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Reiko Souma
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; visits Rhy'din on vacations
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19 Jan 20xx - Capture the Queen

Post by Reiko Souma » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:37 pm

"Always protect your King."

Image

Once a door closes, let it close all the way. Don't leave it ajar, only to swing it wide open again whenever it's convenient. That was the gist of what had been told to Reiko during a visit that she had taken it upon herself to pay to somebody. Tie up loose ends is what the ravenette took that to mean, as well as leaving the past in the past. So, what has she been doing during the day when she wasn't catching herself up on work at her shop? Tying up loose ends was what she was doing. Reiko had a few of them to tie up and, additionally, burn. She didn't want them to ever come back.

She was going to be wearing shirts with at least a half-sleeve for a few days yet, according to the local hospital doctor that she had seen. That was the cost of tying up and burning up one of said loose ends, which was the cutting off of an extremely toxic individual from her line of communication: a beating that she had been fortunate to leave without a single broken bone. Just harsh bruises. Yeah, those sucked, but they weren't going to stop her from doing what she enjoyed doing most: baking. The counter in front of her gave plenty of traces of this in the form of scattered ingredients and two recipe cards.

After taking intermittent breaks to play (and lose) a game of Chess to Ben, she needed to finish with the baking and the frosting. Never mind the diamonds! Reiko had plans of leaving some behind for Amaris, one for each year. So, a dozen. That worked. The diamonds for those would be bigger than the rest of the cupcakes that were going to the Inn tonight. Speaking of Amaris, the girl had fallen asleep at the table during her own game of Chess with Ben. She had been moved to the couch at Reiko's suggestion for the sake of comfourt.

Reiko had taken the last of the cupcakes out of the oven and waited for them to cool. That was two batches of cupcakes to apply frosting to now. "I was wondering about something..." spilt from her before she could stop herself. No! She wanted to wait until she knew how to word herself before actually saying anything at all!

"Oh?" Ben picked up his scotch from the table to take another sip before resuming his seat at the table. "What's up?"

Reiko was triggering a little bit of a lull in very lightly touching the tops of one of the cupcakes from the second batch. They were almost cool enough to top with the frosting, but not quite. A few more minutes were needed. As for the sheet of mostly clear sugar, that still needed a lot of time to cool before she could start cutting. In the meantime, she was pouring herself a second cup of coffee and taking a sip. She was good at creating a lull when she wanted to, but bad at getting to the point with certain things.

There were multiple things she was wondering about, but what she had initially wanted to mention was what she had great difficulty with putting into words. So, she thought of something else. Yes, that was what she could ask about. It had been a thought on her mind since the transfusion she had recently received. "I was wondering about immortality...well, since the transfusion, anyways. Is there-I mean, do you know of a way one could be granted such without the use of any kind of sorcery..?" Reiko asked. "I-I know it's a really strange thing of me to ask."

"Huh. Well, that's a good question right there," he nodded, contemplating a moment as he sipped from his scotch, "I know of one guy who attained immortality by being transported to some kinda whacky, anti-logic realm. I think it was called, 'The Dialetheaic Realm,' or some kinda bullshit like that. Bottom line is, everything there is true and not true at the same time, so even if he were to 'die,' it would also be true that he did not?" An awkward look came over his face as he shrugged with his shoulders. "I can't really wrap my head around it myself, but that's the gist of it."

A very brief pause. Then, "In fact," he pulled one of his knives out from his right boot, "That realm is where these were crafted. Ain't no limit to what you can do when the so called, 'Law of the Excluded Middle,' ain't holdin' ya back."

Now that was something worth mulling over. Some guy had gone to some realm and, if she was understanding it correctly, then it sounded like he was still in that realm. "Weird...and he just what, stayed there for the rest of his life? If so, then I don't think I would want that. Being separated from everyone I've come to really care about and all...I don't like that." Reiko was no isolationist.

She looked at the knife he pulled out. "You can have weapons made there?" she asked as she then started to squeeze frosting out of a tube onto one of the cupcakes.

Whilst it wasn't the main thing she was wondering about, it had in fact satisfied a big portion of her curiosity. The other matter could just wait...she paused after completing the frosted swirl to rub at her right arm again. This time, she shut her left eye.

"No no, he's able to instantiate into more..." He struggled to come up with the words. "I guess, shall we say, conventionally logical realms? But even though he instantiates here, he - at the same time - remains back in the Dialethaic realm. But then again, he doesn't. Or she. Or xe. Or...not xe?" The whole idea of it all was giving him a headache. "Not sure if it even has a precise gender there, come to think of it."

"It sounds more confusing than Chess." When she was done rubbing her arm for the tenth time today, she opened her left eye once more and resumed with the frosting. What a lovely colour to go with the theme of tonight's event. Reiko really liked how she had mixed the food dyes. "Well, maybe I can find a much less confusing method for the immortality...if there is one. Like a potion or something that I could take. Something."

She worked efficiently. When she had finished with the batch, her arm needed an eleventh rub. Reiko was now officially aggravated. "Okay. This is getting ridiculous. Did I brush up against a rose bush, or something?" The only thing beneath her half-sleeve was the topical cream that had been applied by one of her contacts to aid with speeding up the healing process. There had been no mention of possible allergens! "I had some loose ends to tie up this week whilst you were training and all...one of them didn't go as planned. Even with backup." Reiko walked back to the table and sat down. Then she yanked up her right sleeve to show the healing bruises. "Believe me, it looked much worse two days ago."

He looked down at the bruises and reached out with his hand, gently brushing the tips of his fingers over them. "Yeesh. No good, hon..."

A hiss parted from her at the touch. "I'm told it would be another day or so before they fade completely. Pain and all." Reiko blew on the part of her bruises that had already been touched.

But, there was something else Ben had to address. Something that had him somewhat bothered. "Can I ask, why is it that you want immortality?"

She sighed in a whisper over the question that had been asked. It was inevitable, really. "I want...when I was in recovery last week, I was doing some thinking. Really thinking about my future, particularly my lifespan..." she began. Pink azalean hues met with brown-hazels. "...the form of anaemia I have, it's severe enough that it has no possible cure. Someone else I have years of uneven history with, Renna, offered to help me out with a cure...but I know that she only means to find a way of using me. That's what she does whenever the opportunity dangles in front of her. So, I would rather explore other means...such as being able to live indefinitely without letting my own thalassemia eventually claim me." Reiko still had so much that she wanted to do! There was still much to accomplish, personal and not so personal to her.

"Renna?" a concerned look tightened his brows and hardened his cheeks, "No... no, not if it's the Renna I'm thinking of. Please. Tell me you're not going to let her tempt you into anything that." His hand laid on top of hers then. "Promise me."

Not surprisingly, the name coming from her wasn't taken well. Was she the only one who didn't fear Renna at all? Years of knowing her had had given patterns, established and newly-formed. "Yes, she's the same one...the one who uses people and hurts them severely." She slid forward on the chair she sat on, her free hand touching Ben's cheek as his hand laid on her other hand. "Ben...Ben! Relax, would you please? I've known her for going on eleven years now, and I know how she is. I have no intention of letting her do anything to me at all. I promise..." Her eyes didn’t move from his as she made this promise with full sincerity.

