“A demon demon~” If Jozef were in a cartoon right now, his eyes might have been replaced with stars in awe, “That’s exciting.” He contemplated the possession part for a few moments while his roommate gathered the necessary items, before chiming in with no sign of fear.
“I know it won’t hurt. You need a good roommate like me, so I trust you’ll keep me safe!”
Really Jozef didn’t believe a word of it. He was sure there were people in the city that could possess him, but he had confidence that they wouldn’t be rising up from the NOCU dorm floor anytime soon. And even if a demon did, he knew that if anyone was gonna be supervising, Gideon might be the best for the job. He knew how much he studied those books, there must be some elaborate cure if something went awry.
“Does it have to be perfect?” Jozef was referring more to his own artistic abilities, examining some of the trickier shapes on the diagram, but he was also looking down at the lopsided circle that Gideon started with. “Eh, I’m sure the demon will be grateful for the effort.” Jozef wasted no time getting to work, taking several looks at the picture to ensure he did do his part as best he could. Like Gideon, he also wasn’t thinking of what he wanted to get out of this. He was only doing it for Gideon’s sake after all, but if he was offering something…
“Can it give me an A in all my grades?”
It was a silly request. Jozef hadn’t been studying so hard just to get a demon to do the work for him, but there was nothing wrong with some extra assurance.
Hector sensed he’d struck a nerve, but it was hard to tell whether it was mention of the Phoenixes, or mention of the man that had caused her to look even more pale and panicked. If it was the former, maybe they would have a problem after all, but he deduced he had uncovered more trauma from the woman’s last encounter. He waited till she looked like she’d processed his words to finally outstretch his hand to her, the ultimate test of faith.
“Well then, you’re our friend now. Let’s get out of here, we can take a walk.” Perhaps some fresh air not tainted with the stench of blood would clear the girl’s head, and besides, his job wasn’t over. He had already wasted time dawdling, now it was time for her to repay his kindness. And he thought of no better way to repay him than by reenacting the brutal alleyway murder - not to him of course.
"Friend?" Did that man utter those words out of his mouth? The girl gave him a ludicrous look. She couldn't tell if this man was trying to trick her or had a few screws loose. Blood, viscera, and a half-eaten corpse lay around the bloodstained alleyway, and this man wanted her to come along. A hint of distrust colored her face as she looked at Hector.
She stood up with slight difficulty and looked down at the ground to avoid eye contact. "O-Okay..." It was a reasonable choice from her point of view. No matter what happened after, it couldn't be worse than where she was before. If this man was planning to kill her, so be it. She had gotten tired of living at the expense of others. Consuming others and finding pleasure in it. It was disgusting.
Zulin had been a bit surprised that they were allowed to go out today, as usually Helva would have one of her other Shadow Friends out, like Syrup so that she could run her Sweets Store, Hiyma or Yizlo so that they could gather intel on some of the other gangs, or even Libla so that they could run errands and provide a bit of moral support for the other Phoenixs. While they were meanwhile, were mostly brought out when she needed someones pulse to drop to 0, while it is typically fun it has been getting to be quite boring as of lately, so a little car shopping with Gideon seemed like a decent change of pace. It was a great day after all, though the light from the sun was nerve-racking, but they had thankfully got themselves some sunglasses in order to help with the sinister light from the sun. Though the questions Gideons shot their way about just what type of car they should get, made them muse in thought. Typically, they would just drive one of the cars Helva would of gave them access to, sometimes he would crash them, sometimes they would be back in operational condition, it was typically dependent on his mood. But this time was bit different, they liked Gideon well enough, and getting a car with them seemed like a fun little event, so answering a few questions they said "Hmmm, i would just pick out what car you think looks the coolest and something that would be fast" Zulin gave a slight glance towards Gideon before smirking and looking forward, putting their hands behind their head in a relaxed manner. " Perhaps something with a Black and purple paint job, then again i suppose we could always get a paintjob for it."
As they made their way into the car lot, Zulin glanced around, noticing a few nice cars, and a few not so good looking cars, regardless they already had a plan for what they were going to do, and it didn't involve buying a car. Zulin couldn't help but chuckle to himself as they started formulating a plan, putting it into two routes, but they didn't tell Gideon about it yet, figuring it would be more fun to surprise him with it. "Anyways i'm sure we will be able to find a car, that you will just love, just point out what got your interest the most almighty Gideon!" Zulin gave a warm slightly sinister smile towards Gideon as they said that. But had went on to open the door to the dealership, holding it open for Gideon to come on through with them, after all if there was one thing he Zulin would be sure of, is that this was going to be a Night to remember for sure.
Hector kept his eyes straight ahead at the traffic in front of him, trying to keep cool. He was in charge here, not this kid, and he wasn’t going to let that change. Once the rookie answered his question, however, he couldn’t stop the involuntary head turn, accompanied by the look. The I’m-Hector-Moses-And-You-Don’t-Fuck-With-Me look. One any member would get accustomed to after spending enough time with the Queen, it was just unfortunate that Milo was meeting it this early into the conversation. Uncharacteristically, Hector held his tongue and looked back to the road.
It should’ve been the easiest question in the world to answer, there was no valid answer other than a firm yes. But it got Hector thinking. He’d done a lot of deep thinking over the past few days. Of course, the Phoenixes protected their own. Despite their violent methods, they, especially Hector, were full of love and devotion. From the freshest newbies to the eldest veterans, each played a part in the family, and no harm may come to the family.
But what about Nina? Left to fly solo by two leaders only to be torn down mercilessly. Hector hadn’t even managed to bring her killer to justice. And then there was Reika, whose side Hector had barely left in the days following the incident. So many lives Hector could’ve protected, preserving Reika’s health in the process. But he didn’t, caught up with him. If he could’ve restarted the fight, Hector would’ve fought even harder to kill the pest after his crown. But would he really? He could’ve fought him at any point during the drive, and yet he didn’t. He did nothing but drive now, stewing over Milo’s words.
All Hector wanted was for his Queen to be by his side, if only… But she did what she should’ve done. She epitomized the Phoenix ideal of protecting their own. Hector could only carry on the legacy now.
“Yes. We do.”
For all the words scrambled throughout his mind, there wasn’t much else he thought to be a fitting response. He didn’t deserve a better response. He isn’t one of us.
“What do you have to protect? Boltius?”
Hector didn’t believe this was all about Boltius, but he deemed it to be a good springboard, hopefully further into the artist’s psyche. Or he’d just strike a nerve and be met with more silence. Hector had genuine intentions to get to know him though, otherwise, he really would’ve ended the battle right here.
