Man in the Box / I Alone. (Open, feel free to RP)

Man in the Box.

Olivia Warren hated her job.

She hated the blood. She especially hated the needles. How exactly she got involved in the medical field she could never understand.

Perhaps it was the money, there was a shortage of nursing around the city and she jumped at the chance to make a little bit of extra cash. She thought that maybe someday she will be able to get out of her San Francisco apartment actually move into a decent sized home.


The streets were full of them now. The city’s homeless crisis had gotten out of hand. She didn’t care which political party would fix it, only that it would be fixed. Olivia felt that the world had forgotten about her. Her coworkers never asked her how she was doing. The politicians definitely didn’t care. She hadn’t spoken to her family members in months.

These late nights were stressful. She would get off work at 11:15 and have to walk all the way back to her apartment. It was a one room efficiency apartment with the kitchenette off to the left after one had walked through the door.

Olivia had a small TV. Everything was high definition now. She had a small high definition TV and stereo sitting on the floor of her apartment. She was able to afford a queen sized bed that also sat on the floor with the TV in front of it.

One day she was going to be able to purchase a home.

Water slowly began to pelt her face and auburn hair.

There was a light rain under a full moon.

She kept walking along the lonely sidewalks.

There was no one around. She was surrounded by the twisting trees that lined the walkway. It seemed as if the trees moved in the silvery moonlight. It looked almost as if the twisting trees were alive and moving.

Olivia knew this had to be her imagination playing tricks on her.

She had not seen a car for the past couple miles or so.

She had gotten used to walking long distances.

Like everything else, gas was way too expensive.

Down the street she noticed what looked like red headlights.

Coming towards her.

For some reason she felt the need to pause and look at the oncoming car.

She thought she heard a helicopter.

Helicopter blades flapping in the air.

The red lights approached.

She froze.

It looked like an insect.

It had the body of a human.

The flapping became louder.

The glow from the red eyes almost enveloped her.

She was frozen in a state of fear. She could feel the sweat on her palms. She was dripping with sweat.

It had the body of the human but the faces something different.

It was the face of a moth.

Frozen in terror Olivia could only watch as it stopped a few feet away from her face.

The creature let out a shrill scream that almost destroyed her ears.

A wind blew across the twisting trees.

She heard a voice from behind her.

“Don’t move Olivia.”

“Don’t move. Don’t look around.”

“I need to know if you have it.”

You must not move.

The disembodied voice from behind her was coming quickly.

"Do not move. I’m going to reach in your pocket.

“You cannot move.”

“Do you have it? It’s one of the keys.”

“I’m going to reach in your back pocket now.”

“Do not move.”

Caught between the creature and some disembodied voice of a man behind her, Olivia Warren felt she had no choice but to run sideways towards the twisting trees that were moving in the wind.

As she turned to run, Olivia Warren felt stabbing pains throughout her body. She felt stings on her arms and legs.

She knew that feeling.

As she looked down she finally let out a brutal scream.

Her body was being punctured by several syringes with hypodermic needles.

This is exactly what she was afraid of.

She collapsed to the ground on the sidewalk.

In the darkness, as her consciousness was fading she could see the man behind her standing over her.

“I told you not to move, I don’t know if I can fix it.”

The man’s face looked as if it contorted in pain as he moved his hands around.

A green light enveloped the night.

Olivia Warren’s vision was blurry.

The green light was the last thing she would ever see.

(Here is the part where you as the players get to take over. You can choose where to start. Such as at your faction’s HQ.)

Lumina leapt out of the Tube and made her way out of the London Underground, working her way through the rush hour crowd of commuters. Upon exiting the station, she put up the hood of her hoodie to ward off the rain. While the area just outside of the station was sketchy, a block away, London’s smiling, commercial face and parks. Alas, Lumina hadn’t given herself enough time to get a cup of coffee, so straight to work she went. Taking a right, she approached a guard and flashed him her ID, which identified her as Jennifer Hawkins. This was not the name she had been born with. Neither was Lumina, which was actually more of a nickname she had come to identify herself by. It was easier for everyone that Sara was dead, even if it meant she could never see her family and former friends again. Although there were times that Lumina missed them dearly, she knew that this was the price she had paid for her abilities and the knowledge of the Secret World.

Upon being admitted through, Lumina made her way to the Temple Hall, where she again had to show her ID and this time be scanned through. While she supposed that one could never be too careful in this line of business, Lumina did find it irksome to have to go through so much security every time she came through there. As far as she knew, she had not picked up an alien parasite nor defected to the Illuminati during her one week of R&R (the last investigation she had run had been rather traumatic, so she had much appreciated the time off), but rules were rules, and for the Templars those rules had been in place for a long time, and one did not just violate them.

Lumina made it to her office at just the nick of time. Punctuality had never been her strong suit (to her boss’s ire), so she counted this feat as an accomplishment. She had barely sat at her desk and opened her inbox before she was summoned to her boss’s office. Did they have a new job for her already? Although being in the field was her favorite part of the job, she could feel butterflies in her gut as she made her way to the enclosed office…

Posted by : Sky on Mar 4, 2024, 9:21pm

Gail Iris had to get out of there.
She couldn’t stop herself from shaking as she ran to her car. She taught there at the high school for two years but seeing the students talk like that, she knew.

She could see past their ruse.

"When they beg and ask us why we’re doing this, we’ll just say, “Evil.”

They had to be planning something.

Gail did believe for one moment their excuse of “working on a rhetoric project based on George Orwell’s “1984” and human cruelty.”

She had spoken to the school resource officer twice and he still had not done anything.

She felt her palms sweating as she sat in the car outside in the California heat.

There had been enough mass shootings.

She knew one was coming.

Her friends and family of course told her she had an irrational fear of mass casualty incidents, and that she had been trained how to deal with one just in case something would happen.

It was coming and she knew it.

She planned on quitting tomorrow.

She grabbed a blue energy drink from her lunch bag in the passenger seat.

She opened the bottle and began to drink quickly.

After finishing her drink, she could only place her hands on the steering well and wonder about her plans for the future.

As she lifted her head up she saw something.

It was standing in front of the bricks of the school building in broad daylight.

It looked like a man.

It looked like an insect.

Its head was the head of a moth.

She locked eyes with it for a few seconds.

The piercing red glare was even visible in daylight.

Within seconds it was gone.

She still felt the presence of sorts.

Looking out the driver side window she saw a man in a black suit approaching.

Who would wear black suit in this heat?

California was becoming hot all year long.

The man in the black suit was coming towards her.

She felt a sense of panic as she looked at him.

She was not fearful of what he might do to her, but was rather fearful of what she was about to do.

Gail Iris opened the passenger side glove box and retrieved the 22 caliber pistol.

A revolver.

It wasn’t very powerful but it would do the job.

Gail surgically pulled the hammer back.

She placed the first two shots in her legs and kneecaps.

She winced at the pain.

As she pulled the hammer back again she would place two shots in her hands.

