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Just Dari

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Knocking on Dead Doors

The captain and I sat in a secluded section of the faculty office. I sighed as he propped down the papers from a number of the one on one interviews begun taking, starting first from the students belonging to Class 2-A. Cures and Pepper with both in the same class, as well as second year students, same as myself, but I wasn't enrolled at the moment. Most of the information we collected was, fairly interesting.

I picked up the top sheet.

"Blair Paige. Second year, class 2A. Soccer team member, often spoke to Pepper in passing. Her behavior wasn't unusual, if you call being stand-offish strange by definition. What is this?" the Captain said just dulled at this point.

I reached for the next sheet under, this was one was rather extensive.

"Gregory Mathis. Second year, Class 2A. Cooking club aficionado, wasn't the biggest fan of Cures apparently due to some middle school mishap. Watched him closely through their first year, eventually erupting into a fist fight. Has since then made peace with--UGH, REALLY?? Is this REALLY important??"

The captain seemed to be getting annoyed as he slumped back into his chair stroking his face.

"Detective, from what we've gathered just from their home class, nothing these students have said points to any specific information directly following the disappearance of Pepper or Cures. The only thing is that we know they acted in group activities after school. Nothing else is sticking to paint a clear picture as to who they were with, where they were, nothing."

"It takes patience Captain. I'll have to do some digging, come to think of it...at the coffee shop this morning-"

"Look, if you bring up Star one more time without brandishing an autograph, i'll-!"

The door to the faculty office opened, and the principle's figure appeared.

"Pardon my intrusion Detective and Captain, but good morning. Did the student produce any information useful to the investigation? It's imperative in handling their parents as well as the gaudy media reporters."

"Unfortunately we're having no such luck Principal. It's a wonder how they've managed to elude this many people within their own class, no one seemed to be on a level higher than acquaintance with them save for a few rivals that squashed their beef. You'll need to give us some time to recuperate."

The captain looked urgently at the principal, to whom nodded before exiting.

"You should try to relax more sir..."

"Not an option Lane. The last thing I want is for more students to go disappearing on us next."

The captain made a grave point. I started to reflect on that group of students that I had eyes on this morning at the cafe. It tickled my brain in a way that they seemed familiar, the small lot, perhaps more? I would thumb through it all later for sure, but for now this was their primary focus.

"Lets bring in the next class then."
 
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Story Keeper

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~- This Gentle Moment -~

"Umm... Um... W-well if it's not a problem..."

Mavis smiled softly, trying to reassure Xun that everything was okay. She could understand what the other girl was feeling regards to Tish, the other girl could be intimidating at times; especially with her love of creepy things. Her eyes were kind, trying to reassure Xun everything was okay; when Tish seemed to catch on and quickly became more reserved. Bowing as well as she could in the backseat, Tish commented, "I'm sorry Xun. I'm normally not this hyper or intimidating, I promise."

Nodding her head in approval, she smiled at Xun and answered back, "It won't be a problem, I promise." Then without looking into the backseat, Mavis was about to ask Tish for some help when the other girl opened the back door and grabbed some of the books before she slid out. Opening the driver's side door, Mavis turned off the car and shoved the keys into her pocket before she moved to the backseat and grabbed some more of the books, leaving a third of the original stack for Xun so no one person was being overwhelmed by the weight.

"Mavis, is everything okay with you, just considering..." Tish trailed off, quite clearly unsure of how to continue with the conversation.

She knew what the other girl was going at, and it wasn't really a conversation to have right in front of someone that neither of them knew really well. The only good thing was that her deck of cards was out of easy sight, which meant she wouldn't be questioned on that. Lowering her gaze, Mavis found a sad, tired smile drifting around the edges of her mouth as she answered, "I'm as well as I can be."

She didn't wait for an answer, forcing a cheerful smile she focused on Xun and said cheerfully, "Xun, we can head in whenever you're ready. Please take as much time as is needed." She didn't want to force Xun to do something that she didn't want, especially with the girl being new in town. Looking to Tish, she saw the slight nod from the girl, catching the hint she watched as Tish went on ahead to the library, calling back, "I'll see you two girls, or at least you Mavis, later on. Enjoy the peace and quiet that's out here, it's crazy inside the school since we've got police officers in it!"

Surprise flickered briefly across Mavis's eyes, only for it to be gone a moment later as she waited to see what Xun wanted to do.
 

Roxie1563

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Chloe Bennett made it inside the school she'd enroll soon whenever that was possible as her boots pounded on the rug the school had laid out in an attempt to keep the floors clean and dry as was humanly possible. While she could remember partaking elementary school as a little girl, the school where she is currently at was humongous at best as Chloe walked through the hall, unaware of the events that had befallen on school grounds.

'Man, this school is huge! And yet, I get the feeling this school has more to offer than what meets the eyes..' Chloe mused to herself. The young lady had made the long walk through the hall when her eyes got a sight of a familiar 'protector' if she'd call it as Chloe peered into the window to see Detective Lane apparently at work with a slightly older man whom Chloe thought to be his boss. A thought came across her face and she wondered if it was possible that coming here was fate or just pure sheer luck or whatever that came with in the territory when the doorknob clicked open.

'Uh-oh!' Chloe suddenly barged into the floor as the door opened and landed on her side with a grunt. She soon looked up to see whom she expected to be one of the teachers and gave away a small smile to him as she got up on her feet rather quickly so it wouldn't be anymore awkward than it was already. She could tell the teacher had no clue who she was and left the room to wherever he was supposed to go.

Turning to a very shocked Detective Lane and walking to him, Chloe quickly gave him an explanation for her wandering around. "I mean, it seemed a good idea when I first asked the kids outside but they didn't know who I was or they just didn't care." The young girl spoke to him as she took her jacket off and putting her goggles up her head. "So, I take it this is your boss..?"

She glanced at him, a very small smile coming across her face as she gave away a 'hello' to him then back to Eric. While Chloe was sure he is already at work, one couldn't help but feel as if she just stumbled onto something that could change her life, but that was absurd... Wasn't it?

Chloe just shook her head and made time for Eric to form a response while hoping for another escort.
 

Just Dari

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Oh Captain my Captain

I folded my stack of files carefully and placed them into the folder. We'd finished with class 2-A and class 2-B was next. There was a bit of fumble at the door, who else but Chloe seeming to fall through it. She was definitely proving to have some clumsiness to her, he wasn't sure if she was a stupid or not.

The captain on the other hand, he kind of froze. I looked over at him nervously, fanning my hand in front of his face, before snapping my fingers in front of his eyes to get him out of his unusual trance. That would likely make Ms. Bennett very uncomfortable, but sooner than later the captain regained his composure and I sighed in relief as well.

"It's strange seeing you here Ms. Bennett, don't mind the staff today everyone here is on edge as are the students."

I had a grave look in my eyes, remembering the reason I was even doing these one on one interviews. "My captain and I are currently int-"

"Please."

????

"Please Ms. Bennett, may I have your autograph!" the captain interrupted me almost unexpectedly, and my confusion only escalated into shock remembering he was a huge fan.

"Sir...is this really the time for-"

"Nonsense detective. A man always has time to bask in the appreciation of a woman he genuinely appreciates. Pardon my curt and abruptness Ms. Bennett, I don't mean to startle or bother you any further as it appears to be your first day. In fact...more importantly, could you please have a seat."

