Started Capes

Flo

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The sound made Celestia move instantly, diving down the stairwell and landing, arm outstretched towards the body of Celeste. The air in the room thickened, as a putrid and sickly yellow soul forms over the corpse. Slowly, it formed into the guise of a man, somewhere within the range of 55 to 60, with Peruvian descent and a disgusting face and body. Celestia closed her fist, as the soul began shifting into the guise of screaming, before vanishing into nothing. Releasing a breath she didn't know she was holding, lowering her hand to her side.

"Well! That happened!" Chirped Zeal from the stairwell. Poor kid, didn't need to see all of this. Ms Bullet now spoke up, dropping her arms back to her side.

"I was pretty close to doing this anyway. At least now there's no doubt it was the right move." If that is something she can do, she must be plenty strong. Or perhaps that's all she has. But first...

"I must say, that was certainly an interesting technique. Now then, let's clear this up and we can talk." Seems like she was about to offer to do it but was cut off by my actions. I slammed my hands out, a wave of air pulsing through the room. The body of Marvelite fades into motes of light and the carvings that plagued the walls receded, like vines away from fire. Something about my role and my access to the Loom gives me some innate authority, I suppose.

"Well," The woman began, an eyebrow raised. "Do you mind disposing of all of my kills from now on?" Ah, so she has a tongue to go with her lethality. Cute.

"I'm sure we could work out a fee, Ms..."

"Harukaze. Pleasure to meet you, Celestia. You're someone I can work with." And she doesn't even know my commission rates yet. Score!
 

seaturtle

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As the careless girl bounded upstairs, Zander found himself wandering around the room they were in. Maybe it was the way that young girl (what was her name?) had carelessly dumped that body in the living room, or maybe it was shock from having heroes tell them they were pawns in some game involving a serial killer, but he needed a moment to clear his head. All this was too much to take in at once, and he didn't want to try to fake conversation with anyone right now. He flinched slightly, imagining his mother's reaction to such a sign of weakness... but she wasn't here right now.

He shook his head, trying to stay focused. They couldn't afford to waste time now, not with a killer on the loose somewhere. He looked around, trying to find something, anything... this house, the way it kept energy within the walls... it didn't feel quite right. He traced his hand along one of the symbols as it glowed, wondering what it meant. A noise from the bedroom upstairs and then a crash from the attic drew him out of his mind, as he noticed a strange flow of power. Energy seemed to be gathering in the attic, probably with whatever caused that crash.

He started heading up, hesitating slightly when he heard Zeal's voice. ”There's another Celeste up here!” she called down. The younger girl had come back into the house and went with Zeal, causing Zander to pass them on the way to the attic. Some energy was pooling in the bedroom.... but they'd be fine, and honestly, he didn't think he could handle being around that young girl right now. Whoever this second Celeste was would have to wait.

As he reached the attic, the first thing he noticed was the smell. Next, he saw the coffins, dimly lit by a circular window on the other end of the room. Five were chained shut, with the sixth laying open on the floor. A loud bang echoed from downstairs, making Zander jump, but he moved forward anyways. The energy was gathering in the open casket, slowly filling the corpse within. It appeared to be male, no older than 30, with distinctly Asian features. Dressed in only a hospital gown, the man had markings covering his arms that seemed to fill with the energy from the house.

"Anything cool in here yet?" called Zeal as she clambered into the attic.

"The energy from the house is pooling somewhere... he replied. "Looks like it's gathering into this dead body? He's starting to look a bit... less dead, though." The energy continued to fill the man, and as it gathered, color returning the the marred flesh. "What was going on down there? I heard noises."

"Celeste was a poser. She's dead now." Zeal motioned behind her, and.. Celeste emerged? Likely the second one that Zeal had mentioned earlier.

Turning back to the casket, Zander tried to absorb some of the energy. It felt heavy and slimy, causing him to retch as it coursed within him. "That's not... not natural. Something's off here."

"Isn't that what makes it all exciting?" Zeal grinned. Zander glanced at her incredulously - what about this was exciting? Nothing made any sense, a serial killer was loose, and all she could think about was the thrill of a rotting body?

