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    Well Ain't That a Kick in the Head?


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    Lineage : Conqueror's Courage
    Position : None
    Posts : 78
    Guild : Rune Knights
    Cosmic Coins : 0
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    Experience : 8,025

    Well Ain't That a Kick in the Head? Empty Well Ain't That a Kick in the Head?

    Post by Dela on 6th February 2020, 3:28 am

    "Ugh, what a dump," a petite blonde huffed to herself as she unboarded the train in Oshibana. That was rich coming from someone like her, who grew up in a place much more rural than this, but Dela never claimed she wasn't hypocritical. If anything, she absolutely knew it and never apologized for it.

    It was sad when the only thing a small town had, it's only purpose to exist as a place, was because of the train station. So much so that the train station was situated in the heart of the town, with a few meager businesses haloing it like vultures, eager for any poor soul that staggered off at the wrong stop. Let's be honest. Who would come here on purpose unless this was home? And if this was home, she highly doubted those people would purchase from the shops within immediate sight. Then again, if this was all there was, then maybe these were for 'tourists' and locals alike.

    It's always the sleepy little towns that have the crazy murders.

    Or fall victim to magician conmen who curse local ladies, but that was an angry inner monologue for another time. Dela had been given a mission, much against her will, to investigate a strange situation. The government officials of Oshibana were killing each other, and presumably not out of boredom, which was Dela's initial quip when she saw where it was located on the map. Why a turd town like this even had a government consisting of more than a single mayor and the secretary he cheated on his wife with stumped her, but perhaps being self-important and pretending to be bigger than they were was what was keeping this place sane. Well, until now, you know, since they were killing each other with no memory of it.

    Was the general misery of this place slipping them into fugue states, causing them to manifest separate, murderous personalities bend on shaking up the place? In Dela's lazy professional opinion, they needed a shrink or two more than a lone, non-combative Rune Knight that would have much preferred to stay in her room playing in the tournament for her favorite mecha game.

    Okay, so if the friggin' train station was in the center of town where the City Hall should be...where was City Hall? Black boots shuffled uncomfortably on the old cobbled stone as she spun around, looking for any signage as to where the Mayor and these officials might work. She could see curious locals appearing in windows and slowing their walks as they neared her, which was the exact reason she hated wearing her Rune Knight uniform. She looked like she was about to assassinate someone. Being in Spec Ops meant she could usually forego the black outfit with hood, mask, and cape in favor of using her skills to infiltrate and blend in rather than skulk in the shadows, but in this case, the town had asked for a Rune Knight so she was expected to look like one in an official capacity. She knew it looked weird on her. It felt weird on her. At all the gazes she decided to at least ease up the severity of the costume, pulling the hood and half-mask down to reveal bright blonde hair in a bun and cherub-like cheeks. This seemed to ease their minds a little, but she still felt like a new animal at the zoo.

    Wandering through Oshibana didn't take long. On the outskirts, she noticed lots of farmland and hills dotted with humble homes. It really did remind her of home. Was this where she was from? Honestly, Dela's birthplace no longer existed on the current map of Fiore. For all she knew, Oshibana could have come along and taken its place. She skirted the edge and circled to the north, where she finally located a large, multilevel building that stuck out like a sore thumb. It looked more at home with the buildings in Era.

    When she entered, a pudgy man with not a hair on his head except for a broom bristle mustache of dull gray rushed forward, already sweating. The file called him Mayor Hiram Kelley. "Oh! Ms. Rune Knight! Finally, you've arrived!" the mayor began his theatrics. He bowed as deeply as his belly would allow him to without pitching him forward. "It. Is. Horrible! So may of my friends have died- ah!- at the hands of other friends! It's not like them at all, no, no! Something is not right!"

    "I would say something's not right," Dela huffed, moodily tugging at the black scarf billowed around her neck, "People killing other people for no reason is usually quite a strong indication something is very wrong..." she quipped, but he didn't seem to hear her. Instead, he blustered something about coming to his office and led her into a marble monstrosity with two overly large doors. Overcompensation, much?

    By the window, there was a jittery red-head, and it was all the magical girl could do to keep the cynical grin and eyeroll from happening. There was the secretary he was no doubt sleeping with, given the shortness of her skirt and the butt-sized spot worn into the left side of his desk. From behind she was the typical skinny hot girl, but when she turned to look with terror at who entered the fortified office, Dela received a surprise. Yes, the anticipated deep neckline that had her boobs popping out was there, but the healthy baby bump was a shock. The gears in Dela's mind immediately started ticking. She was a few months along and given how she rushed to Mr. Mushache's side to cling to his arm, things were already starting to paint an interesting picture. His left ring finger had an old, beat-up band. Hers had nothing. This wasn't his wife, but it was definitely his baby momma.

