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  1. #26
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    Hoop blew her bangs out of her eyes only to have them fall right back into her eyes, "hm? Oh uh, nothing. Meal hasn't even started yet. Do you ever look at the ceiling? Doesn't it just make you want to cry?" Tearing her eyes away from the tiled roof, she refocused on Lullaby and looked expectantly.

  2. #27
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby glanced up at the familiar tiles if only to appease Hoop.

    "Yeah, they're--"

    "No, really look at them."

    Lullaby stared at Hoop for a moment, remembering again why she was useful for entertaining callows but not great for conversation, before looking up again. The tiles were plain white.

    Wait... they were plain white, but at the edges they were becoming stained as water seeped through gaps and ran along grooves and cracks. Every flaw in the ceiling was revealed by the passage of time and water that would move through anything eventually.

    A callow started crying and Lullaby instantly turned her attention away from the ceiling and Hoop to go comfort him.
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  3. #28
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Pierce searched the hallways for his destination. The problem wasn't that he was lost - after all, for all that can be said about the lad, it cannot be said that he was ever bad at finding his way to places - but instead that he didn't actually remember where to go.

    "Hello?" He said, poking his head into the Naming Chamber. "Is this where I'm supposed to be?"

    No answer. He stepped in and looked around.

    "Yeah, okay, wrong place," he said.

    Where had Corvo told them to be? Naming Chamber? Dining hall? ...Callow den? His feet carried him idly as he pondered. The Naming Chamber was an obvious no-go, so the next possibility was the dining hall. Using logic, he knew that if the dining hall was the destination, everyone would already be there by now. Knowing that he was not there, he could figure that not everyone was there, and therefore, the dining hall could not be his destination. By process of elimination, this meant he clearly had to go to the callow den.

    "Aaand nope," he said, leaving the den behind him. "Still not right. Where could they all be?"

    The obvious solution was that if he kept wandering, surely he would find the others. He just had to keep walking until...

    Okay, the tunnels marked "CONDEMNED" were probably not the way to go.
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  4. #29
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    Whet had not moved for a while. She sat and heard as the voices outside faded; first 11 and her friends and later everyone else as the time came for second meal. She was exhausted on top of everything her body had gone through physically and emotionally over the past hour.

    She had mulled over 11's - Or Lullaby's parting words: "You can survive a little disappointment". Ugh. The implication she wasn't strong enough insulted her and she felt a burning sensation in her chest at the thought someone percieved her as weak. She didn't need the support nor the reassurance that she'd get through this. - At least she didn't want to need it.

    Finally standing up Whet felt a little stiff from having sat down for so long. She figured she needed to be present at second meal after all. Staying away would only serve to isolate her and make her an outcast. She needed to at least keep up an appearance that wouldn't have her stand out as weak or problematic. Stepping outside Whet looked from side to side and confirmed that the living area was indeed empty. She noticed the vomit she had left was gone and she felt a pang of shame and somehow regret for not having cleaned it up herself, leaving it to someone else. She was fairly sure she had heard Lullaby through the door talking about it, and figured it probably was her. With a deep breath to prepare her, she started moving towards the dining hall.

    As the voices of the Clave grew closer and the warm light of the dining hall became visible, the air of confidence Whet had attempted to produce around herself dissipated. She was almost hugging the wall by the time she entered the hall and slunk into a secluded corner, afraid to stumble into any of the hunters her age group. Being once again reminded of the stark contrast between the joyous atmosphere of the Clave and her shame and grief almost served to turn her stomach once again. She clenched her teeth and refused to give it more thought.

  5. #30
    New member ASaluteToYou's Avatar
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    "Nuh-uh!" One of the callows in the pit cried out in disbelief. "Tunnel Beasts don't get that big!"

    "Oh, but they do," Loft re-assured the young gaggle of callows gathered around her. She swelled up, arms arched over her head. "If the tallest one of you was the tallest Hunter, a tunnel beast would be at least as big as me! Maybe even bigger!"

    "So it's big!" Another callow bluntly restated. "Big deal! I'm in Hunter Training, so I know how to kill it!"

    "Oh, no doubt, little 47! I bet that you could kill it... if it let you!" She bent over, face still a little above their natural eye level, but only barely so. "But from what I hear, their size isn't the only thing that makes them scary. It's their warted skin, patchier than the mold on the walls, and their glowing eyes, like the brightest torchlight shone into a polished bowl, and most of all, their long-" she flexed her fingers here- "sharp claws and their needle-like teeth, all sharper than Dirk's dirk. Not to mention, the fact that they can be hiding in the shadows one moment," she made eye contact with each of them, settling back on 47, "before BAM!"

