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1A disturbance in the cold Empty A disturbance in the cold on Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:06 pm



Kaia felt utterly crushed and useless, and generally not in the highest of spirits as of late. She didn't want to admit it to anyone, but she did have random bouts of depression of varying levels. She had other issues too, most of which she either didn't know of or was too fond of her pride to deal with them. Others she didn't like to think about. She was steeled to head out to Bismark's coil to change her uselessness, since harsh conditioning has helped people around her. That or kill them, but she figured if one died they simply didn't condition themselves properly to do that kind of training.

She'd head out from the base, wearing the usual coat over her uniform not even letting anyone know she'd be gone, just in case she died out there. She would leave a note by the office she was leaving for a walk though, so nobody would come looking for her except for maybe someone she knew. In that case they could help her get stronger and pull her out of a bad situation if it came up, that or help her deal with said threat. Either way she'd be in a place that well fits her and her lowly status.

She kept her sword on her especially now, intending to train in that skill specifically seeing as devil fruits were rare but she'd gladly take one, so a sword would have to do her well until then. It wasn't the most effective weapon, but it was hers. That's all that mattered to her really. It was a sign she had some strength at least and at least something to deal damage with, even if she had to be cowardly and use a weapon. It was an insult and an honor in one really, considering all weapons were born from a cowardice and weakness that lies in all people.

On top of that train of thoughts, her mind was weighed down so much she couldn't think right. Even thinmking about her sword made her wonder how badly it's used in her hands, how it's only a Ryo Wazamono. I was like her; simply not good enough in any regard, cold, dark and only knowing how to cut and damage though it only did that subpar by her perspective. She herself was just a dumb, scared kid that wore a dumbass cute uniform to look cute to look like she has positive traits or anything redeeming about her.

Her height or build wasn't even good enough, being shorter than most even scrawny guys. She looked good yes, but she had not near the bone and muscle mass of her male co-workers, and never would. She hated how to most she was just a useless pretty looking object that was useless at everything she did. She looked stupid, flashy and vacant of any deeper meaning. She still felt the weight of her sword, found it hard to use with one hand and didn't have any skill or style to give her any identity.

She heard the things said about her regarding her herself and her bad traits and habits, how she only got in the way or was only good as eye candy, that or talk of her own higher ups moving her to busy work or a desk job or how they gave her easy tasks so she 'would feel accomplished' or 'wouldn't feel too bad about herself'. She knew they meant well but any time she spoke up about it it always came out as anger and aggression. She didn't know how to talk to people like a normal person, or how to be liked or social at all. Though what made it worse was whenever her gaze even lasted for a second it seemed on one of the girls her age in town, that caused a rumor about her. She didn't know what the hell was wrong with her with that trait especially, but she was too scared to ever find out. She was already confused and lost. She just wanted to have someone to be close to, and more importantly, someone to love or care about her.

As if this wasn't bad enough, she watched teammates rank up for putting in little to no work when she stayed an ensign for working as hard as she could. But no! It was never good enough, was it? Would it ever be? She doubted that, given how most reassurance she can do it is a head pat and another hour where she became an emotional, pathetic mess every time she even held hope for something good to happen. Though she'd always get told 'You'll have your time' or 'I'm sure you'll get it next time', but what were they expecting? She was shipped out of her home two years ago with no preparation or choice to fight in battles she never understood, then sent to cold wasteland after cold wasteland because her superiors had to be assholes.

She took her hand off her sword, the snow hitting her as she passed through the streets like cold unforgiving isolation just piling on top of her more than it had. She didn't trust that she wouldn't do something with her blade she'd regret, though the thought often crossed her mind she'd be better off dead. It'd let her accomplish something so she didn't mind doing what she set out to do, not like anyone would miss her anyways. She just...wasn't good enough compared to everyone else. It was a weight that nobody could understand unless they were weak, feeling like every word she says around anyone could drown their lungs with in the sins they can't fix or the seething frustration that leaks out whenever someone that's better than them complain about their problems. That weight made her unsure of even how she felt, or if she felt anything.

She wanted to ask for help, to just tell someone everything that was inside her, but it just came out as anger and bitterness. Not at anyone but herself, which made it hard to explain. You can hate others and then feel relief, but hating yourself was constant, it drove you to your limits. She wasn't even sure if she had a grip on her sanity or what was reality. She looked out at the snow, entering the district right next to the coil. The snow was more intense now, which made her feel an odd comfort in that at least that was beautiful cold and ruthless as it may be. She'd keep walking, her eyes catching things that made her jealous and lonely, not to mention just more convinced she can't have what they have.

