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Damocles



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Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 pm
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Europa says...



The Experiment

The world is a place full of danger and evil. It is an irreversible fact of life. Irreversible, that is, until Project Damocles.
Headed by Dr. Caleb Tucker, a team of scientists set out to create a force of powerful guardians meant to protect the human race from its own failings. However, their mission proved more difficult than they thought. Some subjects couldn't handle the strain of the process and died in its initial phases, others who made it through were too weak to safely handle anything more than a street scrap. None of the subjects made it past their first field test. As the process drew on, Dr. Tucker never lost faith in his vision, but in humanity itself...

After thirty long years of checking and rechecking, trying and failing, the team working on Project Damocles was about to give up hope. Dr. Tucker had long since withdrawn into his office, his existence almost forgotten. It was agreed among the team that they would make one last attempt. If it failed, the project would be shut down forever. The process was once again reworked, algorithms checked and corrected. New subjects chosen.
Perhaps it was that factor which changed the outcome. The scientists had tried every age demographic from preschool-aged children to adults and none had succeeded to the level they needed. This time around, the subjects chosen were infants still in conception. The introduction of powers in certain phases of development ensured the foreign traits would be accepted and integrated normally. As the subjects grew, their powers developed along with their changing bodies and minds.

This was the first batch of subjects that was a complete success.

And This is Where You Come In...

You were born and raised in the lab with barely a glimpse at the outside world, aside from the infrequent field missions. Supposedly to help you adopt your role as a divine guardian, you were also given the name of a powerful deity or weapon. Your life was extremely routine, consisting mostly of training and school, with breaks for meals in between. Of course, you're a teenager, and this tiny life is starting to feel at least a tiny bit constricting. It's more than a bit of a surprise when today Dr. Tucker, who you've only ever heard of, calls you up to his office, then tells you he's setting you free.

He wants to set you loose in the world to purge it of all evil, in his words to become "The Gods of Destruction". You're not too sure about that (Or maybe you are, your choice.) But who are you to refuse freedom just being handed to you like that? He is the head of operations after all...

and so, you find yourself out in the world with no one but your fellow subjects. You have no identification, you chose a new name for yourself when you ventured out into the world. No one who knows you exist besides your friends and the government, and no idea what to do next. Up until this time, your needs have all been met for you. Now on top of trying to survive in a world you barely know, the government has caught wind of what Dr. Tucker had done, and will stop at nothing to recapture you and the rest of the subjects. It is the ultimate test of your battle skills and your bonds with your teammates, only this test has no rules, no safety plan, and no way out.

At least, that's what it looks like...

The Boring Stuff

Rules
Spoiler! :

1. As always, keep language and romance PG.
2. Please discuss any plot ideas with the rest of the group before you introduce it.
3. No God-Modding.
4. Not that I think this will be an issue, but be sure to respect your fellow writers.
5. All other YWS SB rules apply.


Character Sheet
Spoiler! :
Code: Select all
[b]Given Name[\b]
[b]Chosen Name:[/b]
[b]Why they Chose it[/b]
[b]Age:[/b] (Between 14 and 16)
[b]Gender:[/b]
[b]Ethnicity:[/b]
[b]Appearance:[/b]
[b]Personality:[/b]
[b]Power:[/b]
[b]Gods of Destruction? [/b](How do your character feel about that?)
[b]Romance?:[/b]
[b]Other:[/b]


Character Slots
Spoiler! :

1- Ivy(@Europa)
2- Dawn (@Europa)
3- Cyra (@kat13254)
4- Nova (@AliceinBluue)
5- A'isha (@corvidconvalescence)
6- Cogito (@Chaser)
7-Angel (@Oswin1800)
8- Lucas Shine-Forge (@citrus4nite)
9- Teresa Polta (@Tortwag)
10- Lux (@EthanHoover)


Hah...I haven't done an SB of my own in a while! I'm looking forward to working with you beautiful writers, old and new!
Last edited by Europa on Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Mon May 28, 2018 5:27 pm
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Europa says...



He watched from the roof as his squadron of planes took off over the horizon. Only he knew where they were going. Only he knew which of them held the subjects he had just released, and for now, only he knew what power he had just unleashed on the world.