She could feel the coppery liquid coming from her palms.

She knew she was bleeding to death slowly.

From her hands and from her legs.

She knew this day was coming.

She had feared it.

What she had been wary of was the thing that was taking her life.

She tried to make sense of it as she counted the final two bullets in the cylinder.

Pulling the hammer back she placed one shot in her stomach.

The pain was excruciating.

She had one left.

She knew she was losing consciousness due to loss of blood.

She knew this would happen.

The school resource officer should have listened to her.

She began to feel a cold chill throughout her extremities as her vision darkened.

Gail Iris, with what strength she had left, put the revolver to the side of her neck and fired.

To all esteemed Templar Agents,

It has come to our attention that the fog-shrouded streets of San Francisco have become the stage for a series of peculiar and unsettling events. Reports of Mothman sightings have been trickling in, stirring not only public curiosity but also warranted concern within our ranks.

Furthermore, two corpses have been discovered under mysterious circumstances. The details surrounding these grim findings are sparse, and the local authorities are keeping a tight lid on the information. However, we must consider the possibility of occult involvement.

But there is more. Alongside these incidents, we’ve detected strange energy disturbances. Preliminary analysis suggests these may be related to ley lines, a concept I find necessary to elucidate.

Ley lines are hypothetical alignments that connect various historical, natural, and sacred sites. They are believed by some to carry a unique energy, forming a global grid of spiritual power. The concept, while not scientifically substantiated, is rooted in the idea that ancient civilizations may have built structures along these lines, recognizing their significance.

As Templars, it is our duty to investigate these matters with both an open mind and a critical eye. The convergence of ley lines and the recent peculiar events could be coincidental, but we must consider the possibility of a deeper connection.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to investigate these occurrences with the utmost discretion and report back with your findings. Remember, knowledge is power, but silence is the sanctity of our order.

Stay vigilant, Richard Sonnac

Corinth leaned back in his chair with his feet up on his desk. His hat rested on his face, keeping the artificial light from the ceiling from getting to his eyes. He wasn’t asleep, but he wished he was back in his apartment instead of at the office. The familiar sound of heels on linoleum drawing closer caught his attention.

“Another late night at the TfT? I think you might be enjoying the place now,” came a sweet voice with a London accent.

“Hardly,” he said in his gruff and muffled voice from under his hat. He moved the hat to its rightful resting place on his head and looked up to see Dalia, his handler looking down at him with her half smile, half smirk. She wore her blue shirt and black pencil skirt, complete with her don’t-mess-with-me heels. “You wanted me to tail Jack Stone and that’s what I’m doing. Not my fault he spends almost every waking hour at the Tit for Tat strip club. With as much money as he’s tossing at those girls, he could have bought the place by now.”

Dalia cocked her head to the right, “well get caffeinated up, you got a job.”

“Another one?” His boots moved off the desk as he leaned forward, the front legs of his chair slamming on the floor and his black trench coat swaying forward. “I have two already plus following this ■■■■■■■. I haven’t had a decent night sleep in three days and I’m running off sodas, whiskey, cigarettes, and gas station entrees.”

She gave him a look that said she pitied him, but she really didn’t. They all had their jobs to do and none of theirs were any easier than others. Well…almost not as easy. “Have you read the latest memo from Sonnac? Dropped this morning.” She pulled a piece of paper out and handed it to him.

“No,” said Corinth as he snatched the paper from her hand and began to read. “San Francisco…Mothman…Ley Lines…” He looked up at her after tossing the paper on his desk. “Doesn’t the Mothman live in West Virginia? He’s a little far from his hometown isn’t he?” Dalia shrugged. “Let the Americans handle it.”

An annoying sigh left her lips. “You’re an American.”

“Touche.” "He pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and put it to his lips. With a snap of his fingers, a tiny spark lept out and caught the end of the cigarette on fire. He inhaled deeply to make sure it continued to burn.

As quicky as he inhaled the cigarette, it was pulled from his lips and snuffed out on his desk. “You know there is no smoking in here. Every day I have to tell you that.” Her London accent was stronger when she was angry. He liked that about her. Probably why he made her mad so often. “Go home, pack your things, and get ready to get on a plane. It leaves this afternoon.”

“I’m not going alone. You find me a partner and then I’ll sign off on this. You’re not sending me halfway around the world by myself to look for a Mothman; a creature known for impending doom and disaster.” He grabbed his keys from his desk drawer and dropped them into his trench coat pocket. “Call me when you have someone, until then, I’m going to bed.”

Posted by : Dblitz13 on Mar 6, 2024, 9:50am

Seoul, South Korea

In the shadowy labyrinth of Seoul, Moon Eun-Ji and her older and experienced brother, Jae-Hoon, emerged from the aftermath of their first mission together. The nightmarish creature they faced had left a palpable stain on both the siblings, figuratively and literally.

Tracking the creature through the winding streets proved more challenging than Eun-Ji anticipated. The creature’s chaotic aura tested her skills, and her inexperience showed. The siblings finally cornered the beast in a dimly lit alley, the ominous silhouette of a decaying warehouse looming ahead.

The ensuing battle was brutal, and the rookie struggled to keep up. Jae-Hoon’s seasoned martial prowess and experience in the secret world took center stage, while Eun-Ji played a supporting role, trying to harness her chaotic abilities amidst the chaos. It was clear – her big brother saved the day.

As the creature dissipated into ethereal echoes, the siblings stood in the aftermath, both covered in the creature’s grotesque remnants. Eun-Ji couldn’t escape the queasiness that gripped her stomach, and as they commenced the cleanup, her discomfort escalated.

“Ugh, this is disgusting,” she muttered, trying to wipe off the foul residue.

Jae-Hoon chuckled, teasing her, "Less messy than your close combat, rookie. If you can’t handle a little monster on you, you best stick to the physic books. "

Rolling her eyes, Eun-Ji retorted, “You know, not everyone enjoys bathing in monster guts. Maybe I’ll stick to chaos from a distance next time.”

Her brother smirked, handing her a towel, mop and bucket he had retrieved from his motorcycle. “That’s not how it works, sis. Get used to it. And try not to hurl.”

But it was too late. The combination of the creature’s innards and the reality of her less-than-heroic performance overwhelmed Eun-Ji. She doubled over, retching.

Jae-Hoon laughed, “Smooth, rookie. You are supposed to be making the scene better, not worse. Maybe you should stick to cleanup duty for now until you toughen up.”

Eun-Ji shot him a glare between retches. “Oh, laugh it up, golden boy. I bet I’ll handle the next one better.”

Jae-Hoon shook his head, “Less talk and more cleaning. I want to get home at a decent hour and having you tag along has already made this hunt take longer than expected.”

Posted by : Lorem

“Take a seat,” Lumina’s boss, Owen Maryn, intoned. Lumina wordlessly complied.

“Welcome back,” he began, “your timing is… impeccable. I hope your time off has been sufficient to recover from, well, you know…”

“Yes sir,” Lumina replied, although she was unsure herself of the truth of that statement.

