05 September 2013 @ 11:46 am
[Teleporting from here.]

A dizzying moment of surreal suspension followed the activation of Sechs' teleportation ring as the darkness of the main hallway was swiftly banished by the chandelier lights of the underground ballroom. The sudden change in environment jarred Sechs' senses for a few seconds, forcing him to squint his eyes against the amplified light. Once adjusted, the Replica took in his surroundings as he slipped the ring off his finger.

He was relieved to see that they had made it to the entrance of the basement in one piece. This was his first time using that ring; the last thing he needed was for the teleportation to go wrong, but so far it appeared to be a success. What was even better was that Sechs was able to avoid going through the walk-in freezer like the night before, preventing another flare-up from his post M-U ailment. "Heh! Talk about convenient!" Sechs remarked as he appraised the ring, "Too bad this thing needs blood to work all the time..."

Like the night before, Sechs retrieved his machete and replayed the blood-giving procedure to the ring, cutting his thumb with a repressed grunt before allowing the red droplets to fill the morbid jewelery.

Once that was out of the way, Sechs turned to check on Aigis. "You alright there?"
25 August 2013 @ 10:30 am
Finally, a broadcast from Landel that was worth listening to...in that it gave actual information, and wasn't either completely annoying or unhelpful. The third floor... It seemed like Zero had been hearing about that more and more, along with receiving a rough set of directions to it on the board today. The mysterious note he'd found at dinner could be related to this, too...

Was it finally time to bring Landel down?

...He'd ponder it for awhile, keep an eye out for any more news. But for now, he grabbed his boots, gun, ammo, maps, and flashlight - all the usual things. This time he shoved them into the pockets of Ciel's coat, which he just now decided to wear. Not for a fashion statement, of course. The...original owner of this coat might want it back, was all. For the same reason, he also picked up Alouette's stuffed doll - something he'd admittedly been trying to ignore ever since it'd showed up - as he hoped it might give Ciel a reminder of the people they were fighting for. The people that she, at the very least, needed to return to.

The last thing he grabbed was the sword from the basement, which he would carry. It wasn't like he'd be holding on to it for very long. Now prepared, he gave a quick 'good luck' to his roommate and then headed out.

[To here.]

24 August 2013 @ 05:42 pm
Lloyd scowled when the doctor finished speaking to them and the intercom shut itself off. Don't get too cocky? Look who was talking! He didn't think they were a threat, but Lloyd was determined to prove him wrong.

Already dressed for the night in his clothes from home, Lloyd grabbed the last of his things and took off as soon as the lock on his door clicked open. Claude had never shown up, the food on his desk growing cold, so there wasn't any exchange of farewells. The other's absence worried him. Where was he? But with no clues to go on, there wasn't anything he could do except continue with his plans for the night.

Sword in one hand and flashlight in the other, Lloyd set off, making his way down the hall.

[To here.]
10 August 2013 @ 03:54 pm
Finally, it was lunchtime. Second shift had gone by way too slowly for Zero's liking, although spending his time sitting and waiting impatiently for the shift to be over didn't help him any. Having a staring contest with his nurse probably helped even less...but it did give him something to do that wasn't sitting or staring at the board, at least.

But that was then, this was now. Another awkward intercom broadcast aside, Zero was very much ready for the next shift to start - and he was welcoming it by standing from the couch he'd been restlessly sitting on for who knew how long and staring at the prisoners leaving the Arts and Crafts room. Ciel had to be one of them. He hadn't seen her come out of the showers at all, and the nurse had prevented him from going into that room for a reason, right? So she had to be there. Had to be.

She better be...


05 August 2013 @ 06:25 am
After eating breakfast, Lloyd gathered up his journal and pencil and followed his nurse out of the cafeteria. He made a quick stop at the bulletin to leave a note for Lee, then let her lead him on to take his shower with the rest of the adult men. Not sure how old Lee was, Lloyd kept his eyes peeled for him just in case, but again he didn't catch even a glimpse of his friend's shiny black bowl-cut hair. Okay, no worries. Maybe he was with the kids in Arts and Crafts.

