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Fantasy Just a day at camp

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure


"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
For as long as men walked the Earth, its ambitions have soared higher and higher. But for however much may have been desired, there were always limitations. Boundaries that simply couldn't be crossed by a normal human being. The thoughts of firing laser beams from one's hands, to swim through concrete as though it were water, or to be born looking like a horror show. Mere fiction thought of just to entertain the feeble masses. If someone actually thought, they could spread their arms and fly through the air with the birds and planes? They'd either play it off as a joke, be a small child engaging in make believe, or having lost their mind altogether.

Or at least that's what the world at large wanted humanity to think.

For centuries, since the primordial man drew his first breaths, humans have been subjected to a still currently unexplained phenomena known as 'Gifts.' Abilities ranging from physical mutations to being able to bend the elements to one will be at an Indvidual's fingertips or claws depending on what their 'blessing' gave them at birth. Such a discovery would have changed the world as it's perceived today. Sending a man to the moon? Why go through the hassle of building a shuttle when he could fly to the moon and be back in time for dinner? Why not have him visit every inch of the Solar System while he was at it? Cold War tensions getting hot in a proxy country? Send in one of your Gifted behind the scenes and wreak havoc on the enemy forces, completely demolish them and leave not even the slightest shred of hope of staging a successful counterattack. Such things may have been obvious and for many in high positions in some of the Great Powers both in Europe and abroad surely considered them.

But it could never come to pass. The mere existence of Gifted beings was locked away. In certain countries even potentially hinting that you may have some kind of strange ability, even if it was something as mundane and relatively 'useless' as being able to shoot your eyeballs out of your head and manuever them like a snail using it's eyestalks would have you hauled away to a 'special clinic' where you were disappeared to a hazardous party of the state where you'd surely die either from starvation or the elements. Or you were just killed altogether, perhaps your family as well. However dangerous things may have gotten during the Cold War between the captailist USA and the communist USSR, there was an unspoken agreement between the two and their respective allies.

The general public learning of the existence of Gifts and the majority who possessed them would be an unmitigated disaster. A man or woman with the strength to demolish fortresses with a mere punch, to throw tanks as though they were matchbox cars, could simply walk right into the White House or the Kremlin and murder everyone present and take control of the country with a cabal of fellow Gifted. So, society as a whole clamped down on the secret. Those not in the know or Gifted themselves, a minority given that most Gifted knew as such at the moment of their birth would not be made aware of them and those who were Gifted? They'd be pressured to keep their abilities to themselves and ONLY themselves, lest they meet with an accident and when you had not just your government but every government against you? Many Gifted were reluctant to ever speak up or stand out from the crowd and for the most part that's remained true into the 21st century.

Though while both countries agreed not to use Gifted against eachother, that didn't stop them from trying to pluck Gifted from the other's territory whenever it suited them. Such was the case with Camp Hopeful, a secret military base posing as a traditional American summer camp, where Gifted of many ages from the oldest being 17 and the youngest ranging from 12 and possibly even lower than that depending on whatever may have been kept hush-hush from prying eyes. Taken from their countries or in some cases even from cities in the United States proper, the children were raised in an environment that the government, at least at the time of the base's conception in the late 1940s, would have felt placating. Who didn't enjoy the wild outdoors after all??? Teenagers from all walks of life roamed through the campgrounds, some debating escape even if they knew it'd probably be futile, others debating how much sex they'd get that night, and so on.

Something different was on the mind of one 'camper.' Having been dumped by a fellow camper that he'd taken a relative shine to upon her 'arrival' in camp, he'd gone out of his way to procure himself a rather torn up looking bouquet. Made up of roses that he'd taken from another camper who's Gift allowed her to manipulate/control plant life. Instead of being properly held or maintained, they'd been thrown into what looked like a simple bag from the camp's convenience store with the straps of said plastic bag tied around the roses to both hold them in place and to keep the bag shut. Walking along the trail with the soles of his worn-out red sneakers plodding against the searingly hot blacktop, the teen was decked out in a style that looked like it'd been plucked out of a 1990s boy magazine and, truthfully, it probably was. Black jeans with tears at the knees, a loose fitting plaid jacket with dark fingerless gloves, a plain white t-shirt, and a red baseball cap sitting atop his hair, flipped backwards for extra coolness. Typical looking attire for a teenage boy behind on the decade by just a wee bit. Only this wasn't a run of the mill teenage boy with thoughts of trying to rekindle a shattered relationship on his mind.

The boy's eyes glowed yellow like a flashlight on full blast. No pupils or irises to be seen. Just those glowers staring straight ahead. The tufts of hair that poked out on the sides and back of his hat looked like they'd been smothered and patted down with the greasiest of hair gel, a sticky black residue slathered all over his head. The same residue seemed to cover the youth from head to toe, hiding away his ears, and drawing more than a little attention to his face. Which at some point his former flame had liked. He couldn't say the same for his folks.

Fuckers. Wished he'd killed them himself.

But, no, the camp's 'chief' had that honor.