    She sprung from her crouched form towards her victim, and all the callows around her squealed in a terrified delight, trying to catch the now mobile Loft. "Kill her! Kill her!" they all cried out, as they all were Hunters- at least for this one moment.

  6. #31
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus wasn't dancing; he had been fairly bad at it when he had two feet and hadn't enjoyed it then either. Instead he was propped against the wall, paying noncommittal attention to the dance, the playing and the milling of people. He smiled and nodded to various acquaintances who wanted to be smiled and nodded at.

    His finger moved up to his chin to aid in the deep thoughts only a boy at naming age could have. His free hand clutched and stroked his mark in a discrete manner. He had been practicing co-ordination tricks with it. The few moments he’d been able to experiment with it demonstrated it to be something he found naturally difficult. He was determined to master it, though. The image of himself effortlessly twirling it finger to finger without so much as a glance was too appealing a dream to give up on.

    Stylus sighed. He should probably find someone to talk to.

    Lullaby was still hanging out near her breeder buddies; that hurt a little. Between him and her was Meccano.

    Fucking Meccano. Shambling proof that the Elders' intellectual criterion for breeder selection was a joke. Stylus hated him and his stupid broad shoulders and chiselled jawbone and that dumb little smile that wasn't even symmetrical and the way he sort of half-squinted his iridescent amber eyes and did the stupid dumb eyebrow thing to match – the person was a real piece of work.

    No he wasn't going over there; the callows loudly attempting to murder Loft somehow attracted the most of his attention. He had a great deal of affection for callows below his age group. For the most part he hadn't had any trouble from younger kids and since he'd been making it his mission to earn respect where he could the kids had been easy pickings. He’d managed to get most of them to like him already.

    Watching them felt somewhat bittersweet too, however. They were having all too much fun. Even now, apparently aware of their roles, they didn't seem to grasp how crushing and inefficient the Clave was. Still, he didn't want to appear antisocial and this group seemed to be his best bet. He started to clump his way towards them, conceding to himself that he probably shouldn't choose today to start sowing the seeds of righteous fury in their minds.
    Last edited by Aval; September 9th, 2015 at 03:16 AM.
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    why the fuck can i never find what I'm after this is so gay

  7. #32
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby smiled as the callows chanted and pretended to attack Loft.

    "Do you want to go fight the cave beast?" she asked the callow she had finally calmed down. He nodded and ran off to join the others. She watched the fight until she realized someone was missing.

    "Where's Seventeen?" she asked Mother Paring. "Blonde girl, young."

    "She died. Last night." Her voice betrayed no emotion but wasn't dismissive either. "She got sick two days ago."

    "I... hadn't heard."

    "Try not to think too much about it; today's supposed to be a celebration after all."
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  8. #33
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Pierce looked at his hands. Why was his skin pale? And if it was pale, why wasn't it fully pale, like the tiles around him? He figured there had to be a reason for the pinkish/tan-ish hue to his skin. Logically, reasoning with science, it meant that his skin must be adapted to a place where the tiles were slightly pinkish/tan-ish. One day, he decided, he'd like to see that place, with its flesh-colored tiles...

    Somewhere there had to be some clues suggesting where everyone was. They couldn't have just vanished, could they?

    Could they?

    The possibility that some horrible monster had whisked away his peers filled him with dread. It would explain why after carefully and hypothetically checking every location of the Clave he had found no sign of them! And to think, he was alone without a weapon! He'd have to use his wits and his bare hands to last against this monstrosity!

    "Kill her! Kill her!" He heard some children shouting from somewhere far away. Things were worse than he could ever have imagined - the beast had already found the children! Anger welled up in his chest. He would do his duty as a hunter and protect this Clave!

    The ruckus seemed to be coming from the dining hall. This confused him, because he very clearly had reasoned that nobody could possibly be there, and yet even as he stood there, pondering this, a child shouted something about a tunnel beast from within. The time for reason and thinking had long gone - now was the time for action!

