DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Night 51: Cafeteria
[stand alone]
girlsandgadgets wrote in damned
[From here.]

The door clicked softly behind Edgar as he entered the cafeteria, barring him from anything that could have been following him through the Sun Room. He'd quickened his pace as he neared the center of the room, hearing the distinct sounds of combat from the balcony above the room- from his position below, he had made out the forms of two figures. The first carried a light- presumably a patient- while the other lumbered heavily after him, his form visible only for a moment when crossing into the light of the first figure.

The monsters were out, already making their moves against the patients. At least the victim on the balcony appeared to be fighting back. With no viable way to help him, Edgar had decided it was best to continue toward the courtyard.

Even without the light, Edgar knew the layout of the room: tables in the center, doors on either side wall. He headed toward the western door, sidestepping the rows of tables with careful steps, listening for any sign of movement.

It couldn't be as easy as simply reaching the door- it was locked. It wasn't a surprise, but it was an obstacle: he'd have to break the lock to get outside, creating both a racket and a reason to draw attention from anything waiting in the dark. Well, there was no turning back now. Better to risk it than to have traveled through a known danger zone just to head back with his tail between his legs. Wasting half the night wasn't his style.

Feeling the door, he found the lock- a little too sturdy to open with his flashlight, but his shovel would do the trick.

[To here.]

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[From here.]

The door opened easily the second time through, allowing Edgar passage into the cafeteria. He was no less cautious than the first time he'd entered the room: he scanned the shadows and tables with a wary eye, listening for movement before crossing the threshold. When nothing stirred in the darkness, he stepped inside, closing the door behind him gently.

Edgar walked along the wall, taking hold the light tucked into his sling. At the rate he was moving, it seemed his light wouldn't be getting much use, if he turned it on at all. No matter- it'd only be a benefit if he could save the power for another night rather than wasting it.

As he neared the corner of the room, Edgar paused and listened again, trying to hear the skirmish from the Sun Room balcony through the wall. He had no luck- they were either too far away or the fight was over. He doubted it was finished already, unless the patient had chosen to flee or fell to the monster. Then again, perhaps the walls and doors were thicker than they appeared; after all, Landel wouldn't want the screams to carry through the halls.

[Locke]

[From here.]

It was quiet when Locke entered the cafeteria. There was no one here, and it was dark enough—enough light to navigate, but enough to remain well-hidden. A kitchen, he realized, although seemingly unused and big enough to provide its services to a whole hospital. Figures, he thought to himself, biting his lower lip as he kept a careful eye out for anything out of the ordinary. Well, everything in this entire situation was out of the ordinary, but... Locke could do with it. Holding the flashlight by its head, Locke quietly scoured the room as he did with all the other rooms upon arrival. Get the general gist of the layout, see if it has anything useful, and so on and so forth.

Except, this room was empty as humanely possible. Two doors to his left and right, and one door behind the counter of sorts—at least one of those doors led to the kitchen, or the equivalent of one.

When the door opened from one of the side doors, Locke quickly moved to the side, hidden away by one of the center tables, flashlight tucked into his right arm. Quiet... quiet. Locke wasn't an informant for nothing, after all. He furrowed his brows and peered over the table as he tried to identify the looming figure. Familiar, yet at the same time... not so much, in such a foreign environment. When he moved from his crouch, one of the unhooked keys in his pocket fell out of his cheap, cotton pants—

and it was almost like a full-on slow motion cinema. Click. Click. Click.

Locke inwardly cursed to himself, and crouched lower, holding his breath. No no no no no, at least wait until I can get my hands on a weapon—!

Edgar was only a few steps from the door when a sudden noise echoed in the darkness, breaking the unearthly silence that filled every corner of the room only seconds before. Not one to be taken by surprise, his immediate reaction was instinct. He side-stepped the table, one hand readying his shovel-turned-pike as the other took hold of the light in the sling and turned it on, shining it in the direction of the sound.

