As the title suggests, feel free to RP it up.
Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:40 pm
Tag looked up at him with eyes full of that strange, animal intelligence, and Hiram realized that she expected him to produce something edible on that very spot.
Well, she was going to be disappointed then. But hopefully not for long.
“Yes.” He confirmed, placing a hand on her shoulder. He wondered, in silence, if she’d notice that he was – just very lightly – bracing himself upon her. Or if she’d care. “I think I might require something to eat soon, too.”
Ignoring the complaints from his ribcage, he lead them towards the cluster of refugees hurrying about the outside of the temple. Most of them hadn’t stopped moving since the shooting died down, men and women scrabbling to hoard up their few remaining possessions from inside the temple and into a sad little pile of black bin-bags clustered around its entrance. As they got closer, he realized that the six armed boy was jabbing one of the many, many fingers at his command in their direction, another of his limbs branching off at an odd angle to tug on the hem of a much older man’s coat.
He stopped. Somewhat because the man was trudging out to meet them, but primarily because he noticed that the guy had a rifle slung under his arm. He glanced down at Tag.
“Don’t do anything. We don’t need to hurt these people.”
Perhaps that hadn’t been necessary. But, while Hiram had grown somewhat used to his companion’s hyper-rational behaviour, there were still some chances he wasn’t taking with her.
The man was probably in his mid-forties, and if the thick tangle of hair infesting the lower half of his face was any indication, he’d been on the road for some time. Hiram couldn’t put a nationality on him at a glance, but he certainly hadn’t crossed over from India, or any of the other westerly borders, so he was going to assume Tibetan and work from there. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about him was that, though his hands were near it at all times, he hadn’t yet raised his weapon. That was a surprise. Hiram could see the strange, abject horror of what he was hanging over the man like a cloud of tiny whispers – see it being weighed against his apparent altruism in the man’s mind. Eventually, the logical portion of the man’s brain won its battle and he barked out something.
Hiram paused, decoding the stream of Tibetan, until he realized that it wasn’t Tibetan at all. This man was from Vietnam.
After a second or two, he managed to coax out what he hoped was a coherent answer to the man’s question. Some of the movement in the background was dying down – people were stopping to watch, a few of them cradling sturdy bits of wood or loose stones from the temple wall. Eventually he got his reply; a thank-you, it sounded like. He haltingly attempted to turn the semi-conversation towards food.
The man turned the words over in his head and eventually nodded, motioning for them to come closer and muttering something – it sounded like they were making a fire – to the six-armed boy.
Soon they were stooped at the side of one of the broad steps leading up to the temple, watching a pot of beans bubbling over a small fire. Most of the refugees had huddled together in small groups to do the same. It seemed that they were preparing for a long march.
The man and the mutant child, it turned out, were father and son. He spoke a little English, and a fair bit of Chinese, so between them he and Hiram almost had the equivalent of a common language. He and his family had started moving about shortly after the troubles began – in a way, he was thankful for the hatred that had been aimed at him and his family when his son had manifested the x-gene. It had given them a reason to leave before it was too late. He mentioned that his wife had been with them when they started travelling, but as he went on, any reference to her faded. Hiram didn’t press the issue. They’d met up with other refugees; some from China, some from Thailand, a few from India, and over the years their little band had grown into a group of thirty. They’d scrounged together what they could – supplies, clothes, a rifle (Hiram was quick to note that they now had seven rifles) – and kept moving, picking up what they needed where they could. This was apparently the first time they’d gone so far west.
Eventually, Hiram asked him where they were going. In response, the man bit his lip, raising his hands as if trying to catch the proper words, until he eventually settled on one.
Hiram blinked and, finding that the word meant seemingly nothing, asked again.
“Dhome. Ah…” The man excavated a frayed map from the inner reaches of his coat and flattened it out over his lap – Hiram noted the thick, red line scrawled across it, cutting straight through Russia and dividing the Middle Eastern nations from Europe. He pointed at a tiny speck of land nestled between Hungary and Serbia.
“Doom.” He corrected. “You mean Doom.”
Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:19 pm
“Don’t do anything. We don’t need to hurt these people.”
Tag put down the rock and meekly followed.
"Doom. You mean Doom."
Tag blinked and looked in between the two men. The temptation to contribute her own repetition was there, but not significant and so she just waited for dinner to finish cooking.
The beans tasted like beans. Better than nothing, but more would have been nice. Fortunately, Tag knew just where she could get her hands on some extra meat.
Ignoring her companions, Tag grabbed a smoldering stick from the campfire and made her way towards where the truck had once been. A little work from Debbie and a little time under the flame and those two corpses would fill Tag right up.
Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:16 pm
[ Latveria ]
Even when her mentor began to speak, she remained in the bowing position even after doing so for lingering moments, along with her canine companion with his own lowered head. As he spoke further, though she had definitely heard the slight annoyance within his voice and her body did stiffened for a mere moment. She could only just listen further to him as he spoke again though when the tone in his voice altered into a nearly pleased one, Vision had to raise her head up. And just in time to see the holographic globe above his hand and she straightened her back this time to see it clearly.
Definitely, she had heard of this legendary group who named themselves as 'Kresnik'. Even the other resistance groups which she had encountered had mentioned about this name and talked among themselves about this specific group. Vision never spoke a word as Doom continued to speak, though when he begin to mention about her new mission and now having her to give her own aid to this resistance group; of course, she was definitely surprised. But nevertheless, she knew she would only obey his orders.
It was very apparent on the reason he had wanted her to assist this resistance group, and truly, she knew he had felt she was an obvious option to bring to this rumored 'Kresnik'. Bowing again to him, she placed an arm to cross over her chest before wearing the gas mask again over her face. "I shall not fail you, my liege." She knew she did not need to say so as she had never failed her mentor and planned never to do so.
Turning herself around, she then left the throne room with her canine following at her side after he got up to his feet. She already knew what to do, as she then walked towards a particular quarter before finally being greeted by a familiar soldier. Giving a short nod to him, she then gave an order to him, "Find Captain Vigil and Lieutenant Anna, and tell them Commandant Vision wants to see them for a short brief. Also? Transmit a message to the resistance group in Sector 29 that a new representative team would be coming over soon to give the supplies they wanted."
