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Fairy Tales are not Terribly Pleasant
(2013-06-04 - 2013-06-05)
No description.
Maximilien A few days ago, Alma asked Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne for a place they could meet in secrecy - away from prying eyes, away from the Dennous. Despite deep reservations about hiding something that fairly likely directly related to the Dennous (it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you want to directly hide something from someone, it probably involves them directly), Max gave her very explicit instructions - right down to the date and time.

Notably, the date is today, and the time is just before midnight. The place is a clearing in the ancient woods of the French countryside, deep in the brambled darkness where things that aren't meant to know human touch dwell.

Should his guests arrive early, there will be nothing. Should they wait until the clock strikes midnight and the full moon shines down upon the clearing through the bramble-twisted treetops...

Well, there will be a cottage. A handsome, hand-made cottage, getting on in years but surely no less warm and comfortable for it; its story is one Max discovered after much digging, a fairy-tale cottage in a fairy-tale woods for a fairy-tale prince of thieves. At the door of the cottage is Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne himself, an antique, undoubtedly stolen pocketwatch in hand; his eyes are on the surroundings.

Max has done very little thieving lately. As a result of getting his love lives in something not unlike an order, he's been fairly busy keeping an eye on Jihl and being worried about Cirra; it's left him feeling extremely guilty for reasons that most are not really aware of. The privileged few who are...


Max glances back at his pocketwatch again, eyes fixed on the elegant silver etchings.
Alma Hyral One day after the Beetleborg had left, and she'd been reasonably certain she was no longer being watched.. she copied down all of her frequencies, then hid her Linkpearl and Ma Belle. She then purchased new ones.

She left Archades after giving Will and Max a message. That she needed to meet with them in private, and that it was a matter of life or death for one of the Legion nodes. She'd expressed that it was paramount that they have complete privacy, and that the Network must not find out. And thus Maximilien had related to her the instructions on the date, time, and place.

She had no clothing that was suitable for a midnight stroll through a gnarled and twisted forest, and so she'd worn her plain white mage robes, with the red triangular trim. As she walked through the brambled wood, she got the robes caught upon briars several times, and had to pull them free. She'd look about nervously every now and then.. as she was certain there were eyes upon her. It felt like one of those old Ifriti fairy tales, the ones where the foolish girl walking through a forest at this time of night often had something terrible befall her.

The sight of the cottage did little to alleviate that. She'd actually stand and stare at it from a distance, giving it a long and hard look. If there'd been freshly fallen snow she'd have sworn there was some Shivan shamanistic witch inside, ready to grind her bones to make their bread.. or something suitably horrible.

Even so, she arrives about one minute early. She would have arrived even earlier had she not been turned around a few times in the forest. Approaching from the side, she walks up to the doorway, her gaze downcast, the timbre of her voice showing just how nervous she truly was, "H-Hello Max."
Will Sherman Will is here, or rather, he wasn't sure why he was here...

He remembers Alma trying to contact him last night, but he was half asleep on a bench in central park, but he was REALLY tired...and fell back asleep mid conversation. To be honest, however, if she had told him anything...well, it'd be bad right now. Very few people in existance could stop a enraged Will Sherman.

Hilariously, Maximilien is probably one of them.

Will basicly lets himself in.

"Sup? I'm hungry." he says, but this is Will we're talkin' about. He's always some level of hungry. Infact, once him and a Shivan managed to eat an entire resturant out of food...their contest called a tie...but one day, ONE DAY there would be enough food.

"Okay so...what's the dillio?" Will says towards the peopel. "Sorry I was sleeping something fierce when you contacted me, and it didn't seem like an immediate emergancy so.." he handwaves. "Sleep and all."
Maximilien Max is no witch. He's a practicing spellcaster, but he's hardly a witch; more of a dabbler. Dabbling is sort of the key to being a good Phantom Thief - you need a huge variety of knowledge and skill to become...well, a Phantom Thief. At least, one who actually earns the title.

The sort that rush into it...well, they tend not to last very long.

Still, there's certainly an unreality to the whole thing. The handsome prince leaning at the doorway in a cape and tuxedo, looking at his pocketwatch, in a moonlit cabin in a terrifying woods. It would, at least, be stunningly difficult to track them through, that's for sure.