I was put off guard by this, the captain's demeanor suddenly became stark and serious, even in the face of his idol. I had to admire this level of composure, i let out a soft sigh and pulled out my notepad prepared to cross-examine Chloe myself as the captain would pitch the questions rehearsed to the previous class in verbatim.

"I'll only need a few minutes of your time nothing substantial, just answer a few questions for us to the best of your ability." The captain sliding two class pictures of the students he meant to ask bout, Pepper (F) and Cures (M).

"The two people here are students attending this very academy. At the time of their disappearance there was an unusual snowstorm that occurred, larger than normal. Do you know either of them personally? Can you identify them if you do know them? Do you have any information on their current whereabouts? Where was the last place either was seen? Any information at all you can provide is absolutely vital for the success of our investigation and for your classmates' safety."


I was a bit floored by how quickly he regained his composure, but my notepad was kept at the ready to make note of Ms. Bennett's replies.
 

Roxie1563

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Chloe just smiled at Detective Lane's boss and wrote out her autograph to him in cursive then gave it back to him as the grizzled man explained to him that he and his men listened to her songs whenever they would get a chance during their tours around town. While she promptly put her pen back into her purse beside her on a desk, Erin was explaining to her that he has some questions to ask but didn't get far when his boss went straight for it.

"Um!" Chloe wasn't sure how to explain, much less tell him that she wasn't even a student of this school. She just came to look around and now she found herself in a room with two detectives asking questions about an event involving two missing students from this very school. Of course, she was used to being peppered with questions from the media but this was something entirely different.

Unsure how to proceed from here, the young woman decided to go for the truth route and what came out of it. Plus, maybe she'd help out with finding those missing students as she gazed at the photographs the veteran detective had laid out in front of her on the wooden desk used by students of this school on the island.

"I'll be happy to help you out, sir and I do hope it'll beneficent to you two finding those people and bringing them home safely," Chloe told them. "For the first question, I'm sad to say I don't know them personally and I only recently arrived home to take a break from my career, which I'm sure Erin already knows as I'm the one that told him while escorting me around town as I took care of my errands."

Chloe gave Erin a small smile to him and continued on answering their questions. "Like I stated earlier on, I don't really know them at all so I can't really identify them. However, I do hope they're somewhere safe though!"

'So far, so good' Chloe thought as she came down to the final question. "The final question, I think if there was any place those two would be, I'd probably say at that cafe place. After all, I saw some students from here earlier on, so there's that." And with that, Chloe believed she gave her best shot with them when a small thought popped out. "Oh, the snowstorm you mentioned? I don't remember seeing one when I first landed here and I certainly would have noticed that. Maybe I might had just missed that."

She didn't want to appear like she had better things to do, but it wasn't in her nature to ignore people so as a sign of good faith, Ms. Bennett decided to stay a few more minutes.
 
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Valerie rolled her eyes at Saito's lack of faith. "After everything we've been through, you'd think my driving would be the least of our problems." Unfortunately, Saito had already left the booth before she had the chance to set her tongue loose on him by suggesting he could walk to the school if he couldn't trust her enough to drive them there. After all, she did make it just fine to the café on her own.

Returning her phone to her front pocket, she couldn't help but feel it was unfair for Max to have to return to a life time of jail for a crime he didn't actually commit. Or well, something he wasn't entirely responsible for. It didn't sit right with her as she looked at Max, knowing that he's become a friend in the short time they've gotten to know each other. And he had her back in battle. Gesturing around the cafe with a lift of her hands, she pointed out, "You didn't rob us of our pasts, Max. Whatever the heck this is, is to blame for our circumstances. None of us asked to be pulled from where we came from-"

The sudden slap of a flier going down on their table made Valerie stop short. Slightly annoyed at being interrupted, she hoped she could find a way to give Max a chance of a happy ending with the rest of them, when they did find a way home. If they were lucky enough to make it home in one piece. Together. And nobody left behind. Something Valerie didn't want say aloud in fear of jinxing them.

Valerie echoed "Sign ups" in complete confusion as she went to finger the flier to read it for herself. Or that was the plan until the screaming had started. "Max, what's going on?!" The verge to panic rose up in the back of her throat, making her stumble blindly to get out of her booth and kneel at his side, trying to see what was wrong. Remembering the guy next to their table, Valerie jerked her head right back up to look at him. "I'm sorry, but we can't help you right now, and we need you to stand back!"

It didn't help that they had an audience as she looked to Crystal in concern over Max's screaming. "We need to get him out of here NOW!"

Only for it to abruptly stop as soon as it had begun.

Valerie didn't want to admit it but this terrified her much more than the shadows that nearly killed them. Quickly twisting around to address those in the café with them, she held out her phone. "I'm calling an ambulance right now!" Which was a bit of a lie because, she knew this wasn't likely to be a normal headache or migraine. Or at least, she hoped not. Valerie was certainly no expert about migraines beyond using ibuprofen for headaches.

"What the... My nose is bleeding," "I just saw some weird shit, and- hey, have any of you ever been in a blue room on a plane?"

"Oh my god, don't scare me like that, Max!" Valerie scolded, grabbing holding of some napkins to help with the bleeding.

Taking hold of Max's right arm, Valerie grunted as she went to lift him up on her own. "I think I might need some help here, Crystal. We should hurry and get Max checked into a hospital." Again, another lie to hopefully appease those around them, who were likely not going to let them leave without taking an ambulance first. Something they couldn't afford to happen, when they were already pressed for time as it was.

"And what's that about blue rooms on a plane, Max?" Valerie whispered, vaguely recalling something like that, but dismissing it as something she'd think about later.

Together with the help of Crystal lifting Max's other arm, they managed to get out of the café with him settled between them and into the cold, freezing air. Until Saito spotted them and came rushing to their side to help; Easing the burden of Max's weight off of Crystal's shoulders as Valerie used her free hand to grab her keys and unlock her car doors with a beep.
 

Cassette-Disk

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Crystal looked up as Saito walked away from the group. Asshat, she thought to herself. As if just 'calling Sackboy and Pepper' was going to be an easy feat. There was a reason her name was on the poster and not Cures. Though she was still piecing everything together, she had figured out enough to see that Cures' phone number was deleted from her phone. He was missing, and if they were going to fix things, they would need to start with finding him. Or rather, find Pepper. She was the smart one of the two. Crystal was so lost in her thoughts she didn't notice the new intruder pointing at the poster on the table.
"Whoa! Cool! You guys are in an investigation group at the school?" Max had picked up the slack as the Shadow fumed. Finding her True Self in the Other World would take priority. Assuming the real Crystal was still trapped and could be rescued, anyway. Crystal gripped her head in angry confusion. Was this Shadow World the same? Would her purple-eyed counterpart still be waiting? Why had Saito walked away? Wasn't that idiot supposed to make sure she didn't kill anyone while she was here? Crystal closed her yellow eyes before slamming the table with two closed fists as white noise filled her ears. Before she could make any comment, Max fell onto the floor, his face bleeding.
"I just saw some weird shit, and- hey, have any of you ever been in a blue room on a plane?"
"What the diddly are you talking about?" Crystal blurted out. "You better not be dying on us."
I think I might need some help here, Crystal. We should hurry and get Max checked into a hospital." Crystal was about to argue but held her tongue when she looked towards Anthony.
"Right. Hospital. No need to worry. Happens all the time. His head's like a faucet from hell. Or like a blood foun
tain." The trio hobbled their way out of the cafe, meeting up briefly with Saito. "Hey, weeb," she nodded towards him, "give us a hand. Killer here's had an accident." She gave up her spot to Saito.

