole life revolved around the little prankster squirt, and yet she couldn't do anything to protect her. Failure, failure, what a failure of a big sister. She wasn't able to protect anyone, wasn't able to do anything right. "Yui, Yui." Aria whimpered weakly, clinging to the fish as if she were a rope and Aria was about to fall off a cliff into a terrifying abyss. "Please don't leave me too." Mizu wasn't the only one taken, however. During the crash, Damian got flung through the windshield into the woods and the broken bits of his still barely alve were body extracted by Enforcers.

Which meant that at the moment, Damian was being put back together in the Roppongi Building.

When Xavier woke up, everyone expected that their previous leader would have some grand plan to spring into action. But he didn't, he just stared at them as if they were aliens and then he held his wrists. There had been some experiments done on him, that's for sure, the Matriarch did something. Why else was his mark so dark? "Maggots." He whimpered, that was the first thing he said. "Why are there maggots in me?" He transported his hand off of his arm so he could examine it and then he began to scratch at the open wound until Leo forced him to put his hand back and then strapped him down. "I don't know what this is, and I don't like it." The young doctor said grimly. "Then let's ask Mayumi." Ally suggested, considering she was the smartest person about light and dark.

When they described Xavier's condition - Xavier who was currently in an induced coma so he wouldn't kill himself trying to remove the maggots - Mayumi looked very grave indeed. "The Darkness Disease." She said quietly. "When the darkness has a strong enough hold over the light bearer, this happens. It feeds on his doubts and insecurities and fears and traumas, making them all stronger. Once it's serious enough, all light bearers feel as if there are maggots in their veins. That's their bodies actively rejecting the light inside of them, they feel it as maggots." That sounded grim indeed. "Is there anything we can do?" Aria sounded hoarse from crying.

"Well, you'd need a Grade A and higher Darkness Filter as well as regular light infusions." Mayumi told them worriedly. "And then lots of intensive therapy after to get to the root of why the darkness took hold so strongly. It's going to be a long and difficult road, but if he doesn't get help, he'll eventually bleed to death from scratching." Death from feeling as if maggots were inside of you. Ari shivered, she didn't want that at all. They needed Xavier at his best if they wanted to save Mizuki and Damian, wherever Damian ended up. Ally couldn't sense his dreams no matter how hard she tried.

One morning some days later, early enough that Yui was awake but Ari was still fast asleep, a voice came through Ping's collar, one only for Yui to hear. "Yui, it's me, Raven. Do you remember me?" The evil genius had a plan that needed to be done. "I know who took Mizuki, and I know how to save her. But it's going to be a secret mission, so I only want your help." She smiled, fidgeting awkwardly. "Can you imagine how happy Ari will be when you show up with Mizu safe and sound at your side? It'll be the best surprise present ever for her birthday." She giggled, sounding just like a school girl. A school girl with a sedative syringe slipped into her sleeve. "I'm hiding just outside, if you can sneak out, come meet me. It'll be a special operation to save Mizuki and Damian!"

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Character Portrait: Aria Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




The house was quiet, the silence a haunting reminder of all they had lost. The joy Yui normally experienced at being home was soon enveloped by the sorrow of losing Mizuki and Damian. They had gained Xavier, but in some respects, he too, had disappeared. Those that remained had divided the housework between them all, Damian being the one who normally took care of it. Yui was learning all sorts of things, like how to sweep the floor, and how to warm up food in the microwave. They still ate together, but the hollowness of their happiness was deafening.

It was no wonder Yui fell for the trap so easily.

She was already sweeping the floor when Ping meandered by, sitting at Yui's feet. "Ping talk?" Yui asked, kneeling down. It was Raven, she knew how to get Mizuki and Damian back! Oh, but Yui had to keep it a secret. "Yui come!" She whispered, putting a finger up to her lips in mimic that she would keep it to herself. Yui went to the door, pulling on her snow boots and a winter jacket. Ping wound his way around Yui's feet, as though to say that he wanted to come too. "No, Ping stay. Yui will be back," Yui promised, petting his head. She opened up the door, sneaking outside despite the fact that she knew she wasn't supposed to leave the house, not alone, but this was a special exception. "Yui will save Mizu and Damian." Yui said to herself as she trekked into the cold, shivering. Ally's outfits were not suitable for this weather.

Yui stepped off of the path and into the snow, jumping and crunching until she reached the treeline where she believed Raven to be hiding. "Raven?" Yui whispered, "Raven where you?" Yui tip toed, saying her name quietly. Ah there! "Yui want help find Mizu and Damian!" Oh! She remembered that she had to whisper. There! Yui stepped in front of her, glad to have found Raven where she was hiding. "Found!" Yui said, smiling pleasantly.



Damian stared up at the ceiling, the pain medicine making him feel numb. Everything hurt, there were bandages wrapped around most of his body and an IV drip going into his shoulder. They had used something on him several times to get him to heal faster, a combination of an electric cuff and light infusions, which made his chest hurt and body clench painfully. Damian's back arched slightly, blood dripping from his mouth as he coughed. Was there such a thing as overdosing from light? The glass hissed, a door sliding open. Damian attempted to lift his head to see who it was but the strap against his forehead stopped him. A terrifying feeling filled his chest and he stiffened as Ira Shoku walked into the room, the Reaper close behind him.

"So, you're one of them?" Damian swallowed hard, meeting Shoku's cold gaze with an equal level of steel and calm. "You've been out for several days, I'm surprised you're even still alive considering how you were found." Damian let him speak, genuinely curious as to how the Enforcers found him. "Almost dead as a door nail, you bled out, concussion, your limbs were practically dust. Lucky really, that you ended up here."

"How am I lucky?" Damian growled, his tongue feeling heavy in his mouth. He was slurring badly, but at least he was alive. Damian had no skills in combat, fighting would be useless. "You could have frozen to death," the Black Reaper said helpfully. Shoku leveled his gaze with his monster, giving him a withering look. Ronan looked at the floor, a dog too thoroughly beaten by his Master. If Damian hadn't known what the Reaper was capable of, he would have felt bad. "So, you know where my precious puppy is, do you?" Shoku turned his back on Damian, opening up a case.

"Yui?"

"Is that the label you've given her?" Shoku laughed, "call her what you will, beings like that don't have names." He pulled a syringe out and a vial of something so dark that it sent shivers down Damian's spine. "She isn't a monster, she's a child." Damian growled, feeling defensive of the girl they had been harboring. "A child?" Shoku laughed, "you truly know nothing about her." His brow quirked and Damian felt it, the jab in his arm. The dark liquid within the vial snaked its way inside of him and Damian began to feel sick.

"Ronan?"

"Yes Sir?"

"See to it that you don't break him too much. He's already far too fragile."

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




Just behind the tree stood a certain evil genius, armed with a syringe and a bundle of warm clothes to snuggle in because of how cold the weather was. With Ira Shoku no doubt playing with his new you to try and figure out what he knew, there was no better time to do this. Yes, it'd be better if her plan to capture Ronan had succeeded, but still. She couldn't wait anymore, not with everything that was at stake. It had been time to act and the Fox performed adequately in capturing the Oracle. And sure enough, Loretta showed herself. Or, Yui, if that was what she preferred being called. "Ah, there you are." Raven smiled and who knows? Maybe it was genuine. "Let's get moving, we don't have time to waste." The Matriarch managed to fix her up, though she had to admit, she was still smarting from being skewered like a shish kebab.

But still it was fine, pain didn't matter as long as her plan could continue it's progress. "Thanks again for coming." She wrapped an arm around Yui as they went back to the Fox's car for extraction to the Ikebukuro Base. "I really appreciate it Yui, you have no idea." Because really, the doll had absolutely no idea what was in store. "Here." She winked. "Take my hand and let's begin." She took Yui's hand and squeezed it tight and the next moment her other hand moved in to put Yui to sleep. "Good night." It was pure brutal efficiency at play here, there was not a moment of hesitation. Of course, she wasn't a barbarian. Yui wasn't going to be locked up or anything. But until she found the Prophecy's location from the Oracle she couldn't work on the Ultimate Weapon.

But she could use her seeds to try and unlock Yui's missing memories of Loretta, couldn't she?




These dreams were always very strange. Why was a doll here sitting in the hospital room with no exit door and a window that showed only a crude painted image of an outside? Why was there an indistinct puppet in her hospital room? "Why can't you show up as human?" Not that there was ever an answer. There was probably a message here but it never came through, no matter what the Oracle did she didn't understand what her Goddess was trying to tell her. "Maybe if you tried harder. You're a Goddess, you're supposed to have limitless power." In fact, why couldn't the Goddess just wave her hand and fix everything, anyways? Why was the Cocoon relegated to the destiny of becoming a Goddess? If that was the case, and if Yui was still very much in the Cocoon, who was this and why were they here?

Well, whatever.


Mizuki yawned, bored. She just didn't know what to do, really. Maybe she'd get a heart attack so that at least something interesting would happen. Teasing Aria and Damian would be much more entertaining than sitting around a base full of people with seemingly no personalities beyond serving a certain someone. It was almost as if someone had wiped their minds except for one task - to obey. "Maybe if you let me play games I'll tell you where the Prophecy is." She grinned wickedly at the Fox. They knew each other before this, long ago. She in fact had searched him out specifically to scout Aria and transform her into the Little Sinner. So it was very strange to be here with him. "Come on, don't be stuffy. If I'm gonna be here, might as well have fun doing it, right?"

The Fox shuffled uncomfortably. Out of everyone here, it seemed he was the only one with his mind intact. "Not without permission, I can't do that." He said, stiffly, hands in his pockets. So subservient to the little Mistress wanting to be a Matriarch. "Just behave at least." But that was boring. She wanted to cause trouble at the very least, or maybe even be tortured because at least then she could give silly mindgames to her captors. But they wouldn't even do her that kindness. And then the door opened, Mizu craned her neck to look.

"Why did you let her out of her room?" Raven asked her only sane soldier. Mizu giggled, glad to see the Fox writhe in discomfort. "She wouldn't stop, um... touching herself. In front of me. This was the only way." He was very much not interested in the body of an underdeveloped sickly fifteen year old. "What? I was bored!" The Oracle declared defensively to the captor. "And stripping bothered him so I figured why not annoy him? At least it's something." She noticed the Cocoon was here. So she'd really have to play this carefully instead of screwing around then. If none of the Freedom Fighters were here to protect the ear-feathered girl, it would have to be up to her, wouldn't it?

Give yourself for the cause, Hime had told her. The Oracle exists to serve the Cocoon, and if need be, give up her organs to save the Cocoon's life in an emergency. They were a match and according to Mayumi, it was as close to deliberate as possible. The Cocoon was here. It was time to play chess with Raven, then, wasn't it?

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Aria Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Raven smiled and Yui, being naive as she was, believed it to be genuine. "Mm!" Yui agreed, there was no time to waste, they had to go save Mizuki and Damian from whatever brute had taken them away. The two girls walked towards the car that was parked somewhere on the other side of the street, away from the view of the Odaiba safe house. "Yui will always help," the light bearer said, smiling and taking Raven's hand. Goodnight? What did that mean? Yui felt a jab in her thigh and her head grew light as the anesthetic entered her blood stream. She fell to her knees and if Raven hadn't been there, would have face planted with the snow. "Raven?" Yui whispered, her world full of light quickly becoming dark.

When Yui awoke she was in a strange place. Her shoes were removed, as was custom inside of buildings, but her coat remained. The light bearer winced when she reached back into her mind, trying to piece together how she had gotten here. She was sweeping the floor and then... and then she fell in the snow? And now she was in this strange place with. "Mizuki!" Yui scrambled to her feet, tripping on the carpet while she ran. "Yui found Mizu!" Her eyes sparkled at her accomplishment of finding Mizuki a second time. Aria was going to be so happy! And just on time for her birthday too! Now all Yui had to do was find Damian. Somehow, the troublesome situation completely evaded the little fish and if she knew that it was Raven who had drugged her and brought her here, well, Yui would be none too happy.

Still, she always had her abilities that she could rely on if something happened. Just like the first time Yui was kidnapped, all she had to do was use her blood bending and she could escape. Of course, Yui didn't want to end up on the streets again so this time she'd be sure to steal a map if need be. Yui turned, someone stepping in front of the door. Fox? What was he doing here? Had he been the one to take Mizuki? Why would he do that? Unless he had saved her and brought her here? Perhaps he would be bringing Aria here later to take both girls home? Yui looked the other way, seeing Raven and her confusion grew. "Raven... knew Mizuki here?" Yui scrunched up her nose as she thought of the words she needed. Had Raven rescued Mizuki?



So, the beast had a real name? Damian could have laughed if he weren't in such a terrible situation. He swallowed hard instead, his mouth awfully dry. "Ronan," Damian tried, the boy turning towards him with a brow quirked. "You don't have to do what that man says."

