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The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

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The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 23/10/2017, 14:20

The air of the Underground was distinct, like no other in the known world. It was cold and humid, but also full of dust. That was the catch, however. The dust down here was always invisible, due to the overall poor lighting. The people living here had no way of knowing it was actually dust they were inhaling and exhaling. To them, it was just air, just the way it always existed.
That was the nature of the Underground. Everything was but a shadow of its real self. The sun, the sky, the building and the people, even the air.
Or so it seemed for the people who came from above, and looked down at the city in distaste and repulsion. For the people living below, it was a different story altogether. When they looked up, they saw a world vastly more colourful and rich than their own. They saw light. They saw freedom. To them, even the humble Mitras seemed like the very Heavens itself.
However, that perspective was dangerous. To most, the promise of salvation and a land beyond was a hope at best. To these people, it was as real as their lives. What would a person do to claim certain freedom?

These are the thoughts that haunted Alan as he descended down the steps, descending deeper and deeper Underground. Below him, spread like a glowing canvas was the Secret City. It was home for millions of poor souls, and yet it seemed so humble, so unassuming. From above, one could easily mistske it to be abandoned altogether.
Alan looked around him, reinspecting his team.

To the right of him was his squad... Or at least most of it. Peter and Hyda were walking alongside Vindhelm who was grudgingly carrying a small carriage with him. They reluctantly agreed to join the rather dangerous mission, after understanding how important it was. They were good soldiers... But ill-equipped to deal with what was to come. They weren't ready for the treacherous nature of this place, for the ferocity of its inhabitants... And for the looming hopelessness.
To Alan's left, however, walked far more capable people. People Alan truly trusted, people who have already stared into life's abbys and carried on.
Mitsuo Shimura, mechanical prodigy of Shimura Works, and field tactician in the Scouting Legion. Beyond his sharp wit, he carried an iron grip of self control and professionalism, that even Alan could not hope to match.
Next to him loomed a giantess in a coat - Cora Wolf, leader of 'The Pack', full-time mercenary and ex-soldier. Alan had yet to meet a woman more dangerous than her, and her personality disorder made her more unpredictable than he'd like, but there was no denying she was loyal to a fault... And for now, Alan was on her 'Nice List'.

They were nearly at the gate below, meaning it was almost time to begin the mission. In essence, it was simple - find out who's been receiving/using the black-market 3DMGs, understand why they did it and arrest them. The mission wasn't supposed to take more than a few days, but you never know with these sorts of things. After all, their leads were scarce - all they knew was that a smuggler from the Underground known as Samuel Traight had been sneaking in 3DMGs into the Hidden City. Alan was fortunate enough to mark some of the 3DMGs with a small carving, unassuming to the average eye but unmistakable for him.
He will be able to tell upon inspecting any 3DMG they might come across.

However, a group of soldiers (With one ex-soldier) waltzing into town may draw unwanted attention. They needed to blend in. And so Alan prepared.
"Wheat? Really?" complained a voice behind him.
Alan looked back, and spotted Vindhelm muttering angrily as he pulled the cart behind him. Alan was about to answer, but Peter, ever the sharp mind, beat him to it.
"Wheat is light and unassuming. We can easily hide our 3DMGs under it, and crops are valuable here, so we have a higher chance of drawing criminals to our stand."
Alan smiled at the prospect. To passerbys, the group looked like a merchant squad, intent on selling their farmed goods. Often, it was the simplest trick that worked the best.
And in this lands of tricksters and poverty, they would fit right in.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 25/10/2017, 20:37

The underground. A very beautiful place, a place...similar to home possibly. The same type of houses, the same type of people, the same type of business. The houses were pretty, people really put effort into keeping them that way. The people put effort into looking pretty as well, their bellies were full, their clothing clean and expensive. The businesses were going good, a lot of money was involved. But they were also on the nastier side. Which made this place seem even more like home to Cora, to put it differently...the same barracks, shacks, old, ruined houses, the same poor, starving people, the same exploiting, awful businesses. Ahhh, it was good to feel like home.

Cora closed her eyes, smiled and inhaled deeply as to take all the pictures, emotions and odours in; only to cough immediatly after. Not too much home. Her home atleast had a sun. And...no vitamin deficiancy from that. They also had more options to get food. This place probably was the worst of the worst. Thinking about it...there were probably alot of desperate people looking for jobs in the 'overworld', right? Ha! She could be their 'Overlord' and get them out. She grinned at the ceiling. Not the sky...because that one was well, not there.

Cora looked at her companions. There was Alan, the secret mastermind. Or not too much secret anymore as he was already captain. He needed brain to be one after all! So someone must have acknowledged his superior intellect!

Vex started complaining about her line of thought. How could anyone BUT them be smarter, eh? After all their IQs combined must be over atleast 250!
He did not realize that three people together should very well have a combined IQ of 300 and not 250...but he did not really care for Nec's explanations.

Then there was Mitsuo, Cora just hoped he would be okay, given the first time she took him to a black market...poor him...eh, he would make it. She had exposed him quite a bit to certain customs of the 'underworld'. Given what mission they were on she was a bit disappointed that she did not take any of her other mercenaries. Groups were better. But they might actually attract too much attention...or scare criminals away. It's not like she alone already didn't. The other's appereance kinda made up for that though.

Cora smiled again, then took a bandana and wrapped it around the lower half of her face.
"Just that noone recognizes me", she quickly said while putting up a hood to hide her hair. They would still be able to tell that she was female from the waist and shoulders, but given the height they might just think she was a scrawny guy.

She strategically positioned herself close to Alan, as he was the leader. Something happening to him would end up bad. Apart from that, this position also allowed her to keep an eye on the wheat.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 26/10/2017, 16:30

The underground. Mitsuo heard stories of such a place but never thought it could truly exist.
The young Shimura had to take a moment to let his eyes and lungs adjust to the dim lighting and dust filled air.
His expression on his face dramatically became displeased.

"How do people manage to live down here?"
Mitsuo spoke quietly, frustration lacing his tone of voice.

The mechanic was not dressed in his usual attire but was instead wearing common clothes. He didn't find them comfortable but he wasn't going to complain.

"The wheat was a great idea, Alan, but there's also the risk of beggars slowing us down," Mitsuo spoke before coughing out the dust that filled his lungs.

'Beggars,' the word ran through the mechanics mind. He didn't like the word but there was no better term to use.

Whilst fighting his own thoughts, Mitsuo realised that a improvised formation was occurring. He figured it was instinct or accident but was a smart move, subconscious or not.
The young Shimura slowed his pace and fell in line behind the cart of wheat. From here he could protect it from any thieves attempting to steal the goods which are hiding the groups' gear.
In this position, Mitsuo could also keep an eye on Alan's squad. He trusted them as they worked under Alan however he just wanted to learn how they act both individually and as a group.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 26/10/2017, 23:08

At last, the group was at the base of the stair. Clearly, the circumstances have already started to take their toll on each person. They have grown quieter, almost afraid to disrupt the uneasy silence of the vast, empty Underground. It may have been a reaction most attributed to fear, but as with most things humans tend to do, it was simply an evolutionary instinct. These young men and women were facing a truly irregular scenario. The solution to the situation was to observe, take in the surroundings. Make the unknown known, the oddities part of the scenery.
Humans were such interesting machines. It made Alan wonder how much of that intuition was to be found in their larger, murderous cousins, the titans.

