DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 51: Lunch
carnivorous and lusting.
sanguinario wrote in damned
Edward was glad to wake up to a period of respite. While he had been conscious during breakfast, he'd requested to remain in his room for extra "sleep", which had consisted waiting until the room was vacated to ingest the vial of Venom's blood. The vampire had lost his chance last night, but that might have been for the better; this way he wasn't in a rush to examine the flavor, as somewhat repulsive as that sounded. Even though he was primarily concerned with getting a meal instead of trying to divine what chemicals could be in the patient body as a whole - if any were at all - he was taking his job seriously, as he knew the risks Venom was already taking with him

He didn't like debts, after all. He was still trying to make up for his first transgression against the assassin.

The blood was familiar to him, but he could find no difference in it from the first time he had drank from Venom. Though his sense of taste was probably lacking compared to what it had once been, Edward couldn't sense any chemical that shouldn't have been a part of it. It was just... blood.

After the vial was emptied, he'd been sure to shove it back into the pillowcase stashed in the closet, as long as shoving the shotgun under his mattress. He was actually surprised the weapon was seemingly so easy to hide; unless the nurses never entered the rooms to search through them, there was no way it should still be here. In a way, he was beginning to think of the rooms as a safe haven.

Though that thought couldn't be necessarily true. After all, when he awoke, Bella's blood wasn't staining his fingertips, and the bandages on his face had been removed as the cuts slowly healed themselves. Someone was changing them, and if he assumed he hadn't gained the ability to sleepwalk as well as sleep, well...

Lunch had already passed for the vampire if Venom's blood was anything to show for it, so he took his usual route through the line, promptly pushing the tray of whatever-the-hell away from him as soon as he sat down. This time he'd brought his journal with him, and though his memory was perfection itself he wanted physical evidence of what he had found in the institute after all. Mostly he was making a note for Bella - a picture of the blond man, the not-Zato, and sketches showing the way its form had changed subtly to reveal the nature of the beast. Assuming it was a beast, of course.

[For his killer bff.]

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Edgar sighed as he moved through the line with his tray, his hair still noticeably damp. His shower had taken place in the later part of the shift, the nurse having spent a great deal of time to help him in and out of his bandages and warn him about washing around his wound. He had decided to forgo his stubbornness at the time- even when in Figaro, he'd been reluctant to have servants do tasks he felt capable of doing himself- as his shoulder had already proven to be beyond troublesome.

He'd stopped by the mirror in the bathroom on his way out, taking a look at his shoulder for himself- it was fairly grisly, stitching pulling the skin together, the edges unnaturally ragged where he'd torn his previous set. Unstitched areas were healing as well as could be expected, a thin layer of fresh tissue barely covering the tears. He had to admit that it looked like he was patched well- at least the nurses, whether they were working for Landel by choice or through force, seemed to know their profession. That fact didn't make him any more inclined to trust their medications, however.

Making matters worse was the message he found on the board: Raphael had been injured, and was possibly missing or worse. Another ally gone- he could only hope the same didn't happen to those he had left. He had spotted a note penned by Natalia- he was inwardly thankful she was still around, still keeping her spirits up in spite of the grim situation.

Tray in hand, Edgar found a lone seat. He knew he needed to eat something, but that dizzying, nauseated feeling in the pit of his stomach kept him from deciding just what.

[Anise]

Making those paper crafts with Ilia had been really fun. Anise hoped she'd get a chance to meet the woman again soon, partly for another fun chat, but also partly to see how she was adjusting. When the shift ended, Anise took her origami figures back to her room and set them up along her desk for decoration. Every little bit helped when it came to brightening up those dull old patient rooms!

Once in the Cafeteria, Anise filled her tray with a hamburger and a couple of different kinds of salads, just to try them out. She also grabbed a glass of milk, as she always did. Holding the tray carefully, so as not to disturb the lightly bandaged burns on the palm of her right hand, the girl sought out a table to sit at.