He shut his eyes and bowed his head, simply uttering, "Good." Looking back up at her then, "You should be looking for a cure though, Reiko. Not immortality. You always trade some vital aspect of yourself in exchange for immortality; at least in every way that I'm familiar with it. If you need help, then let me help you. But don't sacrifice yourself to become something else entirely; that's not even immortality anymore, at least not the way you're thinkin' of it."

With the bowing of his head, her hand moved back from his cheek. Her other remained beneath his, and it was then that she thought about Amaris sleeping on the couch. What if she was to wake up and hear them talking about this? Reiko was particularly sensitive to the young hearing conversations of such a serious nature between two adults, and she rolled down her right sleeve back to its normal position. "A cure, for my thalassemia...but where?" she asked. "It's entirely possible that a cure for an otherwise incurable illness might come at an even heftier price than any price to be paid to obtain immortality. But, I don't even know where to start. Terra hasn't exactly caught up to Rhy'din yet, and I don't know of many people who I can trust with not botching things up." Not that she was going to bring attention to it, but her chest size was an example of something that had been botched up. It used to be two letters smaller!

"I uh..." He looked over his shoulder at Amaris to make sure she was sound asleep before turning his head back to Reiko, leaning in and lowering his voice. "I know a guy that might be able to help. No guarantees, and he's a sheisty son of a bitch too. Amaris would never let me even bring his name up, so we would really need to keep this on the DL, if you catch my drift here, yeah?"

Oh geez. A name that Amaris would respond poorly to? I...think I've seen this once before. He said someone's name, and Amaris got really mad and started to growl. It was before she'd gone missing. Reiko gave a nod to this. "You mean...he whose name begins with an M," she whispered after leaning in close. Yeah. The woman understood. "If you mean him, then we've met once or twice in the past...it might be a good idea to discuss him elsewhere out of Amaris' hearing, should she wake up. If it can be discussed within the next half hour? I'm due at the Inn to assist Mallory in running a celebration tonight."

"You've met'm, eh? So you know what kind of guy you'd be entangling yourself with," he nodded, "I dunno about tonight, hon. I got a job this evenin'. Quick and simple, but a job nonetheless. Go help Mal, think it over, and we can talk whenever we get around to it, hey?"

"Yeah...yeah, I've met him. We didn't actually talk at length, no, but there was small talk. He reminds me of...my contact who helped with treating my injuries at my house after the botched operation." Reiko gave a nod of understanding. She sat up, straightening herself a bit. Her voice only raised a tiny bit. "There is a way you could help me before I do head out, though...would you happen to keep any ointment lying around? It's the stuff that feels really, really cold when it's applied and blended in...I could use some, but. Not on my arm."

"You mean that healing ointment that Amaris keeps around?" he asked, trying to narrow down what it was she was referring.

She really had to think. Ointment that Amaris keeps lying around. Reiko faintly remembered seeing it lie around. "I...think so," she told him, "it's in a one-inch round container that looks just like a tiny black field medic kit that I used in the service. It almost resembles the colour of metal because of its composition, and it smells awful...but it relieves pain and accelerates the healing of bruises and other minour injuries."

Reiko was using her hands to try describing the size of the ointment container. Whether it was working or not, she had no clue. "If Amaris has any, then I will owe her my life." The woman lifted just the front of her shirt, showing only the part of her where she had taken a kick to her. The bruise was shaped like the boot of the one who had kicked her. "Like I said...botched."

That brought an end to that conversation as Amaris soon woke up and, having heard Reiko, offered her the healing cream in question. A very grateful Albino really did owe her niece now! With the cream applied to her bruised areas, she returned the container to the girl, who helped her carry the cupcakes through a portal to the Inn. Ben, in the meantime, was left to contemplate what the Terran native had brought up about her seeking immortality.

—•—•—•—

Moments later, the portal that Amaris had opened up would bring both niece and aunt to the inside of the Inn. Both of their hands were full as they carried the cupcakes (and alcohol, in Reiko's case) to the bar. Passing through the break in the bar, the cupcakes were placed down in a place as indicated by Mallory and the alcohol turned over. A congratulatory banner was hung up, and the drinks soon started to flow. Reiko herself was nursing a glass of the Blue Diamond that she had ordered. Perfection. The spirit was high as conversations galore ensued, one of them being Amaris regaling Reiko on how she had done in the Diamond Quest. The girl had made it to the final four. That was so impressive! Reiko was so proud of her!

Jaycy, someone the woman had never met during her years of duelling, ended up winning. Right about that time, some of the conversations around them had turned to something that had transpired right at the end. Something had happened with all of the opals. Whatever it was, Reiko's attention wasn't entirely there to gather all of the details. She had started to talk to Cezar by then, confusing him with her Spanish. When she saw Ben come in, right as she had told the wheelchair-bound man with his cat Violet that she had made the cupcakes, Reiko greeted with a, "Heya, Ben!" Lifting her glass, she gave a little salute from where she sat with a bright smile in his direction. "I thought you had a job to do tonight!"

Ben said nothing. He kept his eyes straight ahead as though Reiko's greeting went in one ear and out the other. As soon as the bartender was ready for him, he would order a pitcher of Lakefront IPA, which he would take a deep chug from without bothering with a glass. A loud belch followed before he wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his leather jacket. Outside of this, not another sound came from him.

Reiko looked over at Amaris. "You saw that, right?" she asked her niece. She raised both of her eyebrows as high as she could raise them. "He completely ignored me...Ben never ignores me...unless he's too far to hear me." Which he wasn’t. What the fuck!

Amaris got up and moved carefully to his side, and then muttered, "Think fast." She went to swat at the back of his head, and he took that swat to the back of the head, neck giving slightly on impact. Still, he was in a trance that he could not snap out of. One would think he was catatonic. Amaris then shook his shoulders. "POPS! Wakey wakey!"

If that slap to the back of Ben's bead didn't work, then nothing might work at all. Reiko was now standing, hands on sides, watching. Just a little bit ago, the two of them had been talking. Now he was...what was he doing? Deep in thought? "Rhy'din to Ben! Your daughter just slapped the back of your head!" Reiko was now concerned, and she was also deciding to screw it with a telepathic attempt of communication.

The shaking snapped Ben out of his haze, at least eventually. "Hng? Oh... hey Amaris..." he said absentmindedly before taking another swig from his pitcher.

"What the hell was that about, Pops?"

"Don't know. Don't care. Don't want to talk about it." He said simply before lighting up a cigarette.

She glowered at Benny. "Pops...no, you know what, whatever." She was learning to leave it be and went back to her cupcake.

"Ben?!" Reiko tried again. Suddenly, the images that started to flash through her mind went way too quickly. Various levels of inhumanity and horror, from the slightest to the worst, flew through her mind's eye. They wouldn't stop! She tried to remove herself from the very surface of his mind where she had reached out to begin with. Tried to were the operative words.