“Excellent. My colleague, Miss Dalia, has requested you in particular to accompany her agent on a job of utmost importance.” Owen pushed a file across his desk. “This comes from Mister Sonnac himself.

Lumina skimmed the file. The seriousness of this development wasn’t so apparent to her at first glance, but she could see she had some lore to brush up on. She had heard of the Mothman before but didn’t recall the details of this particular cryptid off the top of her head. “I am not soloing this operation?” she inquired, attempting to suppress her incredulity.

“A more experienced agent than you has requested assistance for this task. This should clue you in as to the expected difficulty of this assignment, Miss Hawkins,” Owen chastised. “After your previous debacle, I would hope that you would be more cautious and ready to accept help. We may not be able to bail you out of San Francisco the way we bailed you out of Hyderabad. And do you know why?”

“It… it’s Illuminati country,” Lumina stammered.

“Exactly. If this threat is crossing our desk, you can bloody well bet your arse that the Illuminati are swarming to keep their eye on their back yard!”

Lumina paused. “I’m sorry, but what business do we have dealing with this if the competition is indeed so fierce?”

“No doubt Mister Sonnac has his own reasons for being concerned about the sightings and deaths, but I think it is safe to conclude that the Illuminati cannot be trusted to contain this threat in a way that will sufficiently protect the people and the Secret World. This Mothman has been allowed agency in that country for over half a century. Those fools must have thought there was something to be gained from its continued presence. They are wrong. If they will not contain or eliminate the threat not only to those innocent people, but also to the discovery of the Secret World, then we will.”

Owen took a breath to gather his composure, then continued, “You will go to San Francisco, confirm if these sightings of the Mothman are legitimate, and capture or destroy the beast if it is indeed there. And if there is anything to Mister Sonnac’s intuitions regarding ley lines in the area, learn as much as you can and report on this as well.”

“And who am I being assigned to partner with in this investigation?” Lumina reminded him.
“Ah, that will be Mister Whitethorn. I am hoping he will temper your recklessness, at least by a little bit.”

“Corinth? Doesn’t he have, like, three other jobs that he’s on?”

“It would behoove you to mind your own business,” Owen groused.

“Sorry, habit comes with the trade,” Lumina apologized.

“Whatever,” Owen sighed. “Your flight leaves at Heathrow at 2:30. You will meet Mister Whitethorn there by 12:30 with packed bags. I expect you to be punctual. Any questions?”

“We’re flying?”

“Yes, the Illuminati will likely be keeping watch over the portals to Agartha near San Francisco, and as Mister Sonnac noted, local, and likely federal, authorities are containing the noise of these incidents as much as they can. You will likely have to get close to get the facts you need, and it will be best to have the proper paperwork on hand if they ask for it. As such, we will use legal channels to get you there even if more expeditious means exist. If you can find a portal to Agartha that is clear of oversight, we can smuggle you weapons and other equipment you may need to support your investigation. Anything else?”

“Can I stop by the archives and read up on this Mothman and Ley Lines before I go?” Lumina pleaded.

“Yes, but make it quick. One last thing.”


“For the love of God, do not forget your passport.”

Lumina scrambled out of the cab with her luggage and carry ons. She was, of course, running late. But surely two hours was more than enough time to get through the airport, even if it was the busiest in the world…

Posted by : Sky

Seoul, South Korea

Moon Eun-Ji clung to her brother, Jae-Hoon, as the motorcycle tore through the city streets, leaving behind the chaos of their first mission. Excitement surged through her veins, mingled with a nervous anticipation. The mission had been a success, but she knew her parents would dissect every moment captured on the video footage. Their expectations loomed over her like a dark cloud, a constant reminder of the perfection they demanded.

As they rode, Eun-Ji’s thoughts raced. She couldn’t wait to shed the smelly clothes and grime of the mission, longing for the comfort of a hot shower and the familiar embrace of home. But beneath the excitement, a knot of anxiety tightened in her stomach. She dreaded facing her parents’ scrutiny, knowing they would find flaws where she saw triumphs.

As they left the city’s chaos behind, the landscape shifted, morphing into the tranquil outskirts. The air grew cleaner, carrying the scent of earth and night blooming flowers. Streetlights cast a soft glow on the suburban streets, guiding them toward their family residence.

Arriving home, the house stood as a beacon of solace amidst the night. Its more modern Korean architecture blended seamlessly with traditional landscaping, a testament to the family’s heritage and the secret world they inhabited. Along the perimeter, subtle wards and protective symbols adorned the walls, invisible to the untrained eye but potent guardians against malevolent forces.

The courtyard beckoned, a sanctuary of tranquility within the bustling city. A pond shimmered under the moonlight, surrounded by meticulously tended gardens and intricately carved stone statues. Lanterns cast dancing shadows on the pathways, their warm light warding off the darkness that lurked beyond the property’s borders.

Inside, the house exuded warmth and familiarity. Traditional Korean art adorned the walls, juxtaposed with sleek modern furnishings. Hidden compartments concealed ancient artifacts and arcane talismans, safeguarding the family against unseen threats.

Eun-Ji sighed with relief as they dismounted the motorcycle that was parked inside the garage, eager to leave the night’s chaos behind and embrace the sanctuary of home. They would both enter through a door which would not yet take them to the main abode, but to a private and secure place sub-level on the property that the family used as their headquarters for dealing with the secret world.

Posted by : Lorem

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

Eun-Ji watched as Jae-Hoon went off and then stepped into the designated changing area, her combat attire clinging to her with a mix of dried Eldritch ichor and bits of the creature’s grotesque remains. The outfit, designed for agility and protection, felt like a second skin. The flexible, lightweight material allowed for swift movements, yet beneath its surface lay hidden layers of reinforced padding, offering a shield against the perils of the secret world.

She unfastened the straps around her waist and upper thighs, feeling the weight of the hammers on her hips. “Insult & Injury” rested in their holsters, symbols of both destruction and order. Discarding the combat attire into a specially designed metal hamper, Eun-Ji activated the disinfecting and purifying cleaning cycle. The machine hummed to life, pulling the hamper container inside. It would take a while, but eventually it would erase the stains and odors that clung to the fabric; making it useable again.

Turning her attention to the weapons vault, Eun-Ji carefully placed the hammers in their designated slots. Each movement was precise, a ritualistic dance born from years of training. The vault door closed with a reassuring thud, securing the instruments of utility and pain until the next mission.

Eun-Ji then ventured further into the underground bunker, a floorplan of reinforced walls and state-of-the-art technology. The bunker, once a basic shelter, had evolved into a headquarters of sorts, equipped to handle the supernatural threats that lurked in the shadows. Computer terminals hummed with encrypted data, and surveillance screens displayed feeds from hidden cameras strategically placed throughout Seoul. There was also two years worth of food stored, enough for four people, should it ever come down to hiding away from an apocalyptical event.