---​

Charles squinted his eyes. The white haired woman was frozen in place. For the past few minutes she had stood staring into the cafe as people entered and exited. Throughout the entire ordeal with Star, the white haired woman didn't even flinch as a wave of people passed by her. It wasn't until a young man left the building did she move at all. The boy's hair was a mix of black and white, and his red eyes flared against the white snow surrounding him. The woman peered at him for a second before returning her attention back to the cafe interior.
"What's she looking for?" Charles whispered to himself as he hugged the red jeep for cover. He still couldn't remember everything that had happened in the Shift, but this woman seemed familiar to him. He could at least remember that she was powerful, maybe more than he was. Either way, she made him nervous. Three more left the cafe. It was then the woman moved. She followed them with her eyes as they passed her and made their way towards the Jeep Charles was hiding behind. Doing his best to seem like a passer-by, he started walking away from the vehicle, making a long half circle around the parking lot to reach the entrance of the cafe just as the woman walked towards the three youngsters. Charles' cane tapped loudly against the hard ground, making sure not to slip from all the frost. Just as Crystal let go of Max to let Saito take over, the white haired woman approached her. She said nothing, but stared at Crystal's deep yellow eyes. Crystal stared back and though anger was the first thing she felt, it was quickly replaced with shocked fear.
"...Pepper?" The woman's eyes were eerily similar to the missing android, though these eyes were filled with determination that shook Shadow Crystal. Pepper always frightened her, it was almost instinctual. Like a zebra running from a lion. But this...this was worse. It was as if the lion had a laser beam attached to its head.
"No." the woman's voice was completely monotone, yet very human-like. If Crystal had not met Pepper first and seen the circuitry in her eyes, she would have believed this woman to be human. "I'm from the Next Generation. And you are the root cause of this, Shadow." Without warning, the white haired woman fired a straight punch that connected with Crystal's cheek, sending her to the ground.

"Oh shit," Charles whispered to himself. "Oh no. No no no no." He took a step forward only to suddenly realize how little he could do. He couldn't let the white haired woman see him. Not yet. Charles looked into the cafe. Not too many people had noticed what had happened yet, especially since the place had emptied out for the most part. He knew things would escalate soon, however, and he placed his cane between the door handles to prevent the front door from opening. "I know it's a fire hazard, and I hope it doesn't cause a panic inside, but I can't let anyone near this fight. Even if all that separates them is tall glass windows." Reaching into his pocket, Charles pulled out his cell phone and tapped at it a few times before pointing it at Crystal and the white haired woman. At that moment, a high volume of cell phones connected themselves to his broadcast. "If you can see this," he spoke to the live stream video, "then you're a little important. I'm showing you this not to cause you fear, but to warn you of what's to come. You'll need to band together to learned and fight. I know it doesn't make any sense yet, but trust me. Jin, the Fool. Mavis, the Empress. Erin, the Hierophant. Chloe, the Lovers. Renn of the Justice. Yan of the Moon. Zoey of the Sun. Antony of the Aeon. Phoenix of the Judgment.
Xiùyīng of the World. Adam of the Sword. At the very least, I know you all are watching."
---​
"B-Back off!" Crystal cried as she stood to her feet. Charles turned the camera back just in time to see her wipe away at her cheek before throwing a swing of her own. The blow was blocked as the woman raised her arm against it, but the force was still enough to stagger her backwards. Taking the opportunity, Crystal ran forward and grabbed the woman's arm, clutching it as hard as she could with both hands. Using all the strength she could muster, Crystal threw the woman over Val's red jeep, where she skidded against the cold snow before resting to a stop at the empty field besides the cafe. Crystal raced towards her in rage, jumping straight at the woman with a jumping swing. The white haired woman rolled away at the last second, causing Crystal's swing to strike pure snow. Crystal shook her hand in pain as the woman stood. "Who are you?" Crystal asked as she reached into her pockets for her protective gloves.
"I'm from the Next Generation. There's been an anomaly in the stream of time and a Time Shift has occurred as a result. We tracked it here, and I was sent to restore the Shift. Perhaps it was a coincidence that I, in particular, was sent, or it might have been my masters' sense of humors, but my given name is Snow. And that is all you need to know before you face oblivion, Shadow."
Crystal only growled in response as she strapped her gloves on her hands. This woman--Snow--didn't know what she was talking about. How could she have possibly caused this...Time Shift thing?
"You're full of shit," Crystal called as her friends reached them. Without waiting to consult them, Crystal again lunged at Snow, fist first. Just as Crystal threw the punch, Snow caught her by the wrist and landed a harsh upper cut to Crystal's stomach, causing her to bend forward and spit out. Snow lifted the Shadow off the ground by the wrist with a grip so tight, Crystal nearly thought her hand had snapped off. The immense pain caused Crystal's mind to go blank as she clawed at Snow's iron grip with her free hand, kicking uselessly against the ground, gasping in torment the entire time.
"You three are Persona users, correct?" Snow asked Saito, Valerie, and Max. "Do you know who your friend her truly is? Has she told you how she is a Shadow? One that stole away the body of her True Self? And how she now plays at being human? What will you do now that you know the Truth? Will you stand with the Shadow, or correct this mistake?" Snow lifted Crystal higher off the ground, causing her to cry out once in pain.
 

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Saito doesn't really like the cold. He hated the ice. How numb he get if he is outside for too long. The days where the air hurts his face. The only part about snow he liked was pelting his siblings with snowballs when he was younger. Oh, and school closings.

Since he woke up, it felt like everything ever piled up in his head all at once. But the cool air helped clear his mind and accept the cold reality that is his situation. His attention was brought back by the door a familiar set of faces exiting the café with Max over the other two's shoulders.

Took 'em long enough. Feels like I've been out here for four months, he remarked.

As soon as she saw him, Crystal called out,
"Hey, weeb. Give us a hand. Killer here's had an accident."

Weeb? Saito thought in response to Crystal's call. He looked up slightly as he recalled, Been a while since I've been called that. He shrugged his shoulders and decided to take up Crystal's place in carrying Max to Valerie's Jeep.

When they opened the passenger door and sat Max down, Saito instructed, "Okay, kid, just sit up straight and tilt your head down slightly. Also pinch the soft part of your nose for ten minutes. I'm gonna get some ice."

Just as he turned to head back into the café, Saito almost jumped out of his skin as someone flew over the hood of the car.

"What the shit?!" Saito yelled. When he moved to ascertain the situation, the Shadow-possessed girl was already struggling in the iron-like grip of this new person with white hair. The latter then dropped the bomb of the truth that he and Crystal have been keeping from the others.

Shit! Saito cursed as his gloved hands moved to his coat pockets to get his clackers. Relieved to know that they are still in there, he looped his left middle finger into one of them.