"Grr...." His lower jaw shifted as a low growl rumbled out. He'd had something of an underbite, some of the other kids called it like an angler fish. Never to his face though. They didn't want to know what he'd do if he ever heard them. Teeth sharp enough to make a great white jealous poked out even when he attempted to close his mouth. The saliva glistened on them like morning dew on the leaves and grass. He was what higher educated people who were 'in the know' called an 'Elemental-type Gifted.' He'd been born looking like a tar monster. Fangs, glowing eyes, oily composition, all of it. Right from the word go. Or in his own words 'the universe decided to have him be born hideous.' Coming to a stop outside the designated shower hall for the girls from Cabin #0002, he shifted in place while holding the roses behind his back. Reaching into the pocket of his jeans, he pulled out a Walkman. He'd been told by some of the staff that they were 'like Ipods before Ipods.' Whatever an iPod was anyway. He'd been able to take it off another kid he'd assaulted and had managed to get a hold of some songs from the camp's marketplace. As long as you worked your ass off/did what was asked of you, getting your hands on certain things wasn't too difficult. He opened up the Walkman, slipped in a cassette and started it up. Without the headphones plugged in, the music played aloud. Hopefully at such a volume that the girls inside the shower could hear it.

Obviously, the girls inside the shower were, well, showering. As was the purpose of the building they were currently in. Well, that and a little bit of friendly gossping/giving eachother a little bit of grief. Friendly, mean-spirited, or otherwise. One of the girls looked as though she walked off the set of 'The Mummy' as she leaned against one of the walls, unwrapping the bandages around her gangly limbs, each spot the bandages left revealing disgustingly infected looking blisters and gashes. "C...Can someone help me shampoo my hair when I get the rest of the bandages off? When I activate my Gift, I'm gonna be too doped up on adrenaline to feel if I'm getting all my hair covered or not. I...I don't wanna end up with dandruff..."

"Dandruff??? You look like one big fucking zit and you're worried about dead skin in your hair, Tessa?? You LOOK like dead skin! Warmed over!" Another girl mocked as she stood under one of the showerheads, running her hands through her long flowing redhair. It stretched down to the small of her back and truth be told, she was kinda proud of it. Even if it was all just how she liked to imagine how she'd look if she'd gotten a different Gift. The reality was that like the erstwhile Romeo outside, she was an elemental, a fire one at that. Which meant that normally the idea of taking showers fucking made her want to gag. But if she didn't do it then whenever she put her 'glamour' on as the staff bigwigs liked to call it, she'd smell like a shithouse. Whatever those smelled like, she didn't know half the time lacking a nose and all in her natural state. Mouth too for that matter. Thus, one of the brightsides, in going about her day to day routine meant being able to actually talk shit USING a mouth and not telepathy! "Oh leave her alone, Christine..." A girl with horn like protrusions jutting out from all over the sides and tops of her head scolded to which Christine promptly flipped her off.

"You're fine, Tessa. I'll help you in a second, ok? Just..." Closing her eyes, the horned girl closed her insectoid like eyes and two of the smaller horns on the top of her head began to rattle like windchimes in a heavy storm. "TESSA, WAIT!!" The girl screamed to which the mummyfied girl nearly jumped out of the shower. "W-What??? What did you see, El??"

"You were gonna grab the AXE conditoner instead of your usual one...."

"Hey! One of your predictions ended up being worth a damn, El!" Christine claimed, reaching over and grabbing the red bottle from where it stood on a small shelf next to Tessa. "Saved mummy girl's ass. Don't anybody touch this stuff. I had to do all kinds of fuckin chores to get my hands on this from the market." El crossed her arms and huffed. "Isn't that stuff usually for guys, Christine? Something you wanna tell us?"

"That I like smelling good? You got an issue with the kind of shampoo I use, take it and ram it up your box. S'not my fault half of you got bad taste. El has it in shampoo and Mei has it in men. Hehehe..." Christine chortled, turning away from the others as she started to lather her hair. Both Tessa and El glared at their cabinmate for that last remark. It was one thing to tease Tessa, she was used to it for better or for worse. But the breakup between Mei and her boyfriend hadn't escaped being turned into gossip and rumors around the place. Some people claimed that he'd broken up with HER, or got her knocked up, or tried to anyway. Whatever the circumstances actually were, neither girl saw it as any of their business. Whatever happened between their fellow Gifted and the guy was her problem. One of the other girls in the shower had been very quiet. Glancing over at Mei while working the conditioner into her snowwhite colored hair, the girl ran a hand over her chest and her skin parted to allow her sternum to poke out as she tapped on it.


("Christine's just being a bitch, don't worry about it. You did the right thing dumping Black Ink. Guy's a waste of space.")

Although the skull-like features on her face may have made the girl look somewhat unapproachable, she flashed one of her only friends in the camp a warm smile before reaching out and patting her on the back. Before everyone could just get back to cleaning themselves, Tessa blinked while in the middle of unwrapping the bandages around her head, revealing bits and pieces of her brightly colored blue hair and scars across her cheek and neck. Deep ones that looked like they'd been dug in like a crevice. "...Does anyone else hear that music?"