Eun-Ji next made her way to the washroom. The simple bathroom itself was a haven of cleanliness, its tiles gleaming under soft lighting. The shower, a luxury she had been daydreaming about on their ride back, beckoned with the promise of cleansing.

Steam enveloped Eun-Ji as the hot water cascaded over her, washing away the remnants of the night’s battle. She reveled in the sensation, letting the warmth seep into her bones. The soap, fragrant and soothing, mingled with the cleansing mist, creating an almost meditative atmosphere.

Emerging from the shower, Eun-Ji wrapped herself in a plush towel, her skin rejuvenated and free of the night’s grime. She also wrapped her hair up into a smaller towel. Then she proceeded to her wardrobe, opting for casual attire – comfortable yet stylish. A loose-fitting top and fitted pants replaced the combat gear, and she slipped into cozy socks, grounding herself in the familiar routine of preparing for a night at home.

Back in the central area of the headquarters, Eun-Ji settled into a comfortable chair, the scent of clean clothes and the distant hum of machinery providing a backdrop to the evening. She could tell that Jae-Hoon had already finished and headed upstairs. Not yet ready to go up, Eun-Ji decided to turn on some classical music, close her eyes, and replay the frantic fight scene she had just experienced in her mind. She had trained her whole life it seemed for this night; however, no amount of training could have prepared her for the real thing.

Posted by : Lorem

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

The family dinner unfolded in a peculiar blend of warmth and tension within the cozy confines of the Moon family residence. The dining table was adorned with an array of dishes, a feast that showcased the culinary prowess of Ma-Ri, the family matriarch. The centerpiece was a steaming pot of Galbitang, a hearty Korean soup made with beef short ribs, radishes, and a savory broth.

As the family settled around the table, bowls filled with the fragrant soup were placed before them. Byung-Ho, the father, turned on a screen displaying the recorded footage of the night’s eldritch encounter. The flickering light of the video cast an eerie glow across the dining room.

Ma-Ri smiled, “I hope you all enjoy the Galbitang. It’s been simmering for hours.”

Byung-Ho nodded, “Let’s begin the debriefing. Eun-Ji, you led the charge tonight. Good initiative.”

Ma-Ri brow furrowed with concern, “But, sweetie, your form during the chaos magic invocation needs refinement. It was too erratic.”

Eun-Ji was quick to agree, “I’ll work on it, Mother.”

The family dove into their meal, the flavors of the Galbitang providing a momentary respite from the critical atmosphere. Despite the delicious distraction, the impending analysis lingered in the air.

Byung-Ho pointed to the screen again, “Look here, Jae-Hoon handled this encounter smoothly. Eun-Ji, your positioning was off during the creature’s dispersion.”

Jae-Hoon leaned in closer and I his sister, “Remember, sis, always anticipate its movements. You have to be a step ahead. Be ahead or your dead.”

Eun-Ji sported a stoic expression, “Noted.”

The dining room echoed with the clinking of chopsticks against bowls as the family continued their meal, a temporary reprieve from the harsh critiques.

Ma-Ri savored the soup and fished for affirmation, “Eun-Ji, the Galbitang is comforting, isn’t it?”

Eun-Ji knew what she wanted to hear. It was made easy, because it was true. “It’s delicious, Mother.”

Byung-Ho leaned back in his chair, “Now, about the hand-to-hand combat. Too aggressive. You left openings that could have been exploited. You see here and here, Jae-Hoon had to save you because you put yourself at risk.”

Jae-Hoon interjected, “Sis, remember what I taught you about balance. Use your opponent’s momentum against them.”

As the family delved into the minutiae of the mission, Eun-Ji maintained a stoic facade, masking the internal turmoil. Each criticism felt like a blow, a reminder of the relentless pursuit of perfection her family demanded.

Ma-Ri, as if she was aware of her daughters distress, softened. “We critique because we care, Eun-Ji. You have great potential. Just hone your skills.”

Byung-Ho validated the compliment, “Indeed. You did well, but we expect excellence. The Dragon doesn’t settle for anything less.”

The family continued to share the meal, interspersing bites of Galbitang with words of advice and correction. Eun-Ji absorbed it all, determined to improve and live up to the family expectations, even if it meant facing their unrelenting standards. In truth, she understood that in this line of work, errors could spell disaster.

Posted by : Lorem on Mar 7, 2024, 11:18pm

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

After the tension-laden dinner, Eun-Ji found herself in the kitchen, diligently helping her mother, Ma-Ri, with the aftermath of the family meal. Dishes clinked, water ran, and the aroma of leftover Galbitang lingered in the air. As she scrubbed the plates, Eun-Ji couldn’t shake the echoes of the debriefing, despite her mother’s consistent talking on a variety of different matters.

Once the kitchen was in order, she retreated to her room, a private sanctuary within the expansive residence. Her bedroom exuded a blend of modern elegance and traditional Korean influences; a sign of her mother’s grip on the style throughout the house. Dark wood furniture and minimalist décor adorned the room, creating a calming ambiance. The walls held framed family photos.

Settling at her desk, Eun-Ji pulled up the footage of the night’s encounter. As the video played, she meticulously took notes in a leather-bound journal. Her father, Byung-Ho, had emphasized the importance of analysis, and she was determined to dissect every moment of the mission, seeking areas for improvement.

The bed eventually beckoned, and Eun-Ji allowed herself a moment of relaxation. She reclined against the plush pillows, surrounded by the scent of lavender diffusing from an elegant oil burner on her bedside table. Soft lighting bathed the room, casting a warm glow.

Her private bathroom, an extension of the bedroom, boasted modern fixtures and a luxurious spa-like atmosphere. Eun-Ji, getting up, indulged in a skincare routine, the ritual of cleansing and moisturizing a form of self-care amidst the chaos of her responsibilities.

As she immersed herself in her bedtime routine, the door creaked open, and her family members made individual visits to check on her before they too would begin preparing for slumber.

Her mother, Ma-Ri, entered first with a tray bearing a cup of soothing herbal tea. “A cup of relaxation, my love. You need to rest.”

Eun-Ji offered a grateful smile, sipping the fragrant tea as her mother lingered for a moment, a comforting presence.

Later, her brother, Jae-Hoon, popped in, his advice taking a gentler tone. “Remember, sis, each mission is a step in your journey. Embrace the lessons, but don’t let them weigh you down. Oh, and you owe me like at least twice for keeping you alive tonight.” He was jesting, to soften the reality that it was true.

Finally, her father, Byung-Ho, entered, his stern demeanor softened by paternal concern. “Analyzing the footage is essential, but don’t forget to breathe. Excellence comes from a balance of discipline and self-care.”

With each visit, Eun-Ji felt the familial support, a reminder that, despite the critiques, her family stood united. It helped get her out of her cognitive dissonance over her first performance falling short of her own expectations, let alone theirs. As they left, she settled into her bed. Eun-Ji closed her eyes, determined to absorb the lessons of the night. She cuddled against a body pillow and was soon fast asleep.

