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 Perception

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Lord E V
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PostSubject: Perception   Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:29 pm

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The chateau had been a chore thus far, but Krikka knew from past experience that it was only going to get much worse. There she stood in front of the Ruined Passage, a specific section of the nonsensical building that was known for making even the rest of its structure look sane in comparison. It seemed to feel like being a normal hall on this day, but she wondered how long that would last. She knew not how the house worked, but she knew enough to recognize the infamous passage when she saw it even if it looked nothing like how it did in her first encounter with it. The truly was not looking forward to this part of the trip, especially since she didn't have any unwitting powerhouses to guide her this time around. It seemed she was the powerhouse now, at least compared to the individuals with her. It was supposed to be her job to do the protecting, which wasn't something she was happy about; and worse, she had gone and made things worse for herself by injuring both of them, one of which to the point of having to be carried.

She knew Goro no longer trusted her if he ever did in the first place, and Solus was unconscious. Odds were she would be getting no help if she got herself into any trouble; she couldn't recall the details, but she had dug herself into a hole and would have to work her way out of it. She would have considered turning back if not for her knowledge that "back" wasn't exactly a thing that existed in this place; unfortunately, her only option was forward. "Keep your guard up. This place is stupid," she spoke bitterly, quick and to the point without even making eye contact with the croagunk. Then without a moment's wait she started off down the hall, expecting Goro to follow her. He didn't have much of a choice at the moment, given his choices were to stick with the one capable of properly fending off all the ghosts and the apparent occasional psychic... or going off on his own and taking his chances. He was a brute, but Krikka doubted he was actually stupid enough to throw away all sense of self-preservation.

Solus was showing signs of life in the form of subtle movements and occasional noises, which had to be a good sign. Probably. The umbreon could only assume he wouldn't be happy about his condition when he finally woke up, but he'd just have to deal with it. At the moment, there were far more important things to worry about than the feelings of her allies... or herself, for that matter. She focused solely on the hall and tried to ignore the still-looming confusion regarding her own actions; she couldn't see any end to the path despite the light of candles running along the walls. There were no doors in sight either, leaving an empty hallway of indiscernible length to traverse. She knew that could change at any moment, but it was still a bit disheartening to see. She doubted moving forward at a faster pace would actually help to speed things along, so she kept her stride relatively low so as not to waste any energy. She had a lot of dead weight to carry anyway, which would have made running considerably more tasking than normal. She knew the big heap of buizel was burdening her by her own doing, but that wouldn't stop her from blaming him for it.

She wondered if Solus would stay with her after this... or Goro... or if they would both leave. Maybe she could regain their favor if she stayed true to her word and did what she had come here to do. Or maybe they'd leave, in which case why did she even care? It wasn't like she needed anyone else to help her; sure, the assistance was nice, but it was far from a requirement. She had managed just fine on her own before meeting either of them, and at least one of them wasn't useful for much more than entertainment. The more she thought about it, the more she decided her guilt and concern were misplaced, and the more those feelings faded away. If her two allies left her, it didn't matter; if they died, it didn't matter; if they decided to stay with her, good for them, but it still didn't matter. All she needed was herself, and all she needed to look out for was herself.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:20 am

The empty doorway and the room on the other side weren't much to look at, but they were all Krikka needed to see to brighten up her day. Not only was there a distinct lack of hostility in the air of this next room, but there was also another door on the other end that looked promising. Maybe, just maybe, she was finally about to reach the end of her journey, the thing that would make it all worth it. Maybe her luck was finally changing for the better and she would actually have something go her way without her having to force it to. She could hope, and she did. She hoped with all her being, because she wasn't sure how much more failure she could handle today. Literally. There was only so much that could go wrong before she wouldn't be able to handle it anymore in one way or another. Either Goro would just up and leave her or she would end up getting herself killed or... Well, she just really needed a break, and this next doorway seemed fairly likely to be that break. She knew the chamber followed the passage, and they were in the passage, so one of these doors had to lead to the chamber.

Krikka took an idle step further through the gateway as the others approached, her attention stuck to the door on the other end of the room. Of course, she would ask the froslass to open this one as well, but she wanted to get to it as quickly as possible. She moved to take another step, but then an unexpected presence caught her by surprise, helping her through the doorway. Her guard was down, and rightfully so; she had no reason to be wary of any attacks from behind when she had three allies at her back. Alas, it seemed she was wrong, as something had come along and thrust her straight into the room when she wasn't looking. Caught by surprise, she stumbled forward in a futile attempt to retain her footing before falling and meeting the cold floor once again. She was about sick of getting knocked down in this damned place. She heard the door shut behind her as she sprang back up in renewed anger, ready to bludgeon whatever had touched her to death. Good-girl act be damned, she had already stooped so low as to apologize for something, and she was done playing nice. Besides, with how likely it seemed that this next door would be the last one, she didn't have to worry about keeping the froslass on her side anymore.

As she stood, she got a good look at the room and was thoroughly unimpressed. It was about as simple as it had seemed from the outside, boasting a few candles mounted on the walls and not much else. The only noteworthy thing aside from the doors on either end was her assailant, the identity of whom she learned as she promptly spun to meet them. For a moment she was confused and speechless at the sight of none other than her pet buizel standing before her. He was in front of the door, and he was the only one there with her, which suggested he was the one who had decided to push her. "You-" she began, planning to give only a very brief verbal description of how pissed she was before moving on to physical demonstration. She no longer cared about the many reasons she had not to beat him half to death. It was a very small gesture he had made, but still one she took great offense to; it was far worse than his constant sass, at any rate. Who did he suddenly think he was?

But while Krikka wanted nothing more than to beat Solus' pretty little face in, a realization dawned on her and took precedence: the door was closed. Her eyes widened at the sheer stupidity of her pet. "Y-you moron! Why would you close the door!? Have you not realized the rooms in this place move!?" her voice picked up as she realized how utterly stupid Solus had been. Being mad at her or whatever this was supposed to be was one thing, but he didn't have to risk separating them from Goro just to prove some point. The umbreon darted to her left and moved to run around the ugly little idiot in front of her so she could get to the door, sparing not another word for him. She just wanted to see Goro's face again so she could be sure she hadn't already been separated from him.