Dr. Tucker chuckled amiably as a storm of uniformed officers rushed onto the platform. "You've gotten slower."

"Where are the subjects?" An officer demanded.

Dr. Tucker blinked, keeping his face pleasant. "Saving the world! That is what they were created for, after all."

The officer who had spoken gritted their teeth in frustration. "Tell us where you've sent them."

Dr. Tucker clicked his tongue in disapproval. "Now, if I did that, you'd stop them. How are they supposed to destroy evil from inside these walls?"

"Enough of this!" It was a different officer that spoke now, and that seemed to end the pleasantries. The officers rushed forward as one. Dr. Tucker stood still as they grabbed him, and forced his hands behind his back. He smiled pleasantly as he felt the handcuffs retract around his wrists.

"I suppose I have the right to remain silent?"

One of the officers flashed him an irratated look. "That's right."

Dr. Tucker shrugged as best he could with their hands weighing down his shoulders. "Alright then."

He let his captors lead him back down the halls of his lab, content to let his secret lay behind his pressed lips.

In only a few hours time, his gods of destruction would begin their work. The Earth would finally be cleansed.


Ivy


"Dawn!" I shouted over at the plane next to me. "Quit touching the controls!"

My twin leaned back in the pilot's seat. "It's on autopilot!" She objected. "What's it gonna hurt?"

"If you move the controls too much you might shut it off." I explained patiently. "Do you know how to fly a plane?"

Dawn folded her arms "I might."

"She doesn't." Cyra stated flatly on my other side. "the instructors offered no piloting classes, therefore there's no way you could have learned."

"What did she say?" Dawn yelled as the wind began to pick up.

"She said you don't know how to fly!" I replied.

"I mean, I was joking anyway."

"I know that."

"What?"

"I said--oh forget it." I turned to look over my shoulder at the back cockpit. Cogito was siting cramped against the plane's wall with Argo, my dog, sitting beside him. Occasionally the wind would blow too hard in Argo's ears and he'd shake his head, whipping Cogito in the face with his floppy ears.

"How you doing back there?" I called back to him.

Argo sneezed, and Cogito pulled a face as the wet spray hit the side of his neck. "Why couldn't he ride up with you?"

I smirked. "Hey, man. First come, first serve. Unless you wanted to try and wrestle him into the front."

Argo yawned and laid down across Cogito's lap.

"You could have just told him to move." Cogito wheezed as the dog pressed his weight up against him.

I shrugged. "I guess, but this is so much more fun to watch. Besides, he likes you."

To emphasize my point, Argo barked happily and dragged his large wet tongue across my friend's face.

"Aw gross, dog!" He exclaimed, wiping the slobber off his cheeks.

I smiled a little and turned back around to face the front.

The ground below us was a blanket of emerald green, cut into sections by a shining band of water, the wide river breaking into smaller streams like the tentacles of a monster.

"Hey Cog, check it out!" I called out. "Kinda looks like looks like one of your monster forms."

Cogito peeked over the side just as the plane gave a tremendous rattle. He whipped back inside the cockpit, pressing his back against the seat.

"Ivy, what's going on?"

"I don't know." I searched the dashboard for a clue. Argo whimpered. I cursed as my eye fell on the little red light by the controls. It was off. "The autopilot's shot."

"What?"

"The autopilot's--"

"I heard you!" Cogito interrupted. "Do something!"

"Do what? I can't fly this thing!"

our plane as accelerating, the green below us getting closer to quickly.

"Ivy!"

I turned around to glare at him. "Well what am I supposed to do?"

"Heck if I know--just pull at the wheel and see if it does something!"

Well, it wasn't like I had any other ideas. I grabbed the wheel and pulled it back towards me. The plane slowed its fall and I felt it start to pull up. We both let out a breath of relief. The nose of the plane thumped against the top of a tree. Cogito yelped and grabbed onto Argo's neck. The plane rocked as it spiraled below the tree line.

My fingers tightened on the wheel. "Brace yourself!"

The plane careened into the river. I remember my head hitting the dashboard. Before I passed out I can clearly remember seeing my blood dripping into the water. I don't know why that was the thing that stuck for me, but I can still remember the pattern as it swirled away downstream.