Posted by : Lorem

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence
In the ethereal realm of dreams, Eun-Ji found herself ensnared in the tendrils of a nightmarish landscape. The setting mirrored the site of their recent mission, now distorted by the surreal chaos of her subconscious. Jae-Hoon and Eun-Ji stood, back-to-back, amidst the unsettling silence, their breaths echoing in the oppressive stillness.
Suddenly, the tranquility shattered as the Eldritch creature emerged, its form morphing from the innocuous old lady they initially encountered. It loomed, grotesque and formidable, limbs elongated and distorted, eyes gleaming with an otherworldly malevolence. Shadows danced upon its twisted visage, creating an aura of dread.
The nightmare battle commenced with a deafening roar from the creature. Jae-Hoon, like a wraith, flowed into action. His movements blended grace, speed and lethal precision. A samurai sword, etched with powerful scripts, gleaming in the eerie light, became an extension of his body as he faced the eldritch horror.
Eun-Ji, wielding her twin hammers, Insult and Injury, channeled the chaotic forces within. As she swung the hammers, ripple-like trails traced their path through the air, leaving just barely perceivable ephemeral patterns in their wake. Chaos magic was manifesting subtly around her, distorting the natural order of reality itself.
The battlefield twisted with surreal distortions – illusions of multiple Eun-Jis confusing the creature, phantom hammers striking from unexpected angles, and slight temporal distortions causing the creature’s movements to be just enough off pace. Yet, the Eldritch abomination proved resilient, adapting to the chaos with unnerving efficiency.
As the nightmare unfolded, Eun-Ji’s chaos magic continues to toy with the creature’s senses. Simultaneously, Jae-Hoon’s martial prowess engaged the creature in a deadly dance of blades. The nightmare became a cinematic symphony of chaos, every clash and strike resonating with an otherworldly intensity.
Despite their relentless assault, the Eldritch creature retaliated with a primal ferocity, each of its grotesque appendages striking with an uncanny fluidity. Eun-Ji felt the surreal landscape warp around her, the battlefield becoming a shifting tapestry of nightmare and illusion.
The dream battleground dissolved, leaving Eun-Ji gasping in the darkness, awake in her bed. The nightmare, though imagined, left an indelible reminder that this life left its imprint on those that engaged voluntarily with it. The occasional bad dream, due to brushes with evil, we’re going to be a consequence that she would have to come to accept.

Posted by : Lorem

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

The soft strains of classical music filled the room as Eun-Ji stirred from her slumber, her alarm clock gradually simulating the gentle rise of the morning sun. With a yawn, she stretched, the warmth of the faux sunlight coaxing her into wakefulness. It was 4:50 am, the start of another day in the relentless pursuit of excellence.

Eun-Ji’s morning ritual unfolded with practiced efficiency. She brushed her teeth and flossed meticulously, every movement precise and deliberate. As she stood before the mirror, she deftly twisted her long hair into a sleek ponytail, a practical choice for the upcoming workout.

Selecting her workout attire—a lightweight tank top and fitted leggings—Eun-Ji dressed with purpose, the fabric hugging her form as she prepared for the rigors of the morning session. Before leaving her room, she took a moment to jot down fragments of her dreams in her journal, the ink flowing across the pages like whispered memories.

In the stillness of her private sanctuary, Eun-Ji sank into a brief meditation, centering herself for the challenges ahead. With a final deep breath, she emerged, ready to face the day’s trials.

Descending to the in-home gym room, Eun-Ji was greeted by the sight of her brother, Jae-Hoon, and their father already engrossed in their morning routines. The gym, a sprawling expanse of equipment and space, hummed with the energy of disciplined dedication. It was a fusion of crossfit intensity, gymnastics grace, and martial arts precision, a testament to the family’s commitment to physical excellence.

Jae-Hoon, his form fluid and precise, practiced with the wing chun wooden dummy, the rhythmic strikes echoing through the room. His father, Byung-Ho, moved with the controlled power of a seasoned warrior, his focus unwavering as he engaged in a series of martial arts drills.

Eun-Ji joined them, her presence adding to the symphony of movement and sound. As the clock struck 5:30 am, they launched into their HIT workouts, each one following their customized plan outlined on the large dry erase board. The session began with a dynamic warm-up, muscles awakening to the challenge ahead.

For Eun-Ji, today’s workout focused on explosive movements and agility drills. Jae-Hoon’s routine emphasized speed and precision, the wooden dummy bearing the brunt of his practiced strikes. Byung-Ho’s regimen prioritized strength and endurance, his movements deliberate and controlled. Ma-Ri was working primarily on core exercises through a fusion of pilates and yoga.

As the workout reached its crescendo, the family pushed themselves to their limits, sweat glistening on their brows as they neared the end. The cooldown brought a sense of catharsis, muscles humming with exertion and satisfaction.

With the formal workout concluded, Eun-Ji dedicated the next half-hour to a thorough stretching routine, her flexibility a testament to years of dedicated practice. Jae-Hoon continued to refine his technique with the wooden dummy, his focus unyielding.

As the morning sun cast its golden glow, the family reconvened at the dining table for breakfast. Organic oatmeal, fresh fruit, and vitamin-rich smoothies adorned the table, a celebration of health and vitality. Around the table, conversation flowed with the dynamics of a tight knit family.

Posted by : Lorem

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

After breakfast, the family went their separate ways for the day. Her father and brother headed to work. Ma-Ri, a stay-at-home mom by profession, and Eun-Ji, being a Bee, were expected to devote their lives to the Dragon’s cause towards the Secret World, so they both remained at home.

After lunch, in the heart of their meticulously equipped training dojo on the property, Ma-Ri and Eun-Ji embarked on a captivating exploration of her chaos magic, as they had done daily for the past twelve years. Over the last 12 years, the family had proactively explored, experimented, studied, recorded, identified, trained, and tried to develop Eun-Ji’s abilities. Their first session today would focus on an ability they had dubbed “Illusory Prowess.”

Eun-Ji, a vision of captivating grace in her rhythmic gymnastics attire, began her routine with a flourish. With a wave of her hand, illusions manifested, cloning her form into a dance team of three rhythmic gymnasts. Each clone mirrored her movements flawlessly, a surreal dance unfolding in perfect synchronicity at first. However, as the dance continued, each illusion began performing in harmony with the rest, but as if it had its own complimentary choreography. The illusions looked very real, but there was a degree of wispiness around their edges that amplified proportionately based on how complex their movement was.

Ma-Ri, surrounded by a labyrinth of recording devices, marveled at the spectral display. “Initiating Illusory Prowess Experiment: Rhythmic Symphony,” Ma-Ri announced, her digital interface illuminating with a cascade of data. Motion sensors, strategically placed to capture the ethereal dance, traced the contours of the illusory gymnasts with delicate precision.