    He burst into the space of the dining hall, shouting, "I'm here! Where is it!?"
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  9. #34
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    Meccano smiled idly as he listened to one of the older Dams chirp excitedly about how glad she was that he had become a breeder and how she would just die if they were made a breeding pair. His smile was a little more forced as he told her that it would make him happy as well, but he made his exit rather gracefully. As he backed away from her, he bumped into someone fighting through the crowd. "I'm sorry," he said as he turned to the person he has just shoved. "Oh, it's you;" he cocked his head to the side. "You actually became a citizen, 15." He raised an eyebrow at the boy who was now called Stylus, though he'd never admit he knew his new name.

  10. #35
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus stumbled and wobbled a bit as he regained his balance. It was only after he found his footing that he saw who had nearly sent him into the dirt.

    Fucking Meccano. How did he even get here so fast? Stylus had been intentionally avoiding him. The crutch was too slow and took too much of his attention. First thing he needed to get built was a more convenient prosthetic.

    Meccano's smug, classically-handsome face was even more stupid up close. It was only through Stylus's exceptional force of will that he was able to shut down the look of pure disgusted contempt before it made its way to his face. He replaced it with the sweet polite smile.

    With frightening and incontrovertible sincerity he replied. "And you made breeder; I'm so happy for you!" The smile grew to a rare, slightly goofy and utterly benign grin. "That's a really great life ahead of you now, De-Dir-Da... Darryl?"

    Here Stylus performed a heart-rendingly genuine, compassionate and strenuous effort at trying to remember the name that had been repeating in his head for the past hour to the syncopated drumming of the communal music.

    "It was a D name I'm sure... something like that.” He scratched his chin. “Ah, no matter. Congratulations are in order." he shifted his crutch under his arm so he could hold out his hand to shake; his kindly smile and wide, harmless eyes still glowing.
    Last edited by Aval; September 9th, 2015 at 03:15 AM.

  11. #36
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    Meccano's smile only slipped perceptibly for a second before an even bigger, and brighter smile took it's place. "It's Meccano, actually," he corrected smoothly. He shook the outstretched hand with a little more force than was strictly necessary and winked. "I trust you were given a name other than 15, but Great Guide help me, I can't remember it. I'm sure it's something as impressive as you."
    Last edited by FayeFox; September 6th, 2015 at 12:56 AM.

  12. #37
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby spotted Stylus in conversation with Meccano.

    This can't be good.

    She watched them both put on sickly sweet expressions, although she knew it was only a matter of time until things became hostile. She pasted a smile that she doubted was any more convincing than theirs on her face and walked over to them.

    "Hello, enjoying the celebration?" she asked.
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  13. #38
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus executed a masterful faux-bashful grinning glance to his feet which was accompanied by a legitimate unconscious tousling of his hair. The chronic pain in his gut and extremities had begun to flare.

    "Hah! Impressive... wow thanks that means a lot; especially coming from you."

    You know my name, tunneldick, I was made Wordkeeper's apprentice on my guidefucking nameday. it was historic.

    Was that Lullaby? Crap. Oh Guide this is the end of my life no please don't let this happen. I want to die this is going to be painful.

    "Enjoying the celebration?"

    "Plenty. Meccando and I were just exchanging congratulations and compliments." The smile hadn't faltered even slightly.

    "It was Stylus, by the way," he informed Meccano.

    The pain began its familiar creep into his chest and skull
    Last edited by Aval; September 9th, 2015 at 03:15 AM.

  14. #39
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    "Lullaby! My dear, how are you? I'm loving this festival." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled closer. He leaned in and tilted his face towards hers and glanced sardonically at Stylus. "I am so looking forward to working with you," he leaned back out to a more respectable distance but kept his arm around her shoulders. "I mean we all knew you'd be a breeder; you were born for it, but I am so glad that you made the distance. It'll be interesting to see how we acclimate to our new roles, together."

  15. #40
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby froze when Meccano put his arm around her. Her heart was hammering in her chest but she felt like she couldn't move. The Mothers sometimes whispered about their hearts fluttering, was this what they meant? They seemed so pleased about it and whatever this feeling was it wasn't pleasant.

    "I... um..."

    This rescue wasn't going to plan at all.
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  16. #41
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Pierce looked out over the dining hall. Children were playing. Stylus and Lullaby and that other guy were having a nice chat. Loft was running about for some reason. He thought he saw Whet in a corner somewhere, probably recovering from the attack.