As she looked around, she noticed a handsome-looking blond man sitting alone. It wasn't anyone she knew, but she was pretty sure she'd seen his face in passing. Well, if she wanted to meet the guy, now was a good time! Hopefully he wasn't waiting on anybody else. Anise made her way over to the stranger, stopping just by the seat across from his. "Hi! Mind if I sit here?" she asked with a bright smile.

The sight of the sling around his arm made her curious, and also a bit sympathetic, but asking about that could wait until after introductions. Good first impressions were important!

Edgar couldn't help but grin as he found himself greeted warmly, a young lady asking to join him at the table. He didn't recognize her, but it didn't particularly matter- she was a lady, and therefore always a welcomed sight. And what kind of man would he be to deny such a lady a seat? He gave her a polite nod, silently thanking whatever force sent him such a lovely distraction, whether it was pure luck or Landel himself. He doubted it was the latter; Edgar never could understand why the fairer population of Landel's was so slim in number.

"Be my guest," he said with a delicate gesture, rising and awaiting her to take her seat. Injured or not, he could manage some manners. "It's not every day I find myself joined by someone so radiant."

Anise had hoped the man would turn out to be nice, but she never imagined he'd go so far as to stand for her. And with his injury, too... This had to be a guy who really cared about his manners. Was it due to a wealthy upbringing? She could only hope so.

"Ehehe! And it's not every day I meet a true gentleman!" Her smile brightening at the flattery, Anise sat down in the seat, setting her tray in front of her. She had a good feeling about this! "My name's Anise. It's a pleasure to meet you!"

Again, she found her eyes wandering to the sling around his shoulder. It reminded Anise of her first night at the institute, when a monster broke her collarbone and she was stuck in a similar sling for a few days. She knew how much it sucked to have an immobile arm - especially in a place where it was hard to sit still and let oneself recover.

"My name is Edgar, and the pleasure is entirely mine," Edgar answered reflexively, his natural tendency for flattery rolling off his tongue. Feeling stiff, he took his seat after Anise had settled in, his movement slow and deliberate. "And believe me, I'm a perfect gentleman, especially when in the fine company of a lady."

It was only a moment after he'd sat that he caught her eyes on the sling. He sighed inwardly- it seemed the injury was as much an eyesore as it was a physical annoyance. "I promise it's not as bad as it looks," he offered quietly. It was a little disingenuous, but he preferred to not appear as damaged as he felt. While some women liked the thought of comforting a wounded soldier, it was a part he hoped to avoid, especially given their circumstances.

After being treated like a little kid by so many people at the institute (and back at home, too), nothing made Anise happier than being treated like a lady. The world needed more people like Edgar!

When Edgar caught her gaze and assured her it wasn't a major injury, Anise giggled self-consciously. "Eh heh... sorry." Whoops! Was she staring too much? Or maybe Edgar was just a perceptive guy.

But since he was the one to bring it up, maybe it was okay to ask about it. The nosy side of Anise struggled a lot with the idea of keeping away from potentially sensitive topics, so when she spied a chance to pry, she couldn't quite stop herself from seeing how much people were willing to tell her. "Um, if you don't mind me asking... what happened?" There. That was still polite, wasn't it?

Edgar smiled at Anise's question. Something about her reminded him strongly of Relm- it was likely a combination of her unabashed curiosity and youthful enthusiasm. Oh, if only it was polite to ask a woman's age... not that he hadn't done it before.

"No need to apologize," he replied casually. "If I were in your position, I'd probably be asking the same question." Then again, it wouldn't be to satisfy his own curiosity- he knew he'd be looking for clues as to what sorts of beasts were roaming the grounds at night. Despite his lengthy stay (it had been over a week now- how time did fly), he'd only seen a few monsters worth mentioning. Surely there were more out there.

