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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:46 pm
From his position in the back line, Solomon continued to set the ball upward for his teammates and bump the volleyball back across the net occasionally. Daydreaming as the game went on, he slipped in and out of reality as their team progressed toward a scoring drought, the other side leading 14-9. A little over halfway through the game, and their opposition had already taken hold of a firm lead, and his team was slowly beginning to lose its fire.

Beginning to space out again, Solomon’s mind was swiftly brought back to the present as the ball came spiraling down toward the front-right, catching Iggy square in his face. He shook his head, holding a hand to his forehead in exasperation, ‘Man, who put Liss in charge? Sure, her initiative can be nice sometimes, but for Jove’s sake, I’m the Sand user here!’ he moped silently, lamenting his relegation to the back-line.

Meeting his younger cousin’s gaze as he caught the ball she tossed to him, he gave her a reassuring laugh.

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Solomon tossed the ball into the air, and on its way back down, he winded back, and slammed his palm into its coarse leather casing. The volleyball shot over the net, grazing its top as it zipped past the front-line and met the ground in between his brother and the new girl, Mina.

“Now then, how about we really get this thing started, eh?” he remarked, tossing the ball to Iggy, switching places with him, with Solomon taking his new position at the front-right of their side, allowing Iggy to be the team’s server. He could sense confused gazes being shot toward him from everyone else, and he rolled his eyes in response, “Look, I’ve had a LOT of free time for the past decade or so. Contrary to what you guys may think, I didn’t, in fact, spend every waking second… you know, getting killing people and stuff,” he explained, crossing his arms in annoyance. “Yeah, so I picked up a couple of hobbies here and there. So what?”

As the game continued to wind down, the atmosphere and energy only grew more intense. The laughing and jests were replaced with yelling and focused callouts, and their voices roared like a booming chorus across the backtrack of the soft ocean breeze. Each successive point was like another spark to the fire of cooperation and determination of each team, and eventually they started to play and function as one cohesive unit, as if each player was an extension of the other. Naturally, this tense game being played by a group of delinquents who all stood out like sore thumbs attracted a crowd, and as the match came to its climax, a decisive 23-23 tie, the sea of beach-goers gawked at the focused stares of Team Liss and Team Yuu.

Just as Umi was about to throw the ball into the air for the next serve, Solomon stopped her, “Hey, wait. Clearly this game is gonna take forever if we just keep going back and forth. So, how about this,” he proposed, a small, but unmistakably mischievous smile plastered on his face. “Next point wins?”

Solomon glanced over at his teammates and they all gave him a firm nod as the crowd of onlookers roared in excitement behind them.

As Umi sent the ball into the air, and her hand collided with it on its way down, the sphere came hurtling through the air toward Team Liss’s side. Solomon motioned over to the back-line, and Iggy quickly dove to the floor, saving the ball from meeting the sand by only a few centimeters. Leios quickly reacted, sending Chusin’s wayward hit back into the air on a straight path, allowing Liss to set the ball pristinely into the air, giving Solomon the perfect spike position. ‘I’m probably gonna end up regretting this, aren’t I? Here goes nothing, I guess…’ he thought to himself, before leaping into the air, propelled into the sky by a burst of sand. Lifting his hand into the air, Light Seishitsu began to concentrate within his forearm, and a shimmering glow started to emit from his palm. The crowd looked on in confusion and his teammates stared at him in anguish, aware of the rule they had established that no one was allowed to use their Seishitsu. As he brought his palm down upon the top of top of the volleyball, the movement of his arm appeared only as a blur in the air. Once his hand impacted against the hard surface of the ball, a sharp crack rang out in the air, as the ball, imbued with Light energy, roared down toward the beach floor at speeds that easily left the sound barrier behind. Upon hitting the sandy ground below, the leather sphere erupted into a small explosion, sending sand flying into the air around them. With the dust beginning to clear, it seemed that everyone was unharmed, and the explosion was tiny enough to where it didn’t reach the crowd of spectators. Standing at the very bottom of the sizable crater was Solomon, flashing a proud grin on his face, with his feet standing above the broken remains of the volleyball net.

“Well, looks like nobody wins!”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:27 pm
-
Prequel
-
The moment Zach introduced himself, Mina couldn’t help but giggle at the sheer awkward and adorable charisma he expelled. The joy continued as soon as Yuu declared his heroism, “Nice to meet you, Zach, Yuu, The name’s Mina! Let’s have a good game!”
-
Scene
-
The game was about to end with a 23-23 tie and a very exhausted Mina. If the heat didn’t annoy her before, she sure felt it now. She wondered if it would be bad timing to take a dip into the water when suddenly one of the boys on the other team ended the game with a bang—quite literally.
No ball, no game—and like that the game came to an end.

Mina’s eyebrows furrowed, her mind not being able to process whether she was happy she could finally contemplate submerging herself in water or the fact she was in shock at the sudden burst of the ball.
Regardless, it was semi-sweet in the sense that it meant it was time to address the matters surrounding Cherokee.
With a slight tingling sense of anguish, Mina stood outside of the sandy court gawking at the ocean.

How badly did she want to release her misery, but fate did not deem her comfort worthy and she quickly gathered her focus towards the whole reason why she was even at the beach in the first place.

Once Natsumi was free from the shackles of others, as Mina began to approach her, she took a deep breath. “Thank you for your time, as soon as you are ready as am I.”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:31 pm
It had been two months since she’d ran away. With her sack of gold pieces diminishing much more quickly than she’d expected, the young woman found herself growing desperate. If she ran out completely she’d have no choice but to go home... Though if she waited until that point she’d have no way to get home. Travel between countries wasn’t cheap, and unfortunately her condition prevented her from relying on her senshitsu. If she focused her lightening into traveling quickly from place to place, then she’d be forced to stop monitoring her heart rate during that time. She still hadn’t managed to control both at the same time... Unlike other kids, her father had prevented her from attending formal senshitsu training. He had feared her heart couldn’t endure such rigorous exercises.
She missed him terribly.
His over protective tendencies, and all.
Gingerly pulling out her map, Brynna forced back tears as she examined the numerous red ‘x’s adorning Kagutsuchi. All the places she’d checked, and failed to find her father. She’d already checked the usual meeting halls, and their surrounding towns... Which left her to search the traveling routes to and from Nil. Surely he was finished by now. It had been an entire year. Surely he was coming home.
Perking up at the sound of a commotion on the beach she was passing through, she found her hope rising once more. Papa! What else could draw a crowd like that? There diplomatic mission must have ended! He was heading back-!
Her large smile faltered after pushing through the crowd, only to find a group of teens playing volleyball.
Home.
In that moment almost all of her hope seemed to vanish. Kagutsuchi was much bigger than it seemed on a map. There was too much ground to cover. She’d never find her father on her own. Turning to leave as tears began to form once more, Brynna froze in place as one of the boys in the group shot into the air. It was only for a moment, but she had seen the sand under his feet rise as clear as day. A Nilian! He might know about the conference!
Taking a step forward to approach him as the ball smacked again the ground, she swiftly jumped back in a brief moment of terror as sand dusted her clothing. However after a few moments she managed to shake off her surprise, along with most of the sand. Such happened all the time in Nil! So she learned upon running away.
That was definitely a learning moment.
Her wide grin returned as she finally raced over the young man, eagerly beginning to sign to him. ‘Hello! My name’s Brynna! Are you here for the Nilian-?’ Suddenly pausing as she got a good look at him, she tilted her head to the side ever so slightly. Did she know him? He looked kind of familiar... Wait, what if he didn’t know sign language? Looking slightly embarrassed as she noticed something else in the group, a soft gasp escaped the the young woman.
Jumping up and down in excitement as she raced over to Zach, Brynna swiftly curtsied before eagerly beginning to sign once more. Living in such a sheltered environment meant that friends weren’t really a luxury she was afforded. She did however know a few kids her age, whose parents or close relatives were associated with the Nilian council. Her father would occasionally invite them over for formal dinner, or vise versa.
‘Zach! I’m so happy to see you! Do you remember me? It’s been a little while-‘ Shaking her head as she collected her thoughts, Brynna let out a soft breath. Focus. ‘Are you here for the Nilian conference? I’m looking for Papa! The staff said he was here, but I can’t find him...’ Suddenly she paused, her signing growing slower as her smile fell. ‘It’s been a year... I’ve never seen one take this long... Papa didn’t even say goodbye this time.’
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:27 pm
The moment he game started, Chusin snuck himself back into play, not willing to pass up the opportunity. Sliding into the spot behind the woman who'd knocked him over, so as to not be spotted, he began to play better, getting more accurate hits in on the ball. By the time Lissandra shot something his way, he managed to hop over it in a sparking vault, spiking the ball down and scoring a point for their side to show his claim earlier weren't untrue. He truly was the volleyball champion. If he hadn't had a few too many drinks, he could've taken the group of novices in front of him himself!

