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Persona: Icebound In Medias Res



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Max

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I woke up in my bed with a jolt, sitting up and breathing heavily while wiping sweat from my forehead.

What was that dream? It wasn't like a dream at all, but a huge rush of events playing out in my head at light speed. My childhood flashed before my eyes, I felt the warmth that came from my mother's touch and the sting from the back of my father's hand. I felt my fingers digging into his neck when I was finally old enough to defend myself, and the light faded from his eyes. I was overflowing with sadness when I left my mother whom I loved to run away to this icy town to escape what I had done... Then my mother was frozen under the lake, a new victim of this town's ice murders, and my attempt at sinking Frankie into the lake. Then there were my friends, the investigation group. They saw my shadow, they learned of the horrible things I had done, and they still accepted me. We fought my shadow at the school, then we fought Claire's shadow using our mysterious persona at the frozen dojo, and then...

Then I remember holding Valerie in my arms in the dead of night. The frozen dojo that had swept us away to another world had returned us just as quickly after the fight. I held Valerie close as I tried to wake her up. She came to, and shortly after we found Crystal. Saito was the last of the bunch to turn up, and then we split and returned to our homes, promising to meet back up in the morning.

My dream last night, it was like how people say their lives flash right before their very eyes right before they die. But why did this happen to me?

"Agghh!!!" I let out a wail as my head filled with an intense pulsing sensation. My eyes rolled into the back of my head, and certain flashes started playing out in reverse. My fight with Frankie played out backwards, my mother in the lake, the grip on my father's neck loosened as everything moved backwards. Then new memories formed, memories that didn't feel real. I didn't fight back against my father, there was news of him getting a new job, he and mother and I all moved to this island together to get a fresh start...

My mother burst in the room and placed her hands on my face. "Max, Max are you okay sweetie?!" She stroked my face and I slowly felt my eyes roll back into place. The pressure on my head let up a bit, and I looked into her worried eyes.

"M- Mom?" I asked in confusion. But she was under the lake, dead. What was going on? Was this a dream now, what was happening?

"Max, your nose is bleeding," she said as she wiped the blood away with her finger. "I should get your father."

"Dad's here?" I asked in shock.

"Well where else would he be?" she asked.

"I don't- no, don't bother him, please. I think I hit myself in the face in my sleep, like really hard."

"Max? Are you sure?" she asked again as she ran her hand through my hair.

"Yeah, I think I'm going to try and go back to sleep, I'll let you know if anything else happens," I said.

She bought it, and after telling me goodnight she left the room. This room looked foreign to me. I stood up and looked out the window. I recognized the town, but this house was different, and my parents were here? I grabbed a tissue and wiped the rest of the blood from my nose, and I crawled back in bed and closed my eyes.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Well, I bet you're just brimming with questions," Igor said to me with a smile.

I sat on the sofa in the plane across from him yet again.


"I see that since our last meeting, you have taken on the Arcana of Death and have accepted Pale Rider as your Persona. You also seem to have regained all counts of what has happened to you and your friends in the previous timeline."

"The previous timeline?" I asked softly.

"Yes, through a chain of events, your timeline has entered a Shift, and while many things will remain the same, there are several things that have changed with the Shift. Unfortunately, not all of your friends may have made it through this Shift," Igor said without changing tone. "You experienced two flashes of memories recently, your old memories, and your new. The new memories have happened just as much as the old, only they happened without you."

"What?"

"Oh you'll see in time young one. But don't ponder about too long, after all, time waits for no one."

"I saw my mom, and she mentioned my dad being here... And my friends, you said they might not all have made the Shift, are they all okay?!"

"I'm afraid this is where we shall part ways. Until next time."

I felt myself slipping away. Igor started to disappear from my vision, until everything else had faded into nothing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I woke up again in what I supposed was my "new" room. I did a quick walk around the house to find that no one was home, but pictures of my family hung on the walls and I found what was definitely my parents bedroom. I washed my face in the bathroom and took a couple of Tylenol for my headache.

I remembered everything that had happened before, but those flashes in my head of where I am now, they didn't seem completely wrong either. My last solid memory was of holding Valerie, and meeting up with Crystal and Saito after the ice dojo debacle. Those were the only three of my friends that I had found. When we parted ways... I guess I came here. I would imagine I'd have went to my apartment, but I was so out of it that I must have come here to this house wthout even realizing how different it was. The thing Igor talked about, the Shift... It must have happened when the dojo spit us out. I wonder what else was different? Does everyone else have different lives like I have now? And what about our other friends, were they just chalked up to more disappearances on top of these ice murders?

I ran upstairs and grabbed my phone. I scrolled down to Crystal's number and gave her a call.

"Crystal..." I still felt confused about the whole purple-eyed Crystal and golden-eyed Crystal thing, but either way I knew that I was talking to 'her' somehow, "Hey, get a hold of Val and Saito. We need to figure this shit out."
 
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Cassette-Disk

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"This is Crystal's bed," Crystal mumbled into the darkness. Piercing light streamed in from the closed blinds, forcing the girl to acknowledge the morning's onslaught. She couldn't stay in bed forever. Crystal reminded herself of the previous day as she stood. They were there. In the Shadow world. Crystal calmly walked out of her room, coming face to face with a hanging circular mirror in the hallway. Even though the group had been in the other world, they didn't even have a chance to look for the true Crystal. Crystal furrowed her brows at her reflection, her yellow eyes blaring out at her. Without hesitating, the pianist launched her right fist into the reflection, causing a loud noise to echo through the house. The mirror cracked for a split second before the right corner fell away in shards.
"Jesus Christ, Crystal!" She heard a male say, "What the hell was that?!" She turned to the left and was taken aback. A young teen, her age, stood by the entrance to another room. His skin tone matched hers exactly, as did his hair color and height. The only thing different was his plain brown eyes. "Are you okay? Are you bleeding?"
"Who the hell are you?" Crystal asked, taking a step back.
"Yeah, hilarious. Let me see your hand." The boy walked towards her and grabbed her right arm before she could protest. "You're not even bleeding!" Crystal shook her hand away.
"Who are you? What are you doing in my house?"
"Just as funny as it was the first time, sis." A sudden throbbing pain pounded through Crystal's skull, like a gong had just gone off in her brain.
"Brother," Crystal held the back of her head in pain, "you're my younger brother."
"I'm actually the older twin by a few minutes. But whatever."
"That's...right. We'd always fight over who was older... didn't we?" Did they? Her memories were fuzzy at best, but this boy--Casper--didn't exist yesterday. And yet Crystal could clearly remember spending days upon days with him.
"Sure you're okay?" Her brother asked. Just like he asked when she was turned down at the Lover's Lake a year ago. She was holding back tears back then too. Crystal nodded quickly.
"I'm...I'm just glad to see you," she answered truthfully before throwing her arms around him.
"Oh, okay. Didn't know it was awkward sibling hug time."
"Shut the hell up," she squeezed, "shut up and let me have this." Crystal released her brother after a few seconds and wiped her tears on her sleeve.
"Mom's gonna be pissed when she sees the mirror, you know." Mom? If she had been given a brother, then maybe...
"Casper!" Crystal gripped his shoulders tightly. Maybe a little too tightly. "Dad! Is dad back?!"
"Crys, dad's... you know. He's..." her brother's voice trailed away as he avoided her gaze.
"Right...yeah, of course."

Crystal felt her pocket vibrate, as an accompanying tune of Chopin's Spring Waltz emitted from it. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and saw three letters on the screen: MAX. To her surprise, she felt disappointed at the caller. Regardless, Crystal clicked on the green button and held the phone to her ear.
"What?" She answered roughly, causing Casper to raise an eyebrow.

"Crystal..." came the response, "Hey, get a hold of Val and Saito. We need to figure this shit out." Crystal turned away from Casper and lowered her voice to a whisper.
"Does this have anything to do with the brother I apparently now have?" She asked. as she placed her hand on the table below the mirror. She felt a scrap of paper and held it near her face. It was the same poster Cures had made. The one that had drawn her into the club in the first place, but something was off. Crystal eyed the name listed and felt her jaw drop. "Wh-What the diddly is this?!" She boomed. Casper peered over her shoulder.
"That's the poster for that club you wanted to start. I thought it was dumb, looking for missing people when we already have police but do you ever listen to your smart and charming older brother? Nooooo, of course no--"
"That I started?! Max did you hear that crap?! I didn't start the club, Cures did!"
Casper raised an eyebrow, "Who's Cures?" Crystal hung the phone up without another word. After changing into a fresh outfit, she headed towards the door while tapping out a mass text on her phone.
"Heading out?" Casper asked.
"Nosy," was all Crystal answered with.
"I just don't want to face mom alone when she finds out about the mirror is all." Damn it, why wasn't Cures' phone number on here!? She sent a text to Val, Saito, and Max:
[Heading to coffee shop by 10th and Ave K. Meet me there, we need to talk.]
---
"And just like that, the game wills itself back to life," a man mumbles to himself. He leaned heavily against a wooden cane despite his youthful appearance; he couldn't be anywhere past his twenties. A grey beanie protected his head from his cold surroundings, as did the heavy charcoal pea coat he wore. Though he stood alone in the middle of the sidewalk, the man didn't seem to mind his surroundings too much, nor did he seem to be in any hurry to go anywhere. Instead he fell back against the wall of a building, further easing the weight off his weakened leg. "...And the players start their playing. Shifting back into their roles. Speaking of Shifts, the last one should stir up a few interesting players. Such as..." The main pointed his cane at the nearby park. It was completely devoid of life, and snow blanketed it in a layer of white powder. For a moment, nothing happened. The man knew better, however, and kept his cane pointed forward. A second later, a woman walked into view, though away from where he was pointed. "Dang. Still can't get it down to an exact," he mused to himself. The woman was pale and tall, at least the age of an adult. Her long white hair was an oddity, as were her light blue clothing, which consisted of icy slacks dress shirt. "I won't be needed for a while," the man whispered as the woman turned to face him. Her grey pupils scanned the area but found nothing. An audible whirring noise could be heard as she walked through the park. Her footsteps crunched the snow below, though they were joined by the lights sounds of machinery. This woman was looking for someone. Someone who had caused a Shift.
 
