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Night 51: Sun Room
girlsandgadgets wrote in damned
[From here.]

The difference in the Sun Room was literally night and day: what was a relaxing area during the daylight hours was far less pleasant at night, the dim light from the ceiling windows barely illuminating the vague shapes of the furniture sitting around the room. What little light there was only served to create shadows, perfect hiding spots for whatever could be lurking in the darkness. It wasn't a comforting thought, but it was realistic.

Edgar set his eyes across the room, first to the other side, then to the ceiling. There wasn't anything he spotted immediately, but it wasn't unheard of for the poor lighting to play tricks on the eyes... and that wasn't including whatever tricks Landel had up his sleeve for the evening. First the warping doors, then the language barrier- three nights of his games in a row wasn't out of the question, given the circumstances.

He continued into the room, trailing the western wall to protect his injured side, his light still off. He didn't have far to go, but the distance seemed so much farther in the tense silence.

[To here.]

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[Crashing in from above. Approved by mod.]

There was a momentary lapse in the violence that took place on the balcony above as Sechs tumbled down in a free fall towards the sun room floor below. Had Sechs' efforts to separate himself from his savage opponent worked? The sound of air rushing past him was shattered by the thunderous crash of the creature hitting the floor. In the following milliseconds after would be Sechs' turn to land... He closed his eyes, readying himself for a possibly fatal encounter with the floor--

--and instead collided with the monster, bouncing off its muscular back and then toppling over to the floor before he finally rolled to a stop on his stomach. The next second that followed Sechs' turbulent landing was another tsunami of pain crashing over his side! Sechs nearly yelled himself hoarse in agony; if his ribs hadn't been broken before by the creature's attacks, they certainly were now!

Finally, the Replica took in a suppressed gasp before he spat out a wad of blood. Dammit, his torso was hurting like hell! If it hadn't been for the monster breaking the worst of his fall though, he could have broken more than just his ribs or worse... Groaning, Sechs stumbled to his feet, axe held lax in his hand. One pained glance up at the damaged balcony rail above only made Sechs groan even more, this time with immense frustration. Bent over with his free arm clutched around his torso, Sechs shuffled on the spot to face the monster that dragged him down to the sun room in the first place.

"You hairy piece of SHIT!" Sechs snarled, livid with pain and rage. Even if the monster inadvertently helped break his fall, Sechs wasn't exactly feeling one bit thankful for it! "I'm trying to find somebody and now no thanks to YOU," Sechs let out a ragged cough, "I have to start from scratch again!" Grinding his teeth through a bloody grimace, Sechs readied his axe and made a furious swing at the monster's head. "Let's finish this!"

Edited at 2010-09-04 07:26 am (UTC)

The lurcher's plan had not been the most thought-out, and that became clear when it managed to lose its thumb and end up being a cushioning pad in the process of falling (and landing). Its removed thumb was probably littered somewhere in the Sun Room, but that wasn't the point. The creature was losing more and more blood, and the fall had not been kind to it. Aggravating its previous wounds and causing more internal bleeding, the lurcher was left sprawled on the floor.

Blood was already spilling on various sides of it and coating its ragged fur in multiple places. It was groaning in pain, only vaguely aware of the human that had rolled off of it after landing.

It was face-down, making it hard for it to watch what the human was doing. More than that, it was in too much pain after acquiring so many injuries to really bother listening to the shouting in a language it could not even comprehend.

So it was not prepared for when the axe came down on its head, and the thick blade penetrated almost halfway through its neck. And then the lurcher twitched in further pain as it started to make choking sounds.

Sechs took a step back and heard a quiet splash ripple around his boot; a pool of blood had rapidly grown around the monster's prone body. All of Sechs' seemingly useless attacks against the hairy beast had finally taken their toll, and the fall hadn't done the creature much good either.

Still, Sechs couldn't risk letting the creature recover and attack again, he himself wasn't in the greatest shape either. The injured Replica's breaths were greatly labored and pained. He coughed up more worrisome traces of blood. Wiping the red spit off his lips, Sechs glared down at the dying creature. It was time to end this.

With his own set of agonized groaning, the battle android gingerly pulled the axe out of the creature's bloody neck. Slowly, he lifted his blade for one more strike, this time aiming for the back of the monstrosity's cranium with the intentions of taking it out of its misery.

As hard as the lurcher tried to move its lumbering body out of the way of danger, it was difficult for it to pull its huge form back into an upright position with any amount of speed. And so Sechs' axe nailed it in the head, breaking through into the skull and piercing it just enough to knock it unconscious.