The noise was familiar- metallic clicking against the floor. His initial thought was that something had knocked a stray piece of silverware from one of the tables. Whatever had caused the disruption could have been anything: another patient, a monster, an Esper- even Landel himself might have proven less of a shock than who appeared in the beam of light.

After Celes' disappearance, Edgar had hoped none of his other friends would ever find their way to the institution- her loss and the events leading to it comprised an injury themselves, one from which he hadn't recovered. The number of patients coming and going on a daily basis was bad enough on its own; however, the thought that someone else close to him might appear in the patient population and leave brainwashed- or worse, as there was always a darker option- was a grim one indeed.

That thought in mind, Edgar was momentarily stunned to find Locke before him, crouched behind a central table. He couldn't allow his caution to fade entirely: knowing Landel, the man probably had mimics in his employ, their entire purpose to strike an unsuspecting patient while wearing the appearance of trusted friend.

Edgar swallowed, his throat tight. He couldn't help but smile as he thought of an appropriate test. "Doesn't a thief have better things to do at night than wander around in the dark?"

If Edgar could catch a view of Locke's expression for that one second the light flashed on him, it wouldn't be too far to say that he looked like a deer in headlights. He took this time to let his rear fall to the ground in minor relief as he picked up his fallen keys in a swift manner, letting out a small sigh. He'd expected another creature, or even an unsavory patient at the worst—but Edgar, as bad as the situation already was, was an unexpected but welcomed familiar face nevertheless.

"That's treasure hunter, treasure hunter!" he started, voice not too loud but enough to get his point across, with a wry grin over his features. "How many times do I have to say it?" And as much as he wanted to point his flashlight at Edgar and flash him straight in the eyes just to spite him, he wasn't sure if he wanted to risk losing his only form of weapon. He wouldn't be left unguarded just because of a familiar face. In fact, it was one more reason to keep guarded.

If this institution could get behind brainwashing, then mimicing someone wasn't something to cross off the list of what he could expect. He kept a firm hold of his flashlight, raised just in front of him as he would a dagger. If Edgar was going to fight with a shovel, Locke would just have to pay him in kind and fight... with a flashlight.

And maybe run, if the fight wasn't turning his favor. With his luck today, though, that was definitely going to be out of the case. Damn.

"Doesn't a king have anything better to do than pointing that dangerous looking thing at an innocent bystander?"

Edited at 2010-09-06 06:51 am (UTC)

Now there was the reaction Edgar had been hoping to see- no other treasure hunter he knew took so much pride in his title. While Landel probably had expert mimics on his side, this one certainly looked and acted like the genuine article, so much that the king was willing to trust him. He lowered his light, deciding to stop blinding them both.

Edgar took a step toward Locke, looking him over with a wide smile. He had to admit that he was a welcomed sight. "I'm not sure how dangerous I could possibly look with one hand carrying a shovel and the other in a sling," he remarked with a shake of his head. "I certainly don't look much like a king in this outfit." He resisted the urge to smooth his hair from his face.

From the look of it, Locke hadn't been trapped long enough to have acquired much more than was in his room to start with- he was either a very, very new arrival or losing his touch. "How long have you been here?"

And here was the moment of truth, battered pride aside (treasure hunter treasure hunter treasure hunter damn it, there was a difference!), and Locke paid close attention to Edgar's response and movements, cast and shovel aside. "Bet it draws all the ladies in," he finally replied, a small grin over his features as he pushed himself up from the ground. That's the well-mannered king he knew. locke had more smartass comments to add to the pain of wearing those uniforms, but he figured they were both in the same boat.

He had to admit though. That smiley really did bring out Edgar's eyes. The small grin grew bigger and bigger as time passed, and Locke tried hard to not let his sense of humor get to him. Not too much for the time being, anyway.

Rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, he cocked his head slightly to the right to look one of the corners of the cafeteria. No sign of anything... yet. If anything, he was alert. "A couple of hours," he said. "This place is bigger than I thought. You..."

He looked Edgar over with wary eyes. "... You've seen better days. Been here a while, I take it?"