Even so, they put up stiff competition. He kept chuckling to himself when points came through, even for the opposing side. Truly, he let through a few too many to be truly proud. But that didn't matter, he was busy having fun. Not noticing the crowd, he tried to keep track in his head. If he'd counted correctly, it was thirty five to thirty five right now. That was when one of the boys said that this was the match point- Made sense, they'd been here a while. Preparing to put up a perfect defense, suddenly a bolt of light, as if the heavens themselves decided the ball must perish, caused Chusin to dive in the other direction and roll across the sand. There was no way he could stop that. A crater existed where he had before, the young man standing triumphant over his kill in the center. Looking towards Yuu, his former competition for the title of champion, he called over, pointing straight at Soloman "He da tallyball champinon....."

Groaning a little as he pulled himself up, Chusin did a tiny hop in shock of the crowd assembled. Sure, the match was good, but did it necessitate a whole audience? Rubbing his eyes as the light began to jab away aw them, he noticed a girl come streaming in through the crowd. She had tears in her eyes, for a moment, before a grin smacked them aside and she hopped up and down. Chusin had to smile as she seemed ecstatic, it was great seeing people happy. She ran over to one of the boys he'd just played with, and began doing sign language. Looking at the others, he recognized they couldn't understand her. He wasn't fluent, but in his schooling he was taught basics in case he had to work with a mute patient.

Doing a tiny wave, he signed back to her 'Hello, you said you were Brynnanna? You were searching of your father?" Watching the rest of her account, his smile dropped as he understood what had happened, even if the girl hadn't. 'A year is a long hour, something should have spoken to you. I can help you if you want it.' His drunkedness didn't help any with remembering the signs, he knew for sure he got some wrong. He just hoped she understood what he'd said, and he hadn't misread her message.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:40 pm
Iggy was pretty confused about everything happening around him. From where he came from there was no Volleyball, but he’ll try his his best to assist the others. He kept looking around to see what everyone was doing but ended up getting hit by the ball right in the face. He shook his head and noticed that his nose began bleeding. Covering the shorts he bought for this day. Iggy ignored Umi and Liss coming to help, rather than telling speaking to them he just wiped his nose with his hand and moved to the position they told him to be.

Watching from a distance Rohan got worried about Iggy, some drunk idiot just gave him a bloody nose. He had to really hold back and sit down so he wouldn’t cause a scene. Otherwise he would’ve knocked him on his ass already.

After the game was over Iggy rushed inside to clean up while Rohan shook his head and tried to make the best out of this situation. Some drunk random starter joined them, a weird girl asking about his mother, and his old classmate. He turned to look at her then shook his head once again “what a mess, whatever... hey uh why don’t you go have fun with the rest of the group and introduce yoursel-“ he stopped talking as some orange haired girl walked up to Zach and began to give home some signs. “Introduce yourself...” he let out a sigh and walked over to Liss. Tugging her arms towards the truck. He just needed some time with someone he liked “i feel like a dad watching over you guys. Let’s go do something fun! Like... i can teach you how to drive” he shot her wink and looked over to the truck then back at their group “they’ll be fine without us”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:37 pm
After their game was brought to an end, Liss was left blankly staring at the deflated ball in defeat. It looked like neither teams would be winning that day. Briefly glancing over to Solomon, he mood lightened as she saw his grin. They may not be victorious, but it was refreshing to see him happy if only for a moment. His embarrassed chatter over having a hobby was quite calming as well. He really was being to feel like part of the family. It was like he’d never disappeared. “Good game.” She finally conceded with a shrug, a small smile tugging the corners of her lips as an orange haired girl suddenly ran over to him. Secret friend he’d invited perhaps? But why was she moving her hands around so much-
Pausing as she recognized one motion as some sort of sign, Lissandra pursed her lips. She’d always meant to learn more of that while volunteering at the orphanage, but it’d hadn’t seemed necessary. None of the children their were deaf or mute. At least not within the past few years. Did Solomon know it then? Watching as the girl swiftly moved on, the auburn haired teen decided not. What a group. Where were these people coming from? A mute, some girl with a ball, a girl carrying multiple letters, and a drunk. Few of whom were even dressed for the beach.
The things stumble across on vacation.
Then she found herself being pulled away, much to her annoyance. “Excuse you, I can move on my own.” She chastised Rohan, though her gaze softened as he winked. There were still things she needed to settle in the group, especially with all these newcomers. Talking with Leios would be the best way to sort things out. They still needed to find out why the Chusin boy was there. How had he found them again? Was it really an accident? Then again, flinging two men across the beach was probably enough for one day.
“Leios, I’ll leave that to you.” She called over her shoulder, knowing that he’d understand what she meant.
As bad of timing as it was, Rohan obviously wanted to spend some time alone. After behaving himself throughout the volleyball game he probably needed a break. He hadn’t even yelled at Chusin when Iggy got hurt, or picked a fight with Leios. So much improvement over the course of a year had her feel more obligated to spend time with him.
Though it wasn’t as if she didn’t want to see him either.
It just wasn’t in her nature to causally admit such things.
“Okay one lesson, then we have to head back to the group. We can’t leave Leios to sort everything out on his own.” She finally compromised as they reached the truck, before reaching to take the keys from Rohan. “So... How does this work?”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:06 pm
Rohan opened the door for Liss like the gentleman he is, then quickly rushed to the other side so he could teach her. Liss was a fast leaner, so learning how to drive should be easy for her “wow you beat me to step 1! You insert the key here... then give it a little twist” Rohan reached out for her hand and led it together the ignition hole. “Just a little twist” he said as he turned her hand to start the car. That was easy part, now the fun begins “Then place your hands on the steering wheel... here and here. He led both of her hands to the right place then moved her feet to the right places as well. Rohan showed her every step for her to begin driving and she picked up quite fast too. “Wow look at you. I can see you drag racing already. I’m proud of you” he said once they were done parking.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:07 am
Zach joined the fray on the court, letting the soft sand beneath his feet comfort his stride and ground him. He shook out his hands and clapped them together a few times. His gunshot wound delivered by Alex was long healed Umi's skill, but occasionally he recalled the sensation of it. Not in pain but a phantom ache that seemed to remind him of the wound, it never hurt but felt as if something ground between the fibers of his muscles. Ensuring he never forgot the mistake of his recklessness. He had tried to be more careful since.