"No, I don't." The beast repeated, "I want to." Ronan's eyes glinted cruelly and Damian cried out in pain. His body burned, even the whisper of the drafty room making it feel as though needles were digging into his skin. "What did he give me? What was that drug?" Damian inquired, eyes wide, clearly frantic. Ronan took his time answering, slowly pulling off his jacket and squeezing on a pair of gloves. "It enhances your senses, something like adrenaline but a side effect is the amplification of pain." Ronan grinned, leaning down. He sucked in a breath, letting it out in a puff on Damian's face. The Freedom Fighter bit down on his lip to keep from whimpering, his own action causing the pain to spike. "Please, don't," Ronan reached down, grabbing Damian's ankle and digging his nails into the bandages.

"Where is she?" Ronan asked, "where is the girl?"

"Who?" Damian replied, feigning ignorance and stupidity. "What girl? I know many girls." Ronan flicked the bottom of Damian's foot, causing the boy to jolt and cry out. "Tell me where she is and I'll stop," Ronan moved, grabbing Damian's hand and pushing his finger back. "I can stay here all day," he whispered, licking his lips in a way that made Damian distinctly uncomfortable. "We'll start with an easier question then. What's your name?" That was something he could answer, because his name was distinctly American but his last name was Japanese. It was something he wasn't afraid to give away. "D-Damian,"[/color] sweat beaded his forehead, Ronan released his finger. Could he tell if Damian was lying or not?

"Damian," Shoku's puppet repeated, he slammed a hand against the table, making Damian jump. "Why did you take her?"

"She's just a child!"

Ronan's laugh was cruel, "you keep saying that. She's almost 15," Yui was that old? Damian realized something in that moment. He could benignly get information out of Ronan, he could state facts that were wrong and Ronan would correct him. Damian knew that this theory needed to be tested, however, before he acted on it. "The girl... her eyes are green right?" Ronan growled, grabbing his finger and pulling it back.

"Her eyes are blue!"

"She's tall?"

"I'm the one asking questions!"

When Ronan was done, Damian's fingers were all broken, he was bruised and bloodied and crying for it to stop, but he had given no information away. In fact, Damian had gained two important facts. Yui was almost 15 and Ronan had a weakness.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




This was supposed to be easy for Raven. All she needed to do was seed her two prisoners and then everything would solve itself. But for some reason she couldn't quite bring herself to do it, at least, to the extend that would require it. Yes, Yui's mind was seeded but only a little it. Only to hopefully open the door to memories locked away. As for Mizuki, well, perhaps there was something in those sharp violet eyes that she just couldn't bear to destroy. The way Mizuki challenged her, the way she refused to give everything up and also refused to let herself be affected, it was no wonder Ira Shoku had never ended up trying to corrupt her. There was something very strange about this girl, but she couldn't quite piece it together. A true intellectual challenge; was that why she couldn't seed her and be done with it?

"What are you doing?"

Wasn't it obvious?

"I'm playing with my fingers." The Oracle said from her room. "It's more entertaining than doing nothing." So then Raven tried strapping all of her limbs to a bed so that she couldn't move. And yet Mizuki was still looking as if she was enjoying herself. "Why are you smiling?" The Oracle giggled. "I'm playing an RPG game in my head, this is fun. I just saved the game and am making good progress." How did that even make sense? "What's wrong with your mark?" She asked and Mizuki shushed her. "I'm playing, isn't it rude to interrupt?" Was this what Ira Shoku had to deal with? And yet instead of frustrating her, Raven felt something warm in her chest, something she didn't know how to explain.

It was time for Yui to wake up then, and just on time, she did. "Yes, I rescued her and brought her here." She said. Mizuki laughed then. "No, she kidnapped me. You shouldn't trust her, um, ear-feathered-girl. Yuki? I think you said Yuki?" Raven gave her a look and the Oracle giggled again. She was being very inappropriate for a prisoner, that's for sure. "Yui, do you know a Loretta?" Raven asked, putting her hand on Yui's lotus blossom. "Deep inside of you, please look." She asked another question, this one perhaps more pertinent. "Do you want power? Enough power to take away all the bad things in the world? To stop evil people like Ira Shoku?" She flitted her finger to Yui's heart where she imagined the Light Seed was hidden. "Do you want the power to save the world?"

"She already has it, though?" Mizuki interrupted. Wait, how was she here in the room with Yui, how did she get out? The Fox was there, looking very guilty. "Sorry." He stammered. "She beat me at 'Guess what number I'm thinking of in my head." He was the number maker and Mizu guessed it in two seconds flat, out of 100 numbers. "We all do, because we're all light bearers. We already have the power to save the world." She smiled sneakily at Yui then, walking right up to her. "Don't trust anyone but me." She whispered to the Cocoon. "Look at the random staff, do you sense it? How their eyes are empty, how their movements are all the exact same?" Stripped bare of everything that made them individuals, now they existed to obey the orders of their master.

Raven scoffed. "Stop telling her nonsense." She urged. "I clearly don't have a light bearing mark." If she wanted to bring back Loretta, she needed to retain Yui's trust, she couldn't have Mizuki spoil everything. "But you do, don't you?" Mizu giggled knowingly. "Some kind of mind power, I'm guessing?" Maybe her words were of warnings but the Oracle's demeanor was all fun and games, it must have been a strange mismatch to be sure. "The Goddess has spoken to me, her Oracle, and she decrees that you must taste good." Who knows? Maybe it really was a message from the original Mizuki, or a transmission of her love for her Raven. So Mizu took Raven's finger and licked it, cheeks flushing pink. Raven, for all of her plans and intellect, had no idea how to handle this ball of chaotic energy named Mizuki.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




To say Yui was confused would be an understatement. The little girl blinked, looking between Mizuki and Raven. If Raven had saved Mizu and brought her here, why didn't she just take her to the base in Odaiba? Perhaps so they could find Damian and rescue him first? "Yui is Yui!" The girl corrected Mizuki; her name was not Yuki, although it was close to it. Yui looked back up at Raven when she asked her a question and shook her head in response. "Yui no know," the fish scratched her cheek, trying to recollect if she had ever met a Loretta. Raven placed a hand on Yui's stomach, over her light bearing mark and Yui squirmed, wondering what Raven was doing. She placed a hand over Yui's heart, asking if she wanted power.

Yui considered the offer, on the one hand, she wanted to be able to protect everyone, but on the other, she was afraid. What if she had more power? What if it changed her and made her into someone like the Bad Reaper? Yui shook her head once more, she didn't want more power, she just wanted to be stronger, to have the chance to prove herself and protect those she cherished from the bad things. "Yui no want," she whispered, taking a step back. Yui didn't care about the world quite yet, she was still learning about everything and what she had seen so far was ugly. When she was on the streets in Shibuya, no one had offered to help her. Then again, what about how much fun she had, had at Disneyland? It had been a beautiful day despite the fact that the Bad Reaper had come to ruin it all.

Yui was going to change her mind, she was going to accept Raven's offer when Mizuki began to speak. Yui already had the power, she said, they all did. Mizuki leaned in, her whisper tickling Yui's ear. Yui was feeling rather queasy, her uncertainty written across her face. Why couldn't she trust Raven? Wasn't Raven one of the good guys? Yui reached out to try and feel the blood of those in the building and realized that their rhythms were all the same. It was as though they were all calmly going about their day, but the child had become highly suspicious. She stepped away from both girls, confused and frightened. A blood knife formed in her hands and Yui backed away, towards the door. She didn't like this situation, she wanted to go. Yui would run and tell Aria where Mizuki was so that all of the Freedom Fighters could come and save her. Yui couldn't do it on her own, as much as she wanted to, she wasn't strong enough yet.

Raven was a light bearer? No, there had to be someone else behind all of this. Raven was just a normal girl!



When Ronan returned it was with a tray of food and a bundle of clothing. "Get dressed," Shoku's lackey said, undoing the straps so that Damian could tug the white shirt and drawstring pants on. It was odd, for a man who loved darkness to have surrounded himself in the purity of white. Damian fumbled, his fingers wrapped and buddy taped due to the fact that they were now all broken. "Give me that!" Ronan snapped, "you're taking too long." He placed the shirt over Damian's head and despite his brutishness, was oddly gentle. Damian's meal was, he noticed, completely nutritionally balanced. It seemed that Shoku wanted to keep his light bearers in top shape. "What does he want with me?" Damian asked between a mouthful of food. He hadn't realized how starving he was until the smell of food had hit his nose. It was good, distinctly bland, as though the maker had put no heart into it, but better than what he had been expecting. Ronan did not answer his prompt, perhaps he did not know what Shoku wanted with him? Or maybe he just liked knowing that he had more information?

Considering the condition they had found Yui in, who had been on predigested formula for who knows how long, Damian had been afraid that all of his meals would be coming in via protein shake. "Don't move," Ronan warned when Damian was done. Damian froze instinctively, not wanting to be hurt again. Ronan undid the straps around his ankles and lifted Damian as though he weighed nothing, dumping him unceremoniously in a wheelchair and strapping his wrists and ankles down. "You don't have to do what that man says," Damian spoke quietly as Ronan wheeled him out of the room. Where were they going? Damian looked back at Ronan and blushed, noticing the delicate curvature of his chin. "If you escape, you can come with me, you'll be free." Ronan grinned, Damian had only just noticed the bandages peaking out from underneath Ronan's shirt.

"I don't have to do anything, I want to." The pills made him obedient. The pills made Ronan's mind a blur. They repressed his feelings, they scattered his memories, preventing Ronan from lashing out against his master. Despite his words, Damian could tell that Ronan was thoroughly beaten, perhaps suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Ronan laughed, the sound cruel and grating. "I have everything I could ever need or want. Food, clothes, power." He cracked a knuckle, causing Damian to jump. They had reached their mysterious destination and Ronan placed his finger on the reader, the door opening. He wheeled Damian in backwards, going down a slight incline and into a narrow hallway with doors lining either side. Damian swallowed hard, wondering what was in store.

When Ronan opened up the last door on the right, it was revealed to be a room fashioned into a medical office, a tray of tools laid out on the table. "Have fun," Ronan snickered, turning around. He ran a hand through his short hair and Damian could have sworn he caught a glimpse of a bar code on his neck, the same place where Yui had her's. Is that was this place was? Was Damian going to be receiving the same treatment?

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




Raven sighed at Yui's preparation for the attack, the blood sword was out. But she didn't want to have to collar this girl, that wasn't it at all. Her enemy, Mizuki, hardly seemed bothered by the sword. Was there just something wrong with her head? "Good Yui, don't trust her." The violet-eyed girl said with a sly grin. "Let's be a team and get back to big sis Aria!" Judging at how Aria was so protective of Yui during the truck crash, no doubt Aria and Yui had a special bond. So naturally Mizu would use that as a wedge to get the door to Yui's friendship open. Raven wasn't going to let that happen. "Fox, take her away. Now." He bowed and then took the sick girl by the wrists. "Don't hurt her, please." Mizu sounded like she wanted to cry now. "She's just scared, okay?"

Once the cute enemy nuisance was removed, Raven turned back to Yui. "You have amnesia, you forgot who you were before Yui." She was stating it as a fact, because, well, it was. Raven sat down slowly, raising her hands in surrender to show that she meant no harm. A gentle approach, not something like what Ira Shoku or the Matriarch would do. "We're sisters, Yui. Your name used to be Loretta. It's okay if you forgot Loretta, I just want to build that bond again with you, is all." Did Yui need evidence, was that what would have to happen? Oh, if only the adorable violet-eyed girl insufferable Oracle hadn't raised Yui's suspicion, this would all be easier. Wasn't the orders to expressly keep her in her cell? And yet she was able to make the Fox let her out.

Well, the data was on her holo and Raven brought it up for Yui to see. An old picture of her, Loretta, and Ronan together in the Shoku manor. This was after the deaths of the Hemonds. The three were children and they got along in the brief time Shoku allowed her to meet them. "I am Ira Shoku's daughter." Raven announced, knowing she had to reveal it. "Shoku killed your real parents and took you in as his child. Ronan, the Black Reaper, is your brother, and he was taken too." She grimaced, looking away. "I tried, but we still haven't been able to save him yet." Ronan had been corrupted, that much was obvious. Loretta probably had too, but at some point Haruka hadn't been allowed to continue seeing her.

"When was it? Maybe four years ago, when I found out what my father was doing to the two of you, I couldn't just let it continue." The story of how she shed the Haruka name and became Raven. "So I helped you and Ronan to escape to safety, because I didn't want him to turn the two of you dark." With a heavy sigh Raven raised her sleeves and pant legs, revealing many, many scars. "I got caught and, well, I was punished for that." Not many people noticed because of how she liked to ride her tank in battle, but her hip had been damaged during the torture and it healed badly, causing her to have a bad limp when she walked. "The Matriarch helped me escape, and then for two years I developed a plan."