"Bonsoir, madamoiselle Hyral, monsieur Sherman. Please, come in; make yourselves at home." Max spreads his arm outwards, inviting them into the much warmer cabin.

There's a cozy fire sitting in the fireplace, gently illuminating the room; a big, cozy-looking recliner sits next to the fireplace; a long, wooden table and chairs nestle onto a warm red rug, and candles light the rest of the room nice and bright, augmenting the moonlight.

On the table, of course, is what Will cares most about - Max's cooking, a lovely spread for at least six people. Four of those people might be Will.

"I found this place through local legends," Max observes cheerfully as he shuts and bars the door behind them, making a motion over it with his fingers. "A woodcutter, it seems, of some great renown, built this place a long time ago as a place to live while he guarded people from the terrors of the wood. He was regarded as something of a local guardian; unfortunately, he apparently disappeared one moonlit night, the cabin with him; supposedly, all the forest mourned, friend and foe alike, for the loss of their worthy protector."

Max pours himself some hot chocolate from the iron kettle sitting on a decidedly more modern stove. "Still, his loss is my gain," he notes cheerfully. "It is the perfect place for clandestine discussions and the like."

His eyes slide over to Alma. "Perhaps you would like to tell us what sort of clandestine discussion you needed so secure a place for?"
Alma Hyral She'd follow Max inside at his bidding, giving the room a cursory glance to make certain that there was indeed no witch present, unless it was Max. Given his training methods she wasn't entirely sure he wasn't a witch at times, even if she was fond of the man otherwise. The horror of..

The Cooking Spool

..still lingered, making the girl shudder unconsciously. Despite the quality of Max's cooking, she didn't immediately sit down to eat it, or to ask for a cup of hot chocolate. Her stomach felt as if it had butterflies in it, and so she listened to Max's tale of the local legend with interest.. and wonder, until the conversation turned back to her.

She'd remained standing near the threshold, her gaze downcast as she began to tell the story, "The short e-explanation is that F-Feige Abramson is the new h-head of the Murasame Zaibatsu science d-division. And.. well I w-won't describe the series of e-events that led up to it but.. she can s-see and h-hear everything they see, at all t-times. I made a really d-dumb mistake and tried to do a b-background check on Feige by c-contacting E-Emi by an a-anonymous instant m-message through a third p-party computer. I got cut off by A-Abramson. She knew, i-instantly. She d-decided that I was a t-threat to her o-operations and placed me under a t-threat. She has a L-Legion node, called Legion O-Omega in one of her labs. If.. I were to t-tell anyone, especially the N-Network, then she'd c-cut off it's ability to feed, k-kill her slowly."

She'd take in a deep breath finally looking up, "I-I'd like to blame S-Souji, but he s-simply doesn't c-care except from the p-perspective of whether my i-interference h-harms his company or not. I r-resigned from the Zaibatsu. E-Ever since then the t-threat still lingered. I've been h-having a professional look into the m-matter.. and he's had some p-progress but.. r-right.."

And then she'd look away again, a deep crimson coming to her cheeks, "I k-know it's hard to believe, but she t-tells me things, to t-troll me.. like how that she w-watches the m-makeout s-sessions between Leida and the N-Network just to a-analyze it's a-affect on the N-Network and that they're s-suitably horrifying and h-hilarious."
Will Sherman Will does immediately sit down.

He is, in most ways, like a force of nature, he takes some hot coco, nodding to Max thanks. He also doesn't wait, he starts digging in to the food while Alma and Max talk. Will is concerned, but he is also fairly happy go lucky...he tries not to let things bother him, bad stuff happens all the time...

However, it is like a record scratch when Feige is mentioned...her again. Working with Murasame? Wait, the guy? Will frowns a little, "Geeze...just like it always goes.." he says, sighing, no matter how many times he sees something like this's sad every time. People are desprate for their loved ones..

However, the NEXT part makes Will look at her funny. "Come on, that's probably just coincidence. She was probably just at the right place at the right time.." And then...

"Now she's just bluffing, there is no way she is..."

THEN Will looks utterly horrified, because he talked to the girls about what happened after the Leida thing...this isn't something Alma should know, this isn't something ANYONE but maybe Max might know..

The aura change in Will is SUDDEN and Violent.

