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12-01-2011   #181 (permalink)
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"Most certainly, Ferre," Tiamat said with a slight nod, followed with a hopeful smile. "I do so wish to see Sandalphon again. I hope she is there and doing well..."

"Finir," she said with a turn on her heel toward her Retainer.

"Yes?"

"You and Nimi will stay here and continue your investigation of the disease. You still do have an investigation of your own here, and this would be a great opportunity to work with Anna."

"I-I guess it would, most certainly," Finir stuttered, looking back at his formerly hated rival with only a slight glance, "but I'm not sure she would want that..."

"Awww, how very considerate of you," Nimi chimed. The Dragonkin huffed aside at this remark.

"This does show you do consider her feelings, my Retainer," Tiamat stated with a warm complexion, "and that is an improvement of itself. But even if she does not want a friendship with you, that does not make you any less of associates in this investigation. A great Dragonkin always considers and evaluates his or her comrade's desires, feelings, and opinions, and relates or compromises with them. Do as she asks of you. If she doesn't ask, then ask what you may do for her to help with the investigation. Pull your own weight. I will ask her about you when we meet again."

"Yes, my Queen..." The Dragonkin bowed his head to her in acceptance of his task. On the inside, however, he was filled with anxiety. For him, this request seemed almost monumental in nature, that a mistake on his part in the investigation would be reported and prove fatal to his credibility. Or, he thought, trying to calm himself, he was going all about this the wrong way. That he was overthinking the difficulty of working on a friendship, regardless if it were Anna or not.

Nimi, on the other hand, seemed to know what was going on, and shook her head, but looked at Tiamat, who eyed her kindly to keep quiet about it, and let him learn on his own. Play along, the Queen's eyes said. Understood, Nimi's orbs responded.

"Good. I will be going to Azzarea with Zadkiel and Michael. Do what you can for Anna; after all, the both of you may need each other one day, and you will need to be strong for her as well as your other friends."

The Dragonkin merely nodded in response, and Tiamat gave him the most soothing stroke back from his forehead to the back of his neck.
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12-01-2011   #182 (permalink)
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Bianca blinked and took the mirror. Upon seeing the palm tree her eyes widened, "Wow! That's amazing! How did you make my hair into a palm tree so quickly, Rune?" She practically beamed in sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and hotwheels to the point it made you wonder if anything really made the angel angry or sad for long.

"Then that settles things. Me, Rune, Larietta, Mr. Purple and Mr. Blind will head for Da'at in Asgard. Finir, Drake, Anna will remain here. Tiamat, Zadkiel and Michael will head for Azzarea as Azazel records the mana. I will station two archangels here in the desert to aid you with the investigation."

OOC: idk what emilio is gonna do here pedo

---

Hours later; after the sun sets...

The three groups parted to do their respective missions earlier in the day. While the desert group was quick to start their investigations, they decided to take a break for the night. The group split up for a while to do their own thing, however now Drake looked for Anna. Now with everyone gone and no hectic crap distracting them he thought it'd be a good chance to finally sit down and chat with her about what's been doing down for the past years.

The incubus headed for the Asgard Embassy, where he was quick to find Anna doing nothing in particular. "Hey there," he greeted her with a smile, "Wanna chat for a while? We haven't really had a chance to talk one on one what with all the hectic crap that's happened these past few days."

---

The two archangels who were stationed in the desert that day sat in the tavern, chatting amongst each other as they ate dinner. They had helped with the investigation earlier and were now just chilling. Those two archangels were Maya and Romeo.

"I'm not so keen on this desert," Maya sighed, "Actually I'm not keen on the droughts in the worlds period."

"Well it's only natural, what with mana cut off from the worlds," Romeo said as he cut a piece of steak, "All we can do is help out."

Maya nodded, "Yes... You're right."

---

Da'at's grand library...

The group sent to Asgard were in the library now, looking through various texts Rune pointed them to. Lari did just as she said she would with multitasking and was studying both relevant material and a history of Asgard's magitechinology. Ferre was surrounded by tall piles of books and fell asleep in the middle of reading sometime earlier before being promptly awakened by one of the members of the group.

"All this reading reminds me how much I can not stand reading," Ferre groaned as he slammed the book in his hands shut and set it to the side. He reached for another thick text and began to read it, "It makes me want to sleep."

"You said you wanted to check the library out so we did just that," Lari pointed out as she made notes from one of the texts, "You're just going to have to suffer."

