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The Adjudicator's Institute for Heroics



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Wed Oct 11, 2023 2:52 pm
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Ari11 says...



“Astrid, I—“ Evan cut himself off as they buried themself in their game. She wouldn’t hear him now. He rubbed his temples, watching the flashing light from the Nintendo bounce off the damp sewer walls. How was more fighting supposed to make them less stressed? What was the logic in that? At this point, he was convinced everyone was losing their minds, including him.

So when Winnie asked where she was, he didn’t even question it. Sage, on the other hand, had a stronger grasp on her wits.

“This is the sewers,” she told the little girl, a strange look on her face. “We took you down here to get away from the Adjudicator. Do you remember the Adjudicator?”
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Thu Oct 12, 2023 2:59 am
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KocoCoko says...



Winifred tilted her head slightly. "I... I think? I remember getting called to the office. That's about it." She clutched her chest tightly. Even with Teddy alive once more, something was still missing. Her head felt like it was full of sludge and a part of her was simply missing. A part of her was in an underground lab and she felt like a puzzle missing a piece. "I don't... feel right."

Izzy almost screamed when she saw Winifred had a bit of life (albiet horrified) back in the girl's eyes. She ran up and hugged her, a trail of electricity and fire trailed behind her. "Winnie! Damn, I thought-" Izzy cut herself off, trying to force the tears back in her head, "I thought I'd lost ya!"

Winifred was entirely lost, too shocked to fight back against the embrace.

Despite all this, Astrid was glued to her race-cars, trying to forget thr stench and grime around them. They just wanted people to laugh at them. What was so hard about laughing at a stupid argument? Astrid tried not to crack their system, but her tight grasp was really testing it's capabilites.

Dawn watched as Avery made their collection of sleeping bags. "I... I don't even know what's going on anymore. I just wanna sleep," she sighed. It was a struggle to keep her eyes open. Each time she blinked she edged closer to nodding off. In all truth, she was sort of glad she still could sleep, considering the insanity, stress, and paranoia that came with being locked in potentionally poisonious berries. Maybe it was just the overall exhaustion speaking for her.
they/she or she/they




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Thu Oct 12, 2023 9:18 pm
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Ari11 says...



It took Evan a moment to realize what was going on. When he finally did, though, his eyes widened in disbelief.

“She’s…back?” It was meant to be a statement, but it came out like a question instead. He watched incredulously as Winifred’s teddy bear started walking around on its own, completely independent of its owner. His lips formed the words again, more confidently this time. “She’s back.”

The small flame of hope in his chest flared up as if someone had filled his heart with kerosene. If little Winnie could do it, couldn't Sam? He reached into his pocket to touch the warm orange vial, which he'd been carrying with him since he left the Adjudicator's lab. It glowed faintly against his fingers, as if it recognized him.

Maybe they're okay after all, he thought, gripping the vial in his hand. Maybe they've recovered already, and they're somewhere safe, away from the school and the fear and the experiments. Maybe, once all this is over, I can find them again!

Next to him, Sage was observing Winifred with a narrowed gaze. The little girl's eyes had regained that haunted look, like windows after the condensation had been rubbed off. She could see all the confusion and terror on her face as Izzy embraced her, a strange girl in a strange world.

"How is this...possible?" the botani-kinetic breathed, the humid sewer air catching in her lungs. "Her powers were only taken a few hours ago, but she's already regained them. How?"
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Fri Oct 13, 2023 10:26 am
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KocoCoko says...



"I dunno!" Izzy cried, "But I don't care! God damn, I missed you!" Izzy practically squeezed the air from Winifred's lungs, leaving her flailing until her release. She instantly stepped back from the group, her bear shielding her with its arms wide open. It was much shorter than her, but it was trying its best.

"I lost my powers?" she said, finally taking in what Sage had said. "Teddy was... gone?" How do you even come to terms with that? That your only comfort, your only friends were stripped from you? Sure, maybe she had an unhealthy attachment to her toys, and maybe she was god to them, but there was love in it! And someone took it!? "Who did it?"