As Eun-Ji’s rhythmic routine with clubs unfolded, the illusions dazzled with a mesmerizing display of beauty and grace. The room transformed into a canvas of rhythmic expression, and Ma-Ri focused on the feedback, documenting the seamless fusion of illusion and reality.

“Prepare for the shattering sequence,” Ma-Ri instructed as Eun-Ji executed a final, synchronized twirl. With a directed gesture, Eun-Ji moved the illusions towards a caged mouse strategically placed in the room. They pranced and danced over to the cage with feminine allure. Upon arrival, the illusions shattered, resembling reality breaking like glass and disintegrating all at the same time into a kaleidoscope of colored planes. It happened quickly and brought with it a unique sound forced out of the air.

The mouse, exposed to the psychological impact of the shattered illusions, displayed physical distress, its responses recorded in real-time. Ma-Ri meticulously observed the data, noting the correlation between the illusion-induced psychological damage and its tangible effects on the mouse’s physical well-being.

After a short break, Eun-Ji transitioned to her next routine for the next experiment. This time with a long flirty ribbon in hand. The illusions materialized anew, a dance of confounding elegance as she twirled and weaved the ribbons.

“Commencing Illusory Prowess Experiment: Confounding Elegance,” Ma-Ri announced, her digital interface capturing the intricate patterns of the ribbon dance. Motion sensors continued to meticulously document it all in exquisite detail.

As Eun-Ji reached the climax of her routine, she shattered the illusions with a deliberate gesture. The chaotic energy surged, directed towards another science mouse adorned with electrodes. The mouse, subjected to the confusing aftermath of shattered illusions, exhibited signs of cognitive anomalies which they had learned to identify as disarray. Ma-Ri scrutinized the data, unraveling the intricate interplay between illusion-induced confusion and the mouse’s neural responses.

After one more break, the third act unfolded with a hoop in Eun-Ji’s hands. The illusions twirled and spun, creating an enchanting spectacle that blurred the lines between illusion and reality. Ma-Ri, engrossed in the display, marveled at the seamless fusion of chaos magic and rhythmic artistry. She was very proud of her daughter’s skill in dancing.

“Initiating Illusory Prowess Experiment: Dazzling Disorientation,” Ma-Ri announced, her digital interface pulsating with analytical precision.

As Eun-Ji reached the crescendo of her routine, she shattered the illusions with a final, dramatic flourish. The chaotic energy cascaded towards a third mouse, positioned strategically in the experimental field. The mouse, subjected to the aftermath of shattered illusions, displayed signs of profound daze on the readings. Ma-Ri meticulously recorded the data, dissecting the nuances of illusion-induced disorientation and its impact on the mouse’s cognitive faculties.

The experiment concluded. To date, they had discovered that the shattered illusions could cause damage (to the mind, which also seemed to affect the body … but no external physical harm like a weapon would.), confusion and daze; however, only one of those things at a time, not all three. They were still exploring to see if there was anything else they were capable of, or perhaps to combine the effects of them, or continue to make them stronger. To do it on a mouse was pretty potent; however, large creatures seemed to have higher constitutions to overcome.

The two left to take a walk about the garden and talk. They would return shortly for more experiments and training.

Posted by : Lorem

“Doesn’t matter to me. I can find a plate anywhere.” Which was true, Corinth wasn’t picky when it came to food. He had an iron stomach, easily eating wierd food combinations that would make a pregnant woman nauseous. “How about we grab a drink at the bar, they’re bound to have a menu for food as well.”

He took point and led the way to a small bar called The Oceanic Pub and Kitchen. It was more restaurant than bar, but what did one expect in an airport? You could be expected to not be allowed to smoke, for one. In a bar…no smoking in a bar…what was the world coming to, he wondered to himself.

Pulling up to the bar, he took a seat on one of the stools and waited for Lumina to get settled before handing her a menu. “First drinks on me, just don’t get too crazy with it, I’m not carrying you to the plane.” He was joking of course, but there was a bit of seriousness in his tone. When the bartender came over, Corinth ordered “a whiskey on the rocks, lemon the rim and whatever she wants.”

After the drinks were brought, he took a sip and then turned to his partner. “I’ve read your file. You’ve been on leave for awhile, getting your head back on straight after your last assignment? Are you good to go now?” He took another sip. “What I’m really asking is, can I trust you to do what needs to be done should things go sideways? To shoot, to kill…all the things. I need to know you go my back no matter what. If you can’t do that, for whatever reason, you’d be better off back at your desk because I can’t do our job while watching my back and yours.”

He may have came off pretty harsh or matter of fact like, but it was what it was. He’d watch her back as long as she was capable to watch his. Thus was a team mission, not a training or escorting one. Too many agents have been lost in the field because their attention was too divided on babysitting their partner and trying to keep themselves alive.

“I heard this place has good fish and chips. I think I’ll have that.”

Posted by : Dblitz13

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

Eun-Ji and Ma-Ri embarked on the next phase of their afternoon into Eun-Ji’s chaos abilities, with a particular focus on Temporal Manipulation. This session aimed to unravel the intricate dance of time through a more focused experiment centered on a pendulum device.

Ma-Ri explained the focus, “Eun-Ji, for this experiment, let’s narrow our focus to the temporal manipulation of a simple yet precise device - a metronome. Imagine it as an instrument of time, and your task is to alter its natural swings. Make the consistent rhythm hiccup.”

As Ma-Ri adjusted the scientific instruments, the metronome swung with rhythmic regularity. Eun-Ji, with her chaos-infused abilities, concentrated.

Ma-Ri chimed in, “Begin by slowing down the pendulum’s swing. Picture time stretching, elongating the natural rhythm.”

Eun-Ji’s hands moved with intentionality, her chaos magic intertwining with the pendulum’s motion. The chamber held an air of anticipation as the pendulum, once a steadfast metronome, succumbed to the influence of temporal manipulation.

Ma-Ri smiled in approval of the readings, “Good, Eun-Ji. Now, let’s bring time back to its usual cadence. Speed up the metronome’s swings.”

Eun-Ji’s focus intensified as she embraced the challenge. The pendulum accelerated, its swings defying the constraints of conventional time.

Ma-Ri nodded in approval, “Now, let’s incorporate a rhythmic pattern. Alternate between slowing down and speeding up the metronome, creating a syncopated beat.”

Eun-Ji’s movements became a seamless fusion of chaos and precision. The pendulum’s swings shifted and a lot more data was recorded for analyzing.

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

Ma-Ri and Eun-Ji delved into the next experiment immediately after the metronome was removed and new equipment was setup. A motion capture suit and punching bag with internal sensors. The experiment would be focused on chaos-infused strikes. Directed by her mother, Ma-Ri, she began striking the punching bag with relentless force.

Eun-Ji’s fists became a blur of chaotic energy, each impact sending shockwaves through the air. The punching bag, typically unyielding, succumbed to the infusion of chaos. As her strikes connected, the bag swung more than one might expect looking at Eun-Ji’s size, distorting and warping under the unpredictable forces.