[ Heading to Belgrade in Sector 29 ]
Gathering what was necessary, Vision with her four-legged companion and her two trusted teammates headed to the air docking port and then boarded onto an aircraft. Once everything was on docked, along with other soldiers which would accompanied them for this one trip; the aircraft took a lift off into the sky. Fortunately the flight to the sector was a short one as the zone was the nearest one to Latveria after all. Also added was that, it seemed the Sentinels were no where in sight in the sky as the aircraft went on its path. Before long, the aircraft had landed nearby the meeting point as they knew they could not go further from this area. Vision with her two teammates begin to wear the gas masks to conceal their whole faces and then descended down the aircraft, along with other soldiers who quickly went to reverse a truck on board from the aircraft and down onto the ground.
Reaching a hand down to give a small pat onto the black Dobermann's head, she had only waited patiently as two other figures stood behind her. One was a shorter female with dark short hair, whose body was a bit more on the slender side opposed to Vision and even under the black soldier uniform. Alongside the two females was a huge-looking man with his blonde hair cropped short; taller than the two females, with defined muscles even beneath the thick, dark soldier suit of his.
Vision inspected one particular crate for a moment as she went inside the back of the truck; the black hound took a look inside along with her after she opened the lid and squinted her eyes at the contents inside. Giving a turn of her head towards the two trusted teammates of hers, who only shared her slight puzzlement and then she closed the lid. Turning her head to glance behind her, at the narrow street a distance away from them; the path was covered with cobblestones, between two rows of tall buildings, looking to be as storefronts; though now just remaining as ruins, with broken windows and bunch of broken street stalls.
"... Are you certain they want to meet us here?" Vision spoke with a blank tone within her voice, and she then received reconfirmation from one of the minor soldiers. Turning her head to the large man, she then gave a command. "Captain Vigil and Lieutenant Anna would be following me. The rest of you would stay here with the aircraft. I would send a message once everything is cleared and you can head back to Latveria."
With that, the man named Vigil took the wheels and Vision taking the seat beside him. Her loyal canine companion followed the truck from behind, alongside with Lieutenant Anna; their eyes peeled for anything suspicious as the truck moved to the meeting destination. Once they finally reached to the meeting point, and drove a bit deeper into the street, the vehicle finally stopped. "According to the coordinates, it should be here," Vigil's deep, coarse voice sounded and he received a nod from Vision. Both of them left the vehicle to then stand with the other female; the black canine went over to stand beside his master, his dark eyes glancing around the surroundings while remaining highly alert.
"They will come soon enough to collect the supplies.. Remember why I brought you both here, Lieutenant Anna, Captain Vigil." Vision then stated to the two other soldiers, and she received a firm nod from both of them.
Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:20 am
Kresnik did business on its own terms. Other resistance groups had open communication with Latverian suppliers and armed forces, a kind of umbilical cord, or safety net. But between Doom and Kresnik there were only phantom, ever-changing emails from nowhere, cryptic phone calls, the sort of fare one would expect from a prankster. Every once in a while a mysterious communique would appear in the logs of Doom's private army's supply division, the resources of which were largely turned to supplying foreign resistance groups after the Sentinels' invasion. Signed only with a "k," it was always a plainly stated list of required items, like a shopping note, with no attempt to grovel or please the master and no reports on Kresnik's status or success rate. The barren, desolate ruins of Belgrade, almost entirely devoid of Sentinel activity, spoke for itself.
But as for the mysterious group responsible for depopulating the mechanical marauders, no two stories were alike. Some spoke in hushed tones of a tribe of near-savage metahumans, who could not be detected by the Sentinels and cannibalized the corpses of less successful resistance members. Others argued that the precision with which Kresnik struck, and the fact that the Sentinels seemed utterly incapable of locating them, meant that the group wasn't human, mutant, or even organic; likely some rogue, haywire team of Sentinels, the smaller kind not seen as often.
The supply missions were always like this. Upon receiving the communique, a vtol or helicopter would be sent to 29, loaded with crates full of perplexingly unrelated electronics, small arms ammunition and food supplies. Kresnik's asking price was oddly low considering their success rate. Many resistance groups that had been wiped out required enough munitions to outfit a small army, such was the threat posed by a single Sentinel.
No individual had ever met a member of Kresnik in person. If any had, they might as well have never existed. Kresnik would demand that the supplies be abandoned at some coordinates specified in their message. Only after all signs of surveillance had ceased and Doom's representatives had fully withdrawn from the area did the supplies mysteriously disappear. Doom himself seemed to know something about the group that was so secretive few even believed it actually existed.
This time the venue was a flavorful soup of Old World nostalgia. The Skadarlija was a historic district in Belgrade; a narrow street that once played host to countless street cards overflowing with fresh produce and baked goods, high end hotels, rustic storefronts, the perfect tourist trap. The war had left it mostly untouched, save for the telltale signs of looting. but the entrance to the district was a curving, narrow, cobblestone road. On top of having no strategic utility, the Skadarlija was too narrow for Sentinels to easily enter. The crate of supplies Vision and her cohorts were carrying was smaller than even Kresnik's normal orders. It couldn't have been enough to supply more than five or six soldiers. Perhaps the group's numbers were dwindling.
Ancient brick buildings stood solemn vigil over the well-trod road beneath them. Total silence enveloped them on all sides. Doom's directions implied a substantial degree of good faith; indeed, their lives were on open display as the Skadarlija was unexpectedly replete with potential sniper nests. Any second or third story window could hide a scoped killer behind its faded, dusty shutters. The stalls and debris scattering the sidewalks could conceal motion-sensitive mines. What remained of the Skadarlija was so devoid of life that any movement was almost certainly human, a foreign element in a place that was once traveled by beaming tourists every day.
A thick mist covered the narrow corridor that day. The further Vision's group walked down the street, the worse visibility got. Electronic instruments they brought with them, such as motion sensors, communication devices and the like, hiccupped and croaked in the thick smoke. Motes of dust flickered like diamonds briefly in the midday gloom. Something about the smoke made it difficult for Vision's new Leader to smell anything as well. An unpleasant, metallic odor filled the nostrils with every breath, even with the gas masks. Soon none of them could see beyond a foot or so in front of them, and even with electronic vision aid it was a meaningless effort, as the mists seemed to cloak the entire world in warm pink and orange.
That was when a black gloved hand slid gently around Vision's shoulders, like a friendly embrace. But there was nothing friendly about the softly humming blade gripped in those fingers. The others were likely aware by now that they were not alone, and probably had weapons at the ready. But this man had a hostage. Even with her powers he'd managed to slip close completely undetected. Perhaps it was the Latverian technology he wore, or maybe...