Standing among his team, he chose to stay close to Umi, facing Solomon's back. He swallowed, still never sure how to communicate to his brother. This could be a good step for them though, he considered the bonding of team work. But best not to think on it too much, his uncle had advised him the relationship would heal naturally, just as Zachariah the First and his sisters had after Jove's defeat.

The parallel was almost a little startling.

But he didn't let it overcome him and drag him wistfully back into the sea. Tossing aside his shirt he proceeded to throw his whole body into the match, he never brought his seishitsu into the equation. Over the year he'd become hyper aware of his dependence on his seishitsu in combat. In order to remedy that he'd done training focused on his body, the habit showed through in playing of the game, simply backing up Solomon and the other players of his team when needed. But he tumbled into the sand and dove for the ball mercilessly.

Finally the game came to a close at his brothers hand and Zach flinched at the fiery ending. His shock faded quickly though, replaced by a hearty laugh that hadn't overwhelmed him in a long time.

"Good shot!" He heckled, but suddenly grew shy and sheepish. His eyes cast to something familiar, Umi and he approached her to tell compliment her on her game performance.

"Umi!" He called, "Good job! I think you did well! I don't know a lot about this sport though I was mostly-" His rambling was cut off shortly, out of his peripheral he caught a strange sight.

A woman approached him, no maybe a girl their age, auburn hair and pale skin. She was looking right at him too and moving her hands. He recognized a few of the shapes on the spot.

'Remember'

'Father'

'Look'

'Year'


His brow furrowed, he hadn't seen sign language in maybe two years and even then he'd never been too good at it. Zachariah the First had always pressured his nephew to be diplomatic. He'd pressured him to learn some when he attended meetings with another councilman. Zach couldn't remember his name off the top of his head but that councilman and his uncle had been close. And he'd had a daughter-

"Brianne?" And immediatley he wanted to lay in the sand and become it. "Wait no- sorry uh, Brian?" Zach could feel his uncles disappointment, he feared the man would just rise from the sands and wallop him across the face. "Brynna? It is Brynna right?"

He felt confident in his final statement, but a meloncholy overcame him. Bram. Her fathers name had been Bram. One of the councilman to fall victim to the assassinations a years ago. His uncle was the only survivor and could barely govern with his health. Each city had been forced to be independent and Nil was in pieces.

The signs and information came to fast for him to comprehend, he relied on the addition of some stranger for an immediate translation.

She was looking for her father? Zach's stomach hollowed. How could she not know? It had been a whole year? Surely someone would have had the mercy to tell her. But alas she was genuine, too genuine to be of his strain of denial after his own mother's passing. His gaze shifted side to side, hyper aware of the strangers.

He'd been foolish, allowing so many new faces so close, they could be spies against his uncle, trying to get close to him for information. He rudely shouldered the drunken Chusin to the side.

Zach maintained a calm demeanor for Brynna as well as those who may be watching.

He tried his best to summon his own knowledge of sign language, his sentences choppy and simple.

'How are you? Where have you been?' He asked simply.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:59 am
Kamila shifted her shawl, the wrap falling to her elbows, exposing a scar across her right shoulder. A shade lighter than her olive skin, the wide scar tissue was evidence of her and Takumi's scrap with the little heros son punk. She wasn't ashamed of it or disgusted by it, it was part of her skin now, she only missed the freckles that had once accompanied the space.

Arms crossed she follows Takumi across the beach, she eyes everyone suspiciously behind her shades for no other reason than she was just like that.

She was stationary as Leios introduced them, her expression blank as she looked over the group of people Leios was with. As their only contact dispersed into the crowd Kamila made an analysis.

The one that caught her eye at first was the dark skinned fellow. Something about his appearance put a sour taste in her mouth. There was something in his cheek bones and the crease of his brow that looked like her father.

It made her immediately dislike him.

But then someone stood out. A man who's hair was black and white, his face and style familiar but she couldn't be sure at a distance. His prescence was far from ominous, but something in the tone of his voice.

She placed a gentle hand on Takumi's shouder. She inclined her head in the direction fo the suspicious stranger.