Dawn, quite suddenly, perked up. Any expression of fatigue was gone. "The Adjudicator," she stated. "She did it."

"I'll kill her!" Winifred shrieked, grabbing her bear and holding it tight. It wasn't pained by this revelation, but the stuffed plush would happily accept hushes and gentle strokes from her. "Anyone who wants to take Teddy away deserves it," she mumbled, turning away from the group as she began whispering to Teddy. In reality, she never needed to. There was a psychic link between her and her creations, a constant reminder of who was alive and who wasn't at any given time. Winifred was... strange.

Dawn stood up straight, staring at Winifred. It was like a switch had been flipped. "I... Maybe you're right." She stayed silent for a moment. She was rigid, as if she didn't want to move on her own. Something in her eyes was... off. "But... You got your powers back? Just by us fighting? You're you again?"

Winifred squeezed her bear against her chest. "I think so," she said simply, eyeing down up and down. The dim light of the dying fire didn't help comfort her. Neither did it for Izzy, giving Dawn a strange look. She glanced at Sage, then back at Dawn.

"Why are you being weird?" she asked.

Dawn ignored her, approaching Winifred again. When Izzy tried to stop her, Dawn simply wrapped her legs in vine. That's when Izzy knew something was wrong. Regular Dawn feared the dark so much that her powers didn't work. "You always hated when we fought," she asked, slightly frantic, "It scared you. You got scared when our parents had that huge breakup, and I remember you got your powers, right? So you just have to remember that?"

Winifred's back was up against the wall, muck sticking to her blouse. She just stared at the redhead with wide eyes, completely bewildered. She couldn't muster up her thousands of question, only a few words of utter confusion. "You're not Powder."
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Fri Oct 13, 2023 2:50 pm
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Ari11 says...



"Dawn!" Avery jumped up, grabbing the redhead by the shoulders. She spun her around, staring at the other girl's face. Dawn's grey eyes were dull and cloudy, unfocused as her mouth moved of its own accord, like a ventriloquist doll.

At the same time, Sage leapt to her feet, growing fresh vines over Dawn's legs to keep her in place. "He's gonna see where we are!" she cried, lunging forward and snatching the glasses off Dawn's face. Evan backed against the Semavry dome, color blooming off his skin and into the leaves. The walls were converted to pulsing purple and orange, folding in and over each other in an effort to confuse the boy looking through Dawn's face.

"Get out!" Avery snarled, shaking the girl a little. It wasn't enough to hurt her, just disorient Powder. "Get out of her head!"

"Wait!" Sage grabbed Avery's wrist. "This could be an opportunity. Powder, you know what the Adjudicator did to your sister, right? It's awful. She clearly can't be trusted...and we could really use your help taking her down."
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Fri Oct 13, 2023 7:06 pm
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KocoCoko says...



The worst part was that every shriek from the yanks and pulls done to her came from her. It was her voice yelping when she at the flashing colors and her face flinching when her glasses were snatched.
Even Astrid ran up and offered one of their wraps, but they were too short to reach Dawn's face.

At some point, Dawn(?) decided to simply cover their eyes, sparing themself the trouble. When Avery had stopped shaking her, she finally revealed her dull, lifeless eyes. "Oh... Oh!" Dawn squinted hard, trying to make out the details of Avery's face. "God, I have glasses too, but I think this girl is blinder than me." Powder wasn't even trying to hide it any longer.

Powder(?) listened carefully, glancing over everyone they could. Then, when Sage was done, they smiled. Slowly, eeriely. "Well, thank you, I don't need your help," she said. "You're lucky you have my sister. The Adjudicator has already been dealt with."

There was a moment of silence. Then, the real Dawn grabbed Avery's shoulders. The life came back to her eyes for a moment, showing a mix between fear, confusion, and panic. Before she could speak, she gripped Avery tightly and was puking up a festering clump of black goo on her own feet, slightly larger than the others.
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Fri Oct 13, 2023 8:48 pm
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Ari11 says...



Avery cradled Dawn much more gently now that she knew it was the real girl clinging to her and not some weird Powder hybrid. She patted her on the back, flinching a little as the black goo smacked the floor. Evan slumped down from the dome, colors fading as he folded from exhaustion. Meanwhile Sage was pacing back and forth, her movements filled with rapid, spastic energy.