2A disturbance in the cold Empty Re: A disturbance in the cold on Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:11 am



Kaia figured she'd at least stop in the small cafe in the area, sighing as she rings the bell, the door swinging shut as she enters. She'd wear a fake smile like usual, going up to the counter to order as usual, one of the waitresses in the shop recognizing her but not giving any more attention other than a quick indifferent glance it'd seem. Her order went smoothly, her tone as upbeat as she could muster with the man behind the counter practically feeling something wrong but not saying it. Kaia could tell from the way he looked at her like a wounded puppy though, her sitting down at a table near the window, slipping her coat off for now.

Just then another girl would enter the shop, dressed in casual clothes, seemingly having a complacent, almost happy expression on her face as her long dark hair draped over her shoulders and down her back, her outfit adorned with lots of frills and lace, like a doll from a well-maintained collection. She was almost delicate-looking. Kaia just couldn't take her eyes off of her really. She could have been that girl instead of who she was, but she wasn't. That was stolen from her, and she couldn't ever get it back. Especially that sense of positivity that radiated off of her the more she observed.

The girl soon took notice, walking over as Kaia looks down at the table, just hoping she'd go away. But unfortunately for Kaia, the girl spoke up, smiling softly down. "I saw you staring at me. Did you...have any business with me?" She was almost too innocent, her tone full of life and energy that only made Kaia sink further into herself, only sparing a glance over in response. The girl just watches, sitting down next to her. Her eyes weren't as bright as her voice though, Kaia recognizing that something must be going on over on this mystery girl's end too. "If you're shy...then it's ok. You can talk when you're ready." She'd say that as if from personal experience she once was too shy to speak. As far as Kaia could tell, this girl had a very wrong idea of what Kaia's looks to her meant.

"Well...fine. What's your name?" She'd go along with the girl for now, curious what she was expecting, though based on body language she observed it was oddly nervous, like someone would act as if flattered. Flattered by what exactly? That she didn't know but was too curious not to know at this point. She was unsure of what else to say, what she could say. It'd been so long since something this casual had happened she nearly forgot proper etiquette. She awaited the response patiently and somewhat fearfully, like she'd come off too aggressively.

The girl looked a little hurt from Kaia's tone but answers regardless, her brow furrowing. "My name is Alice. What's yours?" She didn't ask it but her tone sounded as if she felt like a bother, though hid it under a bubbly outward demeanor. She felt awkward and nervous too, her heart beating faster as she looks over Kaia. She wanted to help her, but...something about Kaia told Alice she couldn't, like a knife who's blade already plunged itself into a body so long that even if it were removed the wound would remain. She was the same way, but she was just lonely. Though she couldn't tell Kaia this.

"Kaia." She'd respond quietly, her voice sounding distant and weary, though laced with false strength and stoicism. The silence that followed seemed to last for a long while, the two just looking everywhere except for each other if it could be helped, though when their eyes met she could feel a tension in Alice's gaze so tangible it could be cut with a knife and not budge an inch. She felt that she sent a different message then intended by this, but she wasn't sure. Though, some others that passed by them in the cafe looked at the two as if it was a couple having a tense moment, her hearing their whispers and hushed tones. She...was bothered by that. Why? It was another girl, why should she even...why would she date someone like that? She never considered why those kinds of statements and rumors bothered her before now, she just knew that they did.

Alice felt the tension as well, though for her it was more emotional tension. She was nervous she'd had been too weird for Kaia, her shooting her an unsure glance only to have a cold look returned. She assumed from the looks Kaia was giving her that she was into her, Alice's own fear that she projected something onto someone again rising in her. The silence is broken when she speaks again. "So, you're uniform looks really cute. I especially like the way you tie your shirt like that, it looks really unique." She'd cheerfully and softly compliment, trying to engage in actual conversation.

She'd zoned out, trying to bury her thoughts of weakness and worthlessness for just a second, but she couldn't help it though she'd try. "O-oh, thanks. It does pay off to be unique in the marines." She'd laugh, though it was hollow and self deprecating at best. Alice's expression became more doubtful. Kaia didn't hate talking to her, but it was just painful seeing a reflection of herself she could never be, could have been and is infinitely inferior to. "Your dress is really cute too, your hair is nice too." In reality she'd thought everything about her was beautiful, from her voice down to her eyes and delicate features, but some part of her wouldn't let those words come out. She didn't know why but she was afraid to say it, but she just was.