"...Yeah, Tessa's right. I can hear it too..."

"Oh for christ's sake, I fuckin hate doin this and some jagoff's gotta stand out there blaring their shitty music?? Sounds like something my gramps would have listened to! SHADDUP OUT THERE!!!" Christine bellowed, her red eyes flashing yellow for a moment before returning to normal.

"Meiiiiiiiii. I know you're in thereeeeeeeee. Come ouuuuuuuut! I got something for you!"

"UUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHH. Can't the guy take a hint???" El asked before closing her eyes and activating her gift once again. "....Nope. Doesn't seem like he can." Christine rolled her eyes. "Great. Well, Mei, you or someone go out there and tell Ink to piss off or I'm gonna take that discman of his and STICK IT UP HIS ASS!!!!"


("I think it's called a Walkman, Christine.")

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just do something about it before I do." Christine warned as she tried to sound out the music as best as she could. The skull-faced girl gently held Mei's hand before taking another look at her friend. "Want us to go out there, Mei? You don't have to if you don't wanna. We'd understand." El offered, imagining that it'd probably be awkward for her cabin mate to wanna go encounter the very same guy that she'd just broken up with. But she was also sure that nobody wanted Christine blowing a gasket and risking burning the whole place down just to get him to piss off.


Mei glared at Christine, an orange colored haze appearing around the hands that were rubbing shampoo into her hair, before sighing and turning away again.

Nobody, and especially not Christine, would ever let this mistake of hers go, would they? It sure was great that on top of being kidnapped and brought here, she'd been deceived by the creepiest piece of shit in the whole camp. If it wasn't for Tessa, she probably would've given Christine a piece of her mind. She was glad that she made the smarter decision of ignoring her, even if it required the help of a friend to do it.

Before she could respond properly however, the problem in question made an appearance. Now with...a walkman. Great, just what she needed. Why did she ever believe anything that tarred up asshole had to say? Flicking back some of her shoulder length brown hair, she shook her head at El's offer.

"It's alright. If he wants to see me so bad, I've got something for him too."

Wrapping her body up in a white towel, Mei stormed out of the showers with clenched fists. Honestly, even though she could have gone without ever seeing him again ever, there were quite a few things she wanted to say to him. Especially since there was basically no chance he'd just leave her alone, if this was anything to base that on. Mei wasn't the type to shout like Christine, but she'd by lying if she said she didn't share the same sentiment in this case. She wanted nothing to do with him. She wanted to tell him to piss off. And most of all, she had a better idea than Christine did to deal with him.

Without a word, Mei quickly rushed forward to slam her wet right fist square into Black Ink's face as soon as she saw him outside the showers.​


"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
"It's alright. If he wants to see me so bad, I've got something for him too."
Christine couldn't help but laugh.

"Hey, make sure you give him a punch for each of us, huh? Maybe a kick to the nuts if you're feeling up for it."

Although both Christine and Black Ink were elementals, there wasn't wasn't any lost love between the two. Whereas Black Ink was utterly disgusted with how he looked and refused to wear a glamour to hide it, Christine wore hers because every now and again it felt good to sit and smell beautiful scents, taste food. Made you feel more connected to the world around you. Of course, given that said world amounted to the range of this 'camp' and the immediate borders, there would likely be sometimes where you got tired of smelling campfires and tasting whatever slop they put together in the commissary or mess hall.

Seeing someone get their shit pushed in though? Never gets old.

"Just be careful, Mei..." Tessa pleaded before watching as her fellow Gifted preserved her dignity and walked for the exit.

.....It didn't take long before Tessa, El, and Izzy were all situated by the door, wrapped up in towels of their own, as they tried to watch the proceedings in silence. Christine simply continued washing her hair. As satisfying as it may have been to watch Mei beat her ex's ass, listening to it while she tended to her own business was just as good.

Wrapping her body up in a white towel, Mei stormed out of the showers with clenched fists. Honestly, even though she could have gone without ever seeing him again ever, there were quite a few things she wanted to say to him. Especially since there was basically no chance he'd just leave her alone, if this was anything to base that on. Mei wasn't the type to shout like Christine, but she'd by lying if she said she didn't share the same sentiment in this case. She wanted nothing to do with him. She wanted to tell him to piss off. And most of all, she had a better idea than Christine did to deal with him.

For a moment, Black Ink had wondered if he'd broken the device somehow. Surely, she could hear the song he'd picked out just for her! Not to mention his beautiful voice calling out to her! So, what the hell was taking her so damn long!?


Ah. There she was, the diamond in the rough. The one thing that'd made time here less shitty than usual. Black Ink's eyes glinted and he gave a smile that stretched from ear to ear. "Mei! I'm so happy to see you again! I....I know last time we kinda walked away on the wrong foot. What with the whole 'I'm breaking up with you' stuff. Tensions were high and some things were said! But it's not too late to take it back! I...I am a very firm believer in second chances and I think this is the PERFECT opportunity for one! We can put all that ugliness behind us-"

"How??? You got much so ugly you'd need a bulldozer to move it!" El called out from the door.

