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Seek A Way Out!; Open!~
Topic Started: Mar 7 2018, 04:20 PM (347 Views)
Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
And now? Night time.

((Nanna-Fiora Kroos continued from RED or DEAD))

The stars were easy to see here. There was no light pollution, no tall buildings to block her view. Just a couple of wispy, slate-grey clouds, drifting across the backdrop of endless lightyears of gleaming stardust. It was quiet, too. She could hear, and see, her own breathing in the cool night air. Every so often, when she concentrated just that little bit harder, she could hear the sound of the waves rolling onto shore. Fitting, considering how often space was compared to the sea. She could let herself go a little bit, and imagine herself up there, a solar sailor, exploring the milky-way, unbound and free.

Nanna-Fiora had even managed to find an abandoned mattress, in her wanderings through the junkyard, tilted slightly with one end resting on some unidentifiable junk. There were a couple of vicious looking springs jutting out of it, and a suspicious looking brown patch covering one corner, but right in the centre was an unblemished section. So, she had smoothed out her skirt, settled herself down on that small piece of sanctuary, and she had started to look up at the stars.

She had carved out her own little slice of peace and freedom and her own mind was ruining it by wondering just how long it would last.

It was a good thing, really, that she was constantly on edge, with her shotgun on her lap, ready to be brought up and pointed at anything that shifted out of place in her vision or her earshot. She had created her own luck to survive this far, and hopefully for longer still, and if she was to get caught out and shot because she was too busy stargazing, that would be on her. You created your own bad luck, too.

Nanna-Fiora sighed, and shifted slightly in her seated position. She wished she had her telescope with her. Just to check every now and then. The night sky was beautiful when viewed with just the naked eye, but when you examined it even closer? That was when the real magic happened. There was a constellation to the upper right of her view, and god, would that have been wonderful to view up close.

She tried, for a minute or so, to remember which constellation it was, but her focus wasn’t there, and she gave up. She sighed again.

She’d changed her mind. She didn’t wish for a telescope anymore. She wished she had someone here with her. Her first thoughts were for her mom or her dad, but that would mean that they’d be here in hell with her, so she quickly banished them from her mind. That left one of her classmates, and there weren’t too many of them that she’d want to sit close with and stay silent and watch the stars in peace together with.

Bridie maybe. Or Yvonne. Just spending what might be their last hours together, watching the universe go by.

But Nanna-Fiora had no clue where the former was, and as for the latter… Well. She didn’t know whether Yvonne would ever want to speak to her again, even if they stumbled upon each other through some minor miracle.

But hey. She’d made that happen too. There was no point getting mad at anybody else because she knew it was her own damn fault, and there was no point dwelling on it either, because she couldn’t change what she’d done now.

So Nanna-Fiora looked up at the sky and watched the stars alone.
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[ *  *  * ]
((Derrick Thomson continued from Element of One))

It had gotten dark and Derrick had difficulty seeing where he was going. His breathing going in quick bursts as his heart beats like a madman with a jackhammer. His resolve to stop Stan by any means had kept him going for so long it felt like his legs weren't there, but still he kept going.

A day. A whole day had gone by him as Derrick chased that Richie rich look a like throughout this place. Distant cries and footsteps keeping him moving. Hands curled hard around the handle as he ran himself ragged from area to area trying to keep up with him. He'll give Stan this, fucker was fast on his feet. Didn't help he carried the sword while Stan had a bag. Derrick would argue Stan got the easier to handle baggage of the two.

Eventually there were no footsteps or distant noises carrying him on. Slowly, but surely the adrenaline had died down and the pain from his fight at the church stated making its dramatic return. The anger was still there and in some way still rising. Somehow he'd lost him and could only curse to himself as a brief moment taken out of his walk to kick at a small rock sending it sailing. He was alone now and he didn't know what to do.

Well, he did. Technically. His goal was still the same, but he didn't know where Stan was now. He could be anywhere.

So instead Derrick would find someone to see if they had seen him instead. Have a brief respite from his long walk and have a peaceful chat with someone. If that could be permitted. He had his doubts, Stan had been the first person he'd met in this place after all. But he'd have to give it a chance, if only so he didn't lose all hope.