Through the ringing in my ears I heard Cogito yelling something. Maybe my name, I'm not sure. The last thing I remember was a pair of arms circling around my chest and being pulled from the pilot's seat before my consciousness finally slipped away.
  





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Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:48 am
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Chaser says...



Cogito, Ergo Sum


I nearly lost consciousness when my head splattered against the side of the plane. The only thing that kept me awake was the pain of Argo’s body slamming into my rib cage. That graceless salvation was going to become a habit on my way to godhood. My ever-changing body crumpled in the seat, slowly re-forming as I took in our situation.

Water was licking at the windows, gurgling higher as the plane sank into the river. The crash had torn a hole in one of the doors, flooding the cockpits with water. Argo was shaking his head in a daze, but he seemed fine. But when I looked to the front seat, the dashboard was stained with blood.

“Ivy!” I shouted, tearing away what was left of my seatbelt and clambering over to her. Her head was hanging down in her seatbelt. I unbuckled her quickly and hauled her out towards the back of the plane, which was quickly becoming the top as the nose began to sink.

I shook Argo, looking into his eyes and hoping he understood the seriousness of what was happening. “We need to get out of this plane,” I told him, half to explain and half to review it myself. “I can open the door, but once I do, the plane will sink fast. Got it?” I didn’t really wait for his answer, and slammed the latch down on the door. “Go!”

Water sliced through the opening of the door, dousing me as I heaved it further and further aside. When the opening was large enough, Argo set his paws against the current and forced his way through. I watched him paddle away towards the riverbank and sighed. Next, Ivy and I had to sink.

I held her to my side, keeping her head above the water. Reaching the side compartment, I retrieved an oxygen mask and kept my eye on the door. I couldn’t fight the current while carrying Ivy, so the only option was to wait until the plane submerged, then swim for it.

The water was up to our necks now; I looked at Ivy and chuckled. “So, this has all been a lot to take in. Any thoughts on our situation?”

And even if she could hear me, the thoughts were still too many to list. None of us were truly sure how to feel about it, and when the adrenaline died, we would feel the weight of that missive. Dr. Tucker had freed us for one purpose, a purpose that he’d personally painted onto every plane he’d used. Well, if I wanted to see that magnificent graffiti, I’d have to exit the plane.

The cockpit was nearly full. I pulled the mask over Ivy’s face and plunged us both beneath the waves. I swam down towards the door, latching onto it with barely fingertips. Blasted by the current, we passed through the opening, and from there it was a frenzied kick towards the daylight.

We broke the surface like an uproar, and I tried to make sense of my surroundings. There was Argo barking on the shore. I thrashed towards him in a half-blind paddle. Gradually, the muddy river bottom rose to meet me, and I slogged out of the river with Ivy in tow. I pulled off her mask, laid her on the ground and then sat beside her, staring at the river.

Dr. Tucker’s plane was submerging, and only the tail remained above the water. Still, even from this distance, I could make out the shocking words he’d written onto the fuselage.

Hail the Gods of Destruction. Similar messages had been written all over the plane, running up and down wherever space could be found. It was a twisted message, because upon looking at them, we’d instantly known who those gods were going to be: all of us, the subjects of the Damocles project. For now, I was glad to see it sink.

Dr. Tucker had freed us in rebellion against the project, against mankind. Our modified bodies made us perfect for extermination, or really any form of godhood. Well, if I was to be a god, I would at least be dignified.

“Benevolent, too,” I decided. With that motivation, I tended Ivy’s injuries.

Her dark hair had been matted by a head wound that was still bleeding. I pulled Argo over to me, grabbing his harness and pulling out a small canteen of water. Gently, I unscrewed the cap and washed Ivy’s cut. After that, I checked Argo’s harness for bandages; there were none.

I sighed. “I can’t believe I’m doing this for you,” I said, pulling on my shirt sleeve and holding it out to Argo. “Argo. Shred.”

I nearly shed a tear as Argo ripped away my sleeve, the fabric coming off in a long, silken piece. I tore it off at the end, reaching beneath Ivy’s head to tie it into a bandage. That would do for her; now, to assess the damage.