"Y-Yeah! You're.....You look......bad!" Tessa followed up as she then smiled at El and Izzy. "We got him didn't we, girls??"

Both Izzy and El looked at each other and then back at Tessa.


(How about we just let El handle the insults, ok?)

"Okay..." Tessa agreed, though a bit dejectedly.

Black Ink wasn't amused with the chiming in. Baring his fangs, Mei could see his skin beginning to bubble and boil. As though he were going to literally explode into a gooey mess at any moment if he was further provoked. "If I need any comments from the peanut gallery..." He opened his mouth and looked past Mei and at the other girls. His jaw unhinging as he screeched at them.
"I'LL FUCKIN ASK FOR EM! OTHERWISE, SHUT THE FUCK UP!" His snake-like tongue lashed around before he closed his mouth and exhaled, doing his darndest to try and relax. "Sorry, sorry. I know they're your friends. I've been working on my anger, did you know that? I came back because I want things to work..." He turned off the walkman and slipped it into one of his jean pockets.

"Hey, I bet you won't believe what I got you. I know you'll love it." Pulling the bag out from behind his back, he held it out. All the jostling around had cracked the rose's stem and so it was left hanging limply as Black Ink handed over what was essentially a broken rose in a tied up grocery bag. The best of gifts.

"So...what do you say?"

Without a word, Mei quickly rushed forward to slam her wet right fist square into Black Ink's face as soon as she saw him outside the showers.
It wasn't as though she moved too fast for him to see. He could react to her movements just fine.

That wasn't the issue, not at all.

Normally, elementals were difficult to fight let alone touch. Although at the end of the day they still had flesh, organs, even bones, that helped keep them in one piece like everyone else. They simply couldn't be touched to reach said vulnerabilities. Attempt to punch Christine? Burn your hand. Try to kick Zeke? Break your foot and get frostbite. Try to cold cock Black Ink in the face? His head would split right down the middle and your fist would hit nothing but goop as he reformed and retaliated.

That was unless you met his condition. The counter to his element. Water countered fire, fire countered ice and what countered tar? Liquid though water worked the best. It solidified Black Ink's otherwise viscous body and allowed an opponent to put their hands on him. This was the weakness that plagued elementals though many like Zeke and Christine had and were still working to train against their condition, Black Ink lagged behind.

Which meant this was going to land and it was going to hurt.

The rose landed on the ground, petals falling off the head, as Mei felt her fist make impact with his face. One of his many fangs bent and cracked under the pressure applied to his jaw and as his head started to fall back, his body followed as he was thrown back. Back skidding across the ground and his baseball cap twirling in the air above the space that Black Ink had previously occupied before being punched. When he eventually came to a stop, he was splayed out with his amrs and legs spread apart. His hat fell down with a audible plop. On the ground at Mei's feet, she'd see something white and curved. A closer inspection would have revealed that it'd been one of Black Ink's teeth. Razor sharp and durable enough to bite through most who got in his way. Just struggled to eat a good punch.

"Grrrrrrrrr......" Black Ink's chest could be seen rumbling and quivering through the ripples on his shirt. Pushing himself up into a seated position, Mei could see a trail of blood running down from two little slits on Black Ink's face where a nose would be. "I do all this for you. I get you flowers, music, and you punch me? You. Punch. Me??!" Hopping back up to his feet, Mei could see that in the span of a few seconds, Black Ink's frame had seemingly bulked up a bit, his upper half seeming more 'beefy' than it had been just seconds prior. Opening and closing his mouth at a rapid pace, it looked as though Black Ink was calling in air to literally 'puff himself up.' "How COULD you??!"


"Oh, don't even start," Mei scoffed, turning partially away from him to give him a side-eye. She had to admit she felt a little bad for taking out a tooth. If it were basically anyone else, she'd have apologized right then and there. But this annoying guy was a different matter altogether.

"You stalk me to the showers, blast some music I never asked for, yell at my friends, and mock me with a bargain bin flower. Yeah, you were right, I can't believe what you brought me. Or I guess I can, since it's you. Consider it lucky you haven't been punched again. Yet."

Still holding her towel in place with her left hand, she raised her right fist towards the grounded Black Ink. She knew he didn't exactly have a normal sense of...well, anything really, but now she didn't care. That was his problem to solve. All she wanted to do now was get him off her case. Though clearly, just telling him to stop and that she was done with him was not working.

"Honestly I was going to hit you again, but...I think I did enough," she said with a softer voice, lowering her fist and eyeing Black Ink's knocked out tooth for a moment. "Just leave me alone, and find some other girls' cabin to stalk and lie to."

Then, as if in reaction to Black Ink's bulking up, Mei's own Gift flared up for a moment. Her now lowered fist began to glow orange more vibrantly than usual. A hazy form of a dragon could nearly be seen moving around her entire arm, as if it were alive and chained to her. Her usually tied up hair was currently down, and it began to move around a bit as if there were a wind blowing by, accompanied by the faint sound of a roaring dragon.