“Yes. Friend.” Hector confirmed with a smile, but it was hard for it not to appear sinister given the atmosphere. He fully retracted his blade now, the metal all morphed around his arm and hand, poised to reform when need be. Once Raquel had stood up, he gave her a nod before initiating the walk. Though he was walking first, he ensured that the cannibal didn’t leave his sight. The last thing he wanted was a surprise attack if the girl fully lost her shit, which didn’t seem unlikely.
“I think we can help each other out, miss…” He was about to ask again for her name to finish off the sentence but wisely skirted back to his original point instead with only a second of hesitation. “I don’t want you to be in danger. If you’re up to the task, you could be part of the Scarlet Phoenixes.” He was talking a lot now, talking dangerously. Hector didn’t even know the girl’s name yet, but the indescribable feeling in his mind was taking charge. And he let it. “But there’s a lot of dangerous people out here that I need to take care of. People like that man. I’m looking for someone right now.”
As he spoke, it was clear that he was searching. It was no aimless walk, not when Hector was checking each street name, following his mental map of the area he hoped was correct. Soon they passed one last street lamp and were met with a dark road. That’s when Hector stopped.
"Hell no, I'm not the one at fault here!" Gideon retorted defensively. He wasn't the one responsible. He didn't want to be the one responsible. Having his first kill be accidental was no fun at all. And besides, he didn't want to have been the one who killed the poor man. "Waterboarding doesn't even let liquid into someone's body."
Gideon glared reproachfully at Raquel, slightly disgusted by the blood that stained her lips from biting into Mr. Barlo. It was obvious that it wasn't Gideon's fault that Mr. Barlo was now dead. How dare Raquel pin the blame on him like some crybaby little girl?
"I can't believe I'm being called a monster by a girl who dices up people and eats them raw," Gideon growled, "You're really the teapot calling the kettle black. Besides, this is perfectly normal soda."
As if to prove his point, Gideon poured some of the lemon-lime soda down his throat before immediately spraying it out like a fountain and coughing the rest out. The soda had gone down the wrong pipe, and a bit too fast. "By Satan's name, why the fuck is Mountain Dew so disgusting?"
Undeterred by the image that Gideon put forth from him sputtering on the soda, Gideon paced back and forth at an increasingly rapid pace as he checked the information that they knew about Mr. Barlo. In general, he ignored Raquel's more frivolous arguments, as they didn't seem grounded in facts or logic. At least he hoped that was the case. He didn't want to spend all eternity in Hell with Mr. Barlo when he inevitably gets cast down into it.
Then Gideon finally found a clue as to how Mr. Barlo died in the notes. He read aloud the information from his phone, "Diet: Vegan."
Gideon's eyes lit up as he glared at Raquel, "You fed a woman's blood and gore to a vegan. Vegans can't digest meat as well, you know."
The truth was becoming clear to Gideon. Mr. Barlo's stomach, which was unsuitable for digesting protein material, had shut down from all the blood and gore fed into him. That in turn caused Mr. Barlo's death. Waterboarding him with soda had nothing to do with it. Gideon's theory would be correct if not for the true composition of the bowl of soup.
"Now what?" Gideon asked, "Are you just going to eat your wrongdoings away?"
"THEN WHY CALL IT WATERBOARDING, IF THE WATER DOESN'T BOARD THE VICTIM!" Raquel screamed back in hysterics at Gideon. What was the point of using water if it didn't involve drowning someone in water? To Raquel, who currently had a one-tracked mind, it did not make sense to her. If anything all of this was Gideon's idea. She just tagged along because torturing someone seemed fun at the moment.
Now Raquel looked mad. If she wasn't in her right mind, Raquel would have slapped Gideon's head off. Unfortunately, that would prove his point rather than hers. Other than that, Raquel was ready for more rounds of argument.
"It was your ideas was it not?!" Raquel exclaimed. "From taking the mountain dew to binding him to a chair! If it was me, I would have skipped past everything and swallow eat him one limb at a time! You're the real sadist here! Don't blame it on me!"
When she saw Gideon take a sip of the mountain dew, she also took a bite from Mr. Barlo. The flavor still tasted weird to her. "Yeah, I prefer sprite." Raquel agreed to the singular that relate to their conversation. Though at least it had somewhat of a meaty flavor that appeased her appetite.
Though Raquel heard something escape out of Gideon's mouth. Something so foreign and alien that her mind couldn't process it. It almost came out as garbled speech, but it took her approximately ten seconds to process what he had said. "What the hell is a vegan?" It sounded like a person who only ate vegetables. If Mr. Barlo was a this so called, 'vegan,' then he probably deserved death.
"And for the record, it wasn't woman's blood. I fed him my delicious tomato soup with meat balls." Now Gideon was getting on her nerves. Weiyuan took much time and care for her to learn that secret recipe. For Gideon to besmirch her food by blaming it for their failure meant war. And war meant intiation.
"What do you mean?" Raquel said innocently. She walked up to Gideon and stood right in front of him. Licking her lips, she gave him a inciting line.
The girl raised an eye at Hector's offer. Could he really just do that? There had to be some sort of procedure for joining a gang. From the presence Hector gave off, the 'Scarlet Phoenixs' wasn't an ordinary gang of thugs. Her brows furrowed at the offer. The choice was obvious, but could she trust this stranger to follow up with his end of the deal? Her stomach growled in starvation. If she was going to make a choice, she better make it now.
"So you want me to kill people?" The girl stated bluntly. Hunger had eroded away her fear, and saliva began to build up in her mouth. Her body was telling her to eat, to consume, and to feast. If she could eat another man like that, she'd be happy for a while. Not to mention gaining into a gang would ensure her safety and secure her a way to feast on more people. "Very well, if that's all I have to do, then I'll eat them."
As she continued to walk, she breathes became more ragged. It wasn't because she was hungry; the girl wanted to consume. She wanted to eat. Tear off the limbs and drink the marrow. It was funny timing that the man brought up how she felt.
Her posture became more slanted, her eyes dilated, and she looked ready to pounce. The girl was barely sane enough to register the man next to her as an 'ally' and not a 'sack of meat,' but if she saw a person she didn't recognize, it'd be a different story.
Gideon and Jozef's Dorm Room, New Oasis Central University
January 11th, 2022 | Post Arc 2
The Trials of Belial
"I could have a demon as a roommate if I screw up," Gideon said. Finally, for once, a small smirk emerged on Gideon's face as he said to Jozef, "Feel free to betray me and sacrifice me at any time if you want a demon as a roommate instead of me."
The people that Gideon would smile for were few and far between. Jozef was definitely one of them because as Jozef said, the blond-haired Serpent was truly a good roommate. Gideon of course would feel betrayed if Jozef decided to sacrifice him to the demons, but all in all, he'd feel less betrayed than if someone else did it. After all, they had an interesting dynamic as good friends, good roommates, and rival gang members.