"Does that man look familiar to you?"
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:06 pm
Hopping in once he opened the door for her, Lissandra nodded her thanks before he ran over to get in himself. Then the real fun began. Learning to drive had always been on her to do list. Unfortunately that list ran a little long. It seemed she could never squeeze it into her schedule. She curtly nodded before taking in a deep breath, beginning to insert the key when he suddenly cupped her hand with his. Clearing her throat as he helped her place herself correctly, the young woman was left suddenly feeling quite warm. “Rohan I knew where to place the key... And you could’ve pointed to which petal was which.” She finally forced out, before swiftly recovering. Getting embarrassed so easily wasn’t like her. However she often couldn’t help it because of who he was. After hating him for so long, moments like this always left her speechless. It just felt odd, regardless of how many similar moments they’d had. “I’ll let the hands slid, that one made sense at least.” She teased, just as she took off.
Driving was a lot simpler than she expected, though their location probably helped. An open range private section of the beach meant lots of space. Not that city roads would be too different. Only the wealthy could afford an automobile. Still she was pleasantly surprised by how fast she was able to adjust to the car. Maybe one day she’d buy one of her own. It’d save her loads of energy when it came to travel... “Drag racing, huh? Now that sounds fun.” She smirked at the thought while parking, before turning off the car and tossing him the keys. “Take me sometime?” Then her smirk slowly fell, as another rush of embarrassment overcame her. Proud of her? There he went again, acting so out of character that it baffled her. He had grown so much. Though she knew she wasn’t the cause. Shaking the thought aside, Lissandra playfully punched his shoulder. “You’re so cheesy.” She teased before leaning between their seats, and glancing out the back window.
“Well no one died while we were away.” She commented with a soft chuckle, quickly counting heads in the distance. “Doesn’t look like they’ve sorted out the new arrivals though... Didn’t you say this part of the beach was private? Do you always end up with a literal crowd of trespassers?” This time she was only half joking, as she was actually curious to hear the answer. Seriously, where had everyone come from? Their group always seemed to meet the strangest people.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:27 pm
Turning as Zach called to her, Natsumi offered him a soft smile. He was looking a bit better. Like a sliver of his old self had managed to shine through his cracks. She really admired him for that. Regardless of how broken he was, he remained strong. In someways he was the type of person she aspired to become. If only she could summon enough courage. “Thanks! I played a bit in high school, until Mom convinced me to switch to cheer... I really didn’t like cheer.” She sighed at the memory, before swiftly shaking the memory aside. “That’s not true you did amazing-“
Umi started, before falling silent as well once a petite girl suddenly approached them. At first she was tempted to ask a plethora of questions, to properly assess the situation. Like, how did this girl know Zach? Why was she moving her hands so much? Was she drunk? Watching for a few moments as Zach worked with the drunk boy from earlier to decipher what the girl was saying, Natsumi finally realized that it was sign language.
Something she knew literally nothing about.
Quickly deciding she’d only be a hinderance in their conversation, the redhead slowly excused herself. Immediately finding herself cornered in a new conversation. Though this one compelled her far more. She nodded along as the stranger spoke once more, before motioning for her to follow. After finding a quiet area away from the group, Umi sat down whilst patting the ground next to her. Then the real conversation began.
“Can I see those letters again?” She whispered quietly, a slight hesitance ringing in her tone. All these years her biggest fear regarding love had stemmed from her parents relationship. Telling herself that it was nothing more than lust, or that their journey together was greatly exaggerated, made her experience seem less... Painful. All she had to do was convince herself that love wasn’t real, and her burdens seemed to melt away. Her mask became a lighter burden to carry even. She was by no means happy, but rather in an empty state. Feeling neither pain nor joy, save in a few particular moments. And that was enough for her. It allowed her to force a smile throughout the day, and make the few friends she had. If she allowed herself to wallow, and give into her self desires to open up... The same situation would just happen all over again.
Though as she forced herself to read the letters carefully, rather than just skim them, she felt her mask falling off just a bit more. Tears laced her gaze as she read her mother’s previous thoughts and feelings, however she managed to hold them back. There was no denying that her mother’s world revolved around her father, but their story had never seemed believable. So many were coincidences involved, but when observing the dates recorded in the letters she found herself connecting the dots. Her mother really had been looking for her father all those years... It wasn’t a cover story she told her children out of guilt for running around with so many boys. It was the truth.
Then a realization struck her with a force similar to that of her gunshot wound.
Her mother...
“She was so naive... Putting all her hopes in one person at such a young age. He couldn’t turned out to be a very different person by the time they reached adulthood.” Sighing as she finally cast the letters aside, Natsumi slowly shook her head. Perhaps that was their biggest difference in character. Umi’s happy go lucky, and trusting nature was an shame. Something she forced for the sake of those around her. Her mother’s, on the other hand, were genuine. Luckily for her, those traits had never backfired on her. Her dad had felt the same way. “Their story should be a work of romantic fiction, it’d feel just as real. A young orphaned boy meets a younger girl of nobility on the beach, and fall in love in the span of a week. When the girl’s vacation was over she had to return home... So she decided to run away, and spend her whole life chasing him? On top of that she actually found him, and he hadn’t moved on either? What am I even reading.”
Sighing once more as she ran her hand back through her hair, Natsumi grit her teeth in irritation. They made it look so easy. Like any childhood crush was worth dropping everything for. But it wasn’t. Relationships were hard. If anyone knew that it was her.
Finally she took in a deep breath, before turning her gaze back to Milan. “I suppose you’re also in love? That’s why these letters mean so much to you... Based on your appearance, and the letters, you’d be from Frost Devils Reach, right? What in these letters touched you enough to travel all the way to Kagutsuchi?”
“Where did you even get these?”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:30 pm
Serenity found her luck starting to get worse and worse as her little journey went on.The rickety boat currently sinking below her feet felt good enough back in Seiya. The crew on board the ship claimed it would have no trouble in this seasonal weather along the Kagutsuchi coastline, but their little vessel sail broke in one section causing the mask to spin slightly jerking the boat to the right. Sadly, Serenity nap prevented her own ability to intervene finding herself thrown from her bed to roll along the floor into the opposing wall. With a groan, she rushes up to toss whomever is at the helm overboard to see the panic expressions of the crew.

Water already seem to pour into the bottom off the vessel where three long gashes starting to flow into the interior. Taking in a breath, she attempts to cool herself by chilling the sweat coating her body just enough to get comfortable. Then she went to work seeing the holes starting to fill up the lower compartments. Using her abilities, ice begins to spread across the bottom layer of the interior, but visual lines of steam peeled off the ice itself showing how quickly it starts to melt. Trying to get above deck, she felt the ship shift yet again tossing her into the right door frame A throbbing pain burst through her right arm sending a couple sparks in the back of her head. Finally seeing the light of day, she catches a glimpse of the real damage seeing the boat itself is stuck on the several spiky protrusions of rock nearing the shore.

Debating her options, she notices a populated beach not to far off meaning a couple roads must not be to far off inland. ‘Well it looks like the road less traveled,’ she thinks watching irritated crew mates running back and forth trying to find a solution to their problem. Instead, she snatches up her own bag leaping overboard waving her hand to cause a wave with condensed surface tension to catch her and start pushing her through the water. Swaying her hands back and forth, she sees the distant to the beach quickly closing and the forms of people become far clearer than basic shapes. One in particular catches her attention.

“Yuu?”

Serenity raises her hands on the next sweet causing her wave to start becoming larger and larger to about 3 meters tall forming a small shadow starting to spread across the beach falling short of their little volleyball area. In a swoosh, the salt water crashes against the dry sand in a burst running through more sand before getting sucked back into the ocean. Leaving, a thin woman in surprisingly conservative outfit mixture wolf furs commonplace cloths. Serenity long black and white hair pulled back into a pony tail wrapping around her shoulder to hang on her right shoulder. Her icy blue eyes locked on the hot headed youth playing volleyball with a number of strangers.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:13 am
Rohan let out a small chuckle in response to her as he leaned as well to check on everyone. Iggy seemed to be inside still and the rest were trying to do something about the new arrivals “Yeah it’s private, but i guess people can’t read the signs” he shook his head and glanced over to Liss then back the group “this is the first time we hqd so many people come in. What should we do with them? Kick them out? 2 of them seemed like they’re no problem. The letter chick and the mute, and there we have my old classmate... she can uh... she can be a little too much something but she means no harm. Then there’s that drunk guy, i vote we kick him out. He made Iggy bleed” Rohan look back at Liss who’s face was a few inches away “what do you think we should do?” He asked.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:02 pm
“Yeah, that’s true.” She responded causally, while slowly nodding. Though it was only an additional four people, their group felt as if it had doubled in size. Probably because they were used traveling in their much more reasonably sized teams. Still the newcomers all seemed pretty interesting. Their group seemed to attract extremely unique individuals. Listening as Rohan gave his thoughts on them all, Lissandra chuckled. He was being to sound like her. Assessing the situation before coming to a harsh conclusion. “Oh, she’s an old classmate? I thought she might’ve been an ex... Then again, I’m not sure of any girl who could actually put up with you in high school.” She teased softly, then briefly rolled her eyes. Kicking everyone out was definitely the simplest solution, but that didn’t mean it was the best one. They didn’t have the luxury of being so careless, not after the warlords attack. “I think we should be logical about this.” She finally decided with a chuckle. Her hand running back through her hair in thought. “Once we discover why everyone’s here, we can decide what to do... If they don’t mean any harm then let them stay. Even the drunk one... However you shouldn’t let him in the beach house.” As she turned her gaze back to his, Lissandra only then noticed how close they were. Blushing slightly as she took in a deep breath, she attempted to slowly lean away from him without it being awkward.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:17 pm
“Yeah i wasn’t planning on letting him inside the house. He kinda looks familiar though... have we seen him before? Well it doesn’t matter” he said taking a deep breath himself and gave her a little shrug ‘why not? It’s about time...’ he thought to himself as he placed his hand over hers then cupped her chin and met her gaze. Then slowly began to lean her way.

