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Ine and Kiba Live From the Gutter Pt 3

a guest Dec 29th, 2016 32 Never
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  1. Narrator | What Mika finds on the other end of those doors is the real deal. Guess he's not so shitty after all.
  2.  
  3. //BGM Shift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8jhE8_GfPE
  4.  
  5. Men in tuxedos wiping off glasses. Scantily clad women and sultry waitresses serving full banquets and more importantly, all manner of individuals being served. Surly men shuffling cards and sharpening knives. Stoic men meditating in secluded corners. Distinguished gentleman sitting at a bar. Lowlifes and dangerous ladies gambling at a nearby poker table. This extravagant place in the middle of nowhere...
  6.  
  7. There could be no other answer. This was... was it?
  8.  
  9. ...Was it? The exam site...?
  10.  
  11. ---It had to be...
  12.  
  13. Well, regardless, everyone in the building turns to look at Mika when he barges in. Their eyes are filled with scrutiny, derision, scorn and confusion.
  14.   Nara Sanada: "Hm..."
  15.   Kamron Katahana: "YEs please continue on."
  16.   Little Miracle | A tall man in one corner of the room turns up his lip at this stinking, taint covered child and as he does so, he thinks to himself, "Just how badly did that kid mess up? He's covered in shit, the pre-examination wasn't that hard."
  17.   Hiro Tanaka just looks down on kolt as he can't help but smirk for a bit and chuckle to himself. "And that is why I like to come prepared" Hiro keeps on climbing, finally reaching the top of the tree, looking around the area and trying to spot what resides through the path if they'll continue foward.
  18.   Kolt: "Well, that was a mistake."
  19.   Max Campbell walked into the door making sure to avoid contact with Max, speaking out to the Little Miracle.
  20.  
  21. "He went to the sewers by accident!!"
  22.   Haruki: "What do you guys think the dirt path holds? That could help us to decide on which path to take."
  23.   Zwei: "With how it seems to go on, it's impossible to tell. It's clear applicants would be directed attention-wise to the building, but also feel suspicious of it."
  24.   Sidbert "Sid": "One thing's for sure, though. They're having quite the party inside."
  25.   Badman Sving: "Regardless, we should make a move before we get left behind.  I took the lead  with the proctor which means it's your time to decide our path."
  26.    ange turns to Jack.
  27.  
  28. "Psst, what's inside?"
  29.  
  30. He can't see over the heads of all these people crowding the door.
  31.   Mika || The eyes of those with clearly a better social/economic class fell upon him, but this only fueled the wildfire that was burning inside of him. Veins were popping on his forehead as he stomped his way inside, noticing the look of Little Miracle in particular, and pointed directly at him.
  32.  
  33. "EITHER GET ME A SHOWER OR START THE EXAM, OR TURN THE HELL AROUND YOU ASSHOLE!"
  34.   Mika: "GET ME A SHOWER, START THE EXAM*"
  35.   Sidbert "Sid": "Can't we watch that babboon make a fool of himself, first? Or in your case, 'hear' him?"
  36.   Kolt decided to go ahead and walk towards the glass door and try to take a peek inside. He was quite tall, so he could probably see inside.
  37.   Max Campbell just barged in behind Mika then.
  38.  
  39. Making sure to sit at the table with the surly men and introducing himself.
  40.  
  41. "The name is Max Campbell!"
  42.   Sidbert "Sid" makes vague gestures towards the building. Naturally, he refers to Mika.
  43.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Looks like a pretty fancy bar....no, a casino? Seems like my kind of place."
  44.   Haruki turns his head to look at most of the applicants taking the path to the white building. "Well it seems most of the others went to check the building."
  45.   Nara Sanada walked up behind Max with a grin.
  46.   Kamron Katahana Waits for some kidn of information to be given about the path, "Honestly I would hate to waist time." He looked up the tree.
  47.  
  48. "What do you see up there!"
  49.   Zwei: ".. Hmm."
  50.   Zwei: "To go with the flow or to continue on..?"
  51.    ange: "Oh yeah, you said at the beginning that you were a gambler. Things might turn out in your favor, then."
  52.   Yin follows slowly behind Max and company. Their group had grown quite large whilst they walked, so he sat beside Max and kind of layed low, looking around and simply listening to what everyone was saying, watching what they were doing, and taking everything into considuration.
  53.   Hiro Tanaka eventually uses the parachute cord to climb back down to the rest of the applicants after not being able to spot anything that seemed important enough to tell about. "Nothing I can see that can seems to be worth taking notes off..." Hiro speaks as he puts back the parachute cord into his backpack
  54.   Haruki: "Regardless, we'll have to continue on a path at some point."
  55.   Jack T. V'ambrosio has exactly one good eye. But that eye happens to be pretty good, as much as it would be for someone with attention to detail. That said, he couldn't discern much from where he was -- the figures in well dressed clothing and the atmosphere it exuded was much like a casino, however, so that was his educated guess. "They very well could. Do you want to push yourself from here?"
  56.   Hiro Tanaka: "At this rate, I think we should just go into the building, atleast just to check around."
  57.   Badman Sving: "You garner amusement from watching his antics? I don't care one way or another, but do not take too long with it."
  58.   Sidbert "Sid": "Two minutes. Either we'll hear him squeal, or get valuable information, no?"
  59.   Sidbert "Sid": "If nothing's revealed in two minutes, we'll try the other path."
  60.   Kamron Katahana: "Hmm... I think I'll wait for one of them to come out. Something seems odd about a random building in the forest."
  61.   Haruki: "That's what makes it the most likely place for the exam."
  62.    ange nods.
  63.  
  64. "Well, Mika and Max seem to have just gone in there. But yes, I can just push myself from here on out."
  65.  
  66. He places his hands at the wheels again, pushing forward into the crowd of people and angling himself so he could get a look into the building past all the examinees blocking the door, waiting for an opening big enough that he too could wheel inside. At this point, people are probably too exhausted or annoyed by the exam to think of courtesy and let a wheelchair-bound participant enter before them.
  67.  
  68. He doesn't seem to mind, though.
  69.   Ledo Bellgrimes just gave a small grin as he observed their welcome committee. <'Well, this definitely not what I was expecting..'>
  70.   Hiro Tanaka: "At this rate I'll start feeling left out, might as well walk into the building."
  71.   Zwei: "..."
  72.   Zwei: "[The examiners are clever, at least.. For a pre-examination they really want to cull.]"
  73.   Badman Sving: "Two minutes it is."
  74.   Kamron Katahana Looks to Badman and co "Even his group is waiting."
  75.   Sidbert "Sid": "Trust me -- one of my specialties lies within surveillance!"
  76.   Jack T. V'ambrosio straightens out his vest and decorative ascot before heading towards the entrance. He made sure to be the last one in his 'group' to arrive --- it felt a little risky, but sometimes you had to take initiative and gamble if you wanted to win. You couldn't act too early nor too late.
  77.  
  78.  
  79.   Victoria walks into the building -shot- omit.
  80.   Hiro Tanaka starts walking towards the glass door to the building right after Jack  and Ange- Which by the way the mere thought of someone in a wheelchair is trying to do the hunter exams puzzles him, but he doesn't have the time to think about it. He opens the door after peeking through the glass, trying to get a better view of what's inside.
  81.   Master of Games can't believe in this ill standard the youth have to live up to today. When he was a boy, he'd never walk into a building this extravagant stinking like shit and running off at the mouth. Little boy, you should have showered back in the city.
  82.  
  83. At least, thats what he thinks. He doesn't say that though. Instead he steps forward, making himself known as the most authoratative presence in the room. "Yes, sir. We have amenities ready for the whole lot of you."
  84.   Haruki looked back at Kamron and co. for a moment before continuing to speak. "Oh. I almost got to introduce myself," he says before nodding lightly to the group. "My name is Haruki. It's a pleasure to meet you all!"
  85.   Zwei raises her right hand in acknowledgement to Haruki's introduction.
  86. "Call me Zwei."
  87.   Hiro Tanaka then decides to yell while inside the building while inside the house "Who is there?!" ... He really can't be discrete sometimes.
  88.   Kolt couldn't keep his excitement and curiosity from getting the better of him and entered the building, looking around at the people who entered and at the people who he didn't see outside
  89.   Kamron Katahana: "Kamron."
  90.   Badman Sving withdraws a flute from the confines of his robes.
  91.  
  92. "I will play a tune to pass the time." His lips secure themselves on one of the holes while his fingers plug in others. He gently blows into the instrument and the music plays.
  93.  
  94. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBk4Z5JIpHo ]
  95.   Sidbert "Sid" 's ear twitches, overhearing the conversation even from outside. Even through the peaceful tune. "Hoooh? Maybe it is the real location after all, Badman. I'll let you know if we need to run inside."
  96.   Ledo Bellgrimes bowed to the Game's Master. "Thank you sir. We appreciate it."
  97.   Zwei blinks as she looks over to Badman pulling a flute out.
  98. "Ah.. I wish I had a violin on-hand."
  99.   Max Campbell looks back at the Master of Games after he introduces himself to a great number of patrons in the bar.
  100.  
  101. "Max Campbell!"
  102.   Yin nods at everyone, and does so to the Master of Games. "Yin."
  103.    ange enters the building once a few more people have filtered inside, finally allowing the space for him to fit his wheelchair past the other examinees. He looks around in awe, but mostly nostalgia.
  104.  
  105. He remembers performing in places like these.
  106.   Kamron Katahana: "Kind of wish I had a walkie."
  107.   Haruki looked over to Badman performing on his flute. The soothing tune made the boy smile widely.
  108. "It's been a while since I heard such fascinating music! He's talented for sure!"
  109.   Ressou Gungnir and several other people in the building scoff when Ange wheels his way inside.
  110.   Narrator | That boy is in a wheelchair.
  111.    ange takes a moment to think about that. Even the music is bringing him back. He doesn't even notice the people scoffing and making idle conversation about his wheelchair-bound status.
  112.   Mika || Finally...
  113.  
  114. As the Master of Games steps forward to address Mika, the boy looked at this man as if Jesus had just risen from the dead. He fell to his knees and held his hands together, holding them above his head. Ever since the whole sewer escapade, every comment directed to him had had something to do with him smelling like shit. It kept making him angry.
  115.  
  116. But this guy, with his professionalism, told him that they had amenities ready for them. This was the most helpeful someone had been to him since he got there. He stared for a few moments, with the most grateful eyes the boy could produce, and replied.
  117.  
  118. "T-Thank you..."
  119.  
  120. It appeared the storm inside had subsided.
  121.   Yin: "Uh - sorry about that ... I should have let you in first, ange."
  122.   Col Canewil is here just quiet
  123.   Master of Games: "Sorry, I almost neglected to mention this, but you can't use them."
  124.   Yin: "<"....Them?">"
  125.   Mika "..."
  126.  
  127. A moment passes.
  128.  
  129. "YOU CAN'T JUST TOY WITH ME LIKE THAT!"
  130.   Jack T. V'ambrosio files in after Ange. His clothing was pretty exotic compared to both the fanciful dress of those inside and of the other participants, but he didn't look too out of place in a setting like this. In fact, he blended in far more-so than he did during the walk there.
  131.  
  132. Looks like I was pretty close to the mark...but there's also something else...it feels kind of like being filed into a classroom..no, that's not it either. I can't really describe this feeling, but my gut is telling me that despite how it looks, I shouldn't assume I'm in my natural habitat just because it looks like a high roller bar.
  133.  
  134. Rather than introduce himself, he chose to listen, and look around with his good eye.
  135.   Master of Games: "The amenities here are for those participating in the Hunter's exam. But if that's the case with your party, then please, feel free to go ahead."
  136.   Narrator | He put a lot of emphasis on those words; Hunter's exam.
  137.    ange opens his eyes once Yin speaks, turning to him to shake the memories from his mind. If he thinks about it any more, he just might cry. He waves his hand in dismissal.
  138.  
  139. "It's fine. I didn't want to be rude and cut in front of anyone."
  140.   Kamron Katahana: "Hmm Col is either dead or Not comming back."
  141.   Haruki: "Who's Col?"
  142.   Hiro Tanaka: "So what is this place, exactly?"
  143.   Sidbert "Sid" snickers and takes a step towards the casino on that final note, gesturing Badman to come along. Just as his song ends, no less. "See? Two minutes."
  144.   Kamron Katahana: "One of the fellows who were part of our group."
  145.   Mika "...Okay. Uhm, mister, where are they? I know most of us just now coming in are going to be taking the exam."
  146.  
  147. Mika's heart could barely take anymore of this stress.
  148.   Max Campbell Meanwhile.
  149.  
  150. "Good luck."
  151.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "<'If this was the examination site, wouldn't that be obvious? If it's hidden to non-participants, why would that even need to be an astreick to the conversation?'>"
  152.   Yin felt like it'd been too long since Max said that.
  153.   Master of Games: "You're taking the exam, yes? Then, please feel free to head upstairs and use one of our showers."
  154.   Mika "THANK YOU SO MUCH!"
  155.  
  156. Mika immediately took the opprotunity and sprinted upstairs, wanting to take full advantage of the shower provided.
  157.   Hiro Tanaka just watches as the man that smelled like, well... real shit as dashed towards the showers.
  158.   Kamron Katahana Waits and listens to Badman's music.
  159. "One can only question how someone can get so talented But I suppose the answer could only be practice."
  160.  
  161.   Haruki: "Should I go check instead?"
  162.   Kamron Katahana: "If you want to."
  163.   Hiro Tanaka: "Oh, that reminds me, there are still applicants outside that didn't walk in."
  164.   Kolt walks up to the master of games, bowing respectfully "Hey Sir, with your permission I'd also like to use the showers offered, if possible."
  165.   Ledo Bellgrimes just looks around once more. There had to be a clue, something to verify the location of this place. Ledo looked to Sniper, giving his tone low.
  166.  
  167. "Oi. Sniper, you sure this is the right place?"
  168.   Max Campbell after introducing himself to the majority of the bar he would just stand in place.
  169.  
  170. "We really did it Ledo! We made it to the Hunter exams!"
  171.   Hiro Tanaka: "This place IS where we continue on to the hunter exams, right?"
  172.   Yin looks up at Max stand up beside him.
  173. God Max was loud.
  174.   Badman Sving concludes his song as Sid gives the signal, withdrawing the flute and giving a bow to those that bothered to hear him out. "Thank you. I am honored by your praise as always." With that done with, Badman follows his 'comrade' into the casino, tugging along his coffin-shaped suitcase.
  175.   Ledo Bellgrimes smiled to Max.
  176.  
  177. "That's the assumption Max but, we can't always take everyone's word. Trust but, verify. We need to make sure this is the exam location."
  178.   Zwei: ".. There's this feeling I can't shake about that place.."
  179.   Yin: "Good looking out, Ledo. "
  180.   Max Campbell: "If this wasn't the exam location then why is there so many scary people in here?"
  181.   Haruki took a moment to look at the path parallel to the white building one last time, seeing if there were any hints or clues that could be noticeable in sight to be the right path. He turns to face the building afterwards, watching Badman moving to that direction as well. Haruki begun walking to the building to see if he could peak through the glass doors.
  182.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Because it might be an elimination round...
  183.   Kamron Katahana: "Hmm... Might as well check it out, I doubt they would kill everyone seeing as they all went to the same location."
  184.   Zwei crosses her arms over her chest. She may not of looked inside, but the fact that this building could only be looked at from the doors causes her to take a small amount of breath into her lungs.
  185. "It's less that they may try to kill everyone, and more the idea that the building tries to occupy you to waste your time perhaps."
  186.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Could be another test? Could be a bunch of criminals looking to wipe out the next generation of Hunters, could be a lot of things, we don't know anything just yet."
  187.   Kamron Katahana: "Hmm..."
  188.   Yin: "Is... there even an indication on when the exam actually.....starts?"
  189.   Max Campbell: "Yeah! All the scary looking people."
  190.   Kamron Katahana: "Simply keep an eye on everyone, when several people go missing then we've waisted too much time."
  191.   Yin: "What characteristics make someone 'scary', Max?"
  192.   Max Campbell strokes his chin in deep thought.
  193.   Little Miracle | After the Master of Games departs, Little Miracle walks over to Max's group and immediately makes Sniper stand down due to his impressive size and physique. He's a tall man with broad shoulders and a sharp air of confidence. He seems dangerous. He smells dangerous. That cologne. Like an island breeze tinged with blood and kiwi. But mostly kiwi.
  194.  
  195. He runs a hand through Ange's hair and takes the boy by the chin.
  196.  
  197. "Are you really here, applying for the Hunter's Exam? You don't look like you're cut out for that kind of thing. As a matter of fact, you remind me of the sweet boys that me and my friends would mess around with back in High School. We'd strip them down and wash their skin in the snow until they started to cry."
  198.   Max Campbell points in Little Miracle's face with little disregard for personal space.
  199.  
  200. "THAT GUY IS SCARY."
  201.   Zwei takes that breath she had, words that have not taken it from her lungs before, and exhumes it in a deep sigh outwards as she began walking straight for the door of the building. "Fine. Let's get these shenanigans over with."
  202.   Sniper Winterbaum has been put in his place without so much as a word from this taller, stronger man.
  203.   Sniper Winterbaum retreats to a corner on the opposite side of the room.
  204.   Sidbert "Sid" | The real reason Sid steps towards the casino immediately becomes clear. It's not to head inside, but to avoid prying ears and eyes. He stops on his left foot to brush against Badman's ear. "I'm absolutely positive it's designed to waste our time," Sid whispers into Badman's ear. "Look around the building and converge back on the right path out of sight, so that the rest of this lot keeps messing with these absurdly rich folk."
  205.  
  206. Practically on cue, the vague mentionings of rape catch wind into his ears. "Possibly in ways of the flesh too," Sid adds with slight nausea.
  207.   Kamron Katahana Tightened his bag upon his back and started walking to the building. He'd only look around for a minute at the on goings before joining Max's group back behind them all.
  208.   Kolt walks closer to ange, as her and others were approached by one of the inhabitants of this building, if only to hear better from the man and gauge the situation and purpose of this place better.
  209.   Yin has no reason to speak at the current moment. The guy in front of him was clearly stronger and superior in every way shape or form, but that did not exactly intimidate him. His sapphire orbs slanted up to meet his gaze, checking out his features. The smell got to him too - it wasen't one he exactly liked either. It was better than Mika's stink though, so he could deal with it. He looked over to Max, who'd just answered his question with a personified version of what he thought was 'Scary'.
  210.  
  211. "Nice choice."
  212.   Zwei enters the casino, recognizing that it indeed felt like a time-wasting kind of place, as she eyes the patrons, the individuals with knives and weapons out. All these people in suits didn't seem like applicants to her, but more particularly, it was the fact that it felt like they were all eying fresh meat, with Max and Miracle face-to-face.
  213.  
  214. Zwei stays quiet temporarily, if only to see if she evades the notice of the patrons.
  215.   Jack T. V'ambrosio feels immediately threatened. His excellent instinct told him before he'd even spoken, that in a direct confrontation, he wouldn't win. Oh man, it's a good thing I didn't rush in here head first!
  216.  
  217. Of course, the face you're seeing now isn't the face he made in reality. It was the face displayed in his head -- the one he concealed with the technique called [ poker expression. ]
  218. After all, panic wasn't a word in any gambler's dictionary if they were worth their salt. Instead of sticking my neck out, I'll see what s...no, he can do. That's a boy? ...Well, there are stranger things in the world...besides, this feeling in my gut....this definitley is an elimination round! I have to figure a way out. Maybe I can gamble the way out...I'll use it as a last resort if I can't discern anything with my eye or my keen perception.
  219.   Ledo Bellgrimes smiled and looked at the burly man, running his fingers through Anges hair. "Luckily, none here are still in that unfournate place." He bluntly stated, obviously referring to Miracles attempt at making one of his companion feel uncomfortable but, maybe this was the test, Ledo couldn't tell up from down in terms of the directions they were supposed to go, so he was going to act how he normally would.
  220.    ange thinks back to the last few times he's taken the exam, wondering if there were any similarities this time around. There usually aren't, considering how wildly they differ from exam to exam. While he does, just looks around, taking in the extravagant scenery, comparing it to his previous days of dancing in luxury clubs such as these and performing on stage to many of his loyal fans.
  221.  
  222. "--Huh?"
  223.  
  224. He's shaken from his thoughts yet again by another man's intrusion, feeling the pins keeping his fringe in place pop out and fall to the floor with gentle tinks as Little Miracle's hand swipes through. He purses his lips, turning away with a flush as he locks his wheels into place. If anything, he wasn't going to make it easy for them to just wheel him out of the building.
  225.  
  226. "I made it here, didn't I? I'm here to take the hunter exam just like anyone else that's come this far."