"Where. Where is she right now?"
Maximilien Max takes the news in with his usual absolute detachment from everything. There's no change in his demeanor; no anger, no rage, no spouting of hatred or vengeance or anything of the like. His calm is almost inhuman as he reaches out and grabs Will by the shoulder, long, delicate fingers tightening around Will's arm and tugging him downwards.

Will might notice a certain fierceness to Max's grip. Beyond that, though, the man's mask is implacable.

"You have...done the right thing," Max assures Alma softly, his gentle smile the only thing on his face. Except for the slight tightness of his grip on Will's shoulder, pulling Will down, one would think he almost didn't care.

He does. He cares a great deal. But Max also has a great deal of practice at manipulation and double-dealing; revealing their hand too early would only serve to jeapordize the whole thing. "Merci beaucoup. I appreciate this information."

"What would you like us to do?" His voice hardens a bit. "Would you like us to go hunt Doctor Abramson down and punish her? Would you like us to go bomb her laboratories, perhaps enact some hilariously elaborate vengeance for daring to meddle with the private lives of the Dennous?"

"Think for a moment. If she can in fact hear everything through them, then it is not unlikely that she exerts more control over them than we realize. She may be capable of holding them hostage, or worse, should we attack her. She may know secrets about both us and the Twilight Detective Agency that would severely endanger everyone involved."

"/Think/," Max hisses quietly at Will, tugging him back towards his seat. "What would you have us do, Monsieur Sherman? Risk ourselves and everyone in the TDA - the girls included - on some foolhardy crusade?"

"Non non...this requires subterfuge." Max steeples his fingers in front of his face.
Alma Hyral As Will makes his outburst, Alma cringes, and just blurts out, "You mustn't!"

Thankfully Max takes her side on the issue, and has a rather firm grip on Will's shoulders. She'd finally relax just a little as Max reassures her that she's done the right thing. She'd listens to Max's analysis on the explanation. It was one that was rather similar to her own, in a lot of ways.

She'd move towards the table, seating herself with her hands folded in her lap, as she looks at Will, "Y-You have to be c-careful besides. She has a b-breed of cyborg that has..I think it was invented to be a s-sort of countermeasure against C-Cronus. She set it to w-watch over me b-because.. I guess b-because I can do things which she felt w-would allow me to evade n-normal spies if I p-put my mind to it. But it r-recently stopped w-watching me." She'd look hastily at the doorway, "...I think."

She'd take a moment to gather herself, "I.. the p-professional I contacted is S-Soan Sagittarius. He's a g-genius r-rogue from my A-Academy, and a friend. He can f-fill you in on the r-remainder of the investigation, but he h-hasn't told me much as.. we d-didn't know to what extent she was w-watching me b-before she set the B-Beetle cyborg over me."

Again, another pause, as she looks fretfully up at them both, "T-There's something unusual about that c-cyborg. It r-reacts badly when in close proximity to E-Emi. It's m-mechanical implants start to eat away at it's o-organs the closer the N-Network gets."
Will Sherman Will strains against Max for a moment...

Will isn't naturally strong, but in moments like this, fate has a way to make things happen. HOWEVER, for the moment, Fate doesn't give him any edge...sometimes it works against what he THINKS he wants...sometimes he's so lucky he has extremely bad luck, but it works out...this might be one of those times. The aura is not subtle...those who can sense magic just sense a litteral sun. Something small like him shouldn't have this much power...

However, after a few choice words, from Max of all people, Will calms, he sits down and becomes...morose. He is distressed, "They don't need this...not again." he says, and shakes his head.

Instead he puts food in his mouth as people talk...It burns him, and it burns him more he can't do anything about it.

"...It might stop Cronus, but it's unlikely she can counteract me." Will says, "Cronus and I work completely differently...almost hilariously opposing." he says, he pauses...

Soan. Soan...wait... "Oh! Him.." Will brightens...he knows Soan, he was a friend to the TDA, though he was the only one that knew just how strong of one he was.

"Reacts badly when close to the girls...countermeasures against Cronus..?"
Alma Hyral What Alma senses from Will is simply.. a premonition. Unlike her usual /bad feelings/, his is more neutral to her. It's not a feeling of caution, but her eyes are certainly on him. Her thoughts were along the lines of: /What exactly is he? He's only a few years older than I am!/ And yet his actions often seemed to belie that.. she really had no idea what to make of the man.