Tried, but couldn't.

"Ah! I-I can't get out!" Reiko cried, her hands flying to her temples. Never has she ever had to make this much effort in order to try leaving somebody's mind, especially one that she had established a connection with before. "I'm stuck!" Falling to her knees now, Reiko was trying - very much unsuccessfully so - to get out. It was no use...her hands fell from her temples as her arms sank to her sides. A telepath who was stuck within another's mind wasn't just sucked in; they were mentally incapable of communicating with anybody apart from the individual whose mind they had been sucked into.

Then Reiko was...Cezar really wasn't sure what was going on. His pencil hesitated, looking around from side to side, and back to Reiko. The witch, Mallory, looked over with a frown as Reiko fell to her knees, and looked to those near her questioningly. Violet pulled herself up and propped her elbows into Cezar's hat, jaw in her paws. Just watching the spectacle. Rachael's shielded gaze flicked to Reiko at her exclamation.

"Yep," Ben said dismissively, "that's how it started for me, too. Pretty shitty. It'll go away though. At least I hope." His apathy over the matter was borderline disturbing.

Amaris jumped down and put her hands on Reiko, shaking her softly. "Reiko?" The woman was in no wise able to answer. Live art it was not, for she had certainly not been putting on a show. She had literally been trying to get through to the man she cared about in hopes of getting answers when she had gotten stuck. Temporarily mute and unable to move for the time being, it was like she was in a coma.

Ben seemed to be steadily regaining some measure of consciousness. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Reiko laying comatose. A look of guilt washed over his face then; he was cognitive enough to feel guilt, but not to respond. "I think it is time for me to leave..." was otherwise said as he left his half-empty pitcher on the bar and trudged out the front door, his head down and his hands in his pockets.

She blinked, looking after him. "What the fuck, Pops?" Amaris hopped up. "Could you at least help me out and get her to a doctor?" But, Ben was already out the door, wandering aimlessly into the night. The girl grumbled and shook her head, a soft string of curses as she tapped Reiko's cheek a few times. "Wake up."

Even with Ben out the door and wandering off, Reiko's psychic presence was still stuck. For how much longer, that remained yet to be seen, but her seemingly comatose state was going to be an issue if she remained this way for too much longer. Unfortunately, Amaris' taps to her cheek wasn't going to help either. Reiko was completely out of it.

"Amaris, give me some space," the witch stated as she grabbed some ice in her soaked hand, her arm pale and shivering, and climbed up onto the bar to let her legs dangle over the patron side in front of Reiko. Amaris backed up and looked towards the door, confused, and then back down at Reiko.

Mallory held the ice cube in her off hand as she used her chilly one to grab Reiko's brow, and leaned down to press her brow next to hers. "You think you're stuck down there, in the cold and dark..." She set the ice cube between Reiko's teeth next. "but you just need to swim up, and up, and..."

She pressed her chin firmly shut, snapping the ice cube — "break through the ice!"

CRUNCH!!! The sound of the ice cube breaking apart between the woman's teeth sent the feeling of icy coldness through Reiko's nerves. It was as if the cube alone served as a communications agent to jumpstart a body that had been in shock, only she had been somewhat mentally comatose. With the crunch and the sensation of the sudden cold, her brain was given that sudden jolt. Even more, she was finally able to withdraw herself from Ben's mind and return to her own.

Reiko's head jerked straight up just as her eyes popped open. She let out a really loud gasp; her hands grasped at anything nearby that she could reach: the floor, the wall of the bar to her right, anything! Just give her something! "WHA!" Reiko cried out. "Where?!" She was positively freaking out, and over what? She was trying to figure out what was real and what was not.

Satisfied with the outcome, or the outcome she assumed, the witch released Reiko’s brow and nodded to Amaris and Rachael as she dusted her hands off. Wringing her right hand a few times in an effort to warm it up as she moved back through the break, and over to Mai. "Sorry about that."

Amaris smiled, mouthing her thank you to Mallory. She gave Amaris a wink, but nodded her towards Reiko. Disorientation was a hell of a thing. "Merci," Rachael murmured to Mallory.

Amaris gave Rachael one more hug and went over to Reiko and hugged her. "It's okay," she told the Albino.

Her breathing was rapid at first. When Amaris hugged her, Reiko looked down at the girl at first. Her arms came around her for a hug, even though she wasn't immediately sure of her arms moving of her volition. "Y-you're real..! Nobody's dead..." She then took a look around. "...there's no blood everywhere. Or there." Up she looked, unwilling to move. "What's going on, here? Where am I? I-I thought I was fighting...what?" Reiko was trying to find more familiar faces nearby.

"You were looking at Ben weird and then just fell...Pops just left. I asked for help, but he just...left" That was from Amaris.

"You ventured into the realm of the Mind." Rachael's words held the tone of a statement, but they could be taken as an inquiry if Reiko wished to do so.

"I did what?" Reiko asked Amaris and Rachael. Quick, think of the last thing she could remember. "I was drinking a Blue Diamond. Mallory served me...I tried to greet Ben, but he ignored me. Then I told you, tried to talk to him telepathically...that's when I saw them." She waited for Amaris to let go before bringing her own knees in front of her chest.

Reiko started to rock back and forth, as if coming down from a bad trio. Just what in the world had she seen? "I saw so many things, everything that nobody should ever have to see." Reiko was suddenly speaking very quickly whilst rocking herself still. Then she pulled the hair elastics from her buns, letting her hair loose. "I-I don’t know what's real, and what’s not, right now!"

Amaris blinked and wound back before a loud crack sounded, and her hand whipped against Reiko's cheek as she slapped her. "Auntie, get it together," the girl told Reiko.

"Normally a pinch is applied, but that may be more effective. Crude, granted, but more effective," Rachael stated.

The slap forced Reiko's face to her right when Amaris' hand made contact with it. She would hit the front of the bar, but remain conscious from the way she was still sitting. It had stunned the woman into silence. Reiko couldn't speak! She just sat there, her head facing the bar for a long moment at first. "Reiko?" Amaris rubbed the Albino's cheek a little. "Sorry, but you were being a bit...panicky"

After another moment of silence, Reiko slowly turned her head to face Amaris a second time. She blinked. Nope, this was no hallucination this time. Her right hand raised up to touch the front of the bar. It was the same scared wooden wall that she was used to kicking her feet against from time to time. Then she put her hand on top of Amaris' head. There was hair, and it felt like hair. "A...Amaris?" Reiko simply said as a question. "What just happened?"

"As I said, you ventured into the realm of the Mind. A dangerous place at best, especially if one is entangled in it," Rachael commented to Reiko.

Amaris looked at the Albino still. "You went into Pop's brain." She pointed at Rachael. "What Auntie Rachael said. You started to get hysterical, so I had to slap ya."

"Yeah...yeah, I was trying to talk to him," she told both Amaris and Rachael. Her hand moved from the top of the former's head. It touched her face where she had been slapped. That was going to smart in the morning. "Then...it went black for all of a second or two, and then I started to see things. Like, a lot of things...things that nobody should ever have to see." Plot twist, though. Everything the woman had seen was a giant hallucination.