___________________________________________

Meanwhile in the hall, Nevi jumped, or... floated back in surprise as the umbreon's own teammate suddenly shoved her into the room ahead then slammed the door and cut the group in two. The froslass was hesitant to say or do anything for a moment, baffled by this sudden development. The buizel had said something under his breath, but she didn't know what, so she had no context to go off of and no way to know what this was all about. "Um..." She was hesitant to say anything, but she very much wanted to ask the remaining croagunk for some clarity. These were his friends, after all, so he surely had some insight to offer on why one had suddenly shut himself in a room with another. She moved closer to the door and reached a hand out toward it, but stopped and turned toward the croagunk as if looking for guidance. "Should we...?" She didn't know what more to say, but she wouldn't have had the time to say much else anyway; she was interrupted by voices from inside the room.

Or rather, voice. Singular. Anivia's voice, muffled and difficult to make out through the literal wall between them, but still distinctly hers. She sounded... upset.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:01 pm

Goro wasn't in a huge hurry to follow his leader into another room - his pace was relaxed and unhurried, maybe even lazy. On the other hand, it seemed Solus was. The buizel swept by him, moving fast enough that the croagunk had to wonder if he was really all that hurt, muttering a hushed order to keep an eye on the ghost as he followed Krikka. And before Goro could really say anything or even process the concept of Solus giving him an order, the buizel pushed Krikka through the open doorway. An instant later, he watched the buizel shut the door on him, followed only by blissful silence. For a few moments, Goro wondered if the two of them had just ditched him, but given that Solus had told him to watch Nevi, that didn't seem so likely. But he couldn't think of a good reason to shove Krikka like that and then proceed to enclose himself in a space all alone with her - did he just like the punishment? Or was something bigger going on here, something that had gone over his head that he'd just missed? He wasn't sure if he even wanted to know. It seemed most likely that Solus was just delirious at this point. Forget maybe not being as injured as they thought; maybe he was really fucked up, to do something like that.

Odds are he was about to be - or even was at this very moment - very severely reprimanded. Maybe whatever he had to say was worth it, though. Something that he had to say privately, not within earshot of him or Nevi. Goro didn't feel very slighted by this. He barely knew the two other Pokémon at this point. And, if he thought about it, he actually disliked them both. On the other hand, he was perfectly happy to keep Nevi company while they hashed out whatever issues Solus thought he had. She, at least, seemed rational and sane enough. He was initially suspicious of the ghost type, but after talking to her some and having his hide saved by her quick thinking and diplomatic skills, he found that he was warming up to her very quickly. In the silence enveloping the room after the froslass trailed off, Goro let loose an explosive sigh through his nostrils and folded his arms, the tension and stress draining from him as the croagunk veritably sunk in on himself. A moment of peace actually sounded really, really nice right about now. It didn't occur to him that the closed door might result in the room switching locations somewhere. "Naw. They're probably just... talkin'.

"... probably. Yer guess is as good as mine, really. I haven't been with 'em for very long."
After making his way over to the doorway his two "teammates" rushed through, Goro leaned up against the wall next to it and allowed himself to sink down, sitting on the floor adjacent to the floating ghost with her hand on the doorway. The croagunk let his head rock backward to stare up at the passageway's ceiling, his gaze absent but thoughtful. Between his melancholic words and his less than enthused body language, he probably painted quite the gloomy picture. It wasn't as if he was being dishonest, though - Goro had just joined the two of them. He had no clue as to how long the two of them had been running around together, but there was at least a sizable kernel of truth to what he was saying. He didn't want to lie to Nevi if he didn't have to. "Still workin' out the kinks, as you can see."

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:52 pm

Solus pressed himself against the door behind him in an effort to prevent Krikka from opening the door again. Not that he could really prevent her from doing—even if he were perfectly healthy. The fact that closing the door might have meant separating the group hasn't occurred to him in the moment he had made the decision but he didn't regret it. Goro and Nevi were… Expendable. Although Solus doubted they'd be lucky enough to get away from either of them. But that wasn't the goal anyway. He had decided he couldn't wait to discuss with Krikka and took an opportunity as it was presented to him. Whether or not it was a wise decision—or if it would make any difference at all—remained to be seen.

“Krikka, stop! I doubt the rooms are going to move—I can't get they lucky—but it won't matter if you keep pushing through this place like you're doing!” The topic of discussion established, Solus took a step toward the umbreon and away from the door. There was no point staying against it if she decided she didn't want to participate in the conversation. “I don't know why you're so desperate to get to wherever we're going and doing whatever we're here to do but it won't matter if you get yourself killed. You're being too reckless—you practically charged into this room right after we almost got mobbed for charging into the last one literally seconds ago; not to mention the room with the psychic—which I don't remember properly and…” His voice went quieter and softer as if it would somehow make the next part less accusatory. “And I'm starting to think that might not be due to anything the psychic did…”

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:12 pm

A snap decision was forgivable, but Solus was making it clear that what he was doing was very deliberate. Krikka skidded to a halt as her subordinate put himself against the door; she could now see that he was actually trying to keep her secluded in this room with him. There wasn't much to be left up to the imagination as to why, and it was immediately made even clearer by his words. He didn't think the rooms would shift, which Krikka disagreed with, but this concern became distant as he continued into a rant of sorts. He disagreed with her behavior, and honestly, it was hard to argue against that, despite how much she wanted to. She had only moved to look into this particular room because the froslass hadn't given any indication of danger or reason to be wary, but most of her other decisions on this day had yielded wholly negative results. He was right, but that didn't mean he was allowed to question her in such a way and with such an attitude. He truly seemed to have forgotten his place and decided he could simply do whatever he pleased.

For a moment, Krikka was surprised, and it showed clearly in her speechlessness and stunned expression. Solus had gone mad and wanted to die. He ended his little speech with an open reference to his injuries and a suspicion that she was the cause of them, which should have made her feel at least a bit guilty since she knew it to be true and actually regretted it. However, in the moment, she didn't care. At first she was just shocked, but that quickly melted away, and along with it went the matching demeanor, replaced with a scowl. She didn't have to justify herself to her slave, and she didn't intend to try. "You think it was me?" she questioned, her voice cold and hollow as if she felt nothing at the accusation. She took a step toward the buizel as she continued, "If you believe I would do this to you..." Her eyes stared straight through his, and her speech slowed as she went on. "Then perhaps you should think more carefully before speaking out of turn." She grew quieter and leaned in toward him, her right leg lifting as she held her soulless gaze on him.