  227.   Hiro Tanaka walks towards agne the tall man, standing between them as he turns towards Little Miracle. "Still, this is a place for the hunter applicants to take it easy according to what I understand, no? how about we all would just take a good drink instead?" Hiro speaks, he can feel the man's intimitating prescense, but he wouldn't let that phase him should the situation grow worse
  228.   Little Miracle licks his lips. It looks like he's found easy prey.
  229.  
  230. No one here really seemed to care about the insinuations he was making. It seems like he's successfully intimidated Ange's entourage. Either that or they just never cared about the kid in the first place. Hell, knowing how people work, he wouldn't be surprised if they were all using this cute little kid here as their personal blow up doll.
  231.  
  232. "Heh. But you're in this chair. I wonder, does your dick still---" He's cut off by an intrusion he thought unlikely. But he doesn't say anything back to Hiro. Instead he straightens his back and seethes.
  233.   Little Miracle: "Take a walk kid, I'm having a conversation with my girlfriend here."
  234.   Master of Games wonders if he should do something.
  235.   Hiro Tanaka: "Hey, no need to be all emotional about it, how about we'll chill out here in the meantime instead?"
  236.   Birdo | A heavily bandaged man with dark skin and ashen hair stands on the opposite side of the casino. When Little Miracle speaks, so too does the bandaged man's head perk up. He's started to wonder the same as the Master of Games.
  237.   Max Campbell feels the whole situation intensify, he decides that if he puts on a tough guy act maybe he could make this guy stand down.
  238.  
  239. He steps up to put his face to Little Miracle's.
  240.  
  241. "HEY! You can't talk to Ange like that!"
  242.   Zwei could tell from mannerisms and intents that this 'Miracle' was little indeed, a man who needed to prove his alpha tendencies over others. She was also feeling that perhaps someone else would step up and deflect attention to themselves, so she opts to walk forth a bit with her hands in her side pockets.
  243.  
  244. "Are you, or are you not, the examiners that carry the current applicants into the next phase? I'd rather cut to brass and tax."
  245.   Badman Sving makes a low hum in the back of his throat. He didn't trust the look of the casino himself, given that it was filled with the type of people that spit in his face or threw his instruments in the trash when he was but a young and strugging street musician, leaving him naturally adverse to the pompous sorts and the places that attract them. Fueled by both his own distaste for the building and Sid's warning, Badman wordlessly performs a brief inspection of the building's exterior - letting everyone move their attention elsewhere or lose interest in him before he swiftly backtracks towards to the crossroad where they came from; moving like a silent white blur despite hurling around something that was taller than he was.
  246.  
  247. He'll be taking the right path this time. There's been enough debachery in his life for him to be sick of us.
  248.   Ledo Bellgrimes smiles at Max, getting a bit closer to the confrontation but, not close enough to be in the middle of this conversation. He stands to the side of Max, just awaiting the outcome at his friends intimidation.
  249.   Little Miracle drives his fist into Max Campbell's nose without even turning to look in his direction. It goes without saying that the tremendous amount of force behind the blow is more than sufficient enough to make Max cut his lip open on his teeth and perhaps, break his nose.
  250.   Kolt observed the situation and the reactions to what Little Miracle had just said, coupling it together in his hand as he ran over the words in his mind. He didn't take this as a part of the test yet, and so he took it quite casually, as he wasn't surprised that this kind of people existed in this world.
  251.  
  252. Shaking his head of these thoughts as they were interrupted by the sudden attack of the man, he put on an awkward smile "Wow, sir, you seem to be quite strong for a creep, I'd never guess."
  253.   Sidbert "Sid" overhears more while moving quickly and silently akin to a ghost, and frankly wishes he didn't.
  254.   Yin is beside Max.
  255. If this were a game, there'd be a visual '!' above his head when Max spoke out.
  256.   Max Campbell was instantaneously defeated....
  257.    ange lifts the blanket obscuring his legs to his face to wipe the sparkling tears pricking at the edges of his eyes.
  258.  
  259. He too has the ! floating above his head as an indication of his surprise when Max interjects in his defense and the subsequent punch on Little Miracle's end.
  260.   Zwei expected this sort of outcome, staying silent as her question lingers in the air despite the tension cutting at it.
  261.   Hiro Tanaka clenches his hand into a fist as he sees the tall man punching out one the applicants just like that without any effort... "You know what? This is a casino, right? how about we'll wager - if I'll beat you in an arm-wrestling match, you would leave this place - Of course, you get to decide what I will have to do if I lose." Hiro proclaims towards the tall man, a stern look on his face... It isn't his business, but people like that just piss him off.
  262.   Ledo Bellgrimes smiled still. "Yin, move Max out of the way please." He just stared at Miracle, stepping up next, as his obvious next combatant if no one of higher volume and bravado came back.---Oh look, called it.
  263.   Max Campbell a fist drove into his face with an extreme amount of force, Max in all realities wasn't a fighter to say the least and in this moment it became apparent  to everyone in the room.
  264.  
  265. This boy had no hope against people such as [ LITTLE MIRACLE ].
  266.  
  267. "GAH!!!!"
  268.  
  269. He spiraled through the air in the most dramatic fashion and goes crashing through a table. The boy unlike when he recovered from Mika's strike, he wasn't moving and instead screamed and coughed with a tone full of pain.
  270.  
  271. Though, to those that paid closer attention tears welled up within Max Campbell's eyes. It was true 'pain' at not being able to protect a friend and he screamed, it was a hearfelt scream full of the distress of a boy who had once again met a
  272.  
  273.  [ Bad End ]
  274.  
  275. "AAAAAHHH"
  276.   Narrator | Badman and Sid aren't going to like what they find. Contrary to what they expected, they have to stop advancing when they reach something of a steep overpass. From their position, they can see if they head down from here... they'll be heading into a den of strange, rabbit-like monsters approximately the size of a small bear. They haven't been spotted yet. It's for the best they retreat.
  277.   Haruki continued to look through the glass doors of the building, securing a spot where he could see most of the events that took place inside.
  278. "<The more I see it, this place does indeed look unlikely for the hunter exams to take place...>"
  279.   Sidbert "Sid" really doesn't want to go back to Little Miracle. He had enough of that with the vague crossdressing in the Zoldyck family to the point he earnestly debates jumping into it.
  280.  
  281. But that wouldn't help anyone. "Okay."
  282.   Sidbert "Sid": "I guess we're turning back."
  283.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Max was defeated in one blow...yeouch, this guy is stronger than he looks. ....If...if I don't do something, I think I'll lose too...and he won't even have to strike me to do it. I get the feeling that if I continue to observe, I'll lose.
  284.  
  285. Jack whistles.
  286.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "This is getting a little violent, isn't it? I have an idea...you all gamble here, right? Why don't we play a game...and if [ we ] win...our prize is the information we seek. And if we [ lose ]...we'll forfeit the exam."
  287.    ange gets blood splattered on him from Max's bloody nose.
  288.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "That's pretty fair, right?"
  289. After all, if they were kept here and defeated one by one like this, they'd end up dropping out regardless.
  290.   Zwei: "One man making a decision for the whole group seems a bit excessive."
  291.   Lincoln Osiris Fett approached Hiro from the side, and not saying a word, he just took the time to assess and observe the current situation, everything at the current moment seemed quite scattered.
  292.   Badman Sving shakes his head and turns on his heel, walking back towards the casino without another word. He would have liked to try his luck taming them but they didn't have the time nor the luxury - it's better if they go into the casino and brave the risks.
  293.  
  294. Well, he doesn't think it'll be risky for him at all.
  295.   Yin felt bad for Max.
  296.  
  297. In an instance, he felt the heavy feelings of guilt lie deep in his mind. He should have been the one taking the punch, shouldn't he? Max was quite litterally outclassed in an instant. Yin walked over as directed, he had a few bandages in his bag along with some water. He didin't even turn back to check on the other two, but he hoped for the best. This was his first attempt at making friends, and they were already crashing through tables. He put a hand on Max's shoulders, seeing both the blood dripping from his nose and the tears flowing into a crimson pool of water on the floor. "It's.. okay Max." He said in a whisper, pulling a bandage from his bag. The bandage wouldn't help, but maybe it'd be more of a soothing picture than the purple-blue-red mark that'd appear later on. He knew how people got when they were angry, so he didin't go to put it on Max, just ready to try and fix up the blood when he got up.
  298.  
  299. He finally looked back to Ledo and Ange.
  300.  
  301. Was he.. cut out to be a Hunter?
  302.   Max Campbell: "I'm sorry....tell Ange I'm sorry."
  303.   Kamron Katahana Gtg so is on Auto-Follow
  304.   Sidbert "Sid" doesn't like this one bit. It's not that he thinks he can't defend himself, but that he abhors sexuality. It's one of the few things that were hammered into him properly in his nine years of conditioning as a Butler. He travels a little faster, and they're back in front of the glass doors in no time at all.
  305.  
  306. He'll open the doors for Badman without a word.
  307.   Yin puts the bandage over his nose and tries to sit him up. "Ange knows you're sorry. You did more than me, I should be sorry."
  308.   Master of Games | Although no one was able to see him move, he had arrived in an instant, forming a barricade with his body between Little Miracle, Ledo and the rest of the surrounding applicants.
  309.  
  310. "I'm intervening."
  311.   Ledo Bellgrimes was wondering whose 'battle' Miracle would take. His, Hiro's or Jack's.
  312.    ange wipes the blood off his face.
  313.   Ledo Bellgrimes bitch if you don't get ur Arc-V head ass.
  314.  
  315. He went over to Ange, "You okay?" He asked, his voice just for the boy at the moment.
  316.   Master of Games: "In this place, fighting is prohibited. You can't fight here. If you trade blows with one another, you'll both be subjected to disqualification."
  317.   Zwei: "Well, there's my indirect confirmation."
  318.   Lincoln Osiris Fett: "Good, let's not waste our energy."
  319.   Max Campbell shook his head.
  320.  
  321. "I tried to protect you guys and I failed." The tears in his eyes threatened to escape from their prisons like the darkest color of man escaping from a plantation.
  322.  
  323. That is until his hand wiped them away.
  324.  
  325. "I'll do better next time."
  326.   Master of Games will have to discipline Little Miracle properly, "And in regards to you, if you instigate something like this again, I'll disqualify you."
  327.   Hiro Tanaka: "Good thing I wasn't asking for a fight, but an arm wrestling match - But, so long as there won't be any agression going on, that match could wait."
  328.    ange nods quietly, glancing over to the downed Max with a saddened expression in his eyes. He really let that happen to him, especially after they've traveled together all the way here.
  329.  
  330. Ange fists the blanket in his lap, looking over to Ledo.
  331.  
  332. "I'm.. fine. I was just... shocked. Can you wheel me over to Max? I'd like to see how he is."
  333.   Master of Games: "..."
  334.   Master of Games: "You're right, a wager is harmless."
  335.   Yin: "Ange's alright, we're alright. We're worried about you right now."
  336.   Master of Games waves over his shoulder and leaves them to their doings.
  337.  
  338. "Have at it."
  339.   Ledo Bellgrimes nodded to Ange, before taking him to Max's side. Ledo was dividing his attention between his companions and this 'wager', interested.
  340.   Narrator | Ledo is incapable of moving Ange.
  341.   Ledo Bellgrimes bitch what?
  342.   Max Campbell coughed horribly, "No, Ledo! Don't let him wager something like that against [ HIM ] he won't win."
  343.   Kaminu licks his paw.
  344.   Hiro Tanaka: "Relax, a simple wager shouldn't be all that bad, no?"
  345.   Little Miracle | Because another man has already placed his hands on that wheel chair. He's appropriated both Ange and his method of transportation.
  346.  
  347. Now his eyes are fixed on Jack V'ambrosio.
  348.  
  349. And... Hiro Tanaka.
  350.   Little Miracle: "You said you wanted to make a bet with me right? And if I lost I'd forfeit the Exam? I'll pass. A wager like that would require us to be on even terms, and we're not. So instead how about this."
  351.   Little Miracle: "Let's gamble over ownership of this one's asshole."
  352.   Lincoln Osiris Fett: "I wouldn't do a wager."
  353.   Hiro Tanaka: "Sadly, I am not into that, which means no one gets the ass."
  354.   Hiro Tanaka: "... Hole."
  355.   Zwei stares at Little Miracle from across the room.
  356. "Cut the [ homoerotic ] crap please."
  357.    ange: "You... No one owns me."
  358.   Little Miracle: "Wrong. Because I'm here now."
  359.   Narrator | Little Miracle leans down so that his face hovers inches away from Ange's own tender visage.
  360.   Ledo Bellgrimes
  361.  
  362.  
  363.   Little Miracle: "[ Do. You. Understand? ]"
  364.   Yin  
  365.   Ledo Bellgrimes puts his hand on Miracles face, trying to stop him.
  366.  
  367. "No. Also, Boxing, is that allowed?"
  368.   Max Campbell watches as the man that defeated him instantaneously now proceeds to flex.
  369.   Master of Games can't believe he told these two there was no fighting allowed and they're still getting ready to fight.
  370.  
  371. Maybe he should have just instated a rule which bars the applicants from busting one another's cheeks.
  372.   Hiro Tanaka steps in between both of them once more, this time putting his hand on Little Miracle's chest as he pushes him a bit further back from Ange. "Now now, the rules are no fighting, after all..."
  373.   Badman Sving properly ingests all of the infomation traveling through his ears once Sid opens the door. The words 'disqualify' tell him everything that they need to know - this was the proper location after all.
  374.  
  375. They managed to skimp through the preliminary 'testing' at least, judging from Max's bruised face and the tension hanging in the air. Not to mention the "wager."
  376.  
  377. "It seems we're in time for another event. How exciting." Gambling over sex always led to high tensions - high stakes and high tensions meant he could play music fitting for the occasion. And he always enjoyed playing music. Badman lowers his voice for Sid to hear.
  378.  
  379. "See if you can comb the layout of the building. I'll keep an eye on the situation here."
  380.   Ledo Bellgrimes hey.
  381.  
  382. Floyd made mad amounts of bills from Boxing homie.
  383.  
  384. You wanna be Mayweather rich?
  385.   Zwei expects two people to get smacked.
  386.   Jack T. V'ambrosio 's specialties are tricking people and playing games. Unfortunately, someone marginally less intelligent challenged their enemy to an arm wrestling match.
  387. Damnit. ...I knew it, I should have spoke up sooner!
  388.  
  389. I need to keep my poker face...I can still turn this around. If I can't, I'll just have to figure out where to go from here myself...but if it comes to that, I'm positive I won't make it.
  390.  
  391. ....Well. Maybe lady luck is on his side. Jack looks at Ange. "...."
  392.  
  393. He doubted simply asking Ange to trust him would work.They just met, no one in their right mind would...but it was do or die. "Hey, hey. Everyone be quiet for a second..."
  394.  
  395. He gave him a meaningful look. He didn't care all that much about him, they just met. But even he felt bad about agreeing to a bet like that. "That's the only bet you'll take? ...then that's fine. Because I. Won't. Lose."
  396.    ange leans forward, away from Little Miracle's face. He was shocked before, but after having the sight of Max being punched for his sake and Little Miracle's continued affectations, he's getting more angry and tired of it all.
  397.  
  398. "You don't own me. No one owns any part of me."
  399.  
  400. The idea that anyone can just 'own' his body is prickling his nerves in a bad way. He came to become a hunter to hunt down the people who stole and sold his legs, after all.
  401.   Ledo Bellgrimes wonders how Jack lost an eye.
  402.   Lincoln Osiris Fett pointed to Hiro and waved for him to come here.
  403.   Max Campbell is defeated by his aching body as he tries to get up.
  404.  
  405. He could only look on at what was occuring infront of him, " I just thought...we were going to take the exam."
  406.   Hiro Tanaka notices the way Lincolin waved for him to come, but he is currently too focused on Little Miracle and on the current situation, unable to just leave the situation abruptly like that.
  407.   Yin tries to catch Max under the arm and pick him up, letting him stand whilst aiding him too. "I think.. this may be the first part."
  408.   Little Miracle wonders if he can really tolerate all this bullshit. No fighting allowed? How long was that going to last? He didn't come here to bust open cheeks, but now that the opportunity had presented itself, he wasn't just about to walk away from it. Ange is a crippled effiminate young man, he can't be a Hunter. Why is everyone acting like he can? Little Miracle straightens his posture. He snatches Ledo's hand away from his face and using his supreme abdominals, blows Hiro away without even using his hands.
  409.  
  410. That's the power of these superb pecs. They can bounce on their own. Left. Right. Left. Right.
  411.  
  412. "You sure are naive." He can feel it just by touching Ledo's wrist; this kid doesn't have what it takes to stop him from prying open Ange's asshole and renovating it. Neither does Hiro Tanaka.
  413.  
  414. He unhands Ledo and focuses on Jack V'ambrosio.
  415.   Mika || The curtain to the shower opened, a towel tightly secured around Mika's waist, stepping out with an air of confidence (plus the air of tolerable odor). He assumed, at the very least, his clothes were washed by this point and redressed himself. Now he was back at 100%! The memory may still linger, but the smell will not.
  416.  
  417. Now the boy had to make his way back downstairs, looking toward the downed Max. Instead of asking what happened, since the situation seems tense, he just decided to get that information later and observe what was unfolding.
  418.   Little Miracle: "Everyone listen up; these are the stakes. Unless you're willing to stake your chance at obtaining a Hunter's license on fighting with me and losing. In that case, feel free to try it."
  419.   Little Miracle: "The simple fact of the matter is, this boy's asshole belongs to me now. Let that be a lesson to all of you; you should never flaunt your treasures in front of someone who's clearly stronger than you are."
  420.   Ledo Bellgrimes was fine with his hand being swatted away. As long as this jacked guido's five alarm chili breath was away from Ange, he was good.
  421.   Zwei: "Are you even a Hunter yourself?"
  422.   Little Miracle: "The Hunter's Examination isn't something anyone can just take. Some soft-skinned cripple can't do it. So now, his ass is up for grabs. If anyone wants a piece of this hot action, they can win it from me in a gamble."
  423.   Lincoln Osiris Fett turned to Hiro and shook his head. "I told you."
  424.   Narrator | Little Miracle just put Ange's asshole up for auction. What will he do?
  425.    ange: "-- I'll gamble it for my own self."
  426.   Little Miracle: "Are you serious? Do you really want to try and win back your own asshole in a high stakes game? You're too frail. Let that guy with one eye do it for you. If you play yourself and lose, it'll be more humiliating for you when you're choking down my cock."
  427.   Little Miracle: "Are you really willing to accept something like that?"
  428.   Zwei stares over to the Master of Games.
  429. "Does deplorable behavior and rape commonly get exhibited before the exams have even begun?"
  430.   Lincoln Osiris Fett: "You're really gambling over the girl in the wheelchair?"
  431.   Kolt just observes as the man's attention seems to be fully focused on the person on the wheelchair and the people protecting her.
  432.   Hiro Tanaka was shocked as his hand was blown all the way back just from this man's abdominal muscles, how powerful is this guy?! "Ok, I admit - I underestimated you there, but still - every man has the option to try and do the hunter exams if they so choose.... Heck, if that man thinks he can beat you, I'm willing to let him proof himself." Hiro speaks he as he starts walking back, taking a position next to Ange.
  433.   Mika decided to approach the Master of Games, now with a less offensive smell, and asked.
  434.  
  435. "...This isn't part of the Exam, is it?"
  436.   Ledo Bellgrimes stares at Hiro.
  437.  
  438. Nigga do we know you?
  439.   Master of Games: "Boy."
  440.   Master of Games doesn't even dignify that with a response. These guys are over there fighting over another man's asshole.
  441.   Yin  !
  442.    ange bristles with all that lewd language.
  443.  
  444. "Only if I get to choose the gamble. A dance. I wager that I can dance better than you."
  445.  
  446. A boy in a wheelchair... dancing?
  447.   Yin: "<"Is... is he serious?">"
  448.   Ledo Bellgrimes cut him some slack.
  449.  
  450. He fell into a sewer.
  451.   Little Miracle: "Dance? You can't DANCE. You're in a wheelchair. Alright, I'll take your wager."
  452.   Max Campbell: "I can't feel my spine.."
  453.   Little Miracle: "Then when I bust a move on you, you'll be dancing on my dick."
  454.   Lincoln Osiris Fett: "Professor X is about to dance the pedophile?? What?!"
  455.   Yin: "It's fine, I'm sure it's just a phase Max."
  456.   Yin: "<"I hope he didin't break anything..">"
  457.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Man he is -really- trying to get the point across, he likes asshole."
  458.   Mika "Oh, thank god."
  459.  
  460. Mika wiped his brow and was glad the question was THAT stupid. Betting a feminine looking male's asshole was not a requirement for being a Hunter. So, he asked a follow up.
  461.  
  462. "Is the Exam going to start soon? Or are we waiting for...Whatever this is, to resolve?"
  463.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Hold on -- let's just make sure of the terms. If we [ win ] ...you'll answer us, right? That's the deal. And if we [ lose ] ..or rather, if Ange loses... he has to submit to you? That's correct?"