Wishing for good grades was an interesting take on Jozef's part. Not a job or money, but good grades. It was quite an innocent choice. But then again, sometimes Gideon wanted to sacrifice his soul to memorize all the dates he needed in order to pass his classes.
"The demon won't mind these small irregularities," Gideon said, doing his best to convince himself as well as Jozef that their inability to replicate the summoning circle wasn't that important, "All that matters to it is our capacity to sin."
Capacity to sin... what were Gideon and Jozef going to do in order to prove that to the demon? The classic Seven Deadly Sins were an easy way to embody sin. Greed. Lust. Pride. Envy. Sloth. Wrath. Gluttony. Seven aspects of life whose absence would be detrimental to someone's quality of living. Embodying greed would be too difficult, as such a thing required high amounts of thought and planning. The same was with envy. If they tried to embody sloth, then there was a chance they would never finish the ritual. Wrath was counterproductive. Lust... well, that was outside both of their ballparks. So that left two possible avenues that the two of them could go down.
"Here," Gideon said, tossing some chocolates from his desk to Jozef, "Indulge yourself."
Gideon wasn't sure that eating a few chocolates would be enough to prove their willingness to sin. But as Gideon tore open the individual package and bit into the chocolate square, he had to admit that the chocolate was quite delicious.
"Do you think the demon would help me take over New Oasis?" Gideon asked Jozef, "I could become the King of the Phoenixes and you could become the King of the Serpents. Then as long as the birds and the snakes stay friends, we'd be unstoppable."
Thirty minutes. The seconds seemed to crawl slower than usual. He was in no rush to go home, to tell the truth. The day had been a dull one. Central wasn’t exactly a hotbed for gangster scum to infest. There were the usual petty crimes here and there, but that forced him to rein it in. The usual cuff and book ‘em procedures, at worst. A ticket and a stern warning, at best. He leaned his arm against the side of the car, and lay his head in his open hand.
He gave a sardonic smile at Eric’s question. “As if.” He shifted in his seat, leaning back onto his headrest. “Guy like me, the job’s all I care about.” And crushing the heads of criminals, but he wisely left that out. It didn’t seem like a good conversation starter. “You? Got a gal yet? Hear there’s a confectionary that opened up in the Birds’ territory.” And hopefully, not run by one of the Birds, either, he added mentally.
The radio sparked to life. 10-103. At once, Inigo shot up in his seat, his eyes lighting up, the sardonic grin shifting into one of mad glee. Finally, something to do. While it was nice to relax and shoot the shit with Eric once in a while, nothing beats the ever living hell out of beating the ever living hell out of some perps. He hoped that this one would give him something to work with. His knuckles ached for some action. “Step on it, Eric.” He could barely contain the excitement in his voice.
He gave a low chuckle at Eric’s suggestion to deal with them quick. “When have I ever not dealt with it swiftly?”
There was good reason why Inigo had never been given control of the wheel. Even as Eric sped towards the location, he thought the car was moving far too slow for its own good. He tapped his feet impatiently on the floor of the car the whole way, and he didn’t even wait for the patrol car to come to a full stop before he unlocked the door and stepped out, cracking his knuckles.
“Alright, time to work.”
“You got it, pal.” Inigo sneered, strode up to the doors of Club Whirlpool, and flung open the doors, resisting the urge to kick them down.
“Alright, CDPD! Everyone stay where you are! Got a call about a disturbance here. What seems to be the situation?”
Gideon gave Zulin a look that was quite like as if his ice cold eyes were thawing a bit, "Yeah. I think a purple and black paint job would look great."
Unfortunately the only purple and black car that Gideon could immediately see outside the dealership was a purple and black slugbug.
He felt his ego inflate a little when Zulin called him the 'almighty Gideon,' although he did do his best to keep it in check. It was nice that Zulin acknowledged his potential to be the big bad supervillain of New Oasis, no matter how far away from his goal Gideon was. Gideon proudly stepped inside the dealership when Zulin held the door open for him. A salesperson looked over in their direction and immediately cheerfully welcomed them into the store and asked some rudimentary questions.
"We're just uhh... looking. Don't mind us. For now," Gideon said.
The awkward words were enough for the employee to mind his own business. Gideon gravitated towards the snack station, where he poured himself a cup of black coffee into a styrofoam cup. A sip later made Gideon wince. It was far too bland and sour. Thankfully, scooping a cup of yogurt-covered pretzels yielded a more tasty snack.
"Look, it's purple. Just like us," Gideon commented to Zulin, showing him the blueberry yogurt coated pretzels, "Though I guess it's a bit lighter than our purple. And it's more blu than purple."
The luxurious cars were all kept within the dealership as opposed to the run-of-the-mill cars that were allowed to fray in the weather outside. Expensive vintage cars, state-of-the-art sedans, and an actual limo adorned the interior. The car that caught Gideon's eye though was a black sports car. It was a sleek convertible, but not those sleek ones that had the doors open oddly upward. It definitely seemed fast.
"Would this one make me look douchy?" Gideon asked Zulin for his opinion, before realizing that there was a 90k price tag associated with the vehicle-- much more than Gideon could ever afford, "Actually, nevermind. I don't have the money for this. College tuition is already taking up all my gang salary."
But Gideon didn't seem to want to part from the car. Instead, he continued to look at it, taking in its beauty. The more that he stared at it, the more he became convinced it was worth the 90k price, even though that didn't change the fact that he was never going to be able to afford it.
Post-Arc 1/Pre-Arc 2 — September 25th, 2021: ??:?? PM
Osamu and Minato's Crib, ??? District... Drink station...
Osamu, Minato, Elias, Matsuda, Sylvie, NPCs
OSAMU AND MINA'S PARTY BASH
“Y'like it? It's imported shit,” said Minato.
August looked at him with distant, tired eyes… … Then he looked away, saying nothing.
In fact, he didn’t even realize that Minato was talking to him specifically—instead, assumed he was addressing someone else entirely… Until a glance around proved he was the only one not already engaged in some type of interaction or other, and he quickly met Minato’s eyes again with high brows and pursed lips.
Pointing at himself, an index finger to the center of his chest, he still didn’t speak, waiting for confirmation until a worm of initiative wriggled its way into his brain and his lips parted once more. “Wot?” he started, blinking. Teal eyes flickered back toward the expensive countertop and Cafrian Darkwood shelving unit; the rows of liquor bottles shining in the backlight and splashing dapples of color upon his face.
He hummed thoughtfully, wondering if Minato was referring to the drinks.