What should I do? Should I bullshit my way out of this? No. She knows about our situation, powers, and the Shadows. Maybe even a way out of this. This is a chance to get some info out of her, Saito went over in his head. His eyes shifted to the golden-eyed girl and tacked on, But I don't want to sacrifice Crystal to do it. Dammit, Mom and Dad. Why didn't you teach me about hostage negotiations?

He watched the Shadow try to fight the robot girl off a little more before he resigned, Screw it.

His red orbs went back to Snow and he threatened, "If you know what's good for you, put her down now. Otherwise, things are gonna get messy for ya."

I say that, but I don't know what to do. She's obviously stronger than me and Crystal, he went over in his head. Wait. I have Ronin now. But can I summon him here?

With a sound of shattered glass reverberating in his mind, memories of last night resurfaced. He remembered when he was knocked out of the pond world into this one and how his Persona protected him from hitting a brick wall at full force.

I think I can. Albeit for a split second. If this works, that's all I'll need, he concluded. He felt an energy flood through him as he mentally prepared for battle. His right hand hovered over his hip as if to draw a pistol at high noon.
 

Just Dari

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Absent huh. Suspicious!

The captain was at the very least sour-faced. He couldn't hide some parts of the disappointment in his face as she spoke. Trying to warn him questioning her after their chance encounter, as she had just arrived in town to hiatus with her family. Admittedly it was my fault for not being a bit more specific with him, he'd ultimately gotten the autograph he was so desperately pressing for.

"Understandable Ms. Bennett, we have no further questions for you." the captain said as if downtrodden with disappointment.

He slid out from the other side of the desk and further went to serve as an escort for her. Class 2B was waiting just outside, they were the next class to interview.

"We'll have to get to know each other better at dinner Chloe...sorry about my boss!" I said nervously as he saw her out.

'I totally feel bad, she stumbled into the middle of us investigating two very important missing people.'

The captain strummed back to the table, and pat detective lane on the head.

"H-hey...C-captain! I'm not just some kid! A little respect please!"

He swooned, his face was bright red as he was humming one of Chloe's hit songs in serenade with the autograph he now held up to the fluorescent lights. One of the officers posted at the class window that veered into the faculty office seemed to cringe uncontrollably. I sighed, looking over the paperwork and testimonials again.

"The next class is ready captain and detective, we have some students absent today."

'Wait...absent from Class 2B?' I thought, 'Could they be...no, probably just coincidence...'

There was a strange feeling I got, one I actually dreaded remembering...it was phoenix hospital room, the windows being blown in. To top it off, i'd briefly met these two missing people...but they weren't missing...nothing made sense. Atop my own composure, I just had an endless barrage of questions. The principle then proceeded to provide us with the student files for class 2B, instantly my eyes widened as I recognized three of the people in the files.

"Something wrong Lane? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"Sir...some of these kids I saw...at the cafe with Ms. Bennett before I escorted her out. They just stood out to me because they look familiar I suppose."

I had to perfect lying eventually, that wasn't the reason. The reason it actually took me by surprise is that these students didn't make it to school. This behavior itself was already admittedly suspicious. They could potentially advance the investigation but, the question remained hinged on approaching them, or conducting my own side investigation. As I snapped out of my fixation, my attention zoned back to the first student we would be interviewing. I prepared myself mentally would look into it on my own time after we were done here.
 

Roxie1563

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Chloe stood outside of the school in the snowy weather, bemused at Erin's boss for being a fan of hers and smiling when Erin promised once more to come to dinner for a family meeting that would be intriguing. Tightening up the warm coat and adjusting her goggles to put down to keep snow and wind off her eyes and face, Chloe started to walk toward back home when her phone vibrated in her purse.

'That'd be either Dad or Mom wanting something while I'm out..' Chloe thought inwardly as she fished out her phone from her purse. What she thought was a message from her family turned out to be some sort of video and apparently the site where the video was thought to be on indicted that it was streaming live.

Curious, the actress watched on as it showed a woman holding what appeared to her to be a teenager and speaking to some other teens in the area; Unfortunately, the sound was rather lacking in speed which annoyed Chloe just a bit and so playing with the settings, she finally got the subtitles on as the video pulled back to reveal a man whom Chloe did not know but there was something about him that screamed 'important'.

The concern on his face terrified her yet it was genuine, for the man warned those who were watching and when Chloe heard her name being mentioned, the hairs on her arms and neck rose up as chills hit her and it wasn't the weather for a change.

Wondering about all this and having many questions as to how the man knew her name, but it'd have to wait as Chloe took the time to look at the background and immediately recognized the building to be the cafe she had been to and wistfully escorted out by Detective Lane. She didn't know if the people inside were all right; However, for some reason unknown to her, the other teens were her top concern.

'I feel like my heart is telling me to go and at least help out' Chloe thought, the video continuing on. 'At the same time, I have no idea why I'm being pulled into this when I wanted a break from all this!'

Then it hit her.

She must go to seek answers to her own questions that had been gnawing on her ever since her decision to take a hiatus from acting. With that in mind, Chloe firmly put her phone back inside her purse and readjusted everything from boots to goggles and her hood upon her head, the young lady stared straight ahead, took a deep breath to clear her mind and walked on.

The walking turned into a jog. The jog turned into a trot and eventually turned up into running as Chloe made her way through the snowy weather, the goal firmly inside her mind.

Within a few minutes from the school and into the main street, Chloe finally made it to where the cafe were located at and pulling her goggles up, the girl were hidden behind a car not too far where the teens were.

'Great, I'm here now.. What's the plan, girl?' Chloe pursed her lips as she wondered if she should appear to herself or wait for a cue.

Yeah, a cue is the best plan as Chloe peeked on.
 

Max

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"The blue room..." I muttered as Crystal passed me off to Saito and he and Valerie helped me take a seat in the car. Crystal didn't seem to have any idea what I was talking about when I first brought it up, and Valerie questioned me about it right after. "It's a weird place, I didn't know if you guys had seen it. It's-"

"Okay, kid, just sit up straight and tilt your head down slightly. Also pinch the soft part of your nose for ten minutes. I'm gonna get some ice." Saito said as he turned to head back into the café.

"Yeah, thanks," I said as I took his advice. My legs dangled out of the side of the jeep, the door open, as I sat in the passenger's seat and pinched my nose to stop the bleeding.

Before I knew it, a gust of wind lifted snow off the ground and into my face as I heard a loud whooshing noise pass over me. I released my nose to clear my field of vision and saw a raging Crystal running full speed towards me. She bypassed the jeep and I turned to look behind me through the driver's side window to find her take a swing and miss at a quick paced white-haired woman. The two were in battle with each other.

I climbed out of the jeep and slipped onto my ass, quickly scurrying my way back to my feet and making my way around the jeep towards the field Crystal and the white-haired woman were at. "What the hell is going on Crystal, who is she?!" I couldn't figure out just what the hell I must have missed in the few seconds I was with Saito getting in the car and taking care of my nosebleed. Out of nowhere this woman flies over my head and she and Crystal enter combat with each other.



"I'm from the Next Generation," the woman spoke to Crystal, "There's been an anomaly in the stream of time and a Time Shift has occurred as a result. We tracked it here, and I was sent to restore the Shift. Perhaps it was a coincidence that I, in particular, was sent, or it might have been my masters' sense of humors, but my given name is Snow. And that is all you need to know before you face oblivion, Shadow."