“My appearance can’t be too muddled up, can it?” I pulled out a locket from beneath my shirt and opened it. In one half, there was a mirror to show what I looked like, and the other half held my actual face.

“Guh. Well, water does make you lose physical awareness.” In the mirror, my eyes had drooped slightly, while my face had flattened a bit, possibly from the force of the current. Focusing on the other half, I studied a photograph of the true Cogito Ergosum, my face and features. Gently, deliberately, my face began to match.

“Perfect,” I said, closing up the locket. “Now, next order of business. Where to buy new clothes?” Our Damocles lab uniforms weren’t going to help us blend in, but besides that, I really wanted to go shopping. Well, I had all the time in the world to think about that.

I slung Ivy over my shoulder and walked up the riverbank. We had landed at the mouth of a river, where it flowed out and spread into a vast marshland. If someone had landed there, I prayed for their shoes. Still, it would be too easy a location for the government to sweep. Anyone landing there would probably have gone upstream to regroup.

I sighed and looked at the plane. Since it had flooded, our communication systems were shot. All we could do was meander around and look for signs of the others.

I followed the river upstream, where the greenery thickened to a forest-like setting. Argo walked beside me, sniffing at the ground. Were Dobermans good at sniffing? Would we ever find the others? Was Ivy honestly a bit heavy to carry? Yes.

I put her down and sat at a tree trunk, resting beneath its vines. Ivy seemed to be resting more peacefully now, at least. I wrung out my shirt, smoothed it out, then sat back and relaxed. And I would have lost consciousness then, too, if not for Argo, again. Except this time, he was growling.

The vines had gotten lower. When my eyes had cleared up enough to look at them, I also realized that they, or rather, it, wasn’t vines.

A giant snake looped down from the treetops. It had coiled itself around the branches, and its head was gliding down directly in front of my face. Its eyes were flicking between me, Argo, and Ivy.

I breathed out shakily, extending my hand. “Argo, get back.” I stared into the snake’s eyes, watching for any hint of its movements. From its size, it looked too slow for snapping necks. Did that mean it had venom? I didn’t know, and all I could think about was shifting to dodge if it struck. Fear began to sweat out of me, almost as if I was melting, and if I felt it, maybe I was melting. All I could do was wait until something unexpected happened.

The snake plopped into my lap and began licking my face incessantly.

I breathed a sigh of relief. “So you’re awake.”

Ivy moved herself to a sitting position, wincing a bit. “Is Argo okay?”

“Argo’s fine, but I’m afraid I didn’t survive the crash. I’m sorry.”

Ivy waved her hand, her power compelling the snake to coil around me. “That’s a Burmese python, by the way. A constrictor, so it probably can’t hurt you.”

“Aha,” I said as my new scarf slithered around my shoulders, “I knew that.”

“Anyway,” Ivy went on, “we should probably get moving before the laboratory tracks the plane.”

“Maybe so,” I murmured, looking up at the sun-shaded forest, “but before that, have you noticed something?”

Ivy frowned. “No. What is it?”

“We’re free.”

After that, we just leaned back on our hands and stared at the world for a while. At the very least, a god should be allowed that haven of respite. It was a hard path ahead.
The hardest part of writing science fiction is knowing actual science. The same applies for me and realistic fiction.
  





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Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:38 pm
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Europa says...



Dawn

Our plane went down a few minutes after Ivy's. The ground came up so fast I had to close my eyes to keep my head from spinning and grip the sides of my seat with all my strength.

"Dawn," Teresa shouted from behind me. "Grow something!"

"What?" I had to think about it for a moment before I understood what she was asking. "Oh. Oh! Right! I got it."

I opened my eyes, trying not to vomit as I saw the ground spiraling up to us, and focused on the trees. I imagined their branches reaching out to hug our plane. It only took a moment of focusing for the trees to respond. Their branches began to grow rapidly, curling around the plane tightly until our fall jerked to a stop.

"Phew." Theresa sighed, undoing her seatbelt. "Nice going."