Then, with a slow and concise movement, she pressed her paw against the buizel's chest and pushed him back against the door, pinning him to it. Her body crept forward fluidly to keep her face right in front of his; she was close enough for him to feel her breath, and she made no effort to hold it in. She didn't want to hit him at this very moment since there were still a number of reasons why that wasn't a good idea, but that didn't mean she couldn't send him a message in obedience. "You are my property, not my adviser."

___________________________________________

With the two alone together, Braum now had Nevi's undivided attention. His reassurance that the others were alright was enough to rid her of her concerns. Since it seemed they would now have time to kill, she decided to pick back up with their conversation and maybe ask a few questions of her own for a change. After all, she had done nothing but talk about herself, and that seemed rude on top of being a bit unsatisfying on her end; she wanted to know more about these new friends, after all, and she had curiosities of their own. "Well, alright, if you say so," she conceded, hovering away from the door so that she wouldn't be right in front of it when they opened it back up. She grasped her hands together in an idle motion as she tried to think of something to fill the silence. Fortunately, she was good at talking, so it didn't take long at all for her to think of a good question. "Why are you all here, anyway? Sorry if I'm prying. It's just... explorers don't normally come here for the welcoming environment, y'know? It's not much of a tourist attraction."

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:54 pm

Fortunately, it seemed that Nevi didn't want to linger on the topic of his two allies for long. He registered her floating away from the door a bit in his peripheral, but it wasn't until she clasped her hands together all cute-like and piped up with another question did he let his head turn toward her. It was a... really good question. One that he didn't have much of an answer to. The only thing that Krikka had said so far that alluded to their purpose here was that they were going to "summon an evil god or something." And that didn't strike him as the most appropriate thing to say to Nevi; he didn't want to lie to her, but how was one supposed to tell a girl that they were going to summon a dark lord in their house? Or... whatever it was that they were actually doing. There was one way for him to be both honest and dishonest here, but it pained him to go through with it. Still, he feared Krikka's wrath more than his own feelings about lying to Nevi. If she found out somehow that he had alluded to her goals here in this hellish mansion, she could do a number of things to him. A beating he could handle, but given their location, there was always just the option of ditching him here. That was probably the worst thing she could do, and he very much did not want to experience the chateau all alone. Still, he couldn't bring himself to look at the froslass while he fed her bullshit, so he turned his gaze steadfastly back toward the ceiling above them.

"I dunno, really. She's the boss, and she don't really tell us much." There. That wasn't a lie, he didn't think; everything he said was true, technically. He was just... withholding a bit of truth from her. Honestly, there was a chance that they weren't even going to do anything unholy here. Goro never really put much stock into legends or gods or anything like that, and he doubted the validity of Krikka's claim very much. Plus, she herself didn't even seem certain of their purpose here - at least, not when she had said so in the beginning. The "or something" detracted from the gravitas of her statement quite a bit. Or at least he thought so. He thought it was more likely that there was simply some kind of treasure waiting here that Krikka wanted to get her paws on before anyone else. It was just that the road there was a bit too tough for her to run it solo; maybe that's why she needed to pick up another lackey. She'd proven herself to be less than cautious on the way here, so having another meatshield or just someone to pick up the slack wasn't going to hurt her endeavor at all. His mind drifted back to Nevi's words - specifically, the last thing she had said. To be true, the haunted house so far was very... not welcoming. But there was at least one upside to this, and that was Nevi herself. "Chateau's not all bad, though.

"We met you here, and you kinda... well, you kinda saved our asses."
Now that he was on an easier topic, he let himself take in the froslass floating in the passageway, staring up at her thoughtfully. He wasn't entirely comfortable with what he was about to say, and he found that it was very hard to force the words out. Nevi could have just left them all to their fates when they'd ran into that room full of ghosts, and she could have saved herself. But she'd actually put herself at risk to save them all. Even Krikka, who had given her grief on the way here. Even him, who hadn't thought twice about jumping into the fight, despite all the reasons he had not to. Saying thank you should have been an easy thing, but suddenly his throat felt very thick now that he was trying to communicate it. He'd never been comfortable with sappiness before. In the end, though, it was easier said than done. Or... easier done than said? Fuck it, it was harder than he thought and he needed a minute. "So... you know."

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:59 am

It had started okay. Somehow, Solus had managed to avoid getting immediately assaulted. But Krikka wasn’t having it. She refused to be reasonable, to take his words into consideration. Or maybe she would, but not without making it clear that she didn’t have to and that he wasn’t supposed to be giving her advice. Her initial response was a question—one that Solus could certainly answer. He had an answer almost immediately, in fact. He was fairly certain that Krikka was at least partially accountable, but he also suspected that she had likely acted in response to something he had said or done. He probably deserved it. Regardless, Solus didn’t actually care why the umbreon did whatever she had done that resulted in his head injury. He was only really bothered by the fact that she would risk the health of one of her allies in a place as dangerous of the chateau.

But he couldn’t say any of that. He was about to, but Krikka stepped forward and continued speaking, which took the words from him. As the umbreon spoke, her gaze seemed to get more intense; her words somehow more threatening. Then she lifted a paw. Solus was quick to grow used to physical harm—especially from Krikka. Perhaps it was due to the fact that he always either expected it or was caught completely off guard that it didn’t really effectively influence him. If Krikka simply relied on using Iron Tail every time Solus stepped out of line he’d probably never learn his lesson. But this wasn’t an outright attack this time.