“Dealt with…” she murmured, rubbing her chin. She turned on her heel and faced the others, stopping dead in the middle of the room. “What does that mean, ‘the Adjudicator’s been dealt with’? Did he…kill her?”
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Sat Oct 14, 2023 2:28 am
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KocoCoko says...



Dawn took a moment to fully come to, trying to sputter out any goo that was left in her throat. The burning sensation of vomit was harsh and knowing it recently controlled her. "Gosh," she mumbled, her voice hoarse. She held onto Avery for dear life, dazed and confused, though certainly awake. "What... What did I do?" she blurted out, frantic. She completely hid herself away in Avery's sweater, her fave just barely visible as she searched for comfort in her embrace. "Did I hurt you? I didn't- I should've just listened to Sage- I shouldn't have waited and- Where are my glasses? And I'm so sorry! I'm sorry!"

Despite being free, it felt as if Dawn couldn't control the thoughts flying by her head. Words and sentences didn't make sense, so instead nonsense rambles came out instead. Only one thing caught her attention. She only caught a bit of it, but it was enough to cause her heart to drop.

She stopped and stared at Sage, her face white. "Did... Did something happen to my mom?"
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Sat Oct 14, 2023 2:59 am
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Ari11 says...



"We don't know," Sage handed Dawn's glasses back, her face tight with I told you so's. But the new information plus Powder's insight and the possible fate of the Adjudicator were all pressing enough for her to keep her mouth shut. Besides, Dawn was clean now and it didn't seem like Powder knew where they were, so there wasn't really anything for her to be mad about. "Powder--through your eyes--told us that he'd had her 'dealt with', whatever that means."

"It can't have been that bad," Avery murmured, wrapping her arms around the redhead and rubbing her back in slow, soothing motions. "She has Ms. Lane and Dr. Emily and all the other staff at the school to help her. Not to mention that she's pretty capable herself, all things considered."

"That might've changed, though," Evan chimed in from across the room. He struggled to his feet, using the Semavry to help support him as he stood up. His skin was grey and clammy; the sudden outburst of color had drained what little energy he had left. "Dawn was right, the color bomb definitely...did something to the Adjudicator and Ms. Lane. I don't know what exactly, but it could have incapacitated them enough for Powder to swoop in. Let me remind you that we still don't know the scope of his power yet, and after what they did to Winnie...well, I doubt he'd be pulling any punches."

Avery pursed her lips. She knew that if anyone did anything to Evan, she'd have them laid out on the pavement in no time. She could only imagine how Powder might have felt after hearing about Winifred, and that fury would've only fueled his rampage. She hugged Dawn a little tighter.

"What do we do?" Sage's eyes flicked to Izzy, who she pointed at. "You know Powder the best out of all of us. What do you think he did?"
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Mon Oct 16, 2023 1:17 am
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KocoCoko says...



Izzy awkwardly glanced around the group, rubbing her burned face as she did so. Her eyes hit the floor as she spoke. "Honestly? He... I don't think I know him, actually. All I know is that he was shy. Sure, he was pretty cold and manipulating to most, but he actually is kind of pathetic when it comes to real confrontation. I can tell you he really was a nervous crybaby when I first met him. Now it's... different."

Winifred suddenly jumped into the conversation, standing right beside Izzy. "He would kill," she said, softly. "Powder only cares about me because if someone touches me, it means someone's getting too close to him. He likes control and being safe. If that means taking out the Adjudicator, he'd do it. He hurts people a lot more than you'd think." Then, she went back to being silent, making her way to a corner to catch up with her teddy.

Astrid approached Evan slowly. "Dude, you okay?" they asked, trying to help Evan up. "You look kinda... sick. Not in the good sick, but like, ill-sick." Astrid held onto Evan's shoulder, trying to help him in his struggle. "Um, also, sorry about earlier. I just thought you'd start laughing instead of, you know, yeah."