In the end, he chose what to think. “Ahhh-yup. Stuff’s expensive, yeh?” August gestured toward the shelves, the Darkwood. “Not to mention rare. Y’ must’ve gone through some contacts to get it. An’ this countah-top, they don’t really just make’em… Looks loike Cafrian Darkwood. The trees grow slow an’ small, so theh usually sold in narrow planks but not limited to.” All this to say the countertop struck him as personalized; that Minato or Osamu, one, went to extra lengths to have it made.
As beautiful as it was, and despite the tingle working its way into his fingertips, August wasn’t about to walk out of the penthouse with a whole counter and shelving unit.
So, after a pause, during which he admired the artisanship, he asked Minato, “Oi, so wot else ya got?... You’re a first-rate mate, yeh? Must ‘ave plenty o’ trinkets an’ baubles lyin’ around. Ah loike to considah myself a man of fine tastes with a market’s eye- got some wotnots mahself.” August did a little head-shake on that last part, inwardly amused.
He didn’t feel the need to be too measured in Minato’s goofy presence—straightforward and to the point—but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t continue to gauge the other’s responses.
A brief tipping of his sunglasses, he looked between Minato’s eyes and smirked behind his mask, “Maybe a game?”
— —What he's wearing (CLICK HERE) + Surgical facemask, tinted sunglasses, and has his hair tied into a sloppy topknot (reminding of the green of a pineapple)
— —Call him Tazz! (Those who know his real name are: Isobel, Camila, Lucy, Markus, Elias, and Raphael)
— —POST RECAP: August talks about Minato/Osamu's liquor shelving unit and counter-build before asking Minato about his inventory, wondering what else valuable he has around the penthouse. He proposes they play a game but doesn't elaborate.
Not even Chol had been to August’s house yet. Not once in all the… give or take a few months. He’d moved to New Oasis only six months ago. September 16th of 2012 to be exact. But this science partner of his, this Peyton character, August learned of his existence as a classmate just Thursday when their teacher had handed out the assignment.
Partners were chosen at random, and Peyton had been the pick.
For a while, the two sat at their shared desk in awkward silence until August had made the suggestion that they work on the project at Peyton’s place if he had one. And that was that… Until he went home to tell his father about it, who then demanded that August invite a friend over for a change.
It was a whole scene. A dramatic performance on his father’s part; one could say a pity party, and August gave in. As he often did with his father after a worthy bribe was proposed.
Now, it was after school on Friday and August stood in the center of the family room, staring sleepy-eyed into the blackness of the television screen. He’d informed Peyton of the change of plan earlier that morning and was awaiting his arrival, pondering a nap, leaning heavily toward the temptation. It was usually the first thing he did after stepping through the front door—straight to the couch where he would order food then sleep until the doorbell woke him.
Speaking of Chol… August’s phone buzzed in his pocket with a text. His ringtone was the voice of Gracie Jones from Alduron’s Wrath’s voice drama, volume six, screaming out of context: “It’s a bitch!” Which he and Chol had both thought funny; though, time had stripped it of most of its humor. He and Chol texted religiously, so after about the fifth day it became normal to hear.
There was a delay before August heeded the buzz and took out his phone. He read what of the message he could without opening it, then tucked it away again without replying.
He wondered when Peyton would show… Or maybe he wouldn’t. That would be okay. In the meantime, he decided to go upstairs and change out of his uniform.
— —What he's wearing (CLICK HERE) (Socks instead of shoes)
— —August is 15 years old and recovering from a gunshot wound to his right bicep, which is bandaged beneath his clothes.
— —POST RECAP: August awaits Peyton's arrival.
(Interacting w/ no one)
(Mentioned Peyton) Coyote Hart
School was almost over for the term. Spring break was just within grasp. Peyton's shoulders slumped from the mental exhaustion from sitting through the seven hours of education that he half absorbed. He walked along the sidewalk, a backpack over his shoulders. But he couldn't relax and sit back just yet. He had a project to complete that he had put off. Granted, it was supposed to be a small project, but that didn't stop it from being daunting.
Luckily he had a partner assigned to him in the group project to make the midnight deadline more feasible. Unfortunately, he had a partner assigned to him. Peyton didn't know what kind of person his team member, August, was, or whether he could get along with him.
August... August. Peyton just hoped that August wasn't boring. Anything feisty, zesty, or even mean would've been fine. But if August was boring, Peyton would've felt that his time was better spent on reading.
Typically in class, Peyton kept to himself, and the only times he interacted with August was when he was told to wake the guy up after the bell rang. In his brief and few interactions with him, Peyton had often been left wondering what August had just said through the boy's thick accent. There was also one time when Peyton swore that he saw August downstairs in the restaurant that his family ran. But Peyton had no idea what kind of student August was... other than that he was on the honor roll and that he slept in class.
Seven hours. They had seven hours. It was 4 PM, and if they skipped dinner and had no rest, they would have seven hours to finish the project and turn it in at midnight. That felt feasible as long as nothing got in the way or nothing went wrong. Low chance of that, considering Peyton failed to do simple math.
Peyton sipped on a coconut marionberry milkshake as his short petite figure crossed the road toward the address that August had given him. His map had led him to an affluent neighborhood, and part of Peyton wondered if he went the wrong way. But nope, it was the right street. A magnificent house loomed in front of him, all white walls and gold lights. August's family was seriously rich in comparison to Peyton's.
After staring in awe at the luxurious house for a moment, Peyton took out his phone and texted August: im here!!
Up the stairs, he arrived at his bedroom with a jaw-straining yawn and made for the walk-in closet to change; left his uniform lying on the floor where it would stay until his father had something to say about it. A loose-fitting pair of track pants, black tank-top beneath a white long-sleeve, then an extra-measured jacket to obscure the ripple of bandages around his right bicep.
He didn’t feel required to “dress to impress”.
Downstairs he helped himself to a bag of pretzels from the pantry a distance left of the stove. Then in the family room, again, he gazed at the television from a cozy corner of the sectional-couch, only this time it glowed with picture, speakers humming with low-volume chatter. The electric fireplace beneath the television slumbered, no flame to warm those artificial logs, or to dance a reflection on the glass of the coffee table littered with magazines and unopened mail.
Most of the lights in the house were turned off, but the 4:00 o’clock sun filtering in through the tall-window curtains lit it plenty. As for the ones outside—well, August had never seen them off. Even at their home in Amestralia the porch lights were always on, something his dad had deliberately employed.
Teal-blue eyes shifted onto the door to the right of the television and fireplace—his dad’s room.