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A crick in her neck was enough to wake Valerie up from her uncomfortable position in the armchair she slept in, stretching and yawning she wiped her eyes from sleep. It wasn't until she noticed where she was, and the lights were all off that she froze in shock. What the- When did I- How did I get here?! I don't remember coming to the store to work! What was worse, was that she didn't like being in the dark inside of a store of all places. It reminded her too much of the Shadow World and the shadows lurking inside of it that threaten to kill them all. Jumping out of her armchair, she threw on the light switch. I remember Max was holding me in his arms, we were outside of the Dojo, then we found Crystal together, and I woke her up with an ice cube. But what happened after that? Why didn't she go home? Did they find everyone else and make it out of the Dojo okay? Valerie's eyes squinted in concentration to try to piece the missing pieces together, but try as she might, she was drawing a blank. The doorknob to the store opened up as her manager came in and jumped at the sight of her.

'V-Valerie, what are you doing here? You startled me! Shouldn't you be at home?'


That's what I want to know! A quick mumble of apologies, Valerie hurried out the door to sort herself out until her manager caught hold of her by the elbow and looked at her like she had amnesia as she set a pair of car keys in the palm of her hand. These aren't mine. The words were forming on her lips but she stopped herself short, staring dumbfounded at her car keys that she thought her manager had mistaken as hers until she looked up to see her manager was gone. It didn't take long to find out which car the keys unlocked as a red jeep sat in the parking lot behind the store. When did I learn how to drive? Not letting herself think about how this had happened, she turned on the ignition and drove to her apartment building. The next few minutes were a blur to her as she raced up a flight of stairs, ready to apologize about not coming home to her gran-gran and brother, only to stare numbly in shock at what waited inside of her home. "This has to be a mistake." Valerie whispered, quickly retracing her steps and making sure this was the right door. This has to be some sick joke. It was definitely the right door as she stepped back inside, checking all of the rooms to find each of them empty without a trace of anything she once owned inside of it. None of this makes sense! Panic rising she knew if anyone found her it'd be consider trespassing.

"I need to get out of here." Valerie choked out, unable to bear the vacant room any longer as her claustrophobia began to set in. She twisted on her heel, hurrying out of her old bedroom, hitting her knee on the door frame on her way out as she blindly exited the hallway using her right hand to feel against the cracked walls of wallpaper to guide her out of this awful place. None of this makes sense. Gran-gran and Cam wouldn't just up and leave me, would they? Feeling on the verge of being sick at the thought of being abandoned without a word or an explanation, Valerie's breath came out in short gasps as her vision swam around with black dots that she felt on the verge of tears. I can't breathe! I can't see! Finding the doorknob her sweaty hand struggled to get it open, the strength in her legs was beginning to fail her that she gave it one last twist until it opened up and flung herself forward, somehow making it out of the apartment building with the door slamming right behind her as her feet wobbled their way down two sets of stairs before she finally collapsed onto the cold, hard cement of a sidewalk.


The cold cement felt good against Valerie's hot cheek as she laid there on the ground, waiting for the panic attack to subside as her breath slowly return to normal and her vision cleared up. Taking a minute to pull herself together, she sat up and took in her surroundings. All of the buildings, trees, and streets were the same. Everything except for herself, the keys in her pocket, and the red jeep sitting at the curb weren't. I can't sit here all day, need to get up. Heaving herself up onto her feet, Valerie stood up, fingering her car keys until she unlocked the car door and sat herself behind the steering wheel. The memories of when she got this car floated to the surface as she drove herself home. A dull throb of a headache sat between her eyebrows as she remembered the yellow house with the crooked screen door she lived in with her parents; how her mother would laugh and complain about the racket the screen door would make to her father, who claimed he'd fix it, but still hasn't after all of these years of growing up here in Nix.


Working up the nerve to get in and out of her house as quickly as possible without confrontation of her parents, who appeared to be out, Valerie put the car into park and turned off the engine. A beat or two later, she found her bedroom on the second floor of the house with everything eerily similar to how she left it in her apartment, former apartment, and hopped into the bathroom, showering quickly and changing into comfier clothes. A soft ding caught Valerie's attention as she found her phone laying on the edge of her bed with the screen lit up with a familiar name on it: Crystal. Relieved, she quickly scan the text message,
"Heading to coffee shop by 10th and Ave K. Meet me there, we need to talk." Valerie got up, grabbing her wallet along with her phone without looking back as she exited her house and hopped into the jeep again, turning on the ignition. Picking up her phone from the console, she sent out her reply: [On my way.] It took less than ten minutes to get to the coffee shop and to park her car on the curb in front of it. Did anyone recognize me driving behind the wheel? Will they remember me driving at all? These thoughts lingered in her mind as she sat behind the wheel, not ready to go inside yet.
 
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It was still dark when I woke up, my head was hurting. I could easily remember about the strange dream I had this night, as well some other times. Not because it was a nightmare or something like this…
“Welcome to the Velvet Room...” I repeat that inside my head, wondering about what I heard on the dream. “Journey… What’s that supposed to mean?”

Ugh, that’s enough. It was just a random dream, I’m thinking too much about it! Seeing that my brother was still sleeping, I quietly left the bedroom so I would not wake him up. With nothing else to do, I decide to go outside and sit on the doorstep to watch the sunrise. I started thinking in a load of things, thinking about that dream too. I almost slept outside, but the sound of my little brother saying some things, wich were impossible to understand, woke me up.

“Let’s get inside.”
I said, taking him in my arms.

While I was playing with my brother, I heard my phone ringing. Someone has sent me a message, so I started to read it.

“Hi Yan, it’s from the coffe shop… Listen, one of our storage's keys broke inside the lock and we couldn’t find a way to get it off… Can you come here now to give us a hand?” The message was from a coffe shop not far away from my home, I already knew these guys, it’s not the first time they call me. Probably because I don't really charge them. I do my thing, they give me a free coffee and everyone is happy.
“Okay. I’ll be there in 10 or 15 minutes.”

I picked up my backpack with my tools and helped my little brother to get dressed “You’re going to play at grandma's house this morning”. She didn’t live far away from us, it was a short walk. We keep playing while walking, it didn't took long.

"It's rare to see you asking me this when you not at school... Are you going to hang out with friends?" My grandmother asked me, smiling and taking my little brother hand.
"No, no. It's nothing like that. It's just some people that request my help. I will be here soon." I explained myself, a little embarassed.
"But you know you can always count with me if you want to take some time to have fun... Everyone need it sometimes."
"Yeah, yeah. Thanks, grandma!" I said, waving goodbye to her.

Well, I'm just a random boy that make keys and do dumb things for the others to laugh. It's not like I have a group of friends to hang out or something like this. After left my younger brother with my grandmother, I started heading to the coffe shop.
 

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Renn's eyes scanned the whiteness outside his window hoping for a glimpse of a familiar face... He had saw his uncle leave the family house for work a couple hours earlier. "I suppose I should start exploring... I haven't been around here before... might as well get acquainted with the scenery." He pulled a black and green hoodie off the hook on his door and a black beanie off his dresser. He stepped downstairs and waved to his grandmother in the living room before stepping out the door with his shoes on.

He explored town for about 20 minutes, spotting a red jeep in the parking lot of a coffee shop... His hands, although in his pockets were getting cold in the winter air. He pulled into the coffee shop and started scanning the menu for a suitably hot beverage...
 

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Wh-where am I?"

Anthony recognized the voice as his own. It was still hoarse. Had he fallen asleep on the plane? But everything looked different: his chair was more prestine, looking like belonged on a private jet as opposed to the coach he remembered first settling in. As a matter of fact, it LOOKED more like a private jet as well. Instead of the crowded hallway bustling with travelers, he found himself in a room that took a blue hue.

"Ah! What the- who the-" Ant shrieked in surprise.

Across from him sat a peculiar looking man, who looked just as surprised to see Anthony. He had very large eyes accompanied by a long nose. He looked like he belonged in another century, wearing a suit and two white gloves. In his hands he held a deck of cards which he shuffled. He flashed a grin and spoke with a deep silky voice.

"I must admit child, I didn't expect to see you here again so soon." The man spoke, placing the cards one by one on the table before them.

Horror washed over Ant's face. What did he mean by that? Did he mean? Oh no. Anthony clutched his head.

"Awwww man! I'm dead, aren't I?! I mean, I know I did that thing, but I dunno, I just-and who exactly are you? Oh no. ," Anthony stammered, before extending his arms addressing the man. "Oh man, if you're God, uh Father, sorry but you look nothing like I thought you would. Like at all."

The man laughed. It was a contained laugh, but a genuine one.

"Well, I haven't laughed like that in a while," the man hissed. "Fortunately for you, you are not dead. My name is Igor and you are in the Velvet Room, born of the Shift. We've met before. You may not remember." Igor said, placing the last card down on the table. Anthony raised an eyebrow, realizing they were tarot cards.