His madman sprint had taken him to a rather industrial looking place. A lot junk and broken things lying around. Containers submerged in water alongside furniture and kitchen appliances. Derrick hoped most of that was broken when it was thrown away, lord knows he would have loved to have some new stuff like that back home.

He walked besides the broken down cars and trucks that surrounded this place and gave it an ominous feeling. If done right, this could be a good place to hunker down. Maybe even as an ambush spot if that was necessary.

He shook his head and tried to think of something else, like how he'd go along in a hypothetical conversation if he did meet someone who was friendly. "Oh hi there! Have you seen fuckface Stan? I'm trying to kill him." Wouldn't exactly work now.

Soon his eyes were drawn to something, or rather someone lying down by one of the dozens of broken cars on a mattress. He saw his breath; stop as he knelt down by a car and quietly observed to see if this was actually a person or a body of someone unfortunate.

He saw some movement. First he thought it was a trick of the eye, but there was some more afterwards. He'd finally found another person. Alright, now how to do this right.

He settled on his sword being held backwards as if to go, no really, I'm not going to hurt you and explain what happened to him. Simple as that. No worries.

At least that was his initial thought before he stepped out towards her with a few careful steps before stepping on something making a large sound. Derrick shoots up and held his left hand, palm facing forwards.

"Uh, hey there."

Smooth.
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
God, it was peaceful out here.

Nanna-Fiora wondered, not for the first time, what this place would have been like a week or so ago, before the government stepped in, forced everyone to evacuate, set up guards around the perimeter, and set their death game in motion. Less peaceful than this, she assumed. Even at this late hour, there’d probably be people returning from night-time fishing trawls, boats coming to and fro, the sound of a working town that never completely slept. But it’d still be more peaceful than the city. And more relaxing than it was right now, where you were constantly on edge, never truly feeling safe.

It’d be nice to visit here again, if she managed to get out of the town alive. It’d be nice to see what the place was truly like. To pay some respects to her classmates as well.

But for now, she was still here. And even though there was a thick layer of tension coating everything, the ever present knowledge that there could always be someone breathing down her neck, she almost felt like she could just fall asleep here. Just nestled under the stars, the gentle sea breeze lulling her to drowsiness, calm and peaceful and uncaring about the danger that lay outside of her own little bubble of sleep.

Almost, of course, was the key word here.

Because as soon as she heard Derrick clatter into the piece of corrugated iron or discarded car bonnet, or whatever he’d stepped on, she was sitting up like someone had sent a jolt of electricity through her spine, finger resting against the trigger of her shotgun, her other hand grabbing hold of the flashlight, tucked just under her thigh at arm’s reach. She flicked it on, swinging the beam in an arc towards Derrick, ready to do the same with the gun if she needed to.

Nanna-Fiora scanned the boy standing in front of her quickly. Tall and skinny. Long hair. Face didn’t ring any bells. The sword in his hands did, though. Alarm bells. Didn’t matter where the blade was pointing. A weapon was a weapon.

“Hey,” she said, kicking her voice back into gear, almost a full day’s worth of inaction clearly taking its toll. She cleared her throat, and tried again.

“You planning on doing anything with that sword?”
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Derrick's eyes widened as the person shifted upwards with the shape of a gun in their hands pointed right at him. He swallowed and tried to keep his nerves calm as the person asked him a question and who's voice he could recognise as Nanna-Fiora. One of those who's always been a target back home for not being american. A good recipe for a killer if he saw one. He just hoped she wouldn't go down that path.

"To you? Right now? No, not at all. Right now I just want a place to have some peace and quiet." He started slowly kneeling down to the ground and placed the sword down all the while keeping eye contact.

it was not like he could do anything, he assumed the gun was loaded and ready to fire so if she so desired, his brains could be on the floor any minute now. He could retreat, that was always an option, but she could still get him with a shot in the back.

"See? I'm not going to do anything." And as all this unfolded he could feel the hurt on his face, his breathing loud and clear as his nose hurt when he tried to breath through it. He kept his face frozen, trying for something resembling a stoic attitude as it kept his face from hurting more. He hadn't gotten a look at his face since his fight with Stan, but he could hazard a guess it wasn't pretty.
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Nanna-Fiora watched, brow furrowed, as the boy slowly lowered himself and his sword, the beam of her flashlight dipping to follow him. Her finger twitched against the trigger, her hand clutching the grip of the shotgun, even as he placed the sword onto the ground itself. Anything she wasn’t certain about, anything that seemed even the tiniest bit suspicious, she’d turn the gun on him. Anything more than that, and she’d pull the trigger.