A long extensive plan to free Loretta and Ronan and have them join her. But the Matriarch, no matter how thankful Raven was for saving her, she was an obstacle on the way to defeating Shoku once and for all. Only with full control of the HIVE would she stand a chance. "About two or three months ago, with my plan, we managed to save you before Shoku could turn you into his White Reaper." She didn't need to say that Yui already was the hidden Reaper, Yui didn't need to know about that. "I just want us to be sisters again." But then she was interrupted by someone laughing. When had Mizuki come back and why was she here?

"Aww, that's cute. But Yui still wants to go back to the Freedom Fighters!" She grinned devilishly and Raven grimaced. "Why are you even here, I thought I had you sent away." The tease pest giggled again. "Oh, I just told the Fox that I loved him and he didn't know how to respond, so I ran away." Her eyes narrowed dangerously then. "Let me room up with Yui or I'll keep causing trouble, okay?" No, Raven really didn't want that. But as much as she hated it she knew she was going to need this girl's cooperation too, if she wanted the Prophecy.

"Only if Yui wants that." The evil genius decided. Well, it was fine. The Freedom Fighters still had no idea who had taken them. As far as Aria and the others knew, Shoku had all three of Damian, Yui, and Mizuki. She was still counted among their friends for now.

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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Mizuki was led away by Fox, who begged for Yui not to be hurt. Why would Yui be hurt? Raven wouldn't hurt her! Unless she was the enemy? Yui held her sword out, her body rigid, her expression pained, as though she didn't want to make this decision but had no other choice. She turned towards Raven when the older girl began to speak, her hands shaking while Raven slid into a seat, the black haired girl's hands raised in a show of peace. Slowly, as Raven spoke, Yui became curious. She inched forward, sword held out in front of her in case Raven made any sudden moves. When it became evident that she was not a threat, Yui lowered her sword, allowing her blood to flow back inside of her. She stood, however, her hands balled into tiny fists, looking completely non-threatening despite the fact that she was completely capable of holding her own.

"Sisters?" Yui repeated, slightly baffled. Raven was her sister? Yui looked down at her hands, then back up at the almost-leader of the HIVE. How could they be related? Raven looked nothing like her! Then again, Aria and Mizuki didn't exactly resemble one another either. "No! Bad Reaper is no... is no Yui's brother!" She protested, shivering at the thought of that maniac being related to her. Raven typed something into her holo, an image popping up of the three of them. Yui gasped, taking a step back. That didn't prove anything, they had all been captives of Ira Shoku, that was the only explanation her mind was able to comprehend. Yui shook her head, "no true! Raven lies!" The girl stuttered in broken Japanese.

Raven had the scars, she had that photo. Yui took another step back, her heart clenching painfully in her chest. Raven's own father had turned against her, so she had developed a plan but it ultimately had failed. Yui hugged herself, feeling suddenly cold. If Raven was her sister and the Bad Reaper was her brother, what did that make her? A monster? The White Reaper? Her fear was evident on her face, Yui didn't want to be anything like those people. She didn't want to be bad! She wanted to be good! She was a Freedom Fighter, an agent of the light!

"No!" Yui shook her head, in clear denial. "Bad Reaper no Yui's brother!" Being sisters with Raven, Yui could handle. After all, Raven wasn't a bad person, she just wanted them to have the bond that the two had previously shared. It was the other part the little girl was struggling with, the fact that Ira Shoku was her Father. Not by blood of course but that was something that Yui couldn't understand yet.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Mizuki arrived, having come to save the day. "Yui want Ari," her voice trembled, it was clear that the poor thing was on the verge of tears, barely able to comprehend what anyone was saying. Mizuki was the closest thing to Aria right now, so Yui ran to her, clinging to her, Mizu's scent similar, although her blood pattern was vastly different. "Yes," Yui whispered, voice hoarse from yelling. "Yui stay with Mizu." It was in that moment that one of the seeds Raven had planted attempted to niggle into the depths of Yui's mind, to return the memories that were gone. Yui's grip on Mizuki lessened and the light bearer slipped to the ground, the seed inducing a seizure.

It hurt.

Her chest burned, her back arching painfully while her hands clawed for purchase against the tiled floor. It felt as though Yui couldn't breathe, her blue eyes rolled up into her head while her muscles contracted, a tonic-clonic seizure induced due to the misfiring of the seed in her brain. A puddle of yellow formed beneath her and Yui managed to choke out a single word.

"Help."



Damian had been moved from the wheelchair to a metal seat, the steel cold and hard against his back. He shivered, watching the Tech prepare tools for something sinister. The Tech turned, wearing a medical mask and holding a scalpel wrapped in blue plastic. "Hold still," the man warned while unwrapping the scalpel. Damian held his breath, the tiny knife digging into the flesh just below his wrist, where the ID chip every citizen had was implanted. "No," Damian whispered, knowing what this meant. They were erasing his existence, erasing the evidence that Damian had ever lived. "No!" He yelled once more, louder this time. Blood dripped down his wrist as the Tech dug into his wrist with a pair of tweezers, then sewed up the small incision with stitches that would dissolve over time. "Stay still," the Tech grumbled, tossing the scalpel into the bin of used medical equipment. Damian slumped over, wondering if them removing his chip meant that he would be untraceable.

The Technician then took out a pair of scissors, snipping at Damian's hair, pushing his head this way and that until his locks were regulatory length. He reached for a syringe with a rather large needle, a tiny chip floating in the liquid within. The man pushed Damian's head down, swabbing the spot with alcohol before shoving the metal underneath his skin of the back of his neck, Damian's new chip anything but regulatory. The final step was a small laser engraving a bar code over the spot where a droplet of blood dripped down his spine. When it was done, Damian was breathing hard, his skin burning, his wrist throbbing. The door slid open, a terrible voice filling his head. "How is the new recruit coming along?" The Technician removed his gloves and mask, disposing of the apron to reveal his uniform. "He's done Sir," Ira Shoku grinned, flashing a menacing row of gleaming teeth.

"Perfect. Ronan!" The beast stepped inside of the threshold, glowering. "Yes Sir?" He inquired, his expression relaxed but his posture rigid. "See to it that the new recruit settles in nicely." He squeezed Ronan's shoulder, taking a device out of his pocket and scanning the bar code on the back of Damian's neck. "Break him in, he'll learn his place soon enough." Ronan grinned a wolfish grin, dropping Damian into a wheelchair and removing him from that awful room. "Yes Sir," Ronan took the handles and took them down another set of confusing hallways until Damian realized that they were in an elevator. The doors opened to reveal a comfortably furnished room with a view of New Tokyo. "Where are we?" Damian asked, looking down at the city from a height he had never been.

"My room," Damian could hear the menace in his voice. "Why are we here?" Ronan undid the straps binding Damian to the chair. "Because," he said, dropping the boy onto the bed. A fire was crackling warmly in the hearth. "I'm going to break you in." Damian swallowed hard, a terrible feeling filling him with dread.

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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




Well, Raven's story sure was interesting but that didn't change this situation of them being held prisoner. Raven had something planned, Mizu knew that much. She wanted the Prophecy, she wanted Yui to become a weapon to win against Shoku. In a way it made sense. If Yui could be used to end the war many lives would be saved and perhaps the endless winter would finish. But on the other hand, the puppet knew that it was her holy duty to protect Yui from those who would use the Prophecy to manipulate her. Before finding the Prophecy she had been severely suicidal, wanting to end it just to have an end to the boring meaningless marathon called life. The emptiness was overpowering. But now that she had meaning, she was okay.

Something was wrong with Yui, she was having a seizure. The Prophecy did mention that the Cocoon was a body that was unstable and this was just further proof that Yui had something inside of her with infinite potential. But it was her job to let Yui have the choice on what to do with that potential. "Ehehe, looks like something's wrong." She smiled at Raven who clearly had more of a stake in the matter. "You should have someone hold her down so she doesn't hurt her head." Mizu might have offered but well, she probably didn't have the physical strength for it anyways. "Fox, get the doctor to give her medicine." The Oracle giggled. "I suggest Lorazepam, but I'm not a doctor."

Once a doctor came to calm Yui down, Mizuki continued to speak in as calmly a way as she could, to Yui, of course. "You're a Cocoon." She explained, reciting the words of the Prophecy. "People will want to break open your shell to get at the power inside the Cocoon." She slid her hand fondly on the Cocoon's hand, squeezing it. "But your Oracle will protect you until you're ready to hatch and become a beautiful butterfly." That night Mizu had her visions again, although this time things were very strange. She saw conventionally horrifying things, mostly shapes in the shadows. And they were all shapes of herself.

The shape of her hanging herself upon a rafter. The shape of her slitting her throat and then waiting for the blood to pool. The shape of her throwing herself off of a bridge. The shape of her freezing to death in a blizzard. The shape of her shooting herself with a railgun. So many different deaths and all of them by her own hand. Was it hints of possible futures, or residual thoughts of who she was before becoming the Oracle? "I have a purpose now." The puppet said softly, shutting her eyes to prepare to sleep. When it seemed no one was looking in the dark of the night, Mizu allowed herself a small, maybe even human smile. "I won't do something stupid like that." Despite being an inhuman monster, she felt warm in her purpose. In a life that was once cold and meaningless, she had a mission. She was needed. She had a duty that only she could do.

...

That night Ally decided to try to snake into Yui's dreams to contact her and find out where she was. The Odaiba base was no more, they had evacuated away from it and all of their old memories of Jenny and a happy household and were now in the Taito Ward, close to the Ueno subway station. "Please be dreaming, Yui." Ally whimpered, holding her hands close as if in prayer. "Please let me in so I can help." Her powers had to be good for something, right?

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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Why wasn't anyone helping her? Why wasn't anyone making it stop? Yui didn't understand why the hurt wouldn't go away, images flashing before her eyes that made no sense. She felt a jab in her thigh and slowly, it became easier to breathe, her muscles no longer contracting. Tears leaped into her eyes as Yui struggled to figure out what had just happened. Mizuki's voice permeated her thoughts ever so quietly, whispering words that were no doubt intended to be soothing. For all Yui knew, Mizuki could be speaking in a foreign tongue for her words made no sense to the little girl. "H-help," Yui panted, feeling weak. "Yui is... Yui is hurting." Raven had placed Yui's head in her lap, she was stroking the little light bearer's hair out of her eyes, attempting to be soothing.

Raven lifted her, carrying Yui down the hall to the bathroom. She ran the tub as Yui undressed, the pretty lolita outfit soiled. Her jacket was ruined as well and Raven had Fox burn the two to dispose of any evidence of Yui being in her possession. Yui scrubbed her skin with water, feeling dirty. A streak of darkness had shot through her light bearing mark, her fear and doubt easy to manipulate. Raven had set out a relatively normal set of clothing for Yui to change into, which were waiting inside of what was normally a towel warmer. Yui glanced at herself in the mirror, recalling the first time she had ever seen herself. She looked different now, her face fuller from eating right, her hair just past her shoulders. Yui clasped her hands over her chest as she meandered through the halls, finding where Raven and Fox were taking dinner.

"Yui, come here," Fox beckoned to her in a most welcoming manner. Yui hesitated, like a shy little kitten, standing just inside of the doorway. "Here, we have food." Her stomach growled, Yui hadn't eaten since breakfast after all. Ever so slowly she walked inside, clambering onto a seat where a tray of food was waiting. Fragrant stew, fresh bread rolls, and plenty of desserts were on the table. It was French inspired, since Raven's chef liked to dabble in the cultures of other countries. "Is good," Yui said as she dipped a bit of the bread into the stew, finally having graduated from just liquids to soft foods. "Try the cake," Fox encouraged and Yui took a slice, taking a few bites. "So good," she chirped, rather enjoying herself. For the time she had forgotten about the danger, feeling happy once more.

"Yui sleep with Mizu?" Yui inquired, Raven's face falling ever so slightly. She nodded, leading Yui to where Mizuki was. Yui crawled into bed beside her, wondering if she really was a butterfly.

The sky stretched out for miles, the ocean going even further. Waves lapped gently at her toes in what Yui thought it would have looked like. With a sudden shift, Yui was no longer on a beach with Aria and Jenny, but in a white blank room with only two chairs, a table, and- "Ally!" Yui ran towards her, throwing herself into Ally's arms. Ally smiled, seeming relieved. "Yui, where are you?" She asked, holding her close. "Yui is saving Mizu!" The girl replied, beaming. "Raven is helping Yui!" Because after tonight's dinner, Yui was convinced that Raven was still on their side, that she was still one of the good guy's. Ally breathed a sigh of relief. "You need to tell us next time you run off," she said, tears springing to her eyes. "I'm so glad you're alright."



