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 Hopeless Wanderer [closed]

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PostSubject: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:22 pm

It hadn't been long since the teenagers at the square had scattered, and the blond couldn't seem to want to stay in the city. Promising to meet up with Mackenzie, Shepard made his way out of the city gates. What startled him the most was the sheer enormity of the game itself. Just from being within the borders of the city showed him the intricate details that were put into the mere townspeople themselves. As he walked out of the gate, seeing a wide world stretching out in front of him. The blond had to stop and take a breath.

It was hard to imagine that this was all in his head. That he wasn't living this. Sure the polygons in the sky were an indicator that it was fake. But at the same time--he felt alive all the same. Shepard knew he would have to get over this feeling soon enough, especially if he wanted to work his way out of the game.

His attention was drawn to the forest not too far away. The dark appearance of the forest did not give off a ghoulish vibe as he had expected it to. Rather, the bioluminescence gave it a mystical appearance that filled him with a sense of wonder. The creativity to design this place drew the blond inwards. It wasn't long until he was much deeper in the forest. Blue eyes reflected the light of the plants. A step caused the player to freeze in his steps and spin around, clearly expecting to see a monster.

Good thing they gave them three lives.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:39 pm

And monsters there were. Just feet from Shepard, a giant beast stampeded past, coming from seemingly nowhere. It was quadruped, a rotund creature with glowing green eyes. Tendrils grew out of its back like glowing blue and purple tree branches, its tail whipping around behind it, knocking the boy over. Luckily, however, that was all it did. It did not see Shepard, bounding towards something else. Someone else. It had its sights set on a figure in the distance, a girl. It reached her, but did not trample her. Rather, it came to a stop in front of her, gingerly, dipping its snout to her.

The girl's skin glowed pale in the moon, as bright as the purple leaves and the drops of mana that cascaded down them. She turned her face towards the monster, a small-nosed, dark-eyed face, and smiled. Around her, more creatures came; small bipedal animals seemed to come out of the undergrowth, curious but unrattled, even with the massive monster that stood so close by. The girl slowed, and stepped closer to the larger creature. Her bare feet went through the soil and mud of the damp forest ground, though her skin did not seem to dirty. Calmly, the girl approached the monster. She did not make a sound, and slowly, with slender fingers, she stroked its snout. It closed its eyes with a huff of content.

The smaller creatures grew in number, crowding around in a circle, perching on rocks and peering out at her in wonder. They kept their distance, but did not run.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:45 pm

"Hurk--" The player grunted, tendril colliding with his abdomen and sending him to the far side. Rolling to a stop in the glowing moss, Shepard forced himself into a sitting position--noting his slight drop in HP. He had one hand on his weapon, and another on the ground ready to push himself up and face the monster that had sent him sprawling away. What startled him was the lack of agro monsters in front of him.

Much like the mobs around him, his attention was drawn to the beautiful girl standing not too far away. He stopped moving, he stopped breathing, he stopped panicking. The feeling was somehow warm, mixed with a full feeling of awe. Despite the mud--she was clean. Despite the monsters around her--she was safe. Despite the lack of sun--she glowed. How could someone feel so perfect?

For a time, he forgot that he was in a fake world run by a crazed man who viewed them as rats in a cage. Instead, Shepard only felt that moment. Safe.

Of course, when you meet someone you have begun to fall in love with, you have to ask--

"Who are you?"

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:00 am

The girl looked up at the newcomer, clutching the fabric of her gown, blinking but without an inkling of startlement in her eyes. Unfortunately, the large monster, the boswin, looked up as well. It turned, and with slits for eyes, it began to slide its foot over the dirt, lowering its back. It was a hair away from charging when the girl placed a hand on it. Like that, it was tranquil once more.

The girl stepped forward, not saying anything at first, lips parted. She studied the boy, and at once smiled, her eyes sparkling like the stars that peeked through the highest trees. Her smile, well, it was like meeting another person for the first time, enamored and numbed in the gossamer lightness of wonder. Like her entire life lead to that moment, that one, satisfying moment. It was like she was born yesterday.

"Hello, Shepard Herman," she said. Her voice was soft, her tone cutting distinctly across certain words. She stroked the boswin, who closed its eyes in a bout of serenity. "Do not fear it. It was only trying to protect me."

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:37 am

Her eyes were on him, and the feeling in his chest got stronger. This new development was only overshadowed by the threat of the boswin. The monstrous creature rearing to charge--only to be stopped by the girl. Who studied him with shining eyes, reflecting the luminosity of the glowing plants. Her smile was enough to make him stop moving altogether, quite shockingly enough to make him feel unsteady.