    "Can you explain to me what's going on here in your own words, please?" Dela asked Mayor Kelley, coming to sit in one of the two high-back chairs situated in front of the desk. He plopped down in his leather chair, heaving a stressed high. His mistress returned to the window. "The murders started a few months ago, just all of a sudden, Miss, ah.. Miss..." he trailed, realizing he didn't have a name for the pretty blonde seated before him.

    "Dela Hodgins," the cop provided, lounging back in the chair, notebook flipped open and scribbling away without looking at him.

    "Dela, lovely name," Hiram sidetracked, then cleared his throat and continued, "Anywho, these are all my friends here. It's a small town and we have differing opinions, but at the end of the day we're still all lifelong friends and neighbors! Why, when we were all at the bar after a meeting when Greg totally lost his marbles and slit Bartram's throat, right next to me! Sometimes people just snap, but Greg was the mildest of us! He was seething one moment, just standing there with the knife, next minute he seemed to regain himself and was screamin' something terrible. I mean, slayin' your own brother! Claims he couldn't control his body at all!"

    "Mmm," Dela hummed, scribbling away and inclining her head for him to keep going.

    "The next was outside a restaurant. I had two local police with me just in case, and once I walked in the door, Officer Norbert shot his partner, Officer Reagan right between the eyes. She barely saw it coming. I dunno what in the world kind fo conspiracy this is, but Norbert swore he couldn't control himself either. In fact, every single one of them have the same story! Officer Reagan's mother, Elana, was the next to snap in the middle of a council vote on painting the train station, presumably due to stress from losing her daughter. She stood up and snapped Jordan's neck slick as a whistle. After that, another police officer attacked and killed Faust as he was leaving my office just yesterday. That was the last straw! Ever since then I've been locked in here terrified for my life, aside from chancing a dash out to fetch you. Please, can you help?"

    "Mmm," the lazy girl hummed again, still scribbling. Despite her appearances and attitude, she was quite the smart cookie. She paused to read over her notes, then glanced at the man. "From what I can tell, the common denominator is you, Mayor."

    "Me?!" he howled, jerking back in his chair so hard it nearly toppled backward.

    "Yeah. Have there been any murders happening when you aren't in the immediate vicinity?"

    "Ah...now that you mention it...no..."

    "So they only happen right next to you, or in the same room, or when you've just entered a place, or when you are expected to exit a place. See what I'm getting at?"

    "Unfortunately," Mayor Kelley groaned, dabbing at his forehead with a handkerchief. Ms. Preggers turned to give Dela an alarmed expression. Understandable. The situation might be skeezy, but this guy was still that baby's dad.

    "I'm not sure what's causing the margin of error in their attempts, but from what I can tell, you seem to be the trigger. Where are the murderers being held?"

    "In the jail here in the west wing," obliged the mustached man, nervously lighting a cigar. Dela irritably cleared her throat and when his green hues met hers, she wordlessly flicked her eyes to the pregnant woman not 10 feet away. "Ah, right," he clucked, putting the nasty thing out.

    "Are they all together?"

    "Erm, yes..."

    Dela leaned forward and stood from her seat. She'd heard enough from him. "I can't say it was wise to group them, but I'll go talk to them next. I know they claim not to remember anything, but I'd like to check for myself. Oh, before I go, Miss, could you come here?" Dela asked the jittery mistress. Once she agreed they conferred in a corner.

    "I assume the baby is his?" Dela sought to confirm. The ginger girl nodded. The blonde pursed her lips. So, maybe the wife was looking for vengeance in some way without getting her hands dirty? She was looking for a motive. However, Dela's brain took a left turn from analytical to more personal. "Why did you get involved with a married man? You're young and pretty. In this day and age, I didn't think girls would fall into the 'secretary mistress' trope." Yes, it was blunt...but that's just how Dela was. She didn't have a delicate hand at these things.

    "Aw, yeh see, miss," the secretary started, country accent thick as a cornfield at harvest. While it might be judgemental, just hearing her voice told Dela almost all she needed to know. "He's a wealthy man an' all. I'd do anythin' ta git offtha farm, yeh know? He can keep me, says he'll leave his missus for me once all this murderin' business is dun. Missus Kelley is a real crank, can't have no kids neither. I can give him what he wants," she explained, rubbing her swollen belly affectionately. Up close all the high-class regalia she had on was useless. It took no imagination to change the loose curls to match braided red pigtails with those freckles hiding under that makeup. A red miniskirt seemed foreign on her. This was an overalls girl trying desperately to belong in the world Mayor Kelley fancied he lived in. It was so very sad.