She'd seem extremely, morose herself, but definitely calmer, "No.. they don't. And I wish I could s-spare them this.. Feige is using them to be the perfect spies. They have their f-fingers in everything from their natural curiosity... and so they're perfect for her. But she also seems to want to erode away their sense of i-individualism. She's.. hoping her r-relationship with Leida will do that."

She'd actually venture to start to eat herself. It was mouthwatering, as always, but she found she had very little appetite. Mostly she'd pick at it, occasionally taking an actual bite. "I ddon't know. I'm not e-even sure it's magic that it's using. But it moves so fast you can't f-follow it with the naked eye when it engages its auto-haste engine."

And then there's a short pause, "I-I'm not sure what.. it is. At first I theorized it might be the actual Legion O-Omega node, but it d-denies this. All I know is it's a-alive, despite looking and sounding wholly mechanical."
Maximilien Max is extremely good at talking to people; it's not that much of a surprise that he knows how to talk to Will, or talk Will out of doing something that could potentially endanger them all. He looks at things from every angle; he takes things from every inch, turning over problems in his hand rapidly like a puzzle cube. He's still clicking the pieces together right now.

"The problem is not her drone support. It is her association. Now she has the backing of this Murasame."

Max exhales and leans back. "That is, in fact, fortunate for us; it means that she has the backing of something that is extremely large. Monoliths...well. Inevitably, they have cracks, through which others might enter."

"Tell me about this Murasame Syndicate."
Will Sherman Will frowns...

This is just making him madder. Feige is going to regret this, he muses, but he can't do anything now...too much was on the line. Will was sick and tired of people doing this to his people he cared /each other/ like they weren't reminds him of something bad.

Of the memories he has from Loki.

His jaw tightens a little, he digs in again, eating. Max was asking questions...but Will was already thinking.

"That doesn't seem like a system to counter Cronus. That a bad idea to even fight against Cronus with. He's a powerful time mage...all she do is make him mad." Which...doesn't help fight Cronus. Of course Cronus was every much of a victim as they were...
Alma Hyral "I-I'm not sure. She d-described to me in v-very gruesome detail what Cronus did to e-each of the Legions. It was h-horrifying. I d-don't think she'd c-create something like that without h-having something up her s-sleeves for dealing with a t-time mage."

And then on to the Murasame Zaibatsu. This was a touchy subject for her, but one she couldn't fail to answer to answer wholly about, not now. So she'd begin, slowly, deliberately.. trying to remain detached, but failing at times, her voice cracking as emotion broke through. "On my world, Galianda, the Murasame Zaibatsu was the largest corporation in the world. The Murasame family, was perhaps the richest, the most powerful, the most elite...if you want to know what it was like before, I can point you in the r-right direction. A f-friend of mine named Rena Leradyne. Murasame's family ruined her family's company."

There is a measured pause, as she picks at her food again, idly, her gaze upon her plate. "O-Once, Souji Murasame was one of the k-kindest, w-warmest most supportive people I knew. He was e-engaged to my elder sister T-Tira. And.."

She'd close her eyes, taking a deep breath, trying to compose herself, "S-She was m-murdered, and he c-changed to become the man he is. A m-man who cares only for p-power and p-profit. T-The s-seat of the corporation is known as the Ame-No-Torifune, W-Will knows about it. It's a s-summoned airship, swathed in storms, c-constantly powered by black mages in the engine room. F-Feige has a lab there.. but I d-doubt it's her only one. The c-company is r-restablishing itself. It's s-starting Biotech, and weapons divisions.. t-they're d-dealing weapons to many countries who are on the v-verge of war. But weapons aren't all they deal in. Check the news in N-Narshe. They're liquidating s-small businesses for profit. T-They're selling a-anything and e-everything they can make a profit on."

A fretful pause, as she'd look between them, "T-The strength of his c-corporation lay in the q-quality of his employees. M-Most of them are fellow classmates from the A-Academy. All of them are t-talented, despite their flaws. All of them c-contribute to making the corporation successful. Many of them are.. m-misguided. They e-either don't know what sort of m-man he is, or are too p-poor to s-scrutinize their employer's actions too closely out of f-fear for what might happen. T-There are the sadistically c-cruel, and the p-people that those sort take a-advantage of. They are the bullied and the b-bullies..." And then she adds as an afterthought, "...and then there's A-Artyom, but he's sort of a category of his own."
Will Sherman Will stops eating for a moment, "Did he change?" He asks, "Or did he gain a near nighalistic focus on something?" Will asks, "He loves someone, someone he lost that was dear to eyes saw that before even you told me. It isn't just...he changed...but whatever he lost he is working with single minded focus on restoring.." he says, after a moment.