The motion sensors meticulously recorded these patterns, capturing the nuanced dance of combat and arcane influence. The camera even showed that sometimes it looked like the bag was hit before her hand struck it. Other times it looked like it had been struck moments after her hand was no longer making contact.

She eventually was allowed to stop. The time between strikes was lengthening due to fatigue and she was glistening with sweat. As her mother processed the new data and loaded it to the backup server, she gave her daughter a water break. It would be bit to get the next experiment session configured, so she gave her daughter a reprieve for an hour.

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

They were back in the training dojo. The atmosphere hummed with anticipation as Eun-Ji and her mother, Ma-Ri, prepared for the next experiment. This session focused on testing Eun-Ji’s reality-warping feints.

Ma-Ri donned a jacket adorned with small, bell-like balls, each equipped with sensors. The challenge was set – Eun-Ji had to evade Ma-Ri’s martial arts attacks while successfully removing every ball from the jacket. Eun-Ji, clad in a fencing-like outfit wired to register strikes, embarked on the daunting task.

As the session unfolded, the chamber echoed with the sounds of exertion – swift movements, the occasional clash, and the subtle jingling of bells. Eun-Ji’s reality-warping feints proved effective, creating illusions that confounded Ma-Ri’s strikes.

As Ma-Ri attempts to strike, Eun-Ji’s agile movements create a warping effect just subtle enough to be indiscernible to the attacker, leaving her mother momentarily uncertain of her true location. Surprised in fact each time a blow just barely misses, despite understanding how it works. The visual landscape around her daughter ripples and warps with each feint, making the target a shifting enigma.

However, the fencing attire registered two strikes against Eun-Ji, prompting a stern expression from her mother. Undeterred, Eun-Ji faced the challenge once more. Round after round, she honed her ability to dodge, weave, and manipulate perception.

After seven more intense rounds, Eun-Ji achieved the elusive goal – successfully dodging every strike and removing each sensor-laden ball without a single touch to her wired attire. Ma-Ri, while unamused by the initial setbacks, acknowledged her daughter’s resilience and growing mastery over reality-warping feints. The training session concluded with a sense of accomplishment overall.

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

Ma-Ri initiated the final experiment, rigging a tennis ball machine aimed at a wall. Binding her daughter, Eun-Ji, in an exposed standing x position, memories of this once-favorite exercise from her childhood surfaced. The gradual evolution from stuffed animals to tennis balls marked the passage of time and skill. As the machine whirred to life, tennis balls were propelled at Eun-Ji, who, constrained, relied solely on her Chaos Shield.

Each impact defied the laws of physics, as the ball ricocheted in unpredictable angles upon striking the shield. The experiment continued, with Ma-Ri launching tennis balls at varying speeds, increasing the forces that tested the Chaos Shield. Eun-Ji, surprised by the minimal impact at the 70 mph speeds, expressed disbelief. In between strikes, Eun-Ji narrated her sensations, describing the fastest speeds as akin to being hit by a localized soft pillow.

The Shield, invisible yet present, manifests as a subtle layer enveloping her body, right on its outer surface. When struck, it induces a fleeting ripple-like water effect in the air that swiftly dissipates, leaving only the imperceptible presence of the protective shield seamlessly integrated with her form. It cloaks her in an unseen barrier when active.

Encouraged by the progress, Ma-Ri elevated the challenge by loading baseballs. The slow speeds were manageable, but mid-speed strikes to the gut prompted a decision to conclude the experiment. At mid level, the impact resembled an unblocked punch to the torso, hinting at potential light bruising. The session concluded after the third loud grunt of pain, leaving a sense of accomplishment and showcasing the refinement of Eun-Ji’s protective Chaos Shield.

Posted by : Lorem

Gangnam-gu: Seoul, South Korea - Moon Residence

In the disciplined routine of the past month, Eun-Ji and her family engaged in rigorous preparations for her impending rite of passage mission that had now been official set. The anticipation of the coming date felt surreal, even though it was so near it had truly been a twelve year journey till now. Was it actually going to happen?

The past month doubled down on all things related to the Secret World. All other normal routines and activities were put on hold. Jae-Hoon, her older brother, took her on frequent hunts, challenging her skills against low-level threats and occasional non-threatening monsters for essential practice. During a particularly intense encounter with a medium-level threat, Jae-Hoon assumed a more prominent role in the fight, earning Eun-Ji’s newfound respect.

With the month concluding, anticipation lingered as Eun-Ji prepared to delve into the details of her upcoming mission, the pivotal moment when she would transition from apprentice to a realized Dragon agent… if she survived and if her performance measured up to their standards.

Eun-Ji doubted she would get any rest tonight when she went to bed. Her mother had prepared for that, per usual, and worked her so hard that last day that she collapsed and fell asleep without even the desire to shower.

Posted by : Lorem

Incheon International Airport (ICN) - Seoul, South Korea

The next morning an encrypted correspondence arrived, signaling the onset of Eun-Ji’s mission. She was to board a plane destined for Heathrow Airport today, eventually making her way to San Francisco, USA. Due to a formidable storm over the Pacific Ocean, the route to the east was compromised. In San Francisco, she would rendezvous with a Dragon agent named Alex, using the security word “Serpentine” for identification.

Eun-Ji diligently packed for her mission, ensuring her dragon gear, designed to guarantee passage with checked bags, was included. At the airport, family goodbyes were exchanged, and with a sense of determination, Eun-Ji passed through the gate, boarding the plane with a ticket detailing the journey’s intricacies.

Airline: Dragon Wings Airlines
Flight Number: DW567
Departure: Incheon International Airport (ICN)
Destination: Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Departure Time: 10:30 AM (local time)
Arrival Time: 4:45 PM (local time)
Class: Economy (Lowest Class)
Seat: 23B
Passenger: Moon, Eun-Ji

Seated in the lowest class, to remind her of her status of apprentice, a poignant reflection overcame her as the plane lifted off. Gazing out the window, she pondered the bittersweet nature of her journey, acknowledging the profound wisdom that often accompanies the juxtaposition of beginnings and farewells.

London Heathrow Airport - West London, England.

On the Dragon Wings Airlines flight to Heathrow, Eun-Ji found solace in the in-flight entertainment, indulging in a classic martial arts movie that resonated with her love for combat skills. In the confines of economy class, she navigated the crowded cabin, savoring the in-flight meal—spicy bulgogi and rice paired with a refreshing ginger ale. Though the narrow seats hindered sound sleep, she managed to steal a few restless moments. An unexpected turbulence jolted her awake, leading her to the airplane’s restroom, a cramped space.

Upon arrival at Heathrow, she made her way to the departure screens at the terminal. Eun-Ji, embodying high society allure, donned a chic and sophisticated travel ensemble. She wore a tailored, ankle-length camel coat with subtle gold accents, cinched at the waist by a slim black leather belt. Underneath, a form-fitting black turtleneck highlighted her elegant neckline, seamlessly paired with wide-leg charcoal trousers that gracefully cascaded over her slender frame. The outfit was completed with black leather ankle boots adorned with discreet gold buckles, exuding both comfort and style.