"Wait...you were the one who said time waits for no one, right? What were you talking about?" He said. "To be honest, I thought you were just some crazy dream I was having..."

"Or perhaps, it is you who were always, all along and the Shift birthed new children into this time." Igor continued, ignoring Ant and pointing at the Death Arcana and the Star Arcana.

"You aren't making any type of sense, bruh..."

"Observe," Igor said, raising a thin, long finger. He gathered the rest of the cards with the exception of a few. He took the Priestess, Death, and Star Arcana and held them in front of Anthony. "There were those that were before. Potential flowed through their veins. Then came the Shift." Igor then added them to the rest of the deck and shuffled it, before dealing the cards once more. Anthony studied the newly dealt cards.

"They look the same." He mused.

"You say this because I have re-dealt them in the same order. But this a new hand. It is the same cards, but both hands exist at different times."

"And what does this have to do with me?"

"Ah, now you're asking the right questions. All will be revealed in due time, child. Just remember your 'present'." Igor replied. "Which card will you take from the hand of destiny? Farewell, Anthony. Until we meet again."

Before Anthony could protest, he couldn't speak or move, and felt his mind forcibly removed...slipping back into reality.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ding!
A ping at the intercom.

"Uah!" Anthony woke with a start, startling the passenger sitting next to him. A few breaths left his body as he tried to make sense of his surroundings. He looked outside the window to see the frosty island below him, blanketed in white from the snow. Somewhat situated he allowed his head to rest against the headrest once more focusing on the high whine of the plane engine. He was back in the airplane. The REAL airplane this time.

"This is your captain speaking," the voice rang over the intercom. "We are about to touch down on Nix. Temperatures is currently at 40 degrees so make sure you are prepared for cold weather. As stated earlier, certain area have been frozen solid so please be cautious about the city. Thank you for choosing Iwatodai Airlines and we hope you enjoy your stay."

He remembered he was moving from Iwatodai to Nix after his little "incident". He wasn't particularly fond of the cold, nor was he particularly fond with the idea of living with his dad. When was the last time they'd even SPOKEN before this? Like maybe a YEAR ago? He sighed at the idea of having to deal with the awkward tension that was going to accompany meeting his dad. And then there was this...'present' that Igor spoke of. How did he even get into the PLANE with that thing? It was all it's fault anyway. The whole reason he was here. He left his friends, his family, everything behind.

And the Velvet Room? What is that? How did the plane change? Why was it blue?

The plane finally docked, and Anthony sulked his way to the pick up area where his father waited for him in a silver Ford Explorer. Shuffling in the car, the first few minutes of the drive was awkward and tense, as predicted.

"So...what do you think of Nix so far, AJ?" A grizzled but warm voice inquired. It was clear he was just trying to cut through the thick tension in the car. He was a short man, but a confident one. He was bald, and had a collection of bristle textured hair on his upper lip to form a mustache. He was more of a mulatto than Anthony's light bronze, and the perpetual winter was partially responsible.

"Well, it is cold like you said." Anthony mused.

"Yeah. Heh, it probably makes you wonder why someone would want to move out here."

"Yeah. It kinda does." Anthony retorted. It sounded like there was more to that than he intended for there to be. His dad grew silent for a few moments, most likely catching wind of that sentiment. Anthony immediately felt guilt kick him in the chest. He grabbed his camera and pointed it at his father, almost hiding behind it.

Click!

"Did...you just take a picture of me?" His dad asked, grinning.

"Yeah, you know. You're the first person I saw here. 'S'like a memento." He replied. "Maybe I'll remember your face this time." He thought.

"You talk to your mom yet?"

"Nah. I guess I should though." Ant said, leafing through his pockets for his phone.

"Wait. I wanna talk to you first."

Anthony sighed, rolling his eyes. He slouched a bit in his seat. Here it comes.

"Can we not do this right now, pops? I mean I just-"

"You know you're not alone right?" His father asked, his voice was a little shaky. Was this...emotion? The inquiry was enough to inspire an exasperated sigh from Ant.

"Yes...But that doesn't mean-"

"You know you can always talk to me-"

"Dad, seriously, I haven't spoken to you in maybe-"

"I just don't understand why you would try to do something like-"

"I DON'T KNOW EITHER, OKAY?!" Anthony exploded before silence fell over the car again. A long, painful moment passed by. "I don't know, either. I just...I mean it's not like...youknowwhatnevermind."Ant trailed off. He became pensive. Why couldn't he just have a normal conversation. Why was he always such a burden? Why was he like this?

Another moment. Anthony played with a twist of his hair, twisting it further and wrapping it around his finger.

"So, uh...you hungry? Anything you wanna eat? I'm sure plane snacks aren't the best meal."

"Honestly, I just want something hot," Anthony sighed, before perking up and becoming immediately excited. "YOOOO wait, is there like, a cool coffee spot around here? Do they have tea?" He asked, throwing his fist into his hand in jubilation. His dad chuckled to himself a bit, glad that the spirits of the car were being lifted, even just a bit.

"Well there's a pretty good coffee shop on 10th and Ave Kerrington. It's near the high school you're gonna go to. A lot of the local kids like it over there. We can see if they have tea."

"Alright, sounds good."

________________________________________________________________________________________

Whack! Whack!

Two slippers thrown in succession jolted Jin out of his sleep. He realized he fell asleep in the chair he plays video games in, with his controller still in his hands.

"Agh! Ngh, what the? Mom?" He cried, flailing his arms to unsuccessfully defend himself against the onslaught.

"Nuh uh. Not today Jin. No," his mother chanted. She was thin woman, who still looked very young for her age. She couldn't have been older than 35. Her hair was in a pony tail, and she was still wearing her pajamas. "You aren't going to sit around this house and play video games all day. You need to do something with yourself! Go outside, go to the gym, kiss a girl, just don't do it here!"

"All my chores are done, though."

"I don't care! Get out! Get out of my house!"

"Whatever," Jin scoffed. "There's no point in arguing with you anyway." He muttered before throwing on the trademark parka. He had slept in the clothes from yesterday and honestly, who was going to care? In any case, it was almost time for work so Jin figured it all worked out in the end. He waved goodbye to his mother and shuffled out the door.

"Love you-" SLAM! Jin's mother closed the door behind him."-too...Bitch." Jin mused, digging his hands in his pockets. She was just mad he wasn't picture perfect Jack. She was upset because he wasn't all torn up about it like she was. And why would he be? Is that what Jack would want? People die. Everyone dies. That's life. What would be the point in sulking about it every day. Jin released a deep sigh, and began the trek over to his job at the coffee shop. His mom wouldn't let him use her car unless he started applying for colleges, and NEITHER of his parents let him use Jack's car, so he had to walk there everyday. He always just took the straight path on the sidewalk. If he was lucky, maybe a kid would get hit in the face with a snowball or something today and give him something to laugh about. If not, it would be the same droll walk over.

Reaching the coffee shop, he noticed there was a red jeep parked in the lot. It probably belonged to that one girl and her friends. As a matter of fact she was still sitting in the jeep. Her and her friends always came around and sat at the same table if they could, and it was always the same group of people. He didn't bother saying anything. Most likely, she had no idea who he was. He didn't care enough to ask what was wrong, if anything.

"I think we all go to the same school." Jin mused. He was sure he saw them on campus a few times. Another young looking kid had entered the shop before him, and was scanning the menu. Jin walked past, accidentally bumping shoulders. He didn't bother verbalizing an apology, but held his hand up as if to say 'Yeah sorry or whatever'.

Jin walked behind the cash register and through the door into the back employee area. A small crowd of workers surrounded one of the storage lockers where they keep the frozen meats for the breakfast sandwiches. His manager, Angela Woods, was there. She was in her late twenties, with auburn hair wrapped in a pony tail. Her eyes found Jin, but kind of searched a bit more.

"Oh! Hey, um, you're that quiet kid...uh..."

"Jin." He nodded, grabbing an apron from the table. It was the 108th time she'd forgotten his name.

"Yeah! Jin. You're early. Hi. Sorry about that. I'll do better to remember it next time." She beamed, scribbling something on her clipboard.

"Eh. No you won't. But okay." Jin shrugged, putting his hair into a lazier ponytail than hers.

"Ah..,"Angela's eyes looked off to the side and she pursed her lips, trying to shrug off and understandably creeping irritation come on. "Uh, anyway, someone broke the key into one of the storage locker for the breakfast sandwiches so we have someone coming in to fix it."

"You mean Yan, right? That one kid? He's like 15. Shouldn't you hire a professional? Or maybe not. It is better to just give the kid a free coffee. Way less costly. Why hire someone who's gone to school for years for something when it's just a hobby for some kid who can not only do it better, BUT wants less pay?"

"I'm sorry, is there a problem here?"

"No," Jin replied, quite sincerely. "Not at all. I'm just saying, that works out better for everyone. It just goes to show how essential talent is in this world."

"Well, listen, he'll be here any minute now, so when he's done, just get him whatever he wants from the menu."

Jin gives her a lazy salute with his two fingers before shuffling his way back to the counter. He unleashes a deep, apathetic, breath. He recognizes the kid he bumped into is still staring at the menu, looking for options. Wasn't his name Runt, or something? Rain? Renn?

"So. You know what you want yet, or are you gonna wait for your friends or something?" He said, putting an elbow on the counter and resting his head in it. Another sigh escaped him. "Or you can just stare at the menu all day. It's your life dude."
 