"Let's just say I ran into one of those delusions the nurse keeps insisting I'm having," he said, dropping his voice so one of the aforementioned nurses wouldn't hear their discussion. "Some variety of undead beast. Thankfully, he's in far worse condition than I am."

Good - he didn't seem to mind her asking. It sounded like whatever scuffle he got into, Edgar had won in the end. That was good news, at least. Anise didn't know how many monsters Landel had at his disposal, but it was nice to know there was one less out there.

"The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago, actually," Anise admitted, though she kept smiling despite the horrible memory. "Like, the monster attack, beating it, winding up in a sling... the sling was the worst." Okay, that was a lie. Almost getting eaten was the worst. Fortunately, no one besides Anise had to know how close that fight had been.

The girl took a bite of her hamburger, suddenly grateful that she had both hands to hold it with, then gave the man another curious look. "What are you going to do at night?" she asked somewhat abruptly. "I mean, until your arm heals."

"Avoid strenuous activity, for one," Edgar replied wryly before taking a quick bite of his meal (a 'burger.' Not enough flavor for his usual tastes). "I scaled the courtyard wall with this last night- not my best idea, I must admit, but we were curious to see what was beyond the institute's borders. I'll be sure to take it easier these next few nights, or however long the recovery takes."

He was reminded of something Guy had said to him. "I was advised to look into finding a healer, though I'm afraid I don't know any. The only person I knew here who was capable of such magic disappeared a couple of nights ago. It's unfortunate, as she was a talented soldier and friend."

Alas, there was nothing he could do about Celes, no matter how much it plagued him at times. "Thankfully, I still have the option of healing the old-fashioned way, though it is irritatingly slow without potions or spells."

"Wow, you climbed the wall like that?" Anise's eyes widened for a moment as she tried to imagine how that could be done without aggravating the injury. In the end, she realized it probably couldn't be done. Edgar's adventurous excursion was probably going to delay his recovery a bit. "Did you find anything neat, at least?" Maybe he explored some of the areas Anise had been to. Or maybe it was something totally different! Either way, Anise was interested.

The girl went a little quiet when he mentioned a friend who had disappeared. Anise had watched lots of friends come and go, and she knew it could be tough to deal with.

After a few moments, however, she realized she might be able to help. "Actually, I have a friend who's a healer. Maybe I could introduce you!" Natalia would need to be thoroughly warned about the limitations on her abilities, but Anise had a feeling the princess would be willing to help even knowing all about them.

"Really?" Edgar put a hand to his chin, a smile crossing his face. "What a fortunate coincidence. I just might take you up on that offer, granted your friend has the time and the energy to possibly do a favor for a perfect stranger. And if not, it doesn't hurt to make connections and find new allies- we all have some common ground, ultimately being prisoners."

He had to admit that it was sometimes hard to make allies when so many disappeared in a short span of time. What was it that set those who were "released" apart from those who remained trapped? He'd considered it might be a breaking of the spirit- Celes had certainly been crestfallen during those final times he saw her- but surely not everyone escaped through being brainwashed.

Then there was the alternative. If Raphael had truly been killed... It seemed Landel preferred to dispose of some of his more rebellious toys. Edgar had no doubt he fought until the very end. The field would have to be played strategically if they were to defeat Landel and live to tell the tale.

Edgar hadn't much to offer others- his weapons were specialized and probably too dangerous for the average person to wield- but he did have information. It wasn't much, but if he shared some of what he knew, there was a chance he'd learn something far greater. He leaned forward, lowering his voice again, making sure to catch Anise's eyes. "While we didn't find anything world-changing, we did find a few unusual sites to the north and east I could tell you about, since you might be helping me by introducing me to your friend."

"I'm not sure if she already has plans for the next night or two, but I'll try to get in touch with her, and then I'll let you know on the bulletin if we can work something out," Anise decided with a small nod. "Okay? But in the meantime, don't go climbing any more walls!" Edgar seemed to be fully aware of the risk of agitating his wounds, but she tossed in a casual reminder anyway. Some people could be really reckless around here.