Dawn was moritified. Even in the dark sewers, even in the secret lab, even when she was slapped across the face, she never felt so much fear. "No, no, she couldn't- she can't!" she said, holding Avery tightly. "Gosh, no, that's not possible, I mean- how? Why? You don't reall think he'd do it?" She did her best to keep from hyperventilating, but nothing really seemed to help. She turned to wall of Semavry, then Sage. "Can we go check on her? Please?"
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Mon Oct 16, 2023 5:18 am
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Ari11 says...



"I'm okay," Evan told Astrid, grateful for the help. His legs shook underneath him like trees in a windstorm. "And it's fine. It's just that...starting an argument isn't the best way to make someone laugh." He gestured around at the rest of the group. "Especially not around people as nervous and tone-deaf as this." He chuckled weakly.

When Winifred spoke up, an uneasy wrinkle appeared in Evan's forehead.

"And to think, I thought he was just a harmless wimp," he shook his head, rubbing his temples. Then he glanced back up at Winnie. "Does he have any weaknesses? A fear, or a limitation we can exploit? Knowing that would be super helpful if we end up going against him."

"When we go up against him," Avery's voice was soft. The rest of the group turned to look at her as she stood in the corner of the room, still rubbing Dawn's trembling back. "From the sound of it, Powder's even worse than the Adjudicator. And if he's managed to take her down...we've got a whole new problem on our hands. With all the kids trapped in the school, and the equipment down in the basement...well, I don't think we have much of a choice."

Sage nodded. "We need to go up there. See what the situation is, determine if the Adjudicator is still alive. If she is, we might have an unlikely ally in this. If not...we'll figure something out." Her voice shivered slightly, but it didn't break as she continued; "I think it's time we went back to the surface."
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Mon Oct 16, 2023 11:00 am
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KocoCoko says...



Izzy was the first to raise her hand. "Sorry, but I'm offically saying that no way in hell are we doing that. It is four in the morning, and we have no clue if Powder is making empty threats or not. What if he's trying to bait us out of hiding so he can grab Winifred? Personally, I'd rather not risk it. Besides, if the Adjudicator's dead... that's more of an advantage to us, no?"

Dawn's head snapped to Izzy. In an instant she let go of Avery and went up to her. She was already in edge... this certainly didn't do any favors. "You people are talking about my mom!" she cried, "I don't care what she's done- she's my mom! I love her and if there's a chance that she's hurt I need to make sure she is okay!"

Izzy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Yeah, because miss mommy issues is totally not strengthening my opinion."

"Wha- I don't have mommy issues!"

Even Winifred gave her a strange look. Astrid had to try and hold down their laughter. Dawn's cheeks were red. "Uh, okay, maybe I have some problems... with my mother... b-but still! If she could be dead, then we have to go check on her!"
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Mon Oct 16, 2023 2:08 pm
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Ari11 says...



"What if it was one of your dads?" Avery asked, tilting her head a little as she watched Izzy's half-burned face. "What would you do then?"
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?




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Mon Oct 16, 2023 5:01 pm
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KocoCoko says...



Izzy stared at Avery. Expressing with her burned, blinded side was a bit difficult to do, so she looked blank at the taller girl. "I..." she stuttered. She looked away and crossed her arms. She... didn't have an answer.

Dawn nodded at Avery with a thankful look, than glared at Izzy. "Exactly. Now, um," Dawn's confidence instantly shattered when she glanced at Sage, "Can we go now? Like, now?"
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Mon Oct 16, 2023 5:18 pm
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Ari11 says...



“Honestly? The suspense is killing me,” Sage gave Dawn an odd half-smile. “Besides, staying down here isn’t going to do us any favors. It’ll just give Powder more time to prepare.”

Avery glanced around at the others, her eyes resting, finally, on Izzy. “You can all stay if you want to. Sage and I are going with Dawn.”

“If you think I’m missing out on something like this, you’re insane,” Evan muttered, grinning. Despite his weakened state, he managed to stumble over to his sister. “You’ll need my camouflage, too. Who knows what might be waiting for us up there.”

Avery nodded. “Anyone else?”
No I'm not an alien, why you askin?







In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary.
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