She couldn’t afford to not be suspicious. You let your guard down for one second, and you were dead in the water, it was as simple as that. It was no way to live, but it kept her breathing for another couple of hours, and right now, when she still couldn’t see a way out of this situation, that was enough. Enough until she could get out of this hellscape.

The sword was fully on the ground now, and Nanna-Fiora waited for a couple of moments until the boy’s hands were well away from being able to grab it. Then she waited a few seconds more. Then, finally, she nodded. The flashlight stayed focused on him, her shotgun stayed in her lap, but her finger slipped away from the trigger again.

“All right, I’ll trust you. I don’t want any trouble either.”

She had a shotgun, he had a sword. Hopefully that in and of itself would be enough to deter him from trying anything stupid, but if he did, then, well, she wouldn’t be in too much danger. Unless her instincts tried to betray her at the last second.

“I’m gonna keep this close at hand, though,” she continued, jerking her head downwards at the shotgun. “Don’t take it personally. I just don’t wanna get caught with my pants down if anybody else shows up.”

The stars shone down upon Nanna-Fiora and Derrick, as she kept her focus on him, and for a moment, surrounded by these mountains of junk and rust, with the whole universe up above her, she felt very very small.

“So what’s your story?” she asked. “What’s been happening in your little slice of hell?”
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Ok, so his gesture worked. She seemed to be fine with him being there and said she trusted him, which was nice, but still kept the gun out which could build. Depending of course, if she decides to go natural born killer on him.

He got why she did, though, one couldn't give anyone an edge in this place. He did that with Stan, if only briefly rather than run out the blood covered killer immediately and he paid for it. As she asked him how his stay has been, he sat down on the hood of one of broken cars and thought to himself for a bit over the question before looking over at where she sat in the darkness.

"My story? Heh, not much of one," He gestured to his face as he talked. "Stan happened, dude came into the church I was at covered in blood and wouldn't answer me. All I got was he did something to some girls before he tried for my sword." He swallowed as he looked off to the side and behind him, just to be sure before he continued.

"I fought him off, but he got away with my bag. You haven't seen him, have you?"
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Pippin
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Nanna-Fiora laughed, a low, gruff, singular chuckle, that contained no warmth nor humour. A wry smile flickered onto her face, with just as much emotion as her laugh.

“Stan, huh? The one and only Stan Astley? Colour me unsurprised.”

There were several layers to people who decided to kill in the Program. The ones who started the latest, were the ones who’d been through several days of hell, who’d seen and heard friends die or take their own lives or take other lives, people who saw no other option but revenge or to become the thing they’d raged against for the past few days. Moving earlier back in the timeline, you had the paranoid ones, the ones who started to kill because they were scared, who thought they would have to take action first before someone came for their head.

Then there were those who the paranoids were scared of, the ones who elected to start killing from the get go, not because they enjoyed it, not because they wanted to, but because they saw it as the logical decision, the only correct choice, that the only way they would escape was by continuously asking how high when they were asked to jump.

And then, before the class for the next Program had even been decided, before the previous Program had even finished running, there were those for whom this was their dream. Their goal. Their opportunity to get back at someone, or at a lot of people, for whatever twisted reason they’d concocted in their head.

And out of all the people left to rot out here? Stan was the nadir of that last layer. Nanna-Fiora was practically certain he was the type to eagerly count down to each announcement day, just to see if he’d get the chance to show off what a fantastic American citizen he was.

“No, I haven’t seen him,” Nanna-Fiora said, pausing before adding; “Thank God.”

She studied Derrick for a while, looking at him perched on the hood of one of the rusting over cars, a brief jolt of realisation that she still hadn’t asked for his name hitting her before vanishing again just as quickly. There was room on the mattress for two, and it would be a lot more comfy than the hood of a car, but she had absolutely no desire to offer him a spot. She trusted him well enough. But he was still a stranger, and so that trust only went so far. It was like the old saying; keep your close, your strangers at arm’s reach, and your enemies outside of gunshot range.