She pressed him against the door with her paw, trapping him. She was very close, her face just a few inches from his. This was far more effective. Krikka proceeded to remind Solu of exactly where his place was. This was not how he had expected this to go. He thought that maybe Krikka would simply ignore him, or perhaps she’d continue to make strategically poor decisions and hit him a few times just to remind him that she was in charge as she had been trying to do. Solus was prepared to elaborate on his thoughts and try different means to get through to the arrogant umbreon. Maybe he would have tried illuminating the fact that she was acting in a self destructive manner; “If you keep throwing yourself through doors right into combat you’re going to get yourself killed, which will making summoning an evil god or something pretty fucking difficult.” Perhaps he would have tried using her own words against her; “If I’m not allowed to die, neither are you. Because if you do then there’s no one to enforce your rule and make sure I don’t die.” Or maybe he’d even try to be a bit sincere; “Please, you’re being too reckless. We need you alive and well if we even hope to get out of here.”

But he wasn’t able to get any of that out. When Solus tried speaking his words came out short, quiet, incoherent stutters. “I—Kr—K—I…” His words failed him. His thoughts were disrupted too, being overwhelmed by an indecipherable static. Krikka was somehow more intimidating now, simply speaking to him in this way than she ever way demonstrating her ability to due actual harm. Unable to think clearly or speak intelligibly, all Solus could do was continue to meet the vixen’s piercing gaze. But he found he couldn’t even do that; he started to shiver a bit—although he didn’t realise it—and attempted to avert his gaze, which was difficult given their close proximity and the fact that he was pinned in place. He opted to stare down at the paw pressed against his chest instead.  He had been prepared to take a few hits. He was far from prepared for this.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:40 pm

Krikka had to suppress a grin at the reaction - or rather, lack of one - that her toy demonstrated.  Hitting him had been losing its effect as of late, only serving to make him begrudgingly shut up for a short time, but this seemed to have genuinely unnerved him.  Suddenly, he wasn't so interested in talking, or at least, he couldn't find the words with which to do so.  For the first time since she had met him, it seemed he was actually scared of her; finally, he understood his place.  It was actually a bit... odd not to be met with some kind of resistance, or at the very least, just reluctant silence.  Sure, he had listened to her commands plenty before, but it was always more of a "Sure" than an "Okay please don't hurt me."  This time, however, he was afraid or at least very shocked... and it was great.  In essence, the buizel had asked Krikka to take things more seriously, and now she was, starting with his impudence.  Perhaps she should have been thanking him for reminding her that she couldn't get what she wanted without focusing, but the idea of showing gratitude of all things seemed counterproductive.

But it wasn't enough.  She now wanted to test the effects of her demonstration of dominance, to see if Solus was actually starting to understand his place.  She pulled her paw away from him and stepped back, giving him a bit of breathing room as if to allow him to relax.  Her emotionless demeanor faded into a more casual state as she sat down and stared at the buizel.  "Now take a moment to collect yourself..." she spoke in an authoritative tone, though distinctly different from how she had just been.  It was more like her normal self, with a hint of actual life in her voice as well as her body.  It took effort to actively try to be intimidating, and she was fairly sure she had already done enough of that.  Besides, she felt it would send a clearer message if what she had to say next was presented without any active effort put toward pressuring him.  She wanted to be sure he knew that this meant he was to be her obedient slave not just when she acted scary, but always.  "Then open the door."

This simple command was intended to show that Solus' word held no weight and he would not get what he wanted.  Not only would she ignore and neglect to address his concern, but she would make him be the one to personally enact her will on the matter.  She felt that making him do it on her behalf would help emphasize that he was to be nothing more than an extension of her will with no opinion and no say in what they did.  The offer for him to take a minute before doing as he was told was not made out of kindness, and in fact, wouldn't have been made at all if not for necessity; Krikka didn't want her slave to make the guide suspicious by acting all traumatized.  She wanted him to be traumatized, but she also wanted to make sure he would be able to act fine... or... as close to fine as he was going to get.  He was already kind of a basket case and, at the moment, very obviously not doing well on a physical level, so there was nothing that could be done about that.

___________________________________________

At the mention of the "boss," Nevi glanced at the door and pondered what the reason could be.  Actually, she was curious about a lot of things, such as why two of them had secluded themselves to talk in private.  She wasn't stupid; she knew there were only a few reasons to do something like that, and she could draw her own conclusions, but she still couldn't help but wonder.  They were having either an important discussion or argument that they wanted to keep private... or a violent make-out session.  On second thought, she was just going to assume it was the prior and didn't want to know otherwise.  Her attention was brought back to Braum as he explicitly referenced her, and in such a positive light that she just couldn't help but give a coy little smile and blush.  She looked down at her hands and away from the croagunk, giggling lightly at his attempted show of gratitude.  She got the message even if it wasn't clearly stated, and more importantly, she had received a compliment.  "Well, I like to be helpful, and you all seem nice," she responded, trying not to make a big deal of something that was just second nature to her.

Really, she would have helped pretty much anyone as long as they seemed like they deserved it, and this wasn't the first time she had.  It helped that she liked company, especially the kind to give her compliments and actually entertain her in conversation.  Still, she didn't want to give the croagunk a chance to try and make her kindness into a big thing, so she quickly reached for something to change the topic to.  "You should leave though.  There are things in here that are more dangerous than you can imagine."  Suddenly, her eyes came back up to meet him.  This was a serious topic for her since the one thing she wanted more than anything else was for no one to be hurt.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:28 am

As Goro trailed off, he blinked in confusion as he heard the froslass he was speaking to giggle. All of the sudden, he noticed that she was wearing the coyest little smile, folding her hands together all demurely, looking away from him as if she were embarrassed, and damn him if it didn't paint just the cutest picture. Still, he didn't want to sit there staring slackjawed at the ghost, so he hurriedly averted his gaze back down to his lap, staring down at the floor between his legs. He wasn't entirely sure what it was she found so funny, or why she was giggling at him, but he wasn't sure he liked the way he felt about it. The croagunk wasn't even certain that he knew how it made him feel in the first place. There was a certain pressure in the conversation that was totally unlike the kind in his conversations with his "teammates." He was worried because he didn't want to come off as rude or dumb in front of this girl because he didn't want her to think bad of him. Not because he feared the repercussions of incurring her wrath. He didn't think she was laughing at him - maybe just something he said, or what he had said. The thank you was very strongly implied, and he was just about to get it out, but it seemed that she got the message before it came to that. 