Alan turned to his friends, giving them a smile to hide the immense fear he was feeling.
"It's time. Remember - we're just a group of travelling merchants. Whatever may befall us, we can handle."
And with that, the disguised Military Police captain turned and approached the guards of the stairway, handing them their permits. The hardened soldiers didn't give them so much as a glance as they passed by. The horrors they have seen (And perhaps committed) were likely many, but in the end they found the strength to carry on with their job. It must be hard, being a human serving humanity by being pit against humans.
Or so Alan thought. He knew too well what it was like to work against humans. Hell - that was exactly what he was doing right now. He was on a mission to stop criminals. How far could humanity descend, to have a titanic threat looming upon its doorstep and yet to delve and dabble in crime?
It was not often, but sometimes Alan wondered if the world would've been better off were the titans to invade and kill all the humans. With no one to destroy, would the world remain peaceful?

The architecture of the the Underground was very alien to Alan. instead of leveled streets and rooftiled houses, the streets were lined by monstrously large buildings, looming tall and grim. Their very texture was different - it seemed they were almost carved out of the very stone of the cave. The buildings towered over one another, hills upon hills of them over in the distance.
By contrast, the people of the Underground seemed very small. It didn't matter who Alan passed - children, adults, elderly (Which were very scarce), they all had a certain look in their eye. Maybe it was some form of mutation that made it easier to deal with the dark? Alan couldn't say. They didn't really seem to look around. They just shuffled on, minding their own business. Despite the streets being rather full, it was rather quiet. Few raised their voices, none laughed or cheered. It was humanity, but without the life.

Alan looked around him as he walked, growing more and more unsettled. A voice in his head screamed louder and louder how this wasn't right. Alan was compelled to agree, but it was not enough for the voice. The voice demanded change, demanded a fight, anything to do to prevent this from being reality. Alan could offer no such respite to himself.
He looked behind him, at his comrades in arms. They too seemed to be moved by the strange and bizzare dark world unfolding before them. Hyda in particular seemed distraught. All her life she spent living above this city, not once visiting it, not once considering the lives of the less fortunate whose very citizenship was taken away. Tears threatened to reveal themselves, but the brave soldier carried on, dignified. Alan turned back to face the road.
Best to look where you're going... else you may stumble.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 5/11/2017, 22:04

There was a surprising amount of people down here, Cora thought to herself, a surprising amount for the conditions, esspecially the health ones that come with living away from the sun.

She once had a talk with one of the other pack leaders about the underground. It was definitly one of the most desperate places. So technically a good place to find someone that could...serve as a mercenary. It technically was. She talked with him for quite the while about it, the main problem with it seemed to be the fact that there was no sunlight. Seemingly it made people develop bone diseases, they grew weaker, it was hard to walk, all that stuff. So in the end...as long as you were not abducting babies or toddlers...rather uselsss to go hunting for teenagers or kids. Yes the younger they were the less signs they showed, but hey, the pack was one of the best mercenary groups out there. Taking... 'damaged ware' was out of question.

Cora was glad Alan or Mitsuo could not hear her thoughts...they would probably hate her for them. For looking down on humans that much, seeing them as wares. But for her, that's what they were, she was after all looking out for them, she was training them, she was...in some way caring for them. The same way a man would train his dogs or a farmer care for his sheep. In the end the dogs, sheep and humans were all just wares. They were to be sold to someone. Not to be kept.

Cora looked around at some of the beggars approaching her cart. While a kid in the front started talking to Alan a few more gathered around. Staying surprisingly far away but they still were close, keeping their eyes on the wheat.

"Sir...sir please...we are hungry...Sir...can we....can we have some wheat? Sir please!", it whimpered. Cora rolled with her eyes. This would end up interesting. How would they react? If they wanted to pass as merchants they would not be allowed to mind them much.

One kid tried taking a bit of the wheat from the wagon, while everyone was 'looking away'. Cora was not for one thing. The moment the hand closed in to the wagon she grabbed it, pulled it up, almost lifting the kid up. It let out a short and rather quiet screech of surprise. She did not hurt it, her grip was hard, yes but she was not crushing his hand or tearing his arm out...yet.
She turned her head and looked at him. Not for long just a few seconds, she then threw him half away. He stumbled but did not fall. Cora went on with staring to the front, her seeming absent might get them to think that they had a chance.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 29/11/2017, 18:55

Mitsuo did his best to ignore every event that unfolded before him.
He was dumbfounded at how such nightmares manifest into reality and could not help but feel bad for being born in a better situation compared to these people.

His fist tightly clenched as his thoughts increased.
Mitsuo now realised how much he had taken his life for granted and was kicking himself for it.
'I'm no better than those who live in greed,' he internally belittled himself, only looking out for myself and being blind to those who are hurt by consequence of my actions.'

His mind now wandered, supply thought after thought, no matter the subject as long as it was relevant.
'I wonder if these people are slaves.
Forced to mine for metals, taken to fields to plough and harvest crops. If they're used for jobs that require hard labour and the dirtying of hands. I wonder...'


His eyes slowly gazed at the surroundings before resting on Cora's back as his mind thought as such.
The young Shimura shook his head ad he struggled to clear his mind.
'No. Don't think about it,' he mentally scolded himself.

The mechanic sighed. He already lost track of how much time had passed since they arrived and was starting to get bored of walking.
"How much longer?"
Mitsuo queried aloud.
Although he trusted Alan, he was weary as not much was told about the mission and his limited knowledge about the Underground was no reassurance to him.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 30/11/2017, 23:51

It didn't take long until a pack of hungry children gathered around the party of merchants. The street-urchins watched with awe as they saw the fresh supplies roll by, so close that they could almost touch it. Almost...
Unfortunately for them, between said delicacy and them loomed the stoic merchants, greedily protecting their wares.

Alan's eyes darted from one kid's face to another. In their eyes he saw the same empty expression that all the Underground dwellers shared. He insppected their bony faces, their dusty and tattered clothing, the thick hair covering their scalps.
They were people, but they weren't human. Their drive was simply to survive, drawn to food like moths to a flame. They acted purely on instinct, like animals.
There was no life to be had here. Their days were not filled with aspirations, or with complex interactions. They did not do anything but the bare minimum to live another day. Purposeless souls, existing due to their basic drive to exist. There was no life to be had here, no human behind the eyes.

A kid stopped Alan in his way, begging for food. Alan looked down on him, his face locked in a stoic expression of disturbance. In a moment, he went over all the possible course of actions.
He could share food with these kids, like he naturally wanted to do, but this will only draw more unwanted attention to Alan's team, as well as make them stand out in this dark, dull place. Quite the opposite of what you would want to do, trying to blend in.
Acting aggressively towards the children would yield similar results - while violence wouldn't be uncommon, the loud commotion would still draw attention, in contrast to the passive, silent crowd.
No, the answer was silence. To ignore the children, and to carry on, with a thin, sad smile on Alan's lips. Would anyone blame or berate the poor merchant for holding onto his wares? Would anyone even care?
In order to blend in, they would have to sct instinctively like the kids, like the rest of the Underground. The kids naturally wanted food, and the merchants naturally wanted to get through another day without any needless hussle, so they too could buy their bread and live another day.

The merchant party continued walking slowly, parting a path through the urchins. Alan looked back at them as he walked. He felt sympathy, pity, but for some reason also repulsion. These kids, like him, grew up poor and struggling to survive. Why weren't they doing anything? Why weren't they trying to rise above?

Mitsuo made a small comment about the duration of the walk. Alan looked back over his shoulder and responded.
"We're almost there. The town square should be right... Here."
And as the disguised Policeman spoke the words, the group entered a large square, framed by looming buildings. Stalls were spread here and there, selling anything from food, to clothing, to tools. It wasn't much, but in Underground terms it was as bustling as can be. Because of that, naturally, two Policemen were about, surveying the open area in search of suspicious activity.
Alan headed to the center of the square and looked around. It didn't take him long to decide on a location for their stall, right next to a small alleyway. Alan had chosen this place because it was very... Susceptible to petty theft.
Alan turned to Mitsuo and Cora, as his Squad got to work on the food stand.
"We'll be working on the stall for now. It will take us a bit of time, so for now you're free to roam as you'd like. The hotel we'll be staying in is right there." Alan nodded with his head to one of the buildings surrounding the square, which looked rather unremarkable.
"You can head there to rest if you'd like. I heard it utilises a natural cavern of hot water to create relaxing, hot baths. Just don't stray too far." he gave them a knowing stare.