---

To the far north of the dusty desert town...

Tiamat, Bianca, and Michael travelled together to where the city of Azzarea once stood. There really wasn't much of anything there besides what you could call breadcrumbs of ruins left and palm trees. In the area stretched a river, however it was a small river at that. Perhaps that was attributed to the lack of mana in the world that was effecting many other areas in the worlds.

"I remember being here once many years ago," Michael knelt down next to the river, "It's vague, but it was during the great drought before the worlds were separated."

"How were they separated any ways? Ferre mentioned they used to be one," Bianca asked.

"Originally everything was going to be destroyed by a grand flood commenced by Diasee," Michael answered, "But seeing the Yggdrasil become a grand tree, it instead separated all the races in three worlds. Nephilim in Utgard, Fallen Angels in Asgard with the lesser Gods, and Humans in Midgard... At least, that is what Lucem Ferre told me."

In the distance echoed a faint melody which was almost haunting:

Fragments of the stars fall as if they were snow
I extend my hands to try and catch them all
Those silent wishes we whispered fill your entire being
In this world shrouded in shades of monochrome

The breaths I let out softly in little white clouds form the words I wished to convey
Without a doubt, with only their warmth, the sky has become just a bit brighter

When we fold our wings soaked with our sorrow, we overlap, and they turn to pure white
And become our courage, as we wade towards our futures

My heart bursts with joy as I await the dawn
Of this empty, secluded, forgotten world
As soon as I bring this light with me on my journey
A new "tomorrow" will begin!

Fragments of the stars fall as if they were snow
I extend my hands to try and catch them all
I will always believe in our wishes for eachother
Now everything has turned into a shade of monochrome


"That voice..." Michael stood, "A girl is singing..."

Bianca blinked, "It sounds familiar..."
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12-01-2011   #183 (permalink)
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Leaned back into a chair in the Asgard Embassy with her feet on a table, Anna, who was still in her succubus form, was semi-asleep and wearing sunglasses to hide that fact, when she heard a voice say:

"Hey there. Wanna chat for a while? We haven't really had a chance to talk one on one what with all the hectic crap that's happened these past few days."

In her surprise, she pulled her feet back quickly, causing the front legs of the chair to slam into the ground with a thud! She took off her sunglasses and looked up to see where the voice came from, only to see it was Drake. "Sure thing!" she excitedly replied, "After all, aside from these past few days, I haven't seen you since we trained together in Seoul."

---

"All this reading reminds me how much I can not stand reading. It makes me want to sleep."

"You said you wanted to check the library out so we did just that. You're just going to have to suffer."

"Don't distract the customer!" Rune stated, while cutting Ferre's hair, "If he turns his head he's going to wind up with a lopsided haircut, and that hasn't been a good look since the days of the piano key necktie."

"Anyway, you know," he started, "I mean, I guess it's cool that you wanted to come to the library or whatever, but you probably could've just asked me what it is you wanted to know. After researching Anna's situation all those years ago, I took the liberty of reading up on everything in here that I didn't already know."

"And besides," he continued, "I was alive and not under a rock during those fourteen thousand years that you were sleeping. We really could've saved the trip. But whatever, I'll let you read, I guess it's more exciting to find out for yourself."

Rune continued to snip away at Ferre's hair, and whispered to the man, "Did we really need 5 people to go to the library, anyway?"
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12-01-2011   #184 (permalink)
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"Well, then I guess I'll be going through these files while you two chat for the time being." Finir suddenly piped up from a corner where he sat at a small table rumagging through what seemed to be the files of the deceased.

"But really, there's gotta be something other than this that you have me do, Anna. I've been practically looking through these files while you slept!"

"Hey, she's had her nose in paperwork all day," Nimi said in Anna's defense, "This is the least you can do until she has the mental capacity to start up again."

"I didn't know that."

"Well, now you do." Nimi barked, "Back to work."

"Hey, you're helping, too!" Finir said, tugging at her lower body to his side, "If we both can get through this stuff, it be all the more quicker we go out on flight watch."

----------


"Oh, my goodness...!" There was a sudden spark of a shocked happiness that fixed Tiamat's expression. "It is...it is really her! That is her voice!" She flexed her ears in numerous directions trying to pinpoint the source of the song. Almost without warning, Tiamat started to her left, which led along the banks of the river in a desperate sprint.

"Sandalphon! Sandalphon!?" she called out as she ran. Frantically she stared about herself in the spot where she could've sworn the source of the singing was.