"Couldn't even get my name right, stupid ****er," muttered Celeste(?) as she approached the two. Behind her trailed the young girl, and Zander found himself tensing up. "Now then, what have we got here... Ooh, a Hominus, didn't think these were still around." As Celeste(?) spoke, the smaller girl stuck her hands in her pockets and grabbed something from within.

"How'd one get here of all places?" questioned Zeal, making no effort to hide her excitement. God, it looked like she was about to bounce off the walls.. Did she have one too many cups of coffee this morning?

"It's not like it's hard to sneak things by when they're all meant to be gone," spoke the younger girl softly. "Id be surprised if there actually weren't any more Homini."

"I guess.. but still." replied Zeal. She leaned in towards the corpse, almost falling into the open casket.

Zander rolled his eyes and turned to Celeste(?). "So you're the real Celeste then? What was up with the fake?"

"Long story, boils down to a piece of **** hero stole my identity while I was... indisposed. And it's Celestia, actually." she replied.

Zander eyed her suspiciously. "Nothing personal, but... Is there anything you have that can, I dunno, vouch for yourself? How do we know that you aren't the impo-"

Before he could finish his question, the body lurched up and grabbed Zeal's outstretched arm. Jesus Christ, did she actually try to poke the glowing corpse?

"Free me. Free me. Free me." it rasped.

"gETOFF!!" shrieked Zeal, yanking her arm back. The Hominus flaied backwards, falling over the open casket and onto the floorboards. The younger girl jerked her hands forward, unleashing blue chains that wrapped around the body.

"No. Peace. No harm. Just Free. Just Free." the corpse gasped.

"Pease, sure. But no freedom. Stand." the young one commanded. The Hominus stumbled to its feet, using its head as leverage to stand. It turned its head and made eye contact with Zander. Something about it made Zander feel pity for the creature - it looked tired, like it wanted to give up. Like it just wanted... well, peace.

Zeal reached forward and put her hand on it, but it kept eye contact with Zander. "You. CLean. Kind. Clean. Free. Yes?" He wasn't sure if it was talking to him or Zeal anymore.

"Clean like. A shower?" asked Zeal. "Or what?"

"Hm, how odd," remarked Celestia. "Seems it's using a soul from this deathtrap as fuel to stay alive."

Zander's mind was spinning, trying to process all this information at once. "Is that the energy I can feel here? It was in the house before, but most of it is in that... thing... now."

"Those markings on the wall, they act as flytraps for spiritual energy. It starts out as a small drain, like a mosquito bite, but grows exponentially until you're nothing but a husk. Nasty work." replied Celestia.

The younger girl gazed at the rotting figure before them and asked, "How did you get here Jacob? If you remember."

"Clean. Untainted. Jacob. Yes. Jacob. Art. Yes, Art. Masterpiece. Life's Work. Dark. Cold. Alone. Then Came House. Warm. Family. Trap. No Free. No Peace." Jacob(?) responded to her question, trying to string words together into a tangible tale. It seemed to be enough for the smaller girl, as she let the chains fade from her hands.

"So this house... drains people of their energy?" said Zander as he started to put together the puzzle. "And that's what happened to err, Jacob here?" His mind began buzzing again.

"Oh!" remarked Zeal. "That fake lady told me something about keeping 'masterpieces' or something around the house! Maybe that's what he's talking about!"

Celestia turned her gaze to Jacob. "They drain you based on your passions, your creativity, any strong emotion you create. He was trapped in here, unable to pass, unable to watch as the world saw what he made. The kind thing to do would be to let him go Beyond." She turned to face Zander. "Seems like he wants you to do it, Suit-And-Tie."

Zander felt his heart jolt as he heard Celestia's words. Why would this corpse want him, of all people, to be the one to end its existence? He opened his mouth, about to scoff at her, but was stopped by Jacob's next words.

"Free Me." he muttered, still looking directly at Zander. "Free Me. Yes?"

The younger one stepped forward. "He's too squeamish. Let me do it."