"Don't get all wound up again. Just breathe." One can believe that Reiko was taking those breaths. She was taking them slowly, making sure to feel each inhale and exhale.

"Breathing...slow breaths, deep." This was going to count as an emergency meditation because she needed to make sure she was on solid ground. One foot, and then two feet. Her eyes looked up, and they were soon in the company of the empathic yellow tabby kitten that was Mayflower. Fate be thanked for her company, for with permission, Reiko was able to confirm something that had previously concerned her. Years ago, she had been under the control of another. Upon being set free from it, Mayflower had performed a sniff test to make sure that the Albino was truly free. Such was the case now, and the sniff test was performed. Ginger snaps and carrots. That was what Reiko smelt like to the kitten which, when asked, was particularly good considering her fondness for such.

Soon becoming tired from what had just transpired, Reiko returned Mayflower to Rachael after holding her for a bit. It was best that she return to a place she was most familiar with, that being Terra. It was best because she also needed to retrieve the present that she had for Amaris' rapidly-approaching birthday.

"Chess taught me that with a bad move, you can lose your Queen."
Reiko Souma
Adventurer
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Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; visits Rhy'din on vacations
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28 Jan 20xx - Pre-Fight Reunion

Post by Reiko Souma » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:59 am

"Long live the King."

There was a reunion bound to happen. After a week of separation, something would soon take place, or so it would seem. Ben did a little bit of light shadowboxing in front of the mirror in his room for less than a minute before coming down the stairs and pouring himself a glass of water. He sat down in front of the fire, wearing his green robe with blue trim, and meditated on the night he had ahead of him.

Shif. Shiiiiiiif. Shif. There was some carving going on in the woman's room. She was trying to mimick the design of her latest inventory item by using just her hand carving tools. A large tarp was on the floor beneath her workspace, the door shut, but that wasn't going to block the sound out from the rest of the cabin. She was close to completion and in need of a break. One look at her cellphone showed why. Reiko's been hard at work all day nonstop! No wonder she felt so hungry!

Putting down her carving tool, the woman rose to her feet and stepped into her slippers. When she opened the door and stepped out, there came the grumble of her stomach again in her walk to the kitchen. Then she saw a glass missing. Was..? She turned towards the living room. Ben! It had been days since she last saw him...not since...it hurt her head to try thinking about it. "Ben?" If he was meditating, then he probably wouldn't be able to hear her.

This was not the spiritual meditation of a monk or the heady meditation of a telepath; this was the solemn contemplation of a warrior preparing for battle. Hear her he did. He spun up to his feet without the use of his hands in a single, fluid motion with a catlike grace, "Reiko," he offered a single nod of acknowledgment. In another moment he was lightly bouncing on the balls of his feet, loosening his shoulders and throwing jabs and hooks through the air.

Okay, so he seemed normal. Apart from the single motion, she's seen something like this before, when they were in his room some weeks before. She's seen him training as well. Must be a fight night, or something... or so she thought. In debating what to eat, she was watching him. "Is it another fight you're preparing for..?" If she sounded wary, then it was because she was. Not of him in general, but of whatever aftermath that might come from what was ahead of him. She took a step backwards towards the cabinets, debating between fish or the leftover boar that Amaris had hunted yesterday.

"The fight is tonight. It's the one I've been trainin' for all month," he replied without so much as a shift of the eyes towards her. It seemed his nostrils weren't quite clear; breath was slightly inhibited. He would go to the bathroom on the main level, squirt some Afrin up his nose, then return to the main living area.

So, it was fight night for him tonight. Reiko knew how hard he had been training for this, and how hard he was training for it even now. She hoped he would win this, just as she hoped that he would come out of it without any...added effects, particularly effects of the adverse kind. Once had been enough, and she was still trying to finish coming back from that. Reiko wasn't sure what would happen if there was a second time.

"How're you feelin', by the way?" he asked with a tilt of his head as he sipped from his water, "I don't think I've seen ya since that night at the bar..."

As for how she was feeling, she had to think about it for a minute. "How I'm feeling...I don't know," she answered honestly. Reiko was now leaning back against the counter that was behind her, blocking the microwave. "You haven't seen me since that night, not until now. I was told that you had just left me there and wandered off whilst I was dealing with...whatever the fuck I was dealing with. I don't remember anything that happened." She was trying again. Nothing. "Ow..." Reiko pressed her hands to her temples. "...whenever I try to remember anything from that night, I just end up with a headache all over again. What happened to you that night, Ben? Where did you go? I-we-have been worried for you since then!" Pink azalean hues stared directly at the man as she waited patiently.

He took a seat at the kitchen table and leaned back into the seat, one arm hanging over the backrest as he crossed his legs. "To be perfectly honest, I don't even remember it so clearly myself. I did a job that night, but things didn't go exactly as planned. Someone interfered; that's when I met...him? It? I'm not sure." He sipped from his water and rolled his neck around a bit.

"Don't tell Amaris, but I had to see Murrel about it," he explained, "Murrel, from what I understand, deals with this thing all the time. He was able to snap me out of whatever kind of psychosis I was in. Beyond that, I'm every bit as confused as yourself. I'm concerned, though." He conceded with a sigh. "I'm getting the sense that this...whatever it is...I ain't seen the last of it."

Now her arms were folded in front of her. He didn't remember it so well, either? That made two of them. Just great. She raised her eyebrows at the mention of interference, only for them to reset. There was the mention of Murrel. Psychosis. That also made two, although Reiko wasn't the second one to have dealt with any amount of psychosis. She was thinking of her contact.

"Whoever, or whatever they are, they caused a lot of trouble...we already have enough of that around Rhy'din. Around here. But, don't worry about me telling Amaris anything about Murrel...she's been enjoying the winter weather. I've been looking after her as best I could since I came back here. Trying to, anyways..." Her eyes looked up towards the ceiling for a moment. What now? She looked back down at Ben, her arms now unfolded. "...promise me, Ben. Promise me you'll try your best to stay away from whatever that creature is that got into your head. Please..? Part of me thought you were going to push me away completely that night - I remember that much."

He parted his hands with a defensive shrug of his shoulders. "Hey, listen, if it were my choice, I wouldn't have encountered that damn thing in the first place! Doesn't seem like I got a whole lot of choice one way or the other here."

All at once, she regretted asking him to promise anything at all. It clearly hadn't been his choice to encounter whatever that creature had been, that was for damn sure. How unfair of her to even expect the man to make a promise regarding things that had been beyond his control to begin with. "I'm sorry...I shouldn't have," came from her regarding that. She really shouldn't have.

That's when he remembered walking on out her. A look of guilt softened his features as he brought his hands back down on the table with a bow of the head. "I...I didn't mean to abandon you, Reiko. I don't know what came over me. It's like it wasn't even me in the driver's seat that night; like all I could do was look out the window and observe my surroundings." There was a pause then. "I'm sorry."