    "Oh, dear," Dela tutted, "You could have done so much better. There are so many other ways off the farm..." Dela would know, though her ticket off the farm was also what started all her personal mess that she was still dealing with. But hey! No farm! RIGHT?

    "OK, I'm off to the jail. I'll be back later when my interviews are through."


    Dela was about ready to bash her brains out on the jail wall. The primitive cell held all the murderers together, and as she interviewed them each in order of murder, the story was annoyingly the same. They had no control over their bodies. Their lives had been as expected in-between. They all did as expected depending on the situation. They were all traumatized. Her book was full of repeats, which didn't help at all.

    There was one last one lingering in the back of the cell. The officer that had killed Faust. He glowered at her as he awaited his turn, seeming impatient. Yeah, buddy. She felt the same. "Your turn," she called, azure eyes scanning her notes desperately for something she missed--

    That was it!

    And it was too late.

    Just as she snapped her head up to try and stop him from getting close, he was already at the bars. He reached through and touched her arm and she felt a nasty shock. The man then staggered back looking bewildered, relieved, but also horrified. Dela understood why even before her body turned and moved on its own out of the jail door.

    Someone bumped Greg at the bar. Greg's body acted on its own, heading in one direction with the knife, killing his brother though he felt like maybe it was supposed to be the mayor. The officer that took him to jail was on guard duty for the mayor at the restaurant and lost control just as the Mayor walked by. After fighting it, Norbert shot too late and killed his partner, Reagan. Reagan's mother, Elana, came to get answers as to why he'd slain her daughter, then proceeded to snap Jordan's neck, who had looked remarkably similar to the mayor. The officer that had just touched her had been the one to arrest Elana. It was all contact based. A chain. How stupid was she to take so long to notice such a rudimentary pattern!?

    Funny thing, though. No one mentioned the subtle hissing voice in their heads. "Kill......protect.....her....." it hissed, moving the Rune Knight's body haltingly as she fought it. It was too strong. It was dumb, though. This spirit was a dark mist that clouded the edges of her vision and flowed in her muscles. "Master...commands...."

    Master. Yes, someone was behind this. But who? Protect her...so the pregnant secretary. The mayor was definitely the target. Not the wife then, since she'd probably not care about the mistress. So this was someone close to Ms. Freckles. A lover? A relative?

    Her hand reached out and opened Mayor Kelley's office door. He raised in anticipation, thinking she'd returned with results as she said. Dela wanted to warn him, but none of her functions were her own. This was bad. She'd been dispatched here to solve the crime, but here she was about to complete it instead. One hand drew her regulation blade, much to Hiram and what's-her-tit's horror, while the other brought out her staff. The spirit seemed to think it could use her staff to perhaps finish the job this time, though the process was too clunky to work. Dela did have control of her thoughts, and that's all she needed, she realized.

    Before she could reach across the desk and murder the gross adulterer that screamed like a woman, her crystal flashed and suddenly there was a unicorn in the room. Knowing just what to do, Chester turned around and gave her a buck with every ounce of strength he had, launching her across the room where she landed in an unnaturally angled heap of broken bones and death.

    Chester proceeded to guard her dead body until she could revive. Thankfully when she did, the darkness was gone from her, perhaps dying with her since it didn't get to accomplish its mission. "Alright," she sighed, getting to her feet and cracking the stiffness out of her joints. The two still in the room were traumatized as most people who witnessed her death and resurrection were, but after a brief explanation and also presenting her findings, they were all in a better place to have a discussion. After a simple line of questioning, it was discovered that the pregnant secretary's brother who had come into contact with an old relic and tried to command the dark spirit within to protect his sister from Mayor Kelley. The brother had been at the first murder, overhearing the cheater drunkenly bragging about banging and knocking up the poor country girl and that she was dumb enough to think he'd leave his rich wife for her. In the heat of the moment, the brother had tried out his new magic.

    It was a bitter taste to arrest the brother trying to protect his sister, but murder was murder and the law was stubborn about things like that. At least the pregnant girl knew where she stood now, for what that was worth. Now she was a single mom, doomed to go back to the farm, probably. Blech. It sucked to have to work, but having to work for an outcome like this made her even more tired and desperate to hermit in her room and ignore the broken world outside.

    [Wc: 2854/ 2000, exam finished ugh]


    Well Ain't That a Kick in the Head? MillieSig

      Current date/time is 28th February 2020, 9:22 pm