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LoaMR: Ch.XVI: Daphne and Claire 8

by MailicedeNamedy


Claire opened the door carefully.

Claire had received her key in the morning from Daphne.

Daphne was not alone in the flat. In the wing chair sat a pink-haired, frightening-looking woman. Her yellow eyes were beyond anything she had ever seen. Claire shuddered at the sight. Daphne's irises were already scary, but those eyes did everything possible to want to scare anyone. Her gaze paused there.

"... as you like it. It can't go on like this. He spoke of it - and I have more people on my side!" she added wildly.

"I know what I'm doing. If he has nothing to say to you, I don't need to either."

"Does he know?" she asked in disgust.

"Of course. He´s now with me.”

"Why am I the only one who has a sense of reality…?!”

Claire closed the door. Only then did Daphne notice her flatmate. She got up from the sofa and hugged her.

"Good to have you here, Claire. How did it go?"

"Are you listening to me at all?" the pink-haired asked between them.

"Am I inconvenienced?"

"You're never inconvenienced when you come home," Daphne remarked elegantly, "Valerie was just leaving."

The pink-haired woman stared at Claire with an arrogant sniff and in her mind told her to get out as quickly as possible. It was as if she had become an eagle, about to swoop down and snatch the little mouse. Indeed, Claire felt threatened and sensed an icy atmosphere in the room.

"Fine!" she said loudly, tapping the table, "Fine! I'm going! But we will still talk!"

A bit shorter than Claire, Valerie's hump seemed like a turtle shell that she carried steadily with her. She remained in petrified form for almost a while before the eagle spoke up.

"You have no business here, tiny thing."

She turned to Daphne.

"Who is she?” the pink-haired asked.

"It's none of your business."

It was Claire who had answered.

"You naughty brat."

She raised her hand, which Daphne grabbed with a flourish and pulled towards her. Speechless for the remaining seconds, Valerie glared at her counterpart and made no sound. Claire's legs were encased in concrete and remained in place.

“You live with Elvira, so you have a doctor. Let yourself get treated. Then you won´t get any stupid thoughts again.” Daphne explained.

Valerie shook her head and looked ad Claire.

"You're just like Daphne! You both suck!" she spoke unkindly, pulling her hand towards her, "If you mess with her, you'll have nothing but problems! She will destroy your whole life! Begone!”

She brushed against Claire and almost pushed her to the ground. With a twist, Claire remained on her feet.

"She can do whatever she wants. It's none of your business what she or I do, or are you so bent on knowing what she does every day? She doesn't give a damn about you!"

"Impertinent girl!" hissed Valerie, "What is the value of your statement if you don't understand what it is about? I could teach you, terror, with words alone."

Valerie stood by the door and ignored Claire. Her face had turned red, then she said goodbye.

"We'll see each other! I will speak with him!”

With a clang that could be heard throughout the stairwell, she left the flat.

Claire was trembling. What she must have been thinking at that moment when she countered this woman, she didn't know afterward. The pressure in her head must have somehow made a fighter out of her. Maybe she just wanted to get rid of her anger.

Daphne sat back on the sofa and took a big sip of wine.

"Thank you, Claire. I'm glad you defended me," she smiled, "But it's true, sometimes I'm stubborn and don't listen to people who actually have something to say to me. I can… sometimes be a bit egoistical.”

"Does she also work at Seelenherz?"

She nodded.

Claire remained in the room.

"Would you like a glass of wine?” Daphne asked.

"No thanks."

"How did it go? Was your father happy to see you?"

Claire kept silent at the black-haired woman.

It was the first time she had done so. Never before had she not given her an answer to a question, yet Daphne sat opposite her and looked at her with her sparkling eyes. Her dominant nature was showing. There was no sense of protection in the room. Fragile as a mirror, cold as an ice crystal, Claire was the centre of attention and wanted to melt through the floorboards to the third floor, deeper and deeper, until no one could find her in the darkness.

Daphne jumped into her head, not avoiding it, and saw what had happened earlier. Squinting, she could no longer remember how long she had been waiting there, waiting for a sequel.

"You seem glum," Daphne murmured, sipping her glass.