He was grateful and relieved - it was nice to be understood that way, without having to force himself to say thanks and come off as all sappy. All he'd done was lead into it and she understood. It was even sort of enjoyable, talking to her this way. Either way, it was definitely a welcome change of pace from the constant stress and danger that came with exploring the chateau. He did kind of feel bad for Nevi, though. Apparently, she thought they all "seemed nice." He didn't know about... well, he didn't think anyone in their little ragtag band was nice. Solus might be fine once one got to know him, but considering that his first experience with the buizel was him throwing rocks at Goro, they didn't exactly get on well. Krikka was every bit as sadistically cruel as she was standoffish and condescending, not to mention stupidly powerful. And as for himself... well, he didn't think he was that nice, either. Especially since his favorite thing to do was hurt people and he was sort of in the process of making a career out of it. Maybe. He didn't know if this was even a job yet - it felt more like he was joining a gang. Otherwise, he was slow and awkward and not at all good at talking to people, so he was sure it wouldn't be long now before Nevi got bored with him and moved on to something more exciting. But for now, he'd enjoy her company for as long as she would grace him with it. But things took a somber tone, and quickly at that. The croagunk blinked once more as he registered Nevi's next words. She... thought they should leave? Or just him? There were dangerous things in the haunted mansion? Well, shit, of course there were - they'd run into a pretty big example of that already.

"Well... yeah, we got a taste of that a few rooms back." He didn't think things got much more dangerous than a half dozen ghosts and a psychic - especially for a poison and fighting type like him - but... maybe Nevi knew something about the mansion that they didn't. She lived here, after all, so he trusted her word on the place more than he did Krikka's. Goro looked up at the froslass once more, taking in the look in her eyes and she bore into him with her gaze. She's serious about this. He tried his best to level her with a similar look, to communicate to her that they weren't as out of their element as they seemed. Krikka may be taking them on a dangerous ride, but he was tough enough to endure it. He'd already forgotten what kind of cover story Krikka had come up with to explain Solus' injuries, but he couldn't imagine that Nevi thought the group had come this far without encountering any resistance. They all knew firsthand just how dangerous the chateau was. Or at least they were... coming to appreciate it. The jury was still out on the umbreon, but maybe that's what Solus was working on now if he wasn't being viciously beaten into submission on the other side of the door. He didn't hear any cries of pain or the sounds of fighting, though, so either Solus was taking his beating like a champ or Krikka had resorted to other means. Or, shit, maybe she was hearing him out. He didn't know the depths of their relationship. "And we managed all right. We've been good so far. Is it... harder? Deeper inside, I mean?"

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:43 am

Eyes fixed on the paw against his chest, Solus tracked its movement and Krikka stepped back away from him. Krikka spoke, and though her tone was relatively more lively than it had just been seconds ago, Solus continued to avoid looking at her directly. Perhaps, if he wasn’t in such a sorry state—physically wounded just about everywhere, concussed, and recently traumatized by nightmares and flashbacks—maybe he wouldn’t be so quickly subdued by the umbreon’s new tactic. But whether or not that was true didn’t matter, what Krikka was doing was effective; perhaps a bit too effective. The buizel’s heart rate was up, he was shaken, and despite Krikka’s change in tone, he was slow to relax even slightly.

She wanted him to open the door. The instant he heard the order Solus realised what following through would mean. Goro and Nevi would be on the other side of the door. Nevi was supposed to think that the three Pokémon she was meant to be guiding were friendly, do-good adventurers. Had he already screwed that perception up by shoving Krikka into this room and splitting the party? And even if he hadn’t already, he had to keep that illusion up as soon as he opened the door, and he couldn’t even remember his own alias, let alone the others. Then there was Goro, who had more experience with Solus and Krikka. He’d probably notice something was up pretty quickly, but that was of far less concern than Nevi.

Solus realise he had been standing idle, staring at the floor, for what was probably too long. He was still pressed against the door despite there being no paw pinning him there. He blinked and shook his head slightly, snapping out of his apparent daze. He opened his mouth to apologize but still couldn’t find any words. He took a single step away from the door and turned to face it. It was this movement that made him realise how shaky he was and he took a deep breath—which was equally as shaky—in an attempt to relax. After several more attempts at this, he managed to stop for the most part, although his twin tails continued to twitch slightly; a nervous tick that he didn’t seem to notice.

Without any more delay, Solus gripped the handle of the door and pulled it open, being sure to stay out of sight behind it.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:45 am

As expected, Solus no longer had the will to uphold his stubborn defiance.  Krikka watched with satisfaction as her subordinate moved to open the door; she felt pride at the sight of him struggling to calm and control himself.  For once, he actually seemed to understand who she was, and that alone was enough to make this trip worth it... but there was still more to come.  When they all saw that she was serious about what she had promised, they would know to follow and trust her, and there would be no more questioning of her decisions.  If the buizel needed any more pressure to shut up than the fear she had just instilled in him, she was pretty sure this would do it.  All she had to do was just get them to their destination and let the rest play itself out, and she was confident enough that she could manage that much.  After all, it was still at the forefront of her mind that the next door would probably be the last, meaning she just had to keep them following her a little bit longer.  Well, she was pretty sure she didn't have to worry about Solus trying to split, but Goro's situation was very different, and after her rather pathetic display thus far, she felt like she probably needed something to reassure him.

Speaking of Goro, when the door finally opened, it was just in time to cut off a sentence from the froslass presumably directed at him: "It's not that it-"

Of course, Krikka was curious as to what they happened to be chatting about, but she didn't care enough to ask.  For that matter, she didn't care enough to apologize about suddenly interrupting them, either.  "We ready to get going?" she questioned with a sense of pep she actually didn't have to fake.  Not even Solus being himself was enough to dampen her mood when she was so close to achieving what she had come to this house to do.  To show her question was rhetorical, she turned and started off through the room toward the closed door on the other side, not stopping to wait for the others to agree.  She was stopped, however, by Nevi speaking out from behind.

"W-wait, don't you want me to scout again?" the froslass spoke as she rushed by Krikka, seeming very rushed and behaving as if her inquiry was urgent.