Straightening her lean from the counter behind her, she walked over to join Ben at the table. Taking hold of one of his hands, she listened as he spoke. Not in the driver's seat, where had she heard of that one before? Wait. She had heard of that coming from her own mouth...but when? "Listen, Ben...I get it. Someone else took over and made you look like a total ass whilst you were rendered helpless, right? Like your inner self was tied to the mast as someone else took to the wheel?" Yeah, she knew that feeling. "I couldn't tell you when, but the same thing happened to me. Not recently, but long ago, is all I know...and really bad things happened." She gave his hand a squeeze. "It's not your fault."

"No," he shook his head slowly, "I'm struggling to remember the feeling..." He squinted and rubbed his temples with his free hand. "It was like everything I did, I did of my own volition. But at the same time it wasn't me? Yet there was nobody else it could have been..." The softest of grunts formed in his chest as he came closer to reliving that evening, but he vigorously shook his head and dispelled it from his mind. Now was not the time to revisit any of that.

"Reiko, I...I think I need to distance myself from you a little. At least until this is all sorted out," he said somberly, "I can't have anyone else getting hurt over it. Whatever this is, it's my problem. Not yours. Not anyone else's."

She let go of his hand then. "Maybe you shouldn't try to remember it just yet..." Look at what it was doing, she wanted to say, but didn't. Then her face became somewhat somber. Okay, it became somber a lot. Reiko wanted to be selfish, but...she couldn't be. "What...what about the others? Amaris? Can nobody help you with this at all?" Mist came to mind as somebody who might be able to help, as did Murrel. "I..." That thought saw no end.

"I'm not even sure what I'm dealing with here, Reiko. To be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure if whatever it is is a bad thing at all; it just is what it is. But I don't know the first thing about it, and that makes it potentially dangerous," he explained, "So as far as help goes, what help could I possibly ask for? I wouldn't even know where to begin."

He stood up then and cracked his knuckles. "But right now, none of that matters. I've got a fight tonight; so I'm puttin' all the other bullshit on the back burner."

"I see..." The woman was at a loss. There was nothing more that could really be said about it any. What help could Ben ask for when he knew nothing about it? She looked down, her eyes lowered, as if the floor was suddenly more interesting to study for the moment. Then she looked back up. There was no other moment for this. "...well, I have something for you. Hopefully it'll be some inspiration for you to win your fight tonight." The tone of her voice held little enthusiasm to it, but she was trying to not sound it. She was failing as she stood and walked back to her room. A couple of minutes later, she emerged again with the thick wooden shield that one of her employees had helped her with by doing the painting for her. It was an attempted replica of one of the tattoos Ben had on him. "Here...I made this for you."

He held the shield in his arms with a look of overwhelming gratitude. "Holy smokes, Reiko...you made this?" He looked up at her with an astonished smile, mouth ajar, "Hot damn, I'm strappin' this bad boy to my back for my ring-walk! This is friggin' badass!" Now he was jumping with almost childish excitement.

A nod came from her at this. She might not be able to remember everything, but what she was able to remember - which was just about everything otherwise - was based on photographic memory. "Yeah...I made it back at my shop on Terra," she said. Seeing his reaction made her quite happy, knowing that Ben too was happy. "I remembered seeing the tattoo on you when we were in the sauna that day, and I decided to make it. My artist painted it...I was thinking about you a lot." Strap it to his back? Would it stay in one piece after the ring-walk?

"You pretty much nailed the design," He held it over his back and looked over his shoulder into the mirror hanging on the wall. "Yep. That looks about right."

Thank Fate. Making sure she was accurate in the design had been a test of her memory, considering she had only had one chance of getting a good look at the tattoos on him. She was glad she had gotten it right, and that her artist had gotten the colours right as well. It was one success.

The shield would be set on the table for the time being. "Thank you, Reiko. That was really sweet of ya," and a quick little peck on the cheek was given, "You gonna come cheer me on? The bookie is still takin' bets, you know!"

Even if but a quick peck, it brought out her true smile that hadn't been worn in at least a week. If not longer. "I don't see why I couldn't," Reiko said. She looked up to him. Her sunglasses would have to be worn for the entire duration of the fight because of how much blood she suspected there would be. It was a fight. Why wouldn't there be blood? "Oh, they wouldn't want me putting in my bet...everyone who loses would probably be paying me back for the rest of their lives." She sounded sarcastic, but she was truthfully serious. "But you'll win. I know you will...because my gut tells me you'll win."

"That doesn't even make any sense. You place your bet with the bookie and earn whatever you put in based on the odds. Besides, the other guy is the underdog, so you wouldn't stand to make much. Still though, ya can't be too sure. Anything can happen in the ring," he modestly remarked before bouncing on the balls of his feet again and throwing a flurry of jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts through the air. There was a deadly playfulness to it. "How am I lookin'?" He repeatedly jabbed as he side-stepped around in a circle. His technique and precision suggested he was on top of his game tonight.

Okay, so she knew nothing about making bets. Especially with fights. "I stand corrected, then." Then he was throwing a series of punches of various sorts through the air. She was watching him punch away. "Looking great," Reiko said, giving him the space he needed to practise his manoeuvres. That way she wouldn't end up having to dodge any accidental punches. "Have you...had a chance to eat anything to keep up your strength for said fight, by any chance?"

"Oh yeah. I've been grazin' throughout the day." He looked up at the time then. His coach was going to kill him if he didn't get to the arena soon. "Well, I'm gonna have to get movin' here. Fight is in about two hours. You comin', or are you gonna tag up later?" he asked as he moved for the teleporter room.

Tag up later? Being a psychic didn't mean she used her abilities to do everything under the sun, every day. She looked down at what she had on now, a simple pair of black leggings beneath a short black skirt and a pink t-shirt, a black and pink plaid button-up over it. "I'm coming with you," she told him. There was a quick dash back to her room as she grabbed her small handbag, and then she scurried back out to accompany Ben to the teleporter room. Now that she thought of it, she's never even watched one of these fights before. If he was seriously needing to get away from her and everyone for a bit after, then watching him fight was one way to spend a possible last night with him for who knows how long. "Okay...I'm ready to go," she told Ben. Her growing black hair was also in two small pigtails.

He queued it up for the BBB hideout in Milwaukee and stepped on board. Reiko stepped aboard with him. Having never been to Milwaukee before, this was bound to be interesting! From there, it would be an elevator ride up several flights and a cab waiting to take them to the arena.

"Checkmate me if you can."
Reiko Souma
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27 Apr 20xx: Father Undead

Post by Reiko Souma » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:40 am

Advisory: Clergy Death

*Note: Reiko's entries are generally inspected for the duration of this week. Today's entry, however, was written as the attending staff were changing shifts and is currently hidden inside of the pillowcase.
I also changed the name of Reiko's priest because Rosáto is more appropriate.


It's almost as if writing has gone abandoned during these last few weeks, and shame to be felt. I'm not proud of this, my latest achievements, or my being here in this place. I also always have to ask for a blanket whenever I return to my room, as it gets taken every time I leave. It's always cold here is why.