"I don't know," Claire whispered.

"And you don't want to talk about it."

"It's all right," she choked.

"Let's go for a walk," she suggested.

Somewhat unsettled, Claire agreed.

***

There was an excursion to the writer's quarter, the part of the city Claire particularly liked. The numerous green spaces, artificial ponds, and few streets made something special out of the drab apartment building facades with some kind of gargoyles.

The buildings that shot out of the woods like towers were noble, splendid, and pretty. Some buildings were a hundred years old, most less than half a century. Many writers and artists retreated to this place to seek their source of inspiration. Past the Boar arcades and Angelboulevard with their flashing lights, entertainment establishments, bars, and many shops with shop windows, the writer´s quarter seemed like a miniature form of a fairy tale. Muses flew through the streets, word-seekers hid under weeping willows, by the river. Some were travelling in pairs. Someone hummed a melody, a younger one wrote it down. A well-known singer strolled past them with her dog and her new bell hat.

They chatted about art.

Claire told Daphne a little about the master of Königsfall and raved about his window mosaic. It wasn't long before she had changed. The district gave her an escape from the chains of her thoughts.

From pictures and paintings, portraits, and stained glass, they moved on to music. To compositions and their meaning, to the question of what makes music special, and the riddle of whether there could be no new melodies at some point.

The discussion did not end when Daphne stood up and continued the walk along the river. Claire only caught her breath near Sebastian Klein Street. She hadn't eaten since yesterday. Claire started to feel it. The grogginess quickly faded as her friend helped her get to her feet. The best place to forget worries and hunger, Daphne said, was the Gourmet Street in the department stores' A. Krinksdorf & Co.

The culinary selection of food on offer was invaluable. There was meat from animals no one had ever seen before, cheese in every colour and shape imaginable, wine from all over the world, all the exquisite teas from Perenden, and dozens upon dozens of fish from every known ocean. Sweets as far as the eye could see, biscuits, chocolate, marzipan; there was something for everyone if you could afford it.

Still above the biotope hall with a glass semi-circular roof, the building gave a view of the afternoon sky. The gourmet street, which was on the top floor, could offer an extraordinary taste experience for everyone.

That was exactly what Claire needed at that moment. However, a brief flash in her mind revealed the morning danger: Petra Schröder was the name. If she didn't show up tomorrow, what was to happen? Or even worse; what should happen tonight when father came home? Would he notify the police? Would he not rest until she was tied up at school? He knew the owner, after all. Should he even come in? She had left the key in Daphne's flat.

"If you are constantly floating in your thoughts, you lose your sense of what's important," Daphne announced.

Claire looked up from her plate.

"There's an interesting book about a man called Franz who is quite infatuated with mirrors and imagines that a parallel world exists beyond them. It goes so far that he starts to lose all sense of reality."

"He must have felt better in this world," Claire said impassively.

"In the end, he kills himself. Franz breaks a mirror and cuts his body open to finally enter this world."

Claire couldn't help a brief smile.

"I'm not going to break a mirror."

"But you will get lost in your head. I notice that you are constantly thinking."

"Can't I think?"

"You live in your fantasy world," Daphne asserted simply, "It is beautiful for a short time; however, loneliness eventually comes."

"I never feel lonely when I'm alone," she admitted, "It's like someone is always with me. - That sounds crazy."

"Not at all. It's these nuances that make us unique."

Claire got goosebumps. She avoided her counterpart for a moment, thinking Daphne was making fun of her. There was something worrying about her serious expression. Her hope of having pulled Claire out of her bubble of grief for a tiny moment, she smiled kindly.

"And now a quote of a philosopher from the Eternal Realm: a dream is only a dream when you wake up afterwards."

"I take it we've finished eating," Claire ended the discussion.

"Let's walk through the corridors a bit. I'm looking for something."

Daphne did not give any concrete clues.

From the restaurant, they went to the bakery department. It smelled of fresh bread, bakers were running around everywhere, emptying trays of apricot slices and rusks. The most varied, multi-tiered pies and cakes were on display among the rolls, bread, and baguettes. Claire had no idea how many varieties of wheat there were. She was surprised at every visit, just the other day when they were allowed to use an escalator that had been installed brand new.