"If I hear anything other than agreement, or you try to move forward from there though, I will not hesitate. It was not 'I'm breaking up with you stuff'. I already broke up with you. We're done."

After glaring at Black Ink for a bit, Mei's Gift seemed to deactivate. Her arm returned to normal, and her hair was still once again. Deciding to give Black Ink at least a small token of good will, she trusted he would actually listen to her for once and turned around to head back into the showers.​


"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
Then, as if in reaction to Black Ink's bulking up, Mei's own Gift flared up for a moment. Her now lowered fist began to glow orange more vibrantly than usual. A hazy form of a dragon could nearly be seen moving around her entire arm, as if it were alive and chained to her. Her usually tied up hair was currently down, and it began to move around a bit as if there were a wind blowing by, accompanied by the faint sound of a roaring dragon.

"If I hear anything other than agreement, or you try to move forward from there though, I will not hesitate. It was not 'I'm breaking up with you stuff'. I already broke up with you. We're done."

After glaring at Black Ink for a bit, Mei's Gift seemed to deactivate. Her arm returned to normal, and her hair was still once again. Deciding to give Black Ink at least a small token of good will, she trusted he would actually listen to her for once and turned around to head back into the showers.


Black Ink watched as she turned and began walking away from him.

El and Tessa smiled as Mei returned back to the showers. "You did great, Mei! You really socked that-that creep! Maybe it'll teach him a lesson!" The bandaged up gifted exclaimed as she finally finished unwrapping the bandages around her head. The sight was less than desirable. Her left eye was completely bruised over, the eyelids having swollen to the size of oranges and the scarring on the right side of her face was horrendous. Strips of flesh torn away like fresh bacon revealing glimpses of bone here and there. All while her visible eye shined brightly with a red glimmer to it like all Gifted of her 'class' did. "Yeah, you really showed him, Mei. Good job." El proclaimed, reaching out to pat her friend on the back again. Living here sucked enough, they didn't need toxic relationships weighing them down.

Christine merely scoffed and turned off the water as she stepped away from standing under the showerhead to get herself a towel. All the while with each step she took, bits of skin seemed to flake off her person. Falling off with such frequency until by the end enough skin had fallen around Christine's person that it looked like the absolute worst case of dandruff. Her body was nude but any traces of water on her person dissipated or burned off into trails of steam. Just like Black Ink outside, she was an elemental herself and while her body still retained it's rather stocky humanoid-ish frame, her natural state was engulfed in bright orange flames from head to toe, even the flowing mane of hair running down her back were nothing but flames. Her yellow eyes narrowed as she opened up her locker and moved to grab her clothes out of them. A black t-shirt and a purple hoodie to slip on and over and dark blue jeans with rips at the knees and boots that stretched up to under her knees, really giving off major punk vibes. One might have thought it odd that the fabric didn't burn up the second Christine ran a hand over them but during her time at the 'camp', she'd managed to gain some level of fine control over her Gift's ability. Enough to be able to touch things without burning them unless she desired to.

<"Yeah, yeah. But did he actually LEAVE? Or am I still gonna have to go out there and get lover boy to actually fuck off?"> Christine 'asked' though with the lack of a mouth, it was more a mental message sent across the minds of all those present in the showers. El rubbed at her horns. No matter how long she knew Christine, getting used to a 'voice in your head' was never going to be easy. <"You still see him out there, Izzy?">

Izzy was the only one out of Mei's cabin mates who didn't seem either annoyed or jubilated at Mei's telling off of her ex. Instead, she seemed more concerned. Not taking her eyes off the entrance of the showers, she quickly signed to her friends.


(I don't think he's leaving. I think he's pissed.)

Tessa and El both peeked back out after they'd stepped back previously upon Black Ink screeching at them. The teenager had picked himself up from where he'd fallen after Mei's punch and his body didn't seem any less bulked up. His eyes stared straight ahead on the entrance to the showers, as though they were locked on like heat seeking missiles. The wet squishing of his hands balling up reached the girls ears and made El wince in disgust. Tessa had seen and heard worse everytime she looked in a mirror, so she continued to watch in growing fear.

"I didn't say I was done with you....."

The ground under Black Ink's shoes began to rumble.

*rrrrrrrrumble rrrrrrrrrrumble*

"I SAID I'm not DONE WITH YOU YEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!! RRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAGHHHHHHH!!!!" The ground began to split apart and tar seeped out from the cracks, covering the ground it covered and crunching it up as though it were being mulched up and consumed. Like a poor dinosaur or ancient mammal that'd got itself stuck in one of the many tar pits littering the Earth in the prehistoric age.