What got him was her greeting. How did this girl know his name, and why did it sound nice? Even with the cut outs of the words, Shepard was enchanted by her. A beautiful mystery.

"They listen to you." He muttered, taking a single step forward, boot sinking slightly into the soft moss."What species is it?" Shepard's voice was soft, as if the quiet forest demanded it. It had taken Shepard a considerable amount of will power to take his eyes off of her and to the creature.

It all just seemed to amaze him.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:47 am

"It is a boswin," the girl said. Her voice seemed to echo across the forest, bouncing off the trees. She scratched the beast behind the ear, and it shook its head, not unlike a puppy. The girl giggled. "My father's creations respect me, because I am one of them." She looked back to the shy, small creatures, who recoiled slightly at her gaze. But it was a kind gaze, and their reflexes left them immediately. They were as enamored as Shepard.

And then her eyes flicked back to Shepard. She let her head rest on the boswin, her long hair falling across her cheek. She continued to stroke the creature, but her eyes stayed glued to the boy. "Tell me, Shepard Herman. Why did you leave the city?" She was inquisitive, but her voice was in no way direct, like a glass of water unmoved, unrippled.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:55 am

Every moment he spent with her was another mystery upon another. One door opened, and another ten appeared. It did not take much from the girl to have all of his attention. Yet-- her comment about father's creations sparked the slightest bit of hesitancy. If the monsters were created by the man who had talked down to them from the sky...It didn't take long for Shepard to realize that this girl was not from the outside world, rather developed in the virtual one. This revelation did not destroy his entranced emotions toward her--it was something he could not shake.

"Boswin." Shepard repeated, as if he was a child learning a new word. Most definitely, Shepard would not forget this creature's name. The fact that he had been smacked to the side like a mere fly was nothing to scoff at.

Her voice commanded his attention once again as his name called. Blue eyes looked back, slowly getting used to her eyes on him. Before he hadn't been able to breath--transfixed by her beauty. Now--he could manage to think clearer. Doesn't mean that there wasn't a healthy blush to his cheeks.

They faded at the slightest hue as he processed the question for a moment. "Well, we will all have to leave sometime--and if I'm going to be here for a while..." Shepard trailed off, eyes dropping to his boots. Slight mud splotches adorned them, matched with streak marks from being tossed to the side like a ragdoll by the Boswin.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:07 am

The girl lingered a moment, still upon the side of the beast, pondering his words. "Why?" she said, finally. The girl rose before he answered, and took a few steps forward, her feet still clean despite the deep, entrenching mud. The boswin stood still as she stepped away from it, but turned its massive head. Each one of her footfalls seemed shaky, not like a newborn deer, but more like a toddler, unaccustomed to the terrain of a muddy forest. She arrived in front of the boy, however.

Without much of a gesture, she spoke. Her voice was like the steady crackle of a fireplace. "My name is Hano." A brief wind flowed with grace through her dark hair. "To answer your previous question."

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:07 pm

His mouth posed to answer, but the words caught in his mouth as girl approached him. Clean feet emerging from the soggy ground, each step inexperienced in its own way. And within a few moments, she was in front of him. Shepard's heart fluttered, eyes prying away from the girl in front of him. Instead, he looked off to the side--as if just realizing that he had been staring the majority of the time.

What did she mean 'why'? Did she not know why they would eventually leave? Or did the not know why they would be there for a long time? His blond brows furrowed in confusion. Was she just like the townsfolk in the fact that she did not know the predicament that the players were in--did she not know that the world was fake?

Her words continuing to introduce herself brought Shepard's gaze back to soft eyes. Hano was her name. "I would introduce myself, but it seems you already know who I am, Hano." Another fact confused him, paired with the crackling in her voice, brought him further out of the daze that was his mystification with her. "Although, you don't have to call me by my full name, ya' know. You could just call me Shepard, Shep, Whiskers, whatever works. I'm not picky." He gave her a quick smile paired with a chuckle. "Nor am I very formal."

His smile dropped and eyes averted to the side. "As for why--us players will eventually have to progress through the game. Staying in one spot does little for actual progression." Biting his lip, Shepard lifted his eyes to gauge her reaction. What he could piece together, was that she was not like the other NPCs that he had encountered. Hano's responses did not seem scripted.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:31 pm

"Whiskers." The girl paused to process the collection of names, repeating the one that intrigued her the most. She was first expressionless, then surrendering to a light giggle. "Like a cat." There was something about that that was amusing for her.

But her smile faded as he mentioned leaving once more. She tilted her head at his explanation. Her expression was still that of confusion, but it was more often that than not whenever he spoke, her lips parted. Though, she closed them somberly. Hano snatched his hand in hers, and pulled him along. "Sometimes it's good to stop and look around," she told him, walking backwards, eyes glued to his, even when he wasn't looking back. She was not looking where she was going, but seemed to be walking in a confident direction nevertheless. She never stumbled or tripped over a loose root.