His dad wouldn’t be home until late, per usual, and August suspected it had something to do with that criminal occupation of his, the one he’d divulged to August upon arrival in New Oasis; though, August had already caught onto it before that. All it took was a bit of research and he knew that the dagger he’d received for his twelfth birthday belonged to a museum somewhere. Stolen. Some fancy historical relic belonging to a war hero 700 or so years ago. But it didn't stop there.
That was okay. It just made him want it more.
August’s phone vibrated across the smooth surface of the coffee table, and he blinked at it.
He didn’t check it and, instead, got up and made his way to the front door. Moving the curtain, he peeked out through the door’s glass and saw Peyton, then stepped aside to let him in. “Welcome to my house,” he said in a very forced Amestrian accent, holding open the door. “Are you looking to rent or buy?”
— —What he's wearing (CLICK HERE) (Socks instead of shoes)
— —August is 15 years old and recovering from a gunshot wound to his right bicep, which is bandaged beneath his clothes.
— —POST RECAP: August answers the door for Peyton.
His heart was still pounding in his chest like a battering ram, but August managed a genuine crack of a smile alongside Raphael’s laughter and quip: “Smooth, darling. ~” The situation overall struck him as so bizarre it was amusing.
The car was hot, so he rolled down a window for a breath of fresh air, half-mindedly listening to the other talk and not knowing how to respond. The wind teased his hair up and about, and washed over his face with a refreshing coolness, almost composing him.
For the moment, the reason he’d assisted the Serpent in the first place was stripped and gone, replaced by intrusive thoughts of a thing or two, so he had no answer to the question that had passed, overwritten by the next sultry utterance.
Raphael spilled over the center console and drew close then. The headlights of a car in passing threw a splash of light over them, illuminating Raphael’s features for a blink. Long enough for August to turn his head and witness, becoming at once transfixed by the Serpent’s eyes which absorbed moonlight and tossed it back in the form of faint twinkles. Two glints in a pool of shadow.
For maybe the first time, August realized himself attracted to the man. The pounding of his heart was deafening.
For truly the first time, he was attracted to someone so powerfully that he thought himself possessed when the car eased to a halt right there in the middle of the street, lost on the words of this drunken succubus. Was he right? Or… in fact, what was he even saying?
August’s cheeks were red but his expression a blend of bewilderment and assimilation, as if the Serpent’s claim had been the answer to a question he’d been asking himself for a long time, but an answer he knew not how to process. Of course, such was not the case—August had never let his mind venture down the trail of the romantic unknown. The how-tos, whatnots, and what-ifs~ People… were hard to understand. For that, he directed his efforts and attention toward things.
A slow exhale escaped him; he’d been holding his breath.
“Um…” His voice came foreign to himself—of a tone and quality that he wasn’t used to hearing. “Y-...” The breath held again, lungs the size of walnuts now—that he must hold it lest the release seem labored—and August paused before letting it go slowly. Looking away to clear his throat after a hard swallow. “Um. You-... You’re drunk… mate.”
He was shaking a bit but didn’t mind. It would eventually cease, as all things do.
What he did mind were his urges. And how unfortunate it had to be that Raphael was a puppet to alcohol.
“We should-...” He tapped a thumb against the steering wheel and dropped his head, shaking it, then met the other’s gaze once more with a slow, drawn-out nod, “We should getchu a bed… If ya don’t lead tha way, tha choice is moine t’ make, an’ ah’ll take ya someplace on mah own... Your call.”
Pre-Arc 3 — 2021, December 12th — (Night of 'Building Bridges')
The Riverside; Lilimare, South District
It was late when he received the message—already tucked into bed for the night when his phone elicited a sweet chime, vibrating across the smooth surface of his nightstand. Having thought he’d never see that name light up his screen again, he was, initially, surprised (what with all of the blatant avoiding he’d been doing), but he would have been lying if he said he wasn’t eventually expecting it.
Who knows… maybe he was getting around to doing it, himself.
“Hey,” was all it said.
Boltius read it; his thumb hovered over the keyboard, then…
A moment later, “Can you meet me at our old spot?”
. . . Boltius chewed his lip.
“gimme a bit n ill be there.”
The orange-haired Phoenix sat up and threw his legs off the bed, eyes on the clock as his elbows hit his knees, and he rested his face in his hands for a brief moment, recollecting the day. Then, as a sigh escaped him and his hands fell, he stood to get dressed, donning only a pair of loose sweatpants and a hoodie, then left the apartment in a pair of sandals.
How cold the night was, Boltius could not tell. His temperature fell, matching that of his surroundings as he walked.
Their old spot… The riverside beneath the South-East Bridge looking out at the East District; a dark horizon of black rectangles and squares under a lunar haze and freckled with light of all colors—truly a sight to behold—but one that Boltius had seen so many times, now, that it had become taken for granted.
And so, coming upon his destination, Boltius spared no glance at that beautiful setting across the river, descending a slope of grass, at the bottom of which Milo sat, and he stood beside his friend, now comrade, with an eye for only the inky waters.
Together, they were silent.
Then, “Were you with him?” asked Milo.
“. . . No.”
“. . . Yeah.”
“Did the other Phoenixes mourn him? Probably, right, but a lot of people died that day.”
The whisper of wind filled the silence of a pause. Then, “. . . I mourned him… Condolences were the most that others could really give… I guess… So, they…” Boltius shrugged. “I dunno. They might have, too.”
“They didn’t know him. Not like we did. To everybody but us, and Matsu, he’s remembered as just another dead gangster. In a city built on dead gangsters.”
“Do you think if he could do it over again, he’d choose the same?”
“. . . I don’t think it matters, but… Probably. It’s Nanami, dude.”
“...Pff- Ha..! You’ve got me there. You win this round.”
Boltius chuckled lightly, scraping his foot in the dirt and gravel.
“I-...” Milo stopped himself.
“N-... It’s nothing.”
Rolling his eyes, Boltius scoffed, “. . . Figures,” but quickly bit his tongue and retracted, “Sorry.”
“Oh-... I was just… I was bein’ an ass just now.”
“It’s okay. It’s all part of your charm.”
“Heh,” Bolt smirked, an air of playfulness accompanying.
After a time, Milo said, “Remember Kady?...”
“Who?” Bolt cocked a brow.
“From home-room, sophomore year? Nanami kept trying to set you guys up.”
“Uhh, yeah I rememb- Wait, really!?... PFFFT- That wouldn’t’ve worked out.”
“He was convinced you guys were meant to be. Broke his heart when it never took off.”
“Damn… He sure always had some selfless goals… Kady was too sweet a girl. She’d a’ hated me later on.”
“You’re too hard on yourself.”