  464.   Little Miracle: "That depends on what you mean by "answer you"."
  465.   Hiro Tanaka suddenly can't help but laughing at the idea of ange proposing... a DANCING competition, of all things. "Ok, that was a funny one, but what's the real wager?" Hiro asks, smirking as he tries to hold himself from laughing.
  466.   Zwei stares at Hiro.
  467.   Ledo Bellgrimes does the same.
  468. Whose mans is this?
  469.   Master of Games: "This has little bearing on anything. If it's not over by the time the exam starts then I'm content with letting all of these people involved miss it."
  470.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "For the sake of clarity, I'll say it now -- if Ange wins, the question will be 'is this the first exam?' and if the answer is no, the next would be 'then where is it?!' ...okay?"
  471.   Master of Games: "This building is a rest station. In here, the applicants are treated to as much food and drink as they'd like before we begin with the Examination process."
  472.   Zwei: "Thank you again for clarification."
  473.   Yin turns to Hiro. "Maybe you should stop talking."
  474.   Lincoln Osiris Fett: "Can I get some water?"
  475.   Zwei moves to sit down somewhere.
  476. This wager wasn't her problem given that Ange seemed confident enough in their own ability.
  477.   Little Miracle looks over at the Master of Games.
  478.  
  479. "That's a stupid reward. So I'll answer you now. That guy over there, that's the Exam procter I believe. When I got here he told me that this was a rest station, and that at a pre-designated time he'd take us to the Exam site."
  480.   Hiro Tanaka walks a bit closer to Yin, trying to talk a bit more quietly. "What, did I say something bad?"
  481.   Little Miracle: "I'll offer you something before we begin; if you guys forfeit, I won't take your friend's asshole. But if you go ahead with this wager then I won't be able to save his tender little asshole from what I'm hiding in these trousers."
  482.   Mika "Gotcha."
  483.  
  484. Mika wasted no time in talking to one of the individuals who looked to be a servers, placing an order for some sort of steak (being a bit more polite, and adding in the fact that he was participating in the exam) and stood next to the Master of Games.
  485.  
  486. "...Definitely a bit of a rocky start."
  487.   Badman Sving: "If you're going to dance, then I can provide the music."
  488.   Yin: "No, what you said just wasen't needed. It'd be best if you stayed quiet, for all of us."
  489.   Haruki finally enters the building, bowing to Master of Games once he caught his attention and then sitting next to Zwei afterwards.
  490. "Looks like our suspiscions were right after all. Although..."
  491.   Max Campbell looked at Badman Sving who offered to play a beautiful tune while Max struggled to stand up.
  492.    ange: "Don't worry. I'll show you what I can do."
  493.   Hiro Tanaka: "Wait..."
  494.   Haruki: "...to think things would get this intense so early..."
  495.    ange: "Can I ask for one thing, though? If you don't have it, I'll just have to adapt."
  496.   Hiro Tanaka tries o whisper towards Yin. "Is he... Serious about that wager? What am I not getting here?" He asks sincerely.
  497.   Zwei: "<This is retarded.>"
  498.   Jack T. V'ambrosio tips his hat upwards in acknowledgement. So that's how it is....this place though..
  499.  
  500. "I see."
  501. Ange has no legs.....
  502. But.....he wouldn't make a challenge like that if he couldn't win. It wasn't my gamble this time...it's his.
  503. I wanted him to trust my acquired skills, but now I'll have to do just that for him.
  504.  
  505. "...Hmhmhm.....didn't I tell you? I won't lose! ...but that's mistaken. Because we won't lose. It's no longer my bet, so Ange can pick his own reward. Your defeat...I'll watch it with my own eye. Capture it with your heart, [ Purple Man ]."
  506.   Kallisto Zoldyck | A man in an expensive armani suit settles down into the seat beside Mika.
  507.  
  508. "Hey, what's good?"
  509.   Yin helps Max up.
  510.   Little Miracle: "What is it that you want?"
  511.    ange: "A pole."
  512.   Lincoln Osiris Fett walked away and got something to eat and drink, fuel was neccesary at the moment, and nothing pertinent was going on, nothing pertinent was ever going on. "Let me know when we continue."
  513.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Internally, as he steps out of the vocal limelight, he can't help but fidget.
  514. How on earth could a legless dancer outdance a man with two strong legs?
  515.  
  516. There had to be some kind of trick.
  517.   Max Campbell looks at the new arrival in Kallisto Zoldyck as he stands once again fully.
  518.   Little Miracle | It's clear on Little Miracle's face that he wants to answer with the pole in his pants.
  519.   Mika || Man, ever since Mika found a shower things have been looking up. He got steak, he's not apart of this gay shit, and he's making new friends.
  520.  
  521. "Well...This whole situation is kind of weird, but other than that things are good! Like I just got a steak!"
  522.  
  523. He said as he watched the plate get set in front of him, his eyes lighting up, before he began to eat with proper etiquette. He chewed a bit, swallowed, and asked in return.
  524.  
  525. "What about with you?"
  526.   Narrator | Mika received an enormous steak.
  527.   Narrator | It's actually a large steak stacked on top of another; they're both the largest pieces of meat he's ever seen.
  528.   Little Miracle: "So you're the type that prefers theatrics huh? Sorry, I don't have one."
  529.   Mika eyes were like this when he saw it.
  530.    ange: "Then that's fine. I'll show my dance another way. So, are you ready?"
  531.   Ledo Bellgrimes turned to Kallisto for a split - second, a gut feeling gave him the awareness to know to stay away from a man like that. Ledo looked back to Ange's 'battle'.
  532.   Asoka haden't showed her face during the entire pre-exam. She was in the background, waiting, watching. When she pushed open the doors of the building that everyone piled into, she could see the events of what was going on unfold right infront of her. She saw Max get sent across the room, Miracle proclaim ownership of the little guy's backside, and a few more random annoucements being made.
  533.  
  534. Asoka was not going to even try to be a part of all of this. There was too much going on to try and comprehend. Whilst trying to get a seat far away from everyone else, she has a seat, listening and watching as she did from the beginning. She smelt the steak too, looking over at Mika. It'd been a while since she's even eaten a steak - and she'd never seen one that big. Either way, she was going to lay back and stay quiet. There was now way she'd end up being the next item going up for auction.
  535.   Kallisto Zoldyck 's eyes were like this when he saw it.
  536.  
  537. He holds his hand in front of his mouth. "That looks good. How'd you order it? It looks tender." It looks like it'd melt in your damn mouth.
  538.   Little Miracle: "I've been ready for a long time."
  539.   Jack T. V'ambrosio chooses to wait off on ordering any kind of food or drink to watch for any untoward side effects that might be suffered by those less cautious. Instead, he does his best to look cool leaning against the wall.
  540.   Max Campbell sits down in a chair and watches the battle, struggling to regain his smile.
  541.  
  542. "I have to do better next time."
  543.   Yin puts a second bandage on his nose. "Shh, you will."
  544.   Hiro Tanaka: "Your name is Max right? You already did good by trying to step in - Even if you didn't succeed, that takes guts!"
  545.   Mika face was like this when he actually ate the steak. Not only was the world with Hunter's filled with interesting characters, but it was also filled with some of the most delicious food he has ever seen. As Kallisto asked him about it, Mika got up and retrieved a plate and a set of silverware from another table to set it in front of Kallisto.
  546.  
  547. He removed the bottom steak, which remain untouched, and moved it onto said plate.
  548.  
  549. "I just asked and told them I was participating in the Hunter's Exam, but this is so good that you shouldn't have to wait! Take this one!"
  550.  
  551. After Mika did so, he went back to eating the steak in front of him.
  552.   Zwei passively orders a water in the meanwhile.
  553.   Max Campbell: "It does doesn't it!"
  554.   Sidbert "Sid" doesn't know how to actually scout out the place, despite Badman's good suggestion. Between the disgusting debacle of putting another boy's asshole up for auction and the presence of Kallisto Zoldyck, Sid feels his legs turn to lead. It's a force of habit that he still hasn't shaken for the past year outside of the estate, as Butlers are neither meant to be seen nor heard until request.
  555.  
  556. If it were any older Zoldyck, Sid would crack. But all he can do is sweat and remain on standby until the ownership of Ange's asshole falls into someone's hands for good. Hopefully, the right person's hands.
  557.   Mika: "asked for a steak*"
  558.   Kallisto Zoldyck doesn't want to eat someone else's food. He eyes this steak for a few seconds before deciding to move it back on to Mika's plate. "Thanks, but I don't want to eat someone else's food. Besides, I don't really know if I'm in the mood for steak."
  559.  
  560. Actually, "Do they have any cake? Or pudding? I'll get a coffee too if they have one."
  561.   Max Campbell: "Ange has to win...or else his ass will fall into [ THAT MANS] hands. "
  562.   Mika moved the plate that was in front of Kallisto back in a place that was more out of the way, but left the silverware.
  563.  
  564. "Beats me! I just smelled steak, so I got steak! I'm sure this place has stuff like, so just try asking!"
  565.  
  566. Mika gave a grin to Kallitso before being mezmerized by the delicious steak again.
  567.   Zwei: "Can you all actually do things instead of repeat back and forth about a boy in a wheelchair's anus?"
  568.   Mika: "I can tell you're probably taking the Exam too, so make sure to include that!"
  569.    ange reaches under his blanket, where the distinct loud click of something snapping into place twice comes from underneath Ange's wheelchair. There's a couple more adjustments as it seems Ange was placing something onto the stumps of his legs in the meantime. He's focused, eyes turned downwards as he disregards Little Miracle's presence entirely in favor of handling his own situation.
  570.  
  571. After a short wait, he takes a deep breath, places his hands on the rests of his wheelchair.
  572.  
  573. And then he stands.
  574.  
  575. As the blanket falls from his waist, the  glittering prosthetics he was sporting come into full view; an elaborate ceramic masterpiece that ended just at the joint of his knee- catching the light of the rest stop as he kicks the cloth away with a loud clink of his heel against the floor. Raising his hands above his head, he stretches, then to the right, then the left, back and forth, side to side.
  576.  
  577. "I'm ready."
  578.   Max Campbell: "Ange can walk!?!?!?!"
  579.   Ledo Bellgrimes whistle.
  580.  
  581. "Pretty."
  582.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Hah...so that's it. That's his trick...it was merely our presumption that because he used a wheelchair, he couldn't walk...I underestimated that guy. But now I've learned my lesson...I can't get careless around any of my fellow examinees. If I do, that'll be my undoing.
  583.  
  584. Jack grins and presents one thumbs up. This is like one big, high stakes poker game..
  585.   Yin grabs ange's wheelchair and blanket, pulling it infront of his chair and sitting down. "Yeah...."
  586.   Haruki raises a hand up to get Master of Game's attention. "Excuse me, sir, is it alright if I can ask for some salad?"
  587.   Little Miracle was taken back by what was underneath Ange's blanket. The sudden appearance of those stunningly bright and beautifully crafted prosthetics forced Little Miracle to reassess the situation. It's true they're beautiful, but Little Miracle feels like they'd break under enough pressure. How much pressure is the queston. "It's unfortunate."
  588.  
  589. Little Miracle throws his hips to the side and prepares to light this floor on fire with his feet. "You won't be able to feel your toes curl."
  590.   Hiro Tanaka looks in suprise and amazement at ange's revealed prosthetics, so this is how he plans to beat that tall man in a dance! ... And now he feels like a total idiot for laughing when he first brought the idea up. "H-Heh, guess what I said earlier was correct after all - If he is willing to have his own wager, he'll succeed." Hiro speaks as he chuckles awkwardly while resting his hand on his head, still feeling a bit like a douche for earlier.
  591.   Badman Sving takes notice of Sid's abnormal reaction as he steps forward to stand near Ange and Little Miracle. He didn't expect the male to outright freeze up as the situation grew more bizarre (at least to everyone else, this was nothing new to him), so he looks around to see what caught Sid's eye. A white haired man casually reclining in a chair came into his view and makes him suspicious, but he saves that observation for another time.
  592.  
  593. His attention is naturally drawn towards Ange's own 'little miracle', the artificial limbs that glittered in the casino's dirty lights serving as a sight that captivates his eye as an artist and his physical vision. "Most impressive." Badman sets the massive suitcase down and begins searching for an instrument.
  594.  
  595. "Is there a specific genre or song you two would prefer? There is no limit to what I can play, so do not hold back."
  596.   Lincoln Osiris Fett sets his fork down as he watches.
  597.    ange: "Something with a fast beat?"
  598.   Zwei blinks at the sudden revelation that Ange demonstrated, the prosthetics coming into view as she has to admit surprise in this scenario. It makes her wonder if the young boy she's been 'teamming up with' had his own surprises given his thievery and.. morbid sense of humor.
  599.   Master of Games gestures to Haruki with his head, tossing it in Max and Kallisto's direction. "Sure, just order over there. You can have whatever you'd like."
  600.   Yin: "Max, want something? You were hungry earlier."
  601.   Mika "So uh. I just got down here..."
  602.  
  603. Mika said, trailing off as he watched what looked to be a dance off between the boy he thought was crippled and the guy who was just auctioning off that same boy's asshole. His eyes lingered for a bit before he turned to Kallisto.
  604.  
  605. "Do you have any idea how things got to be like this?"
  606.   Little Miracle: "Stanky Legg."
  607.   Badman Sving retrieves an emerald guitar glittering with studded gems, tuning the nubs at the end while giving the strings a strum. "Understood. I will commence playing and let you two sette in."
  608.  
  609. A deep inhale, his eyes close, and his fingers come to life.
  610.  
  611. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15JCb6P60Vw ]
  612.   Zwei: "---I think that beat may be too fast, he has the fingers of a god."
  613.   Max Campbell really wonders when the exam is supposed to be starting.
  614.   Yin offers Max a bag of chips.
  615.   Kallisto Zoldyck doesn't want to be drawn into this situation at all. He considers pretending not to hear Mika, but decides against it. He's not a coward.
  616.  
  617. "What?" Kallisto returns, as a waitress arrives with a small plate of cake in hand. "I don't know what's going on right now, and I don't want to. Since it doesn't involve me, I'm not going to touch it."
  618.   Max Campbell throws his face into a bag of chips.
  619.  
  620. "I wish I had some hot dogs, maybe some hamburgers and a big big shake!"
  621.   Haruki abruptly hops out of his seat to calmly walk to Max and Kallisto's direction, humming lightly. Although Kallisto's presence wasn't anything to brush aside, Haruki seemed carefree as he normally was. He'd continue to order his salad.
  622.   Sniper Winterbaum: "Why don't you go order you some food man?"
  623.   Yin: "Yeah Max, he said to help yourself."
  624.    ange takes a moment to bob his head to the beat, matching the tempo of it with a quick vertical kick to flaunt his flexibility, bringing his leg down with a harsh STOMP that leaves a thick crack in the toe of the prosthetic. His arms are a flurry of movement afterwards, working his entire body into the performance as he bends his arms into sharp angles that frame his face and body to the quick beat of the song.
  625.  
  626. It was Vogue Femme, a dance form meant to compete against others of the same form, focusing on framing one's body to make watchers focus on whatever the dancer wanted them to. In Ange's case, his handiwork and angle of his body force anyone watching to keep their gaze on his legs, as they stepped back and forth in a complicated step sequence.
  627.   Narrator | A waiter is swift to return with a very large salad bowl. It's wide enough that it takes up Haruki's entire portion of the table.
  628.   Mika "Yeah..."
  629.  
  630. The bizarre display was certainly something but, being that those two were definitely some of the strangest characters in the group, Mika went back to his steak.
  631.  
  632. "Hopefully the Exam starts soon and the stupid stuff can be done with."
  633.   Max Campbell: "No, I can't. I have to see if Ange wins!"
  634.   Yin: "Ange...will win."
  635.   Hiro Tanaka: "As soon as I have seen those prosthetics, I had a feeling he'll win, I underestimated the man..."
  636.   Kallisto Zoldyck didn't expect Mika to be this talkative. He thought that because they'd both be eating that a conversation would pass quickly. After all, people don't usually talk with their mouths full. Kallisto considers answering Mika with a grunt, but once again deigns away from this course of action. Instead he's fallen completely silent. Trying to talk to other people is already a huge ordeal. It's something exhausting that takes a lot out of him. Right now, trying to talk to someone he doesn't care about would be even more stressful than holding a conversation with a friend.
  637.  
  638. So he keeps quiet and examines the cake on the other end of his fork.
  639.   Haruki just had to look in awe for a moment at the giant bowl of salad. Considering the meal Mika was offered with earlier, this was pretty much expected...
  640. What made him surprised is that he got a meal in such large quantities.
  641. Nonetheless, he sat back down, taking his time with the salad.
  642.   Col Canewil doesn't do the dance, he does the violin
  643.   Mika || Well fuck you too.
  644.  
  645. In actuality, Mika had nothing more to say. He just silently munched away at his steak.
  646.   Zwei closes her good eye for now as she rests at the spot she sat in. It was to keep her senses focused on more than just the sound of Badman's strings as she wanted to keep her head clear for the time being in the event of anything else occurring.
  647.   Max Campbell: "If all the examinees are this strong, I'll have to try my best to pass these next tests."
  648.   Yin thumbs up Max. "You're strong too, Max."
  649.   Max Campbell: "But all it took was one hit to beat me."
  650.   Yin: "But you're not dead."
  651.   Little Miracle watched his prey with intent.
  652.  
  653. To be honest...
  654.  
  655. Even prior to seeing Ange's prosthetic legs, Little didn't have very high hopes of winning. There was something about the confidence with which Ange suggested the competition and he'd picked up on that. Little was far from an ignorant clout and it didn't take a genius to put two and two together. Ange had something up his sleeve and it wasn't a trick, no; it was genuine skill.
  656.  
  657. Ange's downward stomp cracked the toe of his prosthetic, which meant that either those legs of his were more fragile than Little had first thought, or Ange's body was more powerful than he'd given it credit for. Even in the case of the latter, it worked out for him. Little had already resigned himself to a sudden defeat and instead took this opportunity to carefully strip away Ange's barriers. He wanted to see him dance, so that he could see him "naked", and now, Little was observing every part of the "natural" Ange.
  658.  
  659. Suffice to say, the bulge rustling in his trousers had become more than just a little bit... prevalent. "Hoh?"
  660.   Narrator | Little Miracle licks his lips.
  661.   Layla Palala for the second time today finds herself sweating profusely and with a face flushed red as she arrives L A T E once again to another exam location. Or at least the latest of the other participants so far. As she enters on the scene she takes notice of the intense music and dancing for some reason that's going on. She doesn't question it though, rather she takes this chance to catch her breath and quietly ease into the room as the attention is drawn to Ange's legs or at least some of its attention.
  662.  
  663. As for Layla, she is just trying to be loud enough to be heard over the music so the servers can hear her as she finds a spot to sit down.
  664.  
  665. "Water. Please."
  666.   Little Miracle: "< My prey let their guard down. >"
  667.   Narrator | Mika's steak is more than filling. By the time he's half way done, he can feel the bloat coming on.
  668.   Narrator | Will he finish, even though he's bloated?
  669.   Jack T. V'ambrosio has a hard time restraining the urge to call that line of thinking retarded. If you were beaten in an instant, that just meant you were beaten. Just because it takes guts doesn't mean jack if you can't win.
  670.  
  671. It's as useless as trying to clean a nice car without waxing it. Utterly pointless.
  672.  
  673.  --- Huh? I just got a shiver down my spine....don't tell me, that guy is about to turn the tables! My keen instinct tells me that Ange will need to be careful or he'll be defeated instantly, just like Max...
  674.   Yin claps.
  675.   Max Campbell clapped his hands.
  676.  
  677. "You won Ange! You won!"
  678.   Max Campbell 's optimism returned so he proceeded to introduce himself to the rest of the people who newly arrived.
  679.  
  680. This happened to be Kallisto Zoldyck
  681.  
  682. "Hi, the name is Max Campell! Good luck in the exams!"
  683.   Zwei would glance towards the stage again, moving to grasp a dinner knife inbetween her fingers passively as she eyes the seeming victory Ange had on his side.
  684.    ange dances with abandon, throwing himself into his work wholeheartedly. The way he moves is pure body memory, shifting through the dance moves with a skillful, calculated grace of a dancer who had pounded the art into every cell of their body. His eyes glint every now and then as he turns to face Little Miracle before seamlessly transitioning into another swipe of his leg- the right one as he spins on the toe of the prosthetic. With another stomp, a crack forms on the other leg, just wide enough to reveal something silvery and metallic underneath.
  685.  
  686. He continues to move in sync with the music, stopping when it stopped as he sinks down into a perfect split that rests his body down onto the floor ( if nothing else happened in the meantime, that is ).
  687.   Jack T. V'ambrosio watches intently.
  688.   Kallisto Zoldyck was still staring at the piece of cake on the other end of his fork. He hadn't eaten it yet. He was content to continue examining it too.