*[Paint It Black]: a sub-ability of Black Ink's primary Gift/the one that gave him his 'unique' look which Reinhard and some of the other staff in charge of the operation beyond Camp Hopeful branded [Fade to Black]. When activated, Black Ink floods the area around him with tar, which proceeds to consume anything it touches like an amorphous blob. The mass is then fed back to Black Ink who grows larger and larger. Moisture from simply getting your hands wet or a water bottle isn't enough to harm Black Ink if he gains enough mass as he will simply absorb the moisture and consume it for energy. As far as anyone knows he's never eaten another person using [Paint It Black] though rumors certainly persist...*

The tar continued to spread across the ground, on a beeline for the shower and the girls inside it. Tessa and El shrieked and climbed atop the benches situated near the lockers. Tessa's own Gift [Walk like an Egyptian] wouldn't do her much good if she was ground up like beef and swallowed and El needed time to focus her telekinesis and being on the verge of potentially being eaten alive by a peer, albeit a creepy one, wasn't the right kind of vibe. Izzy pressed her left hand to the floor and protrusions resembling rib bones erupted from the floor, shattering the tiles or sending them flying to stem the tide of tar streaking her way at least. Christine merely flicked her wrist and the tar came to a dead halt at the little ball of fire that Christine had lobbed it's way. Having eaten up a significant portion of the ground, Black Ink's t-shirt looked to be on the verge of tearing as he'd grown at least another foot and his upper torso seemed comically large, similar to that of the 90s superhero comics that they sold down at the Marketplace. "If I can't have you by my side?? Then I'll just have to take you INSIDE!!"

"My my, what is going on here?"

Black Ink's eyes shot wide open. Izzy thought they were going to burst like two overcooked eggs. The teenager trembled and began to shake violently. The tar had come within inches of Mei and the other girls but went still, not even a twitch among any of the spreading wave of death and gluttony. Izzy's rib shield receded back into the ground, disappearing as it went and the girl stood up, swallowing as she glanced at the new arrival on the scene. Though new to all this chaos, he may have been, the man wasn't a stranger. Not to any of these youth. They recognized the whispy slicked back blonde hair, the icy blue eyes, and the sunken in cheek bones. It may have been considered rude or ill-mannered but it wouldn't have been far enough to compare the man to looking like Death itself. Or at least an incarnation of it that humanity understood. A tall, lanky figure, with pale skin, and dead eyes. Standing by and inspiring feelings of fear, uneasiness, and tension among those in it's presence.

The sound of leather on leather crinkled and writhed as the man clasped his gloved hands together. A dark brown 'members only' jacket and black slacks ending in brown Oxford shoes with the laces all tightened up and not a speck or blemish of dirt or grime anywhere on them. The tar didn't even seem to go anywhere near the man, instead it receded as he stepped forward. As though it were afraid of him.

Christine's fire ball went out as she crossed her arms over her chest. <"Great. He's here.">

"L-Look at Black Ink, you guys. He's shaking like a tea leaf...." Tessa pointed out and though it was obvious, it wasn't as though she or any of the other girls barring Christine perhaps could blame him. For the man who'd inspired such a reaction of the monsterous looking youth was the same one who'd brought them all here. Through either bloodshed or exchanging of money, they'd been taken from the homes they'd known and left here. Under his supervision and the authority of those subservient to him.

"Ink? Did you not hear me?" The man asked again, the German accent in his voice lacing every word like a trail of arsenic. The tar conjured up by [PAINT IT BLACK] continued to pull back and Black Ink started to shrink, growing smaller and smaller. Until he was around 5'7 or so, a whole two feet shorter than he'd been when he'd first come to try and win Mei back. His fangs grinded against each other and he flinched as the man placed a gloved hand on his shoulder.

"What is going on here, hm?"

"n-nothing, mr. henderson. I....I..."

" 'I' what? What were you doing? It looked as though you were using your Gift against these girls. Was that the case?"

Black Ink froze and didn't speak another word. Not releasing his grip on Ink's shoulder, the man looked towards the showers. "Ah, Mei! Could you tell me what happened here?"

Mei was face to face with not only the fellow teen who'd broken her heart after filling it with lies. But also, the man who'd taken her from halfway across the world and had spilled so much blood in the process. He called himself 'Reinhard Henderson', a simple commander in the United States Army and overseer of Camp Hopeful but she and the other children knew him as something else, something more accurate to what he truly inhabited: a monster.


Mei just nodded with a small smile as the other girls welcomed her back. She honestly wasn't sure just how well things would go from what she'd done, but at the very least she sure hoped she'd shown him that she was serious. Black Ink wasn't really the type to take to being told what to do, but he was at least aware of both what she could do and the fact she knew his counter. From a logical perspective, there was no real reason he should be pursuing her further. Or at least, that was what she thought.

As Black Ink began to shout and activate his Gift, Mei clenched her fists. "You try to be nice just one more time..." she muttered before a thin, pink haze began to appear around her feet. Mei's own Gift, 「Ghost Assassin」, manifested her mental images as projection of a form of energy. The more powerful the image, the more powerful the energy. Inversely, the weaker the image, the weaker the energy. Due to this, actually useful projections of energy were somewhat limited. In fact, if it hadn't been for her parents' teachings, her Gift may have been more or less useless. Strong mental images were not an easy thing to create, hence the usually hazy, misty, and even ghost-like quality to the energy she created. But when she had a serious image in mind, the energy was more powerful than its appearance would imply.