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Shinra

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Renn looked at Jin as he rested his head on his arm then returned to scanning the menu and he smiled as he saw his favourite drink on the menu. "Give me a medium apple cider... and please don't forget the cinnamon stick." He reached into his back pocket and grabbed his wallet, pulled out his change and paid for his drink. he also made note of the name tag on his apron. "Nice to meet you Jin..." he smiled again as it reminded him of a certain fist fighter from a video game.
 

Just Dari

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[The Shift - ????]

Something always brings me back to when I heard those words, "Welcome to the velvet room" as if I were suffering from a spell of deja vu. I was greeted by what appeared to be a small moving limousine through space-time, and old long-nosed man sitting at the opposite end of the car. His fingers were about as long as his nose, before him a deck of cards and a small table. I remember what he said...vaguely, some nonsense about a grim fate that I was in line to take part of.


Quite honestly, i thought it was bullshit, a bunch of illogical tomfoolery and I felt dumber by the second entertaining it. As he shuffled his deck, he pulled out a specific card, telling me that was effectively my sign "the hierophant" or so he called it. He went on to say some interesting things, that I had this conversation with him once before, and as i tilted my head confused I strangely felt truth to this. Just what exactly was going on. The closer I listened as he finally got my attention, he spoke to me saying that events were going to repeat if nothing was done to avert the oncoming crisis.

Furthermore, Igor as he called himself, said to me that it was imperative that I establish a connection with others just like myself. I immediately thought, I don't know anyone who'd be into this dreamscape spiral of imagination, but I promised at least I would try. I'm a detective after all, I'm almost positive whoever I'm supposed to be helping...could probably use the extra hand; So i agreed to Igor's terms. The card from before that he pointed out to me, he actually gave it to me. I was baffled at what this was supposed to mean, I soon found myself fading away, and Igor began to fade to black as well. So many questions, as i reached for him, only to drift even further and further away.

---------

"Phoenix!!!" I burst forward, waking up in a cold sweat. The last thing I could remember was a child holding a red ball, an explosion, the dojo being encased in ice, Pepper...Cures...I didn't know anything about either of them. "What...the hell...?"

My head was rattling, pounding like you wouldn't believe. Phoenix...he was the high school kid that was, acquainted with Pepper and Cures? At least thats what I remember, there were two men dead behind the dojo burning in the middle of the blizzard and Phoenix was literally right there. I remember that he resisted arrest, the child that sat on the power-lines, and the car hitting him. Everything was an ugly and grim blur...the dojo, the ice, the inside of a hospital with phoenix placed on life support, it all blended terribly together.

As I held my head close, Igor's words that I paid little mind to at first started to meld together creating one massive headache. Briefly speaking about having "this conversation for the second time" and I asked myself...second time? I tried really hard to remember and that deja vu from before was no coincidence, the shift...really did happen? This wasn't rational, this wasn't some exercise in terrible humor, it was demented, illogical, and ludicrous!

"Ugh...to hell with this..." my head absolutely refused to stop spinning, I needed an equalizer. Someone had to have answers to why these weird and mundane things existed in my memory. At the sometime, I was useless even at my post without some kind of caffeine in my system. "I could really go for some coffee. It would due to take the edge off and perk me up to my old self..."

---------

I dressed in my standard attire, dress pants with thermals to compensate for the cold of Nix. Extra layers were important in keeping myself warm. I had an impressive overcoat compared to normal, my signature gloves I virtually never take off save for sleeping, and my sleuth's hat. I found myself walking, being sure to call my boss to let him know where I was currently. I couldn't start my next investigation most likely surrounding the dojo, without my coffee naturally.

[Text Message: Captain!]

Captain: We'll be investigating the new pillar of ice that appeared, get here at your earliest detective Lane. We're counting on your skills to wrap this up.

Me: Certainly Captain. I'll be there at my earliest, can't start the morning without my coffee.

Captain: You rookies. Your youth should be more than enough Caffeine! Wrap it up there and head here soon.

Me: I intend to sir. See you shortly.

The lobby was starting to fill with the usual run of people, the same ones that I saw everyday. Was this for real? I can't remember questioning the reality as much as I have in the past couple of days...it was so out of character for me. Children sitting on power lines, burning bodies, teens getting hit by cars. It was most certainly far from a dream, making light of these instances, no matter how bizarre felt foolish. I think more than anything, i didn't want a repeat of what happened to phoenix who seemed...to be a glutton for as much physical punishment as possible.

"Wait..." I said suddenly lifting my head that was buried in the newspaper. I looked at the date and I was instantly horrified, as if entering some kind of loop. The date...was the same, but how? "Don't tell me he was actually...telling the truth?" I whispered to myself in a mild panic, my anxiety was starting to build up again, i needed to calm down. My eyes shifted around the inside of the coffee shop, I was also there to observe, no one was going to bother a detective, it was doubtful I could even be approached.
 

Ruby Rose

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"Uuuu..."

A walking and whimpering stack of books waddled through the crowded street from the urban horizon. Judging from the stack itself it towered roughly 5 feet from the arms of its unfortunate carrier. Carrying this unsightly burden was a girl with trembling knees and aching grip, she was struggling to balance the stack to keep them from falling. Every step she took was small, cautious and fragile; the counter flow of the crowd that passed her even made their way for her.

"Excuse me! Sorry! Sorry!"

The girl began to voice a barrage of apologies for the inconvenience she was causing. Instead of someone stopping to help her carry, some of the crowd would voice their irate comments upon her. She was carrying the stack ever since she left her apartment, and all of these books were due today. The girl did not have a bigger bag nor could afford to make multiple trips just to return the books back to the school library.

"...ah."

Taking a short break, the girl placed the stack of books to a nearest convenient platform to catch her breath. Taking in deep breaths and wiping her sweat. Her arms and palms ache, the stack must have weighed a few kilograms; she could not even muster the strength stand up straight.

"Ah."

And then just when she was about to set out again, her stomach made a very audible grumble. The girl left her apartment in a hurry, so she did not even had her breakfast yet. She reached out for her bag to have a bite before she set off, but then...

"Eh? What? Where is it? Where!?"

The girl furiously rustled inside her baggage, cluttering the contents of it in process searching for her pack lunch.

"Ah! Ahhh....! I forgot I didn't put it in my pack! Uuuuu... why does this keep happening to me...?"

Defeated, her stomach let out another grumble, a coup de grace of her crushing loss. As she recalled, she left her pack lunch on the dining table before carrying the books. She must have forgot to take it when she went straight out of the door.

"Uwah! It's almost time for class! Must pull through somehow---huumph!"

Steeling herself, more likely, the girl immediately lifted the stack of books again and began waddling through the streets towards her school. Her pace did not even improve from the last time, but in her mind she must pull through like she always does.
 

Peace

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Saito walked to his apartment after the incident at the dojo. To him, it felt like it's been a couple of years since he's been home. All he wanted to do was go straight to bed. Slowing his journey were his fatigue and the various bruises he recently acquired. Even thinking seemed to tire him out. When he got to the motel turned apartment complex, he groaned internally as he remembered, Dammit, stairs.

With each step he climbed, his knees felt like they were gonna give way. Thankfully, he made it to his apartment without incident. Following taking an aspirin and brushing his teeth, his head still felt heavy. So he took up the nearest pair of scissors and cut off his white ponytail. He then flopped onto his bed, not even bothering getting out of his bloodied, sweaty clothes. His eyes closed immediately afterwards.

The next morning, he was spooked awake by the sound of Sonic the Hedgehog getting a ring and a vibration. Both of which originating from his right pocket. Goddammit. What now? he questioned as he opened up his phone. He clicked his tongue in annoyance and remarked, The kids again? Don't they have anything better to do than bug me? Starting to regret giving my number to them.

Saito sat on the edge of the bed and thought in surrender, Might as well go. He got off his futon and started his day.

Through his morning exercises and breakfast he was thinking, That was some weird-ass dream last night. Kinda looked like I was going through Bites the Dust. Then crack-head Pinocchio showed up in his blue plane again and told me about... Shiftrys? Weird. I mean it's an okay Pokémon, but I don't see the reason it was brought up. Was it Shift Cars? I mean I like Drive as much as the next guy, but Tokusatsu hasn't been on my mind lately. No wait. It was something shifting... Bah whatever. Then it felt like I fell on my bed.

After a shower and brushing his teeth, he grabbed everything he needed to got out. As he did, he noted the date on his phone hasn't changed. Something he considered odd. Shrugging his shoulders, assuming it was on the fritz or something, he headed out. When he did, something felt off. As if the world was at a slight tilt. Well, more of a tilt considering it rotates on an axis, but you get my drift.

As he walked towards the coffee shop, he noticed more things were askew. Things like "That house was a different color." Or "That shop should be over there." And "This street is supposed to go to that street." As he hurried his pace, he got a call. He fished out his phone and saw it was his sister. Wait. It says 'Róis,' but the number assigned to it is wrong. It isn't even in New York, he inquired. He took the call and carefully answered, "Hello?"


"Hey, Saito. How's Frostbite, Wisconsin?" his older sister greeted.

"Doin' fine, Róis. Still cold though," he answered. He also added, "But, I'm in Ursaniveus. You know, on the island."


"Hah. I could've sworn you went to the only place worse than Hell," she responded, capping off with an Alan Rickman impersonation. "Actually, wait. I helped you buy your tickets and set yourself up. Are you drunk already?"

Wisconsin? I mean, yeah, that was my fallback if this place fell through, but why would she think that? She saw me off at the airport, he wondered as a niggling feeling assaulted the back of his head. And he couldn't help but connect it to his dream from last night. "Where're you callin' from anyway? I don't recognize the number." he replied, ignoring her question.