And with that, the captain turned his attention to the stall.
Vindhelm was grudgingly hammering the sign in place, that read in big words (Next to a drawing, for the illiterate) 'FRESH FARM FOOD'.
Alan's mothed would have been so proud, were she alive.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 5/12/2017, 11:12

Cora continued silently walking next to the others, it was their luck that there were no more incidents involving beggars. She was quite surprised at it, usually those kids don't give up this easily, esspecially if the only guard they had, aka her, seemed very absent. Disappointing, really. This was another proof that those kids were nothing for mercenary life, they had no willpower. They barely seemed to have a will to stay alive, how would they ever have the will to do anything at all?

She was really really disappointed in them. Very. It was pathetic. Cora shook her head to stop herself from getting more and more angry at them.

They finally reached their destination and Alan had picked the exact place for a merchant stall she would have not picked if she was to actually protect something. But, given the circumstances....it was probably for the better. Cora looked into the small alley, it was QUITE shady, esspecially given the lack of sunlight. Interesting... this was perfect for abducting people as well.

Cora went over to Alan, "Question: If someone tries to steal something here, shall I actually stop them...or...?", Cora made a pause, she really was unsure about it. THey wanted to find out where the 3DMG went, but did Alan want to sell it to find out where it went or for it to get stolen...
Also did he already mention this? Cora would end up feeling extremly embarassed if that was the case. She still asked.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 20/1/2018, 23:47

Mitsuo looked around the town square, uncertainty shining in his eyes.
Eventually, he sighed and shook his head, "I'll suppose I'll check in at the hotel. Hopefully, that will calm me down a bit."

The mechanic nodded to the group before turning and heading in the direction Alan pointed at earlier.

Upon entering the building, Mitsuo saw the hotel was as kept inside as it was outside.
Trying to avoid staring too long, the young Shimura hastily walked to the reception desk.

The receptionist turned to Mitsuo, "can I help you?"

"One room for four and one room for two please."

"Ok, under what name?"

"Um... Robert D. Wheat."

"Your rooms are booked and here are the keys. The room numbers are on the keys."

"Thank you," Mitsuo smiled and proceeded to return to the group.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 21/1/2018, 02:04

It didn't take long for the market stall to be set up and running. It was barren, made of weary and coarse darkwood planks. On the stall were neatly organized small trays of various food items. Wheat, carrots, tomatoes, corn, even some small rolls of cheese. These normally colourful farm products seemed eerie and forbidding in the soft yellow glow of the lamps scattered about the Underground.
Still, fresh food like this was not common in these lands. Most stalls sold items that were known more for their longevity than their taste or nutrition, or whatever was leftover from meals served in the city above. What Alan and his crew were selling, although simple and everyday, was considered valuable. They could ask for a criminally high price for them... and were someone to try and steal food in this market, they'd probably try to steal from the undercover troupe.
Perfect.

The disguised captain was about to hand out orders to his subordinates and comrades, but before he could do so, he noticed a tall figure approach. Alan turned to face Cora, looking up at the intimidating ex-soldier. However, Cora's uncertainty added a certain kind of... cuteness to her. Alan found that rather amusing. He half-smiled to himself.
Alan listened to Cora's question. As soon as he understood what she meant to ask, he gestured with his fingers towards the alley, and took a few steps approaching it. When he was certain they were out of hearing range of anyone who could cause trouble, he responded calmly, his glasses reflecting the dim flames of the torch overhead.
"If you notice any petty thievery, and I mean, REALLY petty, like stealing a single item, do stop that. We want to give ourselves an air of professionalism. People who are used to dealing with common thievery. What we're looking for, are thieves with more 'punch', as it were."

Alan lowered his voice even though nobody but Cora was in earshot. It was just a natural instinct.
"My assumption is that the only people who can afford to steal from us are advanced burglars... like people using stolen 3DMGs. When that happens, Mitsuo and Vindhelm will come out of hiding with their own 3DMGs and begin chasing them immediately. We will get ready as soon as we can and do the same. If we do this right, and they don't suspect they're being followed, they should lead us right back to their hideout."
Alan paused, then finished.
"And that's where we'll need you the most."

Having said all that, Alan returned to the stall, a thin smile on his face, concealing the immense pressure he was under. He was responsible for the lives of all those with him. Anything that could happen or does happen is his direct responsibility.
"Peter. Please head into the square and begin 'surverying' the area."
Wordlessly, Peter headed into the square, walking through the stalls, listening the talks of the people. His already creepy appearance suited the place rather well, and he seemed to blend perfectly.
"Vindhelm. Head to the back and get ready. Try to rest as much as possible afterwards. Hyda, Cora and I will begin taking turns manning the stall. Hyda, mind taking the first shift?"
The two soldiers nodded. Vindhelm did so grudgingly, as if accepting a heavy fate. Hyda did so cheerfully, happy to finally do something to distract her from all the gloom.

And so, the game begins.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 24/3/2018, 14:40

Cora listenened to Alan without saying a single word. That was good, he did not want her to be incapable. Great!
She strolled back to the stall and just stood next to it, waiting and observing.
Mitsuo went by and told everyone about the hotel and them having keys.

Across the street were a few stalls selling beef jerky and other food that would not spoil that easily. She looked at one of the vendors. He was exhausted, probably around thirty and barely able to stand. His legs seemed to bend outwards, making it look like an 'O'. Not good at all. It was known that the lack of sunlight caused the bones to be more flexible...but with this man it was quite extreme.
The man suddenly tensed up a bit and tried to make himself stand more upright, she raised her eyebrows and took a look at the man that went by the man. The newcomer stared at him, said something and left again. From the behaviour before and after, it was probably the vendor's superior or supplier. He made himself look like the average peasant, but he for sure was not.
Quite some time passed before Cora actually saw someone that could potentially be a threat to the goods. He was a good fifteen years old, not in the best shape, but definitly not in the worst either. He seemed even better if you compared him to the average one in the underground.
Cora took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled, staying as quiet as possible. She closed her eyes shortly while exhaling, and concentrated on herself. She had never been exeptionally good at blending in or seeming harmless, esspecially if you considered the hood and the bandana on her right now, but she was still quite skilled. She adjusted her pose to a more comfortable one, leaning on the wall next to the stall and blinked slowly.
The potential threat looked at her indirectly, trying to see if she was actually reactive or not. Cora yawned and looked down on the floor, seeming uninterested in what was about to happen.
He went past the O-shaped-legs-guy and stole a bit of jerky, before going away for a bit and sitting down to eat it.
A good ten minutes passed while he was eating and she was pretending to fall asleep.

He stood up and came closer to their stall, Cora moved, he stood very still, but relaxed instantly as it just seemed that she was adjusting her pose a bit. He took something, Cora did not even see what it was and quietly wanted to make his way out.
The ex-soldier did not care much about quietly though and greeted him with a nice high kick to the face, throwing him on the ground. He barely made any sound and just sat on the ground, staring at her.
Cora tilted her head lightly and stretched out her hand. He sighed and reached behind his back to get the goods he had stolen. Instead of solving this conflict rather peacefully, he decided on taking it into a different direction and threw a knife at her.
She had the reflex to turn her torso out of the way but it still hit her shoulder and got stuck.
"You little-"
He quickly stood up and started running through the small alley that was behind the stall. Cora grabbed the knife in her shoulder and threw it back at him. It pierced his thigh and he collapsed on the ground. By the time he managed to stand up again, she was already with him.
"Running is useless now.", she calmly said, taking the apple from him.
She plugged the knife out of his leg.
"Stop whimpering. You got yourself into this mess. It's your fault now."
She helped him up and pushed him forward to make him walk away, then went back herself.
"He is taken care of.", she reported back to Alan and gave him the apple, then went back to her usual position.
He was indeed taken care of, given that he would probably succumb to bleeding within the next hour.
"I am sorry for the mess, by the way."
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 24/3/2018, 15:26

Once Mitsuo had informed everyone that he booked the hotel rooms and had the keys on him if they wanted to go rest, he went into the alleyway to equip his 3DMG.