  689.  
  690. That is until Max Campbell steps into his field of view.
  691.  
  692. Kallisto can't resist the pull at the corners of his lips. A white smile breaks out across his face.
  693.   Max Campbell: "Nice to meet you!"
  694.   Kallisto Zoldyck: "Yeah."
  695.   Max Campbell extended his hand for Kallisto to shake
  696.  
  697. It was only Manners
  698.   Kallisto Zoldyck smacks his hand right into Max's.
  699.  
  700. He gives him a decidedly firm shake.
  701.   Mika || This is perhaps the hardest decision Mika had to make.
  702.  
  703. Being that he was from a small town, he had a certain set of values. One of them was to never allow food to be wasted, especially not something as delicious as this piece of meat. But there was a chance that were Mika to pursue this route and devour the rest, he would be severely impeded due to how bloated it would make him. The tension was building, he gullped, before taking another cut of steak and putting it in his mouth.
  704.  
  705. Food was food, and Mika should not be wasteful. Just another tribulation to overcome in his quest to become a HUNTER.Jack T. V'ambrosio glances away from the, honestly, artistic dancing of Ange to the food being served. It seemed he was right to avoid eating here, it was a [ fool's trap. ]
  706. The food was prepared in such a way and with such large helpings that someone without foresight would stuff themselves to the brim just in time to continue to the first exam, which if he were a betting man -- and he was -- he'd bet it would be a physical one.
  707.  
  708. Jack quietly munches on a nutrition bar, leaning on the wall as his eye returned to the dance.
  709.   Little Miracle | A perfect split too.
  710.  
  711. Little Miracle slowly sets into clapping. He's got nothing but applause for Ange's performance. It shows on his face.
  712.   Max Campbell with the challenge of a firm handshake.
  713.  
  714. Max returns it happily.
  715.   Kallisto Zoldyck  
  716.   Max Campbell  
  717.   Max Campbell  
  718.    ange huffs, pulling his legs under him in a kneeling position as he stands and walks over to his wheelchair, placing his prosthetics on the little footrests that extend from the bottom of the chair. There seemed to be a reason why he didn't just walk all the time-- the amount of weight and effort he put onto the prosthetics showed in the slight trickle of blood from his stump and down the side of his left leg.
  719.   Kallisto Zoldyck  
  720.   Max Campbell turned away.
  721.  
  722. "Good luck! You gotta be real careful around here. I hear people get killed in these exams. I mean I just got punched in the face."
  723.  
  724. He chuckled as he walked away.
  725.   Kallisto Zoldyck takes a moment to adjust his tie.
  726.  
  727. Then he takes another to make sure he can hear his jewelry.
  728.   Kallisto Zoldyck: "Yeah. I was just about to say the same to you."
  729.   Max Campbell: "Thanks!"
  730.   Badman Sving 's fingers came to a screeching halt once the 'competition' has concluded, breaking out of his trance to acknowledge the waking world yet again. As if he didn't perform a deft-defying stunt with his guitar, Badman returns the instrument to its holding place and seals the coffin yet again.
  731.  
  732. He looks between Ange and Little Miracle to see if there was a consensus here.
  733.   Sidbert "Sid" watches Max's and Kallisto's conversation from his corner of the room, instead of the dance-off between Ange and Little Miracle.
  734.  
  735. He feels distant.
  736.   Yin finishes Max's chips.
  737.   Little Miracle: "It's true, you "beat" me. I'll let you keep to yourself for a little while longer, -- sorry, what's your name?"
  738.   Haruki had watched Ange's baffling performance while slowly eating his salad. He hadn't gone pretty far into it at all either, since he seemed to be more focused on what was happening on the stage. Not before long, his eyes transitioned from Ange to Little Miracle, having noticed that the man hadn't even put up the effort to try and match Ange's performance. Instead, he admitted defeat with a mischevious look on his face without as much as a challenge -- as if he noticed he already lost from the get-go.
  739.  
  740. It made Haruki wonder if there was something else to it other than this dance-off.
  741.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | If Ange lets his guard down around that guy just because he's won, he'll be finished...but...that isn't my problem. I just need to hydrate myself and make sure I'm ready to go when the exam starts.
  742.  
  743. Jack did just that, and hydrated himself with his canteen.
  744.   Narrator | Layla's served an enormous jug of water.
  745.   Narrator | It's got nutrients in it to make her feel good.
  746.   Kallisto Zoldyck puts his fork down. He never took a bite of the cake.
  747.  
  748. Then he turns to Mika and watches him shove more food down his gullet. Then he realizes why he lost his appetite. "You know," he speaks up abruptly, "I changed my mind. The food here doesn't look very good after all."
  749.   Max Campbell moved to take his chip bag from Yin and go back to devouring it.
  750.  
  751.  "YOU WON ANGE."
  752.    ange: "Thanks Max. Sorry that you had to get punched in the face because of me."
  753.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | That guy...Zoldyck, I think I heard him say...he's pretty sharp. He realized it just in time, too..
  754.  
  755. Jack caps his canteen back up. "Congratulations, that was some great dancing. Gambling with your life on the line must've been a thrill, right?"
  756.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Heh --- that's probably just me who gets like that. Good job, anyway."
  757.   Little Miracle: "Ange, huh. They call me Little. But I'm quite large."
  758.   Zwei facetables.
  759.    ange: "I... didn't need to know that last part."
  760.   Max Campbell rubbed his face.
  761.  
  762. "It's okay Ange! I'm sorry I couldn't protect you and made you show off your legs!"
  763.   Kallisto Zoldyck | In actuality, things were different from Jack T. V'ambrosio's expectations.
  764.  
  765. Kallisto hadn't realized it "just in time", he'd figured things out from the moment he got here. It wasn't exactly subtle. Furthermore, there were at least a dozen other people in here that weren't eating. They looked like they were biding their time, because they were. Kallisto wasn't worried about filling himself up or becoming encumbered by his meal. No matter what kind of food it was, or whatever kind of toxin he was given, he'd have eaten something good if he felt like it.
  766.  
  767. It's just this cake didn't look very good. It looked dry, so he didn't want it.
  768.    ange: "It's fine, Max. I just don't like to use them unless I have to.. the ceramic really hurts when I get into dancing- that and the fact that they might break on me."
  769.   Little Miracle: "If you're more comfortable in your chair..."
  770.   Little Miracle: "I'll be happy to have you seated."
  771.   Haruki: "...huh?"
  772.   Max Campbell turned towards the Master of the Games.
  773.  
  774. "Is it time to go on yet!"
  775.    ange looks at Little like this.
  776.  
  777. Then he brings up the blanket to hide his legs again.
  778.   Layla Palala literally went full speed to the first location, and then full speed to arrive at back here. In her mind there were no complaints on the size of the water jug. Taking both hands she happily got her fill taking a few chugs before taking it away from her mouth to take in a deep breath. It definitely was refreshing that's for sure. But as she  dropped the mug she realized how obnoxiously large it was. She didn't need that much water to drink did she?
  779.  
  780. So she took this moment still feeling heated from before to take the jug and pour a bit of it out on her head. The sensation of cool water dowses Layla and with it she is able to feel at ease. She doesn't even care at the moment how silly she looks because it was just so worth it at that moment. As the water drips from her smiling face she hands the jug back to the server.
  781.  
  782. "Thanks, you guys have any towels?"
  783.   Master of Games: "Have you eaten yet?"
  784.   Max Campbell: "Yeah!"
  785.   Max Campbell: "I'm ready to goooo!"
  786.   Master of Games: "Well then, you're right on time."
  787.   Max Campbell: "YES!"
  788.   Master of Games: "The next test is going to begin in approximately five minutes. When the clock hits 4, we're going to begin."
  789.   Jack T. V'ambrosio rubs the back of his neck. I knew it.
  790.   Zwei: "Quicker than anticipated.."
  791.    ange: "Could I get something to drink?"
  792.   Narrator | Naturally there's an uproar. A lot of the participants thought they'd get a good night's sleep. Some of them WERE asleep, upstairs.
  793.   Narrator | People were drunk, and some of them had consumed a whole turkey in under an hour, acting under the assumption they'd be allowed to fully rejuvenate their bodies and recover from the fatigue of travel.
  794.   Layla Palala: "B-B-but...I didn't get to order anything...Can they even make anything in five minutes?"
  795.   Zwei would move to stand from her seat as she places an emptied glass down. She had actually been going dry on substances for a while, even back in Dolle, so with moderation she drank enough to a calculated degree of the body's needs to create waste to avoid unexpected problems in the future. With this in mind, she pops her shoulders passively.
  796.   Master of Games: "Sure they can. Order whatever you'd like."
  797.   Max Campbell stood up, stretching
  798.  
  799. "WOO!" He had recovered from his horrible defeat earlier and found himself once again ready to proceed onwards.
  800.   Haruki formally placed the fork next to the bowl of salad, not having ate much of it and only the average amount he'd need. Now hopping back up on his feet, he stretched his arms upward, exhaling lightly. "Alright!", the boy yelled in a cheerful tone.
  801. "I should probably get some more water too, just in case."
  802.   Layla Palala scratches her cheek as she thinks of what to get. She's only got five minutes so. . .
  803.  
  804. "Something small would work." She states directing it towards the server to just bring her whatever met that description.
  805.    ange orders a plain water and a sandwich to eat from one of the servers running around.
  806.   Narrator | Ange gets a huge jug of water and a bloated sandwich.
  807.   Badman Sving retires to the corner out of the room now that the dance-off has been decided, taking his spot near Sid by leaning against the wall. He already had his share of food and drink prior to arriving - not to mention he's used to performing on low energy when needed.
  808.  
  809. "You seem distracted when looking at those two men. Is something the matter?"
  810.    ange looks at his giant meal.
  811.  
  812. He takes a few sips out of the giant jug and a bite from the corner of the sandwich.
  813.   Zwei <Ah yes. I wouldn't be a thief without arbitrarily stealing silverware,> she considered briefly as the dinner fork and knife - unused as they were - are stored away.
  814.   Narrator | It's ridiculously delicious.
  815.    ange munch munch munch.
  816.   Guidi Strawberry: "Can you tell?"
  817.   Jack T. V'ambrosio is glad he packed his own provisions. He didn't have much, but rationing it out was better than stuffing himself here and getting knocked out of the running.
  818.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Wait, who's that?!
  819.   Narrator | It's from behind Jack! A woman in a ribbed sweater's drawn near.
  820.    ange eats a regular sandwich's worth of the sandwich and a couple sips of the water.
  821.   Guidi Strawberry: "I'm asking you because you've been making an "analysis"."
  822.   Guidi Strawberry: "Can you tell how many monsters are taking this exam?"
  823.   Zwei would then glance around again with her one eye, before taking a breath as she puts her hands in her sidepockets again. Her mindset returns back to calculating and apathy for most of the situation.
  824. <I also admit that if a fight was going to break out, I might of acted irrationally. Of course I haven't even seen Sniper since he initially wandered off in here.>
  825.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "I wouldn't be so egotistical to say I know all of them...but I'd bet...that for every two participants, eight are 'freakish' in one way or another."
  826.  
  827. Take this woman for example. He had barely moved away from the wall, and she'd already snuck up on him. His life could have been over then and there.
  828.  
  829. And that was somewhat frightening. It was why he purposefully gave something close, but not quite what he thought. In reality, he figured it'd be closer to say that 'if there were ten examinees, nine of them would be monsters'. That was his real opinion here. In other words..the absolute minority were the 'average' people within human capability.
  830.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Since I answered a question...I know, why don't we play a game? There's not a lot of time so it has to be simple...how about coin flips? Whoever loses has to answer the other's question..."
  831.   Sidbert "Sid" | "Ah, was I?" Sid feigns ignorance, snapping back to attention ever since the announcement that the exam starts very soon. It's not Badman's business, and he'd never want to drag a musician into the thick of it. Why would a stranger extend help beyond what help they were given? If anything, Sid being wrong before should've deteriorated his credibility and any possible relationship. You don't make friends with unreliable people.
  832.  
  833. Unreliable people get you killed.
  834.  
  835. "Sorry, sorry. Must've just been exhausted," the boy waves Badman's observation off. It's a horrible excuse, and ignoring Badman would've achieved a better result for what would ultimately happen anyway. Sid's not entirely sure why he opens his mouth, less so than Badman's concern.
  836.   Guidi Strawberry doesn't want to play a game like that. But she definitely will, if it ups her chances of passing.
  837.  
  838. "I'm asking you because I can't tell."
  839.  
  840. The woman in the ribbed sweater gestures with a finger towards one of the men sitting at the bar. It's the same man Jack V'ambrosio noticed earlier. A man with combed back, stunningly silver hair. He was dressed in an expensive looking suit and wore large golden earrings, emblazoned with an emblem depicting the face of the sun. "Sorry, I wasn't trying to scare you. I just saw that guy over there and I freaked out. Do you still want to play? If I win, you'll give me your full analysis right?"
  841.  
  842.   Haruki reaches a hand out to retrieve one of two water bottles that were stored in his knapsack, with the one he held being half full. He walks up to one of the servers, greeting them with a smile. "Excuse me, can I get some water please?"
  843.   Jack T. V'ambrosio smiles, and produces his coin.
  844. Actually, there are two. One was hidden in his palm -- both coins were double sided. One with two tails, and one with two heads. Depending on which she picked, he could perfectly swap them out with the tiniest twitch of his hand to slide it through the crack of his thumb in the motion of flipping.
  845.  
  846. "Sure! Actually, I love to gamble like this...even over little things. So then..."
  847.  
  848. "If I [ win ] then...hm...how about your soul?"
  849. "...Just kidding. If I [ win ] then you'll tell me everything you know, regardless of how much or little it is.."
  850.   Mika || There was no predicting when the Hunter Exam was going to take place. Mika felt that, based on the overall atmosphere, he could have gotten away with his gigantic steak eating and would be able to digest it in time. But alas, fate was not that kind. He sat with a gigantic gut, a stomach over his hand, burping into his hand. It was a miracle he could supress the urge to vomit.
  851.  
  852. He slowly began to rise from his seat, steadying himself with a hand, and looked toward the Master of Games.
  853.  
  854. "Well...I still gotta give it my all!" He said to hype himself up.
  855.   Guidi Strawberry almost thought she'd picked a freak to talk to. She'd frozen up when Jack said that, and was reluctant to thaw back out.
  856.  
  857. "... ... ..."
  858.  
  859. It looks like her anxiety turned to aggravation.
  860.   Guidi Strawberry: "Yeah, sure."
  861.   Max Campbell turned around to stare at Guidi at the concept of her possibly identifying how many monsters there were.
  862.  
  863. It was clear he wanted to know too.
  864.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Then...I'll call [ tails ] ..."
  865. This was his perfect strategy. If she were suspicious and wanted to be the one to call, he'd still win because of the trick he had up his sleeve or, more literally, in the palm of his hand.
  866.   Badman Sving doesn't appear to be very concerned with the fact that Sid steered them wrong before, not that it's apparent through his unchanging expression. His curiosity might have come off as concern given their close promixity - but Badman couldn't lie and say that he wasn't a little bit concerned about this. "Understandable. However, we won't have much time to rest unless you prefer a four minute nap."
  867.  
  868. There was definitely something about the white haired man that aroused a certain emotion in Sid. The simple-looking fellows were a non-factor and completely harmless, but the demeanor and the fine attire alerted him in more ways than one. For once, an actual dangerous competitor that didn't chose to step with him emerged. "It seems that entire event was a clever waste of time."
  869.   Guidi Strawberry: "You call tails, right? So if you flip a coin and it lands on heads, I'll be the one who wins, right?"
  870.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Yep, that's right."
  871.   Guidi Strawberry: "Alright, go for it."
  872.   Jack T. V'ambrosio flips his coin.
  873. ...It was a two tailed coin.
  874.  
  875. .......So it couldn't possibly fail. Catching it with his other hand which had been empty, he opened it for the world to see.
  876.   Sidbert "Sid" shrugs. He's not actually tired in the slightest, and by the time the Exam rolls around that lie will bleed. But he'll roll with it, regardless. "I'll live. But at least I was right about it being a time waster," the boy feels some semblance of assurance in that much.
  877.   Mika closely observed the intense coin-battle between Jack and Guidi.
  878.   Guidi Strawberry: ". . .Hey, hold on a second. I'd like to do another."
  879.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Is that so? I would say no takebacks....but I really like gambling. We've got a few more minutes, why not?"
  880.   Guidi Strawberry: "If you don't like take backs what about double or nothing?"
  881.   Nero Enmada Is at the bar sitting alone in the corner silently observing but not opposed to human interaction.
  882.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Hm? Aren't we already betting in absolutes?"
  883. Jack flipped the coin, doing a fanciful juggling trick with it using the thumb of his opposing hand.
  884.   Guidi Strawberry: "We're betting for information, right? We could append that with a favor."
  885.   Badman Sving can't argue with that. It appears that everyone wasted their time at least once in this exam. "You can take solace in that fact."
  886.   Zwei does some stretches and exercises to pad out the wait time. Stoicism in attitude couldn't hide her internal preparation and an almost tingling sort of readiness to get going, and behind her polite demeanor, she was still suppressing a bit of killing intent from before.
  887.   Haruki still didn't get his water.
  888.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "A favor..."
  889. I get the feeling that she's trying to sucker me...but, my coins can't possible lose. I've rigged this game to be completely in my favor...so why do I feel on edge?
  890.  
  891. "That's really interesting. ...Alright, my pride as a gambler won't let me decline. Jack T. V'ambrosio will accept that bet! That's V...apostrophe ....a m b r o s i o."
  892.   Guidi Strawberry nods. What a strange name. It has an apostrophe in it.
  893.  
  894. "My name is Guidi Strawberry. I'm pleased to be your opponent, Mr.V'ambrosio. Well..."
  895.   Guidi Strawberry presents Jack with a coin of her own, "I'd be pleased to be your opponent if we could use this."
  896.   Jack T. V'ambrosio appears unphased. But.
  897.   Jack T. V'ambrosio internally....
  898. N-no way! ...Damn. I got ahead of myself, and she suckered me! Didn't I tell myself not to underestimate the people here?! Tricksters hate being tricked, and I'm no different! ...I have to think of a way to win.
  899.  
  900. Jack pocketed his own coin -- in reality, he was pocketing both of them.
  901.   Guidi Strawberry: "Also, Mr.V'ambrosio, I'd like to say, as a rule, we can't ask one another to forfeit the exam."
  902.   Max Campbell was really interested in Jack and Guidi's game.
  903.   Nara Sanada: "Hm..."
  904.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Sure, a coin's a coin, right? ..."
  905. ...But if she were as clever as he was starting to think she was, that meant he was on the defensive. This was a mental battle -- just like every gambling game was. Panic isn't a word in my dictionary.
  906.  
  907. "Hmhm...well, that sounds good to me."
  908.  
  909. There was no way to rig a coin from mid-air. But at least, he could try and even the odds to a perfect fifty-fifty...and optimize his odds. There was one thing that differentiated two-sided coins from normal ones, aside from the obvious. They were often made as commendations or for a similar occasion...so there was, if you knew where to look, the smallest addition to their faces.
  910.  
  911. The date of whatever they were to commemorate, above the date of manufacture. That's what he was looking for with his incredibly sharp eye.
  912.   Guidi Strawberry: "Right. I'm going to flip now. I'm calling heads."
  913.   Narrator | Guidi waits for a moment and then---she flips her coin.
  914.   Jack T. V'ambrosio watches her hand, rather than the coin.
  915.   Max Campbell gasps in anticipation
  916.   Guidi Strawberry catches the coin.
  917.  
  918. Fortunately for Jack.
  919.  
  920. She isn't Jack. It looks like the gravity of the situation was all in his head. Guidi wasn't a cheater. "I got tails, Mr.V'ambrosio."
  921.  
  922. She opens her hand to show him.
  923.   Jack T. V'ambrosio |  .....whew.
  924. It looked like he won. Fair and square, to boot. ....Maybe he was too used to playing with other cheaters. High stakes games tended to involve a lot of rigging from all parties.
  925.  
  926. "Looks like I win, then, Guidi Strawberry."
  927.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "...This rush is something unique to gambling...no matter how big or small, it can be a ride from start to finish. So then...tell me everything you know about this Exam and its participants."
  928.   Guidi Strawberry: "Well the truth is, I don't know a whole lot. I've heard that the details of the Exam are different each year; a closely guarded secret, there's no way to leak the information to applicants, so I'm just as in the dark about what we're in for as you are. However, I think you figured it out just like I did; this "rest stop" was designed to get the people here to gorge themselves so they'd be tired. The next test is definitely a physical test."
  929.   Guidi Strawberry: "Well, I say "next test", but I'm sure it's the beginning of the real test. These were pre-exams designed to weed out the no-talents."
  930.   Mika "...Damn."
  931.  