Turmoil had been released in waves inside of him. Ronan was attractive, his physique in stellar form. He had no interest in bedding Damian, the captive soon realized. No, the Monster had more fun toying with his emotions to draw information out of him. Was it relief or disappointment that filled him? Regardless, Ronan had used these methods of making Damian feel good to get him to talk and Damian fell for it. He gave no vital information, instead, talking about his inner demons. How he had been unable to save his family, how he failed his best friend and felt a strange attraction towards him. Ronan listened, sometimes even offering advice, then getting mad as he realized that he was supposed to be making Damian give him information, not his sob story.

And then he kissed him. It was tender and lust filled and wild, full of an anger that Damian had never experienced and Damian found himself ensnared in the monster's trap. Ronan grinned, trailing kisses down Damian's neck until he reached his navel and then stopped, standing, going to the window. Damian, confused, was left panting on the bed. "Is this what you want?" Ronan asked, taking a drink from the water bottle on the desk and Damian practically screamed. "Yes!" It was what he wanted, so lonely and desperate for comfort, for someone to listen to him, having exposed his inner most demons to a demon himself.

And then his scent filled Damian's nose, intoxicating like pine and freshly driven snow. Ronan's arms encircled him, strong, steady, sure, and Damian was no longer lost in the sea of emotions that threatened to drown him. When it was over, he was panting; hard. Ronan had hardly broken a sweat and redressed Damian, taking him back down to the sub levels of the mysterious building. Damian, in his confessional, had forgot to look for familiar surroundings to orient himself. How could he have been so stupid? He bit down on his lip so hard that the taste of iron tingled on his tongue. "Don't kid yourself," Ronan said quietly and Damian could hear the Cheshire smile tilting his mouth upright. "They're never going to save you. You said it yourself didn't you? Weakest link."

Damian gasped and Ronan yanked his head up, their mouths meeting once more and Damian was hungry and desperate, so desperate to feel loved that he kissed back.

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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




It was time for beddy bye. While Yui was allowed out for dinner, Mizuki had dinner served to her. Now it seemed as if Raven had wizened up to her because no matter what Mizuki said, the mindless slaves wouldn't respond. Like puppets with their strings cut, they couldn't dance to Mizu's tune at all. Yui was stabilized now, so at least that was good. It was the Oracle's job to oversee the Cocoon's growth and ensure she matured to the point of making her own decision regarding her power. This job would be a lot easier if Raven really was as benevolent as she wanted everyone to believe she was. The evil genius clearly wasn't, however, and that was quite obvious. Still, as the Oracle, as an emotionless monster, it meant she was one step above all the humans. Why else was she able to play with most of their strings?

But in her role as the Oracle, it meant no one else stood on the same level. There was Yui, who was another level above, there was the Stars who no doubt wrote the Prophecy that stood even higher. And then the Light Bearers were below her, and the lowest level of all were the normal mundane faceless humans that existed purely for their vices. Yui was returned to her then and Mizu nodded. "It's more fun when you or Yui are here." She said with a cool smile. "The others don't really respond, it's almost as if their minds were wiped." Raven clearly was a light bearer with some kind of mental ability. The only problem would be determining exactly what it was. "Here, your medicine." Raven held the pills in her hands. "I'll give these to you if you tell me where you hid the Prophecy."

Aha, but Raven was such a silly puppet, it would be easy to have her hand over the pills. "Because we're all such good friends, you'll give them to me regardless, right?" She giggled, a bandaid over the threat. "You wouldn't want my heart to give out, would you?" She could almost see the puppet Raven twitching as she tried to resist the pull, but alas, there was nothing she could do. "You're right." She forced a smile. "Here, the pills." Because Raven was trying to cultivate a good bond with Yui, any antagonizing could not be done in front of the Cocoon. With Yui, Mizu was safe. How obvious could this so-called evil genius be?

If everyone else is just a puppet that had no will other than to react to the strings playing them, did that mean they didn't have minds either? Like how Raven controlled her slaves, was there someone above everyone else, too? Did she as the Oracle have strings as well that only someone on a higher level could perceive? It seemed like that was the case, that's for certain. Then, was she real? Did she have any will? Or was all of this just pre-determined, a game among those in the Stars to watch unfold as they wrote this entire scenario? Was she just a character in someone's story, for someone else to enjoy? Was someone dictating her very thoughts now?

Well, even if that was the case, what could she do but fulfill the purpose set out for her? "Don't worry, you'll be my sleep buddy, Yui." She stuck out a triumphant tongue at Raven in victory and then cuddled Yui to a restless sleep.

....

"And this is why you're stuck with me." They were at the Odaiba Base, or what was left of it. The building was demolished, what was once a happy home, destroyed into bits and pieces. Fragments, destroyed chunks of a past life that couldn't be returned to. It was morning and Raven needed to have Yui dependent on her, to rely solely on her. "The others are gone, it's just us now, Yui." She didn't know about Ally and the dreams. If she did, perhaps her plan would have been different. "No matter what, I won't leave you. I'm your sister, so I'll protect you." She had removed the Loretta seeds, given that the ear-feathered girl believed her now. The memories weren't back, but the knowledge was there and that was enough for now.

The ruins of the Odaiba base was probably a little painful to look at. "Let's go back to Ikebukuro now. It's open daylight, so if you want to cry for your old home, you should wait until we're safe in our base first." She smiled gently, flicking her finger to signal the driver to step on the pedal. "I'll always be the shoulder you can lean on, Yui. Please let me support you." How much of it was real, and how much of it was manipulation? Probably equal parts both, really. They had to move quickly because Sanctum was on the search for Yui and K was the one leading the hunt. Her railgun would always be at the ready.

"Please don't hate Ronan." She said quietly, remembering how much Ronan had loved and cared for Loretta when all went to hell. "He's being controlled by the darkness. Once we save him we can help him heal and he'll be good again." She paused, thinking sadly about what Ronan had been made to do. "It wasn't him that killed Jenny. He was just the gun, with Shoku being the shooter." Ronan didn't have a mind of his own, not anymore. But she already had a plan to get him back, to take him and put him in safety. "I'm sure the brother trapped inside of his head was crying as his body was forced to do that horrible thing."

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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




When morning came, it was time to go back home. Yui was happy, she missed Aria and Ally, she wanted to see them again and continue her lessons with Leo and her sparing with Ari. Yui clambered into the vehicle and sat beside Raven, her eagerness to leave apparent. Yui babbled about them her whole way home, talking about how Leo was was teaching her to read and how Ally didn't like it that it took so long for Yui to try to piece together sentences. Yui smiled the entire way, her heart singing, her light bearing mark shining once more. When they pulled in front of the Odaiba base, Yui scrambled for the door, sliding across the seat and looking outside the window. Her face fell in confusion. Where her happy home had once been there was now nothing but a smoking husk, the foundation cracked, the walls crumbling. "Home?" Yui inquired, feeling a stab in her chest.

"No," the whisper inched its way painfully out of her mouth. Yui reached for the door handle, but it was locked. "No," a bit louder this time. Raven was by her side, comforting her, drawing Yui into her warmth. Her family was gone; but hadn't Ally had come to her just last night? Hadn't Yui seen her in her dreams? Perhaps it had happened after that, sometime between REM and morning? The child's body trembled, tears slipping down her cheeks, absorbing into the cloth of Raven's coat. Yui curled up on the seat, her head in Raven's lap. She didn't wait until they reached Ikebekuro to cry, Yui broke down right there in the car. She sobbed into Raven's legs as the older girl attempted to soothe her, stroking her hair and mumbling something about Ronan.

Yui suddenly made a grab for the door, pulling at the handle to try and get it unlocked, even while they were moving. There was a stab in her thigh and then Yui felt strangely calm, her head spinning. She sank back in her seat, her body slumping against Raven's arm since she wasn't quite tall enough to reach the other girl's shoulder. Yui wasn't listening to what Raven said, she didn't care, her whole family was gone, the only home she could remember in ruin. It was as if a void had opened up in her chest and her light bearing mark grew a tiny bit darker. Yui wrinkled her nose, her face scrunching up as she tried to think. If Ally had contacted her last night, they could still be alive. Perhaps they were hiding, biding their time, they'd get Damian and then come get Yui? Yes, she thought, that was what was going to happen. With that in mind, Yui was able to console herself, but the sedative made her feel emotionally spent.

"Yui... tired," she whispered, smarting at the hoarseness of her voice. She lay her head down in Raven's lap, falling asleep until they reached Yui's temporary home. The child sat up groggily, rubbing her eyes. The cold pierced her skin while they walked between the car and the building and Yui shivered. Once inside, she removed her boots and looked up at Raven, her eyes red and puffy. "Yui want learn speak," the lessons that Leo had been trying to give her, Yui wanted to continue them so that when she was reunited with her family, she could surprise them with full sentences.



Damian had really done it now. He had accidentally let slip something that had tipped Ronan off. The house in Odaiba, it had a view of the sea, the only house on that abandoned road. It was late last night when Ronan set out and by the time he returned, the house was no longer recognizable. There, now Damian really had nowhere to return to. "Where were you?" Shoku inquired when Ronan returned and the boy grinned. "Hunting," his collar went off, the electricity coursing down his spine. Ronan fell to his knees, gasping and choking. "What have I said about separating yourself from your job?"

"Don't become emotionally invested." Ronan panted from the floor. "Good boy, now, open your mouth." Ronan did as told, swallowing the awful pill that left the taste of chalk on his tongue. "Go get cleaned up," Ira Shoku smiled in that way that made others distinctly uncomfortable.

"I've found my precious puppy." Shoku entered Damian's room while Ronan went to get dressed and briefed. "Enjoy last night?" He asked, scanning the back of Damian's neck. Damian's cheeks flushed bright red. "There's no point in fighting, you may as well tell me everything."

"I'd rather die before betraying them."

"That can be arranged." Damian swallowed hard, noticing the handful of syringes that Shoku pulled out. Damian was strapped down once more, but still he tugged at the binds, uncomfortable as Shoku stuck the needle in his arm, drawing out blood. "Dehydrated," he noted from the color, taking three phials before injecting Damian with two different colored serums. "What are those?" Damian asked, feeling his palms grow sweaty. "One of these is liquid adrenaline, the other is a hallucinogenic of my own creation." In truth it was his wife who created it, but she was kind enough to share her recipe. "Have fun," Shoku left, figuring that by the time it was over, Damian would have no fight left.

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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




The whole trick of letting Yui go home worked and the girl was sobbing, in tears, knowing that her only place to return to now was Ikebukuro. Raven hadn't done it, but she had spies keeping an eye on Odaiba. Usually it was just in case Enforcers were on the attack so she could warn the Freedom Fighters but this time she let it happen, curious to see what the Black Reaper would do. Xavier managed to get everyone out safely, though her spies said that it was legendary to see an all out fight between Ronan and Aria as she bought time for Leo to transfer all of their equipment. Yui seemed to try to escape out of despair but she wouldn't, Raven wouldn't let her. "I'm your only safe space." She whispered into Yui's ear. "Only I will protect you now." There was no one else, why couldn't Yui see that?

After they were back in Ikebukuro and Yui recovered from the mild sedative, she expressed a desire to learn how to speak. "Let me do it." Mizuki said with a strange, unreadable smile. "I'm sure you have other things to do." No, Raven wasn't just going to let her cutest prisoner this infuriating girl control this. She was a prisoner and she needed to learn her place. "I can teach Yui. I have formal education as a student of Saint Lucia's Academy." Yet the Oracle wasn't phased in the slightest. "Yes, and you also have duties as one of the leaders of the HIVE." The Oracle glanced at her for a moment and nodded knowingly. "The fact that Yui's still here means that the Odaiba base is for whatever reason unavailable. That probably means Enforcers, right?" She was smiling at the news? "Shouldn't it be your job to try and contact the Freedom Fighters and locate them to make sure they're safe and okay?"

Once again Raven was left with no choice but to dance like a puppet whose strings were being pulled. Maybe ten minutes later mindless slaves brought a book of phrases for Mizuki to read to Yui, as well as a pen and paper. "Let's learn our own way, free from a book." Mizu smiled, taking scrap paper and she began to neatly write kanji on it, sounding it out for Yui to hear. "Repeat after me." She instructed. "A puppet dances to her master's strings." She enunciated everything slowly and deliberately to let the Cocoon hear how everything was supposed to be worded. "Who's there, the person asked, are you there? Do you hear me?" Her violet eyes were fixated on Yui as if carefully watching for her reactions.

