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"I don't think it would be a bible," Mitch figured, as he felt the monster truck begin to roll out, crushing snow (and most probably a few unfortunate Prinnies) underneath its tires, "but they'd definitely have some type of religious document, I think."
"So what would be their stance on rolling up the holy texts to make a blunt out of it?" Igno jokingly asked, hanging off the side of the vehicle.
"Evening, Igno! They'd probably enjoy it!"
~Starling, who has been sitting on the Truck's backseat and was unusually quiet for the whole trip, finally says something in response to Mitch~
Starling: "Yeah, pretty much. It's a pretty common occurence at the end of sermons, usually after the hymns."
Vivian: Wait, you smoke your holy texts?
Man, you guys are really wild, I love it.
As everyone drives into view, they can see the cat demon known as "Fluffy" sitting upon the cardboard box, barely visible under all that snow. Judging by some of the fresh corpses on the edge of the no-man's land sign, looks like you guys weren't the only ones who had a fun Christmas.
"Huh. I was just guessing at that," Mitch mouthed, surprised that R'ogan's followers actually did smoke their holy texts.
There wasn't much more time to think about that, though. They were entering Fluffy's domain.
Looked like they weren't the only ones who had tried, either.
Starling: "Aw, thanks. That-..."
~sees the pile of corpses~
"... Yyyyyeah, that's a bit more of a messy way to deal with intruders than what they show you in Home Alone, ain't it." Igno remarked, not quite jumping off the monster truck yet, scanning the surroundings.
Vivian comes to a stop at the very edge. While you'd probably need to take a closer look to know what they died of, it's not hard to guess. You see a few holes in the snow, showing that even during the holidays, there's still people fighting.
Your target, however, doesn't look to be damaged or marked, so it's not like someone tried to do your job for you. Fluffy seems to just be sitting stock still like a statue, almost like when you last saw him.
Starling: ~mumbles a short prayer before hopping down from the truck and goes to inspect the corpses~
Taking a second to secure a plate of warm, home-cooked shark, Mitch proceeded to carefully disembark the monster truck and land in the snow, moving directly over to Fluffy. He was approaching this the exact opposite way he'd tried the first time; business first, party later.
The corpses look like common desert bandits, albeit dressed in more layers of rags or coats to protect from the temporary cold that happens right after Christmas. It's hard to say now whether they were intending to go to this land or it happened to be in their way, but they were definitely armed and dangerous...although it did little good, considering several bear claw marks across their faces or abdomens.
Fluffy turns its face towards Mitch but makes no movements. Even with its closed eyes, you can tell it's looking straight at you like last time. There's a good chance it even recognizes you, since it hasn't slapped your head off your torso yet.
"Top of the day," Mitch greeted. "You asked for a warm, home-cooked meal."
He proffered Fluffy the plate of shark. "Well, here you go. Shark fresh from the Colorado River. Radiation-free, too."
Starling: "Eurgh." ._.
~she shudders a little, then follows Mitch down into the crater~
Fluffy's head tilts as it looks at the plate. Without a second of hesitation, the cat asks "Is it poisoned?", as though you would answer it honestly if you did.
At the mention of poison, Igno leans in and whispers to Vivian; "Uh, we did make sure the ingredients were safe for cats, right?"
"It isn't," Mitch definitively answered, while very much hoping that Vivian had managed to suss that out before cooking it. "No idea why anybody would try to poison a shark, of all the things."
"It would take much more effort to poison that meal than to cook it" said Vivian wryly. "Besides...poison only really works on the Triads."
Fluffy accepted the dish and stared at it. He could feel the heat emanating off of it and very slowly picked up a piece of the steak and nibbled on it. You could feel the tension as, incredibly slowly, the feline demonoid chewed through the meal. It continued to do this for about ten minutes straight, looking introspective as he does so.
Eventually, the plate is empty. Fluffy looks up at the sky. Almost unprompted, he begins to talk to himself, clearly in a nostalgic mood. "...You know, I could hear the sirens. Ears are strong like that. Even if she couldn't understand me...I kept trying to tell her she should stay inside. She just bundled me up in her basement. In this sweater she made. Ugly and tacky, but still warm. She said she would be back. Just needed to find her little one quickly, then she'd be back."
Fluffy then looks down at the plate. "...Been too long since I had a warm meal. Wanted to wait for her to come back before I had one, but...I guess I'm just fooling myself at this point." Slowly, Fluffy pulls the sweater off its body and lets it flop to the ground in front of Mitch. The plate follows, placed right next to the sweater. Fluffy looks back up at Mitch. "...I don't really know why people fear the bombs. Nor why you need this sweater to give some other demon the middle finger. But you're not like the people here since youu don't fear anything, do you? Well, a deal's a deal. Thanks for the food. Haven't had fish for quite a while. Good luck with your quests and all."
And with that, Fluffy goes under the cardboard box and does not come out again. Looks like you managed your goal without needing to come to blows. In a world like this, feel a bit proud for your accomplishment there.
Starling: ~frowns very deeply as it dawns on her what Fluffy was talking about~
Edited by LeChuck4 on Jan 5th 2019 at 10:44:01 AM
The First Trial
Fluffy ate for ten minutes. When they spoke again, they spoke in a way that resonated with Mitch. Reminiscing about something they'd lost that they were never going to be able to get back. Something that was taken from them. Something they'd repressed.
Mitch knew exactly what that was like. Not just because he saw it a lot in old, weary soldiers - but he was old himself. Some days, when he closed his eyes, he still saw the Sylvok and the Myr lying on the operating tables in Mirrodin. Compleated.
Corrupted by a technomagical force with no cure. Turned from who they were into monsters that wished only to spread their corruption. Even the act of trying to make a cure was impossible - the oil corrupted everything it touched.
The only option was to gun them down in cold blood. Slaughter them all like a war criminal.
It was only with the luxury of hindsight that he knew the oil had killed them before they got to the operating room. That they were all slavering, mindless monsters with no desire but murder. But even so, some days he relived the sound of chattering, electrical machine-gun fire like it had just happened five seconds ago, not because of who he was killing, but because of the why. Because of what it stood for.
And, ignoring the empty plate, the sweater, and most of Fluffy's words, that was exactly what he ended up doing.
Edited by SpartyMcFly on Jan 5th 2019 at 6:39:30 AM
Seeing Mitch freezing up in the snow, Vivian climbs out of the truck and slowly makes her way down into the crater. She puts a hand on his shoulder to quietly help him remember that he doesn't have to be alone for...whatever bad memory is going through his head.
Fortunately, it had been a long time since that incident. The human contact jolted him back into reality, and Mitch looked down in the snow to see the sweater and the plate. Leaning down, he retrieved them both.
The attentive would notice a single drop of water falling into the snow.
"Sorry. Way they spoke was just... too close to home, you know? Got a little lost."
Edited by SpartyMcFly on Jan 5th 2019 at 10:17:47 AM
~trying to ease up the tension, Starling attempted to quickly change the topic~
Starling: "So, with that out of the way, what's the next item on the list anyway?"
Mitch took hold of his necklace. "That's... actually a good question. Where is the next thing I gotta do?"
The pendant from Jupiter in Mitch's possession glows briefly. Mitch and Starling see a vision of a multi-headed serpent, and the line that previously led to this spot now changes. It changes direction and leads out...verrrrry far from where you are currently. You see some coordinates hovering over the line, though, so you can probably get a good idea where you need to go.
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