Daphne found nothing there. It was the confectionery department she went to.

"Do you like liquorice?"

"What is that?"

"You don't know this? I've loved it since I was a kid. We used to get it after going to pray. You really have to try it!"

The black, apparently sticky confectionery lay packed in various tins and bags. There were round shapes, snails, even everyday objects. A man with a solemn moustache and a noble suit handed a piece to the young lady.

"It looks like a rubber tyre," Claire said sceptically.

"You don't know what's good."

Doubting, she put the coal-black thing in her mouth. Chewing, the taste of aromatic spice unfolded, laced with sweetness and a little smile.

"They're delicious."

"You see? You have to taste before you judge."

Daphne got them some more thalers, which they ate at a fountain in the department stores. The marble structure represented the muses. In fountains, the sparse columns of water shot upwards and landed in the wide-round basin. With a view of the Angelboulevard, many people sought out this place to get a break from the daily shopping routine.

"Don't eat too much or you'll get a stomachache," Daphne warned.

"They are in full swing."

"You've eaten almost all the thalers too," she criticised.

“I´m sorry."

"You don't have to apologise, it's good that you're eating," Daphne laughed cheerfully.

She gave her a kiss on the forehead in front of everyone in the room as Claire held her cramping stomach. Amazed at the silent affection, she didn't notice that her stomach was beginning to burst apart. She regretted gulping down the liquorice, at the same time seeming suspended amongst the people, almost as if it were a dream.

***

The stomachache was forgotten the next morning.

They hiked to Hof, a small community in the east of Berlyne. The wooded area with its many paths and hills enticed the population to take a trip into the green on holidays. Between the many farms, there were no automobiles, trams, or horse-drawn carriages. It was almost like travelling back in time if it weren't for the underground train they had used to get there.

Claire had stopped thinking about her father and school. Daphne had dragged her to a strange dive (that´s at least what Daphne had called it) in Systole last night where she found a distraction. Between the smoke of cigars and the unnaturally high consumption of alcohol, she was glad to get to bed afterward. Had she bragged in her lost sobriety that Ernst would never reveal that she was staying with him and Daphne, Claire was brought down when a nasty-looking muscleman started a brawl with a guy in a bowler hat. Before they went out, Daphne wanted to see who would win. It didn't come to that as Claire stormed out in fear. It was only when the HePo and a doctor arrived that it was established that the muscleman had slit the throat of his (as the paper said the next day) crony. It was organised crime, they said, and Claire was amazed that Daphne knew such places.

The hours and minutes ticked by, but the music lurked between them. Claire was harassed. Ernst spoke to her one evening about why she disobeyed her father. He didn't even want him to get rid of her, he explained, but wanted the situation to be clarified because he couldn't keep lying to his boss.

Claire looked for a time to meet him and escaped from that uncertain date in hour-long sonnets with Daphne. Daphne helped her concentrate. The few acts without false hope or voice were exorcised by the violin. It was like the beginning. When she had lived together with Daphne. Everything was set to zero, everything was rediscovered, the main thing was to delay the deadline. But she could not let Ernst continue to lie for her either.

The days were drawing nearer, the beginning of autumn could be seen in the north of the Free Duchy, it took another three weeks to reach Greater Berlyne. A weekend was approaching. It was noticeable in the employees and the weather.

It was late summer when Claire got up that morning to go visit her father.

To XVI.9.


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Wed Mar 30, 2022 6:10 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey Mialice!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

Well, this took an interesting turn. After the brief insight into Claire's thoughts and feelings in the previous part, I had assumed we would get to witness the meeting between the father and daughter right away. However, the beginning of this part introduced another new character and the rest of it gave the idea that Claire is very much avoiding her father right now. Still, this part made for a very good read and we see certain developments take place.

In the wing chair sat a pink-haired, frightening-looking woman.

I cannot remember if we have met this woman before. On one hand, I feel like I would have remembered running across a pink-haired woman in the story, but on the other hand, her name feels so familiar, that I am very sure I have heard it somewhere. At this point, I cannot guess what role she has in the story. If she does not have any role, then this sudden and violent introduction in the story would seem a bit random and pointless. Besides, I wish Claire had interrogated Daphne further on this woman. At least, it would have satisfied our curiosity and given us some idea about the woman. Right now, we have no idea who she is, or who they were arguing about. But it must mean something.