Soon, they were back at the boswin, who hadn't moved since she stepped forward. She brought his hand up with hers, and laid his palm across the hard, stony skin of the beast. "Here. Pet it." She beamed as if she were a child showing off an arts-and-crafts masterpiece. The creature itself seemed to flinch, but it gave a long sigh and snort, and did nothing.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:55 pm

Shepard matched her laugh, sheepishly scratching his cheek where the three marks adorned them. As soon as he had mentioned leaving, her face dropped and his followed in suit unknowingly. Just as he was about to drop his hands from his face, Hano took them in her own and pulled him along. He flinched at first, followed swiftly by another wave of heat to his cheeks. "You are right." Shepard commented, wondering if that was the reason that he decided to enter the forest in the first place. Unlike Hano, Shepard had to glance down at his feet to make sure he didn't trip over any plant life.

Just as he looked back up, the creature was a mere foot away. Startled, Shepard went to take his hand away from the stony skin of the boswin. Yet, he was stopped by the grin that stretched across Hano's face. She was excited, and wanted him to stroke the animal. His eyes switched between the two, an unsure look crossing his face. Lips parted as if he wanted to say something--but opting not to.

Trust was placed into Hano at that moment, and the player shakingly patted the rough texture of the creature. Not too long after, a grin spread. "How cool...!"

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:56 pm

His reaction seemed to be what she was looking for. The boswin huffed, and Hano knelt down, putting her arm around its neck and kissing it above the eye. "They are fascinating creatures," she whispered. Above them, betaflies fluttered and zipped in the purple and blue ambience, stopping and going, stopping and going. The moon was bigger in Aubade than it ever was in the real world, even if it was fragmented by the flat, polygomal sky.

Hano looked up and over, at the smaller creatures that had grown in number since she'd gotten there. They sat on rocks, above the large clovers that covered the forest bed. "Those are fawni. They're forest children." She stood, and each of the tiny figures collectively flinched backwards. Even for her, she flinched. She only smiled warmly at them. "Be careful not to startle them." She whispered this, glancing back at Shepard with eyes green and calm as the shamrocks around her feet. She placed a finger to her mouth.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:02 pm

His hand was steady by then, grin softening when Hano showed her adoration for the creature. Shepard couldn't help but agree. In any normal setting--agro monsters like what almost happened would have a sword in their eye. Yet, this girl had shown him that the creatures that inhabited this floor had their own gentle nature. Shepard paused his petting of the boswin to give the smaller creatures a glance.

The player kept one hand on the boswin's snout, and another to give the forest children a small wave. His blue eyes taking in the mystical creatures in a mixture of awe and joy. Seeing all these creatures around him, normal ones that many may assume would charge with an attack at first sight--peaceful. To be honest, he felt kind of special because of that. The blond went to look back at Hano, giving her a bright smile, paired with a small bow. Wait--why did he do that? "Thank you for showing me all of this. They are amazing." Shepard whispered, returning to gently petting the boswin. He had surprisingly gotten attached to the creature. Obviously not as much as he had with Hano, that was something different.

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:32 pm

Despite the oddity of the bow, Hano bowed too. It was Japanese custom, after all. She was Japanese, right...? "I hope you enjoy your time here, more," she whispered, taking both his hands in hers. She closed her eyes to a breeze that wafted through the trees, caring a deep, piney scent. It was almost as if she felt it coming. She breathed in, and opened her eyes. They shimmered, almost artificially. "This world is lovely if you stop a little."

Something seemed to disturb the moment after just a few seconds more, and Hano looked up. "I think there's something in town you may want to go to," she whispered, biting her lip. The boswin shook its head impatiently. The fawni began to withdraw, back into the massive leaves of the undergrowth. "You should go, Shepard Herman."

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PostSubject: Re: Hopeless Wanderer [closed]   Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:57 am

Shepard had begun to hate his cheeks for heating up so easily. With her hands holding his, the blond stared back at her gaze and offered a small smile. "I'll see you around, Hano." He told her, taking a step away abit hesitantly. He really did not want to leave this moment of magic. Yet if there was something in town for him--he needed to go. With that thought, Shepard broke their hands apart and took a few steps back before turning around and beginning a walk back to town. Not before he threw a smile over his shoulder and disappearing into the foliage.

Ok the way back, he walked with a skip in his step, feeing better about being stuck in the game. It wasn't all bad. Hano was a attestment to that. Part way there, Shepard began to think about how Hano knew all thouse things--why the monsters listened. Then it all fit together in a single jolting moment.

AI.

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