"Disarm." a heavily distorted, mechanical growl emerged from the fog next to Vision's ear. "One representative only. She stays; you may go. Take the dog with you. Leave your weapons here."
He seemed to know her ability. He'd stood in a place such that Vision couldn't easily see him through the eyes of her animal, and through the smoke the figured looked like nothing more than a black blur with a single glowing red eye.
"Come back in an hour and pick her up. Follow me and you pick her up in twelve different places."
At those dry, monotone words the vibrating knife drew closer to her neck.
Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:13 pm
[ Skadarlija, Belgrade in Sector 29 ]
Silence enveloping the trio with Vision's canine beside them; saved for their breathing through the gas masks of theirs. It was just perhaps their luck that there was a very odd thick mist that fell upon the once tourist attraction, though Vision thought otherwise. Even for her four-legged companion, she had noticed how the creature was feeling slightly uneasy as even the thick stench had made it even difficult to smell anything around them.
"What is with this mist?" Anna's voice broke the silence, and looking at her communicator; she even noticed how the device looked like it was jammed as they were in this mist. "Somethin' is not right with with this mist. My motion sensors are not working; so is the communicator. We got cut off." She voiced out, while her and large man stayed close to their Major while Vision remained calm throughout the whole time.
"Just remain close for now," Vision ordered and soon as she said so, she had noticed how the mist had grew even thicker to a point of not being able to see her two teammates close to her, or even the Dobermann. Despite that, she stayed calm and collected, though perhaps she had underestimated the situation when suddenly, she felt a hand coming around her shoulders. She flinched in response, of course; totally off-guard and saying a silent oath beneath her breath. Especially when she could hear the unmistakable humming sound as the knife was held to her neck.
The other female with the male had quickly figured out the situation had altered; even the canine had quickly started to growl fiercely after turning around sharply, his sharp teeth bared at the figure who had his owner as a hostage. Anna had whipped out her rifle, pulling off the safety lock and aimed with Vigil already had his pistol out as well; all weapon ready to fire at this point, with their fingers at the trigger.
Even in such a position with the dangerous object close to her neck, Vision calmed herself down and stilled her body; knowing she would rather not make this a mess, and not because she was concerned over her safety. Really, she would rather not face the wrath of her mentor if they would had lose the silent agreement between him and this resistance group. Even more was when she was given a mission by Doom, she would do whatever it would take.
Still, she was puzzled on how she could had not detect nor sense this individual when he approached. She figured it was the technology he might had, maybe modified so that even her powers was useless. Even now, she could not detect any other who might be with this particular one. Even more puzzling was when he began to make demands, saying she could stay while the other two soldiers could leave and having to take her canine with them.
Understandably, both soldiers were hesitant to do so, and even more was her canine companion; his growl even grew louder before Vision's voice sounded, giving a command to the two soldiers and her dog, "Do as he says. Put your weapons down, and leave the area. Take Cerberus with you." Hearing one of her soldiers about to object, she then continued with a firmer yet such a calm tone that both soldiers knew it would be unwise to disobey., even in such a situation. "That is an order. I'll be fine, I'll make sure of it."
Both Anna and Vigil knew that they only could place great faith onto their leader as they soon placed their weapons down on the ground, though doing it slowly before straightening their backs. Reluctantly, they left the area as they turned around and even both of them was having slight difficulty to convince the canine to follow them, but they eventually left to walk back down the cobblestone road through the heavy mist.
"... They are gone. Though I would appreciate if you put the knife away. It's quite unbecoming that you have to greet a representative of Doom like this, especially when he was being very kind to supply you with necessary items you demand." The female began to speak through the gas mask, and she only turned her head slightly, though aware that now she was quite incapacitated without being able to use her powers to see through another pair of eyes. She knew it would be useless to try to see through her captor's sight.
"... Also, I would like to mention that those two soldiers along with the canine were supposed to accompany me, as I am certain that Doom had presented that one of his soldiers would be working alongside you, as a sort of his graciousness. After all, he felt your team is quite worthy to have some of his best soldiers in your team's efforts." She continued to speak with a slight hint of sarcasm within that lovely and strangely calm voice of hers; despite the threat of the knife at her neck.
Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:39 pm
[ Mount Kailash ]
Generally, Hiram stayed out of Tag's way. She was inscrutably basic in action and thought, and neither of the two were particularly avid conversationalists. Hiram had taken her with him out of a vague sense of duty, and she - as far as he could tell - stayed because his proximity meant a steady supply of food. So, as long as she wasn't hurting herself, Hiram let the young girl do whatever would satisfy her brain's demands. She was self-programmed to survive, and survival generally necessitated a certain measure of restraint, so most of the time there was no reason for Hiram to intervene.
It might surprise Tag, then, when a few minutes after she'd disentangled herself from the group Hiram came trudging across the snow-scattered path towards her, a pair of refugees trailing a short distance behind him. As he approached, he glanced from her to the corpse, and then to the knife gleaming in her hands, and the opaque black of his sclera seemed to deepen somehow. The refugees jogged on, while Hiram crouched down on the opposite side of Tag's intended meal.
Tag's brutal intelligence was practical, and often useful, but there was a line. Or, rather, there had to be one. At some point she had been deprived of the crucial wall between desire and action - and in the wilderness surrounding Kailash, that was a beneficial state of being. But they were around people now. People who had every right to be wary of them.
"No eating people." He paused, as a mean situation in Iraq involving a collapsed mine and the body of a resistance fighter simmered up in his memory, and added; "Unless you're starving."
Something metal slammed shut nearby. Further down the path, where it gave way to undergrowth, the refugees had begun checking the truck for damage.
"I'll shoot a bird for you later."
He crouched there a moment, his breath bulging in the air, as the evening deepened around them. The clouds were coming in now, dark and heavy, a faint orange glow riding on their backs.
"Tag, do you... like it here? Are you happy?"
Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:34 pm
[ Skadarlija, Belgrade in Sector 29 ]
In the impenetrable blackness outside of Vision's mind, the sharp humming of the knife diminished and slipped away. Her captor's strong grasp released her, but even without leaving any stimuli to remind her he was there, it was obvious he hadn't left. A long silence set in amidst the tangy, metallic smell of the chaffsmoke. Then, after what seemed like ages, Vision could hear the shifting of the man's uniform and the same distorted voice, a man infused with a computerized tone not unlike the Sentinels.
"The Master knows my loyalty is without question."
She could hear the sliding of cold metal into a leather sheath.
"He knows Kresnik works alone."
The speaker paused, as if to let the absurd nature of his statement sink in.