"Thanks for the idea." I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the cockpit. We slid out onto the branches and carefully picked our way down. The branches ended halfway down the trunk and we had to jump the rest of the way. My shoes squelched in the mud when they hit the ground and I scrunched up my nose. "gross."

"It's not so bad once you get used to it." Theresa slogged up beside me.

"How are you used to the stuff when it's only been five seconds?"

"I think the question is," Theresa poked me in the chest. "How are you not used to it? Mud's a part of nature, isn't it?"

"I only work with plants, and generally plants aren't squishy and desgusting."

Theresa shrugged "whatever you say. Anyway, we should probably figure out where we are or something."

At that, I brightened up. "You mean like exploring? I'm down for that!"
....

After about an hour of wandering, we concluded that the only thing for miles were cypress trees, water, and lots of mud. Theresa and I flopped down on a solid patch of ground and I lay back, looking through the trees to the little patches of sky in between.

"You think the others are alright?" I asked.

"I don't know." Theresa replied.

"How long do you think we have before the government finds us here?"

"I don't know."

"I bet Ivy is loving the snakes up there."I pointed to one I had spotted curling around a tree branch.

Theresa shrugged. "Dude, I wouldn't know. She's your sister."

I stopped and thought for a second. "Yeah, she's loving them."

We stayed quiet for a bit and watched the world around us. A bird flapped out of a tree and splashed down into the river nearby. Back at the lab, we never would have gotten this much downtime. We'd be busted for skipping training. But now, we had all the time in the world to do whatever we wanted.

"Well, I don't know about you," Theresa gave a giant yawn and flopped down on her side beside me. "But all that adventuring has me beat. I'm not going anywhere until I've had a nap."

Now that she mentioned it, I could feel my own eyelids getting heavy. The heat was seeping into my skin making me feel drowsy. "Yeah, I guess I could go for a nap."

I'm not sure how much of what I said actually reached Theresa, because she was out cold and snoring in about five seconds flat. I stayed awake and listened to the birds, lazily making the flowers dance as I watched the sky for helicopters.
  





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Tortwag says...



Teresa – Onward


The snoring stopped the very moment a regular respiration was heard on top of it. Teresa opened an eye, then the other. She turned her head towards Dawn, who had finally stopped her observation to fall asleep. It was somewhat funny that she still fell for that trick, but in a way, also adorable. It was as if she hadn’t changed, as if no amount of experimentation or brain-washing would ever destroy the happy-go-lucky persona that Dawn had decided to forge for herself. Something to be admired, no doubt, that… rejection of other people’s imposed wishes on an unbreakable innocence.

“...Too much poesy,” the rest of the team would say.

But enough contemplating sleepy mud-splattered, mildly attractive teenage female faces: it was time for action, and no amount of happy exploration would make Teresa forget her objective, or the fact that people would be on their trail – potentially for the rest of their lives.
Teresa let herself float until she silently reached an upright position. It had been around an hour now since she sent a few of her poltergeists scout the area in several directions, and though Dawn hadn’t noticed, Teresa’s immaterial body had begun to manifest as a result. By her estimate, they should be back rather soon.

Lady Thousand! something whispered in her mind. We have returned with your valued items!

Teresa let a brief smile decorate her face. Ah, how she adored that nickname. Didn’t it sound perfect and wonderful? Teresa Thousand. It just screamed of… awesomeness.

Welcome back, my pretties.” Teresa said in an otherworldly voice heard only by her ghostly minions. She extended her hand. “My bag, if you may.” Teresa’s shoulder bag floated towards her and equipped itself to her as if from its own will. Opening it carefully, Teresa saw that the few things she had brought – which mostly encompassed her various notebooks, pens, and jewels that she used for focus – were all present, ready to be useful once more. They’d make good servants, If they were to be human. Ah, and the last thing – a pack of earplugs, put away in a small, separate pocket. “Put this in her ears, will you? Lady Thousand is busy working.

Your will is our command!