Krikka didn't have any time to respond, but it wasn't as if she minded, and in fact, she probably would have asked anyway.  "Uh... sure..." she spoke in a bit of a surprised mutter, confused at what was up with the sudden change in her guide's behavior.  It wasn't any less annoying, but the ghost's decision to check ahead seemed like a good one.  Krikka watched as the froslass flew through the door... then came back barley a second later, seemingly oddly nervous.

"We should turn back.  Th-this is the chamber, and-" Nevi started up, speaking fast and stumbling over her own words, but even through her newfound nervous energy, Krikka still managed to interrupt her.

"Oh, goody!  That's where we're headed!" the umbreon exclaimed, literally jumping for joy with a wide, stupid grin on her face.  This was fake, but she still didn't want to tip the froslass off quite yet; maybe she could just get the damned thing to leave...  It had helped them quite a lot, after all, so it seemed a bit unfair to just backstab the creature if she didn't have to.

Unfortunately, the froslass wasn't being swayed easily.  "No, not goody!" Nevi shouted, though her tone was more concerned than mad.  "That room is more dangerous than you know.  No one should be in there," she insisted, creeping closer to the group with a fearful expression.  It was painfully clear that she didn't want them in this room, and that she was afraid of whatever she thought was inside.

Krikka turned to her allies as if looking for their opinions.  In truth, she was just hoping one of them had an idea for how to get the froslass to stop nagging.  She figured they could gather that this next room was where they needed to be, so they surely wouldn't be deterred by the insistent warnings any more than she was.  Well, maybe Solus would, but he probably wouldn't have anything to say regardless.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:48 am

Goro wasn't sure what Nevi was implying here. His hairless brow furrowed in thought as he wondered what exactly this froslass was trying to say. He and his group had become more than familiar with the dangers of the chateau, and more likely than not they all had a healthy respect for it. For them to get so far into this dungeon - for them to have survived this long - that had to be apparent, didn't it? Or did Nevi think that he had gotten here on dumb luck? She had only met with their group very recently, so it wasn't as if she was present for any of their fights or gotten any insight into their capabilities. But they were capable. Krikka was ludicrously powerful and ruthlessly efficient, he was strong and versatile, and Solus was at least clever enough to survive and tough enough to withstand truly impressive amounts of punishment. But this ghost had seen none of that; the closest she ever got to seeing them in action was scooping him out of the air before he could earthquake a room full of ghosts. And it probably wasn't even apparent that he was going for that specifically - did she just think they were all weak? It was the only thing he could think of that would explain this kind of behavior from her. And if the dangers ahead were even more lethal than what they already faced, it would make sense for her to warn them away from proceeding. The thought was vaguely insulting of course, but coming from Nevi it didn't sting quite as deep. He knew just from talking to her and the genuine way she spoke that she was just concerned about their wellbeing and wanted to keep anyone from getting hurt.

Still, he wasn't sure how he was supposed to tell this girl that they were going to go on further regardless. There was no way that Krikka was going to let herself be talked out of whatever objective she had waiting for her, waiting deeper inside this hellish haunted house, and he was along for the ride specifically to beat up things that gave them trouble. At this point, it was a lot less fun that he thought it would be, but it was a notch on his belt, so to speak. How many people could say that they'd survived circumstances similar to this? And then there was whatever Nevi was actually talking about laying in wait further beyond. Was it another Pokémon, so strong that even Nevi - who had scared off and stood up to several ghosts of considerable power - was going out of her way to warn travelers away from? Some grander challenge designed to test the might and grit of intruders? The prospect was definitely exciting to him, and he was at a loss as to how to break the bad news to Nevi. What the hell was he supposed to say? Yeah, sorry, I get that you don't want anyone to get hurt but I'm pretty sure the lady in charge is going to ignore you and I'm kind of looking forward to it? Like that would blow over well. Thankfully, though, it seemed that Nevi was going to elaborate further, and Goro leaned up in active interest and avid curiosity as she spoke once more.

... Only to be interrupted by the woman of the hour. Unconsciously, a disappointed frown fixed itself on Goro's face as Krikka popped out of a suddenly open door to cut Nevi off, "asking" them if they were ready to continue. Why not just order them around? That, at least, would be more honest with herself and with Nevi, who was going out of her way to guide them to their destination. At least the umbreon didn't waste any time fishing for a response she obviously didn't give a shit for, turning right back on her heel and into the room she'd come from. With a tired exhale, Goro leaned forward and rose himself to his feet, pushing off his knees. At least he'd gotten a moment of rest, and the chat with Nevi hadn't gone awfully. He'd at least given her an implied thank you, and she picked up on it well enough. The croagunk blinked in surprise as Nevi rushed after her, and he followed the two inside with a certain haste to his movements. She offered to scout once more, sounding very... worried. Of course Krikka oh so hesitantly accepted, and Goro could only watch as the froslass floated through the room and the door at the end, reappearing with a certain frantic nervous air about her. Whatever was in there, she didn't have a taste for it, that was for sure.

Apparently, the "chamber" was in there, and according to Krikka - by the legends, she was scary when she was happy - that was their destination. He heard the implied gravity that went with the word chamber, and it dawned on him that they were suddenly at their journey's end. Or at least the super secret objective of their mission would become clear soon, and he was overcome with a rush of energy and excitement. Finally, he would see what exactly they had come here for. It would also tell him quite a bit about the dark type herself. Like what exactly she thought was worth all of this trouble, and why she had risked all of their lives to come this for. Still, though, Nevi wasn't exactly cooperative. Goro visibly started when the froslass rose her voice for the first time since they met, shouting her opposition for everyone to hear. Again, with the "more dangerous than you can imagine" nonsense. Whatever was in there had her deathly afraid, that much was obvious. He was glad that Krikka didn't immediately dark pulse the ghost into oblivion, though. Actually raising her voice like that was a ballsy move when it came to this vixen, and even though Nevi didn't know the depths of her cruelty and power, Goro was impressed. But he wasn't swayed either. Whatever was behind that door was also the reason that he had gone through all of this, and it would give him insight as to what kind of person his new "leader" really was. If they'd come this far for something asinine or pointless, he'd know how unreliable she was. Furthermore, whatever was in there was likely strong. And that was something that appealed to him. He wanted this fight.