More passionately, she called.

"Shiri! Shiiirriii!! Please, show yourself! It is Tiamat! It is Tamar!"
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12-02-2011   #185 (permalink)
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As Tiamat called out for Sandalphon, a girl with flowing golden locks and skin as white as snow revealed herself as if out of thin air. Her flowing dress of pristine white flowed with the winds as scents of lavender brought with it nostalgia from the distant past. The golden haired girl smiled as she bowed before Tiamat, "I've been waiting, Tamar. It has been a long time since we last spoke." The girl was almost like a phantom; transparent. Just as Lucem Ferre and Metatron had in Niflheim, the girl took on a childish, human appearance rather then that of her true nature.

The two archangels caught up to Tiamat, but upon the sight of the final Seraph made Michael gasp. He looked from Sandalphon to Bianca and back; the pair were almost like mirrored images of one another save for hair and eye colour. "You must be... Sandalphon."

"Shiri?..." Bianca blinked, just as confused as Michael with the sight of the girl.

"I knew you would come here to look for me," Sandalphon, or rather Shiri spoke, "Things in the worlds are becoming very dire with the sublimation of Metatron, so I have come with a warning from the three worlds."

---

"They all volunteered," Ferre whispered back to Rune, "Let them have their fun." However Ferre was quick to jump to what Rune said prior to his question, "Wait a moment; you were alive!?" the Seraph was surprised, but he didn't jerk his head or anything. He didn't want a lopsided haircut after all.

"I've learned to not be surprised by this anymore," Lari looked up from her notes, "You're an angel, as human as you look.. apparently. Shouldn't this be normal to you?" She was being damn serious too. All of these demons and angels were several lifetimes older than she was and she still couldn't wrap her head around just how lively they were regardless of age, "Watch, he knew you before those fourteen thousand something years ago, too!"

---

"Sure thing!" Anna excitedly replied, "After all, aside from these past few days, I haven't seen you since we trained together in Seoul."

"Great," the incubus grinned, "Let's go for a bit of a walk then."

And soon enough, the duo was already out the door and walking through the streets of the desert town. It wasn't far too cold right away, yet cool and comfortable. Besides them, the streets were fairly empty as the townspeople were in their homes eating dinner and the like. While Drake wasn't particularly hungry as of this moment, he noted he should drop by the tavern later to grab a bite to eat. "So, what have you been up to since we trained together in Seoul?" He asked as he looked over at Anna.

---

"You do that," Romeo called out over to Finir, "If there's a single crease in the papers, we'll make you do it all over again." He said with a bit of a mischievous smirk.

"That's harsh," Maya laughed, "Oh, and if you slack for even a second we'll be sure to lecture you for a good hour."

"Haaaaarsh!" Romeo laughed out loud.
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12-02-2011   #186 (permalink)
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"Well, then I guess I'll be going through these files while you two chat for the time being."

...

"But really, there's gotta be something other than this that you have me do, Anna. I've been practically looking through these files while you slept!"


"Hey, she's had her nose in paperwork all day. This is the least you can do until she has the mental capacity to start up again."

"There's really nothing else I can have you do here anyway," Anna replied, "The case reports and social records are about all we have to go on, around here."

"If you really don't want to do it," she continued with a yawn, "I can just do it when we get back... I'm taking a break though, feels like I've been buried under papers for days."

And with that she headed out the door with Drake.

---

"So, what have you been up to since we trained together in Seoul?

"A lot of the same," Anna replied, "After that, I spent a long time in Japan, training in ninjutsu. I was actually a teacher there for a while... When I came back to visit Chokma, I actually got a job offer from someone in Bianca's camp. They needed someone to be security for an ambassador. God damned Nathaniel..."

"But I'm carrying on," she said with a look of realization on her face, "I see you've been working hard-ish yourself, how is Corny treating ya?"

---

"Wait a moment; you were alive!?"

"Of course I was alive," Rune responded, "We Cthulhi never die of old age. It's both a blessing and a curse."

"Watch, he knew you before those fourteen thousand something years ago, too!"

"I... don't want to answer that," he replied, "I don't want to make him feel bad for forgetting."

But saying that out loud, of course you're going to make him feel bad!
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12-02-2011   #187 (permalink)
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Emilio had work to do in Utgard (he had a completely different employer than the others). After delivering his thing to the doctor he returned to find the tavern was empty. With a few questions about the whereabouts of a big dragon fellow he was directed towards the Asgard embassy.