Before Alice could respond, the waitress would come out, handing off the two girls' orders, looking between them. She had already judged what this was in her mind, but didn't so much as speak a word of it. Alice and Kaia would simply take their drinks, letting the waitress again disappear.

3A disturbance in the cold Empty Re: A disturbance in the cold on Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:14 am



Kaia noticed Alice sit her drink down and look away. "Thank you, though I'm not that attractive. You're far cuter." She'd giggle almost flirtatiously and smile a tiny bit, though sadly. "I know we just met and all but mind if I just get something off my chest? I's driving me insane right now." She felt her heart pounding now, her nerves tensing a bit. She wanted to say she was feeling as down as Kaia looked, but she was scared, and it showed in the way she held onto her arm. Kaia would understand, but keep up her facade regardless. She should've felt bad for it, but she didn't. Upon thinking about it, she didn't feel anything right now.

This revelation alarmed her, wondering how long it's been that way now, how long she's been unfeeling and numb. "Sure, I'm here to listen if you need it." She'd at least give that kindness. Even if this girl was a painful mirror of her, at least she was strong enough to seek help. She envied that strength, that courage in face of fear. It was admirable, really. That and pathetic she couldn't have that herself. Thinking about it, she's always been alone since she was a marine so it was only natural this was the end result, terrifying as it may be. The compliment made her feel..something. It'd been so long she didn't recognize it at all, but was afraid of letting it go. "N-no, I'm not. But I'm flattered anyways." she sighs, feeling herself sinking into herself again.

Alice just quietly asks, almost in an ashamed tone. "I've been really stressed out." From then on she just vented for seemingly no reason, just admitting her problems. Kaia didn't remember what she said, but only what followed it. Alice just talked about things like hobbies and the weather after that, that...sudden burst of pent up stress releasing seeming to do it for her. It was nothing compared to Kaia but she was clearly not perfect.

Time passed as the two made idle chitchat, an hour it seemed, but Kaia liked it, which made the inevitable even more painful. She noticed Alice get up, Kaia taking her hand gently. "Before you" she pauses, Alice turning to face her. She wanted to say what she couldn't before, but looking at her face she just couldn't for some reason, as if some awful secret would slip out if she did.

Alice would step closer to Kaia, giggling. "Before you say it, this was the most lovely date I've had in a while even if it just sort of...happened. I'm sorry but I didn't want to let it go unsaid." She had clearly misinterpreted the events of the mid day but at least had fun with it. She had that same brilliantly bright smile as when she was first spotted, but more genuine it'd seem. She then gripped Kaia's hand softly, but more firmly.

Kaia was taken back by this, not sure how to respond. She never thought of it as a date, though...if that's what a date was like she might not mind it. It was freedom from the isolation and loneliness and every other demon she faced. It made her feel warm, her heart beating faster when Alice stood closer to her and held her hand. It was confusing and weird to her, but also not bad. She didn't have the heart to tell this girl she didn't intend their chat that way. Another thing that made her think is, if she assumed it was romantic so casually, she couldn't justify feeling that way towards a girl. Though was it just an adrenaline rush from the suddenness of feeling something warm and good again? It had to be, so she decided it was. "I enjoyed our time too, and...just know.." She'd pause again, before sighing, finishing her statement. "I sounds weird but your general appearance and mannerisms are adorable." She wasn't good at compliments, not even close but she could tell her words were appreciated. Alice would tilt her chin up, her now blushing deeply as she recognized what usually followed.

The girl would move closer to Kaia, their faces barely separated. "You need to learn to love yourself." She'd say quietly, before waving goodbye. "See you around." She left, her disappearing into the streets and alleys that surrounded the shop, Kaia oddly feeling worse than when she went there. The warmth made the cold more unbearable. Also, she was disappointed for some reason that the girl didn't kiss her. That last comment made her have more questions than answers. How could she love herself, when she can't even decide or understand what's happening with her at all? She'd try to bury that disappointment but couldn't, it only made her wonder about it more.