"Nine days," Edgar replied in a serious tone, and that was granted he wasn't one of the patients who had been readmitted with no memory of their prior stay. It didn't seem possible, but Celes' attitude toward him during their first encounter said otherwise. "Long enough to realize that Landel has more magic than I initially suspected, enough powerful monsters under his control to pose a threat to anyone here, and an apparent dislike of women. The ratio isn't good." He finally caved in and ran a hand through his hair. Yes, it was a mess.

"And if you can't tell from the sling, you're going to need a weapon," Edgar added, eyeing the hedge shears on the end of his shovel. He pulled his wrench from his pocket, setting the shovel on a nearby table and untying the shears from it. After a strong twist of the wrench on the pivoting bolt, the blades separated from one another. The handles were a little long for daggers, but they'd have to do.

He returned the wrench to his pocket, handing the twin blades to Locke. "I'd recommend finding better armor as well, but I'll be damned if we come across any. Needless to say, the provided clothes don't do much against animal teeth."

Nine days didn't sound that long in retrospect, but given Edgar's poor condition, it was apparently enough to wear anyone down. Locke furrowed his brows as he took whatever information Edgar had to offer into consideration. "I noticed," he replied, "I ran into one earlier. They didn't seem..." Of their world? Something beyond that? It was an obvious deduction, and Locke didn't feel the need to elaborate any further. Edgar had a solid grasp of what was going on around him (as expected), and there was no need to reiterate what he assumed was already known between the two.

He winced as Edgar took apart his weapon. There was a feeling of helplessness looming over him, as the king solved the very problem he had been trying to fix for the past couple of hours—a blow to the pride, but it wasn't an opportunity that Locke was going to pass up on. He had felt worse before, right? Slowly taking the separated hedge shears into hands, he tossed one up into the air and caught it with ease (catching the half-shears felt so much more natural than the flashlight, admittedly). "—thanks. These will do for now."

Pausing momentarily at Edgar's complaint, he brushed his knuckles over his forehead in order to get his stray bangs out of the way, a habit he had developed just that night due to his lack of bandanna. "That, I can fix—mark my words. Who do you think you're talking to?" Offering a cheeky grin that seemed more forced than anything given the situation, Locke continued on. "But your weapon... you sure about this? You're the injured one here."

Edited at 2010-09-07 04:49 am (UTC)

Edgar nodded as Locke spoke of his encounter. It was fortunate he'd not only seen one of Landel's minions and had a good idea of how much of a threat the man could pose, but that he'd managed to retreat seemingly unscathed- then again, if anyone could make a flawless getaway, it would be the expert thief. At least he wouldn't spend a few days being skeptical and failing to understand the tortures one could endure while within the institute's walls.

Ah, Celes was one more topic he'd eventually need to discuss with Locke. The list was already more than they could cover in one night: how he arrived, the time from whence they were taken, everything he'd seen beyond the walls of the institution, Celes' disappearance, and what they could do to not only bring down the madman behind everything, but to get home as well.

It looked like Locke would be just fine with the half-shears as weapons, judging by his show of natural skill. "I'm not in much condition to fight as it is," Edgar said through his teeth, putting a hand to his shoulder. "so believe me, any assistance is appreciated. My roommate and I climbed over the wall the other night, resulting in torn stitches and a slower recovery. If it comes to it, I can defend myself with the shovel until my arm heals and I have better equipment. The injury is something that will have to heal on its own unless I can find a healer. I wouldn't trust any medicine handed to me by the staff."

Edgar shined his light to the string trimmer tied to his back, a devilish grin crossing his face. "As for 'better equipment,' this should fill the job after a bit of creative modification."

ok i'm done editing. :( sorry about that i was kind of dead all night.

Treasure hunting had given him the necessary skills to make a quick getaway if possible, but without proper equipment, their efforts would be in vain. The outside world didn't seem much better than the institute itself, and beyond that... who knew? As for Edgar's wounds...