Emilio eventually found the Niimi and Finir.

"Hey everyone!" he greeted. "Did ya'll get started without me?"

His question was rhetorical of course and nobody was paying attention anyway. He ended up approaching Niimi and Finir as they bickered.

"Hey, you're helping, too!" Finir said, tugging at her lower body to his side, "If we both can get through this stuff, it be all the more quicker we go out on flight watch."

Emilio popped up between them, looking over Finir's shoulder at the text.

"If she helps, won't the books get wet?" he asked, concerned. "I can help though."
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12-02-2011   #188 (permalink)
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"You do that! If there's a single crease in the papers, we'll make you do it all over again."

Finir gave an unamused glance to Romeo.

"Oh, and if you slack for even a second we'll be sure to lecture you for a good hour."


"Haaaaarsh!"

"Is this why there's so few Archangels? These standards are impossible!"

"You wouldn't last as a recruit, Big Blue," The water elemental taunted. "You'd have your tail between your legs within the first ten minutes, I bet!" It was at that moment that Finir made a pouty face, extending his lower jaw outward as he clasped it within his claw, and flexed his tail between his legs. Nimi couldn't help but burst out in laughter at her master. For her, it meant that he was finally calming down and taking it easy.

"If she helps, won't the books get wet?" Emilio asked with concern.

"Oh, you, my misinformed angelic friend," Nimi teased, "I wouldn't be a very good Water Elemental if I couldn't control my own water content. I'm like on constant absorption mode! But yeah, the more help we have here, I'll wager we can get all of this done before those two reminiscing sex fiends get back!"

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

"I've been waiting, Tamar. It has been a long time since we last spoke."

"Too long...Far too long!" Tiamat said as she approached her long lost friend, "I have missed you so much!"

"I knew you would come here to look for me. Things in the worlds are becoming very dire with the sublimation of Metatron, so I have come with a warning from the three worlds."

Tiamat went from being on the verge of weeping to having a look of a perplexed curiosity.

"A warning? Pray, what do you mean, my friend?"
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12-02-2011   #189 (permalink)
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Shiri's features saddened as she spoke, "As Lucem Ferre suspects, the cosmos are becoming incredibly irregular. They're fluctuating at great rates that the command engraved in the tree's very nature by Metatron will soon give out. Metatron's soul itself still exists within the tree, but it will not be able to withstand withdrawing the cosmos for much longer. Diasee, too... It has been active as of late," Shiri's expression turned to a slightly angry one, "If we lose Metatron and the Yggdrasil is overloaded with the sudden cosmos flows..." Shiri trailed off her words, "... Tamar, the future truly is a cloudy one. Multiple endings lie in sight... Metatron reawakening, Lucem Ferre and Metatron's feelings for mankind becoming like those Diasee bears... All the Seraphim and Gods dying and the worlds crumbling due to the Yggdrasil wilting... And perhaps, the Paradise we all dreamed of when we were mortals."

Michael interjected, "The future is not set in stone. We can change it before things go downhill."

"That is correct," Shiri managed a weak smile, "... Tamar, I have been sealed many years ago by the Gods that remained after Diasee was put to rest. I think... With the many alliances Lucem Ferre has made and if Metatron and myself are reawakened, we may be able to reseal Diasee. Please, forward this message to Lucem Ferre."

---

"Corny's been whining like usual," Drake scoffed, "'Hey you, Locke's boy, get your act together!' or 'If only you were as determined as that Kagamiya character, how can you be so lazy?'. I've been doing his shit for years and quite honestly I'm already getting sick of it..." Drake blinked, then laughed, "Oh man, I almost went off into a full blown rant there. Well we can both say our employers kind of suck at this point."

---

"... Did we know each other in the past?" Ferre asked.

"Maybe he cut your hair in the distant past," Lari mused aloud, "Or was one of those annoying merchants you can't get off your tail."
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12-02-2011   #190 (permalink)
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Shiri's words engraved themselves into Tiamat's mind. The thought of Enoch's precious and lonesome soul within the Yggdrasil made her feel at her gut as if she were pregnant with a kicking baby; as if she were the Yggdrasil herself, with her increasingly vulnerable defenses being penetrated by bombardments of mana, while Enoch, with all his infant might, held up and maintained the still closing walls of her womb.