Putting on her coat, she paid for the drink and then left. She was a block away from the coil, but it felt longer for some reason now. She'd pass by the shops, the cold setting in against her skin, making her comforted in the familiar feeling in the same way a captive loves their capturer after long enough. Now thoughts like how lonely she'd been began to set in after being teased with that brief moment of connection with someone again.

She then thought back and started to consider how...empty she'd become. She was solely focused on strength, and nothing else. She wasn't the same girl she was when she first was forced to fight. She didn't know who she was anymore really. The isolation just hollowed her out like a matryoshka doll without anything nesting inside of it, warping her into this pathetic state. She wanted to go back to before she was that, but deep down knew she couldn't. Somehow, somewhere in her just wouldn't stop nagging her that maybe she was wrong, but that also scared her. She didn't want to get her hopes up and fail to change in the end.

She'd made it to the coil's entrance, just sitting down, observing the ice structures and formations to try to relax.

4A disturbance in the cold Empty Re: A disturbance in the cold on Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:00 am




In any organization, a new team being formed meant that issues were bound to occur among the members of the group. You couldn't just expect total strangers to suddenly start getting along perfectly and the Marines were no exception, despite the fact the the members were duty bound to cooperate together regardless of their personal tastes or views. In fact it was in rigid organizations like these that cracks and fractures in the solidarity of the group tend to go unchecked over time until finally all the pressure reaches the bursting point and something irreversible happens. A soldier going rogue in the middle of an important mission was the last thing any commanding officer would want. And so someone who wished to genuinely take preemptive measures against that ought to work on things right from the start. Suzume was just that kind of leader. Well in this case, she was just second in command. But the least she could do is relieve the burden of maintaining team morale off Roma's shoulders, so that she could focus on the mission she came to do on this island. This behind the scenes role was just the sort of thing the little commodore would engage in.

Looking through their profiles, she already had a decent grasp of Ensign Khun after working with him a few times. So that left Ensign Macintyre, the local officer assigned to Karakuri, and Ensign Rindaman, Roma's own ward. Between the two of them, Suzume was at least certain there was a measure of trust coming from Roma with regard to Ensign Rindaman. That meant the member of the team who was the biggest stranger to all of them was Ensign Macintyre. The little commodore finally had her starting point.

On her next day off, Suzume would pay Ensign Macintyre a visit and extend an impromptu invitation to get to know her better. She had a number of places to go to in mind and figured she would decide their destination after a quick chat. Unfortunately on the very same day, it seemed the ensign had made her own plans to leave the base. A note was found near the office advising that Ensign Macintyre had stepped out for a walk. This was a bit off from the plan but if the girl was going out anyway then perhaps Suzume could catch up outside. She inquired with the guards on duty if they had seen where the ensign went. But the best they could tell her was that the girl seemed to be heading towards the edge of town. She had not spoken with anyone on her way out as though she wasn't keen on being followed.

That was really bad. Suzume had little clues to go on and it had already been some time since the ensign left. She needed to pick up the trail somehow. Fortunately since Marine presence was minimal on this island, most people were keen enough to notice Marines when they were up and about. Following her sole clue that the ensign headed south, the little commodore did the same while occasionally asking around if any one had seen her quarry.

A stroke of luck came when Suzume inquired at a certain cafe. A Marine fitting the description of Ensign Macintyre had apparently spent some time there with someone else and then they parted ways not too long ago. Judging from direction where the ensign went after that, it became apparent that she was going to one of the more unforgiving locations on the island, or at least somewhere near there. The question was why, and did it have anything to do with the person she met in the cafe.

This was no time to be subtle about her actions now as far as Suzume was concerned. As soon as she stepped out of the cafe, she spread her wings and took to the skies flying in the direction of the place known as Bismarck's Coil. At some point during her survey of Karakuri she had also intended to visit that cavern system due to the apparently unusual and otherworldly wildlife there. But she decided saving such a dangerous adventure for when she had a better understanding of the island. That plan would have to be forgone.

The weather on the island was kind today. This allowed the little commodore to fly unobstructed and see far and away from the altitude she was at. When the coil's entrance was finally within view it wasn't hard to spot the lone officer sitting in front of it. Was she going to enter? From Suzume's point of view it looked like the ensign was taking a break. That was a weird place to do so however. She decided to keep watch from afar and not approach the ensign just yet.

Notes: Currently hovering about a hundred meters above the ground two hundred meters away from Kaia

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