“I haven’t seen anyone until now, actually,” Nanna-Fiora continued. She didn’t have to keep speaking. She could have left Derrick with the answer to his question and nothing else. Something kept her mouth moving, though, blurring the lines she’d set herself, muddying the waters of her rules and regulations.

Derrick was a stranger, and she could never fully bring herself to trust him, but now that she finally had someone to talk to that wasn’t herself, she couldn’t stop the words from coming out.

“Not since the first day, at least. It’s been a lonely start. Pissed off my best friend, contemplated blowing my brains out, wound up looking up at the stars. The usual.”

She did the latter as she spoke, craning her neck to gaze up at the sky, lights twinkling down, blissfully unaware of her situation.

“It sounds like you’ve got a plan going forwards, at least. I’m a little envious.”

She looked back down, turning to face Derrick again.

“I’m just trying to survive until some scrap of hope shows up.”
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[ *  * ]
Ask, and ye shall receive.

[Cybil Price continued from Feel The Earth Move.]

He had fled from the house with the intention of coming back at some point. Whether that would have been to survey the damages, to check and see if Clay made it out, or just to resume his perch, he could not say. What he could see was that he had somehow wound up somewhere entirely different than where he intended. The streets of the Cabeza twisted and turned until they turned around and spit him out here, in a land of scrap and abandonment.

On arrival, he thought it a serendipitous discovery. Night had fallen, and it was time to find somewhere to take shelter and rest. Where better to do so under the cover of darkness in a maze of garbage? He could try disguising his scent, if the opportunity presented itself, with some trash. He doubted anyone would be relying on smell to identify prey, but if it saved him from being found at some point, he may as well do so. At the very least, he could probably count on being alone here.

Until he couldn't.

He had been beaten to the punch.

Two people, a boy and a girl, sitting and talking as if nothing was wrong. He recognized both of them, but only cared about the one with the shotgun.

Peering around the corner of a junk pile, he tried to piece together a plan of attack. If he could manage to go around the side and flank them, he could probably get the drop on the girl. The boy wouldn't pose too much of a problem. Cybil hadn't been able to really test out his spatha, but he knew that he'd have the upper hand in a sword fight by the sheer fact that he wanted to come out the other end alive. From the bits and pieces of conversation he'd heard—and the fact that the pair were not trying to kill each other—he knew his resolve to be stronger.

Nanna-Fiora wanted some scrap of hope?

She'd get it.

Hope for the next life to be better than this one.

Right through the chest.

"Heh."

...

Did he just actually laugh?

Out loud, just now?

Cybil backed up behind his junk pile, the sight of the boy and the girl leaving his eyes, and crouched. Any hope of an ambush was ruined. Now, they'd be too on edge. All that was left to do was to wait out their initial wave of suspicion, and make his way out. He held his breath, and waited.
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Derrick sat quietly perched on the hood and listened as Fiora spoke. She hadn't seen him and lucky her then. He wasn't a pretty sight either, a smile came forth on his face as he recalled their fight, he'd given him a good piece of his mind. Now, he just had to find him and finish it.

It was a messed way of thinking, for sure. Now he was looking forward to possibly ending a classmate's life in retribution, but he thought of what he'd possibly done before that. There was the blood and the obvious intent behind his actions. Stan was no good man deserving of a second chance, he had given him that at the church and he had spoiled it so now the gloves were fully off and Derrick intended to make sure no one else would be his victims.

She continued to speak, mostly from her time in this place. So far, he couldn't tell which of the two have had the worst time so far. She had a gun and had met a friend, yes, but she had pissed them off and contemplated killing herself. He'd just dealt with Stan, a would be murderer with his bag.

He went with both of them having a bad time and wondered to himself if he'd get the chance to see some friends peacefully and without pissing them off before his time.

One could hope at least.