  932. Mika stared intently as he could almost see the sparks fly when the coin took to the air. This was several times more intense than an ordinary coin flip, the gravity of the situation causing him to gulp loudly. Then, as if fate had smiled upon him, Jack obtained victory.
  933.  
  934. "...He's cool."
  935.  
  936. No amount of arguing could convince him that Jack's overall demeanor during his whole betting process with Guidi was anything less. He listened to her talk, and his heart sank.
  937.  
  938. "..."
  939.  
  940. <Oh...Oh no.>
  941.   Nero Enmada walks over to the group of two passing by and nodding at them saying "Nero Enmada"
  942.   Haruki eventually got a jug of water, pouring it into his water bottle until it was full. He'd give what's left of the jug to another server walking around the area.
  943.   Jack T. V'ambrosio isn't too surprised about that. He hadn't lied when he said he liked to gamble, even if he didn't win anything, the act of gambling was cathartic to him, especially if he won. So he wasn't too beat up over not learning anything new. "Yes, I had a bad feeling from the moment I got here, so I decided to wait when everyone else started resting and gorging themselves. Lo and behold, as soon as they were done, the exam was announced..."
  944.  
  945. In a way, the ability to recognize and assess a situation was as much a bodily function as taking a piss. Some people are just born able to do it better than others. Jack, while very experienced, also relied on his instincts quite frequently.
  946.  
  947. As such, it could be said that he was honed on to reading the 'atmosphere'. And the 'atmosphere' of this place made him uneasy, and thus, cautious. "After all, this place was confirmed as a rest stop. Why let us gorge ourselves and take nice long naps, if not to weed us out? Not everyone can receive a license, after all."
  948.   Max Campbell turned.
  949.  
  950. "OOooooh the anticiapation!"
  951.   Mika "..."
  952.  
  953. Again, he had been tricked.
  954.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Technically speaking..I wouldn't say this is a qualifier...it's an elimination round. I'm positive, until there are about a dozen of us...every test will be that, too. A gauntlet of elimination rounds. Consider that a tidbit of wisdom from me, a freebie for entertaining my odd quirk."
  955.   Guidi Strawberry: "Your odd quirk? You mean playing games?"
  956.   Max Campbell: " I can't wait for the next part!"
  957.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Yes, it's honestly something I can't help."
  958.   Sniper Winterbaum: "Max why don't you keep your voice down, we don't need some of these little guys listening in on us while we're soaking up information."
  959.   Sniper Winterbaum: "Some of these little guys."
  960. Narrator | These tiny people.
  961.   Max Campbell: "Right, sorry!"
  962.   Sniper Winterbaum raises his voice, tossing all manner of shade on the nearby competition.
  963.  
  964. "SOME OF THESE LITTLE GUYS."
  965. Nero Enmada: "Jeeze, Loud mouthed.... "
  966.   Narrator | Suffice to say, many of the other applicants are disgruntled with Sniper.
  967. Nara Sanada: "..."
  968.   Haruki: "...<Well, that was random.>"
  969.   Little Miracle casts a glance over in Sniper's direction, which is more than enough to quiet him down. Sniper doesn't want to get his cheeks busted wide open, and is well aware of what will happen if he continues talking down to his competition with Little Miracle present.
  970.   Mika "..."
  971.  
  972. Mika was now doubly ticked. Clearly Sniper was referring to him, amongst several others, and he had been tricked into eating way too much delicious food.
  973.  
  974. "...If I make it through this and there is some sort of survival test, I'll have an advantage because I won't need to eat for awhile."
  975.  
  976. He reasoned this and sat down at his chair, arms crossed over his chest, and let out a huff.
  977.   Sidbert "Sid" glances over towards Sniper, hearing everything prior to this point in the first place. But something's not right. "Why is he making himself a target?" The boy's eyes glance towards Max, who has paired himself up with the clearly intentional loudmouth.
  978.  
  979. Something's terribly wrong.
  980.   Jack T. V'ambrosio pays Sniper no heed. He talked in a calm voice that wasn't easy to eavesdrop on, so he didn't think he'd be heard by him. And even if he was, it's not like what he said was particularly difficult to decipher.
  981.  
  982. Unless Sniper himself were incompetent, he'd have figured that out for himself, Jack figured. In fact, he'd bet that it was merely a tactic to rile the others up.
  983.   Zwei stares for a moment, before faceplaming a distance away.
  984. Sniper was antagonizing the entirety of all the other participants, she gathers.
  985.   Max Campbell waves vigorously at Sid, seeing that he made it here too.
  986.   Guidi Strawberry files Sniper away in the back of her mind along with all the other no talents who will probably fail the exam.
  987.  
  988. "But you know, even though I haven't made a full analysis, I've noticed four to five people here of note."
  989.   Sidbert "Sid" feels taken aback for a few seconds, before reciprocating a mild wave.
  990.   Nero Enmada sits back down, taking a sip of water as he continued to listen to those around him.
  991.   Nara Sanada wasn't paying as much attention. "Hm.." He seemed to be pretty much in shape.
  992.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Is that so?"
  993.   Max Campbell ends his wave.
  994.  
  995. "GOOD LUCK!"
  996.   Nero Enmada chuckles as he heres Guidi, "Writing people off already huh?"
  997.   Guidi Strawberry nods. Once again, she gestures to the man with silver hair and golden earrings. "That guy, right there?" In the expensive looking suit, "That's Kallisto Zoldyck. I don't know if you've heard, but the Zoldyck family is a family of super elite assassins. They kill for hire, taking on contracts which specify big name targets. They always wipe out who they're hired to kill. Their success rate is 97%."
  998.   Guidi Strawberry: "I'm sure you've heard by now, but there are sometimes fatalities during the Hunter's Exam. I'm worried that if that guy is here, most of us are going to wind up dead."
  999.   Sidbert "Sid" wears a smile at the overbearing enthusiasm, giving him a silent but clear nod.
  1000.   Max Campbell gives Sid a thumbs up before turning back away to Sniper.
  1001.   Guidi Strawberry: "Don't you think that's completely messed up? We're taking our exam together with a trained murderer, we're all handicapped."
  1002.   Zwei would promptly pop her right wrist, dislocating it minorly to test the arrangement of the hand so that nothing was abnormal from any exercising or training previously before audibly popping it back into place. She then repeats the process with the left wrist, optimizing both of them for whatever came next.
  1003.    ange handicapped you say
  1004.   Nero Enmada: "What handicapps? IM sure at least someone here can fight. Myself included."
  1005.   Jack T. V'ambrosio didn't know that. A trained assassin? I thought that name was familiar....I think I've heard of them before. Man...
  1006.  
  1007. From what he knew of Hunters, they had a lot of immunity from the law, as well. No wonder an assassin would want a license. "That's just the luck of the draw...it's not 'fair' but, I don't think that's 'wrong' ...hm. But now that we know that, that evens the playing field a little bit, doesn't it?"
  1008.   Sidbert "Sid" | Catching wind of the Zoldyck name and 'unfair', on the other hand, kills Sid's mood. This is why there's so many fatalities in the first place. Why not research, expect, and prepare for the best? Though Sid can't exactly talk, despite doing all of those things he still feels the burden of the Zoldyck family on his body despite a whole, separate year.
  1009.  
  1010. Thinking about it causes him to glance back at Kallisto. Will he follow his family's footsteps? Will he really kill everyone here? What will Sid do if he tries? Kalisto and his youngers are the few he still finds fine. Will disassembling the hierachy of the Zoldycks in the future really save him before it's too late? Or will he be more scornful than ever before towards his Butler? If the latter is true for Kallisto, what about his youngers?The questions race in his mind, with no answers.
  1011.  
  1012. Just like the Quiz, Sid has no answers.
  1013.   Max Campbell points at Kallisto from across the room.
  1014.  
  1015.  "YOU'RE SAYING THAT GUY THERE IS A TRAINED KILLER FROM THE ZOLDYCK FAMILY AND WE SHOULD ALL BE NERVOUS?"
  1016.   Nero Enmada: "Shut.... Up!"
  1017.   Narrator | The applicants that haven't already begun to panic due to having gorged themselves into a drowsy stupor, quickly lose their composure when they hear they're taking the exam with not only a trained assassin, but a member of the ludicrous Zoldyck family at that.
  1018.   Badman Sving: "That would make one quite nervous, yes."
  1019.   Zwei: "..."
  1020.   Zwei: "<Cool, I get to see the real deal.>"
  1021.   Kallisto Zoldyck feels some eyes on him. He doesn't like that, so he does the only obvious thing and turns around, prepared for confrontation.
  1022.   Max Campbell looks at the back of Kallisto's head for a second.
  1023.    ange is understandably a bit nervous, considering he doesn't want to fail another year in a row.
  1024.   Max Campbell: "That guy seems scary."
  1025.   Jack T. V'ambrosio decides to speak a little quieter after Max shouted that.
  1026. Jesus.
  1027.   Kallisto Zoldyck | But that all changes when he looks around the room.
  1028.  
  1029. Apparently, he doesn't see anything to worry about because his features remain relaxed. He spares Jack T. V'ambrosio a passing glance and then - oh.
  1030.  
  1031.  
  1032. What a pleasant surprise.
  1033.  
  1034.  
  1035. Kallisto locks eyes with Sid. He didn't know Sid was here. They're too far away from one another to really speak, but at least they both know they're here now.
  1036.   Haruki: "<To think that we'd have to encounter one of the members of the world renowned Zoldyck family I've heard much about...>"
  1037.   Nara Sanada was pretty calm, He just balances his blade on his finger.
  1038.   Zwei
  1039.  
  1040. just takes a moment to think on all this now.
  1041.   Max Campbell
  1042.  
  1043.    ange im over here now
  1044.   Max Campbell fixed?
  1045.   Nara Sanada Maybe?
  1046.   Badman Sving looks between Sid and Kallisto curiously for a moment, but given Sid's spaced out reaction to the man's mere presence -- chooses not to say anything. Facing off with a trained assassion does sound very difficult, if not flat out impossible.
  1047.   Jack T. V'ambrosio stays calm.
  1048.   Narrator |
  1049.  
  1050. This is an impromptu training session
  1051.  
  1052.   Narrator |
  1053.  
  1054. Kamehameha.
  1055.   Haruki: "This is getting really interesting!"
  1056.   Max Campbell looks at the clock.
  1057.  
  1058. "It's time.."
  1059.   Mika "They have assassin families?! Man, there are a lot of things in the world..."
  1060.  
  1061. Mika belched slightly to himself before his eyes locked onto Kallisto. Then, noticing that he was not looking back at him, he followed his eyes to see him staring at Sid from across the room. He blinked a few times, his gaze shifting between the two of them, before he shrugged.
  1062.  
  1063. "But it's kinda cool!"
  1064.   Max Campbell: " IT'S TIME!"
  1065.   Narrator | It's time.
  1066.   Narrator | But I will also post that.
  1067.   Haruki: "Finally!"
  1068.   Sidbert "Sid" gives the same expression to Kallisto the servant always has:
  1069.  
  1070. Blank, without a shred of individuality.
  1071.  
  1072. What if he kills everyone here, and goes on a path he can never retread? Because of the Zoldyck family? Are these the maternal instincts that were hammered into him as a Butler, or are they his own?
  1073.  
  1074. Sid doesn't dare break Kallisto's eye contact. He doesn't know why.
  1075.   Zwei thinks about it all for a minute as she rubbed her chin in thought, the clock striking four as she tilts her head.
  1076. <Without Kamron making a scene, no one's paying attention to me. That's good.>
  1077.   Lacey Otoh sighs. "I'm bored."
  1078.  Jack T. V'ambrosio does not stop to help Ange -- it was a calculated risk. On some level, he felt the natural inclination to help, but resisted it. He'd definitley lose if he stopped to help. So he counted on the disposition he'd assumed the others to have that they would help Ange, especially Max or Ledo.
  1079.  
  1080. And as it so happened, that's exactly what went down. A little proud of himself for his correct decisions thus far, he makes sure to continue pacing himself. His legs felt tired, and his lungs were starting to feel the stress too...but compared to the wheezing messes around him, his build up of sweat and labored breathing was nothing at all. And it wasn't because he had a particular skill or natural physique for this.
  1081.  
  1082. It was something simple. Anyone could do it -- and that's what made keeping up without the natural talent for it feel so good, feel like an accomplishment.
  1083.  
  1084. Like a cheating, almost.
  1085.   Jack T. V'ambrosio wonders if Guidi Strawberry can keep up, though.
  1086.   Sidbert "Sid" | Though admittedly, and he can't believe he's thinking this, Sid feels for the strong but dull Lacey when she too inevitably falls behind him. She didn't pace herself at all in something she could've passed with ease. Is she actually going to fail? If he turns back around to the girl who's falling behind, then he fails his own mental gymnastics. He doesn't technically have a reason to encourage this girl. Nothing about her makes sense, you know.
  1087.  
  1088. But given the fact he makes a loophole and 'speaks' himself without turning around, Sid feels like he doesn't make much sense to himself either.
  1089.  
  1090. "Good grief," Sid speaks out. "You're not really running out of energy already, are you? Pace yourself a little better than that, girl." There's only one person he could be talking to, despite not using her name. And surely she could hear him, too.
  1091.    ange is knocked over, skittering across the floor with a quiet thump and whimper as he's toppled from his wheelchair. He looks up and back to his transport, bleeding from small cuts on his face and arms as he slid across the ground. He was no more worse for wear than before, as he crawls back on his hands and knees. The telltale clinking of his ceramic prosthetics ring out in the tunnel below laborous panting and gasping, as he struggles to set himself upright. But with his arms exhausted, it burns to just pull himself up.
  1092.  
  1093. He could just sit there and cry-- and for a few moments, he does. With the runners parting around him, none of them seemed willing to help, until Max comes along. Ange wipes his tears away, frowning in disappointment as he shakes his head.
  1094.  
  1095. "I can do it. I can do it."
  1096.  
  1097. He graciously accepts the water, panting as he sets those eyes forwards to the backs of the other runners. This was discipline. No matter how much his arms burned, he would push on regardless. To push through the pain was his mantra in learning dance- no matter how much his feet hurt in his pointe shoes, no matter how much his back and butt hurt when he practiced his drops in vogue, and no matter how much his arms hurt holding his entire body up on the pole, he would perservere. And that's what he'll do now.
  1098.  
  1099. "I can do it, let's all become hunters!"
  1100.  
  1101. He cries out in determination with the help of Max and Ledo, nodding forwards. With a stretch, he pops his shoulders and resumes pumping his arms without fail. Inside his head, he knows. If his arms fall off, he'll run until his stumps are worn down to the bone. And then, he'll crawl along on his chin. He'll do whatever it takes to become a hunter, here.
  1102.  
  1103.  
  1104.  
  1105.   Lacey Otoh takes his words as a CHALLENGE.
  1106.  
  1107. "Pace myself?! You're gonna say stuff like that too? I'm fine, okay, I'm going at the speed I wanna go at!!" Yelling in response to Sid was sure to have some sort of effect on her stamina--even she knew that breath control was of huge importance to a long-distance runner, of which she seemed to be becoming in this exam. But she knew he had a point, even if the way he put it was (as of about five minutes ago) annoying...! She had recognized it before he spoke to her, hence the slower pace. Perhaps it was too late. Maybe she was too exhausted. Maybe she could catch her breath. She really wasn't sure. Maybe she just...shouldn't think, and keep running!! To Lacey, that seemed like the best option. Thinking was dumb when the test was about physical capabilities.
  1108.   Max Campbell continued running behind Ange now.
  1109.   Ledo Bellgrimes smiled down at Ange, he was proud of him. He had shown a lot of determination today, one that he didn't think the kid had originally. Ledo was always happy to have been proven wrong. "That's the spirit." All of them, ready to risk life and limb to become a Hunter, to achieve their dreams. If anything it was a testament to the spirit and ambition held by humans, though, philsophy was not something to dwell on, especially not at the current moment. He would allow Ange to hold the canteen for now, not like he was the kind of person to deny anyone else asking for it. He made sure to run alongside the other two, continuing a practiced breathing.
  1110.   Mika stopped. Cold turkey. He was done. The pain in his stomach and the feelings in his stomach was some of the most unpleasant he had ever experienced. He eventually found himself out of view of everyone else. He let out a loud scream before he hurled over, reached his hand inside of his mouth to touch his uvula, and vomit all over the tunnel floor.
  1111.  
  1112. This was repeated a few times until most of the remnants of the steak, besides maybe the first fourth of it, lay in a pile on the floor. Mika wiped his mouth and let out another ear piercing scream that was made even worse by the fact they were inside a cave.
  1113.  
  1114. However, as it seemed like he had given up, Mika turned toward where the group had ran and continued running forward. His steps were powerful, like thunder, his speed was quick, like lightning. He was not going to let deceit be the reason he did not become a Hunter.
  1115.  
  1116. At this point, though he still felt the weight of the note in his pocket that had the wishes of all his friends and family, Mika felt something else in him. A burning desire to, despite it all, succeed.
  1117.  
  1118. "I'LL DO IT, GODDAMNIT. I'LL SHOW ALL OF YOU!"
  1119.  
  1120.  
  1121.   Layla Palala has so far found no issues keeping her pace. Compared to all the running around she had done earlier trying to find the testing locations in a wild frenzy this was definitely a more controlled pace. But she knew that one misstep and it was possible that she might lose track of Rocks. Which if that happened it didn't matter if she was keeping pace or not she would be screwed.
  1122.  
  1123. When she sees Ange fall to the ground though that was a different story. She tries to catch a glimpse of the guys who had done it but with so many people crowded together it was a fruitless endeavor, debating whether to help or not she knew that if she did she was probably going to fall behind considering how far back she already was. It made her feel really guilty at first but seeing Max and Ledo help their friend up all she could do was smile for them. If only for a moment she turned her head behind her to where the three were now and held out a thumbs-up!
  1124.  
  1125. "Good luck guys! " Maybe that was a consdescending statement coming from someone who hadn't helped them, but seeing that kind of comraderie she could only wish them the best as they would try to surmount the odds together. It was a nice thought.
  1126.   Zwei: "Contain your shouting. Or you'll lose more air than you can keep."
  1127.   Sidbert "Sid" feels scorched by Lacey's completely unladylike response to KINDNESS. Forget the mental gymnastics because now he's mad. Cocking his head back towards her, Sid narrows his eyes and feels the worst of himself spit out of his mouth.
  1128.  
  1129. "You IDIOT GIRL!!  Don't yell and make it harder for yourself! Just jog like a normal person, and steady your breathing! It's the basics!"
  1130.    ange can feel the spirit of his legs in his arms right now.
  1131.  
  1132. If this was an anime, there would be a superimposed, hazy image of his legs floating in a glass container somewhere, imbuing him with energy.
  1133.   Lacey Otoh matches her pace with Sid's, running now at a reasonable pace. But her slowing down wasn't fueled by any desire to "pace herself", or "calm down", or "stop freaking out", or even "stop being such a weirdo Lacey jesus christ", it was because she was MAD!! Mad at Sid!!!
  1134.  
  1135. "Idiot?! Who's an idiot?! You're the idiot, idiot!" Spitting out words without thinking, Lacey's anger spiked and fueled her with MORE AND MORE ENERGY!!!!
  1136.   Layla Palala immediately turns back to hear the voice of the girl who was a bit more in front of her begin to warn her about her shouting. Feeling just a tinge of embarassment she puts her hands to her mouth as she continues to stroll through trying to keep her pace from before. In a way that was probably one of the most considerate things anyone has done for her so far.
  1137.  
  1138. Layla wasn't sure she should be happy or sad about that though considering the person didn't even turn around to look at her while saying it.
  1139.   Rocks | //BGM Shift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8jhE8_GfPE
  1140.  
  1141. "They're keeping up, huh? Heh. They must be pretty good at keeping an eye on me. Or at least, an eye on the crowd. This is a little cruel but... time to shake things up a little."
  1142.  
  1143. Ice Ice baby.
  1144.   Narrator | | Eventually the churning crowd of Hunter hopefuls comes to a fork.
  1145.  
  1146. Ice Ice Baby...
  1147.  
  1148. The hallway continues straight ahead but there are also pathways which segue off to the left and to the right. At that moment. Something in Rocks' silhouette breaks. Almost the entire crowd of applicants stops.
  1149.  
  1150. Because it looks like Rocks just went left.
  1151. And it looks like Rocks just went right.
  1152. And it looks like Rocks... just continued on ahead.
  1153.  
  1154. Vanilla Ice...
  1155.   Narrator | With a great deal of hesitation, parts of the crowd break off. Some heading left. Some heading right. And... a majority heading dead ahead.
  1156.   Narrator | Of course there's cries of, "I saw him go this way," abound.
  1157.   Max Campbell keeps on going straight.
  1158.  
  1159. Because a true HUNTER never strayed from their path.
  1160.   Ledo Bellgrimes came to a stop, Ledo's breathing being labored yet methodical. <'Well, looks like I was wrong, there -is- outlets.'> It would be obvious he'd follow his nakama friends. So he just waited for one of them to make the decision of their path.---Max is going straight, straight it is.