Mitsuo was not used to wearing the clothes he was wearing now and so it took him a little longer to put the 3DMG on.
The mechanic was doing a final adjustment check to the leg straps when the thief Cora had exposed ran down the alley.

Mitsuo didn't speak as he watched the boy fall over due to the throwing knife that had hit his thigh. He didn't speak when Cora had walked up and ripped the knife out.
Nor did he speak when Cora apologized.

He did snarl for a split second however, as Cora walked back to her previous position, which was followed by a quick shiver of his entire body.
It was dark in the Underground, metaphorical and literal, and that frightened Mitsuo.

He timed his breathing, slowing it down to a point where he felt relaxed. Keeping calm was a necessity to stay aware.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 24/3/2018, 21:24

By the time everything was up and running, Mitsuo returned with their room keys. A funny, wild thought came to Alan's mind that almost made him giggle madly. It was that in its own messed up way, this technically counted as a business trip.
Alan took a few steps away from the stall, taking in the scene. He saw Hyda manning the stall, which despite having no customers, had a few shifty looks sent in its direction from passer bys. He too saw Peter, after significant effort to tell him apart from the small crowds of the marketplace. He moved like an eerie ghost, staring at nothing and slowly creeping across the stalls. The way he blended in so well, it was as if he was born here... But Alan had no time to ponder that, because he faintly heard sounds of scraping metal in the distance. When he turned, he realized it was probably Mitsuo and Vindhelm putting on their 3dmgs in secret and preparing for a potential chase.
It seemed Cora was also taking in the view. She walked around with a bandana covering her face, but her eyes darted to and fro.

The young Military Police captain sighed and grabbed the back of his head with his hand. Now came the hardest part - the wait. He would have to do nothing but ponder the various ways his plan could go wrong, all the false calculations and the missteps and the human errors.
He shook his head in focus. He forced himself to put these thoughts away and rest while he could. Like a rusty, unwilling machine, he entered the inn in which they were supposed to stay. He sat by the small window and stared at the dimly lit city through it. He had no idea if hell was real, but he'd imagine it wouldn't be too far off from the city before his eyes.
For the 20th time, Alan tried to recall details from the night he saw the hooded figure (Now known as Traight) sneak black-market 3dmgs to the tunnel entrance. He left no letter, no sign. Just the package. It must have been planned in advance. Someone was supposed to come pick them up. What for?
The package Alan inspected that night held 8 sets of gears. That's way more than anyone would need for petty thievery. What was being planned? Could they anticipate it? Perhaps stop it before it starts? Or has it already begun?

A figure walked through the door. He looked silently at Alan and approached him. When he was in earshot, he began talking in short and direct words. Peter was not one for conversation, so Alan did his best to listen.
"Merchants noticed our stall. Make comments about its bad position. Say that there have been raids on stalls by people with 3DMGs. They are certain they'll go after us if they're in the area."
Alan looked at Peter's mismatched eyes, without any sign of disgust. "Sounds like that's bad for business." he said quietly, a thin, dry smile on his lips "Do return to your position. We must be ready."
Peter backed up and left, silent as always. He was almost as unreadable as the very ground sometimes. It comforted Alan knowing that behind his silent, scary demeanor his was a man of logic and rules.
Noise from outside made Alan turn. He saw Cora stand above a younger fellow, only a few years younger than the MP captain himself. Alan immediate inferred that Cora caught him trying to steal something. He watched warily, not wanting to miss a thing.
What unfolded was a bloody, terrible thing. By the end of it, Cora's shoulder had been stabbed by a throwing knife, and the boy was wimpering on the ground in a small pool of his own blood. And when Cora headed his way, he could see all that was for an apple! Alan stared for long at the boy who snuck back into the alleys and shadows. He's be lucky if he makes it out of this scenario without a scar... If he makes it. Alan's conscience was practically screaming at him for doing nothing and just staring. That boy should be arrested and brought to confinement where his wounds can be treated, the voice screamed.
And yet, Alan stayed. It took every inch of self control he had, but he was undercover and other people were at risk if he were to blow it. A younger Alan would've rushed to do the right thing. This Alan sat and stared, all for the good of the plan. The worst part was, he couldn't be certain if it was an improvement or a fault.

When Cora arrived and handed him the apple, he stared at it sullenly. His eyes then inspected her shoulder where she got hit, and the met her own gaze.
"It's fine. It was... Necessary. I'm sure you got the message across quite well. Now the only ones who's dare rob us are the capable... Or the truly desperate."
Alan stared outside the window. How quickly the other merchants return to their own business... It must be that common for theft to occur.
Alan stood up and walked up to Cora, taking a closer look at her wound.
"You should take a rest now, try to patch yourself up. I can swap you out for now-"
Alan was promptly silenced by a sound ringing through the air, like thunder on an empty field.
The quiet, slithery sound of metal wires shooting out of three-dimentional manoeuvre gear.

Alan and Cora ran outside, where they saw it happen - four dark-clothed people flying through the air like unwinged angels. They emerged from the alleyway behind the market stall the undercover troupe set up. With a loud crash, they smashed into it, grabbing with their hands the neat baskets and trays that held the expensive goods.
"Distraction." Alan hissed, looked torwards the alleyway where the kid headed only a moment ago. They've been played.
Hyda stared at the flying thieves, awe-struck and frozen in place. The other merchants, on the other hand, were quick to try and cover up their wares with body and sword. However, before the geared criminals could take anything else from any other stall, out of a different alleyway emerged two vailant figures - Vindhelm and Mitsuo. Wasting no time, the thieves flew through the air and danced torwards the other side of the plaza. On the way they split into two groups, each dashing into a different alleyway. Likewise, Mitsuo and Vindhelm split.

And just like that, they were gone. For a split second, there was an uneasy silence, like people were too afraid to speak, lest the flying devils will return to haunt them.
Alan made eye contact with the terrified Hyda, the stern Cora and the indifferent Peter.
"What are you waiting for?" he asked quietly, a grim expression on his face "Let's go after them."
And so, the game begun.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 25/3/2018, 16:51

It all went really quick, a second ago Alan was telling Cora to take a rest and now people with 3DMG were stealing their stuff. Great. Good day.
Cora did not even realize what Alan said exactly, but she just guessed that she was supposed to put on her 3DMG now.
Sometimes it was really pleasant to just follow orders and not think for yourself. It was relaxing.

She did not really care for her wound, it was not too deep, nor did it hit an artery, it would continue bleeding for a good 10 minutes, probably longer if she continued to move now. The amount of blood she would lose was insignificant.

Cora dropped her coat and turned towards a wall and quickly pulled a mask on her head, hiding her hair completly.
She put on her 3DMG, while trying to remember where they went to and trying to see where they would go.
It did not take her long, but it was still some very valuable time lost. She grappled onto a building, getting onto the roof to see better where they went. Luckily she spotted them and made her way into the direction, hoping Alan would not be too far behind her.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 25/3/2018, 19:23

Mitsuo heard the grapples of the thieves' 3DMG and informed Vindhelm the should be prepared to move soon, turning to face the exit of the alley where the stall they set up was.