"I'm callin' from home. Come on, you should know you own sister's number. I know you just got there a while ago, but you should come back home sometime. Dublin isn't the same without you raisin' hell, you know," his older sister answered.

Home? Dublin? We're from New York, he repeated in his head. His hand started shaking in response to this news. He made the excuse, "Sorry. Must of had a brain fart there." He followed it up with, "So how're Mom and the Old Man?"


"Doin' good. The usual family business thing," she recalled casually.

That's good," he answered with a smile. He then inquired, "What about everyone else?"


"Uh, everyone else? You talkin' about Gramma or Grampa? They're doing well," she answered confused at first.

"What about Heisuke? Sano? Aednat? Everyone else?" Saito asked in succession.

After taking a couple of seconds to reply, she replied,
"Dude. Who are you talkin' about?"

This hit Saito harder than anything else in the past twenty-four hours. His legs stopped moving. His blood ran cold. His breath became shaky. He could barely feel or process anything. He felt like someone thrust a rusty knife into his stomach and pulled upward. Most of my siblings are gone? was one of two thoughts looping in his mind. The other was him finally piecing together what "crackhead Pinocchio" told him. About how he went through a sort of shift of the timeline.

"Saito? You still there?" his sister called to get his attention.

"Yeah. I'm fine," he managed. "Just a bit tired is all."


"Alright. Don't work too hard," she warned. A second passed before she added, "Oh, I gotta go. Talk to you later. Love you."

He was barely able to squeeze out a "Love you too," before the siblings mutually hung up. He took a few seconds to try to calm down. It didn't work as proven by him rushing to the coffee shop. He shoved the front door open and saw Max and Crystal at a table. He went up it, slammed his hands on the table, and asked in anger, "Okay. What kinda Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap horse shit is this?!"
 
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Endless Warrior Sora

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"Give me a medium apple cider... and please don't forget the cinnamon stick."
Finally. He speaks. The kid, Renn, reached into his pocket fishing for his wallet.

"Oh of course. Can't forget the cinnamon stick. That'll be $5.75." Jin grumbled. He thought the hot apple cider was one of the strangest choices on the menu of Caffeine Dreams, but it was surprisingly popular. Especially when used with a "cinnamon stick". That's why it was dollar extra. That was so much work. Why didn't he just get the apple cider cold, like it's supposed to be? And why change the flavor to add cinnamon? Renn paid in cash and exact change, preventing Jin from having to hand him change from the cash register. He lifted the flap to place the five dollar bill in the register and change in the appropriate place. As he did he heard an innocent:

"Nice to meet you Jin..."
Jin looked up, a bit perplexed. Why did he say that to him? The weren't meeting, he was just giving him the drink that he paid for. Kids...
Jin unleashed a deep breath.

"Yeah. Your drink will be ready in a minute and thirty seconds, alright? Just sit anywhere you want. You're by yourself so it's not like it really matters. Or you can just stand there. Again, your life."

Jin moved over to the other side of the counter where the drinks were prepared. He filled the medium sized cup halfway with hot water which he then put under the fizz machine before adding the other half of apple juice. He then grabbed the cinnamon stick as he was walking back to the serving side of the counter and placed it inside the beverage. Every movement was precise and practiced, yet at the same time thrown away. He'd done this a million times and now it was stale.

"Medium Apple Cider with Cinnamon Stick." He announced in a very lackluster fashion. The drink, however, was perfect. He didn't bother to make sure Renn grabbed his drink. If he wanted it, he'd get it. He moved back to the front with a sigh and addressed the next customer. This was definitely someone he'd seen before, snooping around town all the time.

"Welcome to Caffeine Dreams, how can I help you?" He droned, mentally rolling his eyes at his own stupid slogan. People knew where they were! There was a big SIGN outside that told them. Why did he have to also GREET them as he came in? No one CARED. Jin's eyes wandered and found the table. The table where the girl in the red jeep and her friends always sat in. And there they were, as predicted. Although one was missing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anthony and his father arrived, parking next to a red jeep in the lot. Anthony grabbed his backpack before scooting out the seat.

"You really need your backpack for tea?," His dad mocked. A ring chimed over the car, and the bluetooth connected to the car responded. "Hold on son, I gotta take this. Probably a client right here. Why don't you go on in without me, I'll be there in a minute."

Anthony shrugged, closing the door and walking over to Caffeine Dreams. He immediately stopped before going in to get a good picture of the coffee shop. It looked amazing, with the colors being illuminated by all the white from the snow. After getting a few good shots, the last one caught a figure violently thrusting open the front doors. Raising an eyebrow, Ant lowered the camera and headed inside himself. A bit of a line was beginning to form, so he stuffed his hands inside his windbreaker pockets and hovered around the tables waiting for the line to die down, and for his dad to enter. He had money, but no way was he spending his own in here when he could get his dad to do it.

"Okay. What kinda Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap horse shit is this?!"
It was hard not to hear it. It was even harder not to laugh. Although who ever it was was probably understandably angry, it was the WAY he said it that was funny. He tried not to look like he was listening in to his conversation. In fact, in an attempt to blend even more, Anthony raised the camera from around his neck and began snapping a few photos of inside the shop. There was someone behind the counter looking particularly bored. A sharply dressed teenager, one with a drink in his hand, and a table full of friends hanging out. There was so much life here, even though it was so cold.
 

Spem

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When I got to the coffee shop, I see the usual stuff. People parking that cars there, a lot of students getting there just to hang out. I recognized most part of the people there, as most of we study in the same school. But still, I didn't came here to have fun! At least not now...

"Hey Big Man, how's the weather up there?" I ask to Jin while I entering at the employee area. I was used to call him that way, because he was diddlying big. Okay, maybe I'm just short. I'm no more than 5'6, so I think everyone will look tall in my eyes... But I'm still young, I'll grow more! At least I hope...
"Today you got a lot of people here... Well, I'll take out this broken key in no time!"

Some other employee pointed me the storage locker where the problem was and then I started working. It wasn't really a complicated thing, it took some time, but nothing more that I expected. When I finished, I check if everything was OK, and then I put my things back in my backpack.

"Done! Be more careful next time, guys!" I laughed, exiting the employees area and going to the counter. "Dude, just give me the largest coffe you have, please! I need that BOMB of caffeine!" I asked Jin. While I was waiting, I started looking and paying more attention to the people in the coffee shop.

Geez, I feel like a kid here. Only the older guys decided to show up today? While I was waiting, I saw a boy alone, he was taking a photo of the coffee shop. I tried to search in my memory, but I think I never really saw him, even at school. Or maybe I just forgot. Being alone here while everyone else is with friends probably sucks. Well, at least for me. I was intrigued about that guy (and bored too), so I decided to talk to him.

"Hey!" I cheerful approached him. "Dude, are you new here? I never saw you around! My name is Yan, what's yours?"

 

Roxie1563

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​Chloe was at first sleeping aboard a plane that was heading back to her hometown of Nix, the place where she was born and raised until at the age of ten when she found herself into the busy life of an actress. But when she heard the name 'Nix' being thrown around, she finally roused up enough and gazed out of the window. At first she couldn't see anything, but as the plane approached to landing and the stewards making everybody be aware of the general rules when making a landing like this in the most cold-like conditions, Chloe finally saw the neon glow of the lights of her hometown and the never-ending snow that raged on.

A smile slowly made its way upon her lips when she realized that once she stepped off the plane, it would hit her that this is her homecoming of sorts. But as soon it did, the smile disappeared as she realized that there won't be anybody at the airport for picking her up; her parents had already told her hours earlier when she first boarded that the hotel has been busy as late and there is only one car to go around, so it was decided that Chloe would have to find another way to reach home.

Chloe was deep in thought and didn't realize it until one of the stewardess tapped her shoulder. Startled, the brown/blackish haired girl turned around to see her and briefly gave out an apology then got up out of her seat, making sure to grab her purse and a small bag for essential needs before walking out of the airplane via the dock that connects both passengers and plane.

"Wow..!" Chloe gasped in awe as she walked through the biggest airport in Nix, her right hand holding her phone while the other holding the small bag, her purse hanging on her left shoulder. While she already got used to the sights when touring around, she never got the chance to really take her time looking around the entire airport and often at times where it was on a time limit from here to there.

While walking through the airport and into outside, her phone gave out a 'ping' sound. Sliding up the screensaver and glancing at the number that flashed before her, Chloe found herself annoyed; it was her manager, wanting to be sure of the decision wasn't really final and hoping she made it back home safety.

She tapped out a message to him: "Yes, I made it safe and yes, it's final. I've told you and told you even before I left for the ride back home that I need the break and rethink about this. Now, please! Let me have my break and I'll try to get back with you as soon as I'm done settling down at home."

With that message sent and already shivering from the cold, she quickly hailed a cab and as soon as she stepped in, the driver already loading up her three sets of bags that was in the back of the trunk of his cab. Once settled in, she quickly gave out directions to the inn to the experienced driver and they were off. Giving out a quiet sigh and gazing out of the window as they pulled out of the driveway and down to the highway, Chloe wondered how the townspeople would react to the news of her arrival. While she knew the townspeople knows that she became the darling of media entertainment, they didn't know the truth of her arrival; during many interviews in the days of her announcement, she was asked why and simply gave them the answers she knew would hold out for a few days: "I decided to take a break for medical reasons and I wouldn't worry too much about it."

That was two days and a week ago, yet the news still buzzed ablaze throughout the world and yes, even her hometown. Snapping back her eyes back to the road, she quickly figured out the total price and it wouldn't take that much out of her money. It took only just a little hour and a half drive from the airport to Bennett's Inn; enough time for her to grab out the total money out of her pink purse. While she was lonely by herself and to her surprise, the cab driver and her chatted over variety of things on the way there.