The white-haired woman, Snow, spoke of a Time Shift and immediately I knew she was about to try and rock our world. She referred to Crystal as 'Shadow,' and immediately things started to click in my mind.

"Crystal," I called to her, but she didn't seem to hear me. "Crystal!" I started running towards the two,
as fast as I could. I could hear footsteps right on my heels and I could only assume they were Valerie's and Saito's.


"You're full of shit!" Crystal yelled to Snow. Crystal attempted to carry out her attack and was caught in Snow's lock. Snow squeezed Crystal's wrist and Crystal flailed around trying to break free.


Crystal!" I called out one more time as I sprinted at them. As I approached I danced around Crystal's flailing body and threw a punch into Snow's chest. I immediately felt my knuckles crack under the cold and the woman barely budged. "What... are you?" At that I felt Crystal inadvertently fling one of her feet into my back causing me to keel forward,
and then snow blasted me in the face with a fierce unexplainable force from her palm that sent me flying backwards and landing in the snow next to Saito and Valerie.

"I- I don't think she's human," I whispered to the two.


"You three are Persona users, correct? Snow asked as she turned her gaze in our direction. "Do you know who your friend her truly is? Has she told you how she is a Shadow? One that stole away the body of her True Self? And how she now plays at being human? What will you do now that you know the Truth? Will you stand with the Shadow, or correct this mistake?"

"No, she's... She's like my other self..." I said in realization, thinking back to the fight we had with my shadow in the school and how he attempted to kill everybody. "Crystal, I don't understand..."

"If you know what's good for you, put her down now. Otherwise, things are gonna get messy for ya."
Saito said to the woman. Crystal screamed further in pain as Snow tightened her grip and lifted her further, and then I felt an intense presence come from beside me.

I looked over to see an intense look of concentration on Saito's face and a transparent aura started to form in the air behind him. It was rising above his head, almost as if it was anxious to be unleashed and just waiting on Saito's call.

"Ronin," I muttered to no one in particular as I recognized his form despite the transparency. It was at this that I assumed our personas must take a different form in our world. Perhaps they weren't as powerful on our side, which is why Ronin only appeared as something of a transparent silhouette of the persona we'd seen fight alongside Saito in the past,
but the fact that Saito was calling him here was an amazement all on its own.

"Saito, I'm not completely sure what we're capable of here," I whispered to him as I stared ahead at Snow and Crystal, bracing myself for what may be to come, "and I don't know if I can pull Pale Rider here, but whatever you do,
whatever you and Ronin do, I'll follow your lead."

I felt my shoes dig into the snow, readying myself for the next move.
 

KingdomKey

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It was like being caught dead center of an action packed movie full of explosions and shouting. Only it was punches being thrown and tufts of snow flying everywhere instead. Something Valerie thought she wouldn't of had to run into outside of the Shadow World. But here they were. Crystal dangling by her arm and being threaten in front of them all. Max mentioning something about a blue room mere minutes before. Snow declaring time shifts and outing Crystal. Saito ready to come to her rescue by summoning his persona. And Max ready to join in the fray along side him. Things were moving way too fast for Valerie to process and it was giving her a headache. Under different circumstances, Valerie would've went along with it, but she was tired. Oh so tired. And she didn't want to cause any more of a scene than they already were. Time shift world or not. They didn't need more people getting dragged into this.

"CAN EVERYBODY PLEASE CHILL FOR JUST ONE MINUTE?!" Valerie shouted, walking past Saito and Max to stand in front of Snow with her arms crossed. "Not everything needs to be solved in violence unless the precious snowflake here won't let Crystal go. So cool your jets, cause we barely recovered from the last fight we were in."

I probably shouldn't of bitten Max and Saito's heads off.

"I'm sorry guys, but we need all the information we can get from her, if we want to find a way home." Valerie said gently, hoping they would forgive her for her outburst.


"Don't mind me. It's not like I'm having my arm torn out of my socket right now." Crystal deadpanned, wincing a bit more in pain and continued to kick and flail around in Snow's grip.

"Shh, Shh, I'm getting to that." Valerie said with a small, grimacing smile. "Just hang in there while we talk."

"Oh the irony." Crystal deadpanned.

"You three are Persona users, correct? Snow asked as she turned her gaze in our direction. "Do you know who your friend her truly is? Has she told you how she is a Shadow? One that stole away the body of her True Self? And how she now plays at being human? What will you do now that you know the Truth? Will you stand with the Shadow, or correct this mistake?"


Valerie rolled her eyes and looked pointedly at Snow. "Crystal could be a freaking alien, a brain eating zombie, and we'd still let her into our group! I don't care if she's a Shadow! She hasn't tried to hurt us. In fact, she's risked her life as much as we have! And this thing isn't a mistake to be corrected!"

"I'm a thing now?" Crystal asked.

"Sorry, I didn't meant to call you a thing." Valerie ducked her a head a little in embarrassment and smiled apologetically. "You're Crystal. One of my friends. You may be a Shadow, but to me, you're still Crystal. You're a part of her just as much as she's a part of you."

Then not giving herself much time to think about it, Valerie walked straight up to Snow and held her ground as looked right up into her face. "If you know what's good for you, you'll let her go. We out number you. And unless you have a really good and convincing way of returning the real Crystal back to her body without harm... I suggest you let her go. I'm pretty sure the real Crystal would very much like to keep her body intact when she gets back."

I really hope this works. Talking out of my butt right now. And I really hope she doesn't take a swing at me, cause I might not get up if she's anything like Pepper.

As if Valerie lost her mind, she started poking Snow right in the chest with each question she fired off.
"And we may be Persona users, but why should we believe anything you say? Who is this master you speak of? And we've been with Crystal this whole time, since the very beginning. There's no evidence of her causing the time shift! We're just as clueless as you appear to be. What is the Next Generation?"
 
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Cassette-Disk

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Charles shivered against the cold. There was nothing he could do now. Besides making sure his message got out to the rest of the players, all he could do was watch with everyone else. White short hair. Light blue slacks and matching dress shirt. Grey, unflinching eyes. That woman was an oddity, no doubt about it. Charles leaned against the doorway to steady his hands as he continued to stream the happenings. How many would appear, if any? Should they even? It wasn't as if they would be able to do much in this situation. Besides the ones already out in that field, no one else had anything they could offer. Charles looked across the parking lot.
"Holy crap." Was that really her? Only one way to find out. Just as he was going to take a step towards the new woman who had appeared, he stopped. His leg hurt. The blistering cold only made the sting harsher as he put too much weight on it. Charles looked back at the door; he had jammed his cane in between the handles to stop anyone from rushing out of the cafe and into danger, but by the looks of things, it seemed as if everyone was going to stay where they were. Content with his reasoning, Charles pulled his cane away and used it to approach Chloe.