As soon as the thieves swung past, Mitsuo sprinted out the alleyway, Vindhelm close behind him.
"Let's do this," Mitsuo spoke with eagerness, quickly turning and grappling after the thieves.

'Four in total... should be easy as long as they don't...' Mitsuo took a breath as he watched the thieves split up, 'do that.'

Vindhelm had caught up to Mitsuo just as they split up.
"You take left. I'll take right," Alan's comrade told the young Shimura, to which the mechanic nodded in confirmation and headed after the thieves who headed left.

Eventually, Mitsuo regained sight of the two thieves he was chasing and noticed how they remained to swing low, probably to try and stay as hidden as possible, considering the dark clothes they were wearing.
'Only four thieves? That's unsettling...
There could be a chance they've set up an ambush,'
Mitsuo theorized mentally.

Mitsuo started to grapple higher, using the momentum of his swings to gain air and then allowing himself to suddenly drop before grappling again in order to gain speed at every drop. He would also use his gas as he fell to pick up more speed.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 29/3/2018, 14:37

In their wake, the aerodynamic thieves left chaos and anarchy. But it was not a loud panic. Such was not the way of the Underground City. Instead, people stared with terror in their eyes, cowering behind walls and stalls. Like frightened animals, they hid from danger, not daring to move.
In sharp contrast, the undercover team wasted no time and immediately began preparations. They seemed so alive.
Or so Alan thought. He found it amusing in an absurd kind of way, how his comrades seemed to be the only moving pictures in this still painting.
But he had no time to dwell on the absurdity of the world. He focused up and continued putting on his manoeuvre gear.

Hyda was also in the midst of putting on her gear, but her eyes were looking at nothing in particular and her hands were shaking uncontrollably. This was her first real-life encounter with advanced criminals. Through her head, ran all the horror stories she had been told as a kid. Burglars, murderers, assassins, rapists...
A person walked up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She flinched immediately in panic, but then noticed it was her squadmate, Peter, who had already put his gear on.
He stared at her silently with his mismatched, unblinking eyes. However, there was something else in them when he said "I'm with you."
Hyda, staring back with eyes wide open, gulped and nodded. Her hands stopped shaking and she finished adjusting the straps.
"We're going after Vindhelm;" Peter said to Alan as he passed him. Not waiting for an answer, he picked up the knife the assailant from before had used and shot out to where Vindhelm was only a few moments ago.
"Wait for me!" shouted Hyda as she half-ran-half-stumbled behind Alan, launched herself and followed Peter through the alleyway.

"Who are you people?"
Alan turned to the source of the voice. It was one of the locals. An older man, his balding head crowned with thin grey hair. In his eyes was the same hollow look thst possesed the rest of the accursed City.
Alan finished adjusting his straps, swallowed his fears, and responded "Believe it or not, we're Militarymen trying to make your lives better."
The older man responded with laughter. Alan shuddered. It was the first time he had heard one of the Underground people laugh. It was eerie, and cruel... And it sounded familiar, for some strange reason.
"That's a pretty unconvincing lie." said the civilian, his voice a grate of cynicism and poison.
"I agree;" replied the young Military Police captain while adjusting his glasses "If it were a lie, it would be unconvincing."
And with that, the young man flew off the ground in pursuit of Cora who'd already left. His heart thumped wildly, and he could feel cold sweat covering his back under his coat. This was the real deal. Time to put his training into use.

---

One of the two thieves looked back, after they passed a rather sharp corner. The person chasing them was hooking high and with percision. They were good. Too good.
"He's gaining on us." the first thief said. It was a girl's voice.
"Wha?" responded the other, his voice gruff and hoarse. He turned to look at the pursuer, only to scrape a building's corner. The wooden box he was holding smashed against the stone walls, and its nutritious contents fell to the rolling floor underneath.
"Shit!" he called out, his eyes back on the road as he steadied himself.
However, the distraction was too costly. A stone arch accelerated his way. The thief tried to hook above the arch, but he moved too fast. He ended up ramming against the stone ceiling of the arch, and promptly crashed to the rough dirtroad below.
His friend watched quietly, her eyes popping out in horror. In a moment of hesitation, she stopped running and landed by his broken body.
"Come on!" she yelled at her barely living comrade, tears swelling up in her eyes "We got to get back to the High Prophet!"
The man on the ground coughed. His legs were smashed and tangled in his 3DMG in a horrific way. His crosseyed glare looked up, trying to stay awake. It was clear he was not going anywhere.
"...go...." he croaked at the girl who was sobbing now. His gaze turned upwards to the arch that was his downfall "...stars..."
He did not speak again.

The thief loomed over her falled comrade, sobbing quietly. Her hands were clenched onto the basket she was holding, which contained piles of wheat.
When Mitsuo entered the archway below him, she looked up at him angrily. She wiped away the tears and stood her ground proud.
"Don't come near us!" she shouted at the mechanic "The stars damn you, wretched demon!"

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 31/3/2018, 12:51

Cora really enjoyed herself, it was the first time actually flying through a city.
The people on the ground stared up to her, wondering why there was an actual chase, she guessed that usually they just stole stuff without anyone getting in their way.
Cora looked down and almost hit a wall. Her maneuvaring out of the way caused her to hit a different wall and she barely managed to catch herself before ending the same ugly way the girl's comrade did.
If she would have slowed down this would probably not have happened, but as she did not she managed to catch up with Mitsuo quite fast.

She landed a bit higher up on a balcony, ready to jump off at any moment.

The girl shouted something Cora did not really catch. Something with stars. Probably because the guy on the ground was seeing those right now. Or...not anymore. He looked pretty dead. Or he was still dying right now. Cora could not tell.

Boring.

She rolled her eyes at Vex. He did not really think that dead or unconcious people were anyhow interesting, in some way he was right. But...that was probably not the right time right now.

Cora looked at Mitsuo.
"Yeah, how about you talk to the little brat here, I will just make things worse. It's already bad given her... 'friend'", Cora made it sound as if she was making fun of her, "is dead now. Tragic."
She crossed her arms and stared down from her position.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 1/4/2018, 19:41

Mitsuo turned to Cora as she arrived, listening to every word she spoke.
His gentle watching half turned into a glare as Cora took on a mocking tone but he remained silent.

The mechanic turned back to the female thief, disarming himself and raising his hands in a non-threatening manner.

"Hey, please ignore my friend here, she doesn't have very good people skills in times like... well, these."
Mitsuo started speaking, his voice soft and calm, only just above a whisper for the thief to hear.

"We can help your friend if you let us... before it's too late for him. We just need your co-operation. We don't mean you harm."
Mitsuo kept his eyes on the two thieves now, prepared for any sudden movement from them.

He slowly and carefully took a step forward without making any noise, fearing that a loud sound or sudden movement could scare the girl away.

"What do you say? Will you let us help?"
The young Shimura's eyes held a pleading expression, almost as though he had witnessed too much. Every ounce of his sorrow and sadness glistened in his pupils.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 4/4/2018, 00:07

Alan chased through the city, a worried shadow suspended on strings. The tall and menacing frame of Cora drifted before him, turning to and fro. Alan kept up, proud of himself that his maneuvering has improved so much since he began his training to become the Greyblade. Still, he saw that even with his training, he was only barely catching up on Cora. It seemed that the ex-soldier had a talent that far surpassed his own. He only hoped that when the need arises, he will be able to outmaneuver real threats.

Alan finally landed before the bridge, behind Mitsuo. In a moment, his eyes darted from the disguised mechanic to the petrified girl to the shattered man behind her feet. Alan managed to look for just a moment. That man was horribly broken and disfigured. There was no way he would survive this... If he was even along the living right now.
Considering the distance between Mitsuo and the two thieves, the only logical conclusion was that the one crashed and the other came to his aid, and thus the chase ended.
Cora just finished saying something as Alan landed. Mitsuo had been listening to her, and now his attention was given to the crying thief. Alan looked closer. There was no way she was older than 18. She seemed barely above the minimum age for soldiers. It was a wonder she managed to fly so well.