It was nearing 8 A.M. in the morning when the cab pulled up under the roof of Bennett's Inn and Chloe was glad to be finally home as she opened her right side door, stepping out of the cab and into the cold weather she eventually realized that she'd better get used to it quickly or else she'll be making her way back into the harsh yet warm arms of her manager. Turning around and seeing the bellhop man and the cab driver putting her luggage out of the trunk into the cart that would return back into her room which turned out to be the penthouse, Chloe made sure to pay the driver his due and with a smile on both faces, did the driver pull out and onto the road looking for more customers.

Stepping into the lobby of her parents' inn, Chloe was transported back into her early childhood and seeing how huge it was for the first time and now being near an adult, it was still the same for her as her gaze fell upon her parents, who quickly zoomed their way to their only beloved daughter despite the uprising fame.

Smiling, Chloe and her parents hugged each other as they quickly updated each other. Her mother was certainly in better health and yet she was appearing to be tired. Concern on her face, Chloe asked her if she was okay. "Mom, when was the last time you rested.. or even ate?!"

Mrs. Bennett dismissed it with a wave of her hand as she spoke back. "I'm fine, sweetie; Just the inn has been busy lately and I'm glad to hear that you're going to try to help us out." She smiled at her daughter, whom face wasn't exactly happy to hear her mother throwing away rest. Even her father had the same affliction as well.

Chloe made a sound inside her chest and yet she understood the importance of being healthy; Maybe tomorrow she'll take over her mother's duties, but for now she was tired yet she craved for coffee and knew where to go for one.

"Mom, Dad.. If it's all right with you, I'm going straight to Caffeine Dreams for some coffee; probably just to see what changed since the last time I left here. Don't worry, I'll be fine."

Despite their protests, they also knew enough to put her trust in Chloe and watched her as she waved her good-byes while making sure to bundle up, her footprints already setting in the snow that seemed to reach no limit.

Five minutes later, Chloe finally reached the coffee place and unsure if anyone could recognize her from the news and her uprising fame, it all went way when she opened the door and stepping in. Stamping out the snow and allowing the warmth of the place reaching her into the most layers of clothes she had on, Chloe took the time to scan around the place, aware of the lively atmosphere and yet it made her feel homely already. Just a few groups here that includes the high school group she already figure out from their young appearance and finally reaching to see two guys chatting with one being an photographer as indicted from the strap that was on the boy's neck.

'Gee, don't tell me he's here for me!' She thought to herself, her lips pursing from the thought as she pushed up her sunglasses and goggles up her head while making sure her hair is still in the ponytail style and walking up to the cashier, 'Jin', as the name tag on his shirt indicted.

"Hey, Jin. I'd like some roast nut coffee and some extra cream in it, please!" She spoke, a smile on her face. While she waited for her drink, Chloe already knew where she wanted to sit and enjoy the drink she'd have in a minute; That would be near the group of kids from the local high school. Hopefully, they didn't actually ask for autographs because she didn't exactly feel well for it.

But on the other hand, it'd be pretty cool for her to do that for them since sooner or later, she'd have to join in High School; maybe she could initiate the meeting and get the feel for it. For now, she was simply content to help her parents out for a bit.

As soon as her coffee was made and given to her by Jin, she paid him back the change she'd received from the cab driver and made her way to the 80's style of the couch, sipping her favorite coffee and crossing her right leg over her left leg, content at last.

This was life for sure as her smile once again made its way upon her lips while listening to the group for some good gossip.
 
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Cassette-Disk

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Crystal pulled her phone out of her pocket as she walked. A terrible thought had materialized in her mind and she hoped she was wrong. Tapping down to the bottom of her contact list, she let out a reassured sigh. Zoey was fine, she was still here. Crystal made a mental note to call her friend later; it felt like forever since the two of them talked. She was almost in the shopping area when a man called out to her:
"Oh, hey! Excuse me, miss?" Crystal slid her sunglasses further up her nose in a better attempt to hide her golden eyes before looking his way. He looked a few years older than her, maybe in his late twenties? His black hair was hidden under a matted grey beanie and he leaned heavily on a wooden cane. His eyes were almost grey in color as well, just bordering between an incredibly light blue shade.
"I don't have any change," Crystal told him instantly, and without breaking her stride.

"What? No no, that's not why I--"
"Look I'm in a hurry. Sorry, pal." The man said nothing in response as Crystal walked away from him. He only rubbed his chin in concerned thought.
"This isn't going to be easy," he said to himself quietly. She ignored whatever he had mumbled as she turned a corner. The coffee shop was in the outer area of the shopping district and so wasn't surrounded by many buildings. In fact the coffee shop was located right next to a park, making it a prime location for a quick snack or drink. There was just one problem...

"What the hell is that?!" Crystal asked out loud. The coffee shop was now in plain view and it was far from what she had remembered. Gone was the small cafe she and Saito had visited just days ago and in its place was a larger, more pristine establishment. Not by much, sure, but it was obvious this place was being taken care of much better than the old place. Not only that, but wasn't it called something else? The sign said Caffeine Dreams, but wasn't it just called 'Joe's'? Crystal crossed her arms worriedly. So it wasn't just things directly related to her that had changed. She took a step forward and was immediately caught off guard by her reflection in the shop window next to her. Oh god, was that what she looked like? Gross, how could her brother let her walk out of the house like this?! Crystal had haphazardly grabbed at any fresh clothing she could find and it definitely would not have been her first choice in outfits. Her usual denim pants were replaced with a lighter blue wash jeans, the design of which had rolled up legs showing off the white under fabric, as well as exposing her ankles. Two yellow stars were in proud display on her right leg as well, much to her dismay. A purple vest with yellow undertones covered her off-white shirt. She pulled at the sleeves of it, uncomfortable as she was suddenly aware of how different this attire was. To top it off, she had grabbed a red cap without realizing it. None of this looked like anything she would normally wear, instead it appeared as if she had grabbed these straight out of her best friend's closet. "...Zoey," Crystal hissed. These were her clothes! Either that or her sense of fashion had flown out the window in this bizarro world. "Still, when in Rome..." she muttered as she flipped the cap backwards on her head. She had to admit, the round sunglasses almost completed the outfit, and she could almost get used to it.

A red jeep was parked by the curb of the coffee shop. pfft, Crystal thought to herself, what kind of moron parks outside of a parking lot? It took her a few seconds to realize someone was still inside the car and as she walked past it, she realized it was her moron who had parked there.
"Valerie?!" Crystal cried, taking a step back. "You can drive?! What the hell, why have we been walking this entire time, then?!" The pair walked into the coffee shop as Crystal went on. "I don't know what's going on, but do things seem...weird?" She asked as she peered into the shop. Max had already arrived and was sitting in a back corner table, tapping his thumbs unsteadily. The pair quickly greeted him as they sat at the table. "I'm not the only one, right? Things aren't adding up right and things are--" An angry Irishman suddenly slammed the table in front of her, interrupting her mid-sentence.
"Okay. What kinda Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap horse shit is this?!" Crystal slammed a pair of open palms on the table in response, matching his anger while standing from her seat.
"How the hell are we supposed to know?!" She growled. It took her a moment to remember how public of a place this was and tried her best to calm herself. "Look, just...just sit, alright?!" she pushed Saito onto the booth, where she had just been sitting, before taking the spot farthest from the window. "I don't know. I don't know what happened, I don't know what's happening, but something's wrong. I...I-I have a brother now! I'm an only child but today when I woke up I had a twin brother chastising me. And-and look," Crystal pulled out a rumpled piece of paper and spread it open on the table. It was the exact poster Cures had made for the club. Crystal pointed at her name on the page. "Cures made this, it was his club, so why the hell does it have my name on it?!"
---
The girl--Crystal--wasn't going to cooperate. That was bad. And it could lead to even more trouble. Charles watched her walk away as she turned the corner, passed a building.
"This isn't going to be easy," he mumbled to himself. He waited a few minutes before following behind, carefully placing his cane firmly with each step to avoid slipping. Nothing more hilarious than a cripple falling and breaking is tailbone in the snow. Despite his lame leg, he quickly reached the same corner in time to see Crystal and her friend enter the coffee shop. That wasn't all, though. "So many people in there today." That couldn't be good. Or could it? The Shift had changed quite a few things, maybe this was the next start of the game? If one could call it a game. Charles readjusted his beanie and walked forward. He had made it as far as the red jeep when the same woman from before came into view. She had approached from the opposite end of the coffee shop and Charles quickly dashed behind the jeep and out of view. Her long white hair almost blended in with her surroundings, and her pale skin helped in that regard. Would she recognize him? Why was she here? He gulped anxiously as she peered in his direction before bringing her icy sights on the cafe. Something was about to happen. He could feel it.
 

Just Dari

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Everything about the situation, at least everything that I could remember. I started to make sense of everything, the conversation with my captain I had over text seemed like nothing was drastically different. There was no strange suspicion of deja vu that I could recall, so I started to assume this was a completely different scenario that was unfolding currently. Save for the few people, while we never met, they were seen with critical figures I was investigating.

My eyes widened, I adjusted my newspaper and the paper...read differently from last time. No murders this time, I was relieved. The snow was something that was still unexplainable, but then again we always had questions about this. I kept my ears sharp tried and true to my detective form, the buzzing of a conversation started to fill the lobby. It was already alarmingly crowded, as I sipped Jin's hazelnut coffee, his specialty, I simply kept my wits about me and observed.