But what bothered her most was the possible futures: Ferre and Enoch? Turning resentful against what the three of them together had defended long ago? The clutches of death finally reaching for her and the other Gods' souls? The Yggdrasil wilting? The Paradise she had sought for - her salvation? All of this had perplexed the Dragon Goddess, and she shifted her claw from her stomach to her head, closing her eyes in anxiety.

Michael interjected, "The future is not set in stone. We can change it before things go downhill."

"That is correct...Tamar, I have been sealed many years ago by the Gods that remained after Diasee was put to rest. I think... With the many alliances Lucem Ferre has made and if Metatron and myself are reawakened, we may be able to reseal Diasee. Please, forward this message to Lucem Ferre."

"I will, on my life," Tiamat responded, a determination welling up within her spirit. A glint in her eyes signified this phenomenon. "With this, we may be able to set our plans in motion." The Dragon Goddess frowned with concern. "But what will you do in the meantime, Shiri? Can you not come with us?"
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12-03-2011   #191 (permalink)
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Emilio nodded at Niimi.

"That's pretty cool. You know, I can kinda do that with darkness too, thanks to this," he tapped his silver earring.

He went over and sat in a nearby chair at the table and pulled piles of papers over to him.

"So, what should I be keeping an eye out for?" he asked, shuffling through them carefully. He didn't want Romeo to fuss at him.
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12-03-2011   #192 (permalink)
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"Corny's been whining like usual. 'Hey you, Locke's boy, get your act together!' or 'If only you were as determined as that Kagamiya character, how can you be so lazy?'. I've been doing his shit for years and quite honestly I'm already getting sick of it... Oh man, I almost went off into a full blown rant there. Well we can both say our employers kind of suck at this point."

"Heh, no kidding," Anna replied, "If I knew I was going to be doing paperwork, I wouldn't have minded. It's more the fact that I've just been stuck with it that bugs me. And come on," she groaned, "Even my dad threw me under the bus, just to score some points with Bianca... You know how they say, 'You don't know what you've got until it's gone'? Well, with dad it's like the opposite. I didn't know how good life was until he came back."

With that, Anna let out a yawn and stretched. She took Drake by the arm and laid her head on his shoulder as the two continued walking.

---

"Haaaaa--," Rune started to sneeze, "HARUMPH! Ugh... Feels like someone is talking shit about me."

"... Did we know each other in the past?"

"Maybe he cut your hair in the distant past. Or was one of those annoying merchants you can't get off your tail."

"Yeah," he responded, "I actually used to make and sell Chinese-style pottery. Does that help you figure it out?"
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"We are investigating the death of Mr. Vaughn, and the appearance of his formerly deceased aunt," Finir replied to Emilio's inquiry. "I'm going to see soon enough if she is out and about, and I will ask for her assistance. If she does not cooperate, I will apprehend her and bring her in myself. Unless those Cubi see her out there first," Finir leaned back in the weight-supported chair, putting his foot claws on the edge of the table. "It'll save me the trouble of working a double role."

"Double role or no," Nimi chastised, rummaging through the pile of papers, "Every second counts. We need to find that file. Or book, whatever!"
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12-03-2011   #194 (permalink)
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Emilio nodded and rifled through the records.

"So the autopsy report is already in the public records... or are we looking for any little thing?" Emilio asked, scanning the pages. "We should probably look up the aunt too. Unless you already did. It'd be nice to know some background information before confronting her after all. In my experience with the formally deceased they sometimes need their memories jogged."
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"Unfortunately I cannot go with you," Shiri turned away from Tiamat, "As I said, I have been sealed away by the Gods. All you see before you is merely a projection, and even then... I must monitor the activity in the three worlds." Shiri then turned back to Tiamat and began chanting. The melody an old one that sounded almost nostalgic; the tune was short and as she sung a ball of faint pink light was weaved by the mana present in the air;

Breaking off from those countless blissful dreams...

When each of us were born with a shining light
The star that watched over us sang to us

The vow of the sacrificial birds of fate
Cross over the fortold destinies of the people

Our three joined voices will be the key to destroying darkness...


The ball of light began to take a physical shape, and morphed into a small wooden instrument. An ancient flute made from wood, to be precise. The object floated right into Tiamat's hands and felt warm to the touch. "Give this to Ferre, but only if he is close to the Yggdrasil. Otherwise, it's effects will not be executed properly."