Cleaning up quickly, Lloyd grabbed a towel and dried himself off, then got dressed and headed back to the Sun Room to wait out the rest of the shift. His nurse hovered at his side until he'd situated himself at a table, then she backed up and withdrew to the edge of the room to keep an eye on him from there. He was fine with that. Of course, it would have been better if she left the room completely, but at least she was far enough back that it felt like he had at least some privacy.

While he waited, trying to catch sight of Lee, he pulled his journal back out. As far as he knew, no one else had been to the third floor before. There weren't any maps yet. That was something he could fix. Picking up where he'd left off, the teen went back to his work on the sketch.

[For Tsurugi.]
01 August 2013 @ 09:15 am
They had made it. It had required leaving Tsubaki behind to deal with her brainwashed roommate, but they'd gone all the way up the escalator, and this was it, the third floor--

Good morning, patients.

Sora shot up in bed, eyes wide, and let out a huff of surprise and aggravation. That wasn't fair! They'd made it all the way up, only for it to end like this? He fell back onto the bed and slammed his fists into the mattress to vent his frustration before he realized that Link was still asleep. Whoops.

It was hard to know what to do from this point on. He needed to go back to Farwell, but the third floor was important too. He could probably rely on his friends to handle things here while he traveled back to the rebel city, but he just didn't know.

He dragged his hand down his face and then slowly sat up again, as the door opened and his nurse came to get him. On the way to the cafeteria, Sora realized that the Head Doctor sounded kind of down. Was he upset because so many people were trying to go to the third floor now? Well, that was what he deserved after everything he'd done!

Sora stood in line for his plate of french toast and then peered around the cafeteria, looking for any sign of Tsubaki. He wanted to check in with her first.

27 July 2013 @ 12:56 pm
[from here.]

This room was a stark change to the dungeon outside. It was gold and warm, with a low ceiling--it reminded Gabriel of an Egyptian tomb. The reason why was made obvious as soon as he looked face-forward and saw the reason why.

Sphinxes weren't actually real in his universe. Its gaze was piercing and ancient, but not enough to give the Archangel pause. He studied it back with just as much intensity and a lot of fascination. Could he ask a question? Should he? Probably not--not until he and Skulduggery had talked about their options. Sphinxes were known for their riddles, and Gabe couldn't risk beginning something before they were ready.

But he had to wonder how long the sphinx had been there, and whether it was a construct or a prisoner from another dimension like they were, and wished he could ask. If there was any chance of it being the last, maybe they could gain an ally.

He turned toward Skulduggery. "I think the purpose of this room is obvious," he said quietly, "but I've always found the value of making friends, myself. What do you think?"
25 July 2013 @ 10:34 am
[From here.]

The hall was long, narrow, and made of stone. Very appropriately like a dungeon, actually, and it was the first of its kind that Skulduggery had seen here. Even the torture rooms up on the third floor hadn't been quite this medieval.

Once Skulduggery's eyes had adjusted to the dim light - another sensation as alien as it was annoying - he noticed the tapestries hanging along the walls. War scenes, images of death and carnage. Old, judging by the art. Not very old, judging by when Skulduggery took a closer look at one of them and noticed one of the soldiers using a rifle. Either Landel wasn't very careful - which, after everything else that had happened, Skulduggery was quick to dismiss - or it was perfectly fine for the prisoners to realise that this hallway, genuine though it looked, had only been built recently. Probably along with the rest of the building. There was no other explanation for displaying the tapestries like this.

Unless Landel just thought they looked ghoulish enough to complete the effect. And they certainly did, at that.

The door back into the ballroom gave an ominous clicking sound as it closed, indicating it had locked itself. Skulduggery couldn't say he was surprised. There were two other doors in the hall, and his attention was immediately drawn by the north-facing golden ornate ones. "Are we keeping up the right-hand-of-God methodology?" he asked Gabe with what would have been a small smile if he'd realised his face was once again capable of changing.
15 July 2013 @ 07:10 pm
[From here.]