...Okay, so maybe Anise could be counted as one of them. But usually she did a good job of staying out of trouble. Like, 90% of the time.

"North and east...?" Anise put a finger to her chin as she visualized the trek. It sounded a lot like the route she often took. "I've been out there a few times, too. Did you go into the forest? Or... did you see the town there?"

Edgar nodded, well aware of his current limitations. "I thank you for your kindness, and will definitely avoid aggravating my shoulder any further. Believe me, one night of traipsing through the foothills with ruined stitches is quite enough.

"Our journey wasn't without some merit, however," he continued, tracing a rectangle on the table with his finger. He followed an imaginary path toward his tray, arranging his silverware and food to somewhat represent the ruins. "We did see the town to the east- I've been hoping I would cross paths with someone else who has seen it... or what's left of it, I should say. Judging from the remains we found- skeletal bodies in torment, all huddled into one building, possibly seeking sanctuary- it doesn't appear the people had any chance of escape before they met their deaths."

He paused somberly, taking a moment to look around the room for Gren, reminded that they needed to discuss all they'd seen- his roommate was nowhere in sight, but there was another momentary distraction as a blond man suddenly stood atop a table on the other end of the cafeteria, his voice booming over the low tones of hushed conversation as he called for rebellion. His vigor was unexpected and exciting, though Edgar knew better than to publicly out himself as a supporter, especially if what he'd heard regarding Raphael was true. There were better ways to bring down an empire.

A smiled graced him. He allowed himself that much.

"...You saw the chapel, huh?" Anise presumed, taking on a somewhat grim tone. The horrific sight of so many dead bodies in one place had left a lasting imprint in her mind. She couldn't keep up a cheerful front while thinking about what might have happened to all of them. "It's like they didn't even try to run... like they just gave up."

Her words didn't hang for long in the air, though, as a loud voice disrupted all activity in the Cafeteria. Anise lifted up her chin and stared at the man in surprise, but after a minute, her expression fell into a small frown. She remembered the riot that had taken place some time ago, when a patient had successfully gotten everyone riled up enough to fight...

It was a failure, of course. Remembering that, it was hard to feel inspired or optimistic while listening to the man's speech. She kept watching quietly as the stranger made a charge for the orderlies, not even allowing herself to entertain the hope that he might succeed against them. Anise already knew how this was going to end.

Edgar waited until the inevitable occurred, the nurses rushing in and sedating the rebel after only a moment's hesitation- he eyed them as they moved, taking note of their efforts to quell the insubordinate blond. Edgar had to hand it to him- he certainly had his heart in the right place. That kind of fire would be key to taking down Landel.

Making a mental note to locate the rebel another time- perhaps in the next shift or in the morning, depending on if the sharp pangs from his shoulder subsided any and allowed his head time to rest- he continued his conversation. "I can't think of what method would have been so swift that the townsfolk had no possible hope for escape, yet it left the buildings mostly standing, but... we can only hope their deaths were mercifully quick." Or that Landel hadn't trapped them there purposefully. If his magic extended to Doyleton, the ruined town was definitely within reach. It was no stretch of the imagination to think him capable of such an atrocity.

Edgar paused, considering the darker tone of the conversation and the look on Anise's face. There were few things in life worse than ruining a lady's mood. "To the north of the institute is a quarry," he said, tactfully changing the subject. "It's gotten me curious as to why they would be digging in such close proximity to the building. Do you know if there's anything beneath the foundation?"

Anise nodded slowly at Edgar's words. From the anguished looks on the faces she saw, it was hard to imagine they had died without suffering... but there was really no way to know for sure. It was best not to dwell on it too much when it wouldn't change anything about their own situation.

"A quarry?" The frown faded, and Anise was now watching Edgar with a curious look. That was something she'd never heard about before.

Something beneath the foundation...