---

"Ancient Chinese pot salesmen... Now I believe I know who you are..." Ferre scowled, "... Now I regret remembering..." The Seraph flipped through the pages of his book until he eventually stopped, "This is..."

"Did you find something?" Lari looked up from what she was doing.

"... Perhaps," Ferre brought the book a bit closer to his face as he read the ancient text, "Father give me the Bull of Heaven, so he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling. If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven, I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld. I will smash the doorposts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living!... That sounds a bit similar to what we are dealing with."

Larietta then said, "I think I also found something; Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouth. On that day a large-scale panic from the Lord will spread among them. One person will grab the hand of another, and one will attack the other. The dead who rise don't have rotting flesh, though."

"This is annoying..." Ferre pouted, "Okay Rune, tell us about what epidemics like what we are dealing with currently."

---

Drake was a tad surprised by Anna's actions, but didn't push her away or anything of the sort. Instead he wrapped his arm around her shoulder as they walked on through the silence of the streets of that town. The redhead smiled a bit; she was clearly tired from all the paper work she'd been doing for the past while. At least now Finir and Nimi were at it and--

At the next turn of the street stood a woman aged at around sixty years old or so. Drake stopped walking, which probably brought Anna to a stop as well. The woman appeared human, but her deathly pale skin which seemed almost translucent and her shining gold eyes proved otherwise. Her whole form was dirtied by desert sands and dried blood, which made the incubus feel a tad uneasy. From behind footsteps from another character sounded, and came to a stop. With a quick glance over his shoulder, Drake muttered "F*ck..." under his breath.

The one who was behind the duo was the old tavern keep himself: Vaughn. With skin as pale and translucent as the woman herself and eyes like gold, he stood there with a large axe in hand. Vaughn then spoke, however his voice rumbled as if there was another voice paired with it; and it seemed strangely familiar, "And that's as far as you go."

---

Maya and Romeo were speaking amongst each other again before they just halted to a complete stop. They looked to the east, then back at each other before both standing from their seats and heading for the door. Maya was the first to speak, "These auras..."

"They're human, but at the same time..."

"Perhaps this is what we seek," Maya reached for the handle to the door as Romeo stretched his arms.
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12-03-2011   #196 (permalink)
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"This is annoying... Okay Rune, tell us about what epidemics like what we are dealing with currently."

"Well," Rune sighed, "As far as historical epidemics... There's the various outbreaks of the bubonic plague in ancient Rome, Palestine, and across Europe and Asia... But those left people dead, not as zombies..." he continued, "Hmmm... There was a worldwide outbreak of zombies in Midgard... They handled it fairly well in Britain. After eliminating most of the threat, the remainder of the zombies were actually captured, and eventually added to the workforce. And without a means to reproduce or feed, all those zombies eventually died out anyway."

"They didn't handle it so well in Japan, though," he added, "I was a substitute teacher at a high school at the time. Zombies attacked through the front gate, eventually overtaking the school. As the days went on," Rune continued, "They overtook all of Japan... I wonder what ever happened to those kids, anyway... Ah! I'm rambling..."

---

Anna's heart warmed when Drake wrapped his arm around her, and the two continued to stroll through the desert town. For a while anyway. Soon enough, they came across an old woman at a street corner. At a distance Anna thought nothing of it, but as they got closer, both she and Drake stopped in their tracks. The woman was dirty and bloodied, and reeked of death. Sure enough, another form approached them from behind. When Drake checked over his shoulder and muttered "F*ck," Anna didn't even need to bother checking.

Sure enough, old man Vaughn stood behind them, axe in hand. The man spoke, saying, "And that's as far as you go."

"Well, Drake," Anna groaned with a stretch, "It looks like I'll be able to show you my training firsthand."

With that, she reached to the ground and grabbed some sand, throwing it into Vaughn's face, before making use of her kung fu training and first punching the axe in the handle, effectively knocking the axe head off, and then performing a spinning back heel kick directly into the side of Vaughn's head.

"I assume we should be fighting them, right?"
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"...Aha!!" Nimi piped up from a pile of papers. "I've found their files! I've found their files!"

"Ah, good!" Finir said with a satisfied smirk, "set them here and we'll--" In an instant, the azure dragon's arm jerked in a different direction, and flailed horridly toward a random spot on the wall, cringing its claw. The jerk was so strong that it made his arm hurt at the sudden movement. His arm, as it flailed, started to light up violently with sparking cyan streaks running along its scaled surface, all leading to the back of his left claw. At this part of his claw was the shining, sparking emblem of Ploshast - that same symmetrical date palm found largely engraved at the top of Tiamat's staff.