Racing to leave the biting chill of the freezer, Sechs bowed his way down the darkened steps to the basement. Yet his brief moment upstairs was more than enough to trigger off the worst of his dreaded post M-U effects. All six scars left behind by that cruel doctor's syringes were searing from the frigid poison inside his spine, spreading pain throughout his nerves and muscles like cracks diverging across an icy landscape. Such agony clouded the Replica's mind, slowing down time and stretching the staircase below into infinity. Sechs' vision worsened and his hearing was overwhelmed by the drug's malicious taunting. Nearly thrown off balance with each step, Sechs forced his flashlight-wielding hand against the wall to keep himself stabilized. Refusing to give in, Sechs continued his pained journey down the stairwell, focusing on reaching warmer air than anything else going on around him.

Once he finally reached the end of the stairwell, Sechs nearly stumbled off the final step, his boots shuffling against the pristine marble floor as he turned to lean his back against the wall. By then his shivering had faded and the icy sensation that racked his spine had finally thawed. The triggering cold of the freezer was gone, replaced by the lukewarm air of the ballroom. Even though the worst was over, Sechs' nerves remained ransacked and his burdened flight down the stairs left him hunched over and panting. Standing with his head bowed over, the Replica closed his eyes tight against whatever dark hallucinations may be awaiting him, knowing they could trick him into attacking his allies.

It was then that Sechs' awareness of the present returned, reminding him that he hadn't been alone during his episode. Zero and Aigis were sure to have seen it all now. There was no doubt that they were going to ask the questions which Sechs always dreaded to answer. They may even decide to leave him behind. He was just a big liability to the group and the drug was no more than happy to remind him of that fact with a deviant cackle. All Sechs could do was catch his breath and rub his hand into the back of his aching neck, bracing for the questions to fall upon him like blasted shrapnel.
05 July 2013 @ 06:50 pm
'Security breaches'? ...If this recent intercom broadcast was really an announcement of Landel's newest 'game', then it certainly was subtle. But Zero was going to assume (for now) that Landel was being honest (...for once), since that, at least, made sense. It also raised a lot of questions, though. Who broke into the Institute, and for what reason? Zero had a feeling he knew generally who was responsible and what their reasons were, but whether he was right or not, it didn't answer other questions like 'are they still here?' and 'were they successful with what they were trying to accomplish?'

... Whatever was going on, he'd hear about it in further detail tomorrow, most definitely. Right now, it wasn't enough to convince him to cancel his plans for the night. That didn't mean he wouldn't keep an eye out for suspicious activity, but he wouldn't be actively hunting it down, either.

Nevertheless, Zero hurried to put on his boots and collect his gun, ammunition, flashlight, and hammer; it might be useful to have both a long-range weapon and an object he could use either at close-range or as something to throw. As for the maps...he'd leave them behind this time to free up pocket space. It didn't seem mandatory when both of his companions would (presumably) know where they were going, anyway.

Not wanting to waste any more time, Zero nodded in his roommate's direction, uttering something about being careful, then headed out the door.

[To here.]

04 July 2013 @ 02:07 pm
Not for the first time since Lloyd had gotten here, there was something unexpected in the box he had in his closet. Three things, really, but it was the first two that arrested his attention: a green spandex suit and orange leg warmers that he couldn't help but recognize. Lee...? What were Lee's clothes doing in his closet? There wasn't any clue to what they were doing there, though, or what it might possibly mean. Was Lee going to be his roommate? Then what about Claude?

Uncertain and disturbed, he finally set the clothes aside, then picked up the piece of paper he'd found as well.

Keep this note close. Memorize it. Keep it safe, because it's your big break.

Don't believe me? Head up to the third floor and bounce your way around up there (you'll see what I mean) until you find a records archive.

And this is only the beginning. Some of you will be getting more notes like this soon. If you put them all together, you may just find what you're looking for.

It wasn't signed. However, the fact that it was there with Lee's clothes made Lloyd wonder if the two were connected. Could the note be from Lee? It seemed likely, though it didn't feel quite right somehow. Frowning, Lloyd finally decided this was a puzzle he couldn't figure out right now. He could take the note with him and see what Kratos made of it. They were going to the third floor tonight anyway. They could keep an eye out for an archive if they made it.

Changing into his clothes, Lloyd strapped on his tool belt, which he loaded with the things he thought he'd need. Then for good measure he grabbed his pillow case to help carry whatever scraps of metal he could find. That done, he headed out, the beam of his flashlight lighting the way.