A fast summary of the "achievements" that Reiko's referring to is:
- Taking a vacation several weeks ago
- Being ambushed just before its end and being turned into a vampire
- Succumbing to said instinct after some days and using certain sentient beings as her food
- Seeking out Mallory for help with reversing the vampirism
- Successfully reversing said vampirism, but at the cost of her priest's life
- Getting into a two-front argument with Mist
- ...and seeing Father Jakob and reacting poorly to the very sight of him

Before undertaking this matter of reversing the vampirism, Mallory had asked Reiko if she really wanted to do this. The witch had even warned the Albino that there would be a bit of a price for doing this; it was one that no amount of money would be able to pay for. Life. Life had been the price, along with maybe some of Reiko's ego and pride. Yet the Albino native of Terra had agreed to this, and she had been given the substance from Mallory to take care of it.

Reiko was to choose someone who would be willing to drink what the container held. Her initial candidate, someone who had relentlessly tormented her during high school and now seemed to be sucking up to her big time, was nowhere to be found. She wasn't of the mind to wait around for them to be made available either. Forget that. So, she sought out guidance by night. Fortunately, at first anyways, her priest was available at any and all hours for practitioners of Destino Divino No appointment was needed, as the policy has always been, even back in Schian'tlo. It was one thing that the woman always appreciated about Paperú Rosáto. Not only had he moved to the United States to better grow their faith with Fate as their ultimate divine being, he truly did maintain an open door. It was something Reiko always enjoyed.

Until she came to him that night.

"My child, you bear a heavier burden than that of a sin which was forced upon you," Rosáto spoke up. He had just listened to one of his more distant, but otherwise devout, parishioner's confessions. It worried him that vampirism even existed outside of the entertainment realm but, then again, he's well-aware that Reiko also travelled between planets quite frequently. It wouldn't have surprised him if the ambush hadn't taken place during her vacation in Las Vegas. Go figure, the city that some referred to as "Sin City" was the place where the Albino had been ambushed at. "So, tell me now. You wish to reverse the unfortunate fate that was bestowed upon you, yes? It must certainly come with a price."

Reiko nodded. "Yes, Paperú Rosáto...the price is life," she confessed.

There was a spell's worth of silence. Paperú Rosáto had gone into thought in order to figure out what exactly was to happen here. Then, "Tell me how the price is to be paid."

He can't be contemplating this...that prick Maria is the one I want to give this to. But, the woman found herself reaching her left hand into one pocket of her coat and taking out that same substance that Mallory had given to her back at the Perch. "Here it is..." Reiko said. She showed Paperú Rosáto the very item. "...this is it right here. The person I choose must be willing to drink this. After they do, I'm supposed to drink their blood...doing so is supposed to restore me to my former, more desired state." The woman suddenly shook her head. She couldn't believe what she was saying, and what she was hearing herself say! One last act of a practically unforgivable sin was to stop the others that she's been committing? And, she was standing before her priest, uttering these words?! Yes, this was a place to find sanctuary, confess and be absolved of sins, and to try and make peace with oneself...but that didn't mean the person speaking had to like it! Reiko certainly didn't like what she was hearing herself say; in fact, she hated it. She hated this with every fibre of her being.

"I will be your required sacrifise," Paperú Rosáto said without hesitation, "please, allow me to drink of the substance, Reiko."

The woman couldn't believe it. "What? No, Paperú Rosáto! What in the name of Sacred Destino Divino Fate are you saying? You mean you actually want to be turned?! No, I can't do that to you...I won't!" Reiko burst. She quickly returned the container to her pocket, keeping a very tight hold on it. "Absolutely not! You've got a duty to the Sacred Destino Divino, to our people, and to our communities. Forget it, Paperú Rosáto! I'm not letting you throw away your life for me to commit one more sin in the name of vampirism!"

"Be calm, Reiko." Paperú Rosáto planed a firm hand on the woman's shoulder. Black hues met with azalean pinks, and she was eventually calm, quieting down. "There is much to be weighed on the scales before us this evening, life versus death, preservation versus sacrifise, ease versus difficulty. You seek someone who has transitioned from psychological abuse to attempted deceit, hoping to take advantage of the knowledge you possess of their true nature. Tell me, Reiko, where and how you hope to find someone who is more willing to offer themselves for the sake of one of their own. Who is more willing to abide by the greatest and last tenant of mimicking the path of salvation for one in a delicate position as yourself, to offer one life for another, than a priest who has been your guide since the day we first crossed paths at your deployment?"

It was then that Reiko knew, she'd been had. Stunned into silence, she was stock-still and unmoving. Even breath barely escaped her as her left hand kept a firm hold of what Mallory had given to her. She just couldn't. She wouldn't!

¡Cuidado! ¡Cuidado! This was the voice of seven-year old Reiko, shouting in the thirty-two-year old's mind. Caution! Caution! the words repeated in Spanish as Paperú Rosáto closed the distance between priest and parishioner. With his left hand remaining firm on Reiko's shoulder, the bald, tan man reached his right hand into the woman's coat pocket and touched her left wrist. He had a secure hold of it, and then he pulled her hand from her pocket.

In the meantime, the shouts only got louder. The repeated single-word warnings from the child that was still trying to break free from the wretched messes of childhood, now sounded like urgent chants. Reiko's head was starting to spin from both the shouted chants from her younger self and the monotone chant that the priest was uttering before her. Something needed to give soon, lest her eyes join her head in spinning.

"Maxima." Suddenly, pressure – and a whole lot of it – was applied to the woman's pressure point by her left wrist. With a brief cry, she was forced to relinquish the container from her hold. The transferral was very much brief, and her wrist and her shoulder were released immediately after. "My successor has already been named, Reiko. You need not worry or fret over the consequences of my actions. I have made ultimate peace and am resigned to accept all that will follow in the last days of my already-shortened life, knowing who it is that will be aiding me in my homecoming this evening."

No more needed to be said as a medium periwinkle-coloured ring surrounded Paperú Rosáto. It was his aura, which had been combined with his incantation to generate a barrier around him. That barrier was purposed to prevent Reiko from interfering as he undid the cap and drank. Not a drop remained by the time he was finished emptying it of its contents, the taste of it being comparable to...something, anyways. He didn't even want to begin thinking about what that something would be.

"Paperú Rosáto!!!" Reiko cried out as she watched him suddenly drop the now-empty container on the ground. It landed next to his right foot with a bit of a noise; whether it actually broke or not wasn't even close to being a thought on the woman's mind as she closed the distance between the two of them in record time and took hold of him in her arms. As strong as she was physically, she felt as if her strength was actually starting to drain out of her because of what she had just witnessed. He had prevented her from being able to stop him from drinking it at all, damnit! "Paperú..." She lowered herself onto her knees where she had just been standing and held onto her priest, balancing the upper half of him across her lap. Her vision, typically keen enough to see in the darkest of environments for several metres beyond that of an average human being, was now completely blurred by tears. "...Paperú...please...don't make me do this to you. Please. I beg of you. I could never forgive myself."