Did he mean simply that Kresnik was a group that worked without the influence of outsiders? That of course was false. For almost a year the organization had been all but demanding supplies from Doom, something the Lateverian dictator usually responded to with lethal force. Perhaps then, individual cells of Kresnik worked on their own and coordinated together with others, and Doom's troops would have been employed in squads, used to close in fighting tactics that didn't mesh well with Kresnik. But that too seemed unlikely as only the loosest definition of "alone" could be applied to a decentralized organization. Even separated, a family was still family.
But he'd come alone. Alone. No signs of snipers or lookouts, no scouts, no life anywhere but within him and Vision's group, so far as she could have seen through Cerebrus' eyes up until the fog embraced them.
The truth was swiftly becoming evident. Kresnik wasn't a group at all. It was one man.
One man had virtually depopulated sector 29 of Sentinels, with only the most minimal of outside aid from Latveria. That sort of achievement was beyond groups of more than fifty heavily armed and seasoned operatives in other European sectors. It was beyond human, beyond mutant.
This man was literally a machine. No living creature on this planet had ever achieved such an impossible level of lethality. It was akin to a mouse slaughtering every occupant of a crowded apartment complex alone with nothing but a toothpick and some cheese to sustain it. Only a Sentinel could fight Sentinels with such effectiveness, and yet as machine-like as he was, Kresnik was unmistakeably alive.
What did Kresnik need to do to himself to reach such terrifying power? What did he surrender to the war? His body? His mind? His humanity? If he was not a mutant, not a human, and definitely not a machine, then Kresnik could be nothing other than a monster.
"The smoke is clearing. You should remove your mask."
He seemed to be making motions of doing the same himself. She could probably hear the hiss of pressurized air escaping the monster's helmet and the click of unfastening latches.
Moments later, a second voice emerged. One that he himself had almost forgotten. Yet even that was changed. He'd never been a particularly emotive boy, but few traces of human sentiment remained in the monotone whisper left behind.
"It's been a long time, Juliette Einbert."
Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:58 pm
命❀~In the jungles of Cuba, Hisui~❀命
Hisui continued to walk quietly behind the line, doing her best to erase the path left behind by the travelling group. She watched as the sun rose high above the trees, ignoring the growling of her stomach as best she could. Focusing on nothing, the silent girl watched as much of the jungle as she could at once, constantly glancing over her shoulder to make sure there was nothing following behind her.
During one of these checks, she almost missed movement in front of her. Catching a glimpse of something off to her right, she turned in time to see a giant lizard dropping down on top of a rather large snake. It was caked in mud, but she could see the dull gleam of red scales showing through in a few patches on the muzzle, where it had licked the mud away. Hisui froze in place. She only knew one red lizard the size of a man, and while he looked different than he had the last time Hisui saw him, she had little doubt as to who it was. And he was one of the last people on the planet that Hisui wanted to come into contact with. Glad she was completely invisible, Hisui ran for it, heading towards the front of the column.
Luckily for her, it was then that Ben called the break for lunch, so she managed to avoid bumping into anyone. Slowing down a bit, she began to look for Ben, but he was nowhere in sight. So she kept forwards, looking for a place she could stop for a meeting with Ben. Finding a rather large tree that stood towered above the surrounding jungle, she raised her fingers to her lips and let out an ear-splitting whistle. There was no doubt that Ben would hear it, and find her immediately.
Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:59 am
~Snap; Jungle of Cuba~
Snap quickly caught up with the group of refugees. He decided to take his lunch further away. People tend to look around more carefully when they are resting, rather than moving; the chance of being spotted was higher, so Snap rather played it safe. He picked a tree, what was out of sight but still within hearing distance, and dragged his kill up into the branches.
After chewing off the head, he used his claws to gut the snake. He didn’t drop the unneeded parts to the ground, rather left it on a branch.
It was when he took the first bite, when somebody whistled from the distance. That was odd; at least it wasn’t a scream. The people will probably hurry there as well, so he decided to wait a little bit. He tore a few another big chunks from his prey, before he stashed the rest of the meat on the branch, and headed out. He moved in the treetops, and jumped from branch to branch. His tongue was flicking in and out, as it was easier to find people in the greenery by looking for their body-heat.
Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:20 pm
[ Skadarlija, Belgrade in Sector 29 ]
Finally, that strong hand was removed from her shoulder and releasing her but Vision remained still though her form relaxed as the long silence ensued. Her sharp ears then heard her captor speaking once again in that computerized mixed human voice and she slightly turned her head to the direction to listen. His voice should be reassuring and yet Vision had her doubts somewhat; even if Doom had placed some expectations upon this 'Kresnik' group.
Though at his other comment, confusion settled in as she tried to piece up on what he truly meant. Did he meant on refusing Doom's offer to send a subordinate of his to work alongside him? Or perhaps it was something else? Once again, she tried to sense if there were any other beings other than them both around. Truly there should be others along with this 'man', she thought to herself.
Then, it only started to dawn on her. She would had heard other footsteps at this point, more movements at least. Even when they did stepped into the mist earlier with her other two soldiers and her canine companion; they had spotted nothing whatsoever.
It was very unlikely; could it even be possible? No, that could not be. But when the same distorted voice began to speak again and suggested that she should remove her mask; Vision was hesitant; even if the metallic smell was indeed thinning in the air. Still, she began to undo the mask when she could faintly hear the sounds of the other removing his own.
Her auburn hair fell from the mask, undone and free to flow down her back as her features was then shown; also revealing her green eyes. Only then her eyes widened when another voice sounded; even more when that voice mentioned her name and her body froze in utter shock. It had been the longest time that she had heard someone said her real name; she had always been referred to as 'Vision' after she adopted that name when taken under Doom.
".. I demand on how do you know my-" Vision began then stopped for a moment as she then realized. The voice, even though was a whisper; held some deep familiarity. It had been years since she had last heard that voice, and even now, there was definitely some difference. ".... Koren? I-Is that you? Koren Liang?" Her voice softened and yet her eyes were wide, truly out of sheer surprise and shock.
With shaky hands, she reached to the small compartment bag at her belt and began to retrieve a pair of tinted glasses from it. Quickly, she wore it over the bridge of her nose and noticeably; there were codes flashing on the lenses of the glasses as she quickly gaze up. "... My god, it is you." She only need to voice out and then a sudden chuckle sounded from her, one out of sarcastic mirth; though it seemed that she could see through the glasses she was wearing.