“Psht, only when I needa be- I mean… I think I’m cool an’ all but sweet girls don’t waste their time on me, man.” Boltius paused as his mind reminisced on past pleasures, then he huffed a bittersweet chuckle through his nose and added, “Except Brielle.”
“You just haven’t met the right one, is all… I’m a lousy match-maker though so don’t look at me to find her.”
“Ha, it’s cool, dawg… Shit works out one way or another… What about you? You ever thought you’d met the one? As lame as that sounds.”
“...It’s hard to say. I wanna say… No? Because if I have, and I’m not with them, then that would kind of suck.”
“Huh… I never thought about it like that… I woulda liked to’ve stuck with Brielle, but ain’t no way I was leaving the country straight outta high-school. Plus, I was already… Y’know… Gangster an’ all.”
“Yeah, but who knows what the future holds. You two might cross paths again. Or you might meet someone new.”
“With my luck, I’ve done killed’em.” An awkward laugh escaped the orange-haired Phoenix then, and he shifted uncomfortably.
“Well…” A palm-sized rock landed in Bolt’s outstretched hand. “Here… Do you still have the touch? I think your record was… 5? 6?”
“Hah! Pssssssssht!” Boltius took the rock in his hand and gave it a bounce, “Do I still have the touch? What kinda question is that? You think my skill would lessen after becomin’ a gangster?... I come here all the time, bro! Ever since Nanami, I kept thinkin’, somehow, I’d come here and you’d-. . . Be here, too.”
Boltius fiddled with the rock, staring at it; though, his mind was elsewhere. Finally, he plopped down in the grass beside his friend, and after a moment he said, “I don’t care about that… I care that you didn’t call back.”
“I would’ve, it’s just…”
Boltius was quick to follow up, “Nah, you don’t get to have an excuse… Just… Leave it alone. Sorry for bringin’ it up.”
“I was afraid I’d say what I was feeling at the time.”
“I know what happened wasn’t your fault, Bolt. I know that.”
Eyes widening slowly, Boltius held his breath and stiffened.
“But even now sometimes I look at you and I just get this… Knot in my stomach.”
Such a divulgence—the Ace felt as though a cord had suddenly coiled itself around his heart and was now squeezing with the intent to pop. Those words he said so long ago played over and over in his ears, smothered by a high-pitched ringing: I promise… I promise… I promise… Then the report that Nanami was gone, and the denial. The guilt. The shame-
“It’s not right for me to feel that way… And I’m wishing now that I had just kept that to myself.”
The past faded at Milo’s voice, and, with it, the ringing died, but Boltius did not speak. And the silence, it stayed that way for a while. The two Phoenixes, side-by-side, Rookie and Ace… A thick wall of dented steel sat between them that they could not see; all of the dents, they were from Bolt’s side, none fresh, for he’d given up on trying to reach the other a long time ago.
“. . . I…” Boltius started, “Blamed me, too.” He still did.
“It wasn’t your fault. You said it yourself. You weren’t even there.”
“But I should’ve been. You, yourself… You told me…” Boltius grit his teeth, squeezing the rock in his hand. “You told me to watch out for him… I promised.”
“I… Did, didn’t I?... You’ve been feeling like this a while, huh.”
The Ace shut his eyes and turned his head to hide his face.
“I think… You know what, fuck it… I think maybe it’s time we both start living our own lives again… Nanami… Is gone. But you’re still here, Bolt. We’re both still here.”
“...Yeah. . . I’ve been here, man…” Boltius looked accusingly at Milo—grief tugged at his face—spurred by emotion, but meant no offense. “After you didn’t call back and I couldn’t get in touch, I waited a long time, man!... And!... At some point. . . At some point, I gave up and decided you were gone, too.”
“...I was gone, but I’m here now,” said Milo. “I’m right here.”
“. . .Yeah.”
Boltius sniffled and wiped his face before the tears could fall. “Yeah… Yeah-yeah. I’m good… I’m cool, I just… choked up a little… that’s all.”
Following that, when it seemed silence would blanket them again, Boltius took a deep breath and, as if to compensate for getting sappy, reached over and shoved Milo to the side.
When he did, he thought he saw Nanami there in Milo’s place, but knew better.
Boltius wiped his nose and showed a smile, snickering as he laid back in the grass and gazed up at the moon, still holding the rock he’d been handed. Then he said, “I’m… glad you’re back.” Looking to Milo, “Don’t fuck it up.”
“I’ll… Do my best!”
“Same.” As a heaviness tempted his eyes to close, Boltius sat up and got to his feet, using Milo’s shoulder as support. “I should probably get headed,” he told him, turning away but maintaining eye-contact. “Um…” A pause as he thought about his next words. “Thanks… for… hittin’ me up. The air feels… lighter… or whatever,” Bolt shrugged, taking the first step toward his leave.
“Mh! Yeah. Thanks for coming… G’night.”
“Night…” And with that, the Ace was off.
“G’night,” Milo said, smiling as he watched Bolt go, wondering at how easily the lies came to him these days.
Zulin gave a devious smirk when Gideon agreed with them, not like they expected anything less, hanging out with someone who shared his sense of fun was typically always a pleasurable experience. As Gideon entered into the dealership with them, it didn't take long for them to be greeted by a salesman, though it also didn't take long for Gideon to shoo them away. As they walked together exploring their own, Gideon had started leading him towards the snack station, pouring himself a cup of coffee, not really Zulins favorite drink to be honest., and apparently Gideon didn't like it either as they got rid of it pretty quickly after taking a sip. Though when their attention shifted to the Yogurt Covered Pretzels Zulins eyes quirked up a bit in amusement as Gideon pointed out it's color. Really it almost matched their looks but it was a bit too blue looking, which is something Gideon acknowledged as well. Still though Zulin didn't hesitate to get themselves one, it wasn't like Yogurt covered pretzels were a common sight for them, after all and it was actually decently good, with them being able to taste the blueberry flavored as well. "Not bad, wish it was grape flavored though." shrugging as they ate the rest of the yogurt cover pretzel.
As they continued looking at cars, Zulin had noticed that Gideons eyes has caught sight of the dealerships more expensive selection of vehicles, so walking with them to inspect the merchandise, Gideon eventually asked about a certain sports car, that in all honesty looks similar to a car Helva has bought in the past, one that he may or may not have crashed to say the least"Nah, it looks fine, honestly seems like a Car Helva would buy." . Though Gideon quickly changed his mind about the car upon looking at the price tag, causing Zulin to snicker, "Psssh, follow my lead." going up to a car salesman they adjusted their sun glasses and asked him "Hello sir, we would like to take a look at the interior of that car over there." pointing out towards the car Gideon took a interest in. The man typically complied , paying extra attention to where the man went, and got the keys from, figuring, the lockbox on the wall, one that required a key. "Perfect." As the man came back to open the car up so that they could look at the interior of it, Zulin had went to take a seat in the passenger seat beckoning for Gideon to enter "Come on Gideon, why don't you take a look at this car with me, see if you like it." Zulin already had a plan ready, and was taking the first steps into executing his little plan.
