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It seems the spring has brought us not just a wave of good weather, but also a shower of great new changes to the site. On top of our Spring Appreciation and Mothers Day Letters events, which will run through the season, but we also have a number of equally awesome changes and shops for all you lovely folk, from our equally awesome and lovely staff.

It seems a mysterious shot has opened on the edge of town. Specializing in what were once only seasonally available items, the Events Shop will let players exchange their hard earned Event Tokens for magnificent items ranging from magma weapons, to speacity cookbooks, to a fan item representing some of the sites strongest characters. As a special Celebration of the stores opening, all members who post in the celebration thread will receive a special bonus, so make sure you check it out before time runs out!

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Saving one of the best for last, the Hunter Exam Hunter Exam system has been fully revamped. What was once a fairly large and very lengthy system, is now a much more direct and streamlined adventure for the characters who want to test their own mettle in becoming some of the select few who call themselves Hunters.

While that’s it for now, there are a few more massive projects coming down the pipeline soon, including the much anticipated Group/Faction System, and some changes to the Nen System!

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Topic Started: Jan 22 2018, 12:19 PM (253 Views)
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Cogito ergo doleo

The history of humankind is often told as the epic rise and fall of great empires, clashes of civilizations and epoch-defining conflicts, he read. But another narrative is possible: a narrative in which human progress is chronicled as a smooth and continuous passage towards betterment for all. This is the narrative of ideas, and in particular, of scientific ideas. Science is universal and unifying. Its universality, coupled with a love for knowledge and understanding shared by all humanity, gives science the power to transcend differences.

Mizaki laid down the newspaper bitterly. It had been a rousing, important speech, but it had the bittersweet taste of irony for him. Shamefully, these two narratives were interwined and collided - and history shows that either a wartime arms race pushes Science forward or the war itself shoves it backwards, sometimes for ages. And, unbelievably, a proxy war in a forgotten country that would be just a footnote in history textbooks had probably destroyed what could have spawned and rewritten countless scientific ones.

A waitress arrived, with what he'd outrageously overpaid for breakfast. It all led to Yorknew, of course. It was hardly surprising. He had stumbled upon the history of the boy as he researched the war, and he'd been intrigued. It hadn't been hard to learn he'd abandoned the country, but then his interest had faded. Mizaki didn't have the time to search all over the world for a sixteen year-old boy that might now be that important.

After another frustrating week without finding any leads, he'd offered a reward for information on Carlvel in an online forum. I'm getting too well known there, and that's dangerous. It's time I create another account. Well, it won't be that hard to track to whom it belongs, but all these precautions help... User _whoward69_ had replied he was in Yorknew City. It was a fortunate coincidence that an auction had brought him there as well, but it was still like finding a needle in a haysack. A tiny needle. In a very, very large haysack.

Of course, it was the standard negotiation technique. It'd cost him a million and a half jenni, which would pay his chef's eggs benedict with smoked salmon many times over - but he'd got detailed information on his location. It'd better be worth it.

Mizaki finished his breakfast, got up and walked out through the iRtz hotel's revolving doors. He would be waiting for Carvlel, but first, there was something he needed to do.
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In some sense, it was the auction. But in another sense, it had more to do with the upcoming elections for governor--- though, obscured by all the media attention that the elections had been drawing, perhaps the mayor's quickly-struck deal with the opposition party behind the scenes was more tantalizing. Of course, it was also the stock market. And the international airport alone was a place of interest. And the banks, and the universities, and the hospitals... and one mustn't forget about the mafia, which any mildly interested observer could easily tell had unspoken control over at least half the entities previously mentioned.

It was all of these things, and more. It was a maelstrom of culture and human vices given form--- in short, Carlvel had been drawn to Yorknew for anything and everything that made the city Yorknew.

So why, then, he mused, quickly hopping up the steps to the Hotel Belafonte's side entrance, am I still here?

It had been over a week since the last of those oh-so-interesting events had been checked off his mental registry. Each one of them had been observed, noted, and filed away for future reference with perfect apathy. He had thought, at the least, that the mayor's backdoor scheming would provide some entertainment, but he hadn't been able to find a single member of the woman's party interested in compensating him for the dirt he had obtained on the deal with far too much ease.

I guess that explains why she crossed the aisle, he thought. Too many damn saints on her own side.

Carlvel had gone on the morning run to clear his head, but found himself not at all liking how every thought that popped up pointed to one clear fact: He was wasting his time here. The suite in Belafonte, more plush than he was used to by far, had been provided by an art collector he had helped out a while back, an elderly man with as much social clout in Yorknew as in any other metropolis. The only reason Carlvel was able to keep paying for it, though, was the payment he'd gotten from the mafia after helping them blackmail the very same man. It had nagged at his conscience, at first--- just a tiny bit. That itch had since faded.

A shower in the suite's arrogantly luxurious bathroom did nothing to wash away his uncertainties. Neither did the continental breakfast provide him with any epiphanies excusing his prolonged stay in the city. So it was that Carlvel found himself wandering the central streets in the mid-morning--- surprisingly above freezing, despite the legendary viciousness of a Yorknew winter--- with one reluctant, but finalized, decision.

If I don't find a compelling reason to stay here by the end of the day, I'm getting on an airship tomorrow morning.