"... Great. Just... great." She started at first, though feeling all the emotions within her which she sorely wished that were never brought up ever again. She had never thought that she would ever see one of her past phantoms again; forgetting about her past and focusing on the future with upholding Doom's orders and making certain his wishes would be done. Now facing him though, she was very uncertain on how she should react. Deep down inside, she was truly happy to see an old friend; one of them which she did sorely missed from those blissful years back in the institute.
Heaving out a deep sigh, she then spoke in that blank tone of hers after regaining her calm composure, "... How did you know it was me behind the mask?" Trailing off for a moment, she then spoke again; this time adding as if to make it very clear to him, "Also, I advise you that you should refer to me as 'Vision', nothing else. I had abandoned that name long ago."
Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:08 pm
-( In the Jungles of Cuba )-
Ben was attempting to savor the flavors of a fresh piece of caimito fruit as the loud whistle crossed his ears. He finished biting into it and began chewing as he looked to Luna for guidance. She was alert and staring off into the direction from which the sound originated. She barked once and looked back to Ben before moving toward the edge of the clearing. The more alert of the others heard the whistle as well, and looked to Ben for leadership. Most of the children never stopped playing, but everything got quiet for a moment.
During the silence, Ben scanned for life in the surrounding area "When you're done eating start packing back up. I'll go investigate... be back soon!" he said as he headed off towards Hisui's direction. He held an open palm to Luna while telling her to stay with the group. He didn't like what he felt out there. Their 'friend' was still hanging around even this far out into the jungle. Though he still had no clue as to this creatures motives, it always maintained a respectable distance from them, probably picking up whatever they left behind. It didn't matter to him so long as it maintained the distance. Luna was simply an alarm system at this point.
She just watched as Ben disappeared into the jungle and a few kids came by to play with her. She rather enjoyed fetch and there was an abundance of sticks to be tossed around. None the less, Ben soon came upon the large tree that towered over most of the jungle. "You rang?" he said as he came chopping through the under brush.
Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:01 pm
"I'll shoot a bird for you later."
Tag stared. Hiram was not making any sense. Why would he waste the time and energy hunting birds when there was fresh meat ripe for the taking? Of course, Tag didn't argue. The smaller animal always kowtowed to the bigger one and if Hiram wanted it that way then Tag could live with it. Besides, Tag was sure she could sneak a slice of meat when Hiram was otherwise distracted.
"Tag, do you... like it here? Are you happy?"
It had seemed impossible, but somehow Tag's stare had gotten even more blank. "Like" and "happy" had never much meaning to Tag, not even before the alleys, not even when Tag was with the mother. Happy or sad or whatever else, Tag had always simply been.
Tag remembered the mother had always been sad. Even when the mother laughed or smiled, Tag could tell that the mother was sad. Tag would never be able to understand sadness, but she knew what it was. The mother had been listless, just as quick to cry as she was to laugh and never looked comfortable. The mother would fidget constantly, running her fingers over her knuckles or biting the skin of her hand. The mother never belonged.
Tag could not understand sadness, but she knew there would never be a place for her. Tag would wander, scavenge and adapt to survive no matter where she was, but that was only existence. There was no connection. Tag had no more special feelings for the alleyways than she did this valley. Or Hiram for that matter.
Did that make her sad? Like so many other things, Tag didn’t know.
“No.” Tag said finally, “I’m just here.”
Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:59 pm
[ Mount Kailash ]
Hiram wasn’t sure what he saw in Tag’s eyes. Sometimes, it was easy to mistake a mote of reflected snow or a stray ray of sun for a spark of something human. It was rarely anything more than that – just a flicker amidst those great, dark swathes of animal instinct. There was something in the way she seemed to stop for a moment there, though. Something.
He smiled lamely, his cheeks barely rising, and wondered if that even meant anything to her.
Reeling his eyes out of hers, he turned his attention to the corpse at their feet, patting it down quickly before dragging off its coat and tucking it under his arm. With a sight of exertion he hoisted the cold, motionless weight of the body over his shoulder, rising up to his full height.
“I’m leaving.” He stated flatly. “I’m going west with these people. Someone has to get them through the Front. You can come, or…”
His voice trailed away as he nudged the rifle down off his shoulder, slinging it around so as to level the harmless end with Tag’s arms.
“Take it. If you want to stay here, you can keep it. If not, I’ll see you at the truck.” Purportedly, he was supposed to pat her on the head or ruffle her hair at this point. He settled for placing a hand on her shoulder. “Think about it.”
He waited for Tag to take the weapon from him before securing the corpse over his shoulder and trudging off towards the trees. He moved under their shadows in silence, collecting up the bodies one by one and hauling them past the stupas and the stones, past the trees, into the white nothingness at the feet of Mount Kailash. That was where he burned them, their flesh blooming upwards in streams of black and orange, fading into the broiling grey of the clouds closing in above. He must have been there for hours, making sure they stayed lit, that the fullness of what they’d borrowed was returned.
By the time he’d made his back the sun had slipped down under the clouds, now just a slither of red at the end of long, dark curtains, slowly sinking under the stage and out of sight. The refugees had gotten the truck started and moved it back onto the road, most of them clustering around the rear while the bin-bags that contained their livelihoods were ferried on board.
One by one, the little fires burning at the mouth of the temple were blinking out, buried under heaps of snow. The last one shrivelled up and died as he approached the back of the truck, his eyes scanning the mass of ragged forms for one in particular.
Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:59 pm
[ Mount Kailash ]
“I’m leaving. I’m going west with these people. Someone has to get them through the Front. You can come, or…”
Hiram offered his gun towards Tag.
“Take it. If you want to stay here, you can keep it. If not, I’ll see you at the truck.” Tag felt the warmth in Hiram's hand as he grasped her shoulder. She could feel the heat of the blood pumping through the veins and as she focused on it, a quiet rhythm emerged that Tag knew was his heart. “Think about it.”
Tag thought about it.
She never reached for the gun and when Hiram turned to leave, Tag followed.
There was nowhere else for Tag. No one else, either and she was just starting to get used to Hiram.
Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:06 am
~ Skadarlija, Belgrade in Sector 29 ~
Koren expression stayed completely stagnant throughout the reunion. Although the familiarity of his presence was doubtlessly comforting to her, something in the way he seemed taught, poised to take action at a moment's notice, was unsettling. He didn't move, speak, or even blink like a human. It was as if something was wearing Koren's skin, but retained enough of his essence to avert being completely alien. Perhaps, he considered momentarily, the presence of an old associate provoked a subconscious routine of behaviors that was associated with the old him.