But, her pleas were falling upon deaf ears. Feeling one of his hands touch the back of her head weakly was making this even more difficult for Reiko to deal with than it was already, that same hand sliding down to the side of her face. "Reiko...my child...I don't..." came the words of a man who was now starting to feel a fast sense of regret coming over him. How he felt right now, hadn't been something he had been anticipating.

"I don't want to either, Paperú...you know that..." Reiko said lowly. Trickles of tears started to land on the other's face and priesthood robes in the form of drops. "...I wish I didn't have to do this to you...I wish you hadn't taken it from me and drank it...I really do." Unfortunately, the two of them knew what must happen now, and as Paperú Rosáto's face showed more regret for his actions due to his really not wanting to become a vampire, Reiko felt her gut tying knots upon knots within. More knots were added as her head drew near to the man's neck...nearer and nearer...

A sudden cry from the priest upon the piercing of Reiko's fangs into his neck, it was immediately silenced by her hand over his mouth. The Albino drank as if she was never going to be able to drink anything at all, period, as her stomach started to lurch. Out of everything she'd had to deal with since being turned into a vampire, drinking blood from another was something that had always frightened her and made her feel violently ill afterwards. This, she was sure, would be of no exception to any other reaction to her phobia of blood.

Get out of dodge. That had been the first thing Reiko had done upon completing the process as explained to her. Not only was the guilt quite complete, so was her stomach feeling very inside-out. Not more than three steps outside of the church building did she have to hurry to the nearest bush, and it was then that sobs engulfed her completely as well. No time was kept as to how long she was there before she finally made her return to her home.

–•–•–•–

I wish I didn't have to remember any of these things like I do constantly. They can zap me with all of the ECT they want, and they can try to call in that same hypnotist that’s Shourim had called in to attempt the hero card, but the sad truth to the matter is that I need so much more than either of those things if I want to forget. Of course, wanting to forget doesn't mean that request will actually be granted. Mist would just chew me out again like he did before putting me into a deep sleep for more than a day straight...Arla? I can't trouble her with this level of broken and am still waiting for her to tell me that I'm too far gone to be fixed by anyone. Just how much time could she even spend using her ability to soothe my mind before it would eventually begin to take its toll on her? Not happening.

Yet, after things had gone poorly with Ben in a short-lived conversation and a verbal and telepathic argument had taken place with Mist after that, Arla had come. She'd come looking for Reiko after the latter had failed to show up for her appointment with her and failed to answer her phone, which meant having to track her down. The purple-headed therapist, magician, and healer by practise knew of some of the Albino's close contacts - those she considered family to her - and she had gone on a bit of a hunt to find her missing patient before finding her in a deep sleep, at Mist's home.

There was a guest room that Arla had been permitted to stay in last night. Being that it was too late for her to chance any sort of travel, especially when she could feel her brain shutting down on chances of a decent thought process for the night, she had slept in a room that neighboured the one Reiko was currently asleep in. The Albino has been asleep for thirty-one hours now, and not showing signs of being awakened just yet.

As a magician, Arla was only slightly spent from having used some of her talents to make little purple unicorns play and dance around the little rainbow she'd conjured up, followed by the bubbles she'd then made appear for Amaris to poke at for a prize or so. She was glad to see that her simpler tricks could still bring a smile to someone's face...as a licenced psychologist, however, Arla was deeply concerned. She'd had a chance to sit by the bed where Reiko lied asleep and took note of any expression on her face. After having it explained to her what was currently taking place in Reiko's mind right now, images and scenes of happier places and times, the purple-haired woman searched for signs of peace on the other's face.

There were none.

Was Reiko that far gone that, even with the peaceful and happy scenes that the blonde elf had circulating through her mind, she was still not at peace? This only reaffirmed Arla's already-strong recommendation that she have Reiko sent back to Terra with her for an extended treatment, effective immediately. Now came the matter of whether to wake Reiko, or to simply carry her out with her and back to Terra.

Surely Mist's abilities had a limitation in range and capability, and Arla didn't want to risk putting an unnecessary strain on his mind by carrying the sleeping Reiko out. That simply wouldn't suffice, so wake her the psychologist was going to do. It took much effort before it was finally deemed a success, and those familiar pink eyes opened for the first time in nearly a day and a half.

"..." Reiko was still anything but a morning person, and it brought a smile to Arla's face to see that part hadn't changed. Seeing the black sunglasses sitting on the nightstand next to the bed, she reached for them and put them on Reiko. The room screamed bright, even with the lights off, and that was a deep-rooted trigger for the mentally fragile Albino. "Arla..?" Reiko blinked. She didn't recognise this place. "How did you...where am I?"

It was to be expected. Arla assumed that the woman had been just about asleep when brought here. "It's me. You're at Mist's home, in one of his guest rooms," she told Reiko. Arla shut her laptop and set it aside, placing it on the nightstand where Reiko's sunglasses had been. "You're safe here. I'm glad. I missed you yesterday and found Mist and Amaris at the Golden Perch Inn last night. Mist let me come here to see you."

Mist did that..? The Albino felt like her mind had been turned into a bunch of puzzle pieces. As she sat up, she adjusted her pillows for comfourt. "Arla...am I in trouble?" Reiko asked, looking at her therapist, "Am I going to be locked up again?" By that, she meant being shut in a room with medicine pumping through her.

But, Arla shook her head. "There will be no locking you up, Reiko, though I would say there's a lot more concern about you than there is you being in trouble." She put out both of her hands. "Let me see your hands, Reiko." When those white hands were put out, Arla took hold of them. There was a moment of silence between them before her hands started to take on a blue glow in the same shade as her eye colour, and the glow spread to Reiko's hands. "You've had a paramount of things take place this week that we should talk about. Do you remember our guidelines that we discuss in every session, Reiko?" The woman spoke her patient's name, even when it was just the two of them, to demonstrate that this was about her and her actions to give account for.

Reiko nodded at first.

She could feel the familiar warmth of Arla's soothing energy as it first transferred from hands to hands, and then up her arms. Reiko was familiar with this. The energy was eventually going to make its way to her brain, and then the rest of her body, in working to soothe the turbulence that was her current frame of mind. "Green light is to go ahead. Yellow light is to use caution. Red light is to stop now," the Albino said. She lowered her eyes. "I had a lot of red light moments that I ignored the yellow light signs to last week."

"That you did," Arla confirmed. She didn't let go of Reiko's hands as her soothing energy continued to circulate and coarse through her. Now she could see that guilt was a major part of the internal torment that was being ruminated within her patient's mind. "With your permission, when I finish with our makeup session, I'd like to take you with me back to Terra. Come say hello to your legal guardian, spend some time with him, and speak with your employees. All of them care so much about you, Reiko. They're happy to have met you...is this something that you'd like to do?" Obviously, that wouldn't be the only reason for Arla bringing Reiko back to Terra with her. However, straight-up telling her that would only undo progress already being made right now.

"But I-" Reiko started to say, but Arla gently interrupted by shaking her head no.