Her accessories added a touch of glamour, featuring oversized square sunglasses with gradient lenses and delicate gold earrings. A structured black leather handbag, subtly monogrammed, hung gracefully from her shoulder, showcasing her affinity for both luxury and practicality.

Eun-Ji’s hairstyle combined sophistication and ease, with her long, glossy hair expertly framed her face. A subtle yet impeccable makeup look highlighted her features, emphasizing her eyes with a touch of mascara and a nude lip, radiating effortless beauty.

Discovering a time gap before her next flight, she opted to explore The Oceanic Pub and Kitchen. Stylish and graceful, she caught the eye of the patrons as she took a seat, the intricate designs of her ensemble reflecting her affluent background, not to mention her graceful figure.

Posted by : Lorem

Lumina followed Corinth to his food station of choice, a place called the Oceanic Pub and Kitchen, which appeared to be as good as any place one could dine at an airport. At first she had been thinking about just getting a light beer, but when Corinth offered to buy, she changed her mind and ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Just after their beverages were brought, Corinth uttered the dreaded words,

“I read your file”

That probably was a reasonable thing to do given the circumstances, but Lumina still felt somewhat violated, especially since she hadn’t thought to reciprocate. She could feel herself flushing as he continued…

“You’ve been on leave for awhile, getting your head back on straight after your last assignment? Are you good to go now?” Before she could respond, he continued, “What I’m really asking is, can I trust you to do what needs to be to be should things go sideways? To shoot, to kill… all the things. I need to know you got my back no matter what. If you can’t do that, for whatever reason, you’d be better off back at your desk because I can’t do our job while watching my back and yours.”

Lumina was rather taken aback, and her first instinct was to retaliate. Unfortunately, no witty comebacks came to mind, and the more she thought about it, the more she realized that it would be to her detriment to do so. She had penance to do to make up for the fiasco at Hyderabad. If Corinth gave a bad report of her efforts for this assignment, she could find herself even further in the doghouse. Lumina didn’t know if people got fired from the Templars, but she had seen first hand what the Templars did to people that knew too much that they didn’t need or couldn’t use, and it wasn’t pretty… As such, it would behoove her to make as good an impression on Corinth as she could.

Instead, the best she could muster was “I got your back, chief. You don’t need to worry about me.” Lumina was hesitant to talk about killing stuff in a public place like this. One never knew who was listening in, although with all the violence in movies, shows, and video games these days, people talking casually about killing may not be so unusual, so maybe she was just being paranoid.

Corinth seemed satisfied enough with this response and changed the topic. “I have heard this place has good fish and chips. I think I’ll have that.”

Ordering fish and chips in a bar called the Oceanic Pub and Kitchen seemed appropriate, so she ordered the same. Perhaps not terribly creative, but she had a lot of other things to figure out right now. For one, while Corinth was no doubt forming his opinions about her, she believed it prudent to get his measure as well, if only to figure out how best to behave to not incur his ire. But it was also just her nature to dig her nose into anything that she felt mattered and probably too many things that didn’t.

Lumina suspected that Corinth was of a similar bent to herself in this regard. If she gave him the means to do so, Corinth would get her to reveal more about herself than she wanted him to know. To avoid this, she decided to take the first opportunity available once the bartender had taken their orders to go on the offensive. Talking about work in such a public environment was obviously a bad idea, so instead she asked the next non-work related question that came to mind.

“So are you in a relationship with anyone?”

Lumina could feel herself reddening as she realized how improper that question was to start with, but she had found herself checking his hands for rings to see if he was married and had not seen one. Granted, people were less traditional these days than they had been, and in the Secret World, these types of things were even more complicated, but Lumina still found the ring check to be a regular part of her analysis of people.

Posted by : Sky

Eun-Ji scrutinized the menu with a subtly raised eyebrow, her expression betraying minimal enthusiasm for the available options. When the waiter arrived, she spoke with an air of decisive authority. “I’ll have the Grilled Salmon Salad, but hold the feta cheese, add extra avocado, make the dressing on the side, and can you substitute quinoa for the mixed greens? Oh, and grilled instead of poached salmon. And a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, preferably the 2019 Cloudy Bay.” The waiter, a bit flustered, nodded and hurried away to relay the complex order.

As she awaited her customized meal, Eun-Ji’s attention shifted to her cellphone, but soon turned to people watching. A faint familiar buzzing crept into in her head. She massaged her temples, a response to the recurring sensation that placated it. The buzzing, a constant companion since her induction as a Bee at age 11, had become a part of her life, an ever-present hum that she had learned to navigate with practiced ease. As a minor, she had no autonomy or wisdom to entertain the buzzing, and over time learned to simply ignore it at the behest of her parents.

Posted by Lorem

“Am I in a relationship? Is that what passes for small talk nowadays?” He laughed to himself as Lumina’s face started to change color, even if only slightly. “Now are you asking because you’re curious or because you’re interested?” He winked at her as he turned to the food that was placed in front of him.

“I know what you meant and the answer is no. Been a long time since I was in anything that resembled a relationship. Different life, so to speak.” He took a bite of one of his fries and trailed off for a second. “Look,” he said turning back to her, “whatever you did is over and done with as far as I’m converened. That was yesterday and today is today. You keep your head in today and we’ll get along just fine. No point in dwelling in the past. Learn from your mistakes and victories, then move on.” Taking a sip of his drink, he finished, “people who live in the past never go anywhere. That’s it,” biting into another fry, “that’s my lecture for today.”

Corinth continued eating and even ordered another round for himself and Lumina, even though he said he was only going to buy the first. He couldn’t help but notice the young woman that sat close to them wearing her expensive out. Corinth didn’t know fashion, but it looked expensive. When she placed her order, he couldn’t help but overhear her and thought that she sounded either really picky or she was a woman who knew what she wanted.

“So,” not looking at her, but paying more attention to his food and drink, “do you go by Lumina or is that a nickname? Should I call you something different? More professional?”

Not long after he asked his question, a man approached Corinth and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked over at him and noticed that he was wearing a uniform, signaling him as an employee of the airport.

“Are you the Sky Marshall for the San Francisco bound plane?”

Corinth looked over at Lumina and smiled, raising his eyebrows. “Why yes I am,” he replied back to the man.

“The captain of the plane wishes to speak with you before boarding begins.”

“They always do. Tell him I’ll be right there.” The employee nodded and then moved away back towards the loading gate.

“Duty calls.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out some money and tossed it on the counter. When he put that away, he reached in and pulled out a small prescription bottle, shook out a pill, and tossed it back, chasing it with the rest of his whiskey. “Don’t be late for the plane. I would hate for you to have to go back and tell the boss you got left behind. I got you bumped to first class. Thank me later.” He tipped his hat to her and walked away.

Posted by : Dblitz13