Something within Zander made him take a step as well. What it was, exactly, he wasn't sure. Did he want to prove he was stronger than this stranger thought he was? Or did he want to give this suffering soul a more respectful end than what had happened to that other corpse that she had dumped off earlier? No matter the reasoning, he responded, "N-no. I can help. He's suffering here, right?" He took a deep breath and looked back into Jacob's eyes. "W-what do you need me to do? Drain the energy, or..."

The younger girl looked at Zander, taking his eyes away from Jacob's gaze. "I understand you're only trying to help, but you're no killer. If you do this, it'll stay with you for the rest of your life. Can you have that on your conscience? I don't think you can."

Celestia interrupted, "Harukaze, could you open these other coffins? I think this isn't the only one up here."

"Sure, if he decides to go through with this." replied the newly-identified Harukaze. "If he can't I'll end Jacob's suffering first."

"I can help with that too!" chimed in Zeal. "But I'm leaving once that happens. I'd like to look at something else besides dying bodies, gonna be honest." The five other coffins were opened, revealing five more Homini.

"Amen to that, Zeal." remarked Celestia. "Come on, you can fill me in on what I should know."

As the two of them left the attic, Zeal turned towards Harukaze and Zander. "Welp, good luck you too."

Alone with the person he least wanted to be around right now (well, maybe second least if you counted his mother), Zander began to become overwhelmed by his thoughts. Was Harukaze right? Would he be able to handle ending another person's life? It wasn't quite the same as cold blooded murder, and one could argue that Jacob was really dead to begin with... But... He felt the pressure of all the previous events of the day building, the severed body parts, the corpses, the death of "Celeste", it all came crashing down on him at one moment. He found himself frozen in a single moment, doubting himself, and wishing he was back home. Life there wasn't a ride in the park, but at least he was used to it. At least he knew he could do it. At least -

"Well?" Harukaze looked at Zander questioningly, snapping Zander out of his thoughts once more. Why did that keep happening? Why did he keep relying on others to break his spiraling train of thought? Alexander Antonov, heir to a country, he was more than this! And yes, he could do this. He had to. That's why he left home to start with, to make decisions for himself, to be who he wanted to be!

He blinked, and turned to Jacob. Grasping the corpse's feeble arm, he whispered, "I'm... I'm sorry. Be free." A flame danced across Zander's hand, trailing across the decomposing flesh it gripped. The room danced with orange light as the fire spread to the other coffins, engulfing them, and setting their contents ablaze.

"Free. No Chains. Farm. Free. Freeeee......" Jacob uttered his last words as he crumbled to ash, leaving the flames to dwindle to nothing on the floor. Zander wiped moisture from his eyes before glancing at Harukaze, and then quickly returned his gaze to the attic floor.

Harukaze turned around and walked past Zander, before briefly pausing. "Good work."

Zander took a moment to compose himself before following behind her.
 

Thundawave

♔ Deja Vu ♔
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Useless? Jiyu's eyes stung a bit at the pink-haired girl's comments as she, too, listened the best she could to what was going on in the bedroom. That impatient, arrogant brat didn't even give her a chance to explain the entire thing! They were supposed to be a team, and that girl was anything but a team player. She would have been kicked out of MGC's hero training a long time ago if she had that type of mentality. Jiyu waited until the girl, Zeal, and what was presumably the real "Celestia" to go away before getting on the move again. The bedroom and attic couldn't possibly be the only interesting things around this place.

"Ugh... While they're up there, let's see if we can find anything here," she said, trying to clear her head. She wandered into the kitchen, which looked relatively typical at first glance. There were plenty of cupboards around as well as a walk-in pantry door. The island in the center had 4 stools around it with Kara sitting in one, lost in thought. Interestingly, Jiyu saw no major appliances, which raised big questions. "What's even in this kitchen?" she muttered to herself. "Did that dupe even eat?"

From the living room behind her, she heard Thief stir as well. "Yeah... My phone is all out of charge so I might as well help out," he said as he began sorting through the materials in the living room.