"Good morning," he called to her as if it was any another day. He kept his phone pointed at the field where the others were the entire time. "Star, right? You look taller in person. I'd shake your hand but I'm a little tied up." He shook his can for emphasis. "I know what you're thinking, but you can't help. Not yet. The best you'd be able to do is tell everyone how strong one person is, which would only really be a distraction. I'm Charles, by the way."
"Crystal!" A new voice cried out. A small brunette girl ran towards them and paused just besides Chloe and Charles. She was clearly out of breath and leaned forward, panting heavily. Her brown hair was straight and reached her shoulders, though it was unkempt. The new girl's pale face was red from the running she had done, but even then her freckles were in plain view as she looked up at the scene. "Crystal!" She repeated before taking another step forward. Charles halted her by placing his cane in her path.
"Friend of yours?" He asked Chloe. "Calm down, there's nothing we can do but the situation is under control. I promise. What's your name?" The girl fought with Charles' cane but was unable to push forward.

"Z-Zoey. I'm Zoey. And Crystal...! She's...sister. She's my older sister!" Zoey lied at the end. Charles looked at Chloe.
"Listen, for now you need to just sit tight. Crystal will be back soon, alright?"

---​
Sno held her ground as Crystal kicked and struggled against her grip. The Shadow's power was strong; Sno was only just able to keep her in check as she squeezed tightly against Crystal's wrist once more.
"If you know what's good for you, put her down now. Otherwise, things are gonna get messy for ya."
Snow peered at Saito. Already the Persona users rallied against her. She hadn't expect things to go so her way easily, but for them to instantly side with the Shadow? Had she really warped their minds so easily?
"You're threatening me? You barely even know how to summon your Persona?" While she was addressing Saito, Max took the initiative and struck Sno in the chest.
"What... are you?"
Before Sno could answer, Crystal's wild flailing caused her to inadvertently kick Max onto his knees. Taking the opportunity presented to her, Sno held her free hand near Max's face and let loose a flurry of energy. The icy blast was enough to blast him backwards and near the rest of his group. The already frozen atmosphere saw a frigid wind slowly creep past the plains. Sno let out a shallow breath as Crystal continued to try and pry herself away from Sno's iron grip. The blistering wind was the only sound as both Max and Saito steeled themselves. It was evident that a true fight was approaching. Sno held held her free arm away from her hand. Slowly, ice had begun to form around her wrist in uneven clusters.
"If the Shadow has already influenced you, then any attempts at reasoning won't be worth the effort." She held her now ice-encased arm in front of her, but before she was able to go through with her plans, someone interrupted her.

"CAN EVERYBODY PLEASE CHILL FOR JUST ONE MINUTE?! Valerie cried out as she calmly as she approached. Sno took this as a sign of Valerie agreeing to Sno's point of view. Unfortunately, she quickly realized this was not the case as Valerie held a quick conversation with the Shadow. How could this have happened? How could three Persona users so easily slide with a Shadow that had overtaken their friend? "If you know what's good for you, you'll let her go. We out number you. And unless you have a really good and convincing way of returning the real Crystal back to her body without harm... I suggest you let her go. I'm pretty sure the real Crystal would very much like to keep her body intact when she gets back." The ice around Sno's arm shattered loudly. Gone was the clumsy cluster of frost, replaced now by a single crystal blade that connected from her wrist and extended eight inches past her knuckles. Sno kicked at Valerie, more to push her back than to cause any real damage to her.
"That's the second time your group has said that." Sno's voice was slow and deliberate. Her even tone emphasized her point of view, and there was no doubt in her mind that she was in the right. "'If you know what's good for you.' But you three have it backwards. If you knew what was good for you, you wouldn't interfere. After all, what kind of people allow the monster that overtook their friend's body to sway them so easily? I was going to offer you another chance to do the right thing, but doing so would be a waste of time. You want answers? Too bad, I don't owe you any. In a few seconds the Shadow will be dead and you'll all wake up in your proper timeline. Everything will be as it was." Snow raised her weaponized arm above her head, ready to strike. "If you believe this is something you can stop me from doing, you're more than welcome to try." Without hesitation, she stabbed her arm at the helpless Crystal.
 

Just Dari

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Choice of Belief

I tapped the paper again with the list of questions, folding my leg over as I asked Allen the question he seemed to resist answer.

"Ok Allen...lets try one more time. Do you know absolutely anything about the whereabouts of Pepper or Cures?"

The poor teen seemed to fidget nervously in his chair and my sharp eyes were wincing at his diligent silence. I had to wonder what his childhood was like, maybe he went quiet under extreme stress or wasn't as vocal as other students. My boss just to the right of me had the most intimidating look on his face, watching Allen's expressions, he didn't even want to look at the captain.

"R-right...you can go now...please send Courtney in next."

Allen gave a swift nod, and as if we were in the middle of a relay race, he bolted nervously towards the door.

"Which number was that detective..?"

"8 out of 14 students present...so far none of them have been able to provide us with any information..."

I slumped backwards in my chair as the door opened and in entered the next person on our list. Courtney. Lifting myself up I looked at her and to my surprise there was a serious, yet fearful look she had. Typically speaking, my observations were sharp, never missed an important detail in any of the cases I worked, be it with my father or independently such as now. This was definitely a pivotal point, I was half-tempted to ignore the prepared script.

"Good morning, Courtney was it?" said the captain flipping through his note pad and student record at the same time. She gave a gracious nod, I simply observed.

"The reason your here is that we'd like to ask a few questions. Nix police department is currently conducting an investigation of two of your missing classmates." he provided their pictures on the table and Courtney studied them carefully with a change in expression, clearly identifying with both of them. The Captain spotted this and decided to pounce on the opportunity.

"You seem to recognize them, where were they last seen?"

She cleared her throat, "I last saw them at this cafe a few minutes away from the school. The students gossiped a lot about it, great cup of coffee, sometimes rumors about strange things happening around there after certain hours..."

"Strange things? Like what?" I couldn't resist the urge to ask questions outside of our pre-prepared list.

"They say sometimes the floors move...sometimes things are crawling under the tiles...sometimes it gets colder after certain hours, all rumors, I don't know if their true or not..."

"You kids today have the wildest imaginations." The captain said abruptly interrupting Courtney, thoroughly uninterested in fairy-tales. "Theres nothing haunting or Ghostly about Jin's hazelnut coffee, let alone the actual building. If you don't know anything about them aside from the fact they were last seen at this location, further adding rumors or unconfirmed information isn't helpful."

"Captain, if I may. We leave no stone left unturned, surely it has some rel-"

"Your instincts tend to disagree Lane. Granted you met some interesting people, but the building itself is as normal as your hat and gloves. What rubbish is there in a building being haunted, superstitious nonsense."

I could feel the somewhat harsh and daunting reprimand oozing off the captains rhetoric. He wasn't in the mood to be toyed with with tall tales people tell their children. I was admittedly curious, but I was young and also naive, naturally I wanted to believe the cafe had any correlation to some supernatural happening connecting the disappearances. Then the students that were absent would add to this conjecture respectively. It was a guess, it was a long shot I'd have to invest countless hours into trying to prove because true to form, Nix police, and the captain, were stubborn and slow to jump at a deeper investigation without expending their resources to do it.

"Thank you for input Miss Courtney. We'll see you out please send in Jeremy next."

With a nod, she removed herself from her seat and exited the room. I stroked my temple, admittedly getting an ulcer from all of this waiting around, picking at tiny bits of information, it was painfully slow the process, but my interest in the cafe, the missing kids, and this ghostly rumor was making me itch for some hand son investigating.