Was it dead? It was difficult to say. Its breathing was barely there, but it was possible that it was still alive, if only hanging by a thread. But the point was that it was motionless and bleeding in the middle of the Sun Room, with no indication that it would be up and charging any time soon.

The monster was dead -- or at least dead enough that it wasn't going to be attacking Sechs again anytime soon. Satisfied, the Replica tugged his axe out of the creature's skull with a weary grunt. After watching his enemy for any signs of recovery, Sechs then turned and shuffled to the nearest couch, dropping himself down on it with a loud groan.

Despite his bloody victory against the (hopefully) dead monster, Sechs felt no happiness at all. No combative giddiness or another shred of enlightenment to help him understand the world. The result of the battle had only but dropped Sechs back onto square one. His search for Alita and the doctor who tortured him hadn't made any progress at all. If only he had been more quiet when he chopped away at that suspicious-looking door...

"Nice going, you big dumb moron!" the drug snapped, its voice gradually recovering volume since Sechs mentally pressed it into temporary silence.

Suddenly, Sechs coughed so hard that he nearly retched. After he uncovered his mouth, the Replica frowned furiously at the light speckles of blood dotting his palm. Had he punctured a lung from that fall? Sechs gently felt his side with his fingers, pausing with worry once he heard a quiet crackling sound when he applied a little pressure to a section of his ribs. He groaned at his unpleasant discovery and carefully leaned back against the couch. What was he supposed to do now?!

He could try and find Kibitoshin by checking to see if the Kaioshin was still in his room. There was also that girl who was supposed to be good at healing too, but Sechs hadn't gotten her room number either. Besides, was it too soon to quit? He could still breathe and move, maybe the blood was from some other injury? Dang, stupid organic body...

Suddenly, there was the noise of static coming from one of Sechs' pockets. The Replica nearly jumped off the couch with surprise, half-expecting to see the befallen monster rising back up for another fight. The screechy sound turned into muffled speech, and Sechs realized that it was the radio talking! Careful not to aggravate his ribs, Sechs reached for his pocket and pulled out the radio; it was the first time he actually got the chance to listen to it, and he did so with keen attention.

...So there was supposed to be some important note upstairs, huh? It seemed everything worthwhile was on the next floor; Alita, the doctor, even Landel himself... He had to get back on the second floor again, even with his injuries; he wasn't backing down just yet!

But what if there was another one of those lumbering monsters up there? He could try going up through a different staircase, one from the east side of the building. And he would definitely have to be quieter this time! Maybe if he could find another way through that damn door he was trying to knock down too...

With that settled, Sechs dragged himself off the couch, wiping the blood off his axe and machete on the cushions before staggering towards the exit. Just as he nearly passed into the hallway outside, Sechs stopped when he felt something squish beneath his boot. Backing up, Sechs was incredulous to find the severed thumb of the creature on the floor. Giving one more glance at the monster behind him, Sechs then stooped down and plucked up the bloody thumb, stuffing it into his pocket before moving on.

[To here.]

Edited at 2010-09-06 04:10 am (UTC)

[From here.]

Locke opened the door quietly—or tried to, anyway. It made a loud creak of sorts upon touch, as if inviting others to home in on his activities. That was something he didn't want, as apparent in his wince as he stopped the door from opening too much, and passing through it. Ohhh, okay, so this place was a little more elaborate than all the other rooms he had been to during the night. Lots of doors, lots of chairs, lots of everything in general.

And as much as he wanted to explore all those extra doors... maybe later. What stood out the most to him was the room up front, with its doors in plain view. Oh, okay. As much as it looked too good to be true or a trap in disguise, Locke decided to let all his thorough checking habits pass by him, and go for that door. His steps quick, he looked around him as he hastily crossed the entirety of the Sun Room.

[Timeskipping faito to here.]

Edited at 2010-09-06 03:54 am (UTC)

[From here; assuming this is after Sechs' fight is finished.]

The Sun Room was in worse condition than when Edgar initially crossed it. His first action was to look toward the balcony, then down to the center of the room- evidently, the fight from the second floor had come crashing into the room below. The bleeding hulk was surely one of Landel's; the patient who had been fighting it was nowhere to be seen.

"This centerpiece is new," Edgar said in a hushed tone, taking a couple of steps toward the mass lying in the middle of the Sun Room. "I saw someone fighting on the balcony when I came through here earlier. I suppose this was what the fighting was about."

He was briefly concerned that it might still be alive; however, the state of its head and neck- both injured with an actual weapon of some sort, given the impact- said it wouldn't be walking again, if ever. Still, he'd learned his lesson about undead creatures within the institution's walls. "I wouldn't get too close," he said with a wry smile. "Take it from my personal experience: the undead beasts here have surprising stamina."