The garden was beautiful. A multitude of plants and flowers were seeded and grown within it. The soil was fertile and supplemented with water. They grazed upon the sunlight shined down from the cloudy skies. However, not all plants were native to the garden.
A particular plant was giant compared to the rest. It let off a rotten odor while having jarring colors complementing its appearance. A strange red with an inner yellow inside its pitcher. It looked as if someone had recently planted the peculiar invader. The dirt around the plant seemed dug up tufts of grass stuck out within the dug-up soil. It waved its leaves around, trying to catch all the sunlight.
The weirdly animated plant even tried to stretch itself out from the ground. Trying to reach higher and absorb more sunlight from the sky. Though it could not escape the ground, especially with its host stuck in the ground.
"George... Please stop," Devin whined from under the ground.
Devin was currently buried in a mound of dirt. He was trying not to breathe out of habit to not inhale dirt into his system. George, who was connected to his spine, supplied his body with oxygen, which meant that Devin didn't need to breathe sometimes. That being the case, Devin still preferred to be up and about breathing like a normal person. It didn't help that what George was doing also put some strain on his back. The plant trying to pull itself out of his back was uncomfortable.
"You're already getting sunlight; stretching higher isn't going to get you more," Devin whined. He had to shift his posture to make himself more comfortable due to his potential's inconsideration.
The North, pretty much the slum district of New Oasis, a district Helva both hated and loved, the North was nothing but a hunting ground for her, and no one could do a dam thing about it. With the recent conquest of Central, the Phoenixes were on the top of the world, but it wasn't enough, she wanted blood, she wanted to cull the snake numbers till they went to near extinction. But her main reason for being here in the North, was for a target, a snake who was shaking down a shop owner, the brazen man claimed that he needed assistance in dealing with a snake, and was willing to provide information to her in exchange for their help. It was a decent deal, if someone couldn't pay, information was the next best thing for them, besides getting in the Serpents way was a fun little past time of hers. Their target was a man named Larex Kakero who was supposedly going to be walking down the very streets, she was sitting on in order to pay a visit to the store that they planned to shake down for their money. Helva knew that the store owner was a drug addict and was using her, because they couldn't afford to pay the snake they received drugs from, but she really didn't care, the snakes were still her enemies and one less snake means one step closer to taking over the North as well.
Squatting down with a bowl in front of her, Helva wore a oversized overcoat and buried her head in its collar, disguising herself to take on the appearance of a begger, with a few loose coins and dollars in the bowl, to add to the disguise. But underneath the overcoat she held a tomahawk, with the bottom of it having a sharp enough tip to pierce someone with, her overcoat was big enough to cover her feet, which allowed her appearance to make it look like she may be sitting down, when in reality she was only crouching, and was ready to pounce at a moments notice. When their eyes turned left the could see two figures approached, one she recognized as her target the other, she wasn't so sure about, must of been some added help or something. But either way she wasn't backing down, she had Zulin in the corner of a alleyway next to her, she retreated her head to the collar of her cloak , while secretly holding tightly onto her weapon, ready to pounce and stab the man as soon as she was able to get the right opportunity to. A telepathic thought was sent to Zulin warning him that it was time to act, I hope your ready our target is here. He only gave one snarky reply in response
Gideon flinched when Raquel raised her voice against him. The shout, and the baffling words he received, left Gideon speechless for a few moments before he spoke back up again. He responded to Raquel's shout by sardonically replying, "Did you forget that we were supposed to extract information from Mr. Barlo and not simply torment him for our amusement?"
As for the rest of the torture setup, Gideon stayed quiet. It wasn't a tacit agreement sort of silence though. Gideon had simply been assigned to extract information from Mr. Barlo, and being the loyal Phoenix that he was, he dutifully, if not hesitantly, agreed to it. Gideon had no idea where the twenty gallons of soda even came from. He had thought it was Raquel's idea, but looking back at it, that assumption had never made sense to begin with.
Part of Gideon was surprised that Raquel didn't know what a vegan was, but on the other hand, it made sense. A cannibal would focus on eating meat, after all. The idea of not having meat be a part of a meal must've felt foreign to her.
"You know how deer and rabbits and such eat only vegetables?" Gideon said awkwardly, "Veganism is like that, but people are the deer and rabbits."
Science, evolution, and diet were definitely not Gideon's strong suit. For one, he had defined an herbivore, not a vegan. The other issue, Gideon would soon realize.
"And uhh right now, I'm a vegan," Gideon said, panicky and hasty, and pale at the idea of eating a human.
That was when Gideon realized the second issue with his analogy. By comparing humans to animals, it might've given Raquel the wrong idea that eating people was normal. And Gideon realized that if he just said that he was temporarily a vegan, then that would make him a target as a meal too.
Gideon realized that the best way for him to get out of the situation without being forced to commit cannibalism or get cannibalized was to turn the tables. During the past hour, as he was with Mr. Barlo and Raquel, Gideon got an inkling of an idea of how Raquel operated. The sadism, the jubilant and cherubic glee for suffering... while Gideon definitely couldn't completely replicate it, he could at least imitate some of the values.
"Sorry, but you're not going to make this a two-person meal," Gideon said adding onto his last statement with a vastly different tone. He leered coyly at Raquel and did his best to make his expression and words as sadistic as possible, "You're going to be the one who will consume this mess, especially since you're the one who killed poor Mr. Barlo. Don't worry, I'll be here to make sure that you leave nothing but bone behind. I'll even grab some Tupperware if you need to make this a several day thing."
Of course, this wasn't realistic. If one pound of human flesh was 3300 calories, and Mr. Barlo was a solid 150 pounds, then... Then that was math. Gideon didn't want to think about it. His stomach was already churning as it was.
Gideon's attempt to embody Raquel revealed something about him. Despite the fact that he was disgusted, afraid, and displeased with Raquel, he had some semblance of respect for her. After all, imitation was the greatest form of flattery.
Peyton silently took a long drag of his milkshake whilst he tried to process what August just said, then immediately regretted it. A numbing pain stung Peyton's head as he nearly got a brain freeze. Peyton's hand went up to his head to clutch it in pain. After it subsided, he noted that perhaps his worries were for nothing. August didn't seem like a boring sort of individual.
"I don't think I could afford even a room here," Peyton admitted, playing along with August's game, "So I guess I'm just looking around?"