"Lane you're really worrying me with your inquisitiveness, pardon my misread for being naive, but a haunted cafe? That's not like you to give it so much attention, it even sounds ridiculous."

"Forgive me captain. This boredom and drought of information has even gotten me beside my usual rational decisiveness for some new information."

The captain simply shook his head, patting his paperwork of Jeremy as the boy came in next. They resumed their work post haste.
 

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As Saito focused on his plan of attack, Sno asked him about the legitimacy of his attempted intimidation. To that he answered, "Since you're holding my acquaintance there while barely explaining yourself, you're damn right I'm threatening you."

After his response, Max tried his hand at attacking Sno. And hurt said hand in the process, convincing Saito that he is a wimp. He then got kicked and blown back by Crystal and the android's follow-up attack respectively.

Max was quick to recover and offer his two cents about Sno. He then chimed in with an offer to help. Saito thought on this briefly and said lowly, "Alright. If you're up for it, follow my lead. Then distract her for a few seconds. I'll only have one shot at this."

He was about to execute his plan when Valerie stepped in between him, Max, and Sno.

What are you doing, stupid?! Saito wanted to shout at her before she yelled at everyone to stop. Which was followed by her berating everyone about immediately resorting to violence.

He refuted the girl's claims by saying, "Speak for yourself." Despite the fact that his muscles are still hurting from yesterday's activities. He also added, "Besides, I like violence. It's one of a few things I'm good at."

Valerie went up to the robot and gave her a stern talking-to. Despite his comments, Saito hoped that this would work. Sno's rebuttal was a kick that sent the freckled girl back then a threat at Crystal's life.

Well, so much for diplomacy. Aggressive negotiations it is! Saito thought as he rushed in and threw a pair of his clackers at Sno. One to hopefully shatter her ice blade. The other aimed at her head. Though either one could serve as a distraction to catch her off guard.

As he went ran by Valerie, he instructed lowly, "Help him distract her."

When he was close enough, he threw a kick at the hand holding Crystal in an attempt to make her let go. He then swung a set of clackers looped on a finger at her face followed by a kick aimed at the same place. He then turned around to try to take Crystal out of Sno's grasp and to a safe distance.

"You okay?" he asked the formally purple-eyed girl.
 

Story Keeper

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~- Disharmony -~

Dreaming, the darkness that had become familiar even penetrated here. It consumed the light no matter where the dreamer went. Even so, they took comfort in the darkness that was around them; having come to see it as an old time friend. It was almost as familiar to the dreamer as it was on them being watched, they could feel the shadows that were behind them. The dreamer knew what it meant, that they were being stalked again. Even so, they knew that the shadows wouldn't attack them. They would just stand back and watch them, like the shadows did every time they dreamed.

Was it because of the Persona that lurked in their mind?

You called, my host? the Persona purred, his voice coiling around the teen-aged fighter. Closing their eyes even in the dream, despite a part of them not liking the idea, they found themselves paying more attention to the persona.

You know you shouldn't distract me, especially with the shadows lurking around. The dreamer whispered, a slight shake in their mental voice. It earned them a snort of disgust from the Person at their fear; but how could the dreamer be blamed with the way the Persona sounded?

They couldn't be, could they....?

The dreamer had a feeling that the Persona didn't agree with them, based on the cold contempt that radiated from the Persona. It had the sensation of the dreamer being strangled, not that the dreamer could honestly say anything about it. The Persona wasn't going to listen to reason, not that it was anything new, the dreamer had gotten used to that type of attitude. The dreamer sensed the shift in the Shadows, sensed it as they decided to attack this time instead of standing back. Eyes snapping open, the dreamer called up the sword that their Persona preferred to use in combat.
Here they come.... The dreamer thought to themself.

Hmph, and? the Persona thought back.

The dreamer paled significantly at the disregard the Persona showed. The dreamer almost went to say something, only to be distracted by the first Shadow that pounced. The sword in their hand took the brunt of the attack, but they did feel the Shadow's claws graze their cheek. Wincing inwardly, they started to draw on the Persona's power just for added insurance when their body locked on them. Collapsing to the ground, the dreamer turned their mind full on to the Persona; fear and confusion clear in the dreamer's thoughts.

This body is mine, you don't call the shots, especially in battle. The Persona reprimanded, before it forcefully took control from the Dreamer.
 

Roxie1563

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Chloe nearly fell down onto the snowy ground when the man, Charles, approached her. She wasn't surprised to hear him ask the question that she always get asked: "You look taller on TV, Star!" and rising from her hiding spot while wiping off her bottom that was covered with snow, she gave a small smile as some sort of response to him.

"Actually, I'm only 5'5, so I'm short yet not tall," Chloe commented on as the man made sure he was streaming it live from his phone. "Although, I'm rather curious about this. You mentioned my name and I think I kinda deserve some answers, don't you think, sir?"

Of course, he didn't give out a direct answer but Chloe heeded his warnings that she won't do much beside get into trouble without some sort of help. Crossing her arms across her chest to keep herself warm, Chloe watched on for a moment or so when a girl suddenly got involved and asking about the girl named Crystal that Chloe submits to be the one being held hostage by the mysterious woman.

When Charles asked her if the girl was her friend, she gave a look to him that said 'no way' and beside, it wasn't even a full day for her since landing from the airport!

Rather than to get herself and the girl, Zoey in harm's way, Chloe decided to play the role of babysitter as she rubbed the girl's back while trying to calm her down. "Hey, she'll be fine.. I think those guys there will get her back and hopefully this will be over before you even know it," Chloe spoke to Zoey gently as she gave Charles a look that seems to say, 'When is this going to be over?!'

That's when she turned her focus on the gang, things broke out pretty fast as the boy seemly to manage to recover Zoey's friend away from the psycho woman while the others continued on. Or at least that's what Chloe thought to be happening as events moved fast.

Her thoughts at that moment was: 'Am I really going to stand aside while people are getting hurt?' as small thoughts drifted by.
 

Max

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As I agreed to follow Saito's lead and we turned to face Sno, Valerie started in trying to talk Sno down.
It was immediately apparent that Sno wasn't having it, and as she raised her arm up to rip Crystal from this world once and for all, it also became apparent that Saito wasn't having it either.

Saito rushed at Sno and threw a kick at her hand, following up with a couple of other quick strikes before snatching up Crystal.
As he began his retreat, I could see Sno quickly recovering and giving chase. My head pounded, and I was swept away to a blurry vision of the same place, the same snowy field, and Sno lunged forward and blasted Saito and Crystal with a burst of energy from behind.

Before the dust settled enough for me to see what was left of my two comrades, I snapped out of my vision and back to the now. The now that was about to become my vision. I sniffled and reached up to my nose to wipe away what I assumed was the snot of the cold only to see more blood on my hand now.

"God dammit..." I looked up and bolted towards the action. "SAITO! RUN! GET OUT OF THERE!"

I scrambled to intercept the blast that I was sure was coming. I thought back to the silhouette of Ronin that had appeared behind Saito, and wondered about our personas. "Can we summon them here in the real world?" I thought to myself.
Even though I didn't know exactly how it worked, I tried, I tried my damnedest to call Pale Rider to me as I sprinted at Sno.
I could see Saito saying something to Crystal as they fled, and Sno was only moments away from her striking point.