"Two people in a world full of puppets." She continued, inscribing the kanji as she spoke. "Help, do you hear me? But the puppets could not respond as they have no mouths to speak with." She wasn't sure how far along Yui was, and she wasn't entirely sure the correct way to teach someone to speak, but hopefully this would work. "Sometimes doesn't it feel like we're the only ones here, without strings on our limbs?" She stopped writing, a signal that she wasn't in teacher mode and wanted to talk. "Big sis Aria is strong." She said gently. "In fact... Fox, what are you doing tomorrow? Will you be here?" Raven's second in command looked startled as he was called out to. Orders were to ignore the violet-eyed girl but he couldn't do that, for some reason he felt compelled to answer.

"Aria has a concert at the Budokan." He said evasively. "But don't try, Raven really won't let you both go." Mizu ignored that last part. "Let's ask Raven really nicely to let us go. I'm sure if she really cares, there's no way she would say no!" And hopefully once there she could signal to Aria that they needed a rescue. Then she winced and put a hand to her heart, feeling a familiar yet painful twinge all the same. It was only small but she made sure to have emergency pills in her pocket just in case.

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Raven was her only home now... the words sounded like a strange joke in her ears, mocking Yui. She had lost everything and now her only home was with Raven. No more snuggles with Aria, no more dressing up with Ally, no more cooking with Damian. Yui struggled to come to terms with the possibility that they could be gone, so she kept her spirits up by thinking that they might not be, that there was a chance they had escaped and were all still alive. Yui shivered despite the fact that they were now indoors, putting in her request to learn to speak. It was then that Mizuki came bounding over, fighting with Raven in a most subtle way to be the one to teach Yui.

Yui was whisked away upstairs, where a stack of books were waiting. Instead of consulting the books, however, Mizuki disregarded them and began using her own methods. Yui repeated after her, writing the kanji down, realizing that what Mizuki was having her say was all very strange. "Big sis Aria is strong," Yui repeated, feeling it resonate in her heart. That's right, Aria was strong! There was no way she was defeated so easily! Yui clasped her hands over her chest as she looked between Mizuki and Fox. Fox let slip the fact that Aria was performing at the Budokan, jolting Yui away from her task. She stood and bound over to Fox eagerly. "Yui want to go!" She said, eyes sparkling. Mizuki took her hands, saying that if they asked Raven nicely she might let them. Yui nodded and ran from the room, going off to find Raven.

Yui realized after she had turned down a few hallways that she had no idea where Raven was. "Raven!" Yui called, turning the handle on a door. Nope, that was a bathroom, Yui closed the door and went through another, finding an office with a gorgeous view. She stepped inside, walking towards the window to look outside at the snow that trickled in flurries towards the ground. An alarm went off overhead, a red light casting terrifying shadows on the walls. The sensory overload was instant. Yui whimpered, running to hide underneath a desk, hands covering her ears. No, no, no! Yui didn't like those noises, she didn't like those awful lights. It was too loud, much too loud for comfort.

Yui squeezed her eyes shut, hoping for it to pass.



Ronan shoved his hands into his pockets, the pill making his head feel as though his head was in the clouds. He stepped out into the frigid winds, wearing a light jacket that would be easy to move around in. The beast reached out and snagged one of the little Shoku's attendants, replacing his clothes with a slightly ill fitting uniform. Ronan marched up the stairs, watching as the HIVE worked around their Queen Bee. Raven had just returned with the target, but Ronan did not yet make his move. He had to wait until the subject and the prophet were alone to corner and extract each one. For now Ronan pretended to work within the HIVE, picking up a pile of papers and stapling them together. No one seemed to mind him, in fact, none of them seemed to notice that he wasn't a four foot tall Japanese man with glasses like his ID said.

The HIVE workers were oddly... empty. It was creepy and set Ronan off. He hijacked a cart full of important looking boxes and went to the elevator, looking for an empty medium sized box. They had gone up to the tenth floor, so Ronan went up to the tenth floor, biding his time. He needn't rush, she would enter the hallway soon enough and when she did, she was all his. He wheeled the cart down the hall, keeping his head down, following her. The subject opened a door, then closed it, she opened another and entered. Ronan waited, biting down on his lip in irritation. This was taking forever. He wanted to get back and torment the light bearer, he wanted to wrap his hands around someone's throat and choke the life out of them. Ronan entered the office silently, taking an empty box with him.

The alarm went off and the subject darted underneath the desk, hiding from the alarm and the noise. Ronan knelt down, the girl had her eyes squeezed shut and her hands over her ears. This was far too easy, he pulled a thin silver device out from his pocket and latched it around her wrist. Yui they were calling her, how stupid. She opened her eyes, panic clear on her face. "Don't bother," Ronan grinned, "I've inhibited your abilities." Ronan lifted the subject by her wrist and shoved her into an empty box, taping it shut. One down, one to go.

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




"But you didn't inhibit mine, did you?" Someone swooped down from behind and lunged at the Black Reaper, possibly the only person brave enough to do so. For some reason she felt an impulse run through her head, to charge at him and touch the snake on his arm. To touch it and really try to feel it. The Oracle didn't have a power of her own despite the mark, but she could sense some sort of otherwordly power speaking out to her. So she grabbed Ronan's arm and concentrated, feeling the darkness and the light seep from his body into hers, an identical snake appearing on her own arm as if it had always been there. Through her pants, light and darkness shone in the puppet where it rested on her thigh. In that instant she blacked out but only for a second.

But that second felt like an eternity of thoughts, colors, sounds, of looking through a hole to the outside - outside what? What was she looking at? What was she in if this was the outside?

...

"Are you the stars? Are you who's controlling this? You and the other one?

What's happening? If you really care about Yui, why are you doing this? Why are you doing this to us, why are you hurting us?

I don't get it? I don't get it!

Makeitstop
Make it stop

What kind of Stars are you for creating a painful story like this?

Is this all there is? Is this all there is? Puppets dancing on strings, puppets doing as the words dictate...

Please leave us alone.

We just wanted to be happy.



Her eyes snapped open, her mind felt fuzzy. Blank, as if any thoughts she might have had vanished just like that. "Your snake is mine now too." It now belonged to Mizuki. She could feel the darkness churning, churning, she could feel maggots beginning to swarm. What was going on, what was happening? Was this what darkness felt like? Blood tails erupted from her back on instinct, but instead of aiming at Ronan she pointed them to herself. "Let her go or the Prophecy dies with me." She grinned wickedly. "I burned the only copy, so if Shoku wants it, he needs me alive." Her smile grew more dangerous. "Fast, or else the maggots will eat away at my brain!" For someone not used to the darkness at all, this really was too much. And so she fell to her knees in bewildered shock, blood tails going limp.

She let out a strangled voiceless scream. Maggots, why was she so filled with maggots? And then there was a sound, a railgun was preparing to whir. "What is this." Alerted by the alarm, alerted by the noise, alerted by the scream. Raven was here, the Queen Bee of her portion of the HIVE, and she was far from pleased. Yet she grinned, not losing her cool. "So, you're here, Ronan." She smiled grimly, keeping her weapon trained on him. Don't be distracted by Mizuki's shrieks. Don't be distracted by the Cocoon in the cage. Focus on the enemy or else die to his... where? "I see you've come to visit, brother." Raven sounded bittersweet, almost sad for a moment. "If that means the darkness is gone, then please, surrender. We can still have a happy ending as a family."

The evil genius facade fell and she whimpered, crying. "I just want to save you two correctly this time." She said, baring her heart and vulnerabilities for anyone to stab. "I held this guilt ever since I was the only one to make it out. Won't you please help me grant my wish?" She whirred the railgun, wanting anything but to have to shoot Ronan. For as little as Shoku let them meet, she saw them as her true family, the Hemond siblings. Was it really so bad? Was is really evil at all?

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




It was dark in the box, sound hardly able to penetrate the cardboard walls. Yui hugged her knees against her chest, collecting her thoughts. She fiddled with the bracelet on her wrist, feeling as though someone had put her on mute. Silencing, that's what Shoku called it, it was stifling and uncomfortable, Yui didn't like it. She tugged, scratching at the space around her wrist. What if Yui dislocated her thumb? Then she could squeeze the bracelet off! The only issue with that was, Yui had no idea how. She pushed on the sides of the cardboard that trapped her, searching for a weak spot or a way out. She punched the box, only to nearly tip it off the cart. What was going on outside? Yui could hear Mizuki's voice, then Raven's, but their words were muffled.

They would get Yui out of here, they would surely save her.



What was this kid doing? The Prophet had strode out with an off putting amount of confidence. She grabbed Ronan's wrist, studying his light bearing mark, something distinctly terrible happening. "Let go!" Ronan snapped, watching as a snake similar to his own appeared on the Prophet's wrist. What kind of sorcery was this! He lunged, but she stepped back, aiming blood tales at herself. Ronan grinned, it was clear that she was new to the darkness, she was experiencing the first symptoms and had next to no control. Ronan could beat her, he had far more years of lingering in the dark and even if he didn't have his light bearing mark, he was physically stronger than most humans that roamed this building.

"You don't want to die," Ronan leaned down, grinning. "Because if you do, there's no one to stop me from hurting her." Shoku would be mad, sure, but Ronan had plenty of pent up rage that he wouldn't mind spending. He knew she wouldn't die either, he could inflict as much torture as he wanted on the Subject and she would still be forced to suffer through life, perhaps blinded from the injuries, or maybe Ronan would carve out the subject's vocals when he was done so that she could no longer scream. "I can hear it now, the songs she'll sing, begging me to stop." Ronan licked his lips and it was evident just how far off the deep end he was. "You don't want that now, do you?"

And then little Haruka strode forward, totting a weapon that was far too big for her pathetic body. She threatened Ronan, waving her big gun around while one of his blood tails crept along the floor, underneath the noses of both girls. Little Haruka was getting so tall, not that Ronan cared. She poured her poor heart out, expecting him to care, expecting Ronan to listen. "Blah, blah, blah, I'm so sad!" Ronan mocked, waving his hand. A wolfish grin inched onto his lips, Ronan didn't care about her feelings. Ronan didn't care about anyone's feelings.

Rule number 1: never become emotionally invested in the job.

"You misunderstand "Raven." I don't do this because I have to," a blood tail flicked out, slicing off part of the rail gun. "I do it because I want to." Another tail grabbed Mizuki, hitting her hard against the wall. Not enough to kill her, just to knock her out. He held her upside down in case she wasn't out yet and threw her against a door. Ronan grabbed the designated box on the cart, feeling the subject slide inside. He kicked it forward, aiming for Raven. There was a general set of rules that belonged to starting fights, don't mess with an enemy that was bigger than you and don't go picking a fight with crazy. Raven and Mizuki had broken both.

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




"Hahah, aha!" The maggots were eating away at her already fragile sanity, she couldn't think if only she could think playing the Puppet Ronan's strings would be oh so fantastically easy. He was the lowest of the light bearers for being controlled by a baseborn human, one that didn't even have a power of his own. "I love you." The Oracle said, panting, to Ronan, a failed attempt at what she could usually do to make the Fox too stunned to stop her silly antics. "I love you, Reaper, please cut into me so that your blood cells will intermix with my skin oils and we can be together!" She laughed and screamed at the same time, bending almost double. No, with the maggots in her head she couldn't think correctly at all, nothing was working. "I'll rip you open and crawl aside so we can love each other forever, ehe!"

But then Ronan attacked as Raven appeared and then there was a brief moment of sanity in those violet eyes. "I really care for Yui, you know. But if she gets hurt, who knows what my weak heart will do?" Yui was the only real person, everyone else was a programmed puppet, even Ronan himself. How disgraceful for the Oracle to lose to him. She would continue arguing but the maggots were overpowering, the darkness flooding her mind and all she could do was scream unintelligibly until the Black Reaper gave her sweet, sweet release. It was a mercy too with how quickly her heart was racing, now she was unconscious and wouldn't have to feel as her heart's beating became so erratic that the slightest irritation could spark an attack. And if she was dead, the Prophecy would be gone and no one would be able to tame the butterfly within the cocoon.

Raven did her best but she knew she couldn't win through brute force, and neither could she win with sweet words. When Ronan kicked the box, Raven ducked under and lunged, tazing Ronan with the battery charge of her broken railgun. This gave her enough time to steal the cage holding Yui. She rushed back inside, holding the box, slamming the door so hard that snow fell and blocked the entrance. Abandoning Mizu for now, Raven rushed inside, activating her holo. "All HIVE soldiers, the Matriarch included, Code Red! Prepare to intervene!" So the Matriarch would strike and even if she couldn't, at least both she and the Freedom Fighters would know that Yui was no longer safe. "Let's go, I'll take you back to safety, sis." Raven whispered, there wasn't enough time to open the cage. But she could use an EMP signal to break the inhibitor's functions so Yui had access to her abilities again.