The Poltergeists proceeded to take a pair of earplugs from the tiny pack and ever so slowly placed them on Dawn’s ears – whose slumber appeared deep enough that she did not feel it. Then, Teresa called them back, and her loyal minions fused with her. She was whole once more, and so, her body regained its material nature. Humming softly, Teresa removed her shoes and placed them on Dawn’s lap before walking away, barefoot.
Teresa took a few seconds for herself, enjoying the slightly cold breeze as the mud, dirt and grass were squashed below her naked feet. Disgusting? Certainly not. It was invigorating, distant from the lab and, most importantly, new. New sensations that her feet had barely grown accustomed with.

“Anyway...” Teresa whispered to herself. “Back to business, Lady Thousand. We got enough distance, now.” Her eyes turned black, save for the bright blue pupils that kept on shining as her other power activated, once again making her body transparent. Smiling in anticipation, she lifted her hands, and a giant rock about twice her size came from down below, slowly lifting itself up, and Teresa along with it.

Embrace my form.

A second rock, just as large as the previous one, leveled the grass and merged with the first one. Smaller ones came to join in, until finally, the formation made designed the rough shape of a large oval tower with a flattened top on which Teresa sat down, reviewing her notes with care.
Hmm... Considering the direction of the plane and where they crashed, it was likely that they were somewhere in the United States of America – and considering how rural their surroundings were, they were somewhere down the south part of the giant country. Teresa nodded to herself. Perfect. It was quite close to Brazil and its Amazonian forest, which were her first destinations to enjoy herself playing “God of Destruction.” All she needed to do was to make sure everybody would meet, then expose her plan. She doubted many would follow it. She wouldn’t force anyone to do so, but… Would they force her to remain with them as a group? If she went to execute her idea alone, she’d be in danger the more time passes. Little to no communication with a group that hypothetically wouldn’t care much, temporary allies in humans who may turn on her out of fear – she’d really have to manipulate the emotions of those well – and a forest that represented the last bastion between the planet’s well-being and advancing ruin.
Teresa let out a heavy sigh. Things were bound to get complicated. If they stayed as a group in a single place, their influence would be extremely limited, unless made legal. Some would treat them as weapons, and everyone would want a piece. Or maybe a way to replicate them. She didn’t quite think everyone was aware of all this, or would care once she and others expose it whenever they talk.

“Separation could lead to a fight among ourselves, staying together would lead to a separation anyway, and a higher chance of getting caught or attracting attention…” Teresa whispered to herself as she closed her notebook. “Well, isn’t that wonderful.” Closing her eyes, she let a part of her semi-immaterial body fly within her construction once more. It was stable at last. She deactivated her position and focused on summoning her Poltergeists once more: this time, in an attempt to scout the territory and find her lost comrades. The sooner they had a serious talk, the better.

“Teresa?!” a voice suddenly exclaimed somewhere down below. “Teresa, did you make this?”

Ah, the plant princess was up. Just in time, too. Teresa would answer her, but she’d rather let the poltergeist she had left with her possess a small little platform below Dawn's feet and lift her up. A minute and a cry of surprise later, said poltergeist brought Dawn all the way up to the top of the construction, while Teresa hummed to herself, gazing a the horizon. All things considered, this was a good view, and the wind wasn’t much of a problem.

“Jeez, how can you just… Sit there, with this wind? It’s a bit co–” Dawn didn’t finish her sentence as Teresa turned around. What Teresa believed to be a sympathetic gaze appeared to her friend as a murderous shining blue glare surrounding completely black eyes - a sight that Dawn wasn't yet used to see.

“What wind?” Teresa replied. She frowned, noticing that Dawn had frozen in place. “What?”

“Um… Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“I didn’t interrupt something, did I?”

“No, I expected you to come here. Was your nap alright?”

“It was! Yours?”

“I didn’t nap.”

“What? But you fell asleep before me!”

“I faked that.”

“...Why?”

“For the same reason I gave you earplugs. I needed to think, and you needed to sleep.” Teresa’s eyes looked at the horizon once more. “I’m done thinking, though. You can sit. And keep the earplugs. I'd like my shoes back, however.”

“Okay...”

Teresa began to think about Dawn's behavior as she put her shoes back on. Hmm, the uncertainty of the tone as well as the slowness of the steps that led Dawn to sit next to Teresa suggested that she was potentially intimidated. Perhaps meaningful social interaction would break that.