"Well... there's all the weird stuff in the basement, I guess..." she offered, trailing off as she thought hard on the subject. By far, the Coliseum was the weirdest, but Anise wasn't sure how much she could say about that in front of Edgar. Still, it was odd in a lot of ways... For what was supposed to be an underground room, it was enormous, and there even seemed to be sunlight. Maybe there were tunnels under the institute, connecting the underground basement with the outdoor Coliseum?

...No, that still didn't make sense. Even if it was outdoors, there shouldn't have been sunlight at night!

Ah, there was exactly what Edgar had been hoping he'd hear- there was a basement to this place after all, and if the response from the bulletin board had any merit, the hall of weaponry was located somewhere down there. He leaned on his hand, taking only a breath to think: what else was Landel hiding beneath his prison? And aside from keeping appearances, was there a special significance to the underground? Perhaps he simply wanted resources; however, it was likely there was some other benefit from the location.

Edgar briefly entertained the idea that the quarry might have been the doing of a rebellious group, attempting to sneak into Landel's institution by penetrating the heart, and that they were decimated in the same event that destroyed the town. He had some doubts in that notion- Landel didn't strike him as the type who would have let an opposing faction dig that deeply so close to his building before obliterating them. The man probably liked a challenge, but he'd already proven that he didn't like to be threatened.

"Hmm, a basement..." Edgar drummed his fingers on the table for a moment as he considered his words. "I was taken to a strange room two nights ago when the doors were enchanted, one that seemed grossly out of place for a would-be institution. Brightly-lit, beautifully decorated- a far cry from the dark halls during the night. It's where I met the beast that did this." He gestured to his shoulder. "I had hoped to go back there eventually, especially since it seemed to have some special purpose; however, if it is in the basement, then I'll have to find a way down there, if there is one that's within our reach. I don't suppose you'd know the way, would you?"

Edgar was interested in the basement?

That was bad. Anise had to warn him. But even if she did, she couldn't tell him what she was warning him against! She was going to have to be careful about what she said. As it was, she wasn't sure whether or not Edgar was the type of guy who, when told not to go somewhere, would go straight there. He was reckless enough to climb a wall with a serious injury, so that was a bad sign.

"The ballroom? I know where it is," she answered him cautiously, then shook her head. "But if you're planning on going back, then I won't tell you how to get there. All you're going to find is..." Was it her imagination, or was that numb feeling coming back? Anise didn't want to trigger that weird block in her mind again, so she quickly changed her wording. "The basement is just..." No, that wasn't any good either.

"... It's not worth it."

Drat. Just as it seemed that he was on the verge of learning more, Edgar found himself stonewalled by Anise's concern that he'd do exactly as he intended. He didn't let his displeasure show as he changed tactics; the nurses were starting to make their rounds, so there was little time to pry any further anyway. He'd have to save it for another time.

"I see," he said with an understanding nod. "Even though I am curious, it's probably best you keep that information from me, then. I have an awful time resisting temptation."

As his own nurse neared the table, Edgar stood, giving Anise a short bow before collecting his tray. "I appreciate all the information you've been able to share with me, and thank you for your concern. It's unfortunate that our conversation had to be so brief. I hope we'll meet again, Anise." He smiled earnestly, meaning every word he'd said- the conversation had been enlightening.

Anise was a little surprised that Edgar seemed to respect her decision. There was a part of her that wondered if maybe he was just saying that to keep her from worrying... but still, if he wasn't going to press her for the information, then that was good enough for now.

When Edgar bowed, the smile returned to Anise's face, and she was instantly back to her usual cheerful self. "Anytime! Take it easy with that arm, okay?" She would see if she could find a healer for him, though she couldn't exactly make any promises at this point. "I hope I see you again soon!"

She still knew very little about Edgar himself, but those manners of his made her wonder. He definitely acted like he had a good upbringing. Anise wasn't going to forget his face anytime soon!

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