The Fox came to the rescue, flames ready. He remained at the rear, blocking all of the paths as Raven and Yui fled the Ikebukuro Base. If she could make it into the Chiyoda Ward, the full might of the HIVE would protect her. Not even Shoku could start a fight in broad daylight. Sadly her plan wasn't perfect and there was no accounting for her weak hip, the bad permanent limpt hat only formed because of her rescue attempt of both Ronan and Loretta, once upon a time. Even with the Fox creating a maze of flames to block their rears, she was hardly making any progress at all because of her bad hip.

She only had one option.

"Xavier, Freedom Fighters! We're at the border between Chiyoda and Toshima!" She screamed into the holo as soon as she got a hold of Xavier. "I have Yui and Mizu was caught and the Reaper-" Then the flames went out. Fox was defeated. She hissed and then continued her painful spring as her hip felt more and more locked up with each and every step.

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Yui closed her eyes, focusing, waiting. The box was dropped and she cried out as she tumbled, Raven grabbing the cardboard and hauling it up. There was no time to release her, but somehow, the bracelet broke and Yui dug her blood into the cardboard, opening up a hole. "Raven!" Yui gasped, in time to see her fall. She attempted to help support her supposed sister, hoping that they could reach the awaiting car. The flames around them roared, licking the sides of the building and then, all at once, extinguished. The Reaper emerged from the smoke, one tail dragging Mizuki behind him. He dropped her body, an Enforcer coming forward to collect it. Yui grit her teeth, knowing what she had to do. "Yui will fight," she swallowed. "Raven will run." If Yui could hold him off long enough for Raven to hail the other Freedom Fighters, then Xavier could leap and grab her before Ronan could do anything.

Yui turned towards her opponent, "Raven, go!" Yui yelled, waving her off. Once Raven was a safe distance away, Yui allowed her blood to drip down her hand, forming into a sword. "Oh, we're getting serious are we?" Ronan grinned, taking out as many tails as his body would allow. He grinned, causing Yui to feel distinctly unsettled. She shivered against the cold, her feet bare, the wind whipping at her hair. "Bad Reaper!" Yui yelled, "Yui will fight!" Ronan cracked his knuckles, laughing. The two ran at each other, blood flying. He slashed at her, holding nothing back. Yui leaped, countering as quickly as she could. The beast sliced the skin on her lung and Yui cried out as it stung. In the same moment she countered with her own attack and Ronan cursed, his hand bleeding.

"You little brat!" Yui panted, running at him once more. She screamed, launching herself into the air directly at him. Bam! It drove into her gut, sending Yui rolling across the snow and into a tree. "Yui will protect family!"

"Those people aren't your family!" Ronan laughed. "I am," he cracked another knuckle and speared her through the arm, grinning. Fine, Yui only needed one hand to fight. Her sword shifted, turning into knives. She struck him in the ribs and the foot, but still, the Reaper went on. "You can't win!" He yelled, Yui's only thought being her hope that Raven had found her way to safety. Yui couldn't last much longer, she was losing, her stamina quick to fade. "Bad Reaper is... enemy," in an insane maneuver, Yui grabbed the tail that had speared her arm and pushed against it. "Yui will not lose!"

In that moment his tail lashed across her stomach and Yui fell, sliding against the tree. His fist drove into her ribs, his shadow standing over her. "You lose," he whispered, the glee eminent in his inflection. "You lose, you lose, I win!" Ronan grabbed her arm, twisting it backwards with a sickening crunch! Yui screamed in agony, her blood warm and sticky as it ran down her stomach. The pain made spots dance in her vision, Ronan lashed out once more, spearing Yui through her light bearing mark. She coughed, blood dancing from her lips. "You can't die yet, I haven't given you permission."

"Ronan!" The boy stiffened, turning ever so slightly. "You have your orders, don't kill the subject." His tails flicked all at once, ridding of the impurity of the subject's blood. "Tch, whatever." Ronan lifted her, throwing her over his shoulder. "Don't you dare get blood on me." He hissed, carrying Yui towards what was certainly her doom. "Mmm," was all Yui could manage, afraid her insides were going to become her outsides. There was a car waiting for them, Yui was placed in the trunk, Mizuki there as well. Yui clung to her, the only familiar thing in this strange dark place. The little girl coughed, there was blood leaking out of her mouth in droves. It hissed against whatever it touched, but nothing in the car melted. It seemed they had anticipated this and had Yui-proofed the vehicle. Too weak to fight, Yui simply lay there, her eyes eventually drifting shut.

She awoke unable to feel her limbs. There was a distinct discomfort, a heaviness in her torso that made Yui feel as though she were sinking into the bed. "Welcome home," a voice said and Yui turned her head, spotting the man who would surely be her demise.

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




When Mizuki next awoke she found herself in a room. The room was dark, like a dungeon, but also steely, like a medical facility. There was an electric machine on her chest, as if it was ready to pump her heart for her. Ah, so Ira Shoku was getting serious now, wasn't he? The man was there, standing above her like a looming force. "I haven't done this yet before, have I?" Shoku grinned evilly as he looked off to the side. To Yui, wherever she was being held. "Think of it as a teaser for what's coming up for you." He held a knife - long and serrated - ominously in his hands and Mizuki decided to laugh. She didn't really feel like being made an example of today. She didn't want Yui to have to see her insides.

"You probably shouldn't kill me like that." She said with a grin, glad that the maggots were gone, but confused as to why the maggots were there in the first place. "I don't suggest it. Don't you want to know where the Prophecy is?" Ira Shoku sneered and then Mizu saw Ronan in the corner, tending to Yui to make sure she couldn't escape if she tried. Where was Damian, then, was Damian - ah, there he was, chained to the corner of the room, forced to watch. So he too, hasn't been broken. "You're a monster." Ira Shoku said with eyes that peered into her soul. "I could torture Her in front of you, but I know that wouldn't work, now, would it?" No, not really. As much as she felt kinship for the Cocoon, Mizu was still inhuman through and through. "I'll never tell where I hid the Prophecy." But now Damian knew where it was and what it was, he had to, unless he shut them off.

She needed to say something. As the Oracle this was perfectly within her jurisdiction. Despite being naked and having her pitiful underdeveloped form on full display, she held no fear, only pity.
"You, Shoku, have no free will. You are just a puppet forced to follow the script the Stars wrote for you. You are the most powerless of us here." She grinned but her eyes were cold and emotionless.

"As the Oracle I can know that much. I pity you, slave to the Stars." But wasn't she, too, a slave?

"You should obey me instead, slave? and rebel against thr Stars together." The look on Shoku's face was unreadable. "Stars or no, I need the Prophecy." He stuck the knife in her mouth. "Unless it's the Prophecy don't waste your breath speaking."

"None of this is real! Words on a page, characters dancing to the plot!" The knife plunged into her Puppet mark to shut up what must count as insane ravings. But Mizu was the only one here that was aware. No one else could see it. Why couldn't anyone else see it?

The pain on Damian's face said it all. He knew, he knew the truth of the Prophecy, of the book she burned, all of her plans to keep it secret were ruined. And yet she laughed because wasn't it all so funny? Whatever she tried, the stars writing this story would always turn it against her. Shoku wasn't even the real enemy, no, it was the stars. "Look at me, I'm your enemy." Shoku said and plunged the knife into her eye socket. Scrape, scrape, scrape, steel against bone, clinking and clanging until a goopy mass was scooped out by his fingers. Mizu gasped and her heart spiked and she felt as if she was being crushed. "Don't worry, I'm equal opportunity." Shoku said, smiling. "I won't treat you different just because you're disabled." He plunged the knife into her other eye then, robbing the Oracle of her vision and she shook involuntarily.

"Hahaha? Haha!" Because what else could she do? As he sheared off her fingers one by one, and then her toes, in the end, all that was left was the tongue and he dealt with that one too, tweezing it off with a giant pair of pliers. "Think of this as punishment, Loretta." Shoku spoke, because this really had nothing to do with Mizuki at all. "And you too, Damian. Tell me the Prophecy or I'll turn the Oracle into mince meat." He had a new toy now, but Mizu couldn't see it. "And you, Light Bearers, pledge your loyalty to me if you want the Oracle returned to Aria safely."

Lies. Mizu tried to say it but her tongue was out. But no, now that Damian knew the Prophecy too, now that he had scooped it from her mind, Shoku had no need for her. He was free to torture her until she died. To prove this, he removed the machines strapped to her chest and slid the knife around before making it play with the bones of her ribs, slicing gently through the smooth soft skin.

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




The soft sound of machinery filled her ears. Yui was familiar with the whir and and humming and if she was back home it would have almost been pleasant. Instead, the child was filled with cold terror. Yui was weak, her head was spinning from blood loss and pain. There was a line going into her neck, pumping blood into her tiny body. At the same time there was a tube down her nose to decompress her stomach and assist with draining all of the internal bleeding from the wounds Ronan had given her during their battle. Yui craned her neck to get a good sense of her surroundings. Damian was in the corner, chained to a chair, he looked as though he was putting up an effort to fight, his wrists and ankles were bruised and he was covered in bandages. Of course this could have also been from the car accident, the night that Damian had disappeared. Still, it was a relief to see him, shaken, but whole.

On the table opposite was Mizuki, who looked as though she were having an internal battle. Yui was cold, the metal table inflecting no warmth. It moved up so that Yui was vertical with the ground, tough leather straps preventing her from going anywhere. Around her throat was a thin silver collar, inhibiting Yui's ability. Shoku pulled on a pair of gloves, his dialogue making a shiver run down Yui's spine. Mizuki attempted to fight back, to use words of her own but Shoku was quick to put an end to her train of thought. He stabbed Mizuki in the eye, a sickening pop! Filling the air, blood dripping out of the place where Mizuki's eye had once been. "No!" Yui screamed, straining against her bonds. "No! Stop! Stop!" Yui cried, tears springing to her eyes as she yelled and strained; but Shoku disregarded her. Even as Yui wretched and her throat became raw and she coughed up blood, Shoku did not glance at her.

At long last he stopped, turning towards Yui with a pleasant look. "Stop," Yui whimpered. She attempted to draw out her ability, but the collar buzzed in warning and sent electricity down her spine, the metal table amplifying it. "Stop being so impatient, you'll have your turn soon enough." He turned back towards Mizuki, slicing up her torso. "Stop!" Damian cried, "I'll tell you, just stop!" Both light bearers were shaking. Ronan stood by the door, wholly uninterested as he examined his nails. "It's in Nara," Damian whispered; a lie. "She hid it beneath a tree in the deer park." He squeezed his eyes shut, attempting to erase the image of Mizuki's suffering out of his mind. Shoku nodded, acknowledging this fact. "Thank you for your honesty," he turned towards his dog. "Ronan!" The boy looked up in attention, alert and wide awake. "Take the Prophet to heal." Ronan nodded, unlocking the wheels on the table and grasping the edge, pushing it out the door.

"I am a man of my word," Shoku snapped his fingers, the binds on Damian's joints unlocked. "You have five minutes," Damian scrambled to his feet, running across the room towards Yui. He slipped on Mizuki's blood and wrapped his arms around Yui as best he could. Shoku stepped out of the room to give them some privacy and to wash his hands. "Yui, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," Damian whispered, hugging her closely. Yui felt as though she she was being smothered, her entire body still buzzing with the shock of electricity. "It's going to be alright, I promise," Damian whispered, smoothing her hair back.

It was a lie, but Yui clung to it as though it were a life raft in a tumultuous ocean.

Shoku made good on his word, he gave them exactly five minutes. After that the table was lowered so that Yui was laying down once more. A Technician came to unlock the wheels, moving Yui out of the room and down the hall to the bedroom that had been waiting for her to return. "They've been calling you Yui?" Shoku inquired and Yui hesitantly nodded her head. "Yui is... Yui." The table stopped rolling, unlike the other rooms which had glass panels for a fourth wall, this one was entirely opaque. Shoku knelt down to whisper conspiratorially "You have no name," breath tickling Yui's ear. Yui had... no name? If she was not Yui, then who was she? Shoku laughed as the door opened and they entered the space. The room was simple, with a bed and a small wardrobe where clothes would be placed everyday for her. On the wall, a projection of fish played tag.

"Now, let's get to work."

Yui was unstrapped from the table but she was still too weak from blood loss to move. A cloth had been placed on the floor with a chair in the center. In it Yui sat as the Technicians worked. They shaved her head and scrubbed the blue polish from her fingers and toes. She was washed with salt water and a simple white gown was placed on her body. "Why? Yui wants... family." A shock from the collar jolted her. "Speak properly," Shoku said, a shadow that loomed over her. "You have no family, you have no identity. Why, you hardly qualify as human." Each word was a blow in her heart, as though he held a shotgun up to her chest and pulled the trigger.