Mitsuo tried to slowly advance, calming the girl down. It appeared she did calm down. Her breathing steadied, and her gaze was locked onto Mitsuo's eyes. Throughout the entire time, she was muttering to herself soundless words.
The young Shimura took a step forward, and the girl jolted. It appeared she was readying to jump. Alan dree his knife... But then he noticed the girl kept lowering to the ground, slowly. Finally, she was on her knees, her hands clasped in front of her mouth and her eyes were closed in concentration. Her mumbling grew louder and it was appearant she was deep in prayer.

"...ideUsToThePromisedLand TheLandWhereTheSkyIsBoundlessAndTheStarsAreLimitlessAndAllAreFree OhGreatProphetBlessedHe TheGreatOneWillGuideUsToThePromisedLand..."
Slowly, she began coughing. At first, it was light coughing, here and there. Her coughs grew stronger, more frequent, until she was practically gasping for air, barely able to mutter any more words. She dropped to the ground, shaking in agony.
Wordlessly, Alan ran to her side. It was appearant she was still conscious, and in pain, but on her face was a truimphant smile.
"Stars -cough- take -cough, cough- me, demons" she croaked, her previously harmonic voice now contorted. Her face was very pale.
Alan rose, horrified and infuriated. He knew what was going on.
"Son of a bitch..." he muttered, turning to Mitsuo and Cora "She poisoned herself. She's going to die in the next couple of minutes... Painfully."
Beside him, the poor thief began shaking and twisting faster. From her mouth arose the sound of hell itself, and from it dripped heavy drops of ruby.
Alan turned to Cora, defeated. In his eyes was doubt, pain, fear and anger. He was outplayed. "...Cora... Could you... Help her?"
Wordlessly, the mercenary stepped closer and crouched by the dying girl. She took the knife Alan was grasping, and with a swift, trained stoke, layed the girl to rest.
Then, there was silence. From the dagger, dripped a scarlet tear, a reminder of what happened only a second ago.

Alan steadied himself, forcing himself to focus, to allow his heartbit to slow down, to set his fear and frustration aside for a second. He glanced over at his friends, to see how they would react.
"...T-thank you, Cora." he said, finally, breaking the curse of silence "I wouldn't have been able to do that."
He gave a quick glance at the two corpses at his feet. Specifically, their 3DMGs. It was clear as day to Alan - the markings. These people have been using the black-market gears he noticed all those days ago at the enterance to The Underground on that fateful night.
However, this solace also brought a new concern to Alan. If this is the case, then there must be more. Alan was certain there were more than four 3DMGs in the set he marked. This must mean somebody else has them.
Alan looked back at Cora and Mitsuo and explained his new findings.

"So you see," Alan concluded his explanation, adjusting his glasses "They were likely heading back to their headquarters, where the rest of the gear is hiding... Alongside the rest of the culprits."
Alan shifted uncomfortably "They... Kept mentioning something about stars. Those mean anything to you? Heard of anything like this before?"
Alan stared patiently, intently averting his eyes from the death at their feet.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 4/4/2018, 21:29

Mitsuo tried calming the girl down, talking to her in a soft voice. She did not want to say anything now, Mitsuo had stated quite well that she was not good in matters like this. She would make everything worse. Cora did not really listen to what he said, she was more fascinated at him softening his voice this much and being able to calm someone down. Atleast a bit. The girl seemed to get out of her shock from her companion dying and started making more rational decisions.

Very rational indeed, given she started coughing up blood. Alan's face was now almost as pale as hers from the poison. He helplessly looked at Cora and she finished the job without hesitating a single bit.
She stared down at the corpse. There was blood on both her clothing and the man's. Cora was not sure which poison worked that fast, but she definitly had to get herself some.
While Alan was talking she kneeled down again and also slit the man's throat, just to make sure.
Cora started searching their pockets and took a small vial from the girl's pocket.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 5/4/2018, 16:41

When Alan arrived and the girl started coughing blood, Mitsuo winced.

When Alan asked Cora to finish her off, to make her death quick and painless, to which Cora did, Mitsuo turned his back, unable to watch.

Alan started talking and Mitsuo listened, but the disguised mechanic did not turn around.
"Stars, huh? Can't say it means anything to me personally, but then they might be thinking that the actual sky outside is some sort of god," Mitsuo answered.

"Who knows? Maybe they've been down here so long that they've become delusional, forgetting what the outside is actually like," the young Shimura folded his arms in an uncomfortable manner.

"Why don't we check with Vindhelm and the others to see if they got better... results," Mitsuo spoke with solemn in his voice, still not daring to look back at the two fresh corpses.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 6/4/2018, 18:49

Alan looked at his two companions. The tall, masked Cora was now going through the deceased's belongings, and picked up a small container. She was either very good at controlling herself, or she was a lot heartless than Alan would've imagined. Unwanted, suspicion crept up on him once more, but he shook the thought away. Cora was a good person, she was on his side, his friend. The things they say about her can't possibly be true...
Mitsuo stood in great contrast to her. He stood with his back turned, unable to even set his eyes in the atrocity below him. He was clearly shaken by this event. Alan hoped it did not bring up memories of comrades, who had to be put down after titan encounters.
And yet, he was also the first one to speak after Alan. He had the strength and determination in him to keep going. Alan admired that.
Alan was about to agree to Mitsuo's plan of finding Vindhelm, but was interrupted by a voice above.
"Too late."

The young Military Policeman jumped back immediately and looked up, ready for a fight. His heart was beating frantically, still not calm after the sight of the choking girl. Above him, on the arch, stood a man, grinning.
Alan lowered his hands and gave out a sigh of relief. "Vindhelm. What brings you here?"
Alan's subordinate jumped down and saluted his captain, a salute Alan returned reluctantly. It had been so long since he had willingly saluted anyone. He loved doing that when he was younger.
The memory made him shiver.
"The culprits got away" Vindhelm declared, still unable to remove the grin from his face "But Peter - bless that genius - got a good throw of that knife of his and hit one of them in the back, before they got away. It was quite messy, you see," he continued speaking faster and faster, excitement in his eyes "so a blood trail was formed. We now have a lead - straight to their base!" he finally said, triumphantly.

Alan was impressed by Peter's actions. He recalled how he grabbed the knife the assailant used on Cora from the ground just before he left for the chase. Had he been planning this all along? Alan was glad to be outsmarted by someone on his side.
And yet, he didn't let the small victory get to his head. "Where are Peter and Hyda?" he asked Vindhelm, his grey gaze piercing through.
Vindhelm gulped before responding. "Hyda, um, lost her balance and hit her foot pretty hard on thr pavement. It's nothing serious, really, and Peter is helping her back to the hotel.
Alan nodded slowly, understanding and re-evaluating the situation based on the new circumstances. Meanwhile, Vindhelm looked around and just noticed the bodies on the ground behind him. His eyes blared open, and he breathed sharply. He looked at Cora, who was now standing over the bodies. "What happened here?" he asked her, clearly traumatized. He hadn't seen dead people like that since... Since the wall went down.

Alan spoke suddenly, his gaze turning to his friends.
"We mustn't stray any longer. When those thieves return to that 'High Prophet' of theirs, and tell him of our encounter, who knows what they will do. We must get there beforehand, catch them off-guard and red-handed."
He looked at Vindhelm, unblinking and determined. "Lead us to the trail." he instructed.
Vindhelm simply nodded, understanding the gravity of the situation. Wordlessly, he hooked a wall and jumped to it. Alan followed suit.