Strategically I was positioned from across the corner. My eyes were fixed specifically on the paper that I was reading, I shuffled through it. Maybe it was my imagination, but my eyes felt a bit softer than usual. I was never really the emotional type or one to give ground away from what was logical, but it was a noticeable change in my behavior. I'd fix that soon enough however, one of my skills completely throws that empathy out the window. However, words started to play through my head, music.

Mama told me she love me, I'm thinking this isn't real
I think of you when I get a whiff of that cigarette smell, yeah
Welcome to the bottom of hell
They say pain is a prison, let me out of my cell
You say you proud of me, but you don't know me that well
Sit in my room, tears running down my face and I yell
Into my pillowcases, you say you coming to get us
Then call 'em a minute later just to tell us you not, I'm humiliated
I'm in a room with a parent that I don't barely know
Some lady in the corner watching us, while she taking notes


Couldn't quite place my finger on who sings the song, but whenever I heard it, instantly it takes me back in time to my mother's fight against breast cancer. Due to a lot of the stress my father had imposed on me to succeed him, I had a very divisive relationship with both parents, more so my mother who was almost absent. I drew off into the distance, my attention snapping back when someone slammed their hands on the table, just across from mine.

"Okay. What kinda Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap horse shit is this?!"

Naturally, my skills were so sharp I didn't do the obvious here and look. I instead picked up my mug, making sure the poor guy didn't start an earthquake that would knock over Jin's masterpiece. "Sheesh" I said releasing a sigh as I continued to sip from the mug, reveling in how great the taste was. They'd officially taken my full attention, opening my ears and every observational technique I could muster, I yawned and folded the paper again.
 

Roxie1563

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Chloe became startled when a man slammed his hands down on the group's table and pretty much cussed out without a thought. She wasn't expecting it coming out, but the girl that spoke out against him gave him an answer by pulling him into their table and that's when Chloe knew whatever they were talking about was pretty important.

Making sure not to spill her favorite coffee and switching legs to give the other a break, the brown/blackish girl made sure not to arouse suspicion while listening onto them to see what kind of goodies they had cracking out. Only just a minute into it, she apparently realized they were talking about a rumor of some kind involving Loveless Pond and while she saw the news about it, she wasn't big into it since rumors are just that: rumors.

Disinterested, Chloe switched gears and thought about how to handle her mother's duties for the following morning when a little girl came up running to her and tapped her shoulder. Being 5'5 tall, she looked down to the little girl and smiled while turning around as she set her coffee down on the table.

"What can I do for you, young girl?" Chloe spoke softly to her with a smile growing on her face. The girl struggled to bring the words out of her mouth; instead she gave out a piece of a photo of Star, Chloe's stage name and smiled pretty big. "I want your name on the picture, please," the girl spoke in excitement. "And my name is Jenny!"

It was one thing to escape stardom but it was another thing to give out love to her fans and so with that, Chloe simply took the photograph of herself and wrote it out in cursive as it was the custom when writing out letters, autographing photos and books among some few things then gave it back to her. "Here you go, sweetie." Chloe smiled back to her as the girl squealed in delight, running back to her mom's arms and telling her all about it.

Taking the can of coffee back up into her lips and loving the smooth cream downing her throat, she allowed herself to briefly smile to herself for making that girl's night a little brighter. "I suppose the news about me coming back home must had that girl full of energy.." She mumbled to herself as her phone vibrated in her purse, causing Chloe to dig through her purse and receiving out her phone, the familiar number of her mother flashing.

Sliding up her phone up to her ear, she heard the familiar tone of her mom. "Honey, sorry to bother you but can you make a pit stop on the way back home? I forgot some few items needed for tomorrow's breakfast for all the guests. All I require is milk, some couple of boxes of cereal and wheat breads." Chloe wrote them down on a piece of paper she got out of her purse as her mother ticked them off, one by one.

"I got it, mom. I'll try to get them soon as I can. Love you!" She rang out, her tone full of love and stopped the call. Putting her phone back into her purse, Chloe checked the list twice to ensure she won't forget it well knowing she had the ability to recall anything at will and put it back inside as well.

It was at this point when she looked up from her purse that everybody who ever had a TV or listening to the radio was suddenly looking at her and immediately started coming down to her for their 'five minute of fame' with her. 'Uh, I should have expected this,' Chloe thought inwardly as she quickly got up, grabbing her coffee can and tossing it into the nearest trash bag then setting her sunglasses back on and turned for the entrance, but it was blocked by the growing members of the Star fan club. Quickly looking for another exit and seeing one further in the back, Chloe started jogging for it until she felt herself slipping due to her now-wet boots.

"Whoooaaaa!!!" She shouted out-loud as she crashed into a boy whose face became bewildered by the rapidly changing events, her eyes shut as soon as she made the nearly fatal mistake of running on wet boots. Fluttering in and out, her eyes finally snapped open when she realized she was laying down across the boy's legs and gave her apology to him. "I'm so sorry!" She cried to him as she slowly got up on her feet. "That was totally on me and I'm sorry.." She mumbled to him. It wasn't until Chloe finally looked at the boy's face and realized he was a cop, despite the lack of uniform on him and got the fastest idea ever to pop up in her head.

"Hey, can you please help me out here?!" She pleaded to him as she lifted up her sunglasses again, her eyes about to let out a river of tears. "I can make it easier on you by giving you a free night at my parents' inn, Bennett's Inn tonight." She spoke to him as she gazed back and forth at the mob while awaiting his answer.

This had to be one of the most weirdest morning ever!
 
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Story Keeper

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~- Unmistakable -~

Mavis bolted upright in her bed, panic clear in her eyes. She reached out a hand for the light by her bed, flicking it on and brightening the room. The blackout curtains that hung in the room had hidden the fact what time of day it was; something she wasn't sure of anymore. A quick glance at the time didn't help to clarify the issue, since it seemed as if the clock had come unplugged in the middle of the night somehow. Jumping out of bed, Mavis quickly got her stuff together, so her backpack since she'd packed the night before. Heading out of the house, she got into the turquoise ford flex that was in the driveway, trying to ignore the air freshener that was dangling from the rear view mirror, not caring if the ornament was illegal.

Back away from the small house, she didn't pay any mind to the faded blue paint on it. Something her mother had insisted on when she'd been a little girl, a fact that now made her shaky. She dismissed the feeling, instead turning her mind to the idea of getting something warm to drink at the Caffeine Dreams before heading to the orphanage to spend time with the kids. She'd been a regular before, but it had become even more of an occurrence since her mother had disappeared a couple of weeks ago. Adam had followed suit just a few days before her mother, something that when mixed with her dreams had made it where Mavis barely slept at night. She'd tried to wrap the car around a tree on more than one occasion. Banishing the thoughts from her mind, she wasn't surprised to see she'd reached the local coffee shop. Pulling into a parking space, she took notice of the red jeep that sat in a parking space, something that she was sure hadn't been here once before.

Shutting the flex off, she grabbed her backpack (since she had a wallet in it) and headed inside. She saw the crowd inside, and she almost thought about ditching the idea of her hot chocolate; but something tugged at her, begging her to stay. Moving toward the counter, she asked Jin politely for a hot chocolate and give him the required change. She thought about leaving him extra, but unsure of if it was allowed, she didn't do it and instead said, "Thank you Young."

She decided to slip out before things got too crazy, or at least that was the case until the patrons inside the cafe got rowdy because of a famous person being in the shop. Yelping as someone bumped into her and caused her drink to spill on her, Mavis glared after them before she chose to ignore them. Looking over to Jin, she said quickly, "I'm sorry about that, is there something I can do to help clean it---?" She stopped mid sentence, her eyes on the floor because of the two cards that had fallen out of her backpack. She felt as if someone had dumped cold water on her, grabbing the two tarot cards Mavis fled from the shop, another apology being flung over her shoulder before the door shut behind her. Getting in the car, she flung her backpack into the back seat and dropped the two damp cards (something she counted as a miracle) into the front passenger seat. There'd been a towel on the front seat for instances just like this, something she'd found poorly amusing as of now.

Leaving the Caffeine Dreams, she made her way toward the orphanage only to spot a girl carrying a bunch of books. A frown coming to her face, Mavis pulled the car up next to her and rolled down the window. Waiting until she was certain the girl wouldn't get hurt, Mavis asked gently, "Would you like a ride to wherever you're dropping those off at?" Even as she asked this though, she carefully picked up the towel and moved it to the backseat to make room. Although that didn't mean she was being rude and diverting her attention, even so she wasn't being rude and just staring at the girl she'd offered the help to.
 
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Endless Warrior Sora

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"Hey Big Man, how's the weather up there?"
Jin's eyes couldn't go farther in the back of his head. Yan always greeted him like this. Every. Time.

"Today you got a lot of people here... Well, I'll take out this broken key in no time!"
It took him long enough. He watched Yan walk behind the counter with his backpack full of tools clanging the whole way. Jin sighed, it looked like today would be a busy day as the line kept getting longer. He wanted to go on his break. He prepared the next order adding the perfect amount of whipped cream without looking at the cup. The door chimed as another customer walked in.

And for the first time, Jin's eyes held interest.

It was...her. It was her. Chloe Bennett has walked into the coffee shop HE worked at. What was she even doing there?! What was she even doing in Ursavereus? What was she doing in NIX??! She was a famous actress. Secretly, Jin had seen all her movies, watched all her interviews. He was a big fan. His heart began to beat a million miles a minute. He watched her, distracted, as she looked around the shop silently pleased with the atmosphere. He felt his face flush red. He noted that he thought that she was more beautiful in person.