It's none of your business what she or I do, or are you so bent on knowing what she does every day?

It became a little difficult to follow the story at this point and understand who was saying what. You need to put some dialogue tags in there, as it is really confusing to follow otherwise. I had to reread the section twice to actually understand who was saying what, even then I am not sure I got it right. I did appreciate Claire standing up for Daphne and trying to protect her. This is the first time we have seen a gesture like this from her side and it really shows how far they have come. Its interesting how her defense of Daphne was almost instinctive. She was just following the argument along with us when something hit hard and she jumped in to protect her friend.

There was an excursion to the writer's quarter, the part of the city Claire particularly liked.

I really liked the description you provided here and in the rest of the chapter. Usually descriptions serve at helping us imagine the scene so we can recreate it in our heads However, this time the descriptions not only painted a very visual image in front of our eyes, but they also provided as a distraction for Claire. It was amazing how quickly Daphne understood her emotions and took her out to this place. Considering the mental state Claire was in last time, we see a complete transformation take place now that she is with Daphne. Daphne does care for her in small, incomprehensible ways. She understands without being told and I like how for once, Claire does not really need to speak her feelings in order to be understood by another person. It must be a great relief for her, especially because she is so terrible at expressing her emotions.

"If you are constantly floating in your thoughts, you lose your sense of what's important," Daphne announced.

I really liked this entire conversation between Daphne and Claire. Until now, I had mostly associated their friendship with mutual interests and going out and having fun together. However, its only in this chapter that you get a glimpse of the emotional connection between the two friends, whether its while Claire stands up for her friend, or when Daphne silently tries to improve her mood throughout the day. We realize here why it is that Claire feels so comfortable and at peace with Daphne and not with Emma or anyone else in her life. Daphne uncompromisingly provides the emotional understanding and comfort Claire has lacked throughout her life due to the absence of any lasting guardian figure. She has grown up alone, and therefore she is always lost deep inside her own head, because she had always had to provide company to herself while growing up.

Now, here we have Daphne, a much older woman who understands her feelings and needs without Claire having to tell her about it through some passive-aggressive response. She realizes Claire's tendency to escape inside her head and instead of criticizing her, she simply points out on what she might be missing out on while she is fixating on some fantasy inside her head. Her gentle manner of speaking unsettles Claire because she is not used to it, but she does not feel attacked either. She still ends the conversation on her own accord, but without harboring any bitter feelings towards Daphne for having brought it up in the first place. For some reason, I thought this entire conversation was a very great example of why these two girls work so great as friends.

It was late summer when Claire got up that morning to go visit her father.

I feel that once Daphne had coerced Claire out of her bad mood, things took on more of the same vibe we got during the wonderful week she spent alone with her before Ernst's arrival. Once more, we flew through these memorable moments between the two of the them as though we are visiting old dreams and wondering how they were ever possible. By this point, Claire has pushed the meeting with her father to the farthest corner of her mind, and she is determined to note waste any moment in between trying to wonder what could or could not happen. The story moved more quickly towards the end, and it seems, or at least I hope, that this time Claire is more confident and prepared to confront her father.

That's all!

Keep writing and have a great day!

Until next time!






Thank you very much for your review! :D And yeah, the pink haired woman was introduced in Chapter V alongside Dr Elvira Kaufmann.



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Fri Mar 25, 2022 3:35 pm
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Otterpop wrote a review...



Hey Mailicede! You've been helping me so much with my chapters lately (and this has been in the Green Room a while) that I thought I'd help repay the favor with a review!

This is the first time I've read this particular story so if some of what I say can be corrected or corroborated by previous chapter information, that's why!

These characters are certainly interesting! Especially once you begin mentioning Claire's father; the reactions and limited information I get tells me there's a lot more intrigue and mystery to these characters and/or the relationships they have (now if more info was given in previous chapters that would make sense, but if not it gets the curiosity tingling). And even in the first section my perspective of the interaction between Claire and Daphne changed drastically by the time I got to the end of it. I could not fully explain how or why, but that transition to how I viewed the characters was a rather neat experience.