[To here.]
19 June 2013 @ 01:59 pm
After having to warn the magician of what these days meant, Kurogane didn't even react when his nurse informed him that he would be having a visitor. This kind of thing didn't deserve any cursing, not any more. He was already well aware of how fake any one of these visitors were and whether or not they were actual people, they weren't the ones they knew. They may as well have been the copy monsters from the night time without their teeth.

When Kurogane arrived, the room was absent of other patients, however the staff was ready as ever in case anything happened. The brief thought to create a disturbance, just to see if he could leave, came and went. Just as before, it wasn't worth it. And, if the ninja really thought about it, making them sedate him could lead to him getting stuck in those rooms again when night fell, and that wouldn't help either him or the magician.

The only protest he managed as a result was in refusing to have a seat. Kurogane picked the wall just aside of the door to lean against, arms folded as he watched the doors where the visitors were usually led in through.
06 June 2013 @ 08:39 am
And to think, they had been that close.

It was as he and Kratos had been moving up on that escalator -- and Landel's voice had cut in to tell them he knew exactly what they were up to -- that night ended and morning came. It was really no surprise. If Landel didn't want them reaching the third floor, then chances were that he could have them lose consciousness whenever he chose.

Castiel sat up in his bed and dragged a hand through his hair, letting out a small breath. Did that mean that it was impossible? Would any attempt to reach the third floor turn out the same way that this one had? Or was there still a chance?

He wasn't one to give up so easily, but it was something he'd have to discuss with Kratos later, even if it was only by bulletin messages. Castiel stood up and stretched, relishing in the feeling of his healed body. If they were going to make another attempt tonight, at least it would be with both of them at full strength.

His nurse showed up soon after and offered him a choice of where to go for the shift. Castiel chose the chapel for the sake of nostalgia, and also because he saw the Sun Room much more often. Once he made it there, he took a seat in one of the middle pews and reached out for the hymnal to page through quietly.

[For Skulduggery.]
04 June 2013 @ 11:59 pm
[From here.]

Skulduggery surveyed the room with a blank expression. An expression that was blank by default, admittedly, since his grinning skull was all that was visible. But suffice to say his expression would have been blank even if he'd had a face.

He nodded slowly. "It's good to know that no matter what else happens, we'll always be served the best food the Institute can get a hold of. Never mind your mysterious debilitating injury, at least we have eggs."

That said, he shone his flashlight beam along the tiled floor of the refrigerator in a quick sweeping pattern. Nothing looked immediately out-of-place, but nothing jumped out and attacked them either. That was actually starting to get a little worrying, this complete lack of monsters. There might have been one in the hallway outside the Sun Room, but if there was, they'd either been incredibly lucky or incredibly late. Skulduggery was hoping for incredibly lucky, himself.

"There's a trap door here," he reminded Gabe as he swept the flashlight over the floor again, this time slower. "Unhidden, apparently, so if you see an old iron ring that has no busness - ah." He stopped the beam on top of a discoloured tile in the corner. "There."
05 June 2013 @ 01:00 pm
[from here.]

The very instant Gabe sensed the expanse of the kitchen he was off the floor. The Archangel did a quick circle of the room, trying to sense out any potentially moving objects, but the energy of the moth-shape was already starting to vibrate with discordance.

Gabe made sure he wasn't hovering over anything that would break, or hurt, if he fell on it, and then shed the shape. He wound up falling about a foot to the floor, stumbling and catching himself on a counter, and wincing at the noise and the jar in his ankle both. "Ow."

Limping a little, still gripping his steel pipe, Gabe glanced around to make sure that the kitchen was empty and opened the door.

"Just as planned," he said brightly to Skulduggery on the other side.
03 June 2013 @ 03:35 pm
[from here.]

Gabe came through the swinging doors into the expanse of the cafeteria, with its rows and rows of tables, and stopped short. Somehow, the way the room was laid out was even gloomier and more terrifying than the hallways in the darkness. There were a dozen places for monsters to hide, to leap out at them.