"Whatever's in there has got you afraid of it, don't it? It can be taken care of." He wasn't oblivious enough that this would escape him. Nevi was scared of this next room, or whatever it was that was in it. He could only imagine that it was a truly mighty Pokémon, heartless enough that even Nevi couldn't make friends with it. He definitely did not mind being the one to smash its face in for her. And simply turning back at this point would just be pointless. The croagunk stepped forward, trying to meet the froslass' gaze. He didn't want to just run right over her like this, but they had come here for a reason and he refused to go home empty-handed. "I'd be happy to help, and it ain't like we don't have business here anyway."

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:23 pm

Tired. Wounded. Angry—at himself and others. Confused. A little embarrassed, now that Goro and Nevi could likely see the state he was in—though they seemed focused on the topic of the next room and seemed to pay him no mind. Solus was scared, too. Nevi seemed to believe that the room ahead was in some way dangerous. She lived here, so if something was bad enough to worry a resident of the Chateau than it was probably a serious concern. But Krikka being Krikka, wasn't going to turn back now. Solus had attempted to get her to stop and just think for a moment and she ignored him. More than that, she took it as an opportunity to finally put him back in his place; and it worked. Regardless of what Nevi said, Solus wasn't going to argue with Krikka anymore, even if he thought it was best for her that she didn't keep pressing through the dungeon like nothing else mattered.

Solus really did have good intentions when he pulled—or pushed—Krikka aside. Her recklessness was... Concerning. On the other hand, her determination was admirable; maybe it'd be a little more so if he actually knew her motivation. But that didn't really matter here anyway. Nothing Solus thought about the umbreon or her actions mattered. He was effectively mute here—he didn't want to speak out of term. He was not an advisor. Krikka had called him property which—as taboo as the phrasing may be—wasn't inaccurate. They'd made a deal and the terms were pretty clear. Solus knew what he was risking, but at the time he didn't realise exactly what he was getting himself into. It would be in his character to choose freedom over his honour; to run at the first chance he could and escape the dangerous, possibly quite unstable umbreon. And yet he hardly even considered the idea, not because he didn't think he could get away or because he was afraid of what would happen if he was to get caught again. Not even because he was afraid Krikka would go after someone he cared about—Xeno.

No, there was only one thing truly keeping Solus from trying to break away from Krikka's reigns. It was a stupid thing. A fragment of the remains of his futile attempt to adopt a good guy persona. It was good intentioned. He wanted to uphold his honour, even to his own detriment. That meant continuing to uphold his agreement with Krikka despite how idiotic it was. The irony is that this last remanent of his good guy act was actually the thing that guaranteed the act's deconstruction. It wasn't so much maintaining honour anymore—Solus didn't really have any honour to uphold—now it was a matter of pride. Pride and, perhaps, a bit of something else.

Solus closed the door as quietly as possible. He didn't want to bring attention to himself, but if Nevi happened to notice perhaps she'd interpret it as Solus agreeing with Krikka and Goro in their decision to continue forward. He didn't agree with the decision at all, but it wasn't his to make. He then proceeded to walk up and stand next to Krikka—his demeanour a stark contrast to hers. He continued to avoid making eye contact with anyone. He didn't want to be here. He was making every effort to be as unnoticeable as possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:27 am

Truly, Krikka hadn't expected much from her comrades, but she was pleasantly surprised by their assistance.  Solus in specific didn't seem like he was in a state to argue or even speak, but even he demonstrated their collective resolve by shutting the door behind them and showing he held no belief that they would be turning around anytime soon.  Still, it wasn't much, especially compared to how well Goro was pulling his weight toward making the froslass give up.  The croagunk opted to get in by offering their services, proposing that they would handle whatever was in there that seemed to be such a big deal.  This offer probably would have been more effective had they been given a chance to demonstrate to their guide that they were capable of fighting, but even then, the likelihood of such an argument swaying someone so clearly against violence seemed low.  Still, compounded with everything else, the ghost would have been an idiot to continue trying to persuade them; if nothing else, they were all making it obvious that they had no intention of simply leaving, all protests from some random ghost aside.

Alas, this didn't seem to be enough to get Nevi to shut up and sit down.  The froslass drifted backward, away from the group and toward the supposed door to the chamber, still giving her same worried stare.  "Another group tried something similar before.  They were strong.  It didn't work," she responded, making her counterargument very straightforward and quick to the point.  This wasn't all she had to say on the matter, however, and she continued without sufficient pause to allow for any objections.  "And they came here knowing what they were getting into.  You say you're explorers, so how can you have no idea why you should stay away from the chamber?  You should know!" her voice raised in exclamation toward the end, now a bit more argumentative, but still clearly not without genuine worry.  At this point, her behavior was more like pleading, growing more desperate by the second.

It was at this point that the froslass finally took a moment to breathe, and since it was clear that Solus wouldn't be speaking and Goro's voice alone wasn't enough, Krikka decided to step back in.  "We do know.  That's why we're-" she started up, her aim being to spin a web of lies around how they were here to stop the spooky monster or whatever.  They definitely weren't.  Unfortunately, she didn't get very far before the froslass decided to interrupt her.  This ghost was beginning to test her patience.

"You might know.  Your friends don't, and I doubt you understand what you're getting them into..." Nevi's attention focused on the umbreon as she spoke, arms out in front of her as if presenting something; the gesture added to her appearance of pleading, even begging.  Then the emotion in the vixen opposite to her suddenly melted away, replaced with annoyance.  She drifted further back.  "...Or maybe you do."

"I-" Krikka's mouth opened, but she barely got a single syllable out before being interrupted once more.

"It doesn't matter," the froslass stated rather bluntly, hanging her head in defeat.  For a moment, it seemed as if she may have finally given up... then her arms slowly lifted and stretched to the sides, blocking the doorway off with her body.  "No one should be in here.  S-so let's just drop it and leave," she stuttered and trembled as she spoke, keeping her gaze trained down at the ground.