As they pulled through the door, the treasure hunter nodded. "Sounds good. You never did tell me how you survived, but I guess that's another story for another time." That, and this place...

Edgar's injuries had caught Locke's attention earlier on, and so, as he let the door shut behind him, he offered the man a hand. "Let me carry that. The sooner you recover, the better it is for both of us." No need to stress an already stressed wound, Locke figured as he watched the fallen creature with a wary eye. It looked as dead as ever, but Edgar was right: one could never be too sure about these things.

"That looks like it was a pretty steep fall. The guy probably didn't get off uninjured." Carefully searching the area for any signs of danger, Locke continued. "Just how big is this place?"

Thanks a lot for not sending me this notif, LJ. Sorry for the wait!

"I'm fine," Edgar said, declining Locke's offer as he shook his head. The stress from the net bag wasn't helping his wound, but it was manageable. He dared not move too quickly, though- he didn't need to be set back another night on his progress.

"This place is fairly large," he answered, "though the winding hallways are deceiving, disorienting at times- they make it seem even larger. There's a second floor that's easily accessible, supposedly a third floor, though I've only heard a few whispers about it. More interesting is that there's a secret basement that houses rooms that... simply don't belong with this institution facade."

Making a wide circle around the dying beast, Edgar headed for the door to the hallway.

[To here.]

[from here]

This room looked much the same at night. The only tells being the clear signs of a disturbance--a fight won by one and lost by another. The another being the hulking shape slumped over in the center of the wide room. He stopped a few steps in, eyes widening in the dark at the shadowed shape. As the others followed after, he continued looking forward for any sign of movement. So Minato had told the truth in many ways, it seemed. And the explanation for this?

Gaara's voice slid backward, quiet tone neutral despite rigid form and watching eyes. "Where?" Where was their destination, if he was to follow to gain answers in this way.

Well, that answered that, as exasperating as the answer was. The vampire wasn’t about to question Sasuke’s decisions in connecting--or reconnecting as the case may be--with a potential ally or enemy, and now that Aidou was no longer being forced into close quarters with Gaara, it concerned him even less. He no longer shared ties with the little redhead. However, there were several problems to unilaterally inviting the other ninja along, and he had to wonder if Sasuke was thinking of them.

But more tellingly, under his skin where only Aidou could see, was the raw compulsion to go, go, go that had been chafing the back of his mind with greater urgency as of late. A surprise tagalong threatened to sabotage this drive, which didn’t sit well with a part of him.

Aidou immediately slipped into the gap created between them, placing himself in the doorway before either Sasuke or Zack could follow Gaara all the way inside. "You might already know he’s different from the one before," he said to Sasuke, overthrowing the mumbled question behind him as absolutely as if he’d bodily swatted it out of the sky. He didn’t care if this Gaara was new and that his words would only make sense to Sasuke. He didn’t care if this Gaara was a different person to the one that’d come before, or if he had no recollection of his previous time here, or if he was as confused and disoriented as they all were when they first arrived. He didn’t care that there was air to clear between Sasuke and him. He did care about the trouble an inexperienced, unknowing, useless prisoner could stir up if they clung to Sasuke too long with the intention to do more than talk tonight. "He could even be weaker this time. You won’t have any complaints if we leave him behind at our final destination?"

It summed up his major concern nicely. The last Gaara had confessed Landel’s power repression had practically turned him into a turtle flipped on its back, strength wise, and taking a weakling newcomer into one of the basement trials was a bad idea. One didn’t have to be a genius to see that.

It was enough that he just didn’t kick Gaara aside right then. The prick of his fangs against his lip spoke to that.

"I'm aware that he is," Sasuke started, but let the words fall short when Aidou continued speaking. Weak; weaker? It make him blink, memories of Sabaku no Gaara's prodigious abilities rising to mind before he remembered that jinchuuriki and non-jinchuuriki were alike restricted in chakra. Without it, what could Gaara do? He had been struck by Lee and Sasuke both in the Chuunin Exams, seemingly without even the reflex to dodge.

Which, extrapolated to Landel's, made him a serious liability. Sasuke hadn't had cause to fight with or against Gaara while he'd been here before -- he had no idea whether the other shinobi had undergone proper taijutsu training in his time since the exams or not.

Irritating timing, to be sure. The frown on Sasuke's face deepened as he turned his face to address Gaara in turn, still keeping track of Aidou's movements in order to cross the Sun Room.

"Where we are going is dangerous," no point trying to sugarcoat here of all places, to Gaara of all people. "It's your responsibility to defend yourself or leave us."