She pulled both of her fists back to her hips and breathed in. With an exhale, she stomped the ground and thrust her hands forward, opening them into palms at the same time. The wispy energy moved forwards from her foot to block the encroaching tar. Despite its appearance, it acted as a rather solid wall wherever it spread, preventing the movement of the tar in her area of the showers. She extended it to the benches Tessa and El were now standing on, for their peace of mind if nothing else.

"Oh just shut up alread-"

Mei's response was cut off by the appearance of someone new. Someone who commanded fear from everyone in the camp. That included Black Ink, as well as Mei. In fact, it had been this man that Black Ink used to leverage Mei into their relationship in the first place. It was this man, Reinhard who had ruined the quiet life she once resented back home across the ocean, and brought her to this terrible place.

Much like the other activated Gifts, Mei's immediately dissipated, much like the haze it resembled. She stumbled back a bit, despite the sturdy stance she had been in until just a moment ago, and caught herself against a locker. Biting her upper lip, she stared at the man as he questioned Black Ink. Honestly, she didn't even really notice Christine's voice in her head this time, or Tessa's comment. The only things she could feel in his presence were fear and anger.

And based on what she knew about him, it would be more wise to act on the former than the latter. So when Reinhard actually looked at her and spoke to her, it took a couple moments for it to register.

"...Ah, oh, um, yeah. Wh-what you said. That...was the case."

Mei replied with an uncharacteristically shaky voice, though she did her best to not let anything else show how she felt about this man.​


"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
"...Ah, oh, um, yeah. Wh-what you said. That...was the case."

Mei replied with an uncharacteristically shaky voice, though she did her best to not let anything else show how she felt about this man.
If Reinhard seemed unconvinced by Mei's response, it didn't show outwardly at least.

"Ah, I see I see. A young lover spurned. Trying to win back his beloved? Hahahaha, boys will be boys as the saying goes!" Reinhard laughed as he pulled Black Ink in closer and knelt down so his head was behind Black Ink's own. If Mei and the other girls looked, they'd see his fingers digging into Ink's shoulder, something that shouldn't have been possible unless his condition was met. Anything else would have slipped or oozed right through the teenager's viscious body. "Normally, I'm not shy about letting you children stretch the abilities that you've been granted! They're Gifts after all! What's the point of having them if you can't use them? But, Ink, there is a time and place for everything...."


"mhh....." Ink didn't reply, instead choosing to continue whimpering like a beaten down dog. A country mile's worth of difference from the agitated brute that'd come stomping down to retrieve Mei, whether she wanted to resume being his girlfriend or not! "Look at the property damage you've caused, Ink." Although the percentage of kids, who'd been brought to the base by whatever means the US government and Reinhard deemed appropriate for the individual, caring about the structural integrity and property values of the base was very miniscule, if non-existent to begin with. Many fights barely escalated beyond shoving matches because while Reinhard certainly didn't mind a bit of roughhousing, he wasn't the one footing the bill for the upkeep for the establishment. His bosses were and they were being funded by the taxpayers of this beautiful country. Thus it needed to be spent for the 'right' reasons and taking money out of his designated budget to repair a flowerbed that'd been trampled on or burned to cinders or frozen over wasn't going to be looked upon positively by Reinhard's superiors.

Ink had only kept [PAINT IT BLACK] active for a very short time, a few seconds at best, but the damage had been done. The ground that the tar had slithered across was tore up as the tar had 'consumed' the concrete and had eaten away at some of the ceramic tiles in the shower proper. All of it would need to be replaced within the week, no objections were to be tolerated or allowed. Even the smallest instance of Reinhard or other base staff not dealing with issues regarding any avenue of Camp Hopeful's functions could be perceived or twisted into whatever the bureaucrats at the Pentagon wanted and best-case scenario Reinhard would be taken off the mission and be forced to watch the government-backed program that he'd played a hand in for decades be handed over to someone else. If the worse ever came to pass, he could be dishonorably discharged or even court martialed.

So, as much as it terrified the students, things like this simply couldn't be tolerated. To brush it off even once was opening the doors to abuse and Reinhard refused to let that stand.

"You don't think I should have to pay for the repairs, do you, Ink?"

"....no, Mr. Henderson."

"Do you think Mei should have to give up her monthly food tickets/allowance to pay to replace the tiles you've ruined and the concrete your Gift has eaten away?"

".....no, Mr. Henderson."

"Then, I suppose there's only one correct course of action to take. Until the damages are repaired, your allowance will be cut off. If you want food, you can take what's given at the commissary and the vending machines/market will be off limits to you until further notice. You will have to do whatever chores your cabin's counselor asks of you if you'd like access to the laundry room to wash your clothes. Or wash them in the lake. I'm not your mother. You will also be denied access to the Training Fields during this time with the exception of group activities. In the meantime, the money that'd normally go into your account will instead be put towards repairing the tiles and groundwork that you've damaged. Do you understand, Ink?"