Jiyu opened the cupboards, nearly gagging at the clouds of dust that greeted her. The cupboards were filled with old cans covered in dust and spiderwebs, and most of them had expiration dates back to around 2057. One of the cupboards had an antiquated toaster. Fake Celeste really was trying to kill them all in any way possible. "‘Just eat whatever’ my ass. That would have been the end of us."

She shut the cupboards and peeked into the pantry door before doing a double take. Instead of more expired food, there was just an altar, an elevated bowl with some Preheroic carvings that didn't match the rest of the house. Inside the bowl, there was a deep black liquid that undulated and pulsed slightly. "Guys, you’ve got to look at this."

"I'm definitely hearing it, at least," responded Thief from the living room.

Strange, thought Jiyu. She couldn't hear anything coming from it, but she trusted the Thief of Sound to be able to detect sounds beyond human hearing range. Turning back to the door, she saw that it was covered in layers of soundproofing, which explained why Thief didn't hear it when they first arrived.

A few seconds later, Thief walked into the kitchen to investigate. "Did you find some kind of shaving mach-" he paused as he saw what was inside. "That's... not a very normal pantry."

"Maybe Celestia would know?" Before messing with an unknown liquid, she wanted to see if anyone had any knowledge of it first.

The ceiling shook as materials seemed to clatter to the floor after a burst of energy.

"Maybe, but it sounds like they're keeping themselves busy upstairs as well..."
 

Franciscosta

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Silen blinked. It seemed like the past few moments were just a blur, as he figured he was again just overloaded by all that was going on and his brain needed a time out. As he recalled all that happened he took a deep breath. It seemed like he was getting more and more used to the madness, and he wasn't particularly pleased with it. He watched as part of the group walked upstairs to investigate, and decided to leave it to them, and simply keep an ear on them. "Ugh... While they're up there, let's see if we can find anything here," went the Mask, walking into the kitchen. He agreed, they might as well investigate the place while they were there, especially considering this house might not actually be Celeste's (or was it Celestia now?), but Marvelite's. He looked around. For having hanged out in there for a while, that living room still had some places worth investigating.

He first thought back to Marvelite's actions upon getting in the house. He remembered her reaching behind the TV and pulling an Ouija board from behind it. What else could be hiding behind there, he wondered. Turned out, just a bunch of mystical mumbo-jumbo, like a crystal ball, some rotten tea leaves and another Ouija Board. Seeing the second board got the gears in Silen's head turning. He was generally a man of science, or as much of one that you could be in a world inhabited by heroes. But so many weird things had happened that day, that he just had to try it. He took out the second Ouija board and set it on top of the coffee table. He tried to remember what he read on that weird website he found the other day and skimmed through because he was bored. First he cleared his mind, and asked his question out loud. "Are you there?" He felt a bit silly, but that didn't mean much anymore at that point. He then slowly reached for the planchette, and just as he touched it, he felt it vibrating. His heart began beating fast as he waited for it to move.

And he waited.

And he waited.

"Well." he thought. Turned out it was silly after all. Trying again gave the same result. He sighed; it was worth a shot, but in the end he didn't really learn anything. He then turned his attention to the TV. It was still on from earlier, but it was only displaying static, plus it was completely silent. Turning the volume up solved that issue rather quickly, with a familiar white noise slowly becoming clear. Then, he started changing the channels, trying to get something to appear. Starting on channel 470, he repeatedly pressed the "channel down" button for what seemed like an eternity. However, he eventually got what he wanted on channel 116: the screen stopped displaying static and started displaying... nothing. It was now making the soothing sound of dropping water, though. He checked the channels all the way down to 1, but all were static, so he went back to 116. Silen stood there for a few seconds waiting for something to happen, and then moved on to the next thing on the list, the newspapers that he saw at a glance while working on that Ouija board. They were very deteriorated and old, some dating all the way back to 2055, the newest being from 2058. It was hard to tell though; their condition was so bad Silen had a hard time making out most of the words. Some were on police raids in Windermere, one about constructions in some random mall, and this other one about a speech from someone called Khara Hos... Hod... no, he couldn't make out that last name. Some Khara Ho...od.