“You’re cute when you sleep, you know.” Teresa declared as Dawn properly sat, letting her feet dangle at the edge of the construction’s top. “A bunch of flowers showed up around you before I left. It’s fun how that still happens.”

“I noticed, actually.” Dawn admitted. “Thanks. I’m so glad there’s so much grass here, it’s awesome! I’m glad we’re finally out, too. There’s so much we’ve heard about that we’ll get to explore.”

“It’ll probably change once we reach the big cities.” Teresa’s eyes turned back to white as she looked at Dawn. “You, though. Never change, okay? Stay just the way you are. Bubbly and energetic and talkative and innocent. Well, I don’t know about the innocent part. But everything else is doable.”

Dawn seemed taken aback. “Why do you say that?”

“Because the view is beautiful, the sun is wonderful, and everything its light touches belongs to someone else.” Teresa allowed herself a giggle. “It’ll probably stay that way for a while, and you’re not the type to take places by force. That means you’ll remain walking in stranger’s territory for the rest of your existence. So…!” Teresa fondly poked Dawn’s cheek. “Don’t change. If people like you get desperate along the way, then the world is seriously messed up.”

A loud silence took place after Teresa’s declaration, sometimes interrupted by the wind’s presence.

“Thanks.” Dawn whispered. “Thanks a ton. I'll do my best.”

And boom, one ally down. Well, no. One friend down. Dawn didn’t deserve to participate in any sort of machination Teresa had begun to come up with unless she wanted to. A shame: she'd be such a perfect protector of the Amazonian forest, but well, better to leave her as happy and hopeful as she’d hopefully always stay. Ah, yes, speaking of hope…

“Don’t mention it.” Teresa replied. I’m just glad I drew my scariness away. Found Ivy and Cogito, by the way.”

Dawn’s eyes widened and she let out a gasp. “What?! Really?!”

“Really. I sent my Poltergeists to look for them. They’re around half a kilometer away from our position. My boys can’t see their plane, though.”

“Are they okay? Is Ivy okay?”

“They’re napping.”

It was Dawn’s turn to giggle. “I wonder if all of us are gonna start that way.”

“I’m already disqualified, but if the others do, y’all are hilarious.”

“...Did you really watch me sleep?”

“Yes.”

“Do I... Do I snore?”

“Your natural elegance apparently prevents you from being afflicted by such a deadly curse.” A silence. "Means no."

“Thank goodness!”

“And by the way?” Teresa’s eyes once again turned back as she raised, looking down at her friend. “I don’t snore either.”

“But you could!”

“Guess I’m just lucky.” with that said, Teresa let herself fall from her tower, whispering something as a part of her construction came off to float until it came under her feet, gently stopping her descent until it came to a stop, centimeters away from the ground. Teresa jumped down, waiting for her "transportation" to fly back up, take Dawn on itself and letting her reach for Teresa's position, arms crossed and a playful smile on the face.

“Pff.” Dawn exclaimed. “Show-off!”

“Baby, you know it.” Turning back, Teresa lifted her arms. “Embrace my form.” With an earth-shattering noise, the construction began to fall back into the ground, separating into tiny rocks that reached the size of gravels, until everything was properly buried, with patches of dirt and severed grass being the only proofs of its short-lived existence.

“Shouldn’t we do that with the planes?” Dawn suggested.

“No, let’s them think we’re dumb and leave it there. If we hide everything, they’ll understand that we’re trying to hide, and will be a lot more cautious than they already are. I don’t think we need that.” Also Teresa was quite tired from testing her powers the way she did, not that Dawn needed to know that. They'd both recuperate during their walk, anyway.

“Oh, okay. Wow, you really thought this one through.”

Teresa shrugged modestly as the pair began to walk in the direction of their lost companions. “Someone has to.” she replied simply.

“Is that you trying to be modest, or are you picking on me?”

Teresa let out a laughter. “Yes.”
"Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life? How will I know if I've gone too far?
And why did I spend my life savings on sunglasses for a whale?
I shall find the answer... to these questions."
  








May you never steal, lie, or cheat. But if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows. And if you must lie, then lie with me all the nights of your life. And if you must cheat, then please, cheat death.
— An Unknown Bride, Leap Year