It was not long before the bloodtrail ended. The group looked up. It appeared they arrived at a small, secluded neighborhood, touching the cave's wall. The dark-grey stone loomed above, more grand and tough than anything humanity ever created.
Alan looked at the bloodtrail again. It specifically ended at a door before them, a door connected to a larger building complex with multiple floors.
Alan quickly scouted the rest of the openings. The streets here were completely empty. Clean of dirt, clean of people. The young Military Policeman was not fond of that.
"We need to get to the bottom of this." he finally declared, quietly. He loomed over closer to his allies. "Vindhelm, protect the enterance and make sure nobody enters or leaves. Mitsuo, Cora and I will head inside through here.  If it's an ambush, I will deploy this noise flare." he said, raising the gun-like object in his hand.
He then turned to Mitsuo and Cora "Our mission is to figure out what is happening, and stop it. We must try to make sure nobody else dies here today."
Alan couldn't help but stare at Cora while saying that final line. He knew that if anybody was trigger-happy when it came to human lives, it was her.
He wished he would be wrong about that.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 7/4/2018, 01:09

Vindhelm appeared, with a rather...triumphant grin on his face and started talking to Alan about what they had managed. As a surprise to Cora his grin got replaced with shock, probably disgust, fear, whatever most people felt if they saw bodies. She was wondering why someone in the military would react this way to dead bodies, but she quickly figured out the answer to that, recalling that they were military police. She scoffed quietly and looked at the others. Mitsuo seemed the same way as always if he encountered violence. It was no surprise to her. Neither would she ever hold him account for not being able to just look at it without feeling anything. It was Mitsuo, he just was this way.
Alan seemed...a bit worried about what she just had done. Why was he? Was he not the one that ordered her to do it?
Maybe she was misinterpreting his facial expressions. That would not be a surprise to her.

They went on their way to find the 'thieves' or... possible relatives and friends of the dead people.

Their trail ended in front of a building complex. The surroundings were rather...odd for the underground. It was clean. Really clean. No person in sight either. Cora moved her head and shoulders, stretching them a bit. She did not have a good feeling about this at all. No people usually meant a trap. An ambush. Or worse, there were in fact no people present and they would walk in on lots of corpses infected with various deadly diseases.
A shiver went down her spine as she remembered all those scenarios she had went through at different points in her life.
Thinking about it, she had been on almost all sides in these cases. Apart from being a disease ridden corpse used as a trap.

Alan started talking again.
"Our mission is to figure out what is happening, and stop it. We must try to make sure nobody else dies here today."
Now...why did he look at her so intensly? It made no sense. She was here to protect them, and as bad as he did not want her to kill anyone...if it was necessary she would not think about it twice.
Cora just nodded, slightly angry at him for putting someone's life so high up. They were the ones causing problems. They were the ones taking poison. He was the one that ordered her to kill her. Why was he telling her now to not kill anyone else?

She just went past Alan, shoving him a bit, while she was opening the door.
"I am here for protection. I shall go first.", she simply said to get any questions as for why she was in front out of the way.
As she entered Cora strengthened her grip around the knife she had from the woman. It was going to be quite useful now, another knife was always useful after all. She could lose it as well.

In front of her opened a long, empty corridor. Doors were on the walls, most certainly leading to other rooms.
It was as clean as the streets from before. She stared into the darkness for a bit until her eyes had adjusted.
Cora rotated her knife around, now with the blade facing downwards and went to the first door.
It was open.
She slowly pushed the door open, making barely any sound and took a look inside. Nothing. The room was empty. Cora looked up towards the ceiling. There was an oil lamp, she touched it. It was still warm. Almost hot. People had left not long ago.

She went out again, signaling them that the room was okay and that she would go on, before realizing that they might not know the symbols.
"Empty", she just said and started checking the next rooms.
It was mostly similar for all of them, not much apart from maybe a lamp, a candle or a bit of food.

They came closer to the end of the corridor. A slightly bigger and more fancier door was on this last wall. She signaled them to stop.
Cora crouched down, trying to look beneath the door. It was hard for her to see anything at all. The room behind was barely lit, but she could tell apart one person sitting on a chair. The floor looked odd, it had alot of darker rectangles on them.

Cora stood up again.
"Atleast one person. Be careful.", she did not think it would be necessary to tell them to get their weapons. It was mostly Vex thinking that, as he thought people without weapons really just wanted to die.
She slowly opened the door, trying not to make any sound.
She took a closer look at the room. The odd looking rectangles turned out to be carpets, maybe for praying. The person on the chair seemed to be male. Given this was the only chair in the entire room and it was on some form of slightly elevated platform he was probably of importance.
Next to him: Two brutes, probably for protection.
Cora tried to make out if they belonged to any known mercenary group, but she could not.
She looked at Alan briefly and took a deep breath. There was no way for them to enter without being seen, but...they could still try.
She opened the door and it started creeking. Great.
The two men besides the chairman turned their heads into her direction and started to ran towards the group.
Cora went to the side, hopefully she could taunt both of them.
One man pulled a knife from his belt and attacked her. She dodged barely so and attacked him, with the borrowed knife from the now dead girl. She managed to cut the hand he was holding the weapon in.
He just grunted and dropped the weapon.
Cora took a stance further away from him, they started circling eachother. She took a quick look at the group, only to see that the other one was going for Mitsuo. Dammit. Should she go and help them now? It would put her at a great risk, trying to run from her own opponent.
The decision was taken from her as he attacked her with bare hands, grabbing her by the arm as she tried to dodge.
He pulled her off her feet, throwing her a good two meters away from where she had been. Cora managed to soften her fall a bit, but not much. Enough however to not hit her head on the floor.
She gripped her knife stronger, quickly stood up and charged at him. Cora managed to catch him by surprise, and cut his leg open. She escaped his next attack by falling backwards on her hands, using the momentum to also land a hard kick in his face. But she underestimated his endurance, he grabbed her leg and threw her against the next wall.
The air got pressed out of her lungs and she just laid on the floor, unable to breath, while he was coming towards her. Her lungs hurt, the wound on her shoulder had opened again.
He grabbed her by her arms and pulled her up on her feet, then proceeded to smash her head against the wall.
Vex took over and grabbed him by the throat, pressing on the arteries. Within a few second the man stopped holding them up, Vex fell foward, but managed to catch himself. He continued to hold his grip, even after the man had passed out and was lying on the floor. The moment he would let go, his brain would start getting oxygen again and he would be ready to fight. He might have a massive headache, but they all somehow doubted it would hold him from doing anything.

No kills, eh?

Vex picked up the man's knife and swiftly cut the tendons on his heel without making him bleed out.
Cora took over again, they were breathing heavily and she could not think straight. She rolled herself of the man, watching him wake up, screaming and then passing out again. It would take her a bit to be able to stand up.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 8/4/2018, 00:21

Mitsuo walked along with the group in silence, following the blood trail. Step by step his facial expression would darken, his head would hang lower until a perfect shadow was cast over his eyes.

They reached two ominous doors cropping out from the cavernous rockface but Mitsuo didn't raise his head to look. The shadowy still image that seemed like a lifelike masterpiece was a vision he had missed.
He didn't even notice the cleanness of the streets, either, as his boots were the most comforting sight to him currently.

As the group headed inside, Cora strayed off and took the lead.
Mitsuo, in his usual state, would have somewhat predicted that... but now not even a flicker of a care was given.
A penny for his thoughts would be a waste of a penny.

The word "empty" escaped Cora's mouth and that caught Mitsuo's broken consciousness.
His head shot up as if he just returned from a daydream and a slight sound escaped his throat, "huh?"

He came to realize that they were halfway down a corridor but couldn't seem to recall how he got there.
After the two thieves had met their maker, all he could remember is talking about meeting up with Vindhelm and then... walking.