"G-guh!? What the--?!" Finir forced his controllable claw toward the wrist of the rampant other, forcing it low to the floor. The emblem itself was pulsating violently, and with each pulse, the emblem lit up even moreso.

"Holy smokes, what's wrong with your claw?!" Nimi said, dropping the documents from where she floated.

"I don't know! I don't know!" The azure dragon said in a panicked voice. The arm overpowered his other, forcing him to stand up as it reached out straight forward to what seemed to be beyond the wall it tried to lunge at. That's when a thought occurred to Finir.

He recalled back to the fighting in the Garden of Eden. The gargantuan Yggdrasil. The enemy Gods and their ruthless abandon. Frigga shooting him in the chest. The bloodied water. And finally, his punch to Odin's jaw. Yes, he thought, this was the same sparking that had happened before when that butterfly dusted itself from the force of his punch...

Did this...did Tiamat give him some sort of power that day? And was this it? What had happened before that moment, before the punch was delivered and the butterfly smashed?

"You hurt him...You hurt me!"

...That's right! Drake was in danger at that point because Odin nearly impaled him through the stomach with Gungnirr. It was then that the butterfly had gotten in the way of his punch he threw at Odin...And that's when the sparking happened. Which meant one thing...

"...Drake and Anna are in danger." Finir said, the control in his left arm finally returned, he trudged straight for the door. "Nimi! We need to get a move on now!"

"Y-yeah, but what makes you thi--?"

"Come on!" The azure dragon nearly roared, "No questions! Just follow me!" The azure dragon burst forth through the embassy front doors and launched himself into flight. Nimi, knowing she couldn't keep up, made a desperate grasp for her master's mane and held on for dear life as he tore through the sky, letting the intensity of his sparking arm determine how close he was to his endangered friends...

"I can't loose them. Not this soon, not today!"

-----------

Letting the emblem upon the back of his left claw guide him, Finir eventually came upon his friends, who seemed to be...facing off with some elderly woman and...Vaughn!? Widening his eyes, Finir wished it weren't true; that tortured soul of Vaughn was upon the living, seemingly ready to take the lives of both Drake and Anna. Finir would not have this. With a glare, the Dragonkin took a nosedive toward the sandy space between Drake and the translucent old hag.

"Drake! Anna!" He called forth from above as he descended.

With a Thud!, The azure dragon landed heavily with a good kick of sand spraying into the air. Finir was on all fours, hissing his fiercest with an intensity that matched the brightness of his sparking arm, with Nimi giving off the sound of a raspberry from her nonexistent mouth.

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

Tiamat examined the flute, and moved it around as if weighing its oaken frame. She then finally slipped it between her breasts (HurrHurr!) and bowed to Shiri's image once more.

"I will make sure your message and this flute will reach Ferre at the right moments, my friend."

Tiamat looked onto her old friend with a frowning expression, and clasped her claws together in front of her waist.

"...In due time we will reunite...will we? We will be together again, Shiri?"
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"...Aha!!" Nimi piped up from a pile of papers. "I've found their files! I've found their files!"

"Oh wow, that was quick," Emilio noted, putting down his stack.

"Ah, good!" Finir said with a satisfied smirk.

Suddenly the dragonkin's arm started going out of control. Emilio stood up, backing away from his companion who was struggling to get control over his arm.

"G-guh!? What the--?!" Finir forced his controllable claw toward the wrist of the rampant other, forcing it low to the floor. The emblem itself was pulsating violently, and with each pulse, the emblem lit up even moreso.

"Holy smokes, what's wrong with your claw?!" Nimi said, dropping the documents from where she floated.

"That's what I wanna know!" Emilio chimed in. "Does it hurt?"

"...Drake and Anna are in danger." Finir said, the control in his left arm finally returned, he trudged straight for the door. "Nimi! We need to get a move on now!"

"Y-yeah, but what makes you thi--?"

"Come on!" The azure dragon nearly roared, "No questions! Just follow me!"

Niimi and Finir went running out of the embassy and Emilio sat blinking, stunned for a bit before yelling.

"Wait for me!"

And following. He took off into the air after them, catching up in no time.

"That's quite the masochistic tracking device," he noted, with a slight smirk.

Finir didn't reply and Emilio found out soon enough that Finir's arm was right. Drake and Anna were both being attacked by who he assumed to be Vaughn and his aunt?