“I’m all cleaned up!” Iggy cheered finally coming out of the beach house with some fresh shorts. The other ones he was wearing were covered in blood from the nose bleeding “volleyball is wack there’s better things to do at the beach.” He looked around trying to spot Rohan but all he could see if the group along with the strangers “ah i know! Cassidy what are you up to? Enjoy the beach?” He said after sitting down next to her.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:50 am
“Yeah actually, he-“ Falling silent as Rohan shrugged, Lissandra began to stiffen once his hand covered her’s. There they went, in over there heads once again. Neither of them ever seemed to know where they stood, so having him actually make a move was startling. Taking in a deep breath as he cupped her chin and began to lean in, the young woman’s gaze shimmered with hesitation. What about August... Or Sahara? As much fun as they had been having in training, this wasn’t just about them. While her crush on August had appeared to be one sided, Rohan’s feelings for Sahara certainly hadn’t been. Their courtship was what had encouraged him to change... Could she really date someone after another person had spent months fixing him up. Then again, guilty conscience or no, she wasn’t the one going for it. He was.
If he’d made his decision then-
Finally leaning in to meet him, she froze just before their lips touched. Kiss shot backwards as quickly as she could, her face torn with guilt as a familiar figure outside the vehicle began to race down to the beach. Obviously taking the time to stay away from the car.
She was back.
But when? How did she know about their vacation on the beach?
No.
It didn’t matter.
“D*** it, you have the worst sense of timing...” She muttered softly before punching the door in frustration.
Well, that was that.
With the girl he actually wanted around, his efforts with her would disappear instantaneously. He’d want to fix things with Sahara... And she had no right to stop him. She still didn’t know how she’d react if August ever came back.
This what she’d prepared for from day one.
“...You better go check on her.”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:40 pm
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.  (1/6)
-
Scene
-
 Minutes led up to days, and days led up to hours. Time was perception, inevitably too complex for Mina to comprehend.

 After days of burdening her own mind trying to understand this resistance, and after being able to place herself in a situation she would never have thought she could, she couldn’t help but chuckle. It was ironic. Sitting down on a sandy floor, next to a girl who was somehow connected to a certain aspect of her life. It was strange. For a girl who was always indifferent about a lot of things, here Mina was feeling all sorts of complexities. The girl once again asked for the letters, this time thoroughly examining them.
It’s led up to this, and it’s been a whirlwind of events. Mina’s gaze shifted towards the line that separated the ocean from the sky and landed back to the court where a good majority of the people she’d just played with chattered. It was almost peaceful, there was now a gentle breeze in motion, carrying a specific scent unrelated to anything Mina has ever smelled before. This would reside in her memories forever.

 Yearningly, Mina glanced back at the girl hoping closure would finally be attainable. She was surprisingly halfway done with the pile and looked really into it. Mina gawked at the girls face trying to understand what she was feeling. Why did she look so sad? Mina slightly twitched when the girl suddenly murmured,
She was so naive... Putting all her hopes in one person at such a young age. He could’ve  turned out to be a very different person by the time they reached adulthood.”
There was a twinge of deep emotion laced into her words, and if it were any other person listening to it would’ve sounded normal. Mina raises her eyebrows in concern, but refused to talk, this girl needed time to digest what was in front of her.

 After all, if it was Mina in this situation, she would probably feel a lot of emotions too.
Though, after a while, the silence was killing her. There was so much unintentional tension in the air, and she wished she had to words to console her. Mina spent most of this exchange glancing back in forth from the ocean to the girls face. In fact, she looked at the girl so often that she memorized her features pretty fluently—and not to sugarcoat it but she was a beautiful girl; which had Mina wondering what name she was given and if it would match her appearance.
Finally, though, the girl finished the letters and met Mina’s gaze, she felt a rush of embarrassment within her stomach from unapologetically staring at her. But the feelings of embarrassment shriveled, the moment the girl asked her a fair set of questions.
With a frown, Mina looked up at the girl. “Instead of love, I have connected to her letters with the absence of it. It was amazing how similar our situations were, minus a person of interest that is. I came here in hopes to begin a life of my own although I miss the guaranteed stability. Your mother is a very brave woman, I respect her immensely.”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:31 pm
Rohan was a bit shocked at first, did he do something to scare her off like that? Rather than scared she looked guilty for some reason. After watching her punch the door he quickly reached for her hand so she wouldn’t do it again “hey don’t hurt yourself like that.” Still confused by her comment Rohan looked around to find out what had thrown her off like that, and within a few seconds of search he got his answer. Eyes widened as he let go of Liss’ hands and glanced back at her a few times “...yeah...” he replied quietly and got out the car.

Jogging with sandles wasn’t the best idea, but he was able to catch up to Sahara with no problem “Sahara wait” he reached out to grab her hand and finally get her to talk to him “hey... uh...” Rohan didn’t know what to say to her because of all this happening with Liss. Plus what had happened between them months back.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:05 pm
Sighing softly as Rohan took her hand, Lissandra waited for him to process what was happening. She placed her hands back on the steering wheel as he dropped them, before turning her head from him. Waiting patiently for him to get out before starting the engine once again. Despite the way he kept glancing back at her, she couldn’t bring herself to say anything more. So she simply went to park the car down by the beach house, before going to find Leios. Whatever was meant to happen would inevitably happen. There was no point in dwelling on the moment. It would pass soon enough. At least that’s what she told herself to remain levelheaded. “Hey, we’re back. Did you talk to Chusin?” She asked softly, smiling slightly as she placed a hand on her brother’s shoulder.
***