I was closing in, and then I saw it, I saw the silhouette of Pale Rider in the sky, a blurry transparent blob shaped like my persona, an eerie vision of looming death. "PALE RIDER!" I called, and I saw only but a fragment of his image materializing up above. I called again, about to collide with the Sno and Saito impact, "PALE RIDER!"

And at that I saw Pale Rider's scythe materialize in his hands, and he dropped it as he vanished from the air. Sno's hand prepared to blast as I leaped in the air and caught Pale Rider's scythe, his heavy, heavy scythe, and I rode it's weight straight down into Sno's arm, the blade hooking around it and the weight of my own body pulling it away in another direction. The blast was let loose on a shed that was off in the distance across the snowy field, avoiding hitting either Saito or Crystal. It was a close call, but I actually did it, I stopped the possible future that was the potential death of two of my friends.

Sno turned her gaze towards me and struck with the other hand. I blocked with the shaft of the scythe and she immediately followed up with a kick from below. I aimed to block it with my own foot and as her kick connected I pushed off and managed to put some distance between us.

"Sweet Jesus, do I really know what I'm doing?" I thought to myself as I tried to keep focus. The distance between the two of us didn't last long as snow began her unhumanlike sprint back in my direction, her godlike foot speed throwing mounds of snow through the air with each step. She jumped up and curled up into a tight ball as she front flipped through the air, and as her body unwound she threw out her leg to throw the heel of her kick directly at my face. I was quick to block with my scythe again, but the force of her kick made my knees drop as her weight and impact traveled through me right into the ground. She landed and delivered a round house kick towards my head, which was now at waist level with her,
and I managed to duck under and take a solid swing at her backside with my scythe, making my way back to my feet in the process and taking a couple steps back.

Sno reached back and brushed her fingers across the small puncture where my blade managed to enter, and she turned to face me. "That weapon you wield is not man-made," she said as she looked me up and down.
She glanced in the direction of the others as if just to see where each of us was and what was going on, most likely specifically Crystal, and then she turned and looked back at me.

"Pale Rider, I know you're with me, even if I can't call on your powers at the moment..."I gripped my scythe in both hands and tried to steel myself for whatever may come.
 

Just Dari

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Sick To My Stomach

Class 2-B was finished. After Courtney, it was pretty much the same spiel with every other student. None were particularly interested in anything around the students save for the run of the mill rumors. Only talking about Pepper and Cures whom were both rather obscure from the student's eyes up until their recent disappearances. Having only recently arrived in Nix myself, I couldn't honestly vouch for knowing either, I'm not even a registered student...at least I'd have no particular reason to be.

The captain had left the room to head down to the cafeteria for his "free meal" of sorts. I sat and pulled the files of the absent students from the same class as both Cures and Pepper that belonged to 2-B.

"Valerie Mason. Maxwell "Max" Morgan. Crystal Donn. Zoey Brunt. A much older student that didn't fit the group here in Nix." I said the names aloud to myself in the empty faculty office.

Pictures were necessitated to each record and file, sure enough these were the similar faces to the ones I saw this morning. Aside from here...even this morning, I felt as though I'd seen them somewhere before, but I vaguely remember where. I tapped the desk, I wasn't a fan of pressing the limits of my deductive abilities and start pushing "imaginary" scenarios around, the captain already said the ghost stories Courtney went on about were nonsense and he was probably right.

"I may need to go back to the cafe to put my suspicions to rest at as a minimal investment towards this investigation...first, I need to see Pepper and Cures lockers and homeroom desks for anything at all. Lockers are located by the front entrance on the first floor. Their desks are in Class 2-B."

Excusing myself from the faculty office, i left the files compiled neatly for the captain with a very studious note attached. Ultimately I suppose you could say I was just restless, eagerly wanting to see safe returns for the missing students to their parents. It was about lunch period, and some students did eat in the classrooms, others on the room, regulating my badge as necessary I peered along Cures desk. Curious, he had a picture of himself with the Cafe owner as well as a less than flattered face of Pepper in the image with him. His personal belongings didn't indicate any tampering, the rest were just extra school supplies such as pencils and composite paper with a textbook or two in there. Pepper's desk, when I checked it I could honestly say she was neat, no sign of tampering, nothing even remotely out of the ordinary here. There was a sticky note with a date on it that say "Cafe 4pm...(etc)" dated for the day of the disappearance. My eyes grew wide as I removed the note, and compared it to her handwriting and to that of Cures...neither matched.

Oh...shit.

I was more than a little freaked out and an eerie feeling that made me sick to my stomach started to race across my face as I looked even paler than normal. This unsavory taste of disgust was welling up inside my stomach and I had to quickly excuse myself from the room. I took a picture before I started to feel sick, rushing to the bathroom I froze in parallel fear.

Men|Women

Looking dead on at the bathrooms I had never been so confused in my life, on the verge of throwing up, but I was actually in conflict about what bathroom to use, are you kidding me?? I chose the unisexed bathroom in the middle and closed the door behind before hurling.
 
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KingdomKey

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Valerie let out a grunt at being kicked aside in the waist, skidding across the pavement and into a bunch of snow. That's going to leave a bruise later. As she shook off her pain, she caught sight of Sno's crystal blade extending from her knuckles and pointing threateningly at Crystal's face. It didn't take long for Valerie to realize Sno wasn't on board with keeping Crystal alive. In fact, Sno's refusal was the final nail in the coffin as all of the blood in Valerie's face instantly drained away, leaving her a sickly pale. Her eyes could only widen in horror with her body freezing into place. Nothing she said made a difference to stop Sno from taking Crystal's life. And she wouldn't be quick enough to stop it. No, no, this isn't happening! You can't do this! But the words stuck to the back of her throat as her eyes screwed shut to block out the deadly swing of the blade.

The sound of a familiar pair of clackers colliding into something, presumably Sno followed by running feet was enough for Valerie's eyes to shoot wide open
. "Help him distract her." Valerie didn't have time to say anything at the order given to her by Saito. Distract her? Distract her how? Valerie's eyes quickly scanned their surroundings for something, anything she could use to keep Sno at bay long enough for them to get out of there. There's barely anything here! Except for my car! Wait, that's it... THE CAR!

It was a stupid enough plan that it might just work. Valerie's hand closed tightly around her keys as she took off into a sprint, throwing the driver's side door open as she neared her jeep, and shoved the key into ignition with the door slamming shut behind her.


"SAITO! RUN! GET OUT OF THERE!"

oh sh*t!

It was a close call as Valerie's head whipped up just in time to see Max get in Sno's way with a scythe. Something she didn't expect to see at all, but it didn't matter. Not now. Not when her friends lives were on the line. The car roared to life as Valerie turned the key, pushed the handle into 'drive' and put down her foot down on the pedal; making the car swerve briefly in the snow before straightening out long enough to pick up speed. Her green eyes locking onto Sno as she put the gas to the pedal; the jeep picking up speed that she could only brace herself as she felt the impact of Sno hitting into the front wing of her car and hit the brakes.

Valerie rolled down the car window. "GET IN!"
She didn't want to think about whether or not she killed Sno. Or the damage done to her jeep.
 
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