The kitchens were opposite, behind a long, long counter. Gabe swallowed hard and gripped the metal pipe. "If the cafeteria is likely to be empty and the kitchens guarded, you should go first. You'd be more effective in a fight."

He was frightened, but it was true. If they were attacked from behind he could handle things, but the threat was at the front of them. Skulduggery was better served to handle that, with Gabe behind him if he needed help controlling his necromancy.
11 May 2013 @ 12:54 am
[from here]

Kratos swept the Sun Room as soon as he entered, checking for anything that might be lurking in the shadows. The room was open to the hall outside, but it still felt several degrees colder - his body's way of warning him, perhaps, that this place was dangerous. Funny, considering how much of his time was spent here during the day...

There was nothing to be found, but he didn't believe for a second that things would stay that way if they waited. They needed to keep moving, and quickly.

"The library's to the right, if I remember," he said to Castiel, gesturing toward the closed door with his flashlight. "You go through first; I'll hold up the rear." His hand throbbed; the crystal was slowly stirring from its slumber in anticipation of a fight even though the room was still eerily silent.
08 May 2013 @ 11:06 pm
[from here]

He proceeded quickly. Gripped his flashlight tightly, keeping it steadily centered forward. Sweeping the light across the floor horizontally would slow them down and anyway, the beam didn't cover anything behind them. They'd just have to be alert. And quick.

"What other things have you heard lurked here?" he said, failing to keep his voice casual—too serious, too strained—but he barely paid attention to that. He could rectify it later, attribute any slip-ups to nervousness. It wouldn't even be a lie. "And who'd you hear it from?"
07 May 2013 @ 03:46 pm
[From here.]

... Though it was a nice feeling, really. Walking through here with a flashlight again.

It had only taken a single night for Zero to detest how dependent he was on a simple light source. As a Reploid, darkness wasn't that big of a deal; his systems were good at adapting to his surroundings, including the absence or presence of light. But with this terrible human vision, he couldn't hope to navigate this place even half as decently without a bright flashlight to guide him. Then again, it was only one of the many, many complaints he had about being in a human body...

How did Ciel, Neige, and those other humans do it, honestly? Living like this was so...


[To here.]

07 May 2013 @ 03:10 pm
...But seriously, though... ... Nightshift as much as I... ...it certainly must... ...they treat you like children... ...friendly reminder... ...do enjoy your night out...

...As a familiar, barely-comprehended voice assaulted his ears, Zero struggled to open his eyes and regain awareness. Nn... Was it...morning? ...No, it was much too dark to be morning. So, what, had he simply woken up before sunrise...? No...stupid thought. When had that ever happened to him? Landel never let them see a proper sunrise here...

...So then...it's nighttime.

Had he barely slept at all since wandering around with Gabe and X? Or did he sleep through a whole day?

...That voice he'd just heard was Landel's, wasn't it? Chances were, it'd been his ritual taunting that he usually did at the beginning of each night. If so, then that confirmed it...it was the beginning of the next night.


Zero couldn't suppress a grumble. Admittedly, he'd rather miss a whole day than a whole night, but he didn't like missing the only good things to come out of the otherwise useless Dayshifts: the bulletin board, and meeting with allies to make plans. He also didn't like the thought that he was starting to sleep more and more, which put him at risk for 'disappearing' as his other roommates had. But he could at least easily make up for the lack of plans and information he would have gotten during the day. Wasting a whole night's activities was far worse - and he wasn't about to let that happen tonight.

...He just needed to fully wake up first... ... ... .... ....... .........mmmngh.

(Now he understood how Ciel felt those times when he caught her sleeping at her desk, having stayed up way too late doing research again. He was mirroring her groggy reaction to being disturbed almost frighteningly perfectly.)

Miraculously, Zero was sitting up much quicker than expected, and a minute later he was gathering his supplies, slowly but surely. It came as a relief that he could now walk without needing crutches - he'd forgotten them at first, in fact, until after he'd taken a few steps on his own - but his leg was still sensitive to pressure. No running unless absolutely necessary, then. He could handle this...it would work...and he wasn't going to waste any more time. Just had to repeat that in his mind all night....

With the usual items (sans metal pipe) collected, Zero headed out the door.

[To here.]