As Silen was about to delve deeper into those newspapers, he heard the Mask call out from the kitchen. As he joined her, he saw an... interesting sight. A weird altar was standing there, with a weird bowl on top, full of pulsating liquid. "Maybe Celestia would know?" It seemed like a possibility, but he had a weird feeling about that bowl. "Maybe, but it sounds like they're keeping themselves busy upstairs as well..." He had heard everything that was going on upstairs, even if he was mostly confused about it. It seemed like a good time to pose that question to Celestia now though, since it sounded like she had left the attic, so he directed a message to her. "Hello, sorry to interrupt. I guess we haven't really met, but we can leave introductions for later. We found a weird altar in the pantry; on top of it is a bowl with some pulsating black liquid. Do you know anything about it?"
 

Zerade

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Now with some time to herself, as things had seemingly momentarily calmed down, Haru took stock of her current status. Bringing up her status screen, she saw a pop up that she had ignored before.

Your level has increased by one!

Must’ve come from killing Craft Mine, or the fake Celestia.

She waved that away, looking closer at her full on status.

Kazeko Harumichi
Strider
LV 20
HP: 600/600
MP: 1300/1300
STR: 42
VIT: 30
DEX: 54
INT: 61
WIS: 65
LUK: 5
Points: 30


“Oh,” she softly exclaimed, suddenly remembering something. She went to her bag, picking up a certain scroll. A pop up came up, asking if she wanted to learn the skill contained inside, to which she selected yes.

You must reach these requirements to learn this skill:
STR - 50
DEX - 40
VIT – 30
INT – 30


She nodded to herself, while also quietly thinking why she hadn’t done this before. She used 8 of her accumulated points to raise her STR to 50. She briefly felt her muscles flex and contract, before returning to normal. She paused, before adding another point to it, raising it to 51, and instantly another pop up appeared.

By raising STR above 50, you have gained the passive skill 'Heroic Might.'

Heroic Might (Passive)
An ability given to those blessed with tremendous power. The user possesses great physical strength, casually reaching beyond the limits of most men.
50% Increase to Physical Attack Damage.
50% Increase to STR related skill effects.


About as strong as the other stat passives I got. Only lacking VIT now. She tried to learn the skill again, the attempt working this time, shown by the scroll exploding into motes of blue light, and information rushing into her head as a pop up appeared once again.

Dawn of the Vermillion Bird (Active)
Legend tells that during the height of war, a majestic bird rose from the crack of dawn to end the battle singlehandedly. The penultimate technique of the legendary Suzaku, Lord of the South.
500% Increase to Physical Attack Damage.
500% Increase to Attack Speed.
500% Increase to Movement Speed.
Additional 500 HP used per minute.
Additional 500 MP used per minute.


She whistled at the sight. “Hefty costs. Better be worth it.”
 

Flo

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Celestia's nose twitched as the masked guy spoke about an altar. Seems they'd all forgotten that this wasn't her house, so how was she meant to know? Following him led to where the pantry should be, with thick soundproofing on the walls and the floor. The basin was raised up on a carved piece of marble, looking similar to a flower stem. The bowl itself was covered in carvings, but general history was never really her forte. Peering over the ridge revealed the liquid that the guy mentioned. It was constantly moving around, but never enough to spill. Oddly, the ground around the basin was completely clear of all dirt, dust or things you'd expect to see in an old pantry. Taking a sniff revealed the familiar whiffs of creosote, and a flick of her fingers pulled out a drop of blood that was blended in.

"Well, I don't have a clue what this is, but this blood is... curious." Celestia stepped out of the pantry and into the light, inspecting the blood more thoroughly. "Maybe somebody else knows what they are."
 

SarasaKat

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"Could be Marvelite's blood?" Zeal offered, tagging along with the dark-haired enigma. Upon Celestia pulling out of the pantry, however, Zeal's eyes narrowed at the bowl it revealed. "Wait, hold on." She lifts the bowl out of the pantry and brings it into better lighting. "Ea, ya wild guy, never thought I'd see one of your things here," she murmurs to herself.

"This is Mesopatamian. Has to do with blessings the water and the Sea gives. Ironic cause this stuff in the bowl looks disgusting. I'm dumping it out."
 
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