    Who had slain the beast so quickly, and how? It must have been fast, because the corpse of the wretched creature was nowhere to be seen. Surely it must have been an incredible battle - some brave warrior standing between a horrible cave monster and virtually the entire population of the Clave. His heart momentarily fluttered, in a way that he felt like he had, at some point, overheard someone describing to someone else. But then again, maybe he hadn't.

    A shocking realization destroyed the moment. He had been absent as a terrible beast threatened his people! Shame welled up in his chest, like a flood of water sent to drown the butterflies which, for some reason, were nesting like some creatures of horror in his heart. If he couldn't help to defend the helpless here, he would at least help them recover.

    "Where are the wounded?" He asked, almost as loudly as when he had been shouting earlier. "I can help carry them out of here!"
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  17. #42
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    Dirk stood at the high table, his normally sour expression twisted his mouth. His assistant, Charcoal, felt the change in mood immediately and hurried to his side. She bowed in the overly formal manner that was her way; "Dirk, you seem troubled." He eyed her condescendingly

    "Of course I'm troubled," he intoned. "What is that oaf yelling about? One would think he's touched in the head. Go find out what he is yelling about and shut him up!" he said.

    "Yes, right away," she bowed before she left. Char navigated the crowd with the practiced ease that came from being smaller and more submissive than most of the Clave. Char was an expert at not being noticed. Unless you had been watching her devious progress, you would have been just as surprised as Pierce was when the petite woman appeared next to him. "Stop yelling," she whispered as she grabbed his arm to lead him away. Dirk had taken his seat again and sat glaring at them. Char shuddered and pulled Pierce insistently towards a wall. She sighed heavily before she began; "Now what, pray tell, are you making a fuss about? What wounded?"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
    Across the great hall, Aerator was sipping water satisfiedly. Tonight was something of a personal victory for him because the callow that everyone said he was wasting his time teaching had become a builder. She was on track to become a hunter and there was no point in telling her builder secrets everyone said. But the little girl he felt partially responsible for raising had needed his teachings and in no small part due to his entreaties had Stone stood up for her. She'd probably have no idea that he had pulled several of the less desirable clean up shifts just to get Stone to listen to his case on why callow 12 was worth vouching for. He took another happy swig of his water before realizing he hadn't seen twe-Whet anywhere all night. He looked around before he noticed her standing in a corner radiating misery. He strode over to the water table sparing only a sideways glance to the crazy boy who had burst into the party yelling about wounded? He didn't care so he kept on his path. He grabbed another roughly formed clay cup filled with water and walked over to Whet. "Hey, there. You don't look happy. Water?" He smiled warmly at her.
    Last edited by FayeFox; September 6th, 2015 at 08:19 PM.

  18. #43
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Rage stirred somewhere in Pierce's bosom, but he did his best to stuff it down. How could these people joke now, after such a dire situation?

    "Well, you know," he said. "The wounded from the monster attack?"

    Sometimes he wondered if these people were all dense.
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  19. #44
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    Whet had been quietly observing the dining hall. Despite the familiar faces she wasn't seeing anyone she could presently call a friend. The little group of hunters she had once been close with seemed so far away, both because of her new status but more so because she felt unable to trust any of them enough to approach. None of the three had come to visit her when she was wounded, and despite the obvious reasons to casting her aside, she had wondered.

    "Hey, there. You don't look happy. Water?" An older voice sounded. She turned her head and saw Aerator handing her a cup with a smile. Well, no friends but one. She attempted to return the smile, but it never reached her eyes. "Thank you," she said with a voice that reminded her of her prolonged silence. She broke eye contact as she took a sip, looking towards the young callows. "Thank you for helping me be here tonight." The loud surroundings thankfully masked the subtle tremble in her voice.
    She let her eyes wander to Lullaby and 15, noticing 16's actions. Huh, I guess they're just friends then.

  20. #45
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    "Monster atta-" Char squawked. "What is wrong with you? Are you feeble-minded?!" She visibly took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. Returning to a more normal volume, she said "There has been no attack monster or otherwise and, guide help me, I can't think of a single reason that would lead you to believe that there has been some sort of calamity."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~
    "Hey, no problem, kid. We all knew that you'd make it. That being said, I'm real proud of you. You showed the bravery of a hunter at the naming," he said as he lightly tousled Whet's hair. "So tell me what is preventing you from enjoying this fabulous party? After all, it is in your honour. Well, yours and like two dozen others," he chuckled lightly and tried to regain eye contact with Whet.