"It's similar to someone else I know.." He says, "And...similar to myself as well...I, however, didn't seek to return what was eventually came back on it's own."

While normally it would be something to bring a smile to Will's face....this...isn't the moment of such comforts.

"The Corperation is strong, it is not unlike Xanatos enterprises...they have a few bones in their closet it seems...but.." He shrugs, "And...Alma, such people exist everywhere. In almost very group...well, save ours. I am pretty sure nobody is sadistic in our group.." Well, okay, Mel might be a little sadistic, but she wasn't really in the group..was she?

Will takes a breath, "Yeah, the's pretty tight, I doubt you're getting up there..."
Maximilien "You underestimate my ability to get into places that normal people cannot," Maximilien observes calmly, taking a sip of his cocoa. Otherwise, he remains quiet; he's clearly coming up with some kind of plan, or at least considering how he might be able to attack the situation without rousing too much suspicion.
Alma Hyral "How do your eyes s-see.." The question just dies in her throat. And she just stares at Will with wide eyes, in a mixture of wonderment and horror, she blurts out "/WHAT/?" Her voice was tremulous when she found the courage to speak again, "A-Are you saying that e-everything he does is to try and..b-bring her back?"

Whatever religious part of her was left was in turmoil at the thought of restoring the truly dead.. that part is quashed instantly by the thought of having her sister back. She's not so sure she wouldn't do /anything/ to bring her back. The other side of her might have tried to cry out, /At what cost?/ /By what means?/ ....Again, it is buried instantly by the overwhelming desire to see her sister again. She remembered Souji's words to her, /We'll see her again. We all will./ Her inordinantly pale skin, the mark of her Ramuha heritage turns a sickly shade of grey.

Some part of her told her that it was impossible. The other part of her told her that.. if anyone had the resources to do it, Souji Murasame did.

The rest of the conversation is lost on her, as she just regards Will with a numb look, waiting for answers.
Will Sherman Will looks at Max, "Yeah, but what about a place like the TDA, being a stranger in a place where everyone is...tightly knit..." he shrugs, "Ain't my thing. Good luck if you try." Don't hit the crazy.


Man you are totally going to hit it.


Will looks back over to Alma. "It's a thing I do. My eyes see...not just what normal people see, but over that I see strings...connections between people and fate. I see what I see...I know what I did see, but I don't know th man's heart anybetter than anyone else.." He says, "But...that is something I saw in the strings."

Will has lost a lot over the years, he'd do many things to get people back...but..

It's not something he would do personally. Things like this ever turn out right, and always back fire in the end. People suffer when they lose sight of what's important.
Maximilien Max is in what might almost be described stable relationships; shockingly, he's not likely to go throw that away when he's actually making steps towards something healthy.

"Any corporation has people who are faceless, who are not noticed by the elite. Just because it is tightly-knit does not mean they can possibly cover every security hole; I know what I am doing. It should not be much trouble." Max waves his hand and takes another sip.

"This is what do best. When it is time for violence, then it will be time for what you do best."

"Or at least far better than I."
Alma Hyral Alma would listen to Will's entire explanation. She'd listen, she'd stare, for perhaps a full ten minutes after he'd finished explaining it to her. Then she'd stand up suddenly, and start to walk out of the cottage with nary a word of explanation.

She didn't seem to particularly care where she was going.
Will Sherman Will pauses...

"I...dunno, I think that was the most normal reaction I have ever gotten out of...that.." he pauses, looking to Max.

"I don't suppose we should let her keep walking right?"
Maximilien "Likely not. The woods are full of things that are not friendly to human life," Max replies over his cocoa. "Wolves, bears, Heartless, darker things still. It is a fairy tale wood; unfortunately, most fairy tales are not terribly pleasant."

This scene contained 21 poses. The players who were present were: Will Sherman, Maximilien, Alma Hyral