"And here I thought I was the only one missing Terra and Celes." Locke managed a quiet laugh at that thought. They had taken their comrades' magical abilities for granted sometimes—and here they were now, stuck, with an injury to add salt to the wound as well. But if Edgar was alive, so were the others. Locke didn't have any doubts as to their group's resilience, but affirmation was always a nice thing to have. The problem now was getting out of here and hoping no one else got dragged into this mess. "Don't hurt yourself trying to make that thing work," he joked.

Though, they had a lot of work ahead of them. And catching up as well, if time would allow them to do so, now or later. Nine days was more than enough time to gather up an ample amount of information, and Locke wouldn't handle being left in the dark. From this hospital to the world beyond it, and even of their own world. It had been four months, hadn't it? He only wished their reunion was under better circumstances, yet... beggars couldn't be choosers, could they.

An uneasiness settled over Locke, especially in the empty darkness of the cafeteria. "We should keep moving before they catch sight of us." A little multitasking never hurt anyone, right?

Edited at 2010-09-07 03:41 pm (UTC)

"I agree," Edgar said, casting another look around the room. He had to admit he was surprised nothing had come upon them yet. Then again, if the monsters were elsewhere- the second floor and the recreational field sounded busy enough- it'd be best to take advantage of the situation and move while they were away.

As he was about to suggest that they continue their conversation as they moved, the radio in his pocket hissed to life, the voice on the other side the same one from the night before. The man spoke briefly about the rings, providing a clue for those listening before cutting out. Edgar eyed the radio for a moment, considering their options. "There's a lot we need to talk about," he said, returning the device to his jacket pocket.

Edgar turned for the door, stopping after only a few steps. "If you don't mind, I'll need to drop this off in my room before exploring any further tonight. Should we get separated, it's M16." He adjusted the net bagging on his shoulders, hissing through his teeth as the rope pulled a bit too tightly, his injury already starting to throb from the stress. "It's not too far, and I promise I won't spend any time preening."

[To here. Hope this is okay!]

[From here]

The sensation Tenzen next experienced was one identical to the night the portals had first appeared. Again, he felt the dizziness and the sense of disorientation before realizing they had, indeed, arrived in the cafeteria.

Releasing the woman (who would doubtlessly have a less than desirable response to his previous action knowing her barbaric nature), he took a moment to glance around the area, looking for the presence of any threats. Finding none, he smirked.

"It would seem the experiment is successful thus far," he commented. Indeed, this little item could prove useful. He knew better than to lower his guard, however; it wouldn't be a surprise would Mele try to steal it.

Mele reacted instinctively; thrown off balance by the grab, she took one step for balance and then brought her knee up—

Only to be thrown off balance again by a sudden feeling of disorientation. For a moment which to her seemed insanely long, she couldn't even tell which way was up, and nearly closed her eyes to block out the feeling.

And then it passed, and Yakushiji was holding her up rather than jerking her off her feet. When he released her suddenly, she stumbled. "What the hell?! What did you...do...." Getting back to feet, she'd been about to stalk angrily into his face when she happened to see something out of the corner of her eye. And that was not the hallway. "This is..."

Tenzen had apparently been lucky that he had acted so quickly, or he would have found her knee into his groin which would even been a world of pain for a man of Iga. For now, he remained ignorant of her instinctive intentions. Instead he merely watched her confusion with obvious amusement.

"...the cafeteria," Tenzen finished smugly. "Did I not tell you? We were going to try and take advantage of these portals to reach the cafeteria."

He turned, obviously satisfied with the results. "As I've said, we are successful."

But...they hadn't actually gone through a portal! Or anything! Whirling around, Mele noted that they were, indeed, in the cafeteria. Why— How—

Mele, used to thinking in terms of techniques, mentally reviewed what had happened. They'd been talking. Then he'd grabbed her. Then they were here. No trigger or movement for the technique at all! Unless it was like her own invisibility technique, which she could do quietly and without broadcasting it. But if Yakushiji could do something like that, why couldn't he get out of the Institute...? Why had he been standing around in a hallway?

Too much thinking, too much she didn't know. She decided to just ask. "How'd you do that?!"