He picked an alley at random and headed down it.
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Cogito ergo doleo

Mizaki turned a page, leaning against the wall. He wasn't actually reading - he'd been in the alley for less than five seconds, but first impressions were very important. He lifted his eyes off the little black book he held, and looked at Carlvel as he approached him. As the noticed him, Mizaki calmly closed the book and tucked into his dark long coat.

"Carlvel Trosser", he said clearly, in a neutral, matter-of-fact tone. It wasn't a question, or a veiled threat. As he exhaled, his breath condensed, forming a cloud that rose through the sky. It really was cold. He'd forgotten how Yorknew was during the Winter. He didn't say anything further immediately, and instead let the silence answer him.

It had been very easy to follow Trosser, who'd seemed absorbed by his thoughts most of the morning. It had been trickier to get himself in the end of the alley as if waiting for him. Carlvel had turned abruptly, and Mizaki had jumped to and sprinted across an uneven rooftop, and been careful to slip down out of his line of sight. He was sweating, underneath several layers of clothing.

"I'd like to have a chat about something you saw happening a while ago, far away, if you wouldn't mind.", he told him, a little warmth in his voice this time. "Would you care to join me for lunch? I've heard about your latest deal with the mafia. Very impressive. I know a nice place that's not too far from here.", he added conversationally.
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Carlvel struggled to keep the wave of panic rising inside him from breaking through to his eyes. Who the hell━ this guy didn't even look much older than Carlvel himself. He didn't look like a mafia goon, or an assassin, or a spy, or anyone that Carlvel would need to watch out for. He was just... some guy.

And yet he knew Carlvel's name. He hadn't bothered to play with the information, or even try to make threats━ he had come right out and displayed his silver bullet: I know everything about you. I can do whatever I want. He was, automatically, a threat, even if his body language, his tone, his very presence was perfectly engineered to seem unimposing. It was almost a guarantee that everything about the way this guy carried himself was done on purpose.

And he had tracked Carlvel here. He had to have been following for quite some time━ no one could have known Carlvel would be here, in this alley, at this moment. Carlvel himself hadn't known it until a minute ago. Stupid, he cursed himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid. In the weeks he had been in the city he had stuck his nose into the private business of at least three different crime groups and two political parties, not to mention however many of the "legitimate" organizations he'd been playing with were mafia-bought. There was any number of reasons for him to have picked up a tail. He should have been expecting it.

Unless the man was some sort of clairvoyant? A nen user? It wasn't any stretch at all to believe that the local government or the mafia had some in their employ. Had he really pissed them off enough to get a freaking ESPer sent to take him in?

He could feel cold sweat trickle down his back. He had to go along with this, at least for now. Until he was sure what group this guy belonged to━

The man kept talking. "Would you care to join me for lunch? I've heard about your latest deal with the mafia. Very━"

Everything else was tuned out. He knows about the mafia deal. So he wasn't one of theirs, then, or he wouldn't have phrased it that way. Could it be the old art collector? Had he found out about the double-cross? But he didn't seem the vengeful type.

Still attempting to prevent any hint of his inner terror from showing through━ and, he reflected bitterly, probably failing━ Carlvel managed to unclench his jaw and respond in what he hoped was a rational voice. "Sure, lunch sounds good."

An awkward silence. "Lead the way, I guess," he added.
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Cogito ergo doleo

In reply, the hunter smiled and started walking, leaving space for Carlvel to join beside him. He could read the terror that was, despite a reasonable attempt to mask it, written plainly in his face. It felt disconcerting to have this kind of power, to exert this kind of effect on someone, not to be, in this way at least, the little, polite bespectacled kid anymore. Instead, in spite of his age and appearance, he could appear threatening with just a few words.

Mizaki led the manipulator into a trendy bar, always careful during the way to match his pace to the young man's, clearly yet gently indicating that he wouldn't let him get away while, at the same time, he made idle comments about the weather and Yorknew. He had taken some care choosing the setting for his meeting - it was mostly full at this time, which he hoped to comfort Carvlel, and provide enough background noise for their conversation to be private.

"I'm sorry if I startled you back then. I just wanted to get your attention." he told him, as he pushed the handle of the transparent glass walls that led inside. "I don't think you have any reason to be afraid of me...", he deliberately made a pause, as if he was going to complete the sentence, but witheld what he was about to verbalize.

"A few years ago, as you doubtlessly remember, a stupid proxy war was fought in a small nation, which cost thousands of lives and accomplished very little", he started. "It happened to have, amongst other things that were destroyed, unique facilities - and... resources for an experiment, of enormous scientific interest. However, due to its nature, some details and most of the data had to be kept confidential and was so safely stored there - and in the midst of the war, it suddenly dissapeared; neither recent records nor several of leading researchers could be found", he said, slowly, after they ordered.

"I'm sure you know if not what, at least where I am talking about. I am excideengly interested in investigating this, and I need your help - perhaps, you would benefit from mine too. I would have to ask to tell me about everything relevant that happened during the war and that may prove helpful to my research; of course, not here, not now. I'm sure you want to see justice done as much as I do - and this would be a first step towards that..." he told the boy, gambling on the existence of a wish of revenge that may not be...
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