"Well, I guess you'll be getting your interview sooner than you thought, huh?"

While Finir landed near Drake Emilio hovered above them, forming a few bolts of light in his hands and flinging them down on a Vaughn right after Anna delivered a kick to his head.
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As Anna slammed her heel into the back of the old tavern keep's head, it was like hitting a brick wall. His hand quickly shot out and caught her by the ankle, quickly twisting around and slamming her form into the ground, then sharply spinning to throw her at Emilio who hovered overhead. The man didn't seem phased in the slightest nor did he seem to take any real damage from the attacks. If anything, it seemed like he absorbed all the blows and simply became stronger! And that's just weird in it's on rite.

Meanwhile as Finir landed before the group Drake was already being harassed by the old hag! Her hands became terrifying lady claws of death that Drake was constantly avoiding. At some point he ducked just in time to avoid getting sliced (?), leading to a mailbox behind him getting cleanly cut in two. With a whistle from Vaughn, more undead flooded the streets as Drake finally drive the old hag into the ground with an axe kick just in time to quickly step back to avoid a myriad of throwing knives from above. Soon enough, the undead began to fall from the skies and literally dog pile Finir and Drake! Maya and Romeo quickly got to the scene but were instantly mobbed by the undead!

---

Shiri gave Tiamat a friendly smile, "If fortune favours it, my friend. Now go; hurry back to that small desert town. Your loyal Retainer and his companions are currently being attacked by the undead."

"What!? Really!?" Bianca gasped.

"The timing is too perfect," Michael sighed.

---

"Huh..." Ferre blinked, "I see."

"You know," Lari began as she closed the book in her hands, "It feels like we're missing something rather important. Like, vital to this whole journey mission thing important."
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There was a very unpleasant stir within Tiamat's spirit, and she seemed to flinch at it. She shifted her free hand fast to her butterfly pendant. She observed it for a moment and caught a flash in its shimmer for a moment. And yet another flash. Until the glass gave way and was engulfed by a cyan light, burning and sparking intensely.

"...My son? His arm, it's--" She seemed excited at first about this form change in her pendant, but it suddenly became a look of a shocked horror followed with a speechlessness.


"If fortune favours it, my friend. Now go; hurry back to that small desert town. Your loyal Retainer and his companions are currently being attacked by the undead."





"M-My cub!" Tiamat shouted in urgency. "...They need our assistance at once!"

"What!? Really!?"

"Come!" Tiamat nearly roared, "No questions! Make haste with me!"

"The timing is too perfect."

The Dragon Goddess made no delay in taking to the skies with her concern for Finir and his comrades' safety. However, if that runic arm burned and sparked as brightly as her own magic, she knew that then was a good time for Finir to use it in the defense of his comrades...


----------

"Finir, above!" Nimi alerted with a gasp.

Almost out of reflex, Finir turned his runic left arm toward the descending knives and deflected the few aimed for him away with his equally shining and sparking claws. With each hit, the sparks seemed to spread out and fly, as if a blacksmith were hammering away at superheated steel to refine a blade. He never knew he could do that! Or rather, he still couldn't himself if his life depended on it. But this power - whatever it was - it helped him immensely with his reflexes. What else could this possibly do?

However, he couldn't help but be overwhelmed by descending heavy bodies of dead meat smothering both him and Drake. The azure dragon roared and even bit back, but the skin was so hard, even for his fists against this hoard! They even went as far as grabbing hold of his wings and tail, while knocking him to the ground. Nimi herself tried to make them back away with scalding jets of hot water, but with no luck. She escaped the clutches of the undead in the pile and watched in horror.

But as his situation became more dire, the runes and emblem along his left arm seemed to get stronger...

"...Get off..." The azure dragon bellowed, as he watched his friend being slowly overtaken by the undead. Finir's body tensed up as he started to push with his backside upward against the weight.

"Get...OFF!!!"

Psssshshhhhhshsssssshhhhhhhhrrrrr!

An explosion of energy erupted from Finir's left fist as it sparked intently within his clinched claw. At that moment, he started to throw punches into the magnitude of the undead that pinned him down with that arm. Every collision was like seeing a firework. As he kept doing this, the undead overtook his body once more, with Nimi at a total loss at what to do.

Finir knew he couldn't keep it up. With a desperate roar bursting forth from his pipes, he hoped that Tiamat would come to his rescue on time...
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