She gave Reiko's hands a light squeeze. "You don't have to tell them anything that you don't want them to know, Reiko," Arla reminded her just as the flow of soothing energy started to intensify. Soon, Reiko could feel some of her anxieties being dissolved by it. "I'll be right by your side every step of the way."

Well, that sounded reassuring enough. She might have been reluctant at first, but no longer. Giving a slow nod, Reiko sighed softly. "All right...I'll go," she said.

That was how both of the rooms that Arla and Reiko had slept in, ended up empty and spotless that morning.

–•–•–•–

"Yes, hello. This is Arla Carna in care of Reiko Souma," the purple-haired woman said. She had picked up Reiko's cellphone in response to a phone call that was coming in later that day. "Ah, you're the assistant to her priest...what? Dead with a single gunshot laced with silver?" The psychologist looked over in her patient's general direction. The Albino was drinking tea with her guardian in the parlour whilst Arla herself was sitting in her own vehicle. "I see...no, I can confirm her whereabouts from all of those nights. At the projected time, she was in the middle of a day and a half long sleep at a friend's house. It takes three hours just to travel there since it's on another planet...she was there until just today."

When the phone call finally ended, Arla flipped Reiko's cellphone shut with a sigh. Of course someone would look at Reiko. She'd been filled in on what had transpired regarding the reversal of this vampirism, and it hadn't been pretty. The poor Albino hadn't been able to even think about it without having a breakdown, let alone go near the church...and now, it was time to break the terrible news to Reiko.

Advisory: Clergy Death
Reiko Souma
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; visits Rhy'din on vacations
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10 May 20xx: Reiko's Talent Show Entry

Post by Reiko Souma » Sat May 23, 2020 12:42 pm

Psychic Song by Pink Widow
*Reference for Reiko’s voice: https://youtu.be/UEkR1z4RRq8


Keep in mind, Reiko wouldn't have even given thought to entering at all if not for Reggie hearing her sing, "I Dream a Dream" a cappella and unwarranted at the Inn. Here she was now.

When introduced, the Albino wasn't pretending to not be nervous. This was her first public performance ever. Mind you, the elegant strapless black gown with pink cascading butterflies and a black mask weren't just for show. In varying places, there were wireless microphones set up to assure that Reiko could be heard during her performance. Black ballet slippers adorned her very white feet; these were as important to her performance as the gradually changing lighting.

Reiko wasn't walking out onto the stage when introduced, but rather floating down slowly from a dark ceiling. Translucent pink butterfly wings, a projection of her abilities, were spread behind her at the opening of the song she had on her cue. Providing the accompaniment to the piece was Francesca, one of her employees who also happened to be a pianist; the piano was a black upright piano that was off to the side and out of the view. No light was needed for the pianist because Francesca was legally blind. As she began to sing "I Remember (Evening Primrose)," her delicate vocal cords were amplified by the three wireless microphones that were strategically placed on her person. Her thick black choker housed one of the three.

"I remember sky,
It was blue as ink."

The translucent butterfly wings that had materialised behind her slowly dissipated into tiny butterflies of the same colour that fluttered away from their formation. The cascading butterflies on her gown? Those were mere psychic projections as well, fluttering away to reveal that her gown was in fact entirely black.

"Or at least, I think,
I remember sky."

As the butterflies flew away, they faded into silhouettes against the sky-themed backdrop of the stage. This was another one of Reiko's psychic projections, one that she could afford to project for as long as need be now that she was no longer using her telekinesis. The silhouettes were now slowly gathering to create a window on each side of the backdrop on the stage.

"I remember snow,
Soft as feathers,
Sharp as thumb tacks,
Coming down like lint."

Snow was now starting to come down gently as slipper-covered feet touched the ground with Reiko standing on her tiptoes. Both of her hands, which had black lace corsets adorning her wrists, slowly moved towards her chest. They touched delicately just above her breast line to reveal fingernails with a black butterfly painted on each nail, set against a pastel pink background. Was it real snow? The audience would have to find out for themselves.

"And it made you squint
When the wind would blow"

As the snow touched the stage, Reiko moved her hands away from her chest. Her arms spread down at a forty-five degree angle, and the snow started to blow away. What remained became ice all around. Added to the backdrop on the bottom was the imagery of an empty street at night, covered in ice. Suddenly, the woman started to move about to her left in circles, having remained on her tiptoes this entire time. The skirt of her gown started to rise with her movement, the reason it was so long to begin with.

"And ice like vinyl
On the streets
Cold as silver
White as sheets
Rain like strings
And changing things
Like leaves."

The ice soon melted into little puddles, and the falling snow was soon joined by gently falling leaves. They fell in various colours of the autumn, landing on the stage all around Reiko, who stopped moving in circles. She now stood closer to the edge of the stage as well. Soon, the snow stopped, giving way to the leaves.

"I remember leaves
Green as spearmint
Crisp as paper."

From half of the colours of the rainbow to green those leaves went. Was there a gentle smell of spearmint somewhere as well? Reiko would never tell, though she did bend down to pick up one of the green leaves from the stage. It was the only time she paused from standing on her tiptoes. A moment later, however, she was standing straight and on her tiptoes once more.

"I remember trees
Bare as coat racks
Spread like broken umbrellas."

The windows that the butterflies had formed? Those had been dissipating very, very slowly with the various other psychic projections in play to distract the audience. Now that there were trees taking the place of the empty street and the windows, the butterflies had come into view once more. They were as pink as they had been at the start of the song and were now taking their place in the trees. Reiko was now moving to her right this time, though not in circles. She was moving in little leaps like she was leaping across a little bridge.

"And parks and bridges
Ponds and zoos
Ruddy faces
Muddy shoes
Light and noise and
Bees and boys
And days."

At the words, "and days," she released the leaf that she'd been holding onto for the last several seconds now. It glided towards the stage, where it then disappeared into a sea of green leaves and grass upon landed. Reiko turned back towards the centre and stopped moving.

"I remember days
Or at least I try
But as years go by
They're sort of haze"

She lifted her eyes up with her face, looking out towards the audience. In her eyes was a somewhat distant look, as if she was actually thinking about something else when she sang these lyrics. Her right hand slowly swept their way up towards her, inward, and it came to rest on her chest where her heart was. Yes, Reiko was thinking about something else. She was thinking of the memory she'd shared with her first true love - of happy days when the sky really was blue more often, and not just literally. During those days, the sky had been blue more often with her true happiness and joy.

"And the bluest ink
Isn't really sky
And at times I think
I would gladly die
For a day of sky"

Now standing flat on her feet, she lowered her eyes to face the judges and the audience once more. Behind her, all of the trees and landscape were slowly vanishing from the blue backdrop until the only things that remained were Reiko and the butterflies. Then, with the last two lines she sang, the butterflies made their way back over to Reiko. Both of her hands clasped together in front of her as her gown was soon decorated with the same pink butterflies that had covered it at the beginning. A few more butterflies landed on her shoulders, her hair, and one on her clasped-together hands.

By the song's end, the lighting made a smooth transition to cast a gentle pink halo around the Albino, who didn't move until it was time to leave the stage.
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