I also love the way you describe scenes and scenery in a way that paints a clear picture (like at the beginning of the second section when talking about the writer's quarter) without feeling overly detailed. I do very much enjoy seeing details well written across all kinds of stories, and yours is definitely no exception.

Something I noticed in the first section was that many of the sentences begin with names or she. This repetitive storytelling technique isn't quite as engaging and I would recommend diversifying how you start off paragraphs (dialogue is different, though the same issue could still potentially occur so something to think about!). This same problem isn't really noticed in the second and third sections, indicating the heavy (though not bad) use of dialogue in the first section could be a factor.

Speaking of dialogue, I also noticed across the first two sections that it is sometimes difficult to tell who is speaking, so I do recommend adding in some dialogue tags. I did have to read a few times to have a better idea of who was speaking.

The last section also appeared to move a little fast, though that's mostly a personal gripe. If there is a story purpose behind moving the third section of this chapter a bit quicker than the previous ones, you can disregard this comment.

And I think that is it! Those are the comments I got. Hope you have a great rest of your day, and happy writing!






Thank you very much for your review and insights! :D



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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey! Forever here with a review!!

Well, a lot of unexpected things happened in this part. Honestly, I expected Claire to meet her father that night and talk over all the events that happened since she went away from Regenschloss and ultimately find a solution rather than arguing over everything. Seems like we are kind of far from that(Or maybe we aren’t as the part ends with her thinking of going to her father). Also, I didn’t expect the time gap. We skipped quite a few months, I guess.


The dialogue in the very beginning need some dialogue tags. I was very confused about who the speaker actually was and required a few minutes to get hold of the situation. Anyway, that is not a big issue. I wonder what the conversation was all about. I see suspicious things creeping into the plot. From what I could understand, Daphne is doing something which this Valerie woman is not accepting. Also, this “he”. I have no ide about who this he actually is. Moreover, I wonder if these “he”s are only one person or two. There was a he who Valerie mentioned and another he who Daphne mentioned. This ‘he’ of course doesn’t point out to Ernst. At least, to me it didn’t seem like that. He seems to be an exceedingly simple person and not into whatever Daphne is doing.

Valerie kind of terrified me for a moment. I mean she hinted at an inevitable danger which is going to come to Daphne and if Claire remains with her, it is going to have a mark on Claire. That frightened me. I don’t know but when I was reading the dialogue, it very much spoke of Leonard. Maybe this he is not Leonard but is there absolutely no connection between Leonard and Daphne and Valerie? There should be something… If I am not much mistaken, the woman named Elvira might be important to the plot. This was probably the second time when she was mentioned(or was she mentioned in the party too?). I don't remember but eh, I kind of feel like that. The 'find' option failed to find her name though :D

Anyway, I like these moments when Claire becomes an extrovert. Shouting at people for Claire- she has done it quite a few times and I quite enjoy reading these moments. Probably, she gets more energy and courage when Daphne is with her. That isn't anything unnatural though. Daphne seems to be an extrovert and Claire, just the opposite. It's interesting to see both of them sharing their thoughts. Oh yes, does Daphne completely do that? Probably, no.

Ah well, it's indeed a question about what Benedikt is going to do. From what I can see, he is on his way into depression and if that happens, I don't know what is going to happen. After all, he loves his daughter. That is undoubtedly true. He was overwhelmed to see his daughter and Claire suddenly poured water over all his hopes. I can't help but feel pity for him. He has a good deal of pains inside him. Claire, at least has someone to share her thoughts too but he has none. Let's see how this meeting goes. The time skip hopefully calmed Benedikt a bit. However, it wouldn't be of any good if this time gap actually increased Benedikt's anger.

Overall, a lot happened in this part and maybe some changes are going to take place soon. Daphne seems to have a few similarities with Leonard. Her connections with crimes, suspicious conversations... we will see where this leads too.

Keep Writing!!

~Forever






Thank you very much for your review! :D




Light griefs are loquacious, but the great are dumb.
— Seneca