"We have been taking advantage of these portals, that is all there is to it," Tenzen explained, but left it at that. He was not going to share any information about the ring he had found in the desk drawer a few nights prior. Apparently, the item did its job well enough. Perhaps he didn't consider it efficient to tell her, though he'd be lying if he said it didn't amuse him.

If Mele could have fallen to the floor in exasperation, she would have done it. "That doesn't explain anything!" She protested. "Don't you know?"

...And this conversation was very familiar. She'd just said that, out in the hall! If she were to learn anything from that conversation, it would be that Yakushiji wouldn't tell her anything useful.

Fine, then. Hmph! "Were are we going, then?" she asked instead, shining her flashlight around. "Did you get hungry?"

[ from here ]

The metal door swung open under Erika's palm and immediately after doing so, the detective slipped into the shadows and waited near the wall for the others to follow suit. The area was not empty; there appeared to be another group waiting for them, but she said nothing to alert them of their presence. At the very least, Erika was not ignorant of the mutated animals wandering around the institute. She had yet to form an opinion on them, although she didn't need anyone telling her to be careful.

After all, there was no rule that said the detective couldn't die. There was a wry smile on her face as she redirected her gaze to the door to make sure everyone else passed through. It wasn't so unusual that she would have to care that the rest of them made it; they needed four people, and to lose someone would hinder them greatly.

But, where was the entrance? Erika wondered if it was in the cafeteria, but she didn't have the time to conduct an investigation. It seemed both unlikely, and the perfect place: Right under their noses, but maybe too close for comfort. However, it could have been in a place where patients couldn't reach in the day... and her gaze went back to the shadows for a moment, to the point where the kitchen would be. Ah.

It would seem they had been allowed to travel through the courtyard without incident, something the Superior welcomed. Who knew how long they had been delayed on the recreational field, how much time their attacker had already consumed by its presence?

As he followed the young detective into the cafeteria, he too made sure to be shrouded in darkness as he waited for the others to follow. Orange eyes had already taken notice of the group already lingering in the area, but there was hardly a need to needlessly draw their attention.

The Nobody, too, attempted to determine where the entrance leading to their underground destination would be. Then, his gaze shifted into the direction of the door hiding in the shadows, unknowingly drawing the same conclusion. To hide it within an area the patients could not reach during the fake radiance granted by the day seemed a mere logical decision, and the kitchen - or a surrounding room - was the only nearby area that was beyond reach during the illusion of daytime.

Though she recognized one of the faces in the cafeteria, Momo made no move to call out to them. Time was of the essence and she skirted around them and the tables. Within seconds it was clear that both Erika and Xemnas had come to the correct conclusion as to where they were heading.

Moving around the counter, Momo paused at the door to the kitchen long enough to break the lock with the butt of Laevatein. Once done, she glanced back to check her comrades' positions before moving through the door.

[to here]

[from here]

From a distance, he hadn’t sensed anything off about the cafeteria, nor could he see anything out of sorts once he was inside. Just a few other people. In comparison to what he’d faced here before, they were nothing to be concerned about.

In fact, the way into the refrigerator seemed clear, as far as he could make out. He knew, though, that Landel used predators just as silent as him, ones that could attack as equally fast--one of the bigger problems to getting anywhere in this macabre cesspool of a hospital.

He was halfway to the kitchen door before he shifted some of his attention behind him, checking on the others’ positions.

Zack answered Gaara's question, and Gaara responded to Sasuke's warning. Aidou moved on ahead, clearly the most impatient of all. There was a certain lack of cohesion in the group that made Sasuke doubt their efficacy in face of any of the more complex beasts in the Institute -- but as ever, he was confident enough in his own ability to handle what Landel had to offer to shrug off the concern.

There were creatures that had to be fled, perhaps, or those that demanded a bargain, but by and large, the Institute didn't seek to destroy the patients. Even those it supposedly eliminated returned time and again.

As Gaara had. "You have," Sasuke answered as they moved, blunt truth. "Many arrive and vanish only to return without recollections of the place. I assume that is your situation?"

[[to here]]

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