  1161.   Lacey Otoh doesn't hesitate--she knows which way she saw that guy go!! And she shouts as much, joining the crowd of similarly-minded applicants in their path to the right. She knew it, she had to have see him go that way! Right was right, right?!
  1162.   Col Canewil listens as he was near the front to see if footsteps were only heard from 1 tunnel as Rocks broke off into 3 figures. while the crowd hesitated
  1163.   Zwei ignores these sounds. She had a feeling that focusing only on Rocks' steps and tuning out the rest were going to be to her benefit, but she hadn't imagined that this was going to be the reason why. The steps, the direction they took, the pace and the exact motion and movements that she had been keeping up with..
  1164.  
  1165. Zwei follows them without even stopping in her path. It's like she was practically a machine in her dogged determination to focus solely on one thing.
  1166.   Narrator | Col can't help but hear footsteps heading right. And left. And straight ahead.
  1167.    ange follows after Ledo and Max, because of course, they were the ones who took the time to help him, even if it meant losing just a bit of ground with the other runners. With no way of really figuring out which way Rocks went, this was his best bet.
  1168.   Sidbert "Sid" | "You have the GALL to call me an IDIOT?!" Sid continues to yell, despite the incredibly valid complaint from Zwei. He'd yell more and teach her a piece of his mind, but the girl working him up causes him to get careless about this leg of the exam. It wasn't only about speed, but perception.
  1169.  
  1170. "Phooey," Sid fizzles out, looking back straight ahead. And left. And right. Before they get too far away, Sid tries to identify anything special about each silhouette. He needs to make a snap reaction before it's too late. Unfortunately, Lacey makes the decision for him, further to the boy's chagrin. He'd catch up wtih extreme ease after observing each silhouette in a matter of seconds, and either support or yell at her some more depending if she made the wrong decision.
  1171.   Mika wasted no time. He saw the crowd split and, through a reasoning process that most people would find incredibly stupid, he decided to travel to left.
  1172.   Jack T. V'ambrosio and so, keeping up as hard as one could with Rocks was proven a pointless endeavor, as he thought. But which of these paths should he take? ....left, right or dead ahead?
  1173.  
  1174. ...He'd gamble.
  1175. He shook a nine-sided die in his hand.
  1176. One to three, straight ahead...
  1177. Four to six, to the left...
  1178. Six to nine, to the right.
  1179.  
  1180. And ---
  1181.   Col Canewil well crap. Nodding to himself he charged straight ahead realizing that it was best to muddle through rather than dwell and an impossible choice. Straight ahead was his path to becoming a hunter and finding a new path to travel in the world. He had to still be able to see one to follow so a decision had to be made quickly.
  1182.   Jack T. V'ambrosio veers off to the right.
  1183.   Zwei: "<In the scenario that Rocks led me off-course via trickery I couldn't see coming, I can't give up then and there regardless and have to stick to my guns.>"
  1184.   Layla Palala realizes she made her first mistake. As the path divides three ways she sees the prompter turn from one to three! The first thing in her mind is to try and look at for the guys footprints as soon as she gets farther up. But slowly realizes that won't work when she sees the crowd that she had allowed to stay in front of her trot along likely removing any trace of Rock's prints if he had left any.
  1185.  
  1186. This was a problem now because eventually she would have to make a decision and quick, but if she made the wrong one she was screwed. Lucky though she has a bit more time to analyze the situation than the others who had gone ahead so she decides to analyze her surroundings. Or better yet. . . Who had gone where?
  1187.  
  1188. She saw Zwei staying the course and the Coin boy pulling out a dice going right. But what about that ribbed sweater girl? She seemed competent enough, which way had she gone? In a panic she tries to look aroun to spot some of the more notable participants seeing if she can use them as a guide before ultimately making a decision.
  1189.   Narrator | "Wait."
  1190.  
  1191. MATTE.
  1192.   Sidbert "Sid": "-----!!"
  1193.   Narrator |
  1194. MATTE K U D A S A I
  1195.   Jack T. V'ambrosio NANI SORUNDA
  1196.  
  1197. "!"
  1198.   Max Campbell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
  1199.   Lacey Otoh stops immediately, a noise of surprise and exhaustion escaping her lips.
  1200.  
  1201. "A rest break?! No way, this is the Hunter exam...!"
  1202.   Guidi Strawberry grabs hold of Jack's arm and tries her best to keep him from veering off to far to the right, "Hold on, Jack. You're going about this all wrong."
  1203.  
  1204. He said he liked to gamble, but this much? Jeeze... really? "Haven't you been keeping an eye on the people I've been pointing out? Look at Ressou Gungnir and Cool Hocus."
  1205.  
  1206. She gestures in the direction of two Hunter hopefuls who have taken the exam before. "That's the student of a One-Star Hunter and a guy who has taken this exam before. Do you really think those two would pick the wrong path?"
  1207.   Guidi Strawberry: "All we have to do is follow those two."
  1208.   Ressou Gungnir | True enough, the aforementioned Hunter apprentice and exam "veteran" were among the (comparatively) small group to take the third road.
  1209.  
  1210. They were heading left. Apparently, spurred on either by foresight, or hindsight. In the case of the latter, the brisk recollection of the first lady's words probably influenced what was a "gut feeling".
  1211.   Jack T. V'ambrosio doesn't like takebacks. It voided the act of gambling, after all....
  1212. "Hnnnn...."
  1213.  
  1214. ....But he felt inclined to agree. That was the logical conclusion. ....But everything inside of him wanted to go the way of the dice. There was only one thing to do. Close his eyes and follow the 'gut feeling' .....
  1215.  
  1216. In other words, instinct. His own 'fate' ... it couldn't lead him wrong. Of course, with his thought process influenced by Guidi Strawberry, that more or less ensured he'd only head one direction.
  1217.  
  1218. To the left. It didn't take very long to get his pace back up. "I don't like takebacks...it leaves me unsatisfied."
  1219.   Layla Palala gives a sigh of relief as she not only finds the ribbed sweater girl, but could hear her as well call out to Jack. There was a bit of relief when she could her thinking the same way she had. She finds herself thankful again that she hadn't rushed to make a choice, but as she looks down the left path she can already tell that if they all didn't hurry they weren't just going to lose track of Rocks but probably lose track of the other examinees as well. So following after Guidi and Jack, she trails right behind the two on the left path.
  1220.  
  1221. "I hope you two don't mind if I tag along do ya?"  She asks jokingly trying to make sure not to lag behind them too much less she lose sight of the group ahead of them.
  1222.  
  1223.   Sidbert "Sid" feels like his rash decisions instead of the obvious conclusions that even Guidi Strawberry could make are influenced by the equally rash Lacey Otoh. Aggravated, the butler STRONGLY pulls against the girl's arm (when did he start grabbing her arm?) and recorrects their direction to the left in a heartbeat.
  1224.  
  1225. "You almost made us both fail, you realize?!" Sid scolds her like a parent, despite being roughly the same age.
  1226.   Badman Sving can take a break from running forward now, but that's only because their proctor has split into multiple copies and ran down three splits in the corridor. Badman rubs his eyes to make sure what he's seeing isn't an elaborate illusion first and foremost, then sets down his coffin to retrieve a certain [ jar. ] It was something he planned to use back at the tavern until Sid led the way, but this time was inevitably.
  1227.  
  1228. Before he can play the tune with his flute to pick the proper path, Guidi Strawberry's outburst prevents him from finishing. "..Hmph." A sound point, even though he was positive his method would bear more fruit. Badman stores the flute away and picks up the jar in addition to his coffin to move left.
  1229.  
  1230. A gut feeling.. how bizarre. They had to be more to it than just mere luck and instinct.
  1231.   Rocks cast a brief glance over his shoulder to catch a glimpse at the reactions of the examinees. This was a mean trick and his cruel game might have just ruined the opportunity to become a Hunter for a few good people. People who had their hopes on it. People who worked for it. People who deserved it.
  1232.  
  1233. He didn't care. He was still performing his civic duty by administering this exam, no? "Hehehehe."
  1234.  
  1235. Rocks' silhouettes; after images, eventually disappear. No one going straight or going right will notice until it's already too late. They'll probably just think he's gone too far ahead again. They'll probably think, something like, "This'll be over eventually," right up until they collapse and fail or give and turn around.
  1236.  
  1237. And fail.
  1238.   Zwei 's red eye glints down the tunnel back at Rocks as he glanced back.
  1239.   Sniper Winterbaum: "Max. Don't stop running. But listen. I have a bad feeling."
  1240.   Max Campbell continued on straight.
  1241.  
  1242. He definitely wasn't going to stop running, even if he was wheezing pretty hard.
  1243.  
  1244. "Whatcha mean?"
  1245.   Sniper Winterbaum: "I think we went the wrong way. But we can't turn around while Ange is with us. If we do, people will get suspicious and we'll lose time trying to comb through the crowd with Ange."
  1246.   Max Campbell: "Does that mean we just keep going straight?"
  1247.   Sniper Winterbaum: "If we don't do something quick though, we might fail. We need to figure out how to get back to the fork."
  1248.   Sniper Winterbaum: "We might have to ditch your friend. He's dead weight."
  1249.   Max Campbell thinks.
  1250.  
  1251. Thinks.
  1252.  
  1253. "I have an idea!"
  1254.   Sniper Winterbaum: "What is it? We need to hurry."
  1255.   Max Campbell turns around and pushes a random guy into another random guy within the crowd.
  1256.   Sniper Winterbaum: "------------"
  1257.   Sniper Winterbaum turns around and kicks another random guy into another random guy, who in turn topples into a random woman in sunglasses. She'll be stylish as she descends to the hard floor.
  1258.   Ledo Bellgrimes push.
  1259.   Lacey Otoh lets herself be pulled along by Sid, taken off guard by his not so gentle redirection. Of course, letting herself be pulled physically doesn't mean she can't complain.
  1260.  
  1261. "What are you doing?! Why are you holding onto me, where are we going? My instincts said RIGHT!! Is left the right path? How do you know?!" Rambling as they continued on down the path, Lacey seemed not to care that she was literally wasting her breath.
  1262.   Lacey Otoh the right face
  1263.   Mika "Hmph."
  1264.  
  1265. Mika too employed the strategy of supplementing energy with rage, as clear by the expression on his face, so it dumbed down his thinking. The path they took to get here was going left on a forked road. So, it only felt natural that he too took the same left turn.
  1266.  
  1267. Which meant that the voices who told the rest of the crowd deciding whether or not to turn left, right, or go center were nothing but faint whispers to him. He had assumingly left them far behind and was with the group of 'monsters' or 'veterans'.
  1268.   Zorua | Thump thump thump thump.
  1269.  
  1270. She despises running. It's something that she absolutely hates to do. The aspect of sprinting in a straight line reminds her of the act of chasing your aspirations but not reaching them. She'd much prefer to just reach the end.
  1271.  
  1272. That said, she'd have been regulating herself to be slightly behind the main bulk of people simply because she preferred her distance. That said, the forks in the road were definitely something that she wasn't accounting for. A decision in life, and potentially a fatal one. Of course, remaining slightly behind meant that the conversation between Guidi and Jack was easy enough to overhear. While she would've decided to just go straight if it was her choice, she opts to listen to his insight.
  1273.  
  1274. ...Though. She considers that this isn't exactly a pass or fail decision. That'd be too simple, wouldn't it? Sid did mention that this test was flawed, however, so she shouldn't take any chances. There are times to prove oneself and times where you must go with the flow of things. She'll opt for the latter, turning her path from straight to left after a bit of hesitation. Of all the things that bringing itself present to her mind, however, is that her legs were starting to feel like they were on fire.
  1275.  
  1276. In all, honestly her body wasn't made for such long bursts of running and it was already starting to affect her. Even if her breathing wasn't audible to anyone, her muscles were already disagreeing with her judgment.
  1277.   Sniper Winterbaum: "You're pretty clever, if we beat enough ass, we can charge right through. But we still need to be fast. On my count, you're going to have to charge straight ahead with Ange."
  1278.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Why is it always about ass?"
  1279.    ange wonders why everyone's pushing each other now.
  1280.   Sniper Winterbaum: "It's just the fact that he's a cripple. He'll slow us down if we wait for him."
  1281.   Sniper Winterbaum: "Dude, no. I don't want to bust open cheeks."
  1282.    ange: "I can hear you."
  1283.   Narrator | Someone makes a sly remark about busting open Sniper's cheeks and he absconds prior to a countdown.
  1284.   Narrator | Oh no.
  1285.   Max Campbell suddenly grapples the handles of Ange's wheelchair and whipped him around.
  1286.  
  1287. Prime to literally use Ange as a battering ram to break through the crowd.
  1288.   Sidbert "Sid" | "Because I have ears as big as you have a mouth, girl!" Sid yells right into her ear to hammer in the point, having no qualms lugging her along. He's going much faster than before, dropping all previous pretenses of being an above-average fifteen year old boy until he catches up with the leftward crowd.
  1289.    ange: "Wha-?"
  1290.   Zwei: "<He must've done something back at the fork for even some of the frontrunners to not realize the left path was him.. It's weird, despite multiple echoes of those footsteps, I hounded him specifically and I can tell the redhead and skullguy probably did the same.>"
  1291.    ange realizes pretty quick what Max was trying to do and so he reaches down and pulls his legs up to lock them in place. With them jutting outwards like that, he's even more like a battering ram. Anyone in their way gets two feet and two pointed heels of hard ceramic in their guts.
  1292.  
  1293. Now's not the time to pussyfoot around.
  1294.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Choo', Choo'."
  1295.   Max Campbell also snatched the sunglass girls glasses from her in passing.
  1296.   Lacey Otoh runs after Sid, practically pulled along by the evidently faster, and probably smarter, Hunter candidate. Giggling wildly as he shouted angrily into her ear, her frustrated expression morphed into a wide smile as he did the hard work for her and she benefited. "You're so nice, you're a nice person! You act like you're mean but you're nice!!"
  1297.   Lacey Otoh: "But I'm nicer!!"
  1298.   Sidbert "Sid": "Develop some manners and I might yield that to you..."
  1299.   Lacey Otoh: "I don't need manners to be NICE!"
  1300.   Sidbert "Sid" feels his brain shut down.
  1301.   Nara Sanada: ". . ."
  1302.   Col Canewil doesn't in fact turn around. If this had fooled him there was no turning back, instead Col picks up the pace moving forward, striving for the only potential solution to the fork problem. The choice had been impossible for him at the fork, unknowing of a hint to this puzzle.
  1303.   Narrator | | Eventually...
  1304.   Col Canewil insery skeleton here?
  1305.   Narrator | Eventually, the examinees that chose the correct route and those that later corrected their path end up traversing a corridor that leads back to the surface. They all converge outside of a wide open exit, with the light of the full moon shining down, grazing the inside of the tunnel floor.
  1306.  
  1307. The examinees are reclining with their backs to the tunnel wall.
  1308.   Rocks is ready and waiting to greet the catch-up crew. He's actually pretty surprised that there IS a catch up crew to speak of.
  1309.  
  1310. "You know, I didn't expect anyone else to come. I was going to wait three more minutes and then leave you to your own devices."
  1311.   Rocks: "You all actually managed to keep up with me for three hours. It's already night time."
  1312.   Jack T. V'ambrosio feels somewhat relieved by the fact Guidi had corrected his path. If not for the chance of their meeting, he would have stubbornly stuck to the roll of his die...
  1313.  
  1314.  
  1315. .....Maybe he was lucky after all. Guh...well, now I can stop and have a little bit of water...
  1316.  
  1317. Jack uses the time it takes for the 'catch up crew' to..well, catch up, for sipping on his Canteen. "Huh, I guess it is night time now..."
  1318.   Lacey Otoh pumps her fists, the plush claws flopping around as she made the exaggerated motion. The gloves, if you could call them that, had been much more firm earlier--it wasn't obvious at first sight, but it seemed as if she could change the way in which they functioned, from firm and combat-ready to soft and (in her mind) cute. Only Sid and perhaps Badman might have been paying enough attention to catch onto this, but it's not something she realized that she had let slip.
  1319.  
  1320. "Three hours?! It was that long? I'm impressed with myself!! Who knew I could run that long...wait, I kinda knew that already! Good job, Lacey~!"
  1321.   Max Campbell fell to his knees in a heavy sweat as he looked as he looked around him at all those who were with him and  those who had 'passsed' along side him.
  1322.  
  1323.  "WE DID IT BABBBBYYYYY."
  1324.   Zwei 's hair is permeated with sweat, same with her sleeves and legs. As she sees the moonlight at the end of the tunnel, and the numbers round up from those that took the left and those that were able to change the path quick enough, her right arm presses itself against one of the large walls to gather her stamina back, pulling out a quick snack for a pick-me-up of sorts as she steadies out her breathing after a minute. The heartbeat and its pumping rate would take a short period to catch up to the breathing.
  1325.   Mika "THAT WAS NOTHING!"
  1326.  
  1327. No, clearly it was something. Mika, after shouting, was heaving. His chest puffed in and out as he began to take in as much air as he could. He hoped that there was little chance of him getting his bluff called. He turned to the catch-up crew, who had just arrived, and took in a breath.
  1328.  
  1329. "What took you guys?!"
  1330.   Sidbert "Sid" takes a deep breath when he finally emerges from the tunnel with Lacey at the tail end of the correct group. It's not that he's exhausted physically, but emotionally he might need some recovery time. The time he spent running doesn't particularly daunt him, but he can see some of these people letting it get to their head.
  1331.  
  1332. "Then, are we continuing through the night?" Sid asks carefully. He completely expects the Exam to take several days, whether or not they stop right now.
  1333.    ange puts his legs back down, which after all that ramming, had accumulated quite a few more cracks in them. A few coin sized holes were in the ceramic now as well, letting one peer inside to the metallic core.
  1334.   Ledo Bellgrimes smiled despite the sweat all over his face and his labored breathing. Thank god for fresh air, Ledo just gave a thumbs up to Max. His attention now on ange for the moment, "You alright?" He asked, obviously speaking to the holes in his legs.
  1335.  
  1336. Also.
  1337.  
  1338. "Shut up shitkid."
  1339.   Max Campbell: " Shitkid! I get it because he was covered in shit!"
  1340.   Zwei: ".. this got vulgar fast."
  1341.   Max Campbell pretty sure it was vulgar when people were dance battling for ass.
  1342.    ange: "Thanks, Max, Ledo. You could've just left me behind back there, but you didn't. That means a lot."
  1343.   Little Miracle: "Oh? You actually made it here?"
  1344.   Ressou Gungnir thought she pushed Ange over earlier. His indignation would be funny if it weren't so offensive.
  1345.  
  1346. It's like he's making fun of all of them. "Tsk."
  1347.   Little Miracle: "I guess your friends are pretty reliable. Whatever would you do without them?"
  1348.   Max Campbell: "I'd never leave you behind Ange!"
  1349.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "We're friends Ange. Of course we wouldn't leave you."
  1350.   Mika omit what he said. Mika just sorta sat there on an actual last leg.
  1351.    ange: "Thanks Max, and you too Ledo. I would do the same for you guys."
  1352.    ange just ignored Little Miracle.
  1353.  
  1354. He's just in the background, making cocky remarks as friends pep each other up.
  1355.   Max Campbell: "Definitely!"
  1356.   Mika had done it.
  1357.  
  1358. So many metaphorical bumps in the road could have prevented the young man from getting to this stage. Misinformation that could have prevented him from reaching the starting line altogether, gluttony that could have caused him to stop, a decision that could have lead him down the literal wrong path. But, by some miracle, he had done it.
  1359.  
  1360. Clearly (as many had pointed out) the effect of running so soon after vomitting on the body was substantial. He was hurting, but there was no way he would let that weakness show. If he were to open himself up for more than just insults, he would be prey for the 'strong' to gnaw upon. So he put up his front. Alone. But this rage was able to point him back to the right direction, this rage kept him running, this rage put him on the correct track to make up slow down caused by his sickness.
  1361.  
  1362. In the end, that was all he could rely on. Being mad.
  1363.   Layla Palala can say without a doubt that she's pretty overjoyed. Everything had just seemed to work out in the end for her, and the revelation that they had been going for three hours only made it more astonishing. She knows that she was essentially coasting along with her blades but she felt even if she had run that she would probably only be mildly more tired than she was at this moment. Once again she could only feel a sense of gratitude towards Sieg even if he had essentially just dumped her in the middle of nowhere. It apparently paid off after all.
  1364.  
  1365. But more than that she's happy to see a few other faces had made it to the right choice noticing Ange's group as well as the one-eyed girl who told her to not yell. She was happy to see they were able to change before losing track of Rocks.
  1366.  
  1367. Though she happily takes the three minutes of down time to try and breath while she can. Who knows when they were going to get another chance like that again?