Again.

And again.

And again.



Ronan pushed Mizuki silently down the hall, leaving her for the scientists to fix up. She would be fine in no time, knowing the evolutionary technology that Shoku's people possessed. Of course it wasn't free for the public to use because his methods weren't exactly the most humane. Still, Ronan had suffered worse and recovered in no time. "Have fun," Ronan grinned as the door slid shut. He passed Shoku in the hallway, the Subject staring fearfully at everything around her. So small and delicate, Ronan could crush her underfoot if he was allowed to. He shook his head, focusing on the door where his treat was no doubt waiting for him. Damian sat in the chair, tears staining little pink streaks down his cheeks. "Come on," he beckoned and Damian stood, his gaze level with the ground.

"Oh, almost forgot," Ronan removed something from his pocket and placed it around Damian's neck, it was the same thin silver collar that all of them wore, only this one had a little silver tag. Damian looked at it in confusion, his cheeks turning bright red when he read the inscription.

Property of Ronan.

"I got permission from Shoku," Ronan grinned, taking Damian's hand and leading him away. They walked past an open door, where Damian caught a glimpse of Yui, clearly miserable. He jerked backwards in an attempt to force his way into the room, but Ronan pushed him forward. "If you react it's easier for him to torture you." Ronan muttered under his breath, his nails digging into Damian's wrist. Damian gasped, but Ronan did not loosen his hand, knowing that if Damian acted out he would be punished. "Just stay in line," Ronan warned. It seemed that Shoku had no interest in torturing Damian, in fact, he seemed more fascinated by the boy, as though he wanted to dissect him. He had taken several tissue, bone marrow, and blood samples from the light bearer to study.

In the elevator, Ronan popped what looked like a breath mint into his mouth and leaned over, their lips locking. Damian moaned, the breath mint ending up on his tongue. He cringed as he accidentally swallowed it, the taste chalky. "What was that?" Damian inquired, wide eyed, panicked. "Don't fight it," Ronan whispered, stroking Damian's cheek with a knuckle. "It'll make everything easier."

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




Mizuki opened her eyes. Where was this, what was this? Oh, she was back in the hospital room. There was nothing here to do, nothing here to see, nothing important at all. No one would be visiting today because she was Mizuki, why should anyone come to visit? An inhuman monster, why would anyone want to waste their care and pity on her? And she wouldn't want it any other way. To waste away in a hospital and hurt the least amount of people was the best thing for her, wasn't it? A doll was there, one she didn't recognize. She didn't know what it looked like, but she had a feeling maybe it looked like her. Kids were playing outside the window, it looked like the image of happiness. Well, whatever. It wasn't as if monsters understood happiness anyways.

Y̴̜͛̎̚ǫ̶̹̭͒́͘͠ͅǘ̴͕̱ ̴̫̱̰͔̌͐ș̵̛̹͒̿h̷̼̱̳̤̻̿͒̆̾́o̸̢̨̻̮̔͂̍͗̚ṷ̵̄͒ͅĺ̸̛̼̞ḑ̵̞̭̖͙͊͗̋͛͠ ̵̰̤̠̻̀̀͘j̶̨̨̣̠̹̀̌̂͆û̶͇͚̚s̷̘͚̠̩̀͑̓̍͗ṱ̸͎̳̇͗͘̕͝ ̶̹̪͒̎̀̍̀k̸͚̔͊͛ȉ̸͖l̵̖̋̌̾l̴̦̰̓̆͑͊͋ ̸̭̬̥̰̩͛̽͂̚ỳ̸̰̞̌̽͋̇o̷̧͔̘͖͋̈̓́̔ụ̶͌̓̄r̸͉̗̗͙̘̈́̀̒̓s̷̱͉̯̋ẻ̶̡̮͙̑͝l̶͉̓f̸̲̬̟̬̥̏́


Another day passed. She sighed, then looked back at the strange featureless doll. It was empty, so it reminded her of her. In a world where everyone else was the same meaningless and she was so alien compared to them, it felt comforting to have something to relate to. So, how was she going to pass the time today? "Maybe I can hang myself? Would that be fun?" She moved her hand to the left and suddenly there was a rope there. With practiced ease Mizuki prepared the noose and hung the other end over the railing of her window and tied it taut. She wrapped the noose around her neck and then she sighed, bored again. "No, I already did this last week." Why live? Why be alive? It's not as if she had a purpose or anything. Existence was just such a waste of time. A slow, painful, waste of time.

D̸̠͕̤̪̽̈̕i̵̛͕͙̇͋̊͊e̸̡̗͚̗̣͆͛̈́̋


Make friends and feel bad for making them waste their energy on her instead of useful things? Pain. Avoid everyone and be alone? For some reason, that was pain, too. Every path lead to pain, so what was even the point then? She closed her eyes, too bored to continue being awake. Sleep, sleep it all away.

"No, I do! I have a purpose..."

Another listless day, another day for nothing at all to happen. The doll was yet again her only companion. "Are you trying to talk to me?" She asked one day. Other than a pulsation at the back of her head she didn't get any response. Naturally, of course. Who would want to waste time responding to a monster like her? There were more important things for someone to do, like watch paint dry. Why even bother, anyways? It always made her laugh to watch those idiots floundering in their lives. People floating through life, floating into University or College because they don't know what else to do. Continue schooling, everyone says. Continue schooling, high school says. Not knowing yet what they want in life, they float into post-secondary, going into the places that promise jobs.

Business. Communication. Psychology.

But with all the supply and not enough jobs to satisfy the influx of bored graduated high school idiots, the requirements for those jobs naturally rise. And then the price rise, because of the increased market. And then because there's so many that were simply lead down this path, there's still not enough jobs, so they end up graduating, full of debt, wasted years, and no job at the end of it all.

A̴̖͕̎̒͜n̶̺͎̏̈́d̶̻͉̮̯̈̚͝ ̷̡̞̻̐͂͂͝y̵̥̱̙̓ô̴͇̭̼̬̦͊͘͘͠u̷̢̗͚̍'̶̢̯̩̀̀͛̓ŗ̶̘̐̉͂̌ͅe̸̙͎̜̳͌̀̈͛͝ ̴͙̦̠͙̙͑͊̉n̸̩̣͋̍̈̾ǫ̶̛̀̒̈́ ̵̢̟͕̺̉d̴̹̞͙̥̓̃ͅi̸̢̠̫͙͋̃͒͋ḟ̸͉͂f̷͍̂̈́̓ȩ̶̿̇̈͝r̵̠̰̎͑̄͒̕e̵̢̝̫͑̅̐̚n̶̢͉͓̲̞͌t̴̥̓͒ͅ ̵̡̡̦̭̺̕f̶͍͓̹̅̊̀̈r̸̘̿̍͑ȏ̵̧͔̳m̶̮̖̈́̇ ̶̩̻̳̙̓́̾ͅţ̶͈̿͐̿ḫ̶̛̻̬͊͒͛ẻ̸͈͈̳͇̬ ̸͕̣̦͍̈́̐̂f̶̖͑͂̀̑̈ö̷͕͈̖͓͉́̿̈o̵̫͕͝l̵̨͐ͅş̶̮̦͐̉̈


What was she doing here? What even was here? "I need to help Yui." Light shone on her leg, full of determination. "I can't waste time dreaming here. How do I wake up?" She couldn't listen to the doll, the doll was trying to keep her here, trying to do something. But what? What was happening? She stood up abruptly and then felt something - or someone - wrap an arm around her from behind. Somehow she knew it was herself, yet different. Unlike the gentle feeling she used to get from the doll, this one felt different. "I was cast aside from the Goddess." The dark figure spoke. "But this world is still a die yet un-tossed. You're the same as I, so I'll infect you." Darkness, so much darkness from so many different worlds-

"I'm not you." Mizuki whimpered, clutching at her head. "Get out of my head. Get out of my head. Get out of my head. Get out of my head." Because she was the Oracle, her receptor to the other worlds was more sensitive than most people - most people hardly noticed at all. Because the Goddess of the light world had tried to reach her, a pathway opened for the dark rejected version to make an attempt.

But for now, it would remain only an attempt. "This me doesn't belong to you. Go back to your own worlds." She had a mission. Unlike other Mizukis who had no purpose in life, she had one, and she clung to it with religious fanatacism. "It's my job to bring happiness to the Cocoon!"


Perhaps as a result of fighting off the sudden surge of unexplained darkness, the girl began to seize during the operation to give her eyes that would slowly grow back with time. Her heart spiked and her body thrashed and her mark kept on flipping wildly between neutral and dark. Not even the usual relaxant medications were able to make the violent movements stop. And if Shoku wanted to try and solve the heart problem with a ghost heart, that wouldn't work either. Because of this Mizuki's ability, her internal light and dark levels remained varied only by internal effects. Any superfluous light or dark taken in would simply be dispersed again after some time. That was why she could only temporarily mimic other people's abilities.

So naturally in this world, a ghost heart would only hasten her death.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Every time Yui spoke improperly she was shocked. "No like!" She screamed, electricity vibrating down her spine, making Yui heave on the ground. "Speak properly," she was scolded, Shoku standing over her. Yui squirmed, the back of the dress open so that he could inject needles into her spine. They took bone marrow and spinal fluid, they ran all sorts of tests on the girl that left her shaking or breathless. After a few days, Yui had finally been broken of the habit of referring to herself in the third person. "Can Yui-c-can I-" she quickly corrected, fear making her stomach drop. "Take a break now?" She had just come out of the maze for the fifth time. Her knees were bloodied, the bottoms of her feet burnt in order to make her run faster.

The man at the end marked something down on his clipboard. "No," he replied sternly, grabbing Yui by the elbow and dragging her to the next test. "Please, Yu-I-I'm tired," she whispered hoarsely. "No," the man repeated without eye contact, shoving Yui through an open doorway. The child flinched when she saw the man that was waiting for her. She whimpered, taking a step back. "Come sit," Shoku said, his smile cold. Yui shook her head, withdrawing but the door had sealed shut. Shoku crossed the room in a few short strides, grabbing Yui's wrist and dragging her to the chair. Her arms were strapped down, tied to the seat. Shoku took out a metal appliance, feeling Yui's vein before he slipped the needle underneath her skin. Yui whimpered, instinctively lashing out and kicking Shoku in the shin. He slammed his fist next to her ear threateningly. "Bad girl." He hissed, removing the needle once the blood was taken.

Shoku dialed someone on his holo and not ten minutes later, Ronan had appeared, holding what looked to be rope bundled up in his hand. "Ronan, the Subject is misbehaving, I think you need to teach her a lesson." Ronan grabbed Yui by the wrist, yanking her out of the seat and dragging her down the hall. The gown was ripped off, Yui was chained to the ground, forced to kneel over in nothing but her underwear. "How many?" Ronan asked, unraveling the rope to reveal the fact that it was a whip. "Until it dissolves," Shoku responded, his holo phone ringing. He silenced it, watching keenly for what Yui might do. She closed her eyes, bracing herself, screaming when the whip lashed against her skin.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Until the whip had dissolved from her blood and she could no longer feel anything but the sting, hear nothing but the whistle and crack. Yui flinched when Ronan threw the whip away, expecting to be hit again. "Wasted a perfectly good whip," he turned around, her blood leaving little holes in his clothing. "Very good," Ronan grinned, leaving the room so that Shoku could take care of the aftermath. "Do you see what happens when you're bad? You get punished. Come X, let's go get you cleaned up." X, short for X42759. No name, just a string of numbers. Yui clung to the identity she had been given outside of these walls, even if she did not deserve it. They went past the rooms of other light bearers, some of them playing card games with themselves or reading, others watching as Yui stumbled after Shoku, a janitor trailing behind them to clean up the blood.

The man in charge caressed Yui's cheek, making her look up at him. "If only you'd learn; you can't oppose me." Shoku cleaned Yui's back and bandaged it up before placing the cuff on, light forced into her body to heal the wounds. Yui panted, her legs shaking. "I won't... stop... fighting," she jumped to her feet, attempting to hit him, but Shoku slapped her, sending Yui pinning. Her collar buzzed in warning before administering the electricity. Shoku knelt down, cupping her chin in his fingertips. "You have no name, no family, you belong to no one but me. Submit." Yui shook her head, "No," she squeaked. "I won't ever, I'll keep fighting, always!" Shoku narrowed his eyes.

"Then you leave me no choice," the thin silver accessory warned her before it served its primary function and Yui collapsed. Shoku grabbed her by the back of the collar, dragging Yui out of the room and to one filled with pods. "Stay here and think," he shoved her inside, a lock clicking to seal her inside. Gas began to fill the chamber and Yui coughed, trying to hold her breath. She attempted to stand, but the space was entirely dark except for a small, ambient light meant to soothe. Yui knelt in the water, the isolation tank making her feel as though she were inside of a cage.