"Well, I hope you- what was that?!" He said as his head jerked in the direction of the sound. Sounded like a person or an animal. He jumped off the car and took a few uneasy steps towards his sword. "I mean, did you hear that?"
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Pippin
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She didn’t move. Barely even reacted to the sound in any notable way. She turned her head slowly to look in the direction Derrick was staring at, but that was it. No sudden, hasty movements. No wildly pointing the shotgun in every which way, flashlight illuminating the entire scrapyard. Just a calm, emotionless glance at one of the towering heaps of metal surrounding her.

She somehow managed this despite all of her instincts screaming at her to do otherwise, and if she could be proud of anything she’d done in the Program so far, then this would be it.

She’d heard the noise just as well as Derrick had, a distinctly human sound, and as soon as she had, an idea had crept into Nanna-Fiora’s mind. It was, at best, an incredibly risky idea, and at worst, one that would get both herself and Derrick killed. Not exactly winning odds, there, she would freely admit. But something with an 80% chance of failure still had a 20% chance of success. That was something to work with.

Besides. Nanna-Fiora had been wandering around without any sort of plan in her mind up until this moment. Now that she had one, she didn't want to let it go, no matter how high the odds of it backfiring were.

"It's probably nothing," she muttered. "Nothing to worry about, at least."

It was absolutely something, and definitely something to worry about. There was no real reason to sneak around and hide like that unless you had something to hide. And the biggest thing you'd have to hide on the Program was intent to kill. So, excuse Nanna-Fiora for being cynical, but until all cards were on the table, she was going to assume everybody was guilty until proven innocent.

Hence the distance she was still keeping from Derrick.

Her finger slid, silently, from its resting place against the trigger to being curled around it, hopefully unnoticed in the dark. She hoped that whoever it was that was slinking around here only had a melee weapon. That made sense, in her mind. If you had a gun, and the upper hand, then you just started shooting. Unless this guy was just biding his time, waiting for the best opportunity to fire. And if that was the case...

Well, that was the 80% chance in action.

"There's probably rats everywhere in this place. One of them must have dislodged something, I reckon."

Nanna-Fiora put her finger to her lips, gently shaking her head, looking straight at Derrick, hoping that he could read her mind.
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They had started to stir.

It had been pointless to assume that they wouldn't hear him, or that they'd brush it off. Even considering that as a 1% possibility was too much. Tensions was high in everything—in the way their breath sounded, in the words they spoke, the sounds of their shifting—but mostly in Cybil himself. His fingers tightened around the handle of his sword, his pulse sped up, and his stance became more rigid.

Chances are, the girl didn't actually think there was a rat hiding in the scrap. They'd make a show of saying one thing, and come and do something else. He'd seen that strategy before, on television. This scenario presented him with a number of options.

He could lie in wait for them and be ready when they arrived.

He could move to a different spot where he could see his own spot, watch them discover where they thought the noise was, and then jump out and attack.

He could run away and cut his losses.

He could charge them and try to catch them off guard.

Or, the most dangerous gambit of all, he could play the "I was too shy to approach you, please forgive me, and trust me," card, feign ignorance, and hope to be accepted as a member of their group until the time came to betray them.

The fifth option was out on the grounds that there was an entirely good chance—around 80%, he reckoned—that he would be shot. The 20% was not worth banking on. Option four carried the same risk, but if he timed it he could possibly catch them while they were closer and get at least one of them, whichever one might be holding the gun. He didn't trust it. Option three sounded fine, but there wasn't very good of a path from where he was to the way he came without seeming obvious. That left it between the first and second options, and as it looked to him, the second was the more intelligent of the plays. It would require some careful movement to get around the other side of the scrap pile and flank them without being able to see them move, but it wasn't impossible. They probably hadn't thought about what he would do, and he'd have to count on that.

So, option two it was, an option that carried with it several possibilities. For instance, he could hide behind a different but still close pile of scrap and jump out from behind that, or he could pursue the earlier possibility of going around the other side of his current, linear shaped wall of junk. The latter plan was done if they decided to go around both sides of the heap, and the former was done if they noticed him move to the other pile. Both plans carried with them a fair amount of risk, but Cybil figured he might as well go with the former. He had been able to make it to where he was, and he could make it ou—

"CRASH! BANG! KERRANG!"