  1368.   Zwei listens to all of them, sighing to herself a little. Kamron tries to stick with her and all and has gotten them through on some situations, and he considered her a friend - but would she keep him afloat or ditch him if he became a liability?
  1369.  
  1370. The question of if she even understands what the others did about these relations unnerves her quietly.
  1371.   Zorua escapes the confines of the tunnel a bit after the initial people that decided to go left before her, and that number was plenty. As people drop to their knee's and take positions on the wall to rest, she doesn't even appear to be tired. By a combination of having most of her face and body covered and not giving in to the urge to pant like a dog. Of course, one thing she can't completely hide beneath the surface is the tensing of her legs caused from the strenuous activities.
  1372.  
  1373. Her body really wasn't made for this. Now that she has no reason to continue running, her legs give out, which gives the impression of her dropping to the ground into a sitting position, even if it should've been less ceremonious than that. She also opts to not say anything for the interrim. "..."
  1374.   Ledo Bellgrimes nodded to Ange, smiling. Ledo was happy to have met these guys, they definitely made this far more interesting than it would've been solo. His eyes caught Miracle, he stared for a moment. <'I really hate that one.'> Taking the canteen from Ange, Ledo took a few small sips, just looking over those who had arrived.
  1375.   Max Campbell plays with his new sunglasses.
  1376.   Cool Hocus finally lifts his head in the interest of examining Sid, Max, Badman and Jack.
  1377.   Badman Sving takes a moment to bask in the light of the moon after escaping from the nearly endless tunnel. Even he needs to stop and clean the beads of sweat from his forehead, removing the turban to let his head air out.
  1378.  
  1379. It got awfully stuffy in there even from a man experienced with the desert heat like Badman Sving. The constant running didn't help. But at long last, they escaped.
  1380.  
  1381. ..But now he's feeling a little peckish. A shame. Badmin uses his coffin as a prop and leans against instead of a wall. "So you've made it this far too." This is directed towards Zorua, who he hasn't directly spoken to since the boat. It felt like days ago at this point.
  1382.   Max Campbell looks at Cool Hocus through his sunglasses.
  1383.   Ledo Bellgrimes Kiba, go get a meme sunglasses FI plz.
  1384.   Kallisto Zoldyck likewise takes some time out to examine Ressou Gungnir, Sid, Max and Badman.
  1385.   Narrator | But unlike Cool Hocus, Kallisto Zoldyck's analysis is tactfully succinct. It's hardly even noticeable. Giving him ample time to stare at Sid.
  1386.    ange: "I'm fine, by the way. A few cracks and holes are nothing if I helped even a little get us back."
  1387.   Lacey Otoh sits down with her paws laid out in between her splayed out legs. "Are we seriously getting a break?! This doesn't seem right!"
  1388.   Rocks: "It doesn't feel right because it's not."
  1389.   Lacey Otoh stands right back up. "Oh, okay!"
  1390.   Rocks: "Through this exit behind me are these NUMERE WETLANDS. Also know as the Swindler's Swamp."
  1391.   Rocks: "Your destination lies beyond there."
  1392.   Sidbert "Sid" feels eyes on him. Not just any eyes, but the immediately recognizeable eyes of Cool Hocus, explained so beautifully by Guidi Strawberry. Not to Sid, but to Jack. But that mattered very little to the perceptive boy. There's nothing Sid can do now that this man directs his atention towards him but to act natural. He doesn't know that Sid knows, yet. It should stay that way.
  1393.  
  1394. Unfortunately, even the flavor of Cool Hocus' eyes will never compare to the scrutinizing gaze of a Zoldyck.
  1395.  
  1396. His left eyebrow twitches when Kallisto takes his time to stare at him. Hopefully unlike Cool Hocus, Kallisto knows Sid feels his gaze. And the ex-Butler feels shrewd enough to steal a glance, only to get locked into another stare-off until the start of the next leg of the Exams.
  1397.  
  1398. A featureless, pending gaze.
  1399.   Zorua head raises from the downwards tilt it was previously, turning to face and address Sving. A hand raises as she goes to lift her hat for a moment, only to cool down her skull, then reapply it. "We both have, it seems. Even if my own has been through less reputable means." She admits. It's true- she's followed others up to this point. Though, if she said she felt cheap for doing so she'd be lying.
  1400.  
  1401. "The fanciful dressing purple haired boy and the...eccentric purple haired girl both made it as well."
  1402.   Zwei: "Swindler's Swamp, huh..?"
  1403.   Jack T. V'ambrosio feels eyes on him. Somehow, he knows.
  1404. ...It's that guy. Hocus Cool. Instinctually, he knew that. "You guys made it. congratulations."
  1405.  
  1406. Still, he played it cool and turned to talk to Ange, Max, and Ledo.
  1407. Why the hell is that freak watching me?
  1408.   Jack T. V'ambrosio internally shudders. Am I standing out?
  1409.   Max Campbell looks at Cool Hocus, Ressou Gungnir and Kallisto Zoldyck.
  1410.  
  1411. He waves at all of them.
  1412.   Ledo Bellgrimes stared at Hocus, following his gaze. What did that man want with Max? That question was almost rhetorical as the answer was the same reason Ledo teamed up with the boy, he held some type of charisma that seemed to reach out to those who haven't even conversed with him just yet. Though, that was also a dangerous trait as many were definitely looking to exploit that. Hocus's observation caused another thought to run through his mind, one in which he acted on immediatly after. Ledo tried to observe everyone else as well, looking for small ticks, visual cues, given his family trade he was quite good in this art. He settled on Miracle, who was of course just an asshole but, wasn't anything to be too worried about. His attention was then on Kallisto, the man was good, too good almost. Ledo could notice nothing, no physical cue to give insight into who he was looking at, even his sight line was switching, never lingering for too long. That was until he settled on Sid, the observer went to look at Sid before stopping himself. <'His bussiness, it would be smart to not intervene.'> But curiosity was nipping at him.
  1413.  
  1414. That's when he heard Ange, snapping back into reality he smiled at the boy. "Good, that you're okay that is." He looked back to Rocks, listening for a moment.
  1415.   Kolt autofollow and shit
  1416.   Ressou Gungnir: "What are you waving at?"
  1417.   Max Campbell: "You..!"
  1418.   Ressou Gungnir: "Don't. Don't talk to me. Don't talk AT me. Don't even look at me."
  1419.   Max Campbell: "But I'm talking to you and looking at you right now."
  1420.   Max Campbell: "You look nice!"
  1421.   Ressou Gungnir steps forward with every intention of disciplining Max Campbell.
  1422.   Ledo Bellgrimes stepped in front of Max. Smiling at Gungnir.
  1423.   Rocks 's body suddenly becomes much more prevalent, as he too makes himself an obstacle. "What exactly were you thinking of doing?"
  1424.   Zwei 's hand eases away from her pocket after Rocks steps in.
  1425.   Ressou Gungnir: "Isn't it obvious? I was going to discipline that kid."
  1426.   Max Campbell: "I've never been disciplined before!"
  1427.   Lacey Otoh: "If it's just a swamp, then I'm gonna be ok! But it's probably not just a swamp, right?"
  1428.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Of course not Max."
  1429.   Max Campbell opened his arms out towards Ressou Gungnir.
  1430.  
  1431. "All you need is a hug!"
  1432.   Jack T. V'ambrosio considers an immediate retreat.
  1433. There's no way he could defend Max. He hoped someone capable would.
  1434.   Ledo Bellgrimes went to gently put a hand on Max's face.
  1435.  
  1436. "No. She doesn't need a hug."
  1437.   Ressou Gungnir: "You've never been disciplined? Your father must have spoiled you."
  1438.   Max Campbell: "I bet she needs a hug!"
  1439.   Sidbert "Sid" doesn't even register the conflict between Ressou Gungnir and Max Campbell.
  1440.   Narrator | Which is good because he's still caught between two oppressive sets of eyes.
  1441.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Betting is Jack's thing, you should probably stay away from it."
  1442.   Max Campbell takes off his glasses as his father is mentioned.
  1443.   Ledo Bellgrimes oh shit wut?
  1444.   Zwei: ".. <Wait, where did he get sunglasses from? At night?>"
  1445.   Sidbert "Sid" | "..."
  1446.  
  1447. If he hadn't been trained to sustain this, the pressure alone would crush his body and spirit.
  1448.    ange quietly observes.
  1449.   Rocks doesn't know if he's okay with where this is going.
  1450.   Max Campbell only to rub the fog off the front of them and put them back on.
  1451.  
  1452. "He was a really good man! He told me when I meet girls like you to show you the love nobody ever did to quell the hate you have for me!"
  1453.   Ressou Gungnir: "I don't hate you."
  1454.   Max Campbell: "Then why won't you hug me?!"
  1455.   Layla Palala wants to do an emergency scoop and dash, but it looks like Max's friends have it covered. So she just tries to scoot closer to Jack away from the confrontation, yet she once again looks around for Guidi. She wanted to ask something of the girl since she had seemed so knowledgeable concerning the exam so far. As far as Layla was concerned she was a trustworthy person.
  1456.  
  1457. <Where'd she end up going?>
  1458.   Ledo Bellgrimes went to flick Max's forehead lightly,
  1459.  
  1460. "Max, aren't we supposed to focus on the exam?" He asked, trying to realign his attention.
  1461.  
  1462. "You were saying, Rocks?"
  1463.   Badman Sving doesn't appear to be aware of the gazes that are scruntizing him from afar, almost as if he's blind to them. Upon securing the turban back on his head; Badman nods to Zorua and folds his arms across his chest. "As long as you succeed, the means don't matter in the end." Mind you, there were some extremes even he couldn't cross. But success always came a price.
  1464.  
  1465. "Indeed. I didn't expect anything from the latter, but I suppose even the most unlikely candidate is still a candidate." Although, there's another upcoming altercation yet again. How lively.
  1466.   Jack T. V'ambrosio gathers his courage and looks between the broiling up situation with Max, and the eyes of Hocus Cool.
  1467.  
  1468. .....He was the most dangerous. Without a doubt. Jack was confident that his tricks and grand standing could scrape him by encounters with the other 'monsters'. Not Hocus Cool.
  1469.  
  1470. The thought of sustaining an encounter with him doesn't enter his mind, not even once. His instinct told him...he'd be destroyed instantly if they came to opposition.
  1471.  
  1472. And that's why Jack sizes him up. He'd learn all he could before the next exam. That was his only hope of avoiding an ambush down the road.
  1473.   Ressou Gungnir doesn't know where he got that idea. It's totally inaccurate. To hate someone, doesn't that imply that they make you feel some sort of powerful way? The only thing Ressou feels for Max is disgust. Admittedly, it's becoming a bit more potent than she'd like, but she doesn't hate him. "I don't hate you, no. I don't hate you any more than I could hate a lump of dogshit you'd see on the side of the road. If anything I'm just irritated. I'm irritated that I had to look at dogshit. I'm irritated because I could have touched it by accident. But I'm not irritated at the dogshit, I'm irritated for the irresponsible person who left it there."
  1474.   Max Campbell: "But you see! I'm a dogshit with glasses."
  1475.   Ressou Gungnir: "If anything I'm just a little bit upset at your mother and father for deciding to have you, but that's on them, not on you. You're innocent, a victim of circumstance. I could never hate you."
  1476.   Ledo Bellgrimes pointed to Mika.
  1477.  
  1478. "If you're looking for shit, look over there."
  1479.   Ressou Gungnir: "Don't worry, I already saw him."
  1480.   Zwei: "Harsh."
  1481.   Max Campbell: "I love you just the way you are miss."
  1482.   Rocks can't believe these guys are so casual about being called dogshit.
  1483.  
  1484. Rocks is actually taken back by this. In his youth he probably would have failed the exam right then and there. In his youth, he might have taken a hennessy bottle to Ressou Gungnir's face. He's gained a lot of respect for Max Campbell and Ledo Bellgrimes.
  1485.   Rocks: "< I can't believe she called them dogshit. >"
  1486.   Rocks: "Don't do that again."
  1487.   Ressou Gungnir: "Why? It's harmless."
  1488.   Max Campbell: "If you ever need a hug, just know I'm here!"
  1489.   Jack T. V'ambrosio can believe she did that. "You know, that's a pretty nasty strategy..."
  1490.   Rocks: "Look. As long as I'm around, I don't want to see any fighting between participants. That also means I don't want to see any of the participants rile one another up. You're instigating an altercation."
  1491.   Max Campbell: "It's fine Mr.Rocks, I wouldn't hit a defenseless woman!"
  1492.   Zwei: "<Max's attempts to befriend people is gonna get him potentially hurt.. But if it doesn't kill him, that's one less opponent he has to worry about too.>"
  1493.   Rocks saw those glasses on another woman earlier though.
  1494.   Jack T. V'ambrosio doesn't get to finish, because Rocks says it.
  1495. If they'd been provoked, they would have been knocked out of the running before the second exam even began. He realized it -- it was probably a combination of her personality and strategy.
  1496.   Max Campbell doesn't think Rocks did.
  1497.   Rocks is sure he did.
  1498.    ange thinks back to Max just pushing the other examinees back in the tunnel. There were a few women in that group.
  1499.   Zwei: "'ey Max, are you really going to wear those at night?"
  1500.   Max Campbell: "And daytime too!"
  1501.   Zwei: "You're nuts, you know that right?"
  1502.   Zorua nods in agreement. If it came down to it, she wouldn't underestimate them based on looks alone. They made it here, so that means they can obviously hold their own physically. However, the words being exchanged has attracted her attention to the situation. She had actually moved to a stand, taking one step towards the altercation, however, with the resolution of the confrontation she retracts that step andtakes a seat once again. "Seems it handled itself."
  1503.   Max Campbell: "And you have one eye!"
  1504.   Kolt walks over to Jack, whom he deems to be one of the calmer people currently present at the moment. As he approaches him, he waves slightly and speaks "Hello."
  1505.   Zwei: "Thanks, captain obvious."
  1506.   Max Campbell: "Anytime Zwei! If you need a hug I'm here too."
  1507.   Zwei: "I'm not a huggy person, sorry."
  1508.   Mika <...>
  1509.  
  1510. Mika did not know what to think anymore. He looked at the bickering examinees before pushing himself off of one of his knees, staring at the grassy terrain for a few moments. Though he could have taken another minute or two to rest, if they were to start going while he sat down that would be the end of his Hunter's Exam and potentially his life.
  1511.  
  1512. <My life...?>
  1513.  
  1514. The boy had always been strong, ever since he was a child. Ordinary dangers of the world were, provided he exercised 'some' caution, nothing to him because of how much he could take. This was completely different. He was in a group of people that were just like (or perhaps even more intense than) him. The things that the Hunter Exam could throw at him were LETHAL.
  1515.  
  1516. <I might...>
  1517.   Mika As if on que, a fist was thrown at Mika's face. His own. It sent him against the wall he was leaning on, clearly very hard, and he remained frozen for a moment. He shook his head wildly to get himself out of the funk he was currently feeling, the throbbing dull pain in his cheek not leaving anytime soon, and gently patted his cheeks.
  1518.  
  1519. He readied himself mentally for what came ahead, thankfully missing the comments about being shit because what else is knew he'll apparently always be shit, and looked toward what he believed to be the destination with determined eyes.
  1520.   Max Campbell inches closer and closer to Zwei.
  1521.   Zwei: "---noooope no no no, no. No."
  1522.   Ledo Bellgrimes pulls on Max's collar.
  1523. Awaiting Rocks.
  1524.   Max Campbell stiff arms Ledo's hand.
  1525.  
  1526. Inches closer to Zwei.
  1527.  
  1528. Opens his arms.
  1529.   Zwei points at Mika. "Oh hey he's hitting himself."
  1530.   Ledo Bellgrimes ---
  1531. shit.
  1532.  
  1533. Antonio Brown is here ladies and gents.
  1534.   Rocks: "You there, are you alright?"
  1535.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "A group hug, for real?"
  1536. Jack T. V'Ambrosio is not drawn to Max Campbell's charisma. Maybe it was like that effect with repelling magnets.
  1537.   Ledo Bellgrimes stares at his hand in disbelief.
  1538. <'I thought I was better than this.'>
  1539.   Guidi Strawberry: "< The kids here are really strange. >"
  1540.   Jack T. V'ambrosio  --- but hold on. Things are going too fast. That kid got punched!
  1541.   Max Campbell attempted to close his arms around Zwei.
  1542.  
  1543. Then hold this for exactly three seconds with a single pat to the back.
  1544.  
  1545. The perfect hug.
  1546.   Jack T. V'ambrosio looks to Guidi Strawberry. Then to what happened to Mika. Then to Max and his friends. It didn't need to even be said.
  1547. It looks like my guess was right.
  1548.   Kamron Katahana Hmm just going to be standing some place I suppose.
  1549.   Zwei swoops them arms with a weave backwards and a pivot on her right heel as she silently moves to the other side of the tunnel. She ain't taking these hands from [ Max Campbell ], not like this.
  1550.   Layla Palala taps Guidi after finally spotting her.
  1551.  
  1552. "Hey, you got a second?" she asks as she tries to point for them to move a bit away from the rest of the group.
  1553.   Badman Sving didn't plan to get involved himself, given that the proctor as well as one of Max's friends were ready to step in. Especially considering that he likely wouldn't match up to Ressou Gungnir's might in direct combat either. It was a lose lose situation if he intervened so he let the situation resolve itself. And resolve it did. "They have a tendency to do that. It's very efficient, I must say."
  1554.   Max Campbell puts his hands on his hips.
  1555.  
  1556. "You evade me this time Zwei, this time."
  1557.  
  1558. He went to stand back by Ledo.
  1559.   Zwei: "Save hugs for when we're not on the outcropping of the next layer of metaphorical Hell."
  1560.   Kamron Katahana Sneaks up behind Zwei "Why dont you liek Hugs?"
  1561.   Max Campbell: "Alright! After this all is over I want a hug."
  1562.   Zwei looks at Kamron. "Not a good people-person."
  1563.   Mika || Speechless. For a few moments, Mika was genuinely speechless at that question.
  1564.  
  1565. "Am I okay?!" He said, surprised, and yelled again. "AM I OKAY?!"
  1566.  
  1567. "Some douchebag tricked me into going into a sewer, which apparently triggered everyone into thinking that I was some some fucking shit-covered individual. So then I had to deal with him and a bunch of other idiots until I eventually reached this place where you tricked us into thinking we could eat only to have that tremendously backfire because you decided we were going to run a goddamn marathon. So after nearly DYING after running I FINALLY manage to catch a break only to still be referred to as 'shit' by this group of happy-go-lucky assholes and some red headed bitch. Then the guy who tricked me is now asking if I'm okay, like he even cares."
  1568.  
  1569. A brief pause.
  1570.  
  1571. "I'M. FUCKING. PEACHY."
  1572.   Max Campbell diverts on looking back at Ressou Gungnir.
  1573.  
  1574. Intent on breaking through her outter shield with a look filled with charisma.
  1575.   Jack T. V'ambrosio imparts the sagely wisdom of a compulsive cheater. "Isn't that your fault? It's on you for failing to assess the situation...it's your own fault you fell for those tricks."
  1576.   Zwei rubs her right ear at Mika's rant, before sticking her pinky finger in to make sure it wasn't blocked up or anything.
  1577.   Guidi Strawberry offers Layla her attention.
  1578.  
  1579. "What is it?"
  1580.   Rocks: "I tricked you?"
  1581.   Max Campbell  >attacks gungnir with 'Gaze'
  1582.   Zwei: "--who're you calling happy-go-lucky?"
  1583.   Jack T. V'ambrosio keeps an eye on Guidi and Layla.
  1584. His only eye, actually.
  1585.    ange takes some sips of the canteen from Ledo.
  1586.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Kid's losing it. Must have been the methane."
  1587.   Max Campbell: "What's methane?"
  1588.   Zwei: "A gas."
  1589.   Kamron Katahana: "..."
  1590.   Zorua checks her bag. It was one of the reasons she was so exhausted after that trip, but it's best not to worry too much about it. Instead she decides to check over her belongings for a moment. "I wonder how much longer we can go without physical confrontation. It's only a matter of time before something breaks out."
  1591.   Layla Palala look over to Jack for a moment. Noticing that his attention was on the two of them. That was reasonable enough. Frankly speaking part of her concerns were on his behalf as well so she had no intention to hide the conversation from him if he decided to come closer but to others she kept her voice to a somewhat mild tone. But first, she lowers her head to Guidi.
  1592.  
  1593. "First off I wanted to say thanks for the help. I know it wasn't intentional but if you hadn't pulled Coin Boy before I probably would have ended up going the wrong way." She really meant that, even if this was a competition to a certain extent she felt it was necessary to show a bit of gratitude even if only mild. But she raises her head as her eyes drift to Hocus and Zoldyck for a moment before returning back to Guidi.
  1594.  
  1595. "I know it doesn't help you out much, but I wanted to ask you about those guys you pointed out to coin boy before. Are they suppose to be dangerous or something?"