Tacitly: that Sasuke couldn't be depended upon to take particular care of Gaara. He had no real reason to care, beyond the interest of when Gaara was from (and though for that knowledge he was willing to sacrifice a certain amount of his own time and energy, there was no reason to make that known now).

The second that Aidou tried to block the door (which he did surprisingly well, despite his small frame), Zack got the feeling that there was some extra baggage that was being taken on by adding the fourth person to their group. More than that, he was totally unaware of it, so he was left to stand there, slightly to the left and behind Sasuke, as the two had their little discussion.

It seemed a bit rude to be having the conversation when the redhead was right there, even if they were keeping their voices down and using vague terms, and yet Zack knew that it wasn't his business in the slightest. All he could really pick up was that Aidou wasn't too thrilled with a weaker patient coming along with them, which Zack could understand, to an extent. He'd noticed how careful the teen was about screening people, so to have a sudden tag-along probably grated at the boy.

But in the end, it all seemed to be worked out in a matter of seconds, and Aidou finally let them through and into the room. It was in that moment that Zack spotted the corpse in the middle of the room, and his senses finally caught up to the others'; the smell of blood caused a burning in his nostrils, one he was familiar with.

The bright side was that whatever had happened here, it had ended a while ago. Which meant that they were free to keep going, hopefully unhindered. Maybe that was a bit too optimistic of him, but Zack saw no harm in staying positive. "Can we keep going, then?" he asked, before turning to face the new kid. He felt kind of bad for him, and so made sure to answer his earlier question. "And it's straight through."

The meeting did not go unnoticed. The blond didn't want him here, and more to the point, there was something else gained. The words made it perfectly clear that both the blond and the Uchiha had seen him here before. A period ago, if the manner of speech was any indication. And when...? His mind failed to wrap around the logic, and he instead looked back, ignoring the insinuations. Weaker? Yes, he was. That was already a constant on his mind. It didn't need to be discussed, especially with a civilian. Despite the fact that the blond seemed to have gained the Uchiha's confidence, and he couldn't see Sasuke allowing any that were completely useless.

The dark haired man spoke before Gaara could respond. This one had been congenial so far. The red-haired boy nodded to him. "All right." His mind shifted for that. The cafeteria, then. Was there somewhere else past that?

He glanced back to the pair, letting the pillowcase hang open the smallest bit. Sand trickled upwards, the sound of molecules shifting through the air something familiar for any that had fought with him. "Noted," he answered Sasuke dryly. There shouldn't be anything else expected. Whether or not he was capable of the fact, he was not one to simply allow others to do anything for him. "I've been here before?"

Needing the others to get past the ballroom meant he couldn’t separate himself from the majority; he didn’t stand in their way longer than necessary, and instead turned into the room, pointedly keeping his eyes off the destruction inside.

As long as no one starts chasing the tail of a monster again, I suppose we’ll be fine, he thought wryly, while outwardly he nodded in agreement with Zack’s wish. It was his own, too. Harping on the details was something better left for daylight, when prisoners could stand around all they wanted. Admittedly, Gaara was a different kind of detail, but the noble did no more than watch him for a moment, arms crossed loosely. As for the question--as expected as it was, considering Aidou himself had just confirmed any rumours in not so many words--it was more or less Sasuke’s to answer. He was the best equipped to be answering such things, being familiar with Gaara in a way the rest of them weren’t.

Aidou had his own role that he was best suited for, anyway. “I’ll check ahead,” said the vampire, and without waiting for input he slipped away to where the cafeteria doors stood open and waiting.

[to here]

[from here]

Motionless and silent, or at least as silent as the hospital ever got, especially with the second floor open above them. If he'd felt vulnerable in the open space of the main hallway, it was still better than the vague foreboding feeling that something could drop on them at any moment. Kirk advanced slowly through the Sun Room, but didn't have to go far to encounter the first evidence of damage: a spray of dark liquid across the surface of one of the room's comfy armchairs, and not far from it...

He froze, gesturing automatically for Zevran to stop. But the body in the center of the room lay motionless even as the beam of Kirk's flashlight hit it, illuminating what appeared to be a mess of fur and a bloodied, monstrous face. Gorilla, he thought at first, but it resembled a gorilla as much as that animal from last night had resembled a house cat. Huge, hideous, and probably smelled like a broken coffin.

Kirk let his shoulders relax a fraction, but didn't move his eyes from the mangled corpse... just in case. "One of Landel's creatures," he explained as he panned his light across the considerable bulk of the mangled ape. Where was the person who'd done this (were they okay?), and how? However, his voice was casual when he called over to Zevran: "So what's uglier, this or a 'darkspawn'?"