Loose pieces of scrap started to rain down from above him onto his head and all over the ground. Jolted into reality, Cybil saw that he had been leaning into the metal pile, pushing against it harder with every scenario that ran through his head, and he had managed to push some of it over by putting too much of his body weight into it. The noise shattered his hopes and tore his plans asunder, confronting Cybil with the reality that now they knew exactly where he was. He looked up in time to see some of the junk topple over the side facing the people he was trying to hide from.

Maybe now they'd think it was a rat for sure. Nobody could possibly be this incompetent.

Nobody but him.

Cybil moved an inch or two away from the pile and held his sword closer. How high was the pile? Enough to crouch just a little higher without being seen, high enough to spring forward in a lunge if need be. He lifted himself a little, and braced for impact.
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Rats. That's what she said was there, rats and mice and who knows what else wandering this place. He could believe that, yeah. For a bit before his brain started trying to pick at the details. rats made sounds, for sure, but not human like sounds. They made scratches and small snuffing noises as they traversed the landscape for food and water. Not laughter.

There were no rats around except for those wandering in human skin.

Derrick shook his head and forced a small smile. "Pro-probably, yeah. Probably. People would-" He was cut off as a huge amount of noise burst from the area Fiora had previously excused. Immediately, he wondered why. Either she didn't know and was truly alone in this place with just her gun for company or this whole exercise was to mug him or kill him or god knows what.

The worst part was he couldn't tell. She was reasonably friendly if she wasn't lying to him, but that was the thing. Was she? Was there an accomplice in the dark or another enemy?

He couldn't take any chances, not with what what he had at stake.

He felt his heart jump as he unsteadily made his way to his sword. As he stood by his it, he looked at her as he knelt down to grab his sword. There was no doubt in his mind now, someone was there with them and they were going to have a bad time.
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Hmm. Well, Derrick seemed to have taken her ruse as fact, which hadn’t been entirely what Nanna-Fiora had been aiming for, but it wasn’t the worst outcome in the world. Maybe if their mystery assailant really did think they were both utterly clueless, then they wouldn’t play this as smart. Maybe they’d try and play fast and loose, with a couple of idiots who didn’t jump up in alarm at the first sign of danger.

Maybe they’d be even dumber than she was acting, and play fast and loose with a girl holding a shotgun.

“Yeah, see? There’s nothing to worry ab-“

The deafening sound of clattering metal rang out around the scrapyard, making Nanna-Fiora jump and the flashlight tumble from her grip. Well, so goddamn much for both of their plans. Any lingering hope in Derrick’s head that the only thing they were being menaced by was a rodent had surely vanished by now, and if this asshole behind the pile of scrap had been attempting to sneak up on them, he’d failed miserably at that.

She furiously scrabbled around the mattress for her flashlight, trying to push her repulsion down as her fingers slid across a damp patch. Lady Luck had finally decided to pay her a visit, and she found it fairly quickly, flicking it on, and swinging the beam back around to light up Derrick’s form.

Oh. Yeah, this was bad.

She was going to need to act quickly, to deal with their assailant before he did anything dangerous, but she couldn’t act too hastily, lest Derrick think the two of them were working together, or something like that.

Nanna-Fiora stood up, and aimed her flashlight towards the now-significantly-smaller pile of scrap, shotgun held tight and close. If it came down to a firefight, she’d have to drop her light source to fire efficiently. Hopefully it wouldn’t come down to that. Hopefully a gun would be enough to scare this guy off. She strode past Derrick, confident, steady footsteps.

As she drew closer, the thought of this being a trap crossed her mind. Maybe there were two people working together, here. One to tip over the pile of scrap. The other to stab her in the back when she went to investigate. Well, simple solution to that. If she heard anything suspicious behind her, she’d turn and pull the trigger. No hesitation.

Even if it was Derrick?

Nanna-Fiora carried on walking forwards.
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He waited.
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As his fingers touched the handle of the sword, he heard Fiora get up. When they curled around it and his grip tightened a million fold, she was walking past him confidently, almost too confidently if you asked him.

There was an eerie silence in the area now, no more sounds to give an indication someone was there beside them, so they were either in hiding knowing they fucked up or someone playing along with something. What that was, he didn't know. All he knew right now is someone was there and they likely weren't friendly.

He stood up with the blade resting once again against his shoulder as he waited with baited breath for her to see what was there.
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