Krikka had had about enough of this pest's voice.  Her body began to glow with the dark aura of violence, her sickly sweet guise no longer serving any purpose.  She had tried to give the froslass an easy out, but that clearly wasn't an option, so she was just going to blast the thing and get it over with.  No matter what was in the next room, it was what she had come all this way for, and she sure as Hell wasn't going to turn around and leave when she was so close.  It was already confirmed that the Ruined Chamber was, in fact, ahead, so they no longer had any need for this guide's services.  If it didn't want to leave the easy way, then... well, hopefully, Goro hadn't gotten too attached.  The umbreon gave a quick glance to each of her allies to gauge their reactions and see if either of them was planning on doing something stupid before she decided to let loose.  "What do you guys think?  Should we turn around because Nevi here is afraid of loosing unspeakable horror on the world?" she questioned in a very satirical manner, clearly unfazed by the idea.  By now her usual cocky attitude was returning to her, and she was very eager to start being herself again.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:12 am

Goro had hoped that Nevi would see the sense in his words and allow them all to go forward, but it seems that shew as harder to satisfy than that. The froslass floated backward to the door she was preventing them from entering as if she was protecting it, and she spoke of another group who had done the same thing. About how they were also strong and they knew what awaited their challenge. And she said that it... "didn't work." Not that they lost, or that they were beaten or killed or gave up or anything like that. It just didn't work. The croagunk didn't know what that meant and he didn't have any time to give it thought, as Nevi went on about how they should also know what they were getting into. He couldn't find any fault in that argument, but presumably, Krikka knew what was waiting for them - if not, they were royally fucked, and he'd made a very bad decision in following her. But he had faith that she at least had an idea, as someone didn't get as powerful as her without knowing what they were doing. Or at least he didn't like to think so. Maybe she was just some freak of nature and she was about to get them all killed, but he'd like to at least try before he went home. The way Nevi was talking about this trial ahead of them made it seem like they stood no chance, and that rankled him more than he cared to admit.

The umbreon herself claimed they did know, but he was impressed again when Nevi cut her off without any fanfare. And this time she was right on the money. Perhaps he should have been a little less forthcoming when Nevi had asked him why they were here, as now the ghost was using that information against his sort-of-boss in an argument. He knew that Krikka had no intentions of listening to her, but it was still a slip-up. The froslass drifted back further as she ominously implicated that perhaps Krikka did know what was behind the door, and at this point, Goro was absolutely fed up with all the cryptic bullshit. He wanted to know what came next, so very badly, but more than that he wanted to fucking smash it. All the talk of danger beyond imagination and some other group of guys who got rocked only made him want this more and more, and if he tilted his head and squinted at things, he would even be doing Nevi a favor. Whatever came next was something she was afraid of, so if he took care of it, then maybe she'd like him even more.

The froslass cut Krikka off from speaking even more impressively quickly, nipping the dark type's argument in the bud. Still, she looked... very nervous and afraid as she took a stand against them, pleading for them to turn around while blocking them off from the doorway. The sight tugged at his heartstrings, truly, and had it been just him perhaps he would actually consider it, but he knew Krikka was another story entirely. In fact, the umbreon in question had flared up with her all too familiar dark aura, signaling a charging dark pulse. The beginnings of panic began to stir within Goro, as he wasn't sure where he would stand in a fight between Nevi and Krikka; loyalty dictated Krikka, but she'd been anything but good to him in the time he had joined her. And Nevi was genuinely kind and compassionate, helping them without asking for anything in return. It helped - or, perhaps it didn't - that he really did find himself liking the ghost quite a bit. Thankfully, though, Krikka wasn't totally ready to start firing yet. Instead of blasting the pleading yet firm ghost out of the air where she floated, the shiny umbreon glanced back at him, and at Solus, asking for a general consensus. He felt immense relief that conflict hadn't broken out, but he also didn't look forward to giving his two cents here. Trembling and nervous as she was, Goro did not look forward to telling her that he wanted to go forward.

"We're strong, too. Stronger than those other guys, no question. I say we go in." He had no idea if he was right or not, but the croagunk was confident in himself and his allies. He knew his own strength better than anyone, Krikka was a powerhouse, and Solus could take a fucking hit. But this also served the purpose of reassuring Nevi that they weren't just anyone. Goro strode forward to take a place next to Krikka, standing in parallel to Solus who was on her other side. He crossed his arms and fixed the floating ghost with a stern but not unkind stare, clearly fed up with all this bullshit but not unsympathetic to her feelings. He wasn't even going to ask what this vague danger was - while he was dying to know, no matter what it turned out to be, he was going to beat it. And at the same time, he would be doing Nevi a favor. It was a win-win scenario for everyone; why couldn't she see that? "You're worryin' over nothin'. We'll be in 'n out in a jiffy; you'll see."

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:15 pm

Solus didn’t want to fight. He didn’t want to fight whatever might be on the other side of the door in front of him. He didn’t want to fight Nevi just to get through that door. He especially didn’t want to fight Krikka, for any reason. Of course, by the way Krikka talked about it, Solus wasn’t sure they’d really be fighting anything on the other side of the door—although that didn’t mean that wouldn’t be in any danger. Solus wouldn’t really be fighting Nevi, either, even if she did break her pacifist persona in order to prevent them from progressing. Krikka would certainly be strong enough to deal with the whining ghost practically on her own.

Nevi wasn’t a real threat. She was exactly what she had been the whole time: a nuisance. She was simply delaying the inevitable. Solus had learned the hard way that you couldn’t change Krikka’s mind once she’s decided on something. Either Nevi would give up on trying to stop the three of them from continuing to this chamber or she’d try and stop them and get knocked senseless for it. Solus was willing to bet on the former rather than the latter. So much, in fact, that he was willing to bet his relative safety on it.

While a tad bit hesitant to act without direct orders from Krikka, Solus thought that the umbreon might actually appreciate his initiative in dealing with the situation at hand. He began to approach the doorway, with every intention being to go around the froslass between him and his target and open the door. If his guess was right, Nevi wouldn’t make much effort to stop him. If she did, then Solus expected Krikka to deal with her. A few steps in and Solus finally managed to find something remotely resembling his voice, though it was lacking any confidence and almost too quiet. “I’m going to open the door now.”

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