  1596.  
  1597. She had gotten a few vibes here and there so far but at this point she wanted to hear it straight from the horses mouth. Plus she couldn't put her finger on it, perhaps it was because of the quick interaction between Max and Gungnir but she felt like things were going to get a bit more hectic than from before.
  1598.   Max Campbell  
  1599.   Badman Sving: "If not this portion, then definitely the next."
  1600.   Rocks | That accusation doesn't sit well with Rocks.
  1601.  
  1602. "Let me clarify something." He snaps, "I told you and everyone else present that you could use our amenities. I told you that you could order whatever you liked. You did that, didn't you? You ordered yourself some food. You had a hot shower and you ordered a nice large steak, didn't you? You relaxed and enjoyed yourself and you sat on your ass and you swallowed that nice, large steak down even as you could feel yourself getting full. You're responsible for your own condition. No one else here is obligated to take care of you, or look after you. This is an examination that weeds out average, and sub-par individuals so that only elite humans are left behind. If you can't handle something like that, then that means you're not an elite human. That means you're average. Or, as I have said, sub-par."
  1603.  
  1604. "It's not my fault if that's the case, either. That has nothing to do with ME."
  1605.  
  1606. Rocks prepares to instruct the rest of the Exam's applicants on their next objective by revealing a small, portable lantern. But before he lights it and gives his instructions, he turns back to Mika. "I wasn't asking you if you were okay because I cared. Or because I could have offered you any assistance."
  1607.  
  1608. "I was asking so that I knew if I could judge you unfit to continue."
  1609.   Rocks: "Are you? Unfit to continue?"
  1610.   Kamron Katahana Takes out several energy bars and begins handing them to the people still taking the Exams. They Didn't seem altered in any way he even had on ein his mouth.
  1611.  
  1612. "Good luck everyone."
  1613.   Zorua reorganizes the selection of items within her bags, and casts her gaze now to Rocks. "Is that so..? Then, I suppose the only thing left to question is who is going to be at the center of the dispute." She responds, curious on how Mika was going to take such an up front statement and explanation. He did seem the type to run off of pure surface feelings, which in of itself made him both predictable and chaotic.
  1614.  
  1615. Still. Maybe he can go against expectations at least this once.
  1616.   Max Campbell looked at Mika.
  1617.  
  1618. Was he unfit to continue?!
  1619.   Ledo Bellgrimes looked at Mika, hearing a countdown mentally.
  1620.  
  1621. 10...
  1622.  
  1623. 9...
  1624.  
  1625. 8...
  1626.  
  1627. 7...
  1628.   Mika "..."
  1629.  
  1630. Mika fell silent after Rocks' words. As much as his rage-filled mind would like to flip the facts in his head to make it seem like he was the true one at fault, it was clear that this was an oversight on Mika's part. It pained him to be wrong, so much so, and only fanned the fire burning within him. He grit his teeth wildly before, for a moment, deciding to skip Rocks for now and go straight to Jack.
  1631.  
  1632. "LISTEN YOU EYE-PATCH WEARING ASSHOLE. YOU'RE RIGHT THAT IT IS MY FAULT, BUT I AM JUST PISSED THAT THE GUY DID THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE. SO..."
  1633.  
  1634. He could not add a 'fuck you' or anything like that at the end of the statement because, again as much as it pained him to admit, Jack was right to. He stared for a few moments before waving his hand and found himself back in his original position presumably with Rocks eyes still on him.
  1635.  
  1636. "AND YOU, I KNOW YOU'RE RIGHT. I WAS JUST STUPID ENOUGH TO NOT SEE THROUGH IT." He tightened his fist before trying to group back up with the others. "But what kind of Hunter...No, what kind of man would I be if I were to just turn tail and run because of all this dumb bullshit?!"
  1637.  
  1638. He raised his hands above his head, as if he were a heavyweight boxer appealing to the crowd, and continued.
  1639.  
  1640. "I'LL HAVE TO DEAL WITH A LOT WORSE WHEN I BECOME A HUNTER, SO THIS IS NOTHING YOU ASSHOLE! LET'S GET THIS SHOW ON THE GODDAMN ROAD!"
  1641.  
  1642.  
  1643.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "But aren't you the one holding us up..?"
  1644.   Akuma was... somewhere...
  1645.   Guidi Strawberry doesn't know how to feel about this. This girl, asking all these questions now? At a time like this? She wasn't obligated to tell her anything.
  1646.  
  1647. ...But still, Cool Hocus. Kallisto Zoldyck. She'd hate to see the results of Layla spending some quality time with that freak and a trained assassin.
  1648.  
  1649. But at the same time, it sounds like instructions for the next exam are about to begin.
  1650.  
  1651. Decision, decisions. "Hey don't worry about it and, you should stay away from them."
  1652.   Guidi Strawberry: "We should pay attention. Things are probably going to settle down soon."
  1653.   Max Campbell goes back to attacking Gungnir's outer shell with his penetrating gaze.
  1654.    ange was just idly listening to Mika's outburst, while resting his arms. In the meantime, he was snacking on some dried persimmons he'd brought from home, stashed in the little bag that slipped right into the little net under his seat.
  1655.   Rocks: "Hey, you there. You've got snacks?"
  1656.   Rocks: "Are the gummy bears in there?"
  1657.   Max Campbell stepped infront of Rocks and Ange.
  1658.  
  1659. "If there are, I'm sorry to say they belong to me."
  1660.   Kallisto Zoldyck | That is the only thing that manages to pry Kallisto's eyes away from Sid, "Snacks?"
  1661.   Max Campbell: "ME!"
  1662.    ange: "It's... dried fruit."
  1663.   Kallisto Zoldyck: "H-Hold on a second, I'm willing to buy some from you. Do you have Chocolate Balls in that bag of yours?"
  1664.   Jack T. V'ambrosio hopes that his determination is more than just empty words. So, he simply nods and focuses on listening to Layla. He didn't quite care for what he heard -- it immediately made him suspicious, and led to him moving over to Guidi. Right now, they were 'partners'.
  1665.  
  1666. That meant that if they got seperated, it could be very bad. Especially if this next part of the exam was what he thought it might be.
  1667.  
  1668. Jack looks back at Cool Hocus. If he didn't, he might lose track of him.
  1669.   Kamron Katahana no one wanted to give you all energy bars anyways.
  1670.   Ledo Bellgrimes <'This is what ties us all together? Snacks? Well, not too out there I suppose..'>
  1671.   Cool Hocus also abandons his analysis of Sidbert in favor of acquiring some snacks.
  1672.  
  1673. "Dried fruit? Are there little balls of yogurt in there? Or apple pieces?"
  1674.   Sidbert "Sid" feels an enormous weight relieve itself from his shoulders. He can finally break eye contact, but he isn't even remotely out of the woods yet. Does Cool Hocus know that Sid knows? Maybe, but it's not worth revealing that by giving him the time of day. The normally expressive Sid emotionlessly looks ahead towards the expansive swamp.
  1675.   Sniper Winterbaum: "You've got snacks? Is it just dried fruit? That sounds nasty, but if there's more I'd like one."
  1676.   Max Campbell now wishes he had some gummy worms.
  1677.   Birdo | The persistently silent man in the steep red coat and array of bandages continues to... persist in his silence.
  1678.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Heh. I happen to have my own supply of nutrition bars...I won't fall for any potential trick with food.
  1679.  
  1680. ...Cool Hocus, though. His attention was elsewhere, at least.
  1681. He was the only one Jack could say he feared. So he likes apple pieces and yogurt...m-maybe I could ...no, I don't even have that with me. There's no way I can trick him with that!
  1682.    ange shakes the little box of assorted dried fruit he'd brought along for the exam- causing the fruit on top to settle and reveal a bevy of nuts and other tidbits at the bottom. Dried fruit keeps well, has extra sugar, and fiber for the examinee on the go. On his prior attempts at the exam, he'd narrowed down exactly what was best to carry just in case things ran on.
  1683.  
  1684. It looks like Ange had been picking out the persimmons in particular.
  1685.  
  1686. "I mean, there's not a lot.. but you can have anything but the orange bits."
  1687.   Narrator | Ange ain't gonna have nothing but orange bits left when these hungry ass motherfuckers are done with his fruit.
  1688.   Rocks: "Mmmm. Smackable."
  1689.   Little Miracle: "I'll just have some nuts."
  1690.    ange is sieged and has his soft, tender cherry plucked away from him.
  1691.   Max Campbell takes some orange bits.
  1692.    ange | Dried cherries, that is.
  1693.  
  1694. The ones in the mix.
  1695.    ange makes an exception for Max, because friendship is above two.
  1696.   Cool Hocus returns Ange's good will with a present.
  1697.  
  1698. It's a pink little box all wrapped with a purple ribbon.
  1699.   Max Campbell: "A gift!?"
  1700.   Max Campbell: "Open it. I want to see what it is!"
  1701.   Cool Hocus: "Gift!"
  1702.   Cool Hocus: "Don't open it yet, we're about to do the exam."
  1703.    ange: "Oh, okay. I suppose I can just keep it with me."
  1704.   Max Campbell looks to Rocks on this extravagant cue.
  1705.   Akuma simply stared at Ange.
  1706. "..."
  1707.   Kamron Katahana Sits with his legs crossed "Odd reason to stop the exams, but I suppose its whatever."
  1708.    ange slides the wooden lid of the box closed once it was free of grabbing hands, shaking it to redistribute what was left of the nuts and the persimmon pieces. Then he bends over to slide the box and the gift in that little net under his wheelchair, for later.
  1709.   Akuma: "Can... I... Have.... Some..."
  1710.   Layla Palala watches as Jack joins up with the two of them. She gives a nod to Guidi once more acknowledging her advice.
  1711.  
  1712. "You got it just make sure you guys do the same." With that statement she turns towards Jack. He wasn't the only one who noticed that he was being stared down by Hocus and she honestly hoped that Guidi had picked up on it as well if this guy was bad news.
  1713.  
  1714. Still she wasn't sure whether it was appropriate to say more than that. From what she could see these two were teamed up in a sense. If she stated something like that she could possibly be seen as trying to throw them off, or make them doubt each other. She didn't want that either but . . .
  1715.  
  1716. She simply stays quiet as she gets ready for the next part of the exam.
  1717.    ange: "Oh. I already put it away, but I guess there's some more to spare."
  1718.   Max Campbell: "Shhhh the exams are starting."
  1719.   Akuma: "Never mind."
  1720.    ange: "If we meet again later, and there's more time, feel free to ask if I still have some."
  1721.   Rocks lights his hand lantern and steps outside. "Right, I'm going to be your guide to the next exam site. I'll be guiding you through these extremely dangerous Nemere Wetlands. I've got a handlantern, for better navigation at dark."
  1722.  
  1723. He steps outside and is joined by another Rocks.
  1724.   Rocks 2 | It's a complete Rocks. Down to a T.
  1725.  
  1726. It's even got a handlantern. "You guys, you made it this far huh?"
  1727.   Rocks 2: "That's good, but that's not the exam proctor you're supposed to follow."
  1728.   Rocks 2: "You guys have been--"
  1729.   Rocks: "What the FUCK?"
  1730.   Rocks 2: "You guys have been tricked."
  1731.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | Is that...Scotch? Or...
  1732.   Rocks 2: "Come over here, quickly. That creature is dangerous."
  1733.   Max Campbell runs up in an attempt to punch Rocks 2 in the face.
  1734.   Rocks: "HOLD ON GUYS. DON'T MOVE."
  1735.   Mika is steaming.
  1736.   Kamron Katahana: "WOnder if they're going to fight."
  1737.   Jack T. V'ambrosio would have preferred to settle this with a game.
  1738. But Max Campbell runs up and punches him in the face.
  1739.   Ledo Bellgrimes lets Max try and punch it.
  1740. Might as well.
  1741.   Rocks 2 drops his handlantern and seizes Max Campbell by both shoulders as he draws near. He opens his mouth, revealing twelve rows of gigantic, sharpened teeth and howls like a banshee. He's about to bite Max's head off.
  1742.   Max Campbell screams like a little girl.
  1743.    ange bye max
  1744.   Kamron Katahana: "Ohh he got caught, who will save him."
  1745.   Ledo Bellgrimes moved as quick as possible. Ledo aimed to grab the dropped handlatern and throw it in the mouth of Rocks, finishing the plan by providing a kick to the top of this imposter's head, to pre-maturely caused a bite down onto the latern; hopefully combining the oil and fire within the monster's mouth and during that time he'd rip Max out of it's grip if able. Of course this all was the process in which he would like to do things, normally in this world, things rarely go how you want them. Though, he thought it to be a solid blueprint to freeing is friend. If not? Well, looks like the Hunter Exam would take it's first life.
  1746.   Jack T. V'ambrosio throws a ball of dry ice towards its gaping maw. He carried it around with him for a lethal trick that once saved his life. Hopefully, this thing would choke on it.
  1747. Damn...I can't believe I used one of my two dry ice balls for this...this means that in a pinch, I can only make one water grenade!
  1748.   Sidbert "Sid" shakes his head fervently back and forth with the appearance of a second one of their proctors. And unfortunately, Max Campbell doesn't listen to directions properly. By the time Sid gets ahold of his bearings, it's too late to actually move to intervene in his trained eyes.
  1749.  
  1750. Though, Sid does move. He definitely does move to try to save Max Campbell's life. If by some miracle he makes it, Sid won't hold back. The force of a sharp-toed twenty-kilogram boot moves faster than a bullet and tries to sla into the beast's neck, below its viscerous maws. If Sid had any time to scream, a hopeless situation would be made impossible.
  1751.   Akuma watched as the others openly displayed their abilities- particularly Sid. Akuma simply sat back and observed the others.
  1752.   Rocks 2 crunches down hard.
  1753.  
  1754. Instead of splitting skin and breaking bone, he ends up chomping into nothing but glass. Glass that gets caught in his gums and dislodges many of his teeth. Oil runs slick along his tongue and down his throat and, as Ledo has predicted, catches fire nigh instantly. This, compounded off of the dry ice that's found its way deep into his throat, sends the creature into a frenzy. Heinous, gutteral sounds come pouring out from its throat, but are muffled by its clogged mouth.
  1755.  
  1756. But then Sid puts the creature out of its horribly agony by consigning it to death.
  1757.  
  1758. Death with a heavy boot to the neck.
  1759.  
  1760. It cracks with a wet noise that is all at once tremendously satisfying and excruciatingly horrible.
  1761.   Max Campbell rubbed the bridge of his nose as he pointed to the fake Rock's body.
  1762.  
  1763. "Exactly as I planned! By attacking the one I thought was fake it revealed itself immediately and we can move on. Hahahahahah!"
  1764.  
  1765. He gave a thumbs up to everyone in the vicinity.
  1766.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Tribute."
  1767.   Sidbert "Sid" doesn't hesitate to smack Max Campbell across the cheek the moment his foot leaves the dying creature's neck.
  1768.   Rocks can't believe that just happened.
  1769.  
  1770. He knew these things existed and actually just about to go in depth on what they were and how they operated.
  1771.  
  1772. But then one SHOWED up.
  1773.  
  1774. And it TALKED too.
  1775.  
  1776. "I-I didn't know they could talk."
  1777.   Rocks: "... ... ...Where did it find a handlantern?"
  1778.   Ledo Bellgrimes chuckled a bit.
  1779.  
  1780. "Sure you did Max."
  1781.   Max Campbell rubbed his cheek after Sid smacked him.
  1782.  
  1783. He had to reapply his glasses after the fact.
  1784.   Narrator | Nah they're gone.
  1785.    ange: "That was.... a good... plan, Max?"
  1786.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "That dry ice costs three jenny. That means you owe me that much."
  1787.   Narrator | Ressou crushed them under foot by "Accident".
  1788.   Max Campbell: "I see."
  1789.   Ressou Gungnir: "It was a GOOD plan."
  1790.    ange is mainly just being nice about his quote unquote "plan" because Max really did seem like he was going to bite the bullet there.
  1791.   Sidbert "Sid": "Don't laugh like you didn't almost just get yourself killed, idiot. A smile and headstrong personality can't solve everything. What would you have done if no one intervened?"
  1792.   Ledo Bellgrimes: "Luckily people intervened, so hypotheticals won't help the situation."
  1793.   Little Miracle: "He would have died."
  1794.   Max Campbell: "I think a smile and a headstrong personality can get me through anything!"
  1795.   Mika: "Can we get a move on before we get ambushed again?"
  1796.   Max Campbell: "I mean it was the reason you guys saved me. If I was some jerk or something you probably would've let me get killed."
  1797.   Jack T. V'ambrosio believes that he did that so he could make Max cough up three times the price of that Dry Ice for a real steal.
  1798.   Jack T. V'ambrosio | "Okay."
  1799.   Sidbert "Sid" | "Other people won't carry you through every aspect of life," Sid says flatly in response. It's true, he probably wouldn't have helped save Max if he didn't have those admirable qualities. Because the world could use more people like him. But in Sid's mind, those actions were undeniably foolish.
  1800.  
  1801. Unfortunately, Mika brings up a good point that Sid yields towards. Even the proctor doesn't understand the situation very well. Turning away, Sid sighs and crosses his arms, dropping it immediately unless Max has something else to say. "You're right, Mika. You actually are right. Let's move before something worse happens."
  1802.   Max Campbell: "Yeah! Let's move on."
  1803.   Rocks nods. Contrary to his previous approach, he's begun to move before speaking. Leading 311 remaining examinees through the dangerous Nemere Wetlands. "Follow me. Follow me and stay focused. If you are deceived, you are dead."
  1804.   Max Campbell follows up behind Rocks.
  1805.   Ledo Bellgrimes followed.
  1806.   Mika || Knew that him and Sid were not friends. Mika just so happened to make one singular good point that he happened to agree with.
  1807.  
  1808. ...But Mika appreciated what Sid said. He appreciated it so hard.
  1809.    ange wheels after Ledo. The terrain is going to be a bit difficult here, but he can manage.
  1810.   Mika too stuck close to Rocks.
  1811.   Kamron Katahana Stands and gets ready to follow Rocks.
  1812.   Sniper Winterbaum slaps Mika upside the head for getting cocky.
  1813.   Sidbert "Sid" scrapes his boot against the ground to wipe off some of the blood. It's only somewhat effective, and the stain will set before he has any real opportunity to clean it. That irritates him, but it beats leaving Campbell dead.
  1814.  
  1815. After a half-hearted attempt at that, Sid follows Rocks silently.
  1816.   Jack T. V'ambrosio looks at Guidi. He didn't think he needed to tell her to stay close -- especially after that incident. If she wanted to live, anyway. He moved to trail behind Max, Ange, Ledo and Mika.
  1817.   Akuma followed Max/Ange/Ledo/Mika/Jack.
  1818.   Cool Hocus brings up the rear in regards to Sid and follows suit.
  1819.   Kallisto Zoldyck is hesitant to move through a swamp. He's got this nice suit on after all, with the really clean dark shoes to match. There's a hint of iridesence in the toe of these classic half-boots.
  1820.  
  1821. "Hm."
  1822.   Kallisto Zoldyck relents. He's got no other choice.
  1823.   Ressou Gungnir follows after Max.
  1824.   Little Miracle will help wheel Ange along. It's good that they spend quality time together.
  1825.   Max Campbell turned around to walk backwards so he could look at Ressou.
  1826.   Layla Palala lets out a heavy sigh trying to forget what she just saw and starts skating to follow along with the rest of the group to avoid being left behind. That was honestly the last thing she wanted at this point.
  1827.   Max Campbell: "Hey again."
  1828.   Ledo Bellgrimes stares at Miracle.
  1829.  
  1830. "Ange you okay?"
  1831.  
  1832.   Sniper Winterbaum turns Max around so he doesn't potentially die.
  1833.  
  1834. "Chill, Max."
  1835.   Kamron Katahana Looks around being sure to keep Rocks in his eye-sight. "Wish I had a bike now... Make things more fun..."
  1836.   Birdo follows behind Mika and Rocks. He doesn't want to be last.
  1837.   Max Campbell was turned back around.
  1838.  
  1839. "She just needs a hug Sniper."
  1840.   Sniper Winterbaum: "No, she just needs the sniper rifle."
  1841.    ange speeds up a little when he feels someone unsavory get near him.
  1842.   Max Campbell: "What's the sniper rifle?"
  1843.   Little Miracle speeds up a little when his prey tries to escape.
  1844.   Guidi Strawberry: "< I'm having a bad time. >"
  1845.   Max Campbell turns around to look at Ressou.
  1846.  
  1847. "Hey, my friend here wants to give you the Sniper rifle."
  1848.   Ledo Bellgrimes whistles and gets behind Ange, now being the one who was at the handles of his chair.
  1849.  
  1850. "Tsk, tsk, tsk. You're too slow~" He teased Miracle.
  1851.   Badman Sving 's author has been disconnecting like mad, but he assumes that they're progressing onward so he's following.
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