A lot had happened that past year. Sahara didn’t even know where to begin when people asked how she was doing. In the beginning, her answer was simple. She had been happy.
Lottie had awoken from her comma, meaning she had her best friend back. Though she honestly didn’t get to see her as much as she would’ve liked, because she was also her brother’s girlfriend of many years. Even so, she was happy for them most of all. The two had managed to carry on like no time had passed at all. On top of that, Ky had finally opened up again. He acted more like his old self, which was exciting to say the least. Spending time with the two made her so incredibly happy, even if it felt like she was third wheeling most the time.
Aside from that, Rohan had originally visited her nearly everyday. Showering her with gifts, and asking her on dates... He’d even brought her a lily plant. Despite her original fears of him being a player, they courtship had been almost perfect. On her birthday she’d awoken to him singing sweetly with a guitar on the street. Serenading not only her, but the entire neighborhood...
Which had actually been pretty embarrassing, but heartwarming nonetheless.
He’d treated her like the knights in shining armor every little girl imagined growing up. A surprisingly romantic individual at heart. She’d really come to adore that side of him. It was one she hadn’t expected to find when getting him to open up, but was excited to see. Deep down she still believed him to be a good person, even now.
But all good things eventually come to an end.
They had already been on questionable terms, thanks to his persistence to become official. She couldn’t count the number of times he’d asked her to be his girlfriend, but after her pervious relationship she could never bring herself to accept. Rohan was special to her. She didn’t want to rush into anything quickly, and then suffer from the consequences of moving too fast. Ky would step in again, and tell him to leave... Or he’d grow bored of her, causing his feelings to burn out.
So she always told him to slow things down.
She’d wanted to build something that would last.
What she hadn’t expected was an end that had nothing to do with either of them specifically.
Flinching as he caught her by the hand, Sahara found herself unable to turn towards him. Much less meet his gaze. There was too much running through her mind as it was, she couldn’t handle another emotional blow. It was easier to pretend she hadn’t just seen what she had. Though that didn’t mean she hadn’t been expecting it.
That night had ruined everything.
The night she’d convinced Rohan to officially leave the gang after months of inactivity.
The night they’d acted them.
Not all of them had agreed to join in, Sahara had spotted a few running away. Neither willing to hurt their old comrade, nor explicitly stand against the head gang member. They’d targeted her when she was heading towards a restaurant to meet Rohan for dinner, correctly pinning her as the cause for Rohan’s decision. Luckily she’d been strong enough to hold them off until Rohan had gotten worried, and eventually came to the rescue.
It wasn’t a night she liked to remember, but it had taught her a lesson.
Dating Rohan meant overcoming the challenges of his past together. Unless she could become strong enough to defend herself from his old enemies and allies alike, she’d only be a burden to him. That’s why she had to leave. She had to be stronger, for both of them. Then she’d finally feel ready to accept his repeated proposal. They’d officially be a couple.
However after disappearing for a few months to train, she’d come back to something she hadn’t expected.
Rohan had been training with Liss in the forest like usual in the morning, but this time Ren was no where to be seen. Instead the two sat on a blanket, obviously taking a break, as he gave the girl a flower. She’d been too far away to hear them, but as he wrapped his arms around her she’d seen enough.
She knew how Rohan acted on dates.
Despite calling it training, there was no denying the way he handled it.
Perhaps this was a punishment. What she deserved for leaving without a word, regardless of how emotionally torn up she’d been after the attack. She’d been gone for months... That was enough time for someone to move on, right? That must’ve been what happened.
He’d given up on her.
She should’ve expected it.
After all, he’d shown some interest in Liss since the beginning of their training. However she’d always brushed it aside, because his efforts with her seemed so heartfelt.
Maybe it was better this way.
Liss was strong enough to stay by his side, even without having to train away him. Away from everyone she knew.
Sahara still recalled how far her stomach had seemed to drop in that moment, and the guilt that plagued her as she turned to run. She doubted Rohan even saw her that day. Her only comfort was finally returning home. Consoling herself with the kind words of her worried loved ones, as she returned to her work in the forge. Her dreams of a future with Rohan crushed, and with them her need to train. She returned to her normal life. The only new addition in it being Iggy, who she’d had promise that he wouldn’t tell Rohan of her return.
He also occasionally told her of how Rohan was doing, and how his relationship with Lissandra was.
As much as it hurt to hear, she always felt as if she needed to know.
“P-Per favore, lascia andare...” She whispered softly, tears beginning to blur her vision though she managed to hold them back. “P-Picolo I-insisted I c-come to the b-beach with him... I didn’t k-know you’d a-all be here...” Pausing for a moment as she attempted to take another step away from him, Sahara realized what Iggy had been attempting to do for her. Though it was made in good nature, she wished he hadn’t made such a plan. Especially without telling her.
“N-Non v-volevo interrompere ... M-Mi scuso.”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:49 pm
As the battle between the teens went on, Yuu was extremely excited to finally get in some action with the others. Although with an extremely drunk member, Team Liss had put up a good fight against his own team. While a seemingly disheartening concept to be neck in meck with a team that essentially was three people, Yuu was pretty satisfied considering Mina was completely new to the game, and it seemed like Zach and Umi were distracted by one thing or another. "Alright, match point it is!!!" Yuu yelled excitedly, glaring over at the opposing team with a grin "I'm not gonna lose to you yet, Liss!"

In a bright flash of light, Yuu gawked in shock as a small explosion tore into the sand. After it's outcome, there stood Solomon, standing in a crater with a destroyed volleyball. Yuu glared at the man, deflating slightly as it would seem no victor would be decided today. At Chusin's drunken proclamation, "The champion of ruining poor Volleyballs maybe" Yuu let out a sigh, a few seconds later gaining a small smile 'However, even if I would have lost...' Yuu smiled as he remembered the way the girls bounced around, slid, and competed around him in their swimsuits "...It's a win no matter what way you look at it!" He noted with cheery tone as he pumped his fist into the air.

Turning to a large amount of commotion, Yuu spotted yet another newcomer. Yuu's eyes sparkled excitedly as he saw her "Another new friend!" He giddly said as he planned to greet the new girl, but a shadow rising overhead pulled him from that plan, "BWAAAAAAH!!" Yuu yelled out in shock as a wave crashed into the sand, far away from the normal waterline. "SOMETHINGS BEEN BEACHED!" Yuu yelled in shock, glancing down at a wet, and furry lump on the sand. Taking a few careful steps towards it, Yuu's eyes widened "Wait...Serenity!?" Yuu questioned as he ran to her, dropping down on his knees as he began slapping her face lightly, "Oy! You're not dead, right!?" He questioned picking her up by the shoulders "Serenity! It's been a year, some real crazy stuff happened after that shipwreck! I fought some warlord people, met a bunch of new friends, I'm even training with Mrs. Danyell!!" He went on excitedly, the blond was surprised to see her again to be honest, "So, like...what happened to you? Did you get in a shipwreck again, cause I'm pretty sure you're cursed or something..."
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:19 pm
Serenity felt the surge of the waves crashing the surface almost landing perfectly before the bulk of a horseshoe crab slams right into the back of her calf causing her to let out a high pitched squeak. Her muscles tensed up, and she lost control of her ride causing the wave to smash her into the beach itself without warning. Seaweed and sand flush past her face causing long strands of her hair to fall in her eyes. Trying to shake it off, she felt someone grab hold of her through the gaps seeing Yuu’s face. Her voice choked up slightly feeling a tad bit of sea water in her throat. Her arm reaching up slightly to her blonde rescuer.

“Yu- Smack,” Serenity barely got the chance to respond before feeling a hand smack across her face. Then again and again until she snaps her right hand down on Yuu’s knuckles trying to get him to stop.

“I’m fine… just waterlogged is all.” She says brushing some of her white hair out of her face. Coughing slightly, she sits up to get a grasp on the rest of the people on the beach. The strange combination would only surprise her if they were literally any other group of people. Hearing Yuu’s questions, she twists her head back to look with a little embarrassment in her tone.

“It seems every time I get on a ship. It ends up having some major issue. If not a fierce storm, jagged rocks, or bunch of pirates it comes down to uncooperative cremates. Sorry about that, for a water mage I’m sorta a bad luck charm at sea." Serenity says flustering a little at how man times this situations come up in their recent history.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:54 pm
[Cassidy]
Watching from the safety of her sun ocking umbrella setup, Cassidy smiled as everyone got into their volleyball game. "This could be good action shots" she noted as she grabbed her sketch book. Though her original idea was ruined as she watched the game immediately start with Iggy being pelted in the head by a volleyball.

She gawked in mild horror as she witnessed the destruction of the volleyball court, 'This game is seriously intense!' She glanced down at her sketch pad sadly, too fast paced was the game for her to manage a good grasp of everyone in action. She slowly began to fan herself, the water was an appealing idea if it wasn't for her condition to burn extremely easily. Glancing up, she smiled as Iggy approached and sat himself down next to her, "I'm having fun...I guess? I'm not much one for these kind of things. And I don't know a lot of the people here" she noted before taking a closer look at him "What about you Iggy? Are you okay, you got hit pretty hard there..." she carefully placed her hands on his cheeks as she examined his head.