  21. #46
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus' mouth opened a crack and his face flushed a deep red. The pain in his head started to throb and nausea twisted in his stomach. Interestingly, his fingers had gone numb; that bit was new.

    He didn't know exactly why the gesture enraged, disgusted and humiliated him so much. The image and the euphemistic phrasing just touched a raw nerve he wasn't aware was there and couldn't compensate for which was a disturbing thought in itself.

    He just about held composure. Lullaby was clearly being made uncomfortable and while that while that wasn't exactly the worst part it still pissed him off and provided both a useful justifying pretext and an easy target for venom.

    "Friend-to-friend it doesn't look like Lullaby is as excited as you are by the prospect. I'd endeavour to aim a little lower in your recreational activities."

    Actually, that was weak. The pain flared above his eye and it started to water. He winced and glanced down, trying to hide it. He needed to sit down.

    With a mumble of "I'm sorry- I should go. Nice talking to you-" he started his defeated, clunky, half blind escape aside into the crowd for a dark corner of the room.

    He hadn't felt this low in a long time. This was exactly the feeling he thought becoming a citizen would bring an end to. He comforted himself by imagining stabbing his mark into Meccano's jugular and twisting as the blood spilled over his shoulder.
    Last edited by Aval; September 9th, 2015 at 03:13 AM.

  22. #47
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    "Hey! Where are you going!? Seems like someone can't hang with the citizens. Still a callow, are we, 27?" He smirked at the scene he had cause and turned back to Lullaby. "What was that loon going on about? We're right as uncracked tiles, right, Lula?" He pulled her closer to emphasize the point, but looked over his shoulder a little guilty. He hadn't meant to hurt Stylus; he was just enjoying trading barbs. Besides, the twerp shouldn't be that upset that he was getting closer to Lullaby. For all his talk, Lullaby wasn't exactly his type. Not to say he wouldn't do his duty to the Enclave if the elders commanded it, but he was really just flaunting the fact that he and Lullaby would be working side by side to upset the runt. He had never taken it this personally, though.

  23. #48
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "... right, Lula?"

    It took a moment for Lullaby to realize he was talking to her. Her stomach seemed to be tying itself in knots and she desperately wished she could just shrink away from under that strong arm.

    Not that I have anything against you, but would you mind moving your arm? The words wouldn't come out. She tried again.

    I don't mind but could you move your arm? Again the words echoed in her head while her mouth stayed closed. What was happening to her?

    And where was Stylus going? She wanted to follow him but she didn't think she could escape from Meccano, who was looking at her expectantly.

    Lullaby made a small affirmative noise. Her face felt chilled and her cheeks burned with embarrassment.

    But, things hadn't turned into an argument, so she'd done her job, right?
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  24. #49
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    I showed bravery? Did I look brave?

    She looked back at Aerator with an annoyed expression. She had hoped that at least he would've been empathetic. But I'm not a hunter. The words wouldn't come out, her annoyance changed. I'm too broken to be one. She cast her eyes down. I don't want to be compared to a hunter.

    "I'm just unwell, Aerator," she said with a strained smile and a voice that betrayed her. She didn't worry. If Aerator was blind to the public shaming and humiliation she felt at the ritual, he'd be blind to how she felt now.

    Whet noticed someone was moving in her direction and she looked up and saw 27 walking away from 16 and Lullaby. She heard 16 throw an insult after him while he still had his arm around Lullaby. Ooh. 27 had stopped and looked out at the dining hall as she had done for a while. Despite not seeing his face it wasn't difficult to read the shame and dejection. She felt a shock as she realized she felt sorry - no, worried about him. "Aerator, thank you for your concern. please excuse me."

    She gathered some courage and clenched her hands around the cup. I suppose I left my pride with the bile. She left Aerator and stopped at a respectable distance from 16, taking the surrounding noise into account. "Umm," she started, trying to smile, but the terror she felt when 27 looked up made it come out as a nervous, short-lived laughter "I, uh. Sorry. About the puke. And, thanks. I meant I thought you and lullaby probably cleaned it up." Guide help me this is the worst conversation of my life. She looked away in embarrassment.
    Last edited by Killing_Time; September 7th, 2015 at 02:46 PM.

  25. #50
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Bewhildered, Pierce looked again at the peaceful scene. It seemed like a credible story...

    "No... monster?" He asked. "But what about the kids shouting earlier?"
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