Vision was unmistakeably looking at a corpse, however. That pale, gaunt face and faint stubble. That familiar and yet ghostly pair of mismatched, brilliant blue eyes. Traces of Koren existed in Kresnik, but like Vision, the original had been replaced by a faulty, malfunctioning simulacrum. What had those asymmetrical eyes seen over the past years they'd spent apart? Where had Koren been, and what had he done, in China?
"For six years I've continued to fight. Alone."
He didn't exhibit any scars, as befitting the "perfect child soldier" he'd sculpted himself into when fighting as an X-Man. Koren had always been the one most skeptical of Xavier's altruistic ideals. Today he resembled a veteran in more ways than one. He turned from her bespectacled gaze, tightening his gloves. Koren's own glasses were conspicuously absent. Perhaps he didn't wear them under his helmet.
He'd received plenty of assistance from Doom. In fact, the relationship between Koren and the Master was quite a bit closer than Juliette realized. Ruling over Sector 29 with his raw talent and inhuman combat ability was one thing, but Kresnik would not be satisfied with an empty, hollow kingdom. He would make himself worthy of the Latverian dictator's implicit trust.
"I will expand my war. You will help me, Vision. I must negotiate with the Master."
This was a bold request. No one demands an audience of Doom. Yet Kresnik had already shown himself to be a reckless and dangerous individual when it came to his negotiations with Latveria. A man who could depopulate a sector of occupied Europe alone was a living army; a tremendous threat that couldn't be allowed to even stand in the same room as Doom, no matter how many secret traps and body doubles the Master possessed.
Still, Doom had singled Kresnik out, and his mission seemed quite different from the pure survival motivation of the other resistance groups. It was clear that Koren was not fighting the Sentinels to protect others, defend Latveria, which he should have no logical allegiance to, or because he valued his own life. What cause could he be fighting for, then, but Doom himself?
"Finding you was easy. I did my research. Plus I recognize the way you walk."
Koren glanced over his shoulder at her, then to the pavement where Cerberus once was.
"You don't walk like a human being. Your perspective is determined by another's vision."
He stepped closer to her, uncomfortably close. It seemed as though Koren had lost all concept of social interaction, and only now his mind was beginning to remember how to properly communicate with other human beings. There were still some lingering defects. She could probably even feel his breath faintly at that distance.
"One foot forward, then the other. Slowly. Carefully. Like you're directing the movements of a puppet. Completely unnatural."
Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:54 am
命❀~In the jungles of Cuba, Hisui~❀命
To anyone watching, it would seem as though Hisui had materialized from thin air beneath the tree. Ben, however, would know better. She did a quick visual scan of the area, and stepped out into the light. "We're being followed." Blunt as ever, Hisui got straight to business once she decided the coast was clear enough. "He's got jungle camouflage, but I saw a flash of red scales. Considering we only know one red humanoid reptile, it has to be Cornelius." She looked away from Ben for a moment, to collect herself, but her face showed none of this. The young girl had become quite adept at presenting a stone mask to the world when she actually had to interact with it. As far as Hisui was concerned, visible emotions were a disability that someone else could, and most likely would exploit.
It was not good for Hisui that Cornelius was back. It brought a lot of guilt that she didn't have time to deal with back to the surface. She had caused a lot of unnecessary death on Genosha, and her self-imposed isolation was penance for that. Before Ben could even suggest anything, she was speaking again, her tone as flat as it had been before. "I won't see him. But he's there, following you, not too far back from the tail end of the group while on the march." She looked around the clearing again, before slowly fading into invisibility. "Speaking of, you guys need to go a little easier on the jungle. You're making the trail you leave behind too easy to follow and too hard to hide."
Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:10 am
~Snap; Jungle of Cuba~
Snap arrived at edge of the clearing just to see Hitsui fading into invisibility again. He flicked out his tongue to check if the girl was still around. Yes, she was. He couldn’t see her, but there were definitely two heat signatures where Ben was standing. Snap lay flat on the branch, turning motionless again.
This was getting ridiculous. The two were once his friends… this hide and seek made no sense at all. They didn’t take his help yesterday, because they didn’t trust him. How could they? He was stalking them like a perv. It was time to man up! Last night you tore grown men with bare hands apart, you don’t are that scaredy-cat anymore. Act like a f@cking adult!
He pushed himself off and landed at the edge of the clearing with a loud crush. He raised himself on all four and stayed still for a while, so the two can have a good look at him. Then slowly he started to stroll toward Ben moving on all fours, letting his tail slowly swing behind himself. His tongue kept moving in and out to check, if the invisible Hitsui was still there with Ben. In case she attempted to move, he followed her with his head, indicating that he still could ‘see’ her.
Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:01 pm
-( In the Jungles of Cuba )-
When Hisui came out of her camouflage, the news she brought was a bit of a surprise. He was going to break it to her eventually; when he was absolutely certain himself, but the look on his face showed more than he'd care to admit. The suddenness of it had him wide-eyed for a second, but his failure to retain eye contact afterward and lack of a true reaction said it all too clear. He already knew they were being followed. It took a while for him to rebuild a level of trust with her and that was now crumbling as she came to know he was purposefully withholding information from her.
He allowed her to continue as he was pretty lost for words at the moment trying to find a way to smooth over the coming backlash he felt in his gut. All he could manage to utter as she was wrapping up was "I know..I know...." He took a breath to collect his thoughts. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I've known for at least a year now. I just wasn't certain about who or what it was and didn't want to cause unnecessary panic." His eyes changed as he continued however as the flames of passion and rage welled up inside his heart. "We're at war Figment. What do you think I've been doing here, or why I haven't left for the states yet? I'm training them Hisui, keeping Professor Xavier's dream alive the best way I know how. When they're ready, we will rid this island of Apocalypse's Minions... This is simply phase I. Any primer foolish enough to follow that trail knows what's waiting on the end of it. For now fear has been holding them back... "
Ben had more to say, but he heard the loud crash and turned to face it. It was Cornelius in the flesh, well in the scales. A loud thud was heard as a small tree Ben had uprooted in anticipation of a fight fell behind them. He was no longer the lizard boy they knew at the X-Institute. He was a fully grown killing machine. Ben wasn't quite sure how to react to the sudden appearance of his old friend, but he couldn't stop smiling. A few tears came to his eyes as images long suppressed came roaring back. The the early years of the war, the tragedy on Genosha, his time at the institute, their first danger room simulation... It all came back like a flood. "Tegu! um, Cornelius!" he shouted as he approached the creature walking on all fours, tongue flickering, and tail swaying back and forth. He held his arms open to embrace a long lost friend.
Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:32 pm
[ Mount Kailash ]
It didn’t take long for Hiram to find the map-holder, and with their patchwork language plot out a vague route through the deadened lands toward the West. It would have been quickest to proceed straight across India and through the Middle East, with Turkey as their passageway into Eastern Europe. But the coast of Turkey, practically dead upon the string of red dashes that indicated the Front, would be too well fortified, and the lands at its doorstep crawled with the infection of Mutant Prime’s obscene ideology. They were not easy territories to hold, but the dark glamour of oil seemed to provide sufficient motivation.
Instead, they’d pass only very briefly through Pakistan, and then on into the former vassals of the Soviet Union. It meant more ground to cover, but with those great expanses came shakier borders and vast tracks through which they could pass unnoticed. Ukraine would be their passageway. From there, they’d have to chart their course between the automated patrols of Europe’s mechanical jailors.
Nodding in confirmation, he took the map and headed for the driver’s compartment, tossing his bag inside before following quickly behind it. The dead man’s coat under his arm went down to join his meagre little rucksack till it was needed.
Silently, he motioned for Tag to take the passenger seat, while reaching up to run his free hand along the top of the compartment, above the windshield. Sure enough, there was a set of hooks designed to make some soldier and his rifle a little more comfortable.
The back hatches slammed shut behind them, dislodging a tuft of snow from the vehicle’s forehead.
Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:00 pm
[ Mount Kailash ]
Tag could make out the scent of the truck's previous owners. Their sweat lingered all along the interior of the car, but it came strongest from the seats. The men had not been afforded many opportunities for hygiene, the scent smelled strongest of urine and rotten food. Tag jumped in the truck's passenger seat all the same. She could pick out the details of the smell, separate the tang of dried blood from the sweet aroma of honey, but she had no preference for either.
Tag had learned that others did, though. Other people usually avoided these sort of smells as if it could harm them somehow. It didn't make much sense to Tag.
Hiram didn't seem to notice the smell and Tag pondered over this fact. Tag had seen Hiram react poorly to this sort of smell before, so it was strange to seem him so indifferent now. Had he adapted so quickly? Tag could not imagine any more reasons beyond that, she could not consider for even a moment that people did not see, hear or smell the world as she did. In Tag's world every detail was magnified and tangible, anything less would have been like being reduced to a slug, only capable of processing colors and shapes.
But despite Tag's awareness, she had no idea where Hiram was planning to go. He had looked over papers and talked to the other refugees, but to what end Tag simply did not know. So when her host asked "Ready?" as he revved the truck up, Tag in a rare moment gave the answer she knew he wanted rather than the one she felt. She lied.
Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:37 pm
[ Skadarlija, Belgrade in Sector 29 ]
Her spectacled gaze continued to linger upon the form of Koren and seeing how much he had changed throughout the years since they had last seen each other. Of course she would not had expected him to be the same man as before but then again, the woman would not had expected to meet him under these kind of circumstances. Still, ironically, she would had to say the same for herself as well after all.
Placing the mask under her arm and hooking like so, her focus remained upon him and yet she could not seem to absorb on how it was only this one man who had been cleaning the Sentinels out of the sector and been doing so all this while.
How ironic that Doom only mentioned to her earlier before she left on how the performance of this legendary Kresnik to be just within his satisfaction and she only wondered whether perhaps her mentor had knew it all along that the 'infamous' Kresnik was just a lone person. People would had thought that impossible and yet this man had proven otherwise.
At his sudden request, her green eyes behind the glasses narrowed at this. Doom never entertained many presence among his; she was just an exception since she had been trained by him ever since she was taken under his tutelage. Looking at Koren once again, she bit her tongue on saying anything on giving a snark remark.
"... I'll help you, but it's because Master had ordered me to do so. That is why I'm here." Vision made it clear to him again, her voice firm with her own stature as she stood there before him. "But I would like to know why you are so intent on this? Why would you want an audience with Doom?" She had a feeling he might not answer this question for her, but Vision wanted to know his true motive, if possible. She should not expect that he would not had any ill intentions when it comes to her mentor, but she knew if it would come to worse; she would not hesitate to draw a gun at him to ensure the safety of her mentor.
That was what she was telling herself really, and believed to be true if that was truly the case.
When Koren began to answer her question, though she perked an eyebrow at this and wondered how he knew that she was indeed alive to begin with. Still, she allowed him to speak further but once again, her eyes narrowed at him as he neared his form to hers and yet she stood her ground firmly.
Giving him a glare through the tinted glasses over her eyes, she gritted her teeth slightly and knowing what he said was all true; and yet only the very observant would had noticed. She should had not been surprised that he knew from long time ago and yet, she did not appreciate his words nevertheless. Reaching a hand up to place onto his chest, she gave him a firm shove to push him back an arm's length. She knew it would take more to make him stumble in his footing but if he did indeed fell back, she knew she would feel quite satisfied with herself.
"And yet, look at you. Another puppet just like me. That's why Doom seemed rather fond of us both then." There was the hint of sarcasm within her voice and she scowled at him, definitely not entertained by his earlier words and even how he stood so closely to her just a moment ago. "I would appreciate that you don't come so close to me next time, alright?"
With that, she took her hand away and adjusted her glasses over the bridge of her nose, "The two soldiers I brought earlier with me would be good assistance to your.. 'cause'. If you want to expand this war of yours, you would be needing good soldiers. Those two would be your safest bet along with me."
Heaving out a sigh and adjusting the gas mask under her arm, she then remarked, ".. Or at least let me keep the dog with me, since you already know who I am and know the reason of a canine with me." Turning her head to look down the path where the two soldiers and the canine had went down and disappeared to, she then asked him in a softer volume and tone this time, "... I have to know, how do you know I was still alive or even know where to look?"
Looking back to Koren once again, she knew she had done a good job in concealing her identity and usually keeping her face behind the face mask whenever possible. She knew it was just more of out of curiosity but even then, she should not be surprised with his answer, if he did oblige to do so though.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:42 pm
[ Mount Kailash ]
The engine roared to life under them, and to him it was the sound some great predator chasing them on their way. The snow softened the sound of tires as they pulled out away from the temple, and the dirt track stretched out ahead of them into an almost infinite white. To the refugees, there was some kind of promise somewhere in that white – a promise of safety and of security. To Hiram, there was an endless nothing. To Tag, he couldn’t even guess what it meant.