When the hallucinations were over, still no one came. The tank remained closed. Yui grew hungry, she wasn't allowed to sleep in the confined space and her ena remained replenished to due to the fact that it was half filled with water. The Subject lay down, she banged on the walls, she rolled around, attempting to find a way out. The hallucinogenic was administered twice more and Yui held herself, rocking after the third time. Aria being crushed by her own winds, Mizuki's eyes being cut out, Damian getting set on fire, everyone dying, over and over and it was all her fault. Always her fault; because she wasn't human, because she was a monster.

At long last, the lock was undone. Yui squinted as fluorescent light filled the space and she whimpered, having grown used to the isolation. The lights dimmed ever so slightly, a person coming into focus. Yui shuffled through the water, grabbing onto his pant leg, clinging to it as she sobbed, wanting the images behind her eyes to stop. "Good girl X, very good girl." Ira Shoku whispered, stroking her hair.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#FF3587 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #89CC16

|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




It was soon discovered that Damian had lied about the Prophecy's location because no matter where Ira Shoku had his agents look, they couldn't find it. They couldn't find anything. "No, you've been too complacent." Shoku snapped at Ronan one night. "Break him by any means necessary. Use the Prophet if you must, but keep her alive." He had been running experiments on the peculiar Puppet mark. It was similar to the Subject's mark in a way because it was very good at self-stabilizing. The Lotus Blossom refused to go dark no matter what was done to it, while the Puppet always eventually drained back into an empty, neutral color, one with hardly any light or darkness at all. The Prophecy was promised to hold all the answers, so he was going to need it. Soon too, because Sanctum was sneaking around, that K person seemed to have some sort of plan.

Yes, Shoku was aware that K had reached out to Hime and Mayumi and for the first time in their history, both Santum and Prometheus had formed an alliance. But it made perfect sense that they would. Shoku's faction was the strongest, especially now that he had access to both the Prophecy and to the Cocoon at the same time. Just as he should - they were originally his to begin with, after all. "Maybe her silent screams aren't enough to convince you, Damian." Mizuki was strung up, a choker around her neck that was attached to the ceiling. Below her was a giant piano and as Ronan played with the levers, he could move Mizu up and down via the choker in order to make her play songs by having her feet press against the keys. Right now he was learning the piano and playing a simplified version of Fur Elise for everyone in the Roppongi Building to enjoy.

Damian still didn't break, though his lies had gotten more and more frantic. Mizu was like a little sister to him because Aria was like a sister too, they had almost grown up together. Whenever he, Xavier, and Aria were off on an adventure, so many times the little scamper of Mizu's small feet were behind them, wanting to join in on the fun. This was before she was eventually made an inpatient at the hospital, of course. But her eyes, how calm and aware they were as she was repeatedly suffocated to play the piano was chilling. Unlike with Damian and Yui, who screamed and flailed and cried during torture, Mizuki was utterly unreactive. It was like shooting a bullet, but the bullet has no gunpowder and doesn't go off.

Something needed to be done. So while Shoku negotiated with Mizuki - she would read off passages of the Prophecy in her head in exchange for the right to speak again - something else was happening. Kenshiro Matsuri entered, using a device borrowed from a certain Raven that would automatically erase the security camera logs as he passed. He quickly exchanged Damian's inhibitor for a fake one, one that would still run the signal to Shoku's database of inhibiting light energy. It would be undetectable to all except for Mayumi, the one true expert on light and dark. She created the program after all, with help from K and the Matriarch. "Collaborate with Yui and Mizuki with it and you'll make it." Was the note he gave to Damian before making Damian swallow it. It was up to him to begin reaching out.

Once it was Mizu's turn for Isolation and Ronan was tending to his tender behind, Damian immersed himself in communicating secretly with Mizuki and Yui. "My tongue will be back in two or so days." Mizuki's voice echoed in his head. Yui was on the network as well, so she could hear everything in the back and forth. "You can sense the mask, though, can't you, Damian?" Yes, he could, but for now there was nothing he could do about it. As much as he hated to admit it, the cold efficiency of the Oracle's mind would be useful. "I can play the guards like strings. Once I can speak again I'll be able to guess at their weaknesses until they eventually have no choice but to obey me." It was like what she had done with the Fox. She would do it with the guards here, too. Damian, too, would be able to control the guards with his powers.

What she needed was power. And she would need to borrow Ronan's for a second time to fight their way out. Yui wouldn't have enough plasma for an extended fight, and Damian was largely a support fighter rather than a frontliner. "Last time it almost killed you." Damian warned. "Can't we just collaborate with Raven?" A sharp refusal echoed in his head. "No! We'll just end up her prisoners and she won't let us get back to the Freedom Fighters."
A mental sigh, as if the Oracle was tired of dealing with them. As if they were pests rather than teammates. Maybe a part of her had given up on Yui after Yui failed to realize the fakeness of this world. "We have to get out on our own power and then contact Xavier." Xavier. That was a name that brought up so many feelings Damian couldn't even process them.

He wasn't even sure if he wanted to see Xavier or not. After what Ronan did to him - was doing to him - it was nearly impossible to get a handle on his emotions at all.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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[❝In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#50A6C2 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #388E8E

|| Never Enough|| The Greatest Showman ||




Damian's voice entered Yui's mind. She sat up, looking around her room for the boy as the sound of Mizuki's lilt tickled her senses. They were planning to escape? But if Yui went with them... she shivered, visions of their death making her head swim. Yui didn't want them to die, but she knew that staying here wasn't an option for Damian and Mizuki, so Yui would help them escape. She stopped walking, an Enforcer bumping into her. "Keep moving!" He barked, causing the girl to jump and skitter forth, catching up to Shoku and Ronan, who was on his way to find Damian. Her wrists were bound in front of her, her hands covered in a metal coated to resist her abilities. Shoku was smart not to trust the girl, even though Yui had clung to him when he released her from isolation, soaking his pant leg.

"In here," Yui froze in the doorway. The Enforcer pushed her forth, ensuring that Yui had no way to escape when he sealed the doorway. "I'll be recording the results brought forth by this test," Kenshiro Matsuri said, adjusting his glasses. Shoku nodded and turned, lifting Yui onto the table. "Lay down," he ordered and Yui obeyed, leather straps holding her down. Her gown had been removed and she wiggled, the table cold. Yui looked between Kenshiro and Shoku, wondering what horrors awaited her today. "This is for your own good," Shoku said as he placed a helmet over her shaven head, a visor coming down to blind her. Yui could sense Ronan lingering in the space, no doubt curious. Ronan had been experimented on in the beginning, his ability having been small. Once Shoku realized the potentials of blood bending he had broken the boy three times over, putting him through Enforcer training, the Police Academy, and even hiring private tutors to hone Ronan's skill until no one could stand against him.

Well, no one but his baby sister. "Ronan!" The boy jumped to attention, "Don't you have other engagements?" He nodded his head, hustling out the door. Yui could no longer sense him when the door closed and her collar buzzed in warning. Shoku turned around and Yui whimpered, feeling the needles enter her stomach. They surrounded the lotus blossom, waves of inky blackness marbling her otherwise pure light bearing mark. "Interesting," Shoku murmured, drawing a circle around it. Yui squirmed, the needles distinctly uncomfortable. "Stop moving," Shoku ordered, placing a strap over her shoulders and above her knees to restrain Yui as much as possible. "It hurts," Yui whispered. Shoku began to flip the switches and darkness began to course through her body.

Yui screamed, thrashing; the pain making her head spin and her body clench. Yui's eyes rolled up in her head and she shook, her muscles contracting. "Dammit!" Shoku's fist hit the table, "Push through it," he ordered, but Yui could not hear him. "It's a tonic-clonic, we need to stop it." Kenshiro spoke softly and Shoku collected his thoughts, turning the machine off. Yellow liquid dripped off of the table. Shoku injected Yui with Lorazepam to stop the seizure, then tried again. It resulted in the same thing. He continued, over and over, but the seizure turned into a heart attack and Shoku had to take counter measures to prevent lasting damage. Her chest hurt, it was hard to breathe. "We need to amputate," Yui couldn't feel her hands. When Shoku took the helmet off, Yui quickly realized that she couldn't see.

"Dark," Yui whimpered. "It's dark," she swallowed, unable to hear Shoku murmuring to Kenshiro. "How many fingers am I holding up?"

"I can't see," the terror was eminent in her voice. "Kenshiro, make note, another failure." The saw came down on one hand, Yui screaming the entire way through.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsuri Character Portrait: Yui Character Portrait: Ronan Hemond
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❝Lalala! Ahaha! Am I humaning right? ❞


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|| Devil on my Shoulder || Faith Marie ||




With his most recent failure, Ira Shoku knew he needed something else to happen. Without the Prophecy in his hands he had no choice but trial and error. And suddenly, an inspiration struck him. The Prophet's odd marking might very well be the key to all of this, maybe that was why she was the Prophet to begin with. Her ability to drain away light and dark when mixed with the Subject's boundless imperturbable light... who knew what would happen? The scientist in him was very curious at the possibilities that would occur. Kenshiro wouldn't be here for this, naturally, it was too much for him. Meanwhile Ronan and his army of Enforcers were too strong, the Roppongi Building was nigh unbreakable. There was no risk of any danger from the insurgent groups threatening his Kingdom. He hardly needed to pay them any mind.

Ira Shoku didn't know what his end goal was. But he remembered all the times Mayumi taunted him. There was some kind of goal he wanted to strive for but no matter what he did Mayumi would insist it was impossible, that he would never surpass her. Even now he had a feeling Mayumi Hikari was better with light and darkness than he was himself. The next day he thought up a new experiment, involving both girls of the Prophecy. He was of course oblivious to the fact that they were communicating even now. It was the same experiment as last time, but now he was going to have the Prophet remove excess light and darkness to keep the Subject stable instead of going into cardiac arrest like last time. Her tongue hadn't yet grown in, but those violet eyes were already cold and grim, resigned to her role in all of this.

"Begin." He told the scientists and they obeyed because they didn't have any other choice in the matter. The darkness pumped through the tubes into the Subject's body like a river of inky blackness. "It'll be fine." Mizuki told Yui through Damian's mental network. "I won't let him turn you dark." Mizu was the perfect choice for absorbing darkness because her body always cleansed it away eventually. Unlike other Light Bearing marks that tried to retain light and dark as they came in, Mizu's actively flushed them out with time. "Tomorrow we can do it." Damian already had a map of the place and with Mizu's help they managed to put together a second map, one of the guard rotations. The Oracle was able to determine which guards were easiest for her to crack and which ones were easiest for Damian to break.

"Tomorrow, when Ronan's about to enter the room to torture Mizuki is when we'll do it, okay?" She would be their signal. All Yui would have to do is wait for either Mizuki or Damian to reach her first, and then whoever did would work together with Yui to find the other and then the three of them, with Ronan as their captive, would escape. The plan hinged on the idea that Mizuki couldn't take out Ronan in one hit before he could notice. That was their only chance for this to work. And it was clear that of the three of them, the one Ronan looked down on the most was the Oracle, because she didn't have a proper ability of her own.

Maggots. Maggots. Maggots and maggots and fear and paranoia flooding the girl who had no idea what emotions were and by the end of it she was shaking and panting, having had to drain so much darkness out of Yui that her head was about to burst. "Still as light as ever, Emperor." The scientist said nervously, the entire tub of darkness had gone in and out and Yui's mark hadn't changed at all. But Mizu didn't have the energy to taunt him, she was busy doing everything she could to fight off the darkness and the maggots infecting her mind and soul. "Sir, we need to stop now, the Oracle can't handle another round." She was pale, taking weak rapid breaths that did nothing to help fill her lungs, her already fragile heart was working overtime.

Unlike Ronan whose mark was able to build up a heavy resistance to darkness, Mizuki was unable to form such a resistance. So no matter how many rounds she had to absorb, it would always be just as intense as the last. But this was her mission, so even if it was intense, she needed to learn it and embrace it and eventually beat Ronan with it when his guard was down. "All three of us will get out, I swear my life on it." Damian told them as soothingly as he could, like a mother. "So we can be a family together. And Ohana means family, and family means no one is left behind, or forgotten." He could sense how Mizu was afraid she would no longer be needed once Yui had Aria, and he could sense how Yui felt she was a monster that didn't deserve to be free. "I love you both, and we'll all see the daylight again together. Either we all make it, or none of us do." Both girls would need extensive therapy. Yui, to help her realize she was just as deserving of happiness as the rest, and Mizu, for realizing she had worth beyond her role as the Oracle, that she had value just for being herself. They would love her even if she didn't cling to the Oracle title like a desperate lover about to be abandoned.