He couldn't even remember Vindhelm showing up, or if any discussion was made when he did.
In his deep thoughts on such recent events and how he had missed them, Mitsuo didn't see that they reached the end of the corridor until Cora opened the door.

'Focus,' the word ran through his head.

Mitsuo stared ahead as his eyes rested on the elevated platform which upon a man was resting in a chair and the two bodyguards across the large room.

All of a sudden the two bodyguards came running towards the group.
One headed towards Cora, who Mitsuo now noticed to be creeping into the room, and the other one came running towards... him.

The grunt pulled out a dagger as he got close and took a swing at the mechanic, who managed to draw out a 3DMG blade to block it just in time.

Mitsuo took a second before shaking off the surprise that the brute and caught him in, his blocking was on reflex.
The young Shimura swung through the block to make grunt retreat and put some distance between the two.

Mitsuo was wise and stepped into the larger area to fight, sheathing his sword as he knew it would be hard to fight with it against something as small as a dagger.

When he felt in a secure enough position to fight, he moved his feet to be more apart and bent his legs a little to lock his center of gravity in place.
His arms raised up so that his elbows met his stomach and his hands, that clutched into fists, met his face.
When ready, Mitsuo taunted his opponent causing the man to attack.

Mitsuo's fighting style was a defensive type.
He'd dodge the assailant's swings with the dagger.
He'd weave out the way of any stabs made.
Most of his offensive attacks to gain an advantage over his enemy were counter attacks.

Mitsuo did start to falter when the grunt started making feints.
More cuts and wounds appeared in the mechanic's clothes and on his body.
Eventually, Mitsuo started gaining advantage again.
Reading the man's moves, forcing him to make feints and mistakes.
The brute was playing right into Mitsuo's game.

Up until the man managed to stab Mitsuo.
The young Shimura let out a cry of pain before grabbing the man's arm with his left hand, therefore his attacker could not remove his weapon or withdraw his position.
With his right hand, Mitsuo wailed on the man's face.

Every move that Mitsuo made, hurt him.
Every ounce of pain he felt released a piece of his current anger.
Every piece of anger that washed over his body drove him to attack again.
And again.
And again.

The assailant lost his grip on the dagger, and the blade fell from Mitsuo's body.
The pain decreased.
The anger decreased.
And Mitsuo became unblinded, only to be faced with the realization that he had knocked the man out.

Mitsuo let go of the brute's arm which fell, along with the rest of body, to the floor.
Mitsuo's hand was shaking and his mind was in a state of shock.
He took moments to breathe.
The place was getting to him, to know such a place existed. That such people lived in fear and filth and starvation.
He could feel a piece of his dream crumble and the sight of his life's goal fade just a little.

Reality took a small step toward Mitsuo.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 8/4/2018, 23:37

Alan observed his three comrades with intent. Each of their faces spoke of a different fate, yet all appeared to be affected somehow by the horrors of the underground. In Cora he saw anger, frustration. The same way a wolf would seem if he was thrown off his trail. In Vindhelm he saw fear, thinly veiled terror. The brave soldier may be acting strong and determined, but there is no doubt that his experiences have left dark scars across his mental state. He had to endure and witness things he had only heard of in the past. And Mitsuo...
Alan tried to meet Mitsuo's eyes, but to no avail. They were locked onto the ground, looking for a thin strand of meaning that just wasn't there. He looked a simple kind of hollow, like a forgotten grave, like a completely empty room. Alan wanted to comfort the scout, but before he could, Cora went past him with a shove and entered the house. Alan looked at Mitsuo one final time, and followed Cora suit. Now was not the time for kind words, now was the time for answers.

Unfortunately, inside the building were not answers, but more empty shells. The long, dark corridor felt like it was part of a maze, which synced up perfectly with how trapped Alan was feeling. Every inch of his body was tense, awaiting an ambush behind every door, every corner, even the footsteps and breath of his friends behind and before him unnerved him. And yet, he held on to what little bravery he had left in him, and shadowed Cora, deeper and deeper into the trap.
One by one, she searched the rooms on their sides. All empty. All showing recent signs of life. They were close, very close. The trail was quite literally hot.
Eventually, they ended up at the final door. Cora peeked in, but almost immediately the door creaked and their cover was blown.
Alan only got a glimpse of the room before they were attacked. Large space, dark shapes on the ground, chair at the end with a man sitting on it. Two large fellows rushing at them.

Alan immediately noticed one of the goons was heading towards Cora, who was deeper into the room, while the other was heading torwards Mitsuo, who was right at the entrance beside him. His eyes darted back and forth, choosing the best course of action, before finally making his choice.
The Military Policeman turned torwards Mitsuo. Cora had experience in hand-to-hand combat, and she was more physically capable than the mechanic. He must even the odds.
As the man dashed to stab at Mitsuo, the scout just barely managed to save himself with a drawn 3DMG blade. Alan used the chance to kick the brute in the back of his leg. Along with Mitsuo's swing, they managed to send him back.
Their fight soon turned to one of reflexes and quick swings. Try as he might, Alan couldn't find a way to throw in a hit without getting in Mitsuo's way, or worse - getting one of them stabbed. He continued flanking the brute, waiting for the opportune moment to step in.
However, that moment came and passed, quick as lighting, and he missed it. Mitsuo was pierced, and before Alan could react fast enough, he began pummeling the brute.
Again...
And again...
And again...
And again.
By the time Mitsuo stepped back, the hulk was laying unconscious on the floor, his face damaged beyond complete repair. In his vicious, primal rage, the young scout decimated the looming threat, and Alan was powerless to help in any way.
Alan turned to Cora, only then remembering she was also facing an opponent - and alone. She was on the floor, bloodied and bruised, but the man beside her was in a far worse condition. His two allies proved fair game to their large adversaries, and they pulled through.
And yet, the fury, and sheer violence in them, it was uncanny. It was as if the very air of The Underground intoxicated their minds and made them sink lower and lower into fury.
Again, Alan, lost for words, had to make a choice. Mitsuo was standing, somehow. Cora was not. He silently headed to her side, about to try and help her up.

"Such dishonor. Such disgrace."
A voice spoke from the chair. It was the croaking of an old man, and yet the voice rang through the room, powerful and sure in its vindication.
"You come before His house and dare profane His Holyness' hall with your demonic blood. Damned you be, damned by the stars."
The man in the chair layed his bearded head back, and then laughed. His laugh shook the room, making the floorboards vibrate with sound. It wasn't a pitiful or solemn laugh, but a joyous one. The first laugh Alan had heard with a hint of hope in it, since he ventured Underground.
"You have some explaining to do." Alan spoke from his spot, his grey eyes furious at the old man's exclamations.
The man stopped laughing, and shifted in his spot. His heavily-patched robe moved lazily over his skeletal body.
"I owe you no such thing, demon." he responded calmly with severity in his voice "And yet... I shall speak."
"Our lives here were nothing, before His Holyness showed us the way. We were ghosts, less than living, meaningless vessels with meaningless lives. And yet... His Holyness, the High Prophet, showed us our way when we were most lost."
The man reared his head, lost in memory "Ironically enough, it was right after that blasted thief Mikael stole everything from us that he showed up, as if to save us from our despair. He told us things we could not believe at first. He told us wonders, of endless sky and stars and freedom. Of magic so ancient and so powerful that no one, not even humans or titans, could stop it. We didn't believe... until he gave us proof."
The old man spread his hands, looking up at the blank ceiling "As soon as we began to follow his teachings, things got better. We were becoming wealthier than we could imagine, and we were united in our cause to meet our makers." His eyes shone, true joy and reverence in them.
"And today... the time comes. It will finally happen, as His Holyness foresaw long ago. Finally."
The old man's eyes finally returned to gaze at the three before him, twinkling in excitement.
"Today, the High Prophet will lead us to the stars."

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

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