"Done! Be more careful next time, guys! Dude, just give me the largest coffe you have, please! I need that BOMB of caffeine!"
Jolted out of his trance by Yan's sudden reappearance, Jin almost dropped the cup of coffee he was holding and quickly set it on the counter. He took a deep breath.

"Y-yeah..." He muttered, whipping up the perfect cup of coffee for the kid. "Here, manager says its on the house." Jin mumbled out, pushing the cup towards the kid, who walked away. Jin turned back to the counter and let out a small gasp for before burying it back down his esophagus.

"Hey, Jin. I'd like some roast nut coffee and some extra cream in it, please!"
Jin froze. Chloe. said. HIS. name. Of course he had a name tag that gave it away but the fact she even BOTHERED to read it and utilize it was beyond him. Why did she do that? She was famous? She didn't have to do that. How were things so weird in such a short amount of time?? Jin had never felt this way before...about anything.

"Just make the stupid coffee!" He thought to himself, before moving over to the coffee station. He grabbed the largest cup he could (even if she didnt ask for it). Putting it under the coffee maker, he accidentally kept his hand underneath the machine as it ejected extremely liquid, some of it spilling over the back of his hand, burning him.

"OWMUTHERFUHHHHHHHGODDAAAAAAA-" He seethed out. What was he doing? That had never happened before! He usually just made everything robotically to the T. Wiping his hand off on his apron, he added cinnamon, nutmeg, milk and hazelnut creamer to the cup, topping it off with whipped cream. This was also new. He usually didn't concern himself with flavors, or going outside of his own guidelines. He frowned, almost not understanding his own actions. He handed her the cup, looking at her as if he wanted her approval.

"That'll be...uh...5.75...uh p-please, M-ms. Bennett." He miraculously managed to stammer out. Chloe handed him her change, took the coffee and left.

Left just like that. Why didn't she taste the coffee in front of him? Was it good? How would he know how to improve it? How could she just walk away? What if he never saw her again? Jin watched her glide over to a table and sit down near the group of kids that always frequented the place. He needed to take a break, recollect himself.

Jin ignored all the waiting customers and walked into the back of the employee area near the freezer that Yan just fixed. Placing his burned hand against the icy cold metal freezer door, he took a deep breath.

"Relax, you idiot." He muttered. "She's just a girl. What is wrong with you. Do you know how many girls there are in the world? Like a million. Literally." He chanted. But they were all...boring. At the very least uninteresting.

He wanted to be interesting. As interesting as she was.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jin found himself...in an airplane? What was going on? Wasn't he just in the freezer room?

"My, we have quite an interesting guest don't we, Theo?." A deep voice declared. Jin found himself sitting across from a man dressed in a suit with a large nose. A deck of cards lay on the table near him. Next to the man was another sharply dressed man, but in a blue suit with silver hair and yellow eyes.

"I must've passed out in the freezer room and started hallucinating." Jin affirmed.

"I assure you, you are not hallucinating. You are in a place between mind and matter. My name is Igor and welcome to The Velvet Room."

"The Velvet Room, huh?...Okay, I'll play along. Better than me being wherever I was. Why'm I here?" Jin asked as Igor waved his hands and all the cards laid on the table.

"You are here because of the deep potential you possess. The affirmation in your heart has opened the floodgates to the sea of your soul. You want to begin a new journey. On this journey it will be important for you to form bonds with others. To think, so many with potential, brought about by The Shift. Quite an interesting thing, this Shift."

Jin couldn't help but feel...important? This was by far, the second most interesting thing to ever happen to him (the first being the appearance of Chloe). He was intrigued as how he could be chosen to end up here of all places.

"What do I do, Igor?" Jin asked. Igor's signature grinned seemed to further a bit wider. He gestured to the cards.

"Pick a card. Discover what fate thinks of you..." He spoke. Jin extended his arm as it hovered over a card. Jin picked it up and grimaced.

"Zero...?"

"Ah. Zero. The Fool. The void from which all things begin. You are a representation of limitless potential and possibilities. Do not be foolish and underestimate the power of The Fool." Igor grinned as the rest of the cards flipped themselves over, revealing them all to be The Fool.

Jin could feel himself slipping away....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jin found himself back inside the freezer room. His manager, Angela was staring at him in concern.

"Everything okay, J-Jay?" She said, stamering as she committed to trying to remember his name.

"Jin. And yeah, just needed a breather. "

"Well, that'll be your fifteen. We need you out there,we have a LOT of people out there and that celebrity is not making it any better." She retorted. She walked away muttering his name over and over, attempting to remember it.

Jin returned to the counter and the shop formed a small crowd around Chloe. Biting his lip, he didn't like it, but he still had to work. A girl pushed through the crowd, ignoring them and arriving at the counter. It was Mavis, a regular here. She ordered her usual hot chocolate, and Jin whipped one quickly up for her.

"Thank you Young."
Jin raised an eyebrow. How did Mavis know his last name? He didn't remember ever telling her. Did they go to the same school? She attempted to get through the crowd, but accidentally spilled the hot chocolate on herself.

"I'm sorry about that, is there something I can do to help clean it---?"
Jin waved a hand, as if to say, 'don't worry about it, I'll get it'. After a few gesticulations, Mavis rushed out of the coffee shop, Jin sighed, he didn't care enough to wonder why. Making his way over to the supply closet, he grabbed the mop attached to the yellow bucket to clean the spill. Forcing his way through the crowd he took a deep breath. This was such a drag. He looked up from mopping the floor, and noticed Chloe and some boy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Snap!

"Hey! Dude, are you new here? I never saw you around! My name is Yan, what's yours?"

Anthony lowered his camera as someone approached him. Pushing his glasses on his face, he studied the new face. He didn't know the people here were so friendly. He was pleased at it, though. People weren't that friendly i the city.

"Uh, yeah actually I just moved here from the city. I literally just got off the plane earlier," He laughed a little. "I'm Anthony, but you can just call me Ant." He answered. He watched as a crowd began to form around a girl, swarming her and bumping her into a boy. Grabbing his camera, he had to catch this crowd. Quickly snapping a few photos of the mod, he followed them to see what the commotion was all about.
 
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Just Dari

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Under Ms. Bennett's Heel

And here I thought this morning couldn't get anymore strange. Aside from the outburst of the gentleman across from myself, and how I was strategically positioned beside an exit, as were they, this would go easily enough if I needed to bid farewell. The only anomalies here really seemed to be them, everyone else had about as "normal" behavior as one could manage. I could hear the string from the televisions suspended above the cafe in little niche corners spread throughout the establishment. One of them was airing a performance of Nix's very own music sensation "Star".

Towards the counter Jin was serving a cup to a woman, who looked strikingly similar that I couldn't help but tack a gaze or two before resuming to reading my own paper. The bunch across from me hadn't talked much in the past couple of minutes, but I kept my ear opening as I was reading the local news. Nix was undergoing certain renovations to the high school, and although it was still very much open to the students, the worked on areas were restricted.

The minutes trudged along, and to my surprise something rather unexpected happened. In a due effort to distance themselves from a growing crowd, Ms. Bennett stumbled into my lap. I was admittedly, mildly flushed and confused at the same time. I reacted to swiftly catch her, the table at my booth shook some, but my mug was thankfully empty.

"I'm so sorry! That was totally on me and I'm sorry.."

I raised my hand with a mild flick, a warm smile and a very composed expression. "It's fine, these things happen." I said very calmly and politely. She quickly pulled herself together, I was fine of course, picking my hat up from off of the ground and re-placing it on my head.

"Hey, can you please help me out here?! I can make it easier on you by giving you a free night at my parents' inn, Bennett's Inn tonight."

It wasn't as though I didn't notice the many stark looking fans that were harassing this innocent girl. My eyes curled for a moment shifting to the many men's eyes that were looking now even at me. Rising from my seat I adjusted my jacket and pulled out my badge.

"My name's detective Lane. You can call me Erin for short. A generous offer, but i'll tell you what, i'll escort you free of charge. Just tell me where you need to go, and no more tripping this time."

I tried to be as professional as I could, but I poked at her a bit with my sense of humor. Straightening my jacket, I offered her my hand, "Shall we?" I said with a curt gesture, before taking her hand. There was a flash of light from a camera or two. There was no doubt about it, she was the real "Star" in this situation, and I couldn't let her continue to be harassed by her fan base like this. I noticed Jin had a mop in hand, and as we were moving past, the ocean of people quickly parted aways as I brandished my badge. Ramblings for autographs, rhetorics of "have my children!" were heard from a couple of the unsavory men, that prattled about profusely.

"Thats enough gentleman, she's a rather busy woman, show some restraint."

As it began to thin, arriving at the door, I could instantly feel the wind pick up and the cool drift carrying the snow from well over. That was Nix for you, I dare not to turn around to see the fans cling to the glass like fish in an aquarium.

"Where to Ms. Bennett?"
 

Shinra

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Renn's eyes widened as he heard the commotion coming from one of the tables and sipped his cider in intrigue. They weren't much older than him he assumed. But as he sipped more and more of his cider he noticed something else of interest... a Certain celebrity known by the moniker "Star". As he watched her people started swarming in after her to get a glimpse. He sighed. "ugh starstruck fools." Not to say he didn't have his moments but he knew to keep a calm head in those types of situations. After he finished his cider he shuffled through the crowd to the garbage can then over to the door waving his hand to the cashier. "Thanks Jin!" Not long after leaving he found himself wandering outside of town.
 
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