“Make sure your seatbelt is fastened. The road ahead is bumpy.”
He smiled a little, no matter how meaningless it may have been to Tag.
“We’ll pass through it soon enough.”
[ Kazakhstan – The Front ]
The months burned away under the wheels. For the most part the journey was auspiciously uneventful – there had been a close call in Pakistan, and Hiram had been forced to quietly dispose of a few uncharacteristically thorough soldiers as they crossed over out of Uzbekistan, but the vast tracts of Central Asia offered enough space to keep them as far from the influence of Mutant Prime and his lackeys as any of them could have hoped. They stayed off the main roads as much as possible, keeping to the paths less travelled. Cities were a phenomenon observed only from a distance. After the first month and a half they had almost taken on an entirely new meaning, becoming strange grey sprawls upon the horizon, the skies above them choked with the roiling smog of wartime industry. They made Hiram think of wounds, the constant, churning darkness chucked up by their engines and factories and steelworks reminding him of blood oozing away from an open vein. Civilization, to them, had become a sporadic string of abandoned towns and villages that existed to be scavenged bare of anything that could be of use before they quickly moved on. The only thing that remained omnipresent was boredom, but Hiram could deal with that.
They stopped just short of running straight into the Front, a fact Hiram was immeasurably thankful for when he saw from the distance the veritable fortress that had once been a meagre little checkpoint between Kazakhstan and western Russia. Major roads were now more than ever a non-option.
Instead, they dipped further South, where the Front gave way to jutting hills and the only roads were tired tracks of dirt. It was impossible to fortify the entire Front, and there the foliage acted as natural cover. Hiram didn’t doubt that the legions of Mutant Prime patrolled the whole length of the border between mutant lands and the realms of the Sentinels, but they had a significantly higher chance of slipping by between the hills than on open terrain.
The day was just sparking on the horizon. Hiram was plodding across the slopes that flanked the road – he had trekked ahead of the truck to assess their route, making his way as quickly and quietly as he could through the shadowed spots where bits of night still clung to the highlands. So far, so good.
Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:17 am
[ Kazakhstan – The Front ]
The insect was bitter like dirt and little else. Crunchy as if it had been fried. There was a bit of goo inside, but like the rest, it was just bitter. Her stomach would tumble a little more than usual that evening, but no matter what Tag ate it never seemed to bother her for long. On the trip, Tag feasted on all the rotten rations the refugees had to throw out. When a woman tried to stop her, Tag smashed her face with a rock. It didn't kill or even scar, but it made Tag's claim clear. The other refugees gave her a wide berth then.
Tag was fine with being alone. She spent most of her time with Hiram in the truck anyways. In the truck there was nothing to eat or do so Tag simply slept. It was unusual to be sleeping for so long, most of her hours back in the alley had been occupied with finding food and tools. However, at any sort of pitstop or rest, Tag would take to the wild, finding food or just running about. With all the rest she was getting, her muscles began to ache with anticipation. Tag couldn't spend a day so still, her quota of movement had to be met and she made up for it in the five or six hours when the convoy stopped with blistering zeal.
The landscape had changed, but to Tag this was just another pitstop as all the others. Tag had heard that they were heading to Latveria - to Doom - but any meaning those words had were lost to Tag. In Tag's mind, Hiram and her were just moving to move and Tag was fine with that.
Tag came upon a bushel of berries of a yellow-reddish hue. She grabbed a handful and then another. Tag ate the berries in her left hand, but held onto the ones in the right.
Hiram had been walking ahead of the convoy, scouting out the day's path and Tag had been following loosely. She never strayed too far. Tag stepped onto the path and made a small noise with her mouth just to signal that she was approaching. Taking a place at his side, Tag held out a fistful of berries to Hiram, her eyes kept carefully on his face to watch his reaction.
Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:16 am
命❀~In the jungles of Cuba, Hisui~❀命
Hisui couldn't hide the look that crossed her face as she slowly vanished and Ben admitted that he had already known what was going on. She had reached out to him, let him know that she was still alive, had trusted him, and he had lied to her. She remained as silent as she was invisible to the naked eye, the only way Ben could even perceive that she was still there was because of his telekinetic abilities. She listened quietly to his fervent speech, with not a word. But when he trailed off, she spoke. "We're at war, and anyone who could have helped us is dead because of me."
She started because of the crash, and took a step back towards the forest behind her, balancing on the balls of her feet so she could move quickly. She watched as Cornelius' head moved with her movements, finding it unnerving that he could tell where she was, unsure of how he was detecting her. She took a few steps around, looking for the extent of his perception of her, but it almost seemed as if she wasn't hidden at all. As Ben greeted Cornelius, she stepped back into the trees, before turning and making her way quickly through the underbrush. She had no right to be part of such moments anymore.
Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:27 pm
~Snap; Jungle of Cuba~
Snap stopped a few steps away from Ben and slowly opened his mouth. A high hissing mixed with a deep growl came from him. He quickly shut his mouth, and took a long deep breath. The second try wasn’t better; it was a series of growls and hisses. The red lizard cast his face to the side, and snapped with his jaws a few times. His arms tensed, claws dug into the dirty. He tried a third time, his tongue wiggled like a wound worm in his mouth; growling, gagging sounds coming from his throat. He tossed a handful of dirty behind himself in frustration. Then he stopped, closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself.
Snap opened his eyes and looked at Ben; his face was the emotionless reptilian, like always. Even back in the academy he had quite a poker-face, but it seemed by now all his facial muscles were gone. He slowly rose to his hind legs, revealing his massive size as he towered over the other mutant. He made the last few steps and leaned down a bit to wrap his arms around Ben. His hug was very careful, like he would hold an eggshell. His breath was warm, but quite bad smelling, putting even a dog to shame. How whole body was covered with dead leaves and dry mud, rubbing quite a lot of dirty onto Ben.
After a few seconds he raised his head and looked towards the tree where Ben and Hitsui were talking earlier. He flicked his long tongue out a few times and stiffened. He slipped from the hug, eyes scanning the surrounding of the tree. Ignoring Ben completely he made a few steps towards the tree, and lowered himself on all fours again, before quickly hopping over to it. He started to search the close area, sniffing at the ground, walking around the tree a couple of times, trying to find the trail of the girl, while getting more and more restless. Finally he stopped at the edge of the clearing and looked back at Ben. He waved to him to get closer, and looked at the patch of jungle where Hitsui might have left.
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