Pausing, her body froze up. Her ears picking up a familiar voice, 'That voice!' Cassidy shot up as she hurriedly looked around the beach. 'It couldn't be!' Cassidy gasped in disbelief, but sure enough amidst the growing crowd of people she spotted a young girl with green hair. It was unmistakably "Sahara!!!" Cassidy yelled with excitement, breaking out into a full sprint across the warm sand. Cassidy eagerly pulled Sahara into a hug, embracing her friend as if she would dissappear again the moment she let go, "Sahara~" Cassidy whined "I-I missed you! I've been stuck with Rohan and Iggy the emtire time" she cried out, "no offense Iggy." Pulling back from the hug, Cassidy's eyes widen as she stared into her friends ruddy eyes "Sahara!? What's wrong...why are you crying? Y-You're gonna make me cry~" Cassidy warned, despite having been crying already.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:45 pm
[Takumi]
Through his pink locks, Takumi gave a small smile as Leios spotted the pair. "It's nice to see you in one piece as well," Takumi nodded as a teasing smirk pulled at his lips "Considering the first time we met we had to patch a few holes for you"

Walking with Kamilla, Takumi quickly scanned over the crowd. "I thought Leios said this was gonna be a small get together" he groaned, "They sure are a rowdy bunch." His mind flashing back to the camp they had left to cone here, he began to fidget as they walked, a strange anxiety causing a strange tightness in his chest. He didn't know why, but there was something that set him on edge, he couldn't help but recall a terrible dread lurching in his stomach. Jumping slightly as Kamilla placed a hand on his shoulder, he quickly grabbed her hand harshly out of reflex. Freezing up, he instantly loosened his grip on her hand, a panicked look in his eye "Uh..." he slowly let get, "Sorry. I was...lost in thou- nevermind, who now?" A faint tinge of flush burned his cheeks, before quickly looking towards the young man she had been referring to. Glaring slightly, he focused on Solomon...something about him was, odd. Takumi couldn't place his finger on it, he didn't recognize him at all, but he was pretty sure something was familiar about him.

"...No, I've never seen him before" Takumi finally deduced, "I feel like I recognize people I don't know all the time, it's probably nothing" he dismissed the idea as he began walking towards the house, carrying the bag he brought. Just as the sense of dread began to reside, a new sense of anxiety filled it's place "We made sure everyone had their task for the week, right?" His tone was laced with a undertone of exhaustive annoyance "And, what about...the food? Building supplies are were all accounted for, right?" He continued muttering to himself as they marched across the sand, his brows furrowed in contemplation.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:27 pm
Rohan stayed quiet even after she asked him to let go. He knew Sahara saw what just happened right now... and who could blame her for running away. He wanted to tell her something but words couldn’t come out of his mouth, all he could do was glance down at the floor. Occasionally a quick glance up to see her.

It has been a long time since they last saw each other, and she was still scared of physical contact. Which reminded him of his stupidity for putting her in danger “Sahara...” he forced out and finally released her hand when Cassidy came running to see her.

Iggy came right behind Cassidy a bit nervous because he set this whole thing up. Maybe if they talked a little everything could go back to the way it used to be, the 4 of them as a team. Though judging by Sahara’s and Rohan’s faces things didn’t go as planned “Hey Sahara! I’m glad you decided to come!”

Rohan took a deep breath and walked away from the group. Maybe she’ll talk to Cassidy and Iggy.
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

on Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:49 pm
Pausing to take in the girl’s reply, Natsumi slowly shook her head. Finally connecting the dots between the girl’s strangely professional appearance, her explanation, and the letters beside her. “You’re a noblewoman then, like my mother... I hear nobility still practices arrange marriages in Frost, is that why you ran away?” If this really was the case, then Natsumi couldn’t blame the girl for clinging to these letters. To the idea of love and freedom... But she also couldn’t let her carry on in her parents fantasy.
If she continued to do so she’d only be sorely disappointed.
Flinching as Mina defended her mother, Natsumi’s gaze fell as a tear finally slide down her cheek. Suddenly she grew even more unsure of her personal opinions. What mindset was truly naive? Her’s or her mother’s? For a moment she fell silent, unsure of how to respond.
If her mother was brave, perhaps she was a coward.
Hiding behind countless men who never mattered to her, to drown out her feelings for the one that did.
She’d always know that to be wrong, but at very least she’d been able to rationalize her actions. Now she couldn’t even do that. Why was she still playing this game? Did it even matter? Did she mean anything to him anymore? Maybe not.
That was a possible truth she’d always avoided.
A fear she’d kept buried within her, haunting her in moments of silence since things had changed between them.
“...She’s brave for leaving her home, I agree with that. You are too.”
“However, while her story is inspiring, it is the minority. Most loves fall unrequited... Even when you think you’ve found the one,  sometimes you forget that they have to feel the same... That’s a lot of power over you to freely give another person. Intentionally or unintentionally, they may come to hurt you.” She whispered softly, uncertain of why she was able to open up to such a degree. Was she too tired to hold her act together anymore? Had the letters shaken her to such a degree? Or was it simply because she doubted that she’d ever see this girl again. “You’ll never find that kind of stability you crave in your life again. Nobility has everything handed to them on a platter. I’m not going to lie, I do as well. Money and other trivial issues have likely never been a struggle our families have had to deal with... However that only means that we’re aren’t used to handling challenges... Even innocent actions can lead to severe consequences in the real world. Outside of the comfort of your home you might be hurt by another person, verbally or physically... You might accidentally hurt others the same way. Eventually you come to know that you’re reality isn’t the rest of the world’s reality... And that even a seemingly innocent love can hold you like shackles... Freedom only coming when the other person releases them by accepting your feelings, or when you find the strength to release them yourse-“ Finally pausing amidst her passionate lecture, Natsumi’s voice cracked. How could she say that? In warning or no, it was hypocritical. How could she possibly push an ideal she’d never been able to even contemplate herself? Ever time it crossed her mind, she found herself right back at the beginning.
***
When you're little your imagination runs wild, keeping you entertained for hours over the simplest of things. That was very much so the case for Natsumi, especially after Rohan began ranting to her over and over again about Mr. and Mrs. Siopelos' son. His new 'rival' was known to her by many names. A jerk, a know-it-all, a loser, a weakling, etc. Though despite that last claim, Rohan would come home with a lot of injuries after they fought. The two would really go at it, something about his new rival really pushed Rohan to go all out in his personal training as well as in their brawls. Naturally this caught her attention, and she began to wonder what kind of person this 'Leios' could possibly be. At first she thought him to be a typical bully and nothing more, however the longer he and Rohan fought, the more skewed her mental image of him became. He probably had a scar on his face, maybe two. She imagined him to be quite burly, with sharp facial features that made him quite scary looking. Something like a gang lord in her children's books. After months of picturing him to be more and more terrifying, the small child finally made up her mind. She was going to observe this 'beast'.
The very next day she prepared a small backpack of things she thought she'd need to survive such a dangerous mission. A can of pepper spray her dad gave her in case of an attack, her pink and white jump rope to tie him up if he gave her any trouble, and finally some friendship bracelets in case he turned out to be like the beast in the fairytale book Mrs. Danyell had lent her mom to read to them a little while ago. After that there was only one thing to do, tackle her Daddy in a hug and beg him to take her to work with him like he did for Rohan sometimes. Of course the idea thrilled her father, and a few minutes later she found herself in the workshop that Rohan said his rival was always at.
It was time for her secret agent spy mission to begin.
Creeping around in the shadows of the room, Natsumi's heart seemed to race a hundred miles an hour. With her Daddy and Mr. Kios in a meeting, she'd be on her own if something went wrong. She'd have to be brave! Which sounded like a good plan until she tripped on a stray wrench, and fell face first into the ground in the darkened corner. Soon her resolve was all but shattered, and she was left crying softly on her own. Or at least she would've liked to think so, but as she sat up she saw a figure standing above her with glowing red eyes. "I don't want to fight!" She cried, immediately covering her face with both arms as she shrunk away from him.
The figure responded by flipping on the light switch that was right next to them, "I wasn't planning on it. Who are you anyways?" The boy stared at Natsumi for a few moments before realizing he should probably help her up, so he held out his hand. "I'm five, you look like you're the same age as me. I'm Leios by the way."
Closing her eyes tightly as the lights suddenly turned on, the tiny girl paused a moment after finally adjusting to the new brightness encasing the room. Soon after her cheeks slowly turned a deeper and deeper shade of red. This boy looked nothing like what she'd imagined. "M-My name's Natsumi, Natsumi Yosenju... This is my Daddy's business." She finally replied after accepting his hand, and standing up before brushing off her pink frilly sundress. "I'm 5 1/2 actually." Explaining matter of factly as she walked around him in a circle, the girl finally came to a halt in front of him with a suspicious gaze. "So you are Leios then... But you're cute, and you helped me up... You aren't like what Rohan said at all!" She crossed her arms over her chest as she weighed her options in her mind. Maybe he was a good beast after all? But he didn't even look like a beast at all! He could be a prince... "Did a girl already kiss you?"
Leios turned his head to keep track of Natsumi, who after having turned the same color as her hair just a moment ago was now walking around him in a circle. "So you're Rohan's sister, besides your hair you're nothing like him." It was his turn to blush a little when she called him cute, but he managed to quickly brush it off. "Of course I'm nothing like what he's said about me...whatever it was. It's Rohan that starts most of the fights anyway." But he was startled by her sudden and personal question, "W-What are you talking about, why would you ask me that?"
Tilting her head to the side slightly, Natsumi began to giggle as she caught him blush. Yeah, he definitely wasn't anything like what Rohan had said. "Well, yeah, I'm a girl! Rohan is a boy, so he gets away with being more ra...rambunctious." She slowly pronounced, grinning brightly after succeeding. That was the maid's favorite word to call Rohan. Blinking a few times as she processed his timid reaction to her very serious question, the little girl slowly smiled. "The way Rohan described you, you sounded like a beast of some kind... Mrs. Da- Y-Your mom, let my mommy borrow a storybook a little while ago about fairies tails. Only it never actually talked about that. In one of the stories there was a good beast, who turned into a prince when a girl kissed him! Is that what happened to you?" She explained in more depth, gently tossing her backpack from her back onto the ground.
Leios' look of embarrassment went away when Natsumi explained what she was asking, "Ohhh that makes more sense now. I've read those stories too but I don't know if all of them are real. Though I do know Dragons are real. But I was me for as long as I can remember so I don't think that's what happened. Besides I've never... been kissed by a girl." He shyly looked away for a moment before realizing the real source of this confusion, Rohan. "I don't think Rohan likes me very much, that's why he calls me a beast, he just makes up stuff about me. I don't like him very much either. You're fine though because you're nice." Leios looked up at the clock on the wall, realizing a whole two minutes had gone by. "I need to get back to 'work'," he said, pointing to a bench with a couple of stools. "I'm helping my dad work on an invention...I don't really understand it very well yet but it's really interesting!" He climbed up on one of the stools and sat down. Glancing at her and then back at the bench he managed to mumble out another sentence, "You can s-stay if you want."
Eyes widening in shock as her jaw dropped, the redhead let out an audible gasp. Not all the stories were true? She felt cheated, like her bedtime stories were all lies. "Really?!" A sudden beam of hope light her eyes as he told her dragons were real, leaving her to believe some of the other stories might be real as well. Swiftly switching her attention back to him, Natsumi nodded a few times in understanding. "Huh, well then it couldn't be that then. I guess you really were always like this." She studied him over once more as he turned his head from her, before grinning. He seemed fun, she liked him. Carefully considering Leios' next comment, she was forced to admit that he was probably right. Rohan exaggerating a bit about Leios made the most sense, and it'd explain why he was never actually a beast. Blushing slightly once more as he suddenly accepted her, Natsumi smiled at him in excitement. He thought she was nice? Did that mean...
Pouting slightly as he suddenly returned to his work, the child nodded in understanding as he explained what he was doing. Honestly she was the slightest bit jealous that Leios' dad trusted him enough to let him help with something important like that. Perking back up as he glanced back to her and quietly invited her to join, Natsumi made up her mind. She knelt down and dug through her backpack, before pulling out what she need. Then she quickly ran over to Leios and took his hand for a moment. "I decided I like you, let's be friends okay?" She offered with a smile, sliding the bracelet woven from yarn onto his hand before twisting it to wrap it twice. "I made this myself, so take good care of it! They all turned out too big... But if you wrap it like this it's fine!" Promising with a grin as she crawled onto a stool beside him, Natsumi gently pushed her hair over shoulders. "You can call me Umi now, that's my nickname!" She explained briefly before glancing to the machine in front of her and studying the parts for a few moments. After that she made a resolve to help her new friend, in anyway she could. "So what's this do? Will you teach me?"
Grinning when he saw that Natsumi was delighted about the dragon (at least that's what he thought), "I'll show you the Dragon someday then, he doesn't like me very much either but I have a feeling he'd be fine with you." Then when she grabbed his hand he was surprised, wondering what she was going to do. Leios smiled brightly when Natsumi told him she wanted to be his friend, "Yeah let's be friends!" He held the bracelet and looked it with awe, "This is a friendship bracelet isn't it! No one's ever given me one of these. I'll keep it safe!" He quickly wrapped it around his left wrist and tied it on, tracing the patterns with his finger until Natsumi got up on the stool and told him her nickname. "Umi! I like it." He turned back to the bench and pulled the contraption closer to them. Pointing to what looked like a funnel he began explaining, "So Umi, you see this is where you put Fire Seishitsu in," next he pointed to the coiled pipe it was attached to, "and this compresses the Seishitsu so it's dense enough to be fed into this next part and it has to be done that way because..."
Little did he know, Natsumi held onto every word he said. Nodding along with his commentary, and making note of everything he said was important to remember. This would continue to their dynamic for many years to come, with her visiting him everyday after school once she'd enrolled.
Though the social aspect of her life became hard around that time, she took comfort in knowing that at the end of everyday she had a safe haven to escape to where she could openly be herself. She'd continue to eagerly await her work with Leios, and gave learning everything properly her all to ensure she never slowed him down. On the contrary, she liked to think that she was able to really help him out sometimes. Giving him a new perspective to any challenges he faced, just as he did for her everyday.
***
Tugging at the woven bracelet firmly fashioned around her ankle, Natsumi quickly turned her head. She had to keep it together. Now wasn’t the time to break down. “...Sorry, that was so pessimistic!” Forcing a laugh as she finally turned to meet the other girl’s gaze, the young woman paused for just a moment before continuing. “What I’m trying to say is to be careful. Relying on my parents story alone... Leads to unrealistic standards.”
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Re: Echo of Nothingness (EON III) Continuation

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