Black Ink winced at the punishment. He generally didn't care about smelling stinky or looking unkempt. Most people generally looked at his face before whatever clothes he had on anyway. But he hated going near the lake. Thing smelled musky and he was sure all the ducks and geese that swam in and walked around it's shoreline shit in it, had sex in it, and God knows what else. That wasn't even bringing up the fish swimming below the murky depths. The lack of being able to 'buy' whatever he wanted to eat stung too. The commissary was open to everyone and had daily meals placed out for each day of the week every month. The quality was usually sub-par to say the least.

"Don't just stare at the ground, Ink. This is not a kindergarten, and I am not a schoolteacher. This is a military institution, and you are under my authority. Now, did you hear what I said?"

Black Ink's eyes never met Reinhard's but Reinhard felt the tar-like skin quivering under his touch.


"Good! Good, now then, be off. It's still early in the morning. Go take a shower yourself."

"But sir...! My condition!"

"You attacked Mei while she showered. Do you think she'd do the same to you?"

Black Ink looked over to Mei and back to Reinhard and then settled on the ground.


"Then be off, Ink." Reinhard gave a dismissive wave and Black Ink trudged off to his own cabin's shower facilities. Tar usually didn't smell the greatest, which made sense that in most places it was either near bubbling asphalt or noxious fumes. Worst of all, liquid (of which water worked the best) solidified him and gave other a chance to attack him. Getting soaking wet was the opposite idea of fun for him. But if it kept Reinhard off his back, he'd do laps in the lake if he had to. Glancing off in the departing Ink's direction to make sure he was actually heading to where he'd been ordered, Reinhard turned back towards the girls.

Well, girl, singular. Tessa, El, Izzy had all moved to dry themselves off and get dressed as quickly as they could. The sooner they were away from the desperately unwelcoming presence that Reinhard's person gave off, the better. "Ah, well, Mei, I'm terribly sorry for all that. But I'm sure you know better than most just how Ink can be, haha." The laugh came with a smile but neither carried any kind of relaxing undercurrent to them. No attempt to put Mei at ease. "Though I wish the circumstances were a touch more ideal, it's actually a good thing that I bumped into you! Before the day is through, I'd like to see you at my office. Rest assured, you're not in any trouble. I just have something I'd like to bring to your attention." Before Mei could interject or reply, Reinhard held a handout. "Aha, don't say anything. Take your time, finish doing what you're doing, go have breakfast, hang out as you children do, indulge yourself! Just don't forget to see me."

He spared a brief look at Christine. "Christine."

Christine nodded at him.

"As you were, ladies." Reinhard gave a gentleman's bow before turning and heading off. Once the remaining girls were 100% sure that he'd disappeared off the trail, Tessa gulped. "Sorry we kinda bailed for a bit there, Mei...." "Yeah, wasn't anything personal. Just being around that guy.....oof...." El shivered.

"Wouldn't go seeing him alone if I were you." Christine put it out there before walking out of the shower and towards the training field-a section of land that'd been portioned off just to let the children run wild with their abilities to their heart's content and to fight if they so chose. "S'all I'm gonna say." Tessa, Izzy, and El all nodded in agreement.

But none of them seemed eager to suggest who should go with Mei. If she even wanted anyone to.

"....Aren't you scared that he wants to talk to YOU, personally, Mei? What do you think it's about??" El asked while running her hands over the tips of her horns. It was a tic that she'd developed at a young age when her horns were just little nubs growing out the side of her head. Helped her when she got anxious and all that.


Mei only nodded slowly at Reinhard as he told her to meet him later. She slowly stood up straight, pressing herself up against the locker she'd been leaning against. Him calling out directly to her again wasn't expected, but it wasn't like she had any other options other than "yes", no matter how cordial the man may have tried to make himself appear. There wasn't a single sane mind, and hardly even any insane ones, in the camp who wanted anything to do with him, and of course he'd had to single her out. Simply standing there until he left, Mei let out a sigh of relief once he was out of sight.

Speaking of which, the rest of her cabinmates suddenly reappeared. It was hard to blame them for going missing. If she hadn't been stunned into sitting still, she'd have definitely been tempted to do the same.

"...Don't worry about it," Mei shook her head. As she listened to Christine next, she couldn't really help but agree. But on the other hand, she knew how much both she and everyone else wanted to avoid seeing him. Right now, she wasn't sure if she could get herself to ask someone to go with her.

"No idea El. Hopefully something stupid and harmless like asking me about Ink's powers or whatever, but I'm not keeping my hopes up." Given that she was pretty dry at this point, Mei put on her clothes as she spoke. "I don't get much of a choice here, so no use being scared. I'll just have to show up, and be careful."

Easier said than done. If anything, Mei was convincing herself more than anyone else. But for some reason, it sort of helped that someone else was doing the worrying for her.

"For now, let's just get out of here."​

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