Part of Peyton tried to imagine if he could live in such a fancy place. It seemed outside the realm of possibility, especially since Peyton's family was essentially kept afloat by the gambling that Peyton involved himself with. That was unless his childhood dreams were somehow spontaneously fulfilled. When he was a little kid, he wanted to marry someone rich when he grew up, preferably a rich prince or princess from a faraway kingdom, but that wasn't ever going to happen. Marrying someone rich, such as August, would've been the only pathway.
Peyton wasn't sure why he was suddenly reminded of that silly fantasy from the past. He averted eye contact from August, and at the same time, his cheeks were dusted with pink. Stupid, stupid blush. Peyton cursed the fact that he sometimes did that out of nowhere. And because of what? Just because August had a little money? This wasn't the first impression that he wanted to make.
"Pardon the intrusion!" Peyton said as he stepped into the house. After hesitation for a moment, Peyton took off his boots and visibly shrank by a solid inch. He put his shoes neatly against the front door. He felt a bit overdressed in his school uniform compared to August. Granted, he did wear a white hoodie inside of his uniform blazer instead of the standard-issue shirt. Nobody was going to stop him after all. He looked to August eagerly, "So, what comes first? Brainstorming?"
"Also, uhh why..." Peyton said meekly, unsure of how to say what he wanted to say in a polite way, "You're talking kinda... differently."
In an attempt to break the ice, Ezra ended up freezing everything over. At least that's what it felt like when Isobel mentioned her mother. As soon as he noticed that she was only using past tense when referring to her mom, the young Tiger cub chastised himself for screwing up so badly. The return of the awkward silence from earlier only made him feel worse.
As he sat there, wondering if she'd ever sign again after things had become so uncomfortable, the Jack raised her hands and continued gesturing. Filled with relief, he held back a deep breath that threatened to slip out and gave his guest his full attention. He just listened, nodding along to the silent explanation.
He learned some things about Isobel just by observing her. He noticed that the way she acted and lived didn't line up with the image of a hardboiled gang leader. No big penthouse, no fancy clothes, and no overbearing, undeserved sense of superiority. Instead, she had a small apartment filled to the brim with odd knickknacks, a cat, and a talent for getting herself and others into crazy situations. And a recipe for good congee.
The person he was still in the process of learning about was different from the criminals and socialites he knew. That only became more apparent as he listened to her talk about her mother. She didn't say much, but what she was willing to share gave him the impression that she cared about her family. If the reason she painted flowers was because of her mother, then he assumed the feeling was mutual between them. While it was sad that Isobel lost an important person in her life, Ezra thought it was nice that they had that sort of relationship. Nice, as well as a little enviable.
He had gotten a bit too comfortable just listening, so he was unprepared when Isobel suddenly turned the questions on him. It was such a simple question, but he struggled to come up with an answer. He was stuck flipping through memories in order to find something he could say he enjoyed doing, but everything turned up blank.
Life was just a cycle of work and sleep. If not working, there was training. If not training, there was studying. He always got stuck with something unpleasant, and any free time he was blessed with was spent trying to recover from those stress-inducing tasks. He never had any friends, and he never had the time to pick up hobbies. The only thing that came to mind was...
As soon as the image of him screaming into a microphone popped into his head, he shook it away. He absolutely could not, would not mention that. He'd just die of embarrassment if people found out that the closest thing he had to a hobby was going to sing at karaoke bars alone.
In order to avoid revealing the only thing that came to mind, he quickly looked around his apartment. "Well, uh, I like..." There had to be something good around here, something that was part of a common, normal hobby.
There was not.
Aside from standard appliances, he only saw a myriad of custom exercise equipment and weights. He didn't even particularly enjoy using them. It was all stuff deemed necessary by the people who trained him, and he just followed the regimen like he was told to.
"Working out?" He didn't sound particularly confident in his answer. In a hurry to come up with something, he just went with the first thing he saw. The only thing he saw
it wasn't until a few seconds after answering that he realized he could've just said he liked reading books or watching TV.
"That was a part of the plan! Scare him into revealing the information!" By whatever gods were out there, what was Gideon getting at? Raquel had thought they were on the same page, but apparently, they were in different volumes. Now she was starting to feel a little fed up with Gideon's argument. While she couldn't eat him, she could at least rough him up a little. Right, BB? RIGHT?
"But people aren't rabbits, nor deers. If they're any animal, they're comparable to brown bears!" At least brown bears; were omnivorous. They at least had a healthy diet of meat with a disgusting side dish of vegetables. Being a vegan seems both tedious and a sin to do. Though what left Gideon's mouth caused the entire room to grow a few degrees colder.
"You're a what?"
Could she believe what she was hearing? She, the cannibal, was working together with a tree eater? Raquel's eyes slightly bulged as if she discovered that Gideon was an alien from outer space coming to Earth to conquer it for his homeland. Raquel could handle Hector hanging out with multiple people. That was his way of life. She could handle Yukito being the absolute cutest. That was his way of life. She could tolerate Milo existing in her general proximity. That was the extent her patience held out.
Gideon being vegan? He needed to die for her.
"Well, how about we change that?" Raquel said evilly. Grabbing the recently deceased Barlo's hand, she tore it out of its socket. The blood-soaked her sleeves as it dripped from its newfound opening. Waving it at Gideon, she grinned. "C'mon. Just a little bite. Maybe you'll change your thought about being vegan."
Though Raquel stopped, a small frown graced her lips as Gideon gave his best impression of herself. "I suppose that is true." She stopped flopping the disembodied hand. While neither of them could prove that the other killed Mr. Barlo, it was hard to deny that Raquel was the one who wounded the man the most. Under that logic, she was the one most responsible for killing him. Not to mention she could just eat the man and be done with it. Raquel was feeling ravenous after all.
"Fair enough. You win." She tossed the hand up into the air. In one gulp, it disappeared into her mouth. "I suppose I'll start with the thighs. Those are the juiciest, after all." Grabbing on Mr. Barlo's pants, Raquel was about to pull them down until she felt something in them. "Hmmm?" With her curiosity piqued, she dug her hands into the pockets.
It was a flash drive. Could this be what they were looking for?
"Hey, catch." In one hand flick, Raquel tossed the bloodied flash drive to Gideon. "Go scan it or something. I'll be done with Mr. Barlo in a few seconds." Without wasting a second, Raquel descended upon the corpse of the deceased man.
Splurts of blood and gore splashed around as Raquel 'cleaned up' the man. The sickening sound of bones being crushed and fleshy tissue hitting the ground accompanied the sounds of Raquel gulping down the body. Not even a minute had passed, and most of Mr. Barlo was gone already.