Edited at 2010-10-06 04:35 pm (UTC)

Zevran had no problems staying close to the captain, and it wasn't for reasons solely related to his interest in sneaking glances at the young officer's backside. His instincts, along with daytime rumors, said this place was dangerous, and the scene displayed in this room confirmed it. It didn't bother him, but it wasn't as though he wouldn't have preferred a room without bodies littered about.

The first things that came to mind were indeed the darkspawn. He imagined that if this thing stood up, it would fit right in with their hulking, distorted frames, but the longer he looked at it, the more striking the differences became. Zevran had never seen a creature like this, at least not in person. He had heard tales of man-like creatures covered in hair, but none of them lived in Antiva, nor Ferelden. If they all looked as foul as this creature, then Zevran was glad for it. Should something of that size came after him now, Zevran wasn't confident that he'd be able to protect himself and James. James had denied using any weaponry, which was odd to say the least, and put him at a significant disadvantage in a melee.

Perhaps he was lying, and attempting to make himself look less capable than he was. It was a clumsy lie, though. What seafaring man didn't use a blade with pirates and monsters about? The ocean was unforgiving, and would surely kill anyone who wasn't as harsh as she was. Not to mention that James had previously seemed quite interested in making sure Zevran knew he was a captain and that he could and had fought. Luckily for him, at the moment Zevran had no intention of being a threat to anything but Captain James' decency.

All of that was a moot point, considering that they were completely unarmed, making Zevran equally vulnerable. Nothing on the pair of them could kill a single hurlock, let alone one of these, whatever it was. Kirk indicated that it belonged to Landel in some fashion, which was harrowing, but not impossible. Some people thought raising dragons was a good idea, after all.

"It is actually not so terribly unlike one, now that I think about it," Zevran mused. He took a step closer while still keeping both proximity to James and distance from the body. "No hair on a darkspawn, though. They're, ah, skeletal, I suppose, but with the flesh still on the bones. Like a man who has began to rot even before death comes for him. And they travel in packs. You wouldn't catch a darkspawn alone."

Zevran rested his hands on his hips as he considered the comparisons, but with a shake of his head, dismissed them. The humor returned to his voice as he added, "But to answer your question, while it is different, but at least as ugly. You say this is Landel's? Quite an exotic pet. I wonder what you would feed it. Besides us, of course." He grinned wryly as he returned to James' side.

Kirk advanced through the open space of the Sun Room, his feet tracing a wide arc around the corpse in the middle of the room even though he was ninety-nine-percent certain it was dead, but... what the hell did death mean to Landel, anyway? Freed from having to watch the gorilla, he redirected his light to the darker corners of the room: nothing. Obviously someone had been in here before them, but right now, it looked like they were alone, and so Kirk let part of his mind wander, trying to piece together an image of "darkspawn" from Zevran's description...

Hold on there. Skeletal, rotting flesh, travels in packs? "Your world is full of zombies?" Kirk asked, sounding more astounded than horrified, although that latter part was only because it had been over a week since he'd run into any zombie swarms here. Unless you counted zombie cats, then that was just last night. Or running from a swarm of mutant frogs, that was two nights ago. Welcome to Landel's Institute. It was a wonder that most patients didn't simply huddle in their rooms and wait until morning.

And speaking of feeding, they were right at the cafeteria now. Still on familiar ground, at least as far as Kirk was concerned. He wasn't sure how long Zevran had been here, but if he hadn't seen a monster until now, it couldn't have been much longer than a day or two. Getting him-- both of them armed was definitely within their best interests. "Me, I don't even want to wonder if they eat people. Especially not tonight. Between the two of us, I'm the better meal."

Edited at 2010-10-10 06:22 am (UTC)

Zevran laughed, but restrained himself, even if his amusement was great enough that he could have shaken the bats from the rafters. The room seemed less dreary now, even if James hadn't intended to bring any humor to the situation. But if Zevran could find it, then he would make use of it. He had a feeling that there would be plenty to be upset about in the future.

And so he followed after the man as his eyes followed his admirable shoulders. Broad, but still graceful. He was fond of the place where James' neck curved down under the collar of his shirt, although he would have much preferred no shirt impeding his eyes. There was too little occasion for stripping on adventures, but flirting was never out of the question.

"Oh, you are, but do not fear, my captain," Zevran began in what he fancied was a very serious voice. "I will protect you. It would be too great a shame for something so exquisite to go to waste as a meal, for beast nor darkspawn."

Despite his questionable intentions for the captain, he felt obligated to clarify. "Although no, they're not undead. They are just, ah, corrupted. It is said that if you get enough of their taint in you, you become one, but I have never seen it. In Antiva, where I am from, they are not so common."

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